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How to Boost Your Everyday E-mail Experience

According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, workers spend approximately 28% of their workweeks (13 hours a week) managing e-mails. This is why the institute has deemed e-mail as the second most time consuming work-related activity. As an honest, productive employee, this number of hours can be shocking to you, especially since it reduces your overall efficiency. Luckily for you, you don’t have to feel guilty for long because technology is on your side.

There are numerous apps available to help you increase your e-mail efficiency and decrease the time you spend skimming through spam, phishing e-mails, and the actual mail you should read. To give you a nudge in the right direction, consider one of the following services.

Unroll.me

Unroll.me is a service that creates a daily summary of every subscription e-mail you signed up for. As a result, you end up with fewer social notifications, updates and other unimportant e-mails which take up a chunk of your time. Other features which make Unroll.me a service worth considering are:

  • Preview FeatureYou can preview your subscriptions before opening them, which further helps you save time.

  • Categories Unroll.me is a smart service that groups subscriptions into categories which you can easily browse through. It will also create a social category for all notifications from Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.

  • Folder Feature If you’re a person who enjoys order and clarity, you can easily have your subscriptions delivered to your own Unroll.me folder.

  • Unsubscribe Option By clicking Unsubscribe, you can easily stop getting e-mail digests of your subscriptions.

Unroll.me is available for Yahoo Mail and Gmail only, but it is definitely worth subscribing to.

FanMix

FanMix is a free app that boosts your e-mail productivity by collecting all your social network notifications from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Disqus in one place. Through this service, you will be able to carry out the following:

 

    • Keep Tabs on Mentions and RepliesYou will easily be able to view your mentions or your friends’ replies to your conversations.

    • Track Conversations FanMix will have records of each conversation you have with your social contacts. So, you won’t have to spend much time skimming through your whole mail.

    • Discover More About Your ContactsThe app can help you find out who you connect to the most and who has a large following, group of friends, or audience.

  • Prioritize Your Social E-mailsIf you receive too much mail from your social networking profiles, FanMix will help you view the conversations you deem important once you flag them.

With FanMix, you will be able to separate your social networking e-mails from your work-related messages. Therefore, you can always check the former whenever you’re free and off-duty.

SaneBox

SaneBox is a more professional service that filters out unimportant messages rather than spam. Basically, the app analyzes which contacts are most important to you through checking your e-mail history; therefore, you’ll view their e-mail first while non-urgent e-mails will go to the bottom of the list. Aside from its innovative algorithm, SaneBox is definitely worth a try because:

  • It can run on multiple platforms, including AOL, Apple mail, Android, and Microsoft Exchange, without being downloaded or installed.

  • You can easily unsubscribe from mailing lists with the SaneBlackHole feature.

  • You will receive notifications of sent e-mails which haven’t been replied to. This way you can follow up on their recipients and finish your work on time.

  • You can delay checking certain e-mails by placing them in SaneTomorrow, SaneNextWeek or Custom Defer folder to view them later.

SaneBox comes highly recommended by big names in the IT world, such as Robert Scoble and Brian Norgard. So, give in to the free trial, and if you like it, you can use it for as low as $2.04 a month.

The Email Game

Whereas the rest of the apps on this list are more professional in their approach, the Email Game makes going through e-mail effectively a fun process. The game is divided into two procedures:

  1. Deciding What to Do with Each E-mailThe Email Game features a timer which you shouldn’t allow to get to zero or else you will lose points. With the time you have, you should decide whether to Reply, Reply All, Forward or Label for important messages or Boomerang (archive for this session and show in inbox later), Skip, Archive or Delete for non-urgent e-mails. Once you decide the fate of the e-mails you have, you can carry out the actions you planned.

  2. Respond to E-mailsWhen you choose to respond to an e-mail, the timer will give you three minutes to respond. This will help you save time and cut down any slack.

The Email Game is compatible with Gmail and Google Apps, but fingers are crossed for it to work with other platforms as well.

These were just some of the e-mail productivity-boosting apps out there. You can check the web or keep posted for more similar services in the future. However, give these a whirl right away to stop wasting your time unnecessarily.

Author bio: Dmitri Blackthorn is a part-time technology blogger trying to inform her readers about online security threats and how to avoid online scams. Dmitri is a part of DDoS protection service Stop-DDoS.net.

How important is Responsive Design for SEO?

User responsive design is one of the hottest topics nowadays and definitely a big deal for your rankings in Google. Google likes and favors responsive designed websites. Many web professionals feel and believe that responsive design is definitely changing the way internet looks, feels, as well as works. Responsive design has a number of advantages over traditional design websites. First, responsive design is much easier to maintain. Second, responsive design doesn’t have the same canonical URL issues and at the same time you don’t have to worry about ranking issues. Third, you do not need to bother with site redirection. So, having all of these special features gives responsive design its advantaged position in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Let us have a look at these reasons why responsive design is so well accepted in SEO sphere:

1. Search engines favor user responsive designs: Seach engines, like Google, always favor sites that opt for user responsive designs and practices because the user experience is always first and foremost in importance. The main reasons behind this special affair are that responsive designed sites have no canonical URL issues, no duplicate URL problems, and no redirect problems all of which are very important considerations in SEO. So, responsive design is definitely helpful for SEO and is cherished by Google because it benefits the end user.

2. Great Experience for Mobile Users: Responsive websites definitely deliver the best site quality experience for mobile users because the content is specifically formatted for delivery to that device.  Responsive design sites are also easier to maintain. So having a site that gets adapted to a device can automatically save time and present the same content everywhere. Therefore, it is definitely important and vital for SEO. Nowadays, more and more users are accessing mobile devices. With the introduction of mobile devices, people have become more accustomed to access the sites information while they are on the go. So, the better the end user experience is, the greater your SEO results will be. 

3. Responsive sites get better Indexing:  Today it is absolutely true that responsive websites are receiving better search engine indexing and are also ranking higher in search results. Much of the credit for this trend goes to Google algorithmic updates which have been giving favor to responsive design criteria.Responsive Design2

4. No such issues of Content Duplication: Responsive Design is all about optimizing website content by trimming excess data that is not needed by the end user.  The delicate balance for designers, however, to insure that only the fat is trimmed without cutting away any required content. So, in order to retain a site’s SEO value, the content must be relevant and all relevant content should be pushed towards the top of the page so that it can be quickly noticed by your readers. To retain maximum SEO value, the content should be pushed above the fold for both mobile and desktop versions. In fact, search engines carefully evaluate where content is placed.  Hence, position is part of a pages SEO score. 

In summary, the SEO value of a responsive design is reliant upon the user’s experience. So, many SEO companies are opting for this design strategy and now include mobile URL's to help improve the user experience. After all, having a simple yet useful approach is all part of the responsive design paradym.

About Author: Aditi Datta is a Professional SEO strategist who works in a leading SEO Company in India. She also helped her site to grab the top-most position for some of the competitive keywords in the search engines through her research in the field of SEO.

How Google Chromecast Impacts the TV Industry

Want to show the video of your family's latest trip to the zoo on your HDTV instead of having people huddle around your tiny smartphone? Now you can stream the video right from your computer.

Google has introduced its new Chromecast, a $35 accessory that plugs into a television set. It lets users stream video, play music and share tabs from the Google Chrome browser from devices like Lenovo laptops, including the Ultrabook and IdeaPad Z400 Touch, as well as Android tablets and iPhones.

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Advantages

The major selling point is that Chromecast lets users share or stream while the device can perform other tasks. The small Chromecast device plugs into a TV's HDMI port and enables a viewer to multitask on the laptop, tablet or smartphone without interrupting what's showing on the television set. Chromecast is a 2.83-inch dongle device. It can play audio/video content on a high-definition television by streaming it via Wi-Fi from the Internet or local network. Similar products include Sony's Smart Stick and Apple's AirPlay.

Chromecast comes with built-in support for Google devices, as well as its Chrome browser and Apple's iPhone, allowing almost all TVs to acquire a Google upgrade. It's easy for developers to add Chromecast to their apps. That's a win for Chromecast, which could receive more content and make apps on Google Play more unique.

The device does not offer the same things as a receiving device, such as Roku or Apple TV, but you can stream local videos to the Chromecast if the Chrome browser on your computer supports the file type. You can also display your entire desktop screen and your files on the television screen.

Chromecast is a simplified form of Google's previous foray into the living room, Google TV. For example, pay TV offerings won't be integrated into Chromecast, and there are no complicated remote controls to confuse the user. Instead, searching for and finding videos takes place on the laptop or mobile device. Chromecast simply streams media from the cloud. The user can turn on the TV by starting video playback on a tablet, for instance. The simplicity of the device makes it easy to use and reliable. The easy set up and small mobility is also a plus for most dongle devices.

Google's Chromecast syncs media playback across multiple devices. The user can launch playback of a Netflix movie using a smartphone. The phone then can be turned off, and the app can be launched on an iPad to pause the film.

Chromecast can be compared with Apple TV and its AirPlay, the model for Chromecast. A total of 12 million Apple TVs have been sold, which accounts for 56 percent of the worldwide market share. While you can find receivers to adapt an AirPlay device to other platforms, AirPlay is designed to primarily work with Apple products which, although are popular, are not owned by everybody. AirPlay also doesn't come with some advanced multi-screen Chromecast features, such as the multiple-playback feature across several devices.

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Needs Improvement

Chromecast does have a few hurdles. For instance, programmers might be unwilling to give up on bundles. Cable companies, too, might block new competition from entering the market. These hurdles could mean the consumer might have to wait awhile before Chromecast is offered.

Google's main focus for the Chromecast device is an aggressively competitive price and simplicity. However, this limits a lot of the dongle's ability and opportunities to offer more services and features. Sony's Bravia Smart Stick has not yet been released, but CIO-Today.com reports it may be partnering with Viacom, a company behind many popular cable channels including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and BET. This would give the Sony device a score against the competition because of the partnership with major television stations. Time will tell if it can hold up against Chromecast's price and user-friendly design.

Is the TV industry willing to accept Chromecast? Direct relations with consumers could be the key. However, Google isn't motivated by money. James McQuivey, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, Inc., told The Washington Post that Google cares more about software and gathering information on consumer habits.

But, for the consumer, multitasking on a laptop while watching what's streaming on the TV probably will be the most important feature.

Choosing The Best External Hard Drive For Your Needs

Although your average computer or laptop comes with at least 250 gigabytes (GB) of storage space, you might soon find that it proves to be less than you imagined. With the download and sharing of movies and series, you might require space in the ranges of terabytes (TB), rather than gigabytes. If you find yourself continually having to delete old files to make space for new ones, perhaps the time has come to invest in an external hard drive (HDD). With a whole spectrum of options on the market, from feather light USB flash drives that double as key chains to the bulkier desktop models, it can get confusing when deciding on an external HDD for yourself. The most important key to making the decision is to keep in mind what exactly you are planning to use the external HDD for.

Storage capacity

The main deciding factor will be your reason for acquiring an external HDD. If you want to easily transfer small files or documents between your home computer and work, then a USB flash drive will be more than sufficient. But, if you are looking for a device on which to store your family photos or home movies, then you will need a bigger external HDD. Keep in mind that documents and music take up less space than photographs and videos. A 3TB external hard drive can store approximately 960,000 photographs, 50,000 hours of music or 3,000 hours of video. You usually get better value for money the bigger your drive is – they become cheaper per megabyte as they get bigger. Also keep in mind that, even if you don’t have 3,000 hours of movies yet, you never know what will happen in the future. If in doubt – get the external HDD that can store more.

Type of computer

In the old Mac vs. PC debate, the external HDD also factors in. The Mac OS X platform uses a HFS+ file system, where a Windows operating systems works with NTFS file systems. Many externals are Mac- or PC-specific, and if you should buy a PC-specific drive for use on your Mac, you will need to reformat the drive before you can use it. The Mac OS X operating system can read files on the NTFS systems but cannot write them, however software is available for Macs that allow you to use a PC-specific drive on either system. You can download NTFS-3G for free to do this.

Interface

The type of connection that your external HDD has to the computer will also determine the speed at which transfers can take place. At the moment, USB 2.0 is the most widely used interface but it is quickly being taken over by the much faster USB 3.0 ports. Where a USB 2.0 port has transfer rates at a top speed of 480 MB per second, the USB 3.0 connection allows a ten times faster maximum transfer rate at a whopping 5 GB per second. An even more tempting option is the Thunderbolt ports – a common point of connection for the latest Macs, but becoming more common on laptops and desktop computers as well. In a review done by pcworld.com they say that Thunderbolt ports can do transfers op up to 10 Gbps – “speedy enough to transfer a full-length high-definition movie in less than 30 seconds”. The price for this speedy efficiency is still high though, as a 500GB Thunderbolt interface HDD costs roughly the same as a 2TB USB 3.0 interface disk.

Portability

The way that the external HDD connects to the computer is also determined largely by what kind of external you buy. For the heavier desktop versions, it is likely that a secondary power source will be needed, either through a second USB port or a connection to a power outlet. If you are buying a desktop version, make sure it has a built-in fan, as that will extend the life. Desktop versions are less likely to become damaged (as they are hardly ever moved around) and price wise they have a higher capacity for the same amount, but you lose functionality if you need something on-the-go. To protect your data with a portable external HDD, you can look into encryption software, which will prevent your data from being stolen (or in case the disk gets lost) and make sure you have a solid case which can absorb shock and prevent damage if the disk should fall in transit.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices and you need to make a final decision, always keep in mind that technology is evolving at breakneck speeds. Rather get something with a newer interface, faster speeds or more capacity than the one that might be outdated in a year or two. You won’t regret it.

About the Author

 is a digital horder with more (legally obtained) movies, music, and TV shows than she can reasonably expect to watch in her lifestime, and still the collecting goes on. Her world might not fall apart if something should happen to one of her external drives, but it's still a comfort to know that there are specialist companies, like Datadetect.com.au, which can restore lost data and keep her addiction to Mad Men fed.

Sony Xperia S with Excellent design Architecture

Sony Xperia S Smartphone Image

The Sony Xperia S has been one of the early Smartphones in the Xperia series from Sony. It has been quite successful in the markets worldwide and has been upgraded from time to time as per the market requirement. The phone looks great and feature a nice camera that clicks really good pictures.

Design

Though the design of the phone is decent but the features it supports are distinctive and unique. There many slim phones in the market but Xperia S definitely stands out from the crowd. We can judge the beauty of the phone from its modern design; the transparent bar below the buttons and the flat sides are impressive.

The phone has a matte finish on the back and sides and the front has glass cover which gives it a classy look. The front and the back part of the device is clear apart from other parts like ear piece, speakers, secondary and primary camera and Sony Logo on the back. The two stage shutter button, volume rocker, HDMI port is provided on the right side and on the left side charging port is positioned.

But while talking about looks, it is not perfect compared to other Smartphones. The rectangular edges of the phone make it difficult to handle. One more big disappointment with Xperia S is its battery which is non-removable. Only the back cover can be replaced. The dimensions of the Xperia S Smartphone are 128 x 64 x 10.6 mm and it weighs 144 g which is a bit heavier.

Display

The display of the phone is 4.3 inches with 1280 x 720 p which enables you to enjoy the pictures and videos with great quality. Users can get the amazing experience of watching movies, playing games and pictures on the phone as compared to the iPhone 4. The colours displayed on the screen are perfect and brightness are very well managed. The Xperia S sports a TFT scratch resistant screen which enhances the user experience and makes everything look fresh and sharp. This is absolutely a plus point for Sony.

Camera

The Xperia has a clean and clear camera of 12.1 MP with 16 times zoom and LED flash, and helps to click image with great efficiency. The videos can also be recorded with 1080 p. As expected, the cameras of the Sony products provide crystal clear quality and help to get the detailed shots. The performance of the camera is appreciable, be it outside or inside, even in the low lights. The Xperia S does not disappoint at all.

It is good to see the smile detection feature in the phone, but Sony disappointed users by not providing tap to focus feature. The autofocus feature given is pretty smart and performs well, but is short sighted.

The several scenes, effects and modes offered on the phone can make the pictures look more beautiful. It has got decent 1.3 MP of front camera with which you can shoot 720 p videos. So video chatting is fun on your Xperia phone.

Operating System and Processor

The upgraded Xperia S is now available with 4.1 Jelly Bean Android OS. The phone was launched with Gingerbread OS which was quite old even at the time of its release, thus the company soon launched the upgraded Xperia S with contemporary OS. Looking at the performance of the OS, it functions very smoothly and users hardly face issues of lags.

The important part of the Xperia S is its processor, a dual core Snapdragon 1.5 GHz with 1 GB of RAM enables the smooth operation of the phone and allows the users to perform different tasks with ease. You can play games with no interference of crashing down of the system. As stated, the clarity and the graphics let you enjoy the gaming experience.

Forget about the competitor Smartphones, if you like Sony then you should know that Xperia S gives superb performance with no space for lags while playing HD videos and games and this proves the device best from the others.

Battery

Sony has surprised the users after showing the battery life of this Smartphone. The phone comes with 1750 mAh battery and offers decent performance when charged fully. The battery lasts for a day depending on the usage. If you don’t access the internet much and daily usage is less, you might squeeze out even more battery. In all the battery back offered by the phone is good.

Other Features

The controls offered by the phone are user friendly and users can go for manual settings in case of white balance, focus mode or ISO. A dedicated camera key given in the phone enables you to open the camera directly. The camera button is two staged, it sets to auto focus when half pressed and pressing it fully takes the image. If you are in a hurry, this button helps you to capture images with ease and the two stages of the camera are distinctive and can be felt while handling.

The phone comes with built in apps like World Clock, Wise pilot, Office Suit, Timer, Neo reader, Track ID and Play now. In terms of connectivity, the Xperia S is a package. It supports all the big connectivity features like Wi-Fi, GPS, HSDPA and Bluetooth. NFC is the biggest feature that is supported by the device and can really be useful.

Verdict

Although, the plastic built of the phone is something not very attractive and there is no choice of expanding the storage with a microSD card, the phone is pretty decent in all other aspects. The capacitive buttons on the phone are not as sensitive as you would expect but these small issues can be easily overlooked with the other stronger features of the phone. These include the amazing Exmor R camera which clicks perfect pictures at night, the clear and sharp display, stylish and elegant look, easy to click camera button and an HDMI port.

So, can Sony Xperia S be your next Smartphone? Well, Xperia S has a lot to offer; It packs in quite a punch, has a great display, excellent battery life and a beautiful design.

OS X Keyboard Shortcuts

Startup  
Key Effect
C Start from CD
D Start from 1st Partition
N Start from Net Server
R Resets laptop screen
S Single-user boot
V Verbose Mode
OptPR Zap PRAM
V Unix console msgs
   
Power Keys Effect
Ctrleject icon Shutdown, sleep, restart
Opteject icon Sleep
CtrlOpteject icon Shutdown
Ctrlpower Restart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FTC 16 CFR Part 255 Disclosure

Since 2006, iTechGuide.com has provided independent reviews. Our reviews, ratings and awards are not based on any incentives or commissions. Notwithstanding, to keep our service online we accept compensation from some of the companies whose products we review within and outside of the IT industry, including, but not limited to, paid advertising placements, referral fees, and in-content advertising links.

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