Author Archives: Charles Mburugu

About Charles Mburugu

Charles Mburugu is a professional content developer and an entrepreneur. He is passionate about subjects such as technology, social media, internet marketing, blogging and SEO.

5 Handwriting Apps for Your Smartphone or Tablet

Ecommerce marketingNowadays, there are a number of smartphones which allow you to take handwritten notes. To make the most of this functionality, it is important to have an app which can recognize your handwriting and probably even convert it into text. Here are some of the best handwriting apps available in the market:

1. Notes Plus

This is one of the most powerful handwriting apps in the market. Its powerful handwriting recognition engine quickly sharpens letters as well as hastily drawn images. It allows you to drag and drop your content from one area to another, as well as edit your notes. Notes Plus comes with other great features such as automatic Dropbox synchronization, PDF import/export capabilities and audio note support. The only major downside is that it is only available for iPad users.

2. Penultimate

If you are looking for a simple and affordable app which does not have too many features, you could consider using Penultimate. One of the best things about this app is its responsive and crisp handwriting recognition. It supports several other note sharing tools such as Evernote and Dropbox. However, unlike Notes Plus, Penultimate lacks multi-touch capabilities, PDF import options and audio support. Another major flaw is that it is unable to turn notes into editable text.

3. PenSupremacy

PenSupremacy is an app designed for Android tablets and phones. It comes with awesome features such as voice dictation for audio notes and the ability to import images into pages. In addition, this app allows you to export PDFs of your notes through Facebook, Evernote, email and other means. However, the downside of this app is its inaccurate and sluggish handwriting recognition. Furthermore, it does not come with an undo option.

4. WritePad

WritePad converts your notes into text as you scribble on the screen. The more you use it, the more accurate adapts toy your handwriting. This handwriting-recognition engine can even translate your text into several languages including Spanish, German, French and English. WritePad also comes with an inbuilt calculator. The Android version of this app comes with a virtual keyboard which allows you to handwrite text messages, website URLs and emails.

5. Notability

Notability comes with the common features found in many other note taking apps. However, it also comes with other unique features such as a pencil, highlighter, a zoom mode, a palm rest, PDF annotation and a left hand writing mode. In addition, it has a voice recording feature that syncs text typed with recordings. Notability also allows you to write on your pages in either portrait or landscape mode.

So, which is your favorite note taking app? Share with us in the comments section below.

Must-Have Screen Capture Tools

ecommerce nicheProviding screenshots can be a very effective way of delivering information, whether in a tutorial or presentation. There are several free tools available online that can help you capture, manipulate and share screenshots from your computer:

1. FastStone Capture

FastStone Capture is not only lightweight but also very responsive. Designed for Windows, it can capture multi-level menus, as well as multiple regions and windows. In addition, you can configure it to automatically upload screenshots to an FTP server, embed them on a PowerPoint or Word presentation, or send them by email. This app can also be configured to automatically prompt for a caption for your screenshots. FastStone Capture supports audio input and also comes with a color picker to enable color sampling.

2. Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool is the ideal screen capture tool for anyone that is comfortable with basic functionality. It allows you to capture the entire screen, user-specified areas or individual windows. This tool also comes with basic editing functionality which allows you to write and highlight on your screen captures. Though it lacks the advanced features of other tools, Snipping Tool is at least better than the ‘print screen and paste’ style of screen capture.

3. Snagit

Snagit not only allows you to capture still images from your screen, but also video frames. It comes with a customizable profile system which lets you create profiles for a wide range of capture techniques. For instance, if you want to a menu to be activated before a screen capture is generated, you can create a profile to suit that purpose. Snagit also comes with an inbuilt editor which can be useful for adding basic effects and annotating your screenshots. In addition, it has a screenshot organizer which lets you arrange your shots based on name or date.

4. Jing

Jing is a free service that allows you to capture still images, animation and videos from your computer. To capture all these, all you need to do is highlight any region or window on your screen, create a textbox and add a relevant caption. Jing allows you to record everything from narrated tutorials to basic mouse movements on your computer. However, the videos cannot exceed 5 minutes in length.  Once you have edited your videos or screenshots, you can then embed them on your site or share them via social media and email. The downside of Jing is that it does not support features such as auto-save, scrolling windows, hot keys and delayed capture.

5. Skitch

This screen capture tool from Evernote comes with a simple and user-friendly interface. Once you have captured your screenshots, Skitch allows you to annotate it, as well as draw sketches and shapes on it. You can not only share your screenshots on Skitch, but also on your own .Mac, Flickr and FTP account. Skitch can be accessed from a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Besides the tools mentioned above, you could also try others such as Websnapr, Screenshot Captor, Screenpresso, ScreenDash, ScreenhunterRumshot and KingKong Capture.

 

Guidelines for Protecting Your Online Privacy

Wordpress securityIn this day and age, people are not only accessing the internet on their laptops and desktops, but also using tablets, smartphones and other portable devices. Unfortunately, the increasing use of the internet has also resulted in more cases of cyber crime. As a result, it is very important to find ways of protecting yourself as you use the internet. Here are some great tips for safeguarding your online privacy:

1. Hide your IP address

Your IP address can be viewed as your fingerprint which you leave everywhere you go online. When visiting other websites, someone can easily track you through your IP address. Therefore, if you want to conceal your identity when browsing, you could think of using web proxies such as Tor or HideMyAss. These proxies allow you to hide your prints regardless of which site you visit. Another advantage of using such proxies is that you can easily access which have been blocked by your internet service provider.

2. Switch on private browsing

Many sites capture IP addresses of computers using technologies such as cookies, with the intention of gathering information about the online activities of visitors. This enables them to understand the behaviors of their visitors, and thus offer more personalized and optimized services. However, some dubious sites will even sell such ‘digital profiles’ to third parties for marketing research, often without the consent of the individual. Due to such privacy violations, leading web browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer have included a ‘private browsing’ option in their features. This prevents other sites from storing cookies, as well as accessing temporary internet files and browsing history in your computer or mobile device. Switching to the ‘private browsing’ mode is therefore one of the most effective ways of protecting your privacy online.

3. Stay updated on privacy policies

Many sites have privacy policies where they mention what kind of information they will collect from visitors and how it will be used. Since such policies are usually long documents with a lot of technical terms, many people tend to ignore them. This is a mistake that can prove to be detrimental in the long run. The fact that a site has a privacy policy does not guarantee your protection. In some cases, the policy is just a disclaimer that will protect the site in case the user’s privacy is violated. Therefore, it is very important to read and understand privacy policies, especially on sites where you buy products from and any other site you are thinking of joining. In addition, you should stay updated on any changes in the privacy policy.

4. Beware of open Wi-Fi hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots have become very popular with internet users all over the world. However, the problem with such hotspots is that they don’t have any encryption. This means anyone within your zone can easily intercept the information you are transmitting online such as emails, bank accounts and passwords. The situation can be made even direr if all your online accounts use the same password. The best way of protecting yourself from hackers is to avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi connections in public spots such as libraries, hotels and cafes. If you have to use such facilities, be sure to turn off file sharing on your computer or device. Avoid visiting sites which will require you to login. If you must use emails, be sure to encrypt them with TSL (Transport Layer Security) or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).

These are just a few guidelines for protecting your online privacy. What measures do you use to safeguard yourself? Let us know in the comments section below.

Great Facebook Tools for Marketers

Facebook marketingMore and more businesses are now using Facebook as a platform for promoting their goods and services. This network comes with awesome inbuilt tools which can greatly boost your Facebook marketing campaigns. Here are some of the best Facebook tools for marketers:

Agora Pulse

This Twitter and Facebook dashboard gives you a summary of all the activities on your page. It also allows you to start campaigns and schedule posts directly from the dashboard. These campaigns could be coupons, photo contests, personality tests, fan votes, sweepstakes or quizzes. You can create a dedicated page for your campaign information, or simply mention the campaign on a post. To avoid being limited when it comes to participants, it would be advisable to sign up for the paid plan.

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer

When it comes to Facebook newsfeeds, one of the most visible features is the headlines. The quality of your headlines will determine whether or not users will read the entire post. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help you create great headlines which encapsulate the essence of your content. This tool will analyze your headline against other headlines of top articles and give you a score. It will also offer suggestions which could help enhance your headline, like limiting the number of words or characters.

Compass

Compass can help you generate ad reports which will show the effectiveness of your Facebook ad campaigns. You can monitor metrics such as ad frequency, amount spent, link clicks and number of conversions. In addition, you can check the data breakdown by countries, placement, devices, gender and age. Compass allows you to compare your ad performance against others, thus giving you an idea of where you need to improve.

These are just a few of the Facebook marketing tools that are available out there. Other tools worth considering include SumoMe’s Share, AgoraPulse’s Facebook Timeline Contest tool, Ripe Social, SnapApp, GroSocial and FanAppz.

Google+ Tools for Analytics

Google plusGoogle+ is becoming an increasingly popular platform for many content marketers. When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts on this platform, there are several metrics you need to consider. This includes:

  • Frequency of posts/content
  • Conversion rates
  • Shares
  • +1s
  • Number of followers/growth of followers
  • Referral traffic
  • Engagement
  • Impressions
  • Circle Rank

Here are some of the best Google+ tools for analytics:

1. Steady Demand

Steady Demand is a tool that comes with great analytics and audits features. The brand audit tool can be very useful for anyone who has a Google+ brand page and will help you find out what kind of posts work and which ones don’t. It will tell you if you have used a hashtag, if you have mentioned anyone and the length of your post. The paid version of Steady Demand offers you a full dashboard which can help you analyze your performance.

2. CircleCount 

This is a very effective tool for analyzing your ranking in Google+. The results will be presented to you in a free and simple to use report. Some of the statistics which will be provided include your overall rank, your circle rank and your home country rank. In addition, you will see how many followers you have and how many people you are following. You can analyze data for a year, month or even week. The chart generated by CircleCount can help you keep track of your followers’ trends and patterns. For instance, you will see the seasons when follower rates tend to decrease or increase.

3. Recommended Users

This tool divides Google+ users into different categories where users are ranked on the basis of their influence. Recommended Users can be useful for both individual and brand user profiles. Besides finding influencers to follow, this tool will also help you determine your level of influence in your industry.

4. All My + Statistics

All My + Statistics is a free tool which can help you analyze anyone’s Google+ profile and content.  It provides data about most popular posts, as well as total number of shares and +1s. In addition, you can see who is sharing your content and compare two different profiles side by side. This tool comes with great features and is very simple to use.

5. Simply Measured

You can use this tool to get a free report on your Google+ brand page. It offers data on comments, top user, keywords and engagement rates. Just like All My + Statistics, Simply Measured is very easy to use. All you need to do is enter the URL of the page you want to analyze. However, this tool generates reports for Google+ pages which have less than 100,000 circles. In return for getting a report, all you are required to do is follow Simply Measured on Twitter. This is very little to ask for considering the amount of data you will get.

So, which of these Google+ tools do you use to measure your performance? Share with us in the comments section below