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TaskCracker: drag and drop productivity tool for Outlook

Take your Outlook tasks from boring to visually vibrant with simple drag and drop tool, TaskCracker, maximizing your email productivity.

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TaskCracker makes Outlook a thousand times better

If you have ever opened your Outlook application and felt overwhelmed; you are not alone. Trying to decipher which tasks are the most important with a full calendar is not always easy. TaskCracker offers a better way to view your Outlook calendar. The TaskCracker at-a-glance view offers a grid with priority levels (high, medium, low) on the left; and dates at the top (today, tomorrow, next week).

It also offers color coded categories allowing you see your agenda for the day in seconds, rather than spending time scrolling through Outlook, trying to find what you need for the day. So not only are you less frustrated, but also, more efficient. No more cluttered folders and no more holding on to the email until you decide what to do with it. This vibrant visual layout helps you see if your workload is spread sensibly over your week, or if some things need to be moved. After you have made changes to your daily agenda, you can switch back to the original Outlook to-do view and start doing tasks one by one.

Native in Outlook, no need to leave

Once installed, TaskCracker launches from within Outlook, with one click. You do not have to switch between applications: TaskCracker is native in the Outlook application. It is compatible with Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 compatible. Once it is installed, you can move tasks around by dragging and dropping them, allowing you to change their priority and deadline.

This tool is based on the best task management methods such as Eisenhower Matrix and Things First by Stephen Covey. These methods are at the foundation of the TaskCracker urgency/important matrix. This visual method helps you strategically plan your tasks. It works on the principle that not every urgent task is important and vice versa, so, when you put the task into the TaskCracker display, you get a visual signal: what do I need to do now, and what can wait. This allows you to focus on what really needs to get done and quickly rearrange and reprioritize other tasks.

TaskCracker is available for free for thirty days; afterwards it is $39.95 for personal use, on multiple computers and team pricing is available.

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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.

Tech News

Moocha.io sources classes for you to get smarter

(BUSINESS NEWS) It is growing more and more common for people to take courses to supplement professional development and Moocha.io searches tons of sites for available courses.

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The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) movement is well underway, but professionals, particularly entrepreneurs and small business fellows, may find them to the perfect way to learn some new skills or brush up on existing ones.

Popular delivery platforms like ItunesU, Coursera, Edx offer free or low cost curriculum.

Moochia.io is one such way to find course offerings. Think of all the things you want some education on: public speaking (429 courses!), project management (1284 courses!), marketing (181 courses!), Excel (46 courses!) – the list goes on.

Training and development costs are often the first to get cut, so even big company employees can find some value in MOOC’s as online providers of content.

Also, given the great challenge of finding enough hours in the day, online delivery platforms typically offer self-paced, media heavy learning that you can consume as time becomes available.

With mobile and tablet applications for most providers, there are plenty of options. All that it takes to get started is usually just the will and the plan.

#TakingCharge of your learning goals starts with some self-assessment and review. Ask yourself – what are your strengths (which you want to keep developing, and feel good to develop) and where are your gaps – the skills you need to accomplish your goals.

Ask yourself what is needed to accomplish that to-do list – maybe you need to learn how to program, maybe you need a crash course on how to handle small business taxes – what’s going on?

Challenge: one of the biggest disadvantages of online courses is that in general – people don’t’ finish them. So one of the ways you can get more benefit is by committing a specific goal to complete a course: set a date, outline how much you need to get done per day/week, and track it.

Owning your own professional development is important both for your success, but also for your satisfaction: learning makes us more satisfied about our careers.

There are an abundance of good resources to utilize, not only MOOC’s, but books, podcasts, YouTube, and of course – good old social media. So, make a plan, get studying, and #ownthatlearning.

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Tech News

Giving kids smartwatches might not be too smart

(TECH NEWS) If you’re trying to teach your kid about stranger danger, giving them smartwatches won’t help the lesson.

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All of these smart devices are not exactly the smartest choice when it comes to privacy. This is especially true for protecting your children. A new report from the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) and European Security firm Mnemonic tested just how safe smart watches are, and the results are unsettling.

The report, appropriately and almost embarrassingly titled “#WatchOut,” details analysis of 4 different types of smart watches from Gator, Tindell, Viksfjord and Xplora.

All of these watches have been marketed to consumers as a way to protect children. Some come with an SOS button and alert parents when their children go beyond certain boundaries. Unfortunately the report found that these features are unreliable.

In addition, two of the smartwatches were found to be vulnerable to hackers. If successful, hackers could remotely control the watches giving them access to location, personal information and even the ability to communicate through the device.

Even scarier, expert hackers would be able to listen to surroundings through the watch.

As researchers took a closer look at the smart device app permissions, they found that only one of them allows parents to opt out of data collection. Xplora explicitly states that they give data to marketers, which might be something that parents overlook.

Most people permit apps to collect and share data without a second thought.

The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) has adamantly opposed smart watches targeted towards children until these flaws are corrected. They ran a public service announcement warning against using the devices because of their failure to provide adequate security.

Ideally, BEUC wants to create mandatory regulations for companies to adhere to, to prevent future hacks. One member even said that smart watches that choose not to comply should be withdrawn from the market.

Flawed as they may be, these smartwatches are not the only vulnerable device putting children’s lives at risk. Mattel had to pull one of the newest Barbie dolls off of the shelves after realizing that the mic, once hacked, turned into a recording device in a child’s bedroom.

Regardless of the technological advantages of smart devices, it’s best to think twice before buying them for children.

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Tech News

Mac Minis are alive and well according to Cook

(TECH NEWS) Apple has had a slew of products release in the last three years with one notably missing — the Mac Mini. But ole Timmy Cook has squashed rumors of its death.

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The long-anticipated iPhone 8 and iPhone X are here. As consumers have been rushing to get one into their possession, other Apple products have found a comfortable place in the background. One of those devices is the Mac Mini.

The last version of the Mac Mini was launched in 2014 and since then, Apple has been relatively quiet about any updates. It took a fan of the forgotten device to finally get somewhat of an answer from Apple CEO Tim Cook.

It’s not surprising that the Mac Mini has gone on unnoticed.

Stating that Apple has been busy since 2014 is an understatement. Mobile devices are their forte, so they have shifted most of their focus towards improving them.

The iPad and MacBook also receive regular updates. Mini Macs are still on the market, but without the newest updates, they fall behind in sales and popularity compared to Apple’s other products. Luckily, their quiet following has finally received an answer.

Well, not so much an answer as a glimmer of hope. One fan, who goes by the name of Krar, took a long shot and reached out to Tim Cook directly.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the CEO actually responded. Cook wrote back, “We do plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line going forward.”

Hallelujah! However, Cook gave no specifics or timeline regarding the process of revamping the device. Paul Schiller, the Marketing Chief of Apple also confirmed Cook’s statement.

In April, Apple announced plans for a new addition of iMac desktops that will be released later this year. They also mentioned that they are “completely rethinking” the MacBook Pro, however there is no set date for this release.

The Mac Mini update will likely follow the MacBook Pro, because let’s be honest, no matter how many fans send emails to Apple, the Mac Mini is still not their number one priority.

In the meantime, consumers will have to continue using other products to fill the void of the Mac Mini. Fortunately, there is no shortage of Apple devices.

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