Reap the Benefits of Doing Email Right

Admit it: If there is one skill that the pandemic has sharpened in all of us who have been working from home, that would be proper email etiquette. Well, there are a good number of things that messaging apps can convenience us with, but there are just some things that don’t cut it with just sending a private message. And since we aren’t seeing a lot of each other that much, we have resorted and depended on emails. So, aside from video conferencing and setting the right schedules for tasks to be accomplished on time despite working remotely, email etiquette is one great thing we have mastered in this pandemic.

Or have we? well, it is not too late to work on your overall working style when it comes to email, because even if we go back to a “new normal”, there is little, if no chance, that emails will all of a sudden become an obsolete way of getting in touch with work teammates and clients. With that said, here are some tips on how to keep your email …

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Shopping for Computers? Here’s How!

If there is one thing that this pandemic taught us, is that you can never have too many laptops at home. With the kids doing online modules for most of the school year and the adults having to work at home or risk getting fired from their jobs, having just a tablet or smartphone won’t hack it for everyone. There is a difference in productivity between someone who uses a computer or laptop (although there is also a difference between someone who uses a unit with a separate screen or with dual screens from someone who just uses a laptop, that’s a whole other blog post) and someone who just uses a gadget like a tablet, even if it is equipped with a monitor. And if all you have as a spare laptop before the pandemic was an old, trusty laptop that saw its heyday when it was still connected to AOL and is only fast when you play Solitaire on it, then you realize that it was definitely time for an upgrade, if not buying extra unit for each …

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What Do These Error Messages Mean?

There you are, surfing the Internet to your heart’s content. The connection is fairly stable, you are gaining momentum at work, and you are focused on finishing your tasks because your Netflix to-watch list is eagerly waiting. You are finishing your last item, which is to check a competitor’s website. There are ten minutes before you quit work at 5:00. Then suddenly, upon pressing the enter button after typing the website address, your browser keeps on declaring, “Connecting…” And you eagerly wait. Then, your browser’s screen goes blank. And then, you read something that makes you catch your breath and think that this is not happening. You just saw a “504 Gateway timeout” error message on the website you are about to be visiting. Your smile freezes as you bid your hopes of finishing work on time goodbye. Maybe the website will be up again in 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour, maybe? You just have to keep your fingers crossed and don’t forget to hold on to your last ounce of sanity.

What timing, right? But unfortunately, …

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Don’t Just Delete, Wipe!

Are you thinking of selling your laptop? Do you have devices that you plan on giving to your kids or to charity instead of disposing them to the trash? Giving these devices to someone or having them recycled is a way better strategy to rid yourself of them, instead of putting them in the trash. After all, electronic waste is no joke and in fact, has become a major environmental problem. But before you give that laptop away, you have to make sure you have the device squeaky clean and does not contain your files (unless you want to give some important files like pictures and documents to the recipient of your device). You certainly would not want to suffer the same fate as some celebrities who had their phones or laptops repaired, only to have their very personal content leaked out to the world days later. In other words, you need to make sure that if you have files of the very private kind in your device, those are completely erased and cannot be retrieved or recovered.

Thus, what …

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The Torrenting Life

One of the newest things I was introduced to in this pandemic is Korean dramas. Otherwise called K-dramas, I got hooked into it when I watched Kingdom, a historical drama that involved creatures that do not seem to die. History, zombies, and foreign cultures? Sign me up! I watched the show on Netflix and got so much into it that I asked for recommendations of other shows in a similar genre that I could watch. A friend gave me a name of a show that he claimed was on Netflix and so I opened my app in excitement, only to find out that the show was not available on Netflix USA, thank you geo-restrictions. I told my friend of my heartbreaking discovery and he told me to use a VPN to access it. I thought it would make sense to use a VPN, but then I would have to switch back and forth between using a VPM and not using one if I want access to content only available on Netflix USA. Ugh, that’s one hassle I don’t want to …

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The Art of Hiding With a VPN

Even if you do not consider yourself an expert when it comes to using the internet, a sure thing you may have heard of is a VPN. You may have already gotten a lot of recommendations for you to use it, especially since awareness and action of web users when it comes to protecting their privacy is at a high these days. I can still remember the last time people recommended me to install a VPN for my device, it was for Pokemon Go, where I was told to install a VPN so that I can catch monsters even outside my geographical area. So, I did without really understanding the whole affair.

Update: I got tired of playing Pokemon Go, so eventually I uninstalled the game from my smartphone but retained my VPN. Apparently, there were more benefits to having a VPN working for me aside from just me getting more exotic monsters. So, I did more reading on the benefits of having a VPN and, viola, indeed, a good VPN service does more than just change your location so …

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Are You Verified?

If you are like anyone else in this time of a pandemic, you must have been spending an obscene amount of time on social media. Who is not doing that nowadays, anyway? There has never been a better time in history to plant yourself on your couch (or bed), mindlessly scrolling your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok feeds and no one will find fault in that. After spending eight hours in your “home office” (and a couple more hours of overtime because your boss tells you to finish something ASAP since you’re already at home and therefore, you won’t have to travel) and spending some time with the significant other and the kids, if any, you need to reward yourself with some activity that doesn’t require much thinking or physical activity. So, scroll away! Besides, everybody else is at home as well and busy updating everyone on their social network of their latest passion projects, so everyone is just pretty much updated with what is going on with each other’s lives.

One current trend nowadays among social media netizens is …

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Quick Fixes to Some WFH Challenges

It has been months since the pandemic started and everyone has been mostly holed up at home, even for work. How have you been holding up? Can you claim that you have fully adjusted to this modern workplace that everybody has been subjected to without much of a choice? Truth be told, everyone welcomed the idea at first of working from home because of particular benefits such as getting to spend more time with the family and savings in time and money because there’s less commute and there’s no need to spend on clothes and food. And while it is true that most of us have already adjusted to the “new normal” of working from home, there are still a few kinks and persistent issues that continue to haunt even the most adjusted of us.

Yes, working from home has presented us with new challenges, but do not worry as there are fixes to them. While it is true that asking for help is more convenient when we were still reporting to the office as there are always those trusty …

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US Gets Into the China Apps Hate Bandwagon

So now, it is not only India that has been banning apps that have originated from China. In retaliation to armed skirmishes in the border they share with China, India has banned the use of Chinese apps such as the ubiquitous Tiktok and WeChat in July.   This move from India must have been quite successful as lately, US President Donald Trump has also made threats and in fact, already issued executive orders for the country’s app vendors to band the use of Chinese apps with the American mobile phone public.

It may seem like the President is banning the use of these Chinese apps in the middle of the trade war between the two countries, USA and China. Is this actually the cause of the ban? In the case of India, it was quite obvious that Tiktok and 59 other apps from China have been banned as a sort of retaliation as the army of both countries figured in deadly encounters in June. India cited some provisions in their Information technology Act as reasons for their action, although everyone knows …

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Chromebook, MacBook, or Windows Laptop: What to Consider for a Backup Device

In this time of the pandemic, chances are you are slaving away from home with the trusty device your office has given you. There are surely times when everyone is busy at home, whether doing their work or attending school, using their own devices at the same time that there is probably no backup device that a family member can use if their personal device conks up. Also, is there an extra device anyone can use for other activities like gaming, social media, or leisure (aka Netflix marathons)? If there is none, then you should definitely be in the market for a backup or extra device. You should not wait for someone to have that blue screen of death because of a bloated battery (a common problem with laptops) or someone asking for the Netflix app to be installed on their laptops that should only for attending online classes. You definitely cannot afford kids to court temptation!

So, your choices for trusty backup devices are pretty much limited to three – a Chromebook, a Windows-run laptop, and a MacBook. You …

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A Huge No to These on Your Social Media

It is a given that pretty much most of us have been living a monastic existence lately. There have not been a lot of social gatherings, going outdoors is still pretty much frowned upon, and people are still in the mindset that staying home is the best way of keeping safe and avoiding the virus. That is well and good and in fact, a lot of people have already shifted a lot of their social activities to fit the “new normal”. Why risk getting infected by meeting up with friends when you can still see them virtually by just setting up virtual meetings? Performers are now holding virtual concerts that you can enjoy and attend wherever you are in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. Now, there is no need to celebrate birthdays with everyone in attendance in a posh venue when you can just post pictures of your celebrations at home on social media.

So, while the world is not particularly active in the social scene, everybody is making up for it by somehow still …

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Giving Dating Apps a Try This Pandemic

Do you still remember the world BC (before COVID19)? I’m sure among the things that you miss would be your daily commute to work (not really?), Friday and Saturday nights out with friends, and if you are still single and ready to mingle, that occasional (twice a week? weekly? monthly?) date with someone you matched in a dating app. Now that we are still pretty much in quarantine, it really can be said that a lot of “romantic” or “love” lives have been put on hold because of social distancing. The irony of it all is that we have all the time for social media to compensate for our lack of actual social activities outdoors. The only hindrance to us fully enjoying is the fact that we can’t see each other face to face, at least in the meantime.

That is why people are asking, what is the good of trying to look for “the one” through a dating app if you can’t see each other face to face? You are only making yourself susceptible to being a victim of …

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Looking into Remote Access

Although we have been more than half a year into the pandemic, a lot of us are still struggling with the different aspects of this “new normal”. A lot of companies have allowed employees to continue working from home until the end of the year, with some even advising people to stay at home until a vaccine is discovered. The thing is, even if we have been sort of marooned into working from home until the near future, we still have a couple of things that we may still need from the office. There are those of us who have deliberately left important stuff in the office in March and April, thinking this crisis would already be over in a few weeks. Fast forward to today and it seems that time is moving so slow, with the COVID19 vaccine allegedly becoming available until April 2021. That’s still a good five months!

If you’re the type who has remaining documents in the office but really into keeping yourself protected from the virus and therefore, wants to keep on staying at home …

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How Do You Sleep?

So 2020 is just giving us one blow after another. There’s the COVID-19 pandemic that has had large segments of the world population on lockdown, which has led to most of us to work from home for fear that we can get the virus. Then, civil unrest ensued as those demanding for racial equality took to the streets despite lockdown orders, only to be compounded by those who are protesting the strict lockdown measures such as the closing of businesses and wearing of face masks when in public. One thing is for sure, though: All these developments have surely done a number on our mental well-being.

Because most of us have been stuck in our houses, all sorts of activities have been confined in the various parts of our residences. Meals can be taken anywhere without set times, kitchen counters have become a common site for video conferences, and watching TV shows have transferred from the living room to the bed, just so that we can squeeze one more episode of The Crown or Money Heist. And yes, for most …

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Have You Jumped on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Bandwagon?

In our uncertain and joyless times, everyone seems to look for and cling to anything that would click. A form of escapism? Most definitely. But then, with everyone subject to the very oppressive situation brought about by the pandemic, then yes, we can feel a bit entitled and get our entertainment in any way possible. In our case, these days, that source of entertainment can simply be stated in four words: Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Those of us who are in the loop when it comes to news but do not own any Nintendo Switch have surely heard of it in passing. After all, you may have most probably heard of Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood actually interacting with players whom he met in the game in real life. Yes, this is Coin Master (have you seen Jennifer Lopez ads of the game where she looks for people who attacked her village?) in real life. But not only Elijah Wood has gotten addicted to this game – other celebrities like Oscar-winner Brie Larson and Chrissy Teigen have also …

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Ransomware Attacks Increase Even in the Time of Corona

Just when everybody thinks that the cases of online fraud and people being victimized of scams will be decreasing because people would have empathy towards each other amidst this global pandemic, we have been proved wrong. In the area of ransomware attacks, not only have the incidences increased even if everybody is encouraged to stay indoors, the average size of ransomware payments has been on the uptrend. The increase of ransomware payments is not only just incremental but quite significant. The average payment to ransomware attackers in the 2nd quarter of 2020 according to a report by Coveware, has increased by 60% from the first quarter of this year, which is now at US$170,000.  The trend, which has leaned towards increases, may be attributed to the various new options in tactics and the rise of new software. Ransomware attacks have become tailored to the targets, which thus have made them all the more dangerous and damaging.

Moreover, according to the Coveware report, a recent development in the second quarter of 2020 is the emergence of attackers who do not …

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How to Deal With Data Loss

When we talk about loss these days, we bet everybody has something to say. Some of us would volunteer that they have lost a lot of joy because they miss going out and seeing friends and family. Some would claim they miss the outdoors as they are just cooped up in their houses, not being allowed to explore anything beyond their doorstep and smell the fresh air and flowers.  Unfortunately, some of us would say they have lost acquaintances, friends, and family to COVID-19. And then, for some of us working at home, losing important data because of missing files and documents is one thing they have experienced and are now suffering from. Oh, what a tragedy! Losing important files could get anyone in trouble and for some of us, may cost us our jobs, which at this time is something nobody can afford to lose.

Losing files and documents can happen to even the best of us because of two reasons. One of the reasons important files may suddenly disappear is because our devices, whether a laptop or desktop, …

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Postpone, Cancel, Goodbye?

We are living in uncertain times, indeed. The coronavirus has put our lives on an indefinite pause as the plans that we have zealously tried to plot and implement at the start of the year has been out in the backburner or worse, turned into pipe dreams because the timing has suddenly become askew or finances have suddenly become scarce. It is not actually because people have become more fickle-minded, but even if we have the tools to execute a project, there is somewhat a more enticing proposition: To just curl in bed all day, Netflix and chill. There is just a compulsion in these uncertain times to also be uncertain and just let go – let the law of que sera, sera unfurl in your life. Is it really the best thing to be committed to something nowadays? The thing is, things are so uncertain that if we commit ourselves to something, there is a chance that the thing we have committed to will eventually not materialize because of circumstances beyond our control. So, we end up having this …

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Knowing Google Drive Inside Out

In our current situation, one of the most important things to master is putting files online. When most of us, if not everyone, is working from home and only armed with an Internet connection, it is inevitable that sharing of important files and documents is one skill that everybody should already be a master of. After all, hasn’t it been more than five months and running since the world started this anxiety-driven quarantine where everybody needs to practice a safe distance from everyone else? So by now, we would have already developed a deep appreciation towards devices and apps that allow working from home to be that easy and convenient. Who knew that such things like uploading, sharing, and downloading files would become second nature to us, as essential as knowing how to participate in a videoconference (something which we should be skilled with even outside work because Facetime-ing, Skype-ing, or Zoom-ing relatives from across the country and the world is such a welcome relief) or wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing when outdoors.

One of the most …

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Welcome Your Home Videos To The Digital Age

Now that most of us are still encouraged to stay home and not venture too much into the outside, disease-infested world, it is for sure that a lot of us have already rediscovered family memorabilia. If there is something that this pandemic has taught us, it is that family memories are truly invaluable. Births, family vacations, school programs, graduations, weddings, Thanksgivings, and Christmas can only be truly appreciated if they were captured in old photo albums and VHS tapes. And knowing how precious yet delicate they are, the thought of converting these photos and videos into digital formats has surely been considered. The good news is, for photos, the process of digitizing them is quite easy and straightforward. Turning old videos that have been stored in VHS tapes to digital may be a bit more challenging, although there are a number of ways to do it.

If you have old family videos in VHS, take note that the VHS format is temporary and has a tendency to degrade. After all, we may have experienced some videos getting erased as we …

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How to Maintain Your Sanity in Relation to the News

Because most of us have been stuck at home, we can’t help (or rather we don’t mind anymore) but be overly informed of everything. By the time we wake up, among the first things we do would be to grab our phones. Once we have successfully unlocked the screen, it is 100% sure that you get drowned with all the information you will encounter. You get updates on how many people in the US and every single country in the world have become positive of the COVID-19 virus, how many have recovered, and how many have perished. You then get told of what your friends are up to, how many plants they have decided to grow, how many of them have signed up for Black Lives Matter initiatives, and how many vacations and nights out have been hidden from you as people are finally posting throwback pictures in abandon.

So, while you read your news alerts and social media feeds, you get lost and fall into a rabbit hole of news and information and before you know it when you …

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What to Do With Google Play Music’s Departure

Not exactly sure if this is COVID19 related or not, but Google in the first week of August announced that it is in the process of closing its music platform, Google Play Music. Currently, Google Play Music users can stream music, as well as purchase full albums or single music files from the platform. Unfortunately, this will not be the case anyway as Google has rolled out a schedule for the impending closure of its music platform. In the last weeks of August, the Music Manager function of Google Play Music will not allow users to buy, pre-order, upload, or download music from Google Play Music anymore.  Then, by October, the Google Play Music app will be rendered useless already as users cannot stream music from the app anymore. By the end of that month, Google will cancel subscriptions at the end of their subscribers’ billing cycles, so they should have already migrated their Google Play Music library to a YouTube Music account or use a Google Takeout account to successfully migrate files. What will only be allowed until December …

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Be a Netflix Master!

If there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has made us do, that is it has further indulged us in our obsession with that one app that has helped us in maintaining our sanity in these troubled times – the all-powerful and absolutely entertaining… Netflix! The pandemic may have shrunk our world as most of us experienced being on lockdown at any point in the past three months, but thanks to Netflix, it didn’t feel like we’ve not “seen” the outside world as the streaming app exposed us to so many TV shows and movies not only from Hollywood but from all corners of the world. Admit it, you grieved as Nairobi met her untimely death in her team’s second grand robbery outing in Money Heist. Of course, who wouldn’t want to consider staying in the spectacular Hotel del Luna even if we are pretty much alive? Moreover, what made Netflix tick to most users is that when a Netflix Original program premieres, all the episodes are already available on the same day. Honestly, who can say no to a Netflix marathon? …

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The Search for the Best Earbuds

The earbuds market somehow exponentially boomed at around 2019. While it used to be a joke when earbuds were introduced (remember the Saturday Night Live sketch about earbuds getting lost every time iPhone users dances, requiring them to keep on buying new pairs), but now it seems that those fears of earbuds popping out of restless users have been assuaged because the devices have been more popular than ever. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, which only helped in making earbuds more of a need than just a marketing ploy of some gadget manufacturers. Without cords and wires to disinfect every time you use them outdoors, the convenience and practicality these earbuds provide have indeed become more pronounced.

As the quality of these earbuds, particularly in relaying sound, improve through time, we consumers are spoiled for choices on what to buy. That being said, there is currently not one single set of earbuds that is perfect for all types of users. Those with iPhones and other Apple devices may of course prefer AirProds, while proud Samsung or other Android phone owners …

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What a Waste – Our World’s Problem With Electronic Waste

We are living in a materialistic world. We consume so much tech so it’s only natural for companies to produce much as well to keep up with the demand. Thus, it is no wonder that laptops, air conditioners, television sets, headphones, microwaves, smartphones, and other electronic gadgets have ended up as electronic waste, which the world has also been producing at astounding levels. In fact, a 2019 report states that humanity has generated record numbers of e-waste, and as with its non-electronic counterparts, increased wastes will always present a new challenge.  have been

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor, a United Nations University, International Telecommunication Union, and International Solid Waste Association effort, 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste was produced in 2019, which is higher compared to 2014 levels (when the first report was published) by 9.2 million metric tons. Out of this, only 17% of the total has been recycled.

Things have gone better, but still not good enough

Actually, things have improved with the world’s increased efforts in recycling. Whereas during the 1990s and early 200s, people were …

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