Is an e-reader best for you?

E-readers are a handy technology that users tend to rely on. They are convenient and easy to travel with, which makes them ideal for many bookworms. The technology isn’t for everybody however, so it’s essential to take the features into consideration when deciding if it’s right for you.

What are the choices?

E-readers are primarily devices that display e-books, although some have additional capabilities, such as Internet connectivity. The most common choices are the Amazon Kindle, the Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.

Some people are also using tablets like the iPad for their e-reader capabilities. However, these tablets generally do a lot more than just display e-books.


  • E-readers are extremely portable, which is great for any person who likes to read during vacation or a business trip
  • Another travel bonus – if you are in a foreign country, you can still download an e-book in the language you choose, instead of seeking out an accommodating bookstore.
  • Books are often more affordable than you will find in normal bookstores.
  • Privacy – you probably don’t want everyone to know if you’re reading a self-help book. If you’re using an e-reader, they won’t be able to tell.
  • All of your books are in a single place.


  • Depending on the style of e-reader or tablet, you might not be able to read in direct sunlight because of screen glare.
  • Cost – although you may pay less for books than you normally would, e-readers generally cost upwards of $140.
  • If you’re accustomed to shopping in used bookstores, these books will cost a great deal more than you’re used to spending.
  • Lending books isn’t always a possibility.
  • All of your books are in a single place – if you lose your e-reader, you’re losing all of your books if you do not buy a replacement.


As with any other decision concerning buying a new device, this decision should be based on personal preference. Some people really like the convenience of being able to have all of their books with them everywhere they go. Others appreciate the weight and feel of a real book and enjoy being able to display all their books on a shelf for the world to see.

If you’re thinking about purchasing an e-reader, take a look at this article on the advantages of the technology, and where it may be headed.

4 ways to keep employees motivated

Employee motivation can often be difficult to maintain, especially when you’re running a small business with limited resources. Incentives are really imperative when it comes to motivating your employees, however, so finding simple and inexpensive alternatives is necessary.

There are loads of ways to motivate employees that don’t include things like big bonuses or costly benefits. A hand-written thank you letter can go a long way in terms of showing employee appreciation. Here are a few other ideas:

1. Ask for input

By seeking employees’ opinions, you are showing them that their opinions are valued. Employees are likely to be more inclined to work harder when they feel that their actions and opinions truly influence the company overall.

2. Change it up

Sometimes repetition can lead to a reduction in motivation. When this happens, it’s crucial to remember the cause for the tapering motivation and mix things up a little. If you know an employee is willing to exercise a certain skill, try giving him or her a project that allows for that.

3. Focus on a great company culture

People who love their jobs often do because they feel their company is distinct from others. Companies that offer special or fun perks often draw in great employees and tend to keep their employees happy longer. Things like a game room in the office, where employees can go relieve a little frustration when need be, can go a long way in employee motivation.

4. Recognize people for a job well done

One of the biggest de-motivators can be toiling away on something and feeling like nobody is even aware of your hard work. Because of this, it’s necessary to let employees know that you recognize their hard work and appreciate it.

Something as simple as a company-wide email highlighting their accomplishments can re-ignite motivation and make employees want to continue working hard. Although the attention may embarrass some, many people like to know that others recognize their effort.

All of these ideas are great, affordable options for motivating employees when you don’t have a ton of resources. Testing out a few of these ideas could do wonders for employee motivation and keep morale high.

For more employee motivation techniques, check out this article.

3 smartpens that can help improve your efficiency

Smartpens are the new major trend that has the business world excited. They’re still pretty young, but their capabilities are already vast and they’re still growing.

Most smartpens essentially convert your handwritten notes into computer files for easier review. Precisely what each smartpen is capable of doing, however, varies greatly.

IOGEAR Mobile Digital Scribe

This smartpen was the first to emerge onto the market. Although it doesn’t include some of the features that you may find in some of the newer pens, it can perform all the basic functions.

It does, however, do plenty of interesting things that make it a fantastic business tool. The Mobile Digital Scribe captures and stores all of your notes for later review. It doesn’t require you to write on a certain surface – a simple piece of paper will do. Also, if you link the smartpen to your computer, it can display your notes on the screen as you write them.

Logitech IO2 Digital Pen

The Logitech IO2 Digital Pen executes most of the basic functions that you can find on IOGEAR’s pen. Once you transcribe your notes, you are able to save them in a number of different formats and file types.

After you save them, you may search the files for words and phrases in order to help you scan notes more easily. You can search by date, file type and file name. Unlike the Mobile Digital Scribe, you cannot use any surface to record your notes with this smartpen – you must use Post-It notes or Franklin Covey’s iScribe software.

Livescribe Echo

The Livescribe Echo smartpen is by far the most technologically advanced of all the smartpens available. It not only transcribes everything you write down, it also records audio and converts the recording into a number of different audio file types.

The Livescribe Echo now has a feature called Pencast, which plays back your audio and synchronizes it with the notes you took. You can play these Pencasts with your iPad, iPhone or iPod making the files super easy to share. This is great for anyone who wants to share the contents of a meeting with their coworkers but doesn’t have the time to tell them about it or transcribe the whole thing.

All of these pens are great for their own reasons and they can really help you become more efficient in the office.  You’ll never be required to remember the minute details of a meeting again.

If you’d like to take a look at a review of the Livescribe Echo, check out this Inc. article.

Check out Gmail Motion – the new, cool feature

The Internet has been abuzz today about the newest feature release from Google. It is called Gmail Motion and it’s Google’s latest attempt to keep up with the ever-evolving technology of the Internet and email. With Gmail Motion, you can now complete selected actions in your Gmail account with a number of gestures.

Standard actions such as reply all, search and archive can now be completed with simple gestures, instead of a keyboard and mouse. This advancement will likely make users feel more in sync with their computers and enjoy their email experiences more than ever.

How does it work?

Gmail Motion works by combining your computer’s built-in webcam with Google’s new, patented spatial tracking technology. The camera detects your body’s movements and translates them into commands in your Gmail account.

How to use Gmail Motion safely

Of course, as with any physical activity, there are certain precautions that ought to be taken in order to protect against injury. You should make sure that there are no fragile objects around you that can be broken. It is easy to get excited about the new technology and make fast movements, which can lead to serious injury if you end up hitting something.

It is also recommended that you take regular breaks, just as you would if you were doing any other sort of work on the computer. Intermittent stretching is ideal as well. It will prevent your muscles from cramping and feeling overworked.

If this sounds like something you’d like to try, check out the Gmail Motion website. It has a printable Motion Guide that fills you in on all of the possible gestures and what they mean. The possibilities with this new technology are limitless. As for business users who are looking forward to using the Motion feature, they’re in luck – the Gmail Motion technology will soon be coming to Google Docs.

This is a great technological advancement that might change the way all of us interact with our computers and complete daily tasks. Google’s latest announcement may seem foolish and kind of crazy to some of you, and it is – it’s just another one of Google’s yearly April Fools’ Day pranks.

Happy April Fools’ Day!