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Apple @ Work is brought to you by Spike, the world’s first conversational email app that helps professionals and teams spend less time on email, and more on getting things done.

I started working in a corporate environment in 2004. Since then, I’ve watched enterprise communications dramatically change. Back then, we relied on Outlook, desk phones, and the occasional cell phone call. Today, the landscape looks completely different. We still have e-mail, but we’ve also added tools like iMessage, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more. What’s ironic is that I feel overwhelmed at times. I joked with my wife that working in 2023 sometimes feels like keeping inboxes empty. Let’s take a look at the current state of enterprise communication tools.

We have just published a new video webinar on our YouTube channel (you can watch below) that discusses the state of modern enterprise communications, all the tools modern workers are using, and the pros and cons of each.

During the webinar, I’ll break down the following tools: e-mail, Slack-style services, direct phone calls, and iMessage.

E-mail

E-mail is still the central tool for many businesses because it’s based on an open standard. E-mail is also available to internal employees as well as external people. Another critical consideration for a lot of businesses is archiving messages for legal reasons. While tools like Slack have options to store messages for compliance reasons, iMessage has end to end encryption, so your legal team will have no access to it outside of getting ahold of a device that is unlocked. A new survey also reports that 71% would prefer to use an service/app that combines all emails and messages in one place

iMessage as an enterprise communication tool

iMessage has its benefits because it’s built into all Apple devices, but that will limit Windows and Android users from taking part in the conversation. It’s fast-paced, but it lacks tools to deal with Do Not Disturb/Out of Office. While a lot of business communications happens over iMessage, it’s lack of archiving options, and lack of non-Apple device access should cause IT managers to guide their users to other platforms that are better suited for the task.

Slack and Microsoft Teams

I’ve been using Slack for many years now, and I am starting to see the cracks in how it works. Slack’s general channels can be challenging to follow if you aren’t paying attention to them. It’s akin to having to sit by the water cooler at work to be able to catch up on the conversation. Slack does a great job of letting you set “do not disturb” hours, but I think it could go even further by allowing you schedule messages to be sent when users are next online (or even on desktop mode). There are times when I can see someone is offline, I want to message them, but I don’t want to notify them on mobile (or Apple Watch). While these enterprise communication tools are useful, they also have their faults.

Enterprise communication tools wrap-up

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The Power Of Positive Communication

The demands of teaching can feel overwhelming at times, and it can become easy to lose sight of the most important reason we teach: the students. Each student is special and deserves to be appreciated for his or her unique traits. By developing a system to send positive notes home on a regular basis, I have found that I keep my students’ successes in the front of my mind, and rough days are quickly put into perspective—for the students, their families, and me.

Most teachers are required to contact home when a student performs poorly in the classroom—academically, behaviorally, or both. My own teaching has positively grown through my intentionally contacting families when students perform well. 

Track Communication

At the beginning of each school year, in addition to setting up a new grade book, I set up a chart listing every student alphabetically by last name. In the columns, I list the dates when I make contact with families, the method (email, carpool line, in-person meeting, or phone call), and the reason for contact. Throughout the year, whenever I need to contact a family, I make sure to enter it into the chart, with the goal of contacting each family with a positive note home at least once. 

At the beginning of the year, I contact families who are new to the school within the first two weeks. In my experience, these families have some anxiety about their child being in a new environment, and they feel relieved when they hear that the year is going well from an adult’s perspective. It also helps for them to have a contact at the school in case of questions in the future.

As the year progresses, I set new goals. Last year, my goal was to contact half of my students’ families with a positive note by Thanksgiving. This year, I’m moving the goal to contact everyone with a positive note home before the end of January. 

Positive Moments

My practices in positive contact began my second year of teaching when sending home messages of concern began to weigh on my own spirit of optimism. I realized that if I sent a positive email each time I sent an email of concern, I could refocus my energy into recognizing the students who made the day a delight. 

Now, years after that realization, I try to send positive emails before the concerns arise so that each family has a positive story to tell about their child’s school experience. 

Some of the most obvious contacts are the easiest. When a student does exceptionally well on a difficult assessment like an essay or a pop quiz, I contact his or her family. But assessments are not the only opportunity to send home praise. Contact can be about a student excelling in soft skills: mediating a disagreement in group work, pairing up with a lonely student during class, or showing empathy to a classmate having a rough day. Their behavior need not be exceptional; I have sent notes about students habitually coming into the classroom and following procedures, reliably completing homework, and tackling difficult tasks with a positive attitude. 

To make sure that no student has contact only for negative reasons, I color-code the fonts of the chart. Later, when I open the chart, I can quickly scan for colors and see if I have a positive note for a follow-up, typically two or three weeks after the original contact for poor performance. I take that time to observe students and note any positive moments I can in order to contact home again with a positive growth note. 

Seeing Each Student

By setting an intentional goal to email home with a positive, personal anecdote, I make sure that no student is invisible in my classroom. As I scroll through my list each week, I can see which students’ families haven’t been contacted yet, and I am able to home in on those relationships and develop them intentionally. Too often, students who receive the most attention are those who are relationship-seeking with negative behaviors such as acting out or underperforming on assessments. The rest of the families might not hear from the school the entire year, despite their students’ great attitude and work ethic. Intentional tracking allows me to recognize those students for the habits they bring as well. 

In the course of intentionally noticing and praising the attitudes and behaviors of my students, I’ve been able to build positive community between the school and home. Not only do parents appreciate receiving a glimpse into their adolescent’s daily life (especially when conversation might be short at home), but they appreciate their child being seen and recognized by an adult. Knowing that someone at the school is looking beyond the standards, grading, and checklists to see each child as an individual goes a long way in building rapport and credibility between the two most important parties in education: home and school. 

The Horrible State Of Android Fragmentation

OK, so let’s make this blatantly clear: Apple’s iOS platform is by no means prone to device/OS fragmentation problems, but nowhere near like Android. In addition to just four screen resolutions, iOS developers, at best, must optimize their warez for a few percent customers who haven’t yet upgraded to the latest and greatest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Contrast this to Android, where Google’s proclaimed openness and the multitude of device vendors, carriers and suppliers all contribute to the vast array of Android smartphones and tablets that come in hundreds of form factors, screen sizes and price points.

An extensive survey of some 682,000 Android devices has revealed the frightening scale of Android fragmentation and its impact on both users and developers…

UK-based OpenSignal, which specializes in crowdsourced wireless coverage mapping, counted a whopping 11,868 distinct Android devices which downloaded their app this year, nearly three times more compared to the 3,997 distinct Android devices running the OpenSignal app in 2012.

As you can see on the image top of post, last year Samsung’s Galaxy S2 was the most used Android device.

This year, it’s the Galaxy S3 (below).

All flavors and variants of devices made by Google-owned Motorola ended up with a 4.2 percent share (3.9 percent for HTC). The data point clearly highlights why Google is concerned about Samsung’s total dominance of the Android landscape.

“The Android operating system is the most fragmented it has ever been,” OpenSignal remarked.

As for screen sizes, iOS developers have to think about four different resolutions as opposed to the proliferation of different screen sizes on Android. Check out the various physical screen sizes OpenSignal observed on Android phones, with the darkness of the lines representing their frequency.

And now, compare this to iOS.

If you’re an iOS developer, coding for the platform makes a world of difference. Because Apple tends to double pixel density while quadrupling resolution while maintaining the same physical screen size, there are just four different physical screen sizes to code for on the iOS platform.

On the upside, fragmentation does serve as an enabler of the Google ecosystem by allowing for a broader, more geographically dispersed Android market. Fragmentation also benefits consumers through endless choices in terms of screen sizes, price points and feature combinations.

As for developers, the sheer number of Android devices out there represents an opportunity, even if tapping that user base entails spending significant resources to optimize their apps for multiple form factors and Android OS versions.

Take it from David Berlin, lead for the BBC iPlayer Android team, who recently said:

Today we have an Android development team that is almost 3 times the size of the iOS team.

That speaks volume about the difficulties developers faces coding for Android.

Yes, Android has now surpassed one billion activations, as opposed to 600,000 cumulative iOS device activations, but that’s beyond the point for our discussion. Here’s Android fragmentation in comparison with iOS, as viewed from the API fragmentation standpoint.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took a jab at Android during his WWDC 2013 keynote talk, highlighting the fact that 93 percent of his company’s customers run the latest iOS 6 version, as opposed to Android’s 33 percent of Jelly Bean users, 37 percent of Gingerbread (the most prevalent Android version) and 26 percent of Ice Cream Sandwich.

“If you do the math, you would find that iOS 6 is the world’s most popular mobile operating system, and in second place is a version of Android which was released in 2010,” Cook remarked.

It should be noted that Android stats include only those OS versions that talk to Google’s Play store so forked builds like Kindles and Nooks are excluded, as are cheap devices from no-name Chinese vendors.

“This version fragmentation is terrible for developers, as many of you know,” Cook pointed out. Not just developers: often times Android handset vendors don’t even bother updating existing devices, leaving users stuck on older, less secure and less-featured Android builds.

And where Apple simply pushes a software update to users whenever it pleases, Android makers are required to test Google’s Android builds against a plethora of different devices and carriers.

That manufacturers and carriers preload their crapware on top of stock Android experience makes firmware changes a time-consuming, costly affair so most vendors just don’t bother. But lack of updates can have devastating ramifications in terms of platform security.

Case in point: the Android Master Key vulnerability discovered by Bluebox Labs and affecting a staggering 99 percent of Android users.

That’s leaving your users out in the cold right there. In all their short-sightedness, Android backers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see the long-term value in providing timely software updates.

Over in the Apple land, iOS fragmentation is bound to increase as Apple releases new form-factor devices, such as a rumored smartwatch or a purported full-on television set.

But unlike Android where developers mostly count on Android to automatically scale up their user interfaces for a target device – resulting in blown-up apps that look weird on tablets – Apple has seen tremendous success persuading its army of developers to code for iPhone and iPad natively, resulting in 350,000 submissions made specifically for the iPad out of the 900,000 apps found on the App Store.

In other words, although iOS suffers from fragmentation issues, these pale in comparison to the horrible state of Android fragmentation. Worse, fragmentation now poses a significant headache to Google developers who are required to test and optimize their apps on an ever-increasing number of devices.

Serplogic Reviews The Current State Of Link Outreach

This is a sponsored post written by SerpLogic. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

When I first launched my SEO blog, SerpLogic, which later pivoted into the full-blown agency it is today, I created the tag-line “Real Talk Marketing,” because I felt there was a severe lack of experience-backed content.

The internet is littered with misinformation and pure fluff, written by talkers, no doers. Think about this for a minute: a larger percentage of the SEO-themed content published is written by people that are regurgitating other articles, and not actually basing their content on knowledge gained by being knee-deep in SEO.

The articles I was publishing started to receive a lot of traction, and I started to receive emails from CMOs and in-house SEO managers at large corporations. They all had the same need and desire: niche-relevant links from real websites.

At this moment I knew there was a huge opportunity, so I immediately went back into agency mode, and built a large internal team of outreach specialists, and within a couple years SerpLogic was doing seven-figures annually. I say this not to brag, but rather make the point that I speak from experience.

The current state of link outreach is a disaster, and I think the end-consumer deserves to know the what the difference is between spammy outreach and genuine outreach. Sadly, many businesses are being sold pure garbage.

Let’s All Agree That Outreach Is Effective & Well Worth the Time and Monetary Investment

There is no denying that real outreach can net real results when it comes to experiencing gains in the SERPs.

It’s worth investing your own time and resources, if available, or hiring an agency to handle this, provided they are actually doing authentic outreach, and not just putting a shiny bow on a bunch of fakes placements and calling them outreach posts.

The Highest Authority Links, Secured the Way Google Loves It – Naturally

While Google’s algorithm has taken several twists and turns over the years, combined with several updates and rollouts, authority links from real sites have never once stopped working.

Sure, there was talk a while ago about Google devaluing editorial links, and I’ve got one thing to say (in my best Trump voice): FAKE NEWS! They work, they have always worked, and they will continue to work.

SEO Boost Along with Branding & Referral Traffic Benefits

The majority of outreach campaigns have one main goal, and that is securing high-quality niche relevant links, but not all value SEO benefits as the main reason for outreach.

Many companies, especially large national brands, value the branding aspect the most, along with the referral traffic gained from well-placed links.

As crazy as it might sound, the SEO benefits of outreach are in the number three spot in terms of the “why,” for some companies.

Sadly, Most Outreach Providers Are Snake Oil Salesmen

The average business owner doesn’t know how to sniff out a low-quality blog that exists solely for link dropping. They see the metrics like Domain Authority (DA), which is easily inflated, and receive a report showing the blog post.

They assume the agency did a knock-out job when in reality they received a Fiverr quality link that delivers absolutely zero value.

Now, not all outreach posts are going to appear on top authority sites, but selling placements obtained (I use that term loosely) on websites that receive no real traffic is dirty.

They Are ‘Securing’ Placements on Websites That Receive Zero Traffic

Want to know how to quickly determine whether a blog placement is on a quality website?

Look at the engagement of the most recent dozen posts. Are there social shares? Comments? If not, a red flag should go up.

Timeline in terms of securing placements is also a key indicator. Real quality outreach takes time, yet there are agencies delivering outreach posts in a matter of 24 hours.

It takes several pitches and multiple back-and-forth conversations to secure a single post. There are no shortcuts when performing real outreach.

You Are at Risk Belonging to Such a Massive Footprint

Not only do poor quality posts suck up your outreach budget and deliver zero value, but they also put your website in danger of being penalized and slapped right out of the SERPs.

You see, these low-quality blogs typically feature very general and generic themes, which allows the owners to drop links to any and all niches.

If one of these sites is identified, Google has no problem identifying every website link from the blog and handing out penalties like candy.

Metrics Are Inflated & Referral Traffic Is Non-Existent

If you come across a claimed outreach post that appears to have no signs of life, dive into the metrics. I know a lot of SEO industry people love DA, but it’s easily gamed and can be inflated using Fiverr spam gigs.

What to Demand in Your Outreach Provider

If you are purchasing outreach posts, demand the best. This includes placements on not only high authority websites but also niche-relevant ones that have strong traffic numbers.

Also, make sure you are being placed into content that is well written. If you are featured in a $5 outsourced article, it’s a bad look for your company and also makes the post much easier for Google to spot and penalize.

Final Thoughts

Link building isn’t going away anytime soon because links are still the number one factor when trying to rank organically in the SERPs. This makes securing high-quality niche-relevant links a top priority of every SEO strategy.

You can either do the outreach on your own, spending countless hours every day making new contacts, following up on pending pitches, and coordinating content, or you can hire an agency to handle the outreach.

Hopefully, this post has made you aware of the pure garbage that’s being presented as outreach, when in reality it’s low-level blog posts.

If you are tight on time, consider my agency’s link-building outreach service, which secures your website placements on real websites through authentic human-to-human outreach.

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Best Landing Page Optimization Tools That Actually Work

Best Landing Page Optimization Tools That Actually Work

As better landing pages are equally important to bring business like search engine optimization, search engine marketing, or social media marketing, investing in best landing page optimization tools worth your time and money.

These smart tools help you analyze, audit, host, and grade your landing pages to help you get better conversion on your next landing page.

Best Landing Page Analysis & Optimization Tools 1. Mailchimp

With Mailchimp, it will take few minutes to design those beautiful landing pages that people will love. It helps you appeal your audiences to join or buy your stuff. Here, you will get mountains of attractive templates that will ease your work. You can use MailChimp to test your products, ideas before you launch, messaging, and more.

Features of Mailchimp

Connect Square payments to Mailchimp and sell items right from your landing page to reduce need for e-commerce store.

It allows you to pull product imagery direct from your connected e-commerce site to promote your latest collection.

You can use Mailchimp to offer a free download to your new contacts.

This free landing page optimization tool allows you to publish unlimited landing pages for free.

2. Landingi

Landingi is next best landing page builder & optimization tool that helps you create beautiful landing pages faster and convert traffic into customers. You can use this powerful tool to get best out of your lead generation campaigns. Here, you can easily drag & drop items to change, customize them or add anything effortlessly without tweaking the code. You can use Landingi to create unlimited landing pages in a few simple steps.

Visit Here

Features of Landingi

It offers 200+ landing page templates to help you save time and get you started.

It offers over 5000 free images library to pick best for your landing pages.

You can use Landingi to perform A/B test to know which page performs well.

In other features, it offers popup builder, email integration, custom HTML, multiple account access, autoresponder, campaign scheduler, funnel support, and more.

3. Unbounce

Unbounce gives you freedom to create custom landing pages that convert more visitors than any website Here, you don’t require coding, just little tweaks in software settings and you are done. It offers free trial to help you explore multiple features of this amazing tool. Unbounce helps you simplify your workflow and launches faster to help you bring your business to peak. Unbounce is useful for small to big companies serving millions of users every month. It is used by SaaS companies, agencies, ecommerce websites, and more.

Visit Here

Features of Unbounce

Its powerful builder helps you create wonderful landing pages with 100+ templates with a fraction of the time.

It offers freedom to customize templates with optional JavaScript and CSS support to give you greater control over design.

You can use Unbounce to A/B test your pages to see exactly what is working.

4. Instapage

Features of Instapage

It offers intuitive workflows to help you launch campaigns faster.

It offers dedicated Customer Success Manager to help you access various professional features of the tool.

5. Crazyegg

Crazyegg brings state-of-the-art solution to help you optimize your landing pages for better sales and user experience. It gives you great freedom to test & optimize your landing pages that convert more. You can use Crazyegg to understand customer journey with multiple built-in tools including heatmaps, snapshots, and recordings.

Features of Crazyegg

It offers interactive visual reports and individual session recordings to help you track your website visitors.

Using Crazyegg’s A/B testing feature, you can create perfect landing page for better conversion.

Using Crazyegg’s editor, you can create or modify content without the need of a developer.

Conclusion Quick Reaction:

About the author

Dinesh Lakhwani

Are Ai Tools Infringing On The Copyrights Of The Artists?

Are AI image generators infringing upon the law in terms of copyright?

Artificial intelligence programs like DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion may quickly generate an image for you if you type in a request like “a bar of chocolate mounted on a bicycle in the spirit of Picasso.” They do this by combining components from the enormous digital collections of photos and artwork that are accessible from all over the internet and on which they have received training. Are the A.I. tools violating the creators’ copyrights in the process, though? Two new lawsuits center on that issue.

Three artists have filed a lawsuit against Stability AI, Midjourney, the companies behind the artificial intelligence art generators Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, and DeviantArt, which recently unveiled its own AI art generator called DreamUp. By using five billion photos that were scraped from the internet “without the consent of the original artists,” the artists Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan, and Karla Ortiz claim that these organizations have violated the rights of “millions of artists.”

Attorney and typographer Matthew Butterick and the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, which focuses on infringement and class action cases, filed the claim. Butterick refers to the lawsuit as “another step toward mak­ing AI fair & eth­i­cal for everyone” in a blog post announcing it. The ability of AI art tools like Stable Diffusion to “flood the market with an essen­tial­ly unlim­ited num­ber of infring­ing images will inflict per­man­ent dam­age on the market for art and artists,” according to him, will cause this damage. In a related case concerning the AI programming model CoPilot, which is educated using lines of code gathered from the internet, Butterick and Saveri are planning to sue Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI.

The art world has reacted aggressively to the surge in the popularity of AI art tools during the past year. While some claim that these tools, like earlier generations of software like Photoshop and Illustrator, might be useful, many more are against the exploitation of their work to train these lucrative algorithms. Millions of photos from the web are used to train generative AI art models, typically without the creators’ knowledge or consent. Then, you may employ AI art generators to produce artwork that imitates a certain artist’s style.

The knotty issue of whether or not these technologies violate copyright law will need to be resolved in court, according to experts. The makers of AI art tools typically claim that the fair use doctrine covers (at least in the US) the training of their software on copyrighted data. But there are various complexities when it comes to AI art generators, and issues involving fair use still need to be addressed. These include the locations of the organizations that built these tools (since the legal frameworks for data scraping in the EU and the US differ considerably from one another) and the objectives of these institutions (Stable Diffusion, for example, is trained on the LAION dataset, which is created by a German-based research non-profit, and non-profits may be treated more favorably than regular companies in fair use cases).

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