You might already know the top places to work from home or telecommute. Similarly, some cities are more ideal than others if you're a freelancer or work for yourself. NerdWallet performed an analysis of the best places where you can free yourself from the commute.
They looked at 3 things: how many self-employed people are in the city (a sign that the freelancing lifestyle is sustainable), the median rent cost (since freelancers don't have as much income security), and the median cost of health insurance (since we don't get health insurance benefits).
The top 20 cities are all over the country. Topping the list is Los Angeles, since it has the highest percent of households with self-employment income, but cities like Miami, Nashville, Minneapolis, Boise, and Seattle all are freelancer-friendly.
Your hometown is just one consideration if you're thinking about freelancing, but you can really literally work anywhere if you have a job that can be done remotely. If you've been thinking about moving, here's the full list of the best cities for freelance workers.
We've all become so dependent on our mobile devices that it's sometimes devastating when our phones, tablets, or laptops suddenly turn off. (Oops, no more battery, and you're on the go.) Mobile battery packs and cell phone battery come to the rescue, but they also come with a hefty price.
I'm not talking just about money, though these mobile battery solutions could cost as much as $100. I mean the added bulk and weight that these accessories add. For example, the Limefuel L28N5 Nexus 5 case I just reviewed makes it too heavy to use the phone with one hand for long periods of time and too thick to fit in normal pockets.
On the other hand, it doubled the battery life of the Nexus 5, so instead of charging the phone every single day, I can rest assured for even over two days that I've got enough juice.
Some other mobile battery packs are even thicker and heavier than the mobile devices they're supposed to charge.
If you're frequently away from a power outlet, though, these might be worth their weight in gold to your productivity. What do you think?
Younity connects Windows computers, Macs, iPhones, and iPads into one "personal cloud" so no matter which device you're using, you'll always be able to access any file, including music playlists, videos, and documents.
Unlike Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, Younity isn't about putting files you want to access into specific folders and syncing them with online servers. Your files on Younity are stored only on your devices--not anyone else's servers. When you go to access the files, they're transferred securely over SSL over Wide Area Networks or peer-to-peer over a local network. For the security-minded, Younity's FAQ page says:
we can't see file transfers at any point, nor can anyone ever see metadata transfers under any circumstances. Since we never have your files and don't store them online, we can't access your files (nor can we let others access them), we can't see your files or lose your files.
Younity is incredibly convenient, because you never have to think about where a file is or plan ahead to have access to any of your files. You can also share files with others from the Younity apps.
There are two downsides, however. Your computer(s) need to be on in order to access the files. And, sadly, there is no Android version available yet.
Otherwise, what are you waiting for? Head to Younity to give it a try.
Microsoft recently renamed its online storage and syncing service from SkyDrive to OneDrive, due to a trademark battle. Along with the new name, the company added more options for us to get more storage space--for free.
There are two ways to get up to 8GB free: Set up the OneDrive mobile app to automatically back up photos for 3GB, and refer new users to OneDrive for 500MB extra per person (up to 5GB).
You can also automatically back up photos from your phone to Dropbox and Google+, but OneDrive comes with 7GB of free storage space you might not be using.
Since OneDrive is also tightly integrated now with Microsoft Office (and those documents don't count towards your storage allotment), if you're not already using OneDrive you might want to sign up.
Use this link and we'll both earn an extra 500MB of space!
HTC and other smartphone manufacturers (Samsung and the Google Nexus partners, for example) are all making some of the best smartphones you can buy, and in this competition, they're adding more bonuses to help us decide on one over the other. HTC's most recent perk is pretty awesome: cracked screen replacement...and more.
The screen replacement, which comes with the free HTC Advantage for HTC One phones, is probably the biggest draw, since who doesn't know someone who's had a cracked phone screen? The warranty is only good for the first six months of your HTC One ownership, however.
Other perks, though, include:
- More Google Drive storage space (25GB to 50GB)
- Commitment to the latest Android updates
You'll need to buy an HTC One, One max, or One mini to take "advantage" of these offers--but they're still the kinds of things you wonder why all the other smartphone companies aren't doing as well. (Especially the screen replacement thing.)
The quintessential office suite, Microsoft Office, is long overdue on the most popular tablet, the iPad. Microsoft heralds (or rumors at least) tell us the touch-friendly version of Office will come to the iPad some time in the first half of 2014--sooner, perhaps, than the Windows 8 version.
That's the scoop from Office insider at ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley.
A tablet-friendly version of Microsoft Office--assuming it's comparable to the desktop version--is a big deal for businesses of all sizes, already invested in Office. There are lots of other office suite alternatives for tablets, but, quite honestly, none of them are as capable or sophisticated as the real deal.
That's assuming these rumors come true and Microsoft finally releases an Office version for the iPad, Android, or other touch-first OS.
Your guess is as good as mine, but I'd say it's about time.
The Pylon is a system that makes sharing Wi-Fi easy: No passwords to type in (but security built-in) and total control of guest access on the owner's part. Guests wave or tap their phone to the 3"-by-3" Pylon for instant access.
It seems ideal for coffee shops, hotels, and other locations where the Wi-Fi is free and open--and thus too open to hacking. The Pylon provides an easy way to log into a secure wireless network.
The Pylon developers are currently promoting the $85-$100 system on Kickstarter. I mention Pylon in this post about how to share your home wireless network with friends (without having to share or put in a password), but at this price point it seems most suitable for small businesses with lots of public Wi-Fi guests.
If you're away from your big screen TV, you can still stream the Super bowl on Sunday February 2nd for free. Here's how.
On your PC or iPad, download the Fox Sports app. It will stream not only the big game but the pre and post game shows too (and is unlocked for just this event. If you have a Verizon phone, however, for some reason you'll need to pay $5 (per month) for the NFL Mobile App.
A VPN is an essential tool for anyone who works on a unsecured network--from a public Wi-Fi hotspots, for example, or even working from home to connect to the office network. What exactly is a Virtual Private Network and how does it work? This infographic from Fortress ITX could help you understand VPNs an how they protect your sensitive data when you go online. (You might need to click through to Best Infographics to see the graphic in full view if it's too small.)
Fast internet access is one of the cornerstones of more productivity, whether you're working from home or trying to work on your laptop while traveling. Yet, according to Netflix's data, the average performance of Internet Service Providers (ISPs)--at least when it comes to video streaming quality and performance--is far below what we're promised.
This chart from Quartz highlights the discrepancy between internet speed and the ISP's promises. While the average US ISP delivers 96% of the speed promised, according to the FCC, the problem is that the majority of US households need more bandwidth (especially when it comes to high-bandwidth services like video streaming and huge file downloads).
This issue can get even trickier with new net neutrality rulings that could give ISPs the power to limit bandwidth for certain providers or types of providers (like Netflix).
How fast is your internet speed compared to what you're paying for? Find out here.