6 Steps to Help Startups Establish as Businesses

This article provides useful tips on how to successfully establish your startup as a business.

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership: The Importance of Leading by Emotions

Leading with EQ - Learn how to manage your emotions and be more efficient and effective at work.

Personal Learning Networks for Educators

Personal Learning Networks are the 21st century way of connecting educators across the world. Know all about it.


How to Fill and Edit PDF Forms with Able2Extract Pro 12 [Sneak Preview]

Description :

Few years ago, THE OFFICIAL ANDREASCY editorial team featured the Able2Extract PDF Converter and presented the multiple benefits of owning a similar software program. At the time, it was the first cross-platform PDF conversion software compatible with Windows, Linux and MacOS. Since then (we tested and reviewed the version 8), Able2Extract Professional has grown into a full-blown PDF solution that not only converts PDF to other file types, but also creates, annotates and edits PDFs on the spot.

How to Fill and Edit PDF Forms with Able2Extract Pro 12 [Sneak Preview]
 
PDF annotations and advanced editing files without conversion seem to be the most interesting recent additions and productivity boosters when it comes to working with PDFs. Using PDF annotations, for example, you can easily highlight your PDF content or add custom watermarks to your files. And, of course, direct editing of PDF content is the holy grail of efficient PDF file management.

Few days ago, we have learned that the developer is about to release the newest, updated version of the software with lots of new features and enhancements. These include adding customized bates numbers to PDFs, even faster conversion of multiple PDFs at once, and, most notably, PDF forms filling and editing. 

Interactive PDF forms allow us to minimize the usage of paper and save time on scanning various paper forms that we need to submit elsewhere. That is exactly why we wanted to be the first ones to actually test and demonstrate how you can complete and modify PDF forms with Able2Extract Professional 12 that is about to be released on December 6th 2017. 

So, without further ado, here is the detailed tutorial on filling and editing PDF forms.

How to Fill Out PDF Forms

To start completing a PDF form with Able2Extract, just open it in the software using the Open icon on the command toolbar, or hit Ctrl+O on your keyboard.


As soon as you have your interactive PDF form opened in Able2Extract, you are ready to interact with it. Click on the field and start entering your information. Input text into text fields, select multiple items on list boxes, specify your options in combo-boxes and checkboxes, and click on push-buttons.

How to Fill and Edit PDF Forms with Able2Extract Pro 12 [Sneak Preview]

If you make a mistake while you are completing the form, you can go back to any given field and make desired edits. 

Once you’ve completed the form, save it to your hard drive or submit. To save a form, click on the Save icon you can also find on the toolbar (or, if you prefer to use the keyboard, then CTRL+S will do the trick). Next time you open the same PDF form, it will contain the information that you entered in Able2Extract. Of course, should you prefer to save one blank copy on your hard drive, save the completed form using the Save As option on the File menu. 

How to Fill and Edit PDF Forms with Able2Extract Pro 12 [Sneak Preview]

How to Edit PDF Forms 

The latest version of Able2Extract comes with an integrated PDF form editor. Thanks to this advanced capability, you can not only fill out PDF forms but also easily modify them. For example, insert an additional text field or add a new combobox. Or, maybe just add a new item or delete the existing one from the combobox already present in the PDF form. 

It’s really easy, but here is the quick how to guide to editing PDF forms. 

Open the PDF form in Able2Extract as already described. Then click on the Edit icon also easily recognized on the main toolbar to switch to the PDF editing more. 

On the right side, you will see the Edit PDF side panel. Further to the right, you will see two small tabs. You will need to click on the PDF form tab that is just below the tab you are currently in (see the screenshot below):

How to Fill and Edit PDF Forms with Able2Extract Pro 12 [Sneak Preview]

Having done that, you will see the Edit PDF form side-panel with two main sections: Form Fields and Properties.

How to Fill and Edit PDF Forms with Able2Extract Pro 12 [Sneak Preview]

As you can see in the screen capture above, you can add six different form fields (from the top left row to the bottom right row): text box, combobox, list box, checkbox, radio button, action button. And you can also delete any form field (just select it by clicking on it). 

To add a form field, click on it and drag onto the page. 

Note that for each form field that you add, you can define properties like name, font, font size, background or border color, line width and border style. You can also specify that a certain field be Read-only or Required by checking the appropriate box in the Properties menu. 

Clicking the More button, you will have the option to define additional properties for the specified PDF field. Let’s take, for example, the text field. You can customize the default text, specify that the field be multiline, turn off the spell check for the entered text and more, as you can see on the image below.

How to Fill and Edit PDF Forms with Able2Extract Pro 12 [Sneak Preview]

Obviously, there are multiple options for customizing and editing your forms. You can create complex PDF forms with Able2Extract. 

Having created your PDF form, save it. Optionally, you can go back to the convert mode by clicking on the Convert icon found on the toolbar and complete the form you have just made. Then proceed to saving. 

Conclusion

Our verdict is the Able2Extract Professional’s form filler and editor work really well. Of course, most people will probably use it to complete PDF forms and submit it to servers. But the real power lies in its PDF form editing functionality. Users who often prepare and work with PDF forms will probably best recognize its potential and appreciate it. 

As noted at the beginning of this review and tutorial, Able2Extract Professional 12, with form filling and editing will be released on December 6th, 2017. So, if you want to try it for yourself, it will from that date be available for download here. Trying it is free for 7 days -- just about enough to play with and test all (or most) of its features. 

*by andreascy*

8 Strategies for a More Efficient Home

Description :

Life only gets busier and busier. Ever since the industrial revolution, we do more and more. In recent decades, advances in technology allow us to stay far more connected, at the cost of being far busier. Staying on top of your life, and your home, has never been a bigger challenge. 

8 Strategies for a More Efficient Home

We’ve identified eight strategies that can help you be more efficient at home. They range from embracing technology all the way down to how you shop at the grocery store. The goal is embrace a few of these tactics so that you can get a little bit more free time without losing your productivity. 

1. Buy Groceries Pre-Cut

You don’t realize how much time you spend cutting, chopping, shredding, dicing, mincing, and slicing as you prepare a meal. And, awhile back, someone brilliant thought it would be a good idea to start selling food in the grocery store where they had already done all of this for you. 

Nowadays, you can buy your cheese shredded and your garlic minced. You can buy your vegetables chopped and your deli meat sliced. You might already be buying one or two of these items pre-cut, but have you ever sat down and evaluated all of the areas you could save time by going all-in on this?

Next time you make a store list, spend a minute going through it and asking the question “Can I buy this pre-cut?” If so, do it. You’ll be surprised by how many things you can buy pre-cut. Not sure if it comes pre-cut? Put a question mark next to it, and look for it at the store. Ask a clerk if you can’t find it easily.

Yes, typically speaking, the pre-cut version of the food is a little but more expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, it might not be the best option for right now. But, in my experience, the amount of time you’ll save far outweighs the slight cost increase. 

2. Purchase a Smart Lock for your Front Door

There are several benefits to having a smart lock on your front door. First and foremost, you’ll be the ire of all of your neighbors with your cool looking dead bolt, and state of the art entry mechanism. And, that’s worth it alone right?

On a serious note, for starters you won’t have to manage the number of keys you have floating around to your house any longer. At a certain point, you start to lose track of how many spare keys you have floating around, and it isn’t particularly safe. Also, you’ll never have to worry about leaving your keys and being locked out of your house. It only takes that happening once for you to realize how frustrating that is (and how big of a waste of time)!

You also won’t have to deal with having to make and transfer a key to family members, friends that are in town, housekeepers and maintenance workers… the list goes on. 

Keyless locks come in two basic types - one’s that utilize a number pad, and one’s that utilize technology. If you’re worried about wireless security, you might opt for the number pad version. However, there are several additional benefits that come with the technologically smart version. 

Your door will automatically unlock as you approach it with your smart phone on you. Also, you can quickly issue access to friends and family through their smartphone, and set boundaries on how long it is accessible for.

Lets take a real life example that just happened to me. I forgot to turn off our lights before leaving for a long weekend. I quickly texted my neighbor, and gave her access through her phone to our front door for 2 hours. She ran over and turned the lights off. Voila!

3. Cook in a Crockpot

If only I had known about this in college. Did you know it was possible to open your fridge, grab a couple of things, throw them into a crockpot, walk away for 4-8 hours, and come back to an amazing meal?

It’s a little more complicated than that, but not by much. A crockpot is a very simple cooking appliance, and it seems that almost everything you put in it comes out tasting good. And, with very little effort. 

Related: 31 Crockpot Freezer Meals for Busy Weeknights

Take this recipe, for example: four frozen chicken breasts and a can of salsa. Dump both into a crockpot, set on low, and when you come home from work or errands, you’ll have an amazing meal. Wrap it in a tortilla and put a little cheese on top, and several of my friends have commented that it tasted better than the local Mexican restaurant. 

Crockpots are amazing because they save you both time and money. The time savings are obvious – the slow cooking components of the process allow you to do very little prep to end up with a great meal. However, you can also save a lot of money with a crockpot. Typically, you can make an amazing meal with much cheaper meat. Again, the slow cooking process breaks down the meat into something quite good. Chuck roast, pork shoulder – these cuts of meat taste amazing in the crockpot, and could usually be purchased very inexpensively.

4. Buy in Bulk

You’ve probably heard this one from your mother at some point, but it is so true. Buying in bulk saves you money, but it also saves you so much time. 

It’s painful at first. It never seems like it's going to be very expensive until you get to the checkout line. Almost as painful is trying to figure out where to store it all. Who has room for 28 rolls of paper towels? And that 5 gallon drum of 409? Ok, I exaggerate, but you get the point. If you live in a small home, or don’t have a lot of storage, you do need to take this into consideration. 

But then the benefits kick in. You rarely have to make those emergency runs to the store to get just one item. Your life is interrupted far less by the need to go to the neighbor’s for an egg. 

And again, the savings are definitely there. You get a discount when you buy in bulk, and you’ll notice the savings over time. Just make sure you have a track record of using it before you buy in bulk. Otherwise, you might end up with a whole lot of something that looked good but didn’t turn out so.

5. Use Technology for List Creation

All this talk of what to buy, how much of it to buy, and how to cook it… you need a good list to keep track of everything. And if you’re still making your lists with pen and paper, or even on a computer, its time to leverage technology for that.

There are a plethora of apps available for your phone that you can create and update a list on in real time. The best part of this is that you always have your list on you, whether at home, at the store, or on the go. Whenever you think of something you need, you can quickly add it to your list.

Another benefit is that you can share these lists with others. So, for example, if your husband or wife lets you know that they need to stop by the store on the way home from work, you can quickly share the list with them and they can grab everything you need.

Better yet, share the app with others in your home that have a role in that list. That way, all can add to it in real time, and all can check it off in real time.

Lists don’t just have to be for the store. They can be for household projects, homework assignments, and long term journaling. I actually have a list on my phone for when I think of a good gift for someone. 

6. Unsubscribe from Junk Snail Mail

Yes, it’s possible. I won’t say that there is an easy button for it, but with a little work, you can rid yourself of the vast majority of junk mail that you receive. I know because I’ve done it. 

For starters, start to think closer about where you are using your address on forms. Try to be more mindful of not giving out your address if possible. 

Your first action item is to contact the Direct Marketing Association and let them know you want to stop receiving junk mail. They call it “offers” that you have participated in, but you get the picture. It’s very easy to do, and will start to stem the flow of endless junk snail mail.

Next, sign up for TrustedID Mail Preference Service. It’s free, and you can search for individual companies that you get junk mail from, and opt out. Spend an evening doing that.

Last, try taking advantage of PaperKarma, an app that lets you opt out of snail mail. As they say “Snap a photo. Stop junk mail and unwanted catalogs”.

Junk mail takes minutes every day to deal with, but those minutes add up to hours and hours every year. 

7. Rethink your Chores

House chores are never ending. Just when you finish a chore, it seems like its time to start on it all over again. And, if you fall behind, it can seem like a tremendous hurdle to get caught back up.

For many, the reason you fall behind on chores is a never-ending spiral that has to do with how you fundamentally approach those chores. As you get behind, the chores stack up. So, when you finally get around to doing the chore, it’s typically more extensive and time consuming to get it completed. This means that it takes longer, setting you even further behind on your other chores. And so the cycle goes.

Try re-thinking your chores. For starters, break each chore up into smaller components that can be done piece by piece. As an example, instead of vacuuming the entire house once per week, try vacuuming one room each day. This is much easier to accomplish, and a lot easier to catch up on if you miss one day.

Next, think about ways to make the chore simpler. Sticking with our vacuuming example, invest in a stick vacuum to put in a downstairs closet near your high traffic areas. These lightweight, easy-to-use vacuums come with cordless models, so you can whip it out and just vacuum the kitchen and dining room in a matter of minutes. 

Finally, follow the 80/20 rule, which says that “80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” In other words, 80% of the effects from vacuuming comes from 20% of your efforts. How does this apply? Basically, it’s better to vacuum frequently, but not spend as much time on it, rather than doing an in-depth vacuum job infrequently.

You can still do a detailed vacuuming job, but perhaps that is best reserved for once per month.

Take the vacuuming example and apply to all the various chores you have. The goal is rethink how you approach your chores to focus on shorter sprints of execution. This will make you more efficient, while still giving you a majority of the results.

8. Go Smart

We talked earlier about adding a keyless entry to your front door, and mentioned that you could do this with a smart door lock. However, you don’t have to stop there. 

“Smart” is the term used of late to refer to home automation, or the automating of tasks at home. In practice, its less about automation, and more about making your life easier through incorporating various technologies. 

Here are a few areas we have added smart technology to our home, with great success:

 Smart Thermostat: Our air conditioning and heating system is now hooked up to a smart thermostat. You can still control it from the unit in your home, but you can now also access through an app on your phone. More importantly, the thermostat learns your patterns over time, and gradually sets the house to the temperature you prefer. This results in ease-of-use, while also saving you money on your energy bill in the long run.

 Smart Sprinkler System: Our sprinkler system now connects to the internet, getting updated on the weather. When it is going to rain, the sprinklers automatically turn off. You can also access this from an app on your phone. On a really hot day, sometimes I’ll turn on my sprinklers for an extra cycle in the evening, from my phone. 

 Amazon Echo: Amazon’s Echo is a hands-free, intelligent, personal assistant that responds to voice commands. It connects to a majority of your other devices. There are dozens of benefits, but my favorite ties in to a previously mentioned tip. You can update your lists simply through a voice command.

Conclusion 

There are numerous other ways to make your home smart, from tying in your lighting to your entertainment to your security. Each comes with an initial upfront cost, but will save you time and money over the long run. 

Our culture of busy can make keeping a home up challenging at times. Combatting this business with some of these efficiency tactics can free up some time for you, while still keep you on task. 

*by andreascy*

Why Are Comply Foam Headphones So Popular?

Description :

Many gamers and music fanatics prefer the use of over-ear headsets or silicon-based inner earbuds because of the high-quality sound on offer. However, such headphones don’t always provide the ultimate experience for several reasons, one of those being the fact they are often uncomfortable during prolonged use. 

Why Are Comply Foam Headphones So Popular?

Comply foam ear-budded headphones are becoming more and more popular because they’ve been able to solve the problems other headphones haven’t had a chance to. Here are a number of reasons why consumers are now looking toward comply foam earbud headphones for their listening requirements.

1. Comply Foam Headphones Help Isolate External Noise

Many gamers and professionals who use over-ear headphones have access to quality sound, but they don’t always get that quality sound because of external noise that can often interrupt the overall listening experience. With comply foam earbuds, you don’t get that problem because they put sound straight into the ear and prevent any external noise from entering. Comply foam based headphones have been around for years now, but it’s only been within the last few years where consumers have really seen the benefits they provide. 

2. Comfortable Experience

Gamers and music listeners often use headphones for longer periods for their entertainment purposes, but they regret it soon afterward because their ears feel sore. That problem goes away with comply foam earbuds – the soft solutions help improve comfort so consumers can take advantage of them for hours upon hours without experiencing any soreness. Take a look at complyfoam.com to see the comfort benefits such headphone solutions provide. 

3. Durable & Reliable

Bulkier over-ear headphones don’t tend to last long because they’re fragile and are usually only made out of plastic. Comply foam based headphones are compact, simple, and very durable. They do come at a cost, however, but they can always be relied upon to last for years. Therefore, they are a much more cost-effective solution than some of the other headphone solutions on the market. 

4. Flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of comply foam earbuds: they’re very flexible. Everyone has different sized/shaped ears and many headphones on the market don’t provide enough flexibility. However, not only are comply foam earbuds great at isolating external noise, providing a comfortable experience, and last for a long time, but they’re very flexible and provide comfort for different ears of all shapes and sizes. So, if you can’t find a set of headphones that can cater to the needs of your ears, consider comply foam tips today for the ultimate experience that is almost guaranteed to provide comfort.

Conclusion 

Granted, many of the other headphones out there can provide excellent quality sound and comfort, which might suit gamers looking for more out of their experience. Others also provide the over-ear experience which is something music listeners often prefer. However, with comply foam making strides in producing high-quality sound, comfort, and flexibility for all consumers, it could only be a matter of time before comply foam is one of the biggest players in the headphone market.

Thank you all for checking out my articles! Can I help you in some way or another? Let me know below and I’ll be glad to give you a hand!

*by andreascy*

Thinking About Buying a Hoverboard? Read This First!

Description :

The hoverboard has grown in popularity because it's easy and fun to use. You can ride one to get to where you're going faster than you could by walking, and since it's smaller than a bike, it's convenient for those who want to try to take it out on city streets. 

Thinking About Buying a Hoverboard? Read This First!

The board gets its name because the wheels on most of the boards are slightly under the edges, giving the appearance of the person floating above the ground. Most boards have two wheels, but there are also solo wheels. You can find hoverboards online and in many retail stores. When you start searching for boards, you'll find a number of designs depending on exactly what you want to stand on while you're moving from one place to another as some do offer more space for the feet. Most boards have a small motor that is connected to each wheel. This allows you to move each foot by itself instead of traveling with both feet in place, similar to a skateboard. 

CNN has named the IO Hawk hoverboard "one of the coolest pieces of technology." Other companies have jumped on board with the craze and developed their own styles. You've probably seen the boards on awards shows and demonstrated in retail stores. They are popular in other countries besides the United States. Several musicians and actors have been seen using hoverboards. They have been used in music videos and movies in the past several years. 

Choosing the Best Board

There are a few things that you can do to discover the best board for your body and skill level. Among the best on the market are the Segway miniPRO and the Jetson V6. Taller wheels on the Segway allow for traveling over a variety of terrains, where a standard hoverboard usually has wheels that are closer to the ground that keep you on sidewalks and streets. There are sensors on the board that will slow you down if you're going over terrain that is hilly or that could cause injuries. A steering bar that comes to the knees on the miniPRO allows for easy control of the board. One of the features of the Jetson is that it's stable and has a wide base. The board also has an app that goes along with it so that you can see various details of the product and your usage. 

Shane Chen is known for patenting the design of the hoverboard. The design of the boards is essentially the same no matter what brand you get. There are pressure pads on the boards that have two wheels, activating the motor that is associated with the coordinating wheel. There are also speed sensors that activate the board as well. When you look at each board that is on the market, the thing that will set them apart is how they feel while riding and the experience of the rider. Two boards that are the exact same might not deliver the same ride for two people because one is more experienced than the other. When looking for a board, you want to find one that has the best sensitivity for your feet. You should feel comfortable while riding the board instead of feeling as though you might fall off, which does take some practice. The research group at Reviews.com recently took on the challenge to find the best boards available. Their methods used to find the best boards can also be used if you are looking for something for yourself. 

Back in 2015 there were reports of hoverboards exploding or catching on fire. One of the first things that the group did was to eliminate the boards that gave any indication of exploding or that had the potential to explode, which is something that you want to look for when selecting your own product. The board that you choose should be certified and put through a detailed electrical test to determine if it could explode. Although there is nothing that will guarantee 100 percent safety, these tests should put you at a high safety percentage while riding. 

After choosing a few boards to try, you want to ride each one inside the home or inside a building, such as your office building at work. You want to use safety gear at all times if possible, especially when first starting out. Figure out the proper way to get onto the board and how to get off. You might need some kind of secure device beside you the first few times you get on and off, but once you're able to mount and dismount with ease, it's like riding a bike. Most people will be a little off-balance while they ride for the first few times. It takes practice to get to a point where you can ride a hoverboard like a professional. It's possible that there will be a crash or two, but it's important to learn from the mistakes that you make so that you know how to ride the next time. 

One of the things that you need to look for if you plan to ride your hoverboard for long periods of time is the battery life. Some boards just don't have a battery life that lasts longer than a few hours while others will last half a day or longer. The Segway miniPRO is a board that has the longest battery life out of several that the research group tried. 

When you look at the hoverboards in front of you, you might notice that they look almost exactly the same except for the brand name. There could be differences in the pattern on the outside of the board or the type of tread on the wheels as most boards have the wheels on the outside area of the board. Some boards have the same robotic voice that tells you what to do or that offers tips on how to use the device. They will likely have the same kind of app to use. Hoverboards are similar in appearance because most of the companies that make them are in China. When the boards are made, they are picked up by outside companies, and a new name is put on each one. 

Another aspect to consider when you're getting a hoverboard is the price. Most are in the $500 to $700 range for a sufficient board that will do everything that you want and has the appearance that you desire. However, Don’t buy cheap, uncertified boards. Though many online merchants list boards that look like our top picks at dirt-cheap prices, we advise caution. These boards are often uncertified knockoffs that haven’t undergone safety tests. While the exterior of the board may appear similar, the lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are sometimes replaced by cheap, dangerous counterfeits that may catch fire.

Once you have mastered using the hoverboard inside, it's time to see if you can ride it outdoors. Stay on a flat surface to start with so that you're not navigating hills and slippery areas. You should also try to find a place that doesn't have many people or cars until you feel better about being on the board. A park is a good place to go or an empty parking lot. After you have mastered flat surfaces outside, you can move on to the terrain that you might encounter during the day, such as sidewalks that have rough patches or even grassy surfaces to see how well the tires would do on a surface that isn't paved. 

When you're choosing the best hoverboard, you want to find one that handles a variety of road situations. You want to get a board that can stop quickly and easily. Some boards are better suited for riding indoors, so you need to look at the features and specifications of the boards that are available to see which ones are meant for riding outside. A true off-road board will usually have larger tires with thicker tread on them and feel a bit more comfortable while you're riding compared to a board that is only meant for riding inside. 

The best board that is recommended for general commuting is the Segway miniPRO. It can be used inside or outside and is a better option if you plan to use it on a daily basis. The tires are filled with enough air to absorb the shock that you put the board through while riding. There are wide foot pads that make the board comfortable to be on for a few hours at a time. This is a hoverboard that does well with going up hills and going over surfaces that are cracked or that are littered with small pieces of debris. It does have quite a bit of speed to it as well. The Segway has a few features that other boards don't offer. You can set the lock mode in place so that an alarm will sound if anyone other than the person who operates the app is on the board. You are required to use an app with this board, but it does mean an added bit of security. There are speakers built into the board. 

The Jetson V6 offers several details that make it among the best on the market. It's lightweight and offers a smooth experience for even the novice rider. Wide fenders on the sides of the board allow for easy maneuvering whether you're inside or outside. The larger fenders also provide a bit more stability and security while you're riding. Turning while on the board seems almost automatic and is smooth. It does do best on flat surfaces instead of surfaces that are rougher. The frame is made of plastic, which makes it easy to pick up and carry with you wherever you want to go during the day. 

If you plan on being outside on the grass, then you want a board that has larger wheels so that you have more support. Read all of the description and reviews online and any information that comes with the board so that you're operating the device properly and safely. Look at the weight limits of the board as some are designed for younger or lighter riders. However, most boards will support the weight of an average man. Children shouldn't ride hoverboards if they are under 12 years old, and if they are under this age, they need to be monitored at all times and wear the proper safety equipment while riding. 

Also, be aware of where you live because hoverboards are illegal in some areas. They have been banned at college campuses, malls, airports, and certain roads in several states and countries. Know local laws before riding in public.

Safety Tips

There are a few safety tips that you want to remember while you're riding. Any device that has wheels has the potential of causing an accident of some kind. Even if you use the board properly, there's always a risk. This is why you need to wear everything from a helmet to knee pads so that the body is protected. Watch your surroundings so that you can clearly see if there is anyone walking behind you or near you or if there are any cars in the area if you're on the street or in a park. You also want to wear a shoe that has grip. 

When you mount the board for the first time, check to see that it has a self-balancing setting. This will help to keep the board still while you're putting your feet on the pads. The panels on the sides of the board should be level, and you want the wheels to gently respond to any type of pressure that they are given. Use your dominant foot to get on the board before putting the other foot in place.

Conclusion

Hoverboards can be a lot of fun, but do your research before you purchase one and exercise appropriate safety precautions when riding one.


Really appreciate your long-standing support! Big thanks!

*by andreascy*

Investing Is For Everyone, Here's What You Need To Know

Description :

Social security isn’t going to run out, but its numbers fluctuate and there’s no telling how much it will pay for retirement. It only brings in about 75 percent of what it’s intended to pay out each year, which could leave you with less than you’re hoping for. 

Investing Is For Everyone, Here's What You Need To Know

That’s why you need a well-rounded and diversified investment portfolio regardless if you’re low-income or high. The following lists the various types of investment opportunities available to you, and the importance of using an investment management company to help you ensure long-term success.

Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds

These two things are not similar: stocks and bonds. Stocks allow you to buy your way into company ownership. Bonds allow you to lend your money out and receive interest and eventual repayment. Mutual funds combine both stocks and bonds and they’re managed by third-parties. It’s important to choose an investment management company that understands risk. For example, Shailesh Dash, named one of Forbes’ “Top Indian Leaders” in 2015, uses “fundamental analysis to identify value.”

Analysis is everything, and it’s going to ensure that outcomes are fully researched. This ensures a successful long-term return with fewer risks. Not all management companies are created equal, and not all are so homed in on risk and reward. Even if you’re only investing in your 401k, it’s important to research your management company to ensure they’re doing all they can to protect and grow your money. 

Real Estate 

Home ownership is important, but mortgage debt can hold you back in life. The secret to successful real estate investing is to not live outside your means, and don’t mortgage yourself to death. If you’re considering purchasing your first home, you may want to own a duplex. Live in one side and rent out the other; or, continue to rent and rent out both properties.

Here are a few more ways to invest in real estate that is growing to be a profitable market:

 Senior and disability-friendly apartments/homes.

 Off-campus homes for students.

 Off-base military housing.

 Low-income and halfway houses.

On its LinkedIn page, Shailesh Dash recommends that you utilize a qualified management company to evaluate and optimize your real estate portfolio. This is good advice, again because it minimizes risk and maximizes reward. You’ll receive a “full spectrum of debt management… including acquisition finance, debt restructuring, strategic debt financing, and coordination of bank syndicates.” As well as your assets will be evaluated, your transactions structured, and more.

Alternative Investments

Alternative investments are any investments that don’t fall into the traditional category of stocks, bonds, and cash. Real estate is considered an alternative investment, but it deserved its own space on this page because it’s one of the best ways for lower income individuals to build gradual wealth. Other examples of alternative investments include wine, art, precious metals, hedge funds, private equity, and venture capital. 

As far as retirement goes, certain collections are always a great investment. For example, silver and gold are two things you can always buy low and sell high. The secret is to know when to buy and sell. Don’t just buy silver now because you have some extra money; instead, place that money into a savings account and wait for silver to go down. Luckily, there are lots of places online that monitor the prices of silver and gold and can help you make a good decision of when and where to buy.

As far as investing goes, it’s never too late to start. But, the earlier you start the better. No matter where you are in life (in college, in debt post college, or middle-aged), investing in your future can only help you. Talk to a money manager now, and you can start putting away what you need to have a carefree retirement. 

Looking forward to your comments.

*by andreascy*

Are You Underestimating the Importance of Data Security?

Description :

Since the invention of the internet, data has taken on a whole new meaning. While advancement in technologies has made it convenient for us to share, store, input, and review data from virtually anywhere, this also puts businesses and everyday consumers at risk. 

Are You Underestimating the Importance of Data Security?

Everything from your bank account information and social media profile to client and payment information is vulnerable with the use of any device. Have you been underestimating the importance of keeping it secure?

How is Data Risked? 

Though most consumers and businesses are aware of risks such computer viruses and cyber attacks, most aren’t aware of the various ways in which data can become compromised. Here are some of the most common risks:

Theft

What happens if your laptop, desktop, or smartphone becomes stolen? How much data have you just put at risk? Deliberate attacks happen often to businesses and individuals who could be holding sensitive information. Theft doesn’t have to come in the form of a robber sticking you up at gunpoint either. From former employees stealing sensitive information to competing organizations trying to learn trade secrets, data is stolen all the time. Though companies like Capitol Digital & Califorensics can help to recover data from a damaged or stolen device, taking preventative measures is always best.

Loss

Everyone is human and entitled to make a mistake from time to time. Data can easily be lost by misplacing a smartphone, misfiling documents, or losing a laptop while waiting at the airport. This sensitive information can now be in the hands of anyone leaving you open to exposure.

Neglect

How many times have you discarded of a phone, computer, or laptop without wiping the information on them clean? Did you know that if not properly erased, others who buy the devices can pull and use this information to their advantage? Other forms of neglect might include the failure to create strong enough passwords which provide easy access to sensitive programs, and even data such as forms or letters that are not properly shredded can be a form of neglect that leaves you vulnerable to a data breach.

How Can You Improve Data Security? 

As you can see, there are a lot more risks out there than viruses and malware. If you want to keep your data secure, it is imperative to be proactive in implementing some of the following preventative measures:

1. Install antivirus software – Don’t underestimate the importance of antivirus software. This should be installed on your computer and your smartphones to prevent hackers from accessing information through apps and online programs.

2. Create passwords – Whether in the office, at home, or on the go, all your devices applications and programs should have strong passwords to make it harder for a thief to steal your information. Create passwords that you can remember, however, that aren’t too easy for others to learn.

3. Train Staff – For those who are concerned about data breaches in the office should be sure to properly educate their staff on cyber security as well as policies and procedure that should be followed in the office to minimize the potential for a data breach.

4. Backup Data – Some things are beyond your control. If you happen to lose your smartphone or get hacked at work having your data backed up can make recovering a lot easier. Whether you use cloud storage, a flash drive, or another device to store your data, it can save a lot of time and money in the long run.

You never know just how vulnerable you are until you’re hacked, your phone gets lost, or someone deliberately steals confidential information from you. Outside of being prepared with the above-mentioned tips, it is ideal to set up solutions like data forensics recovery, backup storage, and other IT solutions to minimize the impact of a data breach.

What are your thoughts? If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly or post them below. Thanks!

*by andreascy*

Here Is the Software That Can Save Your Business in a Pinch

Description :

While the giant, hydra-headed monster known as business moves slowly, the actual work of business happens fast, extremely fast. Just ask BlackBerry: a company that ruled the smartphone roost in the beginning. They thought they had a long time to sit on their lead. They never saw Apple coming. The iPhone struck so fast that even once it got here, they didn’t really see it. Now, they’re dead.

Here Is the Software That Can Save Your Business in a Pinch

BlackBerry (known at the time as RIM) could have used a bit of help with technology that could have saved them in a pinch. And they are not the only cautionary tale from which we can learn. From the outside, business moves at a glacial pace. From the inside, it moves at the speed of light.

While most businesses will never have to face what RIM did, there comes a time when every business is confronted with a situation that might have left them paralyzed were it not for recent technological developments. Here is a handful that just might help your business in a pinch:

A Custom Event App

Doing a corporate event the old-fashioned way is just flushing money down the old-fashioned corporate toilet. If you find yourself responsible for making event arrangements, you probably know how important it is to have a branded, custom-made app. What you may not realize is how few people inside your company could actually pull that off.

You will find companies like DoubleDutch exist to make custom app development possible for those businesses without the internal resources to manage it for themselves. There are lots of moving parts to getting the most out of your corporate event. For starters, an event app gives you higher engagement from the participants, and better analytics to track the effectiveness of your corporate spend.

Corporate events are some of the best corporate dollars you can spend, but only if you do it right. Doing it right means providing what most companies can’t: a custom app for a more immersive and productive experience. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to commission your app. But it is great to know that it is there for the save when you need it.

Relocating

The same tech that helps consumers move on short notice can be leveraged for companies when they have to relocate. When moving a business, a thousand things can go wrong. There are small things like finding the packing supplies you need at a reasonable price, to the big things like having to find a different moving company at the last minute.

Setting up the office at the new location is also a part of the moving adventure. There will be special cables that are lost or damaged. You won’t be able to start your servers without them. And you can’t get them from your local retailer. How many days can you afford to go without restarting your server?

Between local search on mobile, and 24/7/365 online retailers that can get you any conceivable part the next business day, businesses are saved on a daily basis.

Document Markup and Signing Apps

The fax machine was really great at one thing: Receiving a document that you could fill out, sign, and send back. The last thing you wanted to do was depend on mail and parcel services to move documents from one place to the other. If you didn’t have access to a fax on both ends of the deal, you would likely lose the deal. That is probably the main impetus for courier services.

Today, neither fax nor couriers are necessary for those tasks. We can just use sign and markup apps to scan documents, fill them out, include a real signature, and send them on their way. It takes longer to sign a document than it does to send it anywhere in the world.

Sometimes moving at the speed of business means crawling at a snails pace. And other times, it means zipping along at light speed. When it’s the latter, don’t get left behind. Use custom event apps, apps to help with relocation, and document signing apps. The next time your small business is in a pinch, just remember, there’s an app for that.

Would love to hear from you in the comments!

*by andreascy*

Why Silver Should Be Part of Your Portfolio

Description :

You have heard the debate over silver. One side says buy silver as a hedge against inflation and a protection of your assets in the event of a financial crash. The other side says that silver has no real value because it is just a metal that sits around collecting dust – i.e., you cannot use it to buy a loaf of bread. So which side is right? Is it smart to buy silver or not?

Why Silver Should Be Part of Your Portfolio

Every successful investor knows that the foundation of success is diversification. In other words, you do not put all your investment eggs in one basket. If you do, you are risking losing everything. Diversification reduces risk by putting your money in multiple vehicles that are likely to react differently to market forces.

The question of whether to add silver to your portfolio or not is based partly on the idea of diversification. But not just diversification as a means of protection. Diversification can also be a means of growth as well. That growth potential is why you should buy silver.

Find a Good Ratio

Before explaining how diversification can produce growth, talking about finding a good ratio is appropriate. The ratio of silver to the rest of your investments is a question a lot of inexperienced metal buyers struggle with. The general rule is to base silver on the amount of money you have in bonds and annuities. The ratio is 10 to 1. Every dollar in silver should be offset by $10 in bonds and annuities.

What if you do not have bonds or annuities? What if you only have stock holdings? The 10 to 1 ratio still works, but you will have to find something that makes you comfortable. The thing to understand is that your silver holdings should be a significantly smaller allocation that provides security over quick returns.

Moving on to growth, do not be fooled by the current illusion that investment in silver is short-term only. That thinking is based on the annual cycle gold and silver tend to follow. That cycle dictates that silver peaks in April, falls between May and June, stabilizes in July, and begins to pick up again in December. The cycle has little to do with long-term silver holdings.

Using Silver to Fund Growth

Silver and other precious metals are commonly promoted as a hedge against inflation. That is absolutely true. But that brings us back to the argument that you cannot use silver to buy a loaf of bread. To have any real value, you have to buy silver at a lower price and then sell at a higher price so that you have cash to purchase what you need. Therein lies the secret of using silver to produce growth.

Right now, we are seeing a concerted effort by central banks to devalue currency. Why? Because they are trying to spur positive inflation. Remember that inflation can be both good and bad. It is bad when income does not keep pace; it is good when it encourages economic activity by giving businesses more cash to work with.

There are three reasons central banks devalue currency as a way of producing good inflation. The first is to boost the value of exports. When a nation's currency falls, the cost of its exports to foreign markets also falls, making them more attractive to consumers. This increases demand, which then spurs growth at home.

The second reason is to reduce trade deficits. Increased exports occur alongside decreased imports when currency is devalued. Trade deficits begin to shrink in line with the balance of payments as a result. Once again, this encourages economic growth in the country where currency is being devalued.

Finally, currency is devalued in order to reduce the amount of interest nations pay on the money they borrow. This has less of an effect on stimulating the economy, but it does help some.

The point of all this is to say that if you buy silver at the same time currency is being devalued you are essentially getting in at the low point. The value of silver will only climb as currency goes lower and good inflation takes hold. Bear in mind that this is no short-term strategy. It takes several quarters of persistent currency devaluation to realize growth potential from precious metals like silver.

Selling Your Silver

Assuming you buy silver now to take advantage of currency devaluation, when and how do you sell it? That depends on how long you want to hold on to your investment. One way to look at it is to play silver and gold together. Their growth rates tend to rise and fall inversely.

You could buy silver now and then let it ride to the end of the year. Silver should peak somewhere between December and April of next year, at which point you could sell just enough to cover your profits while leaving the original amount in your portfolio. Take that profit and purchase gold instead. Ride the gold until the difference between the metals peaks, then take the profits from gold and put them back into silver as the difference corrects.

The Best Places to Buy Silver Online

  Money Metals Exchange - https://www.moneymetals.com/buy/silver


This Year Might Be Different

The point of all the information provided here is to suggest that 2017 might be different compared to what silver has shown us the last couple of years. There are a number of strong signs that indicate silver is not going to sharply decline as it normally does. There is a reason companies like J.P. Morgan are aggressively increasing their silver holdings.

Silver could be on the verge of a big run-up thanks to global currency devaluation, improving European and American economies, and all the optimism displayed since the election of President Trump. There is no guarantee that silver will boom in 2017, but it is not likely to bust either.

Silver should be part of your portfolio because it affords growth opportunities. If you don't have any, there is no better time to buy silver than right now.


For anyone who wants to connect with me, I'm on Twitter. Would love to hear from you!

*by andreascy*