Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

As the three founding members of Maven Consultancy UK recover from taking part in this year's London Marathon, it has us thinking lots about long distance running, endurance, and effort!

Adam, Paul, and Dan trained for over six months - hours of preparation, miles of feet pounding on concrete, diet considerations and cold winter nights but now the time has come to put their feet up after hours of action.

In the world of business, life can become something of a sprint, though, can't it?
Deadlines. Meetings. Ratings. Evaluations. Targets.
It's all about how much you can achieve and how quickly.

Alongside this target centred mentality is also the acceptance that to be the best you'll have to live with a certain amount of burnout. That being the best will cost you the most. We see it filter through so many companies from Managers through to Interns. It's that certain feeling of guilt that can so often accompany days off. That rest = laziness.

The problem with pushing staff and ourselves so much can be, that although it may well yield short-term results, it often leads to substandard work and an increase in staff turnover. At Maven, we are committed to providing the best possible service whilst also offering our staff the freedom and support necessary to avoid burnout.

Now we're not being unrealistic here, we know that sometimes you'll need to work on weekends and evenings and you'll need to answer e-mails when you're with your families but quite often technology is blamed for the hyper-connected world we live in.

Instead of banishing phones from the dinner table and closing your laptop every weekend we believe that technology can also be a solution to burnout and may actually help us switch off and avoid burnout by streamlining and prioritising the information we receive. 

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO DOWNSIZE THE INFORMATION AND ALLOW YOU TO REDUCE YOUR WORKLOADS:

  • Organise your incoming e-mails into priority groups. That way you needn't check every e-mail you receive but only those that enter your 'high priority' mailbox and may require urgent responses.
  • Buy an Apple watch, no really! This may seem like a convoluted sales push but we think it makes perfect sense. The Apple Watch allows the wearer to see incoming messages/e-mails/calls with a mere glance and remove the need to use their mobile where it is easy to get distracted by other demands on our time. It is also possible to prioritise what information gets sent to the Apple Watch meaning that it won't light up your wrist unless you've decided it's worth it!
  • Siri is your friend. Despite the fact that Siri was first introduced way back in October 2011 a lot of users still shy away from using him/her as an intelligent shortcut to a number of otherwise fiddly tasks. Ask Siri to remind you to phone your client back first thing Monday morning and it's done. Business lunch on Friday 13th May? Ask Siri to put it in your calendar. Can't choose whether to eat out or eat in? Ask Siri to flip a coin.

Now we've given just three examples of how to streamline and prioritise your mobile life but bare in mind there are many options to stop burning out than simply just ditching your tech!

After all, technology should work for you, not against you.

Advertising

One thing I have been fascinated by in recent weeks is online advertising. Now most of us, particularly Millennials having grown up constantly bombarded by advertising in some form, have pretty negative feelings towards online advertising. Whether it's an auto-playing video on a website, pop-ups or big flashing banner saying that we are the 1,000,000th visitor to the site and have won a prize. It is getting to the point now with some sites that you now have to work to find the genuine content on the page and not the ads. 

Apple has now created a huge buzz around ad blocking by adding ad blocking capabilities to iOS 9. This coupled with a report by Cyphort that says that advertising malware (adverts that either open up multiple windows, reassign home pages or install unwanted toolbars) has tripled in the last year, would lead any sane person to at least consider using an ad blocker. This has even led some cellular carriers to look at blocking ads at a network level. Shine, a company that works with carriers to block ads, claims that ads can use up to 50% of a customer's data plan. So combine the nuisance of ads appearing and interrupting a user's connection with content and the potential cost linked to mobile data, it could easily be inferred that adverts are a blight on the internet that needs to be removed. 

For a long time I took a cynical view that anyone who posted adverts on blogs, articles or videos was just trying to make as much money as possible. This made me steer clear on anything that had sponsored or ad attached to it, but a recent pop up on ‘Cult of Mac’ had me thinking differently. 

Cult of Mac Ad Blocker.jpg

Some websites rely on advertising to pay for their content, and worryingly, it is usually those who do impartial reviews. This leads me to begin to worry that soon all the content on the web will be backed by someone who has a vested interest in a positive outcome or linking content to making a sale. This becomes even more worrying with the growth of native advertising, advertising that is specifically designed to look like website content. This has had to be made more visible by the words ‘Ad or Sponsored by’ being attached to the content, this differentiates it from genuine site content. John Dvorak sums up native advertising nicely when he describes it in economic terms:  

Think of it this way. You are a magazine publisher. You have a writer who will write a complete and lengthy review of the iPhone 6s. You have to pay $1,000 to the writer for this review. Or Apple hires the same writer, pays that person $1,500 to write the review under company supervision and then pays the magazine $2,500 to run the review as a native advertisement. What would YOU do if you ran the magazine? Compound your decision with the knowledge that the New York Times does it.
— John C. Dvorak

So this leaves us in a position where advertising is jumping out at us from all over the place which is ruining our interaction with content but in a lot of cases the advertising is funding said content. So how do we as consumers of content respond? I believe there are two simple responses. 

Firstly use the power of the click! Sites can only realistically sell advertising space if they gain a lot of traffic - if you are finding that particular sites are becoming a nuisance then avoid them. Find content providers who advertise responsibly or don’t advertise on their site at all. If you find a content provider you particularly like support them, by sharing on social media or some sites allow you to donate towards their content. 

One particularly good example of responsible advertising that was pointed out to me was daringfireball.net. They use an ad company called ‘The Deck’ who are particularly fussy about what ads will get shown across their network. They take this to the point that they won't advertise a company unless they have paid for and/or used their product. This ensures that ‘The Deck’ only advertises quality and appropriate products, a breath of fresh in an industry that it so often categorised by space being sold to the highest bidder not necessarily the best product. 

Secondly, use an ad blocker. I personally don’t feel it is right that should you browse onto a website that is packed full of advertising that you should be inadvertently be supporting that. As the Cult of Mac pop up shows that you can support websites by whitelisting that website in your pop-up blocker - which is exactly what I did.  

Dropbox and Finder in Yosemite (Mac OS X 10.10)

dropbox

A few of our customers running OS X 10.10 have had an issue with files not showing up in finder. This is especially obvious if they're using Dropbox.

Dropbox usefully adds a green tick for files and folders that have synced.

"That's weird... the file you've just uploaded isn't in my dropbox yet but all my files and folders are ticked green"

The problem is that Dropbox has done it's job and the files and folders are in sync it's just that Finder isn't showing you your files. We can tell that because if you click on the Dropbox icon in the menu bar and select one of the recently updated files it will refresh your finder window and show you all the updated files...

Why is this happening?

Well... We're not sure! We've told Apple about it and so have a bunch of other people but Yosemite's been ding this since the beginning. It's to do with the 'cloudd' process that's running and in particular one of the files that it accesses. Basically it's corrupting one of the files it needs and that makes Finder hang (not refresh itself).

DISCLAIMER: Please make sure you have a backup before you do anything in Terminal - We will not be held responsible for anything that goes wrong (but we'll help you sort it out if it does).

There is a way of resolving this (please note the disclaimer above!)

Type this into Terminal:

rm ~/Library/Caches/CloudKit/CloudKitMetadata*;killall cloudd

That should resolve the issue.

You may need to do it again in the future, so just bookmark this page! If Apple release an update we'll update this page to reflect that.

3 simple tips to keep your network secure.

3 simple tips to keep your network secure.

As the power of the internet continues to grow and the amount the internet is used in our lives increases, the threat of malicious software and virus increases. Unfortunately having a secure network isn't as easy as installing an antivirus and forgetting about the risks. Here are 3 simple tips that you can use to keep your businesses or personal network secure.

My Favourite Apple Watch Face

image.jpg

So here it is... 

I've tried a few. I loved the X-LARGE watch face but missed the slick 'Rolex' second hand. Loved the anaologue faces but miss the ease of seeing the time in a format easy to understand without having to engage my brain at all (I have to sign in and out of a lot of buildings). 

So here's how I did it...

  • Use the SIMPLE face
  • remove all the detail
  • choose your highlight colour (I went for red) 
  • remove all complications (small bits of detail) but one (I chose top right) 
  • set that to 'world clock' 
  • on the Apple watch companion app on the iPhone go to: settings>clock>city abbreviations then change LON to either a 'space' (for nothing) or an  symbol. 

You can create a keyboard shortcut to create these. I use apl. Feel free to just copy the symbol from here to create your own.

I'm sure I'll change it again but surely that's the point of having a smart watch?!?!

  

thanks to reddit for the heads up!

thanks to Cult of Mac  for the keyboard shortcut idea 

14 Quick Tips to improve your iPhone's Battery life

14 Quick Tips to improve your iPhone's Battery life

This is a guide you can follow to optimise your phone for power saving, you may have to make a few sacrifices but there are some tips that you can follow and it won't make any difference to you... Well, other than increasing battery life on your phone.