Perfectionism: Help or Hindrance

On October 28, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

Do you find yourself agonizing over every little detail? Does it take you three times as long to accomplish a task because you are trying to get it “just right?” If so, you might be a perfectionist? It’s not an uncommon personality trait to see in the business world and it can help to push people to endeavor to do their best. In extreme cases, though, it leads to wasted time and resources.  The outcome usually doesn’t justify the immense effort that went into it. If you find yourself in the web of extreme perfectionism, here are a few tips that can lead you out.

Make a Decision and Stick to it
You make good decisions; that is why you are managing the projects you are working on. So when you make a decision, stick to it. Try not to second-guess yourself – this just wastes time. Who’s to say your fourth or fifth decision will be any better or beneficial? If you start that second-guessing game, it can spiral out of control!

Trus t your Employees
Listen to the input from your employees after you have unveiled your plan. They are great resources and will inform you of what is possible. If they like the plan then it’s probably worth using. Their support will help prevent you from sliding into the second-guessing game that I previously talked about. Another way to prevent wasted time is not to micromanage your workforce. When you have assigned tasks, take a step back and let them manage those tasks. You hired them for their expertise in the first place, right? And before you execute your plan …

Have a Plan B
You never know what’s going to happen! An obstacle may arise that can’t be overcome, so make sure you have a plan B. A backup plan will help you from getting entrenched to deeply in your first plan and devastated if things go wrong. The more flexible and ready for change you are, the easier it is to adapt to things life throws at you.

Perfectionism can have a positive effect as it can make you strive to be your best, but that pressure can lead to stress and wasted time. Try to stay flexible and strive for your personal best. If you find yourself caught up in perfectionism, the steps I’ve outlined above should help. You can also read this article to learn how to avoid perfectionism pitfalls all together.

 

What Did We Learn at the T3 Gadget Awards?

On October 25, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

As new technology pops up around us daily, it’s human nature to want to know which is the most innovative and revolutionary in the gadget world.  Well, the T3 Gadget Awards quench that thirst.  The awards, voted on by more than 960,000 online users, were given out last week.  Since the tech community is primarily casting the votes, “obvious” winners to the masses weren’t the case.  Below we’ll show you a number of interesting and even ironic choices – and be sure to check out the full list of categories and winners.

Ironic Winners

One of the most interesting aspects of the Awards are the categories themselves. They run the gamut of technology, and aren’t completely focused on gadgetry. For example, there’s the Best Retailer award and even the Gadget Personality of the Year award.  It is in this category that one can find an ironic choice: Mark Zuckerberg.  Although his influence on modern communication can’t be ignored, few would debate that he’s got Clooney-like charisma. And then there’s the category of Best Commuting Device in which anything that helps you get from here to there can be included. So, the electric bicycle nominee might seem like an obvious choice. The winner, in fact, was the Amazon Kindle — which makes “getting there” easier, as long as you’re not riding the electric bicycle while reading it!

Influential Winners

Another interesting revelation can be found in the voters’ decision that Twitter is the “Digital Media Service of the Year.”  Sure, Zuckerberg’s got the Personality, but Twitter won the bigger battle. To be sure, the principals of large corporations like Apple, Google and Facebook are most likely not crying themselves to sleep because they didn’t win a Gadget gong. It is notable, however, that more votes were generated for Twitter than any other medium by the tech community themselves. Those in-the-know with lots of sway should be taken very seriously by the tech giants. In other words, Facebook can’t rest on its laurels (just look at MySpace for reference).

Surprising Winners

If you were to question the average passerby which phone would win Phone of the Year, most would probably say the iPhone 4.  Again, though, because a very tech-savvy crowd cast the votes, the votes went to Samsung’s Galaxy S II.  Google won the Tech Brand of the Year, beating out rivals Apple and Facebook.  Although it’s just the “T3 Gadget Awards,” Google is in a far better position amongst the tech community in terms of brand recognition and possibly overall importance.

Ultimately, The 2011 T3 Gadget Awards offer an intriguing insight into how much and how fast technology is evolving.  If you were to go back to the first awards given in 2008, some of the heavy hitters of the time are no longer viable, while some upstarts were just getting their feet on the ground and are huge players today.  Although these awards are offered annually, with the speed that many of these products are created, they may want to make it a semi-annual event.

 

Intel and Toshiba Announce Energy Monitoring Plans at CEATEC

On October 21, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

Becoming “greener” has been a hot topic these days, not only amongst the public but also in high-tech companies. Many businesses are looking into green tech as a way to save energy , save the environment, or to simply save money. One of the primary things you must know when looking into conserving energy is what uses the most energy?

Japan recently hosted the annual CEATEC conference earlier this month just outside Tokyo. During the conference, Toshiba and Intel announced their recent developments in energy monitoring. It’s no real surprise to see these businesses coming forward with big developments that enable individuals and companies to control and monitor their energy consumption. The following are a couple of the changes they will implement in 2012 that may change the way companies and individuals regulate their energy consumption.

Intel

PC users will be able to monitor the energy consumption of their PC with the application Intel has developed. With an easy to read dashboard where the data is organized and displayed in graphs, charts, and statistics, you will be able to much more easily see how your computer is using energy.

Toshiba

Toshiba is using it’s recent purchase of Landish Gyr as part of its “smart home” offering. Landish Gyr specialize in smart-meters for homes. With this offering people can monitor the quantity of energy consumed throughout their homes. Also on the agenda is the development of “green cloud” technologies for a number of different industries covering anything from city infrastructure to healthcare.

While these two companies have big plans for energy monitoring in 2012, it appears like a lot of companies in the US are moving away from it, namely, Microsoft and Google. In June, Microsoft announced the discontinuation of Hohm, their energy-monitoring service launched in 2009. Google also seems to be changing its green game by shutting down Google Powermeter, that they also launch in 2009.

We will see what he future holds for the green technology world. It could head further towards energy monitoring or turn to something else entirely. If you have any ideas or speculation on how technology companies will become greener; please share them with us.

 

The iPhone 4S: Revolutionary Or Evolutionary

On October 19, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

Do you remember hearing the initial disappointed comments following the iPhone 4S announcement?  To put it simply, everyone was a bit dissatisfied that the new iPhone was not going to be a full-blown revamp of the iPhone 4. Some were concerned that it would just be an iPhone 4 with a few simple upgrades, suckering gadget-junkies to stand in line for hours only to realize that the 4S was basically the same as its predecessor, with only a few more bells and whistles.  Well, the reality is, the new iPhone is a bit of both. It’s not a revolutionary product like the original iPhone – or even the iPhone 4.  Rather, it’s more evolutionary with several impressive upgrades.  Here’s a quick look at 3 of the upgrades Apple has created in the 4S – and whether or not they’re worth standing in line for.

Software

Maybe the most noticeable of the iPhone 4S upgrades can be found in its speed and power.  The 4S features a dual-core A5 chip found in the iPad 2, which makes opening apps, loading the browser, scrolling through home screens and countless other operations much faster and smoother.  Apple states that the iPhone 4S is twice as fast as the iPhone 4, and exhibits seven times its graphical prowess.

Siri

One remarkable distinction between the iPhone 4 and the 4S is the addition of  your very own “personal assistant” named Siri.  When it works, it is an amazing feat of technology. You can just tell Siri to contact a friend and tell her you’re running late.  Tell Siri, “I’m feeling like Indian food,” and she will tell you where the nearest place serving Sag Paneer is located.  However, the caveat is “when it works.”  When Siri cannot understand a particular command, area or specific person, she will tell you humorously, if not annoyingly after a while, that she can’t process the info.  Undoubtedly this will be fixed at some point, but it would be wonderful if it worked flawlessly now.  See this article for another take on Siri.

iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s replacement of MobileMe.  It is available on all new iPhone, iPad and Mac purchases, and immediately and securely stores everything on your device’s hard drive.  Access to music, apps, photos is much easier from any other device.  One pitfall, though, is that some MobileMe users have found that after MobileMe created its own user ID, it has been difficult for them to “sync up.” Equally frustrating is the fact that iCloud doesn’t recognize other mail accounts that don’t contain a me.com email address.  Again, like Siri, one would hope these issues were hashed out before the launch.

So, should you upgrade to the iPhone 4S? It depends on the type of user you are.  If you’ve shown up at midnight for previous Apple launches, you won’t be disappointed with the 4S.  It is faster, more powerful, has impressive upgrades like Siri and iCloud, and we didn’t even mention the improved camera and editing features.  But if you’re satisfied with the phone you’re using now, and it does all you want it to do, you could easily wait until Apple’s next revolution – which, knowing them, is right around the corner.

 

Creativity in the Cloud

On October 14, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

Many industries have changed due to the cloud. Massive quantities of information can be stored and shared easily in the cloud. And with the popularity of tablets people can access it quickly. This has improved the way creative people do business, below are a few examples if this.

Portfolios
The size of someone’s portfolio was once confined to what they could physically carry.   Due to this size limitation, there were limitations to the content as well. Now, thanks to the cloud, they can create separate files tailored to each client’s needs, which they can quickly access from a tablet. This mobility can lead to more business more quickly.

Creative Collaboration
Collaboration was once a word that had spatial limitations. You could easily work with individuals in your immediate vicinity, but working with someone across the globe was time intensive and difficult. It required sending huge files back and forth, often producing duplicate copies and confusion. Now, you can work on the same file simultaneously with only one copy being updated. By dropping the previous restrictions, creative collaboration has not only become easier, but faster as well.

Brainstorming
Mind mapping is a great way to brainstorm and when done in conjunction with the cloud, the quantity of people that can give their impute is not limited. You can access these files on tablets, work with local collogues, and update the shared file for everyone. These elements break down the distance barrier that has limited idea brainstorming in the past.

With the expansiveness of the cloud and the mobility of the tablet, there are almost no limitations to where creativity can happen.

 

Creativity in the Cloud

On October 14, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

Many industries have changed due to the cloud. Massive quantities of information can be stored and shared easily in the cloud. And with the popularity of tablets people can access it quickly. This has improved the way creative people do business, below are a few examples if this.

Portfolios
The size of someone’s portfolio was once confined to what they could physically carry.   Due to this size limitation, there were limitations to the content as well. Now, thanks to the cloud, they can create separate files tailored to each client’s needs, which they can quickly access from a tablet. This mobility can lead to more business more quickly.

Creative Collaboration
Collaboration was once a word that had spatial limitations. You could easily work with individuals in your immediate vicinity, but working with someone across the globe was time intensive and difficult. It required sending huge files back and forth, often producing duplicate copies and confusion. Now, you can work on the same file simultaneously with only one copy being updated. By dropping the previous restrictions, creative collaboration has not only become easier, but faster as well.

Brainstorming
Mind mapping is a great way to brainstorm and when done in conjunction with the cloud, the quantity of people that can give their impute is not limited. You can access these files on tablets, work with local collogues, and update the shared file for everyone. These elements break down the distance barrier that has limited idea brainstorming in the past.

With the expansiveness of the cloud and the mobility of the tablet, there are almost no limitations to where creativity can happen.

 

3 ways to make sure your computer is safe

On October 12, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

Computers are prized possessions, no matter what they are being used for. They offer a practical value regarding the processes that they allow us to automate, but there is also an economic value that should be considered. The high price level carried by computers makes them tempting targets for any thief. Here are a few quick tips to consider when beefing up your computer’s security.

Physical Security

Don’t mistake the cables plugged into your desktop as any kind of safeguard. Even if they are complicated and challenging to access, a thief is more than happy to leave with the bare bones of your machine. To avoid being left with only a tangle of wires, use a strong security cable, preferably one that includes a key. These cables generally cost around $40 and are easy to install and use. They anchor your computer in a way that makes it extremely difficult to steal.

Data Security

A computer is a valuable target for a thief, not only because of the material value of the device but also due to the data stored within. Encrypting data is always a good protective measure to help ensure your data is safe, but there is certain data you should never store permanently. Such information includes your credit card information, social security number and checking account. Having your identity stolen will only add insult to injury.

Keeping Track

Wish there was a way to track down your computer when it goes missing? Yeah, there’s an app for that. Downloading tracking software onto your computer will help you to locate it once it’s gone, so long as the hard drive remains intact. While a computer may its hard drive wiped clean once stolen, there have been numerous occasions where computer tracking apps have been effective in returning the stolen item to its owner.

While all of these tips are useful in keeping your computer safe, there is no replacement for common sense and reasonable vigilance. Make sure to take good care of your computer; chances are it takes good care of you.

 

Your Business Can Benefit from Workplace Education

On October 7, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

Your company can benefit greatly from workplace education programs (WEP). Morale will improve, employees will feel cared for as individuals, and they will strengthen your team. WEPs can be carried out in a small-scale way with educational handouts or in a large-scale way by providing half or full day classes. No matter how you want to implement educational programs, learning new things keeps employees fresh and inspired.

If workplace education programs don’t have an element of play, they can be boring and demotivating. Classes need to be challenging, yet not so hard they make your employees feel like they are hitting a brick wall. You’d like your staff to feel satisfied with the job they’re doing and have fun doing it.

Here are some ideas to keep education programs interesting and fun.

Group Employees into Teams – Teams stimulate healthy competition, which can lead to better employee collaboration. They can also strengthen your team, as employees will establish stronger relationships as they get to know each other better on a more personal level.

Provide IncentivesIncentives are a great way to motivate your workforce. They work well regardless if there is a team structure or your employees work independently.

Create Games – Incorporating a game when people learn improves how much they will retain. Games also develop team-building skills and keeps learning light and fun.

Employees appreciate workplace education programs when implemented properly. They break up the week, keep things exciting, and support self improvement. Education in the workplace doesn’t have to mean a huge endeavor; it can be scaled to fit your company and your recourses. If you choose to institute a WEP, remember that the more fun and interesting it is the more successful it will be.

 

Long Live the PC!

On October 5, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

The latest and most notable technological jump has, undoubtedly, been the recent leap in remote computing technology. Access to gadgets like tablets and smartphones is widely available and extremely preferred with tech users. But what does this mean for the personal computer? With the recent shift towards portable personal computing, is there still a place in the technological landscape for PCs? The answer is a simple and resounding “yes.” Here are three of the biggest reasons why.

Desktops Are Still Needed

    The death of the desktop computer has been predicted for years, yet it has never come. This is because updated and new technologies are still unable to reach the top-level performance of a well-built PC. The speed and power used to run state-of-the-art programs can’t be duplicated elsewhere. Neither the tablet nor the smartphone can operate at the level of a modern desktop unit. Because of this, the desktop continues to be a foundational computing technology, one that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Tablets Are Less Practical
   
    It’s plain to see the value of a good tablet. The portability and connectivity options make them highly useful tools. However, PCs are still the preferred model for high end computing. There are certain projects that are easier to complete on a PC in ways that outmatch the performance of a tablet. Because of this, PCs are still the preferred machine for typing long documents, running sophisticated programs or even surfing the web. The size and accoutrements of PCs make them the more practical machine.

Smartphones Are Less Functional

    It seems like everyone is using a smartphone these days. They are one of the most popular technologies in recent years, and an extremely helpful tool when accessing email and social media or even making a call. Some critics say that smartphones will begin to steal the laptop market as their design becomes more sophisticated. However, Smartphones still face certain physical limitations. The average basic laptop user utilizes their machine for Internet access and word processing. While smartphones offer some competition in Internet access, can you imagine a student writing a whole term paper on a tiny smartphone screen? Neither can we.

    While the portable industry has made remote computing better than ever, it’s still important to have faith in the importance of PCs. For more reasons why the PC age is still alive and well, take a look at this article.