Saturday, January 13, 2018

5 Creative Technology Tips That Every Computer User Should Know

So you think you know everything there is about using your computer? Well we have a few tips that you may not be aware of and at some point you will be glad you know about them. So let’s take a look.

Install Adblock

Do not confuse this with anti virus software. Adblock is an application that can be installed onto your computer, laptop and even your smart phone. It is the ad that people click that can cause all sorts of problems. The worst-case scenario is that you get some kind of message telling you that your device has a serious security risk and you can’t get rid of it. Another problemthat can be caused by ads is slowing down page loading times. It can be extremely annoying when you are trying to read something and up pops an ad. Or you have more than one tab open and you hear someone talking. You wonder where on earth that is coming from, but discover a video ad is playing in another tab. It’s so annoying. Adblock will stop that and it is free and easy to install.

Out of Ink

It’s happened to us all. You need to print out some important documents, I mean let’s face it, no one prints anything out these days unless they HAVE to. You probably haven’t used the printer for months and totally forgot the ink cartridge needed replacing. The simple solution is to select the text on your page and change the colour of the font to dark blue. It hardly looks any different and you have got yourself out of a difficult situation.

Start Up Sound

This is especially relevant to laptop users as you are more likely to be in a situation where you want to be quiet. The last thing you want is that annoying start up sound to be heard by people around you. Well you can stop it from playing by holding down the mute button as you switch on your device.

Tidy Leads

I know you can get cable ties for keeping leads organised, but if you are using a laptop or you just can’t be bothered to mess around with cable ties, there is a quick and easy solution. A metal binder clip is the answer. For smaller cables such as headphones and audio leads, you can simply wrap the cables around the two metal clasps and attach the clip to the side of the desk. For thicker cables you need a larger clip. With this method you place the cables into the clip and attach it to the table. It keeps them off the floor and allows you to slide them in and out of the clip for movement. No need for DIY, just a trip to the stationary cupboard.

Cleaning Between The Keys

If you have post it notes on your desk, after using one run the sticky side of the post it along the sides of the keys on your keyboard. It will pick up the dirt that gets stuck in there.
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Jen Starr is part of the community team at NextDay PC. Jen enjoys staying on top of the latest tech trends and sharing how new tech can positively impact people’s lives.
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Monday, January 8, 2018

Home Video Walls as Part of the Smart Home

Most of us have seen a video wall at some point in time; only that we never paid so much attention. From control rooms such as those in the meteorological departments and media outlets to data relay centers such as in the stock exchanges and sports stadiums, video walls have literally transformed every aspect of life.

However, up until recently, many of us wouldn’t believe that this ingenious invention could find its way into our homes especially due to the fact many believe it is a technology that is preserved for the experts in large data processing industries. 

Video walls are now part and parcel of our homes; transforming them into a more secure and convenience place to live other than just a roof over our heads. In this article, we shall look at why a video wall could be that perfect smart home appliance you could ever have.

How Does It Work?

A video wall consists of multiple rear projection display-cubes that are skillfully arranged side by side in a manner that the cubes display a single image. The viewer will think the image came from a single source while in actual sense, many cubes were involved. 

The main reason why video walls are preferred is due to the fact they can merge the three most essential qualities of a great display unit – high contrast, high resolution and uniform brightness. However, aside from the three main qualities above, there is more to the technology of video walls that make them an ideal smart home device, as explained below.

Let’s Begin With the Obvious 

When we talk of a smart home, what springs to our mind is a home where everything can be handled remotely from the convenience of our location and this is indeed true for the most part. But to begin easy, a video wall is a cost-saving initiative that may just as well replace your TV, monitor and other display units you use in your home, or simply merge them into one functional unit.

As already discussed, the wall is made up of multiple displays that are tied together and overlapping over each other. This means you can use it as a TV this moment and then use it as a white board the next moment or you may as well partition the screen to have both of these functions running concurrently. You can use it to display the data collected by you surveillance cameras as well as exhibit a presentation from your home projector. It is the multiple functionality in these home video walls that make them especially great for a conscious home owner.

Improved Screen Area

It is often an embarrassment when you invite guests over to your home and as you are busy chatting away, a fancy piece of news flashes on the screen and people have to strain their eyes to catch the action. Even worse, some of them would move close, obstructing the views of those seated at the far end of the screen. 

However, the introduction of video walls in homes has taken away that agony. As home video walls boast of greater screen area, you can be sure it will be just big enough for any room you choose to place it inside your home. 

Enhance Your Home Security Using Video Walls

A video wall accepts inputs from satellite sources and may be synchronized with your camera as well as video recorders. This means that you can use the wall to monitor the security situation in your home. All you have to do is find compatible security surveillance gadgets, connect those to the equipment and you are able to track all the movements within your home based on what these surveillance devices can pick. 

Well, there are quite a few screens that function in the same way so you may be wondering what makes a video wall the better option. Remember what we said about resolution. The display cubes account for very high screen resolution and this enables you to analyze every possible movement around your home without having to strain your eyes trying to process the images broadcast by your outdoor cameras.

Allow Flexible Scheduling

Last but not least, this is one great thing you will just love about video walls. Assume you have a routine where you wake up each morning, run through the surveillance cameras, and then watch your favorite morning inspirational program before heading to work. A video wall can make all these possible; all you have to do is customize the settings to allow for flexible scheduling.

By synchronizing the video wall with your other smart devices, you can tell the system when to sound an alarm so you can wake up, then based on the sequence of programs fed inside the unit, the video wall can offer flexible scheduling based on your daily routine. It can seamlessly change between a video camera and a TV, enabling you to watch your favorite programs while still keeping tabs with the events outside your home.

About the Author

Jen Starr is part of the content and community team at Userful.com, experts in all things video wall and display solutions. When Jen is not spreading the word about video walls she is often found discovering the great outdoors, walking or cycling. 

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Friday, February 12, 2016

How the Cloud is Powering New Innovations

It's official - cloud computing is the future way of life, whether it’s for pleasure or for business. Cloud computing has been in development for some time now, and has more than proved its potential in the tech industry. Soon cloud computing will be a part of every industry and will eventually transform the way we work and live. 

And while cloud computing is currently benefiting businesses the most, it’s only logical that the next step would be to integrate everything else with the cloud. Here’s a list of some of the latest technologies that will rely heavily on cloud, in order to function properly.

Cloud Gaming – Redefining the Way the World Plays

With the advent of cloud gaming, gamers are now playing game rendered on the cloud, instead of the high-end graphics card of PC. This allows gaming headsets to function as nothing more than thin clients, and also helps save a chunk of expenses. This shift of device complexity to centralized data servers will bring down the individual cost of virtual reality headsets, and potentially remove the need for an expensive PC upgrade. Cloud gaming will also have secondary benefits such as enhanced ergonomics and lower resource requirements.

A handful of companies have already explored the concept of cloud gaming. Sony, for example, has developed a cloud gaming service called PlayStation Now, which is said to work in tandem with its PlayStation VR design. But while the first-generation of cloud gaming devices hold lots of promise for future gamers, the introduction of a durable, standalone cloud gaming device will be required to accelerate the adoption of cloud-based gaming.

This will mean that consumers will finally be able to afford to game, without having to invest in a high-end desktop or laptop PC. This would open the doors of virtual gaming for any member of society. No wonders, game fanatics are vocal about their love for the cloud, the platform that’s redefining the face of gaming.

Virtual Reality

Anyone familiar with the concept of cloud with seamless device transition, virtual reality Operating System Embedded (OSE) or cloud-based multi-user interactions will understand the impact the cloud will have on virtual reality. A thorough understanding of cloud gaming will propel virtual reality into the next generation.

It hasn’t been easy; extracting the power of the cloud and making sure that all connected devices are synced to each other. But, the transition is complete and many of us even know about Virtual Reality from things like The Matrix. Companies are already in the development stage for a number of such technologies, and will soon be available as part of the VR operating system environment. And while implementing VR in the real world will take some time, video gamers will already know what to do with it.

As a new generation of gamers emerges, a multi-system virtual reality is not far from entering the mainstream. Cloud-based VR will unleash a level of virtual connectivity that was never previously experienced, all thanks to the cloud.

Li-Fi

People were happy with Dial-up modems, impressed with broadband, and were in awe of Wi-Fi. So, now get ready for the next generation of high-speed connectivity, with Li-Fi. A 5G light connectivity features that flows along the spectrum of visible light, Li-Fi is not just a new level of speed, but the first glimpse into the world of light speed. The concept works on Light-emitting diode or LED bulbs that transfer data when they are turned on or off, at a speed so fast that the human eye can’t even see it.

The equipment required to handle such speeds is already under development, and the means to use it is already available in the form of the cloud. With will make it possible to provide internet connectivity at speeds of up to 100 Gbps, estimated to be over 2000 times faster that modern day broadband. The availability of massive amounts of LEDs will enable Wi-Fi connectivity in areas that were previously prohibited, including airplanes, hospitals and other secure locations.

Another major advantage of this lightning fast connectivity is zero electromagnetic interference (ZEI), a feature that will eliminate the risk of radiation exposure from wireless data transmission. With the help of the cloud, Li-Fi will also offer enhanced data protection, seeing that light cannot pass through walls. This would make it virtually impossible to hack in to a data system from the outside. And as radio and telecommunication frequencies get more congested, the demand for a faster and more efficient media of wireless communication means that Li-Fi has a built a bright future for itself, courtesy the cloud.

Cloud Office Solutions

Things like virtual reality and cloud gaming are what make the cloud fun to use, but the cloud also offers a number of professional benefits that have become the norm for doing business. Cloud office solutions are already in the market, allowing businesses to get an array of office services from a single provider who will install, integrate, manage and secure your business processes.

Cloud computing had proven its value to businesses a long time ago, but cloud office solutions have opened new doors for smaller businesses. Cloud-based office solutions allow SMEs to take advantage of cloud systems, without having to invest in expensive infrastructure, such as e-mail servers, and IT technicians. Even the current cloud office solutions offer on the go access and cost efficiencies over traditional software.

Cloud Analytics Services

Cloud analytics is a business service model that has some components of the data analytics process coming in directly through a private or public cloud. A major advantage of cloud analytics over traditional analytics is that they are available on a subscription model, which means you usually pay for what you use and how much you use.

Cloud-based analytics also gives businesses an effective alternative to predictive analytics, allowing them to cut costs on data that is more than just subjective. There are already a number of cloud analytics services that are being offered by cloud companies, including data social media analytics, and software-as-a-service business intelligence, commonly referred to as SaaS BI. The SaaS BI model is fully scalable, making it a great platform for start-ups to get affordable analytics data.

About the Author

Mauricio is the CEO of Cloudwards.net, a data and user feedback driven comparison engine for cloud apps and services. 

He enjoys writing and producing educational videos around the cloud to help people find the best cloud service for their needs.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

How to Create a Professional-Looking Video Guide via Screen Capture

Video guides are currently in the rage, and you’ve probably encountered a couple in the past. As opposed to articles or even illustrations, video allows you to show someone exactly how to do something – while at the same time telling them what to do via a voiceover narration.

If you’ve already been perusing some of the video guides out there, you may have noticed that there is a stark and noticeable difference between them. Some resemble amateur productions, with shaky and choppy video as well as stuttered narration. On the other hand, others look much more professionally produced – being smooth, seamless, and with flawless narration.

To create a professional-looking video guide, the first thing you need to do is prepare.

Writing a Script Can Make or Break a Video

A big part of the reason why professional-looking videos tend to be so smooth and seamless often boils down to the fact that they are carefully scripted.

For any video, the script that you write is your plan, and it will contain all the details of the video that you ultimately want to produce. In a nutshell – it is the vision of your video, put down on paper, and as such it should contain:

  • A breakdown of the scenes that make up the video.
  • Details of what elements each scene contains along with what they’re portraying or doing during that scene.
  • The voiceover narration that is to be read at various points of each scene that it coincides with.

Start by drafting a basic script, and then build on it. Be as thorough as possible, though at the same time bear in mind that although the script will be your overall guide you may very well have to adapt it later on.

Record Multiple Takes

Have you ever wondered why professional filmmakers often film multiple takes of a single scene? It’s simple really: Often a single take may not be perfect, so they film it until they have a take that is, or are able to edit together one that is from the multiple takes that they’ve filmed.

Seeing as you’re using screen capture to film your video guide, it should be no problem recording multiple takes. Keep going until you’re satisfied, but also be prepared to go back and re-record some scenes if you later find out that they aren’t up to scratch.

Putting it All Together and Adding Polish

After the recording is done and you have the raw material for your video guide, you will need to put it all together. Not only does this mean combining the scenes that you’ve recorded to form the video, but it also encompasses trimming unnecessary footage, and maybe even cutting and combining segments from different takes to get it looking just right.

During this stage you should also record and insert your voiceover.

Once that is all sorted, you should look to add the final touches to your video by adding a certain polish to it. In some cases this could be tweaking the quality or the look of the video by adjusting its color settings or applying filters, or it could be something more notable, like adding stylish transitions.

Every video is different and adding polish is often a question of taste, style, and approach.

Now that you know how to create a professional looking video guide via screen capture, all that you need is the software that will make it all possible. One of the best that has all the features you need is the Movavi Screen Capture Studio for Mac and you’ll find that knowing how to record screen on Mac with it is really intuitive, easy, and will feel completely natural.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SEMYOU Cloud SaaS - The Office of the Future is Right Here

Summary

SEMYOUCloud SaaS - All-in-one enterprise apps for your business.
Customer SegmentFor business of any size - small, medium and large - Communicate, Collaborate & Manage your office in the cloud. 
UISlick, Responsive. Admin module is not responsive.
UXOverall intuitive. Needs a slight improvement at a few places.
Technology StackMicrosoft
Business ModelFreemium SaaS. [Free 30 days Trial].
USPAll-in-one enterprise grade apps.
SupportQuick and meaningful
No. of Apps30+
TaglineThe cloud office of the future
LimitationsSee Details Section.
ConclusionRecommended

What is SEMYOU 


Last week I came across a suite of cloud services from SEMYOU. It offers a wide range of apps that a business requires to function smoothly on a daily basis. Gone are the days when you were required to manage & maintain a few dozens of IT applications in-house under an IT department which often became white elephant. We are already into an era of off-the-shelf services which can be configured easily by the end users based on their requirement.

All the SEMYOU services are cloud based SaaS which apparently mean that you get all the inherent benefits of a cloud computing service.


What are the Benefits of SEMYOU?

A few of the many benefits:


  1. Reduced Cost - CapEx Free, Pay as You Go.
  2. Less worries - No long-term contract.
  3. Increased Focus on Your Core Business.
  4. You get more than a dozen of apps to choose from for your business and all-in-one central location. 
  5. Increased Availability and Mobility.
  6. Your location doesn't matter. It's always available on your desktop, mobile and tablet.
  7. Increased Performance and Reliability.
  8. It is green.

Are there any Prerequisites to Use SEMYOU?

Internet connectivity, a browser and a few configurations like adding your basic records - users, projects, holiday list etc. and you're ready to go. No extra infrastructure/hardware is required as there's no installation hassle!

Getting Started 

  1. Signup for SemYou Cloud Office. [Credit card NOT required]
  2. Verify your email Id.
  3. The email Id used for the signup acts as an Admin.
  4. Log on to Admin module from the link received in your mail.
  5. Add users.
  6. As per your requirement, choose the right set of apps for a FREE trial from APP-STORE.
  7. Assign users to apps along with their appropriate privileges.
  8. Are the apps right-fit for your business requirement?
  9. If the answer to the above question is YES - go for an upgrade.

How Secure is the SEMYOU Cloud Office?

SemYou applies best in class industry practices to secure your privacy and data in the cloud. Apart from applying advance encryption standards & access controls, SemYou has implemented built-in security practices in core of every app to secure data at rest and data in motion.

SemYou's data center currently resides in Europe and operates under European Union Law.

What I Liked Most?

As far as I know there are very few services where you get more than 30 apps at one place!

Also, overall the UI/UX is intuitive and the trial run went smoothly without reading any of the documentation! But I think, a user who has no prior experience of using these kind of apps may require a little hand holding for a couple of hours before she understands the nitty-gritty of the apps.


Disclaimer - I am a full-time software developer and have also reviewed many apps in the past. My intuition may differ from an average user.


Available Apps - App Store



Glimpses of My Trial Run 

I was satisfied with my trial run results for SEMYOU apps. I tested the following apps:

  • sem.Drive
  • sem.AutoReminder
  • sem.WorldClock
  • sem.IssueTracker
  • sem.Kanban
  • sem.Mindmap

Here's a few of the screen shot for your reference. [Click the respective image for a larger view]

sem.Drive 


sem.Drive


sem.AutoReminder


sem.AutoReminder


sem.WorldClock


sem.WorldClock

sem.IssueTracker

sem.IssueTracker


Limitations

There are a few limitations I noticed while I was trying the cloud office. A few of the Administration Module's forms were not compatible with the latest Chrome, Firefox & IE. 

In sem.AutoReminder it is practically expected that reminders are also delivered via SMS apart from the current eMail delivery.

Looks like a few of the apps are still under construction, example semDB.

A few places require explicit alerts, information as it might help a new user.

Bottom-line

Signup, pick your apps and go for a trial run. Recommended.

Writer's Note: "This post was sponsored but the views are unbiased and are correct to the best of my knowledge".