Find My Phone : About tiny android apps

Do you often keep your phone on silent and then forget where you have kept it? Maybe it is under those files in the office or in the some nook of  your home? Or maybe your kid has hidden it among all those innumerable toys.  How you wish your phone itself can ring aloud and flash its flashlight to let you know where it is! But alas….it is on silent mode!

Does it happen on a busy morning when you rush to your office only to find out that you are not carrying  your mobile and then you wonder if you have left it a home, or did you forget it in your car or if  your kid has taken it from your bag and put it in those toys or carried it to his/her school instead! Or you worry if it was snatched quietly by some pickpocket while you were on that crowded bus or local train.  How you wish your phone itself could somehow let you know its location?

Find My Phone

Find My Phone

Well, I (Orisys Software) have launched an app Find My Phone that could fulfill both these wishes and take care of the situations such as those mentioned above. Find My Phone is a simple, free android app that offers just these two features -

  • If you have kept your android phone/device on silent/vibration only, and can’t locate it in the room, you can easily locate it in the room by sending a command SMS text from another phone and your phone will start ringing (even if it is on silent) and if the device has a flashlight, it will be turned on as well. You can then pick up your phone, and turn off the sound & flashlight (if available) by clicking the “OK” button that will pop up in the dialog box.
  • You can also find location (either address or co-ordinates on the map) of your android device/phone by sending it another command SMS text from a different phone. The app will try to find address of the phone/device and will send an SMS to the phone from which the command SMS was sent. If it cannot find the address, it will send SMS with co-ordinates (latitude/longitude) of the phone/device along with map link.

The app is intentionally kept simple and it allows you to customize both these SMS command texts so that they are as easy or as complex as you want them. You can customize the SMS text when you install the app and change them whenever you want. The app will respond accordingly to your customized commands. This app is absolutely FREE! No advertisements either!!! :-)

You can download & install it from Google Play, and feel free to share it with your friends as well!

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Excel with your strengths

It’s not often that I recommend an article here from a typical “management” site/blog, because most of of time it does not make much sense to me. However, this is a very pleasant surprise from HBR, thanks to @sandygautam for tweeting this. Though it is a rather old article (May 2009), I am glad somebody is finally talking about this. All people have different strengths and weaknesses. And though one may want to improve upon certain weaknesses, often brooding too much about a weakness deteriorates performance. After a certain age – I think one must be able to accept his/her own personality with all the features/traits it has – some of them might be perceived as weaknesses under certain circumstances, or while performing certain tasks. But they are essentially your personality traits having their own advantages & disadvantages in different situations.

Moreover, it is crucial to focus more on the strengths and see how we can create opportunities and make most of what we are good at. The best you can offer to the world is naturally the best that you have in yourself.  :-)

Here is excerpt I really liked from this article -

Here’s what his manager should say: “You’ve worked hard this year John. Your client orientation is superb. You’ve met your sales goals and you’re a solid team player. But working on those spreadsheets isn’t a good use of your time and it’s not your strength. I’m going to ask David to do those for you from now on. He loves spreadsheets and is great at them. I want to spend the rest of our time talking about how you can get even better at working with your clients. That’s where you shine — where you add the most value to the company — and you seem to really enjoy it.”

An organization should be a platform for unique talent. A performance review system should be flexible enough to reflect and reward the successful contributions of diverse employees. Let’s encourage people to be weak in areas in which they are average — because no one can possibly be great at everything — and place all our effort on developing their strengths further.

Here is the complete article: Stop Worrying about Your Weaknesses

Any man worth his salt…

We all read Joel Spolsky and his (opinionated) opinions about how to hire smart people who get  things done. Thanks to him and few others, we also know that how Microsoft hires people and asks them to move ‘Mount Fuji’, and all those anecdotes and traits of  *smart* techies that everyone is looking for. Joel’s blogs & books are full of such ideas if you’re keen….but if you’re really keen, you already know him and have already read his books. And then, if you’re like me, though you mostly agree with his message in general, you must be already having lot of arguments against his own opinionated/prejudiced  views aka thumb rules!  :P

Anyway! The great scientist Thomas Alva Edison  apparently had one very bright idea (besides his light bulb idea) for hiring people to work with him, and I liked  that idea *very* much! I recently read this article somewhere through a link on FB or Twitter, but I am unable to find that article now. Never mind! The article narrated an interesting story about Edison and what sort of “screening” he used for hiring people (well, I never thought he actually hired people to work with him).  The story goes like this…

Whenever Edison shortlisted a person to work with him after initial screening/interview, he’d take that person out for lunch before finalizing his decision. Once their ordered food arrived, Edison would taste one of the dishes, and say, “Oh, this needs more salt!”. And then he’d observe the candidate’s behaviour.  If he added salt without tasting it, he’d reject the candidate but if the candidate tasted the dish first and then decided to add (or not to add) more salt, he’d hire the candidate. Because he knew if a person couldn’t think on his own or if he couldn’t form an opinion based on his own experience & judgement, it is unlikely that they’d come up with an original, innovative solution!

I loved this story the moment I read it! I can connect with it instantly!

I expect you all to be independent, innovative, critical thinkers who will do exactly as I say! ~ By: Unknown

How many times we just hear this cliché about ‘original/independent’ thinking or thinking ‘out-of-box’, and yet time and again we’d be expected to do exactly what has been told – in a compliant do-as-directed mode. In fact, bigger the organization, more stringent the compliance norms would be. I recently read that one giant software company in India has dictated even what to wear on every day of the week to the employees. And then I have a friend working in a senior management grade for yet another software giant, he decides to borrow a book from his library based on number of times it has been issued! Huh? Talk about personal preferences versus popularity!

Anyway! With all this omnipresent herd mentality around, it is reassuring to see that some people still give importance to ‘independent thinking‘, and they actually understand what it means! Among other things, it could also mean a certain amount of irreverence and disagreeing with all those holier-than-thou authorities. And I often wonder, how would ‘independent thinking‘ work (if at all it would) in a big, structured organization – be it a corporate giant or an esteemed school. In fact all this system seems to be promoting factory like methods of cultivating & nurturing do-as-directed machines with tunnel vision. It is puzzling, saddening and even exasperating at times to see how many HR people simply look for labels rather than trusting their own organization’s ability to assess potential candidates. Why can’t impressive profile count more than few fancy names (companies, schools or degrees) on the résumé? I have seen far too many programmers doing medicare work in bigger MNCs and I have seen some awesome work being done in smaller start-ups. Strength of an organization does not necessarily depend on its size. It often reminds of a beautiful quote by Gerald Massey.

“They must find it difficult …. those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority”

~ Gerald Massey

And then…. though it is rare, it is indeed heartening to see those who dare to follow their hearts with conviction, those who dare to take the road less travelled  and do things that they want. Fortunately, some individuals do listen to a different drummer. They may come across as Social change makers like John Hoppkins educated Dr. Abhay & Rani Bang working in Gadchiroli for tribals, or IIT educated Arvind Gupta working with IUCAA/Muktangan to popularize science among children and translating hundreds of amazing books for them, or they might come across as entrepreneurs struggling and trying to do their own thing instead of working for big corporates for a fat pay. Or it could be someone like Rahul Alvares taking a year off from school and finding what he really wants to study or what he really wants to do in his life.  Or one such independent thinker might come across as an unknown struggler in his own field of interest, he (or she) may not be successful in materialistic terms – but he’d have enough conviction in his own thoughts to follow them with all his heat, rather than following the herd! These are the people who really inspire me,  these are the people I can really connect with. For me these are the people who are really worth their salt and I was glad to know that Edison thought so as well !  :-)

Somewhere deep within myself, the ancient soul of Tukaram knowingly smiles and chants happily:
सत्य असत्याशी मन केले ग्वाही, मानियेले नाही बहुमता|
(Translated from Marathi: My mind confirms the truth that I see, and doesn’t care about the opinion of the majority.)