App of the Week: Couch to 5K

The Good, The Bad, & How to Know if this Training Plan is Right for You.

By Heather Gannoe of Relentless Forward Commotion

If you’ve toyed with the idea of starting to run, or have a friend who has recently taken up running, chances are you’ve heard of the Couch to 5K program.   But if you haven’t: the Couch to 5k is a wildly popular training program that is designed to take a non-runner from a sedentary lifestyle to running a 5k distance race in just nine weeks. Designed by Josh Clark, and originally published on the training website Cool Running, the Couch to 5k program has claimed to help thousands of people become runners and has blossomed into a running movement of its own.  

The training plan consists of just three days of training sessions per week, for a total of nine weeks. Each session consists of running and walking intervals, measured by time or distance, progressing forward with the final goal of running either a 5k or 30 minutes, without walking. If you are thinking of using the Couch to 5k program to help get you started on your running journey, consider the following pros and cons to this plan.

The Good:

Does the thought of running for more than a minute terrify you?  Then this training program is perfect for you.  The Couch to 5k program starts off with short intervals of running combined with generous walking breaks, which is an ideal introduction to running both physically, and mentally  (for example, day # 1 includes the following:  “Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes”).  Josh Clark states in his training program: “Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. ” Having specific, short distance or time goals prevents the participant from doing too much, too soon, which in turn prevents mental burnout and injury.

There has always been a bit of a stigma behind walking vs. running, but don’t let it bother you.   Studies show that a combination of running and walking has been shown to help prevent injuries while building physical endurance and running distance, as well as helping to prevent muscular fatigue.   So you are not any less of a ‘badass” for taking walking breaks; quite the contrary, you are a smart runner!

Further, some amazing athletes are well known for their run/walk methods.  Ultra runners (we are talking the people who run 100 + miles at once!)  are notorious for it.  And most famously, this style of training has been made very popular by former Olympic runner Jeff Galloway, who uses the run/walk method to train participants of all levels to run distances up to a marathon and beyond. The Couch to 5k program is variable in the sense that participants may choose to follow the plan by either distance or time. Each training session lists running and walking intervals by time or by distance, depending on the participant’s goal. This is helpful for those who are unable to measure the distance they run, or who may have time constraints on their training sessions.

The Bad:

Though the creators of the Couch to 5k program claim that it is for almost everyone, it might not actually be for everyone. Depending on many factors, such as health conditions, or even previous fitness experience, many beginners may find the couch to 5k training program too aggressive. Many beginning runners may find certain weeks include an increase in running distance that proves to be too difficult, and that week may need to be repeated. For example, on training day number three of week five of the program, participants are suggested to run two miles straight without a walk break. This is a significant increase from the three quarter mile interval run, with  half mile walk breaks, the session before. The Couch to 5k program encourages runners to repeat a week if necessary. However, the claim of getting participants off of the couch and onto running a 5k in only nine weeks may become frustrating to some who find they need to repeat a week.

On the other hand, some beginning runners may find the Couch to 5k program not aggressive enough. The Couch to 5k program discourages participants from skipping ahead, which can also prove to be frustrating for those who feel they are capable of doing more.


Overall, the Couch to 5k training program is a very basic training guide that can be utilized by almost anyone. Even if the full nine week training program is not ideal for all participants, the Couch to 5k program may prove to be a useful starting point for someone looking to start running. The training plan can be found free on the Cool Running website and through the Facebook support page.  In addition, Couch to 5k apps are available to download to your smart phone or tablet, to help you keep track of your training.

Couchto5K is available to download for $2.99 for iOS and Android.

Do you have a favorite running app? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to: create a ‘do it later’ to-do list

A deferred do-it-later list can transform your to do list.

By Charlie Sorrel of CultofMac

Todo lists are great for not forgetting to, you know, do stuff. But they can be tyrannical, stressing you out with an endless queue of tasks which need to be completed. Even if you are hyper-productive, and manage to get through most of your chores, your todo list can end up cluttered with lower-priority tasks that don’t need to be on it.

This, then, is where the do-it-later list comes in.

A do it later to do list is the most useful to do list

A do-it-later list sounds like a goof-off. After all, you’re purposely putting a bunch of task off until an indefinite future date. But that’s exactly why its such a powerful idea. Instead of cluttering up your inbox with tasks that can’t be completed, you can keep your actual todo list short, while still gathering future task in a useful place.
Examples of good do-it-later tasks:
• A task with a definite future start date.
• Book and movie launches in the future.
• Notes, and things you want to remember, but don’t require you to actually do anything.
• Gathering the actual to-do tasks for a big future project.
• Tasks you can’t be bothered to do right now, even though you probably should.

As you can see, these are mostly the kinds of things that don’t need to be on your regular todo list. If your todo list is full of this kids of task, then you end up having to look at these same todos over and over, you learn to ignore them, until you end up actually forgetting to do them when the time comes.

The last entry — tasks you can’t be bothered to do right now — is just admitting to yourself that some things just aren’t going to gets done today, or even this week. Instead of torturing yourself, just get them off the daily list and do something else instead.
And all the while, they make reading your “real” todos much harder.

How to use a do-it-later list in Things

I’ll use Cultured Code’s Things app to demonstrate how some todo apps have built-in support for do-it-later lists. There are two main ways to create a do-it-later list. One is to make a separator list, and just put everything there. The other, which is much handier, is to use an app that can hide certain tasks. A good do-it-later feature lets you:

• a start date to a task.
• Hide tasks with start dates in the future.


Things is exemplary in this regard. First, it has a dedicated do-it-later list, called Someday. Anything added to this list (done with the mouse, or by typing Command-O) becomes a do-it-later item. You can find all your Someday task in the Someday box, listed up in the sidebar. But the killer part is that you can choose to hide or show Someday tasks in the rest of the app. For example, I have a list of ideas for How To articles. Perhaps I have a bunch of How Tos I want to write when the next version of iOS is released. If I mark these as Someday, then I can just hit a button in my How To list that shows or hides Someday items. Someday items also get a special checkbox made from a dotted line, to distinguish them visually.


If you add a date to a task, it also disappears when you choose to hide future items. Until, that it, the future date comes around, and the task magically reappears on your main list. Look for an app that supports “start dates” if you like this feature.

Things’ implementation of do-it-later lists is great, and the big advantage is that you can organize these tasks into projects, like any other, and yet still hide them.

How to use a do-it-later list in Reminders or any other app

Things’ handling of do-it-later items is great, but you can still keep a do-it-later list in a simpler app. For instance, in Apple’s own Reminders app, you can just create a special list that you use as a do-it-later list. Then, whenever you want to defer an item to your do-it-later list, just move it to this list.

On the Mac and the iPad, you can just drag-and-drop the task to your do-it-later list. On the iPhone, you have to enter the task’s edit mode by by tapping the task, then taping the little i button, then selecting the list you want send it to. That’s a pain, but then, Reminders on the iPhone is almost nothing but pain.

The disadvantage of this method is that tasks have to be manually moved back to their original list when you want to “reactivate” them. The advantage is that you can user it in any app ever, even a plain old text note-taking app.

Do you have a favorite To Do workflow? Sound off in the comments below!

Tips& Tricks: iPad app lets you play a violin with Apple Pencil

Pen2Bow turns the Apple Pencil into a virtual violin bow.

By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

The Apple Pencil, now compatible with pretty much all new iPads, is not just good for drawing and writing. Because if its bevvy of sensors — tilt, pressure, acceleration, and orientation — the Apple Pencil is also a pretty good musical instrument. Pen2Bow is a new iPad app which turns the Pencil into a violin bow, letting you use all of these natural gestures to play a virtual violin.


The idea is that you use Pen2Bow as a controller for a violin app, or for any other app which accepts MIDI signals as input (which is pretty much all music apps on Mac and iOS). Pen2Bow itself doesn’t actually generate sounds — its purpose is turning the swoops, swipes, and swirls of the Apple Pencil into expressive MIDI data. The piano keyboard has already been successfully translated into an electronic keyboard, complete with sensitivity to how hard you hit the keys, and even how you move them after the note has sounded. But a virtual violin can’t really be controlled with a keyboard.

Pen2Bow fixes this using there Apple Pencil. You can squeeze a huge amount of expressiveness from the little white stick, depending on how hard you press on the iPad’s screen, how fast you move it, and even the angle at which you tilt the thing.

As you can see in the demo video, Pen2Bow actually has some advantages over a real violin bow. For instance, a real violin bow has a finite length. You can only bow upwards for so long before you have to switch directions. Pen2Bow lets you bow upwards or downwards indefinitely, by moving it in a circle or figure-eight. And those funky trailing light-tails tell you whether you’re bowing up or down, according to their color.

Not just violins

While Pen2Bow is perfectly suited to controlling a violin, it can also be used with any synthesizer app. And you can use it with instruments that aren’t usually bowed, or which require a higher degree of control than afforded by a keyboard. The electric guitar, for example, is extremely expressive, with all kids of ricks to add vibrato and pitch variations as you play. To use Pen2Bow to play guitar, you just need a guitar synth app that supports enough MIDI control parameters.
Pen2Bow is just $8, which is a steal considering what it can do. And of course you’ll need an Apple Pencil and an iPad.

Price: $7.99
Download: Pen2Bow from the App Store (iOS)

Weekly Round Up 4/13/18



Acting like an entitled douche bag didn’t help F*ckerberg’s case when he appeared in front of Congress this week, either.
Facebook is the least-trusted tech company by a country mile

This is some scary sh*t people…
I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.

Facebook is the front runner right now, but time will tell.
Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft: Which Tech Giant Will Fall First?

Here’s why tech companies abuse our data: because we let them

Maybe if they add more female leadership? Just a thought…
How to fix the big tech backlash? Build companies with purpose

Oracle gets it.
Tech Moves: Jenny Lam joins Oracle as design SVP; Starbucks engineering VP joins DefinedCrowd; and more

Here’s an idea…how about we celebrate these companies when they eliminate the pay gap altogether?
12 tech companies with the smallest pay gaps

I swear to God, if there is a way to milk money out of a fence post, these guys would probably do it.
Big tech companies think they can make a lot of money from the world’s unbanked

Tales from the Orchard: Apple Business Chat has the enterprise talking about iMessage Apps


By Daniel Eran Dilger of AppleInsider

Ten years ago, Steve Jobs announced the App Store. While its first titles were mostly games and novelties, soon major businesses began to recognize the power of mobile apps, shifting major investment from desktop PCs and web apps into iOS. This year, Apple is inciting new enterprise investment in iMessage Apps with Apple Business Chat–billed as an interactive, personal way to connect with customers while respecting their privacy.


Support the way users already communicate


Apple Business Chat enables customers to contact companies for personalized support using the familiar iMessage app. Just like personal chats, a user can initiate a conversation on their iPhone and resume the discussion on their Mac, iPad or even Apple Watch. They can get notifications when there’s a response and can communicate in rich detail, such as sending a photo or other attachment.

Unlike a phone conversation, users don’t have to wait on hold or navigate through a voice-first bot conversation. Unlike the web, users don’t have to search their way through a company’s marketing or support forums to just find an answer or get help with an order.

Business Chat also puts an emphasis on privacy: users don’t have to log in via Facebook to share a huge profile that includes everyone they know, their political orientation and all their other personal details; nor do they surrender contact information that signs them up for tons of future, unsolicited offers and spam.

One of the more interesting things about Apple Business Chat is that it involves a custom development platform. Leveraging the work delivered in iOS 10 for iMessage Apps, Apple enables companies to build interactive features that can present a choice (such as selecting a product or scheduling an appointment) or handle an Apple Pay transaction.

Some critics scoffed at iMessage Apps when Apple announced the platform with the release of iOS 10. But for the enterprise, Apple’s new chat messaging platform allows them to easily build dynamic ways to interact with their clients (such logging into an account, or performing some other task that is easier to do in software than it is to explain in words or communicate by voice; Apple’s initial example was an app for airline seat selection) using the same iOS development tools they already use to create client-facing or internal apps for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

While Apple Business Chat can also be used in Messages on a Mac, there is no support in macOS for iMessage Apps (which are generally iOS app extensions). That may change if Apple incorporates the ability to execute iOS code on Macs (as it is expected to soon enable).

Apple loves development platforms

Apple likes custom third-party development for its hardware because it builds a valuable ecosystem that makes its products more attractive (think Photoshop on the Mac, or Instagram on iOS). By owning and managing the development platform, Apple can also shape users’ experience.

In the early days of the Macintosh, that allowed Apple to introduce a revolutionary leap in software sophistication with its Human User Interface Guidelines that made Mac applications consistent, intuitive and easy to learn. When it introduced iPhone, its new iOS platform similarly reshaped how apps appeared and behaved to enable Apple to deliver another radical leap in mobile computing.

Apple’s initial value-add for the Mac platform was ease of use and graphical aesthetics. More recently, Apple has focused on graphical performance (the buttery smooth animations of OS X and iOS) as well as data security and privacy (turning on encryption default and limiting ad tracking and third party access to your personal data) in a world of malware and surveillance advertising.

Apple Business Chat leverages companies’ existing customer support infrastructure (their internal customer contact centers and the Customer Service Platform they already use) and integrates these with its own iMessage platform. It doesn’t require companies to radically change how they provide customer support, but instead enhances their customer interactions with a design that’s easy to use, efficient, secure and designed with privacy in mind.

Business Chat with an approach like Apple Pay

Consider the difference in Google’s approach to messaging, which began with trying to inject ad messages into email, then trampled user’s data privacy with Buzz, then introduced a complex communications platform with Wave that it expected everyone to learn, then attempted to copy Apple’s simplicity and appearance with Allo without the same interest in privacy or encryption (because it wanted to read users’ messages).

Apple’s success with iMessage adoption stands in stark contrast to Google’s various stabs at communication initiatives. Apple’s iMessage is designed as a product seeking to be attractive, valuable and useful to its audience. Google’s efforts were all attempts to create a product for itself which it could use to monetize users.

A similar contrast can be seen between Apple Pay and Google Wallet; Google hoped to push banks out of the way to establish itself as the account for users’ transactions. Apple’s approach was to work with banks to offer a secure, private way of making payments using the accounts individuals’ already had.

Apple Business Chat takes a very similar approach to Apple Pay, requiring minimal changes from companies while adding value to the interface they present to their customers. And it integrates with Apple Pay to enable seamless, secure transactions right within a support session.

Apple Business Chat partners

Apple is already working with a series of major Customer Service Platforms, including previously announced partners LivePerson, Salesforce, Nuance and Genesys, and more recently adding InTheChat and Zendesk.

By leveraging the support of CSPs, Apple can launch its vision for enhancing how customers get support much more easily than if it were trying to build out a competing business outside of its core competency. Support from those partners is being expressed in the same way iOS developers talk about the App Store in glowing terms.

Salesforce pitches its LiveMessage CSP service to businesses as a way to “delight your customers at a fraction of the cost of voice support” on its website, which highlights its partnership with Marriott using Apple Business Chat.

Meredith Flynn-Ripley, VP of Messaging at Salesforce, noted that, “Consumers today are five times more likely to message with family and friends than call them–and they expect to communicate with brands the same way.”

Flynn-Ripley added, “Salesforce is the leader in delivering conversational messaging within the world’s number one Service platform and we consistently hear from our customers that they want to connect with their customers in new ways. We’re thrilled to add support for Apple Business Chat to Service Cloud and provide new, easier ways for our customers to bring messaging directly into their CRM.”

Caitlin Henehan, the VP and GM of Zendesk Chat, similarly stated, “Zendesk’s integration with Apple Business Chat Beta will allow customers to engage with businesses on a much more personal level through Messages. Companies will be able to provide timely responses and interact on the channel that is familiar and accessible to the consumer.”

Robert LoCascio, the founder and CEO of LivePerson (which handles integration for Discover, Lowe’s and Home Depot) offered the statement, “What we’re seeing is a tremendous shift to conversational experiences, and it’s top of mind for many CMOs.”

Genesys highlighted a report by Garner which claimed that, “by 2019, requests for customer support through consumer messaging apps will exceed requests for customer support through social media.”

Apple Business Chat is like Siri with a real person helping

Apple Business Chat integration with Nuance–the original technology partner behind the launch of Siri–highlights the combination of “live agent” bots and live chats with humans that companies can use to handle incoming chat requests from customers.

Nuance calls its virtual assistant “Nina,” as describes it as “designed to deliver an intuitive, automated experience by engaging customers in natural, human-like conversations for a more efficient contact center operation.”

If a customer needs more help than Nina can provide, the chat can be routed to a real person. That’s an approach Facebook attempted with its failed M general-purpose chat-bot, until it realized that it could not actually handle the range and depth of the wide-open questions it was getting with purely automated systems.

Apple’s Siri similarly conveys (problematically) that it can answer anything users can ask, making it easy to disappoint users who have complex tasks they want to speak out to a computer, only to realize that there are constraints on what can be expected of such a system.

Apple Business Chat greatly narrows down what a person will be asking and then directs those questions to a specific company, making it much easier to handle incoming tasks and, if necessary, elevate complex questions to a person who is already familiar with handing that nature of requests for the company. It can even start the conversation with interactive, web-like navigation to further narrow down what a user wants to do.

Currently, if you ask Siri a question about TD Ameritrade or Marriott, you get a dumb response that’s not much more useful than a Magic 8 ball. In the future, Siri could connect with known Apple Business Chat partners to initiate a conversation that’s handed off to an expert.

While Apple’s current state of Siri is frustrating enough to avoid using for anything but the simplest of requests, the plumbing Apple Business Chat is building out could provide an ecosystem of customer support partners that dramatically increase the value of Siri without being confined to voice-only conversations.

A verbalized request to Siri–followed up by a combination of text or voice chat through Apple Business Chat, augmented with the interactivity of iMessage Apps that can tap into your calendar, send you to Maps, recommend an App download or set up an order with Apple Pay–offers a picture of the future of smart communications that Apple is building for its customers. It’s a lot more realistic than the wide-open promise of Siri by itself, or the premise of voice-first ambient computing in general.

Apple has some advantages to build upon with Siri, including its support for a broad number of languages, an intent to build security and privacy right into the design, an ability to go beyond just voice interactions, and deep integration with the devices people already broadly use: iPhones, Car Play and Apple Watch. Expect to hear more about the future of Siri, iMessage Apps and Apple Business Chat at WWDC18.


What do you think about Business Chat? Tell us in the comments below!

WIT: By The Numbers: What Pay Inequality Looks Like For Women In Tech



By Tanya Tarr of Forbes

Women in technology have a curious history. While women helped create the field of computer technology, their current representation within the industry is dwindling. In fact, a woman executive named Ruth Amonette was IBM’s first woman vice president in 1943. Margaret Hamilton coined the phrase “software engineering,” and led the team that made sure Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969. Yet as the industry has aged, fewer women are entering or advancing in tech. A commonly cited statistic is that women make up only about 24% of computer-related tech workers, with evidence that this number could be declining.

Despite this history, a study released today by Hired, Inc. shows that though incremental, women’s representation among tech job candidates is growing. Hired is a job-searching platform that matches tech talent with tech companies, and its report The State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace shows both the encouraging and depressing sides of being a woman job-seeker in the technology industry. The report highlights differences in actual pay between women and men in the industry as well as gaps in pay expectations. It also details pay gap by city, job title, race and sexual orientation, tapping the data of 420,000 interview requests and individual survey responses from more than 1,200 candidates. Gender in the report was self-identified, and non-gender-conforming participants were not included. Hired hopes that by making the data around self-identified gender more transparent, this clear-eyed view of the data could help move the industry a little faster towards gender parity.

Though the statistics still favor male job applicants, Hired found that in the last year, women’s representation in the candidate pool has increased by 7% overall. Yet when gender is controlled for, women are still underrepresented candidates 16% of the time. While women candidates are increasing in number, this doesn’t make up for the fact that men make up significantly more than half of the applicant pool:

Another stunning but perhaps unsurprising finding was that 63% of the time, men were offered higher salaries than women for the same role at the same company. The report found that companies were offering women between 4% and a whopping 45% less starting pay for the same job. Women in tech also tended to undervalue their market worth, asking for less pay 66% of the time, and would often ask for 6% less salary than their male counterparts.

At the same time, women tech workers know they are being underpaid, regardless of whether or not they underbid themselves. When women applicants were asked about whether they knew if they were being paid less than their male colleagues for the same job, 54% reported that they knew they were. This is in sharp contrast to the 19% of men who had experienced the same dynamic.

While nearly three-fourths of women surveyed believe that gender can impact pay, a majority of men (53%) also agree that gender identity can impact pay. The interesting point here is the majority agreement on how gender shapes earning potential.


What’s even more interesting is that having a pay gap is considered an unattractive quality by both genders. A very strong majority of women (84%) said that negative attention around having a pay gap would also negatively impact their opinion of that company, with 50% of men agreeing as well. This finding suggests that if a company wants to attract key talent, taking steps to eliminate pay gaps within their company would be a clear recruitment tool for all genders.


This point isn’t lost on Matt Rigdon. Rigdon is the Director of Recruiting and Human Resources at Searchmetrics, Inc. Searchmetrics, like many other forward-thinking companies in the United States, decided to voluntarily get certified as an equal pay company because they wanted to send a clear signal on how their company felt about equal pay. Rather than run an audit internally, they chose SameWorks to be a third-party auditor.

For Rigdon and Searchmetrics, getting certified was simply the right thing to do. “Really, it’s about our organization doing what’s right and fair. Getting certified is a way to learn exactly what is going on with wages, as well as find out what we have to do to correct any pay differences.” Rigdon mentioned that being an equal pay company was a way to push back against the male-dominated dynamic in Silicon Valley and attract the talent that will help their organization be successful. “If we treat our employees equitably, it’s our hope that they will stick around longer and be better performers. That’s going to drive recruitment, make better technology and ultimately, profit. But even if it doesn’t, it’s still the right thing to do,” he said. In fact, a growing majority agree with Rigdon. Hired found that 66% of all respondents feel that the US should adopt laws like the one recently passed by Iceland, requiring companies prove that they pay fair wages.


San Francisco and Boston are better for women in tech than other major cities. San Francisco has the lowest gap, at 8% and Seattle, at 11%, has the highest. Hired also found that New York and Los Angeles have a 10% pay gap.


Of the cities examined, Boston is the only city where women in tech are overrepresented at 5%, which suggests to them that recruitment efforts have been successful. Other cities like San Francisco (-14%), New York (-17%), Seattle (-25%) and Los Angeles (-29%) all have a significant lack of representation in terms of women job applicants.

When it comes to job title, project managers have the smallest gap at 4% or half the size of the gap for software engineering, data science and design, which have an 8% earning gap.

The gender wage gap also increases with age. When women start in their careers, between the ages 20-25, they make $0.97 for every dollar men in similar roles earn. The gap widens by the time workers are in their forties, increasing to $0.90 on the dollar. Women in their mid-thirties, or around 10 or more years in the industry, have a different gap. Women in this age group often ask for 2% less than their male counterparts but are often paid 7% lower.


Hired found that Hispanic and Black women are paid the least. White and Asian men earn the most money, and White women earn 96 cents on the dollar compared to White men. White women also outpace the earning of Black and Hispanic men, who earn 94 cents on the dollar. 


The sexual orientation of a tech worker also influences their salary. “When we dug into other factors such as race, LGBTQ+ status, and age, we found that they all impact a candidate’s salary expectations and ultimately the salaries they’re offered,” said Kelli Dragovich, SVP of People at Hired. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. “Many times the intersection of these identities compounds to widen the gap and a closer look can uncover new insights,” Dragovich said. She noted that the report found that identifying as LGBTQ+ negatively affects salaries for men, but women who identify as LGBTQ+ actually make more money than other females.

When it comes to effectively combatting bias and closing earning gaps, study after study shows that transparency wins the day. “We want to arm tech workers and companies with data. This report gives job candidates the information they need to ask for what they’re worth and prompts companies to define their own compensation philosophy and hiring best practices,” said Mehul Patel, CEO at Hired. As companies make changes, individuals can take action as well. Negotiating a job offer can affect earning potential. Dragovich offered negotiation tips for women in tech who might be negotiating salary at their next job. These takeaways include:

Rely on the data: Use existing data, such as Hired’s State of Salaries report to determine what workers in your market with the same experience and skill set are earning is a good place to start. Other resources to leverage are salary calculators or resources like Payscale, that can help you determine exactly what your skill set is worth in the market.
Aim high: After you look at the data, ask for the high side of your expected salary range. Many employers will meet you halfway, so if you start on the low side you may end up disappointed.
Never use your current salary as a starting point: Using past earnings to inform salary decisions only perpetuates the wage gap. In some states and cities, it’s actually illegal to ask for this information. Focus on the salary of the job you’re interviewing for.
Avoid coworker comparisons: You’ll be more successful if you rely on objective salary data to support your argument verse comparing yourself to colleagues. Again, focus on the job title and description.
Ask about the compensation philosophy: If you’re unhappy with what a company is offering, ask how the company arrived at the proposed salary and the benchmarks that are being considered for your level and skill sets.


How do you feel about this Gender Gap data? Sound off in the comments below!

App of the Week: RoboKiller

RoboKiller iOS App REVIEW Stops Spam Calls Freeing You from Unwanted Telemarketers



It’s a godsend and a must have for all who use smartphones.

by Nicholas Calderone of MacSources

When the spam calls started for me it was the, “Hi, I’m from Microsoft and your computer is doing some weird things on our network.” I immediately knew this was a spam call because I do not own a Windows computer. I always got a kick out of harassing the callers and I would play along and keep them on the phone for as long as I could. When they would ask me to download their file I would tell them I was getting donkeys flying across my screen or that I was seeing thousands of Error 32 messages popping up all over the place. I would do my best to confuse and aggravate them until they would hang up on me.


As much fun as I would have with these calls at some point they become annoyances. Not long after I noticed the Microsoft calls, automated calls started to pour in and I found myself answering calls that would infuriate me because I had no way to make them stop. Adding your number to the do not call registry once per year never really did anything to stop these bloodsucking cell monsters. I had true hatred in my heart every time I answered the phone.

Thanks to a friend of mine and the amazing team at TelTech, this problem of the phone parasite has almost been completely lifted from me. I no longer have to wonder if the call coming through will be one of importance or junk trying to waste my time or trick an elderly person. RoboKiller is an iOS app that frees you from the phone game. The app reduces unwanted calls by blocking numbers that are identified as spam callers and it does it automatically. It is essentially a filter for all your phone calls to go through. Once the incoming call number is ‘cleared’, the call will go through to your phone and you can answer it like normal. Calls are blocked using a patented FTC-award winning technology.


Once a user blocks a number, it is sent to the RoboKiller command center where it is then analyzed. At that point, a determination is made about where or not to share it with the shared spam list for all users. RoboKiller’s commands center analyzes the Caller ID of hundreds of thousands of anonymous calls per day and it’s able to detect spammers faster than any other company. The spam list Is updated twice an hour to make sure that users are constantly protected. Users have the ability to view missed and blocked calls in the Spam Box and you can even listen to the calls. Even though RoboKiller is pretty much an automated service, you have the ability to control the blocked calls. You can always whitelist a number or if a spam call does get through, you have the power to blacklist it manually.

RoboKiller is very easy to set-up. It is free but has some premium services you can select through In-app Purchases. To get set-up you simply follow the in-app instructions and in a few minutes, you will be done. First, you enter your phone number. The app uses that to verify the phone number is yours. You will be sent an SMS with a verification code that you will need to enter. After you verify your number, you will see a screen that gives you some stats about the app along with a button for a RoboKiller Membership for one month. If you select the membership option, you will be able to start a free trial (one week) and will be charged automatically once a month after that for your subscription. You have the option to cancel the subscription as long as you do it at least one day before the free trial ends.


Next, RoboKiller will ask you to allow notifications and allow access to your contacts. One of the ways that the app identifies ‘cleared’ calls is to recognize the ones that are already in your contacts. After you’ve selected your preferences for these items, you will be asked to enable RoboKiller through the Settings app. Finally, you will be asked to activate the service by calling a phone number. The app will then place a test call with a known blocked number. If all goes well, the call will be filtered and you won’t receive it. You do have to make sure WiFi is disabled when you place the activation call or the process won’t work.

Once you finish the set-up process you will immediately be taken to your Spam Box, which will show you some stats and give you the option to review your recent blocked calls. One of the really cool things about the app is the setting for Answer Bots. What this does is give you a chance to give spammers an actual recording to respond to. Some of these options include Number Disconnected, What’s Going On?, or Bad Cold. I like this feature because it provides users with a chance to sort of get back at their spammers.


RoboKiller is not only an easy app to use, but it’s also a life saver. With the rise in spam calls lately and RoboKiller’s ability to block up to 85% of them, why wouldn’t you give it a try? This app gives you the ability to reclaim your life. I’ve had very good luck with it and found that I no longer feel anxiety when the phone rings because I don’t have to deal with those horrible calls any longer.

Download – RoboKiller – FREE – with In-App Purchases

How do you deal with Robo Calls? Tell us about it in the comments below!!

How to: use Scribble on Apple Watch to text without voice



By Michael Potuck of 9to5Mac

You’ve probably seen or used the Scribble feature on Apple Watch to send a message discreetly. But do you know about the slick Digital Crown predictive text feature to become an efficient and fast scribbler? Follow along for more…

While Scribbling out letters can work for succinct texts, it’s not the best fit for medium or longer texts. Luckily Apple built a predictive text feature that’s activated by turning the Digital Crown when scribbling.

How to use scribble on Apple Watch to text without voice

1 Open Messages on Apple Watch and tap on a conversation
2 Tap on Scribble
3 Scribble a letter or two and then turn the Digital Crown to get suggestions
4 Let go on the word you’d like to use and Messages will select it and add a space after the word

This takes a little getting used to, but can become quite efficient and handy once you’ve got some muscle memory for it.

You can even use the Digital Crown auto-suggestions to pull up an emoji


Apple notes in a support document that you can currently scribble in the following languages:
• English (Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States)
• French (France and Canada)
• German*
• Italian
• Spanish
• Simplified Chinese
• Traditional Chinese

Have you tried Scribbling on your Apple Watch? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: Apple Quietly Changed the Icon for the iOS Pages App



By Andrew Orr

The new iWork update gave us features like Apple Pencil support, Smart Annotation, book creation, and new collaboration. The iWork suite includes Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, and they have been updated on macOS and iOS. Speaking of iOS, the iOS Pages app has a slight change that came with the update.

Goodbye Pen, Hello Pencil


On the old icon, there was a pen drawing on a sheet of paper. But the new icon replaces the pen with an Apple Pencil. I think it’s an interesting move and obviously makes sense given the new support for Apple Pencil in iWork.

The Pages icon on the Mac remains the same though, although maybe it will get updated in the next version of macOS.

Pages is Free for Mac and iOS

Weekly Round Up 4/6/18


Thank you.

Why tech titans need an empathy handbook

From bad to worse…


Oh, well, that makes it ok then. What a douche…

Zuckerberg says most Facebook users should assume they have had their public info scraped

Damn it, Zuckerberg! Leave my dog alone!
Is technology driving your pet insane?

Not really news to those of us currently working in the tech sector.
As women in tech gain experience, their pay gap with men gets worse

Sometimes, technology is the best drug…
Tech neck, texting thumb: Our bad tech habits leave us in pain. Here’s how to feel better

I’m just gonna file this one under, “Duh! Of course they are!”

Wouldn’t it be great if this technology worked on members of Congress?
Galaxy-hunting tech used to stop poachers hunting endangered animals

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