10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Mac Could Do

If you’re a proud Mac owner, I’ve got some great news for you. You already know your computer is awesome – it can do all sorts of cool stuff like help you to surf the Internet, print out words or pictures, or even play a game of Snood once in awhile. But all jokes aside, there’s things your Mac can do that even you don’t know about yet. Read on dear Mac user, for your life is about to get a little bit easier. Here’s ten cool things your Mac can do that you might not have known about – until today.

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How Technology May Be Ruining Your Sleep

It’s true. I know you don’t want to believe it, but it’s true. While technology has improved our lives in countless ways, one of the ways in which it has become detrimental to us is how it affects both our quality and quantity of sleep. Read on to find out the three ways in which your devices might be having a negative impact on your sleep, and what you can do about it. And yes, some of the solutions require – you guessed it – technology.

1) Devices give off a light that suppress melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Chances are you’ve heard of melatonin, a supplement some people take before bedtime to help them sleep. What some people don’t realize is that melatonin is naturally produced by our bodies. Along with its wake-inducing counterpart cortisol, these two hormones are produced by our bodies to assist with waking up and going to sleep. How does our body know when to produce which hormone? Simple: daylight and darkness. The light that devices emit can actually trick out bodies into thinking it’s still daytime, affecting our melatonin and cortisol production. According to a 2015 study at The Lighting Research Center, using your device for two hours before bedtime can decrease your melatonin production by as much as 23%.

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The Great Payoff of Improving Your Typing Skills

So what is this big payoff? you might be wondering. Some people argue that it’s a time saver. For example, if you’re a slow typer who writes many emails throughout the day, doubling your typing speed could in theory cut the time you spend writing those emails in half. However, my reason for encouraging people to learn to type faster is slightly different. When your fingers can keep up with your thoughts, typing becomes a very different experience. It feels more like an extension of your voice rather than a hinderance. And once typing starts to feel like an extension of your voice, you might be more likely to use the computer to express your ideas, to communicate them, and to use written language to achieve whatever goals you seek in this world. After all, typing is the gateway to communicating online, and if you’re slow typer (or even a “hunter and pecker”), chances are your typing isn’t doing your thoughts justice.

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Be More Productive!

Ever notice how the hours in a day have a way of disappearing? Some days I have a long mental list of the things I’m going to accomplish between morning and night – but despite my efforts, at the end of the day I often feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface. This week’s blog post is the result of brainstorming ways in which we can all be more productive. I’ve tried to make this post brief, so that you can read through it in a few minutes and get back to being your wildly productive self.

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Spring Clean Your Website in 5 Steps

It’s that time of the year again – time for spring cleaning. Here are five ways in which you can spruce up your website, all in the name of springtime.

1) Throw old news in the trash. You know what happens when you leave something in the fridge for too long? Well the same thing happens when you leave expired news on your website. So throw that old news in the trash and let people know what’s happening now. And if you’re thinking you don’t have anything newsworthy to report, remember that your news doesn’t have to be that you’ve just won a Grammy award or a MacArthur Fellowship. There’s always something happening – it’s all in how you frame it. For example, let people know what you’re working on, or what you’re excited about. If it’s meaningful for you, it could well be meaningful for your readers.

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How to Deal with Difficult People

Come across a grumpy dwarf of sorts recently? I did – and let me tell you, it was not fun. Difficult (or even downright mean) people sometimes cause us to buy into what they’re saying – to believe them when they say that we’re no good, or incompetent, or whatever not-so-nice things they might be saying (or inferring). I got through the situation I was having with a very difficult person by reminding myself of the five things below. The next time you encounter a grumpy dwarf, remember these!

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10 Tips For a Great Newsletter

Do you write an email newsletter? Want people to actually open and read it? How about even look forward to it? Then this blog post is for you. In my experience, many people write newsletters in which they predominantly talk about themselves – and while there’s nothing wrong with that, if your objective is to get the majority of your recipients to open your newsletters and read them on a regular basis, then you might want to rethink your strategy. Here are ten tips for improving the quality of your newsletter content, and increasing the chances that it will actually get read.

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How to Keep a Zero Inbox

I’ll never forget the time I was checking my email on a desktop computer when my sister walked up behind me and upon seeing the screen exclaimed: “Holy crap, you keep a zero inbox?” Why yes. Yes I do. And I remember the day many years ago when I discovered an article online about how to keep your inbox empty – I read it thoroughly and never looked back. Over the years I’ve tweaked that system to make it work best for me, and now after all this time I want to share it with you. While my method probably won’t work for you exactly as is, my hope is that you’ll be able to tweak it and make it your own.

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Interview Series: Steve Whipple

How do freelancing artists do it? How do they piece together work to create a sustaining and stable career?  Through this interview series, I aim to get to the heart of those questions by talking to various artists about how they make freelancing work for them.

In this eighth installment, Continuum spoke with jazz bassist Steve Whipple. Originally from Tokyo, Steve Whipple’s musical life has taken him to a great many places: The Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where Steve attended high school; Quito, Ecuador where Steve worked as a visiting professor and department chair of the bass program; and New York City, where Steve has lived for the past six years playing with ensembles that run the gamut from “Double Bass Double Voice,” a group comprised of two bass players and two vocalists – to “Xylopholks,” a xylophone-featured ragtime band that performs in animal suits (Steve is the pink gorilla). In this interview, Steve spoke with Continuum about making lists, when it’s ok to bail on a gig, why you shouldn’t network unless you want to, the importance of maintaining your connections, and why musicians need to be both an artist and a craftsman. Enjoy!

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Interview Series: Sara Caswell

How do freelancing artists do it? How do they piece together work to create a sustaining and stable career?  Through this interview series, I aim to get to the heart of those questions by talking to various artists about how they make freelancing work for them.

In this seventh installment, Continuum spoke with violinist Sara Caswell. Recognized as a “Rising Star” in both the 2014 and 2015 Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll, Sara has led a career as impressive as it is diverse. Over the past several years Sara has kept busy performing with her own quartet as well as a group co-led with her sister, vocalist Rachel Caswell. She is also an active performer with The New York Pops Orchestra, Grammy Award Winner Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society, and Grammy Nominated vocalist Roseanna Vitro. Sara spoke with Continuum about surrounding oneself with the right people, how to avoid getting overwhelmed by the enormity of life, the importance of being true to yourself, and the magic three factors for taking a gig: the music, the money, and the hang.

(And after you’ve read the interview, make sure and check out Sara’s beautiful music over at her website).

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