Early this year, in February 2015, the presence of the “Superfish” spy and adware on Lenovo laptops reached public consciousness. “Superfish” is software that detects a user’s preferences and uses those to push ads. It is a security threat because it could intercept a user’s passwords, as well as their browsing history. Lenovo had bundled the software with its laptops, and users were exposed to security risks because of that. Since that incident, Lenovo has released a tool that will remove the spy and adware.
Just this August, Lenovo hit hot media waters once again, when it was discovered that a certain BIOS-based application called the “Lenovo Service Engine” was found on users’ laptops. The software was said to be a security vulnerability because it was forced on users. This mechanism of installation or accepting the installation of software is a security threat, because the same forced-install mechanism is a tactic of most hackers and malware developers. More than that, even if the user uninstalls the program, since it is BIOS-based, it cannot be removed, even after a clean install of Windows. Lenovo has since released a statement that they are rolling out a fix, and has also released a list of affected Lenovo computers.
In a time when Chinese device manufacturers are regarded with suspicion because of the role that Chinese hackers play in threatening global security, Lenovo shouldn’t be allowing, or even making moves such as these. As a consumer, you might do well to choose other trusted brands who haven’t broken their years of trustworthiness, such as HP, Asus, or even Apple.
Information can be disseminated through the flick of a finger on your computer. With this concept, Brosix will be launching a new feature called “Broadcast Message” by the end of summer.
With the Brosix’s Broadcast Message you can send a message to a group of people in your broadcast list all at the same time. This application is accessible to employees, and not for partner or customer applications. Employees’ non-productive time will be minimized and office matters can be discussed through their computers. The usual time of attending meetings and waiting for everyone to be present or going to other departments for coordination will be reduced.
Vital information is sent directly to the recipient/(s) by the manager and other users. Normally the message is of utmost importance, such as an instruction from the boss, due date of a report, reminder of a meeting, discussion on office work, and a venue to release the latest company news. An individual or a group can receive the message depending on the sender’s preference.
By selecting a group and clicking on the Text chat button, a chat conference with the group will open. It’s like having a personal meeting – the difference is you are using the computer as a medium in the conversation and not the physical voice. There will be instructions, exchange of ideas and call to action on critical matters.
If the recipient is offline, the message that was sent will still be received by the recipient as soon as he/she gets online. The offline message will be kept for 10 days. After this period it will be considered expired and will be deleted from the message queue.
You can be reached only by people in your broadcast list. Those that are not in the broadcast list will not be able to get in touch with you. Communication can only be established with him/her only if you grant permission.
One of our main concerns is spamming; sending useless messages to a group can be used to disturb others. Strict control and restrictions is the easy approach for this feature, but this will be detrimental to the major emphasis of Brosix which is ease of use. Managers will play a key role in the optimization of the feature and will control spam practice. They will have control over the Brosix Web Control Panel, where they can enable the feature on a limited group. Managers have the authority to determine which users can broadcast messages. They have control to enable or disable the feature to individual users.
Facebook has been working non-stop to bring the Internet to previously-unreached areas.
In an initiative that aims to bring the Internet to far-flung, remote areas in developing countries, Facebook launched the Internet.org project. The main goal is to see more people using the Internet to find jobs, have access to news, health information, and other basic Internet services – services that have been denied the good majority of the world’s population.
Top: Internet.org lauched in Kenya on November 2014. Left: Internet.org launched in the Philippines on March 2015. Right: Internet.org launched in Ghana in January 2015.
In an interview with CNN, Mark Zuckerberg was asked about the overarching plan for the initiative. He said that his goal is basically to see more people connected. He also shared that he believes that everyone “deserves to be connected.” He pointed out that if his vision was merely focused on money, the first billion Facebook subscribers actually “have more money than the next six billion combined.” That next six billion is the target beneficiary of the Internet.org initiative.
Aside from jobs, Internet.org provides free access to Wikipedia and local news websites. Health, lifestyle, as well as personal finance websites are also available. Aside from access to information, the Internet.org app also gives access to the Messenger website.
Mark Zuckerberg dispels the idea that these are Facebook’s competitors, emphasizing that they’ve collaborated with these companies in the past. More than that, he brings the ethos he fuels his company: “Make the biggest impact that you can.”
Mark Zuckerberg and his engineers have a dream of seeing people who have yet to discover the joys of Internet-based communication to reunite with friends and family whom they have not seen in ages. This is just one of the very personal technological miracles that Internet.org hopes to orchestrate.
Indeed, with Internet.org giving free Internet access to the over 5 billion people who still stand to enjoy the benefits of the Internet, the Internet.org initiative is certainly going to make one of the biggest impact on the world in this generation.
Business analysts have speculated that the goal of the initiative has been to turn beneficiaries of the free service into paying customers of bucket data plans in the future. However, as seen in the CNN interview, Mark Zuckerberg, in behalf of Facebook and the Internet.org initiative, maintains that this effort is all about connecting the whole world to the wonders of the World Wide Web.
Windows 10 rolled out on July 29th, much to the excitement of Windows users everywhere. Microsoft reports installations in 14 million devices right after the release.
The Windows 10 upgrade is one of the highlights for Microsoft in 2015. It has been the much-awaited follow-up to the Windows 8.1 rollout. Users can reserve their copy of the OS via the “Get Windows 10” app that appears on the system tray. The system tray is on the right-hand corner of the bottom toolbar/dock.
The system requirements are the same for Windows 10, as they are for Windows 7 or Windows 8:
1GB of RAM for the 32-bit version
2GB for the 64-bit version
20GB free hard drive space
According to others who have tried the upgrade, there should be no data loss in upgrading to Windows 10. Upgrading to Windows 10 has been touted the smoothest upgrade in Windows history so far. However, it’s always a great idea to backup your data, just in case.
Highlights of the OS:
The new Microsoft Edge browser, available only via Windows 10, has been hailed as good enough to be an alternative to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. It has great features such as a web highlighter, and may use less resources than both Chrome and Firefox.
Cortana is bundled with Windows 10. Cortana is preferred by some other digital assistant aficionados because it’s constantly listening for commands. Cortana on Desktop may prove useful for those who already use the app. Cortana will also prove useful in search, as well as setting reminders and queuing other tasks on Cortana on other devices.
The Smart Menu, accessed through the Windows button, is “dynamic” in a sense that it has several views: from a simple list view, to jump lists, fly out menus, and even a Windows 8 Metro-style tile-based arrangement.
The Alt-Tab task switcher now has larger thumbnails, for a stunning view with greater clarity. The task switcher is also accessible via a task view icon on the taskbar.
All the apps run on the Desktop, instead of a split Desktop or Metro mode.
Because of the previous point, instead of seeing icons on a sidebar, or being able to run some apps split-screen and split between Metro and Desktop, you can now snap apps side by side, in a feature called “Snap Assist.”
A Notifications area called “Action Center”, which was the Charms bar for Windows 8 was basically useless, but the Action Center, where all the notifications are located, might prove to be more useful.
Multiple Virtual Desktops are now available on Windows 10. For those who have used Virtual Desktops on OS X Leopard or on Linux distros, the feature is finally available on Windows 10.
Windows 10 will be available for free for a whole year for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. So “Get Windows 10,” and upgrade your PC. You certainly won’t regret it.
Why keep separate food and recipe website accounts, when you have Pinterest? For those who are passionate about food and cooking, maybe there IS a need.
However you find them, it’s always great to find new recipes, as well as new ideas for old favorites, so you may want to check out the following recipe websites:
Yummly: If you want to be able to bookmark interesting recipes from the different blogs and websites that don’t have a built-in Recipe Box or a system to collect your favorites, Yummly is the website to use. You can even add your own recipes and share them with your friends using your Yummly recipe link. You may also add their Bookmarklet button, and you can “Yum!” the different recipes you browse, as you go. Just “Yum!” it and forget it!
All Recipes: If you want a rich, multi-media experience in learning how to cook your favorite dishes, this should be your go-to site. They have recipes listed as text and photo posts, as well as in instructional video form, so you won’t run out of ways to learn how to cook your favorite dishes the right way. If you need help figuring out your meals for the week, you should check out their Menu Planner.
Food.com: Food.com, just like Yummly, has a visual format similar to Pinterest. So if you already like the way Pinterest presents your favorite food. Food.com gives you great ideas for your meals. We highly recommend browsing their How-To section. They also have videos on how to cook your favorite dishes.
You’d be surprised to know how many other food sites there are. In fact, this list of the Top 15 Most Popular Recipe Websites would be the best place to start your search for that perfect food and recipe site for you. If you aren’t satisfied by the look and feel of our three picks, one of the other 12 sites just might fit you. For instance, Chow.com has a section on cookware, so if you’re passionate about keeping your kitchen fully equipped for whatever dish catches your fancy, Chow.com may give you recommendations worth picking up.
On the whole, cooking isn’t rocket science, though it may come with a learning curve for most. Maybe you’re a foodie with a secret desire to finally learn how to cook. Maybe you’re helpless in the kitchen, adding too much salt than you’re supposed to. Maybe these websites, and following their recipes to the letter would get you on your way to becoming, at least, a passable cook.
Browsers are very much a part of today’s ultra-modern lifestyle, and people are forever looking for faster, better browsers for their laptops or mobile devices. So today, we bring you updates on two browsers from two of the biggest names in tech.
The Microsoft In the past, techies hailed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the worst piece of software, ever. Microsoft seemed to have taken the hint, and finally built a beautiful browser that The Next Web actually sings its praises. It reportedly makes for a very seamless experience, and if you use a convertible laptop and tablet device, switching between modes is as slick as butter. Believe it or not, The Next Web’s Napier Lopez is so impressed, he even says that “Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are nowhere close.” For users of dual/multi-mode devices such as the Microsoft Surface, Asus Transformer or Lenovo Yoga, this is great news, indeed. The only downside is that the browser only comes bundled in with Windows 10, and isn’t available as a standalone app. No worries, though, as Windows 7 and 8+ users can reserve for and download Windows 10 for free, starting July 29th.
If you find yourself dealing with an increasingly slower phone or tablet, we’ll let you in on a secret: Facebook must be hogging your ROM space. Facebook’s app, as well as its Messenger app, accrues an insane amount of data over time. If you installed it with an initial filesize of around 30MB, don’t be surprised when it eventually swells up to 50MB or more. All those cat pictures your crazy cat lady friend is sharing or sending you via Messenger can and will add up. But before you decide to swear off Facebook forever, the solution is to just chuck the apps and install Opera Mini instead. Opera Mini not only compresses browsing data, saving you bandwidth on your data subscription, it also keeps the data downloaded to your device to a minimum. So if you want to be able to keep Facebooking without watching your phone turn into a slowpoke over time, just replace your Facebook apps with Opera Mini, and keep http://m.facebook.com on your Speed Dial. And you know what’s even more awesome? You get Facebook Notifications and Messenger Notifications, straight from Opera. Nifty, eh?
Whether you’ll be an early adopter for the Microsoft Edge and Windows 10, or you’re looking to keep your device slick and fast with Opera Mini, we’re hoping these browser updates brought you up to speed in what’s new in browser news.
A while back, we gave you an idea of how to eat, in order to boost your productivity. We promised to give you the foods that will stimulate neurotransmitter production, so that your mood remains on an even, optimal level, as well as keep your brain from oxidative stress.
The top three neurotransmitters that are responsible for keeping mood levels high and the brain alert are Dopamine, Serotonin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). The neurotransmitter responsible for learning and memory is Acetylcholine. If you keep these neurotransmitters at optimal levels, you’ll experience a happier, more positive state of mind.
While there are herbal ways to keep these neurotransmitters high, unless you have a mood disorder, you really shouldn’t experiment with herbal supplements such as St. John’s Wort or Kava-kava. Only use these supplements under the advice and supervision of a doctor.
The best way to keep your brain happy and healthy is to keep a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet, and to work these foods into it.
Dopamine is synthesized from tyrosine, an amino acid that is found in all animal meats and products. So unless you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, consume lean meats and dairy daily, as part of your diet. If you are on a plant-only paradigm, you can get it from green leafy vegetables, beets, lima, fava beans, and other legumes, oatmeal, wheat germ, almonds, and even sesame and pumpkin seeds. As for fruits, blueberries, avocadoes, bananas, watermelons, apples, and figs are rich in tyrosine. If you like sea vegetables or seaweed, those are rich in tyrosine, as well. If you like drinking green tea, hot chocolate, especially that from raw cocoa, and even coffee, these will increase dopamine production.
Serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan, which is also an amino acid, and found in protein-rich food. However, eating doses of protein actually lowers the levels of serotonin in the blood, so according to experts, eating carbohydrate-rich foods as you eat protein sources, as well as eating carbohydrate sources on their own, will help the body create and boost serotonin levels. In order to help your body create more serotonin, eat tomatoes, hickory nuts, walnuts, and add pineapples, kiwi fruits, plums, and bananas to your diet. As for tryptophan sources, consume oatmeal, soy, cheese, eggs, fish, seafood, meat, poultry, chickpeas, beets, and snack on seeds and nuts.
To keep your brain from aging faster than it should be, eat these foods
Curry, which contains turmeric and other spices, may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Broccoli and cauliflower contain choline, which may aid the growth of new brain cells. Celery, peppers and carrots contain luteolin, which appears to cause inflammation in the brain to subside. Inflammation in the brain seems to be the biggest cause of neurodegeneration, and consuming sources of luteolin seems to help curb this form of neurodegeneration. Magnesium plays an important role in speeding up message transmission between brain cells, so consuming food rich in magnesium will help you think faster and better. Sources of Magnesium include chickpeas, garbanzos, and kelp.
Antioxidants are also crucial in preserving the brain from oxidative stress, so it’s also a great idea to consume fruits rich in antioxidants. Blueberries already help in dopamine production, however they also serve to provide antioxidants, not to mention help you think sharper, learn faster, and retain memories better. Other antioxidant-rich fruits include strawberries, black currant, grape, cranberries, dried plums, and boysenberries. Açai berries were hailed as a superfruit in recent years, and indeed, it may play a role in keeping your brain healthy. Goji berries, which come from Tibet, are being studied as an aid to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists observed that laboratory animals treated with goji berry extracts seemed to be protected from the toxic effects of the beta amyloid protein, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Supplements to add to your neurotransmitter-friendly diet:
Turmeric extracts. Turmeric now comes in supplement form, which is added to the treatment of diabetics, Alzheimer’s patients, as well as cancer patients. Take this to increase the levels of both dopamine and serotonin.
Fish Oil. Omega-3, composed of EPA and DHA, as well as Omega-6, are building blocks of the brain. These are actively involved in the synthesis of fetal tissues, and when a human body loses these with old age, the effect is a loss of cognitive function and mental focus. Taking Fish Oil will decrease inflammations throughout the body and optimize blood flow, both of which serve to improve brain function, aside from its targeted role in keeping the brain healthy. The intake of 9.6 grams of Fish Oil daily is also a supplement, and even alternative to depression treatment.
Vitamin E. Vitamin E not only keeps one’s skin supple and smooth, it also aids in brain health. Recent studies have found out that Alzheimer’s patients seem to have lower levels of Vitamin E. Vitamin E also prevents stroke, and will improve overall brain performance. Experts recommend a daily dose of 15mg of Vitamin E.
As with all dietary modifications and experimentation with supplements, it’s always best to consult your doctor, as well as a nutritionist. While we are 100% confident that these are sensible and helpful dietary tweaks, we still heartily recommend that you consult your doctor and nutritionist, to be sure.
And if you do take our suggestions into consideration, here’s to happy and healthy brain-boosting noshing!
When conceptualizing for a project or a campaign, we are commonly filled with diverse thoughts and random ideas. However, our mind can only hold so much, and those great ideas might vanish. We typically opt to scribble down ideas on paper. However, with a piece of paper and pen not being always readily available, luckily technology has come to ease out problems over time.
Instead of constructing concepts on a piece of paper, it’s more efficient to take advantage of our readily available gadgets and their smart built-in features. Today’s premium smartphones come with large storage capacities with access to Cloud for more space to collaborate with colleagues in real-time even when on the go. O2 featured the LG G4 and its ability to have access to 100GB of Google Drive storage for two years or equivalent to roughly 300,000 HD pictures. Meetings and mind mapping can be made easier with smartphone features such as these.
Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of five essential apps and web services for mind mapping that are dependable when it comes to project development and organizing thoughts.
1. MindMeiser- This is a widely used mobile mind mapping app developed by MeisterLabs. It is free but it has several commercial options for personal accounts that range from $4.99 per month to $14.99 for the business account. This app has a straightforward user interface, making brainstorming a breeze. It also features a live chat where you can discuss over and exchange your ideas with your colleagues in real time. Moreover, since it is cloud-based, you can seamlessly sync your files to your online account and access it via your devices.
2. Freemind- This popular software is an open source brainstorming tool built in Java that can be accessed in Windows, Mac, and Linux for free. It is a trustworthy cross-platform app that has plenty of features that include location-based mapping and functional collaboration tools. It may also be used to create complex diagrams that can be exported as HTML, PDF, OpenDocument, SVG, or PNG.
3. Freeplane- Just like Freemind, this open source app is the perfect diagram and chart tool for those who don’t want to spend a single penny (as it comes for free). It can run on any device with Java. With this app, you can formulate your ideas effortlessly through its drag and drop functionality and even customize it by putting some shapes and colors.
4. MindApp- This project planning tool features keyboard shortcuts, map, and text formatting for organizing your diagrams. You can also visually curate ideas and brainstorms through its wide range of shapes, lines, color, borders, and background options. It is available as an in-browser or as a Windows desktop app and can be downloaded for free.
5. Popplet- If you’re on a lookout for a fun and user-friendly mind mapping essential, then you may take this one into consideration. With its integrated large idea boxes tagged as “popples,” you can visually save your ideas, inspirations, and thoughts in a stylish manner. This free app is also ideal for those working in teams for a certain project as it allows you to connect to multiple devices.
Whether you’re using an iOS or an Android device, you may take a spin of these five essential apps and web services that will come in handy in mapping out resources and merging new ideas for your project. Thus, the next time you feel your mind is empty of ideas during a brainstorming session, consult this post on some lifehacks you can apply in the office. Stay tuned on our page for more productivity and working tips.
Exclusive for Brosix
Written by All-in-the-Mind Girl
We spend much of our waking hours at work – whether we work at home or at a regular office, our most productive time is when we are working. Stress can easily kick in if you are working too much and not enjoying any bit of it. Try these simple hacks to keep you upbeat at work.
Keep your work area clean
How can one possibly work productively if the working environment sits in a pile of trash and mess? Working in a cluttered, chaotic environment often impacts negatively on your productivity.
Start your work week right by clearing up your desk. Put away all the unnecessary clutter in your table, organize your supplies, file your paper documents. Every few weeks, have someone clean your keyboard (if you can’t or won’t clean it yourself). Yes, that computer keyboard that you use every day is home to all sorts of bad bacteria that can make you or your colleagues sick. Keep a stash of antibacterial wipes or disinfectant.
If you are allowed to, bring some fresh flowers to lighten up your work table.
You can also post some of your favourite motivational quotes to keep you inspired all day.
Take a walk
Avoid a sedentary work environment. Even if you can, you are not advised to just sit behind your desk and computer the entire day. Get up and get some fresh air. Taking a 15-minute walk will do you good. Maximize your lunch break to walk outside to grab a lunch or coffee.
An office experiment showed that employees who took two 15-minute ‘walkies’ per day for 30 days, completed their tasks more accurately and quicker than before. Walk around your office and talk to colleagues about a project, engage in productive conversations. At times, walking will keep you more alert and awake than a cup of coffee.
Create a visually engaging work place
Make work a source of creativity, not stress. Sitting correctly while working can increase blood flow, metabolism and improve focus, energy and productivity. Have your office provide you with well-designed ergonomic work furniture. Good equipment will minimize work-related strain, the most common of which are back and neck pain.
You work area deserves some love. Design it in such a way that you will feel still creative and inspired even when you’re at your busiest hour. Put up a doodle board where you can write your work goals for the day or for the week.
The small changes that you make in your work area can have potential results in your productivity.
Another top tip – indulge in inspiration.
Stretch, stand and smile
Keeping a healthy working environment with your colleagues will definitely keep you wanting to go to work. Having friends at the office is important to get that ‘office vibe’ going on. You work as a team and you also strive as a team to achieve targets and deadlines. Cultivating a healthy office culture is important not just for the company but also for you and your colleagues.
Lucky are those who have sit-stand workstations. But if you don’t have one, you can always stand up and stretch any time of the day. Move around a bit, rest your eyes for a few minutes.
Doing these simple things will make your work or any work easy. And always remember to smile, it will give you an instant ‘perk up my mood’ boost.
Images: “My office desk” and “home office” from Flickr.com. Featured image created for Brosix.
This infographic released by the Wall Street Journal shows the latest diversity scale, released this 2015, in the leadership and employment of some of the biggest technology companies.
A quick look reveals that tech giants like LinkedIn, Ebay, Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Intel, HP, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple need to do more when it comes to improving the ethnicity and gender make-up of their workforce.
Based on the latest data, Ebay, LinkedIn and Google hired the most number of women, with a range of 18 to 24 percent of their total workforce. Apple has not yet updated its report. Although last year, it tied with Google and Twitter at 30 percent hiring rate of women employees.
These numbers show that women are losing their ground in the tech industry. In fact, the percentage of women employees in 10 tech companies surveyed in 1999 was higher at 37 percent. In 2005, it went down to 33 percent. Now it is down to an average of 31 percent at eBay.
Like in the previous years, Caucasian males executives dominate leadership positions in the above-mentioned companies.
Last year, Twitter, Google and Facebook have issued self-effacing statements on their state of diversity like “we have a lot more work to do” and “we are not where we want to be when it comes to diversity.”
This year, we are reading and hearing rehashed statements. The diversity reports issued by tech companies are showing same old results.
Like Facebook, which disclosed that 85 percent of its tech workforce are composed of males, while 69 percent of all its employees are males. Female Facebook employees comprise only 31 percent, Hispanic employees remain at 4 percent, and blacks are at the bottom minority at only 2 percent. These figures are too low, even for a company that celebrates diversity with millions of rainbow-colored profile photos.
“As these numbers show, we have more work to do — a lot more,” said Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global head of diversity.
In an official blog post detailing its report, Williams said, “Diversity is something that we’re treating as everyone’s responsibility at Facebook, and the challenge of finding qualified but underrepresented candidates is one that we’re addressing as part of a strategic effort across Facebook. Since our strategic diversity team launched last year, we’re already seeing improved new hire figures and lower attrition rates for underrepresented groups.”
The diversity state at Facebook reflects the diversity challenge faced by the entire Silicon Valley that is predominantly white and male.
Google, which brand and services rely on making the Internet more open and accessible to all, also fought attempts to disclose its workforce diversity data. It was only last year that the search giant released its report after a series of criticisms from diversity advocates. Other tech companies followed suit. The data revealed showed that in most cases, less than 10 percent of the companies’ overall employees were either black or Latino, compared to the 27 percent in the American workforce as a whole.
How to bridge diversity
Companies are exerting efforts and pouring in millions to address the industry-wide diversity problem:
Intel embarked on a five-year, $300-million diversity development plan to bring the company to full representation by 2020.
Apple, forged a $50-million partnership with institutions supporting women and minorities pursuing computer science majors.
Cisco’s approach was to address the issue starting from the top management.
Google is sponsoring the college education of high school and undergraduate female, black, Latino and Native American students who are interested to pursue computer science and engineering degrees.
Despite these efforts, there are embedded ‘cultural issues’ within the tech industry that involves views on ethnicity and gender that results to the diversity problem.
Brosix offers all-in-one enterprise instant messaging incorporating audio and video calls, sending screenshots, co-browsing, whiteboard and desktop sharing technology to provide an easy-to-use online meeting solution for high-quality online business collaboration.