Entrepreneurs more than likely don’t have an office. They work from remote locations, coffee houses, their couch, bed, car, using their laptop, desktop, mobile phone, tablet, or any smart device they have with an internet connection and that enables them to connect to their chosen ecosystem of social media and website.
Here is a list of the favorite gadgets I swear by that are truly remarkable and have made the 18k miles flown this 2018 a bliss keeping me as productive and as productive as possible.
We depend on our smartphones and tablets to stay connected to clients, family, socialites and the latest greatest with how is Tony Stark going to save us in Avengers 4 (maybe that last one is just me.)
These two chargers mentioned here are my favorite ones. For plug-in options the Belkin has always delivered the best options and customer service ever since I had my job at Apple back in 2007. The fact that you obtain the wall and car charger plus an independent USB + (the one for your device) connection is great! The cable is resistant, strong and long. All three qualities that make it superior to Apple’s original charging cable IF that is your phone type. Apple knows how to design stuff. Especially how to design it to break it so you buy more. Capitalism?
For those who love wireless charging, I know I do, I present you this option. In my household I am an iPhone user (of course!) and my wife is an android phone user (I’m not sure why yet.) Our phones have the option to charge wirelessly and when I was looking for options I was reminded by a good friend that Anker makes really great products, which is true. I decided to pick this one up because of the review and I was not disappointed.
In our kitchen I have setup what I call a “charging stating. We have a multiplug with two USB 2.1 A plug-ins. Each has a Lightning connector and a USB-C, but then we have the Anker Wireless Charger. You will always find one of the iPads, one of the phones, or other gadgets charging and whenever we go and get coffee, a quick bite, do the dishes or something we just set the smartphone on top of the charging pad, leave it there and it is charging. Keep in mind that it will not charge as fast as plugged-in but hey it does the job and you don’t have to be using cables!
Being an Audio Engineer is both a blessing an a curse. You know how to identify good sounds and you know how to identify bad sounds. The problem is…which one you think are the most common?
When I find headphones that I truly like, basically, I marry them. I do not want to be apart from them and I always want them by my side. I do not want to use any others.
Here are my current and favorite headphones.
Beats Studio 3
When the Beats by Dre came out I was working at Apple Retails Stores in Orlando, FL. I thought that they sounded too bassy for my taste. It represented and targeted a very good demographic, people who were into Hip-Hop, RnB, EDM.
I have always been into Rock, Metal, Classical and enjoy my pop music. But if the only thing I can hear is Bass and I can not appreciate other sounds then just forget about it.
When this new generation came out, a friend was very adamant that I try them out. I started researching them a lot. I was also never a fan of the design. Too big in my opinion. But I just decided to go for it.
Now all I can say is…WOW!!! I bought the Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones Shadow Gray because they looked cool. Pairing them with my iPhone 8 Plus, AppleTVs (yes multiple across the house) and my Mac was a bliss. The first thing I did to test them was to listen to Call of Ktulu by Metallica in S&M recorded in 1999. I was able to listen to every single detail. Then Master of Puppets kicked in and that was it. I could listen to the crowd, the bass drum, the bass guitar, the riffs, the orchestra, everything, and then I looked up and realized my wife was talking to me but I haven’t realized because of the noise cancelling.
So when I took my next trip first thing I packed were my Beats. I decided to test them to the extreme. What is the worst thing that could happen on a 4hr plane ride? You got it! Crying baby!
Amazing how I enjoyed listening to music, watching movies on the plane and playing Nintendo Switch on the plane, all while the baby was crying and I didn’t hear anything. When I landed – mind you I take redeye flights to maximize time and productivity during my travels – I was still fresh and didn’t have a headache, ringing in my ears or anything that would cause a headache.
I saw a friend using the previous version and I assumed they were BOSE wireless buds.When we got to talking and he recommended on Amazon I immediately looked them up. Reviews were mixed. But I trust my buddy when it comes to technology.
Ordered them without second guessing myself. They are really sleek looking, kinda makes me feel like a spy, provide really good sound when it comes to music, podcasts, and while on the phone.
Their nose cancelling is very good, although I preferred the Beats definitely. But for a day to day walking around the city without carrying anything too bulky, being in the gym lifting weights, running or something of the sort this is a great piece of technology.
The carrying case actually charges the buds and you can use the right independently. The controls can pause, skip or backtrack a song and even access Siri – although it is kind of a hassle, to be honest, I am happy with these headphones and use them daily when I am out on the mall, family gatherings, or even just walking my dog. They are not too bassy, they don’t sound flat, for podcasting, power metal, heavy metal, symphonic metal, hip-hop, EDM, phone calls, audiobooks, they are simply great.
I am an Apple User. Every Mac is now with Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports which is better/worse. Better because through one port you can transfer huge amounts of data and many things and worse because dang it what the heck do I do with all my USB flash drives, and peripherals. Now I need dungles, and bungles.
The benefit of this hub is that it is small, compact, a nice length cable and it is only $14.99 on Amazon. I have been using it and wherever I go, I take it with me. Sometime I don’t even use it in my computer but for other people who forget to bring their own or need to plug more than one device at a time.
USB C Dock
When I got my Macbook Pro with only USB C, I started to look for options to maximize the ports. Most of the posts and articles suggested docks. Some of them didn’t convince me and some of them were just not very sexy looking design wise. Others were just snap on the side and that was it. Plus I would still have to use my own charged.
Henge Docks, were different. The bring all the connections you need, a charging port, a SD Card slot, turning your notebook into a workstation with the connection to a display and ethernet as well.
The beauty about this device is that you can set everything here and is just plug and play. This is excellent for conference rooms, for the entrepreneur who has a home office, or for his office and doesn’t want to be carrying his charging cable back and forth. You just unplug the cable from the dock to the MacBook Pro and that’s it. Simple!
Now, I am not the type of guy that is paranoid about “big brother is watching.” But after taking several courses about cybersecurity and ethical hacking, I decided to take care of certain things in my household and make them more secure. Something simple was: Webcam covers.
These little three pack is simple enough to protect your computer, your tablet and your phone. Which is just what you need. The question is, why would you ned it right?
In a time and age where anyone can become anyone important, at any point in time, it is best to be careful and not let any window of opportunity to let people sneak in to your analog life from your digital one.
While browsing the internet the other day I decided to check if there were any upcoming days that I needed to celebrate that were uniquely rare. To my surprise there were some that resonated with me, but this one is one in particular hits home.
Symphonic Metal is one of my all time genres of music. Many of my favorite singers, bands, guitarists and projects cross upon this genre or simply have played a song here and there that is from it.
Here are some the most popular and well known Symphonic Metal Bands in history and below you can enjoy the Rock ‘n’ Block podcast.
From Kitee, Finland, Nightwish was formed by Tuomas Holopainen, Tarja Turunen and Emppu Vuorinen as an acoustic project and later on becoming a symphonic metal group.
Their albums Oceanborn, Wishmaster, and Century Child propelled them to become a respected powerhouse name in world. But it was their fifth studio album that provided them the success in the U.S. with “Wish I had an Angel” that had MTV coverage and create ripple effects in world tours and also certain other effects within the band itself.
Wether you believe Nightwish is the greatest for you or not, one thing is clear, they help pave the way for the rest of the bands to get notoriety in the world.
If you know me, you are aware that I do not like grunters. Nothing against them, I just don’t enjoy not understanding what people are saying. But when you are listening to Epica you get a really great contrast of Soprano Angelical voices, very amazing guitar riffs and solos, the keyboard are on point all the time, and the drums in perfect sync with bass. Not only have I listen to most of their record, but I also got to see their show live and trust me, what you hear on their albums is nothing compared to seeing a live show.
Epica has the talent, the will, the strength, and so much more to give. Plus they tour like they play: With all they got!
When you think about symphonies and soprano like voices, your think opera, right? Arjen Anthony Lucassen decided to bring many aspects of the opera into an album. Story, characters, music, instruments, science fiction!
Yes, sci-fi plays a big role in all of Ayreon albums and projects even in the ones where you think that they don’t have anything to do. The overall story of Ayreon is that a new race was born and they need to warn humanity of the demise they are about to create upon themselves. Trying to communicate with people throughout different time periods, methods, and learn from them but all if futile. Until… well buy the records and you’ll see.
Overall Ayreon is a progressive rock band with certain songs that have symphonic metal influences. Many singers from the Symphonic Mental genre have participated in Ayreon’s records such as Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ex-Re Vamp, ex After Forever), Marco Hietala, Tobias Sammet, Rusell Allen, and many others.
Avantasia for many of us was the biggest and greatest project there was because of many important things. It had a great story. Catchy songs such as Reach Out for the Light, Breaking Away, Glory of Rome, Sign of the Cross. You had people in the album such as Kai Hansen, Sharon Den Adel, Timo Tolkki and André Matos and Ernie…yeah Ernie who was the second main character. Who had fairly recognizable voice.
When the second record came out, the real name of the singer was revealed: Michael Kiske, the voice of power metal. Tobias was not only able to give us a great metal opera but he manage to somehow bring back Michale Kiske to the metal world and have him make a record with such magnificent songs and stories. Hence why Avantasia raised the bar for Metal operas and why its a project that will always bring the best caliber of singers.
Just letting you know that they are about to release a new record and go on tour.
Ever since 2011 social media has been a constant battlefield where no matter where you go to, what timeline are, what video you play or which page you like, account follow, you will sooner than later stumble upon a targeted political ad or will stumble upon news are design for click & bait.
Fast-Forward to 2015, and the fact that Donal Trump became the president, was no surprise. “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” How So? Well when you continue to talk, whether it is something that causes controversy, reaction, positive or negative, it causes engagement and that is what the social media companies want. Engagement.
We are products that validate the existence of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Google. Whenever we like, share, comment, or report the ad, unfollow, we are providing valuable data to the algorithm, which is compiled and they fixed it in a way that then it can be tweaked for success for campaign managers so they can invest and target more efficiently the audiences. Every 24hrs they can get better reports and now how they are doing, with which type of demographics, sex, religion, age, ethnic and affiliation groups.
I am a mid 30s, hispanic, Christian faith, heterosexual, married and when it come to my gender I choose male. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, I use Gmail, have an iPhone and this blog. Love Metallica, podcasting, and Batman is the best superhero ever.
That last paragraph is enough data to create a profile and target me to sell me things that could really and potentially interest me to click on them to read the news. Once I click on one of those it means that the algorithm of the social media will try to keep showing it to me as much as it can so I can see it. Hence why the Timeline in Facebook is no longer the way it was and you keep seeing the same things over and over again.
Machine Learning = Humanity Predictive
Knowing that there are machines, software really, learning about our habits and gathering all that data is kind of creepy. Imaging a Dr. House + Your Mother combined into one being. Is like being Vision from the Avengers but knowing everything about everyone.
The problem with all of this is that instead of making decisions because of values, because of reason, it will be harder because inception and little by little the influence of every post, ad, news, posts, MEME, video, etc.
HULU now started providing ads about the elections while I was trying to watch some shows. Pandora and Spotify as well. It used to be regular TV and Radio. But now…it’s on the internet in social media. Because everyone is on social media and glued to their phone. The UX/UI studies, colors, frequency, timing, influences people, wether they know it or not.
The Machine learns what keywords get a reaction and a rise out of you, your age group, your county, state, gender, and based on the pages you like, the public figures you follow and engage with and if those are in favor or not with the candidate the campaign manager wishes to target to so they can become supported, click on the aritcle, share it, comment on it, help it become a trend and spread like wildfire.
Even using the people who are against the candidate is a good tactic. Controversy creates headlines and news. This is something that a lot of people forget. Rock ‘n’ Roll was “the devil’s music” during the 50s and 60s. Then it became hippie music. The satanic. Then looser’s music. Then it was Rap and Hip-Hop’s turn to be tagged with some label that didn’t really represent what that movement was about. Biggie and 2-Pac anyone?
Targeting people who are against you using your most controversial article, news or any type of content keeps you as a trending topic. If you are everywhere and everyone talks about you, what do you think will happen?
Voldermont was no longer given power because no one talked about him nor mentioned his name. No engagement with the subject or persona.
But in this day and age, where the Baby Boomers have joined social media, and some do not understand click and bait, nor understand that not all the newspapers are ethical as they used to, shout out to Breaker Magazine for being the difference in this point, it’s so easy for those with pockets to spend millions on social media, influence as many people as they can on a daily basis and stay as present as they can. Then set themselves up for success to win.
Should social media be allowed to have such power to influence audiences? Should target ads be so powerful that they follow you everywhere you go and promote everything you search for over and over again?
Social Media & Google: Leaders of Information
I decided to visit the Google Trends site and quickly research what was trending. These are the trending topics right now in Google.
But what surprised me was the fact that google already had a featured article about the midterm elections with all the data ready to go.
Here are the tops searches since halloween until today:
What does this tells us? People are looking for answers on the internet rather on people. They would much rather get convince on their own from reading on social media, and news outlet than going to the rallies and events and seeing what actually happens. Seeing what really is going on and how history is going down.
They would rather look at history in the making through the filters of social media, than look at the real face. Think about it.
Engaging whether it is software, gadgets, headphones, applications, smartphones or computers, I am always researching and trying new things. I like my software to be unique an great while easy to use and fully functional, my gadgets to be as cool and sexy looking as the new isomething, and my gear to be as sleek looking as a CyberPunk fantasy game.
In the past three years I have researched, purchased, tested, and used many products that are truly remarkable. In today’s post I will be focusing on some of my favorite day to day gadgets that allow me to perform my best.
Full Focus Planner
I used to just trust that everything I needed to do was in my big ol’ head. But with so much going on in it, so many distractions of social media, instant messaging, being a social media/community/ project manager and being constantly available for around 18hrs a day, plus being a dad, things can fall apart quite easily.
Michael Hyatt is the “Internet’s Mentor” helping every one learned how to maximize their time. I first began developing the habit of using a planner from a another brand. When I saw the Full Focus Planner I thought it was going to be interesting. To my surprised I was able to not only plan the day, but plan the Week, the Quarter, and set goals for the year. You can visit the site
There are different buying options for the planner program I can honestly say that in order to not cheat yourself, buy the annual subscription. As you will get the real value and money’s worth of everything you can learn from it. Trust me. I bought one stand alone, and two weeks later, I was full of regret. So I waited a month until I could purchase the annual subscription.
The biggest achievement I have being able to do with this journal was start to get myself organized to do my job as efficiently as possible, so I could save time spend with my family, focus on my health and move on to start new projects. I hope you find value on this planner and join the many entrepreneurs and people who have achieve more thanks to it.
We all need tools. Organization, project management, calendars, cards, and many other views that can help us propel tasks, businesses, teams, or simply be able to plan the party for your five year old without borderline loosing the sanity.
You want to know your budget vs expenses? What is left to do? What has been paid in full, not paid, or just a deposit? A Timeline of everything in one place without having to go all around the email, notes, notebooks, scratch papers and many tools? Airtable is the one for you.
Here is a quick intro video so you can see what I am talking about:
This is my current Layout of my Airtable Divided into personal and professional aspects. My Podcasts base is my go to so I can keep track of everything that is being or needs to be done such as editing, transcripts, social media sharing or if it is done. There are many templates and one of my favorites from a social media manager stand point are the editorial calendar ones. Many big companies prefer to use Airtable because of the great efficiency to actually make this work.
There is the web version, Desktop Download, iPhone or Android App, iPad as well. Click here to start using it today!
I have used the big names in Social Media handling applications. The ones that have come out of nowhere and the ones that have come and gone. One thing is obvious, it is extremely expensive to use the apps and their free versions are filled with limitations that make you wonder “what’s the point?”
Recently I discovered Crowdfire App and fell in love with the simplicity and the great usage. I like reading and sharing what I find it to be interesting. The message in Facebook is one, how I address people in Twitter is another, LinkedIn I act as professional and courteous as I can be and in Instagram is where I abused the hashtags and have the most fun. Different tones, same messages all from the same place.
CrowdFire let’s you connect your accounts on social media, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn; then you add your interest in topics, and you can share articles right from the app and it let’s you control how many posts per day will you do on each network. One of the challenges is that Twitter is very fast paces while Facebook not so much, Instagram things disappear as quick as they get created. So you want to stay as relevant as you possibly can with the followers and audience on that network.
It also lets you connect your blog so as you as you post something it’s in the app and you can then proceed to share it with the audience. Instagram is tricky because of how the application is but it’s nothing that’s not manageable with to taps on your phone.
Here is a screenshot of one of the very cool features you can enjoy. Know your audience. Who follows you, what’s is trending, who is your fan, and even do a Friend Check. That one was surprisingly fun.
This helps asses your strategy and work to move away or with the current message and the results of your work as they reflect on your followers.
To begin using CrowdFire App click here
On my next recommendation I will be sharing gear itself. The bags, microphones, headphones, both bluetooth and noise-cancelling, among other things that I can not leave my house with.
As a fan of Rock music, while writing this article, I was rocking out to some Queen songs from Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) of the biopic.
Don’t forget to follow me in all social media channels and checkout my YouTube Channel
Ever since I began surfing the web my parents would ask me to be careful. Even more careful than crossing the street, or keeping my mouth shut so I would not be hit while in recess. Lame joke, i know but hey let’s add humor somewhere.
With every new advancement in technology, there comes dark sides, risk, threats, hackers, viruses, trojans, malwares, and the good ol’ human psychology scam trying to get something out of you.
In my previous job at a TelCo. company we had extensive training about social engineering, cyber security, systems safety, and “you are the firewall” motto when it can to security.
The reality of everything is that nowadays, trust me when I say this, hackers are not into creating viruses, trojans or malwares. They are looking to do phishing. Creating forms, emails, and convincing materials that trick people into providing any type of information, or allowing to install some application that tracks or allows a backdoor entrance to your patterns and behaviors, or even steals your data. Online Security nowadays needs to be taken as seriously as avoiding being attacked on the street.
Online Security nowadays needs to be taken as seriously as avoiding being attacked on the street.
Applications that keep you safe
These are a list of applications that will keep you safe on the browsing, avoiding scams, keep your passwords safe, add a second layer of security and even know your gramma is correct.
Is the new internet browser for those of us who just want to access the internet, the data, the information as fast and secure as possible without it tracking your patterns, behaviors, and habits so it can be later be sold or you can be advertised to. For example, have you ever gone to a site to look for shoes, and then you go to your favorite social media platform and you start getting more and more ads about those shoes in particular. Then you go to a news site, and you also get a banner of the shoes. The same shoes.
Guess what? You are being ad-targeted. The more you browse and keep cookies in the cache, the more chances you will be shown things that you search for at one point in time.
Brave allows you to control natively if you will only connect to website that have an Encrypted connection and a SSL Certificate. In other words, HTTPS and not HTTP. It will allow you to stop Ads and Trackers. So you won’t be getting ads from search engines promoting stuff and trackers saying that you are from a certain city because of the IP address you get from your Internet Service Provider. Blocking scripts also allows for certain things on the webpage that might look great but actually slows down, burns resources and enable things that you may or may not care for but does allow the webmaster and the advertisers know of you habits. Spy much?
Overall, Brave is a great tool for safety and enjoy browsing the internet, securely and faster than ever before. I mean, we have high speed but sometimes feels like it is 128kbps still, right? Brave solves that issue.
Right after you install Brave and set it up as your default browser, yes I recommend it that much, the next thing I recommend is turning Last Password on and using it.
Last Password allows you to manage your passwords in just one place, auto-fill the information correctly, and generate passwords. Social Media and Community Managers can truly benefit from this tool. Plus it is Free! you can even download it on your smartphone and use it as an extension when you want to log in into a webpage or app. I like the fact that you can select and create the password as simple or as difficult as needed. Wether you need the password to be easy, have all characters or simply be a hackable one, LastPass allows you to be on top of the game.
Cryptonite by Metacert Protocol
Wether you are into Crypto Currency, Blockchain, Trading, or simply browsing the internet, Metacert is the company that everyone should be rooting for right now.
Surfing the web, specially social media and mainly Twitter this year, have become a cesspool for phishing scams where you have mysteriously won a contest, you can enter to win a prize, you have been selected to wear the Infinity Gauntlet…ok that last one is a bit off but you get the point. Scams are the new “be careful on the internet” that everyone is saying. As in, watch out what links you click, fors you fill, and what if that is not the real site, person, profile or the correct address.
Metacert provides you with the best solution so you can now wether the webpage is 100% safe or if it is not a secure site. Because the principle of decentralization is the community, the actual users are the one reporting the bad URLs (addresses) to the Metacert team so they can verify and add it to the database and you can know for sure wether or not you are safe in that click or not.
So how to add Cryptonite by Metacert. You must have Google Chrome installed on your desktop. Click here so you can install it. Is an extension that provides a shield icon on your status bar. Green is for verified domains, Black/Grey for non-crypto or unverified domains, Red for reported URLs.
Here is a video demo:
If you have Brave Developer version you can add Cryptonite as well. Here is another video on how to download and add Cryptonite on Brave.
Hope this post helps you gain more confidence. I will be sharing more information on apps and dapps that can help your experience be better.
See you all in the blockchain!