How to Open XPS Files

Open XPS Files

Have you ever thought about why new smartphones don’t all have the same charging port, or why software isn’t universal for all operating systems? As you probably know, the answer is simple: tech companies want you to use their products exclusively, and that’s exactly why XPS files exist at all.

This format was Windows’ response to the PDF, and though it’s not quite as popular, it’s still important to know how to access them. 

Force of Habit

There was a time in which XPS files were regarded as a major threat to the PDF format, but that’s all but forgotten at this point. Now, Windows maintains their XPS option simply because it’s been a part of their platform for so long, and some users are comfortable with using it. 

Don’t be shocked if you receive an XPS file, even if you’re not familiar with the file type—it’s a legitimate format, but knowing how to open it can feel a bit confusing. 

Tricky Business

Opening an XPS file isn’t like opening just any old PDF, you need a specific software in order to do it. If you have a windows, XPS viewer comes standard on your computer. Just search for XPS viewer on your computer, open the program, and then open the file you want to see within it.  

If you’re using a Mac, you simply cannot open an XPS file. Instead, you’ll need to search online for a program that can convert an XPS file to a PDF. Once you find one, you can upload the XPS, convert it, then download the PDF version which you should have no trouble opening.

XPS files aren’t all that common, but just in case you run into one, it’s a good idea to know how to handle it.

Using Custom Domain for Your Github Pages

Github

Even if you have a very keen mind for tech, understanding Github’s instructions for adding a custom domain name can feel a little foreign.

If you read the instructions but still couldn’t grasp what to do, or you simply don’t want to dive into such a tedious page, these easy steps will have you enjoying your custom domain in no time. 

Making Your Pages Personal

Like most web-hosts, Github is great for a certain subset of people, but the domain can feel quite impersonal if you don’t take the time to customize it. This might not seem like a big deal, but using a custom domain changes the way that the outside world perceives your pages, and will allow you to take more pride in them. 

If you want to change your domain to be custom but you’re not sure how to go about it, don’t worry—you’re only a few minutes away from completing the task. 

The Process of Customization

Assuming you have already set up and published your Github pages, the most difficult part of the process is already done. From there, it will only take two steps to get your domain customized. 

Navigate to Github project and take a look at your settings. Toward the bottom of the page, you should see a section that says Custom Domain where you can input the name you’d like to use. Next, go to your domain name register and link your github pages as a subdomain. 

After that, you’ll be able to enjoy the use of your custom domain for as long as you would like, creating a more professional persona for your pages and giving them a polished appearance.

How to Redirect A Custom Domain to Your Etsy Shop

Redirect A Custom Domain

Etsy has totally revolutionized the world of arts and crafts. What you could previously only sell at specialty stores or online can now be filtered into search results from one major site, but how can you stand out from the crowd? What makes one Etsy shop look more professional or higher quality than another? A custom domain name is a great place to start. 

Making Your Store Stand Out

Your products will obviously do most of the talking for you, but linking a custom domain with your Etsy shop will give it an air of professionalism. Setting up an Etsy shop is difficult in and of itself, so you’re probably dreading the idea of another step in the process. 

Fret not, though—linking a domain to your shop will only take a few minutes, especially if you already have a domain. 

Linking Your Site

If you don’t already have a domain name you’d like to use, picking one out is the first step in the process. You can use all sorts of new endings besides .com, so look into some creative options that might match your shop. 

Once you have purchased your domain, think about whether or not it’s worth it to have it linked by a third party. These sites make the process extremely simple as some of them have Etsy plugins that only require your shop information, but Etsy will also walk you through the process in their help center. 

Should you choose to redirect your site through Etsy itself, you’ll need to access your settings and register the domain in a section called “CNAME” as a subdomain. It can take up to 48 hours to work, but then you should be all set. 

A professional domain reflects well on you and your shop; when it’s this easy to do, why not redirect your own domain to Etsy?

How to Shorten Any URL

How to Shorten Any URL

How many times have you seen a business take up valuable space on their social media (or any other online forum) with a lengthy and unsightly link? Most URLs aren’t inherently attractive, and so although it’s important to drive customers to your website, you may actually be driving them away with a long URL; instead, take a few extra seconds to shorten it. 

Draw Them In, Don’t Drive Them Away

There are a number of reasons to shorten URLs, from customer perception to ease of use, but the largest is probably the ability to track a link when it’s shortened. Most link shortening sites will provide you with data about how many times your link was clicked when you create an account. 

There’s no doubt that your URL is more likely to get clicks if it’s short, but how can you easily go about shortening it? 

Just A Few Clicks Away

The most time consuming part of shortening a link is just deciding which service you’d like to choose to do it. Most all of these sites will insert their brand into the URL (think of how many bit.ly links you’ve clicked) unless you pay for them not to, which is worth it if you’ll be using the service often. 

One of the most popular link shorteners is Google’s, which will supply you with a goo.gl link. Creating shortened links through your google account will allow you to easily track them and gain insights. All you have to do with any service is paste your original URL and copy the shortened version it produces. 

A shorter URL is by far the best option when you can’t hyperlink, so don’t sell yourself short by utilizing the original.

How to Bootstrap A Startup Company

How to Bootstrap A Startup Company

Some of the greatest artists in history weren’t recognized until they had already passed away. Likewise, some of the greatest ideas aren’t appreciated until they’ve already gained success on their own; that’s why it’s sometimes necessary to start a business without the financial support of investors, in a process known as bootstrapping. 

Pull Yourself Up

You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” which essentially just means doing things on your own without expecting help from others. It conveys a certain level of tenacity and grit, which is exactly what it takes to bootstrap a startup. 

It’s not just about hard work when it comes to a startup, though. In order to bootstrap a business, you’ll need to come up with a considerable amount of funding on your own. 

Generating The Cash

Choosing to bootstrap your startup is like taking a gamble on yourself. You’re betting that your investment today will pay off significantly tomorrow, but how do you go about making that bet in the first place?

First and foremost, figure out how much money you need. It’s possible to work your way up from zero, but nothing comes from nothing. Figure out how much you (and any partners) have in savings to get an idea of what you can contribute. 

From there, frugality is the name of the game. Keep your overhead costs as low as possible, do everything in your power to avoid credit card debt,  and generate publicity with every spare moment you have. The more you can get the public on board with your idea, the quicker you’ll see your company take off. 

It’s still possible to create a thriving business without the help of anyone else, but it’ll take some serious work on your end.

How to Create Your Own Website

Create Your Own Website

Be honest, how many times have you Googled yourself? Did you like the results that your searches produced, or were they outdated, and maybe even unflattering? Building your own website allows you to take control of the Internet’s narrative about you, and it’s never been easier to do. 

Why Take to The Web?

No matter what industry you’re in, having an online presence can be a game changer. This is even more true if you own a business, for which it’s absolutely crucial that you have a website. 

Assuming that you’re considering creating a website to showcase your individual abilities and past work, there are virtually limitless reasons to pull the trigger, but perhaps the largest is the fact that it allows you to control the narrative that potential employers, first dates, and literally anyone else searching your name sees. 

How To Get Started

The process of creating your website can be boiled down to a handful of steps. The first few steps can be interchanged, but after that you’ll need to follow them chronologically.

  1. Choose a domain name. This could simply be your name, or a clever phrase, whatever you feel best reflects on you. 
  2. Select a host. Some design platforms, like WordPress, can also host your site. If you want to look professional, you’ll likely have to pay a small amount for hosting.
  3. Design your site. Platforms geared toward beginners will allow you to select themes and customize them with your specific information.
  4. Create a body of content. Don’t just create shell, make sure your website is fully fleshed out before you publish it. 

From there, you can make plenty of tweaks and add plugins, but these are the basic necessities for creating your own site.  

How to Create Twitter Web and Lead Generation Cards

Twitter Web and Lead Generation Cards

Twitter is the fast-paced, scroll-friendly darling of the major social media networks, but are you getting the most out of it that you possibly can? If you’re not creating lead generation cards then the answer is no, but don’t worry—the process is simpler than you think. 

The Power of Social Media

It’s no secret that running ads for your business on popular social platforms is the smartest way to build a base while also getting valuable information about the sort of audience you’re appealing to. 

Of course, fans and analytics aren’t worth much if you’re not converting them into actual leads, and that’s where Twitter’s lead generation cards come in. 

When set up properly, these cards require virtually no work from your followers to complete your call to action. Their Twitter login information is automatically populated and sent to you or you managing platform as a lead.

Creating The Cards

It’s clear you should be using Twitter lead generation cards, but how? Setting them up is simple, especially if you’ve already got a Twitter Ads account. You’ll simply want to navigate to that account (or create one), click on the cards option, and get to work designing your card. It will consist of a short message, an image, and a clickable call to action. 

Try to stay concise and visually engaging, as Twitter is the last place you want to be long winded. Make your call to action enticing, so you’re more likely to get engagement. This could be something like “sign up for the newsletter” or “get more tips.” 

Take your time designing your lead generation cards, and you’ll be shocked by how many leads to rack up in practically no time.

How to Enable Windows 10 Dark Theme

Enable Windows 10 Dark Theme

They say a change is as good as a rest, and that’s likely the reason for dark themes’ rising popularity among tech enthusiasts and laymen alike. Whether you think your eyes could use a break from the white glare or you simply like how it looks, here’s everything you need to know to enable the dark theme with Windows 10. 

Science or Stigma, Everyone Loves Dark Mode

Some companies claim that dark themes are actually better for users’ vision from a health standpoint; while this probably isn’t true for anyone other than those with vision impairments, it may feel less taxing for your eyes, especially in low light. 

All sorts of tech giants are buying into the dark trend, and Microsoft is no exception. Windows 10 recently leaned into dark themes with a system-wide dark mode option—here’s how you can utilize this function. 

Making The Switch

Windows has offered portions of dark theme functionality for years, but it really dug into this trend near the end of 2018, updating to allow for the entire functionality to operate in dark mode. 

To switch your Windows 10 system to dark mode, simply head to your settings and click on personalization. Navigate to the colors section, and at the bottom of the screen you should see the option to set your default to dark mode rather than light. Click the dark box, and you’ll be all set with this dusky layout. 

Whether you have a tough time seeing properly with a bright white screen, or you just love the look of a darker theme, switching to dark mode is an easy way to play with your Windows 10 aesthetic.

Genetic Analysis to Predict Medical Issues

There are certain genetic predictions everyone understands loosely: if both your parents have brown eyes you probably do too, if your father is 5’10’’ and your mother is 5’1’’ you probably won’t play professional basketball, and if both of your grandmothers contracted breast cancer, then it’s something you need to look out for, too. 

These are fairly obvious assumptions, but what about the risks you can’t see? Just how much can your genes tell you about your future health?

A Staple of Biology

Genetic analysis isn’t a wholly modern concept. In fact, Gregor Mendel first established a system for studying genes in the mid-19th century. 

Mendel’s contributions to biology first helped science understand that there are a number of factors at play when it comes to inheriting traits. For example, if both of your parents have brown eyes, but both of your grandfathers have blue eyes, you might just wind up with the recessive gene. The understanding that people carry with them a complex code that can manifest in different ways informed modern genetic analysis. 

Consumer Testing Proves Medically Useful

Consumer genetic testing rose to popularity in the last 10 years as a means for people to get a better sense of where they come from. These tests offer them insight into their family history, with percentage estimates for ethnic heritages.

The tests do something else as well, though. They can offer consumers insight into whether or not they carry genetic risk factors for diseases like breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s. There have been plenty of cases where finding that they tested positive for one of these risk factors lead someone to get tested at their doctor’s office and catch their disease early. 

The danger, of course, is that the nuance of genetic analysis is lost in translation. 

No Such Thing As Certain

For most diseases, even if you test positive for a gene abnormality that puts you at a higher risk for contracting that disease, it doesn’t mean you’ll certainly get it. In fact, you should be tested by a genetic therapist before you become too concerned, as any third party tests can actually give false positives. 

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Some diseases have a very high chance of being passed on, so if a parent had it, genetic analysis may be the most certain way to tell whether or not you do, too. This is the case with diseases like Huntington’s, in which case you would already know that your odds of having it are very high. 

Why Bother?

If you don’t have a family history of illness, and testing positive for abnormalities doesn’t spell out anything certain anyway, you may be wondering why you should bother with genetic analysis? 

Simply put, knowledge is power. Say you show markers of Alzheimer’s, which is incurable. Though your doctor can’t do anything to prevent you from getting the disease, they will know to watch out for signs, as will you. 

Modern medicine, informed by modern science, allows everyone an unprecedented look into their inner-workings; genetic analysis may just save your life someday.

The Introduction of Smart Cities

You know about smartphones, smart cars, and smart TVs, so aren’t entire smart cities just the next logical step in this line of intelligence? When trying to understand smart cities, think of them as a sort of tech utopia: any part of your city that could be better integrated, more easily navigated, or enhanced by technology in any way would be totally optimized in a smart city. 

Breaking Down The Concept

There are plenty of specifics that can vary by location, but the overarching goal of smart cities is to drive the economy and improve citizens’ lives with the help of technology. As 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas by the year 2050, smart cities are not as much a trend as a symptom of the modern world. 

Think about it: the more people there are in a given place, the greater the need for strong infrastructure components, like public transportation, excellent urban planning, and a sense of interconnectivity. 

What Does A Smart City Look Like?

Perhaps this all sounds theoretically sound, but you’re having a hard time grasping what it looks like in application. First and foremost, start cities are heavily reliant upon the Internet of Things (IoT), which is essentially a network of interconnected devices. 

These devices can range from household appliances to vehicles, but they all feature sensors that communicate with one another via cloud computing. For example, imagine that a large event is drawing a high volume of people to one specific area of the city. Using the IoT, the smart city will be able to detect exactly when this is happening, and coordinate stoplights to most efficiently manage the flow of traffic. 

Likewise, the IoT will make it possible for the city to know when an area is empty, in which case it can dim streetlights and save a great deal of energy over time. Environmental consciousness is a main component of any smart city. 

It goes even deeper than that, though. Smart cities may also include sensors in buildings that would allow them to monitor the structural soundness of any given building. Should these sensors alert officials to abnormalities, they can be dealt with before a disaster occurs. 

Where Are Smart Cities Headed?

Smart cities will be a $400 billion industry by 2020, and it’s only going to keep increasing from there. As technology systems become more compatible, there are seemingly endless applications for the IoT in smart cities. 

In any smart city, tech will be the focus of both private and public industry, with governments working closely alongside private firms that assist with the creation and monitoring of the interconnected items. 

The concept of a wholly integrated city may feel somewhat futuristic, as versions have appeared in a number of science fiction stories, but the smart cities that are currently evolving are a natural next step in the progress of the digital world.