Get Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas From Google Search Trends

Still stuck for costume ideas this Halloween? Don’t worry. There’s still time.

You can always quickly pull out last year’s costume, but no one ever wants to be the same thing twice. Thus, you may be hitting Pinterest, YouTube or Google for some quick costume ideas that’ll look good and is easy to put together.

But if you really want to know what’s hot and what’s not in terms of costumes, skip the ordinary Google search for images and ideas. This year you may want to try Frightgeist.

FrightGeist Google Search

This is essentially Google Trends with a Halloween twist.  Frightgeist is packaged as a guide on what costumes people are searching for and looking up in the US.

Google Trends pulls the top 500 costume search results that are going on and then ranks and visualizes that data so you can quickly see, at a glance, what others are thinking of dressing up as. You’ll also get a couple of handy FYI snippets on the costume related trends.

You can search for costumes that are trending nationally or locally by region. So if you’re partying it up across town, dressing up for the costume contest at work or trick treating with relatives in another state, you can customize your costume idea accordingly.

When you search locally, you’ll get a map to visually select your area. You can then hover over your region to view the top search trend in that area. Click through and you’ll get a rundown of other popular searches for that region.

FrightGeist Local Search​

Search nationally and you’ll see what’s trending on a much bigger scale. These results will show you the top trends list across the entire country.

When using the search box, you can type in a costume idea or have Fightgeist do the all searching with the “Surprise Me” button. It will randomly pull up a costume search result for you. Clicking on the button once, I get Wonder Man from the Marvel universe, who ranks 475 on the national trends list.

So use the results to start brainstorming ideas. Or use the results to avoid the popular trends and stand out with a costume no one else has. There’s a convenient “Show Something Less Popular” button that shows up when you view details on a popular costume trend.

But if you like dressing up as everybody else—that’s cool too. The button will turn to “Show Something More Popular” if you’re viewing a low trending costume idea.

It’s interesting to see how everyday tools can be put to cool uses like finding a Halloween costume. So don’t miss out on this tool and some awesome ideas. Give it a try and see what costume trend catches your eye.

 

Exploring Document Management Needs For Insurance Companies

Document management in the insurance industry is important. Clients submit documents in a number of different methods and formats. As such, insurance companies need to be prepared to handle any type at any time, whether paper-based or electronic.

However, with PDF files being the de facto standard for document submission, insurance companies can expect to deal with high volumes of digitized data. This means being able to handle, process, and store those files.

Document Management Folders

Despite this obvious fact, some insurance companies are still hesitant to invest in document management software or individual tools. But for some companies, the onslaught of data and documents that need analysis is pushing them forwards, forcing them to explore their options.

Insurancenewsnet.com, in fact, provides a timeless guide for companies who need to start thinking about it and make sound decisions in choosing a document management software tool.

How To Start Your Search For Document Management Tools

To start, there are a few main questions you should keep in mind: How easy is scanning? How are documents organized? Are documents editable?

These are essential questions to think about. For instance, as you get into analyzing those documents, editability will determine the tools you use and the work you perform.  Not only that, but it will determine the time spent on working to convert the data from one format to another.

Document organization determines how efficient you’ll be–how do you store, name and retrieve files later on? 

With paper-based workflows still largely in existence among clients and third parties, you can expect many setbacks before that data is even ready to be digitally processed and analyzed. How can you get them quickly into an electronic format?

Struggling With Extracting Data From PDF Documents

As a case in point, one insurance company, AgencyOne, struggled especially with making the data they received in PDF files editable. But dealing with PDF files without a specific tool in place affected their efficiency as an insurance company, an issue not uncommon in the industry.

“It was frustrating that I could find no way to speed up the process of data extraction or take real advantage of the import capabilities,” says Alexandra Smolen, Commission Specialist at AgencyOne. “It used to take me all week to get my work done auditing commission statements.”

AgencyOne Commission Specialist

Finding The Key To Improving Document Workflows

They struggled with PDF files and, later on, found success with data extraction using Able2Extract Professional. The benefits the company experienced include:

  • 3x increase in efficiency
  • Time previously wasted was converted into time spent on strategic activities
  • Affordable for company budget
  • Week-long data extraction tasks turned into a few days’ work
  • Increase in productivity led to an employee’s raise in wage

Without doubt, insurance companies need to start looking at document management solutions. As technology becomes more and more advanced, things such as electronic submissions will quickly become the basic standard. The key to tackling the new digital document age is to make sure your insurace company stays one step ahead of the game.  

Read the full AgencyOne case study here for inspiration on how you can get your own insurance company’s workflow up to speed.

 

How To Stay Focused And Energized At Work When You Don’t Feel Like It

How long can you last a typical work day? When you work 8 hour days at a computer, it can be easy to lose focus. The 9-5 grind can have you exhausted before your day is even over. With eye-strain, constant distraction and long periods of sitting, it’s no wonder the current work force is obsessed with improving the concept of the ideal work life.

From the 4-day work week to setting up a work-from-home day, the perfect work-life balance is the holy grail of working professionals and productivity gurus. While you can find tips on the most popular productivity tools, the best mobile apps or productivity tips to help in that area, sometimes what you need is guidance on improving more than just your workflow.

In fact, such tips can typically miss out on one common problem. People call it many things—zoning out, mentally fading, the afternoon slump, spacing out, whatever you call it, you’ve undoubtedly felt it multiple times during the week.  It’s not exactly what you’d call being distracted, but the results usually amount to the same thing: low productivity, higher risk of errors, and time wasted.

Though going for a cup of coffee is usually the number one solution, it’s time to get creative. There are other things that can help you get energized and back on track.

Play Mentally Challenging Games

One good way to keep your mental wheels oiled is to keep yourself intellectually challenged. Try going for popular brain teaser games and training apps or programs like Lumosity. There’s some debate about whether or not these scientifically work to raise your IQ, but what can’t be denied is that they can keep you mentally active.

A short session here and there on your lunch break can help you switch your frame of mind. Other similar services include Congnifit and Fitbrains.  If you prefer to do so on your mobile, you can also try brain teaser games like Sudoku, 2048 or Can You Escape.

Perform Rote Work And Unchallenging Tasks

This may sound counter-intuitive, but this tip will actually give you that much needed momentum during your low energy times. These tasks can be anything–deleting your junk mail, cleaning off your desk or organizing your filing cabinet (or washing dishes if you work from home).

Messy Desk Clutter

A short study has shown that shifting focus to unchallenging work can actually help to boost your mood. The psychology behind this is that when you complete a task, you gain a sense of accomplishment. This can give you the drive needed to build yourself up to a more focused state going into another task.

Create a to-do list on the side of necessary rote tasks you can turn to when needed. This way you’re still taking care of something that needs to get done and not wasting time.

Use Notifications, To-Do Lists, and Timers

There’s nothing like having deadlines to keep you on your toes. Holding yourself accountable when things get slow and sluggish at work can be an effective method to try on yourself. When we’re working against the elements, be it time or resources, we tend to work with more focus to get the job done.

Creating To Do List

For this, set up notifications, create short yet manageable to-do lists and even use the trusted go-to timer strategy (think Pomodoro technique). Lighting a fire under a task will push you to work with more energy, giving you a second wind.

Schedule In De-Stressing Time Online

Unwinding is a huge part of staying alert and keeping your mind fresh. If you find yourself getting stressed out or tired from long periods of intense focus, take a mental break. As little as 15 minutes can mean a world of difference to your productivity.

We covered a few ways to reduce your stress online before. From customizing your musical mood to playing PacMan online, you’re sure to find one tip that’ll do the trick.

Change Your Location,  Your Workspace Or Your Workstation

Another thing you can try is to change your physical setting. Your surroundings can have an effect on your mental state day after day… after day. This includes disruptive noise from neighbouring cubicles, low lighting, and just being in the same drab, dull setting—factors that can elevate or drop your energy levels significantly.

Mobile Workstation

Try and make the modern day office work for you by rearranging your workspace, working in a different area (if you work on a mobile device), decorating your desk or even trade in your PC for a laptop if you can. Your work space matters and a quick switch can turn things around instantly.

We can’t be on the ball at the computer for 8 hours straight, 7 days in a row, on command. Hopefully, these can help give you that jump start you need when you’re drained, low on energy, and losing focus.  Everyone is different, so let us know what works for you.

5 Traits That Indicate You Should Be Using Linux

The Linux Foundation recently released the first video in a series called “A World Without Linux” that reveals the many ways in which Linux plays a role in your daily life—or wouldn’t if it didn’t exist. From remembering the name of a song to social media connections, Linux is everywhere.

The light-hearted series puts Linux into a user-friendly light that average users can relate to. Most naturally shy away from learning about Linux, let alone use it as their main operating system. It does require more technical know-how on the part of the user, which can certainly be intimidating.

But these days it’s easy to get tech savvy with tutorials and courses online or by just fiddling around on your computer. So it wouldn’t be surprising if you’re at that point where you want to kick it up a notch with a more hands on approach to your everyday tech.

Have you ever thought about giving Linux, a try? The nature of the system itself may speak to some of the natural tendencies you may already have. So we thought this would be a good time to check in and take a quick look, see if Linux would be a good fit for you.

Do any of these describe you?

You Love Free Stuff

Who doesn’t like free software? The only compelling reasons to purchase software is because it’s worth the money and has features you’re looking for, you hate the free limitations or you don’t want to deal with viruses and Trojans normally associated with free downloads. This is where Linux kills three birds with one stone.

With Linux, you can get a huge variety of free software. Each Linux distro will have its own software repository where you can find and install software for your Linux distribution. To boot, the software in a repository is curated and vetted by trusted moderators, which means you’ll get quality software without having to worry.

You’re Obsessed With Customizing Things

You can’t help but get everything just the way you like it. True, you can say this about anything. But here, we’re talking about customization with a capital “C”.  Just as you can customize your computer with browsers, software and tools, you can customize Linux from the desktop right down to the system. For more advanced techies, it’s even possible to create your own customized Linux distribution. With Linux, you don’t have to put up with an out-of-the-box system.

You Love Creating Things

Users are already creating Android apps, WordPress plugins and browser extensions. If you’re one of them, Linux may be the perfect next step for you. In addition to being able to create and tweak your own distro, you can create or contribute to the development of one yourself.

Funny Computer User Comparison

Image Source: 9GAG.com

The open source and Linux communities overlap and intertwine, and as such, there are a ton of open source projects that seek to improve existing tools or help develop similar ones for the system. This can be a great starting point for student programmers to start expanding on their skills or start getting familiar with the developer community.

You Love Being Part Of A Group And Working With Others

If you love the camaraderie and successful collaboration that results from working with others, you may fit in perfectly with the Linux crowd. As you may know, the Linux community is a collective group of Linux hobbyists and enthusiasts.

Because Linux was built collectively together by companies, developers, and individuals, there’s no one source to turn to.  Instead, you have a community of experienced users to consult and collaborate with in open source forums and Linux forums.  When you’re on Linux, you can’t help but be part of a bigger community.

You Love The Idea Of Choice

Take your pick! There are distros available for any purpose or user out there.  Linux distros are always changing and improving, so you can always find distro news, updates and developments on a regular basis. Each one is unique, has its own strengths and is developed under different  ideals. So whether you need Linux distro for a laptop, media or old hardware or for gaming, Linux offers a number of different flavours to choose from.

Did you find yourself Linux-user material? Let us know if you’ll make the switch.

Microsoft Office 2016 And You- A TEDTalk Perspective

Whenever a major release drops, whether it be software or gadget, we tech users always have to anticipate change. And with the new Microsoft Office 2016 release, did we ever!

Microsoft Office 2016 was officially launched last week. And as you may know, the major focus for this update was twofold: collaboration and cloud. The latest updates mean faster, more effective ways for staying connected and getting things done.

But under the shiny new features, there’s a deeper question: what do these features really mean for us as users? We’re talking about the bigger picture. Whenever a new tool has us working in different ways, there’s a lasting impact—culturally, socially and personally.

The hype of a new tool usually won’t allow us to see its full impact on our lives though. And so we thought it would be interesting to examine the Office 2016 latest features through a different lens with related TEDTalks. TEDTalks are mind blowing presentations that are always insightful, engaging, and able to boil big complex ideas right down to the bone.

We collected some of the most relevant and related videos on the technologies, issues, and concepts the new Office 2016 features seem to be targeting. Call this TEDTalk 101 For Office 2016. These timeless lectures will broaden your perspective on what the latest features could mean for users on a bigger scale.

Real-Time, Co-authoring And A New Modern Job Market

One of the biggest highlight about Office 2016 is the new collaborative approach the suite is taking with real-time editing in documents for the desktop apps. You’re able to open, edit and save files in the cloud from your desktop. This feature will now let you work flexibly with others in a single document from disparate locations whenever and wherever you are.

To Wingham Rowan, policy entrepreneur, this type of remote, on-the-spot and flexible way of working speaks to the way the current job market is developing.  But he explores the idea even further by examining ways in which existing financial technology can help fuel this new modern job market.

Office 365 Groups And The Real Power of Teamwork

With Office 365 Groups in Outlook 2016, you’re in constant touch with your team projects. You get started with a shared inbox, calendar, cloud storage, and even a shared OneNote notebook. With these features, Microsoft is paying more attention to users and how they can effectively work together as a group.

Margaret Heffernan, management thinker and former CEO of five companies, narrows it down even further. In her TEDTalk, she reflects on where the real value of a team lies. Her talk can put Microsoft’s collaborative strategy into another light. Not only are they making teamwork technologically easier, but they’re making it emotionally and socially easier.

Excel Power BI Prepares Users For Bigger Data

With Office 2016, everyone is anticipating is the new Power BI features in Excel 2016. Users can take advantage of these features to deal intelligently with more complex datasets. As a big step for Excel, there’s a lot to expect. Data scientists and Excel experts are predicting how Excel will impact business intelligent workflows. How will it affect the way we work with data? More importantly, how should we be working with data?

Susan Etlinger, industry and data analyst with Altimeter Group, shares her opinion on the implications of working with data and how its analysis should be approached. Fortunately, this lecture applies to all big data professionals, both seasoned veterans and new Excel Power BI users alike.

Skype For Business—And Your Productivity?

This is literally IM, screen share and video chat plus your documents, all rolled into one. In Office 2016, Skype for Business offers you the option to start a real-time session for co-authoring from any conversation or meeting. But is this too disruptive? It’s well-known that the value of meetings in the professional world are much debated upon. Are they a waste of time or are they invaluable?

Jason Fried, software entrepreneur and co-founder of 37signals, focuses on this growing debate by first exploring why work just isn’t happening at work. We’re working in moments, in odd places, and at different times, habits which ultimately uncover a bigger issue. With Skype integrated into your apps, how productive will you be?

Are Tell Me And Smart Look Up Pushing Us Towards Smarter Computers?

The apps in Microsoft Office 2016 are getting smarter. With features like Tell Me and Smart Look Up, Office apps are learning more about your patterns and your content as you work. They offer contextual searching, advanced organization, and advanced commands at your fingertips.

And it may be farfetched to compare these features and apps to AI, but the concept of an algorithm that learns or the idea of a technology that thinks is essentially what we’re starting to see in these apps. Is smart technology on the road to becoming too smart? To explore this popular and timeless topic, we included this TEDTalk by philosopher, Nick Bostrom, that explores the idea of what happens when computers become smarter than we are.

Hopefully, these TEDTalks will get you more reflective and mindful about Office 2016 and the broader themes and implications it touches upon. Technological advances happen around us all the time. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of a new product release. It happens to us, too. Whether it’s small a change in your work routine or a major software release, the trick is seeing them for what they are.