The Simple Secret to Receiving Criticism at Work—and Being Able to Move On

happy face


Why is it that a single negative comment can ruin your day—even if it was otherwise good? And how come, even if your performance review is overwhelmingly positive, it’s the one “area of improvement” that sticks in your mind?

Turns out, you’re not overly sensitive—it’s just the human condition. Scientists have found that our brains place a lot more emphasis on negative comments than they do on positive ones. If you want to get all academic, it’s called “negativity bias.” And what it means is that even if you receive a ton of compliments (“Your presentation was great!”), you’ll probably get stuck on the one negative remark in the bunch (“Slide 10 was pretty confusing”).

The good news is, you’re not just stuck with those bad thoughts perpetually swirling around in your head—there’s a research-backed way to offset the negativity.

Entrepreneurs Sean McCabe and Ben Toalson recently said that for every 10 hours of negativity in your life, you should have 50 hours of positivity. Or, to put it simply, for every one negative commentyou receive, offset it with five positive ones. (Though, this is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule—for example, some people might need 10 positive compliments for every one mean comment.)

So, how can you control that?

It’s surprisingly easy, actually. Increase the number of optimistic and helpful people in your life, while ridding yourself of those who always leave you feeling badly. The more positive people surrounding you, the more positive feedback you’ll get. That’s basic math. And while you shouldn’t banish everyone who criticizes you, you can seek out people who understand how constructive feedback works.

Now, of course you can’t fire your negative co-worker who always finds a flaw in your work. But you can make an effort to avoid her when possible, while also spending time with the more uplifting people on your team. After all, they’re the ones you want to keep around.

sources :

5 ways to impress your boss (and everyone else) in an important meeting


As an avid basketball fan, I can easily envision the final seconds of the game and the need for a player to have the fortitude to take the final shot. There are parallels between taking the last shot and having to deliver a critical presentation to a room of executive leaders. You have to be ready — physically and mentally.

You might not be playing for a crowded arena, but your work audience (i.e., coworkers, managers, and executive leaders) are on the lookout for your communication skills, intellect, and perseverance under pressure. As in sports, your talent is only one ingredient of a successful outcome. Your preparation, precision, and delivery are crucial factors.

According to a study on executive presence, your “appearance, communication, and gravitas” accounts for 26% of what is needed for a promotion. There are finite opportunities for you to convey all of this, so important meetings are the perfect time to get noticed.

Here are five keys to making your best impression in front of the most influential people sitting in the room with you.

1. Know your audience

Learn who the core decision makers in your organization are and what they’re looking for in this presentation. There are instances in which the final decision is not made by the person with the highest title. For example, in multiple projects that I’ve been part of, the project sponsor holds authority that trumps the senior executives. Additionally, the project manager may not have oversight over the team, but has direct impact on the timeline and execution.

In other words, you don’t want to spend the entire time making eye contact with the person who has VP in her title — only to learn that she isn’t involved in implementation.

2. Use data to strengthen your argument

Research and analysis are vital to worthwhile discussions. It doesn’t matter what department you’re in, you should share the metrics used to measure results and have supporting data to back up what you’re saying. Interpreting the numbers and being armed with a strategic solution for ROI or cost reduction can make all the difference. Just make sure your numbers are presented in a way that’s easy to comprehend.

3. Don’t steal the spotlight (but prepare for it nonetheless)

Initially, you may not be the primary presenter, however it’s vital to prepare as though you’re the point person. As a back-up basketball player for the Golden State Warriors that had not started a game all season, Andre Iguodala took advantage of his opportunity to lead the team to the 2015 NBA Championship and win the NBA Finals’ Most Valuable Player award. He earned this through practice, dedication, and the ability to perform when called upon. So, prepare for the meeting as if you were leading it. Then, when you’re asked to do that at a moment’s notice, you’ll blow everyone away.

4. Communicate

As intuitive as it may sound, basic communication skills like listening and connecting with your audience are critical. A surprisingly easy way to distinguish yourself is by preparing counterpoints, as the audience may not be on board initially. In addition, pay close attention to questions that go unanswered within the meeting. Many people say, “I’ll get back to you with more on that,” but being someone who actually follows up will showcase your diligence.

5. Close with confidence

Maintain the same level of energy throughout your interaction, regardless of whether it’s in a formal or informal discussion. Even if your initial presentation doesn’t go as planned, how you end the conversation — i.e., whether you emphasize your commitment to shared goals or question your entire pitch in the face of resistance — will affect how people remember your whole presentation. Know that the conversation does not end when people walk out the door. Ensure follow up on agreed upon action items and prepare your delivery for ongoing engagements.

In your career, it is important to cultivate strong relationships with key influencers within your team, department, project, or work group, and an important meeting is the perfect place to build these connections. With proper preparation, you’ll be able to make a great and lasting impression.

This article originally published at The Muse here

Inspiring teen model with Down syndrome earns 2 clothing campaigns


Australian model Madeline Stuart, who has Down syndrome, landed an advertising campaign with fashion and lifestyle brand everMaya.

We first met the 18-year-old in May when she and her mom Rosanne set out to change the way people look at those with disabilities, starting with empowering social media images and messaging.

Now she’s graduated from posing for Instagram to landing major ad campaigns.

“The experience working with her has had a positive impact on me personally as well as professionally,” Damian Graybelle, president of everMaya, told Mashable. “I just never expected that our campaign with Madeline would have had such an affect on people. I have spoken with so many parents of children with special needs that have told me how our partnership with her has given them hope and changed their perspectives on what the future holds for their children.”



Besides the campaign, the company also launched a designer handbag line named for the teen, which will be available Aug. 15. EverMaya is donating 5% of sales of every “Madeline” handbag to the National Down Syndrome Society.“The generous donations that will come as a result of this new handbag line will directly support our mission at NDSS, as we fight for the rights, values and dignity of all individuals with Down syndrome and our families,” Sara Hart Weir, president of NDSS, said in a press release.

This is not the only clothing campaign that Stuart has been a part of. In July, Stuart posed for body-positive fitness brand Manifesta.“Just as Madeline is committed to expanding people’s ideas of what a model can be, Manifesta is determined to show that the clothing and fashion industry doesn’t have to be exclusionary, that one brand can work for women of various sizes,” the company blog states. also announced on her Instagram that she will be walking in the Fause Haten New York Fashion Week show this September. girl is on fire.

sources :

Top 15 Most Popular File Sharing Websites | January 2015

Drop Box1 | DropBox
179 – eBizMBA Rank | 35,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 114 – Compete Rank | 314 – Quantcast Rank | 110 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Media Fire2 | MediaFire
351 – eBizMBA Rank | 22,500,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 531 – Compete Rank | NA – Quantcast Rank | 171 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

4 Shared3 | 4Shared
448 – eBizMBA Rank | 21,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 936 – Compete Rank | 239 – Quantcast Rank | 169 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Google Drive4 | Google Drive
550 – eBizMBA Rank | 18,500,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *100* – Compete Rank |*1,000* – Quantcast Rank | *NA* – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Sky Drive5 | SkyDrive
600 – eBizMBA Rank | 16,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *650* – Compete Rank |*550* – Quantcast Rank | *NA* – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

iCloud6 | iCloud
984- eBizMBA Rank | 9,500,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 429 – Compete Rank | *1,536*– Quantcast Rank | 987 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Box7 | Box
1,060 – eBizMBA Rank | 6,750,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1,274 – Compete Rank |1,028 – Quantcast Rank | 877 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Mega8 | Mega
1,303 – eBizMBA Rank | 6,500,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1,936 – Compete Rank |*NA* – Quantcast Rank | 670 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Zippy Share9 | ZippyShare
1,354 – eBizMBA Rank | 6,250,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,337 – Compete Rank |*NA* – Quantcast Rank | 370 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Uploaded10 | Uploaded
1,618 – eBizMBA Rank | 6,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,943 – Compete Rank |*NA* – Quantcast Rank | 292 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Deposit Files11 | DepositFiles
3,183 – eBizMBA Rank | 4,750,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 4,709 – Compete Rank |*2,913* – Quantcast Rank | 1,927 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

High Tail12 | HighTail
3,231 – eBizMBA Rank | 4,500,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,459 – Compete Rank |*4,297* – Quantcast Rank | 2,938 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Send Space13 | SendSpace
3,272 – eBizMBA Rank | 4,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 5,790 – Compete Rank |2,551 – Quantcast Rank | 1,474 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

Rapid Share14 | RapidShare
4,651 – eBizMBA Rank | 3,250,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 7,217 – Compete Rank | NA– Quantcast Rank | 2,084 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA

File Crop15 |
10,031 – eBizMBA Rank | 3,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 14,239 – Compete Rank |*NA* – Quantcast Rank | 5,823 – Alexa Rank | January 1, 2015.
The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA


The 10 Best Free Blog Sites


best free blog sites

Considering we live in an age where bloggers are sitting front row at Fashion Week, it’s not shocking that more and more women are looking to start their own. Of course, how to become successful and how to actually make money blogging is its own beast—it’s easy to write about shoes and skirts, but when it comes to the technical stuff it takes serious smarts—but you have to start somewhere. That said, we’ve rounded up the 10 best free blog sites that’ll help you on your path. 

MORE: How to Make it as a Fashion Blogger: Insider Secrets

They’re all easy to use and to customize, so whether you’re writing about fashion, food, or other stuff you love, these will give you a platform to share your thoughts with the (online) world.

Proceed, new blogger!


It’s free to start a blog here, and you’ll be able to choose from several gorgeous themes. You can also upgrade to their premium package and receive your own domain name.


Perhaps one of the most well-known platforms, Blogger is backed by Google, so it’s trustworthy and reliable. It’s incredibly simple to start using Blogger as the site takes you step-by-step through creating your site. There are a lot of customization options and you can purchase templates through outside website as well.



Penzu is loved because of it’s versatility: There are three different types of journals you can start when you sign up for the site: Daily Diary (public), Expressive Journal (private), and Travel Journal (great if you’re going on a trip). You can also try the site out before you sign up for it as well.


Defintiely the most creative, modern and professional of the 10 platforms, SquareSpace is the only pricey option but will surely deliver the best results. Amazing for photographers, store owners, bloggers, musicians and business owners, this platform features tons of templates that will keep your blog looking polished and professional.

Price: 14-day free trial, then $8-$24/month based on your preference

Svbtle best-free-blog-sites

A super-slick and modern platform, Svbtle feels more like a doodle pad.


Tumblr is easily the best of the 10 platforms when it comes to visuals. Images, videos, music—it’s all really easy to display on your tumblr profile. And, there are tons of creative ways that you can showcase them. People can also “reblog” your posts leaving you with more followers and a larger fanbase.


This is a great platform to use if you’re looking to create more of a professional environment for your readers. You can drag and drop elements around your site for the ultimate customized page. The site also featured an ecommerce feature—great if you’re trying to sell a product.

Price: Free


Weebly features tons of unique and modern themes to start you blog off looking fresh. It also offers ecommerce, an iPhone app for posting on the go, and easy linking to your social media. This site is surely dummy-free and makes it as easy as possible for you to dive right into the blogging scene.


Wix features hundreds of unique and very professional-looking  templates that can easily be customized to keep your blog unique and different from everyone else’s. You can also add apps onto your site as well as an online store and your links to your social media accounts.


Another hugely popular platform, WordPress is super-flexible for anyone whether you’re a blogger who writes or a photographer who wants to show their portfolio. You can also upgrade and get your own domain name. Like Tumblr, other WordPress users can like, see, and reblog your posts leaving you with the potential for more followers and readers.

Read more:

The Coming Integration of PR and SEO

This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community.
The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz.

Earlier this year, I published a Moz post that aimed to introduce the basic principles of public relations that SEOs and digital marketers, I argued, need to know. (Specifically, the post was on media relations and story-pitching as a means of getting coverage and “earning” good links.)

Following the positive response to the post, Moz invited me to host a recent Mozinar on the integration of PR and SEO. ( You can listen to it and download the slides here for free!) As a former print journalist who later became a digital marketer, I love to discuss this niche because I am very passionate about the topic.

In summary, the Mozinar discussed:

  • Traditional marketing and communications theory
  • Why both inbound and outbound marketing are needed
  • An overview of the basic PR process
  • How to use PR software
  • Examples of messaging and positioning
  • Where to research demographic data for audience profiles
  • How to integrate SEO into each step of the workflow
  • How SEO and PR teams can help each other
  • Why the best links come as natural results of doing good PR and marketing
  • “Don’t think about how to get links. Think about how to get coverage and publicity.”

At the end of the Mozinar, the community had some intriguing and insightful questions (no surprise there!), and Moz invited me to write a follow-up post to provide more answers and discuss the relationship between SEO and PR further.

Follow-ups to the PR Mozinar

Before I address the questions and ideas at the end of the Mozinar, I just wanted to give some more credit where the credit is certainly due.

People like me, who write for major publications or speak at large conferences, get a lot of attention. But, truth is, we are always helped immensely by so many of our talented colleagues behind the scenes. Since the beginning of my digital marketing career, I have known about SEO, but I have learned more about public relations from observing (albeit from a distance) The Cline Group’s front line PR team in Philadelphia over the years.

So, I just wanted to thank (in alphabetical order) Kim Cox, Gabrielle Dratch, Caitlin Driscoll, Max Marine, and Ariel Shore as well as our senior PR executives Bill Robinson and DeeDee Rudenstein and CEO Josh Cline. What I hope the Moz community learned from the Mozinar is what I have learned from them.

Now, onto the three Mozinar Q&A questions that had been left unanswered.

  • Why do you use Cision and not Vocus or Meltwater or others?

I do not want to focus on why The Cline Group specifically uses Cision. I would not want my agency (and indirectly Moz) to be seen as endorsing one type of PR software over another. What I can do is encourage people to read these writings from  RMP Media Analysis, LinkedIn, Alaniz Marketing and Ombud, then do further research into which platform may work best for them and their specific companies and needs.

(Cision and Vocus recently agreed to merge, with the combined company continuing under the Cision brand.)

  • Do you have examples of good PR pitches?

I’ve anonymized and uploaded three successful client pitches to our website. You can download them here: amobile-advertising network, a high-end vaporizer for the ingestion of medicinal herbs and a mobile app that helps to protect personal privacy. As you will see, these pitches incorporated the various tactics that I had detailed in the Mozinar.

Important caveat: Do not fall into the trap of relying too much on templates. Every reporter and every outlet you pitch will be different. The ideas in these examples of pitches may help, but please do not use them verbatim.

  • Are there other websites similar to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) that people can use to find reporters who are looking for stories? Are the other free, simpler tools?

Some commonly mentioned tools are My Blog U, ProfNet, BuzzStream and My Local Reporter. Raven Tools also has a good-sized list. But I can only vouch for My Blog U because it’s the only one I have used personally. It’s also important to note that using a PR tool is not a magic bullet. You have to know how to use it in the context of the overall public relations process. Creating a media list is just one part of the puzzle.

An infographic of integration

And now, the promised infographic!

I told the Mozinar audience we would provide a detailed infographic as a quick guide to the step-by-step process of PR and SEO integration. Well, here it is:


A second credit to my awesome colleague Thomas Kerr, who designs most of The Cline Group’s presentations and graphics while also being our social media and overall digital wizard.

Just a few notes on the infographic:

First, I have segmented the two pillars by “PR and Traditional Marketing” and “SEO & Digital Marketing.” I hate to sound stereotypical, but the use of this differentiation was the easiest way to explain the integration process. The “PR” side deals with people and content (e.g., messaging, media relations, and materials, etc.), while the “SEO” side focuses on things (e.g., online data, analytics, and research, etc.). See the end of this post for an important prediction.

Second, I have put social media on the online side because that is where the practice seems to sit in most companies and agencies. However, social media is really just a set of PR and communications channels, so it will likely increasingly move to the “traditional marketing” side of things. Again, see the end.

Third, there is a CMO / VP of Marketing / Project Leader (based on the structure of a company and whether the context is an agency or an in-house department) column between SEO and PR. This position should be a person with enough experience in both disciplines to mediate between the two as well as make judgment calls and final decisions in the case of conflicts. “SEO,” for example, may want to use certain keyword-based language in messaging in an attempt to rank highly for certain search terms. “PR” might want to use different terms that may resonate more with media outlets and the public. Someone will need to make a decision.

Fourth, it is important to understand that companies with numerous brands, products or services, and/or a diverse set of target audiences will need to take additional steps:

The marketing work for each brand, product, or service will need its own specific goal and KPI(s) in step one. Separate audience research and persona development will need to be performed for each distinct audience in step two. So, for a larger company, such as the one described above, parts of steps 3-8 below will often need to be done, say, six times, once for each audience of each product.

However, the complexity does not end there.

Online and offline is the same thing

Essentially, as more and more human activity occurs online, we are rapidly approaching a point where the offline and online worlds are merging into the same space. “Traditional” and “online” marketing are all collectively becoming simply “marketing.”

Above is our modern version of traditional communications and marketing theory. A sender decides upon a message; the message is packaged into a piece of content; the content is transmitted via a desired channel; and the channel delivers the content to the receiver. Marketing is essentially sending a message that is packaged into a piece of content to a receiver via a channel. The rest is just details.

As Google becomes smarter and smarter, marketers will need to stop thinking only about SEO and think more like, well, marketers. Mad Men’s Don Draper, the subject of the meme at the top of the page, would best the performance of any link builder today because he understood how to gain mass publicity and coverage, both of which have always been more important than just building links here and there. The best and greatest numbers of links come naturally as a result of good marketing and not as a result of any direct linkbuilding. In the 2014 Linkbuilding Surveypublished on Moz, most of the (good) tactics that were described in the post – such as “content plus outreach” – are PR by another name.

At SMX West 2014 (where I gave a talk on SEO and PR strategy), Rand Fishkin took to the main stage to discuss what the future holds for SEO. Starting at 6:30 in the video above, he argued that there will soon be a bias towards brands in organic search. (For an extensive discussion of this issue, I’ll refer you to Bryson Meunier’s essay at Search Engine Land.) I agree that it will soon become crucial to use PR, advertisingand publicity to build a brand, but that action is something the Don Drapers of the world had already known to do long before the Internet had ever existed.

But things are changing

The process that I have outlined above is a little vague on purpose. The lines between SEO and PR are increasingly blurring as online and offline marketing becomes more and more integrated. For example, take this very post: is it me doing SEO or PR for our agency (while first and foremost aiming to help the readers)? The answer: Yes.

In a Moz post by Jason Acidre on SEO and brand building, I commented with the following:

Say, 10 years ago, “SEOs” were focused on techie things: keyword research, sitemaps, site hierarchy, site speed, backlinks, and a lot more. Then, as Google became smarter and the industry become more and more mature, “SEOs” woke up one day and realized that online marketers need to think, you know, like marketers. Now, I get the sense that digital marketers are trying to learn all about traditional marketing as much as possible because, in the end, all marketing is about people — not machines and algorithms. What the f&*# is a positioning statement? What is a pitch? I just wish “SEOs” had done this from the beginning.

Of course, the same thing has been occurring in the inverse in the traditional marketing world. Traditional marketers have usually focused on these types of things: messaging documents, media lists, promotional campaigns, the 4 Ps, and SWOT analyses. Then, as more human activity moved to the Internet, they also woke up one day and saw an anarchic set of communications channels that operate under different sets of rules. Now, on the other end, I get the sense that traditional marketers are trying to learn as much as possible about SEO and digital marketing.  What the f&^% is a rel=canonical tag? What is Google+ authorship? I just wish traditional marketers had done this from the start.

In fact, such a separation between SEO and PR is quickly dying. Here is a simplified version of the marketing and communications process I outlined at the beginning:

Traditional marketers and communications professionals have used this process for decades, and almost everything that (the umbrella term of) SEO does can fit into one of these boxes. A message can appear in a newspaper article or in a blog post. Content can be a sales brochure or an e-book. A channel can be the television or Facebook. A lot of  technical and on-page SEO is simply good web development. The most-effective type of off-page SEO is just PR and publicity. Public-relations executives, as I have written elsewhere, can also learn to use analytics as yet another way to gauge results.

It all goes back to this tweet from Rand, which I cite in nearly every offline conversation with the marketing community:

SEO as an entity (sorry for the pun) unto itself is quickly dying. The more SEO entails, the more the umbrella term becomes useless in any meaningful context. For this reason, it is crucial that digital marketers learn as much as possible about traditional marketing and PR.

So, in the end, how does one integrate public relations and SEO? By simply doing good marketing.


Original Posted Date at Nov 16, 2014 Posted by 
Credit Source:

There is not actually a shortage of tech workers

There is not actually a shortage of tech workers

Employees of Rivalry Games work on their computers at technology incubator MuckerLab, in Santa Monica, California.

Along with temporary deportation relief for millions, President Obama’s executive action will increase the number of United States college graduates from abroad who can temporarily be hired by U.S. corporations. That hasn’t satisfied tech companies and trade groups, who contendmore green cards or guest worker visas are needed to keep tech industries growing because of a shortage of qualified American workers. But scholars say there’s a problem with that argument: The tech worker shortage doesn’t actually exist.

“There’s no evidence of any way, shape or form that there’s a shortage in the conventional sense,” says Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University. “They may not be able to find them at the price they want. But I’m not sure that qualifies as a shortage, any more than my not being able to find a half-priced TV.”

For a real-life example of an actual worker shortage, Salzman points to the case of petroleum engineers, where the supply of workers has failed to keep up with the growth in oil exploration. The result, says Salzman, was just what economists would have predicted: Employers started offering more money, more people started becoming petroleum engineers and the shortage was solved. In contrast, Salzman concluded in a paper released last year by the liberal Economic Policy Institute, real IT wages are about the same as they were in 1999. Further, he and his co-authors found, only half of STEM college graduates each year get hired into STEM jobs. “We don’t dispute the fact at all that Facebook and Microsoft would like to have more, cheaper workers,” says Salzman’s co-author Daniel Kuehn, now a research associate at the Urban Institute. “But that doesn’t constitute a shortage.”

The real issue, say Salzman and others, is the industry’s desire for lower-wage, more-exploitable guest workers, not a lack of available American staff. “It seems pretty clear that the industry just wants lower cost labor,” emails Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. A 2011 review by the Government Accountability Office found that the H-1B visa program, which is what industry groups are lobbying to expand, had “fragmented and restricted” oversight that weakened its ostensible labor standards. “Many in the tech industry are using it for cheaper, indentured labor,” says Rochester Institute of Technology public policy associate professor Ron Hira, an EPI research associate and co-author of the book Outsourcing America.

Asked what evidence existed of a labor shortage, a spokesperson for Facebook emailed a one-sentence statement: “We look forward to hearing more specifics about the president’s plan and how it will impact the skills gap that threatens the competitiveness of the tech sector.”

This article originally published at Businessweek here

Vine adds a feature so you’ll never miss your favorite videos


Vine upgraded its app on Tuesday to include a “favorite” option, so you can make sure that you see any and all videos from your most treasured Vine users.

The new feature will send a push notification and notify you in your feed when a favorited account posts a video. You can favorite an account by tapping the star-shaped icon that’s in the upper-right hand corner of the app screen.


You can also view all of your favorite accounts (and update your notification preferences) in the settings tab at any time.

Last month, Vine added discovery options to its iOS app to help users find new videos without factoring in how many accounts they follow.

While the latest upgrade isn’t huge, it should help you keep up with six-second videos in a more sustainable way than refreshing your feed every five seconds.

BONUS: Don’t feed the Vine trolls

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

What not to buy on Black Friday


Shopping advice is easy to come by. There’s always some site (guilty!) willing to tell you what to buy: “Get this tablet.” “Snap up that smartphone.” “Download this pricey app.”

I have no buying advice for you. Instead, I lend my voice to the opposition. Here are the products and product categories you should avoid, or at least ones where you should tread carefully.

I spent a recent evening perusing half a dozen Black Friday store flyers. I found a lot of good products and deals, but also a lot of dogs. Or, worse, deals that look good but actually resemble a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon: bloated, full of air and ultimately worthless. I felt compelled to speak out.

The criteria is simple: Out of date, off brand and obsolete get a ride on the “steer clear” train. You won’t agree with all my choices and might even call me a gadget snob, but come December 26, you will thank me.

An iPod



Apple’s portable media player is actually an excellent device, but has almost no reason for being. (The same goes for Sony’s Walkman and virtually any off-brand media player you can think of.) Your smartphone (iOS or Android) does everything an iPod can do and much more.

The only caveat here is if you pick one up for anyone under 12. Many feel children shouldn’t have phones, and an iPod satisfies virtually every other need, including photography, gaming, music, movies, TV and even social communication.

A point-and-shoot camera


Smartphones don’t have the greatest lenses, but they are more than capable of matching your average point-and-shoot photography. Camera manufacturers are well aware of this and are now offering 20 megapixel devices, which easily outstrip most smartphone image capture capabilities, for $89 or less. But you don’t want or need them. Most of the photos you capture and share are on social media in formats where 20 megapixels is almost meaningless.

Obviously, smartphones suffer from real image limitations, and if you’re a pro or even prosumer photographer, you’ll want something more. My suggestion is to skip right over point-and-shoots and go directly to DSLRs or mirrorless digital cameras, which offer auto and manual controls, plus changeable lenses.

A cheap desktop PC

cheap desktop

There are some juicy deals out there, such as a $399 Windows 7 Dell box with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

I’m telling you, don’t buy it or systems like it.

There are a couple of red flags here. First, it’s a box! It’s also an Intel Core i3 system. Most of Intel’s CPUs are plenty strong and power efficient, but the i3 is best suited for word processing, light web browsing and not much else.

There are so many better system choices out there, including light, portable Chromebooks that cost $200, connect to the Internet and a host of online tools — even virtually unlimited storage.

If you’re out buying a computer this week, don’t accept anything less than a Core i5 and, if you can, save for a Core i7 and discrete graphics. (The offending systems doesn’t even mention graphics — never a good sign.)

No-name tablets

They come with names like “Mach,” “Ematic” and “Zeki,” and tempt with prices as low as $69. They’re running Android (KitKat, even!), quad-core processors and even offer front and rear cameras.

Steer clear.

Closer examination of any of these ads will reveal products that skimp on features like screen resolution, camera power and even choice of CPU (not to mention build quality). For $20 or $30 more, you can get a recognized brand name and a lot more value. Amazon’s new $99 Fire HD 6 offers a 1280×800 resolution screen, a more powerful forward-facing camera and access to a curated library of apps and content.

A portable DVD player

DVD player


I can’t believe these are still a thing. First of all, they play DVDs and not HD Blu-ray discs. Second of all, for $30 more you can buy a cheap tablet and stuff it full of content, including music, movies and books that can keep a kid entertained for the long ride to grandma’s.

A disconnected printer

The paperless office is a myth, and the paperless home is a pipe dream. Students, in particular, still have to print stuff out.

What’s changed is how everyone prints. Many of us are printing from our tablets, which means you either need to print though a PC connected to a printer (a la Windows HomeGroup Network) or, better yet, direct to a Wi-Fi-ready printer.

Buying an old school, USB-cable-only printer will save you money, but not time and frustration. Find a Wi-Fi printer or one that will let you print direct from your iPad.

A wireless USB adapter

Wireless USB


If you still own a desktop or laptop that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, you have bigger problems than lack of Internet access. Stop trying to upgrade your crummy old system and upgrade. As I noted above, you can buy a Wi-Fi-ready Chromebook for $200.

A 720p TV

720 P


You will see some very affordable 32-inch 720p HDTVs this week. Change the channel to a 42-inch 1080p unit. I know, you can’t fit it. But if you have a chance, take a tape measure to your local consumer electronics store. You’ll find that a 42-inch display isn’t as big as you thought. Because of its 16:9 aspect ratio, a 42-inch HDTV is usually 42 x 25 x 2 inches thick (or less) — and it can be easily attached to a wall, which means you don’t need space for a TV cabinet.

You will spend a little bit more, but not a lot, and your TV viewing image will be noticeably larger and better.

A phone or tablet, if it’s 8GB of storage

You’ll see a lot of great deals for mobile devices, but if you don’t pay attention to storage space, you could end up frustrated later.

With the amount of HD content and 8-20-megapixel images (not to mention 43-megapixel panoramas we’re storing), you’ll burn through 8GB in no time. The bare minimum storage space for smartphones and tablets is 16GB. And if you can afford 32GB, get it. I know, Apple cut out that mid-tier, and that’s unfortunate, but other manufacturers still offer that option.




I can’t believe I still have to say this, but as long as they keep appearing in these flyers, I have to remind people not to buy camcorders.

Now, I am not talking about the GoPros and Sony Action cams. You crazies that like to jump off mountains, cliff dive and scale high-rise construction sites will always need wearable, waterproof video cameras. The rest of us can make do with the quite impressive 1080p capabilities found in most smartphones. Heck, I can shoot 240 fps slow-motion with my iPhone 6, which fits in my pocket.

These camcorders do offer better lenses, but are too bulky and often too complex for average consumers. Get comfortable shooting video with your phone and move on.

Karaoke machines



Okay, okay, this is just me wishing people would stop singing over my favorite songs. If you can’t find a good karaoke bar, go ahead and buy this thing. Just don’t invite me over.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.