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Introduction: searching for the perfect digital calendar solution

I always aspire to lead an organized life. Whether I actually am or not at any given point in time is really another story. (I am lucky enough to have a photographic memory and be able to put my hands on things that I need in my office or my apartment pretty easily!) I can be pretty anal retentive about digital things like the way my Google Reader feeds are organized in their folders, the things on my Firefox toolbar, or my del.icio.us bookmarks even when my car is a mess and the clothes in my closet are more on the floor or in a never-ending laundry basket than they are on hangers.

However, in my work life, I can’t help but be as organized as I can. I rely heavily on email, because often times it drives my daily tasks as well as provides a clear documented line of communication between me and my clients. I think it’s that way at almost every company in the modern age–live and die by email. I also use the Outlook Calendar a lot for scheduling client meetings, internal kickoffs, and more.

We have a documented project process that we follow for every client project, and I have the elements in place on my computer at work to get those things set up and completed. However, I am forever writing new to-do lists in the margins of my Levenger Circa notebook (my best analog tool at the office!) and I really hate trying to keep a paper datebook because my timelines for projects tend to be very fluid when there are delays, hiccups, or changes in scope. I also hate having to change all my Outlook calendar entries when a project’s timeline changes, because somehow it never seems to sync up right to my PDA phone or iCal on my Mac at home.

I know I’m not the only one who has sat down with their various daily driver gadgets and thought, “Surely there has to be a way to make it all talk to each other!” There doesn’t seem to be one outstanding solution that will handle all needs for all platforms–yet. I think it’s coming, I HOPE it’s coming soon, but I can’t wait for it to arrive. I need a solution NOW.

I use the following devices every day:

Windows Mobile Pocket PC phone running WM 5.0

PC at work running Windows XP

Power PC Mac at home running Leopard

eeePC running Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04

I think I am slowly but surely figuring out the way that I can get everything to connect and sync together without trying to sync the PDA phone with any computer (a nightmare on Mac and Linux, annoying even on Windows) and across the multiple software platforms.

I have the first three “phases” of my calendaring setup completed and working, which I’ll document in more depth tomorrow. So far, I have the eeePC, the work PC, and the Windows Mobile phone all communicating to the same central hub that I have set up in Google Calendars.

Up next, part one–tweaking out Thunderbird on the eeePC to be a robust calendar and task solution!

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Hidden Camera Detector

There had been many incidents when hidden cameras were used to spy on people or the hidden cameras were used in the trial room of the showrooms. Even the politicians like Smriti Irani were a victim of this and each and every person is scared of such hidden cameras. Until now, there was no efficient tool to detect the hidden camera but now, there is an application on Android to detect such hidden cameras. The name of the application is Hidden Camera Detector and the application is totally free. Let us now look at the features of this amazing hidden camera detector. Features of Hidden Camera Detector • The application uses the magnetic sensor of the phone and it detects the hidden camera by checking the magnetic field in the surrounding area. There is a specific type of magnetic activity which occurs around a hidden camera and this application basically detects that.

• The application can also use the infrared sensor in your phone to detect the camera. All you need to do is that you need to scan the area with the camera of the phone and you will be able to sense the presence of camera if there is any.

• It is also possible to calibrate the sensitivity of the application and you can keep the sensitivity between the 60 to 80 percent to get the right reading on your phone.

• In addition to the features mentioned above, the application also comes with tips and tricks section so as to provide you with tips to find the hidden camera in the closed space. These tips can also help you in finding the camera behind the mirror.

The application may also detect the surrounding metallic object and it certainly requires certain human intervention for a deeper analysis. The algorithm of the application works perfect but there are certain cases when the application may give false alarm because of the magnetic wave in the surrounding area. In such a case, the user would need to check for the presence of any lens Talking about the feedback, the application has received more than 4315 reviews and it has over 2300 5 star reviews. The overall rating of this application is 4 stars and the developer’ of the application keeps on updating the application and they also fix all the known bugs. The application has been download by 10 lakh to 50 lakh users and the only requirement of the application is a phone with Android 3.2 and a magnetic sensor. All the phones have a camera and hence the infrared sensor can work without a problem. This is not a very heavy application and hence it would not slow down your Android environment. So you can download the application right now and save yourself from any sort of harassment that you may face because of any hidden camera. In case if you found any hidden camera, do make it a point to report it to the police as it is not legal to install hidden cameras.

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Help Apple by Reporting the Problems with Maps

With the much publicised problems with Apple Maps still floating around the news it’s often fun to joke about it and even complain on social media when things go wrong. The thing that many don’t realise though is there are ways that people can actually help Apple with the problems by highlighting where the problems are, and where the application has gone wrong.

They may or may not take notice of these reports, the fact is they may be getting too many from annoyed customers, but some may just help them. This is why it’s useful to know just how to report to them where a problem is, or a location that has been missed (even your business that you want to be noticed on the map). The fact is the functionality is there to report errors or areas of note so why not use it?

Reporting the Problem with iOS 6 Maps

The chances are that if you found the problem in Maps that you want to report then you already have it open, but if not launch Maps from the Home screen. Tap the “Page curl” on the bottom right of the screen and then tap the text to “Report a Problem”. Fill in the details about what the problem is by choosing what type of problem you want to report, clicking next then selecting what is giving you the problem. Add any comments you think are needed then tap send. This will then be sent to Apple so that the problem can be fixed in the data base.

To add a location to the map itself launch the map again, and press the page curl. Report a problem as before and then select that a location is missing and tap location. Click next then drag the purple pin to the location that you want to identify then tap send. Add comments to describe the location if you are asked. Apple will then receive this suggestion and if it meets criteria they will add it to their mapping. Apple’s Map software connects to Yelp to get its business data so you may find that if you add your information there it may add that to the maps automatically, this is dependent on the Apple Map software working correctly of course.

If you question why it’s important to provide information about problems with the Maps software when Apple already knows there is a problem then you just have to think, if the maps are wrong how can Apple catch every error? The way it actually does this is through the help of its users. The only way any developer can provide bug fixes is through the help of the users themselves, and for Apple that is you (if you use Maps of course).

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Intel lowers the price of Solid-State Drive and introduces a new Intel X25-M 120GB model

SSD or Solid State Drives are very popular now-a-days and it’s sales has been gradually following the upward trend inspite of it being on the costlier side. SSD can make significant difference to your computing experience by making it faster than ever, with everything ranging from the booting time to opening files or running applications to become noticeably faster. With all these benefit that SSD has over any traditional hard disk drive, it is one of the must-have item for your PC or laptop. To add more convenience to all the esteemed consumers, Intel Corporation has announced a new model of its award winning Intel Solid-State Drive and has also lowered the price of all other range of SSDs that it offers as part of the holiday bonanza.

“Every Christmas, consumers are looking for the latest tech gadget; this year, with prices dropping, the solid-state drive is becoming more mainstream and can make the single greatest improvement to PC performance,” said Troy Winslow, director of product marketing for the Intel NAND Solutions Group. “With an SSD, tech shoppers can give the gift of a technology makeover that will help speed up, or breathe new life, into a current PC by just swapping out the hard drive for an SSD.”

The new model of the Intel SSD is that of a Intel® X25-M 120GB Solid-State Drive which is priced at $249. Some other variants of the Intel X25-M Mainstream SATA Solid-State Drive (SSD) are that of a 40GB, 80GB, and 160GB model which would cost nearly $99, $199 and $415 respectively.

The Solid State Drives are a revolutionary way for data storage and day-by-day many laptop and computer manufactures are adopting it in their new and upcoming models. With the drop in price that Intel Corporation has announced, all the enthusiastic buyers can make the best out of this holiday special and would also allow more people to adopt this technology for gaining a substantial performance boost in their laptops or desktop PC. The new model i.e. the Intel® X25-M 120GB Solid-State Drive model that was announced is also an added advantage thereby creating more mid-range choice for users to choose from.

Are you using Intel Solid State Drives in your laptop or desktop? Do share your views and comments with us.

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Handling the Relationship Between Websites Blogs and PR Companies

When you decide to create a blog, or even a website that handles news and reviews there is going to come a time when you are not only reporting what you read on other peoples websites but you want to get details from the source instead. Whether this is an entertainment site, technology site or a site based on any subject you will want to provide information quicker and without opinion of others.

This is when you move onto dealing with PR companies that handle the “press” interactions between companies and the news outlets looking for the latest released information. Whether you have the journalistic credentials or are doing the task as a hobby, the world of “media” is changing, the term “new media” is used a lot for this new way method of news making and it’s having quite an impact on how people find out about their favourite topics. I will add a disclaimer of sorts here just to say, these thoughts are my own and may differ from the thoughts of others.

How to Work with PR

Depending on the size of your website/blog you often find that you’ve already talked to people who are in the PR industry and been offered the latest news. PR companies actively look for outlets now that have a big enough audience and offer to add these people to their mailing lists. These lists are basically a way to send out mass press releases to all the media outlets that have requested news on set topics.

Added to these lists are often other lists that handle so called “review opportunities” which is very much the next stage in the relationship with a PR company, or can be a different company altogether. Companies have a set amount of products that they can allow reviewers to view, use, and test so that reviews can be created based on these findings. It’s up to the PR company representative to work with the blogger/journalist to get publicity and reviews for the product. Of course they would love to have all positive reviews, but even bad reviews is exposure. It’s a balancing act, and one that at times can be questioned (as is very evident in game journalism right now).

Some will read this and already know about how the PR company “thing” works, but there are others who want to create websites/blogs or are just starting and are lost on the matter, the best way to find out is to observe social media, learn how other sites do it and of course find the actual PR companies and see who their clients are. There are also other factors too but the most important thing is arguably good content and a high number of unique users, this is why using statistics for your site is very important. If you want to have credibility when trying to impress somebody into letting you review their products? You have to show that you have a big enough readership to actually have an impact and get the product noticed.

There is another side too, and this is more complicated and that is the balance of a review. As mentioned PR companies do want to get good reviews and will work to get them. The question of course is as a reviewer if you feel you are being pushed to write a review that disagrees with your own opinions then this is the time to re-think what you are writing. This of course touches on the subject of the “incentives” to write good reviews. To be respected you have to write your own opinion and make a good argument, you have to show the weakness of the product and praise the positives, it’s all about a balance and you just have to find yours.

The fact is when you decide that you want to write reviews and write news items on something that interests you, it’s a fun thing to do. If you have a dream of having a huge site that has thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of readers then you are going to have a huge task on your hands. This will take lots of writing, probably getting more writers to join in on the work on your site and a lot of communication with PR companies that will be ready to provide you with information. PR companies are invaluable sources for information and although there is a negative view sometimes on the level of influence they are believed to have, it is down to the journalist/blogger/writer to keep their objectivity and be true to themselves. PR companies provide you with the information you need to write the pieces for your website/blog not to shape your opinion. The key is to keep your own balanced view, be as professional as you can and do your best. The chances are you just may make that break through you were hoping for and more importantly stay true to yourself and your readers.

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Implications of Data Caps on Mobile Broadband Plans

AT&T has for a very long time allowed iPhone and other smartphone users to purchase an unlimited data plan, which means that there is a set cost no matter how much data one uses in a month. However, recently AT&T has decided to ditch this plan, in favor of a capped alternative. Users of the iPhone and other smartphones have a choice to opt for a 200mb data plan for $15 per month, or a 2gb data plan for $25 dollars per month. Using more data has overage charges. It is very likely that Verizon will follow suit and force consumers to limited plans. So what are the implications of this shift?

The most obvious implication is that this signals the end of the data buffet. People are soon going to have to monitor their data usage, which perhaps implies that the “always connected” culture that had been developing is going to vanish soon. Even push email takes a small amount of data, so people may choose to wait to read and respond to their emails, or do so over a wifi hotspot. The second, and perhaps large, implication is that this is highly likely to transition from mobile broadband to a wired and wifi policy soon. Already vendors are experimenting with limiting home internet access, and this is a major shift. People had been discussing ditching television plans in favor of watching TV shows online. With limited data that is impossible. This could also greatly decrease piracy: who is going to download a 20gb video game illegally when his or her data cap only allows 5gb a month?

The fact is that these data caps on mobile broadband plans have much farther-reaching implications than many initially thought.

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Handling Requests from Guest Content Writers

It’s quite interesting that last week I wrote an article about how guest blogging can help you build backlinks to your website and blog and get your name out there and noticed in the blogging world. It’s a growing side of SEO and one where SEO companies have started to “offer” guest posts based on the topic of your site.

This is of course in some cases a good thing, especially if they provide you with quality articles and interesting copy that will attract people. The problem you have to be aware about is the quality of what they supply you with and what these links are actually doing. So the question is, when do you accept a guest article and when do you decide that this is a bad idea?

Weeding Out the Unwanted “Guests”

Some people may ask at this point, if the content is good why even question it, just post? But the problem is yes, it may be good but what about that link that appears in a strangely placed location and that is obviously a keyword to gain the search robots interest? Oh, and why is there a “rel=dofollow” attribute on the link? This is part of where the problem lies.

I can take one example that I recently had from what would normally seem to be just an average blogger, who said they would LOVE to write for my site, can I take a look at their article and see if I want it? Of course I said yes, I’d love to see their work. This is the first naïve mistake you could say, but I decided to give it a chance. Once the article arrived it was soon found that although the content was good the link was to a fairly average shopping site with no real relevance to the article that had been written or to the site at all. I replied to the writer and said that I liked the article and would be happy to post it, but I would remove the link. The reply I got was to forget about it and to delete the article without using it. This was fairly rude and in my view underhand of the article writer, or as I should actually put it the SEO “content provider” who had hidden the real reason for the article.

The fact is though this is not the case of all SEO companies that want to provide you with content for your site with the caveat of having a backlink to one of their customer’s sites. If they are open about what they are doing, that they are providing this content with a link to another site then fine, you are aware of what you are accepting. This means that you are prepared for what the link will be and your choices. Why is this important? Because of Google of course, you have to protect your website/blog from weak links such as this, it’s not fair to risk your page rankings so that another site can prosper.

So in short, how do you protect your site? When you are contacted by people who want to post a guest article on your site don’t just walk into the situation blindly, if you are interested and they do sound like they understand what your site is then agree to see the article, if links are provided within the article be sure you are happy with the quality of the site you are being linked to and more importantly if you don’t feel happy with any part of the situation then trust your instincts. In the end this is your site be it for personal or business use and you have the right to use it as you see fit.

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Tech4

How To Optimize Your Laptop’s Battery Timing

1- Block Flash Ads and shut redundant Processes

One of the simplest ways that to extend runtime is to easily shut and clean up unwanted programs and background activities. this may cut back Winchester drive access, liberate RAM, and reduce CPU activity, all of which can directly profit battery life.

A good example is that the variety of active windows and icons on the Windows task bar. Programs that mechanically run on startup may be disabled if they’re ne’er actively utilized in order to scale back litter, whereas excess browser tabs and graphic-heavy websites may be closed if not required to save lots of RAM and CPU cycles.

Additionally, several Flash-based ads round the internet square measure infamous not only for their uselessness, however additionally for occupying additional CPU power and square measure therefore unnecessary battery drains. to save lots of battery power, users ought to install Flash-blocking programs or extensions for his or her browsers. the foremost well-liked free extension for this purpose is Adblock, that is presently accessible for Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. For net human, users will disable Flash beneath the Tools and Manage Add-Ons menu, wherever the Shockwave Flash Object may be found. whereas progressive, these steps will create a distinction in battery runtime throughout long sessions.

2- Disable Wireless/Bluetooth

Occasionally, wireless settings like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth square measure enabled by default. this can be generally unwanted particularly since some users can seldom use the Bluetooth practicality on the laptop computer. we advise disabling Bluetooth once not in use.

If the laptop computer isn’t planning to connect with a network for any reason (such as operating outdoors or on a train), then the wireless affiliation ought to be turned off. Otherwise, the laptop computer can unceasingly hunt for accessible native networks and drain valuable battery life within the method.

3-Reduce the Brightness of the show

Adjusting the show brightness is one in every of the fastest ways to protective battery life. Usually, the brightness settings square measure directly on the laptop computer keyboard and square measure usually related to the fn (function) key. A lower luminance can mean that longer may be squeezed out of the battery.

If short on battery life, we advise toning down the brightness to grade that may still give best operating conditions. Brightness levels that square measure too low or high, however, will cause tiredness and create reading text a duty. to forestall this, a better brightness setting is usually recommended for operating outdoors beneath sunny conditions whereas lower settings may be used for operating inside or in lecture rooms. In general, sensible fashionable displays will turn out a brightness of over 200cd/m2, however such levels aren’t necessary for everyday workplace use. manipulate with the brightness settings to optimize battery life and to envision that levels square measure most snug for the eyes.

On an identical note, most new laptops square measure equipped with diode backlighting rather than the normal fluorescent tubes. diode has the potential to supply a additional even light-weight throughout the screen whereas maintaining superior power potency compared to fluorescent lighting. Therefore, diode backlit screens square measure preferred if getting a brand new laptop computer with battery life in mind.

4- Use a Virtual Drive

Use of a optical disk drive may be quite onerous on battery life as a result of the mechanical spinning motor needed to scan discs. Consequently, avoid constant use of the optical disk drive once running on batteries. Instead, files on a disc ought to be derived and accessed through the Winchester drive or a USB flash drive if attainable.

More usually than not, however, several users may well be victimization the optical disk drive for enjoying clips or movies throughout long flights or automobile rides. If this can be true, it’s suggested to avoid taking part in the flick directly off of the optical disk and to instead use a virtual drive. A virtual drive acts as a normal optical disk drive, however can play disc pictures off of the Winchester drive or flash drive rather than physical DVDs. The disc image are going to be a precise copy of the optical disk and might be created with some facilitate from software package programs, however retail optical disk movies can not be derived for legal reasons.

Common virtual drive programs embrace Alcohol fifty two and Daemon Tools, each of that have free versions for private use. Virtual drives ought to deduct the effort of carrying around DVDs, all the whereas up battery life.

Among alternative advantages, solid-state drives like this OCZ model can give lower power consumption, however can come back at a moderate to high worth.

5- take into account a Solid-state Drive Upgrade

A solid-state drive (SSD) has several benefits over ancient Winchester drive discs (HDD), however in terms of battery life, the largest advantage is that the absence of moving elements. This, together with its totally different design, permits for usually additional economical power consumption.

Most SATA-enabled notebooks will have the initial HDD simply replaced with a SSD. the method isn’t any totally different from swapping onerous drives or upgrading to larger capacities.

The largest disadvantage once upgrading to a SSD is that the associated value. If you’ve ever questioned why some laptops square measure $700 et al square measure $2500, one possible reason is as a result of the latter is fitted with a high capability SSD. The NAND flash chips presently utilized in several SSDs will run the maximum amount as $1.00 to $2.00 per GB as of 2011, thus it will value over a couple of hundred bucks simply to match the capability of a HDD. whereas the upgrade is easy, the value needed is off-putting for several.

6- opt for Integrated over separate Graphics Solutions

For those within the marketplace for a brand new laptop computer and battery life improvement is of utmost concern, take into account probing for a notebook with Associate in Nursing integrated graphics controller rather than one with separate graphics. separate graphics may be additional powerful, however can even acutely cut back the battery lifetime of any notebook notwithstanding graphic intensive processes aren’t running. this can be mostly as a result of the raw speeds and die sizes of separate graphics chips, therefore these chips demand additional power from the battery simply to stay them running idle.

Additionally, most moveable users don’t essentially would like the superior capabilities of a separate graphics chip. If internet browsing, email, music, data processing, Farmville, and streaming video square measure on prime of the disturbance list, then the advanced, usually dearer dedicated graphics possibility is solely overkill for the user. A laptop computer with Intel GMA HD or AMD Radeon 4200 would serve.

That is to not say integrated graphics square measure inadequate, however. Newer integrated graphics particularly square measure way more powerful than the previous generations whereas remaining power economical. this permits for drum sander video Associate in Nursingd streaming performance and even support for full HD (1920×1080) resolution playback through an HDMI-out port. a first-rate example is that the Intel GMA HD 3000 or the new AMD Fusion APU. These new chips square measure powerful enough for light-weight vice and high-definition video playback on-the-go while not the requirement for battery-draining separate graphics solutions.

First shown at CES 2011, the AMD Fusion APU combines a general processor with functions of a contemporary thought GPU into one chip for greatly reduced power usage.

7- take into account Switchable Graphics

Some users may have additional graphical power than that provided by integrated graphics chips, however. Heavier graphics work like moderate video redaction or Adobe Photoshop usage can profit greatly from a laptop computer with higher graphics capabilities. For these users, laptops with switchable graphics preferences will give the additional video-processing power required whereas still saving on battery life.

A laptop computer with switchable graphics can contain each Associate in Nursing integrated graphics chip and a separate graphics chip, however can usually have just one active at a time. reckoning on preference, the user will have the notebook run on the integrated graphics resolution to preserve battery life or on separate graphics throughout times wherever the extra process power is required. Switchable graphics therefore permits for larger flexibility and utility out of a laptop computer, however expect to pay somewhat additional for such capabilities.

A popular possibility is to appear for laptops with support for Nvidia Optimus technology. Nvidia Optimus allows on-the-fly automatic change between the dedicated GPU and also the integrated graphics chip reckoning on user configuration or current running programs. This eliminates the requirement for any rebooting and might save many time for uninterrupted work or multitasking. sadly, Nvidia Optimus is presently solely accessible for Windows 7-based notebooks as of this writing, thus Macbooks and Linux-based machines square measure excluded. Newer MacBook professionals, however, run on Apple’s own proprietary graphics change technology that’s totally machine-driven by the MacOS X software. whereas this technique functions otherwise from Optimus, it will still give a degree of energy management for Apple house owners.

8-Purchase a New/Larger Battery If shopping for a laptop computer on-line, particularly from a brand company like hollow, HP, Sony, or Lenovo, the client can sometimes tend the choice to settle on between a 6-cell, 8-cell, or 12-cell Lithium-ion battery module. A cell refers to at least one of the various freelance, usually cylindrical, metallic element ion-based batteries that form up the whole laptop computer battery module itself.

Generally, electric battery with additional cells can last longer than electric battery with less. This additionally scales quite nicely, as a 12-cell battery can last roughly doubly as long as a 6-cell battery, presumptuous all else equal. Therefore, it’d be value considering electric battery with additional cells right from the showtime once getting a brand new laptop computer.

Be aware, however, that the larger the quantity of cells, the larger and heavier the battery module are going to be generally. several laptops and notbooks these days dedicate nearly the whole backside only for the battery. A module with a lower variety of cells could work snugly on the rear, however a bigger module can have some volume sticking out outward behind the laptop computer as a result of the enlarged cell count. to boot, larger battery modules can demand additional from your billfold, thus ensure the additional weight and size are going to be definitely worth the investment.

If this laptop computer is over a couple of years recent, it’s better to buy a brand new battery if a brand new laptop computer isn’t nevertheless definitely worth the investment. All Li-ion batteries degrade overtime, thus electric battery that after gived four hours of use 2 years agone could solely give one to two hours these days and can ultimately still provide less overtime. At now, a brand new battery can aid laptop computer runtime way more considerably than several of the suggestions on this list.

While on the topic of batteries, sure new laptops give up to two batteries to be hooked up at the same time for up to double the runtime. Thus, these laptop computers may be favorable choices for future battery-conscious laptop house owners. Examples embrace the Sony Vaio S Series and Lenovo’s updated ThinkPad series for 2011. With twin batteries, reaching double-digit hours once off the facility grid ought to be simply approachable.

9- take into account External Battery Packs

The external battery higher than is recharging each a smartphone and laptop computer at the same time. This explicit Digipower model provides 4400mAh and is out there for regarding $99.

An alternative however similar possibility is to utilize Associate in Nursing external battery pack rather than the specialised batteries that were designed to suit into specific laptops. These reversible external batteries connect on to a laptop computer’s DC-in port and sometimes embrace variety of various affiliation cords to confirm compatibility with a good vary of laptop models. the largest advantage here is that the Brobdingnagian skillfulness of Associate in Nursing external battery pack; it will power and recharge not solely existing and future laptops, however additionally probably alternative physics like phones, cameras, iPads, and alternative similar devices. Thus, its quality extends through multiple gadgets as every will benefit of the moveable power supply.

A typical external battery designed for laptops will vary from $50 to $200, reckoning on the scale, features, and output power. detain mind, however, that the battery are going to be an extra burden for those perpetually on the move. Most promise a minimum of many hours of usage, however make certain to see the milliamps/hr (mAh) rating to be convinced. calculable runtime may be calculated from the merchandise of its amps/hr rating and also the voltage output, divided by the laptop computer power use in watts (Ah x Volts)/(watts). Of course, this conversion may be a terribly rough approximation, and intrinsically mustn’t be the only determinate for choosing external batteries.

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Business

Handle the Human Side of Social Media Marketing

When trying to create a social media side of your business it’s easy to forget one thing, people want to see a human side to your company, not just automated posts and links to interesting sites. Yes, it’s obvious that in your busy business day you don’t have the time to sit there on the Facebook Page or Twitter account typing away and engaging with people, but the fact is if you or a member of your staff can’t make that time you won’t fully engage with your readers.

The key really is in the very name of Social Media. The internet has revolutionised the way you can contact your customers and clients and provide them with information, and provide them with a customer service. You may have a website with your “Contact Us” page where people can email you, but providing a human side of your business through social media is a powerful way to engage with the most important person to your company, the human being.

Be Social on Social Media

Now, before rushing off to get onto Facebook and talk to your clients and customers you have to stop and plan out exactly what your engagement will be. You can’t rush onto it and say just anything without a second thought, this can be a disaster as many companies have found. It seems to be every few days where some company have “retweeted” or “posted” some unthinking tweet on Twitter which then goes viral and is a total PR disaster. What you need to have is a professional but human face run by you or an employee who knows exactly what they are typing and knows exactly what the response to people should be.

Humans want a human response, this is the whole point of the internet. I’ve talked about using social media as a customer support tool in the past, but marketing is different. When marketing with customers and clients it’s all about customer relations and giving the right impression. When things go wrong it’s also about knowing the correct response, to save yourself a disaster. The main key is to realise that the internet is a way to broadcast to people all over the world, to millions of potential clients or people who suddenly have a negative view of your company. This is why it’s important to get it right.

So how do you get it right? The answer is to be professional and friendly. You know what you are wanting to market and you know what lines are coming up that you want to show the public. If you have a product that is going to be popular be aware that the press are likely watching too, and they have their own view on your company good or bad, so the key is to impress. When your customers engage you in conversation be ready to get into the discussion and don’t ignore them, but also don’t get caught up in a so called “trolling” session where some mischievous user just wants to get a reaction from you, it’s part of your job to be able to handle situations like that.

When using Social Media and the internet in general to market your company it’s all about public relations. Everything posted on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and all the other social media sites is an advertisement that creates a public image to the people who read it. Don’t have time to handle all of this? Then it maybe an option to either have an employee who can handle it, or outsource to a company who can do it for you. The internet is a very important and powerful tool for businesses today but it’s also one that can cause a lot of problems if not handled correctly. Know what you are doing and it can be the best promotional tool you’ve got in your arsenal.

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Zimbra Migration Techniques

The Zimbra Collaboration Suite is a robust, scalable messaging server, consisting of email, shared group calendars, contact management tools and other application that are well-suited for implementation in a variety of environments, from small to very large enterprises. As examples, the H&R Block Corporation utilizes it to provide service to 100,000 end-users, and the University of Toronto uses it to service its’ tens of thousands of faculty, staff, and students (Gagné, 2007). However, in our present discussion, we are concerned with the migration of Zimbra email accounts to an Exchange Server environment.

I. Email Protocols

1.1 SMTP
To facilitate our understanding of the migration procedure, we must first perform a cursory review of the protocols that email uses. Of these, the Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) is utilized to reliably send email over its’ default TCP port 25. As it is used strictly for sending email, it typically is used in conjunction with the POP3 or IMAP protocols, which will be used to receive the email. SMTP has the ability to transport email across multiple network types such as the Internet, a LAN or WAN, as well as firewall-isolated TCP/IP Intranet, or hosts utilizing a non-TCP transport-level protocol (Klensin, 2008). For UNIX based systems, we find that sendmail will be the SMTP server of choice, whereas in the Windows environment Microsoft Exchange, which has POP3 support capabilities, would be deployed.

1.2 POP3
POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) is a widely used protocol built in to into email products, such as Outlook Express and Internet browsers to receive email, on its’ default TCP port 110. The POP3server host will listen on Port 110, and when a client host needs to access the POP3 service, it will establish a TCP connection with the server host. When the connection is established, the POP3 server will send a greeting, and the client and POP3 server will exchange commands and responses until the connection closes or aborts (Myers & Rose, 1996). POP3 typically deletes mail on the server as soon as the user has downloaded it, though some POP3 versions allow the server to be configured to store email for a finite period.

1.3 IMAP
The Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4rev1 (IMAP4rev1) uses TCP port 143 as its default port. As with POP3, IMAP is used to access and manipulate electronic mail messages on a server, however its’ feature-set is more robust. IMAP4rev1 will allow remote message folders to be manipulated as if they were local folders. IMAP4rev1 will also permit an offline client to resynchronize with the server (Crispin, 2003). With IMAP4rev1 the user is able to create, delete, and rename mailboxes, check for new messages, permanently removing messages, as well as store messages on the server.

1.4 PST files. Worthy of consideration when discussing migration from a Zimbra Server to an Exchange Server, are the two types of Outlook Data Files used by Outlook. These two file types are the Outlook Data File (.pst), which is delivered, to and saved on the mail server, and permit us to access our email even when you cannot connect to the mail server. The other file type is the offline Outlook Data File (.ost), which is kept on our computers.

The key distinctions between the two types are that .pst files are used for POP3, IMAP, and web-based mail accounts. When we archive or backup our Outlook folders and items on our computer, we must create and use additional .pst files. In contrast, .ost files are used when you have an Exchange account and want to work offline or work with the default Cached Exchange Mode. The .ost file may also be used with accounts set up with the Outlook Connector for Outlook.com. Finally, the .ost files are always copies of items that are saved on a mail server and do not have to be backed, as with the .pst files (“Introduction to Outlook Data Files”, 2014).

II. Zimbra Collaboration Suite
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The Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) groupware applications are available via a Web interface. Zimbra provides a client-side solution and an integrated messaging server consisting of Postfix, LDAP, Apache and other applications. These applications even may be third-party applications, such as a purchasing system (Gagné, 2007). There are a number of means to migrate from Exchange to Zimbra, and Outlook clients are fully supported, which means that all Outlook e-mail, contacts and calendar functions will work with Zimbra.

There are community supported Open Source Editions and Network Editions of Zimra. As expected, the Network Edition provides commercial support, as well as value-added features, such as clustering, advanced backup and recovery features, an attachment search function and Outlook MAPI and Apple iSync connectors.

2.1 Zimlets. Zimlets can add additional functionality to Zimbra, such as hovering over a time in an email message and having an pop-up alert you of an your appointment time. Other zimlets may launch Skype when you hover over a phone number, and one that works with an Asterisk VoIP system. There are also Yahoo! Maps zimlets, Wikipedia zimlets, Google translator zimlets, and many others.

III. Zimbra Migration Strategies

There are many instances where a Mail administrator will need to migrate users from one email server to another, as was the case with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) that migrated their users from divisional mail servers to a central, institutional ZCS (Stacey, Trefonides, Kendall & Finley, 2009). However, it bears pointing out that by 2014 ANL had migrated their users back to Exchange servers, due to the vendor support offered by Microsoft.

3.1 Exporting Zimbra data account into CSV. As part of the migration process we will need to create users and mailboxes in Exchange. To accomplish this, we may export Zimbra data into CSV to create a list of our email users. To accomplish this, we would invoke the following commands in Zimbra:

su – zimbra

zmprov-l gaa

This will display a list of accounts, and from this, we may make a text file with the command:

su – zimbra

zmprov gaa-l> list-account.txt

However, this will only generate a list of email addresses, and not names or other fields. To export a list of Zimbra accounts to a CSV file, we would open Zimbra Admin; select Account, type the domain name that we want to export into the search box, such as contoso.com (Fahrudin, 2014). We then select the Download button on the Toolbar Zimbra Admin, and save the generated CSV file.