Daily Archives: September 16, 2014

WhatsApp allows users to create backup of their messages

WhatsApp, one of the most popular mobile messaging applications, now allows users to take a backup of their chat history, messages, pictures etc. This helps when a user deletes such data by mistake.

In order to create a backup of data which is not older than 7 days past seven days, a user has to first uninstall the application and then install it again. Then, you will receive a message which prompts recovering backup files, to which a user has to agree and that is it. Similarly, to restore conversation older than 7 days, search for a folder named ‘msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt7’ and then rename the file to ‘msgstore.db.crypt7’ to restore any of these files.

Now, you can be rest assured that your data will not be lost even if you have deleted it accidentally.

WhatsApp Messenger is a mobile messaging application which allows users to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS.


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The 6 Signs You’re Tech Addicted and What You Can Do About It

Technology has created a wealth of new opportunities for entrepreneurs, increasing productivity, improving business profitability and turning the world into a local marketplace. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately for “techno-addicts” who are seduced by its power, there’s a price to pay for being connected 24/7 through ‘use anywhere’ devices.

The first, and perhaps most obvious, is your health. Technology has increasingly removed the separation between work and non-work, placing you at the mercy of on-demand accessibility. This can leave you overwhelmed by a torrent of messages, calls, tweets and other digital information, some important but most of it not, all beamed into your phone, computer and tablet.

For the hard-pressed entrepreneur, trying to absorb and act on this constant stream of new data can result in ‘burnout’ – what the internationally recognized Mayo Clinic describes as “a state of emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”

That’s reflected in sleeplessness, digestive problems, stress, headaches and potentially more serious health issues.

So, even if you’re the most passionate and dedicated entrepreneur, you need a break from your business to recharge your batteries.

The second major consequence of being a techno-addict is that it deprives you of the most important entrepreneurial resource of all – your brain – the organ you need to be using to think, plan, innovate and solve, all high-end strategic functions that require time and space to do effectively.

But when you inundate your brain with information from every technological source going, you’re not giving it the opportunity to assess, analyze or solve.

In a digital world, your mind is constantly being forced to work overtime, typically revving at 20 – 30 thoughts per minute. Consequently, you’re continually forced into providing instant answers, with little time for consideration. This results in reactive, hasty decisions, often based on incomplete information. That’s not good for you or your business.

Incoming emails and phone calls are tremendously distracting. They can even result in a 10 point drop in IQ, according to a study conducted by Hewlett Packard. That’s the same as you would experience after losing a night’s sleep.

Put simply, very often technology isn’t your brain’s best friend. When you try to do several things at once, you aren’t more productive, but less by as much as 40 percent, according to brain scan studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

So while you may think that you’re using technology to multi-task, in reality you’re constantly interrupting yourself, all of which adds to your levels of stress. But how do you know if you’re a ‘techno addict’ who has fallen under the spell of technology? Here are a six tell-tale signs:

1. For you, new is best. You’re always an early adopter, acquiring new technology without properly assessing whether it’s going to add real value to your business, or is just ‘nice to have’, giving you the buzz of the new.

2. You rely on technology for basic answers. You invariably choose a ‘techie’ option over any other. When was the last time you picked pen and paper to do a quick sum, for instance?

3. You experience withdrawal symptoms. You need to be constantly ‘plugged in’ and become stressed if you’re without your favorite piece of technology for too long, itching for interaction and distraction.

4. You experience ‘FOMO’. You worry about missing out when you aren’t connected. This ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO) is now considered a real psychological condition affecting those who crave continual social interaction and novel experience, without which they can develop ‘social anxiety’.

5. Your digital connections are replacing your ‘real world’ interaction. Your virtual and physical world are being blurred. Picking up the phone or meeting up is becoming more rare than connecting through social media or email. You may be winning more connections and Facebook ‘likes’ but you are missing out on quality human interaction and time to be with people you care about.

6. Your creativity has gone on holiday. Apart from eating and sleeping, most of your life, work and play happens online. Can you remember the last time you expressed a feeling or an idea by drawing on a piece of paper or sketched out a project on a napkin? Your keyboard feels like a natural extension of your fingers.

Fortunately, as an entrepreneur who is able to do your own thing, it’s easy to control your technology habits, and those of others in your business. If you sense that technology may be starting to get the better of you, a crucial first step to regaining technology control is to adopt what’s known as a JOMO philosophy, in other words the ‘Joy of Missing Out’.

So, rather than allowing technology to be your master, you become master of it, setting clear boundaries as to where and when you allow it into your life. Turn off your phone to give yourself quiet periods. Use Internet blocking software to make sure you don’t go online too frequently. Reduce the number of times you check your email each day. Limit how much ‘downtime’ you spend on social networking sites.

Inevitably, you will miss out on some of what’s happening out there, but after a while, you’ll also find that it doesn’t matter as much as you thought.

In parallel, start using the time you would have spent feeding your techno-addition as valuable “think time” or “me time.” This will give you the “head space” to focus on solving your business problems and consider new ideas, without the clamoring interference of technology, as well as the space to think about yourself and your needs in other areas of your life.

How much better will you be as an entrepreneur when you stop being a techno-addict? I don’t know for sure. But I strongly suspect that being less stressed and having more thinking time will make you more efficient, effective, happier and probably more successful, too. Switching off is the new speeding up.


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‘Habitual Facebook users prone to phishing attacks

New York: If you are perpetually online on Facebook and do respond to anonymous friends’ requests without considering how they are connected with those sending the requests, beware of phishing attacks.

According to a new study by an Indian-origin researcher, habitual use of Facebook makes individuals susceptible to social media phishing attacks by criminals.

“This is because they automatically respond to requests without considering how long they have known them or who else is connected with them,” said Arun Vishwanath, an associate professor in the department of communication at the University of Buffalo in New York.

Predictors of habitual use of Facebook include frequent interactions with the platform, a large number of friend connections and individuals’ inability to regulate their social media consumption.

“Social media phishing is the attack vector of choice among cyber criminals and has been implicated in crimes ranging from home invasion to cyber bullying, illegal impersonation of individuals and organisation and espionage,” Vishwanath added.

These scams attempt to trick people into accepting friend requests and gathering crucial personal and financial information from them.

“Hence, understanding why individuals fall victim to social media phishing scams is important from an organisational security, law enforcement and a national security standpoint,” he noted.

The paper appeared in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.


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Honesty, vulnerability and fairness – Three essential qualities of leadership

There are some very simple but powerful things every leader can do to increase his or her trust level with anyone – or everyone – in the organisation. It is not the complexity or difficulty of the following suggestions that will change leaders. It is the awareness and the discipline to actually do them consistently.

Be honest

Tell the truth. Good leaders are never afraid of communicating truth to their people. Every time you stop shy of the truth, you cheat yourself and worst of all, you rob your people of opportunity and personal growth. Match your actions with your words and match those words with the truth. No spin, no fancy justifications or revisionist history – just plain truth.

Maybe, you have to tell the truth when it is not convenient or popular, or when it will make you look bad. It really will be tough, but is essential to your reputation.

Most of the time, the answers you need to get out of a tight situation or do something different are right there in your followers’ heads. By telling them the truth about the exact situation, you’ll tap into their creativity and problem-solving abilities. If you feel yourself starting to bend what you know is the truth, stop immediately. Find an immediate way and reformat your communication and action and tell the truth.

Be vulnerable

We trust people we believe are real (authentic) and also human (imperfect and flawed) – just like all of us. That usually means, showing others some vulnerability – some authentic (not fabricated) weakness or raw emotion that allows others to see us as like them.

There are four ways to experience the power of vulnerability so you come alive to your most authentic self:

1. Be real. If you’re scared, say you’re scared. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. If you made a mistake, say you made a mistake. If you feel hurt, say you’re hurt.

2. Act with no guarantees. Ideas are safe. For example, the vision of a better organisation in three years, say 20 percent increase in divisional profits. You can sit safely in your imaginations all day or you can fully commit to taking action, embracing the notion that you might fail or get hurt.

3. Ask for help. By admitting your weaknesses, you make room for other people’s gifts. If you notice yourself trying to do everything yourself, take a step back and evaluate which aspects of the project or situation energize and excite you. Write them down. Then make a list of the areas that exhaust you. Seek help where you’re exhausted.

4. Embrace negative emotions. When you numb sadness and pain, you numb joy and happiness. Feeling the depths of your lows enables you to fully feel the depths of your highs. It’s all connected.

Be fair

This begins at the top. If you treat your followers fairly and do so consistently, you will set a pattern of behaviour for the entire organisation. This sense of fairness, critical to the creation of a safe environment, can be reinforced not only by complimenting fair practices but also by privately speaking to subordinates who behave unfairly to others in the organisation.

Remember the golden rule: ‘When you are fair, you treat others as you wish they would treat you.’

No favourites! A leader who is fair does not play favourites. You don’t give anyone all the good jobs, or all the bad jobs, just because of how you feel about them. You treat them as the unique individuals they are.

Don’t take advantage. When you’re being fair, you don’t take advantage of others based on your position as the leader. You don’t treat someone unfairly just because you can and can get away with it.

Follow the rules. When you follow the rules and apply them equally to everyone, you are being fair. Make sure you apply them to yourself as well.

Change the rules. Sometimes you have to change the rules. If the existing rule makes something unfair, you have to change it. Just be sure that the reason you are changing it really is to increase fairness, not just to justify an outcome that might be better for a favourite. Make sure the new rule is applied equally for all.

Engaging culture

Supporting a culture of honesty, vulnerability and fairness could be the most frustrating and difficult thing you will ever do as a leader. It takes real courage to come clean with your mistakes and failures. That is the reason why authencity – the courage to be yourself – is the first step in this process. (We discussed authenticity in detail during the past weeks). It takes guts to be your real self and then admit your error to the world. But the habit of doing so makes you trustworthy and a person of integrity and that alone gives you the power to enforce a standard of integrity that will serve the organisation in many ways. When you can make mistakes and admit them, or put bad news out there and hold yourself accountable, you model this behaviour for others.

To have an engaging culture, you need to find ways to build the competency of truth telling – to attack tough issues head on without attacking people. How can this be done? By giving people permission to have the tough conversations that matter and to convert criticism into new accountability and co-owned actions for improvement.

Embrace cynicism and use it to spark a belief that change and improvement are possible. When organisations build a culture that encourages truth-telling, people can move from just being candid about what’s not working to taking accountability – without having it forced on them – and taking responsibility to do something about it.

So, if trust leads to successful engagement with authenticity, truth telling and realism, you must define reality and have the courage to accept it at face value. There are three beliefs that keep people from telling and accepting the truth at work:

* People don’t think that they can safely tell the truth.

* People believe that their managers and leaders really don’t want to hear the truth.

* People don’t know how to discuss the ‘un-discussable’ issues and still be viewed as a positive force in the organisation.

All of these beliefs are responsible for the lack of realism and truth in our day-to-day interactions. They force people to say what they think others want to hear rather than what they believe to be true. As a result, we don’t become real in our expectations, in our thinking and in our interactions. Much of this typical ‘engagement’ ends up being nothing more than a charade.

The optimum position is to have a crisp and concise set of expectations and everyone should know they are engaged. People should also be aware that there are emergency situations where a rule can be waived, but those situations are rare. Knowing when to grant an exception is what puts the art in leadership.

(Next week – Creating interpersonal trust)


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