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Year: 2020

12 Things You Should Know To Create Awesome Music At Home

You don’t need to hire an expensive studio to make amazing music – but it does help to have a suitable environment and know a few tricks of the trade. If you want to start making amazing music right at home, then here you’ll find 12 things you should know. Read on for advice that could change your entire process and revolutionize your music. 

Invest In A Soundproof Room 

First of all, it’s a good idea to invest in a soundproof room to keep sounds from outside out. You don’t need anything too fancy. Sound curtains and thick blankets can help to keep the noise out, as can bookcases and acoustic wedge panels. It’s also a good idea to get rid of any shaky items or those that could begin to vibrate once you play music. You can get more technical with it, but this is the easiest way. 

Practice As Much As Possible

Amazing equipment won’t be enough to get you by if you’re not practicing on honing your craft and getting as good as you possibly can. Practicing is the key to making amazing music, but make sure you set goals for your practice. Schedule practicing in just like you would any other important task and having a goal for each session will help you to stay on track, and will also give you a good idea of how you are improving. You can practice just for fun, but if you really want to improve, set specific goals. These little goals will add up and make a huge difference over time!  

Eliminate Hard Surfaces as Much As You Can

Make sure you eliminate hard surfaces in the room you’re going to make music in. They can be your biggest enemy since they bounce sounds around. You might think things like hardwood floors and countertops won’t do any harm, but they could ruin your sound. Installing thick curtains and carpets is often the easiest way to create a more acoustically sound room to practice and record in. Round furniture can also stop sounds from bouncing off surfaces too much. 

Use A Metronome

A metronome helps to create a more consistent tempo as you play your music. Our natural timekeeping can go up and down, so this will ensure you stay in time no matter what. Your sound will be cleaner, and it’ll also make the digital editing process so much easier. Your metronome will sync up your recordings and you’ll have an easier job of manipulating them later.

Tune Your Instruments Regularly 

Ok, so you don’t need to tune before every song you record. In fact, it isn’t unheard of for big stars to stop in the middle of what they are doing and tune up their instrument – Jimi Hendrix, for example! However, you should make the effort to tune your instrument before every major recording session. Don’t forget to tune, and you’ll sound great as you get into ‘the zone’. If you record with an out of tune instrument then you’ll need to retake, and this will no doubt be frustrating. 

Find The Right Equipment 

When you’ve got the above sorted, you can look for equipment upgrades if you feel they are needed. They won’t help you to be the best if you’re not consistently working on your craft and everything else involved, but they can make things much easier and help you to sound better, too. Check out an authoritative technology blog to see what the best pieces for you might be. 

Build A Platform To Get Feedback 

You might not feel ready, but that makes it even more important to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself by putting your music out there. Pick a platform and put some music out there, and don’t forget to ask for feedback! It takes guts to finally put yourself out there, but it’ll be good practice for when you’re creating masterpieces. It’ll also help people to get to know you and begin following you early on. People love following the journeys of the musicians that they enjoy! It might also be a good idea to use forums so you can ask people who do not know you personally for feedback – this way, you can make sure they are not biased. 

Visualize What You Would Like To Achieve 

Visualization might sound hokey to you, but many athletes and entrepreneurs use it to successfully get to where they want to be. See where you would like to get in your mind’s eye. What would you like to sound like? What sort of results would you like to get? What sort of a following would you like to build? Make sure you incorporate all of the senses as you do this!

Learn From The Greats

Make sure you also take the time to learn from the greats. Analyze the songs you admire and research the artist’s processes. You might be surprised at the weird and wonderful techniques that you come across! 

Be Specific With Your Time Limit

Time is a hard scale to balance. If you have too little time you won’t get anything done, but too much and you’ll have too much time to think and second guess. Diamonds by Rihanna was written by Sia in 14 minutes. Give yourself 10-15 minutes and see what you can come up with! 

Cut It Out

Cut out some words swimming around your head and see if they inspire ideas. David Bowie did this for Moonage Daydream, and called it ‘a very Western tarot’. You don’t need to limit yourself to words. You could do it with anything – chords, notes, melodies, or something else. 

Seek Out A Mentor 

Is there somebody you know who could mentor you and show you the ropes? Perhaps you could ask them if they will mentor you, even if just for a few sessions. Maybe they’ll agree to listen to and review your music, or teach you a few of their tricks. Don’t try to do it all alone!

Why Most Medical Answering Services Suck

Why Most Medical Answering Services Suck

A quick Google search of “medical answering services” shows that most medical answering services leave a lot to be desired. From poor customer service to non-compliance with privacy laws and service interruptions, it’s easy to see why some health care practitioners are wary about outsourcing this vital service. 

Poor Customer Service 

With all businesses, customer service is a vital area, and for medical answering services, it’s one of the most critical aspects of their jobs. Often callers report negative experiences with medical answering services, such as rude and uncaring operators. These adverse events can cause patients Speaking with patients requires patience and empathy. 

People are calling because of emergencies, sharing private and sometimes embarrassing information. They need to be met with customer service representatives that can stay calm, help soothe them, and direct them to the information they need quickly and respectfully.  

Non-Compliance with HIPAA Laws 

Compliance with HIPAA Laws is a huge issue. Violations of these health care regulations are confidentiality breaches between the doctor and patient and open the medical practice and answering service up to extensive fines from federal agencies. It can also lead to civil action against both parties and even problems with licensing agencies and oversight boards. 

Federal agencies take these complaints very seriously, and penalties alone can range between $100 to $50,000 per patient depending on the severity of the situation. Even an “innocent” violation can cause a $100 fine.

Service Interruptions

Problems happen. Storms, tech difficulties, and other unexpected situations can cause medical answer businesses to have service interruptions. While these events may be rare, a responsible company has a backup plan that limits the downtime to a few minutes. Lives often depend on reliable medical answering services, and when patients can’t reach their doctor during an emergency, it can have catastrophic results. 

This is different from pre-planned downtime, where the agency may be completing repairs and upgrades. However, even when they notify you of planned outages, these should be short, and medical practices should always have a backup option offered by the outsourcing agency. 

They Only Offer Inbound Services

Although not as severe as non-compliance, poor customer service, and physical service interruptions, its vital for outsourcing agencies to offer more than one function. For example, many small medical practices don’t have the funds for a full time receptionists, leaving phone calls to go to voicemail during appointments and after hours. 

An answering service can pick up the calls during appointments, and other times, practitioners can’t be near the phone. This frees up time for nurses to return calls and check-up with patients without missing important calls or having to place one call on hold to answer the other. The extra layer of customer service the small business can offer can increase patient happiness and increase word-of-mouth referrals.
There are medical answering services that provide excellent service and adhere strictly to all privacy guidelines. Contact CallNet Receptionists today to learn how we can help you better meet your patient’s needs and improve your ROI.

7 Benefits of Using Digital Sign Solutions

Digital sign solutions have entirely changed the way we do things. This technology has made the business world easier by improving communication and interaction between business owners and consumers.

30 Examples of Good Content for Digital Signage - ScreenCloud

If you are a business owner and are not part of this new technology, you miss a lot. Read through this piece and find out how you will benefit from this discovery.

The most effective way to customer support

You have probably been at the purchase point in a retail shop waiting behind someone to be cleared to inquire about a product. Gone are those days. With digital signage, it is all about self-service. Self-service engage shoppers much better, and shoppers who receive excellent services will become actual customers.

Digital signage engages shoppers without requiring support agent interaction. This reduces congestion and saves you a lot of time.

On the other hand, waiting around for a long time to inquire about a product may mean that the shopper will never return. In the worst scenario, they are likely to tell their friends about it or post on social media or give the experience a bad review.

It provides a consistent and cost-effective system

Your brand needs to be consistent across different locations. If a consistent system is not adopted, brand identity will disappear in the myriad of the communication touchpoint.

Digital signage is the best way to keep your brand consistent across different locations. It is always crucial that the in-store essentials in one area are compatible with the in-store essentials in another location.

Another crucial benefit of digital signage is its ability to implement new sales, offers, and products quickly. For instance, displays in numerous stores located at different places throughout the country can all be changed simultaneously from one remote location when a company wants to launch a new product.

With that said, it is apparent that companies can retool their marketing effort or pull their offers without incurring a lot of costs.

It is extremely personalized

Being “personalizable” refers to an organization’s ability to tweak its advertising based on the digital sign location. Take, for instance, the following scenarios:

  • running a public health organization: you can display different statistics for different sub-populations based on different neighborhood composition
  • running various retail stores in the city: you can tailor a sign to announce a sale in a particular store in the town and not in the rest
  • operating in a city of mixed languages: you can offer the option to read the information in different languages based on the customer’s choice
  • a multinational company providing up to date weather conditions at its various offices based on the exact local condition
  • a restaurant is modifying its menu based on season change or customer suggestions
  • the last scenario is sending hyper-personalized ads to customers’ devices, based on their purchase history

All this is managed through a central system.

Drive traffic

Digital signage is likely to drive traffic to your business because it demands more attention from a passer-by. For instance, having your retail shop contents displayed on city street screens will introduce your business to the public. Such displays usually direct those who may otherwise have never heard about your business. 

Even though other signage types can attract potential customers, digital signage has the upper hand since it can leverage motion. It is said that digital signage captures an average of 400% more than the static signs. 

In addition to animation, information displayed can be manipulated in specific ways to influence viewers even further. Such unexpected changes in direction can also be used to solicit a particular response. 

It not only saves time but also helps pass time

Digital signage saves time in various ways. In one scenario, you make your advertisements quicker. You don’t have to type and print the promotional messages.

Secondly, the long line is a good reason for shoppers to leave your retail shop for another. With digital signage, people are likely to wait in line as well but with no frustration since the screen will occupy their minds.

According to a study on the checkout line, 69% of shoppers admitted that the long line is the most frustrating part of shopping. Consequently, 85% of these shoppers said watching digital displays helped them pass the time as they wait. 

Having digital signage in your restaurant will help clients wait in patience as they are being served. You have probably been to a restaurant without a screen display; the first thing they do is give you their menu. The menu is to show you what they offer and destruct your attention from the long wait.

Reduce printing cost and paper consumption

Before the digital signage, we used to type nearly all the promotional information or any other notice. Many organizations still do that. This traditional signage involves a lot of costs, yet it doesn’t reach a lot of people.

With digital signage, you can pass on information among the staff members, clients, students, and the community without printing anything. That will spare you a lot of expenditure.

Besides, digital signage is a way of going green in the long run. It reduces the need to print paper notifications that are manufactured from trees. Sparing the papers means saving trees as well. Therefore, digital signage is an eco-friendly technology.

Earn advertising revenues

Digital signage is a significant investment that requires a lot of capital, and many business owners fear to venture into it. One piece of information that you have been lacking is that they can pay for themselves. Apart from displaying your messages only, you can decide to sell message space to local business owners. This can be a great way of generating money, and if you are lucky, your capital will return in no time.

Final thought

Now that you have known the secret of making your business operation effective, I am sure you don’t want to do without digital signage. Every business owner needs to attract customers, lower expenditure, save time, have effective communication within the organization, interact with customers, and operate remotely, among other benefits that this technology offers. This is truly a revolutionary foot; join the trend, and make your business boom.

How to Free Up Space on Your Website

When you have hosting for your website, you only have a limited amount of space to use. If you only have a small site, it’s likely that you won’t use up all the disk space that you’re given. However, over time your website might expand, and you can find that you’re running out of space or your website has slowed down. You could pay for more disk space, but perhaps you don’t want to do that. If you would rather try to reduce the files kept in your hosting, you can use a few techniques to free up space. Try the following ideas to achieve this.

Convert Files Into Smaller Formats

Some files can take up a lot of space, especially if you have a lot of different files in the same large format. Images can be a problem if you have an image-heavy site or even if you just have a few particularly large images. One way to deal with this is to convert files to more compact formats. The HeavyPDF – PNG to PDF Converter allows you to convert large images into smaller files that still look good. This is ideal for downloads or images that you want to link to.

Organize Your Emails

Web hosting often comes with an email account. Your emails will then take up some of your disk space, although individual emails are usually not very large. Getting rid of some emails in your inbox that you no longer need can help you to free up some space that can be put to better use. You should also empty your trash, as well as the spam or junk folder. If you have emails that you want to keep, you can download them to your computer instead of leaving them on your hosting account. You could also consider looking for a separate email hosting service.

Host Video and Audio Elsewhere

Video and audio files are generally some of the largest that you can host on your site. If you have only a few files, it might not matter much. But if you want to post audio or video regularly, you can find that you quickly require more disk space. Instead, it’s better to find other places to host your video and audio files. YouTube or other video sites like Vimeo or DailyMotion can allow you to embed your videos on your site but host them elsewhere. There are also sites for hosting audio files and podcasts that you can use.

Move Your Backups

Backing up your website is smart, protecting you from losing your content if anything happens. However, if your backups are kept on your host server, it takes up space. You should still make regular backups of your site, but you should try to store them elsewhere so that you can save more space for other things. You can keep copies on your own computer, as well as other places.

Free up space for your website by clearing up your disk space so that you can avoid running out of space.

Work Smarter, Not Harder, With These Web Development Tools

Web development has always been and remains one of the fastest moving spaces in the tech world. New innovations both in design trends and the tools and tips we use to work are constantly coming in. As such, it should be no surprise that there have been a host of improvements since the last time any of us looked. Here, we’re going to look at some of the software tools as well as working tips that have been helping web devs work smart and not harder.

The right workspace

With so many web developers and designers working from home right now, it has never been more important to make sure that we’re giving ourselves the kind of workspace that allows us to flourish. Fix your annoying desk issues and maximize your productivity by looking at what is getting in the way of your efficiency. Address ergonomic issues like no wrist support or a chair with no back support. Keep your desk space tidy and make it easier to find notes with organizers. Not only will the right workspace affect your ability to concentrate without distraction, but it’s key in making sure you’re taking care of your posture and health while working, too.

The right collaboration tools

If you, like most web developers, work as part of a team, then effective and efficient communication is crucial. Depending on how you work, you might want either a communication platform such as Slack or a more purpose-built project manager. There are some tools that double as both. Messaging platforms can help you organize and centralize your communications, making sure that people don’t miss conversations that are relevant to them, and that they don’t lose them in a growing pile of unorganized comms. Project management, on the other hand, is all about laying out the workflow of a development project, assigning different roles in the project, and ensuring that the step-by-step of web development is carried out as smoothly as possible. It’s likely that you need both kinds of tools.

The right code/text editor

There’s no single code and text editor that’s going to work for every person. There is simply no faster way to get stuck in with writing and fixing code than these editors. It’s worth looking at a few of the top options. Sublime Text might be one of the most popular options around, as a cross-platform tool that has a Python-based plugin API and simultaneous editing functionality, but it’s far from the only one out there. Other options like Atom aim to be more highly customizable, allowing you to adjust your workflow as best fits your needs. It is also worth noting that different code and text editors come with different price tags, as well. Some of them also have free versions, with premium subscriptions you can add to access more features.

The best framework

Your choice of web application framework will depend on a range of things. For instance, you want to make sure you choose a framework that works with the programming language you’re most proficient in, as well as which ones are still being upgraded and widely used. Of course, if you’re trying to build specific kinds of websites, then you need to choose the framework that works best with it. For instance, the React framework (more of a JavaScript library than a true complete framework) works very well for not only for single-page applications but all manner of front-end developments. In most cases, you want to start off with an idea of the user experience that you want to create, then going on to choose the framework that allows you to do that.

A good library of components

A framework will offer all the tools that you need to make building a website much easier in your chosen programming language. However, they can be supplemented with additional components that can reduce the amount of bespoke building that you have to do. For instance, Infragistics offers a React component library in the form of Ignite UI. Component libraries give you immediate access to grids, data charts, and other components, allowing you to choose and implement the ones that work best to your needs. As a result, you don’t really need to build them from scratch, yourself. There exist component libraries for frameworks of all kinds out there, all of them primarily designed to help developers more quickly build great experiences.

Developer tools

Code and text editors allow you to do the bulk of your coding work, but what about when it comes to editing a site while also testing it? To that end, there are a few developer tools, but few stand out like Chrome Developer Tools, which is available with both Chrome and Safari. You can use these tools to edit HTML and CSS, as well as debugging JavaScript, while also looking over a performance analysis of the website. As such, you can both monitor and fix the web app at the same time, allowing for some easy problem-solving. Chrome Developer Tools come with a host of other built-in functionalities, as well, all designed for the easy testing and debugging of your code.

A good set of scales

In web development, more and more attention is being paid to page weight, aka page bloat or size. The larger the web page, weighed down by images, style sheets, scripts, and other media, the harder it can be to make it fast-loading and responsive. Browser Calories is a super simple application that allows you to quickly get a better idea of your page weight and which elements are contributing most to it. With page weight becoming more important in the fields of conversation rate optimization and search engine optimization, this is a diet that most web devs are going to want to pay attention to. Especially if you’re offering to build sites aimed at SEO.

Git GUI Clients

Git is a system used to track the changes that can occur in source code at any point in software and web development. Git GUI clients allow you to work with Git much more effectively, especially in cooperative spaces. As such, depending on your choice of operating system, there can be quite a few Git clients to choose from. If you have skill in using Git and need Git repositories to store and manage codes, then are a range of options such as Github Desktop, GitKraken, SourceTree, Magit, and more. It’s important to take a look at the different options and choose the Git clients that work best depending on how your team is set up and what operating systems you are working with.

A little help with your typographyWhile it might seem like a relatively simple element for front-end development, there are all kinds of obstacles that can get in your way when it comes to choosing and implementing the typography of a website. Finding the right sizes, line heights, heading formats, and typographies that work well with the site in bolded and italic versions can be more difficult than you might think. As such, having the ability to check how certain typography works with your HTML can be very useful indeed. Tools like Web Font Specimen can help you do just that. Furthermore, it can help you see elements of typeface that might be difficult to catch in isolation, such as how it works with both light-on-dark and dark-on-light schemes.

Deliver faster and better prototypes

If you run a website and web app development business catering to a wide range of clients, then being able to make the initial steps of development more efficient can be key to unlocking more revenue. However, rather than rushing the process, you can work with tools that make the process a lot easier while still delivering great results. When it comes to creating rough prototypes that allow you to consult and get feedback, there is a range of prototyping tools that don’t require as much coding work. Good prototyping tools also include some user-testing functions to help you ensure that your designs are going to work well in the user environment. There are both standalone tools for this as well as plugins that work with editors such as Sketch.

Make sure your web APIs do what they’re supposed to

A lot of websites are built to work with other websites and apps, and Web APIs play a crucial role in sending data and commands, as well as retrieving data and information, from those external sources. Creating a site that relies on external sources means that the website is susceptible to failures outside of your own control. As such, it’s important to have tools that can help you build and test APIs effectively and efficiently. There is a range of platforms for safe API development, with Postman being perhaps one of the most popular ones of them all.

It takes more than just the tools and tricks named above to help you develop at your very best and most productive. However, don’t neglect the role that these tips can play.

10 Tips to Become a Better Photographer

No matter how good a photographer you are, there is always room to improve your skills. You may have been snapping for years, or perhaps you’ve only just picked up a camera. Either way, you should always strive to better yourself. Photography is a noble hobby that requires intense observation, mindfulness, and a unique perspective on the world. It is a fantastic way to make a living, but it is also a worthwhile endeavor in and of itself. It allows you to capture fleeting moments of beauty and transfer their essence into a format that will preserve them forever. 

There is great satisfaction in self-improvement. Setting yourself a challenge to take better photos and master certain techniques will make you a more talented photographer and bring you a sense of achievement and pride. Not to mention the professional and financial opportunities you can enjoy.

If you want to become a master of your craft, here are some valuable pieces of advice to make you a better photographer.

Take a picture every day

Getting better at anything requires constant practice, and photography is no different. It’s said that you need 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any given field, so you’ll need to put the hours in. Set yourself the challenge of taking at least one photo every day. This will help you to keep your skills sharp and see the world from a photographic perspective. And it doesn’t have to be anything momentous. Look for the little moments of beauty in your daily life and capture them in a photo. Bring your camera with you wherever you go so you’re always prepared when an opportunity presents itself.

Prioritize learning over expensive gear

You could have the most expensive gear in the world, your own studio, and the best editing software there is. That still wouldn’t make you a great photographer. Far more important than owning the fanciest hardware is knowing what to do with it. You should prioritize learning how to take great photos above all else. Study great photographs for inspiration and brush up on photographic methods to improve your compositions. Techniques such as the rule of thirds, the exposure triangle, and creating a sense of depth are all core components in any photographer’s toolkit. You can take good-quality photos on any smartphone, so don’t feel like you have to spend thousands on a high-end camera.

Understand your camera

Even if you have a fantastic camera, it’s not going to do you much good if you don’t know how to use it. In order to make the most of your photography equipment, you’ll need to know exactly how it works and all the different features and functions it offers. When you’re shooting in the field, you want your actions to be second nature so that you can focus on the subject and nothing else. If you’re having to continually stop and think about operating the camera, you’ll be taking yourself out of the right mindset and might miss a golden opportunity for a brilliant photo. Take some time to read the manual to familiarise yourself with your camera. Who knows, you might even discover some useful features that you weren’t aware of.

Use the Golden Hour

The best photographers know the best times of day to shoot their subjects in order to get the best possible light. The moments just after dawn and just before sunrise are known as the Golden Hour, as they provide the perfect lighting conditions. Some of the most beautiful landscape photographs you’ve seen will have been taken at this time, as it creates the ideal combination of hues, tones, and shadows that will make any picture look impressive. Getting up early and staying out late requires commitment, but expertise never comes easy.

Practice with a traditional film camera

Photographers are spoiled these days. Digital cameras allow you to take as many photos as you like, regardless of quality. You can snap hundreds of shots and simply discard the ones you don’t like at the end of the day. Back in the day, photographers didn’t have this luxury. They shot on film, which was notoriously expensive, and so they would have to be careful about when they pressed the shutter. As a result, they took more care in their work, only shooting when they were certain they had the perfect shot. If you want to bring this level of attention to your work, occasionally shoot with traditional film. You will be limited to a fixed number of photos, so you will take the time to craft each one more carefully, and the results will undoubtedly be a great improvement.

Study other photographers

One of the best ways to become an expert in any area is to learn from the best. Every photographer will have their own unique style and way of working, but some tips and techniques are universal. Study great photos and artists you admire to gain inspiration for your own work. Reach out to professionals and ask them for advice on how to improve. Take time to regularly visit galleries and exhibitions, and watch documentaries about photography. Immerse yourself in the subject, and you will absorb huge amounts of information to help you get better.

Teach someone else photography

A quote often attributed to Einstein claims that if you can’t explain your area of expertise to an amateur, you don’t understand it well enough. Whether he said it or not, there is a great deal of truth in it. Teaching a craft requires you to articulate and simplify important complicated concepts, which helps you keep information fresh in your mind and ensures that you fully comprehend it. Your mentee will undoubtedly ask a huge number of questions, which will help you keep your brain sharp and focused on techniques and methods. Your work may also benefit from a fresh pair of eyes glancing over it. A new perspective may highlight flaws and areas for improvement you hadn’t noticed. Find a willing friend or family member who wants to learn about photography and take some time to provide helpful guidance.

Experiment with new techniques

You probably have your own style, but it pays to be flexible and try new things. Escaping your comfort zone is one of the best ways to grow as a photographer. It helps you learn new methods and strategies for taking the best photos, and may even guide your portfolio down a different, more exciting path. Why not experiment with time-lapse or macro photography? Or you could shoot at night, in black and white or in monochromatic color. Stretching your abilities forces you to learn new techniques and ways of working, and you will become a better and more rounded photographer as a result.

Don’t rely on post-processing

Editing your photos in Photoshop or Lightroom is sometimes essential for giving them a little more sharpness or color, but you shouldn’t rely too heavily on this. Over-dependence on post-process editing can make you lazy when it comes to things like exposure and composition. Don’t let it do all the work for you. The best photographers aim to take the perfect photo, so it requires no editing at all.

Protect your work

Once you’ve taken a photo, it becomes an incredibly valuable treasure that only exists on film or in your camera’s hard drive. It is a memory captured in the moment, that can easily disappear in the blink of an eye and be lost forever. As a photographer, you should treat each photo like a prized possession, and do whatever you can to protect it. Upload your photos to your computer after each shoot, and back them up on an external hard drive at least once a week, so they are safe if anything happens to your computer. There are several models of hard drive you can use depending on your storage needs. Visit Best External Hard Drives for product reviews and best-of lists to help you make your decision.

Becoming a master photographer takes time and effort, but with enough practice and time spent shooting and learning techniques, you can achieve mastery of your craft. Follow these tips, and before long, each and every photo you take will be a masterpiece.