All Articles Tagged "computer"
“A Dollar and A Dream” spotlights low- and no-cost ways to build a better business. The economy may be lagging, but new resources are empowering small business owners like never before. Follow the series to learn how to take your dreams to the next level without breaking the bank.
Your success in business is directly linked to how you produce your product. Maximizing productivity can be difficult for small businesses where manpower is in short supply. Luckily, improving productivity isn’t always about working harder; you may just need to work smarter.
New apps are hitting the marketplace everyday, designed to streamline business systems and help owners and employees get the most out of their time and efforts. The tools below allow for greater efficiency in managing billing, information, tasks and time. This selection only scratches the surface of what is available. Check out “Go Digital: Web Tools for Every Business” for even more recommendations.
When searching for a reliable app, first take a look at how you do business. What tasks or areas are you slowing down? Once you pinpoint the areas where you need to save time and money, the answer is just an Internet search away. It’s hard for a good app to stay a secret for long. Reviews from users and business publications will give you a good idea if a tool has the right features for you.
Here are a few common issues apps solve:
“I’m always late.”
Platform: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Benefit: Analyzes your schedule to provide timely reminders to keep you on schedule.
How It Works: OnTime syncs with your existing calendar and takes into account your current location, the location of your next appointment, and traffic patterns to provide accurate alerts to keep you on time. It will even alert your next appointment if you are running late. Perfect for busy individuals who complain about time getting away from them.
“My team works remotely and has trouble staying on the same page.”
Platform: Web, Desktop (Mac), and iPhone
Price: Free app ($9 monthly service fee / $99 yearly)
Benefit: A central location to create and delegate project tasks and keep project updates from being overlooked in e-mail.
How It Works: Flow is an online collaboration platform. Invite contacts to join a task or project list whether they have an account or not and you can tackle projects as a team regardless of location. The app allows you to delegate tasks, keep track of each team members’ progress, as well as discuss and collaborate issues in real-time. Payment options are available on a yearly basis or month-to-month for special projects.
“My team wastes time tracking me or a client down to sign off on documents.”
Solution: DocuSign Ink
Platform: Android, iPhone, iPad
Price: Free (paid version $14.99 and up)
Benefit: Send, sign and save documents anywhere, on any device.
How It Works: DocuSign is the most widely used eSignature software and provides extra document encryption, authentication of signers’ identities, and tracking of who signed, when, and where. The paid version offers additional features including sending documents to multiple parties and creating reminders.
“We have so much paperwork to keep track of, our filing system takes up too much time.”
Benefit: Turns your iPhone into a multipage scanner.
How It Works: Don’t waste time looking for paperwork. Take a picture of documents, receipts, notes, whiteboards, or other text and TurboScan will generate a high quality PDF or JPEG file that be stored and shared easily. All processing happens on your iPhone, so there’s no need to worry about your confidentiality being compromised.
“I have too many small tasks to keep track of; I feel like I’m always forgetting something.”
Platform: Web, Desktop (Windows and Mac), Android, iPhone, and iPad
Benefit: The classic to-do list, updated with the functionality and portability of modern technology.
How It Works: Wunderlist manages whatever needs to be done, from shopping list, to projects, to to-dos. Unlike a conventional to-do list, you don’t have to keep track of a piece of paper. Wunderlist syncs your lists across platforms, allows you to set reminders or notifications, and lets you share your list via email, Facebook, or Twitter. It’s one of the more elegantly designed to-do list apps on the market.
“I haven’t perfected setting hourly rates for my clients; I think I’m under-billing.”
Benefit: Especially helpful for new freelancers and contractors who aren’t sure where to begin when setting prices.
How It Works: The app helps you calculate rates for a project based on the tools, help, and supplies you will need. Just plug in what you’ll need to get the job done. The app will calculate how much you should charge to turn a profit. MyPrice is also beneficial in helping business owners think critically about the resources and expenses at their disposal for a given project.
Do you have any apps that your business swears by? Help out your fellow entrepreneurs and share them in the comment section.
Everybody Hates Chris: The “Brownout” Plug-In Created To Block All Things Chris Brown From Your Computer
How many of us know of a celebrity that we would love to have blocked from our news stream? From the overexposed to the folks who just make your skin crawl for their behavior, I’m sure you can think of one. Well, Canadian media company AUX immediately thought of Chris Brown and has created a plug-in called the “Brownout” that allegedly makes it so that anything that has to do with Chris Brown is blocked from your browser. I don’t know how successful this will be, as all that happens is a huge bar pops up and covers his name in headlines and in search engines, and does the same for pictures of the brotha too. However, since the block is so obnoxious, it seems that it would draw more attention to his stories than it probably would have without the app. Either way, developers for AUX, including Sam Sutherland, an online producer for AUX, seem happy with their work, because they’re tired of talking about Chris Brown, and don’t find him apologetic enough (Because he needed to apologize to them too, right?):
“It is nearly impossible to go on the internet without reading something about him, he is always doing something outrageously moronic. If he wants to get a tattoo on his neck that kinda looks like Rihanna we are going to write about it. But at some point, it reaches Chris Brown idiocy saturation.”
Well, alright. AUX did something like this in the past for the Canadian rock band Nickelback, who they felt were always being talked about in the news for some random reason. “In the case of both artists, they are wildly popular and their fans love them. But for us and people who work for AUX and our audience, we were getting tired of these artists. In November, you couldn’t go on the internet without reading something about Nickelback.”
It all started with Nickelback, and now they’re blocking Breezy, so who knows who will be next. But I think downloading an application like this is pretty extreme. When you see something or someone you don’t like, you can definitely choose to ignore them and the news rather than blocking them out like they don’t exist. But hey, just as it’s a free country to talk for days about all things and antics Chris Brown, you’re more than free to download the Brownout and rid your browser of all his tattoo-getting, hair color-changing, dance-happy, Karrueche-kissing but Rihanna-loving antics. I on the other hand, shall stay tuned…
Here’s what the plug-in would look like:
What do you think about this plug-in idea? Who would you like to have blocked from your Internet browser for good?
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Used to be that school supplies mostly consisted of pencils, paper and a new backpack. Nowadays, college students also have to make an investment in new tech supplies if they’re going to make the grade.
Schools still provide students with access to a computer lab, but for many, a laptop has long been a college necessity. College computer labs are accessible, but most useful for printing documents or a quick email check. The latest MacBook Pro will put you out about $2,000 (whew!), but there are perfectly good alternatives in the $500 to $700 range all over the Internet.
Also on the must-have list are mobile phones. Not the “free with your contract” deal, but the latest smartphones, which can cost a couple hundred bucks even with a commitment. Add the monthly cost of service, and there’s a real expense.
This infographic produced by OnlineColleges shows that students aren’t just using their phones to call home and text their friends. They’re accessing social networks, and using them for school- and work-related tasks. At this point, a student who doesn’t have access to social networks — whether via a broadband connection or mobile device — is at a severe disadvantage. The ability to access information on the go has upped that ante.
The latest digital option for many students are e-books. There can be some savings on books purchased electronically. For instance, I once bought a book of classic short stories for 99 cents on Kindle. But USA Today points out that, in some cases, the savings is small. In other cases, the need to ultimately print out the book, in part or in its entirety, can drive up the cost. And at some schools, e-books are required.
Then there’s the cost of purchasing the device on which to read these books. Amazon’s Kindle starts at $79 and goes up to $199 for the Fire tablet. Barnes & Noble just knocked $20 off the price of the Nook, but it too approaches $200. And then there’s the iPad, which promises a brand new learning experience, but starts at $399. Apple offers education pricing, which includes a $50 gift card for apps if you’re purchasing the device for school.
Speaking of apps, USA Today also has a list of apps especially for students, many of which are free.
Add to these tech expenditures the increased cost of tuition. In many states, the cost for in-resident tuition at state schools is going up. In some cases dramatically. Here are some ways we recently suggested to help pay for college.
If you use the Internet as much as any millennial does, you are probably connected to family and peers using a variety of different social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. You might not miss anything when it comes to your social network, but if you are not utilizing your social media sites to maximize your job search, you might as well go back to MySpace.
The Internet is a great tool for virtually everything (no pun intended!), from answering a question to finding a recipe, and using it to find your next job is no exception. With popular professional search sites like Career Builder, Monster and Indeed, there is no excuse for not making better use of what the Web has to offer.
If you have an account with at least one of the most popular social networking sites, you’ve made your job search that much better already. These tips will help you use your social networks to your advantage personally and professionally, maximizing your chances of landing your dream job.
by Lauren DeLisa Coleman
Okay Apple users, rejoice! The new Apple OS is on the horizon. And there are a few new goodies, if you haven’t yet heard. First of all, the operating system is called Mountain Lion (gotta love the continued homage to fierce, powerful animals, no?) You say it seems like yesterday that there was a previous OS introduced? Well, you’re right. Apple is now releasing a new one just about every year, just like it does with iPhones and iPads now, so we digital divas have to stay up to date.
Now, with this new OS it seems as though deeper seamless integration was the mantra of the developers. For example, all you have to do is sign in with your Apple ID and all your contacts, email, calendar and more sync right to your make. Here’s the hot part: whenever you make a change on your Mac, it will also appear on your iPhone, iPad, etc. too – even your iWork documents making a multi-device life a bit simpler. This is all thanks in large part to iCloud,
Want more integration? Well, now Mountain Lion comes with Messages, a chat aapp that enables users to not only include iMesssages but also import them from iPhone or iPad.
Further, for girls who love to make lists (and who of us doesn’t), Mountain Lion comes with the new app that came with iOS 5 called Reminders. All your reminders will also sync across your iDevices.
In addition, Twitter is deeply integrated in Mountain Lion. This means that you will be able to now Tweet directly from within several applications. This is central to something Apple calls “Tweet Sheet.” And given the fact that African-Americans already far out-index across Twitter than any other demographic in our country, the synergy of all this together for us is incredibly thought-provoking.
Finally, there are other compelling elements centered around gaming and notifications, but what I think is a game-changer is AirPlay. Via this capability, users can display what is on their computer screen onto a big screen TV hooked up to an Apple TV. Fellow technies are saying that it will be great for presentations, but I think the general consumer will use this to ramp up even further on watching digital video. (look out cable TV providers).
So, there you have it. Looks like there will now be just one more reason for all those consistent on-lookers at every Apple store you pass.
If you know even just a little bit about Twitter, you know a big part of the social media titan’s appeal is in its trending topics. A lot of them can be hilarious, cute, informative and sometimes even redeeming (remember the #SorryJesus topic a few week’s back?). But lately, I’ve noticed an ugly, hateful and just straight up, “IGNANT” tone showing up in the trending topics on the site. Many have been sexist, as well as racist, and that’s not cool. I’m sure you’ve seen your share of ratchetness on there while trying to explain a highlight of your day in 140 characters or less, and I want to share the ones I’ve found with you. Be sure to read the titles slowly so you don’t get confused.