Business Optimization 101: Strategies For Expansion And Efficiency

If you want your business to get and remain in a state of perpetual expansion and optimized efficiency, now is the time to access and implement strategies that will generate the desired result. Utilize some or all of the techniques outlined below to make company optimization a reality for your business:

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1. Hire Sales Reps.

One great way to make your company more efficient is hiring sales reps. These individuals will help expedite and optimize the sales strategies that lead your business to attain more substantive conversion rates. Companies such as Saleslink are pleased to provide clients with manufacturers reps to help generate this outcome. When you start looking for the right sales company, make sure that they can offer key services such as account management and lead generation. Also do internet research to ensure that the company has an impeccable reputation and a proven track record of generating tangible results for clients.

2. Utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software.

Another technique you can implement to make your company more efficient while also facilitating expansion is the use of CRM software. This software is important because it ensures that your marketing team can store important information regarding each customer interaction in a central location where it can be reviewed whenever necessary. This information will give the marketing staff a better understanding of the client’s shopping behavior, personal preferences, etc. Once this happens, your team members will be able to sell products more effectively.

3. Purchase Web Design And Development Services.

One final strategy that can help your company attain substantive expansion and heightened efficiency is purchasing web design and development services. These services will help your company extend its sphere of authority and influence to the online domain. Maintaining an excellent website can also help your organization function more efficiently by ensuring that you can remain in constant, immediate contact with your current clients and target market. To ensure that you find the right web optimization team to help you attain these results, check the company’s online reviews to determine what former clients are saying about the digital firm.

Get Your Company Growing Now!

There are at least three strategies you can implement to facilitate business growth. They include hiring sales reps, utilizing customer relationship management software, and purchasing web design and development services. Integrate these techniques into your current strategic plan so that you can keep your organization on the road to obtaining optimal levels of success.

Prisma adds styles store and custom tool for superusers to make art filters

Style transfer app Prisma is adding another couple of new features as it works to keep its community engaged: a styles store and a tool that lets users create their own styles by uploading an image and tweaking various filters.

It says the latter has been the most popular feature request from its 2M+ daily users.

While the store sounds like a route to monetizing with paid content, for now at least that’s not the case. It’s more a way to help users navigate new styles as Prisma releases them, rather than flooding the app with too many options. Users can browse the store to find ones they like, download them and delete others they don’t.

“There are 44 styles available right now. This makes people confused as they have to scroll through lots of styles they don’t like to get to the favourite one. Now people will be able to download and keep the styles that they really enjoy,” it notes.

Users will also be able to rate and share styles on the Store with friends “in the near future”.

And while the feature is called “Store” all content is free — at least it is for now, though adding a store does potentially open a door for monetizing via some paid downloads in future.

“For the time being, we do not consider earning money from users,” co-founder Aram Airapetyan tells us.

Also today Prisma is releasing a desktop tool letting users create their own styles — albeit it’s only letting its most active users get their hands on this, and they’ll need a fair amount of patience for the process.

TechCrunch tested a version of the style creation tool before it was publicly released and the whole process ended up taking several days to go from uploading a photo to seeing how it styled other imagery.

Not because it literally took days, but because the wait times (for uploading/processing/review) were so opaque It was essentially easier to leave it working away and check back on it periodically. (Hey, it was MWC this week, so it’s been especially busy.)

Prisma claims it takes “an hour or so” to create a style, but does warn wait times may be longer “if the queue is big”. And the queue will obviously be bigger after launch, even if it’s only letting a few users get their hands on the tool.

The interface at this point is also pretty unwelcoming, with a large number of unlabeled slides that can be tweaked to set rules for “content weights” and “style weights” — but no apparent way to see how tweaks will influence the finished result. It’s a case of trial and error plus patience for now.

Spotify is testing a lossless subscription tier for $15 to $20 per month

Spotify is thinking about introducing a new paid option in addition to the existing Spotify Premium subscription called Spotify Hi-Fi. For an extra $5 to $10, you could get all the features in Spotify Premium as well as lossless high fidelity streaming. There could also be a couple of new features.

The Verge first spotted that the company has been doing tests on its mobile app. There are also tweets and Reddit threads about the new feature so it’s a lot of smoke. It looks like the feature isn’t available to everyone just yet. Spotify is just doing some A/B testing with different prices and feature sets.

According to comments on Reddit, the option could cost $5, $7.50 or $10 per month. Once Spotify figures out the most lucrative price, the company will probably settle on one of those three prices. It would include everything in Spotify Premium as well as a couple of optional features, such as a free vinyl, discounts on vinyls and concert tickets. The company is still experimenting with those optional features.

What is lossless quality anyway? Currently, if you go into Spotify’s settings and choose the highest quality, Spotify serves you 320kbps audio files. It’s very high quality, but it’s not perfect — in other words, it’s a compromise. This way, files are still quite small and load quickly.

Lossless files are perfect copies of the songs on an audio CD. They are then compressed, but without any quality loss. It’s like songs are copied from a CD to your hard drive and then “zipped” to reduce the file size. An average lossless song can be five to ten times bigger than a 320kbps song.

 If you use a headphone amp and a pair of premium headphones, you may be able to hear the difference. But chances are that you won’t hear the difference if you plug standard headphones into your phone.

While this feature won’t appeal to a lot of users, it sounds like a great way to get more revenue from super users. Spotify spends a ton of money on royalty fees. So anything that can raise the average revenue per user is a good thing for the company.

T3 Agenda: EE’s new plan for rural disaster mobile coverage, Saucony’s slick new running shoes and more

T3 Agenda: EE’s new plan for rural disaster mobile coverage, Saucony’s slick new running shoes and more

T3’s daily roundup of the best new announcements, product reveals and goings-on from the world of tech

In today’s edition of the T3 Agenda, EE rolls out a new air mast tech to improve rural mobile coverage during floods, Saucony’s swish new running shoes and an interactive browser game to get you in the mood for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands…

EE is using air masts and drones to improve rural mobile coverage in the event of a disaster

EE has just unveiled some new advances in network technology that’s set to transform how the mobile provider maintains communications in disaster areas in rural communities, designed to deliver emergency 4G voice and data services when existing coverage has been lost due to incidents such as flooding.

The plan, which includes using EE’s own patent-pending balloon and drone-based mobile network technology and EE Rapid Response Vehicles to keep the emergency services network running during essential maintenance and local site outages.

EE is also planning to use special ‘Air mast’ solutions key to maintaining coverage for consumers during disaster recovery and for search & rescue. EE says it expects to deliver a deployed balloon solution in a rural environment in 2017.

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Running shoe specialist Saucony has just unveiled a fresh 2017 collection of footwear, with said SS17 ‘Life on the Run’ set spearheaded by its new centre-piece trainer, the Freedom ISO.

The Freedom ISO is the first trainer in the firm’s history to incorporate an EVERUN midsole, which provides additional cushioning and flexibility under foot. So when you’re pounding the tarmac or the belt of a treadmill, you’re get a fire livelier amount of feedback with each step.

Add to that a comfortable topsole and a crystal rubber outsole (for plenty of grip  and traction) and you’ve got one impressive running shoe suited to both gym and outside cardio sessions. They also look pretty swish, too.

You can order a pair today for £139.99 from sportshoes.com or direct from Saucony.

  • Best running shoes: top trainers to get you road fit in 2017

With Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands set for an open Beta starting from Thursday, Ubisoft is giving you an extra incentive to get involved with a new interactive mini-game that promises in-game rewards for your efforts.

Enchantingly called A World Without Heroes, the new browser-based game tasks you with sending out drones and checking security cameras to track active events across a map of Wildlands’ open-world.

It’s all incredibly easy and you only need to complete 50% of the objectives to nab those rewards, which include four unique emblems and two hours of XP boost. Said boost also gives you a 50% increase to earned XP, and 25% for your teammates.

Test driving Android Auto: why you need it on your next trip

Android has found its way everywhere else, so why not in the car as well? Android Auto is Google’s version of the OS for the car, giving you a large, touch-friendly interface for getting directions, putting your tunes on, and keeping in touch while you’re on the road.

Unlike Apple’s rival platform (see below), Android Auto is available as a downloadable app as well as coming baked in to modern-day car stereo units. That means you can make use of it today on your Android phone – and these are some of the reasons why you should.

Android Auto basics

There’s no great magic to Android Auto: it just adapts the standard Android interface to something that’s designed with drivers in mind. Menus and icons are bigger and simpler, voice control is supported throughout, and there’s a heavy dollop of Google-powered automation to try and guess what you need so you can keep your attention on the road.

Maps, music (and podcast) apps, and communication are at the core of Android Auto – you can, for example, set a default reply template to be sent out whenever someone texts you, telling that person you’re out on the road and will get back to them soon. When you go to the Auto phone app, meanwhile, all your recent calls are listed there for easy access.

For apps to be available in Android Auto, their developers need to upgrade them to be compatible: the likes of Spotify, Deezer, Facebook Messenger and Skype have joined the usual suspects from Google. If you want to get started with Android Auto on your own device and in your own car, head to the Google Play Store to download the latest version.

You can launch Android Auto manually or have it automatically appear when a Bluetooth device (like your car stereo) is detected – see below for more details on the app’s settings. Apps can be chosen using the bar at the bottom (or on the right in landscape mode), and you need to hit the circular icon in the corner to go back to the original Android interface.

Try tapping around the interface or shouting out a few commands if you need to keep your hands on the wheel – the “OK Google” voice shortcut is supported too, so you can say “OK Google, show me directions to London”. Navigation automatically starts after a few seconds unless you cancel it, with automated actions the way of Android Auto.

Throughout the Android Auto interface this theme is repeated: voice control, big menus, and intuitive responses that don’t require manual actions. On the front screen is a Google Now-style interface that brings up some handy cards, like one showing the current weather forecast and others showing directions to places Google thinks you want to go to.

There are a pile of settings to explore in Android Auto – but we’d recommend waiting until you can park up before checking them all out. Tap the hamburger menu button (top left) then choose Settings (you can also exit the app from here): the next screen lets you turn off “OK Google” detection, set your driving auto-reply message, and plenty more besides.

 Under the Phone screen settings heading you can choose a Bluetooth device to register to automatically launch the app (like your car stereo) as well as set Android Auto to turn Bluetooth on while it’s running. There’s also a toggle for keeping the screen on all the time while you’re driving, so you can constantly refer back to directions or a music player.

Another option limits Wi-Fi while driving, which might save a little on battery life while you’re out on the road, if you don’t have a charger handy. Meanwhile the Connected cars entry can be use54152d to connect your phone to an Android Auto-compatible car unit, if you’ve got one installed in your motor, putting the display up on the integrated screen.

Apple has its own car dashboard interface, known as CarPlay – an adapted version of iOS just as Android Auto is an adapted version of Android. However, it’s only available on car dashboard units right now, not as a separate app that’ll run on your iPhone and iPad, so we couldn’t test it out for this feature (but watch this space).

 At this early stage neither platform really has an advantage – if you have an iPhone then CarPlay will work very well with it, and if you have an Android device then Android Auto will run very well with that. A lot of car makers are developing head units that support both Android Auto and CarPlay so you can switch between them as you like.

CarPlay includes all the features you would expect: a chunkier, simpler interface for accessing maps, music and other kinds of apps. Your iPhone (or iPad) essentially streams information to a CarPlay unit, so it’s really just a way of controlling your mobile device on the go through an interface that’s more suited to being operated while you’re driving.

The best free video editor 2017

Free video editors

Free video editors have come a long way since the glory days of Windows Movie Maker. Today’s freebies are packed with professional level features and are astonishingly easy to use.

Perhaps your needs are very basic and you simply want to trim unwanted sections out of a clip. Alternatively, you might want to get more adventurous – splicing clips together, adding transitions and special effects, applying video and audio effects, and using chroma-keying to replace backgrounds.

We’ve got both scenarios covered, and all the video editors featured here are free to download and use.

Have we missed your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

Lightworks

1. Lightworks

Putting professional-quality tools within reach of everyone, Lightworks is the best free video editor

Lightworks is far much more than a simple tool for cutting clips – the pro version has been used to create big-name movies including The King’s Speech and Road to Perdition.

As you would expect for such a powerful video editor, you won’t be able to master it overnight, but that’s certainly not something you could hold against it.

Lightworks is described as the professional video editor for everyone, and we reckon that’s a fair summary. Despite its power, it will run well on fairly modest hardware, and it handles video capture and advanced editing with aplomb.

If you’ve tried other free video editors you’ll probably find that the interface is a little different to anything you’re used to, but you can arrange the various controls and windows to create something that suits your way of working.

 

VideoPad Video Editor

2. VideoPad Video Editor

Simple to use, even for complete newcomers. Not as feature-packed as Lightworks, but still excellent

Free video editors have a tendency to be either simple to use and limited in terms of features, or powerful and time-consuming to learn. VideoPad Video Editor does an excellent job of avoiding both pitfalls – a powerful editor that you can easily navigate, even if you’ve never used anything similar in the past.

This ease of use plays a big part in VideoPad’s appeal, but it also comes highly recommended because of the sheer range of tools it has on offer. It may not be quite as feature-packed as Lightworks, but it’s much easier to just jump straight into.

You can work with video footage that’s already on your hard drive, or capture from your connected camcorder. You then have access to a plethora of video and audio editing tools (effects, transitions, sequencing and more), the likes of which would not be out of place in a premium video editor.

 

Shotcut

3. Shotcut

It takes a little time to master Shotcut’s unusual interface, but once you do, you’ll reap the benefits

Shotcut is another professional-feeling free video editor that requires a little patience if you are achieve the results it is so capable of delivering. The slightly unusual interface can be put down to the fact that this started life as a Linux application, and little has changed in its conversion to Windows.

To start with, the interface may seem a little stark. You will need to not only load a video, but also choose which editing mode you would like to work in and which tools you’d like to use.

There’s no getting away from the fact that Shotcut has a steep learning curve. It’s possible to achieve some impressive results by simply applying one of its many filters to your video, but the real rewards will only be reaped by those willing to invest the time and energy in fully getting to grips with what’s on offer.

 

VSDC Free Video Editor

4. VSDC Free Video Editor

A non-linear video editor stacked with tools, VSDC is very impressive and in constant development

VSDC Free Video Editor provides a huge array of effects and filters to enhance your footage, with both wizards and manual options to suit beginners or more advanced users.

VSDC is highly capable, and can yield superb results. As a non-linear editor, it works in rather a different way to many other similar tools, letting you position  clips and other elements on the timeline wherever you like and edit them there.

With the ability to not only work with multiple scenes and transitions, but also to add sprites and text to videos, you can create a professional-quality movie if you’re willing to stick with VSDC’s slightly odd way of working and unusual interface.

 

Avidemux

5. Avidemux

An accessible free video editor, Avidemux is ideal for small editing tasks and enhancing clips

One thing to understand about Avidemux from the outset is that it is not going to help you create the next Star Wars or to become a master movie producer. Rather, it’s a set of essential tools for everyday video editing, covering all of the basics such as converting formats, trimming footage, appending one clip to another, and applying filters and effects.

While Avidemux isn’t offer the most powerful free video editor, it’s not a pared-back Windows Movie Maker style affair either. You might have to go hunting for some of the more advanced options, but spend a little time perusing the menus and you’ll be impressed.

There’s also a handy quickstart guide to get you rolling if you’re totally new to video editing. If you can’t see a tool you need, Avidemux is also expandable via pluginsthat add features like subtitles and watermarks.

How Manufacturing Companies Keep Costs Low

Designing, building and distributing any products is a tough business to be in. Costs are constantly fluctuating, which can negatively impact a company in only one quarter. As a business professional, it’s crucial to understand how manufacturers keep costs down with these simple guidelines.

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Cleaning is Maintenance

Regardless of the products being manufactured, production facilities must keep their machines clean. In many cases, machines shut down each night so that third-shift workers can clean each one down to their smallest parts. The cleaning isn’t just for sanitary purposes because it also gives workers a chance to see if any malfunctions exist. Avoiding unexpected breakdowns during production runs is how plants remain cost effective. The night crew isolates and fixes the problems before they’re even seen by the day employees.

Spare Parts in Stock

Another secret to reduced production costs is stocking spare parts. Manufacturing machines will break down at some point. Managers must foresee this inevitability so that common spare parts can be on hand. From the moment that a machine goes down, repair personnel quickly pull the new parts and fix the issue. Allowing one machine to break down and remain that way because of parts will only cost more money in the long run.

Selecting Energy-Efficient Pathways

Keeping costs low means looking for alternative energy besides fossil fuels. Wind, sunlight and water resources can be used to generate electrical power. Manufacturing plants use sustainable energy to lower production costs while passing the savings onto the public. Costs remain low for the environment too because reduced emissions are the byproduct of clean energy. More businesses today are opening production facilities with nearly zero impact on the world around them.

Prioritizing Employee Education

When employees are well-educated, they can make intelligent decisions as the production day goes by. A manager can leave an experienced person in charge, and the machines will continue to run with no problems. Employees who’re kept in the dark will only create issues in the workplace out of sheer inexperience. Workers need to be educated on the machines, products and safety protocols. They should also receive refresher courses, which only solidifies the information in their minds.

Quality designs and materials are important to cost efficiency as well. Click here to further understand manufacturing details. With the right product being mass produced to the world, a well-oiled manufacturing plant can easily move forward with ample profits ahead.

Is Nvidia planning to steal AMD’s Vega thunder with GTX 1080 Ti launch?

Nvidia could be planning to make its big reveal of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card in less than two weeks’ time, perhaps in an effort to spoil AMD’s Vega party – even if the card doesn’t actually fully launch until next month (as per other rumors).

Invitations have just gone out for an Nvidia press event in San Francisco on February 28, which the graphics card maker reckons will be a showcase of ‘awesome’ PC gaming hardware.

As Game Debate , which received the invite, points out, that just happens to be the same day on which AMD has organized its ‘Capsaicin and Cream’ livestream, which is reportedly going to be the initial reveal of Vega cards (the company’s next-gen graphics offerings).

Both events are tied up with GDC (the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco), and it wouldn’t be the first time in the tech world that one company has scheduled an event in an attempt to steal thunder from a rival (we’re looking at you, Microsoft and Apple).

Of course, Nvidia will need something juicy to show off, leading to the speculation that this will be the GTX 1080 Ti – the next big thing in the GeForce pipeline.

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March of the graphics cards

Other rumors have pointed to a March launch for the 1080 Ti, and indeed a new one has popped up today from Nordic Hardware . The site claims to have got a tip from Taiwanese graphics card manufacturers that the supercharged GTX 1080 is currently in production and will be out next month, most likely in the penultimate week of March.

So we’re looking at a reveal at the end of this month, followed by availability later in March – if the various voices making themselves heard on the graphics grapevine are correct. Of course, all of this remains guesswork, albeit educated guesswork, at this point.

Nordic Hardware didn’t have any further information to reveal in terms of the spec of the 1080 Ti. Previous chatter has pointed to the card having a base clock of 1503MHz (with boost to 1623MHz) and 3,328 CUDA cores (only 256 less than themighty Titan X ). It will allegedly have less video memory than the Titan X, though, at 10GB (as opposed to 12GB).

Obviously enough, Nvidia has to make sure the 1080 Ti isn’t so close to the performance levels of the Titan X that it upsets buyers of the latter (because the new card will be considerably cheaper – relatively speaking, as it’ll hardly be cheap).

Elon Musk Slams Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban, Later Deletes Tweets

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted and then quickly deleted three tweets that condemned US President Trumps order on immigration, saying they were accidentally published.

Elon Musk Slams Donald Trump's Immigration Ban, Later Deletes Tweets

“Regarding govt policy, there are often things that happen that many people don’t agree with. This is normal for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote in one of the tweets.

A second tweet read: “They rarely warrant a public statement. However, the ban on Muslim immigrants from certain countries rises to this level. It is not right.”

The third tweet added: “The Muslim immigration ban is not right.”

Shortly after deleting these tweets, Musk explained to a Twitter user that these “were earlier drafts that I accidentally published”, The Verge reported on Thursday.

Musk’s statements on the ban which he tweeted in January, drew criticism for their diplomatic nature.

Not only Musk, several Silicon Valley CEOs have strongly criticised Trump’s immigration ban.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai criticised the executive order, saying it will create “barriers” to bringing great talent to the US. The company later asked its travelling staff to return to America.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also spoke out against the ban. “As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post.

4 Simple Tips For Effective Weight Loss Strategy

When designing a weight loss strategy, it is imperative to set a goal which is realistic. Setting unrealistic goals means you cannot achieve them and this will discourage you. Discouragement will lead to lack of confidence and motivation. How can you put your body under so much pressure, which is unable to bear. Actually, it is not practically possible to lose 5 pounds every week on a consistent basis. By applying unhealthy means or by decreasing water intake, you can achieve this in your first week, but you cannot continue this process. In some cases Adipex can be addictive, so discuss your physical trainer before using.

This does not mean that you cannot set those goals which are not challenging. Losing 25 pounds of body weight in six months is also challenging. Moreover, by adopting a healthy lifestyle and consuming a balanced diet with exercises you can lose weight without much effort. You simply need to create a deficit of to 300 calories.

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Do It In A Timeframe

After realizing how much you want to lose, set a time frame for yourself. Suppose you want to lose25 pounds of body weight, split it over six months which becomes 24 weeks. Take the challenge of losing 1 pound every week and you can achieve it without the starvation technique or putting your body under extreme conditions. Simply by cutting high calorie food items and incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you will burn more calories. This will create a calorie deficit and your body will start using fat for energy.

You can record your progress, you can also record what you are eating and how much calories you are consuming? At the end of the month you can analyze it and make some changes if required. This record will also help you to come back on track.

You may have heard that slow and steady wins the race. After a couple of weeks when you will see the results on the scale and your previous clothes are fitting on your body again. It will further motivate you.

Make Simple Changes.

You can make simple changes in your lifestyle. Although, small changes will not show the results on the scale immediately, but doing the same consistently will help you achieve your desired results effortlessly.

Drink Your Tea Or Coffee Plain

Recently a study was published in a health Journal which revealed that people who are drinking black coffee or plain tea consumed approximately 70 calories less. This is in comparison to those people who were using sugar and cream in their cups. Suppose you drink three cups of coffee a day. This will save around 200 calories every day.

Physical Activities

In order to lose weight, it is not necessary that you pump the iron. The motive behind the physical activity is to enhance your metabolic rate, physical activity or exercise increases the muscle percentage in your body. Good muscles mean higher metabolic rate. You can start by making simple changes like walking to the market or your friend’s house in the evening. Using the stairs instead of escalators. At the end of the month you can check the results on the scale. Adipex can be addictive, so it is better to consult before you use it regularly.