Friday, 22 February 2019

Workplace Automation is Everywhere, and It's Never Just About Robots

There was one time when the term "automation" was closely associated with advanced manufacturing plants full of robotics. While it is true that this is a prime example of workplace automation – the process of replacing human labor with machine labor – it is far from the only example. Automation is present in modern businesses small and large, ranging from subtle features in common software applications to more obvious implementation, like self-driving vehicles.
Presently....there is much debate about where workplace automation will lead the economy to, but observers tend to agree on one thing: The trend is only gaining momentum. Every business process, such as human resource management and customer service departments, is on the table for automation, especially as technology becomes more sophisticated. No matter what the outcome, automation will undoubtedly change the workplace and, indeed, the wider economy. The only question is how much will it drastically transform the workplace?
Automation in the today's workplace

In the real sense, what does automation look like if it isn't towering robotics? Sometimes it's as simple as a set of tools housed within common business software programs. At its core, automation is about implementing a system to complete repetitive, easily replicated tasks without the need for human labor.

"Automation takes a lot of forms," said Fred Townes, co-founder and COO of real estate tech company Placester. "For small businesses, the most important thing is [repetition]. When you find something you do more than once that adds value … you want to look into automation."

Historically, automation required expensive servers and employing a team of experts to maintain them. For many small businesses, this was a cost-prohibitive measure that simply put automation out of reach. With the development of cloud-based platforms, however, automation tools are now accessible to even the smallest companies, Townes said. Thanks for reading......
Examples of common workplace automation

So far, many small business owners already use at least one common form of automation: email marketing. Companies like Zoho and Constant Contact offer software that allows users to tailor the parameters of their email marketing campaign to their liking and then set it to run automatically. For example, an introductory email can be uploaded into the software and sent as soon as a contact is added. The software can be configured to send a follow-up email days later only to those who opened the original email, without requiring any person on your staff to lift a finger. You can use these tools to develop relatively sophisticated email marketing campaigns with minimal attention.

Automating these repetitive business processes, Townes said, frees up humans for tasks that are less mundane or more valuable than those that can be completed by machines and software. However, more advanced forms of automation like machine learning can be used to complete higher order tasks that require a bit more adaptability. The ability of these software programs to learn over time means they can more quickly and effectively pore through massive troves of data and contextualize that information in a useful way for supporting internal decision making.

For instance, machine learning automation is making inroads in talent acquisition and employee recruitment, said Kriti Sharma, vice president of bots and AI at accounting and payroll software company Sage. For human resources departments, automating processes like tracking down potential candidates and scheduling interviews frees up time for humans to examine potential hires and determine who is the best fit for their organization.


"It turns out it is a big pain to hire the right people," Sharma said. "A lot is happening in recruitment systems and using AI to match the right people to the right team for the right projects."

Customer service departments are also getting an automation makeover with the introduction of tools like chatbots. These consumer-facing tools automate typical customer service interactions, answering inquiries immediately and only referring customers to a representative when the chatbot is insufficient for handling their needs. Up to 80 percent of customer service interactions could be handled by a chatbot alone, offering businesses the potential to significantly cut costs associated with conventional customer service.

Opportunities to automate common workplace processes are everywhere, which is why automation is becoming a common element of every business. Whether it's providing good customer service, streamlining the hiring process, or more efficiently managing marketing campaigns, automation is already playing a role in many businesses. As technology improves, more tasks will become available for automation as well; regardless of any other thing, we've only seen the beginning of workplace automation.


Machine learning----the driver of more sophisticated automation

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) enable new forms of "smart" automation. As the software learns, the more adaptable it becomes. These technologies open the door for automation of higher-order tasks as well, rather than just basic, repetitive tasks.

"I think there are so many focus at the moment on these tasks that humans don't want to do," Sharma said. "But what's going to happen in the future is … automation will not just be about automating those tasks humans are doing today, but it will be about realizing potential opportunities."

As data sets become more thorough and available, and as software draws on more sources and synthesizes more data points, Sharma said, contextual information in human decision-making will only improve. Machine learning, then, will serve as a supplement (perhaps even an enhancement) to human knowledge. Combine those capabilities with improved data retention through the internet of things (IoT) and the possibilities are seemingly endless.

Townes proposed that a shift toward more attractive user experiences with machine learning programs is already underway. To make interacting with these tools more natural and intuitive, companies will begin tailoring AI and automated technologies for a more organic, human experience, he said.

And more, to make customer service chatbots appear more human, for example, Sage has intentionally built "imperfections" into its AI. For example, the answer to a user's question might already be queued up by a chatbot, but Sage built a slight "thinking" delay into its system to simulate a more human customer service interaction. An ellipsis in the chat box indicates that the bot is "writing" a response, even though it immediately pulled up the queried information. Sharma said initial user feedback to the feature is highly positive, reflecting a desire for a more human, less machine-like interactive experience.

"Things will get more and more accessible," he said. "These technologies is not going to replace the human being, but they will relieve the human being of the things that are less valuable, relatively speaking. [Humans] will be able to instead focus on those things that require creativity and touch; we'll see more accessible, better experiences, and we'll see human beings move to their highest and best use."

For humans, the shock of an increasingly automated world can be difficult to process. According to Sharma, successfully integrating automation into human life starts with a comprehensive effort to educate people about what automation is, what it isn't and what it means for them.

"Users are always initially surprised [by the capabilities of automation,]" Sharma said. "The first time they see something automatically there's a bit of delight, and also a bit scary to them until you show them the process the software went through. It's more of an educational challenge, not so much a tech problem."

Reducing the pain of transition

The steady march of workplace automation has prompted discussion about the future of a fully automated economy. Efficiency, convenience and profitability are naturally on top of the list, but so too are concerns about the fates of workers whose jobs are automated out of existence. There are several proposals to support those displaced in an increasingly automated world, such as retraining programs and universal basic income.

When it comes to supporting those left behind in an automated economy, there are so many questions than answers, and there are many competing perspectives. Some, like Fred Goff, CEO of Jobcase, anticipate that expanded access to educational and networking opportunities will offer workers the opportunity to remake their careers and find a way in the new economy to support themselves and their families.

"The same kind of tech that displaces certain workers also opens up new opportunities," Goff said. "Work life has changed to the point where everyone is essentially their own free agent; managing yourself has really become the theme in the last 10 years, and so we're trying to empower people through tools and open-ended community."

Jobcase itself is a community of 70 million people, including experts and professionals in a variety of industries. As far as education goes, Goff pointed to resources like Khan Academy, which offers free courses on topics like economics and coding. Certifying the skills learned on these platforms, Goff said, will likely come increasingly from completing freelance tasks, rather than from academic institutions.

"The rise of platforms for gigs and 1099 labor are increasingly breaking down this notion of (skill certification)," Goff said. "It might still be difficult to get that full-time job, but building on contracted experience is a way to give that competency verification. In the education and training world, it means decoupling the certification of your education from the delivery of your education."

In other words, the people you've worked with would increasingly certify your skill set and level of competence, rather than an established institution with a four-year degree program.

Others, like James Wallace, co-founder of Exponential University, see an automated future that eschews the conventional notion of jobs altogether. Wallace said that by embracing automation and high tech, individuals could be empowered to create incomes on their own, without the need for a traditional, hierarchical company.

"We're living through something now that is unfortunate but necessary pain," Wallace said. "The conversation should be how to reduce those growing pains. The reality is the ultimate effect of automation is something very positive for everyone."

Naturally, Wallace said, the economic insecurity displaced workers feel is so real, but automation is not the enemy. Instead, Wallace hopes to educate people about leveraging this powerful technology to create their own incomes – essentially establishing a society of entrepreneurs and small companies.

"If we can establish a way to make sure we all have enough food, clothing and shelter to survive … and allow people to repurpose their gifts, unique abilities and enable them to proliferate that and sell it as a good or a service, then we're adding income," Wallace said. "We can create an opportunity to generate income for next to nothing, so why not teach people to leverage the tech that disrupted the marketplace in the first place to embrace it and use it for something more in line with who they are, as an expression of their unique abilities?"


Automation for efficiency and profitability

And now, on this note. The bottom line of business process automation is, well, the bottom line. Automating processes saves time and enables resources to be diverted elsewhere. It means companies can remain smaller and more agile.

Increased efficiency, productivity and lower costs all translate to healthier profit margins for businesses small and large. How automation transforms the economy at large remains to be seen. In anycase, it appears inevitable that we're headed toward a future of more automation.

What this means for businesses, workers and consumers will be the subject of much debate moving forward. One thing seems certain, however: If it can be automated, it will be.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Hands on: How you can use Wireless PowerShare on the Galaxy S10 to charge another phone

Samsung is so confident in the Galaxy S10’s battery that it’s allowing you to give away some of your precious percentage points. A new feature called Wireless PowerShare allows you to literally turn your S10 into a wireless charging mat so you can power up another Qi-enabled phone just by laying it on the back of the S10.
It works on all three models. Here’s how to use it:

Pull down on the notification shade until the Quick Settings appear.

If you don’t see a Wireless PowerShare button, swipe to the left to find it and tap the button to turn it on.

Lay the S10 on its face and place a second phone, Galaxy Watch, or Galaxy Buds case back-to-back against the S10. For best results, you’ll want to line up the phones the same way to prevent slipping and make sure the coils meet.

When you’re finished, you should remove the phone, and pull down the notification shade. You’ll see a persistent notification for Wireless PowerShare. Tap as usual to expand it, and then tap Turn off to stop it.

You can still use your S10 while charging the other phone. Wireless PowerShare obviously will drain your phone’s battery faster, so be mindful of how much battery life is being used. On average, you’ll lose about 25 percent of your battery per hour, but your mileage will vary.


This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Characteristics of a Good Leader: Some Tips for New Managers

Management is never easy. Even with hundreds of available resources, stepping into a management role for the first time can feel a little like jumping out of a plane, even if you have a parachute strapped to your back.

In this case, you're suddenly responsible for the well-being, production and success of a team of people, and you are the one they'll turn to if anything goes wrong, which can be a daunting change if you're used to looking to someone else for answers.

It takes time to adjust to a new position, especially as a first-time manager, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. Now you need to just remember that you're not alone and that everyone starts somewhere.



Characteristics of a good manager

Here, we outlined four main characteristics of a good manager (and some to avoid), asked some experienced leaders for their best advice for new managers, and we listed some personal development options to help get you started and flourish in your new role.

Collaborative

The creation of a collaborative environment where everyone feels heard, respected and valued is one major key step for new managers. Having a team that works together establishes a more welcoming, supportive company culture. As a manager, you can encourage this by demonstrating passion and positivity for your work as well as embodying the company culture.

Summer Salomonsen, former chief learning officer at Grovo, suggested delegating tasks, encouraging communication and feedback through regular one-on-one meetings, and prioritizing reciprocal trust among the team.

Growth-oriented

As a manager, you should focus on helping your employees progress – individually and collectively. Get to know your workers on a personal level so you can help them leverage their interests and talents. Find what works and what doesn't, and work on identifying and removing obstacles so your employees can perform at their best.

Will Esdaile, vice president of marketing at Homebase, suggests that managers "have a development goal that isn't about the business. Have one goal focused on the development of a person (or people) on your team that isn't connected to a business outcome. This could be developing confidence in presenting by sharing work to a big group or learning a new language."

Excellent communicator

A fact here is that----communication is a driving force behind nearly everything we do as humans, and being a clear communicator is vital as a manager. You should set clear expectations for your employees, be transparent about important topics, and establish guidelines for giving and receiving feedback.

Salomonsen said that in order to inspire original thinking, managers should create an inclusive culture where everyone can voice their concerns, opinions and ideas. Encourage authenticity and vulnerability by leading by example. Ask for help. Turn to your team when you're at a loss. Start a conversation, and be open to wherever it leads.

Impact-driven

Every worker wants to feel valued, so in this case if they don't believe their work is making a difference in some way, they won't be as motivated.

Yaniv Masjedi, chief marketing officer at Nextiva, said new managers should "take some time to get to know each team member's strengths and where they need extra support. Use assignments as a learning process for you and your team. Then support where needed and learn extra hard when you're able to."

Masjedi also advised taking an iterative approach and continuing to learn alongside your team as you grow into your role. Employees will see that you're putting in work to improve, which will inspire and motivate them to do better in their own roles.

Behaviors you should avoid

"It's all too easy for new managers to adopt bad habits in the busy early days of their new role," said Salomonsen. "Without the right guidance, we typically see first-time managers fall into common behavior traps. "

She noted six management behaviors to avoid:

Only providing feedback during performance reviews or when issues arise
Micromanaging rather than trusting your team
Failing to ask for or address questions, feedback or concerns
Being closed-minded to criticism or new ideas
Avoiding difficult yet necessary conversations
Setting expectations too high or too low, or not being clear with your goals

Management development opportunities

You should never feel lost or unsupported when taking on a new role, especially as a leader. Here are three ways you can learn and grow in your new position.


Management training

According to a research study by Grovo, 87 percent of managers wish they were given the chance to learn and progress when they first assumed their role, and nearly half of new managers felt they were unprepared for their position.

So in this case, every company should offer training before hiring. However, whether because of the price of programs or lack of time, many don't prioritize management development as much as they should. In fact, some even reserve these programs only for senior leaders and offer workshops just a few times a year, said Salomonsen.

"These sessions may be rewarding and inspiring, but they rarely make an impact on day-to-day work," she added. "Moreover, sending every new manager to a management seminar their first week on the job is prohibitively expensive for most companies."

An option, especially for small businesses, is to turn to internal training. Host a few sessions with other company experts or managers to run through the basics. Often, employees are promoted to a management role, so they already have an idea of company standards and what's expected of them.

Microlearning

Microlearning is on it's case, is a popular training method for small businesses. It's quick, intensive and collaborative. Managers can learn all they need to know in short bursts, without feeling overwhelmed.

"With microlearning, both new and experienced managers can access digestible lessons that focus on the critical behaviors they need to perform their best, right in the course of their day-to-day work," said Salomonsen. "Done right, a microlearning approach enables managers to quickly put new knowledge into practice and gradually improve their habits and skills over time."

Not only is this method of learning more efficient, it's also far more affordable than extensive training programs.

Mentors and L&D partners

Working with a mentor or learning and development (L&D) partner can set new managers up for success by providing them with personal support and expert knowledge.

"Each person is different, and every new manager has their own areas of growth in the early days of their new role," said Salomonsen. "Whether they need to develop their interpersonal skills, time-management skills, strategic planning skills or leadership approach, they will need support from senior colleagues … So, finding a management mentor or L&D partner early can help set a strong foundation for the new manager's development in their role."

Keep an open mind about colleagues, friends and professional connections, and network as much as possible. Once you work with someone who can guide you through the beginning process, you'll feel more confident in your role.

Brett Helling, owner of Ridester, added, "Everybody needs a mentor. Find one and discuss the problems you are facing. Having a mentor or someone with expertise is the clear indication of growth within yourself." Thanks for reading...

Five obscure Android features you need to start using

If you’ve been using Android for more than a few years, it can be easy to forget just how far we’ve come. Google has added a ton of useful features to Android, and some of the best don’t get as much attention as they deserve. But at this point, we can fix that.

Here are the five most underappreciated features hiding in the latest versions of Android.
1.Notification channels

Notification overload is so common if you have a bunch of noisy apps installed. But you don’t have to shut off all your notifications or uninstall any apps just to reduce the clamour. Android supports notification channels, allowing you to cut down on the noise while still getting the information you care about. All apps targeting Android Oreo or later have notification channels, which are accessible by going to Settings > Notifications, then clicking on an app name, and then clicking Notifications. Once here, you can uncheck any of the sub-categories to block specific types of notifications unique to the app. You can also tap on the name of the channel to change its priority and behavior. For example, you can prevent pop-over alerts but still have a notification appear in the shade.


2.Customize optimized apps

The introduction of Doze Mode in Android 6.0 changed the whole thing. Finally, you could leave a phone sitting for a few hours and not have to worry about some background app frying your battery. However, sometimes you want trusted apps to have full background access—for example, Google Photos so it can upload your images faster. Luckily, you have access to the Doze Mode settings.

The menu is a bit buried in newer version of the OS. As of Pie, it’s in Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > Special app access > Battery optimization. Simply find the app you want to exempt and tap to switch from “Optimize” to “Don’t optimize.” As long as the app is a good piece of code, it shouldn’t wreck your battery. Just don’t exempt too many apps from Doze.



3.Scheduled Do Not Disturb

So you picked a neat ringtone, great. That doesn’t mean you want it going off in the middle of the night or during a meeting. Enter Android’s Do Not Disturb feature, which includes scheduling settings.
To do this, go to Settings > Sound > Do Not Disturb. Under “Turns on automatically,” you can choose when Do Not Disturb activates and shuts off by creating a new “Time” rule. This is part of the system-level Android settings, so it will even sync across devices when you set up a new phone.

4.App shortcuts on your home screen

Google have  added App Shortcuts (initially called Launcher Shortcuts) to Android back in Android 7.1, but it’s easy to forget they’re lurking behind your icons. A long-press can provide quick access to specific parts of the app, saving you time. However, you can do more than tap on those shortcuts. You can also add them to your home screen. To save one of the app shortcuts from an icon, simply long-press on the icon to open the shortcut lits. Then, long-press and drag on the shortcut you want to use. Drop it on your home screen, and the shortcut will be available just like a regular app icon. One tap and it opens the predetermined part of the parent app. For instance, you can create a Message shortcut for the person you text the most, a shortcut to compose a new email in Gmail, and a shortcut to set a new alarm in Clock.

5.Pin in share menu

Android’s share menu—that's an interface where you can pick from a list of apps to share web pages, photos, and other types of content—has some problems, but it’s majorly more usable now that you can pin apps you use frequently. The share menu can be quite sluggish, after all. So setting the most important sharing icons at the top could save you from opening the full share panel. To pin an item in the share list, you’ll have to find it one last time. Then, long-press and select “Pin.” That sticks the item at the top of the share menu permanently. This is quite useful if you want to pin, say, Messages at the top of your sharing interface.

This story, was originally published by PCWorld.


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

How You can Secure a Business Grant

While it may seem like nothing in this world is free, that isn't necessarily the case when talking about business grants.

Business grants are essentially free money given to businesses by various sources that doesn't have to be repaid. In the real sense, they can be an ideal solution for businesses in need of additional capital. However, they should only be relied upon as a bonus source of income, not a necessity.

Although the thought of someone giving your small business free money is appealing, the process of applying for and acquiring one is always lengthy and challenging.

Now if you think a grant may benefit your business, it is important to fully understand who offers them and how to apply for one.



Where to find business grants

While there are so many options for business grants, they all basically come from one of three sources, according to Priyanka Prakash, a lending and credit expert at Fundera.


Government agencies

Grants is able to come from the federal or state level, or a local government. These grants have the narrowest eligibility and are usually only provided to businesses rooted in science, technology, agriculture, energy or other industries that will bring direct growth to the community.


Nonprofits

These grants are primarily based on specific underrepresented demographics, such as women entrepreneurs, veteran proprietors and business owners of color.

For-profit organizations

These come from institutions like banks and have the broadest eligibility criteria. These grants are given based on merit and application materials, like essays.


What to do before applying 


One important note here is that, preparation is key when it comes to grant applications. Since applying for a grant is time-consuming, the experts we spoke with said there are a number of steps you should to take to properly prepare for your application and simplify the process.



Define the funding: Amad Ebrahimi, CEO and founder of Merchant Maverick, said business owners should outline the specific funding needed and identify the precise objectives a grant will help them achieve.

Create a detailed business plan: According to Ebrahimi, the next step is creating a business plan. Your plan should include important details about your business like a company description, business structure, service offered, financial projections and other useful information.
Compile administrative details: Prakash identified important details to compile, such as the business owner contact information, planned use of the grant money, business license number, the business's tax ID (EIN) number, and revenue vs. profit history/projections.


Gather business records:Ebrahimi said business owners should assemble all the necessary business records, and, ideally, they should be from at least the last three years.
There are several additional steps businesses should take to ensure they are properly prepared:


Get an expert opinion: Ebrahimi said it is helpful for business owners to have business plans and records reviewed by experts, whether that individual is a SCORE mentor or someone with experience guiding business owners through the grant-hunting process.


Hire a grant writer: Grant writers typically have expertise in different grant submission processes and work within industry verticals, according to Ebrahimi.

Achieve nonprofit 501(c)(3) status: David Reischer, CEO of Legal Marketing Pages Corp., said this status is extremely helpful when seeking a nonprofit grant because it identifies your business as a legitimate nonprofit.

Look for applicable tax-exempt status paperwork: This type of paperwork can sometimes increase your odds of receiving funding, if your business is eligible, Reischer said.


How to apply for a business grant

Once you have finished gathering the necessary materials, it is time now time to start the grant application. Ebrahimi said the first step in applying for a grant is to identify what type of grant your specific business is likely to receive.

"Certain kinds of businesses, [like] innovative startups, healthcare-related businesses, women/minority/veteran-owned businesses, rural businesses, and 'green' businesses, in particular, are more likely to qualify for grants than others," Ebrahimi said. "Start with grants specific to your locality, then look into grants offered nationally, whether by a corporate source or by the federal government."

After you have determined what type of grants are achievable for your business, carefully read through the grant requirements and narrow it down to a few select grants. Before writing your proposal, Reischer said it is very important to consider meeting with the funding source.

"Sometimes, it is possible to set up a meeting with a foundation staff person to explore your idea before writing or delivering a proposal," said Reischer. "If [you] cannot get a person-to-person meeting, then maybe try to at least get guidance over the telephone."

After conducting research and contacting the funder, the next step is to write the grant proposal. This part is critical and deserves a lot of attention. Reischer said the purpose of your proposal is to demonstrate your worth.

"The proposal in the grant should present a logical solution to a problem," said Reischer. "It is always necessary to convince the funder that you know what you are doing. Make sure to tell the story of your nonprofit in the budget and the proposal narrative."

Prakash agreed that it is critical to make a compelling case as to why you should receive the grant and what it will be used for.

"Judges want to give grants to businesses that will benefit the most," Prakash said.

Now once you've written and submitted your grant, the last thing to do is wait. Check the grant submission guidelines to see their approval/rejection process, as sometimes this will provide a timeframe or a series of next steps for you to take. Some funders provide a tracking number, so you can see the progress of your grant proposal.
You will typically be notified you when your proposal is pending and when your proposal is approved or rejected. If you aren't able to find submission guidelines or tracking information, wait at least three to six months before following up.

Some common application mistakes

While knowing what to do when applying for a grant, knowing what not to do is equally important.

Avoid falling prey to common application mistakes. Nicolas Straut, business grant lead at Fundera, said a seemingly innocent but very common mistake is overapplying. When business owners apply for too many grants at one time, they decrease their chances of getting one due to reduced time and quality spent on each application.

"There is a wide market of business grants available, and you should explore as many you can before selecting one or two you have a high chance of acquiring," said Straut. "You're very busy as a small business owner, and it's essential you use your time tactfully to acquire funding for your business without spreading yourself too thin."

Now according to Ebrahimi, many business owners make the mistake of being too general or unoriginal in their proposal. They describe their mission statement in general terms, as opposed to listing specific solutions as to how they can satisfy the funder's interests.

"Describe how you can meet the funder's needs in a unique way so your proposal doesn't read like a cut-and-paste job," Ebrahimi said. "Furthermore, consult your business manager when putting together your grant proposal to make sure your budget is realistic. Grant funders are good at spotting unrealistic budgets."

Reischer said a common mistake among business owners is not following directions. Grant suppliers are looking for a very specific set of criteria, so following directions are an absolute must.

"In this sense, if the guidelines say they want two pages then do not write three," said Reischer. "If the guidelines give a date for submission, then get the submission in on time. Every detail in a submission must be perfect."


After you have received the grant

Occasionally you may find a grant that comes with no strings attached, but I want to assure you..... "this is uncommon". Once you receive a grant, you are accountable for following the guidelines set forth by the grant provider.

"Different grant issuers will have different expectations of grantees, but one thing most funders have in common is that they expect periodic reports from the business owner regarding the progress of the project in question," said Ebrahimi. "You may well be required to meet performance goals, so be prepared to do so."

The requirements for maintaining a grant is something you should know ahead of time, although they are usually not too difficult. Once you establish an agreement between the grant funder and yourself, you are ready to move forward with your business or project. Thanks for reading...

Big surprise, Opera's free VPN is back! Here's how to get it on your Android phone

As at the time Opera announced that it was shutting down its VPN app for iOS and Android last year, it appeared as though it was gone forever. In fact, Opera directed users toward SurfEasy Total VPN with deep discounts on subscription plans. Apparently, Opera thought better of that idea, because it’s bringing its VPN back.
Although there are few warnings. For one, it’s still in beta mode. For another, it’s only available within the full Opera browser (not Opera Mini) on Android phones. But otherwise, it’s just as free, unlimited, and easy to use as the standalone app that was shuttered in April. And it’s basically just like the desktop version expect on your phone.

To try it out, you’ll need to download the Opera browser beta, which is separate from the Opera browser. Once you install it on your phone, tap the “O” icon ion the bottom right corner of the screen, tap Settings, and flip the VPN toggle from Disabled to Enabled. Inside the VPN tab there are a couple of options for limiting VPN to private tabs, choosing a virtual location, and bypassing it for search engines, as well as a snapshot of how much data has been transferred, but mostly it offers automatic protection with virtually no fuss. And more, you don’t even need to sign in to an Opera account to start using it. The VPN functions as expected. When enabled, it replaces your IP address with a virtual one to make it more difficult for websites to track you. It in addition a “no-log service,” Opera promises it won’t collect any information routed through its servers.

It’s unclear how long the VPN will stay in beta, but Opera says tests will continue “for some time.” Also unclear is whether Opera will offer a paid subscription tier like before, which promised faster speeds and more regions.

Why it is important: In this age of data leaks and ad tracking, a VPN can be an excellent line of defense against bad actors and unscrupulous sites. Opera’s VPN might not be as full-featured or versatile as some other VPN’s, but it’s hard to beat its simplicity and ease of use. Check out PCWorld's roundup of the best VPNs for a deeper look at the category.
This post was originally written by PCWorld
thanks for reading......

The Digital Customer Service Trends of 2019

As it is now, research firm Gartner has released the results of its digital customer service trends survey as at yesterday morning. The survey canvassed more than 500 customer service leaders to identify areas that could be improved to enhance the consumer's support experience online.

Lauren Villeneuve, an advisor at the firm, said the survey was necessary, given how technologically connected most businesses have become.

"The propagation of digital technologies and growing customer expectations in the service space are driving the need for greater digital capabilities and a more seamless digital experience," she said. "With increasing internal and external expectations, service leaders are on the line for mastering digital. Only then will they be able to truly differentiate their organization and help drive growth."



Prioritizing online customer support channels
In the world of today, businesses of all sizes use websites, text messaging and social media to bolster their customer service capabilities. Whether through automated services or live chat on a company's website, digital customer service has become a metric for potential consumers to measure a company.

"Customer service organizations are rapidly adopting digital channels and capabilities," said Pete Slease, vice president at Gartner. "While this can be an effective means of fulfilling customer needs and expectations, a common mistake is expanding digital offerings without fully considering what aspects of the digital experience are most valuable to customers and service staff. Gaining these insights as soon as possible and then applying them to decision-making is in-avoidable to making the most of digital investments and successfully upskilling digital capabilities."

The survey also listed "customer-facing artificial intelligence, big data, customer activism and rising customer relationship management (CRM) costs" as priorities for customer service and support leaders this year.

Through its latest study, Gartner identified "four imperatives" that customer service and support outfits need to reckon with this year and they are as follows:

Meet increasing internal pressures and accountability
Gain ownership of websites' service functions
Prioritize and improve the digital experience
Explore digital applications to improve operational efficiency

According to the survey's findings, larger number of companies' issue with these four items stem from either difficulty managing their digital customer service solutions or not owning part or all of their service websites.

The survey also found that having to keep up with industry giants, "regardless of the product, service or industry," has proven to be an issue that often leads to "prioritizing investments in the digital experience over other initiatives."

Bottom line
Since a large number of customer service leaders polled said they felt "big data and back-office automation are high priorities this year," Gartner's survey suggests that companies need to collaborate with IT leaders to make their digital services more effective.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Four ways the LG G8 ThinQ's time-of-flight front camera could be more than a gimmick

With just a couple weeks left for the Mobile World Congress to come to live, a clearer picture—quite literally—is beginning to emerge of LG's next flagship phone, the G8 ThinQ. Previously teased in a cryptic video with the tagline "Goodbye Touch," we are now very sure of one thing about the new handset: It'll take great selfies.
In a joint announcement with chipmaker Infineon, LG says the G8 ThinQ will feature time-of-flight technology in the front camera, enabling it to sense depth in all kinds of light. Infineon touts the tech as having little impact on battery life and providing faster results than the algorithm-based depth-sensing methods that we see in the Pixel and other phones. We'll have to wait to see exactly what that means for the G8, but the technology presents some very exciting possibilities. Here are the four ways the new Real3 Image Sensor Chip could transform selfies and security in Android phones:

1.Better AR
Augmented reality has yet to really take off, but a time-of-flight sensor could be what's required to power the next generation of AR apps and services. Light and accuracy pose the biggest challenges for AR, and if the G8 can solve these issues, it could turn ARCore-enabled apps into something we actually want to use. With superior sensing and a greater understanding of distance and obstacles, the G8's camera could forge a better relationship between the real world and the virtual one.


2.Enhanced emoji

Emoji may not be revolutionary, but Android phones have yet to deliver any true answer to Apple's Animoji after more than a year. Samsung's AR Emoji come closest, and, well, they're not quite on the level of Apple's smooth cartoon-style characters. G8's selfie cam might finally replicate Apple's system on Android, even to the point of bringing customizable characters that work in the dark. Now that would be a winner.

3.Super selfie portraits

Portrait mode has moved from being a novelty to a necessity on our smartphones, but it's still not quite as good on the front camera as it is on the rear one. A time-of-flight sensor would up the ante considerably for selfies, as it would grant the camera the ability to sense multiple people in order to create Instagram-worthy bokeh-style shots with realistic lighting and adjustable depth-of-field.

4.Secure facial authentication

Apple unveiled its Face ID facial authentication system back in 2017, and most Android phones are still trying to catch up. Currently, only a couple of phones have implemented secure face-scanning tech, and none of them use it for more than unlocking. It's already been rumored that Android Q will include support for the biometric, and the time-of-flight sensor could be the thing that finally makes it mainstream.


15 Ways to Rekindle Your Relationship With Work

Your professional life, just the same with your personal life, is a work in progress. When you start a job, it's all new and exciting. You may find yourself easily overlooking imperfections and dismissing signs that call this new arrangement into question.

With time, the job that once seemed so perfect may lose its luster. You may become complacent, disinterested, or irked by little things you used to find endearing or not even notice. You may begin to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side.

Before you call it quits and start sending out your resume, give yourself the opportunity to reconnect with some of the reasons you loved the job in the first place. Sometimes it's not about changing your employment, but changing your perspective and making a genuine attempt to improve things where you are.

Here are the 15 time-tested tips from career coaches, human resources managers and other professionals to reignite your interest in your work.

1. Engage in self-refection.

If at the beginning you were loving your job but at a point you don't like it anymore, you need to figure out what changed. Sometimes the answer is obvious. Your new boss could be a jerk, or maybe you burned out by staying late or skipping lunch every day. For some, however, disillusionment grew slowly over time, in which case you're not really sure what caused you to disconnect from work.

If you find yourself in this situation, take time to reflect on your professional life, assessing your accomplishments, outlining your goals and pinpointing specific incidents that have impacted your attitude toward work.

"When you can identify the parts of your job that are causing you grief, it makes it easier to come up with a plan to address the issues, either with individuals or with yourself," said Valerie Streif, senior content manager with Pramp.

2. Practice gratitude.

One of the simplest yet most profound things you can do to reframe your relationship with your job is to identify all the good things about it.

"If your wanderlust is more about boredom and grass-is-greener syndrome, it's good to do the age-old exercise of counting your blessings," said Scott MacDonell, co-founder of BizCounsel.

This may seem difficult at first, because it can be hard to see through the unpleasant stuff and recognize the positivity. But you know that the good things are there, so dig deep until you find them. Maybe you have a great colleague, enjoy working on certain projects or simply value the paycheck that keeps a roof over your head.

By taking the time to write down all the positive aspects of your job – and keeping the list somewhere you can refer to it often – you remind yourself that they exist. This knowledge can give you the energy to keep going.

"What you focus on grows," said Emer Moloney, certified personal coach and founder of This Is Not Life Coaching. "The more positivity you look for, the more you will find."

3. Talk to the boss.

If you have lost interest in your daily work or feel stagnant, it may be a sign that you are ready to take on new tasks or more responsibilities.

"This would be the time to talk about steps for a promotion or role expansion with your manager," said EB Sanders, career coach for creative types.

So now at this point, you need to be ready to have a candid discussion with your boss where you highlight your strengths and contributions and ask to tackle new assignments.

"Once you have discussed it and put a plan in place, your commitment to reaching that new level will spark a love for the opportunities your new role will offer," Sanders said.

Of course, this only works if you've already proven you're capable and committed. If you've been unproductive or disengaged, you'll need to get yourself in order before approaching your employer about any changes to your current position.

4. Make friends.

You don't have to love all your co-workers, but you should make an effort to become friends with at least one or two.

"There tends to be a high correlation between work fatigue or losing interest in your work and isolation and loneliness," said Eli Howayeck, career coach and founder and CEO of Crafted Career Concepts.

Having a close confidant, lunch buddy or other trusted friend in the office can transform your attitude toward your workday. "It provides an outlet for safe and confidential discussions, allowing you to talk about concerns or analyze management actions or communications without being perceived as a gossiper or alarmist," Howayeck said.

Who better to share your work woes with than someone who is also in the trenches? They can validate or challenge your feelings and perceptions with inside knowledge not available to most of your friends and family. Above all, they provide a friendly face to visit with during lunch or share a cup of coffee with in the break room on a particularly stressful day. Sometimes a bit of friendly human contact is all we need to carry us forward.

5. Find a passion project.

Have you all the time wanted to start a mentorship initiative at your company or introduce a recycling program to the office? A passion project may be exactly what you need to pull yourself out of a professional rut. This side project, which may fall outside the scope of your job description, can serve as an outlet for creative energy and help you develop leadership skills, all while providing a new service to your organization.

"The enjoyment you get from this, even if it's not your primary duty, will make the workday more engaging and fun," said Howayeck.

Howayeck points out that the only catch is you need to be performing in your actual job before you can take on a passion project. You also must consider the resources you'll need, the time commitment and what buy-in is required from your manager.

"Approach your manager or executive leader first to present your idea," he said. "If you don't, you might get scolded for working on something outside of your job duties."

6. Learn something new.

So many times you may feel frustrated at work because you lack certain skills or the necessary understanding to succeed in the job. Sometimes you have all the skills you need for your current position but lack the knowledge to take on a desired new role.

"Failing to find inspiration may just be the result of not knowing how to approach a problem or obstacle in your work," said Robin Schwartz, human resources director at Career Igniter.

The best way to tackle this roadblock is to invest in continuing education and development opportunities. Schwartz suggests talking to your boss about available trainings or certifications that will benefit you and the organization. You can take the initiative to compile a list of online courses, in-person workshops, conferences, classes and other training programs you are interested in attending. Share the list with your boss and jointly select a couple you both think are the most worthwhile and relevant for you.

7. Find a mentor.

A mentor can provide you with honest feedback and guidance and help get you back on track when you are floundering. Seek to connect with someone in your workplace who performs well, is admired and respected by the leadership and employees alike, and is willing to invest time in helping you grow professionally. Your mentor can connect you to a large professional network you might never be exposed to otherwise and can also serve as a sounding board for your work-related anxiety or frustration.

Knowing you have someone in your corner can lead to a deep shift in your mindset toward work, but it also has practical implications.

"Having some allies in the workplace certainly doesn't hurt when push comes to shove and the going gets tough," said Kris Hughes, senior content marketing manager with ProjectManager.

8. Get curious.

Find out what other people do in your company – not in an intrusive manner, but so you get a real sense of what others' jobs entail. This way, when Ben from accounting takes longer than you'd like to cut a check for a vendor, you have an appreciation of the process it takes to make that happen.

This is also a great way to discover other roles or departments within your organization that may be a better match for you. You can offer to help out on special projects in other areas and then apply for a position, should it become available.

"Volunteer for projects involving cross-functional teams to expand your knowledge and your network," said Tamica Sears, senior human resources business partner for USA Today and executive and leadership development coach with Sears Coaching.

By connecting with other areas of the business and meeting people outside your bubble, you might just find your niche.

9. Shake things up.

Break out of your routine and try making changes, small as they may be, to the way you approach your day.

"Habits can save us time, but they can also make us feel stagnant," said Helen Godfrey, counselor and life coach with The Authentic Path.

Godfrey recommends switching things up to breathe new life into your workday. If you always eat lunch with the same people, pick a day of the week when you invite a colleague you don't know very well to join you instead. If you rarely leave your desk, force yourself to go outside and take a 10-minute walk. If you always approach your work in a certain order, try looking at tasks through new eyes to help you mix things up. You may find that a little variety is exactly what you need to reinvent your relationship with work.

10. Take advantage of the perks.

When your job is feeling less than perfect, it's a good time to take stock of the other benefits your employer provides.

"Take advantage of wellness programs or other opportunities for personal enrichment within the work setting to offset the daily grind," said Hughes.

Maybe your company provides employees with free gym memberships, stocks the break room with snacks, offers onsite child care or allows flexible work arrangements. Tapping into these or any other company perks that are relevant to you will make you feel more valued as an employee. They may also reduce the frustration you feel in other areas of your job.

11. Go on vacation.

Job burnout is one of the main reasons people fall out of love with their work.

"Being overworked, having stressful projects, and not taking enough time for themselves to rest and recover can quickly lead to feelings of resentment and contempt toward their job," said Streif.

If you feel this way and have vacation time saved up, use it now. The work will still be there when you return, and there will never be a perfect time to get away, so stop making excuses.

"Taking time off for a trip or even a staycation, where you completely unwind and unplug from the day-to-day of the office, is going to have huge, rejuvenating benefits," said Streif.

If a vacation isn't possible, at least take regular breaks throughout the day. It can be as simple as going out for lunch or taking a short walk. Getting some distance from your work and prioritizing your mental health will help you to recharge so you return to work refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

12. Create an upbeat playlist.

If you find yourself feeling down at work, slip on your headphones, hit Play, and immerse yourself in your favorite tunes.

"Listening to a playlist comprised of your favorite upbeat songs is proven to have a positive impact on your mood and ability to focus," said Mollie Moric, career advisor and hiring manager at Resume Genius.

If music during work isn't your thing, Moric suggests listening to inspirational podcasts or calming ambient sounds. If you can shut out the negative noise of the office, you'll have a better shot at staying calm, engaged and productive.

13. Personalize your workspace.

Whether it's a tiny cubicle or a corner office, fill your working area with photos of friends and family, favorite souvenirs from your travels, flowers and plants, or anything else that brings you joy. In those moments when you are feeling down, being surrounded by things you love will help lift your spirits and carry you through.

"You likely spend more time in your office than in your own home, so put in the work to make yourself feel as comfortable and relaxed in this space as you can," said Moric. She also recommends that you collaborate with colleagues to decorate the communal areas with items that everyone enjoys.
14. Get a life outside of the office.

This is easier said than done, but you should not tie your whole identity to the job you do. Human beings are repeatedly sold on the idea that our passion should be our work and our work should be our passion, so when we find ourselves in a job that doesn't leave us truly fulfilled, we assume we are failing in some ways. The reality is that we don't always get to solve the world's problems at work or get paid to live our dream, especially in entry-level positions, and this is perfectly OK. When you free yourself of this expectation, you can begin to find real value and worth in other areas of your life.

Take the time and effort to create a rich life outside the workplace. This will look different for every person. For some, it may be about cultivating hobbies, while others will focus on building community. Regardless of what you choose to do, when you strengthen your sense of self and become happier with who you are as a person, the joy you create will inevitably trickle into your work life.

"Connecting with loved ones, engaging in creative pursuits and keeping healthy doesn't just give you something to look forward to at the end of the day, but also re-energizes you for the time you are at the office," said Kristen Zavo, career coach and author of Job Joy: Your Guide to Success, Meaning, and Happiness in Your Career.

15. Make an exit plan.

If finally you've tried everything and you are still miserable, Moloney recommends repeating to yourself five simple words: "I won't always work here." You may have to stay in your current job for the time being, but you can also begin actively planning for your future. This can include researching other positions in or outside your company, networking, updating your resume, and furthering your education to increase your skills. All these steps position you to take a leap into a new role when you're ready.

"Just the knowledge that you can eventually leave, that [you have] control, will help the days go a little smoother," said Moloney.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

How you can secure, protect, and completely lock down your Android phone

As the case is now, Google has built a malware scanner right into the Play Store called Play Protect. First of all, it runs a safety check on apps before you download them, but more importantly, it also checks your phone for any apps that may have gone awry since you downloaded them. If it finds any, it will warn you via a notification and in extreme cases delete them from your device on its own. You can check your Google Play Protect settings and see the apps it scanned in the Updates tab inside the My apps & games section of the Play Store.
Encryption
Ever since Android 5 Lollipop, Android has offered full-device encryption by default, as long as you set some kind of an locking method on your phone (pattern, pin, or password). In Android 7 Nougat, that switched to file-based encryption, but the end result is essentially the same: The data on your phone is protected by 256-bit AES standard encryption as soon as its locked, so unless someone knows your passcode, they can’t see anything.
Android security: Basic protection
You don’t need to be a paranoid android to put a basic layer of protection on your device, you only need to change a few settings.
Set a password
While newer Android phones offer numerous biometric methods for unlocking, every phone still requires one of three traditional locking methods: pattern, PIN, or password. They’re not created equal, though. A pattern (made on a 9-dot square) is easiest to remember but the least secure. A 6-digit pin is far better, but the best of all is a random password. But even if you choose a string of letter and numbers, you should set a reminder to change once every six months or so. And make sure it’s not the same as the one that protects your primary Google account.
Turn on 2-step verification
Regardless of what you use your phone to do, your Google account is central to everything that happens. As the name suggests, with 2-step verification, you’re adding an extra layer of protection, so even if someone steals your password they still won’t be able to get into your account. Here’s how it works. After you’re prompted to enter your Google password, a code will be sent to your default phone via text or call which will need to be entered in order to grant access your account. While this won’t necessarily protect your phone against theft, it will protect what’s on it. For example, if someone tries to remotely log in to your Google account from another device, you’ll know via the 2-step message on your phone. And then you can take the appropriate action and change your password.
Install Find My Device
Google offers a handy tool to track a lost or stolen phone right in the Play Store. Called Find My Device, it lets you track, lock, and erase your handset from wherever you are with just a tap. After downloading, you should sign in using your Google account and allow it to access your your device’s location. From then on, you’ll be able to log into Google’s Find My Device site and instantly locate where your phone is if you lose it. You’ll also be able to remotely lock your device, display a message or phone number for whomever finds it, or completely erase all of the content on your phone.
Stay updated
The reason for this is, Google releases monthly security updates for Android that most newer phones distribute in a relatively timely manner. You don’t need to check for them—once one is available, your phone will automatically let you know. But don’t delay, because it’s easy to forget about them. Set or schedule an update to be installed as soon as your phone lets you know it’s available. It only takes a few minutes and it could make all the difference.
Android security: Moderate protection
Now that the basic stuff is out of the way, let’s work on putting an even stronger lock on your Android phone.
Set up fingerprint unlock
In this case, a password might be a strong way to secure your phone, but it can’t beat your fingerprint. And if you bought your Android phone within the past two years, there’s a good chance it has a fingerprint sensor either below the screen, on the back, or built into the power button. Find it and head over to your security settings to register one or more fingerprints. It only takes a few seconds to enact a very important layer of protection. Numerous phones also offer face unlocking, but unless you have a Huawei Mate 20, you should skip these. That’s because most phones use the 2D front camera to scan your face rather than a 3D map like with Face ID on the iPhone or Huawei’s depth-sensing camera, so they’re very easy to spoof with little more than a picture.
Prevent unknown downloads
One of the greatest benefits of Android is also one of it’s biggest risks: downloading apps that aren’t on the Play Store. When you install an app from outside Google’s store, you’re losing out on Play Protect and opening your phone up to possible malware. To keep a lid on any potential trouble, Google has built a way to shut off any accidental or unintentional downloads. In the Special app access settings, you’ll find an Unknown sources or Unknown apps tab, which lets you shut off the installation of apps from a non-Play Store source, such as Chrome or some other browser. Depending on your phone, the mechanism is a little different. Up until Android Nougat, there was a single toggle that let you either block or install apps from unknown sources. In Android Oreo and later, permission is granted on a per-app basis, so you can enable Chrome or Slack to install apps while blocking others. It’s a good habit to visit this setting every once in while to make sure there aren’t any malicious apps that are allowed to install software behind the scenes. If you find any that are, tap the name and turn the toggle off.
Uninstall apps
Speaking of wayward apps, one of the best ways to keep your system safe is as simple as old-fashioned house cleaning. Simply jump into your app drawer and simply uninstall apps that you haven’t used in a while. It’ll free up storage and it’ll make sure they don’t turn into potential risks.
Check app permissions
It’s in the same sense a very good idea to check in on your app permissions every now and then. When you download an app from the Play Store and launch it for the first time, Android asks you if it can have access to things like the microphone, camera, phone, etc. A lot of times we just tap away access without even realizing what they’re asking for, but you can always of back and revoke it after the fact. Head over to the Permissions tab inside Apps in Settings and you’ll be able to see which apps are allowed to do what—and turn off anything that looks suspicious.
Android Security: High protection
If you came here to learn how to turn your Android phone into a vault, here’s what you need to do.
Disable Smart Lock for Passwords and Auto Sign-in
Smart Lock for Passwords might be convenient, but if you want to lock down your phone, you’re going to need to handle your passwords on your own. And that unfortunately means turning off Smart Lock for Passwords. Here’s why: Google’s method does not use any kind of authentication on a per-site or account basis like password managers do, so after signing in to your account for the first time on your device, all of your passwords will be available. That obviously could be a problem if someone swipes your phone. You are going to find the toggle inside the security settings for your Google account, not inside the Security tab in Settings. Once you get there, tap on Security, then scroll down to Signing in to other sites, and tapped Saved Passwords. You’ll see two toggles: Offer to save passwords and Auto sign-in. If you don’t want to turn the whole thing off, you can also select sites that ignore auto sign-in. We think a much better solution would be to require biometric authentication every time a password is entered (which Apple does on the iPhone), so until that happens, you should switch it off if you’re paranoid.
Download a password manager
If it happens you’re turning off Smart Lock, the only way to keep your passwords safe and organized is to lock them up inside a password manager. Stronger and more secure than the Smart Lock password sync Google offers, a password manager encourages unique, complex passwords, lets you organize and manage multiple logins, and stores sensitive notes, credit card information, and anything else you want to keep in a digital locker. And it’s all protected by a password or a fingerprint, whichever you choose. Since your password mananger is a separate service, you’ll be able to access your passwords on any device or browser, so even if someone steals your phone your most personal data will still be protected. And with Android Oreo, you’ll even be able to incorporate some of them into Autofill on your phone (fingerprint-protected, of course).
Use a VPN
No matter how many safeguards you add to your phone, it’s inherently vulnerable every time you visit the web. Why? Because the information you send can be stolen and spied on with little effort, especially if you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. If you use a VPN service, your information is encrypted before it hits the airwaves, so your data is fully protected from everybody except the VPN provider and whatever website you're visiting. Even if someone manages to steal it, it’s protected. There are numerous VPNs in the Play Store, so make sure you check out the rankings and user reviews before making your pick. In this case, our recommendation for starting out is TunnelBear, which is free and super simple. If you’re looking for something more advanced, you can download OpenVPN for Android and experiment with Mullvad, the top PC pick in our roundup of the best VPN services.
Use an Authenticator app
We’ve already discussed how important 2-step verification is for your Google account, but you should also be using it for any service that offers it: Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, etc. But if in your own case, you want to take it one step further, you can use an authenticator app to generate unique codes right on your phone rather than sending them over SMS text messages, which can be riskier. Google makes its own authenticator app for your Google account and many other sites that’s free in the Play Store, so we recommend checking it out.
Get a physical security key
If you really want the ultimate protection for your accounts, then you need to have the understanding that nothing beats an NFC security key. Roughly the size of a flash driven (so you can attach it to a keychain) and completely phishing-proof, a security key dispenses with codes and stores all of your authentication on a physical device. So it’s basically impossible to get into any of your accounts without the key, even if someone manages to steal all of your passwords. The $50 Titan Security Key bundle (which includes USB and Bluetooth security keys) is a great option from Google.
Enter Lockdown mode
If all else fails, Google has added a new Lockdown option to Android 9 that allows you to completely secure your phone at a tap. Hold down the power button for a second and you’ll see a Lockdown option at the bottom of the list. (If you don’t, you can enable it in the Lock screen settings.) Tap it and your phone will instantly lock, turn off the fingerprint scanner (so someone can’t force your finger to unlock it), remove all notifications from the lock screen, and disable Smart Lock. And it’ll stay that way until the next time you re-lock your phone.
This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

The Fifteen Jobs to Watch in 2019

As this year continue counting, job hunters around the country know that no two job opportunities are the same. Some have better work-life balance, some have flexible hours, and some have better pay, among other factors. Finding the right job for you could mean a host of different things.

Now, with the economy still in recovery mode and the unemployment rate still hovering just under 4 percent since last June,is now a great time for job seekers to make their move. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of November 2018, there were nearly seven million job openings.

"With such a healthy job market kicking off 2019, we're seeing many of these Best Jobs open for people to apply to and get hired at employers across all industries and in all areas of the country," said Amanda Stansell, economic research analyst at Glassdoor.

So with all this on ground, if you are a job hunter looking for how to find out which position offers the best opportunities, then a recent list from Glassdoor may pique your interest. Earlier this month, the job recruitment site released its annual list of the "50 Best Jobs in America."

The list was determined by weighing three factors: earning potential, overall job satisfaction and the number of job openings. In order to be considered for the list, a position must have at least 100 salary reports and at least 100 job satisfaction ratings on the website from U.S.-based employees from Jan. 1, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019.

According to Glassdoor, tech jobs remained the top-ranked industry with 19 positions making the cut. That number is slightly down from the 20 positions that made the list in 2018. This year's list features eight jobs from the healthcare industry (only five were on last year's list). Some of those positions include dental hygienist, physical therapist and radiologic technologist.

The job with the most openings is software engineer, with just over 49,000 job openings. The highest-paid job this year is software engineering manager, with an average yearly salary of $153,000.

"There's no question that emerging technologies designed to grow and scale business, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation, are having an impact on the types of jobs employers are hiring for across the country," Stansell said. "As a result, we're seeing a spike in demand for highly skilled workers in 2019."

That demand for skilled workers is expected to grow, according to a recent Glassdoor Economic Research Study, which suggests that as American workers continue to age out of their careers, there will likely be more retirees than children by 2035.

Below are the top 15 best jobs, according to Glassdoor's data.

1. Data Scientist
Number of Job Openings: 6,510
Median Base Salary: $108,000

2. Nursing Manager
Number of Job Openings: 13,931
Median Base Salary: $83,000

3. Marketing Manager
Number of Job Openings: 7,395
Median Base Salary: $82,000

4. Occupational Therapist
Number of Job Openings: 17,701
Median Base Salary: $74,000

5. Product Manager
Number of Job Openings: 11,884
Median Base Salary: $115,000

6. Devops Engineer
Number of Job Openings: 4,657
Median Base Salary: $106,000

7. Program Manager
Number of Job Openings: 14,753
Median Base Salary: $87,000

8. Data Engineer
Number of Job Openings: 4,739
Median Base Salary: $100,000

9. HR Manager
Number of Job Openings: 3,908
Median Base Salary: $85,000

10. Software Engineer
Number of Job Openings: 49,007
Median Base Salary: $104,000

11. Mechanical Engineer
Number of Job Openings: 5,949
Median Base Salary: $75,000

12. Physician Assistant
Number of Job Openings: 9,819
Median Base Salary: $105,000

13. Sales Manager
Number of Job Openings: 21,695
Median Base Salary: $65,000

14. Sales Engineer
Number of Job Openings: 3,145
Median Base Salary: $90,000

15. Operations Manager
Number of Job Openings: 18,311
Median Base Salary: $68,000