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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

3 Best Fidget & Skill Toys for Adults in 2017

Best Skill Toys for Adults To Feel Less Stressed
Did you know skill toys and games can help with stress management?

This is probably a major reason why we are seeing more and more startup offices giving these gifts to employees.

All work and no play makes for a….very dull startup office!

What Are Fidget Toys?

Fidgeting is a verb to describe making small movements of the hands and/or feet. Fidget toys are also classified as skill toys or puzzles. The concept of fidget toys is based on providing just the right amount of sensory input to help calm the nervous system.

Benefits of Fidget Toys

Some reported benefits from fidgeting for adults are:
  • Improve cognition
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Aid relaxation
  • Reduce stress
  • Help focus & attention
  • Brain enhancement changes if a difficult puzzle is being solved
As this article from the Atlantic things like stress balls actually might be super important for the mental health of adults!

Of course kids get these type of fidgets prescribed by occupational therapists for motor development too.

Who Should Use Skill Toys?

  • Office workers
  • Company executives
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Stay at home workers
  • Adults suffering burnout
  • Adults diagnosed with autism, ADHD & ADD
In reality nearly every adult will feel better and the fun that naturally comes from playing with one of these sensory toys.

Top Skill Toys & Games

Here are some old, and new skill toys and games that I would highly recommend you consider stocking in your startup office for more reasons than keeping your employees entertained.

As mentioned above, these type of toys, puzzles, and games will provide a sort of meditation & relaxation feeling.

Here are my top 3 picks.

#1 The Rubik’s Cube & Beyond

That’s right, and beyond!

No, no, no it doesn’t just stop at the original 3x3 Rubik’s cube. Now we have tons more difficulty options and variations like:
  • 2x2,
  • 4x4,
  • 5x5,
  • 6x6
  • whateverXwhatevers

Megaminx Puzzle Cubes for Adults
Then there are also weird looking things like Pyraminx and Megaminx puzzles. 

For me solving a twisty puzzle like the 5 shown above is a great form of relaxation, meditation, and allows me to destress.

If I’m working through a tough problem and not making any ground I’ll take a break and do a few cube solves and it allows me to decompress my brain and even some new ideas might pop in.

Give all of your employees a wild cube gift next Christmas and watch the fun they have trying to solve them around the office WHILE potentially improving productivity and mood around the place.

#2 Kendama - YoYo 2.0

Kendamas are sweet Japanese skill toys that involve a wooden handle with several different surfaces that you have to flip the attached ball and string onto, in several different possible sequences.

Like the cubes this is a great mental and physical break from sitting down at the desk all day.

The best part about Kendama for me is the swag aspect. It’s like solving a puzzle, but requires physical coordination and flare while tricking which is really appealing.

Want to see how these yo-yo's work? Check out a quick Kendama video below.



Okay that video is intense and you’ll probably be starting out a bit slower than that, but YEAH!
Kendama is cool, exciting and a great activity for your office. 
They're also really inexpensive toys to buy. If you are in the market for one then you can check out a buying guide for Kendama here.

#3 Board Games

Last, but not least, maybe not a puzzle or a crazy skill toy like the Kendama I present to you… board games!

Yup that’s right :)

Board games are to be played and enjoyed in a group setting. This breaks up the solo game play and allows social play and interaction.

Get some employees together and have them play against each other in teams. This will also help practice team building for office relationships whilst having an enjoyable break time. No need to spend tons of money on paid for team building trips out the office.

Board games are cheap and readily attainable - you may already have a ton of them sitting at home or ask your employees to bring in their favorite games (chances are someone has Cattan at home!).

Stick to classic board games like:
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Monopoly
  • Chess
Or you can venture out to the new strategy games like:
  • Pandemic
  • Caracassone
  • Settlers of Cattan

ChaoTimer Cube Timer App

ChoaTimer App for iPhone or iPad
This is app not a game, but is more of a professional timer for cube games.

It is our recommended iPhone App when using a cube.

The ChoaTimer app will help:
  • Gives you WCA official puzzles scrambles,
  • Let you time your puzzle solves,
  • Stats calculations and more.
I would recommend it to any twisty puzzle enthusiast who wants to up their puzzle game skills.

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • Requires 3.3mb storage space.

Cost

Free to download on the iTunes store.


To further connect your office staff you could also team up and play some of the most popular board games on your iPhones with app-based games! Here’s a huge list of some iPhone app board game conversions out there. Definitely give these a try.

Hopefully this list of 3 awesome adult skill games, toys & puzzles will help improve the mood in the office, reduce worker stress, and help improve productivity!

Any company would get a good return of investment, with such a small expense to buy them and with the potential for productive happy employees. Hopefully next time you are in the office chill room or lounge there will be some laying around to break the boredom and stimulate your creativity again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Best Golf Swing Apps in 2017 To Improve Your Game

Use a Golf Swing Analyzer App When Practicing
If you’re a keen golfer then you may be surprised to learn just how much your smart phone can help you!

Golf apps are hitting the market every day and you can get some seriously cool information from them.

Golfers all know how important regular practice is. The next time you go the the range to hit a bucket of balls or maybe you are on a golf trip with buddies on different courses, use one of the following Apple apps.

Below we have listed our favourite & top rated golf swing analyzer apps for 2017.

#1 V1 Golf App

V1 Golf App for iPhone or iPad
Often regarded as the best golf swing app analyser, V1 Golf allows you to record, analyse and compare your swing against 50 PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour Players.

These include names such as:

  • Darren Clarke,
  • Rory McIlroy,
  • Lee Westwood,
  • Freddy Couples,
  • Vijay Singh,
  • Lorena Ochoa and,
  • Karrie Webb.
The app allows players to play back their swing in slo-motion and upload their video to have it analysed by a professional (additional cost).

Here is a list of questions and answers on their support site at v1sports.desk.com

Device Compatibility


  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 29.3mb storage space.

Cost

Cost $4.99 to download on the iTunes store plus there are extra in-app purchase options.

#2 Golf Channel Academy App

Golf Channel Academy App for iPhone or iPad
Probably one of the best free apps for analyzing a golf swing for amateurs and pros out there.

Golf Channel Academy provides an epic library of tutorials from top gold instructors such as:

  • Dana Rader,
  • Michael Breed and,
  • Marin Hall.
The app also allows you to record and analyse your swing. You can also use the location feature to find your nearest Golf Channel Academy coach.

We found this useful review of the app on usgolftv.com

Device Compatibility


  • iPhone & iPad.
  • Requires 35.2mb storage space.

Cost

Free to download on the iTunes store plus there are extra in-app purchase options.


#3 Hudl Technique Golf: Slow Motion Swing Analysis App

Hudl Technique Golf App for iPhone or iPad
Another excellent free option, Hudl Technique Golf is a great slow-motion analysis app.

The app allows you to capture your swing frame by frame and then compare against top pros.

You can record voice over comments on your swing analysis and watch your swing compared up against a pros, side by side!

The app also allows you to share your golf swing videos with others on the app.

For more FAQ's on how to use the app go to hudl.com

Device Compatibility


  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 87.4mb storage space.

Cost

Free to download on the iTunes store plus there are extra in-app purchase options.

#4 The Everyday Golf Coach App

Golf Coach App by Dr Noel Rousseau for iPhone or iPad
The Everyday Golf Coach is a fantastic and systematic way to improve your swing.

The app takes you through a series of 38 high definition coaching videos from PGA professional, Dr. Noel Rousseau.

The lessons discuss all major swing elements and allows you to compare your swing to professional swing models.

You can overlay videos and play back to analyse in more depth.

Find out more about why Dr Rousseau is an expert in swing analysis at noelrousseaugolf.com

Device Compatibility


  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 1.14 Gb storage space.

Cost

Costs either $5.99 for iPhone or $6.99 for iPad to download on the iTunes store.


#5 Zepp Golf Swing Analyzer App

Zepp Golf Swing Analyzer App for iPhone, iPad & Apple watch
The Zepp app is a fantastic training platform that gives users personalised training systems from male PGA Tour Pro Keegan Bradley and female LPGA Pro Michelle Wie.

The free app lets you view a swing library and capture your own swing for analysis just like these on golfassessor.com

However, if you purchase the $150 Zepp sensor and attach it to your glove, you’ll get incredible readings of your club speed, backswing length and many more options. The app then combines your sensor measurements and evaluates your swing.

Find out more on app support questions on zepp.com

Device Compatibility


  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 217mb storage space.

Cost

Free to download on the iTunes store plus there are extra option to buy the $149.99 sensor to link up with your Apple Watch & unlock extra features.


Do you know any more apps that help people train their golf swing to help improve their golf game ? Feel free to suggest some to us!
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Best Food Allergy Apps to Help Manage a Food Intolerance in 2017

best food allergy app on itunes store
Would you like to have an app that takes care of your food allergy?

As foods become more diverse each day, it’s so easy to develop a new food allergy or intolerance.

While it may seem like not a big deal to some, in the long run it can cause serious damage to your physical health. Of course they can be life-threatening too like a peanut or shellfish allergy.

But don’t worry.

Getting an early diagnosis and finding a way to live with them, you’ll most certainly evade issues with allergies to different ingredients.

Yes, it will require changing your lifestyle for a bit, as well as, your cooking habits. Yes, it can be very challenging to start, but with the help of the right food allergy app, you can get everything under control.

Luckily, a lot of companies out there are developing tech gadgets to help allergy sufferers, both young and old. Then there are Apple app developers who have made some very useful health apps on the official iTunes store.

You’ll have no trouble at all finding an app to use on your latest Apple Watch, iPhone, iPod or iPad.

Moreover, the health information benefits they bring are numerous.

For instance, with them you can:
  • Determine which foods are bad for you
  • Shop for the right ingredients
  • Find restaurants that are food allergy-friendly
  • Explore healthy recipes
  • Record everything you eat
Below we’ll show you our favorite 8 top food allergy apps that you can download today!

#1 Bulletproof Food Detective

Bulletproof food detective app on itunes
Bulletproof Food Detective App for iPhone
This is one of the rare applications that deals with solving the reason for acute and chronic inflammation when eating certain meals.

More precisely, the Bulletproof Food Detective app enables you to see the results as to which food sensitivities you might have to different dishes. 

In some cases, you don’t feel that you’re sensitive to certain foods, but your heart rate is rocketing. Heart rate variability testing is a tool that lets you know when that’s the situation, so that you can stop consuming that specific problematic type of food or ingredient. The app was developed in conjunction with HRV testing experts, SweetWaterHRV.com

Some of the apps most useful features are:
  • Test for food sensitivity
  • Heart monitor that checks your pulse three times
  • Breath pacer
For a more in-depth instructions with step by step how to guide, we would recommend this one on ilovebuttercoffee.com

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 30.1mb storage space.

Cost

Free to download on the iTunes store.


#2 ShopWell - Healthy Diet & Grocery Food Scanner

shopwell app on itunes
ShopWell App for iPhone
Make the decision of what to buy in the supermarket a ton easier with this free food scanner.

The ShopWell app, in fact, lets you scan the product you’re interested in and tells you what it contains.

By making a profile, state your condition and ShopWell will make sure you stay away from grocery food that harms you. It will even suggest some that match your lifestyle as well as needs.

What’s more, the scanner includes allergy alerts for the most common items such as:
  • Peanuts,
  • Lactose,
  • Eggs,
  • Gluten, and more.
For more information on how they score foods click here.

It’s recommended from influencers across the world among which are CNN, USA Today, NBC, food experts et cetera. So, there’re no doubts about its efficiency.

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 65.8mb storage space.

Cost

Free to download on the iTunes store.


#3 AllergyEats

AllergyEats App for iPhone or iPad 
If you’re situated in the United States, then this is one of the best food allergies guide you’ll ever need.

Serving satisfied users since 2010, the app contains restaurants in the US that accept and tolerate people allergic or sensitive to specific foods. For this reason, you can easily find the right diners for you.

That’s not all, though. Through it, you’ll be able to read these places’ ratings, other customers’ reviews as well as browse through their menus, make reservations and even get directions to a specific restaurant and so much more. And all of this comes for free!

Read more on the FAQ's section of allergyeats.com

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 91.9mb storage space.

Cost

Free to download on the iTunes store.


#4 Healthy Diet & Gluten Free, Allergy, GMO Scanner by NxtNutrio

NxtNutrio Allergy & GMO Scanner for iPhone
Time Magazine recognized it as one of the best health and fitness apps out there in 2014.

Other famous news outlets like USA Today, Tribune and Experience Life followed making this a great companion for food allergic people.

Actually, it helps you see which foods have dangerous ingredients for your allergy. Preservatives, chemicals, additives, sweeteners and such will be displayed to you at once, so that you know what you’re buying. NxtNutrio will go through all the labels for you, making you in charge of your health and not the manufacturers.

To find out more about the in-app purchase option of the monthly subscription service you ca read more on nxtnutrio.com

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 9.4mb storage space.

Cost

It costs only $3.99 on the iTunes store.


#5 Allergy Journal

Allergy Journal App for iPhone or iPad
While you’re looking for the reasons for your food allergy or intolerance, you’ll require someone to keep it all together. Allergy Journal can do that.

It’s a tool that records everything you eat, including your symptoms, which you can rate by their intensity. Then you can analyze the data and receive reports for your further use. They’re so accurate and trust-worthy that you can show them to your health care provider.

What you'll get is an app that records what you eat, tracks your symptoms and then analyzes the data to produce an email report for you or your doctor.

The only minor catch is that you should pay $0.99 to download it. But we it’s entirely worth it.

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 11.7mb storage space.

Cost

It costs only $0.99c on the iTunes store.

#6 Allergy Assist - Save and Share Allergy Profiles

Allergy Assist App for iPhone
Basically, this app is an ally to parents and caregivers when it comes to the health of children with food allergies. It gives the parents a platform to stay in touch with caregivers at all times.

You only need to make a profile and post all the vital information about your child’s allergy there. This is thanks to the easy-to-use interface. Also, this tool provides helpful lessons about dealing with the condition as well as preventing it.

Another amazing fact is that a part of the developer’s profits are donated to researches connected to food allergies, so you’ll be doing a good deed by using it.

It’s free, so we encourage you to give it a try.

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 2.4mb storage space.

Cost

Free to download on the iTunes store.


#7 Food Intolerances

Food Intolerances App for iPhone or iPad
The moment you’re diagnosed with food intolerance the real trouble begins.

Firstly, you have so many things to learn in order to lead a normal and healthy life. The most important ones among them include the details of what you can and cannot eat. That’s why you’ll surely take advantage of any help you can get.

Food Intolerances app deals with exactly this.

The app gives you a database containing more than 700 foods and additives. You just need to select the type of your intolerance and comb through the database. You can do it by filtering and sorting the results. Then, you should read everything that interests you. And finally shop for and cook meals suitable for your health.

You can see more of what the app can do from the developers website at baliza.de

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.
  • Requires 36.8mb storage space.

Cost

It costs $5.99 on the iTunes store.

#8 Yummly Recipes & Recipe Box

Yummly Recipes App for iPhone or Apple Watch
Yummly is the free digital version of the ultimate cookbook made better by having personalized recipes. That way you can evade all the ingredients that cause your food allergy or intolerance in a simple way.

As it includes more than one million recipes, you have countless meals on your hands.

Aside from them, you’ll find loads of accompanying features. Starting from helpful tools, videos with tips and tricks, and articles, to the wonderful interface and shopping option, this is an app you wouldn’t want to turn off.

Furthermore, Yummly recommends meals that might work for you and can connect to the Health app on your device, tracking what you eat.

Find out more how the apps recipe selection works on yummly.co

Device Compatibility

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, Apple TV
  • Requires 102mb storage space.

Cost

It costs $5.99 on the iTunes store.



Do you know any more apps that help people manage their allergies or food intolerance and sensitivities? Feel free to suggest some to us!
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Best Smart Home Apps for iPhone & Apple Watch 2017

best apple app for home automation

Would you love to be able check-in on your house from your iPhone?

The home automation market is constantly growing around the world and there are now more devices than ever. We started talking about it back in 2009!

There are tons of beneficial reasons why you would want to control your home, or kitchen appliances, remotely.

You can for example:
  • Set your oven to heat up when you’re on your way home,
  • Turn the lights on during your dark walk home,
  • Switch the heating off if you get that overwhelming feeling that you accidentally left it switched on.
We know that some of the smart hub devices don't come cheap, but they can really make your life so much easier.

If you own an iPhone, you are potentially in the best position possible for home automation, as there are hundreds of apps out there on the official iTunes Store to help you.

Here are some of our favourite smart home apps for either the iPhone or Apple Watch.

IFTTT Applets


In terms of innovation for the home automation market, IFTTT home automation applets are certainly leading the charge.

IFTTT is a free web-based service which connects various gadgets together to generate new actions and responses. They calls these applets nowadays, but used to call them recipes.

You can keep the actions simple, like turning your lights on from your phone, or make them more complicated and unique.

For instance, you can:
  • Set your coffee machine to turn on when you wake up, by connecting your Fitbit and a Belkin WeMo plug.
  • You can co-ordinate your Nest thermostat with the Yahoo Weather app so that when it reaches a certain temperature outside the heating switches on or off.
  • Hilariously, you can even set your Phillips Hue lighting system to turn your lights purple when it rains outside, thanks to a connection between the device and the Yahoo Weather app.
With IFTTT Applets and the clever people behind them, the sky is the limit.

Applets are available for many popular services such as Spotify, Amazon Alexa and Hive, as well as social networks like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. IFTTT has an app for both the Apple Watch and the iPhone which you can download from the app store.

Get it on the Apple app store here.

iPhone Home App


The iPhone Home app is the easiest introduction to smart home devices. It comes pre-installed on all new iPhones.

It officially launched with iOs 10 in September 2016 as an extension of the HomeKit app, which used Siri to control lights and other smart home products.

The introduction of the Home app means that you no longer need to use various third-party apps as you did with Homekit, so it streamlines the functionality of your phone.

A quick tutorial and checking out Apple support official device requirements and compatibility will take you through the basics, so the Home app is one of the best ways to get acquainted with your smart home before you move onto the more complicated apps.

Alarm.com


Alarm.com was one of the first smart home apps to be developed for the Apple Watch. You can see how it works in this demo.

It allows you to keep an eye on your home simply by glancing at your wrist. You can check that your security system is activated, that your doors are locked, the garage door is closed and your lights are switched off.

It uses location technology to know if you leave your home without locking up, and you can set up reminders, triggers and alerts to keep you up to date.

Get it on the Apple app store here.

Lutron Caseta Wireless


Whilst it’s great to be able to switch your lights on and off from your phone, the Lutron app for Caseta Wireless does so much more.

You can control the shade and temperature of your home as well as dim the lights. The Lutron Wireless system works seamlessly with LED lights, making it the ultimate energy efficient investment. (Thanks Lelia from First Lighting for the heads up on this one)

In the event that you leave your home with the lights switched on, you’ll be sent a notification and you can switch them off with a single tap on your Apple Watch or phone.

Get it on the Apple app store here.

Ecobee3


Ecobee was one of the first smart home systems to offer support for the Apple Watch, so it’s still a big player in the smart home device market.

The app is designed solely to manage the temperature of your home, so you can adjust your Ecobee thermostat remotely in accordance to outdoor temperature and humidity levels.

It gives you readings from temperature sensors throughout your home to create an accurate estimate of how the thermostat is operating. You can find out more in their FAQ's section.

Get it on the Apple app store here.

Loxone


The Loxone Smart Home app is designed to give you control over every aspect of your smart home as a result of one app.

You can control your heating, lighting, security and much more.

There are several different modes available to make the app more functional: room mode lets you adjust all the devices within a certain room and the Autopilot mode lets you create different events and actions. The app easily syncs with services like Spotify, as well as Wallbox so you can set your electric car to charge remotely.

This app is great for homes with multiple smart devices.

Get it on the Apple app store here.

Withings Home


Just be aware you will need the Withings Home HD camera for this app, but it’s a worthwhile investment.

The app is available for both the Apple Watch and iPhone and is a premier device for controlling the security of your home.

You can get a live stream of the camera straight to your watch to keep a watchful eye on everyone from pets to people.

You can condense the whole day’s footage into a few seconds, and there’s even a lullaby function to soothe babies which can be activated from the app. Find out more details on functions available at withings.com

Get it on the Apple app store here.

Insteon


Insteon is an affordable option to create a smart home and it works perfectly with the Apple Watch.

You must purchase an Insteon Hub and connect it with your watch/phone, but once you have done that you can control lots of things remotely.

You can dim the lights, turn on ceiling fans and view a live stream of your security camera. You’ll also receive push notifications straight to your wrist, so you never miss anything important. Having a smart, connected home is one of the benefits of modern society.

Who doesn’t want to be able to control their lights, heating and electronic devices from their phone?

One of the perils can be deciding which system to go for, so do your research and ensure that the app works well with your phone.

Get it on the Apple app store here.

Need an example of how this all works? Check out this video from an Apple fan who has probably installed the most home devices in his 1870 property than anyone else. You'll get to see an example of how cool this to do round the house.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Best MacBook For Engineering Students 2017 Guide

Don't you think you working on a mac is easy and looks stylish?

I sure do plus it it has some serious computing power.

Yes, you can run engineering software on different MacBooks as long as you know the specs needed. Apple make beautiful looking computers that just ooze style and sophistication.

These kinds of machines will let you feel like you are already in Silicon Valley where expert software engineers use them too.

Apple vs Windows

Do you use an iPhone?

Good chance you do which is why you are looking if a engineering software will run on a Mac.

If you already use Apple products then you'll know there are major benefits to staying with the same brand.
  • Easily share files between your iPhone & Mac using AirDrop
  • Take calls & read iMessages form your iPhone on your Mac
  • Free up storage on a Mac by storing files in iCloud automatically
  • Access & listen to your iTunes music on your Mac
  • Stay with an operating system what you already know how to use
A 2011 research poll showed most people would choose to go with Apple vs a regular PC if price was taken out the buying process.

Macbook Buying Tips for Engineering Students

So it’s finally time for you to head off to college.

Maybe you are lucky enough to be going to one of the best places to study engineering in the world like:
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • California Institute of Technology
It feels like you have been waiting your whole life for this moment, but now you have some trepidations.

There are so many things that you don’t understand about the environment that you are about to put yourself into for the next four years of your life.

If you are an engineering student, there is an added level of stress.

Studying to be an engineer is not an easy major, be it mechanical, chemical, civil, electrical or computer engineering. No course of college study is easy, to be fair, but engineering is one of the more difficult majors for certain.

Math and science are not things that you can pretend you know. On top of that, you may need to buy a few new electronics to help you out.

You will have two vital, very expensive tools with you throughout your college career, and may even keep them with you for your first job.
  1. Scientific calculator
  2. Laptop computer
The first, a scientific calculator, is easier to choose. Many times, professors tell you which calculator to purchase. If you aren’t told the exact model to buy, you are informed about a few options.
Generally speaking, engineers use one of a few select calculators that can handle any calculation that is necessary.
The same is not true of a laptop computer. Computers come in a wide variety of abilities and range from more than affordable to way out of reach. School rarely tell you which computer to purchase, so you’re going to need to think about this decision before you go out and buy one.
Engineering can be a very demanding course of study, both for you, and your computer, so if you want a computer that will last, you’ll have to consider the following points.

Uses of Computers in Engineering

You will use your computer extensively during your time as an engineering student. From designing to modeling, communication to analysis, computers are a valuable tool in the field.



A typical use of computers in the field of engineering is computer aided drafting or CAD. With this program you will be creating devices, optimizing processes, and analyzing previously existing equipment to ascertain how different conditions may impact the design.

For this, you will want a computer that is capable of storing and accessing information quickly.

Recommended Computer Specifications

Freshman entering college or university ask every year is it possible to be able to use a MacBook Pro, Air, iMac for studying and doing assignments?

Yes, you definitely can as long as you install the minimum hardware specs required to run your machine fast and with no big risk of freezing or crashing.

Minimum Specs Needed

To do your work quickly and efficiently, as an entry level you will want a computer with:
  • at least 6GB of RAM,
  • at least 500 GB capacity in the hard drive,
  • a good screen resolution,
  • a dedicated graphics card,
  • a CPU that is an Intel i5 or better.

Recommended Specs for Best Performance

For maximum performance, consider getting a computer with:
  • 8GB of RAM,
  • a solid state hard drive (or SSD for short),
  • a resolution greater than 1600 x 900.

CPU Speed

The CPU speed of your computer will make all of the difference.

Engineering programs, like AutoCAD, use large databases that can take a long time to compile without the proper CPU speed.

You already have enough work to do as an engineering student. You don’t want your laptop to slow you down!

Simulation software and Matlab are also CPU exhaustive, so by purchasing a laptop with a good CPU, you will already be working your way towards better grades.

Operating System

Let us take a step away from purely technical requirements for a second and discuss operating systems.

There was a time when Mac laptops were not compatible with many of the software necessary for engineering. That is not longer the case.

Most programs are compatible with both Mac and Windows now. This means deciding whether or not to buy a Apple laptop for engineering school is no longer a concern.

You will, however, want to get one with enough memory to handle a Windows partition, just in case you run into software that is not compatible with the Mac operating system.

Hard Disk Memory

You’re going to need to install a lot of software, and create a lot of drafts on your new computer.

You’ll probably have:
  • CATIA,
  • ANSYS,
  • Solidworks,
  • and of course AutoCAD.
Not to mention all of your designs, stored on your hard drive.

Despite being an engineering student, you’re also still going to want to download songs, games, TV shows, and movies.

You’re going to need enough storage to handle all of this, so try to get at least 500GB of storage if you want your laptop to last you a long time.

RAM

A high functioning CPU is nothing without a good amount of RAM.

You don’t need to go crazy here, but if you can afford it, it is helpful to have 16GB of RAM. If not, you will need to stay in the 8 to 12 GB range for decent performance.

A capable graphics adapter is more important if you must choose between that and RAM.

Video Cards

AutoCAD, MATLAB, and Solidworks frequently render videos and apply designs in 3D environments. For the efficient use of these programs, you will need a dedicated video card.

A 2GB DDR3 graphics card will fit the minimum requirements, but if you are a gamer as well, you might want to look into a DDR5 graphics card.

Conclusion

Many people think that Mac computers are only useful for graphic design.

The truth is Mac computers can also be used to develop products in engineering.

Most, if not all of the programs required for use during your time as an engineering major are compatible with the Mac OS, and if they aren’t you can always create a Windows partition.

Mac laptops for students are sleek and typically last quite long, so if you are looking to buy a laptop that will last you for at least five years, you may want to consider a Mac.

If you are a gamer, however, you know that this will not work, and you will certainly want to stick with Windows for its superior gaming ability.

Your chosen operating system is not the only important thing.

You need to remember that a computer is only as good as its user. So you need to choose a laptop for college based on your individual wants and requirements. It is also a good idea to check out what your school specifically requires (like MIT for example) for classes, as that will be the most important thing over the next four years.
Thursday, February 16, 2017

5 Reasons Your Website Must Be Mobile Ready In 2017 & Beyond

Good example of responsive website design on all device screen sizes
Responsive Websites Just Look Good, Don't They?
Don't you hate websites that are hard to read on your new iPhone?

I sure do. Nothing worse than trying to read text that runs off my screen or it is so small I have to try zoom in to read it.

Thankfully cellphones don't look like this 1983 concept touchscreen smartphone did back.

Responsive websites have been a hot topic since 2015 or so, yet many website owners, bloggers, and companies have been slow to make the transition due to the changes necessary to adopt a responsive design.

What is a Responsive Website?

“Responsive Design” refers to websites that are developed in a way that allows each element to resize and reorganize on a webpage, based on the screen size of the device it is being viewed on. This means a website will look great on any iPhone screen or Mac desktop/laptop screen.

Bad Example

Here is a good example of a website that is non-responsive:


You definitely don't want that happening on your website. Thanks dequeuniversity.com

Good Example

Here is an example of a website that uses a working responsive design:


Yup, that is this site using a free responsive html theme that is responds to change for any screen size :)

How to Make a Website Responsive

Responsive design is handled through your website’s CSS file and specific sets of rules you specify for each element and each screen size.

Whether you run a baby blog or an eCommerce website, adapting your website to a structure that will provide the best possible user experience for your visitors can pay big dividends in the long run.

Top tip: Check to see if your site looks great on any popular cellphone or mac screen size using this free tool from responsivedesignchecker.com

5 Reasons Mobile First Website Design Is Vital

Did you know the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have mobile web guidelines?

This is the group who dictate the standards for website functionality, code and design for the entire internet! If they say it has to be, then it has to be done.

We’ve gone out and interviewed several of experts in the field of web design standards to bring you the top 5 reasons your website MUST be mobile-ready and, of course, primarily iPhone friendly now more than ever.

1. Easier Navigation Plus Perfectly Displayed Content

You had to work hard to earn every visitor that came to your site. Why not give them the best user experience possible when visiting your website?

Whether you are driving traffic through social media, search engine optimization, or pay-per-click marketing, you worked hard to generate that traffic and probably can’t afford to throw it away.

A responsively optimized website can mean lower bounce rates (the number of people that exit from the first page they landed on) and longer time on site. More importantly, it means less headaches and more clarity for the visitor when navigating through your tirelessly created content.

2. Display or Hide Certain Elements Based on Screen Size

Want to show a phone number at the top of the mobile version of a page, but not on desktop?

You can do exactly that with a responsive layout.

How about a “Call Now” call to action on mobile versus a “Fill Out This Form” call to action on desktop? This kind of versatility is the magic behind a responsive layout.

The feature set of a responsively coded website allows a webmaster to make decisions that make their content more digestible and relevant. You can cut down and remove lengthy paragraphs or eliminate and even add buttons or images.

The possibilities for creative optimization are endless with responsive html code.

3. Better Conversion Rates for eCommerce & Lead Generation

Great usability comes with business benefits.

You should think of your website as a business. The better you treat your customers (visitors), the more they’ll want to return and do more business with you.

That was a quote from Geoff Gurevich, Director of Digital Strategy at AgencyPPC.com a top Chicago PPC management company. He knows as he looks at client sites & stats all day and to get better ROI conversions on PPC ads you need them to display well on a target page.

The simpler and more relevant you can make your website’s navigation and content, the more likely you’ll be able to flow your user down an intended path.

The result is improved conversion (the ultimate goal you want your users to complete).
For an eCommerce site (product sales), this means more products get purchased. For lead generation sites (contact collectors), it means more contact forms completed and phone calls to your business.

4. Better Search Engine Rankings

Responsive websites are the preferred search engine website layout according to Google’s Mobile Webmaster Guidelines which can mean better search engine rankings for your website if your site is mobile friendly.

Unlike the days of a separate mobile website, responsive websites do not require to multiple sets of HTML. Each HTML webpage will work for all viewing devices, with different layout/styling changes handled through your website’s CSS file.
Google even provided this handy tool to check your website’s mobile-friendliness.

5. Mobile Browsing is Now the Golden Standard

Mobile browsing overtook desktop viewing several years back and is growing every single year.

As these “primary browsing devices” continue to grow even more, webmasters need to consider the experience they are delivering to a large chunk of their visitors.

If your site isn’t up to snuff, the user will just keep moving to the next website.
When deciding which screen sizes are optimized first, our experts overwhelmingly recommended iPhone devices get the most attention, as they make up approximately 40% of the mobile phone market.

Putting it All Together

Updating an existing website to a mobile responsive website may mean redeveloping the whole site, but it if you’re on wordpress, joomla, drupal, blogger or a similar theme-based content management system, you may be able to simply change themes and start making some adjustments.

Even if your website is a bit more involved, the time has come to consider whether the loss is greater than the cost of taking on this update of one of your valued assets.

Just like a car or a house, there comes a time to make those necessary changes and if you find yourself starting 2017 without a stellar mobile website experience, that time has most certainly come.