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Why we want Microsoft’s awesome new Surface Dial

(TECH NEWS) Microsoft’s new Surface Dial looks incredible and we want one. No wait, we’ll take 12.

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microsoft surface dial

Color me jealous

It’s not often that I have tech envy. I love Apple and everything that comes with it. I love the interconnectivity of my iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and that I can receive calls on my laptop when my phone is in the other room. Window’s Surface Studio, and new Surface Dial, however, awakened the green monster. Part of me wants to trash all my Siri gear and trade it in for Windows just so I can twist that tactical dial to change my paintbrush color in Photoshop.

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Set Dial to stun

The Surface Studio is more like an easel than anything else. It angles towards the user, creating the same position an artist or draftsman seeks when working with actual pen and paper. The real genius, though, comes with the Surface Dial, an intuitive little puck that talks to apps on and off the touch screen.

A turn of it can change the volume, your paint color, zoom into documents, increase the protrusion of a 3D model, and a million other things. Though it’s designed mostly to work with Surface Studio, it’s certainly most versatile with their new all-in-one PC. The Dial also works with tons of apps in older PCs including Spotify, and Word.

Put your left hand in…

The Surface Dial works differently when it’s on and off the touch screen. When placed on the screen, an intuitive menu pops up, and with a twist of your hand you can work seamlessly, engaging with your touch screen in unprecedented ways. Both hands are completely engaged, so your dominant hand can do the dirty work, while your other hand picks colors, zooms in, and scrolls. When removed, a digital version is available on-screen.

This is the perfect tool for designers and artists, and anyone else who feels like their weaker hand doesn’t have enough to do while browsing Facebook.

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Get one for around $100

The Surface Dial starts at around 100 bucks and is sold separately from Surface Studio. A firmware update should be available in the next few months so this adaptable puck can be used on the screens of any other Surface products (pro and book).

Microsoft’s impressive innovations are sure to bring in artists and designers alike. This Apple fan is surely intrigued.

#surfacedial

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

Real Estate Technology

Organize your to-do list and journal in one place with this sleek app

(TECH NEWS) New desktop and phone app allows for journaling, to-do list making, and notetaking to be done all in one (shareable, but safe) place.

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Colorful sunrise mountains with text saying "Take back your day: journal, to do list, organization", advertising Daynote

Outside of one-hit-wonder pop culture, my hobbies include journaling and to-do list making. So, imagine my delight when I learned of a platform that offers both – plus notes – all in one place.

Daynote urges its users to “take back your day.” With so much happening all at once, there is a lot of information to keep straight. With that in mind, it’s nice to have the option to keep all of that information in one place.

This simple yet sleek platform allows you to navigate between your journaled thoughts, items to tackle, and notes of ideas. We all know that journaling is good for relieving stress and anxieties, and with Daynote, your journal’s privacy is protected.

You are able to search previous entries, receive yearly reminders of what happened previously on this date, and you can upload photos. Daynote is also teasing that more features are coming soon.

I’m the biggest proponent of to-do lists. They make you more productive and it just feels good to check stuff off. With Daynote’s to-do lists, you can schedule lists and to-do items, shuffle between lists, and share with others.

Notes is almost like a combination of a journal entry and a to-do list. My personal notes are just a collection of ideas and reminders of things to come back to later. According to Daynote’s description, “Record anything you’d like to remember for later. Wine lists, books you want to read, products you want to buy, travel itineraries. Anything.”

The opportunities of what to note-take are endless! Through this app, you can search all notes, share notes with others, and schedule notes for later dates.

Daynote operates on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and the web. Early access is available upon request.

I’m an iPhone user (and I would imagine there is a very similar tool on an Android or any other smartphone) and, minus the scheduling capabilities, you can pretty much do all of this through the notes app. Personally, I’m a pen-to-paper gal who keeps all of this info physically written down.

However, Daynote could certainly be useful for people who need more reminders for to-do lists and notes; and this is something that could be helpful for teams.

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Real Estate Technology

This tab manager uses AI to organize and focus your web browsing

(TECHNOLOGY) Tabby isn’t the first tab manager we’ve seen, but it is one of the cooler ones. Who wouldn’t want AI to help you organize web browsing?

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Logo for Tabby, a new AI-based tab manager

At one time or another, we have all been a tab hoarder. They start adding up when we are doing research, online shopping, and managing work projects. No matter what it is, we have all let tabs pile up like a stack of dirty dishes. However, several tab manager solutions can help clean up that clutter.

OneTab converts all your tabs into lists that you can later restore individually or all at once. TooManyTabs lets you preview the tabs so you can quickly find what you are looking for. Google Tabs lets you group and color code the tabs for better organization. And now Tabby, an AI-based browser assistant, manages the tabs automatically for you so you are more productive and focused.

“We built it to help everyone navigate on their browser without feeling additional fatigue due to an excess of tabs,” said Merlin Laffitte, one of Tabby’s makers. Because of more online meetings due to the pandemic, Laffitte said that he, along with his colleagues, found it difficult to focus because of the clutter created by the open tabs.

Being in a handful of online meetings myself, I know what he is talking about. Too many open tabs can be distracting and time-consuming. I have heard many people say, “I have the document pulled up.” Then, they can’t find it because it is lost among the ten, twenty, or thirty tabs they have open.

Tabby attempts to solve the pain of tab hoarding by removing unnecessary tabs without a user having to click on anything. In doing so, it makes the browser “focus-friendly.” The way the AI-based plugin works is that it takes into consideration these three main KPIs:

  • The time spent on the tab.
  • The last time you viewed the tab.
  • The frequency of viewing.

Based on these interactions, Tabby scores each tab by relevance, and makes its decision on which tab to close. Whenever a tab is removed from your browser view, Tabby will send you a notification. On the tool’s homepage, you can find the removed tabs and choose whether you would like to restore one. From there, you can also set your preferences to customize Tabby’s behavior. As you continue using it, Tabby will adapt to your habits and learn when to remove a tab when it is not being used.

Tabby is “meant to help you declutter your browser view by removing unnecessary tabs.” Currently, the product has a 5/5 review on Product Hunt, and users seem to like it. With only 25 reviews as of this writing, Tabby is still in its infancy. It’ll be interesting to see how well it does among other tab manager tools as it gains more users.

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Real Estate Technology

This law-tech tool helps tenants navigate eviction notices

(TECHNOLOGY) Law-tech tool Hello Landlord helps struggling tenants meet the eviction moratorium’s rules, but it’s greatest benefit may lie in communication.

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Man seated in trunk of car, head in hands as he considers eviction. New tools may help.

For tenants behind on rent during the pandemic, being shielded from eviction for nonpayment requires strictly following rules in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium that began September 4 and runs through the end of 2020.

Now the makers of website Hello Landlord, which helps tenants give notices to their landlords, have updated their free tool to meet the CDC requirements.

At HelloLandlord.org, tenants submit their information and answer a series of questions, including their landlord’s name and how much money they owe. The site automatically generates a customized letter to the landlord that outlines the tenant’s circumstances and includes a promise to pay the back rent. Tenants also get a declaration document that follows the moratorium order.

In the declaration, tenants must swear they:

  • Earn no more than $99,000 annually (or $198,000 jointly).
  • Can’t pay their rent because of loss of work or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • Have done their best to get available housing assistance;
  • Would become homeless or have to move into a home with many people, potentially spreading the COVID-19 virus;
  • Will try to make timely partial payments.

No documentation is required, and there are no official forms.

If renters don’t qualify for protection under the new order, the site will create a letter that asks the landlord for flexibility with making rent payments.

Relationships between landlords and renters often start going south because of communication issues. That’s something Hello Landlord’s letters might head off by helping tenants communicate effectively. The letters meet the legal requirements but also sound, well, human, despite being automated. The language is informal, even conciliatory. The tenant empathizes with the landlord – acknowledging that this time is financially hard on them, too – and pledges to work together.

Some sample language: “Although the CDC’s Order may prevent my eviction, I want you to know that I am willing to work with you moving forward during this challenging time.”

Hello Landlord debuted in 2019 and was originally created by SixFifty, a software subsidiary of technology law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. They collaborated with LawX, the legal design lab at Brigham Young University’s Law School, and the Innovation for Justice (i4J) Program at University of Arizona College of Law to research causes of and solutions to the eviction crisis.

A second tool, HelloLender.org, helps homeowners create letters to their mortgage lenders asking for accommodation in payments under the CARES Act stimulus program.

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