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It’s been a pleasure to watch Google Talk enter the over-saturated niche of popular instant messages and then quickly dominate. I am Google Talk user myself. I can vaguely understand why I ultimately chose it over other IMs I would use; probably because most of my contacts have only one thing in common: Gtalk.
So today I am sharing a few best tips on how to make the most of your Gtalk:Featured tip 1: use Google Talk as a translator:
Translate using Google Talk (the feature runs on Google Translate). Just add any of the bots below (there may be many more) and send them messages of the text you want to translate):
from Arabic into English from German into English from French into English from Greek into English from Spanish into English from Japanese into English from Korean into English from Dutch into English from Russian into English from Chinese into EnglishFeatured tip 2: use Gtalk as a free and easy website live chat client:
You can place Gtalk button on your site and let your site visitors contact you using it. Create your Google Talk badge here;Featured Google Talk client: Digsby
DigsBy is by far my favorite third-party Google talk application not because it offers some extra-ordinary Gmail possibilities (well, it does have some cool GTalk enhancements) but because it integrates all my major IMs and social media networks in one handy tool. The platform it supports include:
IMs: GTalk, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Facebook chat;
Email notifications: Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL mail;
Social networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace.
Some cool features I am personally using:
For each social network add as many accounts as you want;
Sort Gtalk (and other) contacts into groups (!);
Set tracking for any GTalk buddy: e.g. get notified when some person signs in or changes the status message;
See all the contact info when hovering over;
Sort contacts by name, status,
Reply right from the pop-up;
Manage multiple conversations with tabbed conversation windows;
Set your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn status right from Digsby;
Synchronize your settings and accounts between computers.
Featured FireFox extension: gTalk Sidebar
gTalk Sidebar is a handy FireFox addon that integrates Google Talk with FireFox.
Use Alt+G shortcut to open it, and use it as default desktop application.
You're reading 4 Tips To Make The Most Of Google Talk
Introduction to Professional Email
Emails have long since taken over the place of paper mail in our daily scheme of things. A desktop/laptop, Wi-fi connectivity or a dongle, and you are good to go. And the speed is an added asset. Over the past decade, the email has become the preferred mode of connecting with people set at distances apart. Why distances, some of us even email folks living in the house next to us! And before mobile messaging applications took over, emails were the only way we could plan picnics, get-togethers, parties, or share pictures or information with our friends or family.
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Most of us know how to shoot off friendly emails at the drop of a hat, and prefer it as the faster and more convenient option to writing letters. And the fact that these informal emails follow no set rules of grammar or composition added to their popularity in no small measure. You don’t have to spend time pondering over how to frame a mail to your college gang or neighborhood buddies; you just write.
But professional emails are a different ball game altogether. Though less formal than the printed note or letter, these are nonetheless organized in their tone and texture and follow the rules of grammatical correctness.
Before we go into the details of writing an effective professional email format, let me take you through some possible purposes of such formal communication.
You could write professional emails for –
Applying for a post, scholarship or grant.
Requesting a permission or favour.
Giving or requesting information.
Requesting action on something.
Replying to or acknowledging official communication.
Writing about some issue you feel strongly about.
Complaining about a service or product.
So let us get down to the brass tacks. How do you go about structuring and composing an email in a manner that would be both engaging and effective? That is, how will you get your point across?
Let us reprise the seven C’s of communication:
Completeness: Your communication must be complete in giving the required details and stating its purpose.
Conciseness: It must be to the point, not rambling unnecessarily.
Clarity: Your purpose must come through clearly.
Concreteness: The message must be particular, with supporting facts and evidence.
Coherence: Must make sense.
Courtesy: Politeness and mutuality must be kept in mind.
Correctness: The communication must be free of grammatical errors.
So keeping in mind the above criteria, your email should be a clear, complete, coherent document that should not ideally require a follow-up mail with explanation and instructions. Easier said than done, isn’t it? How many times have you sat down to compose that one accurate mail, and have later found it to be either rude and brusque or plain whining or pointless? I am sure we all have faced this kind of dilemma: whether to be crisp and direct or whether to be polite and roundabout.7 Tips for Improving Your Professional Email
So let us start from the basics to improve your professional email.1. Mentally reiterate the purpose of your mail
What are you writing the email for? What do you want the receiver to do? If you are clear in your mind about the expected response your email aims at, you can compose your message keeping that in mind.
Let me give an example.
Say Dorothy wants her College Dean to give her a recommendation for a scholarship. Her purpose in writing the email is to remind the Dean of her credibility as a student, her performance in college, and her overall sincerity. Now she has to state all these in the mail without coming across as bragging about herself or without seeming as too pushy. She also has to request her Dean to write the recommendation letter within a specific time. So her email’s purpose would be:
c) Getting the recommendation within such and such date.
Once she is clear in her head what she wants, she can go about composing the mail accordingly. Also, analyze your reader. Who is he/she? What is the reader’s reaction likely to be on reading your mail. Frame your mail based on this analysis.2. Deciding the subject line
Let’s say you are sending a job application.
Think of it as a one-line synopsis of your email. The subject tells the receiver what your purpose of sending the mail is. It also requests for a specific action, like:
“Repairs and Maintenance of Desktop Computers – Request for Bids”
Such headings in the subject line inform the receiver of the requisite details, and follow the rules of clarity and conciseness discussed earlier.3. Salutation and Greeting
Remember the lessons in politeness and courtesy taught to us in junior school? Yes, these are relevant even now. A professional email address should always begin with a salutation.
“Dear Sir or Madam (as the case may be),” or “Hello Mrs. Merchant (if you happen to know the name of the recipient),”
“Thank you for your invitation”
“We acknowledge your complaint and deeply regret your inconvenience”
Besides breaking the ice, so to say, such an opening also acknowledges the reader of the mail as an important person.4. Composing the mail
This is technically the toughest part of the job, as this is the heart of the matter. Your email should follow the rules of grammar and have an opening, a body, and a concluding section. The opening section refers to previous correspondence, or action if any. It also states the purpose of writing the mail.
Remember, executives receive mail by truckload these days, and reading through all of these is impossible. Most professionals scan through the subject and the opening section of mails, meriting a further look only if they find these informative and relevant.
So don’t wait until the last paragraph to state your purpose. Chances are the reader will give up before they reach that section. This is also precisely why brevity and conciseness are so important. Background information is important but please, please be brief. Come to the point as soon as you can.
Use bullet points if your email has a lot of factual data or information. These are easier to go through.
Highlight the relevant areas. Reading through these sections must tell the reader what you want.
Your email needs to be brief and complete at the same time. Does it seem like a tall order? Not at all.
Just make a list of the points to be included in the mail.
Refer to the list to check that you are including all the points.
Check for wordiness. Delete excess information.
Make sure the email does not run into pages. If necessary, give supporting information in attachments (more on that later in this post).
Ensure that your email doesn’t require to be followed up with bits and pieces of information in a later mail. Try to make the mail a complete correspondence in itself.
Always make sure to open and close the mail courteously. After the conclusion, close the mail with “Warm Regards”, or “Thanks and Regards”, or the conventional “Yours faithfully”, followed by your name. If possible, add your signature prior to your name.
Once the composing part is over, give yourself a pat on the back!. You are over with the tough part. What remains now, is revising and editing, and giving supporting information.5. Use polite language and be to the point
Remember the “Cs” of conciseness and courtesy? Formal communication needs to be polite and impersonal.
“We would like to inform you that the last date of submissions is Oct 20, 2024. Please do send in your entries within that date.” Doesn’t it sound polite and clear? It also specifies the action required to be taken within the specified time.
Make a rough draft of your email and read it putting yourself in the position of the receiver. Are you sounding polite and courteous? Are you giving all the necessary details? Is your message to the point? Are you sounding earnest? (Red Alert! Casualness is okay with friends, not in the professional scenario, particularly when you are email writing to someone you don’t know as a person). So better take some email writing tips before you initiate to write any mail.
Read and revise your mail for possible grammatical and spelling errors and lapses in the information. If it is possible, get a third person to read and give feedback. An objective eye can often point out what you, as an involved party could not see.5. Providing copies
In case your email requires coordination with or approval from other departments or officials, remember to mark a copy (cc) to them. Also, send yourself a blank copy (bcc) for future reference.
Be careful, however, not shoot off copies to unrelated people. This is most likely to happen when we are replying to group emails; we often hit the “reply all” button instead of replying to the sender solely.
In this age of information overload, the last thing a professional wants to have is an overflowing inbox with a lot of unrelated mail copies marked to him/her. J6. Adding Attachments
If you are sending a job application or an information mail, you need to attach the relevant document(s) with your mail. A mail without the appropriate attachment is like an envelope without a letter!. A lot of time gets wasted when mails come without attachments. The receiver either is put off by the lapse or has to write back requesting the necessary information be sent. Then the sender sends another mail with the same.
So now you are all geared up and sit down to write. Let us revise the format for your ready reference:
To: Recipient’s mail id
From: Sender’s mail id
Cc: (Copy to)
Subject of the mail
Body of the memo
Sender’s Signature and/or Name
This is a rough format; you can improvise as you familiarize yourself with the process. Before winding up, let me take you through the specifications once more:
Use a brief, descriptive subject line.
Greet the recipient with “Dear Mr/Ms….” or “Hi, ……”
Be precise and to the point.
Don’t use casual language, be formal.
Close properly with your initials/name/signature.
Copy to concerned persons.
Support with necessary attachments.Recommended Articles
This is a guide to Professional Emails. Here we discuss an Introduction to Professional Email and the tips for improving your professional email. You can also refer to our other related articles to learn more –
The worldwide pandemic has increased the need for businesses to adopt more sophisticated digital marketing technology. This has led to an increased move to online software solutions that may have not been needed before.
Businesses of all sizes have had to quickly adapt to changing circumstances so that they can continue to operate as best they can. This has increased the demand for technical solutions – from team online collaborative meetings to organizing virtual events.
The technology sector has always experienced fast-paced growth since the mid-1980s. When the invention of mobile phones, laptops, PCs and Personal Digital Assistants – now known as Smartphones – came about.
To this day, new emerging tech, software, hardware, mobile and IoT solutions are constantly evolving.
As a result, there has had to be a new approach to digital marketing.
That’s why we wanted to share the latest digital trends, frameworks, techniques and technology marketing examples with you. These trends can help you engage with your customers and build better relationships to help grow your business.IT and High Tech Trends Guide
Understand the marketing communications trends at play in the technology industry for new opportunities for start-ups and challengers.
Download the guide today1) A multi-channel approach to your marketing
Competition in the digital marketing space can be fierce.
Staying relevant and engaging with your customers is key to elevate your brand in a crowded, competitive and potentially expensive space.
With a multitude of options available to ignite your brand, a strategic approach is always best.
If you want to learn more – as a Starter member you can access our digital marketing benchmarking guide which allows you to assess your position and audit your strategy against competitors.
Researching which digital communications channels are best for you will be a key player in reaching your customers and building engaging relationships.What channels are your customers engaging with?
An omnichannel marketing approach helps to gain knowledge of what your customers are thinking/searching for. Then you can understand what will be useful for them. For example, how can you help them and where?
This helps to plan how you will engage with them, what topics are of interest and how you can build relationships for ongoing retention.
To help you understand your customers, our customer persona template is really useful for our members. It can help to fully embrace who your customers are and create a better customer journey for increased engagement and retention.2) Embrace digital transformation
In the past, some companies have been reluctant to integrate new technologies with their current business models. However, during the last few years especially, it has become crucial for businesses to embrace digital transformation to remain competitive.
In the digital world that we live in today, creating brand awareness online, e-commerce and digital marketing have become more important than ever. It not only impacts your bottom line as a business but has also the digital world has become a strong platform to build relationships with your customers. Whether that means social media connectivity or a high performing website, it’s important to connect with your customers.
Particularly when it comes to digital marketing, technology has helped companies to build their brand awareness to attract new prospects; both locally and globally.
One of the most significant driving forces for reaching customers and meeting their needs has been improving and cleaning data. It allows businesses to speak to the right customers with a more personalized touch. This also supports a more proactive approach for businesses and facilitates the ability to thrive.
Digital transformation doesn’t have to mean investing in the latest AI, VR or even 5G technologies. Instead, it can be as simple as upgrading your telephony system, holding webinars or online events, and creating more accessible ways to do business online or remotely. It could even be updating your marketing strategy to a more digital approach.
To create the right digital transformation strategy for your business, our guide, ‘Set your vision for digital channel transformation’ is a great source to help focus and align your digital and business goals.
Free digital marketing plan template
Our popular marketing planning template is structured across the Smart Insights RACE Framework. Join Smart Insights as a Free Member to download our digital marketing plan template today
Access the Free digital marketing plan template3) Re-evaluate your content strategy
Once upon a time, it was enough for a business to have quality web page content, update their blog regularly and keep in touch with clients predominantly via email. As technology has evolved, including social media, there are now multiple channels to reach out to your customers.
We have a great Quick Win for our members that really helps plan out how to write copy for social media in order to engage with your customer base.
Your content can include regularly sharing new content or repurposing content. This can be via social media, joining communities online, building personal brands, creating videos, infographics, reels, working with online publications and many more. All of which can be great ways to increase your reach using the RACE framework for digital marketing strategies.
Part of a great business plan includes investigating the avenues that are relevant for your customers. This enables a greater reach of customers, that are more engaged, informed and compelled to buy. Which, in turn, drives up your sales.How do I reach a digital audience?
There are various ways you can reach your audience through technology. If anything, the pandemic really highlighted how we can work together remotely. But we can also connect in new ways and reaching out to our customers.
Luckily, technology is on our side. That means that image sizes, metadata, and all things AI/VR are at our fingertips when we are ready for them. What’s more, is that we don’t always need to be that complicated.
The best thing businesses can do to relate to their customers is to have conversations. In order to do that, it’s important to find where they are in the digital space. Once you’re there you can get involved and solve their problems with your solution – aka your product or service.
It’s simply just a matter of reaching out to people that have a need for something and doing it in the right way.
People will always be people. So, let’s continue to treat them as such, digitally or otherwise.
For some more great insight into how you can make digital marketing work for your business, tech or otherwise, our IT and High Tech Marketing Trends guide is available to all our free members to download.
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Learn how to organize tools in a workshop. My workshop has to be a hardworking space because I build and paint a lot of furniture, like this easy to build daybed or this decoupaged dresser.
Organizing the stuff is very important when setting up a workshop that functions, as well as looks good. A pretty room means nothing if it doesn’t function well. Today, I’m sharing how to organize tools in a workshop or garage.
I’m joining Linda at Calling It Home as a guest participant. We have 7 weeks to redo a room. I’m redoing my garage and it’s almost done.
Week 1: Design Plans
Week 2: Staining Old Concrete
Week 3: Build a Sturdy Pegboard
Bonus tutorial: How to Paint Wood Grain
Week 4: Scrap Wood Wall
Week 5:Adding More Outlets to Your Garage
Week 6: RevealHow to Organize Tools in a Workshop
Start with a blank slate. Since we had to remove everything to stain the floor, it was the perfect opportunity to go through our stuff. We have only brought back the items that we actually want. Some stuff had been in there so long that we stopped even seeing it.
Identify your problem areas. We tend to stack stuff in the middle of the garage, so to combat this, we placed shelves there instead. Since it was typically wood that we sat there, we found a new home for it.
What work zones do you need? My husband and I tend to work in the garage at the same time, but typically it’s on our own projects. Since we know that working separately is our preferred method of working, we gave ourselves separate work zones in the garage.
Group like with like. We sorted our stuff into bins for projects. All tiling supplies are together, all electrical stuff is together, etc. I’ve made labels and still need to attach them.
Make a spot for lists. We constantly make to-do lists and shopping lists. Making a dedicated chalkboard area has boosted our productivity.
Make good use of wall space. All of our large shovels and tools can now be easily found.
Consider portable storage. We do work all over the house, not just in the garage, so portable storage for tools is very important. We bought a used rolling tool box and spray-painted it to match. A rolling table is also handy. For inside work, we have a smaller toolbox to bring inside.
Keep often used tools easily accessible. We use our drills constantly, so it makes no sense to store them in their cases. However, my pneumatic stapler is only used occasionally, so it is kept in it’s case. A pegboard makes is a great way to organize tools in a workshop.
Go for heavy duty. It was harder than I though to find an organizer for nails and screw that would actually hold up. Nails and screws are heavy! This thing weighs like 50 pounds.
It’s funny how much more productive we feel in our organized garage now!My Favorite Workshop Organizing Items
This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Best Garage Organizing Products
These are my favorite tools for organizing a garage.
Rubbermaid Storage Shed Storage Hooks and Rack Accessories, 3-Piece Set (1825046)
Rubbermaid fast track hanging system. This system is sturdy and has books to fit a variety of equip[ment.
Extra Thick 57pcs Pegboard Accessories Organizer Kit
Pegboard is essential in a garage and you need strong hooks to hold heavy tools.
AmazonBasics 4-Shelf Shelving Unit – Black
I love sturdy metal shelving for storage.
Keter 240762 5 Drawer Modular Garage Tool Organizer, Black
A rolling tool box is handy for storing frequently used hand tools.
Husky 28-Drawer Small Parts Organizer
Screws and nails get heavy, so buy an organizer that won’t break under their weight.
In other news, our garage doors were installed and we are in love.Want to see the finished, organized garage? Pin for Later!
Emy is a vintage obsessed mama of 2 DIYer who loves sharing affordable solutions for common home problems. You don’t need a giant budget to create a lovely home. Read more…
Below The Surface
You thought you knew the Internet. But sites such as Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram are just the surface. There’s a whole other world out there: the Deep Web.
It’s a place where online information is password protected, trapped behind paywalls, or requires special software to access—and it’s massive. By some estimates, it is 500 times larger than the surface Web that most people search every day. Yet it’s almost completely out of sight. According to a study published in Nature, Google indexes no more than 16 percent of the surface Web and misses all of the Deep Web. Any given search turns up just 0.03 percent of the information that exists online (one in 3,000 pages). It’s like fishing in the top two feet of the ocean—you miss the virtual Mariana Trench below.
Much of the Deep Web’s unindexed material lies in mundane databases such as LexisNexis or the rolls of the U.S. Patent Office. But like a Russian matryoshka doll, the Deep Web contains a further hidden world, a smaller but significant community where malicious actors unite in common purpose for ill. Welcome to the Dark Web, sometimes called the Darknet, a vast digital underground where hackers, gangsters, terrorists, and pedophiles come to ply their trade. What follows is but a cursory sampling of the goods and services available from within the darkest recesses of the Internet.Things You Can Buy
Individual or dealer-level quantities of illicit and prescription drugs of every type are available in the digital underground. The Silk Road, the now-shuttered drug superstore, did $200 million of business in 28 months.
2. Counterfeit Currency
Fake money varies widely in quality and cost, but euros, pounds, and yen are all available. Six hundred dollars gets you $2,500 in counterfeit U.S. notes, promised to pass the typical pen and ultraviolet-light tests.
3. Forged Papers
Passports, driver’s licenses, citizenship papers, fake IDs, college diplomas, immigration documents, and even diplomatic ID cards are available on illicit marketplaces such as Onion Identity Services. A U.S. driver’s license costs approximately $200, while passports from the U.S. or U.K. sell for a few thousand bucks.
4. Firearms, Ammunition, and Explosives
Weapons such as handguns and C4 explosives are procurable on the Dark Web. Vendors ship their products in specially shielded packages to avoid x-rays or send weapons components hidden in toys, musical instruments, or electronics.
6. Human Organs
In the darker corners of the Dark Web, a vibrant and gruesome black market for live organs thrives. Kidneys may fetch $200,000, hearts $120,000, livers $150,000, and a pair of eyeballs $1,500.Things That Make Internet Crime Work
Digital cash, such as bitcoin and darkcoin, and the payment system Liberty Reserve provide a convenient system for users to spend money online while keeping their real-world identities hidden.
2. Bulletproof Web-hosting Services
Some Web hosts in places such as Russia or Ukraine welcome all content, make no attempts to learn their customers’ true identities, accept anonymous payments in bitcoin, and routinely ignore subpoena requests from law enforcement.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin help keep the deep web in business.
3. Cloud Computing
By hosting their criminal malware with reputable firms, hackers are much less likely to see their traffic blocked by security systems. A recent study suggested that 16 percent of the world’s malware and cyberattack distribution channels originated in the Amazon Cloud.
Less skilled criminals can buy all the tools they need to identify system vulnerabilities, commit identity theft, compromise servers, and steal data. It was a hacker with just such a tool kit who invaded Target’s point-of-sale system in 2013.
5. Hackers For Hire
Organized cybercrime syndicates outsource hackers-for-hire. China’s Hidden Lynx group boasts up to 100 professional cyberthieves, some of whom are known to have penetrated systems at Google, Adobe, and Lockheed Martin.
6. Multilingual Crime Call Centers
Employees will play any duplicitous role you would like, such as providing job and educational references, initiating wire transfers, and unblocking hacked accounts. Calls cost around $10.How to Access the Dark Web’s Wares
Secret Search Engines
Carefully organized wikis list hidden sites by category, such as Hacks, Markets, Viruses, and Drugs. Descriptions of each link help curious newcomers find their desired illicit items.
Just as in the real world, online criminals looking to obtain the most felonious material must be vouched for before they can transact. A network of invitation-only chatrooms and forums, hidden behind unlisted alphanumeric Web addresses, provides access to the most criminal of circles.
This article was adapted from Marc Goodman’s book Future Crimes, which was published in February. It originally appeared in the April 2024 issue of Popular Science, under the title “The Dark Web Revealed.” All text © 2024 Marc Goodman, published by arrangement with Doubleday, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
I was in the office during the week of Christmas and not a soul was stirring, not even a mouse. To be truthful, the little rolling ball in my mouse was making an annoying squeaking sound and I really had been meaning to order a wireless mouse. But you know how the little things never get done in IT because we are all so busy (barely) keeping up with the big things day by day (and sometimes night by night).
Well guess what? This is the perfect time of year to tackle the tasks resulting from your year long procrastination. You need to get off your rump and put all that energy stored from over consumption of holiday party treats to good use.
A lot of people take this time off for vacation and if that includes you, stop reading this article and go back to sunning yourself on the beach. But if you are one of the unfortunate souls stuck behind the desk the last week of December, this is your time to make a list and check it twice.
Over the years, here are some tasks I have tackled and a few I wish I would have (and still might this year). Not all of these are tangible, but that doesn’t make them less important.
• Take a look at your desk. Can you see it? Or do you see a stack of papers? It may be that you know exactly where everything is (as I claim) but one strong breeze from a hastily closed door or an accidental spill of your coffee mug would put your “filing” system in disarray. Take this time to clean up your desk and do some filing. You may even come across some papers that will add a couple more tasks that otherwise would have been overlooked.
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• The holiday season is a great time to network. Take account of important people in your network that you haven’t connected with recently. Either drop them an email or give them a call to see what’s new and fill them in on your recent doings. This is the time of year where people are in a good mood to connect and you might set the stage for a business or personal opportunity in the coming year.
• Continuing on the networking front, if you have been postponing joining an online network now is the time. The dominant player is LinkedIn and it seems to be loaded with IT professionals. If you enter your professional profile now, by the end of next year at this time you’ll have a burgeoning network that you can leverage for answers to technical questions, finding recommended contractors and job searches (hiring for your team and for your next job).
• Take a close look at your heavy usage personal hardware. Many companies have set plans to cycle equipment every so many years, but many do not. Identify the desktops, laptops, printers, PDA’s, etc. that keep needing repairs or are more than a few years old and do some holiday shopping for the business.
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