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May
01

Audiovisual Tips for Better Videoconferencing

Audiovisual Tips for Better Videoconferencing

Whether for work or socializing, we’re all spending a lot more time in video calls these days. But—surprise!—it turns out that many of our group video calls could be more pleasant, less embarrassing, and overall better if we follow a few basic audiovisual tips.

Make Sure You Have Decent Lighting

Natural light is best, but room light is generally fine too, especially if it’s coming from the side. Overhead light isn’t quite as flattering, but whatever you do, avoid light that comes from underneath your face or you’ll look like an old-time movie villain. Also, avoid sitting in front of a window because the bright light behind you will make you look way too dark. Pull a shade or try to put your computer against the window so the light hits your face instead.

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May
01

Forrester Research and IBM Studies Show Macs Are Cheaper than PCs

Forrester Research and IBM Studies Show Macs Are Cheaper than PCs

It’s taken as gospel that Macs are more expensive than PCs. A quick look at the Dell Web site reveals laptops for as low as $300. Sure, we can say that the configurations aren’t comparable, that macOS is better than Windows, or that Apple’s hardware quality is superior. Still, our friendly local bean counters have trouble getting past those low upfront prices.

However, unless you’re Rancho Gordo, the goal isn’t to count beans, it’s to get work done, and that’s a different scenario. Let’s look at a few ways that Macs are not just worth the money but can also be cheaper than comparable systems. We’ll start with a Forrester Research study commissioned by Apple that compared the total economic impact of Macs and PCs in large companies with employee-choice programs. In such programs, every employee gets to choose between a Mac and a PC, providing a sizable group across which to compare numbers, but the conclusions apply to large and small organizations alike.

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Apr
01

You Can Now Export and Download Apple Card Statements

You Can Now Export and Download Apple Card Statements

Apple’s credit card, the Apple Card, offers a nice mix of integration with Apple Pay, daily cash back, and an elegant interface in the Wallet app on your iPhone. Until recently, however, it was impossible to get your transaction data out of Wallet except in PDF form. Apple has now added exports in either CSV or OFX format. CSV is appropriate for importing into a spreadsheet, whereas many financial apps can import OFX files. To export your data from Wallet, tap your Apple Card and then tap Card Balance. Under Statements, tap the statement you want to export, tap Export Transactions at the bottom, and choose a format. For CSV, tap the Share icon in the file preview, and for OFX, Wallet automatically opens a share sheet. Use AirDrop, Messages, or Mail to send the file to your Mac, where you can work with it in whatever you use to track your finances.

(Featured image by MARK S. on Unsplash)

Apr
01

Tips for Setting Up a Comfortable and Effective Home Work Space

Tips for Setting Up a Comfortable and Effective Home Work Space

Vast numbers of people who previously reported for work at an office every day are now working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s sensible, and if you’re included in that group, there was probably even a little thrill of “I get to work from home!” at first. But as those who have telecommuted for years know, it’s not as simple as settling down on the couch with your laptop. Here are a few tips.

Make a Dedicated Work Space, If Possible

Particularly if you’re not home alone, you’ll want to create a space that’s dedicated to working. Otherwise, it’s difficult to focus on work instead of what’s happening in your home. A spare bedroom with a door is ideal, of course, because it lets you avoid the fridge, the TV, and your family, who may also be trying to work or do schoolwork at home.

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Apr
01

Need to Stay in Touch? Try One of These Videoconferencing Apps

Need to Stay in Touch? Try One of These Videoconferencing Apps

With many people under stay-at-home orders, videoconferencing is going mainstream. If you work in a sufficiently large organization, you probably have already been indoctrinated into a recommended solution, whether it’s the built-in videoconferencing features of Slack or Microsoft Teams, or a dedicated videoconferencing system like Zoom or Webex.

But what if you’re in a small workgroup, are a freelancer, need to communicate with members of a non-profit group, or just want to stay in touch with friends and family? There are numerous options, but here are a few free options we recommend.

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