10 Ways to Improve Your Online Marketing Efforts

There are so many different ways to market your business online. You need to have your own website, a social presence, and maybe even a video strategy.

Members of our small business community have plenty of experience with these methods. Read on for some of their tips in this week’s Small Business Trends community news and information roundup.

Make a Lasting First Impression

(nancyrubin)

Your landing page is often the first thing people see when they get to your website. So its job is to create a positive first impression and a clear call to action. If your brand is having trouble converting online customers, consider these tips for creating an effective landing page from Adam Groff.

Create Social Media Graphics That Spread Like Wildfire

(Rebekah Radice)

Visual marketing has become incredibly important in recent years thanks to social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. If you want to be successful on those platforms, you need to know what kinds of images are likely to gain attention. Rebekah Radice shares some tips for creating shareable social images. You can also see conversation about the post in the BizSugar community.

Use These Best Practices for Design and Conversion

(Marketing Land)

Great web design doesn’t always lead to the best conversion numbers. But designing specifically to increase conversion doesn’t always lead to great design. However, there are a few things that Web designers and conversion optimizers can agree on, as Jeremy Smith shares.

Avoid These Writing Mistakes

(Kapow Content)

Whether you’re creating content for your blog, social media channel or other outlets, great writing is key. You don’t need professional training to write great content for your business. But tips from Wendy Johnson can help you avoid some common writing mistakes.

Don’t Automatically Write Off Pop Ups

(Spin Sucks)

Most people hate pop ups on websites. However, when used in the right situations and for the right customers, they can actually be pretty effective. Laura Petrolino shares some tips for implementing pop ups. And BizSugar members shared some feedback as well.

Understand Your Video Presentation Options

(The SEM Post)

Video presentations can be some of the most effective ways to get the attention of your customers and teach them about what you have to offer. But there has been quite a bit of change in the online video presentation market lately, as Greg Jarboe explains. So it can help to know your options before getting started.

Understand These Realities of Blogging for Business

(Busy Blogs Plus)

Pretty much anyone can start a business blog. But it takes practice and hard work to actually keep it going and make it successful. Amanda Lynch shares these and other realities of business blogging. The BizSugar community also discussed the post.

Connect with Your Employees Online

(Biz Epic)

Virtual businesses are becoming more and more prominent. That also means that there are a lot of online tools available for business owners to communicate with their employees who work remotely. Ivan Widjaya shares some tools and tips for virtual businesses to connect with their employees.

Learn These Lessons from Successful Entrepreneurs

(CorpNet)

You don’t get to be a successful entrepreneur without learning a few lessons along the way. So less experienced business owners could do well to listen to some of that wisdom that their more experienced counterparts have to share. Nellie Akalp shares some of those business lessons from successful entrepreneurs.

Find Marketing and Additional Resources Online

(SMB Stash)

There are so many different resources available online, it can actually be difficult to keep track of them all. But this new online directory is now available to give small and medium sized businesses a place to find a huge variety of resources that can help them with marketing and more.

10 Must Reads for Improving Your Online Marketing

Having a good website and clear online marketing strategy is very important in today’s business world. But there’s a lot that goes into building an online strategy. So we rounded up some of the best tips and related posts from members of our small business community. Read on for the full list in this week’s Small Business Trends community and information roundup.

Create a Welcoming Website

(Barefoot Basics)

What do your customers see when they go to your website? Do they see a site that is welcoming and professional, or one that is confusing and difficult to navigate? This post from Rochelle Stone explains the importance of creating a welcoming website and some things to consider in order to accomplish that goal.

Correct These Google Analytics Blind Spots

(Marketing Land)

If you have a website for your business, then you probably use a service like Google Analytics to measure its performance. But there are some website features that Google Analytics doesn’t help you with. This post from Brian Massey outlines some of those Google Analytics blind spots and offers solutions for correcting them.

Make Your Web Content Live Up to Its Promise

(Premier Content Source)

Writing great headlines and promoting content is very important to finding online success. But your actual content needs to live up to the hype. Here, Nicole Beckett shares some thoughts on creating great content. And the BizSugar community discusses the post further here.

Use These Tips for Your Holiday Facebook Strategy

(Competitive Edge)

When the holiday season rolls around, many businesses take the opportunity to spruce up their social media promotions. In fact, there are many different ways you can make your Facebook page more inviting for holiday customers. This post by Shantha Wetterhan shares three strategies for optimizing your holiday Facebook presence.

Measure Your Social Media ROI

(Stuart J Davidson)

When you use social media in your marketing efforts, it can be difficult to really tell what you are getting out of it. But this post from Stuart J. Davidson shares some methods for measuring social media ROI. And BizSugar members talk more about the post here.

Avoid These Online Marketing Mistakes

(Belle Communications)

So you’re marketing your business online. That’s great. But there are plenty of roadblocks that can negatively impact your online marketing efforts. Here, Kate Finley shares 10 of the most common online marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Update Your Content Marketing Efforts

(Griot Digital)

Content marketing is a constantly evolving field. It’s not just the tools that change though. Businesses also need to update the methods they use for trying to reach customers. This post by Nadia James includes some thoughts on content marketing along with a helpful infographic.

Tell a Great Story

(Resonance Content)

It’s important to tell a story with your online and in-person marketing efforts. Part of that story is to explain who exactly you are. Here, Rachel Parker shares some methods for telling your story effectively. And BizSugar members talk more about the post here.

Use These Internet Security Tips in the Workplace

(Internet Billboards)

Online security is becoming increasingly important, particularly for business matters. In this post, Agnes Marylinn shares some tips for improving internet security in the workplace.

Get Your Great Content Noticed With SEO

(XEN)

If you want to get your website or blog noticed, you need to have great content. But if no one ever sees that content in the first place, it still won’t do any good. This post by Kerry Butters shares some thoughts on balancing SEO and great content. And the BizSugar community shares some thoughts on SEO as well.

Step Up Your Online Marketing Efforts with These 10 Tips

Today’s businesses need an online marketing strategy to succeed. While every business’s strategy may look a bit different, there are some common threads that hold most of those successful strategies together.

Members of the small business community have plenty of tips to share when it comes to successfully marketing businesses online. Check out their top tips below.

Make Your Way with Social Media

Social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You have to determine the strategy that is going to work best for your business, as Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media discusses here. And Strella elaborated on these suggestions in a conversation in BizSugar community here.

Super Charge Your Local Search Results

Even for local businesses, online marketing can make a huge difference. Local search, for example, can help to bring new faces to your store, restaurant or other local business. To make the most of your local search marketing, check out this Inc article by Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell.

Think About These Things for Your Website’s Social Sharing Features

Letting customers or followers do some of your online marketing for you can really help out and save you time. But you need to make sharing your content easy for them. So in this article at the Social Media Week, Larry Alton suggests some things you should think about when incorporating social sharing buttons into your website.

Keep Up with Marketing Technology Trends

Thanks to technology, online marketing is constantly changing. That means that you need to keep up with the new trends in order to stay relevant to tech savvy consumers. This article at Docurated by Angela Stringfellow includes some marketing technology trends that are poised to re-shape the world of marketing.

Grow Your Website Traffic

Content creation can be a key part of your online marketing strategy. But you need to build traffic in order for your content to be effective. This post on the official dlvr.it blog by Bill Flitter includes a playbook for growing traffic to your content.

Expect These Things When Joining Social Media

As a small business owner, the idea of joining various social media sites and regularly using them as part of your online marketing plan can seem daunting. But if you know what to expect, the process can be a bit easier. Here on NutsPR, Corina Manea shares some things you should expect when joining social media as a small business owner.

Use These Best Practices for Twitter Polls

Twitter’s polling feature can help you to gain insights and interaction from your followers on the platform. And the microblogging site has now revealed some of the best practices that people should use when running polls, which Matt Southern covers in this Search Engine Journal article. BizSugar members also chime in with their own thoughts here.

Consider Starting Your Own Podcast

Lots of businesses have websites and social media accounts. But starting your own podcast can really help you to stand out in today’s business world. Here, Ileane Smith shares some of the benefits that businesses could realize through starting a podcast.

Create a Content Anchor

When creating content for an online audience, the length and quality of your content can make a big difference in how many people see and interact with it. In this post on Blogger Sidekick, Will Blunt discusses the concept of a content anchor and how it could help your online marketing strategy.

Use Influencer Marketing That Works

Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept to a lot of businesses. But it can really jumpstart your online marketing efforts if used correctly. Here, Ann Smarty discusses how small businesses can use influencer marketing in a way that should work both now and in the future.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:  sbtips@gmail.com.

New Year 2017 Wishlist: What Gadgets 360 Staff Are Looking to Buy for Themselves – and Why

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Predictably, there’s a couple of new iPhones in there
  • VR gets a couple of shouts too
  • Gaming seems to be the most in-demand category for 2017

Now that 2017 is upon us, the talk inside the Gadgets 360 lab has shifted to things such as CES, MWC, and of course, iPhone 8 rumours. And, since we spend too much time shopping for tech, we’re also predictably talking about all the gadgets we want to buy.

For many of us, this is also a bit of a break from reality – we’ve had people in our team dream of buying an Xbox One for a couple of years before taking the plunge – but who doesn’t enjoy planning that next big tech buy?

If you’re curious about the gadgets that will be filling the Gadgets 360 office in the coming months – hopefully – then read on to see everyone’s top pick for buying in 2017.

Abhinav Lal: HTC Vive – While this will also entail a PC upgrade for me, I want to enter the world of PC gaming VR, and the HTC Vive looks like the best bet so far.

Akhil Arora: 4K HDR TV – Good 4K HDR TVs are way too expensive right now. I was lucky enough to witness the capabilities of one such TV when it landed in our office, and when Netflix showed off the high-end version. Despite the lack of content heading into 2017, I’m sold on the idea of buying one – if money was no barrier – more so because of how much TV I tend to watch.

Sony Z9D

Devika Chitnis: JBL GO – I am in dire need of a portable speaker. JBL Go has a clean design which is awesome and comes in different pop colours that make the speaker look alive. I am eyeing the orange one. The sound quality is surprisingly good for an affordable portable speaker.

Gagan Gupta: Bose QC35 – Now that I’ve said goodbye to the 3.5mm jack thanks to my iPhone 7 Plus, I need a good pair of over the ear headphones that can keep out noise, expecially on flights and cabs. While the Bose QC35 may not be every audiophile’s headphones of choice, it’s still the best when it comes to active noise cancellation, and it sounds just right with my classic rock collection.

Gopal Sathe: Zotac VR GO Backpack – I’ve been interested in VR since the Oculus Kickstarter first got off the ground. That we are finally “there” is hard to believe. That you can now put on a backpack and enjoy a (largely) mobile yet high quality VR experience is nothing short of magical. If I have the money, I’d absolutely be getting the Zotac VR GO Backpack.

zotac vr go box contents

Jamshed Avari: Geforce GTX 1070 – It really is time to get serious about tackling my Steam backlog. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, but looking at the kind of performance that both Nvidia and AMD have both brought to the table this year, it’s finally time. I’m leaning towards the GTX 1070 because I want enough performance headroom to drive top-tier games at 1920×1200 pixels for at least a few years. The specific graphics card will depend on prices and availability at the time of purchase.

Ketan Pratap: Next iPhone – I have been an Android user all of my life but I guess it’s about time to go for my first iPhone. Considering this year is the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone launch, I expect the next one to come with decent changes both in terms of innards as well as design.

Kunal Dua: What Gagan said.

Naina Gupta: Next iPhone – I have heard too much about iPhone around me but never used it. I want to take experience of 3D Touch, Live Photos, and other unique features of iPhone.

Pranay Parab: Board/ Card games – I’ve been meaning to reduce screen time and spend more time with my friends and family. Card games and board games sound like a way to accomplish this, without spending obscene amounts of money at cinemas and restaurants.

We’ve all played and hated Monopoly (aka Business), but there are great alternatives such as Pandemic, Resistance, Catan, Game of Thrones, Star Wars: Rebellion. I’m also planning to play funny card games such as Exploding Kittens with my friends.

Ravi Sharma: Nintendo Switch – I am not much of a gamer, but the Nintendo Switch (and its hybrid form factor) may finally be the device that pulls me into the fold. The rumoured price tag of $250-300 makes the Switch cheap enough for me to afford it, without sacrificing my budget for a mid-range laptop that I am also planning to buy in 2017.

And games such new Sonic, Mario, Dragon Quest X, Legend of Zelda titles that are expected to be released for Nintendo Switch are enough to satiate my appetite for nostalgia, while the exclusives will hopefully be engaging enough to retain me on the platform.

switch

Rishi Alwani: Project Scorpio – The PS4 Pro has a one year headstart over Microsoft’s next iteration on the Xbox One, that will remain a highly competent piece of kit in 2017. However I’m extremely curious to see how Microsoft leverages its fantastic first-party franchises, such as Forza and Halo to make full use of Project Scorpio, more so with the likes of Scalebound and Crackdown 3 on the way.

Rohan Naravane: Google Pixel 2 – It was great to see Google finally taking hardware into its own hands, and launch the Pixel phones. Since there’s been only one Pixel phone till now, there’s no guarantee if, or when, we’ll see another one. If Google does release a ‘Pixel 2’, which I’m hoping will happen around the end of 2017, then I would certainly want to buy one.

Roydon Cerejo: Manfrotto Advanced Camera and Laptop backpack – I’ve been looking to replace my Lowepro Photo Hatchback (which is still serving me brillliantly) with something that can accommodate a laptop too. This particular Manfrotto backpack seem like the prefect combination of size, versitality and price, for me anyways.

manfrotto bag backpack

Sandeep Kumar Sinha: Sony Smart TV – I need to synchronise my playlists and other streamable content on the devices I own, and, in 2017, my television should have this feature. A Sony Smart TV is a likeable product that I am looking to buy in 2017 as most of the apps I use could be mirrored and projected easily.

Sanket Vijayasarathy: PlayStation 4 – I’ve been meaning to get my hands on the PlayStation 4 for a while now. I’ve played a bunch of PS4 titles at friends’ places, but seeing as how the console is now available for around Rs. 26,000 (for the 500GB model, whenever there’s a sale on), I think the time has come for me to move on to a current-gen console.

ps4 black white

Shekhar Thakran: Tekken 7 – I still have fond memories of playing Tekken 3 as well as Tekken 5 on my Playstation 2 from several years ago. As the game franchise is finally coming to PC with Tekken 7 next year, it is a no-brainer for me. With much-improved graphics and the same old characters, nothing that can go wrong.

Shubham Verma: Microsoft Surface Studio with the Microsoft Dial – The beautiful, large-screen monitor is worth swooning over, and the Microsoft Dial takes things to another level. I keep making different art designs on my laptop, and the Microsoft Dial and Surface pen would make this so much easier. While the price will probably keep me from ever actually buying this gadget, if I had the money, the considering the features and the advanced actions enabled by them, this would be the must-buy package of 2017.

Google Pushes Virtual Reality Harder With New Phones From Partners

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Huawei announced two phones that will work with Daydream View
  • Asus ZenFone AR will support both Daydream and Google’s Tango
  • Google has stressed that the programs do not overlap for now

Alphabet Inc’s Google quickened the pace of its push into virtual and augmented reality this week as its hardware partners announced new devices featuring the company’s technology at the CES electronics show in Las Vegas.

Google has been trying to position the vast network of smartphones running its Android operating system for virtual and augmented reality, known as VR and AR, fields that many in the technology industry say are poised to go mainstream after years of niche appeal.

Chinese manufacturer Huaweiannounced on Thursday that two of its phones will soon work with Daydream View, a VR headset released last year by Google. Meanwhile, Taiwanese manufacturer AsusTek Computer Inc announced that its ZenFone AR will support both Daydream and Google’s Tango software for AR, in which computer-generated content is overlaid on the real world.

While the announcements expand the line-up of participating phones, Google still has much to do to take its technology to the masses, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research, noting that Samsung Electronics Co, the largest Android manufacturer, has yet to sign on.

Google Pushes Virtual Reality Harder With New Phones From Partners

“Google’s ecosystem for both AR and VR is in the very early days,” he said.

As growth in the global smartphone market shows signs of slowing, some manufacturers are voicing optimism that AR and VR will revive consumer enthusiasm.

“This is the next wave of technology that is really going to get consumers excited about smartphones,” Erik Hermanson, Asus’s head of marketing for mobile products, said at the show.

 

But mainstream consumer interest in the technology remains largely unproven. Apps might be expected to stimulate demand, but until Google’s technology is available on a wider range of phones, it will be tough to persuade developers to build for the platform, analysts said.

“We are waiting for app developers to really use the platform for what it’s for,” Amit Singh, a vice president for VR at Google, told reporters.

In addition to supporting Daydream, Huawei said that it is exploring opportunities for Tango with Google. The Asus phone became the first to support both technologies.

Google has stressed that the programs do not overlap for now, but by pursuing both, the company can position itself for success regardless of whether AR or VR becomes a mainstream hit.

“By having options for both, they can cover the full potential market,” said analyst Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research.

 

Could the Future of Virtual Reality Lie in Enterprise Software?

HIGHLIGHTS

  • VR can enable immersive lessons, and be useful for education and training
  • It is making an impact in gaming but also has potential in enterprise
  • Early adoption of VR is slowing, but this is fairly typical, says HTC

“Virtual reality can enable unique experiences that are not available through any other platform, and come in a number of different flavours, to appeal to a wide spectrum of users,” says Vinay Narayan, Executive Director, VR, at HTC Vive. It’s not surprising to hear a senior executive at one of the only two serious players in the VR space talking up the potential for VR, but what is interesting is that Narayan believes that a lot of the untapped potential of VR lies in the enterprise space.

Could the Future of Virtual Reality Lie in Enterprise Software?

HTC co-develped the Vive with Valve, the famous game company that makes the Steam distribution platform, along with some of the most popular games such as the Half Life and Portal series, and as Narayan acknowledges, much of the early impetus for VR has come from games. In fact, when he’s asked to name his favourite VR experience, he demurs, saying there are too many things to choose from, before naming the game Job Simulator as one of his top picks.

But today, nearly a full year after HTC started accepting pre-orders for the Vive, there are fears that the interest has plateaued. Looking at the Steam Hardware and Software Survey, January 2017, you can see that after early growth in share both Oculus Rift and Vive share looks fairly stagnant. Does that bode ill for VR?

htc vive consumer

“Sign ups – from a pre-order standpoint – the curve has been very typical,” says Narayan. “It’s similar to what you would see for any device, and although we can’t share the exact numbers, it’s been quite healthy. We’re still seeing adoption grow, and the biggest growth today is coming from a new area, that’s the non-gaming space. There are over 1,000 titles on Steam alone, and we’re expecting enormous growth in the enterprise space.”

That’s where companies such as Noida-based SmartVizX enter the picture. Some companies have been looking to make games, and others movies. SmartVizX has been using VR to design buildings. Narayan is one of the members of the board for SmartVizX, along with some other companies around the world, and he tells Gadgets 360 that his role with these companies is fairly hands-on, as he can help them to shape their VR strategy, and give a perspective on how VR is being used around the world.

For companies working on VR, in India and around the world, Narayan believes that consumer awareness of virtual reality, or the lack thereof, is the greatest challenge. “These guys are doing some really great work, but if the public at large isn’t aware of it, then that is a problem,” he says. “Right now, VR is just getting started, and not a lot of people are on-board yet, which is less of a problem in enterprise.”

smartvizx vive

Outside of gaming, he sees a lot of companies that are developing software for VR, such as design tools, and he also says that VR can be used in education and training.

“For design, blueprints and mockups, they’re all an interpretation,” he says. “Even a 3D model of a building has limitations. But in VR, you can prototype with perfect accuracy. You can take someone on-site, into the location. If you’re an architect who can take your client on a walking tour of their new house, without wasting time building a 3D model, and letting them actually look up and get a real sense of scale, it is hugely beneficial.”

“It’s particularly valuable for education,” he adds. “If someone uses VR to solve a problem, they are much more immersed. More of your mind is engaged with what you’re learning, and it makes a bigger impact. One of the ways in which the Vive is already being used is for firefighter training, because obviously you can’t just keep setting buildings on fire to train the rescue workers. The results of that have been amazing.”

firefighting vive

In fact the ViveTracker, which was unveiled recently at CES 2017, is used for the firefighter training – this accessory clips on to a real firehose, so that its movement can be tracked inside the virtual world. This makes for a more realistic exercise than fighting fires with a Vive game controller. “The ViveTracker is going to open up a range of new experiences, both in gaming and otherwise,” adds Narayan.

This focus beyond gaming, and to explore the different capabilities of VR, is also partly why HTC Vive launched its own market for VR apps recently, the Viveport VR App Store. With this launch, there are now three different app stores for VR – the Viveport, the Oculus Store, and Steam. This is not an exclusive store – Vive users can make full use of Steam, and Viveport doesn’t exclude the Oculus Rift.

“We believe equal access to virtual reality experiences will make the world a better place; enhancing our daily lives and the way we connect with everything. An important goal for the Viveport team is to enable developers to reach a global audience and grow their business,” said Rikard Steiber, Senior Vice President of Viveport.

Viveport

Narayan explains that this will enable Vive to help highlight not just games, but also other VR content. “SteamVR is a very widely used tool, but it’s best known for games,” he says. “Viveport will allow us to highlight non-gaming applications as well, and this will also be helpful when working with enterprises.”

Of course, the question is whether there are enough users to sustain this interest in VR, and allow even just three different platforms to proliferate. Part of the problem is the high cost to enter – the cheapest option, the PlayStation VR will set you back by $399 (Rs. 41,990 in India), and you need to own a PS4 in order to use it. The Vive is the most expensive of the lot, priced at $799 (roughly Rs. 54,900), and you’ll need a pretty powerful PC to use it as well.

Narayan however dismisses the concern, and says that awareness is the real challenge that HTC and others in the space are looking at right now. “Coming at this from a cost standpoint, the price point is already going down,” he says. “We are also work with a lot of PC partners to help bring the cost of ownership down, by reducing the minimum spec required, and helping to create bundles that bring the cost down. Over time, this will only improve, so what we have to focus on today is awareness.”

Secure OS Tails 3.0 Launches With Debian 9 Base, Redesigned Interface

Tails, the “read-only” Linux-based operating system that routes all internet traffic through the Tor anonymity network, has now reached version 3.0. The new release dropped 32-bit support to increase security and adopted the latest Tor Browser 7.0, and it also comes with a more polished desktop interface.

How Tails Works

Tails, the operating system that Edward Snowden used to reveal the NSA documents, is typically run from a DVD or USB stick (the latter is less secure) in a “read-only” mode so that malware can’t be written on the storage. Malware can still be activated in RAM during a Tails session, which is why it’s important to keep the sessions short and reboot the Tails operating system often. At reboot, you get the same clean image you have on your DVD.

Because of how it works, Tails is not well-suited for everyday computing (Qubes OS would be preferable for that); it’s for moments when you most need that increased anonymity. It also means that you need to write a new DVD or install it again on your USB stick every time there are new security patches out, to minimize the risk of hacking.

Security Improvements

The new Tails 3.0 dropped 32-bit support because of potential attacks against weak ASLR protection. Support for “No Execute” (NX) bit is also mandatory, but this feature should already be available on all 64-bit computers. The NX bit separates areas of memory that are used for the storage of processor instructions from areas used for processor data storage, offering increased resistance against hacking.

The Tor Browser 7.0 comes pre-installed, so Tails users can take advantage of an overall faster and more reliable browser due to the new multi-process architecture enabled in Firefox ESR 52, as well as the content sandboxing functionality.

Debian 9 Base With Redesigned Interface

The new Tails 3.0, which is now based on the latest major version of the Debian operating system, brings a new more modern-looking Gnome interface, too. Because Tails’ focus has been primarily on user anonymity, the interface has been lacking over the years; having a good user experience is key for user adoption, so the new look is an important development.

The Tails Greeter, which is the application that is used to configure Tails at startup, has been completely redesigned for ease of use. Now, all options are available from a single window, including the language and region settings, which should simplify the setup process for international users.

The shutdown experience has also has also been redesigned to make it more reliable, as well as more discrete so that it looks “less suspicious.”

The “Files” application has also been redesigned to reduce clutter and make the interface easier to use. The developers also added the ability to rename multiple files at the same time and extract compressed files without a separate application.

The notification area has been improved, as well. It now allows easy access to previous notifications, and the notification pop-ups have been made more noticeable.

Shortcut windows have also been added to help users discover keyboard shortcuts in applications.

Software Upgrades

Some of the first-party applications have been updated to their latest versions, too, as part of the migration to the latest Debian 9 base:

  • KeePassX from 0.4.3 to 2.0.3
  • Your password database will be migrated automatically to the new format of KeePassX2.
  • LibreOffice from 4.3.3 to 5.2.6
  • Inkscape from 0.48.5 to 0.92.1
  • Audacity from 2.0.6 to 2.1.2
  • Enigmail from 1.8.2 to 1.9.6
  • MAT from 0.5.2 to 0.6.1
  • Dasher from 4.11 to 5.0
  • git from 2.1.4 to 2.11.0

If you want to maximize your anonymity–when the Tor Browser running on Windows is just not good enough for you–you can now download Tails 3.0 from the project’s website. Those who are already using an older version of Tails should also upgrade to patch multiple security bugs.

Google Allo v12 Update Brings Selfie Clips, New Compose Bar

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The new Selfie Clip feature is rolling out for all users
  • There’s also a new redesigned compose bar
  • The update brings Allo to version 12

Google’s Allo chat app has been updated once again, and brings a new feature called Selfie Clips. This feature allows users to make GIFs out of the selfie camera, and send them as loops while chatting to another user on Allo. The updated app is available for Android and iPhone.

The Mountain View giant launched Allo last year, in a bid take on WhatsApp and other chat apps out there. The tech giant has been updating the app ever since, bringing new features like chat backups, link previews, personalised selfie stickers, and much more. Google Allo v12 brings the big Selfie Clips feature, along with other changes like a redesigned compose bar.

Selfie Clips essentially lets you use the front camera to make GIF loops of yourself or anything in the front camera view, and send them in chat conversations. Earlier, to send GIFs, you’d have to use third-party material, and a tool to create one was not available in-app. With this update, Allo adds the ability for iPhone and Android users in-app. This feature was announced by Allo team head Amit Fulay. Furthermore, the selfie sticker feature that was only launched for Android first, has now been made available to iPhone users as well.

Google Allo v12 Update Brings Selfie Clips, New Compose Bar

The new compose bar was also mentioned by Fulay and it basically gets rid of the ‘+’ icon that hid all the compose buttons, and shows them all above the message bar itself. This makes them more accessible than before, as earlier they were hidden behind the ‘+’ button, and could only be seen when the button was pressed.

Android Police also did an APK Teardown to reveal some potential upcoming features. Reportedly, a future update will bring the ability to send messages by pressing the enter button, instead of just hitting the send icon on screen.

Google Allo was also reported to launch its Web client soon, but a recent report suggests that the public launch is still a month or two away.

Google Sheets Can Now Make Charts on Request Using Machine Learning

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The updates are already available on Android and iOS
  • Explore feature was added to the app last year
  • Update adds support for spreadsheet shortcuts to the Web version

Google Sheets is already a useful productivity tool but the search giant has now updated it to add some more machine learning features. While users could already ask questions from Sheets to get data-related responses using Explore feature, machine learning now allows the app to create charts demanded by the users.

With the latest update, if users cannot see a chart that they need for their project or presentation, they can simply ask the app to create it for them. “Instead of manually building charts, ask Explore to do it by typing in ‘histogram of 2017 customer ratings’ or ‘bar chart for ice cream sales’. Less time spent building charts means more time acting on new insights,” the search giant said in its blog post.

google sheet story2 Google Sheets Story 2

Notably, users could already ask Google Sheets queries like “what is the distribution of products sold?” or “what are average sales on Sundays?” to get responses from the Explore feature, which was added last year.

Further, the giant has made it easier to keep your tables updated as users can now copy and paste data from Sheets to Docs or Slides and tap the “update” button to sync their data.

Apart from these updates, Google has also added the support for spreadsheet shortcuts to the web version of the app. The latest update is already available on both Android and iOS and can be downloaded through Google Play store or the App Store respectively.

Middle Tennessee Antique Automobile Club hosts Summerfest Antique Car Show

 

The Middle Tennessee region of the Antique Automobile Club of America hosted the Summerfest Antique Car Show at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro on Sunday.

The Middle Tennessee AACA has been hosting car shows for 61 years and holding car shows in Murfreesboro for the past 11 years.

The event, sponsored by Wilson Bank and Trust, was the fourth car show hosted by the Middle Tennessee AACA in 2017. The show had 215 entries across 53 classes that were divided by make, model, year and types of parts used for each car. The show had the largest number of entries of any car show hosted in Murfreesboro by the Middle Tennessee AACA.

Randall Clemons, the chairman and CEO of Wilson Bank and Trust and a member of the Middle Tennessee AACA, helped host the car show and announced the winners for each of the 53 classes at the end of the day. Clemons said that he enjoys the friendly competition of the car shows.

“Everybody enjoys getting together and seeing people,” Clemons said. “Trying to win with a car gives you an opportunity to get them out and clean them up.”

Competitors like Gerry McGill and Ronnie Perryman of Murfreesboro agree that entering cars and meeting other competitors is one of the reasons why they enjoy participating in car shows.

Perryman said that his love of cars and racing when he was in high school led him to begin participating in car shows in Murfreesboro about four years ago, and in that time, he has restored eight to 10 classic cars.

“It’s really just the people and the families,” Perryman said. “It’s family oriented. It’s just a nice place to be around the kids and let them see what we had back in the day.”

He participated at Summerfest with a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, on which he said he spent $33,000 to restore it to what it would have looked like in a showroom in 1969.

Perryman said that in order to maintain the tradition of restoring classic cars, schools should consider the possibility of bringing back elective automotive classes, where students can learn about the mechanics of cars.

Gerry McGill competed in Summerfest with a 1969 Chevrolet C10 pickup truck and said that after 25 years of competing in auto shows, he still loves the camaraderie among the participants and their ability to bond over a shared love of cars.

The Middle Tennessee AACA will host their next car show on August 20th, 2017, in Lebanon at the Wilson County Fair. The Summerfest Antique Car Show will return to Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro on June 10, 2018.