Sticky Notes

Office Commuters Rejoice: Waze the Map App is Revolutionary!

For those office workers who do the daily commute grind, this one is for you. We once though it was unimaginable that there could be a better map app than Google Maps.  Surely this was as cutting-edge as technology could get, that finally they could reverse-position pinging cell phones onto a topographical map with measured speeds to indicate if there were traffic jams ahead. Not to mention the ability to speak an address into your phone and Google magically taking you there, and routing stops along the way.   This was technology at its finest, creating true efficiency that was tangible.  Map apps were so appealing that MapQuest and Apple jumped on board with their own versions.

Then we discovered Waze. This app is by far the most cutting-edge and accurate map app we’ve ever used. It’s not like other map apps, which use automation and robotics and pinging cell phones to track speed and traffic. Waze is like the Great Barrier Reef of apps: it’s massive and it’s alive, providing information in real-time with active users logged on while driving, working together to report traffic jams, police traps, accidents, road hazards and more.  See below, and download Waze now, if you want to avoid all the common pitfalls of commuting!

Waze Traffic Cop buster

 

 

Directions? You betcha. Not only that, but when you type in your destination, it will tell you if there are any speed traps waiting for you along the way. It also includes things like road hazards, or anything else you need to worry about. If anything takes place while you are en route (like a new accident), Waze will tell you in real-time and re-route you automatically with a faster way to get there.

 

 

 

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As you are traveling, the app will also show you all of the other “Wazers” on the road traveling with you, and how fast they are going. If you prefer anonymity, there is an option to go “invisible” in the settings. When you log on, Wazewill tell you how many other users are logged on around you.

 

 

 

 

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Not only will these items alert you, but you can also mark them to help out your fellow Wazer community. You can even find the best deal on gas prices! And you can thank Wazers who reported cops and hazards, and they can thank you as well when you save them.

 

 

 

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Have an important presentation or interview you don’t want to be late for? You can use the “planned drive” feature by entering your destination and the time you want to be there. It will use all historical data and tell you exactly when you need to leave to arrive there on time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Planning to have a caravan road trip with friends, or have a friend follow you to a destination? Use the “My Friends” feature, which will mark a group of users on the map so everyone can see each other.  Nobody will be lost along the way or left behind.

 

 

 

While using Waze, you can listen to music or the radio and Waze will only interrupt if there is a hazard or you need to make a turn. You can even make Waze yell at you when you exceed posted speed limits. Give this app a try – you won’t regret it.

Blockchain Technology – The Next Internet Revolution?

Understanding Blockchain Technology

Block what?

Blockchain technology. Get used to this phrase, because it sits before us all on the technology curve.  It’s so new that while typing this blog, spellcheck is declaring “blockchain” a typo. Spellcheck notwithstanding, blockchain technology will likely be one of the most influential technology changes for generations to come.

When you vote, have you ever wondered whether your ballot is actually counted? When you meet someone online, how do you know who they really are? When you buy an autographed baseball, what makes you so certain of its authenticity? To be certain about any of these questions, ideally you would need a system where ongoing verification would take place in real time, where records could be stored, facts verified, and security guaranteed. Nobody could cheat such a system by altering records, because everyone using this system would be watching. Welcome to blockchain. Blockchain makes this system real, and it’s currently being used.

You may have heard of blockchain’s first glocal success: a form of digital cash called Bitcoin, which allows you to send anyone cash, even a complete stranger. Bitcoin is much different than credit cards, PayPal, or other ways to digitally send money, because there is no bank or financial “middleman” involved. Instead, people (or “verifiers”) from all over the world help move (or verify) the digital money by validating other Bitcoin transactions with their personal computers, earning a small fee in the process. Bitcoin uses blockchain by tracking records of ownership over the digital cash, so only one person can be the owner at a time and the cash can’t be spent twice, like counterfeit money in the physical world can.

Blockchains store information across a global network of computers, which makes them distributed and more important, decentralized.  This means no single individual or company owns the system, but everyone can contribute to running it. This is crucial, because it means it’s almost impossible for any single user to take down the network or corrupt it. Those who run the system use their computers to hold several records submitted by others, known as “blocks”, which are in a chronological chain.  The blockchain uses a form of math called cryptography to ensure that records can’t be counterfeited or changed by anyone else, similar to encryption technology.

Bitcoin is only the beginning. As this technology advances, blockchains that manage and verify online data could enable us to make digital transactions more secure, or create algorithms to make self-driving cars safer, help us protect our online identities, and even track the billions of devices on the Internet of Things. This technology will change our future and how we interact with each other and digital technology – and this is all just the beginning.

 

Office Technology Tips – What are Macros and Why are they Useful? 

What is a Macro, Anyway?

Simply put, a macro is a series of steps & instructions that you group together to create a single command which can accomplish tasks with the press of a single button.   Here is an actual example of how you can use a macro.  Let’s say your CEO holds you responsible for a monthly report that includes merging 5 Excel spreadsheets together, plus 3 Word documents; then reformatting them, editing, and resizing; and then the ugly task of printing these reports to ledger-sized paper so they can be distributed at the monthly board meeting.

Just the sound of those steps would make most people cringe. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could wave a magic wand and have them done for you,  automatically? This is why macros are amazing. All you need to do is set up your task by doing it once, and the macro tool will record every step and build a program which, when finished, will launch again when needed by the press of one single button.

How to Create a Simple Macro

In this exercise we’ll do something as simple as printing mailing labels. This is a repetitive task that involves opening a Word document, choosing labels and a template, and then setting up which printer it will go to, changing the media type to labels, sizing and then printing it.  When counting the steps involved, it takes 18 mouse clicks to accomplish. But with the macro we will create, the steps will be cut down to one click – and it is literally this easy.

In any program when your documents are ready, just follow the steps below:

  1. Click View > Macros > Record Macro.Recording a Macro command
  2. Type a name for the macro.Macro name box
  3. To use this macro in any new documents you make, be sure the Store macro in box says All Documents (Normal.dotm).Box for choosing where to store a macro
  4. To run your macro when you click a button, click Button.Click to assign the macro to a button
  5. Click the new macro (it’s named something like Normal.NewMacros.<your macro name>), and click Add.The macro and the Add button
  6. Click Modify.Modify button in the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar box
  7. Choose a button image, type the name you want, and click OK twice.Button options in the Modify Button box
  8. Now it’s time to record the steps. Click the commands or press the keys for each step in the task. Word records your clicks and keystrokes.

    NOTE:  Use the keyboard to select text while you’re recording your macro. Macros don’t record selections made with a mouse.

  9. To stop recording, click View > Macros > Stop Recording.Stop Recording command

The button for your macro appears on the Quick Access Toolbar.

Macro button on the Quick Access Toolbar

To run the macro, just click the button!  You can do this with almost any task within Microsoft Office.

Do you have any good macro tips? Please share them with us!

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