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Four productivity tools designed to streamline your communications

(Tech News) While there is no holy grail of productivity, these four tools can get you closer to leaving the office on time every day, helping to streamline your communications.

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productivity

Productivity remains a challenge

As more technologies make our life simpler, it also becomes overwhelming to consider all of your options, particularly for tools to make life easier. But today, we’re focused on your email inbox and other communications which can quickly become overwhelming if you are not managing them daily.

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Some days work and schedules are so hectic that you just cannot get logged in to check email and social media updates. Here are four ways to boost your productivity and help you manage your communication more efficiently:

1. Ecquire

ecquire
Ecquire
helps you keep your data organized and your team updated without constantly opening new windows to copy and paste data. Ecquire is a little button that lives in all the applications you work with; just click it whenever you want to collect and save data in their cloud service. This allows you to save data without interrupting your workflow. Use it with social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, any many more), email conversations, and other apps.

Ecquire will send the stored information to Salesforce, Highrise, Mailchimp, Stride, and even Google Spreadsheets. Regardless of what program you use to send your information, Ecquire can automatically sync it for you. They currently have a plethora of integrations, with more on the way. You can click each integration to see how it works with Ecquire to make data management easy and fast.

2. Speechpad

speechpad
Speechpad
is a transcription and captioning service. This is a great alternative to the time-consuming task of transcribing meeting and conference notes on your own. It is also a great way to transcribe YouTube videos. You can specify the turnaround time with a guarantee to get it back at or before your deadline. Time frames can be anywhere from 24 hours to a week.

Pricing varies based on when you need it back and the length of the recorded material. Simply upload your files, either from your computer or files already available online, and Speechpad will begin transcribing immediately. This is definitely worth a look if you are spending time and resources transcribing individual files.

3. MineMyMail

minemymail
MineMyMail
sifts through all of the messages stored in your email account and finds the information you actually ant to read. It will work with any IMAP enabled account (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Office365, etc.) and turns your email contacts into usable marketing resources. This tool works by accessing the provider’s IMAP server and subsequently downloading the message headers from whichever messages have been selected for extraction.

It then pulls this information into a master list and is sorted and can be exported to a CSV file. This CSV file can then be used on social networking sites, allowing you to connect with customers you may have missed. The statistics will shows the number of emails, number of unique email addresses, and time taken to execute. By creating a list of the people with whom you have already corresponded, MineMyMail enables you to target mailings to the broadest possible audience, saving you time and frustration sorting through emails manually.

4. Cloze

cloze
Cloze
helps you tidy up your inbox. It takes your social media and email updates and processes them into one, centralized feed. You can privately share and discuss the best of what you discover on social media, with the people that matter; whether that is your team or your friends. Business relationships change over time and your feed (or “Key People”) feature adapts as well, so that you always see your most important relationships without digging through endless amounts of information.

Even if you only use email with someone, once Cloze detects they are important to you, it will automatically add social too. So you get more data about the people you are working with and the more information you have, the better connections you can forge.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. rolandestrada

    December 19, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I guess. I’m sure these services would help some folks but you need to be careful you’re not just adding another layer of complexity. Cloze doesn’t appear to have a monthly cost to it but the others do. I would just suggest being judicious about adding another can’t-live-without service to your wasteland of monthly service bills.

  2. Pingback: Mobile etiquette tips to keep your staff from being overwhelmed with memos - The American Genius

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Tech News

iOS 15 beta has blur nude photos opt-in, but its not without fault

(TECH NEWS) To protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos.

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Woman looking at Apple iPhone representing new iOS 15 beta that will blur nude photos.

In a move to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.

The option to blur nude photos is opt-in, reports The Verge, and does not prevent users from choosing to view the photos in question even after being implemented.

This iteration of the feature is distinct from the original one insofar as it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts pointed out that exposing nude content on a child’s device in some households could result in abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the outing of “queer or transgender children to their parents.”

With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos via the Messages app would be able to do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send a report to a trusted adult if they see fit to do so.

Blurring photos is just one of several aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sex abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.

 

Child on electronic device- iOS 15 beta that will allow blur nude photos should protect children.

Another feature that Apple has tested – but not released – is their Child Sex Abuse Imagery Detection (CSAM-detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows child pornography or abuse to Apple moderators for further review. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed criticism, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.

While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that fighting against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting individuals’ personal photos via an algorithm opens the door to government interference and increased surveillance. Switching the algorithm’s baseline to scan for things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups posit, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.

There is no current release date set for any of these aforementioned features, though iPhone users can reasonably expect them to drop at some point during iOS 15’s development.

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Tech News

Amazon Music debuts synchronized text transcripts for popular podcasts

(TECH) The first feature to hit Amazon Music is auto-generated and synchronized text transcripts for their most popular podcast shows. Sign us up!

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Amazon Music Transcripts

Amazon set out to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts last year by acquiring the podcasting network, Wondery. Now, the company is doing just that with the launch of its auto-generated and synchronized podcast transcripts feature on Amazon Music.

According to an Amazon Music tweet, with this feature, you’ll be able to “Roll it back, jump ahead, and follow along” with the podcast you’re listening to. For instance, you can scrub through the transcript to find that line of text with that quote or movie and book suggestion you can’t quite remember. When you tap on a particular line of text in the transcript, you’ll be able to jump straight into that specific part of the podcast. I can already see all the time saved! But, if you just want to read along as you listen, you can do that, too. The transcript will match the audio as you’re hearing it.

Right now, the company is only rolling out podcast transcripts in the US on both iOS and Android devices. When it will expand to other countries isn’t known, and the feature isn’t available for all podcasts yet. For now, it is only available on a selection of popular podcasts like Smartless, Crime Junkie, This American Life, Uncommon Ground, and Modern Love, but more are coming.

Amazon Music Homescreen

To use it, all you have to do is open the podcasts tab on Amazon Music and select one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to. Of course, you’ll need to select a show with the podcast transcription feature to see it. When your show is playing, on the top of the album art and in fullscreen mode, the transcriptions will be available for you to read along to.

Oh, and if you’re worried about having to read through the ads, you have nothing to fret about. Ads won’t be transcribed. Instead, the transcription will read “audio not transcribed” when they are playing.

So far, Amazon seems to be going strong in the podcasting game with the release of podcast transcripts. The feature makes it easy to search and find what you are looking for in a show. And, for those on a long and noisy bus and subway ride, you’ll finally be able to read the information you previously couldn’t hear.

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Tech News

UX design: If you don’t have it, get yourself an audit made easy

(TECH NEWS) UX design is important. By conducting a simple audit to make sure your site is accessible, you can minimize the number of people that quickly go away.

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Two UX design people standing in front of a whiteboard with a UX map.

A good UX design is essential in attracting and retaining customers. A seamless and positive experience will keep customers happy and bring your business many benefits, like increasing audience engagement and sales.

But, how do you know if your user experience is in need of help, so people don’t bounce away quickly? Well, if UX is not your forte, the best thing to do is to hire a good UX designer. Unfortunately, sometimes hiring one isn’t always within the budget.

So, what do you do then? The next best thing is to conduct a UX audit of your website or app. Not sure where to begin? Fulcrum’s Do It Yourself UX Audit kit is one place to start.

According to the website, this DIY UX audit “can help you gain valuable insights about the usability of your product.” The tool detects problems in your UX, prioritizes them for you, and finds out how you can fix any existing issues.

The tool is made out of free easy-to-use Notion templates. These UX audit checklists are all customizable, and you can print them or save them on your Notion dashboard to use later.

Inside each template, there are cards with descriptions and examples. Depending on if you meet certain criteria or not, you drag and drop the card into the “Yes” or “No” column. When you’re finished, you will easily see what issues you have, and you can work on fixing them.

The templates are divided into Junior and Middle-level templates.

The Junior level has templates for things such as field and forms, login, mobile UX, and architecture. Most of these templates help make sure you cover your basic UX bases. For instance, it looks at whether your website is desktop and mobile-friendly, and if each element makes sense and is easily identifiable.

The Middle Level dives in a little deeper. The “Visibility of system status” audit checks if you are keeping your audience informed on what’s going on. Things like battery life, loading, or Wi-Fi connection indicators can make a huge difference. No one wants to stare at a screen with no clue if what they clicked on is working or not.

If you can afford it and want a UX virtuoso to do the work for you, you can get a UX audit from Fulcrum. The experts will conduct a full-fledged UX audit and create wireframes with solutions for your UX issues.

However, no matter how you go about it, a good UX design is important. Higher rate conversions and user retention won’t happen if your product is just pushing people away.

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