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Thursday, January 30, 2014

7 Tricks To Help You Remember Anything by Mike Michalowicz CEO, Provendus Group

Being able to remember names, dates and details could give you a huge advantage in business. Try these strategies for increasing your total recall.
September 05, 2013

Every single one of us has a limitless memory capacity. Storage isn't the issue, as our brains can hold everything and then some. It’s recall—accessing the information in our memories—that’s the sticking point.

Not only is recall difficult, but it also affects how our peers perceive us. Think about it: The person who remembers details, dates, names, specifications—we think of that person as smart, organized and someone we want to do business with. The person who constantly apologizes for never remembering a name or recalls information incorrectly—we think of that person as less smart, or at least not as desirable a work partner as the person with the great memory. Memory matters in business. A lot.

If your memory could use a boost, you're in luck. With some effort, you can improve it. Try these seven ways to enhance your total recall:

1. Convert words to pictures. This essential tip works for two reasons: First, we naturally remember visual cues better than words, and second, the more senses you involve in learning or storing something, the better you will be at recalling it. Say you need to remember to submit a proposal to a client at 10 p.m. for a meeting the next day. You commit your task to memory by visualizing your proposal—a stack of papers—on top of an alarm clock that reads "10 p.m." The trick here is to make the picture vivid. So visualize an alarm clock, time flashing, alarm blaring, and focus on it. 10 p.m. ... proposal ... got it.

2. Use memory spots. Think of physical places that you regularly occupy—your car, your desk, your recliner—and mentally put the picture from tip one (your proposal on the alarm clock) in one of those spots. I drive a lot, so one of my memory spots is the hood of my car. This spot works for me because I can take a moment after an appointment and enter the commitment into my calendar or jot down a note based on the reminder sitting right in front of me. In my mind, I’d put my proposal on the alarm clock on the hood of my car. Committing something to memory and mentally placing it where you’ll see it is the equivalent of putting a note on the front door so you’ll see it when you leave for work in the morning. As you continue to use this technique, you’ll become accustomed to checking with yourself: Should there be a reminder on the hood of my car?

3. Stacking. If you just use rote memorization, you’ll probably top out at remembering roughly three items. That’s fine if your dinner only ever contains three ingredients or your to-do list only ever has three tasks on it. But most of us live more complicated lives than that. You’ve created your mental picture of the proposal on an alarm clock, and you’ve put it on the hood of your car where you’ll “see” it. But what if you also need to remember that you’ve promised three pricing options for the proposal, you’ve offered to include the bios for some experts that your client may need, and you’ve also decided that you need to invite this client to your annual Labor Day cookout?

Here’s how you do it: Stack your pictures. Now remember that these pictures need to be as vivid as possible so they’ll stick. So you have a blaring alarm clock with a proposal on top. You add a set of scales with three balances (three prices to consider) and two people sitting on the scales (your expert bios), and then imagine those people eating hot dogs (cookout). That’s everything you need to remember, all stacked up and sitting on the hood of your car.

4. Use rhymes. If I were to ask you where the rain in Spain stays, you’d have an answer right away. Mainly in the plain, right? The fact is, the mountains of Spain see more rain than the plains do, but everyone who’s seen My Fair Lady will answer this question the same way because the rhyme in the movie's song was so memorable. Rhymes are powerful memory devices. Create a rhyme, and you’ll dramatically improve your recall.

5. Use mnemonic devices. Acronyms like HOMES and sentences like Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally help you remember things like the names of the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior) and the mathematical order of operations (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction).

6. Work specifically on names. If you remember a new acquaintance’s name, you demonstrate that that he or she is important to you. Conversely, if you never remember names, you may appear careless. It’s worth spending some time to create a specific framework to help you remember names. There are 30 female first names and 30 male first names that account for the vast majority of the names you’ll encounter in the U.S. So make a list and come up with a picture association for each of these names. Something like Mike = motorbike or Helen (of Troy) = ships or Richard (the Lionhearted) = a crown. When you meet a Richard for the first time, you picture him with a crown on his head. Or when you meet a Helen, you picture her on a ship laying siege to Troy. Get the idea?

7. Use pictorial storage to remember lists of items. First, create an anchor list of rhymes associated with numbers. I use the following list and suggest you do, too:

One: Gun

Two: Shoe

Three: Tree

Four: Floor

Five: Beehive

Six: Pile of sticks

Seven: Heaven

Eight: Skate

Nine: Slime

Ten: Hen

You’ll work with this list enough that you’ll eventually memorize it, but while you’re practicing this technique, keep the list handy as a reference. With this list and a little practice, you’ll be able to recall dozens of items in order, simply by creating a word picture associated with each of the rhyming number pictures. Here’s an example: You need to remember to mail a letter, pick up your suit at the dry cleaners, call your father for his birthday, and get milk and 10 other items at the grocery store—all on your way home from work. Here’s how you remember it all:

One: Gun (gun firing a letter toward its destination)

Two: Shoe (your dress shoe that matches the suit you need for your meeting)

Three : Tree (the tree in your dad’s backyard)

Four: Floor (milk spilled on the floor in front of the refrigerator)

This chain can go on forever. Wonder what you do when you get to 11? Stack the picture onto your number-one picture: Your gun is now firing a letter that’s covered in grape jelly to remind you of the next item on your grocery list. You keep stacking these vivid pictures, and you’ll have a compact, detailed list in order, every time.

Can putting these tips to work magically transform you into Memory Man? Of course not, but you can spectacularly improve your memory—and the ways in which you are perceived by peers, clients and staff. Make the effort, and you’ll reap the benefits.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Where can you still find a PC running Windows 7?

Summary: If you want a PC running Windows 7, where do you look? Skip your local office superstore or big-box retailer and go where the business buyers go. In those channels, you'll find that Windows 7 never went away. In fact, it's not just alive, it's thriving.

By Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report | January 21, 2014 -- 21:21 GMT (13:21 PST)

The manufactured kerfuffle over HP’s decision to promote a few Windows 7 PCs on its online Home & Home Office Store is an attempt to stir up a fuss over something that every savvy business buyer knows already. Windows 7 doesn't need to make a comeback, because it never left.

In fact, it’s easy to find PCs running Windows 7. All you have to do is shop in the right channels.
This morning I conducted a thorough check of business-focused PC channels. As expected, I found a huge assortment of Windows 7 PCs available for purchase there.

As I noted yesterday, those Windows 7 PCs are a drop in the bucket at HP’s consumer-focused online store, which currently has a grand total of three Windows 7 desktops on offer, with 33 distinct Windows 8 and 8.1 desktop machines on offer.

But you get a very different story if you visit HP’s Small and Medium Business site. Or if you check in with U.S. archrival Dell, which also has a separate online store for Work and Business PCs.

On those sites, Windows 7 continues to be well represented. This isn’t a change from last year or a reaction to Windows 8. It’s business as usual.

When I checked last May, HP’s business side had 120 Windows 7 desktop and notebook PCs on offer, almost three times the number of Windows 8 PCs in the business store. Today, the total number of models is down slightly but the percentage is equally skewed.

Dell isn’t quite as unbalanced, but you can still choose from more than 60 discrete Windows 7 options in the Desktops and All-in-Ones and Laptops and Ultrabooks sections. You'll even find high-end Windows 7 machines under the Alienware brand, traditionally aimed at gamers but certainly fit for business use.

Your options get even more interesting if you visit some of the big online sites that specialize in serving the commercial channel, businesses and educational institutions. HP and its other archival, China's Lenovo, sell extensively through commercial sites.

Take CDW, for example, one of the biggest business-focused resellers around. I went to CDW's Computers section this morning and searched for downgrade in the Desktop computers category. That produced 378 results, all with Windows 8 Pro licenses downgraded to Windows 7 Pro.

First on the CDW list is the HP Pro 3500, a solid if slightly staid desktop PC with a 3.2 GHz Core i5 (Ivy Bridge), 4GB of RAM, and Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.

If you want something beefier, you can get the EliteDesk 800 G1, with a Core i7 4770 (Haswell), also downgraded to Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.

In fact, at CDW 9 out of first 10 machines on the list of desktop PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled as a downgrade are from HP. Out of the top 20, 14 are from HP, with Lenovo getting 5 models and Acer getting a single mention.

These aren't crappy machines, either. In all, CDW has 69 configurations available with Core i7 CPUs and Windows 7 downgrades, including a nice-looking Lenovo small-footprint PC, the ThinkCentre M93p 10AB, which has 8 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SSD, Bluetooth 4.0, and a Windows 7 downgrade.

Even the consumer-friendly Newegg, a favorite of PC hobbyists and DIY system builders, has lots of choices available: Search for Windows 7 downgrade and you get a list of 27 desktop and notebook PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed, ranging in price from $398.00 all the way up to more than $3,900 for an HP EliteBook Mobile Workstation with a Haswell Core i7, 32 GB of RAM, twin 256 GB SSDs, and AMD FirePro graphics.

It's true that PC retailers aimed at consumers tend to push the newer, touch-enabled Windows 8 devices. But don't assume that means you can't track down a Windows 7 box. At the most consumery retailer of them all, Best Buy, you can still find PCs running Windows 7. When I searched at in the Desktops and All-in-ones category, the filtering tool told me it has 369 Windows 8 machines to choose from, as well as 227 Windows 7 options, including choices from third-party sites that sell through Best Buy.

Personally, if I were going to buy a Windows 7 PC today I would look for one that includes a Windows 8 Pro license and has been downgraded to Windows 7 Pro by the OEM. That configuration gives you the flexibility to upgrade to Windows 8.1 (or, presumably, 8.2 or 8.3, if those versions arrive in the next year or two) for free. If you buy a PC with a Windows 7 license and decide later that you want to upgrade, you'll have to pay dearly for the privilege.

The bottom line: Windows 7 never went away. It continues to be widely available today, just as it was before Microsoft released Windows 8. Under Microsoft's normal sales lifecycle, OEMs would be prohibited from building and selling new PCs when the two-year anniversary of Windows 8 rolls around in October 2014. We'll see what happens then, however. I won't be surprised if Microsoft extends that date.

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Windows 8.1 Power User Guide by Microsoft

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

.net 100 Top Websites presented by Entrepreneur

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Monday, January 13, 2014

You can use a phone while aboard without huge fees by Anick Jesdanun

BANGKOK (AP) — If you have a trip outside the United States coming up, one thing you'll likely want to bring is your cellphone. You might have heard warnings about how those phones can accrue international charges quickly through your U.S. wireless carrier. It doesn't have to be that way.

In the past, I've simply turned off my phone's cellular connections while abroad. But nearly three weeks in Thailand and Cambodia earlier this year proved too long to stay away from email, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare and other time sinks.

If you're traveling internationally, check with your carrier on whether your phone will even work with cellular networks abroad. If it doesn't, you can still use apps through Wi-Fi connections at hotels and malls. Your phone company might even rent or loan a compatible phone.



Will you make a lot of calls or texts? Before I left, Verizon told me that calls would cost $1.99 a minute in Thailand and $2.89 a minute in Cambodia. No, thanks. I'll just text people instead. To avoid text charges, I signed up for three free services, WhatsApp, Line and Viber. The catch is that you can text only with those on the same service, so your contacts will also have to join.

Where international use can get expensive is in data charges. Verizon was charging $20.48 per megabyte in either country. Just opening the Facebook app uses more than half a megabyte. Five minutes of scrolling through friends' posts can eat up more than 10 megabytes, or more than $200. That's before sharing a single photo. Bills can reach thousands of dollars in no time.

The solution is to get a data plan.

T-Mobile's main plans now offer free text and data in more than 100 countries. Speeds are adequate for sending email and checking Facebook, though you'll need to pay for faster speeds. Other U.S. carriers offer affordable packages, too, if you plan ahead.

Start by monitoring how you use your phone. On Android, look for "Data usage" in the settings. On the iPhone, go to "General," then "Usage" under the settings. Check back in a few days or a week to see how much data you have used. Android also will tell you what apps have been using your data. Owners of iPhones can get a free app called Onavo Count. Your cellphone bill might also have information on past data use.

Keep in mind you might use your phone more than usual because you won't be checking from regular computers at home or work. Check if your hotel offers Wi-Fi, as that might help reduce cellular use. If there's a daily charge for Wi-Fi, your phone might still be cheaper.

To reduce data use further, turn off automatic syncing for as many apps as you can. I also kept my phone on airplane mode most of the time and allowed connections only periodically. I monitored my data usage to spot data hogs early.



Your phone company can tell you about their packages. Although Verizon quoted a $20.48-per-megabyte charge, it offered me 100 megabytes for $25 in Thailand if I signed up in advance. That's 99 percent cheaper than $2,048. I'd still have to pay regular prices in Cambodia. Weekly and monthly rates are sometimes available as well. It varies by carrier and by country, so it's best to check before you leave.

You can also ask about calling and texting packages. In Cambodia, for example, I could have saved 60 cents a minute on calls by paying a one-time fee of $4.99. Because my visit to Cambodia was short, I got by with the hotel's free Wi-Fi for data and made no calls or texts.

Whatever your needs, don't commit until you explore other options.

It will likely be cheaper if you buy a phone package at your destination. Local carriers typically have shops at airports. In Thailand, the True mobile company offered 3 gigabytes for less than $35. Had I used Verizon's plan, I likely would have needed a second or third block of data for $25 each. True gave me much more for much less. One drawback is I must use a temporary phone number, not my regular one back home.

If you go this route, turn off data roaming on your phone before you leave so you're not inadvertently charged. Leave the phone on airplane mode until the local plan is set up. If you forget, some carriers will warn you by text, but sometimes after you've started accruing charges.



You need an unlocked phone to use another carrier's SIM card. U.S. phones are typically locked, but major carriers will unlock them upon request after your contract is up or the phone is paid off. Some carriers will also unlock it before international travel — if you ask. Third-party services also offer to unlock the phone for you, but the legality is dubious, and you risk disabling your phone permanently.

If you don't have an unlocked phone, try borrowing or renting one. Telestial and Cellular Abroad offer phone rentals and international data plans. They are sometimes more expensive than what your U.S. carrier offers, though. You can also try to rent one at the airport when you arrive.

If you travel a lot, consider buying a cheap unlocked phone, such as the $179 Moto G. The advantage of that is you don't have to configure it with your favorite apps and contacts each time.

I have an unlimited data plan in the U.S., so I rarely pay attention to my consumption. Traveling made me realize how precious data allotment can be. It also made me realize how valuable an unlocked phone is. The biggest tip I can offer: Don't get rid of your old phone when you upgrade. Get it unlocked so that you'll have that for future trips abroad.


Anick Jesdanun, deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, can be reached at







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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Apps for phone make life simpler in the new year by Good Housekeeping

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Start Shooting! Tips to master your new digital camera by Marc Saltzman

Start Shooting by Marc Saltzman
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Must-have cellphone gadgets, plan to make life easier by Gregg Ellman - McClatchy-Tribune

A lot of portable USB charging batteries advertise that they give your smartphone and other power hungry devices a full charge on the go, which is typically true.

The Anker Astro3 external battery takes it to another level with its 12,000mAh capacity to charge most smartphones six to seven times before it needs a charge.

It has three USB ports for charging three portable USB devices simultaneously.

One of those ports is a Smart Port, which is capable of charging both the high-powered devices such as the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

A neat thing is that there isn’t a button or switch on the battery. To get it going, just shake it and plug in your device to begin the charging.

There is a small circular LED power indicator dial on the front indicating how much power is left in the Astro3.

It’s also built with smart chip technology to determine full charging speeds, so your device will be safe and charged properly.

It’s built with a cool-looking black matte finish and measures about 4.4-by-3.3-by-1 inches and weighs 10.6 ounces. This lets it easily find a home in a computer bag or pocket for power on the go.

Details: $49.99; an accessory bag to store the battery is included;

Otterbox’s pocket space saver
Smartphone storage solutions kind of bore me at this point but Otterbox always seems to have iPhone accessories that stick out from the rest. The company’s newest to prove that statement true is the Commuter Wallet phone case.

The multi-functional case for the iPhone 5/5s and the Samsung Galaxy S4 protects the devices as well as any case on the market, if not better. But what takes it to the next level is a sliding compartment on the bottom for a few credit cards or driver’s license.

It makes your phone a little bulkier but when you consider you eliminated your wallet, it’s a pocket space saver.

Otterbox also recently announced the Preserver Series line of waterproof cases.

They are available for the iPhone 5 and are coming soon for the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s.
The cases are designed for spontaneous drops in the snow, puddles or an unexpected rainstorm. They are also designed to protect your phones from drops up to 6.6 feet.

Details: $44.95 for the Commuter Wallet, $89.95 for the Preserver, both available in multiple color combinations;

Solavei could lower cellphone bill

Contracts, roaming, texting, email and data are all wrapped up in the miserable monthly cellphone bill, which we less than enjoy opening.

Solavei, a social commerce network, recently emailed to me to introduce itself as a company on the mission of making everyday commerce less expensive for people, including lowering monthly cellular bills.

The company is true to its word on contract-free cellular service, which I tested on a loaner iPhone 5 using their nationwide 4G network.

For an incredibly low $49 per month users get unlimited calls, texting and data services, which I know beats my Verizon bill by more than half.

They even offer a service for subscribers to save money when they share the mobile service with others through its social commerce platform.

For example, members can earn up to $20 per month for every three members they or someone directly connected to them signs up for mobile service. As they go forward, the more people you sign up, the more income earned.

Solavei uses unlocked GSM iPhones in 37 new markets with the 1900 MHz band. You have the choice of using your own phone or buying one from a Solavei retail partner.

Additionally, you can port over your current phone number or just get a new one.

If you choose to join, check with your current provider to make sure you’re contract free to avoid fees, which you will be responsible for before you can transfer your number.