Friday, September 8, 2017

Numark NS7 Controller Review



The NUMARK NS7 Controller from Numark delivers high-resolution control so powerful, you’ll wonder how you ever DJ’d without it. The NS7 Controller is a dedicated controller for Serato™ ITCH. It ships with Serato ITCH and comes ready to control the DJ software of your choice, including Serato ITCH and Numark’s CUE DJ software.


Numark NS7 Review


Intro: This year Numark who is known for its industry-leading and proven technologies combined with its 30 years of maintaining the tradition of bringing us breakthrough products has finally made the official release of the highly anticipated NS7.
This system is so anticipated a waiting list has been established by Numark’s distributors as well as a pre-order system.
After doing some research I found out that Serato had first discussed the possibilities of collaborating on a direct-drive motorized turntable controller a little over 3 years ago.
With this said and done I had to see first hand what all the hype was really about, and do it first hand. In attempting to acquire the newly released NS7 it immediately proved to be a challenge. Shipments were extremely low and demand is high. In my search I managed to arrange with a local Guitar Center the notification of the first NS7 to enter the store. It turned out this was going to be the store’s display. After receiving notification and 1 hour of talking to the staff and managers I was able to make the purchase it and see what exactly all the hype was about.
It was love at first sight… The black beauty with classy billet aluminum platters having a true vinyl surface that contained the feel that any turntableist is so familiar with glistened, through the light.

First Impressions:
“This thing is a work of art” It brings a boldly modern and classically well known look and feel meshed with a futuristic control, for any turntablelist all in a well planned, well thought, and successfully executed manner.

Hardware: The unit has a good professional feel throughout the entire console, and seems to be constructed and fashioned from Black Anodized Brushed Aluminum within the platter area, 7 inch Machined and Polished Billet Platters with real slip mats, 45 Rpm record vinyl with polished aluminum adapters, a High Gloss Black Surface within the Mixer and Control areas and a matching Metallic Silver base and sides, all which make it too easy for anyone to forget even at first glance that this system is a MIDI controller.
It also becomes evident immediately that Numark’s primary focus was to deliver a look and feel Vinyl DJs are familiar with combined with easy accessibly and complete control. This is notice in the fact all inputs are conveniently located on the control surface and the front of the unit (with the exception of the USB connection). Further more the NS7 features rubberized buttons, knobs, and levers for a better tactile feel, slight grip and response, at a closer look you will also notice that detail was given not to rubberize the head phone channel/master monitor cross fader, the independent platter volume faders or, the cross fader which all have a excellent high quality feel to them making it a desirable choice for professional and performing DJs.

Software: After popping in the Serato Itch CD and following the instructions it also becomes immediately apparent that Serato and Numark both teamed up to make this incredibly super easy. Yes it’s true “it’s so easy even a cave man can do it”. The steps were like Plug in Power to the NS7, Pop the disc in, Follow the on screen instructions (just 2 or so steps which are connect your USB cable briefly disconnect and reconnect and you are ready to take over the world or any club one mix at a time in under merely a minute and a half.
Which brings me to this next section: The Overview?
After about 5 minutes and grinning from ear to ear you begin to realize just how precise and accurate the NS7 combined with Serato’s Itch really is, including its clarity. Numark is using a 24-bit, 44.1 kHz audio output on both the gold platted balanced XLRs as well as the Master and Booth RCA output connections. It also has a Headphone stereo ¼” and stereo 1/8” connection.

Other features include five hot-cue-assign buttons on each deck which are conveniently located and are able to activate, delete and reprogram instantly to your delight and to your immediate need. These cue points are reflected as marker points within the software screen and are re-callable not only within the hardware but through the software simultaneously.
I am uncertain if this was an unintentional feature. However, the vinyl records “slip” or slack on the platters can be further finely adjusted by loosening the allen spindle screw retaining the Polished Aluminum 45RPM adapters and adjusting the height or level, resulting in less or increased pressure between the record, slip mat and platter. I considered this to be a form of precision custom fine tuning offered as an additional measure to the two modes Motor Torque section switch located on the front of the NS7. By the way the another nice feature is the air cooling system introduced in the NS7 which cools the Platter motors housed in the all metal body if the unit. This proves to be a good preventative measure on the behalf of Numark.

On another note the previously mentioned High quality faders are Replaceable and use customizable CP-Pro cross fader and D-Type line faders. In addition to this the NS7 is the first of in its class to feature a patent pending Strip search virtual needle-drop control which is a touch sensitive strip which acts much to the way of dropping a needle in different locations of a records track in addition the standard Track “Back” and “Advance”

A good old school not left off was the Reverse Play function. This is activated with just a flip of a switch causing both your tack and motorized patters to reverse and is modernized with an added Bleep function activated when the switch is toggle the opposite direction.
Additionally you have full individual control over the “Start” and “Stop” timing of each platter side through 2 individual knobs per side. Another feature is the “Motor off” switch, this will allow the platters to function as a pitch bend when activated and is reflected in the software all the way down to the decimal point and when “On” will allow you to perform real time scratching or control the surface as you would of any vinyl record. There is a Key lock function to both platter sides to ensure there are no unwanted evil party crashing Chipmunks present in your live mixes, There are smooth, stiff pitch sliders with the traditional - + pitch bend buttons along with a Zero-Point LED so you know when you are at the track’s original recorded pitch position.

To bring out the creative remix DJ side of you Numark also added an extensive Serato-style loop section to each deck side for creative remixing, build ups, loops and more. Interestingly enough this feature has two modes: Automatic auto loop and Manual either of which you can use the automatic BPM analyzer to further assist in loop making thus creating smart loops of any measure. Aside from the loop control on/off there is a “½ x” and “2 x” which will split or half by any increment or double by any increment when selected as well as a shift section.
Over all combined with the capability of any Vinyl Turn Table available in the market today and a modern CD deck there is a major twist! NO MORE LUGGING OF RECORDS or CDs around!!! All you need now is a laptop, and some digital audio stored on a drive and, a NS7 and you are off mixing hours if not days at a time.




Adjustable high-torque, direct-drive motors with 7” Vinyl
* 2-in, 4-out. 24-bit USB 2.0 audio Interface
* High speed, double precision MIDI controls (Compatible with any MIDI software)
* Rock solid CP-PRO crossfader
* All metal construction
* Extensive Looping, Cue Point and Track Selection controls
* Additional assignable controls include 8 rotary, 8 triggers and 2 mini sliders
* Audiophile-quality analog circuitry

* Audio Inputs:
o RCA (unbalanced) line
o Mic (1/4" balanced)
* Audio Outputs:
o Master - XLR (balanced)/RCA (unbalanced)
o Booth - RCA (unbalanced)
o Headphone - 1/4" and 1/8" stereo

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Paycheck Stubs - The Essentials of Making One

There are a number of things that you need to be aware of when it comes to making real check stubs. A create pay stub is required by employees so as to demonstrate proof of income. In other words, it is also utilized to comprehend the conditions of payment over a given time period.
create pay stub

It is very important to point out that firms have different approaches when it comes to calculating paystub generator. Some make use of software that permits them to quickly pay stub generator that they are able to easily print later on. However, now all of this can be done on the internet. You'll have the ability to obtain some sites that permit you to do so for free whereas others may charge you a certain fee for their services.

real pay stubs are commonly referred to as create pay stubs. However, you'll discover some websites promoting them as wage statements and pay advice. In most states, the companies are bounded by law to supply their workers with detailed information concerning the calculation of the income and the terms of payments. The ultimate itemized statement will offer a thorough information concerning the applicable deductions and the real earnings of the employee. Furthermore, it should have the specific pay period dates like bi-weekly or monthly.
realpay stubs normally reflect the routine working hours of the employee and the normal pay rate along with the gross pay fee. At the same time, they'll mention any overtime hours along with the overtime pay rates. Benefit days like sick leaves, vacations, holidays, personal time will also be mentioned and the amounts that are related with these two.

When seeking to create a pay stub it's important to be aware of the essentials so that you do not go wrong no matter the tools you will use.

Monday, July 10, 2017

How Employers Could Benefit From Blank Printable Paystubs?

Paystub generator are essentially paid slips. It serves as a record which informs an employee that he/she has obtained their wages. The simple format of a check stub might include gross salaries, taxation and all other amounts which have been deducted/ additional to arrive at the net pay for the year. It's in its entirety a remittance slips which declare that you have been paid so much sum (a) to get that much work done (B).
check stub

As an entrepreneur launching a new company the very first task for you in regards to paying your employees is to get blank printable check stubs or utilize an accessible template. These can subsequently be used to pay your workers. A template could be a softcopy style of a pay slip that could be utilized as it is to pay your workers or it could be utilized as a benchmark to style your real pay stubs.

Payroll real check stubs may be of fantastic aid to employers. Most of them no longer have to fill out paychecks anymore. Pay stub generator templates have been incorporated into the accounting software and all the calculations are automatically done. In some instance the cash is directly transferred into the bank account along with the template is given out as printed confirmation of this move.

There are some legal requirements that require certain things to be included on the realpay stubs. These would depend on the laws in the local jurisdictions of the business but generally, these requirements are:

Worker's name, address, national insurance number, a number of hours worked in the week and the hourly wage rate. These create pay stubs have become popular in recent years but they have had their own problems. Recently there has been an increasing trend of create a pay stubs associated fraud. Fake create pay stub have entered the marketplace and a lot of individuals are struck by the natives.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The History of Making Quality Handmade Quilts Beginning With Early Europe to Present Day America

Quilts have always fascinated me because of how everyone is really diverse and special and has exclusive definitions towards the one who handmade patchwork quilts. And so I did some research to follow the start of blankets up to the present moment.

In Europe, they became common using the Crusaders. Apparently, they wore them under their shield. Croatia followed a century later creating quilts along with the most mentioned one is called the "Tristan Quilt" which is held in a gallery, as well as a separate piece of it, 's held with a private party.

Amish baby quilts


Now we journey for the USA at the change of the 18th century. It was common for ladies to spin, place and sew their clothing for the family. They made blankets of fine needlework. During the time, they were cloth quilts. Material Amish applique quilts were made from "whole cloth". There were three levels of leading batting and 1 layer of support. Together they built a layout of flowers and chickens. Some were produced by a sewing around the bird while placing the batting inside to specify the form of the hen. This action was named "Trapunto." The "Broderie Perse" quilts are special in that the appliqués are from slice motifs of cloth that's produced with strong backgrounds. This was very popular in the 18th century. The material of this time frame was called Chintz. These published quilts were costly to even the individuals who were wealthy.The bedspread was made of the homespun material by slicing numbers of chickens and blooms into the cover. The approach was beautifully done and used simply on special events. Some Amish quilt designs had medallions occur the middle with a motif of an eagle or a pine frequently in a toile fabric. The boundaries encompassing the theme primarily were solid colors. Some blankets were made in "Block" type and were sewn together with a to offer it a finished look.

By the mid-1800's, fabrics became affordable to the majority of individuals and Amish log cabin quilts became extremely popular. Some Amish quilt patterns were made with restored material from making dresses. If you go to a Public, you'll discover quilts made of a specific fabric.

In 1850's, the Artist Sewing Machine Firm created a way for individuals to manage sewing machines with payment options. From the 1870's, most homes had sewing machines to make clothing and/or Amish quilts. Several of the Amish quilting was accomplished yourself alongside sewing machines. Throughout the Civil War, blankets were made to raise money in assistance of the Abolitionists also to retain soldiers comfortable. They'd sell the Amish quilting at District Fairs to improve money. These were typically the finest handmade patchwork quilts with appliqués of wonderful models and occasionally anti-slavery slogans were wear the blankets to make individuals aware of the cruelty of slavery. They were likewise made by ladies on both sides of the conflict to give troopers temperature.

In the Northern states, women built tiny blankets cut from bedspreads to fit Military costs. While in the Southern states where cotton was expanded, it had been tough to Amish quilts for sale since the Northern had the factories to turn cotton into fabric. Because the desires increased, ladies had to go back to weaving to be able to create mattress covers once again.

The middle-19th-century things started to change. The Medallion and Broderie Perse patterns were common. Materials started to be constructed on the wide scale. Women did not have to devote numerous hours, times and months weaving and spinning their handmade blankets.

Down the road, we have the Amish quilts using their strong models as well as a variety of shades with sewing which was exceptional. Quilts were brought here once the Amish originated from Europe almost 250 years ago. Initially, Amish handmade blankets wherever full material in strong colors. Subsequently, while in the 1870's, habits and fabrics were made in accordance with their areas. In Lancaster, Pa. across the 1940's, they were manufactured from wool. In Ohio, they were manufactured from cotton. Amish girls were granted to use their own creative ideas. It became a cultural occasion for the women to come back together. They also started generating blankets to increase their revenue and their blankets are visible throughout the globe.

Nowadays, the blankets are generally employed for kicks. Amish quilts for sale are occasionally useful for wedding presents and in fact, they are such great souvenirs that they cross them from one generation to some other. Amish baby quilts can also be very popular. If you do not the umbrella, you can often discover spots to buy these superb quality heirlooms. The period hasn't declined the love of quilts.

Advice from Child Care Providers on How to Provide Child Care Services

Are you thinking about supplying house child custody services? If you are, this short article could offer you some important and useful advice obtained from experienced child visitation services.

To start, remember beginning per day treatment organization is different from babysitting inside your community; you will have everything ready for any sessions in the personnel and having everything up to rule specifications. There are regulations you will match before setting up each day care center within your unique state, for example, the number of supervised child services besides your own personal that one may look after in your property.
Child Visitation Services


Next, get paid for full-day packages in place of giving both half and supervised child centers. Whatever the case, you'll be linked down the entire day. Charge for full days and full months when you possess a restriction for the number of children as you are able to take care of at any given period. Consuming a child for only Mondays means that you just have one child less to ingest from Tuesdays to Fridays. This seriously limits your earnings.

Kids' security is actually the main concern when setting up quality child visitation centers. Be extremely thorough with how you care for them. Check with the neighborhood government burning and protection regulations. To ensure a safe household day-care knowledge, toys and playground goods have to be child-proof and child-pleasant in design and purpose. A functional fire alarm system is essential for almost any property day care enterprise. Fireplace emergency equipment has to be readily available in the event of a fire hazard at your home daycare.

A well-maintained day-care center features on program and on-schedule. A kid understands what to expect next when there is a regime. Thus, stick to the schedule the normal play, bath, dinner and nap times for that youngster under your care.

To add more price to your daycare company and shifting towards increasing your organization, be innovative and consider away from the field. Do not attempt to follow what everyone else is performing. You are able to contemplate planning activities for example craft and art lessons, audio lessons and computer instruction for the children. You'll be able to contemplate receiving higher charges while you need to cover the expense in running these activities and you will have to employ additional aid.

To be successful and successful inside your supervised visitation centers near me solutions, you must understand that love for your children is foremost. So that you can boost your revenue further, you might consider running a home-based supervised visitation services. Advertise for cchild visitation centers and babysitters. Monitor and interview them, and finally match them with parents' preferences and must produce the best price charging model for your parents.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Solar Power



For many people, camping and caravanning are about ‘getting away from it all’ and not being tied down – even to an electric hook-up point. Add to this the cost of a nightly electrical connection and the fact that many of us like the idea of reducing our use of fossil fuels (both through the national grid or a petrol-powered generator) and solar power seems to have much going for it.

There are several ways of using the sun’s power to make life easier for camping. Solar showers have been on the market for many years. They generally have a black container that you fill with water and leave in the sun to heat up. It’s then simply a case of letting the hot water out of the bag through a shower head. This is a cheap way of using solar power and is replicated in more sophisticated installations for houses, where solar panels (for example: Renogy 150 watt solar panel ) on the roof contain water that heats up and in turn heats the water used inside the home.

However , solar power from photovoltaic (PV) solar Power, energy and capacity probably fits more easily into our camping lives. Here the sun’s energy is converted into electricity in the panel. This can be stored in a leisure battery and released again when we turn on an appliance.

Power in watts (W) = current in amps (A) x voltage in volts (V)
Energy in watt hours (Wh) = power in watts (W) x time in hours (h)
Battery capacity in amp hours (Ah) = energy in watt hours (Wh) / voltage in volts (V)
Choosing the right panel for you

Finding the right solar panel for you can be a challenge. Unfortunately, some people are put off solar panels because they buy the wrong one. Too low an output and you’ll find you’re running out of power. Or you could spend a large amount on a top-of-the-range set up and only be using a small proportion of its output, making it seem excessively expensive.

One straightforward way to find the type of solar panel that’s right for you is to go camping with a fully-charged battery in your unit, don’t connect to an electric hook-up and see how long your battery powers your appliances.

When you return home, find the rating of your battery (it should be marked in amp hours – Ah) and calculate the average energy you’ve used during your trip. For example, if a 110Ah battery has lasted for two days, that’s an average of 110/2 = 55Ah per day. This is a slight over-estimate because you’re unlikely to use the whole of the battery’s capacity before your TV stops working or the water pump fades, but it gives a rough guide.

You’ll therefore be looking for a solar panel to top-up your battery by a similar average, in this case by 55Ah per day – remembering that any solar panel will only be topping up your battery when sunlight is falling on it.
Calculating your power use

If you don’t have the opportunity to check your real power consumption on site, you’ll need to estimate it using the power ratings given on every piece of electrical equipment you plan to power from your battery.

In electrical terms, power (measured in watts, W) equals current (in amps, A) multiplied by voltage (in volts, V). Y our battery produces roughly 12V to power your equipment, so to work out the drain on your battery from an appliance, take its power rating and divide by 12.

For example, a 16W light draws a current of 16/12 = 1.33A. Turn it on for three hours a day and you’ll need 1.33 x 3 = 4Ah every day from your battery to power that single light.

Use a 45W 12V television for the same time and you’ll need 3 x 12/45 = 11.25Ah every day from your battery.

Top tips

If you use a crystalline panel, don’t forget that even the shadow of a thin wire can make a difference to the power output. Make sure as many cells as possible are in full sun.
Solar panels will work behind glass, but with limitations. They are designed for direct sunlight, so if you put a panel behind glass or a plastic window its efficiency will be reduced. It may take up to three times as long to provide the same charge to a battery if you put the panel behind a window, even if it’s in full sun.
Connecting a solar panel to your leisure battery may be as simple as attaching a couple of clips, but some caravan and motorhome manufacturers provide specific adaptors so it’s worth checking with your local dealer before you buy a new panel.
If you invest in a solar panel, make sure it’s positioned to take advantage of the midday sun, which is the strongest. This is almost directly overhead in summer, but lower in the southern part of the sky at other times of the year. Angling your panel towards the sun will increase the energy it generates outside of the summer months.
Some solar panels are portable and come with all the connectors required to attach them to your leisure battery, such as the Solar Technology 4W Fold-Up panel. Others can be permanently secured to your unit and may come packaged with a suitable fixing kit. Before you buy, think about how you will use the panels (including whether they will normally be positioned in full sunlight), whether you want to have them permanently fixed and if the attachment points may affect the water ingress warranty of your unit.
The power you generate from your solar panel will only be as good as the condition of your leisure battery, so it’s worth looking after your battery. The Club has another Data Sheet – Looking after your leisure battery – to help you do this.
The power generated by a solar panel is direct current (DC), so if you want to use it to power something that would normally plug into a home-style three-pin 230V socket you’ll need to convert it to alternating current (AC). For this you’ll need an inverter.
A solar panel can be ideal for keeping your battery topped up during winter storage, especially if you have a caravan or motorhome with a battery-powered alarm system. To take account of the low light levels in winter you may need a 20W panel or more.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

6 Seemingly Harmless Ways You're Sabotaging Your Proposals








60% of leading advertisers will review their agencies within the next 12 months, according to a study from Advertiser Perceptions. As if to prove the point, Procter & Gamble announced in January they will review all ad agency contracts in 2017.

Whether it's due to the demise of the agency-of-record, growing concerns over transparency issues, or the invasion of management consulting firms on ad agency turf, marketers are actively shopping for agencies like never before.

So what does that mean for agencies? You just might start seeing an increase in the number of RFPs landing in your inbox. Good for the upper-end of the sales pipeline, but you'll increase your chances of converting a prospect to a client if you treat your RFP responses like the strategic sales tools they're meant to be -- and that means avoiding these six hazardous pitfalls.

6 Seemingly Harmless Proposal Mistakes

1) You don't know enough to make informed choices.

The Fix: Ask the right questions.


Having an RFP from a new prospect show up unsolicited in your inbox can elicit a giddy response. It's a shiny object that leads you to believe your pipeline problems are over.

Hallelujah. You knew something would come along eventually. Instead of thoughtful consideration of the RFP's requirements and the client fit with your agency, you rally your team and dive right in.

This is a risky, time consuming approach to winning new business.

Instead, gain control from the start by asking the right questions. Why is the client conducting this review? Why now? Why us? Who will decide the winner? What's the budget and timing? Has this scope of work even been approved?

And don't just ask the questions -- know the right answers in advance to qualify this prospect as a worthwhile opportunity for your agency.

2) You take the RFP at face value.

The Fix: Interpret the RFP.
Clearly, you must read the RFP. In fact, you must read the RFP multiple times and throughout the proposal process to make sure your response stays focused on the client's needs, and doesn't go off on unnecessary tangents.

The hazard is taking the RFP at face value without interpreting important information that's hiding in plain sight.

For instance, most RFPs provide a list of people who will be involved in the review process at some level. Look at this list critically for things like who the decision-makers are versus who's in a supporting or supervising role.

How involved is senior leadership? Are some disciplines represented more than others? Are there any surprises, such as roles and responsibilities that aren’t typically associated with a marketing function (e.g., a big regional franchise operator in the case of a quick-serve restaurant chain)? All these considerations reveal internal politics and agendas, as well as valuable insights into the client's decision-making process.

3) You use your response to tell the prospect all about you.

The Fix: You grasp the issues that are important to the client and tailor your response to address them.
Sounds like such obvious advice, doesn't it? Yet I'm surprised at how infrequently agencies follow it.

Suppress your natural desire to tell the prospect all about you. It's hard, because many RFPs will give the impression that they want to know everything there is to know about your work process, capabilities, team bios, etc.

Instead, start the process by establishing key messages you need to communicate (probably no more than three) to win the business. If you've hedged your bets and avoided hazards one and two on this list, you're in a strong position to make those decisions.

Make sure everyone who is contributing to the response knows what those messages are. Be a ruthless editor and discard anything that distracts from presenting your best argument.

4) You "save" your best material for the presentation.

The Fix: You reinforce your messages through artful repetition.
We give clients way too much credit for remembering what we tell them. Here's a reality check: they may be reading (or, more accurately, skimming) a dozen or more responses, most of them badly written, few of them with any differentiating qualities.

If the story is good, telling it once is not enough. Humans love to be told the same good story over and over again. That might be why West Side Story was such a hit despite the fact that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet preceded it by almost 400 years, and Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe by almost 2,000.

5) You weave yourself into a cocoon of jargon and generalization.

The Fix: You tell a good story.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Art of Managing a Flexible Schedule








Ah, autonomy. Isn't it grand? No defined time when you have to arrive at the office. No guilt over having to leave early for your kid’s recital. And if you’re not feeling well or the roads are bad, no problem -- just work from home.

But is it ever really that simple? After all, other things become more salient when you’re working from home, like that pile of laundry that needs to get done, or a plethora of mindless daytime TV viewing options. That’s one issue with autonomy -- it’s entirely up to you to get your stuff done. You have to set your own deadlines and hold yourself accountable to deliverables, because no one is looking over your shoulder.

Perhaps it’s just a mixed blessing. According to the National Workplace Flexibility Study, 98% of managers who implement a flexible work schedule see no negative drawbacks. Rather, they see results like better communication, interaction, and productivity. So, it’s not that simple -- managing a flexible schedule requires a strong balance of managerial trust and personal accountability.

But what does the latter look like? How can you still manage to get stuff done with the boundaries that many of us became accustomed to before we had this kind of autonomy? As it turns out, it’s more than possible -- and we’ve got a few tips.

(P.S. - Speaking of flexibility, we just launched our annual Year in Review, detailing a year of flexibility in our people, product, and place around the world. Check it out here.)

The Art of Managing a Flexible Schedule

1) Maintain a Routine


Here at HubSpot, our culture promotes a healthy dose of employee autonomy and flexibility. So when it came time to evaluate the best methods for managing a flexible schedule, my colleagues seemed like a good resource.

Chelsea Hunersen, our social media marketing manager, emphasized the importance of having consistent daily habits. “Start every day at the same time, with the same routine, even if you have to do different things after that,” she explained. “For example, I start each day reading for 30 minutes.”

People often allude to the benefit of having a routine, but little has been done to explain why it’s so good for us. According to psychologist Wendy Wood, there’s a reason why we form habits -- “We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals.” Maintaining a daily routine helps us to establish a foundation that helps us achieve productive goals, like getting our work done or started by a certain time. So even though my manager doesn’t have any specific parameters for what it means to get to work “on time,” I established my own and have a routine planned around it. That way, I can hold myself accountable to making sure I have enough time to get all of my tasks done, even without a schedule dictated by my employer.

2) Treat It Like A "Real" Work Day


Here’s another place where the benefits of a routine come in. As noted above, we form habits that will help us accomplish a goal -- good or bad. When you have a flexible work schedule, treating it like anything other than a “real” work day can throw you off-course and cause you to send yourself the message that your deadlines don’t matter as much.

So in addition to starting every day with the same routine, says Thinkgrowth.org Editor Janessa Lantz, treat every day with equal importance, even if your schedule varies.

“If you’re working from home on a regular basis, it’s good to get into a habit of showering and getting dressed,” she says. “You’re really just doing it for yourself, and I’m not even sure that it makes you more productive, but it does provide some parameters that say, ‘work day has begun!’”

As silly as it may sound, sending yourself these signals can accomplish a lot for your outlook and approach to your work. In fact, researchers have found that dressing formally correlates with a person’s ability to engage in abstract thought -- that’s especially good for marketers and other creative professionals. That’s not to say you should sport full evening attire when you’re working from home, but you should still follow the steps that you would with a structured work schedule. You’ll probably find that it shifts your state of mind in a way that prepares you for and signals the work day ahead.

3) Have a Hard Stop on the Workday


By that same account, you also need to know when to call it quits. Having an unconventional work schedule, especially a remote one, can often leave people without ambient signals -- like people going home -- that the work day is over.

Just as getting dressed in the morning sends the internal message, “The work day has begun,” says Lantz, you also “put your pajamas to communicate, ‘work day is over!’ Otherwise, you will forget what time and eventually day it is, and that's scary.”

When working remotely, I’ve been known to keep plugging away long after dark when I’m really absorbed with my work. And with no other signal than the dog whining to be fed, I don’t have any parameters to indicate that it’s time for me to turn off my laptop and focus on my non-work life.

So how do you implement a hard stop to the work day without set hours dictated by your employer? Well, one easy solution is to set an alarm. Just as you have one to wake you up, you can also use it to wind down. Set it for a time that allows you a few minutes to wrap up whatever you’re working on, so you don’t have to stop abruptly in the middle of a task.

Also, remind yourself that a huge advantage to a flexible work schedule in the first place is the extra time it affords for your life outside of work. That could be why companies allowing this flexibility report an 11% decrease in the number of employees who feel obligated to work on nights and weekends, and an 8% decrease in those who think they’re expected to be available 24 hours each day. It’s designed to help you take care of yourself and your family -- so use it accordingly.

4) Use Your Calendar as a To-Do List


When you’re granted a high amount of autonomy, it’s also easy to lose track of the amount of time you spend on a single task. When your hours aren’t dictated by your employer, it can be easy to think, “Oh, I have plenty of time to work on this,” only to look at the clock and realize that the day is almost over. Trust me -- I’ve been there.

That’s why Hunersen suggests using your calendar as a to-do list. By creating calendar invites for the tasks you need to accomplish each day, you’re achieving two things:
Being reminded of your tasks, especially if you schedule them with an alert.
Managing your own time and dictating the amount of time you can allot to each task.

We also suggest scheduling breaks and the aforementioned “hard stop” in the same way. I’ve written before about how I use this technique. It’s called "time blocking," which means I put appointments in my calendar for practically everything -- work projects, exercise, and even shutting down my electronics before bed. Do I always stick to that exact schedule? Of course not. But by having it right in front of me, it reinforces that those are things I need to do.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Guest Post: Buying Used Hamilton Watch



I receive frequent communications from people who wish to purchase used watch with the intention of passing it down to a favoured son (or daughter). This is a thoughtful and admirable act that can encourage an interest by future generations in family history and add to the cache of family treasures.

Providing that a benefactor has delivered the first recipient a rich or happy childhood uncontaminated by major trauma or tyranny, an Hamilton watch can act as a powerful anchor that propels the wearer back in time to savour shared and cherished moments.

In more egoistic terms, Hamilton watch is a way to be remembered. Let's face it, most of us would like to be remembered fondly after we have shuffled off this mortal coil, and very few of us would like NOT to be remembered at all. As Mother Teresa said, "One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anyone".

If you are thinking of buying used watch for the purpose of it becoming a family Hamilton, below are some ideas about how to make it a truly cherished object:

· Do your homework on both watch and potential sellers. Many people have become casualties of dishonest sellers and dealers offering fake or 'put-together' examples of collectible used watches. Part of the fun of acquiring used Hamilton watch can be the research, so get to know enough detail to be able to make an astute purchase. Joining used watch forums such as Timezone and Watchuseek can be a good first start;

· Go for a precious metal case if at all possible. Apart from being non-corrosive, gold or platinum adds extra allure to the treasure aspect of an Hamilton;

· Choose the best movement calibres. Research the internet and used watch forums for consensus on the most collectible and sought-after movement series. Get to know and understand what makes the movement special - its history, design and horological importance;

· Aim for the most sought-after model. It is better to pay a premium for a quality example of a watch that has a high Collectibility quotient than fewer dollars for a less interesting example of the same brand;

· Source a watch with original box and papers if at all possible. If not possible, research and acquire an authentic box from the period. With some watch manufacturers, such as Omega and Patek Philippe you may seek an extract from their archives. This helps providing provenance for the watch and confirms authenticity;

· Consider having your name and that of your wife expertly engraved on the case back, along with the date you acquired the watch. While it may discount the value of the watch by about five percent, it increases its Hamilton value and forever establishes a connection with the original benefactors;

· Consider documenting by hand on a piece of parchment the reasons for your choice of Hamilton and add a portrait of the benefactors;

· Buy one or two parts movements in good condition over time so future watchmakers will have a source of parts if repairs are needed. Make sure they are housed in special containers and are packed in cotton or a material that will not corrode the plating on the movements;

· Consider having a wooden box especially fashioned to contain papers, watch box, watch, parts movements and any other memorabilia;

· Keep the piece in good condition with regular servicing (Around every five years).

Finally, Wear the watch as a special occasion or dress watch and encourage the intended recipient, with gentle reminders like "One day this will be yours", to covet the piece. Hopefully, if you've done your parenting well the intended recipient will not consider bumping you off for the value of a watch!





Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3882555

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How to Build a Growth-Minded Design Process at Your Agency








As important as creativity is to an agency's success, no great work can be produced without a great process.

Next time you admire a stunning design project, think for a moment: This work looks great, but did it go out on time? Did the project exceed budget? Was the client actually happy with the end result? Did the team run into any major project management roadblocks?

Modern agency processes like Growth-Driven Design (GDD for short) and the Agile Methodology give us a new way to optimize the production of creative projects, helping us develop work that consistently looks great and exceeds client expectations.

Adopting these innovations for your agency might seem like a no-brainer. What client doesn’t enjoy faster delivery, higher user satisfaction, and lower financial risk?

Your team, however, might be harder to sell on adopting a design process.

To develop a sustainable process for your design team, everyone at your agency needs to play a part. Check out our tips for each department below, and make developing a design process a painless company-wide effort.

A Culture Change for Designers


At most agencies, creative thinking lies with designers, art directors, and creative directors. Their unrestricted imaginations and out-of-the-box thinking bring forth new ideas and inventive solutions to clients' problems.

However, many creative people have trouble putting external limitations -- deadlines, budgets, client demands -- on their ideas. Sometimes, individual self-expression is allowed to override business concerns.

For Growth-Driven Design to work, a culture change might be required at your agency. Designers, crazy as it may sound, shouldn’t be the sole drivers of design decisions. They must also be driven by end users’ needs, as dictated by feedback and behavior data.

From this comes the concept of the Launch Pad website: a website tailored for a fast initial release. Short production time and early collection of feedback is prioritized over completeness or perfection. Non-essential elements, features, or content are omitted. That's why the GDD process has us releasing websites earlier than ever -- the Launch Pad stage enables us to gather crucial user data earlier in the process than other design methodologies.

Be sure that your design team has a fluent understanding of your customer personas, and that empathy for the customer is the center of their creative process. Provide training in user experience design -- a relatively young field rarely taught in art schools -- so they have the tools and concepts they need to connect their visuals to real world use cases.

Restraints are often the key to producing the best creative solutions. Imposing some limitations creates a starting point from which to judge the strength of a design decision. Working around a limitation means designers are forced to think harder for a solution, pushing the limits of their creativity.

Focus Development and QA on the End User


Technologists, too, can be creative thinkers -- envisioning a website as an elegant, modern, efficient, and ever-improving system of code. Talented developers hate compromising the quality of their code due to external limitations such as deadlines. They too might try to run a project over time or budget in order to be able to execute the ideal solution.

When their requests are refused, job satisfaction suffers. QA engineers are often the biggest proponents of high technology standards and user advocacy. Such enthusiasm should be encouraged.

In technical fields as well as creative, the key is finding a way to harness and channel this commitment for quality towards solving real business problems. Technology professionals must also learn to not let their creativity derail a project. Ensure that any proposed features or improvements are a means to an end, and align with your major project goals.

No matter how beautifully a system runs on the backend, or how cutting-edge a new feature is, there must be a tangible benefit to the user on the front end. Perhaps the site now loads faster, better protects sensitive information, or is easier to use on mobile devices.

Improvements to code can also have a benefit to the agency itself. They can make the site easier and faster for developers to update, improving overall team velocity. They may make it more forward-compatible with the latest technologies, reducing the need to rebuild and refactor in the future.

It’s also important for a smooth-running process that QA is an ongoing effort from the very beginning of a project. If QA starts too close to the release date, there will likely be inadequate time to rectify issues. QA engineers should be included in the design process, where they may add UX suggestions based on their user feedback experience.

Tighter Project Management


Project managers are the stewards of process and efficiency. Their challenge in these new paradigms is assigning the team a workload that can be done -- to completion -- in a single iteration cycle. PMs interface most often with other departments, and are the ones to whom demands and requirements are made. They must not give into the pressure to say yes to everything, while not knowing for sure that the team can deliver.

A certain level of pessimism is crucial for proper project and resource planning.“Underpromise and overdeliver” can’t be said enough. When working on fixed-length work cycles, deadlines can't just be arbitrarily pushed back. However, this also grants the permission to be iterative -- whatever couldn’t get done this release can always be done next time. Even requests from the highest levels of management must be carefully evaluated and prioritized appropriately.

PMs will also need to learn to communicate more frequently with their teams. Release cycles are shorter than before, so a single day represents a greater percentage of the timeline. Just one unproductive day can derail a release from delivery.

This makes enforcing practices like the a daily stand-up -- where each team member recaps the previous day, outlines their plan for today, and airs any problems or critical blockers -- absolutely essential. They must also be sure to facilitate intra-team communication amongst members working in different roles to reduce the chance that blockers will arise.

A More Grounded Approach for Marketing and Sales