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There’s no doubt that owning a Mac is essential for a young professional, but when it comes to updating them every few years, it can become quite expensive.

To avoid having to splash out on a new Mac every time it starts to slow down – usually at the 2-3 year point – there are certain things you can do to improve the health of your device.

Here are 9 easy changes you can make today to help your Mac run faster:

Check How Many Browser Extensions And Plugins You Are Using

One of the main things slowing down your Mac is usually your web browser, as it’s the thing you probably use most often. Just like your computer, your browser can become extremely cluttered. To speed up your performance check if you have any old extensions or plugins you don’t use anymore and uninstall them.

Organise Your Desktop

Although this may seem like a daunting task for some, a tidy desktop can actually give your Mac a little performance boost. Reduce the number of icons on your desktop by deleting the things you don’t need, creating new folders and organising everything into its rightful place.

Uninstall Unused Apps

Apps can eat away at your memory if you have a ton of programs installed and open. Take the time to work out which apps you use and which you don’t, then uninstall any unnecessary programs. To learn more, visit the Setapp site here: https://setapp.com/how-to/how-to-uninstall-apps-on-macos.

Buy Yourself A Solid State Drive

Solid State Drives aren’t affected by being overly stuffed, so you can load it with files and apps without having to worry about clearing up space every so often.

Shut Down and Restart Your Computer Every Time You Use It

Did you know that your Mac has a number of different tools that it uses to help maintain itself automatically? These tools only run during shut down and startup so it’s important to get into the habit of turning your Mac off whenever you’re not using it.

Get Rid Of Any Unused Tabs In Your Browser

Even if it is a small amount, open tabs in browsers do take up memory. Try to get into the habit of closing unused tabs once you have finished using them.

Clear Your Browsers Cache

If you mostly notice sluggish performance while you’re using the internet, you may find that it is your web browser that is the problem, rather than your computer. Head to the history part of your browser settings and try emptying the cache to speed up your Mac’s performance.

Get Rid Of Dashboard Widgets You’re Not Using

If you use loads of different dashboard widgets, your Mac’s memory will be slowly drained as they’re continuously running in the background. Take a look at what widgets you still use regularly, and get rid of everything else.

Update Your Mac’s Software

As a Mac owner, it is good practice to make sure you are running the most current software. To check if you are, use the ‘Run Software Update’ option every now and then. This will help you find out if you have any updates to download and give you the option to download them.

What other tips do you have to make your Mac run faster? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you absolutely love tech. Perhaps you love it a little too much. The need to have every kind of device offering every kind of convenience can be a problem. What’s more, many of us are constantly looking forward to the latest release, as incremental as it might be compared to the last model. It can all weigh way too heavily on our budget. For that reason, it’s time to take a step away from all the screens, take a deep breath, and look at the little and large ways we can save on tech in the home.

Wear-and-Tear Woes

Besides being excited about new hardware, the most common reason that we spend on brand new devices is that our older ones are no longer up to scratch. Wear and tear will happen to everything, including digital technology; so there’s no avoiding that. However, you can save money by preserving the life of your devices for as long as possible. Essential routine maintenance for your PC, for instance, will include the clearing of dust using compressed air and the improving of fans to prevent the system from becoming prone to overheating. What’s more, you should always invest in a surge protector. All too often, a freak surge of electricity will fry entire systems, necessitating a complete replacement.

Reckless Replacements

Besides the devices themselves, what can you do about all those accessories? There’s no doubt that extras like chargers, mice, keyboards, speakers, and the like all tend to go before the device they’re meant to be paired with. However, rather than replacing these accessories with brand new ones direct from the device’s manufacturer, you might want to consider what other options there are. For instance, when it comes to mobile devices, some third-party accessories can work just as well (though perhaps you shouldn’t use third-party chargers.) Otherwise, you should look into pre-owned or refurbished equipment when you need to replace existing tech. Naturally, don’t forget to check whether or not any broken device or equipment is covered by your warranty before you pay for a replacement.

Software Savvy

You could be saving a fortune on all the software that you’re buying for your computer or mobile device. In some cases, you may be more than willing to pay the premium price for software that’s of a higher quality than any of its competitors. For instance, you shouldn’t really risk it by relying only on free anti-malware software when the protection provided by premium packages is much more effective. However, for just about everything else, there are free open-source alternatives worth considering. Online software libraries have all kinds of free software, from word processors to digital image editors to budgeting software and more. If you’re about to fork out for a new software package, check to see if there’s much difference between it and the free option.

Printing Pressures

Not as many homes have a printer as they once did because digital storage is the way ahead. However, if you run a home business or simply like to have physical copies on hand, you should look at the ways you can save on your printing too. In particular, you would want to save on printing supplies. Instead of buying at the retail stores, look at supply stores for cheaper supplies like Epson ink cartridges, paper, and toner. What’s more, you should consider refillable ink cartridges instead of the disposable kind. However, if you are using the disposable kind, you might be able to trade in the empty ink cartridges at your local craft or printing store for a little cash back.

Warranty Worries

All the devices you buy nowadays are likely to come with a warranty. This is to cover the costs of repair and replacement should anything be wrong with it. In most cases, of course, they don’t cover accidental damage caused by the owner, though you can pay more for it and often should when it comes to portable devices. However, what you shouldn’t be as ready to pay for is the extended warranty. These do as the name suggests, extending your warranty beyond the term of the original. However, the costs of extended warranties very rarely match up with how much it would actually cost to repair the device. After all, by the time the initial warranty runs out, the device isn’t quite as new, which means it will be much cheaper to fix. It’s worth eating the costs of repairs rather than paying for extended warranties.

Netflix EntertainmentScrap those Subscriptions

This isn’t really a tech cost in and of itself. Rather, it’s a new financial habit (and a bad one at that) that has become commonplace thanks to tech. PCs, gaming consoles, mobile devices, and even TVs have all made it easier to sign up for subscription services. If you have your financial information saved on your device, you could be a single thumb press away from signing a credit agreement with a service; whether it’s an exercise app, a digital TV and movie service, an online game subscription or something else. It’s way too easy to set it and forget it. Thankfully, there are apps that can comb through your subscription services and remind you when to cancel them. You should take a look at your past bank statements to see if you can identify any costs that you might otherwise miss.

Patience Pays Off

The launch event of the latest Apple product or the latest Nvidia line of graphics cards might be intensely exciting, but we can all agree that buying a brand-new product is rarely the most financially sensible move. Try to remove yourself from the hype, even if you genuinely want that new product. Instead, use price alert sites that can tell you about price drops so that you can buy that highly coveted gadget when it’s cheaper.

Dig for Discounts

When you’re looking for a device, component or accessory that isn’t exactly new, it means you could potentially save even more off it if you know where to look. Although you can go digging for discounts yourself, there are also apps that can do the work for you. Discount-hunting extensions can be installed on your browser such that when you’re shopping online for a piece of tech, it can search through a massive database of discounts and vouchers and then immediately apply it to your purchases. The process is automatic; so if there is a discount somewhere out there, these apps will attach it. With the number of discounts and the help these apps provide, none of us should really be paying full price for a single thing anymore.

Sell Smart

Too often, we treat our technology as disposables. We are all very used to the idea that tech depreciates as soon as you buy it. Give it a couple of years and that brand new fancy tablet you have might not even be worth half of its initial worth. However, that doesn’t mean we should simply throw it away. Regardless of its condition, you can find a new home for your tech. Selling old PCs, smartphones, and tablets adds a little cash to your pocket. It might not be much but it’s a lot more than the zero you would get if you simply trash it instead.

Budget Brilliantly

Are you getting to the point where you can’t justify new tech purchases simply because they would get in the way of your financial security? If you have real trouble controlling your spending habits, then it might be time to start having a budget. Budgeting apps make it easier than ever to help you have a total overview of your finances so that you can start splitting your money to make sure it is going where it needs to. What’s more, the simple act of calculating and following a budget makes you much more aware of your spending habits. Although you would be half-unconsciously making purchases, you’ll be more active in the decision of when to buy and when not to.

Disconnect

If you really want to cut your tech costs, then it might be time to seriously think about how much of your life is dominated by screens. Even those who truly love technology can admit that it can be unhealthy. Start looking at ways you can spend time away from the screen. It might be a good idea to stop following blogs, newsletters, and social media accounts that constantly share the news about the latest and greatest in the tech world, less you get caught up in the hype again. It’s possible to love tech but ensure that your life has a healthy balance of screen time.

There are so many ways to use technology in business that it’s impossible to count. Yet, there are some in particular which you might need to think about if you are to try and improve your business as best as possible. Sometimes, it turns out, the smaller technological solutions are the ones that make the most of a difference to the company in the long run. Understanding this, especially knowing which areas,  can help you to appreciate the power of technology in any business in the world. In this post, we will look at just a few of the smaller and more subtle tech solutions which can make an enormous difference to the business – any business – in the long term.

Using Templates

When you are trying to communicate openly with people across the business, it can be hard to make sure that everything is properly understood. There are however a number of ways to get around and improve this situation, and one of the best is to simply use templates. By having company-wide templates for different kinds of documents, you can ensure that there is likely to be no deviation between them. This makes communication clearer, simpler, and easier; and that means less confusion throughout the business on the whole. As you can see, using a service like https://www.templafy.com/ can really make a massive difference to a company, even if it only appears to be a small technological change at first.

Analysing Customer Data

The actual process of collecting and analysing data on your customers is not very difficult. It doesn’t take up much time, or even much computing power, and it is unlikely that you will have to manually pore over it very much. In other words, it is the best kind of helpful technology – that which does what it does without any need for loads of input or attention. Yet, having this data is largely valuable and it might mean that you even end up changing your entire method of dealing with your customers. This might translate into more customers and an improved marketing scheme in no time – and all just with a simple program running in the background. See https://www.dummies.com/ for more on this.

Timers

Sometimes, it’s not all about the software you can use on your computers. There are plenty of clever subtle technologies which you use and rely on every day which you may not realise but yet make a huge difference to your company in the long run. A perfect example of this is the motion sensor timer that you most likely have on some of your office lights. These turn off after a period of inactivity, meaning that less energy is used and wasted, and ultimately leading to lower energy bills and a greener business. Clearly, such a small piece of technology can have a profound effect on not just the business, but the wider world.

“Psst. If you’re an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 owner, here’s some good news for you! We will be giving away 2 iPhone OtterBox Symmetry Series phone cases worth SGD$69 each and if you’re interested, scroll all the way to the bottom of this post for the details!”

Apple revolutionised the smartphone industry 10 years ago with the original iPhone, and OtterBox has set the standard of protection from the very beginning by protecting every generation of iPhone.

OtterBox, the No. 1-selling smartphone case in the U.S.; continues to uphold that tradition with a full lineup of cases for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the revolutionary iPhone X.

Since the very first iPhone hit the scene in 2007, OtterBox has protected every single Apple smartphone. Starting with the Defender Series, OtterBox has innovated 26 different case styles for iPhone over the past decade. Although case designs have evolved to be sleeker and to accommodate an ever-increasing number of features; one thing has remained the same: trusted protection.

OtterBox is proud to be the only phone case company that has protected every single iPhone and while other products have come and gone, OtterBox has stood the tests of time and protected every single generation of iPhone! Hence, you can count on them to keep iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X safe from the hazards that life throws your way.

Each iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X case design undergoes a minimum of 24 tests across more than 238 hours to earn the OtterBox Certified Drop+ Protection seal. These tests ensure lasting protection from drops, bumps, scratches, and dings.

OtterBox offers a broad suite of phone cases because iPhone users are as diverse and complex as their phone features. 

  • The fashionable Symmetry Series is sleek with a raised, beveled edge that provides extra protection for the touchscreen during face-down drops. Available in classic solids, trendy graphics, fully clear and clear graphics, it is the perfect fashion statement.

 

  • Pursuit Series guards against drop, dust, dirt, and snow intrusion and they are perfect for an outdoor adventure or even just an average day in the office. This two-piece case snaps around each device for a perfect fit. The open-face design seals directly to the display and the case includes an optional lanyard.

 

  • Defender Series is the original protective case for iPhone with 10 years of design and development behind it. The rugged multi-layer case features a shell and outer slipcover to absorb and dissipate shock.

 

  • Two form-fitting layers combine to create the thin, protective Commuter Series. The outer shell and inner slipcover combine to pull shock away from the device, and port covers keep debris out.

 

  • Strada Series Folio offers a luxurious 100 percent genuine leather cover and trusted protection. The folio front clasps securely closed with a magnet to guard the display against scratches and includes a card slot.

 

  • The uniVERSE Case System features a slim, protective OtterBox case with a modular rail mount on the back that allows attachment of a variety of accessories. OtterBox has partnered with other industry leaders to enhance uniVERSE with accessories like a contactless card reader, additional storage, bike mounts, tripods, wallets and more.

 

  • Keep the touchscreen brilliant with Alpha Glass fortified screen guards. Compatible with Symmetry Series, Pursuit Series, Commuter Series, Strada Series Folio and uniVERSECase System, these screen guards block out scratches and complete device protection.

 

Symmetry Series, Pursuit Series, Defender Series, Commuter Series, uniVERSE Case System, Strada Series Folio and Alpha Glass screen guards are available now for iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

These cases, available in exciting new colors and designs, are also compatible with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Cases for iPhone X are coming soon and include Symmetry Series, Pursuit Series, Defender Series, Commuter Series and Strada Series Folio.

OtterBox cases are available in a majority of the following retail locations in Singapore: Best Denki, EpiCentre, GK Global, iStudio, Nubox, and XGear.

For more information, visit otterbox.asia

Ready for the Giveaway?

To participate in this mini giveaway, just comment on this post with, “I wanna protect my iPhone 8 with an OtterBox Symmetry Series cover!” & share this post! 

*Giveaway is open to participants residing in Singapore and closes 29 October 2017. If there are more than 2 participants, a random draw will be conducted.

Psst… we have a secret to share with you and if you’re reading this blog post at this hour; you’re in luck!
Audio House, one of Singapore’s largest home-grown retail electronics store, has just launched their first ever online store along with their membership programme and you can check it out at Audiohouse.com.sg.

Now, anyone can sign up as an Audio House Member and get SGD$60 free credits instantly and these credits can be used to offset SGD$20 with every SGD$100 spent. But if you sign up exactly on 25 May 2017 between 0000 to 2359 hours; you get an additional SGD$40 credits, which makes it SGD$100 free credits that you can instantly use upon immediate signup.

Here are 3 reasons why you should sign up!

1. If you are a first-time homeowner and you have just completed your house renovation, this is the best opportunity for you to purchase your home and kitchen appliances. From washing machine to television and even the refrigerator, there’s definitely something that you can get for your new home at Audio House. What’s more, you get 20% off your purchase!

2. Membership is free and it is valid for a lifetime! Since you get SGD$100 free credits which you can use immediately, why not seize this opportunity to also replace the old household appliances that you have always wanted to replace?

3. Since Fathers’ Day is just round the corner and if you’re having some difficulty trying to think of what you can get for your techie dad, you should check out Audio House Online Store! Whether it’s a home entertainment system or a wine cooler, I’m pretty sure you can find something for your dad here.

Well, don’t wait any longer! This promotion is only valid for sign-ups on 25 May 2017 between 0000 to 2359 hours so hurry and sign up now!

People often associate the number 6 as a lucky number and I was very privileged (lucky) to have the opportunity to “own” the LG G6 for this feature that I am about to write.
The First Impression

The LG G6 is solidly built and it feels good in the hand. I really like the stylish metallic design at the back and every part of the phone feels premium and not plasticky. In fact, I daresay that the LG G6 is the best-looking phone that LG has ever made.

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Functionality

When I pushed the “on” button, the boot time certainly took quite a while but once I got right to the main menu, things started to get more familiar. The user interface appeared to be quite similar as that of the Apple iOS and any apps that are installed will very much fill up the home screen like the iPhone as the LG G6 doesn’t have the traditional app drawer.

What is LG G6’s most unique selling point would be its cinematic viewing experience that is made possible by the 18:9 Quad High Definition+ FullVision display. Not only is it the first smartphone to feature Dolby Vision technology, the LG G6 also supports HDR 10. As such, it displays more vividly the darkest and brightest areas of a video for a thrilling experience.

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Photography enthusiasts will also appreciate the fact that the LG G6 retains the dual-camera system that offers both the standard and wide-angle lenses 13-MP sensors.

The Square Camera Mode has also been praised for offering new ways to create photos. The Snap shot splits the screen into two, with the upper half being a viewfinder while the bottom half allows us to preview the photo taken for easy comparison.

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With the Match shot, it gives us the ability to juxtapose two different photos such as an ice cream cone with fluffy cotton candy to create a new photo. Spilt into four quadrants, the Grid shot allows us to directly create a collage with photo and video contents. Last but not the least, the Guide shot acts a guide for the next photo and this allows us to match the composition of a chosen image even with different backdrops.

Although I really like how the LG G6 gives me the opportunity to be creative with my photographs, I feel that the photos taken are not so accurate although it does appear sharp and crisp on the display.

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In terms of its specifications and performance, the LG G6 sports a Snapdragon 821, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and ample space for microSD card expansion. If durability is a deciding factor for you, you will be pleased to know that the LG G6 boasts IP68 water and dust resistance, which means it can be submerged in 1.5 meters of water for long as 30 minutes. As such, heavy duty users can relish a carefree experience and worry less about accidental drops in water and spillages.

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Battery wise, I personally think it falls short as it was completely drained by the time I was about to leave work for home. However, thanks to the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 tech, the battery does fills up pretty quickly.

Overall

I will conclude to say that the LG G6 is a multimedia powerhouse that will entice people who spend most of their time streaming web content. With its stylish design and solid build, I won’t be surprise if people decides to own the LG G6 not just for its dual-camera feature.

For the price of SGD$988, the LG G6 comes with an extended 12-month warranty for a total of 24 months of warranty with a free flip case worth SGD$58.

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What’s more, if you’re a StarHub subscriber and you sign up for a 2-year HomeHub Go 1Gbps plan with the LG G6, you will receive a FREE LG 43” 4K UHD TV worth SGD$1,388!

The LG G6 comes in astro black, ice platinum and mystic white colours; and is available at M1, Singtel, StarHub and other LG authorized retailers.

For more information about the LG G6, check out the official website now!

If hygiene, convenience and security are three things that you value the most because of your busy lifestyle, then having a wifi-enabled robotic vacuum cleaner is what you ought to be looking out for!

LG Electronics (LG) recently announced the launch of its LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ (VR66820VMNC) in Singapore and it is available in a metallic gold color. This new model introduces the concept of smart cleaning to Singaporeans and smart features like HomeGuard™ allow parents, pet owners, and frequent travellers to keep an eye on their homes wherever they are.

Doubles Up as a Security Camera

The LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ can be remotely controlled anytime, anywhere and it is more than just a vacuum cleaner. Its HomeGuard™ function also offers security capabilities. When set to survey a pre-selected location within the home, it will snap and send five photos of the preset area to the owner’s smartphone when motion is detected. This function gives users a peace of mind when they are away from home to keep an eye on pets or elderly folks.

After being in Motion Detection mode for five hours and thirty minutes, the HOM-BOT Turbo+ will return to its charging station and once fully charged, it will go back to its preset position.

Track its Cleaning Progress with HomeView™ and Cleaning Diary

The HomeView™ feature allows home owners to monitor the cleaning progress of the LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ wherever they are. Boasting a wide-angle camera at the front, the robotic vacuum cleaner captures more details in a single frame for convenient real-time monitoring.

Simply launch the SmartThinQ mobile application (available on Android and iOS) and activate the HOM-BOT Turbo+ to start its cleaning schedule at the pre-selected locations. The joystick on the application allows users to control and direct the vacuum cleaner. Users can also have a direct view of what the camera is capturing on their smartphone screens and allow them to have better control over the cleaning process to ensure the house is spick and span.

The Cleaning Diary function allows users to review where the LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ has been cleaning via a playback feature. With this feature, users can check the vacuum’s cleaning route with their smartphones to ensure a thorough clean at home. They can also schedule a timing for the HOM-BOT Turbo+ to start cleaning or change the preselected locations as preferred.

Efficiency is a Hallmark

With the following features, the LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ increases user convenience while maximising cleaning efficiency.

Triple Eye:

The vacuum cleaner is fitted with three cameras, with the front camera activated as a security camera. The upper camera creates a map of the house by calculating the intensity of light while vacuuming. The lower camera reads the floor pattern and measures distance and slight changes to the floor to smartly clean darker areas such as under the sofa or bed.

Digital Bumper and Smart Exit:

The Digital Bumper feature combines multiple ultrasonic sensors to recognize obstacles in the LG HOM-BOT Turbo+’s proximity and it minimises collisions with all sorts of objects; even transparent objects such as glass. When faced with challenges, the Smart Exit function enables the unit to take various actions such as weaving its way out of tight spaces, backing out from bumps, and detecting ledges to prevent falling or getting stuck on door frames.

Easy Out Dust Bin:

Unlike vacuum cleaners with slide-out dust bins, the LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ has a lift-from-the-top dust bin that minimises residual dust around the bin slot. Retrieval of the dust bin can be done in one easy push to unlock and lift.

Mapping Resume Function:

If cleaning is interrupted, the LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ will remember where it left off from and return to its last position to continue cleaning, avoiding repetition in the cleaning process.

Smart Inverter Motor™:

Both powerful and durable, the Smart Inverter motor is backed by a 10-year warranty, offering owners maximum performance with high efficiency and durability.

The LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ retails for SGD$1,599 and it will be available at all LG authorised retailers from end March onwards.

Are you ready for a more convenient and hassle free lifestyle? Share with us your thoughts and comments about the LG HOM-BOT Turbot+ below!

I am currently using a HP Envy Laptop for all my computing needs since 2013 and it has served me pretty well after more than 4 years. Although my current laptop is still functioning pretty well, I have noticed its performance starting to dwindle because of the wear and tear damages it has sustained over the years.
Therefore, I have been looking out for a highly portable and powerful laptop that I can travel with for work purposes and I must say, it hasn’t been an easy journey finding a suitable laptop that caters to my need.

Recently, I received a Dell XPS 13 laptop for a review and it came pretty timely since I was procuring a laptop for myself at the same time. Hence, in this review of the Dell XPS 13 laptop, I will be basing it on 4 qualities that I am looking out for in a laptop; portability, functionality, durability, and price.

Portability

Given my nomadic lifestyle, portability is the key factor for me when I purchase a laptop and if a laptop is too bulky and heavy, it is definitely not something that I will consider buying.

The Dell XPS 13 measures 304mm by 200mm and its dimension is almost comparable to that of an A4 paper; hence, making it very handy to carry in a sleeve or folder. It weighs about 1.3kg, slightly lesser than the weight of a 1.5L bottle of water and hence makes it easy to carry around.

Fully-loaded for enhanced performance

Functionality

The Dell XPS 13 is powered by the new 7th Intel ® Core ™ i7 Processor that offers more power and better battery life. With the ability to boot and resume in seconds, the Dell XPS 13 allows me to gain fast access to the desktop and I could almost instantaneously get down to work. On a single charge, the Dell XPS 13 can last up to 13 hours if I were to stream videos or browse the internet.

Speaking about internet browsing, the Killer 1535 Wireless-AC adapter onboard the Dell XPS 13 provides a strong and reliable Wi-Fi connection as it was designed specifically to make online videos, voice and games play faster and smoother. It automatically detects, classifies and prioritises network traffic ensuring that the most important data takes priority over other less urgent applications. As critical packets are delivered immediately, it eliminates unnecessary latency and lag.

While squeezing a 13-inch display into an 11-inch frame is not an ordinary feat, I am not sure if it is something that I would appreciate about the stunning, state-of-the-art-display (with the UltraSharp QHD+) that offers an ultimate viewing experience.

Stunning state-of-the-art display

Having said that, one particular feature of the Dell XPS 13 that I do appreciate is the standard backlit keyboard that illuminates the keyboard keys so that I can continue to be productive under low-light or no-light conditions.

Overall, in term of its functionality; I will say that the Dell XPS 13 is more than able to meet my need to work remotely.

Durability

I honestly have no idea how durable the Dell XPS 13 is going to be because only time can tell but it is artfully constructed from premium materials. Cut with precision from a single block of aluminium for a sturdy, durable chassis; the Dell XPS 13’s Corning® Gorilla® Glass NBT™ touch display option is also up to 10 times more scratch resistant than soda lime glass.

Price

With a starting price from SGD$1899, the Dell XPS 13 is priced on the high side and it may even come across as being overpriced. Therefore, convincing me to buy the Dell XPS 13 will take a whole lot of effort.

To buy or not to buy?

Well, I personally think there might be better deals out there but the Dell XPS 13 is definitely on my consideration list.

How you handle and manage the tools offered by video conferencing services says a lot about you and your professionalism. This not only includes your technical capabilities, but your social skills as well, especially if you are going to attend or host a meeting from your home. Your behavior and bearing during the audio visual meeting has a large impact on your reputation and more; and the business implications are also real.
Image Credit: Blue Jeans

This is the main reason organisations of various sizes are using online meeting services more often than not. A GIGAOM research indicates that 87 percent of remote users feel that video conferencing offers them a more connect option. Other research reports show that there has been a dramatic rise in the use of mobile and desktop visual collaboration tools in all types of companies. In fact, 44 percent say they use the technology while another 42 percent are already planning to deploy the same in the short term.

With all these in mind, it is time you bring your best game to your online meeting experience. Everyone could use a brush up on how to make their online interactions that much better. As you host a virtual global meeting at home from your laptop or smartphone, here are four things you should do to improve your videoconferencing skills.

Improve Visuals and Audio

If you are not communicating from your office, you have to carefully consider your surroundings and appearance on camera, explains an Entrepreneur article. This also goes for participants and presenters. Your location should not have a busy and clattered background; this includes windows that are likely to distract your viewers. A good starting point is to hang your company’s logo behind your home desk so no matter the type of online conferencing technology you are using, you have a professional setting close by.

Image Credit: Tse-The Strauss Group

You should also ensure that your room has adequate lighting so your online participants can clearly see your face without glare or shadows. Position audio and visual tools in such a way that they are still focused on you even as you move – something you can easily achieve with top quality equipment, harder with client- or web-based software systems.

Choose clothes that make you look good on camera. Avoid busy patterns like checkered shirts that are likely to be dizzying – also avoid accessories that are distracting. In terms of sound, ensure your microphone captures your voice in such a way that it is neither too loud nor too soft. If you cannot control the background noise, use the mute button. Remember to switch off all your audio and video functions so that your confidential information is not overheard or seen.

Maintain Business Etiquette

Virtual meetings, like real-life ones, require different formality levels. Like other business oriented meetings, the same rules apply when attending virtual ones. For example, if you are on a video call with one of your team members, you may spend some time joking around for a couple of minutes before the meeting starts. However, if attending to a meet with several people, especially those you do not know that well, the tone of your call will reflect that, requiring more focus and less joking.

Image Credit: Tech Rail

Follow a set of protocols can help make your meetings, even from home, more effective, efficient and enjoyable. For situations with a larger audience, you could possibly have a moderator to handle the questions.

Know Your Conferencing Tool

Just about everyone today has had some sort of experience with video. However, a casual familiarity does not mean that you will get a smooth experience. This is especially true when some business stakes are involved. As a meeting participant or presenter, make sure that you understand your hardware, software and connectivity options you have. Ideally, this check should be done before the conference commences since glitches do occur even with the best systems and to the most experienced professionals.

Be Engaging

To make your presentations from home memorable, ensure that you are speaking with (and not lecturing) the audience. If possible, steer clear of reading your PowerPoint presentations in a single tone voice. Ask your audience questions to make sure they are engage and always address them by name. Use built-in functions like white boards and chat rooms to keep every participant involved through multiple media. In addition, avoid the “talking head,” and put effort in your visuals; show videos, graphs and images that are related to what you are discussing. Do not be afraid of sharing your five-minutes of fame with other team members.

Image Credit: Vera View

Most videoconferencing participants tend to sit back in a passive manner, but they could be missing a really good opportunity to shine. Use audio or chat, take part in polls, offer related resources and, as much as possible, be an alert home-based participant, just as you would be if you were onsite.

When we first shifted to our new home last December, we really wanted to get a smart digital home lock because we had a pleasant first-hand user experience during our stay in Taiwan many years ago and we found it pretty convenient and hassle free.
However, because our renovation costs were too pricey and popular digital home lock brands like Yale and Samsung were somewhat expensive; we had to give up the idea and relied on manual home locks (which honestly isn’t that bad either).

Fast forward 10 months later, we have just installed our very own smart digital home lock by igloohome and it now makes thing so much more convenient for us!

Smart Digital Home Lock by igloohome//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
The best part?

The price is super affordable at SGD$288 (current promotion) and it comes with free installation!

What makes the smart digital home lock by igloohome different from other brands is the fact that we could use our mobile phones to gain access via bluetooth and it is unlike some other smart digital home locks which requires the use of a hub that is connected to the home wifi network. There’s also no need for RFID cards or tokens and what this means is that the smart digital home lock by igloohome can work offline on its own.

One of the most useful feature of igloohome’s smart digital home lock is the fact that we could assign a one-time password (OTP) for couriers, part-time maids, and other service providers to gain access to our home without having to be physically present; and this OTP works pretty much the same way like the iBanking tokens people used to perform online transactions.

As errands-runners / personal concierge service-providers ourselves, we find that such a smart digital home lock is especially helpful and useful for homeowners because they can issue a password with a set duration for us to access their homes to perform simple errands like stocking up on their groceries, pet-sitting, delivery and cleaning services. The passwords that are issued can also be set to ‘one time usage only’. This is an advantage because there is no need to duplicate any spare keys and homeowners do not have to worry about service providers losing the keys or tokens (RFID Cards).

If you still feel somewhat insecure about letting people into your home without being physically around, we would personally recommend that you also install a home security camera system to monitor any movement at home. This might just give you a peace of mind and it adds an additional layer of security.

Can the smart digital home lock fail to provide homeowners the security they need?

It may be possible but the chances of it happening is slim because there are security measures in place to prevent brute-force hacking (there’s also a decoy pin feature that allows you to key in some fake numbers followed by your real password). If you lose your phone, the administrator over at igloohome can deactivate your igloohome account and delete it so that people will not be able to use it.

Planning to get the smart digital home lock by igloohome?

You can do so via this link.

As mentioned, the usual retail price for the lock is SGD$399 (without installation) but from now till 30 November 2016, you can get the smart digital home lock for just SGDS$288 and it comes with free installation.