10 apps everyone should have on their computer

Woman using laptop

Mobile apps are far more popular than their desktop counterparts, but most people still rely on laptop or desktop computers, either for work or just browsing the web at home.

Whether you’ve invested in Apple’s Mac line or a Windows PC, there are absolutely some worthwhile desktop apps out there to get more out of your computer.

Here are the five apps – for both Windows and Mac – you should download.

Skitch lets you quickly and easily annotate images

Skitch lets you quickly and easily annotate images

Skitch is a Mac app that lets you draw on and annotate images. Screenshot an image or upload a photo from your computer, add arrows, text, or symbols, then export and share.

Skitch is free in the Mac App Store.

Giphy Capture helps you turn any video into a GIF

Giphy Capture helps you turn any video into a GIF

In the past, creating GIFs used to be a multi-step process or, at the very least, required using some very suspect-looking apps. Giphy Capture not only makes that process quicker, but it also has an intuitive interface that anyone could figure out: You can capture, edit, and upload GIFs with just a few clicks.

Giphy Capture is free in the Mac App Store.

Flume brings all the features of Instagram to your desktop

Flume brings all the features of Instagram to your desktop

For those who use Instagram for work — or anyone who’s Insta-famous — having to switch from desktop to phone can be frustrating and time-consuming. Enter Flume, an app that aims to create a “beautiful Instagram experience” on your Mac. The app lets you scroll through photos on your desktop with ease — and at full resolution. The pro version even lets you upload photos and videos directly from your desktop.

Flume is free in the Mac App Store.

Franz combines all of your messaging platforms in one place

Franz combines all of your messaging platforms in one place

Communicating via multiple messaging apps can be confusing but, at times, necessary. Luckily, Franz is here to take the clutter out and make it easier to toggle in between apps by combining services like Slack, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and more on one simple, modern dashboard.

Franz is free to download for Mac and Windows.

Spark is a better way to do email

Spark is a better way to do email

Spark used to only be available for iPhone and iPad, so the launch of a Mac version last November was exciting.

Spark is a smart email app that simplifies and curates your messages, combining them into groups and notifying you of the ones you likely want to see. The app is modern, streamlined, and reminiscent of Slack, so users will feel right at home.

Spark is free to download in the Mac App Store.

Polarr is a pro-level photo editor at an amateur-level price

Polarr is a pro-level photo editor at an amateur-level price

Polarr is a powerful photo editing tool that rivals some of the best software out there. With much of the same functionality as Adobe Lightroom — toning, curve adjustment, effects, and more — the app will solve nearly all of your basic photo editing needs. And with an easy-to-use interface, you won’t be confused by numerous buttons or too many features.

Polarr is free to download in the Microsoft store.

Drawboard PDF provides an easier way to annotate documents

Drawboard PDF provides an easier way to annotate documents

With Drawboard PDF, you can do away with Adobe Acrobat Reader for good. The streamlined app lets you annotate documents with drawings or notes and share them with your team, eliminating the wasted paper and confusion.

Drawboard PDF is available in the Microsoft store for $9.99.

Vectr makes it simple to create beautiful designs

Vectr makes it simple to create beautiful designs

If you’ve ever struggled to create a resume or brochure on Microsoft Word, you know how challenging it is to create and how unattractive the end result is. With Vectr, you can create beautiful designs, logos, or mock-ups and share them with collaborators. Plus, the app is designed for both beginners and advanced designers, so it’s easy to use.

Vectr is free in the Microsoft store.

Flipboard is your own personalized magazine

Flipboard is your own personalized magazine

Flipboard may have originated on the iPad, but it’s actually one of the best Windows apps out there, and for good reason: The beautiful, free app provides an easy way to personalize the things you like to read, catch up on the latest news, and save articles for later.

Flipboard is free in the Microsoft store.

Todoist is a virtual to-do list

Todoist is a virtual to-do list

If you’re still writing your to-do lists on sticky notes, Todoist may be the app for you. The virtual to-do list lets you organize your agenda, sync it with other devices, and share tasks with others. There’s a free version of the app, plus two other pricing tiers for the ultra-organized.

Todoist is available for Windows and Mac.

This is why you should uninstall QuickTime on Windows.

This is why you should uninstall QuickTime on Windows

The US Department of Homeland Security is advising all Windows users to uninstall QuickTime.

According to Trend Micro, Apple will no longer provide security updates for QuickTime for Windows, which leaves the software vulnerable to exploitation.

How to hackproof your phone. SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 15: A demonstrator wears a mask as he tries to use his cell phone during a protest inside the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Civic Center station on August 15, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The hacker group "Anonymous" staged a demonstration at a BART station this evening after BART officials turned off cell phne service in its stations last week during a disruptive protest following a fatal shooting of a man by BART police. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

How to lock down your phone against hackers, cops – and your other half

The security firm has discovered two critical vulnerabilities that could allow remote attack to take over your system, and without an update from Apple, these will likely never be patched up.

Homeland Security echoed the firm’s advice to users to abandon the programme completely if you use Windows.

Mac users, however, are in the clear, as the flaws do not affect QuickTime for Mac in any way.


New Solar Technology Transforms Smartphones and Windows into Eco-Friendly Energy Sources .

With all the hazardous health and environmental aspects of our current energy sources — likenuclear, coal, petroleum and natural gas — innovative and nontoxic alternatives are in high demand. Regrettably, even “green technology” has serious drawbacks, where windmills and solar farms decimate bird life, while dams for hydroelectricity disrupt waterway ecosystems. In an attempt to find a better solution, we’re often faced with significant (and destructive) consequences. And yet, a glimmer of hope is on the horizon with a state-of-the-art material developed at Michigan State University (MSU).

Luminescent solar concentrators are nothing new in the realm of solar energy. Focusing the sun’s rays onto a compact area, the effect is similar to using a magnifying glass for generating heat and fire. The technology doesn’t come without problems, however. Solar concentrators tend to be unattractive monstrosities that pose a threat to local bird wildlife. Efforts have been made to merge the concentrators with standard windows, but the end result compromised the transparency and color of the glass. In response, the quest for a completely clear material began.

transparent solar 300x199 New Solar Technology Transforms Smartphones and Windows into Eco Friendly Energy Sources

Affordable and non-intrusive

According to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, his team has developed a truly transparent luminescent solar concentrator that “can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface.” The key word here is transparent.

In the past, solar cells placed around luminescent plastic-like materials yielded products that were inefficient and highly colored. As Lunt pointed out in a recent press release, “No one wants to sit behind colored glass. It makes for a very colorfulenvironment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent.”

The solar harvesting system uses specialized organic molecules that absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight. Once these molecules pick up ultraviolet and near-infrared light, they “glow” at an infrared wavelength. This “glowing” light is guided to the border of the material where it’s converted into power by slender rows of photovoltaic solar cells.

“Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye,” Lunt said.

Even though development is still in its early stages, the potential to scale production for commercial applications with an affordable price point looks promising. Lunt also notes that the material needs more work on its energy-producing capacity. Currently, the solar conversion efficiency is close to 1 percent, but the team aims to reach beyond 5 percent when fully optimized.

Despite the hurdles that need to be overcome, Lunt believes that the material “opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way. It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”

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The clock ticks faster.

The signs of physical and functional decline may take a few years to show
APThe signs of physical and functional decline may take a few years to show
Early puberty, hypertension and diabetes in children, early menopause… The alarming issue of premature ageing points inescapably to our way of living, finds out Sudha Umashanker

Girls as young as seven or eight coming of age, young children being diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes, women with plummeting ovarian reserves in their late 20s or early 30s — the ageing clock seems to be ticking differently these days.

Kousalya Nathan, lifestyle and age management consultant, Nova Specialty Surgery, Chennai, points out, “More than ageing and its associated degenerative disorders, the alarming problem is premature ageing, which implies significant functional decline in various organs due to unmanaged lifestyle disorders.”

As the International Journal of Diabetes Care (1999) states, “Although Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus has historically been characterized as an adult onset of diabetes, it has been shown to be on the rise in young people in recent years, comprising some alarming 30 per cent of new cases of diabetes in the second decade of life. The mean age at diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes in young people is 12-14 years.” (Incidentally, Indian ethnicity is at higher risk.)

Listing out the factors suggestive of the prevalence of premature ageing, Dr. Nathan notes, “Early puberty is a pointer. We also live in an environment that favours unhealthy weight gain in children and adolescents. This has reached epidemic proportions in India, with consequences ranging from inability to play or climb stairs, to hypertension, dyslipidemia, back pain and psychosocial problems. Even greying and loss of skin tone, which are signs of middle age, are seen in 10- to 12-year-olds. In the worst-case scenario, deaths due to non-communicable diseases in those in their 30s and 40s are also happening.”

Nandita Palshetkar, infertility specialist, Lilavati Hospitals Mumbai and Fortis Bloom IVF Centres, says, “Nowadays, more and more girls are attaining early puberty. Earlier, puberty which was seen at age 12 is now seen at the age of seven to eight years, in approximately 15 per cent of the girls. There are several reasons for this — such as unhealthy weight gain, stress, estrogens-like hormones such as bisphenol A found in hard plastics, certain metals that act as metalloestrogens, (eg. tin, cadmium, mercury, lead and aluminium, copper), situations in which the father is absent or the child is living with the step-father, Vitamin D deficiency, early exposure to sex-related messages in the media etc. Higher body mass index is associated most often with lifestyle changes that have occurred in the last couple of decades in our society. Early puberty, in turn, is associated with repercussions such as increased risk of heart problem, osteoporosis and early menopause.”

Rapid depletion of ovarian reserves, and therefore early ovarian ageing in young women, is yet another cause of concern. While it could be due to polycystic ovaries, in several cases, the cause is unknown. “Measures must be taken to reduce contamination by Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) if we want to take steps to decrease reproductive disorders in women of the next generation,” stresses Dr. Palshetkar. EDCs that affect the functioning of the thyroid and ovary are found in pesticides, dioxins (produced when plastic is burnt, certain industrial processes and from improper incineration of waste), bisphenols (found in hard plastics, some baby bottles, water bottles and the insides of some food and beverage cans.) Corroborating the incidence of diabetes in overweight young children, Vijay Viswanathan, head and chief diabetologist, M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Chennai, says that a recent survey in Chennai done by his institution showed that “many children who were overweight had raised blood pressure levels. These children showed aspects of insulin resistance, which makes them prone to hypertension and also diabetes.”

Asked if this can be considered a form of ageing, Dr. Viswanathan affirms, “Yes, this is a type of ageing, since the blood vessels develop stiffness and lose their elasticity even by the age of 10 or 15 in children who are insulin-resistant. These early blood vessel changes make these children prone to developing hypertension at an early stage, and may also lead to heart blocks by the time they get into their 20s or 30s.”

What are the signs that should alert us before visible changes of ageing happen?

Weight gain, skin discoloration in underarms, inner thighs, nape of the neck, frequent infections, tiredness, irregular periods in girls, rough skin, overeating and eating disorders, stress and sleeping difficulties in children,” should put us on the alert, says Dr. Nathan.

While there are molecular-level changes of ageing in children, to see the physical and functional decline, it might take a few years. “It is a complex and multi-factorial process. Lifestyle accelerates loss of genetic materials, causing premature ageing,” Dr. Nathan concludes.

Preventive steps

Lifestyle modification is top priority.

– Opt for an anti-ageing diet — 60 per cent complex carbohydrates (legumes, cereals and vegetables), 20 per cent protein (white meat, dal, paneer, tofu, soy protein), 20 per cent fats (nuts, olives, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds)

– Undertake regular physical activity

– Avoid exposure to estrogens-like compounds and environmental toxins

– Consume organically-grown vegetables

– Teach children to bust emotional stress by taking up creative pursuits


9 Practical Steps to Prepare for Tough Negotiations.

Why should I give you what you want?

Why shouldn’t you do what I say?

Why won’t you listen to what I need?

No matter what career you work in or business you run, at some point you will be involved in negotiations. Some negotiations are simple, others not so much!

To shine and succeed in negotiations, it all comes down to three words: PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE!

When you actually get in the room or on the phone and start the negotiations, everything flows based on how well you’ve preparedbeforehand. Whether it’s negotiating a pay rise in your job, negotiating a deal or contract with a supplier or client, or negotiating a solution to a workplace meltdown, you need to prep before you take the floor!

Aaron and I have both held corporate career positions requiring regular negotiations with internal and external stakeholders. It’s something we’re both very familiar and confident with. So let us share with you our top 9 practical steps to support you in preparing for tough negotiations…

1. Be clear on what you want

To get what you want out of a negotiation, you need to be crystal clear on exactly what outcome you are seeking to achieve.

Write it down and break it into components.

  • What is the ultimate outcome?
  • What components make up that overall outcome?
  • What is the minimum result you’re willing to accept?

When doing this exercise, really challenge yourself to be clear on what outcomes are most important, what are non-negotiable must haves, and what results really aren’t ‘die in the ditch’ deal breakers.

People at work

2. Understand where the other party is coming from

Any negotiation requires at least two parties. Your job is to know what both parties want, in order to prepare yourself to navigate and direct the negotiations.

You’ve just done the exercise to get clear on what you want. Now you need to consider where the other party is coming from. What do they want? If you’re not sure, put yourself in their shoes and consider what their ideal outcome is likely to be?

Spend a little time thinking about what factors are most important to them.

3. Articulate the gap

A negotiation only exists because there’s a gap between two parties. If you were both aligned wanting the same outcome, there would be no negotiation, there would simply be agreement.

On the basis that what you both want differs, your job now is to articulate the gap between what you want and what they want. Understand how far apart you are. What are the major differences of opinion? What are the crucial factors/resources at stake?

Write it down.nego2

4. Find your common ground

Now that you know what the gap is, what keeps you apart, turn your attention to what your common ground is.

In order to bridge the gap, you need to find that common ground to create connection, relationship and a way to close the gap.

  • What do you both have in common?
  • What do you both agree upon?
  • What can you leverage as a basis for agreement?
  • What points in the negotiation can you easily come to a conclusion on to gain positive win win ground early on.

5. Be clear on what you’re willing to give away

The art of negotiation is being willing to give as well as take.

Both parties will have something to give that the other party needs and wants. Often times there are things you can give away in the negotiation that are of high value to the other side, but of little to no consequence to you. It’s like when you ask for a discount when buying a laptop or appliance, and the sales person offers you an extended warranty instead. That extended warranty is meant to appear as great value to you, with it being of little to no cost to them. They are using the art of giving as a way of appeasing you in the negotiations, in order to get away from providing a discount (what you want and what they’re not willing to give).

What are you willing to give away?120309-A-AO884-167

6. Be confident in your position

If you prepare properly before a negotiation, you will have greater confidence in yourself and in your position. Remind yourself that you may not get the full result you’re aiming for in the first instance, and that that’s no reason to have your confidence rocked.

Be prepared to be patient, to value what you have to offer, and to hold your ground.

7. Empathy for the other party

Negotiations do not go well when both parties come in with a war mind-setYou’re going into negotiations, not battle. Anyone who walks their career or business path with a genuine ‘win win’ mind-set, will triumph personally and professionally over time.

A “I’m going to win and you’re going to lose” approach is negative, cocky and is a choice you make which comes across very clearly in your body language, tone of voice and presentation.

Always enter any negotiation with a solutions mind-set, looking for the best outcome for both parties. This doesn’t prevent you from being confident, assertive, crystal clear and authoritative in directing the process and outcomes.

8. Have a plan

Plot out how you would ideally like the negotiations to go, so that you can direct it that way if possible.

Be clear on what your starting point is, that is your opening message, your opening point for discussion and what is most important to convey to the other party early on in the meeting.

Be aware of how long you are willing to wait if the negotiations hit a stalemate, before you’re willing to give something away, or before you will change approach.

9. Reminders to take in with you

Go into the negotiations remembering that the following things make a difference to how you feel during the negotiations and to your outcomes:

  • Be an active listener, because you pick up valuable information by listening properly.
  • If nervous during a negotiation, change your body posture – if on the phone, stand up. If sitting down, hold yourself upright and hold your head high.


Prepare for your negotiations and remember that practise makes perfect. It takes a little time and practise to perfect the art of negotiation and each opportunity you have to negotiate allows you to learn and expand your capabilities.


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