10 Best New Gadgets for 2013

31 December, 2012 Life No comments
10 Best New Gadgets for 2013

As we fade out of 2012 and step up into 2013, we get to look forward to everything the new year will bring us: Prosperity, new chances, and tons of cool gadgets. As tech evolves, we’re granted new ways to work, rest, play, and even exercise. 

Here are 10 of the best new gadgets for 2013. 

Neural Impulse Actuator – Video games are still attempting to move away from the controller, and one of the latest attempts is the Neural Impulse Actuator. This headband streams your body’s biosignals directly into any PC game, negating the need for a computer or a mouse. That’s right: It is now possible to kill dragons with your mind. 

HD media router – If you live in a house that swears by tech, you’re going to need an HD media router sooner than later. It allows multiple people in a household to play games, make VOIP calls, watch streaming movies, and lots more without glitches or lags. 

TSir wristband charger – If you’re on the go a lot and you start to feel a little nervous when your phone drops to 40% battery power with no outlet in sight, you’re definitely going to want to consider getting the TSir wristband charger. It powers up almost every portable device that utilizes a USB connection, making it ideal for long trips and extended waits in a queue. 

USB hubs – These days, USB hubs are as important as electrical outlets. Guess what: That demand is only going to grow. If you haven’t done so already, use a USB hub to split up one USB connection into several and plug in as many accessories as you want. 

Wearable Video Cameras – Remember when you used to have to lug around a heavy camera to capture family memories? Not anymore. Wearable cameras like the GoPro HD Hero clip onto your person and leave your hands free. Said cameras are a particularly good option for extreme sports fiends looking to capture footage of their adventures. 

Xbox Next/720 – We don’t know what Microsoft aims to call its follow-up to the Xbox 360, but the “Xbox 720” or “Xbox Next” are popular guesses. The Xbox 360 is nearly seven years old, and we’ll almost certainly hear more about its successor in 2013—if we don’t get to buy it outright. We don’t know what it’ll be like, but given Microsoft’s success in the hardware market, it’s hard not to be excited. 

PlayStation 4 – Likewise, we don’t know what Sony has in mind for the PlayStation 4, but we can lay down bets that we’ll hear and/or see something in 2013. What features will the PlayStation 4 have? What lessons did Sony take away from the PlayStation 3’s slow start? 

Wii U – Unlike the “PlayStation 4” or the “Xbox 720,” the Wii U is a tangible thing that you can play with. With its unique tablet controller, creative MiiVerse community, and the strength of Nintendo’s franchises, it’s going to be fun to see the Wii U come into its own through 2013. 

Wireless Activity Tracker – If getting into shape is in the cards for 2013, you might want to invest in a wireless activity tracker. These devices keep tabs on your exercise regime, including distance, pace, and calories burned. Some models also alert you when you’ve reached your daily goal. 

Camelbak’s All-Clear Water Bottle – If you spend a lot of time outdoors, then you already know that public water fountains dish out some mysterious-tasting fare, and bottled water isn’t great for the environment. Consider Camelbak’s All-Clear Water Bottle, which makes tap water or natural water more potable within 60 seconds.

5 Reasons to Start Your Own Business

4 December, 2012 Work No comments
5 Reasons to Start Your Own Business

In this tricky economy, it feels like the average worker is constantly teetering on the precipice—a mere shove from falling into a pit seething with wolves. There honestly hasn’t been a better time to consider giving up your corporate obligations and striking out on your own. Of course, talk is cheap and the real world is merciless, but there really are a lot of good reasons why you should start your own business. 

Working for yourself and/or starting up your own business can be tricky, but when you hold up the advantages to the current state of your life, you may discover that the benefits actually outweigh the risk. Besides, controlling your destiny is immensely rewarding. Here are five good reasons to start up a business. 

A relatively flexible schedule – When you work for yourself, you’re in command of deciding how your time gets spent—especially if you work from home. This makes running your own business ideal if you have a family. Mind, that’s not to say that you work fewer hours when you run your own business; rather, it means that you can shift your day around to suit your social needs, though that might be a little trickier if you run something like a small store. Regardless, you will no longer be beholden to the typical 9-to-5, a nice change of pace if you dislike predictability. 

There’s no motivation like being your own boss – People that work in the corporate world often complain about being a “cog in the machine.” They’re not often granted a sense of accomplishment, and they don’t always recognize their work in the final product (provided a final product even comes into fruition). But when you work for yourself, you’re directly in charge of what you do, and what you make. It’s extremely fulfilling to finish up a product or an assignment, then lean back and recognize it as your very own work. 

Save money on commuting – Running your own business usually means falling outside the 9-to-5 day, which, in turn, means no more lurching along the highway twice a day during long commutes. You’ll save money on gas and car maintenance—and you’ll feel a lot less stressed out, too. 

You’re responsible for your own security – Full-time jobs and job security are shrinking like so much arctic ice. You can’t depend on your employer for a pension, insurance, or bonuses anymore (certainly not for years at a time, as was the case fifty years ago), so you may as well take your fate into your own hands and run into the fray with all of your passion. 

Do what you love – You’re presumably not going to start a business just to do something you despise, so there’s your number one motivator: If your run your own show, you can do what you love day in and day out. That’s not to say you’ll never have your off days, but running your own show will go a long way to making you a happier camper. 

Need more convincing? Here are more reasons to start up your own business: 

10 Reasons to Start a Business This Year at the Wall Street Journal

Top 10 Reasons to Run Your Own Business at Inc.com

10 Reasons to Start Your Own Business at The Business Insider

Market Your Business with QR Codes

Market Your Business with QR Codes

Small Business Expert

Essential hints, tips & business advice for startups & entrepreneurs.

The use of Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) continues to increase, as free apps are making it easier than ever for folks to focus on these images and see where it will take them.  Last year, more than 14 million users scanned a QR code, and that number continues to rise.  And interestingly enough, according to comScore, more than a quarter of folks actually scan QR codes directly from web pages. What can a small business owner or marketing professional do to make sure their efforts get noticed?  Here are a few tips on how to use QR codes to market your business and engage customers.

Discounts: Companies are finding that consumers want deals, so link your code to a coupon or other incentive to reward customers for checking it out.  Don’t be afraid to tie it to something like a short promotional video, at the end of which is the deal.  As long as consumers get something out of it, they don’t mind a small investment of time and effort to get it.

Social Networks: It’s a no-brainer to take folks to a landing page where then quickly or easily like or follow you your brand page, but set clear expectations as to what that entails.  And again, consider offering special benefits via your social media presence for those that do take the time to follow.

Tinker With The Design: Work with your art department to see if you can place images or words within the center of the QR code to help folks know what it is they’re scanning, and also to catch their attention.  Get creative to encourage action.

Be Specific:  When you use a QR code, make it really clear what the customer call-to-action is.  If you want them to watch a video or consider a specific product, take them to a page that makes that really easy.  Don’t just do a generic code that goes to your business’ home page.  No one is that interested in showing up and not knowing what to do.

Use Them For Networking: Encourage an extra bit of activity for those you meet while networking by including a QR code on your business card.  Or if you’re going to a trade show or another place where you’ll be meeting lots of folks, put one on your laptop bag and encourage others to scan it.  It can go to a specific company page or some other link that’s personalized for you, like your LinkedIn profile.  It can help make a great and lasting impression on any that scan it.

Gamification: Consider peppering codes throughout your store, website or different ad campaigns, and reward users who are able to find them all.  By making QR codes a part of a larger campaign, you prolong user engagement, and hopefully provide positive associations for your brand.

Get Creative: Consider having t-shirts or even bumper stickers made with QR codes, and include cryptic clues as to their destination.  The content on the other end is just as important as you’d hate to pique customer interest only to disappoint them with the destination.