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Top ways to conserve electricity now that you’ve stocked up on electronics

(Tech News) The holidays are over, and you’ve stocked up on endless electronics – do you know how to conserve electricity when it comes to modern devices? Most don’t.



digital trends

digital trends

Post-holiday electronics madness: how to conserve electricity

As kids, my siblings and I would always be running in and out of every room in the house. We would turn the TV on in one room, have the stereo blasting from another room, and leave the lights on in every room in between. My father would come home from work, see that his day’s check had already been spent on the electricity bill, and would then ask us if we owned stock in Commonwealth Edison.

I never understood what the big deal was until I got older and learned about the unnecessary waste of electricity and expenses that come with leaving everything on all the time. This particularly becomes an issue during the holiday season when, in addition to the trees and lights taking a toll on the electric bill, we often receive gifts under the tree that require life from plugging them into the wall.

The National Resources Defense Council recently reported on four simple ways of adjusting your electronic usage in order to benefit your electric bill as well as the environment.

First suggested was changing the picture settings on your new flat screen. Although new models tend to use less energy than older versions, you may be wasting more energy than necessary without realizing. In order to eliminate energy waste, go to the picture set-up menu on your TV and choose either the “home” or “standard” setting. This cuts out settings titled “vivid” or “retail”, which tend to be brighter than necessary and are said to burn 15-20% more energy.

One of the most important steps

Newer televisions are becoming more and more likely to come Internet ready. This means that you can have access to video streaming built right into the television. Having television and the Internet blend into one, convenient device allows the elimination of secondary devices, such as an Xbox or a Playstation, to perform the same task. Ending the use of these devices to stream shows will cut down on energy costs. However if your television does not have Internet applications built in, the NRDC suggests the use of Chromecast or a Roku which only uses less than 5 watts.

An extremely important step in energy conservation is making sure your devices are not still using electricity while not in use. For many devices this can simply be done by unplugging them, i.e. phone chargers and kitchen appliances. However devices that continuously stay plugged in, such as televisions, computers, and gaming consoles, have settings that can be adjusted in order to lessen your bill.

Even if a gaming console appears to be off, it can still be taking in electricity, which can waste up to $75 worth of energy annually. In order to stop this from happening, go into the settings on the console and enable the “auto power down” feature that will turn the system off after one hour of inactivity.

How to save $40 this year on this one device

Desktop computers are also known to waste energy when not in use and the NRDC reports that a computer running all day, every day for a year can waste up to $40 worth of energy. This can be avoided by putting your computer to sleep when it is not in use. Also try to avoid the use of screen savers when the computer is idle, as this is shown to be an energy waster.

Lastly, the NRDC suggests that, instead of throwing away your old devices, it is best to hang onto them or give them to others who will use them. This is due to smartphones, tablets, etc. representing up to 80% of the manufacture’s total carbon footprint and it is better to hang on to these devices rather than let them waste in a landfill.

Now having the knowledge of ways to reduce energy wastes and costs, you will be able to enjoy your new gadgets all the more. And if you have that one neighbor that just will not turn off his Christmas lights, take my father’s advice and invest in some ComEd stock to pay for next year’s presents.

Taylor is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and has a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Illinois State University. She is currently pursuing freelance writing and hopes to one day write for film and television.

Tech News

Earbuds that are noise cancelling hit the market just in time for the holidays

(TECH NEWS) There are no shortage of earbuds on the market, however, Nuheara’s noise cancelling, bluetooth earbuds are sure to top everyone’s wish list.



earbuds noise cancelling

Noise cancelling earbuds are efficient for blocking out the world around you – when all you want to hear is your music and nothing else. However, for those who want a smaller, sleeker alternative, Nuheara is the perfect fit.

Nuheara are wireless audio earbuds that are customizable to your hearing needs. Even though they have the same power as noise cancelling headphones, they can be adjusted to amplify or minimize sound based on each situation.

You can choose to blend the sounds of the streets and your new favorite album in order to be aware of the world around you. The earbuds are ideal for any situation.

The noise cancelling earbuds use SINC (Superior Intelligent Noise Control) technology, which lets every user create their custom hearing experience.

There are numerous times when it’s hard to hear because of the noise around us. This may be in crowded restaurants, concerts or even when you’re at home trying to avoid the noisy neighbor in the apartment above you.

The SINC technology applies a frequency filter to sounds you choose to hear or want to avoid. Additionally, the left and right earbuds have their own settings, so that they can be customized individually. Everything is customized through the app, so it’s up to each user to decide!

Prior to founding Nuheara, Justin Miller and David Cannington worked in the oil and gas companies creating industrial strength hearing headsets.

The feedback they received during these experiences paved the way for inventing Nuheara. People wanted a sleek headset that they could wear in everyday life, not just at their job.

The earbuds will set you back a few hundred bucks, but they come with accessories like a battery charger, carrying case and 8 different silicone tips. The battery charger provides three full charges. Nuheara earbuds are also sweat and water resistant, but they are not yet waterproof.

As wireless headphones, Nuheara are also compatible with most Bluetooth connected devices. The earbuds also use tap-touch control to make hands-free phone calls, control music and adjust settings.

There is no need to connect Nuheara to external devices to use their noise cancelling capabilities.

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Tech News

Turn your FAQ page into a chatbot without knowing how to code

(TECH NEWS) An easy way to add a chatbot to your site and automate some of your work is through this new simple tool that doesn’t require any tech know-how.



faqbot chatbot

Reduce your workload and personalize customer service engagement with Faqbot, the tool that turns your online FAQ into a customized chatbot.

Co-founded by Denny Wong and CEO Mathis André, Faqbot uses machine learning to streamline frequently asked questions into a handy chatbot pal.

Based on your existing FAQ content, Faqbot builds a database that learns from every conversation to improve responses. Faqbot can also be used to automate sales and lead generation.

You get to design the conversation flow, mapping out a custom path to guide users to a desired outcome. Set predefined choices or free text, customize the bot’s responses, and determine what leading questions the bot should ask.

For example, on the Faqbot site, I was given two pre-set choices to click after each response from the bot. Clicking “Thanks for helping” gets the polite response “You are welcome! ;-)” complete with an old-school emoji featuring a nose.

If you select “not my question,” Faqbot uses its general response to any unanswerable question: “Sorry, I’m a chatbot. I am constantly learning and have answers to frequently asked questions. Thank you for leaving your email and we will get back to you shortly.”

Choose your own responses based on already defined FAQ or come up with new messaging to better engage and inform your customers as needed. The free text option is also available if customers wish to continue asking questions.

Of course, I had to try out some less than frequently asked questions. When I asked Faqbot “are we friends?” it kindly replied, “Absolutely. You don’t have to ask.” So I’m smitten.

However, when I tried to take it to the next level by asking “Do you love me?,” which seems to be the internet’s favorite way to harass a bot, I got the “Sorry, I’m a chatbot” response.

That’s okay. I’ll recover. Faqbot isn’t here to love, it’s here to answer questions.

You can easily install the chatbot by either copy/pasting the snippet of codes directly into your webpage, or connect Faqbot to your company’s Facebook page. No coding skills required.

Pricing is based on number of users per month, but all levels include the same service offerings of FAQ database management, messaging interface, a ticketing system, and DIY guided conversation flow. You can try out Faqbot free for 14 days by signing up on their site.

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Tech News

This note-taking app is perfect for the creative mind

(TECH NEWS) The newest app for note-taking could be a tremendous asset for a very specific type of creative that tools like trello and evernote fall short on… not all apps work for all people.




If you’re like me, you’ve had many phases in your idea-having, note-taking life. There was the AP History period, where I decided the quality of my notes would be judged based on the tininess of my handwriting and the number of innovative abbreviations coined. There was the “song collection” period, in which I wrote down song and band names with reckless abandon, on any scrap of paper or non-paper within reach, and promptly scattered the scraps everywhere. There was the post-it era, in which every single idea was carefully documented on a “Sticky Note” that tiled over my Windows desktop and was impossible to find thereafter.

And then, there was Evernote, and Trello, and I thought my evolution was complete. I had neatly organized “Notebooks” and “Cards” and I felt very structured and efficient and spiritually done with my note-taking journey.

But a whisper of rebellion called out to me. It sounded musical, colorful, whimsical. It asked me whether I wouldn’t like to liberate myself from those neat lists and stacks, let my ideas flow, visualize my thoughts?

It introduced me to Milanote – the note-taking app truly made FOR images, not just tolerant of them.

Milanote markets itself toward creatives: “For the research, thinking and planning behind your next great piece of work.”

But the strengths of this app could benefit anyone who could use a more freeform space to collect their thoughts. A blank page resembles a peg board, and users can add images, notes, links, and more in any configuration their hearts desire. You can also link any elements together with a web of lines, or leave them on their own.

This could be a great app for early-stage brainstorming and planning, when you need to play around and be flexible.

Milanote can be collaborative, like Trello, or individual and personal, like my always-evolving grocery list in Evernote. Milanote currently works in any web browser, and iOs and Android apps are coming soon.

For up to 100 notes, Milanote can be yours free of charge. More than that, though, and you’ll have to pay $9.99 for the pro version.

Something tells me infinity should cost much more, but the organic, customizable concept is something to hold on to.

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