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How to Make Your Mac Workspace More Productive

How to Make Your Mac Workspace More Productive

New Years resolutions like losing weight and quitting an addictive activity are the normal resolutions we are always expected to make, however, these quintessential resolutions are the most prone to fail. One resolution that can come with the most benefits is living more productively, as it can give you more time with family, work, and free time. One great place to start is the place you spend the most time at: your Mac. Here are a couple of tips on how to make your workspace a more productive one.

Give It a Good Cleaning

magican

    As a blogger, I find myself loading my Mac with tons of photos, videos, and documents involving articles I have to write and meet deadlines for. After a couple of months of doing this, I end up with a Mac that is sluggish, filled with junk, and just in need of a good cleaning. To ensure that your Mac works to the best of its ability, you must ensure that the useless files are cleared out periodically.

    If you find this task a bit daunting, like I do, then seek refuge in an application whose job is to clean out your Mac. One application that I always recommend is Magican: this application goes through your Mac and presents you with a list of files that may not be necessary for the way you use it. Along with all of your applications, you are able to look through and choose what you want to remove, which is a quick and easy way to delete more than you probably would have been able to do without pulling your hair out. Plus, since it’s free, there’s no reason not to at least try out the application.

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    Download MagicanHow to use Magican File for find any files on Mac

    Loading Your App Arsenal

    One easy way to add a bit of productivity to your Mac is to add a couple of applications that you can incorporate into your work day, or even when you are simply getting errands out of the way. One key to productively incorporating any application into your Mac is to ask yourself a couple of questions first: Will this application be one that will solve a problem or make something easier for you? Does it seem like an application that is complicated to get started? Are you willing to pay this price in the possibility that it wouldn’t be an app that works well for you? Going through this checklist will allow you to pick an application that isn’t a waste of megabytes and allows you to just jump in and get started. Below, we have a couple of suggestions to get you started:
    • Evernote: Keep notes, documents, and more in one area. Clean up your workspace and transfer receipts and important papers into Evernote
    • Dropbox: Save files and easily transfer them in one application
    • TaskMate: Your task/to-do list readily at hand
    • iClockr: Time keeping for freelancers and workers alike
    • Deadline: View iCal events in your menu bar

    Hook Your Mac Up

    icloud

      Switching from your Mac to your iPad and then to your iPhone to get things done can be a bit time consuming. You may feel that it’s necessary when you have your email in one place, a document in another, and a spreadsheet on a third device, but this doesn’t need to happen with Mac.

      If you have iOS, Mac has provided a perfect way for you to connect your life on your various gadgets easily: this is done through iCloud, a cloud service that allows you to easily have certain productive aspects of your mobile life automatically added to connected devices instantly. No shared WIFI network or extra connection needed.

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      SEE ALSO: How to set up iCloud on all your devices

      Currently, this is widely implemented in Calendars, Contacts, iWork documents, and more. Also, various applications like Smartr for example, are hooked up with iCloud. This prevents you from having to put in the added effort of creating multiple calendar events or contacts, and also allows you to work on documents when away from home.

      SEE MORE: 5 Third-Party Apps That Work With iCloud

      Calibrate Me Please

      One nuisance that comes with working hard on your computer is that you must remember to have a charging cable nearby for when the battery starts to run low. When typing or working at your computer for a long period of time, doing power-intensive activities, this can feel more frequent than you may have thought. It’s also more noticeable when you find yourself with an un-calibrated battery.
      Don’t be surprised if you don’t know what this means—you’re not alone.
      calibration

        Battery calibration means that you are setting your battery status to become more aligned with its actual capacity, which can sometimes become offset with active use. Calibration is very easy to do, and you may have found yourself accidentally doing this from time to time. Simply use your Mac’s battery until it gets to the point of shutting down on it’s own. When this occurs, connect to the charger and allow it to charge fully without powering on. You’ll know when the charger light turns green.

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        Go to System Preferences -> Display -> Calibrate

        SEE MORE: How To Calibrate a Mac Display

        Extend Your Office

        So you’re typing away at a report or article and then you’re interrupted by something that makes you leave your work station. It can be anything from having to drop the kids off at practice to even a road trip, but it means time away from your desk. How do you extend your office, outside of the actual office space? You can make sure that all of the email addresses that you actively use are connected to your mobile device.

        You may have shied away from this out of fear that the frequent emails would run up your phone bill, but you can simply switch “Push”, where an email is brought in each time a new message comes in, or “Fetch”, where your email is checked at a certain interval set by yourself. Simply go to

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        “Settings” > “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” > “Fetch New Data” > Turn off “Push”

        and set the fetching interval. If you have certain email addresses that don’t normally have a lot of emails, then simply go to the “Advanced” page of “Fetch New Data” and set according to the address. By doing this, you never have to worry about missing a vital email when you’re away from your desk.

         

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        Published on September 25, 2020

        10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

        10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

        When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

        VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

        How to Choose a VPN

        • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
        • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
        • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
        • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
        • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

        Why You Should Trust Us

        Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

        Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

        1. NordVPN

        The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

        Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

        NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

        In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

        NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

        Buy this VPN.

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        2. ExpressVPN

        ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

        Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

        Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

        Buy this VPN.

        3. Surf Shark

        With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

        Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

        The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

        Buy this VPN.

        4. CyberGhost

        Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

        The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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        What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

        Buy this VPN.

        5. IPVanish

        IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

        IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

        Buy this VPN.

        6. Private Internet Access

        Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

        One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

        In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

        These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

        Buy this VPN.

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        7. Hotspot Shield

        Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

        Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

        Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

        Buy this VPN.

        8. TunnelBear

        As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

        The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

        Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

        Buy this VPN.

        9. Norton

        Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

        As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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        Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

        Buy this VPN.

        10. StrongVPN

        The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

        StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

        As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

        Buy this VPN.

        Bottom Line

        Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

        With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

        We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

        Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

        Reference

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