How Alexa Can Increase Productivity While Working from Hom

With freedom comes responsibility; working at home allows for a high degree of flexibility and agency over your own schedule, but it can also be difficult to get motivated or stay on task when you’re in your personal space.

Luckily, digital assistants like Alexa can step in with some much needed encouragement. 

A Growing Trend

More people than ever work from home today. In fact, around 8 million Americans reported working remotely in 2017, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only do employees value the option to work from their own spaces, but it’s also cost effective for businesses to have fewer on-site employees. 

If you’re one of the 5.2% of people in the country that spend their professional lives at home, chances are you’ve found yourself having a hard time with concentration on at least one occasion, but did you know that Amazon’s Alexa can actually help keep you on track?

How Alexa Lends A Hand

Alexa comes equipped with all sorts of built in skills, and also features a number of additional downloads you can seek out if you should so wish. When it comes to making your remote work more productive, you can essentially use Alexa like you might use a personal assistant. 

If you feel you need to take a break, as Alexa to set a timer—this will ensure you don’t end up spending an hour watching TV. Any time you receive a new deadline, have Alexa add it to your calendar; in the mornings, you can have her list your more pressing agenda items for the day. There are all sorts of ways Alexa can enhance your work life, but most of them simply have to do with outsourcing menial tasks to voice command. Get the most out of your home office by utilizing Alexa’s full potential.

How Does Edge Computing Speed Up Your Applications?

In the more than 30 years since the first personal computer was released, the ways in which people use their devices to compute have changed more than a few times.

At first, the idea that you could house data completely locally was thrilling. Now, most computing and storage is outsourced to cloud services, but that’s all changing again with the rise of edge computing. 

A Little Here, A Little There

The term edge computing isn’t just a catchy way to express that this system is on the cutting edge, it’s meant quite literally. Rather than occurring completely on the cloud or completely on one’s own device, edge computing splits the difference, carrying out as much computing as possible at the source so that there’s not a data traffic jam in the cloud. 

While cloud computing has done a great job of easing concerns over device crashes and making files more accessible for teams that need to share data, it has created a great deal of latency. Data, like any other physical property, must travel in order to reach you, which is why edge computing plays such an important role in increasing speed. 

Immediate Gratification

Think of cloud computing as working in an office that’s a block away from your home. It doesn’t take you long to get up and walk there every morning, but it’s also not immediate. Now think of edge computing as working in your home office—you’re able to arrive there much more quickly than the space a block away. 

Because data is able to reach you so much faster when as much of it as possible is saved nearby, edge computing makes booting up your applications and putting them to work a far more efficient process.

Any good technology takes trial and error to get right, and the rise of edge computing may mark the moment at which tech companies have finally grasped the most efficient way to manage data.

What Is Phishing?

Before the Internet, if you received a letter from your bank, your insurance agent, or a relative, you could generally trust that it was legitimate.

Once correspondence turned digital, that all changed. Phishing compromises security for a large number of people and businesses each year due to its masterful disguises. 

More Sophisticated Than You Think

Phishing is simply the practice of cyber criminals posing as some legitimate person or institution in order to gain access to your information; this can result in identity theft, serious financial strain, or the exposure of sensitive information. 

Often, phishing attempts will be personalized. This is a method called spear phishing, and it could look like an email from your boss, or a notice from your bank. Usually, these emails will contain some sort of link or attachment aimed at infecting your computer. 

You might be thinking that you’re too discerning to fall for a phishing scheme, even a targeted one, but you might be surprised. In fact, a 2018 study by Intel found that 97% of people could not distinguish a well-crafted phishing email from an authentic one. 

Avoid Getting Caught

Though you’ll almost certainly receive a handful of phishing emails this year alone, there are some smart practices you can adopt to avoid falling victim to these nefarious efforts. These practices include employing some healthy skepticism every time you receive an unexpected email, as well as things like:

  • Avoiding the most common phishing schemes, like LinkedIn invitations or notices from PayPal
  • Checking the URL from which the email was sent very closely
  • Never opening attachments or following links from a suspicious email
  • Reaching out to sources directly 

As long as you take care to be on the look out for phishing, you have a good chance of avoiding any serious consequences.

How to Reset An iPad

Tablets like the iPad rose to popularity when smartphones weren’t quite as smart as they are today to offer the abilities of a computer in an easily mobile package.

Though phones can now perform advanced computing functions, tablets are still a mobile alternative to other computers, and offer all sorts of practical applications. 

What do you do when your iPad isn’t working the way it should be, or when you’re ready to sell it, though? A reset may be just what the doctor ordered.

Make The Most of Your iPad

Today, iPads are used in all sorts of capacities Apple probably never dreamed of when they first released their tablets. From gaming devices and mobile point of sale systems in restaurants to virtual sketch pads for artists, there’s practically nothing these devices can’t do. 

Like any electronic though, they can contract mysterious issues that slow them down considerably. Alternatively, you might be ready to sell your current iPad in favor of a newer model. In either of these cases, a factory reset will speed things up and protect your information. 

Clearing Out Your Information

Performing a hard reset on an iPad is like performing a hard reset on virtually any Apple device, so if you’ve ever done this on an iPhone, you already know the basic routine. 

If there’s anything on your iPad you don’t want to lose, make sure you back it up before you reset. After that, make your way into your general settings, where you should see an option simply titled “reset.” Once in that screen, choose the option to erase all memory and settings. 

It may take a moment to perform the reset, but that’s all the work required from you. Once it’s done, your iPad will look as if it’s fresh out of the box.

How to Record Your Screen on An iPhone

Sometimes words can’t suffice and only a visual depiction can get the job done.

Whether you want to show your friends a snapchat you’ve received without alerting the sender to a screenshot or send your mom a tutorial on how to change her display settings, screen recording on your iPhone is an endlessly handy function.

Built Right In

For many devices, screen recording is only possible when you download a third party application. Ever the innovators, Apple decided to build this function directly into their devices, so screen recording doesn’t require you to do anything but update a setting and click a button. 

Still, if you don’t know what to look for, capturing a screen recording can feel difficult. Here’s the few minutes worth of work you’ll have to do to begin screen recording. 

Click, Click, Record

Whether you want to record a software malfunction or something you’ve watched online, screen recording makes it simple. The first step in making it happen on your iPhone is to add screen recording to your control center. You can do this by entering your control center settings, scrolling until you see Screen Recording, and pressing the green + sign. 

Now, screen recording should appear when you swipe into your control center, just like your flashlight or bluetooth icons. To begin recording, just press on the round recording icon. A menu will ask you whether you also want to include audio, then it will start recording. Once you’re finished recording, press the same button and the feed from your screen will stop.

There are virtually endless reasons you might want to record your iPhone screen, and Apple makes it a breeze with their built in function. 

How to Clean Your Computer’s Registry

For any tech company to survive (let alone thrive), they must be willing to constantly innovate.

Microsoft has proven time and time again that they don’t shy away from the challenge of a more modern approach, and their Windows Registry is just another example of that attitude. Before you decide to clean your registry on your own, make sure you first understand it. 

A Central Database

Traditionally, computers have to store the settings for every application individually. This eats up space and is just generally inefficient. To solve this problem and create a more streamlined place to store settings, Windows created the registry. It compiles nearly all of your settings into a single space that you can access at any time. 

The problem that arises is when too much information is stored in this registry, it slows down the system, creating a less efficient computer. Savvy Windows users clean their registries to avoid this issue. 

A Good Scrubbing

The best way to clean your registry is by hand. This is because every function on your computer is stored in the registry, and if you unwittingly delete an important file, you can negatively impact function in a major way, so you need to take great care when deleting anything.

Make a backup copy of your registry before you do any cleaning so you can restore it if something goes awry. If you’re not sure which key is responsible for your computer’s diminished function, you can download and run dusting program that will seek out issues. Having a backup registry will ensure that this isn’t a dangerous move. 

Everyone wants to get the best performance possible out of their computer, and cleaning your registry can give you that if you handle the process with care and tact.

How to Download A YouTube Video

It was only about 15 years ago that Internet videos first became the entertainment sensation they’ve grown into.

Before that, the thought of sitting around a computer screen and watching videos for fun simply wasn’t dreamt of, and certainly no one considered downloading videos in those early days. Today, that has all changed. 

A New Favorite Pastime

There’s no denying that people love to relax by gluing themselves to their screens and scrolling through YouTube, but do you realize just how much people love it? So much that the world watches 500 million hours worth of YouTube videos every single day. With all that video watching, you’re bound to come across one you especially love at some point, and then what are you to do?

In the past, downloading a YouTube video felt strictly taboo, but that’s not quite the case any longer. 

Questionably Legal

Depending on which videos you’re planning to download, it isn’t always strictly legal to save videos from YouTube, which is why all videos aren’t equipped with a download button from the start. If you’ve simply deleted one of your own videos locally by accident, it’s perfectly within your rights to download a copy of the one you’ve uploaded to YouTube, though. 

The easiest way to download videos that aren’t yours is to find and install a 4K video download software. Once you’ve done that, all you need is the URL for the YouTube video you want to download, and the software will take care of the rest. 

Some videos are just too good to let go of, and in those instances, you’ll be glad you took the time to find out how to download YouTube videos.

Featured Article

How to Keep Your Laptop Cool

Laptops have revolutionized when and where people can use computers, but what happens when your laptop is too hot to comfortably sit atop your lap?

These devices tend to overheat for a number of reasons, but it’s not something that you should ignore, as it can potentially damage your computer. 

Can’t Stand The Heat

If you’ve noticed your laptop is getting a little too hot a little too often, you’re not alone—it’s happened to most everyone who owns a laptop at some point or another. The problem is that the reasons laptops get too hot are so varied, it can be difficult to nail down the exact cause. 

The best way to protect your laptop from excessive heat is to take a number of practices into account when using it, which will cover any possible cause. 

Fighting The Fever

More often than not, a hot laptop is symptomatic of a simply fixed problem. This could be something as simple as a dirty air vent or a laptop fan that isn’t working properly.  

Whatever the cause, keeping your laptop cool is as simple as making a few minor adjustments:

  • Clear out vents with compressed air; a blockage is a common overheating culprit.
  • Keep your laptop on a cool, hard surface, especially when it’s charging. 
  • Make sure you don’t have too many programs running at once. They will bog down your laptop’s system and require extra work.
  • Switch to power saver mode, as high performance  generates a great deal of heat. 
  • Turn down graphics settings and brightness.

Though none of these changes will impact the quality of your computing experience, they can make a world of difference for the temperature of your laptop.

How to Use Trello for Project Management

Remember how much you dreaded group projects in school, because one person inevitably pulled most of the weight, while some of the others did next to nothing?

Unfortunately, much of the professional world runs like one big group project, but if everyone doesn’t pull their own weight, the entire operation falls apart. That’s where project management tools like Trello come in. 

A Visual Aid

There’s a reason that to-do lists have been such a popular tool for individuals and businesses for so long: they work. A good project management tool will function like a sort of collective to-do list for an entire team. 

Using Trello effectively will promote transparency, accountability, and efficiency, but how can you get started with using this tool? 

Working Together, Apart

When used properly, Trello is a great way to manage workflow, and communicate expectations to your team. Your first step after creating your account will be to create your team. There, everyone will have a home base from which they can branch off to individual boards. 

Trello boards can be used for practically anything, from specific projects to daily tasks. Within a board, you’ll be able to assign individual cards. These cards can be as detailed or as minimal as you’d like, and they’ll also allow you to include a due date. 

The team member to whom a card is assigned can move it into a series of different phases, signalling to you when it is being worked on, and when it is finished. 

The ultimate success of a project depends on all of the individuals involved with it, and Trello makes it easy for you to manage those individuals without hovering.

How to Print Wirelessly from Your Smartphone

As people become increasingly reliant upon their phones, it’s no wonder that demand for wireless mobile printing just keeps growing.

If you’ve ever found it cumbersome to have to open your computer any time you want to print something, you’re not alone—that’s why you can now print directly from your smartphone. 

A Whole New World

Just 5 years ago, wanting to print a photo or any other file or page directly from your phone would have required a fair amount of technical input, but that’s no longer the case. As long as you have a working knowledge of both your smartphone and your printer, getting them to integrate is a breeze. 

If you’re strapped for time and just need to print something quickly, skip the process of booting up your computer and use the device that you’ve always got on hand instead: your phone. 

Simple as Can Be

Given the high functionality of smart devices, and the fact that they’re all increasingly integrated, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that both Apple and Android devices now come equipped with mobile printing capabilities designed to work with virtually any printer.

Things may get a little tricky depending on your printer, but most new printers will also come integrated with these functions. To print from an Android phone, navigate to your Cloud Print app and add your printer. To print from an iPhone, you can simply select “print” from the share settings of any document and AirPrint will automatically find printers on the same network. 

It’s hard to believe that technology has advanced to this point so rapidly, but knowing how to print directly from your smartphone is bound to make your daily life simpler.