As a smartphone user, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing apps to install on your device. With an app available for pretty much anything these days, it can be hard to know which to download, especially if your device is limited on space. We’ve put together a list of apps that are useful, and if used to their full capabilities can make your life easier.
Availability: iOS & Android
Cost: Free (Paid options available for additional features)
This communication app is great for business teams to message each other, share documents and cut down on email. Slack can also integrate with a range of other apps including Google Drive, Dropbox, Twitter and more, and the app will sync content between your devices, allowing you to seamlessly go from the office to being on the move.
Availability: iOS & Android
Cost: Free (Subscription models available for additional features)
Loved by those who use it, Evernote has been building its reputation over the last few years as the ultimate note-taking and organisation app. With the added convenience of being on your smartphone, jot down notes when you’re on the go, share ideas and use your phone to scan documents. With Evernote’s syncing capabilities, your documents will be shared across your computer, tablet and smartphone.
Find my iPhone
Most iPhone users are probably aware that this app exists, but if you haven’t already got this app on your phone, install it now. If your device is lost or stolen, this app can help you locate your device on a map, remotely lock it with a password, and if necessary remotely erase all of the contents and settings on your device.
Android Device Manager
Similar to the Find my iPhone app for iOS devices, the Android Device Manager is a Google app for Android, which allows you to remotely track and secure your device if it is ever lost or stolen. It’s a great app to have in case of emergencies and could save you a lot of stress if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to use it.
Availability: iOS & Android
Price: Free (Subscription is an additional cost)
Spotify has long been one of the favourites for streaming music on your smartphone. Whilst a free (ad-supported) version exists, a monthly subscription ($9.99 for personal or $14.99 for a family of up to 6) will allow you to listen to music on demand. You can also download playlists whilst connected to Wifi, which you can then listen to when you’re offline – a useful option if you’re going on a long flight or want to keep data usage to a minimum.
Availability: iOS & Android
If you’re in a new city or are even just looking to try somewhere different in your local area, Yelp is a great app to find businesses and restaurants around you. With key information like opening hours and addresses, as well as reviews from other users, you’ll be sure to find something that suits you.
Availability: iOS & Android
Price: Free (Requires additional desktop software)
Ever lost or deleted data from your device, and wished you could get it back? If you have, then Restore is just the kind of app you’re looking for. Designed to work with desktop data recovery software, simply connect your phone to your Mac or PC, recover your data and restore it back to the app on your Android or iOS smartphone.
Availability: iOS & Android
This app is great for keeping track of your personal finances on the go. Link your accounts in one place, track your spending and set goals to help you save up for your new car, trip or mortgage. Security is tight on the app too, as Mint only request read only access to your accounts, and can be deleted remotely if your phone is ever lost or stolen.
Navigation & Travel
Availability: iOS & Android
Waze has sat at or near the top of the list of recommended navigation apps for a while – and with good reason. This app boasts a range of impressive features, including voice guided navigation, and is driven by its innovative approach of bringing drivers together to report on real time traffic conditions. Find out about accidents, road closures and even whether there are police ahead in real-time; as conditions change on your route, the app can automatically reroute to help you reach your destination more quickly.
Availability: iOS & Android
With Duolingo you can learn how to speak, listen and write in a range of different languages. The app offers lessons for users of different native languages, and is great for picking up key phrases if you’re going on a trip to a country where you don’t know the language.
Are there any other apps you can’t live without? Let us know below.
3 Careers For Gaming Enthusiasts
The world of video games has become a brand new professional landscape since it started as a simple R and R activity. In fact, it’s on a roll, and seemingly on a relentless rampage towards reinventing itself even more. The main reason lies on how video games offer a sense of worth to the person playing them, as well as how they bring out a competitive fire that only gamers can truly comprehend.
Thus, it has become an important aspect not only for leisure but as an actual professional career for a good number of people across the globe.
Even in the advent of the internet, people have seen how video gaming has transcended to be one of the most influential industries in recent years. With the boom of online games like League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients 2, the world of computer gaming has been reshaped to its most competitive phase to date.
So how has it become a viable career for many people around the world? What can a person really get from being a gaming enthusiast?
Here are some of the things a gaming enthusiast can do with his or her heightened appreciation of the game.
Most gamers are computer enthusiasts. This is a fact, considering the amount of information they need to truly give themselves the edge in the competitive arena that is online gaming. They are so fond of it that they dig deepest in the web to excavate the acumen of great gamers.
Like any greatest opportunists, many people in the gaming community find it a favorable circumstance to pass on their knowledge and earn money at the same time.
Truly, game blogging has become one of the more popular trends in the interactive digital network. Game bloggers write reviews, bugs, cheats and the likes for the benefit of their fellow gamers. But why do such a thing?
It simply is because of the fact that each gamer wants to gain an insight whether the game reviewed fits their liking. By viewing other gamers’ “expert” opinion regarding these games, they gain a wider perspective, creating a benchmark as to decide whether to avail it or not.
Speaking of opinion, these game bloggers are well respected in their expertise in genres of games they write about. Some of these bloggers are so respected that a single bad review about a game can cost millions of dollars for the makers of the game. How’s that for influence?
With the exceedingly high number of games come into the scene year after year, gamer blogs have had a similarly great number of views in their own websites. This entails heavy web traffic, making the site a prime spot for ads and other cash-worthy content. It is the perfect way to get extra funds from being passionate in a craft.
Just imagine an upsurge of viewers once a highly anticipated game comes in. WP Hosting Hub and any other hosting services would definitely be on the lookout for huge clienteles like gamer blogs in this digital business arena.
In that same light, game bloggers are also inclined of utilizing other types of media to reinforce their write ups. Some of them use video blogs, which is an actual video of the blogger playing the game, while others make use of screenshots of the important parts of the games.
All in all, game blogging is a great career if a person has the good writing skills and better gaming experience. It’s a demanding job to be in but a fun way to share one’s gaming experience.
New Celebrities are Game Casters
With the flourishing of the online gaming industry, organizer and sponsors alike are now on the rise in creating major events to set up the arena for professional gaming. One of the ways they market these games is by having experienced gamers casted in television to share their thoughts about a player, a team, or the entirety of the game.
In other major sports like basketball and football, one can see the importance of a caster or a commentator in the hyping up of the game. Who would watch a game in television without these casters’ exciting voices that pump up the energy?
Similarly, professional online gaming takes this role seriously. Since video games once thrived only in children’s computers, it has now become what is called “E-Sports.” A great deal of sponsors and game makers realize how important it is to have casters.
For instance, in a major event of DoTA2 like The International, many of the world’s leading ‘experts’ in the game gather to have themselves casted in television to provide analysis of the games and the players. These casters are often seen in television, presenting a game in their tuxedos and sharing their inputs with regard to how a team played.
It’s an exciting career to be in, not to mention the fame one can get from playing a major part in the production of the television casting. Levelling up the enthusiasm and being able to be valued by one’s analysis is something that is equally exciting for game enthusiasts.
Be the Best: Go Pro
If all of these things don’t sound as exciting, then going pro is the best way to go. Being a professional gamer is one of the trending careers in the world right now.
And that comes with good reason.
With the birth of E-Sports, more and more people are getting competitive in their respective games, especially considering the viable opportunity to go play professionally for teams. In fact, online games are now employing match-making rankings which assess one’s skills in the games. This ranking allows professional teams to gauge and determine who is the best in a specific region, and more widely, in the world.
However, the question still remains. What does going pro get you?
Aside from having to play with the best of the best in the world, a professional gamer also earns respect from the gaming community, and of course, the cash prize that comes along with winning every competition.
Taking a look at the earnings of a professional online players. Peter Dager, a professional gamer of DoTA2 earned a total of over than 2 million dollars in his career. That’s a staggering amount of money considering that he is also enjoying his passion in playing the game.
Going professionally is a hard task for any gamers since online games are getting competitive by the second. It is an ambitious thing to do, but given the chance, the fruits may be very rewarding and overwhelming at the same time.
Video games evolved in a way that no one had predicted. From being a leisure activity to a viable career, video gaming is indeed a continuously advancing field. Currently, gaming enthusiasts can choose a variety of options that fits to their liking. For one, a gamer can be a game blogger where he can write his reviews and insights about a game. Another trending choice is to be part of a production team in being a sportscaster for events. If all else fails, gamers can then become more ambitious and go play professionally.
The world of video games and online gaming is proving to be vast considering its progresses. This is why people have started pooling, giving rise to the new-aged market trend. As this technological industry rises, people witness its evolution. With that, new opportunities for gaming enthusiasts also grow with it.
The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
In this latest blog post I decided to look at the various issues facing an emergin VR market and the potential issues facing many inie developers looking to make an impact within the virtual reality space. The infancy of the VR market right now means that many indie developers and publishers will need to look at playing the long game before seeing any major profitability. Being prepared for your market and preparing assets to reach different areas of discovrability and promotion can make all the difference, hopefully this ‘top five’ will help reinforce those aspects.
1. The Experience
Present the experience, tap into the emotions that virtual reality represents. Virtual reality is what it says on the tin, it’s a virtual reality – what reality experience can you create that will be unlike anything else. What emotional responses can you re-create, fear, sadness, happiness, joy, anger. Create something that taps into complex emotional states but not at the expense of cheap scares or short lived thrills. People share the great experiences they’ve had but they just as easily share poor experiences they’ve had too. Crafting an experience in VR means utilizing VR to break through the traditional barriers of how players interact with the virtual world. Think beyond the short sharp jump scares and think about how story and emotion can immerse your audience into an unforgettable yet entirely believable experience. Market the experience you are providing, how people react and feel after playing it are important to your products success.
2. The Key Feature
What is the key feature?, I’ve spoken before about the need to dial in your top most important feature (see my post – ‘How a Shark Attack Defined Product Positioning’). The best feature of your game is the one that will draw your audience in. Go big when you’re talking about your key feature, make it known, share it, emphasize it and support it across all of your internal and external communications at every available opportunity. Your feature set is the core foundation of your game, its principles and its appeal. You should further identify the best 5 features of the game when comparing your product against similar competitor products in the market place. For a selling point, focus on the one core feature of the game as the beacon for it, the one shining light that will make players adopt your game over your competitors. (hint, your core feature is the one that none of your competitors currently have). Create your positioning from that core feature and have everyone on your team remember it and promote it. Make sure any external agencies in PR or marketing are also using it.
3. The Reactions
Don’t be hesitant to promote the experience you are selling through video reactions on channels like YouTube – VR reaction videos are becoming ever more popular to promote virtual reality content. Reactions videos are basically footage of people ‘reacting’ to the VR experience they have just had from wearing a VR headset. What better accolade is there than instant first hand reaction to your product by a member of the games playing public?.
One of the best examples of recent months is Frima Studio’s FATED: The Silent Oath, an emotional story driven game set in Viking times. At PAX East the developer rigged up a cart, installed wind machines and used water spray to further enhance the player experience for the demo of their game, the reaction video they created from this became an excellent promotional tool – check it out here:
4. The Format
Think long and hard about this one, create the product you want to make but one thing to consider is your audience size. You should ideally be looking at the format that will reap the investment you are putting into creating it. Short term profit is not something you’ll find in the current VR market, why? – because with headsets costing $500+ and a small install base, the majority of devs will need to go the distance before you see any major financial return. That’s not to say you can’t recoup investment, Unseen Diplomacy recouped its dev cost in a single day. Traditionally products aim towards the format with the biggest audience, and share of the market. Think long and hard about supply and demand, is the hardware adoption rate strong enough that you can reap the benefits in profitable sales, is the hardware price-point for the consumer in line with your products quality? Don’t assume that the most powerful system is the best one. Technically it may be superior but if development costs are higher you will need to factor that in to your long game strategy. For VR right now it’s about durability while the market grows, how you sustain yourself and the chosen format you are developing for are important factors to consider.
5. Awareness & Longevity
Employ a sharability mentality to your media approach– This is a tricky one, but the road to success is to keep people talking about your product. At the moment we see Virtual Reality tech embraced by a lot of early adopters but it won’t be until PlayStation VR launches later this year when we see a slightly more level playing field as accessibility to hardware increases.
High price point and low availability, particularly in Europe are nothing new for new tech hardware launches. The longevity of your product is not only measured by the quality of your offering, it’s also measured by the length of time people will continue to talk about it because of the experience. I’ve used it as an example many times before but people still talk about the ending of the 1995 film, Seven, the Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman crime thriller (“what’s in the box?”). While the brand importance for people continuing to talk about the film no longer has any impact on the movies financial success, and it’s buzz is long gone, people still talk about that movie 21 years later. The emotional scene was the final end-game for Detective Mills, entirely un-expected and wholly unique. Discussion and sharability are created for brands and IP when something emotional, positive, unexpected or truly innovative is introduced to the user. ‘Unique’ is something that your competitor doesn’t have or cannot easily emulate. Best of all, something that users feel the need to share that directly increases its social presence is marketing dollars you don’t need to find in your budget.
Want to know how to fix your video-game marketing and PR? – My book Front Towards Gamer gives you all the information you need and is available on Amazon for $9.99 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013X6DZNQ
Try to visualize this: you come home from a hard day’s work, and all you want to do is to check out your favorite Netflix TV show. Just like what you regularly do, you sit back and relax. You’re a click away from that Game of Thrones episode that you waited so patiently for. Suddenly, your device makes some weird sounds, crashes, and dies.
It takes a couple of minutes before you figure out what was actually going on. Turns out, you unknowingly clicked an old email. Then it hits you.
You now have a computer virus.
This is actually a common scene in today’s generation. As the world rejoices with the extent of the computing knowledge people have achieved, there are some lingering doubts all the same due to the escalating number of computer viruses spreading across networks around the world. The drawback of having brilliant programmers is that some just want to see the world burn!
And also, some wants to get hired.
You would probably think that having an antivirus program solves every problem there is about computer viruses. However, antivirus programs alone can’t handle the power brought by the ever evolving nature of computer viruses.
In fact, you need to take some important fundamental steps on your own to safeguard your dearest personal computer. Alas, the 5 commandments of PC virus protection are laid out for you towards your next technological level-up.
Install and Update Antivirus Program
Imagine that you own a big piping company, and you are working on a project that involves finding and replacing a malfunctioning pipeline under the city. What would you rather do – have your men dig up the area using a shovel, or find a mini excavator rental and have the machines do the unearthing? That basically follows the logic of antivirus programs.
When you install an antivirus program, it is integral that you keep it up-to-date. Reiterating the fact that viruses are evolving day to day, virus protection is a real time business. Frankly speaking, when your program is outdated, it does not contend, or nearly compete, in the internet cyber world where everything is progressing.
With that in mind, it takes quite a lot of excavating to find that leak in the system in your computer. Just try thoroughly scanning your PC with your software and see for yourself. It is not enough to just have your system cleaned. It needs to be thoroughly searched and cleaned regularly.
“Real” antivirus updates should also be considered as computer science experts and programmers actually work hand in hand for antivirus companies to keep your computer safe. While you’re at it, have your system updated as well. Microsoft is in fact releasing updates that can greatly help protect your PC. Automatic updating might slow your bandwidth a little, but hey, it’s worth the hassle if it means a healthy PC.
Firewall is your front line
You probably deactivated your firewall once due to the fact that it blocks some programs to run in your PC. That is essentially what the firewall is designed to do. Simply put, firewalls are the first lines of defense when your PC is under attack by a virus.
You should understand that there are two types of firewalls. Client firewalls and appliance firewalls grind together to warn you regarding a potential virus attack. To differentiate, client firewalls is a type that resides directly on your computer. It monitors the network traffic in your computer. On the other hand, an appliance firewall refers to a hardware device that draws the fine line between your computer and the harsh world of the internet.
Executable viruses like Trojans typically come as attachments in your emails. It is one of the media where viruses travel and replicate. What firewall does is to block any mysteriously looking applications before it even infects your system. Truly, the internet is dark and full of terrors.
Get a pop-up blocker
A pop-up blocker refers to a program that literally blocks pop-up windows on top of the website you are currently viewing. Pop-ups usually contain advertisements in websites, but there are ones that are coded to harm your PC. By simply blocking those pop-ups, your PC becomes less threatened by these small window browsers. Plus, it lessens the annoying surveys and ads. That’s a major relief if you’re a fan of free content.
Malicious codes on pop-ups are now becoming common scenarios most especially in this time where the market is shifting towards advertising online. You might want to add that extra line of defense by trying out free pop-up blocker software online. You block the pop-up, and you get away with those occasionally annoying ads. That’s 2 for 1!
No, browsing in incognito is not only to have your browsing history easily managed. It actually is designed to be another safety feature in your browser.
Private browsing is a useful feature in any browser you use. Not only does it hide your private information coming from your PC, it implies major application on prevention of identity theft and fraud. You can safely say that if you tried browsing incognito, websites accessed actually have a vibe of safety.
Protect your Email
Inputting your email over subscriptions or in exchange for free content is very typical in the internet. This is the power of advertising and business over the computing world. There is a caveat in deciding to input your email. There are valid websites that ask for your email, and there are some that just wants to get you infected. This is why it is imperative that you don’t give away your emails anywhere to anyone.
The first reason is that, again, viruses often come as attachments or a package via email. You might be wondering why there are a lot of emails in your SPAM. This is what email hosts line up as a security feature for your email. Nonetheless, some emails are mistakenly thought as legitimate ones and are downloaded in your system. This is the same reason why you don’t open emails that you are not expecting to receive.
Your email is your key in the world of the internet. Cyberpunks recognize this fact and are willing to do extraordinary ways to hack into your account. It is for the same reason that antivirus companies are going the astonishing miles to get protect you. Antivirus programs now come with Email Server security and Anti Spam software which keeps your mailbox free of spam and phishing scams.
The internet is dark and full of terrors. With the different types of viruses attacking left and right in this vast and growing world of the internet, it is crucial that you be mindful of the basic steps in protecting your computer.
You should remember that updating the antivirus software and operating system is as vital as installing it in the first place. That goes the same with getting your own pop-up blocker. In addition to that, activating the firewall plays a significant role in your fight against malware. The same is true with choosing private browsing and protecting your email.
All in all, virus protection is an arduous task people have to live with in this world. It’s a task that is worth accomplishing. So before you get all warmed up and rolled into your movie time blanket, remember to be safe and secured. Else, no more Netflix for you.