3 Things to Avoid On a Group Chat Session

3 Things to Avoid On a Group Chat Session
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Setting up a group chat among employees of the same department to discuss a project plan is the perfect way to stay connected and collaborate. It helps each employee know his/her duties and helps determine the status of the project. Team members can than improvise on the project plan and pitch in with their suggestions. However, in a corporate setting, it’s important to maintain a certain level of etiquette and professionalism while interacting in a group chat session. group chat etiquette

  1. Hijacking Someone Else’s Conversation: It’s important to maintain a professional conduct during a group meeting on an instant messenger. An employee should listen to another employee’s viewpoints and then pitch in with their suggestions. It’s not advisable to barge into another’s conversation and take the discussion to another direction. This could lead to more confusion and eventually drag the meeting. A particular team member having enmity against another one may use this tactic to outsmart the other fellow. This defeats the purpose of working in a group or team.
  2. Avoid Using Casual Chat Lingo: Chatting in a corporate office is completely different from a casual chat with friends and family. Your language should be as precise and professional as possible. Make a clear point that everyone in the group session grasps it quickly because time is of an essence here. Avoid using abbreviation or emoticons such as “lol”, “yeah”, “cool” or “hmm” as they indicate you’re least interested in the conversation.
  3. Taking a Break: Group chat sessions are usually brief and cover a very specific topic or project. One should avoid taking a break while discussing important topics unless it’s absolutely necessary because a team member might miss out on some questions or suggestions he might have. If you’re taking a break its always advisable to change your status from online to away so other’s can understand that you’re unavailable for a chat. Even better is to update your status specifying the reason of your sudden break.

 

In the end chatting on an IM in a lot of ways is similar to interacting face-to-face so it’s important we follow the same basic etiquette.
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Liven Up Your Desktop with Some Customizations

Liven Up Your Desktop with Some Customizations
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Recently there has been a lot of interest in customizing your Android smartphone or tablet with custom ROMs and other modifications. But there’s still a sizeable chunk of users who are really productive on desktops and actually spend more time on it than their smartphones. We put together a few tips and tricks to customize your desktop and breathe some new life into it.

computer desktop customization ideas

  1. Update Your Default Wallpaper: A lot of people still use the default windows wallpaper and it tends to get really boring over a period of time. Start searching for wallpapers on Google and select some interesting ones that you like. It could be anything from a quote that motivates you, to your favorite cartoon character, or any of the thousands of abstract wallpapers out there. Most of them are available as a free download. You can also check out some really cool productivity wallpaper. They not only look good on your desktop, but also help you clear the clutter of files and folders by organizing them in different sections (Unsorted, Current Work, and Permanent Items) within the wallpaper. Some websites or tools you can use for wallpapers are Desktoppr, Zedge, Flickr and DeviantART.
  2. Apply Different Themes/Skins: If you’re looking to part ways with the bland looking Windows Classic or Windows 7 theme than there are a lot of different options you can choose from. It requires you to download theme packs online and then apply them. Before you proceed with this, there is some amount of risk involved because it requires changing of system files. Download and install the Mavericks Transformation Pack to transform your Windows to look like OS X. You can search for various interesting transformation packs online to give your desktop a complete overhaul.
  3. Buy a Customization Suite: Missing the start menu in Windows 8 or want better ways to organize folders and files? A solution would be buy a customization suite from Stardock or try various other apps that they offer to enhance the look and feel of your Windows machine together with having more productivity features. They have everything in their app store from changing the default icons to the cursor and even running metro apps in resizable windows on your desktop.

Of course, these are just some of our favorite customizations. Let us know on Twitter what your favorites are!
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Best Time Management Games for iOS

Best Time Management Games for iOS
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Time management games can be a great time killer and can also teach you a thing or two about multitasking at work and using your time where it’s worth it. There are various good titles you can choose from, ranging from running a restaurant to a doctor’s clinic or managing a supermarket. Here are some of our favorite time management games:

  1. Diner Dash Rush: Similar to the other titles from the dash series. Rush comes in with better graphics and the same insane fun of managing a busy diner full of customers. It requires you to multitask and take numerous orders, serve dishes and do all the cleaning, while customers rate you on your performance. Like all time management games, it starts off at a relatively easy level but as your progress the hungry customers coming through the door increases rapidly and you would need to keep your cool and finish the entire service. Color-match customers to tables to gain extra points or give a free complimentary coffee to win hearts. You can also challenge your friends on Facebook if social gaming is something you’re into. You can download the game here.diner dash time management
  2. Hospital Havoc 2: If helping and healing patients is something you always wanted to do, than Hospital Havoc can be the perfect game for you. It offers a mix of both time management and a sim style gaming. You start off as a doctor in a hospital who’s responsible to handle patients in a few rooms. You would encounter real life diseases and problems from patients who would hope for you to take good care of them and in a timely fashion. You can play with your friends through game center connectivity and purchase real life medical equipment from the money you earn in the game. You can download the game here.
  3. Supermarket Management 2: Got the managerial prowess to run a supermarket that’s the same size as Wal-Mart in operations but just in a virtual environment than this game is for you. It’s a great game to play on your iPad, as it lets you manage every aspect of a supermarket from keeping the shelves stocked to assisting customers with their purchases. Small things like increasing profitability by putting a candy machine next to the cash register makes you want to think and not just play it blindly. There are mini games within the game that lets you perform specific tasks like decorating the pastry or weighing the fruits. You can download the game here.

There are tons of other TM games out there that are supremely addictive. Let us know which ones are you favorites.

 

 

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Fire TV: Amazon’s Bet to Capture a Place in Your Living Room

Fire TV: Amazon’s Bet to Capture a Place in Your Living Room
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Amazon is diversifying its businesses staring with the Kindle to the Fire tablets and now the Fire TV. With its latest entrant, Amazon looks to establish a strong foot in your living room. Fire TV is a media streamer that’s hoping for you to pull the plug on your trusted cable TV. It’s similar to what being offered already from Apple TV or a Roku device but because it’s Amazon it’s sure to make a splash.

For $99 what you get out of the box is a solid looking black square box that would hardly make a dent in your living room décor with its understated design. Fire it up and you will notice Amazon goodness right away. All your media purchases from Amazon instant video will be right there. The UI for the Fire TV is straightforward as it lets you browse through your favorite content from TV Shows to movies and even lets you play games.

Fire TV lets you play some great game with an awesome controller that comes in at another $39. The games you can play are nowhere near console quality but it still packs some serious punch. Amazon on launch has also released an FPS called “SEV Zero” which has been developed in house by game studios. So we can certainly expect some serious gaming titles from Amazon down the road.

Fire TV also comes pre-loaded with wildly popular streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu so you miss out on your favorite video content. However they lack and polish and ease of use that Amazon UI has to offer. Another intelligent addition is the remote that comes along with the Fire TV. It just looks like any other remote from a media streaming device until you hold it close to your mouth and do a voice search for your favorite TV show or movie. However for now it only works with Amazon content, so no voice searches for Netflix or Hulu which is a bummer.

Overall, the Amazon Fire TV is the perfect media streamer if you’re hooked onto the Amazon ecosystem. It will find a lot of buyers given its price point and value for money. It’s much like a Chromecast, but on steroids.
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Cultivating a Remote Team for Your Organization

Cultivating a Remote Team for Your Organization
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Organizations both small and big are looking for newer ways to collaborate efficiently and rapidly. Many organizations today have a global footprint with employees in different countries and offices; the work from home culture is also gaining popularity with tech companies in particular. In such a scenario it’s important for businesses to embrace technological solutions to manage remote teams in a better way and in the process recreate an environment of a typical team working from the same office.

It’s extremely crucial to have clear and prompt communication channels setup with remote team members or else you could see productivity levels dwindling. Following are some of the key things you need to look into before you setup a remote team:

  1. Set a Schedule for Reporting: You need to setup a schedule for reporting meetings. They could be every week or everyday as well depending on the project scope. This ensures all remote team members know the progress of the project. It also helps team members to pitch in and help another member or provide any ideas or suggestions to speed up the process. The meetings need to be as brief as possible and to the point. You could use any enterprise grade instant messenger that has video calls as part of its feature list for conducting these meetings.
  2. Hiring the Right People: Working as part of a remote team requires a slightly different skill set from the regular team player. You would typically want to hire employees who take self responsibility seriously. Employees who can only dish out productive work when their boss is around the corner or a team lead sitting on the next table cannot be good remote team players. The people you hire should also be proficient with using team chat software or apps on smartphones since that’s quickly becoming a new standard in collaborative communication and even replacing email in some organizations.
  3. Using Technology: Remote teams require additional efforts for getting their communication act together since they don’t enjoy the luxury of a shared office space. Technology can be a key driver here in facilitating the smooth flow of communication among the team. You would want to research what kind of technology you’re investing in. It can be a good idea to experiment with free 30 day trials that a lot of communication and IM tools offer. This will give you a good idea of what team chat or group chat app and software works best for your setup.

 

 

Working and setting up remote teams is often considered to be an uphill task. Having team members work in sync like a well oiled machine can be a challenging but it just requires some planning and execution.
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We Are Pleased To Announce Persistent Chat Rooms

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Developing chat rooms into Brosix was one of our top priorities in 2014 and now we have delivered on it. A new updated version of Brosix with the chat room feature will be rolled out to users between April 8th and April 11th. Let’s take a closer look at how chat rooms work and how it could help your organization.

Chat rooms can be started by anyone in your IM network. The user simply needs to create a chat room, name it and add a couple of other members from his contact list to establish the chat room. So you could have a chat room for the marketing department and another one for the technical department. Adding and removing users is pretty straight forward with our user interface. On the left you will see your exiting contacts, you simply add them and the participants of the chat room will show on the right of the new chat room window. Click on the create button and off you go.

Chat rooms and persistent ones specifically are very helpful for medium to large organizations. A user from the marketing department can create a chat room that can be specific to a project or creating one for day to day use and communication needs. The employees in the marketing department can than chat as a group and collaborate with all the useful tools Brosix has to offer. It can be perfect for a quick brainstorming session where users from a specific department can pitch in with their suggestions or ideas on a challenging project.

Any user is off sick or on leave? No problem the persistent feature in the chat room makes sure that any user that’s offline can still access all the chat history when he logs back in. Chat rooms are a great way to collaborate virtually. It’s almost like having a virtual meeting with all the documents and other details being shared over the chat rooms with all the participants. A user can quickly make an amendment to a document and share it back with the participants of the chat room. It’s all rapid, efficient and easy. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this exciting new update once you give it a try. Happy Brosixing!

 

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4 Ways to Manage Your Small Business

4 Ways to Manage Your Small Business
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Small businesses are thriving these days because technology provides business owners with the necessary tools to get out there and grow their business. Business owners almost single handedly manage their business. A large business has the luxury to appoint or hire employees to look after the operations and other duties. This is where a lot of smart work is required by small business owners. You may not have the resources at your disposal but you can still make a mark out there.

1) Frame your Business Plan: For a small business owner it’s essential to frame a business plan. Nothing fancy but just a simple and to the point plan highlighting the things that need to be achieved during the year. Steps to be taken to improve productivity and increasing profitability. The plan will act as a guiding light for your business and will help it keep on track.

2) Networking: I cannot stress enough on this important aspect. Network your ass off. This is what will help a small business generate new leads and possible conversions from those leads. If you’re good at networking than you will see a constant flow of work. Small businesses do not have the advertising and marketing budgets like the big firms so it’s necessary to resort to reasonable yet effective ways for generating leads. You could begin with going to events or meetups relating to your business or start blogging for a community of readers. Having a LinkedIn account is a good step to build professional relationships.

small_45977058963) Using Social Media: Social media simply put is a powerful tool to reach a wide and varied audience. Whatever your business, it’s essential to have some social media presence. You could start with LinkedIn if you’re looking to build up professional relationships. It’s essential to be interactive on Social media platforms. Having people follow you on social media is a time consuming thing but it can rich benefits. Post regular updates about what’s happening in your business or the industry you’re working in. Light-hearted content is well received too by followers. You can use Facebook and Google plus in the mix as well. Make sure everything leads back to your website so your target audience can learn more about what you do.

4) Bringing Technology into the Mix: Technology can help you work smartly and efficiently. You can use apps and online tools to increase your productivity and streamline working process. Set up a cloud storage account on any popular service such as Dropbox or Google Drive and store all the documents on them. This will ensure you have access to it at all times. Start using an instant messenger to stay in touch with your clients. It enables instant communication so doubts and issues can be resolved with minimal time and suggestions can be made quickly.

Implementing these strategies will help your small business grow and sustain itself. Got any other strategies to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

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Google Night Walk: An Immersive Maps Experience

Google Night Walk: An Immersive Maps Experience
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Google Maps is by far the best navigation tool available for public use. There’s no competition in sight and efforts from rival competitors like Apple have failed miserably. But Google is not resting on its laurels as it constantly looks to evolve its mapping solution to offer more rich and enhanced experiences for users. We all have come to love street view and now Google is extending that with night walk.

Google’s night walk although an experiment for now offers a really rich experience. It’s an in-depth tour of Marseilles, with your own private tour guide. The idea is to show how Marseilles looks in the night. The tagline says it all: explore the sounds, streets and soul of the city.

You can’t explore the whole city, but a majority of the famous places have been covered. The interface is similar to street view but with quite a lot of bells and whistles thrown in. So you will hear the voice of your tour guide as you move through different streets, alleys and corners of Marseilles. He will let you know the significance of the place and why it’s famous. You also get rich contextual information of the area in terms of photos and other information pulled from Google’s vast database. You can zoom in, zoom out and move around the city with the help of a map on the bottom left.

To make the experience closer to being real you will hear the sounds of the city. For instance, I was exploring the area where localities play football and you’ll hear sounds of the players and can actually hear the football being passed around. When it comes down to it, you need to try it to feel it. In the end I believe it’s the closest anyone has ever got to capture the spirit of a city. Interesting to see which city is next on the list. NYC anyone?
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Wearable Tech Gains Steam

Wearable Tech Gains Steam
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Google is flexing its muscles in wearable tech scene with the announcement of Android Wear. It’s a completely new operating system based on Android and built with wearables in mind. It’s essentially the very useful Google Now shrunk into a beautiful UI for a smart watch. Google did say that it’s starting with smartwatches because it seems the most logical application right now. We can expect to see Android Wear on other forms of wearables.

It’s all about providing actionable information with a glance. You can get notifications and alerts on your watch from your favorite social app, instant messenger or check the timing of your flight and pretty much everything else that Google Now does. It is voice-enabled and can take the “OK Google” command. Android wear as expected has solid integration with Google services so you can have the best of it right on your wrist. But there’s more, Google has also opened the Android wear platform for developers to play with and build an app ecosystem around it. We can expect some beautiful apps taking advantage of this new form factor. It’s really difficult to tell what sort of apps would come out because it’s an open field right now.

Google didn’t have any real smartwatch to show off but it did show concepts in various images and videos. LG, Motorola and others have already pledged their support for Android Wear and the first round of devices would hit the market in a matter of months. It’s going to be an exciting ride as wearables hold the same potential to attract consumers as smartphones did.

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How to Utilize Technology to Be More Productive

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Technology is one of the easiest things we can use to make our workday a lot more streamlined and productive. There are several apps, techniques, and services (most of which are all free), that can help us get a lot better about managing the stress and anxiety that comes with trying to get it all done each day.

Besides using instant messaging to ramp up your communication efforts while working on something else, the following are a few things you can use to be more productive.

Pomodoro Timers

The Pomodoro technique is a way to section out your time between break and blocks of complete focus on your work. There are several free timers on mine that allow you to utilize this technique in order to get more work done with less distraction. Most Pomodoro timers utilize 25 minute periods of work with five-minute breaks in between, but this tactic can be expanded, with the interval changed to your preference.

For instance, I enjoy working in 90 minute blocks with a 30 minute break in between. While this long interval doesn’t work for everyone, I found that it’s a great way to make myself more productive, especially when I have to write a long article or complete a project that takes an hour or more.

Some of the free Pomodoro timers that are available online are:

Activity Monitors

Wearable technology has been one of the biggest trends in the past year. Companies like FitBit, Jawbone, and Nike have come out with wearable wristbands or fancy pedometers that not only track your steps, but also stairs, mileage, calories, and more. Some of these options also have a social component, which allows you to add friends and see how your activity compares to theirs. This type of friendly competition can help you increase your activity more each day.

Because it’s been shown that exercise can increase your focus in productivity (according to UCLA Health and various other sources), wearable technology can help you stay motivated to meet your steps or workout goals each day.

Audiobooks and SoundGecko

If you are regularly on the go and are missing at the time you used to spend reading books and articles, there’s a few ways that technology can help. First off, consider checking out or downloading audiobooks from the library or a service like audible.com, which is owned by Amazon. While the library is free, audible cost of flat rate per month to get a credit for one audiobook.

If you don’t really want it commit to listening to an entire audiobook, you can use SoundGecko of two translate articles you want to read from the web into audio files for free.

Listening to books and articles while you’re doing other task, like commuting, cleaning, or exercising, it allows you to read more without sacrificing get a think done in other areas.

Have Your Car Read to You

Another way to use audio-based technology is to have your car read incoming text messages or content while you’re driving. Many newer model cars now have the technology for you to use voice recognition to make phone calls, have tax read aloud, or even to get the latest headlines and weather report. This cannot only help you feel more prepared for your day is your driving, but also saves the time of having to continuously check your phone to stay updated with headlines or text messages.

This method is also safer then texting or looking at your phone while driving which is definitely a bonus. While you do need a newer model car in order to take advantage of this technology, it’s fair to say that all cars will have this type of technology within the next 10 years.

Meditation Apps

Surprisingly, one way to stay more productive is to meditate more. Meditation was once thought of a new school line of thinking, but with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Hollywood celebrities touting its benefits, it’s becoming more mainstream.

A study at the University of Washington showed that meditation training helped people concentrate more remember more details in their work, have more energy, and experienced less negativity.

Guided meditation apps on your phone can help you learn how to meditate. Some of these include:

  • The mindfulness app on iPhone and android, $1.99
  • simply being on iPhone and android, $0.99
  • Headspace on iPhone and android, free
  • Buddhist meditation trainer on android, free

 

 

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