How to: Choose the Right SD Card Oct03

How to: Choose the Right SD Card

Dear App Store, I have a confession to make. You thought I’d be loyal to a few core apps, but in reality, I download and delete all the time. I’m curious. I want to explore all the options out there. It’s just, there’s never enough space in my phone’s memory. I even tried to get an SD card, but there are so many different types, it’s hard to know which one to buy… Until now. Confronted by the huge wall of SD cards at the store, or the ever expanding choices online? Here’s your SD card primer.     First, SD cards are divided by type, class, and storage capacity.   When do you need a regular SD card? The size of SD card you’ll need is generally indicated on the device. However, as a general rule, bigger devices use bigger cards. For example, both my Panasonic point-and-shoot camera and my spankin’ brand new Nikon DSLR use regular-size SD cards. Be aware, though, that your device (especially if it’s older) may not support SDHC or SDXC cards. It’ll say if it does, either in the instruction manual or on the side of the device. When do you need a mini SD card? I personally have never had a device that requires a mini SD card. However, some of the older cellphones out there accept them. When do you need a micro SD card? Now, this is what you came here for. Nearly all smartphones nowadays have a micro SD slot. There are, of course, some that don’t–Apple’s iPhone does not have an SD card slot, and neither does the HTC One–and some people argue that they aren’t even necessary. However, if you have anything lower than a high-end smartphone, it is quite possible that...

The benefits of “dreamlining” & why you should bother to do it Oct01

The benefits of “dreamlining” & why you should bother to do it...

As a natural goal-setter, I never realized that other human beings on the planet find it difficult to define, break down, and plan their own dreams for the future. I never thought about it until I came across the term “dreamlining” in a Tim Ferriss book. It’s a fancy term referring to exactly that: defining your dreams and breaking down the steps necessary for achievement within a certain time frame. That sounds perfectly legitimate, and perhaps you, another goal-setting master, find it silly. However, there is an important take-away for the digital procrastinators out there–you know, the one currently browsing through this post instead of doing any of the ten-thousand other things you should be doing. Like working. Or talking with your friends. Or even jogging around the park, where the fresh air will recharge your spirits and remind you of the greener side. The secret to achieving goals is simple: Break down your objectives into small, actionable to-do bullet points, and go after them, one by one.     In fact, social psychology experts have confirmed that people are constantly switching their attention and motivation from goal to goal. Thus any given goal pursuit will interfere with other possible goal achievement processes. The rate of goal accomplishment is routinely low, unless the motivations for such a pursuit are noticeably strong and explicit. That’s why many tips for completing goals recommend writing down your goal, sharing it with friends and family, etc. The point is to create strong motives for accomplishing it, as well as strong(ish) repercussions for not. Behavioral psychologists have created a helpful acronym, SMART, that both defines and guides for effective goal-setting habits.     In fact, the idea of dreamlining encapsulates this process perfectly. First, grab the worksheet and fill...

So you want to be an entrepreneur… Sep29

So you want to be an entrepreneur…

What is it about the internet that fuels our dreams of upward mobility?What is it that makes us who we are?The internet amazes us because it connects us in a previously-unimaginable way. It allows us flash communication and increases our business reach. Talltales of overnight stars and instant millionaires stir the loins of lustful and ambitious neighbors. But why is that? What really motivates some to wade backwards while the rest of us continue with the flow? The Institution of Engineering and Technology claims the top reasons for wanting to be an entrepreneur include:  Money (to state it bluntly) External Recognition Independence Self-satisfaction and fulfillment   Indeed, even members of the Young Entrepreneur Council–an exclusive organization made up of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs–stated that their motives for pursuing ephemeral wisps of entrepreneurial madness spring from similar desires. It’s an amusing ride full of scares and dips and downs and little frills, but if you persevere, that feeling of proudly profound accomplishment will be yours. You don’t have to be a genius or well-off from the start; you only need to bite down, train your attitude, practice mind-bending spoons, and hold on until it’s time to jump ship or make landfall.   Dare yourself to take that first small step, and go from there.   So why do you do it? What pulls you out of bed every morning, and puts a bounce in your barefooted step? And in honor of this Monday, the traditional start to the traditional workweek, here’s an adaptation of the famous poem “So you want to be a writer…”...

10 Smart Ways to Make Money Online

  Last time I wrote about whether or not an intensive workday is a possibility. In follow-up, let’s assume that you have mastered the art of productive batching and single-minded concentration. You are a well-oiled cog in the sea of fast-moving and disparate company body parts. However, you still earn a bum wage. Or you’re an underpaid intern who rallies to the idea of being a Millennial entrepreneur. Or you may even be on the lookout for an additional revenue stream to add to your ever-revolving portfolio. In any case, the fact remains that you want to take advantage of the great unknown and catch a piece of the internet pie for yourself. Many lists detail ideas on how to make money online. It’s a popular subject. So why rehash what has already been stabbed to death many times over? Because I’ve walked around the block hand-in-hand with these online lists. Some of the suggestions work; others belie the point of highly productive online work.     These are 10 SMART ways to make money online:   1. Start your own niche website You have the potential to start your own website for whatever reason. However, in this ever-expanding universe, it makes sense to focus on one particular subject. Transform yourself into that big fish in the small subsection of the pond. Besides, the more tightly-focused your website content, the more relevant the Google Adsense ads you’re going to put on it, and the more likely you’ll convince one of your readers to click on them.   2. Make your own themed Youtube videos Again, we return to the idea of revolving revenue from advertisements. This time, however, you’re not creating a full website from the ether but rather sharing your unique content on...

Is an intensive work day just a myth? Sep24

Is an intensive work day just a myth?

After two years of stubbornly ignoring the “4-Hour Workweek” sitting on my virtual bookshelf, I finally took it down and dove in head first. And it got me to thinking again about the average work day; is a fully-productive, intensive work day just a myth?Some people prefer having a job where you can get paid for doing basically nothing, and others prefer to be busy busy busy all day long. Approaching this subject from different angles (as a former graduate student, teacher, policy recruit at a nonprofit, and on-the-ground saleswoman–there’s more too!), I know what I prefer:     That is, I actively choose to work hard and intensively for short periods of time, followed by blocks of fun and relaxation. And while I agree with Tim Ferriss that this is the ideal schedule, there are some places–or many, depending on your job and circumstances–where this is simply impossible to follow. But the question is: is that because you, the employee, are being lazy? or is it because your job requires you to sit and sit and sit some more to reach your daily eight hours?Of course, if you’re an hourly worker, this conversation doesn’t apply. You work by hour. So, obviously, if you only work a couple hours in the most productive way possible, you’ll end up a couple bucks short of a full paycheck. And you might even find yourself out of a job. Or you’ll just be bored all day and waste time surfing on your phone (when your boss isn’t watching). I’ve been there, too. For me, there’s no worse fate than being stuck in a repetitive hourly job with no end in sight. As a salesperson, I had to reach my quota every day, but it didn’t matter if...

Improve productivity by writing your notes and not typing them Sep05

Improve productivity by writing your notes and not typing them

I have a secret. A grossly underestimated secret. It isn’t a hush-hush type of thing, really. It’s actually a well-known phenomenon that researchers are still trying to figure out. It’s this: I learn better by actually physically writing down notes and lists than by typing them up. Truthfully, many a fellow student and co-worker has no idea that typing up notes and such actually decrease their overall productivity and retention rates. A while back, I tried to go fully digital, but that kind of relationship with my e-devices broke down real quick. You see, I’d dutifully type up my notes to remember them better and make them more portable, but then I would completely and utterly forget that I’d made them in the first place. Which defeats the purpose, I know. So why is it that the traditional way of writing trumps the digital process? The answer is simple and somewhat full of common sense reasoning: your ability to learn and later recall information is related to your level of cerebral engagement at the moment of learning. Or, in other words, the better your brain pays attention, the better you’ll remember the information afterwards. The idea truly isn’t that novel, if you think about it. Scientists have known for over 20 years that intense emotions cause your brain to better record an event for later playback. Your amygdala–in this case–activates more strongly in reaction to stimuli that involve the nervous system. In a similar manner, multiple studies indicate that physically writing with a pen engages the brain in a way that results in better memory recall. How can event-specific emotion-recall be related to physical writing and memory, you ask? Look at it this way: when you touch a pen or pencil, you’re involving  countless...

What Makes You Unique…in 150 Characters or less? Aug28

What Makes You Unique…in 150 Characters or less?

Please raise your hand if you, like me, really dread seeing this question on your job application: “In 150 characters or fewer, tell us what makes you unique. Try to be creative and say something that will catch our eye!” Do you answer in a fun, creative way or go for a concise professional summary? It says to be creative. But I know you’re thinking…what do the recruiters really want to see? I tried to find a good how-to guide when I encountered this 150-character question on the Resumator and Jobvite applications I was sending. And certainly, there are a number of not-so-helpful guides like this one, this one, and possibly this one. To save you time, let me say that I found them pretty useless when it came time to actually write my answer. First, they recommend stunning your audience with a witty and colorful comment. But then they tell how to formulate a 150-character that is professional and very, very boring. So how do you find a good balance between informative and creative? If you follow the formulas recommended in the guides above, your sentence comes out plain and to the point. Which makes you sound like a dried ol’ fart if you write it semi-truthfully… 5-yr assistant brand manager who makes YouTube videos doubles sales through rich media ads Recent business school grad who plays in a jazz quartet knows SAS, SQL, and excels at market analysis …or does it? In actuality, if you have a cool and relevant hobby, you might not need any help in this area. But if you’re normal (or feel like your brain cells have exploded after tweaking your resume too many times), there are ways to improve your “unique” statement.     How to Answer...

Expert Review: The Jawbone UP Smack-down Jul30

Expert Review: The Jawbone UP Smack-down

First came the Fitbit Flex. Then the Jawbone UP was born. Actually, the Jawbone UP came out in November 2011, while the Fitbit Flex was released in May 2013. Why do I mention this? Because, as you’ll see, those two little dates make all the difference in a comparison between these activity-tracking wristbands. This is the Jawbone UP:     Pros: Best app of them all! Amazing graphs and helpful little tidbits that really serve to encourage you. Carries a battery charge for way longer than its competitors. I always forget to charge my Fitbit Flex every couple of days, so it dies on me quite often. But the Jawbone UP battery lasts twice as long as the Flex–up to 10 days–making it easy to schedule a weekly (or longer) battery charge cycle. Great sleep tracking with higher sensitivity and extra data about sleep cycles. As I mentioned before, I’m a light, fitful sleeper, so the additional information about my sleep cycles would prove more helpful than the vague “restless” or “awake” bars that Fitbit supplies. Greater step-counting accuracy. When compared side-by-side with the Flex and the normal hip pedometer, the UP came consistently closer to the hip pedometer than the Flex.   Cons: #1 and most important: it breaks. A lot. Though covered under warranty, the UP is infamous for its hardware and technical issues. They came out with a second batch which supposedly had all issues fixed…but they weren’t. The Gizko UP belonged to the second batch, which you can determine by the writing inside the band. It’s bulky. If you remember, I particularly appreciated the thin band of the Flex. On the other hand, the UP is fat and square and very blocky. Rafa complained a lot about the thickness of...

The Beginner’s Guide to Personal Branding Jun10

The Beginner’s Guide to Personal Branding

In business school, they talk about personal branding. A lot.In fact, all my professors mentioned it so often that I came away from class thinking the concept was overhyped and somewhat useless. A personal brand, I would scoff, isn’t necessary. My experience and general awesomeness speak for itself. That is, until it doesn’t. Perhaps if you’re a networking genius, C-level exec with a sterling record at the world’s highest grossing companies, personal branding isn’t an issue. But I found out the hard way: when competing with those millions of other job-seekers on online job boards and you’re just an average Joe (or Jane), your marketable presence makes all the difference.     Personal branding is a necessary evil. Or, if you think about those HR reps, a personal brand makes their job a hell of a whole lot easier. What does a brand do? It makes consumer choice more convenient—think about the last time you walked down the cereal aisle at the supermarket, did you reach for a fave brand or stand and antagonize over every colorful box? Brands create a sense of belonging; they evoke experiential and aspirational emotions. You end up loving your brands, and your brands (should) end up loving you, too. And what do you want to convey to a company, client, or investor? The exact same impression.     So how do you go about building a personal brand when you have no idea where to start?   Begin with a personal roadmap strategy: Figure out who you are today. What skills and experiences do you have that make you who you are? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Think long and hard about where you want to go. In reality, this means defining what your goals and objectives...

Expert Review: The Fitbit Flex Jan16

Expert Review: The Fitbit Flex

I’m training to move a sports car singlehandedly. Given that it weighs, on average, 3,500 lbs, I think that’s a nice goal for a next-generation superwoman. But I have a teeny problem: my Fitbit Flex doesn’t want to log my heavy weight training as active minutes. I could potentially go in and log my workout manually. And yet, I’m a little lazy. So what am I supposed to do? You see, the Fitbit Flex is your run-of-the-mill activity monitor, a step above the pedometer. Which is good, of course, if that’s what you’re looking for. And, like the untold number of other consumers who thought a fitness monitor would kickstart the inevitable New Year’s resolution, the Gizko team got a pair of Flexes over the holidays. Wearable activity monitors are super trending at the moment, and given the explosion of newly-unveiled products at the 2014 CES in Las Vegas, we decided it was time to take a look at one of the current market leaders. As shown above, the Fitbit Flex is a little tracking device tucked into a lightweight, rubber wristband. It tracks your step count, estimates calorie burn, and records sleep patterns. Most of the other wearable monitors offer similar functionality. The question is: is it actually useful? After two weeks of continuous use, let’s see how it stacks up. Pros: Super unobtrusive, adjustable wristband that comes in two sizes:  small (5.5-6.9 in / 140-176 mm) and large (6.3-8.2 in / 161-209 mm) Comes equipped with a display screen of five LED lights, which sequentially light up as you accomplish each 20% of your daily step goal Water resistant and submersible up to 10 meters, good for running in the rain or for those lazy users who can’t be bothered to remove...