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.

How To Work With Apps For Office In MS Word 2013

How prepared are you for that first written assignment of the school year? It may still be early, but it’s always a good idea to stay one step ahead of the game.

Now we all know that writing research papers and essays is one thing, but to do it effectively is another. If you’re a student struggling with the writing aspect of your papers, then  you know what we’re talking about. This is why MS Word is as powerful as it is, offering tools that make it more than just a text editor. It strives to help you as much as possible with any task you may have.

But if you’re finding that despite this, MS Word’s core functionalities aren’t as advanced or intricate as you need them to be, the program will still give you powerful options with Apps for Office 365.  If you’ve been using Office 365 for the basics and haven’t explored these apps yet, here’s your chance.

Much like Google Docs and Sheets Add-ons, Apps for Office are basically mini programs that can add features that go beyond Microsoft Office programs, like MS Word. These apps are used directly right within your document. They can add a ton of extra functionality that not only helps you get your writing done faster, but helps you get it done better, as well.

To begin, you can find the app functionality through the Insert tab on the ribbon. To insert an app into a Word document,

1. Go to the Apps section of the Insert tab on the MS Word Ribbon.

2. To search and add new apps, click on Store and browse through the available apps listed by category.

Accessing Apps Store

3. Once you find an app, click on it.

4. Activate the app by clicking on Trust It in the information box.

Activating Wikipedia App

The app will then appear on the right hand side of your Word document. You can change this once you’re inside the app if you like though. To access apps you already have, simply click on My Apps and select the app you need from the list.

Selecting App From List

You’ll get a lot of extra functionality from just a few apps, making MS Word that much more powerful. To give you an idea, here’s a short roster of some pretty cool apps for MS Word that can really raise the bar for your document creation process. All of these can be found in the Office store.

TaskIt is a great app to have. It’s a to-do list that sits directly within your word document. This is perhaps one of my favourites. It helps in breaking down large writing projects, staying on track, or itemizing your thought process. You’ll always know exactly what you need to do.

Creating To Do List

Wikipedia makes this roster because, lets face it, who doesn’t check the site for background information? It’s the perfect tool for doing a quick reference check while you write. Either highlight a word in your document or simply type your search term in. The Wikipedia article is displayed right within your document.

Lucidchart, the popular data viz tool, gives you a great option for creating diagrams, mind maps and flowcharts for your document. You need to have an account or sign in with social accounts like Google or Facebook to use it, but it’s well worth it for those who are either regular users of the tool or need an indepth visualization on the spot.

The Bookmarker comes in handy if you need to reference or get back to a certain webpage or resource. You don’t have to resort to pasting ugly links in your document that skew the overall character or word count. The app will list all of your bookmarks in one panel without having to junk up your document.

Creating Bookmarks In Word

Pro Word Cloud will create a word cloud from the selected text within your document. You can adjust features like the font, colours and layout, selecting the size and number of words you want in it. This is great for creating visuals for your content or in publications like ebooks or eguides to sum up a concept or emphasize connections between ideas.

QR4Office is a neat app. It lets you insert and generate a QR code in your document. Customize your information and the QR code image itself. Then all you have to do is insert it. If you’re creating research content for a special cause or that’ll be shared publicly, this is a perfect way to help increase your sharing potential.

Creating Word QR Codes


In addition to Microsoft Word, the Office store has all kinds of different apps for other Office 365 programs like PowerPoint and Excel. There are a lot of apps to browse through, so you’re bound to find that one handy app that’ll make your written work go more smoothly–no matter what the content!


27 Microsoft Excel Experts Predict The Future Of Excel In Business Intelligence

With over 750 million users worldwide, Microsoft Excel is the traditional tool of choice for presenting and analyzing data.

And now, it’s in a position to be the new BI tool of choice, as well. With Excel 2016, Microsoft announced some forward thinking built in Business Intelligence (BI) features. In the age of big data, this is huge.

This announcement, however, raised many questions in the field of big data manipulation. Is Excel powerful enough? Can it manipulate the amount and types of data businesses deal with today? Does Excel have a future in Business Intelligence workflows?

In the search of answers to these questions, we rounded up renowned MS Excel experts and picked their brains on it. We asked them one visionary question:

Where do you see the future of MS Excel in Business Intelligence Workflows?

And here is what they shared with us:

1. Purna Duggirala – Chandoo

Chandoo.org // @r1c1

Purna DuggiralaThere is a running joke in BI communities.

“What is the most used feature in any business intelligence solution?”
It is the Export to Excel button.

Jokes aside, Excel continues to be the #1 platform when it comes to analyzing data, finding information, preparing charts and presenting them to decision makers. In that sense, I see Excel playing a strong role in BI workflows in future.

Excel continues to be the #1 platform when it comes to analyzing data, finding information, preparing charts and presenting them to decision makers. In that sense, I see Excel playing a strong role in BI workflows in future.

– Purna Duggirala

With the addition of features like Power BI (Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, Power Maps etc.) that naturally integrate with Excel, analysts, reporting professionals and BI people are finding Excel more relevant for full-length BI implementations.

In order to remain the favorite analytics app of everyone, Excel needs to do what it is amazingly good for. These are – offer a sandbox-like environment where anyone can play with data and come up with information, keep the Excel software offerings clean & simple (with the addition of Power BI, buying and using Excel has become a complex process), give users competent & compatible Excel apps for tablet & phone devices and include features to do powerful data analytics processes with one-click (as against a complex set of formulas, pivot tables & manual steps that many analysts do now).

Long live Excel.

2. Ken Puls – Excel Guru

Excelguru.ca // @kpuls

Ken PulsI personally see Excel as THE future of Business Intelligence workflows.

No matter how many systems a company has, how big they are, or how many millions of dollars have been spent on them, the reality is that the majority of data is exported to Excel before decisions of serious consequence are made. I’d go so far as to say that there are only a handful of finance departments in the world who don’t run their critical decision making analysis through Excel.

With the increasingly diverse toolset being added to Excel — Power Query to source and clean data from disparate dirty sources, Power Pivot to aggregate those disparate sources into business intelligence models, Power View to create dynamic dashboards from those models and Power Map to tell the data story on a geo-spatial plane – it’s very clear that Microsoft is investing heavily to make Excel the Business Intelligence tool of choice.

I personally see Excel as THE future of Business Intelligence workflows.

– Ken Puls

The killer for Excel today is not the fact that it isn’t the best out there for building business intelligence, it is the fact that far too many users are ignorant of the vast amount of capability that was added in the last five years. The attitude of “Excel can’t do that” is still pervasive and relied upon by its competitors to sell THEIR products.

My advice to anyone looking at building business intelligence systems today and considering switching to a competitor’s product: find a business intelligence expert who REALLY uses Excel. Ask them what can be done. Chances are you already own the software that will do it all, you’re just not aware of how.

3. Bill Jelen

Mrexcel.com // @MrExcel

Bill Jelen

The new Power BI Desktop offering from Microsoft will make it easy to create powerful dashboards that you can share to various end points such as iPads within your organization. The easiest way to get data into Power BI is from an Excel file, so Excel continues to be the most important component in the Power BI workflow.

Continue reading →27 Microsoft Excel Experts Predict The Future Of Excel In Business Intelligence

9 Handy IFTTT Recipes To Automate Office 365 Tasks

When you have the Internet, your productivity can increase drastically. It all depends on how you use it.

If you constantly work on the Internet, then you probably already know all about IFTTT (If This Then That), the online service that automates your daily tasks by connecting popular web services that you use every day.

And IFTTT recently got Office 365 signed on as a service. Now a few of your favourite Office 365 apps are available as IFTTT channels: OneDrive, Mail, Calendar, and Contacts.

Knowing how often you use Office 365 yourself, you can imagine what kind of automated tasks are possible.

We’ve already covered the basics of IFTTT.  So this week we thought we’d help you start up your collection of Office 365 IFTTT recipes for some of the most simplest and common tasks you do on a daily basis.

Remember—if you don’t see a recipe that works for you, you can always create your own when you sign up to IFTTT.

Office 365 Contacts Reminder

Create A Calendar Reminder To Follow Up With Newly Added Contacts In A Week

Networking can be considered an art, which admittedly sometimes, requires help in not only remembering people, but proper networking etiquette, as well. Set a calendar reminder to follow up with new Office 365 contacts when you add them on.

Create A Task Card In Trello For Each Of  Your Meetings

Sometimes your schedule can be too hectic to remember the standard follow up tasks–esecially for meetings. Well, if you’re a Trello user, there’s a recipe that will allow you to create task cards reminding you to follow up with meeting notes.

Weather Office Calendar Reminder

Add A Calendar Reminder To Bring An Umbrella

Hate it when you get caught in the rain? If you aren’t in the habit of checking the weather forecast, this neat little recipe can  check in for you. It can give you an automatic Office 365 Calendar reminder to take your umbrella if rain is predicted for the day. Don’t ever get caught unprepared ever again!

Send Your Team A Note That Food Has Arrived

Who doesn’t love group lunches at the office? In workplaces where everyone is spread out among departments, you can save yourself a trip around the office and instantly inform your co-workers that their food has arrived. This “Do” Button Recipe isn’t your traditional “if this, then that recipe.” Instead of combining two actions, you use a single “Do” button on your phone to send an email to their inboxes.

Get A Notification When You Receive A High Priority Email

If you’re expecting an important email, you don’t have to sit around and wait for it. With this recipe, you can get iPhone notifications when you receive a high priority email in your Office 365 Mail inbox. This is a great way to free up your time and let IFTTT keep an eye out for you.

Save Gmail Attachments IFTTT

Archive Incoming Attachments From Gmail To OneDrive

If you’re a Gmail user, this recipe will interest you as it neatly bridges the gap between Office and Gmail. You can save attachments you receive in Gmail to your OneDrive account, allowing you to create an online database that makes it easy to store and find any important files you receive.

Download Liked Tracks From SoundCloud To OneDrive

Where would your productivity be without your music? If you’re a SoundCloud user, you can collect your favourite music and access it directly from your computer with this recipe that lets you download liked tracks on SoundCloud to OneDrive.

Save Your Instagram Photos To OneDrive

If you love taking pictures or are into photography, then you’re probably posting your shots to Instagram on a regular basis. With this recipe you can automatically save your Instagram photos to OneDrive and create an instant backup of all your photos.

Facebook Photos OneDrive IFTTT

Save the Facebook Photos You’re Tagged In To OneDrive

Can’t keep track of the Facebook photos you’re in? Just connect the Facebook and OneDrive channels to stay on top of it. This recipe lets you save any Facebook pictures that your friends tag you in. It’s a neat and easy way to start your own collection of photos with your friends.

There are a ton of other channel combinations you can use with Office 365. It’s just a matter of making the connections between the services you use on a daily basis.

Got your own suggestions? Help expand on this list by sharing some of your own recipes.