Keep Windows 10 Organized, Pretty, and Productive

Microsoft Windows can get messy. It’s not (always) the operating system’s fault. You download tons of apps and files, and create new content stuff of your own, until your “Downloads” directory looks like a landfill for old content. Your desktop is so full of icons, you can’t see your pretty wallpaper. Your Start Menu looks like an app buffet. In short, your operating system is a mess, but it’s not unfixable.

We take spring cleaning very seriously at Lifehacker. Far be it from us to let an opportunity to refresh, reorganize, and declutter our homes lives pass us by. We’re also pretty psyched to hit the reset button on our tech usage, take a close look at our finances, and give the heave-ho to the day-to-day habits that have gotten a little musty. Welcome to Spring Cleaning Week, wherein we clear the cobwebs of winter and set the stage for sunny days ahead. Let’s clean things up, shall we?

There are a few free apps you can use to add some much-needed organization to your Windows world. Here are a few of our favorites:

DropIt

Screenshot: DropIt
We covered this app a long time ago, but it’s worth resurrecting. DropIt is a great utility that can help you stay organized if you’re the kind of person who dumps everything you download (or copy to your PC) into a single folder-one giant, sprawling hub that many files enter, but rarely leave.

DropIt allows you to set up a ton of different rules that fire off whenever you drag files onto the utility’s little icon. For example, you can set the app to always move image files into your primary photos folder, video files into your videos folder, and Word documents into-you guessed it-your documents folder.

That’s just the start. If you want to get more advanced, DropIt can automatically scan folders (like your Downloads folder) and apply more advanced filters to anything it finds, like automatically unzipping archives, renaming files based on your parameters, or compressing large batches of files that are otherwise taking up a bit more space than you want.

Automation is a great way to help you stay organized in Windows, and DropIt practically gives you a virtual helper at your fingertips.

digiKam

Screenshot: digiKam
If your sprawling photo library needs some serious organization but you don’t want to pay for something like Adobe Lightroom, the open-source app digiKam is a great alternative.

Use this app to sort your photos and create (or edit) metadata so you can find exactly what you’re looking for in one easy-to-access library. If you’re also a bit of a photo perfectionist, you can use digiKam to edit your regular and RAW shots to make them picture-perfect.

This app is a much better solution for organizing shots than just dumping them into arbitrary Windows folders. Your disorganized hard drive will thank you, and you’ll be much less likely to lose (or forget about) images going forward.

LaunchBox

Screenshot: LaunchBox
We’re not going to ask why you have a bunch of emulators installed on your system, and we’re going to assume that all the ROMs spread across that nightmare of a folder structure in the “Games” portion of your hard drive are completely legal. Right? Regardless, if you just spent the last day getting your nostalgia kick by downloading archives of thousands of different retro games to play on your modern-day PC, keeping these games under control is going to feel overwhelming.

We suggest grabbing LaunchBox, which is a great “game organizer” utility that allows you to quickly find and play titles in your giant library. You can tap into the app’s crowd-sourced database to pepper your titles with useful information, like release dates, genres, publishers, and images, and you can mark certain games as favorites to make theme easier to hunt down when you have a little time to kill.

LaunchBox also makes it (somewhat) easy to import games from your favorite distribution services, like Steam, Battle.net, and GoG (to name a few). If you’re the world’s biggest gamer who plays everything you can download and always grabs new titles to try from all the major services, LaunchBox is a great way to organize your games under one digital roof.

AquaSnap
Screenshot: Nurgo Software
Everyone knows Windows’ Aero Snap shortcuts, right? Hit Windows Key + one of the arrow keys on your keyboard to send your active window flying all around your screen: minimizing, opening, shrinking to fill a quarter or half of your display, and bouncing off your primary display entirely (if you have a multi-monitor setup).

Raise Capital With Private Investors

If you have launched your own startup, your first biggest challenge is to raise capital. Fortunately, you choose from a lot of options to raise the funds your business needs. Among all the sources, crowdfunding is one of the best ones as it helps redefine how startups can get off the ground. In this article, we are going to help you know the benefits of raising capital with private investors through a crowdfunding platform. Read on to find out more.

Benefits of raising capital with private investors

1. Funding is not equity-based

First of all, crowdfunding is not necessarily equity-based. Although startups have the liberty to use the equity in order to catch the attention of potential investors, It’s not required to give up ownership to collect capital.

The good news is that some platforms allow their members to apply a reward-oriented approach in order to raise capital. For instance, if your business deals in a specific product, make sure you hand over a few units to your prospective investors before you roll it out for the ultimate users.

2. Attracting potential investors is easy

With crowdfunding, you can attract a lot of potential investors without putting in a lot of effort. Although you can try for angel investors, keep in mind that this process can cost you a lot of time. The reason is that you will have to pitch your small business concept several times.

On the other hand, if you use a crowdfunding platform, you will have to post your business pitch in only one place. And this page will be ready by hundreds of investors from across the globe.

These platforms have a lot of useful features that may help startups collect funds from investors. So, attracting potential investors and raising capital will be much easier using crowdfunding platforms.

3. Higher visibility

Crowdfunding can help you make your startup more visible. Since marketing may consume a large chunk of your budget, it makes sense to use a crowdfunding platform instead. For potential investors, it’s easy to fund a crowdfunding campaign.
And these activities can help boost the visibility of your brand. Plus, you can also attract investors for your next funding rounds.

The Bottom Line

If you want to raise funds for your startup, crowdfunding can be the best choice. All you need to do is become part of a crowdfunding platform and you will be able to tap into the pool of potential investors. And this will help you kick start your business and make it a success in the industry.

Why Worry About Board Up Services?

Your home or business has been damaged by fire, flooding, or some other natural disaster. There are definitely areas that are exposed, and you’re waiting on your insurance to get started with the restoration process. What do you need to do while you’re waiting to get an answer about everything?

Emergency board up services are something that you may want to consider for the “in between” time. Why would you go through the time and money to get these additional services before you even start the restoration process? Here are some of the benefits of it.

Prevent Theft

One reason to consider board up services is because you don’t want robbers and thieves thinking that they have an easy target to go after. If you leave parts of your home or business open and vulnerable, it’s going to be simple for those people to waltz in there and take whatever they want that is still intact after your disaster. Boarding up your doors and windows, along with any gaps in the walls, can deter potential thieves and keep whatever is left at your property as safe as possible.

Prevent Rain, Snow, and Wind from Damaging the Property Further

All year long, rain and snowstorms can be a bit of an issue if your home or business is left open to the elements. In those cases, it’s going to be in your best interest to connect with emergency board up services as soon as you can. The last thing you need is for your restoration company to get into your home or business to find additional water, or to have to dig out several inches of snow before they start working. It can also prevent wind from going through your home or business, which also prevents additional damage from occurring during that waiting period.

Stop Animals from Getting Inside

Lastly, board up services can easily prevent animals from coming into your home or business. Many animal species are incredibly smart and opportunistic, and they may see your currently empty building as a great place for them to set up a den or shelter. But, if your home or business is boarded up, they will have fewer ways to get inside. Smaller animals may still find nooks and crannies where they can get in, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for them when you move back in. But, at least squirrels and mice are easier and safer to deal with than say, a raccoon, bear, or deer.

If you get professionals to board up your property, you can rest easy and know your home or business is safe, and that’s the bottom line. Many companies that sort out restoration services will also do everything that they can in order to board up and protect your home or business until they can start the restoration process. You just need to get in touch with them and let them know what sort of help you’ll need to take care of everything related to your home or business

The Best Books on Cryptocurrency

The Sovereign Individual ~ by James Dale Davidson and William Rees Morg

The Sovereign Individual is one of those books that forever changes how you see the world. It was published in 1997 but the degree to which it anticipates the impact of blockchain technology will give you chills. We’re entering the fourth stage of human society, shifting from the industrial to an information age. You need to read this book to understand the scope and scale of how things are going to change.

As it becomes easier to live comfortably and earn an income anywhere, we already know that those who truly thrive in the new information age will be workers who are not tethered to a single job or career and are location independent. The pull to choose where to live based on price savings is already more appealing, but this goes beyond digital nomadism and freelance gigs; the foundations of democracy, government and money are shifting.

The authors predicted Black Tuesday and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and here they foresee that the rising power of individuals will coincide with decentralized technology nibbling away at the power of governments. The death toll for the nation states, they predicted with extraordinary prescience, will be private, digital cash. When that happens, the dynamic of governments as stationary bandits robbing hard-working citizens with taxation will change. If you’ve become someone who can solve problems for people anywhere in the world, then you’re about to enter the new cognitive elite. Don’t miss this one.

Choice Quotation: “When technology is mobile, and transactions occur in cyberspace, as they increasingly will do, governments will no longer be able to charge more for their services than they are worth to the people who pay for them.”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind ~ by Yuval Noah Harari

Whenever I want to impress on someone how good this book is, I ask: “Do you want to know the fundamental difference between humans and monkeys? A monkey can jump up and down on a rock and wave a stick around and screech to his friends that he’s seen a threat coming their way. ‘Danger! Danger! Lion!’ A monkey can also lie. It can jump up and down on the rock and wave a stick around and screech about a lion when there is, in fact, no lion. He’s just fooling around. But what a monkey cannot do is jump up and down and wave a stick around and screech, ‘Danger! Danger! Dragon!’”

Why is this? Because dragons aren’t real. As Harari explains, it is human imagination, our ability to believe in and talk about things we have never seen or touched that has elevated the species to cooperate in large numbers with strangers. There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, no religions and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings. It is us that makes them so.

All of which is a rather magnificent preamble to where we are today. After the Cognitive Revolution and the Agricultural Revolution, Harari guides you into The Scientific Revolution, which got underway only 500 years ago and which may start something completely different for humankind. Money, however, will remain. Read this book to understand that money is the greatest story ever told and that trust is the raw material from which all types of money are minted.

Choice Quotation: “Sapiens, in contrast, live in triple-layered reality. In addition to trees, rivers, fears and desires, the Sapiens world also contains stories about money, gods, nations and corporations.”

The Internet of Money ~ by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

If the two books mentioned above help us to understand the historical context in which Bitcoin first appeared, then this book expands on the ‘why’ with infectious enthusiasm. Andreas Antonopolous is perhaps the most respected voice in the crypto space. He’s been traveling the world as a Bitcoin evangelist since 2010 and this book is a summary of talks he gave on the circuit between 2013 and 2016, all tightened up for publication.

His first book, Mastering Bitcoin, is a technical deep-dive into the technology, aimed more specifically at developers, engineers, and software and systems architects. But this book uses some choice metaphors to explain why you can’t ban Bitcoin or turn it off, how the scaling debate doesn’t really matter and why Bitcoin needs the help of designers to lock in mass adoption.

“When you first ride your brand new automobile in a city,” he writes, “you are riding on roads used by horses with infrastructures designed and used for horses. There are no light signals. There are no road rules. There are no paved roads. And what happened? The cars got stuck because they didn’t have balance and four feet.” But fast forward one hundred years and the cars that were once ridiculed are absolutely the norm. If you want to swim around in the philosophical, social and historical implications of Bitcoin, this is your starting point.

Use Crowdfunding If You Need Capital For Your Small Business

Crowdfunding campaigns may offer a lot of benefits to small businesses. They can help startups get access to a pool of prospective investors and several fundraising options. Although raising funds is always the primary purpose of these campaigns, you may also use these campaigns to gain visibility, customers, and success. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at some of the primary benefits of crowdfunding for small businesses. Read on to find out more.

1. Efficiency

If you are struggling to build your business and raise capital, you may not afford to pursue conventional financing requirements. In this case, it’s better to set up a crowdfunding campaign on a good platform. These platforms can help you get your message across to a lot of people.

These platforms can help you tell your story and benefit from a focal location that may get you a lot of potential investors.

2. High visibility

Good crowdfunding platforms enjoy high exposure. So, if you run your fundraising campaign on this type of platform, you can have social proof and validation for your prospective investors. And this will build a chain of investors for your startup. And this is what you want to grow your business.

3. Crowdsourced brainstorming

Crowdfunding offers an opportunity for you to brainstorm in order to refine your ideas. The basis of a new business is to look for something that your prospective customers may need. And you can brainstorm ideas to meet that need.

So, what you need to do is grab that opportunity and get customer feedback while putting together a plan for your startup. Crowdfunding can help you get closer to your prospective customers. This way you can engage your customers and field ideas, feedback, complaints, and questions.

4. Loyal advocates and early adopters

Crowdfunding can help you get in touch with early adopters and brand advocates. And these people believe in your product, service, or story. Therefore, they are willing to put their money into the longevity and success of your startup.

They will play an important role in making your crowdfunding campaign a success. Plus, they will get the word out about your success with their friends, family, and members of social networks.

5. Media exposure

Press coverage can attract a lot of potential investors to your campaign. Plus, it can help you raise awareness about your brand. You can achieve these goals through a print publication, blog, or a popular news station.

For instance, a feature story on a social network, such as Twitter can create a snowball effect and bring a lot of investors to you.

In short, crowdfunding has become an ideal way of validating businesses and looking for early adopters and investors. So, if you are looking to reap all these benefits, we suggest that you use a good crowdfunding platform.