Most of us are working from home to quarantine during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Being in the comfort of your own home might sound like the dream job, but it can also be extremely difficult to stay focused throughout the day. Here’s how to stay productive during this time.
1. Wake up early
Try to keep your routine disruptions to a minimal. Part of this is to still wake up and start at the same time you would usually start working. If work starts at 8am on a normal day at the office, wake up and make sure you are ready to work from 8am.
2. Avoid the pj’s
We know it’s tempting to just stay in those comfy pj’s, especially now with winter coming closer and some areas already getting chillier in the mornings. This is a bad idea, however, according to Northwestern University. Trick your mind and body into thinking you’re still at work by putting on clothes that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear at the office. If you dress professionally, there is also less chance of being caught off-guard when someone decides to video call you.
3. Don’t work from your bed/ lying on the couch
But the bed is sooooo comfy…
Well, sadly it’s not a productive space. It’s also never good to mix business with pleasure so try to keep your bed as the ‘comfy safe zone’ as it was meant to be. It’s also very tempting to take a blankie and lie on the couch – laptops just make it way too easy! Sit up straight and work from a proper office chair (or something equivalent you can find in your house).
4. Set up a designated office space
If it looks and feels like an office, your brain will act like it’s the office and get cracking with work. We understand it is sometimes difficult to make a home office if you do not have space and fancy equipment. In actual fact, all you need is a desk, a chair, sufficient lighting and make sure it is somewhere quiet where nobody can bother you.
5. Communication is key
Just like any human relationship, communication is key. Try to keep in touch with your colleagues and supervisors to make sure you are still on the right track – also for your own sanity! Working in a silo can get you on the wrong path and it is also reassuring that you are doing what you need to be doing – at the right pace. Get your team to make use of conference calling through programs such as; Zoom, WhatsApp conference call, Microsoft Teams, Google Duo, Whereby, FaceTime if you have Apple and of course, Skype.
6. Structure and Diarising
Structure will be your best friend when working-from-home. Plan your day by setting aside certain hours and timeframes for tasks. For example, from 8-9am you can catch up on any emails you missed the previous day. Write it out and try to stick by it as much as possible.
Diarising has two aspects to it. Diarise your to-do list and what you need to do for the day. Then it could also be keeping a diary of what you have achieved. So, at the end of each day – at the same time you would usually leave work so for example, 5pm – write out in a book what you have achieved. Write down everything you did and then end it off with listing tasks you were unable to complete.
7. Make sure you have a stable, fast internet connection
Nobody wants to work with lagging internet and bad connections when trying to be productive. Ensure your internet line is reliable by going for something like our frickin’ fast fibre or if you don’t have fibre in your area yet, our Fixed LTE does the trick! Definitely ditch the ADSL if you plan on getting anything done over the internet as these lines are pretty slow and could cause some issues.
A few bonus pointers for the Parents
Try to get all their energy out in the morning:
Have an hour or two set aside in the morning to play and spend some time with your youngsters. By the time you get to work, they will be ready for a nap or just a little calmer to give you some quiet time.
Make a ‘do-not-disturb’ zone:
This will give you time and space where you can work and not be side-tracked.
If they are old enough, give them specific activities to complete, such as painting a picture, finishing a puzzle piece or building something out of LEGO blocks. Tell them they have to sit down and give them a timeframe to complete it by. This will keep them occupied and give you time to finish up a few important work tasks.
So you followed your dreams and started your business. Finally, all processes and admin foundations are in place and you have a truly in-depth understanding of your new up and coming brand identity. Now it’s time to tell the world about your business! Luckily for you, marketing is constantly evolving to make life easier for the Entrepreneur. Social media now allows you to have direct access to your target audience and engage in meaningful interactions with them, and helps to establish your brand in their hearts and minds.
Social Media has truly changed the entire industry of marketing and advertising. Remember, social media can be demanding once activated – so ensure you have a solid social media maintenance plan in place. If used in the right way it will serve you, your brand, and your sales efforts well.
Which Social Media Platforms should you use for your business?
Here are a few platforms, which we recommend to you start you up. We tried most of them ourselves and can testify to its success
The Top 10 Social Media forums to consider for your new business:
This is by far the most popular social media website, boasting more than 1.5 billion active monthly users. This platform is particularly great for a small business that is looking to advertise products or events.
Yelp is the king of reviews. While it might not be structured like many other social networking sites, Yelp has more than 140 million active users. It is widely trusted and having positive reviews and ratings on the site might actually see you acquire lots of new business.
While it’s no Facebook, the fact that it is a Google product makes it quite attractive. Google has also put in more and more resources into the platform. Its SEO value makes it a must-use tool for any small business.
Twitter’s value lies in its ability to make your posts to go viral. You can use the platform to post your business updates, recent news and more. Hashtags play an important role in building your posts momentum so ensure you use relevant hashtags.
Consider this as your online resume. You can list your business history, core objectives and skill as well as recommendations from customers. A sound LinkedIn profile might see you win incredible business offers.
This platform helps you to eliminate clutter, highlighting your products and services in a very visual way. While it works best with products, you can still use the website to show business accomplishments such as involvement in charity, travel, parties and so on. Use the platform as a push tool to other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is another interesting visual sharing platform. Pin clickable images that lead back to your website. With more than 100 million users, you don’t want to ignore its marketing power.
Besides being the second largest search engine, this site is also owned by Google and so when it comes to search engine optimization, their videos are more likely to appear on Google’s top search results. Use it also as a feedback platform.
This question and answer platform allows you to set yourself as an expert in your field. Offer consistent, credible answers and see traffic to your website increase.
Snapchat is an image processing application that has quickly grown in popularity. You can use this application to share promo codes, demo your products or even partner with influencers as a strategy to increase your brand awareness.
What is a Ping and why is it important to you?
Sending a ping is a way of testing your connection speed. It helps us to troubleshoot speed issues on your internet line – and that’s why it’s important for you to understand what pings are all about.
A ping is the reaction time of your connection – how fast you receive a response, once you send a request. A fast ping means a super responsive connection. The measurement used for pings are Milliseconds (MS)*.
It works in a similar way to a sonar echo-location.
Think of your ping as a dolphin, sending sonar signals out hundreds of yards away to detect the size, shape, distance and speed of objects.
In the same way, your ping sends a small packet of information containing “echo-requests” to a specific device/PC’s (IP address), which then sends an “echo-reply” responding to each of the “Echo-requests” in return.
Pings help us check if the PC is connected to a network, and it determines any delays between two PC’s/devices. This is how it assists with troubleshooting, by confirming connectivity as well as its response times.
Making sense yet?
- Less than 50ms (excellent)
- Less than 100ms (good)
- 150ms (causes connectivity issues)
- 150ms or more (not so good)
It’s safe to assume online gamers to be pretty familiar with pings. Gamers appreciate pings between 20ms – 100ms.
Basic Ping Troubleshooting
In case of a poor ping result, you can try the following steps and test again to help you figure out what the issue is.
- Move closer to the router
- Close all background apps/websites and programs (Task manager will help with this)
- Reduce the number of devices connected to the Wi-Fi network
- Use local servers
- Connect PC via Ethernet cable to the router
You have probably run a ping test with the tech squad already – now you know why!
For a first go at an informed attempt with pings visit speedtest.net – this page will run a ping test for your connection, and with what you now know – you will be able to understand what the ping results mean to you.
In our next “Something for the geeks” blog we will chat about connection speeds, how to test them and how to improve them.
Now…. Ping and be merry Webafrican!
Most of us use Google every day, in some way or form, but few people realize just how powerful Google is as a search tool. The search giant allows you to refine your searches with a long list of tools, operations and extensions. These are our top Google search hacks.
Eleven ways to use Google:
Google Tabs to choose Content Type
Let’s start with an easy one that you are probably already using. Anytime you open Google in your PC browser, you will notice over on the top left hand side there are a couple of tabs, usually you’ll see All, Images, Videos, News, Maps, More.
These are the most common search types, and by clicking on the tab you want, you will be able to define the kind of search you want to do.
Check out the “More” and “Settings” Tabs, too, for additional functionality.
In Image search, check the “tools” tab to help you narrow your search down with everything from color to usage rights.
“Quotation Marks” for Specific Searches
Google crawls a lot of content when you search for a term, and being the wonderful tool that it is, it tries to pre-empt every possible scenario for you, giving you suggestions based off of your search term. However, sometimes you want to search for something specific without any side tangents from Google. Use quotation marks to set exact parameters for your Google search. Google will then look for that exact phrase, rather than pull up anything with the same meaning.
For example, if you search for Chocolate Rose Boxes, Google will search for content that contains those 3 words, or things that mean the same as them, in any order. If you type in “Chocolate Rose Boxes” with quotation marks, Google will only serve you webpages with that exact phrase, as you have typed it.
This is handy if you are looking for specific information that might be buried under other content, or in a case where there could be a lot of variables.
Hyphens to Exclude Words
You can use hyphens (a dash) to exclude certain terms from your search results. This is particularly helpful if you are searching for something with an ambiguous meaning. For example if you want to know about mustang horses, and you don’t want to be served hundreds of pages about cars, you would type in mustang – cars. This tells the search engine to ignore content with cars in it.
Colon to search Specific Sites
If you need to find specific content on a particular site, this is a handy shortcut. When you need to Google search for articles or content on a certain website, and no other, you can use a colon to make sure Google doesn’t stray. For example:
Sidney Crosby site:nhl.com
This will search for all content about famous hockey player Sidney Crosby, but only on the website: NHL.com. No other search results will be shown.
Find Link Backs
Want to know who is referencing a website you’re interested in? This search tip can help you find every web page that links to a specific article or web page. This is particularly handy if you want to find who is citing certain news articles. For example:
You want to know who has citing the Mail and Gaurdian. Type in: link: mg.co.za
You’ll be served all pages that link to M&G.
Find sites that are Similar to other sites
Have a favourite website? Want to find similar ones? This is a great tool for doing exactly that. Just type in: related:bbcfood and you will be served websites that are similar to BBC Food, but not actually that website.
The Asterisk wildcard
The asterisk works as a place holder when you don’t know the exact term or word for something that you are searching for. Particularly helpful for those in search of song lyrics! The results can be pretty entertaining, too, when you see what Google comes up with.
Use Google as a Calculator
No calculator? No problem. Just use Google. Just type your problem into the search bar using star for times and forward slash for divide. Alternatively you can type in the word calculator and use the calculator that pops up.
Use OR to search Multiple Terms at Once
Google is pretty flexible when it comes to searching for multiple things at once. You could search multiple terms at once by simply using the word or. For example: Best carrot cake recipe OR how to bake a carrot cake.
Search a Range of Numbers
This is a pretty obscure tip that you will either never use, or use quite a bit. It’s simple, if you are looking for a range of numbers you need to use two full stops .. between the start and end numbers. For Example: Which teams won the Rugby World Cup 1995..2017.
Useful Google Search Shortcuts
Last but not least, here are couple of quick, useful commands to help you find information fast:
Weather *posal code* – This will show you the weather in the given area. You can also use town and city names instead of area codes.
Define: *word* – This will display the definition of a word. You could also just use dictionary.com.
Time *place* – This will display the time in whatever place you type in.
Stock – You can check any stock by typing its ticker name into Google.
ZAR vs USD Exchange rate – check what your money is worth just by typing in your currency vs the currency you want.
Translate – You can either detect a language, or translate into or from any language. Just type translate into your search bar.
Turn your phone into a document scanner. This often over-looked app can be an absolute life saver if you need to scan and send documents when you’re far from the office. CamScanner lets you capture an image of your document, crop and cut it, improve the readability, and save it as a PDF.
It then allows you to share or Email directly from your phone.
Compatible with Android and iPhone.
Pretty much everyone knows about Evernote, but not everyone realizes just how versatile this app is.
It has a bunch of features, allows you to sync across various platforms (including your phone), and lets you take notes any way you can think of (list, voice, URL, image snaps, video, etc). Evernote is a collaborative app, so you can share notes with others easily. There are free and paid options available.
Compatible with Android, iPhone, PC and Mac.
There are a fair number of “to-do” list apps out there. TickTick is one of our favorites. It lets you organize your tasks, create lists, set reminders, and even features a calendar, a widget and shareable tasks to help you delegate and organize with others.
Compatible with Android and iPhone.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
This is really an app you can’t do without if you’re going to run even a semblance of productivity from your phone. Without it you won’t be able to open the vast majority of your documents.
Adobe Acrobat Reader is arguably the best there is as far as PDF readers go, and the mobile app is free and uses very little space. It will also sync with your existing Adobe account allowing the option to save to dropbox.
Compatible with Android and iPhone.
You’ll need a web conferencing and collaboration app, and there are plenty to choose from. We find this is the most mobile-friendly of the batch. It’s easy to set up, syncs across devices and you don’t even have to download it because there is a workable web option. Join.me offers screen sharing, videoconferencing and a virtual whiteboard feature.
Compatible with Android and iOS
While TickTick is a fantastic all-in-one type tool, Toggl offers a simple time tracker that is easy to use and makes your life infinitely easier if you need to keep track of how long you are spending on a task. Great for those who charge by the hour! The app lets you set up projects to clock your time against, and even lets you generate reports which can be used for invoicing. You can add up to five people to your team on the free version.
Compatible with Android and iOS
Keeping your finances in order is essential, for your business and in your personal life.
Expensify makes it much easier to do that. It captures your receipts, tracks your mileage and other outgoing expenses, and creates financial reports for you. You can then send these reports on via Email, too.
There is a free and a paid option, with the main difference between the two being a limited number of Smartscans and transactions.
Even summer gets the blues, but that doesn’t mean a little rain has to ruin the school holidays. Instead you can have your kids looking forward to those rainy holiday days with our list of the top online activities and websites for children.
Top 5 Educational Websites
These sanity savers will keep the kids busy in a fun (and educational) way that grown-ups don’t have to feel guilty about.
Teach your Monster to Read. This great “learn to read” website has activities that keep kids playing and helps them not only with phonics and spelling, but also with pronunciation. You can choose the appropriate reading skill level and age bracket, and it will take them on a non-stop adventure where learning is part of the game. Teach your monster to read.
PBS Kids. PBS is a long-trusted name in family viewing, who now offer a fantastic interactive online platform for your kids. With all kinds of colorful games and familiar characters for kids to choose from, there is bound to be something fun for them on PBS Kids online
ABC Mouse. ABC Mouse has eight learning levels starting from age three. Their activities are designed much like an online curriculum, and help to build your child’s skills in Reading, Maths, Science, and Arts. ABC mouse is a paid subscription website, but your first month is free. ABCMouse
National Geographic Kids. Another long-loved favorite is National Geographic. The magazine has been bringing us the wonders of the world for generations, and launched their NG Kids magazine in 2001. Now your children can find out about the wonders of the world online with their National Geographic Kids website.
Make me a Genius. If your kids are beyond the “learn to read” stage and you’re looking for something more engaging for preteens, Make me a Genius might be the answer. This website covers all kinds of topics from physics to the solar system, in way that’s designed to appeal to older kids. Make me a Genius
Top 5 Kids Gaming Websites
These gaming websites will keep your kids entertained for hours, and you can rest assured that they are set up specifically for kids.
FRIV. Easily the most popular (free) online game site for kids, FRIV offers an ever changing collection of free online games that are kid friendly and for the most part fairly simple to use. You might find yourself unable to stop playing along with them, though! FRIV
Disney. Needless to say, the entertainment giant, Disney, has its own game zone online to keep your kids busy. With characters from the shows themselves, your kids can play an assortment of games from arcade and action games to coloring, racing and even fashion creation games. Disney.com
Lego. It’s been a while since Lego was just a well-designed building block. The toy manufactures broke into the digital world with their movies and series a while ago. Not only do they have online games, but they offer almost as many different online games as they do kinds of Lego blocks. Lego.co
Hot Wheels. If you’re looking for an online game to keep your young car enthusiasts busy then you will be happy to find out that Hot Wheels has a great selection of racing and car games to choose from. Build your own tracks, race or just smash up some monster trucks at hotwheels.com.
Sesame Street. As with the show, Sesame Street is geared towards younger children. They can have fun playing games and completing tasks with their favorite Sesame characters, while having basic life skills reinforced at the same time. Sesamestreet.org
Top 5 Offline Activity Websites to keep you busy in real time
Arts, Crafts and at home science experiments are the things that holiday memories are made of. If you want to take a time out with the kids to have some fun in real time, making decorations and doing science experiments, then these sites should help you find fun things to make and do.
Crayola. Who better to come up with fun kids activities than a brand who creates their creative tools? Crayola lets you choose activities based on your child’s age range, from one year olds to preteens! Crayola
Activity Village. Activity village is packed with creative projects for parents and teachers to do with their kids. You can choose from all kinds of topics and themes. There is a paid option and a free option, but for very involved parents the paid option is a good deal, at only 15 Euro a year (about R250), as they add new activities all the time. Activity Village
Easy Peasy and Fun. Exactly what it says on the box. This website brings you activities and ideas in a Pinterest type format. With all kinds of themes and seasonal activities available for parents, kids and even very little kids to do together. Easy Peasy and Fun
Instructables. For kids (and parents) who love science projects, this is a great website. They have all kinds of fun things to make from science projects to tech to arts and crafts. Instructables.com
All Free Kids Crafts. There is so much to do on this website it’s hard to put it into a category. Completely free, and totally inspiring, this one is definitely worth checking out if you want to get your kids doing things at home over the holidays. All Free Kids Crafts
Top 5 Kids Holiday Movies to Stream
The movie house isn’t the only place to experience great holiday flicks with the kids. These are our top five family holiday movies that are available to stream online (or download for later, depending on where you source them).
- Arthur Christmas (Netflix)
- A Christmas Prince (Netflix)
- Elf (Netflix, Google Play, iStore)
- Home Alone (Google Play and iStore)
- Stickman (Showmax)
Top 5 kids cooking websites
If you’re feeling brave enough to unleash the kids in the kitchen, these five websites have the best kid’s recipes, holiday cookies and fun things to let your little sprogs create with food.
Spatula. Based off of the webcast series, this website follows the recipe for a pretty cooking blog, but one that’s aimed at kids. Your older kids will enjoy finding recipes they can make on their own for the whole family. Spatula
The Kids Cook Mondays. This website was put together to encourage families to take time out at least once a week to cook together. The idea is to encourage healthy food choices, quality family time and of course delicious food. The Kids Cook Mondays
Cooking with my Kid. This website is set up to please parents, teachers and young chefs alike. With all kinds of delicious recipes, how to videos and useful themes and categories, there is bound to be something tasty on here for your kids to make. Cooking with my Kid
Cook with Amber. This fourteen-year-old knows what kids want to eat, and she’s all about making it as healthy as possible. She’s part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube, and she has plenty of great recipes for your kids to try, whether you are helping your younger children, or letting your teen make dinner on their own. Cook with Amber
Chop Chop. This website is designed to teach basic cooking skills and encourage kids to be involved in the whole healthy process from snacks to dinner to desert. Chop chop
Pinterest. Okay so this is the sixth thing on this list, but technically it’s not one website. If you search Pinterest for Holiday recipes for kids you will come up with all kind of treats they will love to make!
There you have it! 25 websites, movies and online activities to keep you and your kids busy over the festive season. If you have your own family favorites feel free to share them with us in the comments on our Facebook Post.
*Please remember that young children should always be supervised online. Remember to set your Parental Controls on your Google settings.
t’s a common occurrence in corporate circles that Microsoft Outlook is the email client of choice, in comparison to its web-based counterparts, and duly so.
The desktop email client is dependable and has an ever-evolving intuitive interface that is not only available offline but also provides simple integration across email, calendar and contacts. Unlike web-based clients, Outlook allows you to organise emails in multiple ways that best works for YOU! You can schedule meeting rooms, ignore conversations, share and delegate calendars, add importance to emails, share and view contact details and most importantly minimise the clutter.
Here’s a list of Outlook add-ons that are designed to help make office life a breeze.
Evernote is a cross-platform online notepad that allows you to save emails (including its attachments) or entire threads directly into a notebook of your choice. The Evernote for Outlook add-on lets you keep project notes and emails in one place, all the while making it easy to share with the rest of your team.
Total Outlook Converter Pro is an effective tool that will help you convert Outlook emails to PDF, DOC, RTF, TXT, HTML and TIFF in batch. This way files can be opened with most email programs, but also most importantly it allows files to be opened without the use an email program.
Trello is one the world’s most popular task and project management apps, that has made an Outlook add-on available to increase efficiency in the workplace. The add-on feature allows you to turn emails into actionable items in Trello so that you don’t have to sift through tons of emails and to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. You can take emails out of your inbox and directly assign cards to incumbent members.
Text Lightning is the ideal time-saving solution that enables you to clear an overflowing inbox in no time. The tool saves previous responses for convenience, while still allowing you to edit and customise your reply.
Microsoft Office, although primarily used for business, is still susceptible to spam. MailWasher is a FREE to use effective spam filter that allows you to block spam, as well as check and manage emails before they are downloaded.
The craze that is Pokémon Go has placed augmented reality firmly in the mainstream, with more than 100 million people now engaging in a technology that had previously been the preserve of techies and gamers.
But despite the fact that Pokémon Go is the most downloaded and highest grossing mobile app of all time, millions of its users aren’t even aware that they’re dabbling in augmented reality (AR) – or indeed, what it is, and how it differs from virtual reality (VR). Let’s take a brief look at these two technologies.
Understanding augmented reality and virtual reality
In the case of Pokémon Go, users are experiencing augmented reality – a new technology that embeds digital elements into real-life situations. For players of the wildly popular mobile game, it means seeing images of their real surroundings with digital graphics superimposed. In a nutshell, AR is the merging of virtual reality and real life.
Virtual reality meanwhile doesn’t incorporate any real-life elements. Instead, it’s a fully computer-generated, three-dimensional simulation of specific environments, like outer space or a Formula 1 race track.
Because of the way in which VR is generated, a user feels like they’re actually able to physically interact with the environment they’re seeing. They may feel, for instance, as if they really are driving a car, flying through space, picking up objects or building contraptions with their hands. This is thanks to special equipment such as glasses or goggles, headsets with screens inside them, or gloves fitted with sensors.
Some of today’s most popular VR headsets include the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR. For those who can’t afford the fairly steep prices associated with this equipment, VR arcades and cafés are popping up throughout SA to put gamers and thrill-seekers in the driving seat – so to speak – without the high costs. It also alleviates the need to invest in the Fibre Internet infrastructure ideally required to support these online games.
Itching to have AR and VR in your life? Start here
You’ll need a fairly good Internet connection – Fibre Internet is recommended for optimal speed and uninterrupted playing time – and a sense of adventure!
If you loved this topic, read our article about Pokémon Go.
When deciding what kind of data package to get for your Internet usage it’s good to take into consideration what you will be using it for to ensure you are getting enough bang for your buck.
What do we mean by Capped and Uncapped ADSL? Let’s break it down:
You will get a set amount of data for the month; once this has been used you will need to purchase more. The amount of data will be determined by the package you buy.
This is great for low usage users who are sending emails, checking social media and even for gamers, perfect for home use, where your data usage can be easily monitored. Capped ADSL is unshaped and is given higher priority on the network meaning the Internet will be faster.
The downside however is that you may be paying a slightly more expensive rate per Gigabyte than you would on Uncapped, and it is not recommended for heavy downloads.
You are not limited to a set amount of data per month so you can access the Internet 24/7 without worrying about how much data you are using.
This is great for those who have a fixed budget and don’t want to worry about additional data costs at the end of the month. An uncapped package is ideal for high usage and downloading but not recommended for business use. However, your line speed may vary more often as Uncapped is given the lowest priority on the network.
For more ways to get connect read our article on Internet connection for your home.
To find out more about our services contact us on 087 943 8853 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you sometimes feel like you cannot follow or comprehend what tech people are talking about – especially since they speak in acronyms all the time? Well, we know just how you feel, which is why we have compiled the most common terms used and explain them in simple terms to hopefully make it a little easier for you to understand.
Beginning with the basics and moving to more complex terms, here is a small glossary to get you started:
You might have heard the saying the “Internet of Things” (IoT) in conversation at work or with friends or during a lecture or talk. What is being referred to here is the multitude of devices that intelligently connect and interact with each other via the Internet – think vehicles, kitchen appliances, heart monitors etc. i.e. a physical world that is a giant information system.
Standing for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL refers to a location (or address) of a web or mobile site accessed via the Internet. INTRAWIT’s URL is https://www.intrawit.co.za/.
An MSP is a Managed Service Provider. Essentially that means an IT service provider like us, that hosts and manages servers, networks and applications for and on behalf of its customers.
A Virtual Data Centre (VDC) is just that, a virtual representation of a physical data centre complete with servers, storage and networking components. The only difference to an actual centre is that the infrastructure is cloud based.
The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet. When people talk about keeping their files in the cloud, it means they are storing them on the Internet using a software program. This allows them to access their files from anywhere that has an Internet connection.
Most customers will require Disaster Recovery as a Service (DraaS) from their service providers. Effectively this is a backup service that will protect the customer’s applications and data from being disrupted in the event of a disaster allowing normal business to continue. This may also be referred to as Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS).
Uber, Airbnb, Shopify, Linkedin, Dropbox, Slack and Zendesk are all examples of Software as a Service (SaaS) companies whereby customers pay to use software over the Internet. It is also known as hosted software or on-demand software.
See, not so confusing anymore, right? There are many more, so should you get stuck on a tech term, simply use trusty old Google for a quick and easy explanation in the results. And if you need a little more, simply go to techopedia.com for more information.
Follow INTRAWIT on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest industry news and technology insights.
Lately, you may have heard a lot about Fibre Internet and the fact that it’s bringing faster download speeds to users across South Africa. But what exactly is the difference in speeds between ADSL and Fibre Internet – and more to the point, what does the terminology all mean?
Internet speeds: Breaking down the jargon
Starting with the basics, ‘Internet speed’ refers to the rate (speed) at which information or data travels from the Web to your device, be it a computer, tablet or smartphone. Internet speed is calculated in megabits per seconds (Mbps), and you’ll usually find that the speed at which you download from the Internet is much higher than the speed at which you upload, as most Internet activity is centered around downloading data.
Your Internet speed depends on the type of connection you have – ADSL or Fibre – and various factors affect the speed of each of those.
Why is Fibre Internet faster than ADSL?
ADSL uses telephone lines to transmit data along copper cables from your nearest telephone exchange to your home or office. The further you are from the exchange, the slower your speeds will be. Copper cables are often affected by bottlenecks: the more Internet traffic, the slower your download speeds – just like traffic on the roads.
Fibre Internet – sometimes referred to as ‘superfast broadband’ – uses fibre optic cables to transmit data. This means that data has the potential to travel at the speed of light, and isn’t affected by your distance from the exchange. It can also handle much higher volumes of traffic without your download speeds being affected.
ADSL offers perfectly acceptable speeds – up to 40Mbp
s – for most Internet activities, including business functions, media streaming and gaming. However, Fibre Internet users enjoy the fastest speeds (up to 200Mbps), and this type of connection is particularly beneficial to large businesses conducting the majority on their work online or via the cloud. Of course, these advantages come at a cost, and Fibre Internet can be pricier than ADSL broadband.
ADSL and Fibre Internet options available in SA
Fibre Internet is a relatively new technology in South Africa, which means it’s only currently available in major business districts and city centers. ADSL is available anywhere that telephone lines exist.
Need more help choosing?
Read our post Fibre vs ADSL: Which is best for your business? or contact us on 087 943 8853 or email@example.com for advice.
Staying productive at work can often seem impossible. Interruptions from colleagues, unnecessary meetings and endless emails can all combine to disrupt your workflow. Not to mention the constant allure of checking Facebook updates, innocuous Skype chats and the rabbit-hole of funny cat videos on YouTube.
These factors can combine to make managing your workload and meeting deadlines challenging at the best of times. The good news is that there are numerous ways to increase your productivity so that you can improve your performance and stay on top of your game!
Here are 5 tips to improve your productivity at work:
1. Use a personal Kanban Board
The personal Kanban Board is a productivity method that keeps all your ‘to-dos’ in front of you and prioritized so you never have to wonder what to work on next. It’s designed to give you a simple, visual look at what needs to get done, what your priorities are, and what you’ve accomplished. The Personal Kanban works on two key ‘rules’; visualize your work and limit your work in progress (WIP). To visualize your work you set up a board and then place all your tasks on the board with sticky notes or cards. The notes can be categorized or colour-coded in order of priority.
Your board is divided into three columns titled ‘to-do’, ‘doing’ and ‘done’ and the objective is to then move each task through the different stages. To limit your work in progress simply means to limit the number of things you work on at the same time. Ideally you should only have one task in the ‘doing’ column of your board at a time. This helps you to focus, limits multitasking and lets you better manage your workload. The best part is at the end of the day you get a great sense of satisfaction seeing all the cards piled up in the ‘done’ column!
2. Gamify your work tasks and goals
Gamification is the application of gaming mechanics and metaphors to non-gaming scenarios. Gamification is a big trend in business at the moment as a way of engaging employees and gaining customer loyalty.
But did you know you can apply gamification to your life or work goals? The process behind gamification is to focus on big goals while at the same time rewarding each of the achievable little steps taken towards that goal. The idea is to set up a system that rewards you for consistently achieving small goals, much like a game where you are rewarded every time you complete a task.
This can also be called ‘leveling up’ as when you complete a certain number of tasks or goals you get to advance to the next ‘level’ of the game. There are numerous apps that can help you gamify your productivity goals. To find out more read this article on gamified productivity apps.
3. Block off your most productive time
WORK PRODUCTIVITY It’s easy to get distracted at work and often demands from co-workers, meetings and never-ending emails can keep you from your most important tasks. Different people also find that they are most productive at different times of the day. Some like to get down to their most important task first thing while others prefer to ease into their work and tackle their more challenging projects later in the day. If you find that you are constantly being distracted, decide when your most productive time is and block off that time as ‘busy’, ‘unavailable’ or ‘in a meeting’ so that your co-workers know not to disturb you during that time. This will allow you to have a distraction-free period in your day to tackle your most important tasks.
4. Try the Pomodoro Technique
This is a simple time management technique based on the iconic Pomodoro kitchen timer. The idea is to focus on tasks and get things done in short bursts while also taking frequent breaks. You simply set a timer for 25 minutes and then take a break for five minutes. After completing four sets of 25 minute intervals you then take a break for 15 or 20 minutes before starting the system again. This system improves your attention span and enables you to concentrate better on your tasks. Although this system is often punted by designers and developers, the great thing about it is that it can be used and adapted by anyone no matter what tasks you are performing.
There are many Pomodoro apps you can download to your Smart phone or you can try this custom productivity timer which allows you to choose between the Pomodoro system or your own customized timer settings.
5. Listen to music
There is evidence to suggest that music makes repetitive tasks easier and more enjoyable and that listening to ambient music can help you focus and be more creative. A New York Times article highlighted a study done with IT specialists which found that “those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood.”
Another article looked at the different types of music that are best for increasing your productivity. It found that music with sounds from nature and music without lyrics is better at blocking out distractions and keeping you focused and productive. So the next time you need to concentrate on a project try plugging in to some music to boost your brain power. And remember that while ambient music can help you be more creative and productive if the music is to loud it will have the opposite effect and make it incredibly difficult to concentrate.
We hope you’ve found these tips useful. Let us know on Twitter what techniques you use to keep productive in the workplace with the hashtag #worktips
Ever seen that handy little pop-up that asks if you’d like your browser to remember your password? It’s tempting to click ‘Save’ and avoid the tedium of typing it in every time. But before you do, you need to be absolutely certain that your password is strong.
Browsers like Chrome, Safari, Opera and others have the functionality to store your passwords so that you can automatically log into your favorite applications, using any of your connected devices, without having to re-enter your password. However, as Opera recently discovered, these stores of information are highly attractive to hackers. Their system was breached in August this year, compromising the data of 1.7 million synced users, according to Wired.com.
But, in a world where time is money and both are increasingly coveted, how do you choose between convenience and safety? The good news is that you don’t have to, as long as you practice good password hygiene.
The key to creating strong passwords
Nowadays, browsers and other apps are creating central places where you can store your passwords. One super-strong master password, backed by two-factor authentication, should be enough to keep the rest of your passwords and data secure.
Follow these steps to create a virtually unhackable password:
1. Don’t use names, dates, numbers or events that are significant to you (such as your anniversary, a pet’s name or a license plate number). Even if you think no one will guess them, you’re wrong: there is malware specifically created to crack these with ease.
2. Use at least 12 characters, mixing letters and numbers, as well as uppercase, lowercase and special characters (where permitted). Try to create a password that seems random but which you’ll be able to remember – Webroot.com has some excellent tips and examples.
3. Avoid using sequences of numbers and letters as they appear on your keyboard (i.e: 1234 or qwerty).
4. Even if you have a strong master password, use a different password on every site you use.
5. Remember that passwords should be like underwear: Hidden from others; never shared, and never left out for others to see (for example, on Post-It notes at your desk). They should also be changed often (though not necessarily daily!).