Build Your A-Team At Work Through Steady Communication

Build Your A-Team At Work Through Steady Communication
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If you’re a manager, there are certain days when you have to multitask at work – assigning tasks, checking reports, coming up with ideas, and so many other things all at the same time.

An efficient working style requires an even more reliable and efficient solution. If you’re not in control of your time and you’re not managing your workload properly, then the quality of your output or relationships at work could suffer.

Surely you don’t want to happen. So before the end of this work week, why not give your team a pep talk, if it’s needed. If not, then it won’t hurt if you’ll ask them how they’re doing. Better yet, ask how their tasks are progressing. Give them an instant feedback. Don’t just drop an email. Try to take some time to actually communicate with them.

Build Your A-Team At Work Through Steady CommunicationYou want your team to be the best? Talk to them and motivate them to give their best. If your efforts pay off, you’ll only get the best and you’ll be a happy boss. To effectively communicate with your team, make use of conventional and practical ways to convey your message. You can go on with the weekly team meeting or you can call for a live chat session. Chat applications can be used for live chat sessions.

Live team chats could be a welcome break for your team. You can set it at a time convenient to your schedule. It doesn’t even have to take a full hour to get through it. A few minutes can be productive if you have the proper demeanor and positive outlook.

 

Images: Speech Bubble and Faces from Pixabay.com

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Instant Messaging for Ecommerce Teams

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spruce-image(4)Ecommerce and online shopping is a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing by the day.

Consider this statistic from the Selz Blog:

“Online shopping and ecommerce is a huge multi billion dollar industry and is expected to grow by 20% this year to $1.5 trillion globally.”

In today’s day and age, it is more difficult than ever for “brick and mortar only” stores to survive. For this reason, many are turning to the internet to survive and thrive. This is easier than ever before, due in large part to the many platforms that are available.

Regardless of company size, ecommerce teams need a way to effectively communicate. From sharing ideas to troubleshooting tech issues, it is a must that every team member is connected to the rest of the group.

This is where instant messaging comes into play. There are many benefits of using a program, such as Brosix, including:

  • Real time communication.
  • Ability for workers to communicate effectively, even if they are not located in the same office.
  • Variety of features, including screen sharing, that are often necessary in the ecommerce world.

It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with a well established ecommerce store with millions in revenue or a startup, nothing changes the fact that internal communication remains extremely important.

In the past, email, phone, and face to face meetings were all the rage. While all of these communication methods remain popular, instant messaging is picking up steam. These statistics compiled by Factbrowser prove this to be true.

Ecommerce teams have a lot going on behind the scenes. The ability to communicate in a safe and secure environment is one less thing to worry about.

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Wear Your Flash Drive

Wear Your Flash Drive
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Ever since flash technology was integrated in mass market products in the form of flash drives, thumb drives, travel USB sticks, storage cards and other similar portable devices, electronic data storage has never been the same.

According to Flash Memory Summit, “flash memory is a key technology enabling new designs for many products in the consumer, computer and enterprise markets.”

With flash technology, data storage and transfer became easier and more convenient. Industry leaders believe that flash will be the choice of storage for active data for the next five years. Portable flash drives are such a hit among students, professionals and almost everyone who needs to carry important office or personal data with them. Now you can’t leave home without one.

flask drives: wearable optionsConsumers are investing on mobile flash drives because they’re cheap, fast and with a higher storage capacity. Since 2012, the pricing of flash memory went down due to the availability of more products catering to the demands of consumers and products requiring flash technology.

Makers of portable data storage products shared a few predictions for the flash technology industry:

  • Disks drives are dead. Flash drives will be storage of choice for active data
  • Memory-based storage will come in tiers starting 2015
  • Flash drives are going to have bigger capacity and will last longer, even up to a lifespan of 10 years
  • All-flash array market for enterprise will grow to $1.2 billion in revenue this year

With the diminutive sizes of flash drives and traveling disks, it’s easy to lose or misplace them in the pile of papers, folders and other stuff in your office table. Many use neckstraps to keep their flash drives within reach.

Are you tired of digging thru your desktop folders for some valuable data? Or you don’t have time to run through archived files to sort out office files, now with the latest storage solutions you’ll save so much time and storage space on your desktop or notebook.

Wearable flash drives can be used as a regular flash drive for data storage, and the wristband version doubles as a personal accessory and protection for the flash drive. It is made of hard-wearing rubber exterior that fits comfortably on your wrist.

When you’re not wearing it, fasten it easily on your bag. You’ll never have to lose or misplace your flash drive again.

Note: This article was quoted in this story.

 

Images: Flash Drive and Memory Cards from Flickr.com

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[Best of CES] Tech Trends And Products To Watch Out for in 2015

[Best of CES] Tech Trends And Products To Watch Out for in 2015
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The annual CES 2015 is over but the fever is still on for the hottest and most innovative tech products to watch out for this year.

Cars are the new supercomputers, Ultra HD TVs will soon be a staple in every living room, the VR industry is coming up with more exciting products. These are just a few of the many tech revelations in the biggest electronic trade show in the planet.

Here’s a round-up of gadgets, gizmos and technologies that got the most raves from the scrutinizing taste of the tech industry.

More 4K TV action

We cannot escape the 4K revolution. It’s already happening and it is the inevitable destiny of TV and viewing technology. More and more consumers and enthusiasts are embracing the shift from HD to Ultra HD televisions.

Every manufacturer introduced a UltraHD television model at the CES. Based on a forecast of the Consumer Electronics Association, shipments of UltraHD TVs in 2015 could reach up to 4 million. That’s a huge improvement from the 800,000 shipments recorded in 2013.

The new 4K TVs that graced the CES show floors are not the usual 4K TVs, they’re bigger and better 4K TVs. As Wired.com have put it, “they’re only going to get better” as the TV industry expects a breakthrough in the Ultra HD technology this year. The Ultra HD TVs have resolution higher than 1080p and are packed with all the needed features (read: Android TV platform, voice search, etc.) to make your home entertainment an even more rewarding experience.

Among the noteworthy models include Aquos Beyond 4K Ultra HDTV from Shart Electronics.

This massive, 80-inch spectacular screen promises to be the highest resolution TV available in 2015. The display has an effective resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 or a total of 66 million subpixels. No pricing available yet but this ‘almost 8K’ UltraHD TV is scheduled to start shipping in late 2015.

Another eye-catching stunner is Sony’s X900 C Series 4K television that runs on Android platform. It is the thinnest LCD TV available. In fact, it is slimmer than the thinnest Xperia phone with only 4.3 mm in thickness. It runs on Sony’s X1 super processor.

Last year, curved TVs stormed the CES. Now they’re making a comeback. LG made its (literally) massive presence at the CES felt with the LG 4K OLED EG9900 TV. This 77-inch TV has a bendable panel that can be switched to flat or curved.

These new 4K UltraHD TVs will run on different operating systems. LG has its Web OS. Samsung is sticking with its proprietary Tizen OS while Pansonic is embedded with the Firefox OS.

The drones are coming

Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones were among the biggest attractions and highlights of this year’s CES. Compared to early models, the drones available now have become cheaper, faster and more capable.

drone

Whether used for entertainment or productivity, drones are always showcased as an emerging technology in the last couple of years. Eventually, manufacturers and tech consumers have discovered more ways on how to make use of drones aside from surveillance purposes. These days, drones are used for taking the perfect selfie, for taking videos, for following/tracking a person and many more.

But could it be that drones will be dominating the consumer technology realm soon after 16 commercial companies showcased their wares and drone collection at the CES? We have yet to discover that.

According to Poynter.com, 2015 may also be the year that journalists get to use drones in their line of work.

The drone market should be worth $130 million this year and a billion-dollar market in a few years.

Sling TV

Here’s one more to satisfy your viewing pleasure sans the cables — Dish Network’s consumer-friendly online TV service, Sling TV.  A proven favorite by Engadget, Mashable, PCMag, Techradar and other consumer electronics experts, Sling TV is an internet-based, live, television service. It will be available to customers nationwide in the first quarter of this year.

Consumers will indeed like Sling TV with its no contract, low-entry price and accessible service business model.

For a basic subscription of $20 per month, you can readily stream the best live TV shows ranging from sporting events, shows, movies and news. Subscribers can choose from the base package, kids package, sports package and news and information package depending on your viewing lifestyle. As for the resolution and bandwidth, Sling TV will be available in 720p and 1080p. Users can also adjust streaming settings to limit or increase bandwidth so you’re totally in control of your data usage.

The service is available on Android and Fire TV, Roku, Xbox, tablets, desktops and smartphones.

Sling TV will launch in a few weeks. It is currently available by invitation. To score yourself an invite, just go to the Sling TV website.

What’s not to love about Sling TV? Nothing. Everyone digs it.

 

Images: Drone and Curved UHDTV from Flickr.com.

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What Should You Look For in a Group Chat App?

What Should You Look For in a Group Chat App?
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So you decided that 2015 is your GTD year. Your schedules and trips are booked for the entire month. You have meetings, conferences and events to attend to. You’re busy with so many things going on all at the same time you don’t even have the time to catch up with your folks.

If you need a quick and practical way to fix that, try using a group chat app to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues.

Although many businesses often use group chat apps for real-time collaboration and communication purposes, you can also use subscription-based or free group chat apps for personal use. Set up different private chat rooms for you small group of friends or relatives. If you want to maximize time, you can chat with as many people as you want. It’s your choice.

how to choose a group chatMost group chat apps available also work on every device — so whether you’re using iOS, Android or Windows Phone, you can always multitask and chat with your friends.

Choose the best group chat app that will suit your needs and lifestyle based on the following features:

Ease of use

Choose a group chat app that is easy to use. It will be save you so much precious time and effort.

Sharing functions

If you want to share snapshots and photos of your latest vacation, choose a group chat app with photo, video and file sharing options.

Control

Depending on the features of a chat app, group or one-on-one messaging can be customized or tailored based on your choices.

 

Images: Telephone and Talking about Work from Pixabay.com. Some rights reserved.

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Where To Get Your CES 2015 Fix

Where To Get Your CES 2015 Fix
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All things bright and beautiful are at this year’s International Consumer Electronic Show (CES). #CES2015, the largest innovations and technology show in the planet happened in Las Vegas from January 6 – 9.

The annual CES is a tech geek’s dream come true. CES showcases the best and latest in consumer technologies: computing, digital imaging, electronic gaming, internet, smart home, video, printing, audio, automotive, wearables, wireless, and all the other stuff you can think of when it comes to consumer technology. In others words, CES is all about gadgets and gizmos and everything you can create in the modern and futuristic world.

Last year’s CES gathered 160,498 attendees including international visitors, media, professionals and exhibitors in an expansive 2.06 million square feet of exhibit space. Attendees and exhibitors came from 140 countries and there were over 20,000 products launched and exbihited.

CES 2015 newsAccording to Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, “the International CES is the epicenter for the ever-expanding global consumer technology community, showcasing the promise and power of technology and serving as a platform for all innovators, big and small.”

True enough, for his year, CES expects over 3,600 exhibitors in a record 2.2 million square feet of show floor, the largest in the history of CES.

The press events were highlighted by innovation, connectivity and collaborations.

If you were not able to go to the recently concluded annual technology Mecca in Las Vegas, here are the websites that dished out the best CES news and features:

CNET

It has been a yearly ritual for CNET to devote a special microsite for its CES coverage.

They’ve got the latest news and stories from the floor. The must-see section featured products and photos and videos of actual product unveiling and testing. CNET reporters and correspondents also provided live reports of events and conference.

The site is indeed all about CES. Everything you want to know, straight from tech Ground Zero.

Digital Trends

This year’s CES official media partner, Digital Trends also didn’t miss out on their important mission to bring the best CES features. They’ve got a Product Review section that features a hands-on look and verdict on the products launched.

Among the highlights of the Digital Trends CES website is the Top Tech of CES Awards. Digital Trends editors will select the hottest gear and coolest gadgets from the show. Gadgets were reviewed in advance.

The criteria for selecting the best include innovative technology, design, ease of use and their ability to enhance people’s lives in new ways.

Engadget

Engadget is always big on events and gadget guides. This year, Engadget featured the CES 2015 Field Guide – and interactive guide and map for CES that is based on brands and events.

The interactive map is just brilliant. To use it, just click the trade show hall or location shown on the map to get all the related launches, news and reviews.

 

 

Note: This article was quoted in this story.

Images: Auto Tech, CES from Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

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Sit Less. Move More: The Health Benefits of Standing Up

Sit Less. Move More: The Health Benefits of Standing Up
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Standing desks are not just ergonomic pieces of cool furniture. They serve a good purpose: to save us from the long-term harmful effects of cumulative sitting. For an ordinary employee, the most part of the day is spent sitting. We sit at work. We sit in the car when we commute. We even sit more outside work when we eat or drink coffee at the cafe. Even our concept of relaxing is also spent sitting: watching TV, playing computer games, and reading a book.

Many research and studies showed that extended sitting or sitting for long hours each day can be associated with health problems, ranging from obesity to cancer.

stability ballA British study revealed that an office worker sits for an average of five hours and forty-one minutes daily. In Australia, adults sit for an average of nine hours a day, which is much more than the average sleeping time of seven to eight hours. If you want compute your average sitting hours, use this calculator.

Our habit of occupational sitting can cause many potential risks, not just for our physical health, but also to our mental well-being.

Too much sitting lessens our physical movements and inclines us towards an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle. Prolonged sitting can also raise the risks of developing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Sitting time is also linked to high blood pressure, bad cholesterol and visceral fat due to low calorie-burning capacity.

A person who sits most of the day has almost the same risk of having a heart attack as a smoker.

The remedy to sitting is standing. Standing more often can in fact, be considered a lifestyle change. Like walking or running, standing also increases our energy. It allows us to burn excess calories. It helps tone our muscles and can help improve our posture and speed up our metabolism. Standing is also good for the heart and the brain because our blood flows better when we are standing upright. Sports medicine consultant Mike Loosemore claims that “standing for at least three hours, five days a week is as effective as running ten marathons in a year and can extend the lifespan by two years.”

How is that possible? We burn more calories and our heart rate is faster when we are standing – roughly a difference of 0.7 calories and 10 beats higher per minute. If we add the numbers, that would sum up to 50 calories burned per hour. Standing for three hours a day can burn 750 calories. In the course of a year that would be 30,000 excess calories or 8 lb. of fat burned – the same amount of fat and calories burned if we join 10 marathons in a year.

Other health benefits of standing include:

  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Reduced risk of metabolic health problems
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduced risk of cancer
  • Lower long-term mortality risk

However, sitting and exercising are two different behaviors. Don’t think that spending more time working out in the gym after office hours and doing physical or outdoor activities during the weekends can reverse the effects of prolonged sitting. Medical evidences show that exercise can’t undo the damages caused by too much sitting.

  • If we can’t avoid sitting at work or at home, we can surely devise ways on how to stand more often.
  • Use both a sitting and standing desk at the office Alternating sitting and standing while at work can improve blood sugar levels.
  • Do walking meetings. Instead of conducting a teleconference in your cubicle, you could try to do walking meetings. It can add to your physical activity and can also stimulate your creativity and alertness.
  • Stand in the bus or train when taking public commute. This way you can burn more calories and give your muscles some much needed contraction.
  • Take frequent breaks. Standing for a few minutes allows you to stretch and expend energy from the muscles.
  • Move around in the office. Use the stairs more often.
  • Keep a stability ball. In your room at home, use a stability ball as your chair. This can help engage your core muscles.
  • Stand while eating lunch or dinner. Sitting and fast food is or one-way ticket to obesity. Unless you’re eating an 8-course degustation meal, you might be surprised at how you can enjoy a good meal while on your feet.

Images: Lego Office, Stability Ball from Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

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Be Your Best in the New Year

Be Your Best in the New Year
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We all want to start our year right and on the productive side. At the start of the month, we usually set resolutions to improve our work and working relationships.

You can list down ways on how to create the best working environment for yourself and your co-workers. Maintaining an open and constant communication with your clients or commending co-employees when they get the job well done can do a lot for your working mood.

Be Your Best in the New YearLikewise, introducing collaboration tools at work is also an effective way of developing a healthier environment at the office. Huddle your team or your department and get them to use network-based chat and messaging system. In that way, you can keep track of office productivity and advise your team members about the best practices.

Corporate messaging tools are not only one-and-one and group voice and video chats. Apps devoted to enterprise messaging also have other productivity features including offline messaging, desktop sharing, bulletin boards, and document management.

Some paid apps are also enabled with active directory imports, file transfer and distribution.

Whether you own a promising start-up with 10 dedicated employees or working in a corporate environment with hundreds of workforce, there are many productivity and communication tools that you can use to create a stress-free production floor.

Images: Workstation from Flickr.com and Business in 2015 from Pixabay.com

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Essential Productivity Apps To Welcome 2015

Essential Productivity Apps To Welcome 2015
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The New Year is a time for change. If you’re serious about kicking your old habits and enhancing your work productivity, here are selected apps to help keep your New Year’s resolutions.

Lift.do

If you’re in for achieving life goals one step at a time, then consider using Lift.do on your iOS and Android smartphones.

They say it takes 21 days or three weeks to develop a habit and Lift.do can help you make little, positive steps each day.

This app does more than just remind you of what you need to do for the day. It allows your social networks and community to provide encouraging support in your self-improvement endeavors.

You can list tasks and goals using this app. After all the binge eating and merry making during the holidays, most people would automatically want to become healthier in the New Year. Lift.do can be used to set health and fitness goals -– run for 5-10 minutes a day or five miles a weeks, drink 8 glasses of water daily, take vitamins and so on and so forth.

Lift.do is easy to use. Just list a task and tap the checkbox to record a completed task. It also has one-on-one chats with a personal coach but this feature is not for free.

Timeful

business2015Described as an intelligent time assistance app, Timeful features a daily calendar, a to-do list, a planner for events and schedules and everything you’ll need to make the most out of your precious time. This app also gives smart suggestions on how to use your time wisely.

It’s actually a digital personal assistant that has the features of a creative calendar manager.

Just list the activities that you want to do and Timeful’s advanced algorithms will make practical suggestions on when to fit them into your schedule. The app’s algorithm was developed in a way that it can improve your schedule based on what you input on Timeful.

You can also easily sync Timeful on your iOS devices with your existing calendars – Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, Apple iCal and others calendar apps.

A tip on how to get things done – just do it.

Insightly

Selected as one of the best planners for 2015, Insightly for Android and iOS devices is for project management, contact management and report generation. This app is used to streamline sales and after-sales processes like input, management and tracking of sales. It also has basic reporting functionality, project management and team collaboration tools. It can also be used for everyday tasks.

It is one of the top online small business customer relations management. One proof is its customer base of more than 650,000 users.

Ease of use is one of Insightly’s best-selling features. You can set it up by yourself without the assistance of an IT person. It is also the least expensive among top CRM for small businesses.

Running Apps

If you’re training for a marathon, go for Runkeeper. For those who want to get back on track or those who want to get off the couch, literally, try Couch to 5K.

Depending on your goal and motivation, these apps can help unleash the passionate runner in you.

 

Images: Productivity Challenge from Flickr.com and Welcome 2015 from Pixabay.com

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Photoblogging: A Visual Treat

Photoblogging: A Visual Treat
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Words are not enough to convey a message. No wonder, pictures and images make up half of everything posted online. Just like other published material, all text and no images make a page dull and gray.

A gray sea of text is not good to look at; it’s boring, monotonous and without life. Pictures and images are very important to complete the design and visually enhance a website.

Combining the blogging platform with another powerful medium – photography, results to photoblogging. Having a photoblog or a photography website is like having your very own gallery, where you can put up a collection of images and display them for everyone to see online.

Chosen Few

With the emergence of social media sites, anyone can put up his or her own photoblog, post entries and pictures and update it on a regular basis.

But only genuinely talented and serious photography enthusiasts can put up and maintain a true to life photo blog. Serious photo bloggers devote their time and effort in making images as the main content of their websites.

Usually, photography hobbyists and professional photographers are the ones who put up photo blogs. Photo blogs help them to showcase their talent, display their portfolio, share the images they see behind their lenses and inspire others to explore the wonderful world of photography by taking advantage of blogging platforms.

Catching the Sights

photoblogginhPhoto blogs can be thematic but most photo blogs are about travel and scenic locations. It’s natural to be this way because documentation is always a necessary part of a trip. People take photos of their domestic and international trips for posterity and remembrance. But photography enthusiasts and photo bloggers in this case, take exceptional images that can’t be seen by the bare eye.

In pictures, a single location can have many looks. Everything you see is unique and special, every image has its own story to tell and a single vivid snapshot can be interpreted to a thousand or more words.

I always like looking at travel photo blogs. These pictures feature the raw beauty of various destinations here and abroad. It adds more character to descriptions, anecdotes and stories about the place.

Looking through the brilliant images in travel photo blogs online gives me the same feeling as lifting the pages of a coffee table book. But of course, I still prefer printed photo books. Touching the images in textured paper is an experience worth trying. But being in the place featured in photos is always the best happening.

Pictures of nature, animals, landscapes, people, and culture are also among the best subjects of photo blogs.

Good Traits and Tools

The basic rule of photo blogging: no camera, no pictures.

Good pictures come from good subjects and reliable working tools. Owning a quality camera is a must if one has to venture in photography. Most prefer digital SLR type cameras.

If you are to choose your tools for the trade, check out websites that provide extensive and significant information about types of camera, lens, accessories and the best places to score them.

An eye for detail is an essential attribute that a photo blogger must possess. It’s actually a must for anyone who wants to give photography a shot. An ordinary scene or an image can be exceptional depending on the angling, lighting and exposure of the photo.

The good thing about photo bloggers and photo hobbyists is that they can capture any picture they want, no limits and no boundaries. Photojournalists on the other hand have specific beats – sports, fashion, lifestyle; they go on assignments and photo shoots. But when you know the tricks of the trade, shooting becomes easy.

Being fun and spontaneous are other traits worth having by photo bloggers. If you see a good image, just snap a shot and see the results later. The more natural and candid the pictures, the better they appear in photo blogs. Styling is specific for photo shoots and pictorials.

After the pictures are taken, uploading them online is the next step. A reliable blog site and web service is also a must. Most photo blogs have their own domain name and utilize easy to use and reliable blog platforms like WordPress, Moveable Type and TypePad for uploading and managing the photos. There are also free platforms like Tumblr and Weebly.

If your photos need digital enhancement or you need to modify an image, specific software and apps are also needed. There are many great options.

It would also be useful to be updated on information about photography workshops, exhibits and links to relevant photo blogs, photography clubs and organizations, photography related news, contests and opportunities.

Even veteran and professional photographers are encouraging newbies to join photography clubs to further enhance their skill set.

Images: Skyscrapers from Pixabay.com and Travel Photography from Flickr.com

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