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Lifehack Deals: Stack Your Mac with the iStack Mac Bundle [Deals]

Lifehack Deals: Stack Your Mac with the iStack Mac Bundle [Deals]

    Some of the greatest deals you can find for Mac apps are from StackSocial and their killer Mac app bundles. Today is no different with StackSocial releasing their newest deal, the iStack Mac Bundle featuring 9 essential Mac apps for $49.99. The entire bundle has a total retail value of $953 (with the included iOS App Development tutorial course), in fact, 5 of the apps actually retail over the sale price.

    I haven’t used all of the apps in the bundle, although I have heard of at least all of them. There are three of these apps that I have used quite extensively, and those three alone are totally worth the $49.99.

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    Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac

    If you are a Mac user and want to use some of your old Windows apps, then you can either virtualize or use Bootcamp to install Windows. Using Bootcamp works pretty great, actually it’s pretty surprising how well Windows works on a Mac, but it can be a huge time waster having to switch between partitions on your Mac. To save time you can use Parallels Desktop 7 instead which can virtualize Windows or even a Linux OS “inside” of OS X.

    It’s great to be able to use Parallels and have your Windows and Mac apps running side by side. While using Parallels in its Coherence Mode, you can sometimes even forget what is a Mac app and what is Windows app because they are running side by side and feel pretty fast.

    If you are in need of a good virtualization solution for Mac, then picking up this bundle for Parallels alone is worth the cost.

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    SnagIt

    SnagIt is my favorite tool for creating video demos and taking screenshots on my Mac. I use it every day to create small tutorials for computer users at my current job.

    What I love most about SnagIt is that it’s super fast and easy to create a small video, create some text and effects to go along with it, then share it with whoever I need to. It takes a lot of the configuration and editing time out of the mix and gives you a great looking video with little effort.

    SnagIt is also great for taking screenshots and even can take nice long photos of websites that span more that your screen’s resolution, which is great for taking picks of demo sites in the browser and being able to send them.

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    Clarify

    Yet another tool I use at work to create great image and text tutorials. Clarify can be used to create beautiful documents with photos that can be use to help users and other understand a process or even a piece of software.

    It has some great built in features for managing screenshots and photos and can be used to automatically create how-to documents while you are taking photos in the order of the process.

    What’s in the iStack Mac Bundle?

    So, 9 titles worth $953 for $49.99. That’s a pretty killer deal, not to mention that the software you are getting is high quality and highly usable. Here are the 9 Mac apps that are featured in the iStack Mac Bundle and their retail prices:

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    • $80 – Parallels 7
    • $50 – SnagIt
    • $90 – Disk Drill Pro
    • $50 – Hands Off
    • $30 – Clarify
    • $50 – Elasty
    • $20 – PaintSupreme
    • $40 – TextSoap
    • $20 – iGlasses 3

    So, if you are in the market for 9 awesome Mac Apps (who isn’t?), then check out the deal over at Lifehack Deals within the next two weeks.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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