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How to quit Yahoo since it has officially slaughtered the shark

(BUSINESS NEWS) If you’re one of the many people scrambling to jump off of the Yahoo ship, your plight is not permanent. Here’s what you need to know.

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Never too late to save yourself

If Yahoo’s clunky operation and laughably-kitschy interface weren’t enough to deter you, the recent security breach probably was. If not, there’s simply no helping you. Assuming you’re ready to transition to a slightly more reliable email provider, there are a few steps you’ll need to take before the process is complete.

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Blink twice if you need help

Jumping from one email provider to another is easier said than done. Between the differences in interface, the new account creation process, the endless verification, and the mildly depressing “starting from scratch” feeling, it’s easy to see why people tend to pick an email provider and stick to it.

Unfortunately, the (not-so) recent security breach put countless users’ personal information at risk, and that should be a hard “no” in anyone’s book. It’s not just the fact that it happened (well, that too) —it’s the fact that Yahoo employees were aware of the breach for several years before the information was made public.

Companies have an obligation to put their customers’ wellbeing ahead of their own, and Yahoo failed spectacularly in that department.

Putting my burning hatred of Yahoo aside for a moment, though, let’s analyze one of its positive aspects for a second. At the time of its inception, Yahoo was a simple, alternative platform for people who were either too new to email for them to juggle the more robust MSN, or too disenchanted with the other basic email providers available.

GG(mail)

This same simplicity is actually inherent in another common email provider: Gmail. What’s more, Gmail plugs into just about everything (seriously, if you don’t have a Gmail account yet, where have you been?). You can use a Gmail account to access Google’s sweet suite of productivity tools, log in to countless websites with the click of a button, and access Google Drive — which, for the record, is hands-down one of the best values in cloud storage on the market.

Gmail also eschews some of the more cloying attributes of Yahoo’s whiny presentation. I’ve been using Gmail for over nine years, and I can’t recall a single time I received an email from Google asking me to check out a new feature or something similar, nor has it sent me any snobby inquiries as to whether or not I’m still using my account.

By comparison, the Yahoo account I created for research a few weeks ago has dumped nearly 100 promotions, alerts, and news-related articles into my inbox despite my protests. “But Jack, you can mark those emails as spam — and Gmail gathers your data while you sleep!” Yeah, but it’s the principle of the thing.

Gmail is quietly intrusive where Yahoo has all the subtlety of a shotgun opera.

Trading a data farmer for a shinier data farmer

I’ll just assume you’re sold on the notion, so here’s how you can seamlessly transfer your Yahoo account over to your Gmail account:

1. Log in to your Gmail account (or create one).
2. Click the settings gear in the top right corner of the Gmail window.
3. Click the “Accounts and Import” tab at the top of the subsequent menu.
4. Click the “Import mail and contacts” link in the second group of options.

From there, you just need to enter your Yahoo email credentials and follow the on-screen instructions to ensure that your contacts, emails, and subscriptions sync to your Gmail account.

Ta-da! Now you have an email account that won’t steal your information!

Apologies for the dark humor, but seriously — Yahoo isn’t taking any prisoners. Get out now while you still have a chance.

Of course, this process will work for most major email providers. Outlook has a similarly intuitive contact/data transfer system. If you’re absolutely not down for the Google takeover, you do have options.

A Flickr of hope

Yahoo’s account deletion page is notoriously difficult to get to before deleting your account. However, you may want to back up any photos or videos in your Flickr account (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably good to go as it is).

Keep in mind that you also should delete any photos you don’t want the public to have access to in the form of cached data. Once you’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s by backing up your files and transferring your contacts, feel free to pull the trigger and delete your account if you feel called to.

#JumpShip

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

Tech News

Making Slack actionable makes you productive

(TECHNOLOGY) Slack is an amazing productivity tool, but of course can add more to your plate – this feature puts you back on track.

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You know when you’re using Slack and you’re having a conversation with your teammate about whether or not you should grab lunch or go to Soul Cycle, but before you can answer, your editor Slacks you about deadlines and your design partner messages you proofs and suddenly you snap back to reality and remember that you’ve been working on a blog post for an hour and your concentration is completely shattered? You know, the exact moment when your productivity is officially derailed?

Well, Slack now offers Actions to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Your day may get busy, but at least nothing will slip through the cracks, work-wise.

Integrated with project management tools like Asana, Zendesk, and Jira, Actions allows users to create and comment on tasks, tickets or issues within conversations. That means no clicking through tabs or apps until you can no longer remember why you started clicking in the first place. More importantly, Actions keeps track of the work you need to do and when you need to do it.

So, how do Actions work?

1. Need to create a deadline or set up an appointment? Anything you see in Slack that needs a follow-up can be turned into an action when you click the ••• icon and choose an “action.”

2. When you’ve completed an action, a message appears in your Slack channel and lets your team know you’ve flagged it for follow-up.

3. Whichever app you’ve integrated with will alert Slack at which point you and your team can determine the next steps.

Bottom-line, Actions help keep your workflow moving. While it may not stop the onslaught of Slack messages from breaking your concentration, at least you’ll know what you should to be concentrating on.

If you’re curious to know more about Actions, the company has ample info on their API pages for your perusal.

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Tech News

Freezetab streamlines how you save tabs in Chrome

(TECH NEWS) Freezetab is the newest chrome extension that allows you to organize saved tabs in a myriad of ways.

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Internet made easier

With the browser becoming more and more of a workspace than merely an application, the built in bookmarks tool may leave you a bit hungry for more.

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Chrome users who need better tools to organize and manage bookmarks may find the power they need in Freezetab.

Bookmark’s cooler, hotter younger brother

Freezetab seeks to answer the questions of “what if I could organize my bookmarks by website” or “I only want to save all but two of these tabs on zen office designs.” It seeks to give you more options beyond the “one or all” choices in chrome. Here is the lowdown:

  • The calendar feature remembers WHEN you saved a tab – so if you can’t remember the title you can just go back to the day.
  • Chrome either lets you save one or all tabs. Freezetab expands those options to include: all, current, everything but current, right of, left of, or pick and choose.
  • If you are sharing a collection of tabs with a workgroup or a partner, it exports as a nice textbox that is easy to share in integrated messaging, IM, or email. Or even social media!
  • Sorting is robust, and there is a solid search feature that searches as you type.
  • That quick save feature saves all the tabs and closes them – and you can adjust that quick save feature to meet your needs.
  • There is a handy little star feature to note important bookmarks (i.e. recipes and excel techniques).
  • Enhances your close tab capability to close everything to the left and specific tabs – this great if you work in chrome and have 75 tabs open that have one letter names.
  • It is easier to sort tabs after you save them – you can search for them and then sort into folders you create rather manually organizing them into folders.
  • As a bonus: for those who don’t want to have to sort bookmarks – unlike Chrome which requires you to pick a folder or risk turning your bookmarks to an unorganized mess, the extension automatically organizes it for you.

Freezetab findings

After spending a few moments with Freezetab, it does fit in nicely with a workflow. Solidly reviewed, the developer did solve an issue with “pinned” tabs in the 1.2 update. – so it doesn’t remove or add them. The features are nice and easy to use, and it doesn’t require more than five minutes of playing around.

One complaint – if you choose to the right or left of the current tab to close, it did close the active tab as well – which was a little funky. But once you get comfortable with the nuances, it’s easy to use.
The interface is function over form, but you won’t have any problem using or customizing this extension. Now Bookmark smart y’all!

#FreezeTab

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Tech News

We’ve all seen job listings for UX writers, but what exactly is UX writing?

(TECH NEWS) We seeing UX writer titles pop up and while UX writing is not technically new, there are new availabilities popping up.

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The work of a UX writer is something you come across everyday. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints UX writers work on are interface copy, emails and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find a UX writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must have. Excellent communication skills is a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post.

But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater UX design team. In larger companies some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User centered design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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