The days are flying quickly past, and the holiday season will be over before you know it. If you haven’t completed – or even started – your holiday gift shopping yet, don’t worry; there’s still plenty of time to get everything accomplished.
First, be sure to find an idea for everyone on your list before you even think about shopping. With your ideas written down on a piece of paper, you’ll be efficient in checking each and every name off your list. If the ideas are causing you the most problems, try an Internet search. Keywords to use can include “gifts for mom” or “musical gifts for a teenage boy.” And if your list includes people with hobbies, be sure to try an Internet search using those keywords as well.
Since you’re already at the computer looking for ideas, you might as well continue using it to make your purchase. There’s a good chance you can find the same item for sale on several different vendor sites. A quick online search will help you find the item for the best price, and you might also discover you can get the present gift wrapped as well. When comparing prices, be sure to confirm that the vendor can ship your gift on time, what the cost is for shipping, and whether the company has a return policy.
You also can go online to find excellent discounts and coupons for the items on your list. For example, Ebates.com provides discounts and coupons for vendors, and also rewards you with cash back on your purchases once you’ve finished your shopping. So not only are you able to find the item you wish to purchase with a free shipping offer or at a discounted price, but you’ll also receive a percentage of your purchase as cash back to be used however you want.
Before you finalize your purchase, make certain it will arrive before the holiday. Online retailers will provide you with last-minute shipping information so you will know when it’s too late. You’ll also know if you need to pay more for a faster shipping service. Websites like Ebates often have discounts on expedited shipping. The good news is, if you ship the present online while sitting at your computer at home or at the office, you can avoid the long holiday lines at the post office.
If you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, your secret is safe. With these tips, you can check every name off your list with minimal effort and know that every gift will be delivered in time for Christmas day.
Are you ready for SXSW 2014? This year boasts to be bigger than ever before and once again, we’ve got some tested tips to hack your way through SXSW like a pro and get the best experience possible in the process. Want to figure out the best way to build your session schedule? What about finding free food and drinks? Get all the tips and tricks to hack your way through SXSW 2014 below.
Hacking Through SXSW Sessions
A sad fact of SXSW is that you can’t attend all the sessions. Do your research now and find three sessions a day that you must hit in order to get your return on investment. As a friendly reminder, you’ll need to walk between hotel convention centers, restaurants, and the main convention center, which takes time. So, plan your priorities and backup options because popular sessions will reach capacity.
Here are a few can’t miss sessions that are sure to be informative as well as entertaining…
How Twitter Humorists Landed Sweet Real World Gigs (Friday)
When: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Who: Jenny Johnson, Josh Hara, Matt Silverman and Megan Amram
Where: ACC 12AB
Why: Learn how funny people leveraged social media in order to land their dream jobs and high praise from Rolling Stone, TIME and the Wall Street Journal. They’ll give you inside tips and ideas for how to use digital media to build a personal brand — while undoubtedly cracking you up in the process. All the speakers are terrific, making for a great end-of-day panel.
Fearlessly Funny: The Women Changing Digital Humor (Saturday)
When: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Who: Issa Rae, Jane Pratt, Kristina Wong, Mandy Stadtmiller
Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 18ABC
Why: This panel, convened by xoJane.com’s editor-in-chief, promises to be sassy, funny and honest. Bring smart questions to the Q&A and expect to spend some time laughing.
Hacking Through The Connections
The Gadgets: Stay charged and connected. A mobile battery is a great way to stay on top of your game. You’ll be Tweeting, checking emails, consulting the SXSW app, texting or Snap-chatting people you just met over free food and drinks. If you’re not sure which one you should buy, I’d suggest two external battery options that’ll keep you powered throughout SXSW. Mophie’s Juice Pack Plus is a great source for power on the go. The 2100mAh battery case with added power and protection is equipped with up to 120% extra battery to make it through the busy SXSW week. The Samsung Universal USB Extended Battery Pack isn’t just for your smartphone, but it’s also portable power for your tablet (or any devise with a USB port) when you need, it where you need it
The Networking: Looking for a few SXSW tips from a Pro? Here’s one! TIP #4 – Be OUTGOING, but don’t be a DOUCHEBAG! You’ve seen those people that just have to be the center of attention, yeah – you don’t want to be them. Be unique, humble, memorable but most importantly – be yourself!
[Discover more tips: SXSW Survival Of The Fittest Tips To Make Your Experience Unforgettable!]
Hacking Through The Parties
Food and drink. If you do it right, you shouldn’t have to pay for a single meal or beverage. Luckily, there are entrepreneurs who streamlined the unofficial and offsite SXSW parties.
There are plenty of SXSW party source sites. Do512 is a pretty good source and you can check out the parties here. Also, you can find events on Gary’s Guide, RSVPters and even Eventbrite. The same rule with sessions holds true with parties—find a few that you need to attend and make them a priority.
Are you a SXSW pro? If you’re a returning SXSW attendee and want to help our readers get the most out of their experience, share your survival wisdom in the comments section below.
For the many of consumers who have yet to upgrade to the Apple iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c but got iOS 7 software upgrade, you may have noticed that it may have taken a toll on your already short battery life. Now that a few weeks have passed, you can tell if this is detrimental to your battery.
Apple’s redesigned mobile software added some much-needed functionality along with a visual makeover. But its not the big changes that are causing loss of battery power but the smaller things that are running in the background constantly. Check out some of these tweaks that will help you extend battery life.
How To Get Better Battery Life on Apple iOS 7:
- Automatic App Updates (Settings > iTunes + App Store > Turn off Apps) – the new software allows you to refresh apps automatically like on Android. Save on juice and turn it off!
- Background App Refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh) – iOS 7 beefs up the multitasking for your iPhone by keeping apps running in the background. Stop it if you don’t need it and more than likely don’t.
- Location Services (Settings > Privacy > Location Services) – this uses your GPS w/ Wi-Fi & cell tower support to determine your location for mapping & geotagging services. Turn most or all of them off unless you use Maps/Google Maps, Siri, & Weather.
- Spotlight Search Indexing (Settings > General > Spotlight Search) – the universal search for iOS got better by tracking new data from anything you do. If you don’t use it then kill it.
- Set Auto-Lock to 1 minute or less
- Turn off the Music EQ
- Use headphones instead of the speaker if you have to listen to audio or music
- Turn down the screen brightness or use auto-brightness
- Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not using it
- Set all Mail, Contacts, and Calendar accounts to Fetch instead of receiving Push notifications
Hopefully these tips will help you out by getting your battery life to last a bit longer before having to look for your charger.
How long does your battery last you during the day? Did these tips help you out in any way?
Technology has simplified communications for most businesses, but the increased use of conference calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging has created a new list of off-putting behaviors that could land your business in an awkward situation.
1. Video conferencing is more widely used in recent years in an effort to save on travel costs. It’s best to always assume the microphones and the cameras are on. That means don’t do or say anything you don’t want on camera.
2. Sit still, please. You may know someone who constantly fidgets. You may even have threatened to tie them to a chair during a videoconference. Simply put, excessive movements can be extremely distracting to others on the conference, so avoid rocking, pacing, or making dramatic gestures.
3. Avoid bright, flashy, patterned clothing. Play it safe, wear neutral tones in solid patterns.
1. Don’t place someone on speaker without first telling all parties involved in the call, and don’t assume everyone knows who is on the call. An obvious solution is to use a conferencing feature that prompts attendees to announce themselves when they arrive.
2. Mute your phone if you dial in from a public area, or if you need to multi-task while on a call. There is nothing worse than feeling like the person on the other end of the line is not engaged.
3. Refrain from having side conversations while participating on calls. It makes it difficult for those on the call to understand the dialogue if there is more than one conversation taking place in the conference room.
4. Avoid loud snacks, smacking of gum, slamming of office drawers, crying babies, barking dogs or basically any noise that will be magnified and hinder communication with other participants.
5. Don’t shout into the speakerphone. Today’s high-definition phones are particularly sensitive and you may come across louder than you intend. And, if you decide to move the phone around the room, keep in mind that the audience on the other side will hear it.
1. Don’t use your speakerphone. If you assumed that using the speakerphone on a cell phone was something that only happens on reality TV, think again. It seems to be a growing trend among many cell phone users — and an annoyance for anyone standing close by. While it’s fine that you can work from just about anywhere now, don’t make everyone else part of your work day.
2. Be careful what you say in public. For starters, you never know who might be listening when you happen to be discussing confidential information about, say, customers. It’s a bad idea all around and most of the time the people near you don’t want to hear it. Believe it or not, some people are at Starbucks for the coffee.
1. Knock before entering. Most people know better than to barge into someone’s office or cubicle. The same applies to using IM. Before launching into a conversation, send a polite “ping” asking if the person is available for a quick chat. If you are on the receiving end, learn to say no if you can’t be interrupted and offer the person an alternative time to talk.
2. Keep it short. IM works best for quick questions and updates. If the message is complicated, and takes more than a few sentences, pick up the phone or get out of your chair and walk down the hall to discuss.
3. Hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign. If you are unavailable then simply set your status to invisible, away, or out to lunch.