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The top 12 best gadgets – CES 2014

1) Polaroid Socialmatic camera:

Best gadgets at CES

Originally floated as a concept back in 2012, the Android-based Socialmatic could revive the beloved Polaroid as we know it. An inkless printing system enables users to print stickers of their sepia-tinted images, and customise them using the 4.5 inch touchscreen. Slated for release by the end of 2014, it may be hipster, but it’s also incredibly cool.

2) Goji Smart Lock

Best gadgets CES 2014

The Goji Smart Lock bypasses the need for keys, allowing you to gain access to your home with the simple tap of a smartphone or electronic fob. And no more worrying about whether you remembered to lock the door or not – it sends you a text when the locks are activated.

3) HABU app

Mood-based playlist HABU aims to build the perfect playlist in one tap, as users create mood-based lists ranging from dark to calm, positive and energetic.

4) June bracelet

CES best gadgets

Netamo’s June bracelet monitors its wearer’s exposure to the sun using its facent sensor as well as advising on the kind of suncream to apply. A potential god send

5) LaCie Sphere hard drive

Best gadgets CES

This external hard drive may not be cheap at $490 for 1TB of memory, but it sure is beautiful.

6) LEO the Maker Prince children’s book

This incredible children’s book encourages youngsters to explore their creativity through 3D printing by following the adventures of LEO the robot printer, who creates plastic models of the pictures his friend Clara draws. Even better, design files of all the characters and objects are available to be downloaded.

7) Panomo panoramic camera

Throw the Panomo camera ball into the air to take incredible 360 degree photographs from all angles. Possibly don’t throw it too hard though.

8) Pebble Steel smartwatch

One of the true stars of CES 2014, the Pebble Steel second generation smartwatch has been hailed as one the year’s first exciting releases ahead of its January 28th launch.

9) Kolibree toohbrush

CES BEST GADGETS

Plugged as the world’s first internet-enabled toothbrush, Kolibree monitors and compares your daily brushing, alongside recommending brushing techniques.

10) Flir One personal thermal imager case

CES best gadgets

Ever wanted to turn your friends and family into heatmaps? You now can with the Flir One, detecting and displaying live thermal images.

11) LG’s Home Chat

Best gadgets CES 2014

Dying for a beer in the comfort of your own home but can’t remember if there’s any left in the fridge? No worries – use LG Home Chat to text your fridge to check for you. You can also text your washing machine to start a load whilst you’re out and about, or tell your robotic vacuum cleaner to start tidying up. Truly the next generation of home appliances.

12) iGrill2 Bluetooth Smart Meat Thermometer

Monitor the temperature of your food as it cooks from up to 150 feet away, helping you to work out when it’s been perfectly cooked.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in 2014, Lifestyle, Technology

 

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How to Easily Watermark and Protect Your Images

Photographers, artists, designers and any other types of visual artists are all too familiar with the dilemma of sharing images online in order to increase exposure, but at the same time risking copyright abuse of their own works by other internet users.

Watermarking images is one of the best ways to handle the problem of safeguarding your visual content from illegal use. While adding a branded message to your images does not prevent people from right-clicking and saving them, it does guarantee that the images continue to bear your name and trademark wherever they end up.

In this regard, watermarking is not only a smart step for protecting your copyright, but also a branding strategy for getting your name out there. If your images are moving around, they might as well act as advertising agents for your work, right?

But how do you apply watermarks to your images without ruining the aesthetics? Here are a couple of tips to help you watermark with style.

How to Easily Watermark and Protect Your Images10

Tips to create clever Watermarks:

 

  • Start with the copyright symbol. © is how you show you mean business.

 

  • A watermark that covers the entire image may deter web users from stealing your pics, but it will also spoil the fun for anyone who harmlessly tries to view images on your website or your social channels. A subtle watermark on the top, bottom or corners of the image is much more pleasant on the eye.

 

  • While we completely stand behind advice no. 3, it’s also important to emphasize that the watermark should not blend seamlessly with the image so that it becomes practically invisible. Don’t forget the initial purpose of preventing copyright infringement! A watermark is useless if no one notices it.

 

  • If you’re using a textual watermark, make sure it doesn’t extend beyond one line. Your full name or your brand name with a short description of your work will be a good option. Alternatively, you can also use the address of your website.

 

  • You can also go for a visual watermark that displays your official logo. In this case it is nevertheless important to add a short text that clearly identifies you or your brand as the owner of the work.

 

  • Not all of your images have the same color palette or dimensions, so your watermark should be adjustable to a variety of shades and layouts. It’s a good idea to prepare at least two colors (one to match light photos and one to match dark ones) and at least two styles (one “corner” watermark and one “strip” watermark). And in any case, make sure you save a version of the watermark that can be modified and customized.

 

  • If you use a software to mass-watermark a large number of images (which is doable with Photoshop and other non-free photo editing tools), don’t forget to review the images and make sure that they all look decent. You don’t want a watermark right on someone’s face, do you?
 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in 2014, Business, Technology

 

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SEO Blues [Infographic]

What follows these words is a strange but interesting weaving of ‘Blues’ history along with Google update history. This is an informative graphic, but no tips for cutting edge SEO in this one.

 
 

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Office Fitness: Stand Up For Health & Turn Your Desk Into A Gym

“Sitting is the new smoking,” has become a catch phrase suddenly being espoused by a fast growing number of medical experts around the world. There is plenty of evidence to support the claims that our chair-oriented sedentary lifestyle is taking huge tolls on both our health and our economic productivity, and it’s probably even truer for the deskbound office worker or exec than the couch surfer due to the nonstop hours at our computers. Between cars, couches and desks, Americans spend about half their lives sitting – and that does not include sleeping.

Fortunately it is very easy to improve the healthfulness of your workspace, whether it’s located in a corporate setting or at home. In fact, I am doing it right now as I type these words.

Office worker at stand-up desk

The World Health Organization identified physical inactivity as the fourth biggest killer on the planet – ahead of obesity. In addition to the obvious back and neck problems affiliated with sitting at computers all day, substantial evidence has linked sitting to everything from cancer to heart disease, diabetes to depression, and like smoking, it harms you even if you get exercise when not doing it.

Or to put it in the simplest terms, “The chair is out to kill us,” as James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, told the LA Times. A study cited by the Times from the Center for Personalized Health Care at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center calculated that every hour spent sitting shortens our life by 22 minutes – twice as much as smoking a cigarette. Numerous studies done in the US, Canada, Australia and Britain have all confirmed the same thing – sitting exacts a huge health toll on us individually and as a society. Evidence is so rampant that the related conditions have been coined “Sitting disease” and “Silicon Valley disease.” According to British studies cited in the Daily Mirror, the cost to the UK economy just in sick days due to sitting-related back, neck and muscle problems costs the country around $1.7 billion annually.

Because of the direct costs associated with sitting, more and more companies are offering employees the option of using a stand-up desk, a recently created invention that typically raises and lowers the workspace so office workers can alternate between sitting and standing while still working. According to leading manufacturer VARIDESK, Denmark just became the first country to make the workplace choice mandatory. It’s the adjustable feature that makes stand-up desks new – fans of the concept love to cite evidence that everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Hemingway and Victor Hugo to DaVinci used permanent stand up desks to do their best work.

I was offered the opportunity to test one of VARIDESK’s models in my home office, and have been using it for just over a month, and frankly, I love it. I’m certainly the target audience – I travel a lot, but when I am home, I am often at my desk for 12 plus hours a day, including lunch, which I eat while sitting – or now, while standing (experts will tell you eating at your desk is another bad health habit, so shame on me). Because I do exercise a lot and am very active, I don’t suffer from back pain or many of the other office bound complaints, so I can’t comment on how standing affects those, but as a longtime runner and cyclist I can definitely attest that I feel work going on in my leg muscles, which has to be better than the no work I feel while sitting, and I am eagerly looking forward to ski season because I believe the standing will make a marked improvement in my ski endurance, which also largely involved standing. My posture is definitely better while standing – and since standing. While I have only been at it for four weeks, my yoga teacher remarked twice in the past week – with marvel – that my long-term shoulder hunch, a classic typing condition, has disappeared and that my neck is straighter. This is after nearly ten years of yoga with her. The first day I used the VARIDESK I stood for about an hour before my calves complained and I sat back down. In less than two weeks I was spending more than half the day on my feet, and I now typically stand all morning and into the early afternoon. As I said, I’m standing right now, and I would heartily recommend the concept to anyone I know. Some desk jockeys have taken it a step further and added treadmills or stationary bikes to the stand-up lifestyle but for most, just standing intermittently will be a huge improvement over sitting all the time.

But not all standing desks are equal. My wife’s employer, a major, venerable and very well endowed higher education institution, offered her a standing desk but used a variant on what’s become known as the “Ikea standing desk hack.” Numerous plans are offered online to cobble together your own standing desk with off the shelf parts from Ikea (or other housewares stores) for between $22-$80 depending on the author. The problem with most of these, including my wife’s, is that like throwbacks to DaVinci, they don’t go down. Once you are up, you are up forever, and most people do need to sit for some portion of their hour work day. My wife’s solution, hardly ideal, is to use her desktop PC while standing and switch to her laptop when sitting.

Vardiesk stand-up desk

It’s much, much better if the desk goes up and down. The biggest barriers to stand-up entry are cost and commitment. Most quality standing desks run into the four figures, and models adding a treadmill can top $4,000. The top pick of my favorite critical gear testing site, TheWireCutter.com, the NextDesk Terra, “starts at $1,500.” Many of these pricier models use electronics to raise and lower the desk which, while convenient (unless they break), seems like overkill given that mechanical systems with hydraulics or hinges work just as quickly and easily and seem bulletproof in their design. After all, many office chairs are adjustable but how many are electronically adjustable?

In addition, all standalone stand-up desks are replacements that require you to chuck your existing desk, which is a one-time hassle and a long term annoyance if you happen to really like your desk.

What I love about the VARIDESK solution is that it offers the full up and down flexibility you need in a standing desk with a low price point and easy adoption. Instead of an actual desk, it is sort of pedestal base that goes right on top of your existing desk, under your computer, adding about three inches of height when down. It raises and lowers very quickly and easily with heavy duty steel accordion hinges, offering a lot of variable height options. The model I’m using is the VARIDESK Pro Plus, which has a separate and more ergonomic keyboard shelf in front at a different height, and can accommodate two monitors simultaneously, perfect for stock traders, or a regular monitor and a laptop. It is very rugged and well-designed, took me less than 10 minutes to fully install by myself, and runs just $350 – making it the most expensive of the company’s four models.

There are a couple of minor caveats. Whatever standing desk solution you choose, I would definitely also add an anti-fatigue floor mat. VARIDESK’s is $50 and kitchen supply stores also sell them for stove bound professional chefs. The model I am using works better if you have all your cords long enough and organized enough so that the monitor can easily move around independently of the actual computer (not an issue with a laptop). You have to be careful about cords, especially the mouse, because the moving parts, the hinges, are heavy duty and will trash anything that gets caught in them (they are well concealed from fingers). But I’ve yet to actually harm any cords, and overall, the unit works just great and in terms of value it is almost impossible to beat. But however you go stand up, I emphatically suggest going stand-up.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Lifestyle, Technology

 

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20 Social Media Tips To Rule In 2014

Are you looking for ways to optimize your social media strategy in 2014 and beyond. Then, here we go.

In this article, we are going to discuss 20 ways to optimize your social media strategy.

1. Choose the right platform

  • As the technology grows, the social media platforms are also growing. There are hundreds of social media platforms. There are many options beyond Facebook, Google, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
  • Take some time to see which platforms are best for your business and start exploring/engaging.
  • It doesn’t require any full-time employee to manage. You can spend few minutes and brand.

2. Use analytics

  • Similar to the hundreds of social media platforms, there are also hundreds of tools to analyze your social media campaign success and failures.
  • Most important thing is, they are free. Make use of them. Also, few provides a third-party analysis.
  • Don’t just collect reports; try to read them, translate them, analyze them and turn them into action.

3. Post timely

  • Do a research and know the best time to post about your industry and its demographics.
  • For many businesses, this is Monday through Friday at around 10am and 4pm. However, this will vary depending on who you’re targeting.

4. Build a relationship

  • Social media is a tool for engagement and a platform to reach your target audience, virtually. It’s a two-way street. So, don’t just preach at your audience, but try to engage them.
  • Make it interactive, get them involved and always promptly reply to outreach.

5. Use images

  • Graphics plays a major role and stays long in mind. People are becoming more attracted to images such as infographics or easily digestible videos.
  • Make use of colors, but don’t overdo it.
  • If you make a video, don’t forget to make it professional and high quality.

6. Make social media special

  • Offer truly desirable things like discounts and giveaways solely to people who follow you on social media. They should be getting something out of being your fan or liking your page.

7. Only bite off as much as you can chew

  • Quality plays the role and not quantity. There’s no point in joining every site that pops up; just pick the apt one.
  • Choose your best social media matches and give them the attention they deserve.

8. Don’t treat it like a personal site 

  • Just because you have 1,000 Facebook friends on your personal site and they always like your inspirational posts doesn’t mean you’ll succeed as a business poster. These are two entirely different arenas, so respect the difference.

9. Hire a social media manager 

  • In an ideal world, you’ll make room in the budget to hire an experienced social media manager full-time.
  • They can work magic and in a fraction of the time anyone else can. It’s a real job (and deserves a real salary).

10. Know when to call it quits

  • If you’re just not performing well on a particular site no matter who’s to blame, know when to end it.
  • Just like any other bad relationship, nobody is benefiting from dragging it out. Fix it or quit it, but make a choice.

11. Build business alliances

  • Figure out other businesses that complement yours but aren’t direct competitors and show them some love on social media. You’re all in this together, and you never know when you could use an ally.

12. Don’t entertain the trolls

  • Once your social media following gets big enough, you’ll have a few trolls and baiters. Handle them professionally, and know when to publicly respond, when to let it go, and when to delete their comments. Each action has a time and place.

13. Don’t sync your phone 

  • If you’re still the one overseeing social media for the business, it can easily turn into a 24/7 project. Don’t let it. Don’t sync your business social media sites to your phone, unless it’s a business-only phone that’s turned off at a certain hour. Taking work home with you is never healthy.

14. Don’t use it as a sales platform

  • It’s pretty obvious why a business is on social media: To improve sales, whether directly or through building customer relationships (which will hopefully lead to more sales).
  • However, this isn’t a direct sales platform so don’t treat it that way. Instead, foster relationships and provide information or entertainment for free.

15. Flesh out your profile

  • Fill out every possible corner of your profile, whether it’s the brief requirements of Google+ or the massive ones of MySpace. This is where your business’ personality is developed and it’s important for brand reputation and management.

16. Build social media into your business plan

  • Whether you’re a startup or a solid corporation, you should still have a business plan in place for growth. Implement social media into it and set goals for different time periods. This is how you’ll see if social media is worth it for you.

17. Make fans want to see your posts

  • This seemingly simple advice is the toughest. What would you want to see as a fan or friend? Find “sticky” posts that have viral potential and people want to share.

18. Make it easy to share

  • Along with number 17, make it as easy to share your posts as possible.
  • Link them to a landing page on your website, another social media site (Facebook and YouTube play together nicely) or your blog.
  • If it’s easy for someone to just click and share, they’re more likely to do so.

19. Strike a personal/professional balance

  • You don’t want to get too personal, but you don’t want to seem stiffly professional either.
  • This is a precarious balance to strike, but when done well, makes fans think they “know you” in the right way.
  • Don’t let emotions get the best of you and save that for your personal site.

20. Grammar matters 

  • Check, double check, and have someone else check each and every things you put on social media.
  • An embarrassing typo can cause a world of hurt and is easily avoidable.

 
 

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Best To-Do List Apps For 2014

You can no longer miss any important events/tasks. You can no longer escape unfinished business. In this digital world, the todo list apps helps you to “Stay Organised”. Many task-tracking apps sync with work email and calendars, and let you collaborate with colleagues and friends. Best of all, each tool runs on more than one platform.

Best To-Do List Apps For 2014

1. Todoist

Description: Todoist is the best online task management app and to-do list.

Features: Customization, organise your tasks and projects, and optimize your productivity

Works on: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Chrome, Outlook and many devices (13 different platforms)

Price: Free or $29/year

Website: https://todoist.com

2. Any.Do

Description: Any.do makes simple & fun to get things done. Remember everything you have to do.

Features: Seamless cloud sync, Beautiful, functional, type less,

Works on: Web, iPhone, Android, Chrome.

Price: Free

Website: http://www.any.do

3. Wunderlist

Description: Wunderlist is the easiest way to manage and share your daily to-do lists.

Features: Simple interface to track everything, Cloud sync, notifications, reminders and much more.

Works on: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Kindle.

Price: Free or $4.99

Website: https://www.wunderlist.com

4. Carrot

Description: Carrot helps those who have trouble sticking to deadlines to get things done.

Features: Fun, engaging to-do list app.

Works on: iPhone, iPad

Price: $1.99

Website: http://meetcarrot.com

5. Calvetica

Description: Calvetica is the fastest calendar app for iPhone and iPad.

Features: Fast, Minimalist interface, syncs flawlessly with the built-in calendar, custom – ultrasonic alerts, Snooze button on alert dialogs.

Works on: iPhone and iPad

Price: $2.99

Website: http://mysterioustrousers.com/calvetica

6. Pocket Lists

Description: Pocket Lists is the ultimate to-do list app.

Features: Share to-do lists with friends, variety of colours and beautiful icons for customizing the agenda, cloud sync.

Works on: iPhone and iPad

Price: $4.99

Website: http://www.pocketlistsapp.com

7. ToDo 7

Description: Todo 7 is the performances to keep you on task and on deadline, real strength in maximising focus and helps to stay organized.

Features: Uses the popular Getting Things Done (GTD) approach with Focus To-do Lists, Multi-level Priorities, Quick Entry, Instant Task Rearrangement, Projects with Layered and Prioritized Sub-Tasks.

Works on: iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Price: $4.99 or $14.99

Website: http://www.appigo.com/todo-task-and-to-do-list.html

8. 2Do

Description: 2Do is helps to have all your to-do’s of all your projects in one place.

Features: Add tags to sort your tasks better. Reliable, versatile, fast sync, multi-platform synchronization.

Works on: iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac.

Price: $9.99 or $39.99

Website: http://www.2doapp.com

9. Remember The Milk

Description: Remember The Milk (RTM) is an application service provider for Web-based task- and time-management.

Features: Create multiple task lists, organise tasks by tags, integration with Microsoft Outlook, Gmail and other services.

Works on: Web, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android and BlackBerry.

Price: Free or $29/year

Website: https://www.rememberthemilk.com

10. Task

Description: Task is the easiest & simplest way to plan your days.

Features: Easy, simple, tasks appear on one screen, and you can add reminders and dates/times to those tasks.

Works on: iPhone and iPad

Price: $0.99

Website: http://www.1button.co/task

Final Conclusion:

Opt for best todo apps, based on your preferences and needs.

Alternatively, “Hire a Virtual Assistant” to stay organised.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Technology

 

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