Sitting too much? A standing desk might be the answer

If you work in an office, you might unintentionally be in for future health complications. According to a recent story by NPR, people that spend too much time sitting during the week face a far greater probability of heart related illnesses compared to those who are more physically active. The NPR article quoted a researcher from South Carolina University who found that men who sat more than 23 hours per week were 64 percent more prone to die from heart related illnesses than were those who sat less than 11 hours in an average week.

The Good News

Want to protect yourself from potentially fatal heart issues? Why not build your own standing desk? A standing desk is exactly what it sounds like, a workspace at which you stand as opposed to sit. If you use a standing desk for your main desk, you’ll be eliminating a lot of those idle hours of sitting. And the best news? You’ll be able to make your own standing desk with little effort and few bucks. The editors at Website Lifehacker provided an easy recipe for making a simple, effective standing desk. Here’s the short version of it.

The Easy Way

If you just require a simple desk, Lifehacker suggests making a standing desk that uses Ikea’s Utby legs. Though this desk will be smaller, you will be able to fit your laptop, monitor and keyboard easily enough on top of it. You should have space, too, to have a lamp and storage. To build this desk, get a Vika Amon Top, Utby under frame, Ekby Jarpen shelf and one set of Capita legs. You can find these parts at Ikea for a total of around $140. Best of all? Based on the Lifehacker story, you can put this desk together with simply a screwdriver.

A Bit More Complicated

You need not settle for a homemade standing desk having a narrow top. You can update to one with a wider top. And you can get it done while still confining your desk-part shopping to your nearest Ikea. First, as Lifehacker advises, find two packages of Capita brackets, one Lack shelf, one Vika Amon tabletop and five Vika Byske legs at your Ikea. Then grab your power drill and get busy. Lifehacker ranks this desk as a “medium” one to build, and so it shouldn’t be overly challenging to created.

You might be surprised at how powerful Excel can be

Do you have Excel? The chances are that you’re often tapping into this product. Considering that, homeowners can make use of Excel for helping manage their household resources. It’s a useful tool for identifying whether home expenses or revenues are on the rise. On the job, you can use Excel to determine which of the company’s sales agents are securing the most sales and which are slumping. This can help you consider the actions needed to be sure that your company’s products and services are selling as briskly as possible. The odds, though, are also high that you aren’t using Excel to its full capability. That’s unfortunate. There is great, though: Perfecting Excel doesn’t require a PhD. Simply follow three simple steps in order to make Excel work even harder for you.

Adding non-contiguous values

You likely already use AutoSum to incorporate rows of numbers together. You can also use AutoSum to highlight columns of numbers that are located adjacent to one another and calculate those totals. But are you aware that it is possible to also utilize this feature to calculate values in rows which are not contiguous? In other words, you can use AutoSum to include numbers which are in columns not located alongside each other. The TechRebpublic blog recently explained how this is done. For instance, if you wanted to add the sales numbers of two of your firm’s top sales reps — whose sales numbers aren’t listed beside each other in the Excel spreadsheet. You only need to select one employee’s column of numbers and then hold down your computer’s “Control” key to select a second column of numbers, wherever they may be located. Then you can use AutoSum to ascertain the sales numbers of these two sales representatives.

Preventing bad data entry

Too many Excel users attempt to enter bad data inside their spreadsheets. For example, maybe employees are asked to enter only whole numbers within your company’s quarterly sales spreadsheet. This, however, does not mean that some employees might try and enter numbers containing decimals. Fortunately, as PC Magazine wrote in a recent story, Excel includes a nifty feature intended to prevent individuals from entering the wrong types of information inside a company spreadsheet. It’s known as Data Validation. To access this feature, select the “Table Tools” tab. Next, click “Data Validation.” After that you can enter exactly what sort of data your employees can enter. As an example, you can tell Excel to allow only numbers and not text in a spreadsheet.

Don’t let unsaved files ruin your day

You’re part way through making a long Excel file when your computer suddenly shuts down. That’s a lot of effort now wasted, right? Actually, no. Excel now comes with a function that enables you to easily recover these “lost” documents. Here’s the secret: First, select the “File” tab within your Excel program. Next, select the “Recover Unsaved Documents” option. You can now simply click on the document once it shows up on your screen. On top of that, here’s another amazing fact: This will work even for those Excel files which you never even gave a name before you lost them.

Crystal balls and calendars: A look back, and forward, at the top tech news

How important was modern technology in 2012? It transformed the way we fought terrorists. It changed just how presidential candidates won election. Also it definitely changed the presents we received under the Christmas tree. Technology is constantly on the advance, becoming easier for people to grasp and a lot more powerful on a daily basis. But exactly what does the future hold? Expect people to spend a lot more of their dollars on tech toys in 2013. Expect tablet computers to become even smaller and more powerful. And expect people to continue to replace their desktop computing with time spent surfing the Internet, texting friends and watching video on their smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. This is a glimpse at the top technology stories of the year and a look forward to what we think stands out as the biggest tech trends of 2013.

Obama’s grip on election tech

Pres. Obama relied heavily on social networking to spread his information and reach his core group of younger voters throughout his historic 2008 presidential victory. In 2012, technology again turned out to be a potent ally to Pres. Obama. This time around, Obama was aided by way of a sophisticated “get-out-the-vote” program dubbed Narwhal. This communications system allowed campaign staffers to regularly contact key voters in equally key states. The result? Obama’s core of voters — whom many pundits predicted would largely stay home this year — again flocked to the polls. Obama’s commanding leads among African-American, Hispanic and young voters helped launch him with an easy Electoral College victory. Romney tried his own communication technology, a program named Project Orca. While Narwhal succeeded, Orca failed, rather miserably. The system even crashed for a important chunk of time on election day. Nobody would argue that technology was the crucial reason why Obama defeated Romney. But Obama’s superior grasp of technology certainly played a role in his election victory. You can bet that upcoming presidential candidates will arm themselves with the maximum amount of technology as possible in coming presidential elections.

Drones

Technology is changing the way the U . S . battles terrorists. Unmanned Predator drones made headlines in 2012, especially as their deadly strikes claimed a number of the United State’s most-wanted terrorists. The drones, of course, were not without critics. Some worried that they will be used to spy on law-abiding citizens. Others were concerned that drone strikes routinely claim the lives of civilians along with terrorists and other military objectives. What’s not up for debate, though, is the fact that unmanned drones will continue to be an essential weapon in the United States’ war on terror. As drone technology increases, their accuracy and effectiveness stand to increase.

The coming year

What tech trends should you expect in 2013? First, expect people to spend even more cash on their technology. Tablets, smart phones and notebook computers remained hot gifts throughout the holiday season. There’s no reason to believe this will change. Expect, too, for people to will begin to move away from desktop computing. Today’s consumers prefer computing on the go, relying on their tablets and smartphones to surf the Internet, read e-mail messages, watch movies and listen to their favorite songs. This is a trend that is only growing stronger. Finally, expect technology to continue to spread around the world in 2013, taking hold in many emerging countries. This, mind you, can only be considered a good thing. Technology improves cultures. Putting powerful technology at the disposal of consumers in emerging countries can only be considered a positive.

Features to Pay Attention to When Laptop Hunting

Do you know what to look for when you are purchasing a new laptop? A writer for the New York Times, Sam Grobart, recently wrote an article that gives some tips. Some of the suggestions he gives may surprise you. Most laptops will be used to watch movies, surf the web, email people, and use general office programs. If this sounds like you, then the most significant features to pay attention to are screen size, memory, and weight.

Weight matters

Why is the weight of a laptop so essential? Once you think it over, it is obvious. Laptops are supposed to be portable, which is the point of them. If your laptop weights more then six pounds it’s going to stress your back when you are carrying it around. Luckily, there are a many laptops that weight much less then that.

Screen size

If you like watching movies or videos on your laptop, aim for a screen that measures 13 inches diagonally. This is the perfect size: large enough for movie-watching but not too big for a carrying bag.

Memory

Another important thing to look for in a laptop is the RAM, or random access memory. The recommendation is that consumers should purchase laptops that have at least 4 gigabytes of RAM. Anything with less will crawl. Anything above 4 gigabytes is unnecessary for most laptop users. Yet another thing you don’t need to worry about is the processor. Most laptops made today have processors that are fine for the needs of most people.

Clean Up Your Desk to Work More Efficiently

When we have a lot of clutter and papers on our desk, it can be hard to work effectively. If you spend your days looking at a desk cluttered with all of your tasks, you can easily be discouraged. And what about under your desk? Do you frequently have to kick wires out of the way when you are working? If this sounds familiar, here are several easy ways you can decrease clutter and enhance your efficiency.

  1. Tackle the wires – There are two good options here: one inexpensive way is to invest in a few large binder clips. These clips, of course, work great for keeping papers in order. You might be amazed at how effective they are for keeping computer cables under control too. The more costly option is to buy wireless charging pads. These pads permit you to charge everything from a wireless mouse to a digital camera to your smartphone. No longer will you need dozens of wires to plug into your mobile and wireless devices. With a charger, you can just connect these devices to one mat-shaped device, popularly known as a powermat, to recharge them, again drastically reducing your reliance upon computer cables and power cords.
  2. Reduce desktop clutter – The most effective way to reduce this mess is to rely less on paper. With so much business communication happening through email, there’s less reason than ever before to clutter your desk with printed memos and messages. Refrain, too, from printing out news stories, time sheets, and other business communication. The more paperwork that you store digitally, the less paperwork you will need to spread across your desktop. For those papers which you positively must have, store them in binders or file cabinets and store them immediately.
  3. Throw things away – This may be the most self-evident one but it’s incredible how rapidly sticky notes and other scraps of paper can build up. If you are finished with a note you wrote yourself, or a printout from a meeting, just throw it away. If you will need it later, then file it in the proper place. The faster you get these things off your desk, the more productive you will be. Often visible chaos can lead us to feel like we have more complicated tasks ahead of us than may be the case.