Browsing Category: "Reviews"

Expert Business Tips: How To Be A Success

May 22nd, 2017 | Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized

When it comes to running a business, there are some simple rules that you should follow. You may wonder what separates an excellent businessman from his peers. Well, there is no magic solution that will turn you into a pro. If you want to be a success, you have to work hard at it. It’s not easy to become an entrepreneur, but if you follow this advice, you should pull it off.

Never spend more than a third of your funds

Budgeting is essential in any business. If you want to make money, you have to spend money. That is basic business practice. If you don’t want to waste your cash, though, you should avoid spending more than a third of your funds. That way, you always have a sum of money to fall back on when you need it. If you start a secure budgeting system from the start, you should have no problem at all!

Get an excellent site up online

When people search for your business, they will find your site. If your site let’s your company down, no one will want to deal with you. You can now get everything from blog to ecommerce website design online. That means that you don’t need to worry all that much about getting the right look for your site. Just find a company that you can trust and let them do all the hard work. Before you know it, your business will be a massive hit on the web!

Outsource business when you can

When you can’t do something in-house, it may pay to outsource it. Remember, when you outsource aspects of your business, it makes your job easy. If you have a million things to do, you need to streamline your day to day activities. Sometimes, that means that you should trust someone else to do things for you. Some people find this aspect of running a company hard, but it needn’t be.

Choose your staff with care

When it comes to hiring staff, you need to ensure that you get the right people for your company. You should never rush the hiring process. Look for professionals who share your business style. That way, you can be sure that they will work well with you. When you choose people based on their personalities, you are likely to succeed. Hold several interviews before you find the right staff for your team.

Market your business well

Finally, you need to ensure that you market your business well. When you work in any industry, it is crucial that you advertise your business to others. You can use social media to get the message out there, but you may also want to try traditional methods too. There is a lot of information online that may help you. Once you start getting the word out there, your business will boom.

These tips should help you become the success you deserve to be. When you work hard and put passion into each job, you can be sure that things will go to plan.

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Why Outsourcing Companies Will Never Die

May 8th, 2017 | Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized

When I think about business, I often think about how far we have come in the past couple of years. Even just four to five years ago, no one in business would have been able to predict how quickly the industry has evolved. Outsourcing companies are a great example. Once upon a time, no one outsourced any task unless it was completely necessary. Now outsourcing companies are here to stay and may never die. What? Don’t believe me? Here are a few reasons that might change your mind.

The first rule of business is saving money. When you get the handbook on the first day of business school, it is on the first page. If you don’t cut costs, you are unlikely to make money and expand. For the first couple of years, making a profit is difficult because you are just starting. Clients and customers don’t know whether they can trust you, so they hardly ever turn up in droves to splash the cash. Outsourcing firms are experts in saving money. That is the main reason people use them, and if that doesn’t change they will be a fixture for many years.

Apart from money, we are always looking to save time. You know as well as I do that there are not enough hours in the working day. I cannot tell you how often I have gone home and worked until late at night. And I do that because I waste time on tasks that do not concern me or could be better controlled by other sources. There is nothing wrong with admitting that some tasks are not worth your time but are worth other people’s time. In fact, outsourcing companies succeed because of that mentality and will continue to succeed. Menial tasks will always be a part of our business.

What happens when you save time and money? You increase your business’ efficiency. For example, delegating tasks elsewhere frees your internal employees for other, more important roles. Then, the man hours and money you save can be put back into your company. As a result, your company becomes smoother and more efficient. A little efficiency goes a long way and makes a big difference. There are companies out there that compete with competitors just because they are well-organised. Efficiency is the great equaliser and outsourcers can make it happen.

Social media is on the same trajectory as outsourcing companies. In fact, I challenge you to think of a resource that has grown as quickly as social media. The knock-on effect is the importance of social media in business. Without a social media strategy, you cannot converse with your customer base and exploit free advertising. But, it is an art and not every company are good enough to make it work. Businesses don’t want to lose out; there will always be outsourcers who specialize in social media for small business in particularly.

To put it simply, outsourcing is too important a tool at the minute to die out and be replaced. And, there are no signs they will release their grip on the industry anytime soon.

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New MindManager 15 for Windows offers valuable ease-of-use enhancements

March 13th, 2017 | Posted in Reviews, Software, Uncategorized

MindManager 15 for Windows offers some practical new features and enhancements that will help you to be more productive and well organized than ever before.

The most significant new features of MindManager 15 include a vastly expanded selection of map parts, project management improvements, a new set of hand-drawn icons and a reorganized and simplified template view. The developer’s objective for this new version was to make it easier for new users to get started with the program, while also responding to customer requests for enhancements to existing features.

Here’s what’s new in MindManager 15, and the significance of these new features and enhancements to business users of the program:

Expanded map parts

I’ve always been a fan of this feature of MindManager, because it makes it easy to build common types of mind maps using drag-and-drop functionality. My biggest complaint with it was that there weren’t enough map parts and they didn’t address enough key business uses of mind maps. In addition, the thumbnail images were so small that it was hard to see what each map part looked like.

Mindjet has remedied these past shortcomings in MindManager 15, which includes 50 new map parts. These “plus and play” map components are divided into categories, including brainstorming, project planning, business analysis and meeting planning. In addition, you can select any topic in one of your maps and save it and all of its child topics into a new map part. This could potentially save you many hours of work if you repeatedly create the same types of mind maps.

Improved templates view

In previous versions of MindManager, the templates view required a lot of scrolling. In version 15, Mindjet has regrouped them into six topic-focused folders – management, meetings and events, personal productivity, problem solving, project management and strategic planning. This gives you a concise, high-level view of the types of templates that are available. You can then open a folder to view all of the templates it contains.

In addition, it displays blank templates for creating radial, right, tree and org chart maps, and continues to give you access to Mindjet’s online MapsForThat gallery. Any templates you have created are stored in a new My Templates folder. This new compact layout makes MindManager’s templates view much easier to use.

Hand drawn icon set

In addition to the standard set of icons that ships with previous versions of MindManager, version 15 now includes a set of over 600 hand-drawn icons. They are available in four colors. Mindjet VP of Products Michael Deutch says he was inspired by a post on this blog about the Vector Doodlekit, a third-party collection of hand-drawn icons and symbols, to include a similar set of resources in MindManager 15. The goal is to enable users to create mind maps with a more organic, hand-drawn look.

Project management enhancements

In previous versions of MindManager, if you had a project that was going to start significantly earlier or later than you planned, you had to manually change the start and end dates of each task. In version 15, a new “move project” command simplifies this process. By changing the start date of the overall project, MindManager 15 automatically adjusts all of the task date ranges. You can also use a new command to eliminate slack time in the GANTT view of your project. This can help you to ensure that your project gets done at the earliest possible date.

New topic “quick add” buttons

As part of Mindjet’s goal to improve the usability of MindManager for new users, version 15 now includes small nodes, each containing a plus sign (+), that stick out of the top, bottom and side of each topic. Clicking on one creates a new linked topic in that direction. Deutch said that new users sometimes get stuck trying to figure out how to add new topics to their mind maps. These quick add buttons make it easy to see what to do next. In addition, they enable any users of MindManager 15 to quickly add topics without having to mouse back up to the program’s ribbon toolbar each time – nice!

These new buttons each require a small amount of extra vertical space, however, which can potentially cause printing and page fit problems for some users. If you don’t want them to be visible, you can turn them off in the program’s options. Very smart!

Auto-creation of slides

A new command in MindManager 15 enables users to have the program auto-create slides. If you need to quickly present a mind map to your colleagues, this can be a big time-saver. A new map theme included in this version contains font sizes and settings that are optimized for display on a screen, too.

Whither MindManager 15 for Mac?

Deutch said a Mac version is now under development; Mindjet hopes to release it by year-end. He said the company is driving toward a new development platform that will make it easier to develop one set of code and deploy it to all platforms (Windows, Mac, mobile and web). That sounds like an ambitious goal, but Deutch believes it’s achievable in the next year or two.

MindManager + SpigitEngage?

During Mindjet’s briefing for MindManager 15, I asked for an update on the company’s acquisition of Spigit, a developer of enterprise idea management solutions. Can we expect to see some connections between MindManager and SpigitEngage? Deutch said the Mindjet team has done some research to figure out where the two applications could potentially connect. Clearly there are steps in the innovation process where visual thinking could have a significant impact. The next step is to determine where such integration will offer the greatest benefit to Mindjet and Spigit customers.

Conclusion

MindManager 15 for Windows represents a well thought-out evolution of the program’s comprehensive feature set. The usability enhancements – such as the new templates view, quick-add buttons and the expanded map parts gallery – will be especially appreciated by new users. Experienced users of MindManager will appreciate some of its more powerful new features, like move project and remove slack time for projects.

For more information about and pricing for MindManager 15 for Windows, please visit Mindjet’s product page.

Watch this blog for a review of MindManager 15 in the next month or so, where I will take a deeper look at the new and enhanced features of this excellent program.

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Testing the Nvidia Optimus Technology – Operation

January 18th, 2017 | Posted in Reviews

As we mentioned in the introduction, with Optimus, NVIDIA aims to provide the user a solution to benefit both 3D performance to match its needs without neglecting energy consumption.

To meet this challenge, the solution is simple. Just implement two separate graphics circuits, with one side an integrated chipset and the other a dedicated graphics card. Nothing new in fact, many laptops are already equipped with this system for many years.

But until now, the user had to manually switch from integrated graphics to the dedicated graphics card or vice versa. If the arrival of Windows Vista has simplified the operation by allowing fail-over “hot”, that is to say, without having to restart the operating system, the constraints were too great for many users.

Several studies by NVIDIA have indeed shown that most people with a laptop with a dual graphics system, were content to use only one of the two. The reasons are many, but most often, users simply did not know of this possibility of switch as needed. For others, having to press a button and wait a few seconds is just too restrictive.

In the end, only a small percentage of users actually exploit the opportunities offered by the presence of a dual chipset. NVIDIA decided to respond and develop a fully transparent system for the user to automatically switch from integrated graphics chipset dedicated as needed.

If you regularly follow the High-Tech news, you are certainly aware of the peculiarity of the latest Intel Arrandale processors, better known by the appellation Core i. They have indeed a new architecture that includes in a single chip, the processor (CPU) and an integrated graphics (IGP). The latter most often coexists with a dedicated graphics card (GPU) to provide 3D performance more suited to the needs, especially those of the players. Only problem so far, few models offered the possibility to the user to choose between the IGP and GPU.

The Optimus technology developed by NVIDIA thus aims to overcome this limitation by allowing the automatic processing of the integrated graphics card and chipset. No need therefore to perform this task manually.

In practice

NVIDIA likes to compare the new technology with the operation of a hybrid vehicle. The user must have continuously the power needed but it must be exploited wisely. It therefore should not be wasted in order not to cause unnecessary energy consumption and penalize autonomy.

In developing its new technology, NVIDIA has simply inspired from the past. Previously, the user had to anticipate his needs in terms of power and activate 3D calculations, if any graphics card before starting the program concerned. For example, one game.

With Optimus, the preliminary step is no longer necessary. The graphics driver is able to choose himself and in real time between the IGP or GPU. To do this, it is based on a series of pre-recorded profiles, regularly updated by various software vendors, as verified by NVIDIA. For example, if you write text in Word, the driver knows that this type of program does not require significant computing power. So glad the integrated chipset. However by launching Call of Duty, this time the driver will recognize that this is a video game and activate immediately, the dedicated graphics card. The latter being more appropriate.

During our test period, we did not encounter any particular problems. The automatic switch is, as expected, really instant (200 ms announced). And if NVIDIA was not available to us a little widget to visualize in real time the active chipset, it would have been impossible to notice the passage of the IGP to GPU.

Automatic management has many advantages, it is undeniable. At the point to ask very quickly why this simple system has not been proposed earlier. Still, as any automated system, sometimes the Optimus driver from being “trapped” by enabling the chipset not always the most appropriate. Do not worry, it is of course possible to regain control.

In this case, simply visit the driver parameters and set manually if for the relevant program you want to use integrated graphics or on the contrary, the GPU. Example type games. If the majority of them, the dedicated graphics card is undoubtedly the most suitable for some older titles just greedy resource 3D, the GMA HD chipset will prove quite up to par.

It is also possible to occasionally choose a chipset by right-clicking the icon of the relevant program before launching it.

Currently, Optimus drivers are specific to models with this technology. However, in the coming weeks NVIDIA will simplify the situation by offering only one more driver for all its mobile graphics cards.

Architecture

Close this section by a small technical point on the architecture used.

Previously when two graphics circuits were established, it was necessary to use a multiplexer system to cover all the possibilities of displays. Besides latency to move from one multiplexer to another, this complex system of circuit integration involves additional costs for manufacturers.

With Optimus, NVIDIA has revised its implementation. As you can see in the diagram above, now it is no longer necessary to use multiplexers. Why? Simply because the dedicated graphics card is active or not, the display is always given to the video output of the integrated chipset (aka PGI). It is no longer necessary to double the circuits for the GPU.

But then how to ensure optimal performance without being limited by those of the IGP? To get NVIDIA uses a hardware component, the Copy Engine. The latter is responsible for reinjecting asynchronously the data generated by the graphics card dedicated to video controller IGP via a PCI-Express line. The integrated chipset then no longer load calculations when the GPU is activated.The Optimus technology is therefore based on both the software part but also on a particular architecture described above. Therefore, even if your laptop is equipped with a compatible graphics card (GeForce 200 and higher), you can not expect to benefit from a portable non Optimus originally equipped by the manufacturer.

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Expert Business Tips: How To Be A Success

October 22nd, 2016 | Posted in Reviews

When it comes to running a business, there are some simple rules that you should follow. You may wonder what separates an excellent businessman from his peers. Well, there is no magic solution that will turn you into a pro. If you want to be a success, you have to work hard at it. It’s not easy to become an entrepreneur, but if you follow this advice, you should pull it off.

Never spend more than a third of your funds

Budgeting is essential in any business. If you want to make money, you have to spend money. That is basic business practice. If you don’t want to waste your cash, though, you should avoid spending more than a third of your funds. That way, you always have a sum of money to fall back on when you need it. If you start a secure budgeting system from the start, you should have no problem at all!

Get an excellent site up online

When people search for your business, they will find your site. If your site let’s your company down, no one will want to deal with you. You can now get everything from blog to ecommerce website design online. That means that you don’t need to worry all that much about getting the right look for your site. Just find a company that you can trust and let them do all the hard work. Before you know it, your business will be a massive hit on the web!

Outsource business when you can

When you can’t do something in-house, it may pay to outsource it. Remember, when you outsource aspects of your business, it makes your job easy. If you have a million things to do, you need to streamline your day to day activities. Sometimes, that means that you should trust someone else to do things for you. Some people find this aspect of running a company hard, but it needn’t be.

Choose your staff with care

When it comes to hiring staff, you need to ensure that you get the right people for your company. You should never rush the hiring process. Look for professionals who share your business style. That way, you can be sure that they will work well with you. When you choose people based on their personalities, you are likely to succeed. Hold several interviews before you find the right staff for your team.

Market your business well

Finally, you need to ensure that you market your business well. When you work in any industry, it is crucial that you advertise your business to others. You can use social media to get the message out there, but you may also want to try traditional methods too. There is a lot of information online that may help you. Once you start getting the word out there, your business will boom.

These tips should help you become the success you deserve to be. When you work hard and put passion into each job, you can be sure that things will go to plan.

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Why Outsourcing Companies Will Never Die

October 8th, 2016 | Posted in Reviews

When I think about business, I often think about how far we have come in the past couple of years. Even just four to five years ago, no one in business would have been able to predict how quickly the industry has evolved. Outsourcing companies are a great example. Once upon a time, no one outsourced any task unless it was completely necessary. Now outsourcing companies are here to stay and may never die. What? Don’t believe me? Here are a few reasons that might change your mind.

The first rule of business is saving money. When you get the handbook on the first day of business school, it is on the first page. If you don’t cut costs, you are unlikely to make money and expand. For the first couple of years, making a profit is difficult because you are just starting. Clients and customers don’t know whether they can trust you, so they hardly ever turn up in droves to splash the cash. Outsourcing firms are experts in saving money. That is the main reason people use them, and if that doesn’t change they will be a fixture for many years.

Apart from money, we are always looking to save time. You know as well as I do that there are not enough hours in the working day. I cannot tell you how often I have gone home and worked until late at night. And I do that because I waste time on tasks that do not concern me or could be better controlled by other sources. There is nothing wrong with admitting that some tasks are not worth your time but are worth other people’s time. In fact, outsourcing companies succeed because of that mentality and will continue to succeed. Menial tasks will always be a part of our business.

What happens when you save time and money? You increase your business’ efficiency. For example, delegating tasks elsewhere frees your internal employees for other, more important roles. Then, the man hours and money you save can be put back into your company. As a result, your company becomes smoother and more efficient. A little efficiency goes a long way and makes a big difference. There are companies out there that compete with competitors just because they are well-organised. Efficiency is the great equaliser and outsourcers can make it happen.

Social media is on the same trajectory as outsourcing companies. In fact, I challenge you to think of a resource that has grown as quickly as social media. The knock-on effect is the importance of social media in business. Without a social media strategy, you cannot converse with your customer base and exploit free advertising. But, it is an art and not every company are good enough to make it work. Businesses don’t want to lose out; there will always be outsourcers who specialize in social media for small business in particularly.

To put it simply, outsourcing is too important a tool at the minute to die out and be replaced. And, there are no signs they will release their grip on the industry anytime soon.

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New MindManager 15 for Windows offers valuable ease-of-use enhancements

August 13th, 2016 | Posted in Reviews, Software

MindManager 15 for Windows offers some practical new features and enhancements that will help you to be more productive and well organized than ever before.

The most significant new features of MindManager 15 include a vastly expanded selection of map parts, project management improvements, a new set of hand-drawn icons and a reorganized and simplified template view. The developer’s objective for this new version was to make it easier for new users to get started with the program, while also responding to customer requests for enhancements to existing features.

Here’s what’s new in MindManager 15, and the significance of these new features and enhancements to business users of the program:

Expanded map parts

I’ve always been a fan of this feature of MindManager, because it makes it easy to build common types of mind maps using drag-and-drop functionality. My biggest complaint with it was that there weren’t enough map parts and they didn’t address enough key business uses of mind maps. In addition, the thumbnail images were so small that it was hard to see what each map part looked like.

Mindjet has remedied these past shortcomings in MindManager 15, which includes 50 new map parts. These “plus and play” map components are divided into categories, including brainstorming, project planning, business analysis and meeting planning. In addition, you can select any topic in one of your maps and save it and all of its child topics into a new map part. This could potentially save you many hours of work if you repeatedly create the same types of mind maps.

Improved templates view

In previous versions of MindManager, the templates view required a lot of scrolling. In version 15, Mindjet has regrouped them into six topic-focused folders – management, meetings and events, personal productivity, problem solving, project management and strategic planning. This gives you a concise, high-level view of the types of templates that are available. You can then open a folder to view all of the templates it contains.

In addition, it displays blank templates for creating radial, right, tree and org chart maps, and continues to give you access to Mindjet’s online MapsForThat gallery. Any templates you have created are stored in a new My Templates folder. This new compact layout makes MindManager’s templates view much easier to use.

Hand drawn icon set

In addition to the standard set of icons that ships with previous versions of MindManager, version 15 now includes a set of over 600 hand-drawn icons. They are available in four colors. Mindjet VP of Products Michael Deutch says he was inspired by a post on this blog about the Vector Doodlekit, a third-party collection of hand-drawn icons and symbols, to include a similar set of resources in MindManager 15. The goal is to enable users to create mind maps with a more organic, hand-drawn look.

Project management enhancements

In previous versions of MindManager, if you had a project that was going to start significantly earlier or later than you planned, you had to manually change the start and end dates of each task. In version 15, a new “move project” command simplifies this process. By changing the start date of the overall project, MindManager 15 automatically adjusts all of the task date ranges. You can also use a new command to eliminate slack time in the GANTT view of your project. This can help you to ensure that your project gets done at the earliest possible date.

New topic “quick add” buttons

As part of Mindjet’s goal to improve the usability of MindManager for new users, version 15 now includes small nodes, each containing a plus sign (+), that stick out of the top, bottom and side of each topic. Clicking on one creates a new linked topic in that direction. Deutch said that new users sometimes get stuck trying to figure out how to add new topics to their mind maps. These quick add buttons make it easy to see what to do next. In addition, they enable any users of MindManager 15 to quickly add topics without having to mouse back up to the program’s ribbon toolbar each time – nice!

These new buttons each require a small amount of extra vertical space, however, which can potentially cause printing and page fit problems for some users. If you don’t want them to be visible, you can turn them off in the program’s options. Very smart!

Auto-creation of slides

A new command in MindManager 15 enables users to have the program auto-create slides. If you need to quickly present a mind map to your colleagues, this can be a big time-saver. A new map theme included in this version contains font sizes and settings that are optimized for display on a screen, too.

Whither MindManager 15 for Mac?

Deutch said a Mac version is now under development; Mindjet hopes to release it by year-end. He said the company is driving toward a new development platform that will make it easier to develop one set of code and deploy it to all platforms (Windows, Mac, mobile and web). That sounds like an ambitious goal, but Deutch believes it’s achievable in the next year or two.

MindManager + SpigitEngage?

During Mindjet’s briefing for MindManager 15, I asked for an update on the company’s acquisition of Spigit, a developer of enterprise idea management solutions. Can we expect to see some connections between MindManager and SpigitEngage? Deutch said the Mindjet team has done some research to figure out where the two applications could potentially connect. Clearly there are steps in the innovation process where visual thinking could have a significant impact. The next step is to determine where such integration will offer the greatest benefit to Mindjet and Spigit customers.

Conclusion

MindManager 15 for Windows represents a well thought-out evolution of the program’s comprehensive feature set. The usability enhancements – such as the new templates view, quick-add buttons and the expanded map parts gallery – will be especially appreciated by new users. Experienced users of MindManager will appreciate some of its more powerful new features, like move project and remove slack time for projects.

For more information about and pricing for MindManager 15 for Windows, please visit Mindjet’s product page.

Watch this blog for a review of MindManager 15 in the next month or so, where I will take a deeper look at the new and enhanced features of this excellent program.

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