Dressing for Success in the Workplace

It’s not an easy task to find a job these days. So when you do get called for an interview you’ll want to make the best impression. There’s one easy way to do this: dress for it.

That’s right. What you wear to work and to job interviews still matters. Yes, a lot more people are telecommuting. More people are arriving to the office in jeans and t-shirts. However, that does not mean that you should dress casually for an interview.

So, follow this easy rule for any job interview: err on the side of overdressed. Even if the company you happen to be interviewing for has a relaxed work environment, when you show up in jeans and a sweatshirt you’ll make a bad first impression. Dressing up shows that you respect the interviewer and take the position you’re interviewing for seriously.

This applies to the workplace too. Even a casual environment wants their employees looking sharp. So avoid grabbing a random t-shirt and the jeans you have been wearing all week off the floor. Think about what you’re wearing and try to look professional. Showing that you simply put effort into your appearance sets you apart in your workplace, and that can be helpful in the event the boss is looking to promote someone in your department!

Of course, you still have to be a good worker. You can be the best-dressed person on the planet, but it will not help you if you don’t do your job well. All things being equal, the better-dressed employee will certainly make the better impression.

7 People You Should be Following on Twitter

So now that you have Twitter you have probably followed coworkers, clients, and friends. But you may be interested in more then what your coworker did over the weekend.

You’re lucky: Great thinkers, legislators, celebrities, sports stars, scientists, and entrepreneurs all have their own Twitter feeds, and you can catch a glimpse into their daily lives just by following them.

Here are 7 of the more interesting people who you should be following on Twitter:

Conan O’Brien: This talk-show host is a master of the absurd. His posts are always witty and clever. If you’re looking to follow somebody that will give you a mid-day chuckle, follow @ConanOBrien. Also, he doesn’t promote his show through his tweets.
Marissa Mayer: Mayer is the first female engineer at Google, you can get a glimpse into the life of a tech expert as well as learn some interesting things about Google by following her @Marissamayer.
Mike Massimino: Head in the clouds? Then follow @Astro_Mike, the Twitter home to NASA astronaut Mike Massimino. This astronaut can provide you with the inside scoop on life at NASA and a glimpse into what it’s like to go into space. (He also made a recent cameo on the Tv show The Big Bang Theory. And, yes, he tweeted about it.)
Rainn Wilson: Chances are you’ll know Rainn better as Dwight Schrute from The Office. If you find his character quirky and entertaining, you might also enjoy his tweets. Follow @Rainnwilson. Here is a recent Tweet from him: “If I had a bird, I would call it James VanDerBeak.”
Ryan Penagos: If you love comics, you have to know Ryan Penagos. He’s the editorial director of Marvel Comics. He’s also a busy Tweeter at @Agent_M. Penagos and recently Tweeted regarding a new Spider-Man video game and gave his thoughts on his favorite comics. He likes the work of writer Brian Michael Bendis.
Barack Obama: Maybe you didn’t vote for him, but Barack Obama is the president of the United States. How can you not follow his Twitter feed? Have a look at what the Commander in Chief has to say at @BarackObama.
Bill Gates: Bill Gates has made an undeniable impact in the tech world. Learn what’s going on in his life and about the charitable causes he and his wife support @BillGates.

Will Windows Phone make Microsoft Cool

Microsoft is everywhere; their products are used throughout the world. And, Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chief, is among the most widely known names in the field of technology. That said, Microsoft is missing one thing, it has never had a “cool” image. But the launch of Windows Phone, Microsoft’s new smartphone software, may alter our opinion.

Microsoft has long had a reputation of being slightly uninspired. Remember the Zune mp3 player or the Kin phone? You may not, they were short lived, and are illustrations of Microsoft products that have shot and missed.

That said, Microsoft’s Windows Phone software has captured some interest. The Windows Phone has been received well by both critics and consumers.

Windows Phone draws approval for its vibrant on-screen typography and its mosaic of animated tiles on its home screen. This presents a visual contrast with the home screen of the iPhone. The operating system receives points, too, for making it easier for users to access social networks. When friends or family members post pictures, messages, or updates to Twitter or Facebook, the tiles representing these services pop into life on Windows Phone-equipped devices.

Even with all these features and praise Windows Phone hasn’t been the biggest seller. This is perhaps because of the phones that come loaded with the OS. Many individuals believe these phones are dull and wireless services providers are still pushing the iPhone and Android in a big way.

The Windows Phone, though, does provide some hope for Microsoft’s attempts to capture some cool. Certainly, big sales and ubiquitous products are important, but a touch of hipness never hurt a business, either.

Moving Beyond the Mouse: Connecting with Our Computers in the Future

We’ve already had a taste of mouse-free computing. Touchscreens on our smartphones and tablets let us search the Internet, compose e-mail messages, send texts, and stream movies, all without using a mouse. So what do you think this will lead us to down the road? How will we interact with our computers in the coming decades? If we ditch the mouse, what comes next?

Gesture sensing

Consumers who play video games have used this for some time. The Wii and the PlayStation employ gesture-sensing technology. This technology allows users to hold a wireless remote and utilize their body movements to swing a racket, jog in place, or shoot menacing robots on screen. Even though this technology has not been perfected it’s not difficult to envision how gesture sensing could be applied to computing.

Multi-touch technology

Multi-touch technology is the one other interactive innovation. This is what is being applied whenever you tap your smartphone screen to gain access to programs, or swipe your finger across the surface of your tablet to change screens. In the past few years we have seen a lot of growth in this technology. Do you think this will end up being the primary way we navigate around our computers?

Voice recognition

Another possible technological advancement that could replace the mouse involves voice recognition. Rather than clicking on a mouse button to open up a program, users can simply tell their computers to open a particular word file or close iTunes. Some of this already exists, most notable is Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which allows users to dictate reports and stories on their word-processing programs. Again, the tech still needs refinement, but a future where we talk to our computers isn’t all that far-fetched.

No matter what new technologies arise or how refined the ones we spoke about get, the odds are that the mouse won’t disappear all together. It has served us well, and we know we are able to rely on it.

An Analysis of Smartphone Charge Pads

If you have a smartphone it is probably a crucial part of your life. You use it to enjoy music, read, check you mail, navigate to stores, and last but not least make calls! Yet, if your battery dies you can’t put it to use. And, let’s be truthful, finding your charger and a free outlet in your house can be irritating and no easy task in the modern tech-savvy homes or apartments.

But there is now an easier solution to charge your device: a smartphone charging pad.

Charge your phone wirelessly

These flat pads, which resemble little mats, enable smartphone users to charge their phones wirelessly. What this means is no searching for an available outlet and no struggling with twisted cords. Better still, you can put many devices on your charge pads at the same time and charge them all at one time. Charge pads work with everything from smartphones and electronic readers to iPods, iPads, and digital cameras.

This may seem like magic but charge pads rely upon electro-magnetic induction charging. They produce a magnetic field, which charges the battery in your smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices.

Charge pads a technology in progress

You would imagine that these would be more widely used then they are. But, there are a couple of reasons why they aren’t. To start with, they are a bit pricey, often costing as much as the gadgets you want to charge.

One more reason is that they take up space. Consumers who want to clear away the mess of cords don’t mind this, but this doesn’t help people aiming to create more space on their desk.

An improving wireless world

The great news is that technology is always improving, especially in the world of wireless products. It certainly won’t be too long before the market is sprinkled with businesses supplying new and improved charge pads. And you can bet these new pads will eliminate the price and space problems that so far have kept these devices from becoming must-have items.

New to Windows 7? Tips to Make You More Productive

Windows 7 has many features which makes it a great improvement over prior systems. However, like most things, if you are unaware of all these features you could be missing out.

By mastering a few simple tricks, you can get the most out of Windows 7.

If you wish to move images to outside disks, you can now do so quickly with Windows 7. The operating system allows you to burn ISO images onto CDs or DVDs. To do this, you merely have to double-click on the ISO image, tell Windows 7 the drive that holds your blank disc, and click on the “burn” option. Windows 7 will do the rest.
Quickly find and repair problems. If your operating system is acting strangely, simply click the “Control Panel” option. From there, you can click on “troubleshooting” to access a series of wizards which will remedy common operating problems. Including cleaning up systems that are slowed by too much adware and other clutter.
Do younger members of your household install troublesome software that slows down your computer? This is easily avoided using the Windows 7 AppLocker feature. This feature only allows your pc to run and install programs which have your pre-approval. You can tell AppLocker to only run programs from trustworthy companies, so if someone is attempting to run a program from an unknown publisher AppLocker will prevent it.
Another great feature is its power efficiency service. This lets you keep track of just how much power your laptop is using. This is often helpful if you’re working remotely and have no access to a power source.

7 Things to Know About WordPress

WordPress used to be viewed mainly as a blogging platform. But it has grown into one of the most popular website publishing tools on the Internet. Tech Crunch recently reported that about one fifth of new domains in the U.S. are powered by WordPress. And it also may surprise you to learn that one of the most popular publishers in the world uses WordPress.

Here are 7 things you should know about WordPress:

Updating your site content is simpler than ever using WordPress. Using its dynamic page creation you can update your site easily without needing a large amount of storage
You can get a subdomain for free! Whenever you register with WordPress to get a free site, it is simple to name your free subdomain like this: www.yourname.wordpress.org.
If you have your own domain and hosting account, WordPress can be installed in minutes (WordPress calls it their ‘famous 5-minute install’). No coding skills necessary.
Are there minimum requirements? Yes, if you’re hosting your own website outside of WordPress, there are a few requirements to take into consideration. To obtain the appropriate support in the future, you will need to ensure that you have the correct MySQL and PHP versions on your server.
To help make your site look good, there is an considerable selection of templates, called “themes”, available on the internet. Some are free of charge, while others are not. Regardless, using these it is possible to easily and quickly tailor your site the way you like.
Managing your web site, posts, media, and all other materials in WordPress can be done easily through their easy to use dashboard. You can also manage several users!
WordPress encourages e-commerce. There is an abundance of plugins that have already been designed that allow you to accept payments, advertise, and more on your website. The straightforward plugin search keeps all of these options at your fingertips.

Not everything is an iPad: Gadgets That Never Caught On

In recent years iPads, smartphones, and Kindles have been some of the most in demand gadgets on the market. But not all tech is created equal. Companies can’t predict what’s going to become popular, no matter how much they love it. Here are a couple that never quite caught on.

Famous tech failures

Apple TV: It seems like a good idea—a device that lets users buy TV series and movies from iTunes then stream them on their TVs, computers, and mobile devices. The drawback? Besides YouTube, the device doesn’t permit many non-iTunes options.

Sony Mylo: You may not remember the Mylo. That is because it came and went without eliciting much response from consumers. This Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device enabled consumers to connect to the Internet, send e-mail, and hold online chats. It also came with Skype for free Internet calls. Unfortunately for Sony, the iPhone and its massive app store simply overwhelmed the Mylo.

The Segway peters out

Segway PT: It was thought that the Segway PT would replace cars in cities. It made it easy for people to just zip to the market or make the short commute downtown. But it never quite caught on. Unfortunately for the manufacturers, people believed balancing on two wheels made them look a little silly.
The CueCat doesn’t purr

CueCat: The CueCat was a handheld barcode reader shaped like a cat. Consumers would use it to scan any barcode and it would navigate them to the company’s website. This did not catch on but did it pave the way for QR codes?

Data Security and Your Small Business: What You Need To Know

It is easy to fall into the wrong idea that you already have enough safeguards in position to protect your small business. You almost certainly stay current with the latest antivirus software, but is that sufficient? You also probably believe that since you’re not a huge corporation, you don’t have to worry about cyber criminals hacking into your system. But here’s the unfortunate reality: cyber criminals have upped their game and are starting to target small businesses more and more. Let’s take a closer look to give you a better understanding of the level of danger your business may be under.

Small firms: low-hanging fruit

Sadly, small businesses make easy targets, so hackers are beginning to concentrate on them. Small firms are quick hacks and the criminals can make more hacks at a quicker rate. With more chances, their probability of stealing beneficial information goes up considerably. As a small company, you may not think you have any important data, but in today’s world even the most basic information can be used to do harm to someone else. Credit card purchases are the most common targets of cyber criminals. Each time your system runs a transaction, it must authenticate the cardholder’s information. This information can contain card numbers, addresses, names, and more. Your clients don’t want this information stolen!

How hackers gain access to your data

Hackers usually take a multiple-point-of-entry approach when attempting to breach your company. Don’t be fooled that email is the sole method a hacker will try to infiltrate you. While destructive email attachments are the most widely used tactics that hackers use to mine data from a company, additionally they use low-tech methods as well. Direct phone calls to lower level employees or even a in-office visit posing as system administrator are some of the low-tech ways criminals may target your organization. You might believe your workers are impervious to these seemingly evident ploys, but it only takes one mistake to open your company up to an attack.

The buck stops with you

You may feel that maintaining your data security isn’t that vital, as the credit card companies are responsible for any bogus charges that occur. While this is true for the consumer, as a business owner you might experience a very different outcome. Often if your systems have been compromised, they will hold you responsible for finding the breach. This may cost thousands of dollars and can ruin your profit margin for the entire year. In fact, some small businesses have been bankrupted by cyber attacks, closing their doors because of just one single incident.

An ounce of prevention…

Taking extra precautions when it comes to your business’ data security is a very wise move. Continue to update your programs and passwords on a regular basis. Teach your employees good security practices like setting up strong passwords and instructing them to never give out login information or open suspicious emails. Hiring an outside consultant is another great way to ensure your clients’ information. These measures not only give you peace of mind, they tell your clients that you care about keeping them safe.

Improve Your Company Culture: Part 2

Earlier this week we outlined the reasons why your company’s culture impacts your brand. A healthy company culture will have a very beneficial impact on your daily operations and the way the average person views your company. Gauging the cultural health of your company is one thing, but where do you go from there. Below we’ll look at some ideas to improve or give your organization a cultural transformation.

The first step is to ask yourself a couple of questions to get an idea of the “feel” you want your company to have:

What attributes do you value that you want to show up in your company’s culture? Respect, acceptance, creativity, fun, etc.?
How can you mirror you company values in its culture?
Who regulates the flow of information? How and what is distributed to the employees?
How do you reward or inspire employees now, and how would you like to in the future?
Does everyone feel listened to in the company? Do people feel free to express their ideas and offer their opinions?
These may bring about more questions. To find answers try brainstorming with your peers. Listed below are some suggestions to get the process started:

Suggestion/Thought box – Giving people a means to share their thoughts, anonymously or not, helps make the culture of a company feel more open. You could learn some important things that need tweaking and may wish to bring them up in companywide meetings.

Empower employees – Treat employees like peers; let them have ownership over their jobs. Don’t micromanage! Transparency can help with empowerment as well. Don’t just tell your employees when there are successes, inform them when things aren’t going so well too. Their support may help you triumph over the hard times.

Flexible hours – Giving people some flexibility to get their work done exhibits confidence. Trusting them to regulate themselves will cause them to respect you more.

Dress code – Have a more casual dress code. It’s astonishing what allowing people to express themselves can do for a company’s culture. Consider themed days: silly hat day, Hawaiian shirt day, or anything that gets people thinking imaginatively and brings smiles to the day.

Celebrate – You’re all part of the same company and hopefully share the same goals. Observe this by having a monthly movie day, a team outing after work, or a lunchtime game day – anything fun that gets the group doing something together.

For some added fun, here are a number of things real companies have done to add to their culture:

Spontaneous Nerf gun wars
Painting inspirational quotes on the walls
Hitting a loud gong when there is a success to let the whole company know
Foosball tournaments
Lunchtime Yoga
Lunchtime Crafting Club
Monday Mad Libs, whoever wishes to contribute, does, and then the completed Mad Lib is emailed to the company