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5 Reasons Outlook May Never Die

Microsoft Outlook is so much more than an email client. In fact, it’s a personal information manager, and it should be viewed as such rather than as just another option in the email client market.

There are numerous reasons why Microsoft Outlook remains superior to other email offerings. Here are five of them.

1. The New Search folder

Some email clients make it difficult for you to filter out the “bad” emails from the good ones. When an inbox becomes cluttered with a lot of new inbound mail, it’s too easy for some of the really important emails to get lost in the clutter.

Microsoft Outlook anticipates this problem and has a feature to resolve it: The New Search folder. This feature enables you to search for email based on sender name, sender address, or text in the actual body of the email. One especially user-friendly component of this feature is that the search is automatically saved.

That way, you don’t need to worry about missing out on important emails in the future.

2. Newslsetter Unsubscribe

Sometimes newsletters and email threads can also clutter up an inbox. In the case of some newsletters, certain ones may have been the result of an accidental subscription. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an easy means of unsubscribing from those unwanted emails? Microsoft Outlook comes to the rescue. It doesn’t require you to unsubscribe manually from a list. Instead, you can simply “mute” the email, and all emails associated with it.

Here’s how it works: you highlight the message in question and then navigate to the “Home” menu. From the “Home” menu, select the “Ignore” option. The application will take care of everything else. You will have to confirm that you in fact no longer want to see anything in the same thread. Once you do that, that message plus all the previous ones in the same thread will be thrown in the trash. Further messages on that thread will not be visible in your inbox.

Be careful with this option. The messages are deleted based on the subject. So if you get another message with the same subject, even if it’s from a different source, it will also be deleted.

3. Space consumption is not a problem

Some email clients let your gathered emails (including the deleted ones) take up precious hard-drive space. Of course, you could go into your deleted mail folder for any of those clients and manually empty what’s in there. But that’s an extra step and one more thing you have to remember.

With Microsoft Outlook, the process of removing the deleted emails is handled automatically for you. From the “File” menu, go to “Options.” Next, select the “Advanced” option and you’ll see a section called “Outlook Start And Exit.” In that section, there is a checkbox that gives you the option to empty the email in the Deleted folder once you quit Outlook. Check that box.

That’s all you need to do. Now, the next time you quit Microsoft Outlook (and every time thereafter), your trash will automatically be emptied.

4. Increased focus on people

With Outlook 2013, you can connect Outlook to social networks. This gives you more online interaction with your email correspondents via social media. It’s a distinct advantage over other email clients, where you only interact with email addresses. Outlook puts the focus on the person behind the email address.

5. An attachment reminder

How often has this happened: You responded to someone in an email, and claimed you were sending an attachment that answered the person’s question/concern, but when you clicked “Send,” you realized that you forgot to add the attachment?

Fortunately, Microsoft Outlook will prompt you with a pleasant reminder when you try to send an email that references an attachment, and you haven’t attached anything. This should prevent you from forgetting to send the attachment.

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3 Tools A Freelance Writer Needs In Their Arsenal

Any freelance writer will tell you that anything you do for an income, the work comes with an ongoing list of pros and cons. It’s not always easy to stay on track of invoicing clients, coming up with pitches, or keeping yourself from distractions, but with a little push in the right direction and a few simple recommendations, you’ll be one step ahead of the curve. Below is a list of 3 things that most freelance writers could benefit from.

1. A Lightweight Text Editor

There are already way too many options for text editors out there, but if you’re looking for something clean, lightweight, and are offline compatible, here are a few reasonable editors without the pricetag:

Google Drive – The easy answer if you’re already familiar with it.
FocusWriter – This is ideal if you are easily distracted by the many tabs in your browser.

2. Invoicing and Time Tracking

Stop guessing at how many hours you spent working on your fifth draft of copy for a client. Oh, and by the way, you’re about to be late with the invoice that you’ll need to pay your rent with. Keeping track of time and finances feels like it should be someone elses job, but you’re freelancing. It’s a part of your job whether you like it or not. The solution? Enter Ballpark, an online invoicing software that allows you to invoice clients and get paid via Paypal. It’s free to use for 30 days, and after your trial period expires, you can send up to three invoices per month without paying a dime for the product.

3. A Way of Getting Work

So, you can write. Unfortunately, so can a lot of others! A lot of web based companies are shifting their focus to content marketing, which gives ample opportunity for writers these companies choose to outsource. The problem is getting their attention. You’re going to need a little bit of a portfolio, and a little bravery as you email these companies to tell them you’re available to write your heart out for them.

Instead of building a website to show your published work, keep the links handy in a document somewhere that you can access, or even in an email draft that you can copy and paste from. That way you don’t have to rely on the person reading your pitch to actually click on your personal website link, but rather they can read the URL and find out if you’re who they are looking to work with.

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last update: August 22, 2014

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Flow Keeps Your Projects On Track

Project management software is nothing new—for multi-faceted teams, for individual consultants, for freelancers interfacing with organizations remotely, task-managing services have been crucial from the moment they appeared. And yet, with so many options on the scene, the most valuable project management software still has but one job to do: Making sure the user never forgets a task again.

This is where Flow comes onto the scene.  As task management goes, Flow is not overly flashy; the interface is simple, the colors are easy on the eyes, and the view is minimalistic. But what’s most important is that Flow makes it nearly impossible to overlook a due date or deadline. Individual tasks can be created with as much or as little detail as needed. Type out a short list of what is to be included in a project, or go into detail by attaching documents, creating tags, and getting specific with your Flow folder system.  However detailed the task, Flow’s reminder system is there to ensure task completion. When you’re creating a new task, set a due date for it by selecting the date on your Flow calendar, or by simply typing a time-frame command, such as “tomorrow” or “one week.”  Flow’s alert system will tell you when that task’s completion time has come.

Unlike many other project management services available, Flow’s interface includes multiple tabs for multiple project views. This provides even further assurance that tasks won’t be lost or forgotten at any point in your process.

Notable ways that Flow’s tabs can keep you on top of tasks include:

The “upcoming” tab – If you’re a traditional, calendar-abiding worker, the “upcoming” tab offers a simple calendar view of your tasks.  Choose from daily, weekly, monthly, or list views.  If you’re looking for an at-a-glance view of your tasks, the “upcoming” tab is going to be your quickest bet.

The “delegated” tab – If you create a task that is to be completed by a member of your team, rather than yourself, Flow provides an option to delegate the task you created to someone in your contact list.  This task then will appear under the “delegated” tab.  This way, even if the task is to be completed by someone other than yourself, you’ll be able to keep an eye on its progress from afar.  The task will remain in the “delegated” tab until it’s checked off as being completed.

The “flagged” tab – For projects that need to be noted as especially urgent, marking them as such will keep them filed in the “flagged” tab.  Similarly, if someone on your team delegates a task to you and marks it as being important, it will also show up as “flagged,” so even if a Flow task wasn’t conceived and created by you, you’ll still be notified of its importance.

Project management software should do just that—manage your projects from their beginning to the time of completion.  A task management service that allows projects to be forgotten is useless to those who rely on it.  This makes Flow a valuable service indeed.

Flow is a software created by the brilliant minds at MetaLab.

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6 Things to Consider When Upgrading Your Analytics Software

For those conducting online business and marketing, analytics software is recognized as an invaluable tool. This is why the use of analytics software has been a mainstay in online business for years. However, both the type of software available and the analytics needs of businesses have been evolving steadily over the years and what may have been an excellent software choice five or more years ago may be out of date now.

This is why it is important for companies to look at the different options available to them and to consider upgrading their analytics software from time to time. Though the task may seem daunting, business owners that look at the following 6 things will be able to proactively and confidently determine if an analytics software upgrade is the right option for the business and what software is best suited for their unique business needs.

1. Does new analytics software have useful features that older software doesn’t offer?

No two analytics software options are identical and just because a piece of software is older, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not still useful. If the software is updated frequently, chances are that it may have features comparable to newer software on the market. Business owners should look at what the program offers and then determine if there are features that they need that the software doesn’t support.

2. How is easy is the software to use?

Adopting new analytics software will inevitably require employees and business owners to learn how to use that software. When comparing providers it is important to look at how easy the program is to use and how long it will take to train people to use the software efficiently. The more difficult a piece of software is to adopt, the more it will cost the company in time and training expenses.

3. How much will using the software cost your business?

Business owners should be sure to look at the type of payment model associated with any software they are considering. Different payment models include lump sum payments, annual upgrade or subscription fees and monthly subscription fees. Analyzing the costs associate with using the software will all business owners to do a cost-benefit analysis when they are comparing providers.

4. Will the software be able to accommodate business growth?

Due to the fast pace of the business world, it is unwise to assume that small businesses will always be small. For this reason, any analytics software used for the purposes of the business should be easily scaled or upgraded if the company sees sudden growth in employees or client base. By selecting software that can grow with the company, business owners are able to ensure that they won’t have to go through upgrading again in the event of business growth.

5. How detailed is the visualization that the software offers?

Visualization of analytics is incredibly useful because it makes it much easier to interpret the data derived from analytics software. This is not only useful for people using the software regularly, but also for conveying analytics data to employees that don’t use the software and people outside the company such as potential investors.

6. What kind of pre made models does the software provide?

Though most software offers an option for users to create their own models, doing so takes a lot of time and effort on the part of the business owner. For that reason, business owners comparing providers should look at the types of pre made models that come with the software and give preference to software that offers models that are best suited to current business needs and specifications.

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3 Ways to Stay on Top of Data Collection

Big data is aptly named – the volume, speed, and variety of data that can be mined is astronomical in today’s digital and heavily web-based environment. While analyzing data from areas such as social media, consumer habits, and patterns of behavior can yield potentially advantageous insights for business strategies and decision making, big data can just as potentially bury a company under its avalanche of information. Here are three ways to stay on top of data collection and ensure investments in data analysis produce useful results.

Start Small, Integrate Slowly

Collecting and analyzing data can become a monumental task that may end up quickly eating through resources without producing a matching ROI. If a business is just beginning its use of data analytics, it is important to make a commitment but to start small and to limit the use and exposure of mined data and their analyses. Finding a flexible business intelligence (BI) software that can be integrated into the operational framework of the company is a valuable tool for making big data work for the company and not the other way around.

Identify Specific Goals

When deciding to use data analytics, it is helpful to identify a specific area or aspect in the business that will directly benefit. BI reporting software can help track customer spending and buying habits as well as various external business trends and internal company processes. This can then shed light on a business’s strengths and weaknesses and point out where added insight from big data may be useful. Keeping a clear goal in mind with a measurable outcome is important for not getting lost in a sea of data or even worse, potentially being led astray by irrelevant or overwhelming data analyses.

Choosing an Analytics Platform

Once a clear plan and goal for data collection and analysis are in place, the next step is choosing which BI reporting software or analytical platform will be the best suited to the particular idiosyncrasies of a company. While Hadoop has heavy hitting name recognition and is open source, there is a growing selection of companies that offer data collection and analysis services.

Big Data, when utilized judiciously and when vigorously analyzed, can help companies identify patterns where business strategies may be or need to be improved upon. With the right software or service and a firm roadmap to implementation, a company can begin to harness the vast knowledge base provided by data analytics.

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Is Google Too Big to Care About Bad Press?

Google Doodle Chavez

For the last few years, Google has put much less emphasis on their “do no evil” mantra. The company that started off as the underdog and grew through a combination of simplicity, innovation, and positive buzz has shifted their stances on these foundational concepts and turned towards a more general approach to being a business.

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5 Worst Memes in Internet History

Ah, memes. They can be funny, sometimes ridiculous, informative–but oftentimes downright terrible. There are a lot of bad memes out there. A lot. However, even when something is so bad it’s sometimes good, there has to be a worst of the worst. Sometimes the meme should have never existed. Sometimes it just gets out of control. No matter how they came to be, they’re here and this is the 5 worst memes to ever grace the internet.

1. The Hamster Dance

Everyone knows the hamster dance, and just the name brings back horrible memories from the late 90′s. By the time 1999 rolled around, this obnoxious and totally useless meme was getting one quarter of a million of hits per day–every single day. The music started leaking into mainstream pop music (at least in Cuba). There was no escaping it and it’s traumatized millions of people.

2. Chuck Norris “Facts”

Who knows how this got started, but an influx of Chuck Norris “fact” memes were everywhere in the early aughts. The facts were obviously ridiculous, and somehow Chuck Norris moved into cult icon status. Supposedly, it all began with an innocent thread in the Something Awful forums and led to hundreds of roundhouse kick memes taking over the internet. Some people are still recovering.

3. I Can Has Cheezburger?

The I Can Has Cheezburger? cat is still around, albeit now it’s more a vintage goodie than anything else. There’s no telling where this monster originated from. It was never funny, it was never smart and yet it took over the internet just like trolls can. Of course, everyone loves animals and cheeseburgers, so putting them together makes sense. It wasn’t until the Hoff became famous for his own cheeseburger indiscretions that attention was shifted from cat to man.

4. Star Wars Kid

Ghyslain Raza, a 14-year-old kid from Canada, became famous in 2002 when he videotaped himself madly using a golf club as a light saber. He was clearly a Big Bang Theory kid in training, and his friends helped him become internet viral fodder. The video was shared on Kazaa and had millions of hits within a couple of weeks. He’s since become famous and references to the “Star Ward kid” can be caught on numerous well-known sitcoms.

5. Rickroll

Back in the day, a duckroll was when someone posted a link in a forum and it led to something completely different. It evolved into the Rickroll, where the link was to a video of “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. It quickly got out of hand.

Narrowing down the worst memes ever is tough, and there are plenty of honorable mentions out there. Of course, it’s also possible (and unfortunate) that the worst are yet to come.

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5 Things Every Webmaster Must Maintain

Webmasters

Being a webmaster, there are a lot of things that demand your attention. You are responsible for how your website looks, how the site works, and how relevant the site remains in a ferociously competitive online market. And if you have more than one website under your purview, good luck to you. Here are five things every webmaster has to maintain as part of their duties.

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