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10 Great Apps to Boost Your Productivity: Part I

These days, there is such an abundance of technology that it’s nearly impossible to organize and accomplish tasks- seems counterintuitive, right? Between multiple email accounts, social media sites, and work-related applications, think about how much time you waste just wading through the constant stream of documents and browser tabs. Wouldn’t it be great to streamline your workflow? Employ a set of simple tools to make your days more efficient and user friendly? Well, luckily there are applications out there that can make this possible- you just have to know where to look. And even more luckily, I’ve done it for you! This is Part I of my top ten must-have apps for a clean, organized, and productive life. Look out for the last 5 apps in my next post!   1. Dropbox If you don’t already use this gem, it’s about time that you do. Dropbox allows you to access your files from any computer, anywhere in the world, even from your phone or tablet. You also have the ability to share some or all of your folders with friends, coworkers, and family, making it easy to send those pesky large documents to anyone with a Dropbox account. Got a batch of photos to send to Grandma? Don’t waste your time emailing them! Just upload the entire set to Dropbox, share it with Grandma, and it automatically appears on her computer! Accounts are free for up to 16GB (taking advantage of referral perks) and they offer “pro” and “business” accounts with much more storage starting at $9.99/mo and $15/mo per user, respectively. DropBox is compatible with both Windows and Mac, as well as iOS, Android, Blackberry, Linux, and the iPad.   2. Google Drive The workhorse of the Google app empire makes it a cinch to share documents, collaborate on projects, and access your files remotely. All you need is a Gmail account, and you can easily sync your folders to be opened from anywhere- laptop, phone, tablet, you name it. Plus, it’s great for teamwork, since each user can make changes to spreadsheets and presentations, and with Drive saving your work in real-time, you feel good knowing you aren’t going to accidentally erase this quarter’s budget report! What’s even better is that Drive has a built-in search engine, image and word recognition, and allows users to open any type of file (such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop documents). It’s free to use and is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms.   3. Any.Do This app has garnered an armful of awards, and for good reason. Any.Do is a task and to-do list master, with a sleek interface and easy to use features like voice-to-text conversion, and location and time based reminders. This app syncs perfectly with your computer to shuttle shopping lists, chore lists, and agendas between your devices, so you never miss an important meeting or forget something at the store. Any.do helps you plan your day by prompting you to create to-do lists and reminding you of upcoming events. Any.Do is actually broken down into two separate apps, “Task and To-Do Lists” and “Cal”, but I wanted to lump them together since they really operate best in tandem. Any.Do Cal syncs with your existing calendar apps (Google, Mac, Facebook, etc…) and expands on them, allowing you to view date/time details, make dinner reservations, and alert friends to an important day- all from one screen!   4. Evernote The all-around work and household manager app, Evernote, has gathered a large and dedicated following for its comprehensive and concise platform. Available for desktop and smart phones,...

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WordPress: Why You Should Consider Using a Child Theme

It is estimated that 1 in 5 websites use WordPress as a framework. No, that is not a typo. It is a staggering number to think about when you consider how many millions of sites are added each day. Every WordPress site’s design is governed by a theme, which controls the appearance, layout and functionality. There are free themes available, but to get a custom theme design for your website, you may hire a developer to create your theme. No matter which direction you decide to go, it has been my experience that, at some point, everyone wants some additional control of the design of their site. In this situation, you can pay for a developer to make changes to your site or you can attempt to do it yourself. This is when a “child” theme becomes important. A child theme is a feature of WordPress that allows the user to create custom styles in your theme. A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the “parent” theme, as defined by WordPress.org. In other words, you can make dynamic, style changes to your site without effecting the original code. According to a popular theme provider, “85 percent of our customers customize their themes, and only 35 percent use a child theme when doing so. This may be due to a lack of understanding as to what a child theme is, or due to the perceived difficulty of creating one.” With that in mind, if you are ready to make simple design changes to your site, don’t be afraid to dive in and try a child theme. What is one of the best features of using a child theme? Even if you make a mess with the child theme, you can always fall back to the original parent theme without consequence. That should help give you some confidence to get started! While creating a child theme is actually very easy in practice, it may not be for everyone. You need some basic knowledge of cascading style sheets, or CSS, and information on how you will connect to your web server to upload the child theme file. However, CSS is an intuitive language to learn, and connecting to a web server is as simple as finding the credentials that your host provides for you. How important do I think child themes have become? In the web design class I teach at the Digital Workshop Center, I have begun incorporating some lessons about how CSS can be used for child themes and beyond. It has become an essential topic for any WordPress web designer, and I hope that you use child themes properly when you decide you need to update the design on your WordPress site as well. [Orginally published in the Coloradoan on...

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Understanding WordPress and Why it is So Popular

What is WordPress and why has it become so popular?

Every day, more small businesses are trying to keep up with technology by utilizing the latest trends on the market.

One of the hottest current trends is WordPress, which began as a blog platform for websites.

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Content Management System a Critical Tool

A content management system, or CMS, is one of the greatest tools for a small business.

It provides a central online resource for the control of your content on a website. With some minimal knowledge of web design, anyone can add, delete, or edit content using a well-built CMS.

Content management systems provide much more than just a way to work with content.

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