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Ruin the Curve with These Brilliant Apps for Students

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Some people have historically had a difficult time in school. Some are bad at taking notes. Others have a hard time retaining information. Studying can be an hour-long endeavor for one student and a days’ long process for another. Nowadays, being successful in class may only be a matter of equipping yourself with the right tools – in this case, apps. Whether you’re a full-time student at a University or a single parent taking online classes after the kids go to bed, you can jump to the head of the class with these fantastic apps.

Quizlet

Quizlet is the ultimate flashcard app. It allows you to make customized digital flashcards to help you study. Memorize definitions, learn a new language, and quiz yourself. Quizlet has a library of ready-made flashcards and built-in games for you to test your knowledge. Don’t worry about running out of physical flashcards or carrying around a giant box whenever you need to study. Quizlet puts it all right on your phone.

Blackboard

If you’re a student today, chances are you already know about Blackboard. This app lets you stay up to date on all the latest information regarding your coursework. Get reminders for homework, check to see when’s your next exam, and see your current grade. Blackboard makes sure you won’t miss a thing.

Flipgrid

If Blackboard lets you communicate with your teacher, Flipgrid lets you connect with your classmates. Create a topic and invite others to join in on the discussion. You can share notes, videos, sources, and topics. How are your classmates studying? What helpful tools have they found? Pool your resources with Flipgrid.

Anki

Here’s another flashcard app. Similar to Quizlet, Anki allows you to create your own notes to study and quiz yourself. While it may not be as streamlined and simple to use as Quizlet, its open platform allows you to make a flashcard with virtually any kind of file. If you are using unique video files or clunky images, Anki works where Quizlet won’t.

Google Drive – Cloud Storage

Google might get overlooked as a good tool for students because it is so commonplace, but that is a mistake. Google Drive’s cloud storage is the best way to neatly organize files and folders between all your classes and share things with your classmates. If you are working on a group project or studying on-the-go, Google Drive is your best friend.

Google Docs

What are you using to write your papers, and why isn’t it Google Docs? It has all the native features that Microsoft Word has, like templates, fonts, header, and footer adjustments. It’s also easy to import images. But the best part: It automatically saves to the cloud—no more worrying about when you last saved – or where you saved it to. Google Docs picks up where you left off, whether on your phone, laptop, or library computer.

Khan Academy

Study with the best of ‘em with Khan Academy. Sign up for a free account and get access to an enormous library of informative videos and courses. You can learn thousands of different skills. Save videos to your account for offline viewing. Khan Academy is a non-profit that offers online classes and certificates to learn at your own pace.

Grammarly

All the hours you spent in elementary school learning about grammar are now officially a complete waste of time. Grammarly is an overlay that you can download to your smartphone and laptop to correct your grammar in real-time. It alerts you if you used the wrong ‘your’ or if you went a little comma heavy. It’s like a spell check on steroids. More than that: it tells you if your sentences are too wordy and can offer suggestions to make them easier to read.

Scanner Pro

Like Google Drive, Scanner Pro is a worldly app turned deadly weapon in a student’s hands. While most of the education world has turned digital, there will always be some physical material that you use. Whether it’s a study guide, a syllabus, business card, or handwritten notes, Scanner Pro can convert them into a PDF. Using your smartphone’s camera, take a picture of the document, and BOOM, it’s stored as a convenient PDF in your phone.

Chegg

Textbooks can easily be the most expensive part of your student experience – even more than the classes. Chegg can help you with that by offering free (or at least very cheap) the digital rental of thousands of textbooks. No more buying a used textbook for $300 from the school store and selling it back at the end of the semester for $20. Chegg’s goal is to make higher education attainable for everyone.

BONUS: Easybib.com

Not quite an app, Easybib.com is a great resource to help with your bibliographies, everyone’s least favorite part of an assignment. Easybib is a virtual guide to help organize and cite all the sources you used when completing an assignment. It also allows you to scan your project for plagiarism, so you won’t get points deducted needlessly from your work.

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Technology

Most Eco-conscious Scooter Rolls to Next-Gen

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Now is the time to go green on the road with Bird Three, the next generation of eco-conscious scooters. As the microbility industry moves forward, the newest Bird scooter model is decked with cool upgrades made for our optimal comfort.  

But has it improved compared to the last model? First, let’s see what the hype is all about:  

The Bird Three

After Bird announced a merger with Switchback II, a special-purpose acquisition company, we’ve been blessed with the next-gen of scooters. As Bird expands to become a public company, we can expect a brighter future for short-range electric transportation. That’s great news, by the way, as our world needs fewer carbon emissions.  

According to the study from the University of Toronto’s engineers, 90% of vehicles must run on electricity by 2050. So, no worries, we still have 29 years to meet that goal. So there’s not much pressure there. 

Bird started its journey in 2017 and has grown into a microbility company with stations across more than 200 cities. The new generation of eco-conscious scooters is the result of Bird’s four years in the industry. 

With Bird Three, the company offers its riders a better scooter with longer hours of battery capacity. It’s been created by experts to bring as little carbon emissions as possible. In addition, it comes with a design that requires less maintenance to improve rider’s comfort and safety. 

It’s understandable that Bird made a big move. First, the cost of maintaining and building vehicles is a massive setback for profitability. Second, developing a long-lasting vehicle with great specs is excellent for long-term planning. The best part? It gives them more opportunity for growth. 

Bird Three’s Cool Upgrades 

Bird’s next-generation, coined as Bird Three, is better than ever with its cool upgrades. So what’s in it for the riders? Here are the cool perks Bird has rolled out for us: 

The Bird OS

The microbility company has created its operating system called “Bird OS.” According to Scott Rushforth, Bird’s chief vehicle officer, it’s a motor controller with an IoT system. It’s packed with a self-diagnostic system that lets the battery connect and communicate with the vehicle’s network. 

So how does that benefit its riders? For example, if your Bird Three scooter gets too hot, it will alert the server. But wait, Bird’s convenient system does not end there. As the server gets notified, it will automatically adjust itself by slowing down its speed to cool down. In short, we can expect a more innovative health monitoring system with Bird OS. 

On the other hand, Superpedestrian, a competitor of Bird, is powered by its VIS or Vehicle Intelligent Safety system. It runs at least 1,000 vehicle checkups every second of the ride.

New and Improved Battery

As the battery upgrades to a bigger and long-lasting version, it doesn’t end there. Bird’s battery does not only offer longer life but also comes with more protection. It’s encased with a hermetically sealed IP68-rated protection that’s tamper-proof. As a result, it’s protected against dust, water, and even theft. 

When we say the battery is larger than its last version, it’s the largest in the industry at a 1 kWh capacity. However, compared to Superpedestrian, it has about the same capacity with a few differences at .986 kWh. Meanwhile, Lime, the biggest competitor of Bird, has gone for the opposite. They opted for a smaller swappable battery that has a capacity of .460 kWh. 

With its latest release, Bird’s scooter managed to double down its energy consumption. According to Rushfort, the scooter’s battery is so large that it doesn’t need to be charged that often. The charging only takes place at least once a week. As a result, it can ride smoothly from 15,000 to 20,000 miles without any problem. 

Most Eco-conscious Generation of Bird Scooter

Bird is on the way to create the most “green” vehicle existing in the entire world. In order to accomplish that goal, the scooter’s system needs to be highly durable. A sustainable scooter doesn’t end with its battery capacity or carbon emissions. There is so much more to take into consideration. 

According to Rushfort, as long as the vehicles “last longer,” there’s less demand for vehicles in the long run. The next-gen scooter is made with the same platform as its predecessor, Bird Two. Many parts are the same, so it’s easier to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” 

Bird Three is built to “last longer” than your average scooter as it’s undergone 60-k impact testing. It ensures only the best class durability to prolong its lifespan. 

Other Features to be Aware of:

  • Beginner Mode’s gentle acceleration 
  • Extended chassis for a longer Bird wheelbase
  • Improved high-power LED headlight and tail light
  • Automotive, self-sealing pneumatic tires

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Business

Get Out of WordPress Maintenance Mode

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WordPress users know that the platform gets into maintenance mode each time an update is applied. It’s business as usual as visitors to your website will see a pop-up saying that work on the site is underway. Then disaster strikes. The update is complete, but you still see WordPress stuck in maintenance mode. Don’t panic; this happens. Here’s how you can get out of this dilemma.

Why WordPress Gets Stuck in Maintenance Mode

The world’s most popular CMS features a built-in maintenance mode. WordPress activates it every time you update your software, plugins, and themes. The platform creates a file called .maintenance in a root folder to trigger it into maintenance mode.

This is the same root folder that holds the following files:

  • wp-admin folder
  • wp-config.php

This file then activates the said pop-up window. Once the update is done, WordPress deletes this file. The pop-up disappears, and the site works as it usually does. 

Insert maintenance mode2

Image Source: WordPress.org

However, like every CMS, you can expect a little snag here and there with WordPress. It gets stuck in maintenance mode, which can be harrowing, especially for first-time WordPress users. Here are a few of the potential causes of this:

  • Accidental closure of the browser tab while the automatic update is ongoing
  • Automatically updating numerous plugins and themes
  • A glitch that happens because of a compatibility issue

How to Fix WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode

There are several ways to pull WordPress out of the maintenance mode. The most basic would be to simply delete the .maintenance file. After a successful update, WordPress automatically deletes this file. Nevertheless, things can sometimes go wrong.

Here are a few situations and what you should do to fix this:

Check the root folder

If you still see the .maintenance file in the root folder, remove it. You can do this by using an FTP client app such as WinSCP or FileZilla

  1. Download your chosen FTP client app or use the file manager given by your hosting provider (e.g., cPanel File Manager)
  2. Connect to the FTP server and find the WordPress root folder. This is usually the public_html folder that contains all the subfolders related to your site. The root folder is where you’ll find the wp_admin folder
  3. Search for the .maintenance and delete it using the FTP client app
  4. Clear the browser cache and reboot your website

If you want to use the hosting site’s file manager, here’s what you should do:

  1. Go to the hosting site’s control panel
  2. Click on the File Manager option
  3. Search for the .maintenance file and delete it

Alternatively, you can use an SSH connection to get you out of the maintenance mode:

  1. Set up an SSH connection such as PuTTY or KiTTY
  2. Go to the WordPress root folder
  3. Type in rm .maintenance to remove the .maintenance file
  4. The file should be deleted, and your website will be unlocked

If the theme or plugin did not update properly

If a theme or plugin did not update correctly, it might result in your WordPress site getting stuck in maintenance mode. This is what you should do:

  1. Connect to your FTP server and look for the root folder
  2. Navigate to the wp-content folder and find the sub-folder containing the plugins sub-folder
  3. Rename this folder to plugins-old
  4. Refresh the website and check whether this solved the issue
  5. Repeat the steps for the themes sub-folder

If the themes and plugins are faulty 

When you find out that the culprits are faulty themes and plugins, here’s what you should do:

  1. Connect to the FTP server
  2. Rename each sub-folder back to “plugins” and “themes” to revert the previous changes you made
  3. Go to the WordPress admin page
  4. Find Appearance
  5. Select Plugins or Themes depending on which is faulty

For Themes

If the theme is what causes the problem, do this:

  1. Deactivate your current theme
  2. Choose a different theme
  3. The site will look chaotic, don’t panic; this means it’s working
  4. Reactivate your old theme or reinstall its latest version

For Plugins

  1. Activate the plugins one by one
  2. Refresh the page to identify the plugin causing the problem
  3. Delete the erroneous plugin 
  4. Reinstall it to see if the problem is fixed

If you still see WordPress stuck in maintenance mode, contact the developer of the theme or plugin. In the meantime, you have to stop using that plugin or find a substitute theme. Keep in mind that themes and plugins are updated regularly, so consider this when uploading them.

How to Avoid WordPress from Getting Stuck in Maintenance Mode

To reduce the chances of this happening again, take note of the following:

Plugin/Themes Compatibility

Before downloading or updating themes and plugins, make sure they’re compatible with the WordPress version you’re using. To check the compatibility of a theme or plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard.

Update Plugin/Themes One at a time

Updating the themes or plugins when updates become available is highly recommended. Do this instead of updating multiple plugins at once. This will prevent the problem from recurring as you can quickly identify which plugin causes the issue. 

Additional Tips

After updating each of the plugins you use, make sure to test your website. This will ensure that the plugin is compatible and will not cause WordPress to get stuck in maintenance mode.

Another good tip is to stage your site and test the updates before using them on your live site. It would help if you always did regular updates to safeguard your website’s stability and functionality. Also, don’t forget to create backups that you can return to if, in the rare case that you aren’t able to fix the issue.

Conclusion

Getting WordPress to work smoothly and uninterrupted after an update is what every website owner should aim for. It’s a part of keeping your site in optimum working conditions. However, complications happen, and they are inevitable. Follow the steps listed above to get you out of the rut and lessen the chances of it repeating.

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Reviews

Airtags VS Tile: Where to Turn When You Lose Your Stuff

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The Apple Spring Loaded Event has millions of Apple users excited over its new announcements and updates. Among them is the Airtags, and it’s part of Apple’s “Find My” collection. However, the tracker faces stiff competition from an established brand called Tile. It’s way ahead of Airtags, but does Airtags give Tile a run for its money?

Here’s our take on the Airtags vs. Tile debate.

Airtags vs. Tile: Look and Feel

The Airtag comes in one color and shape so far: white and round. On the back, it has a small stainless steel cover that gives you access to the replaceable battery.  But, if you want to add some color to your Airtag, Apple made colorful keyrings available for buyers. You can make it classy by buying a Hermès keyring, charm, or luggage tag.

Meanwhile, Tiles come in different colors and shapes, depending on which ones you’ll buy.

The Pro and Slim Tiles have four available colors:

  • Ruby Red
  • Black
  • Azurite
  • Rose
  • White (only comes in the two and four-packs for Pro)

The Pro is a square plastic with a small hole on the upper left. You can slide a part of the back when you need to replace the battery. The speakers are also at the back. It has a button that will pair your Tile to the phone for the first time or help you locate your phone.

On the one hand, the Tile Slim is rectangular, and the speakers are at the front of the Tile. On the other hand, unfortunately, the battery is built-in, so you can’t replace the battery.

The Mate is white and looks similar to the Pro.

Meanwhile, the Sticker is round and comes in black. As the name implies, you can stick this anywhere. Like the Slim, the battery is built-in. This one is closest to the Airtag look.

Aside from colors, Mate also has different Limited Edition designs available.

You can fit the Airtags and all Tile products inside your bag. In addition, you can stick Tile Stickers on items such as your remote control, water bottle, and wallet.

Verdict: Let’s give this to Tile. It’s cool to choose between colors and different Tile types.

Versatility and Functionality

Tile has been in the tracker game longer. Since 2013, the company has expanded its line of Tile products. As of 2021, the current Tile line consists of:

  • Pro
  • Mate
  • Slim
  • Sticker

Tile has the upper hand in terms of versatility. After all, they are ahead of the game.

When using Tile, both Bluetooth and location should be active to pair the device to any item. You can choose an item to assign to your Tile. From there, you can select a ringtone that you want to stick with. And that’s it. It’s all paired up.

Customers can use Tile on Windows, Android, and iOS devices.

For the Airtag, you need to open the Bluetooth first. Once you unwrap the Airtag from the plastic, place it near your device, and it will pair after a few seconds. You can even choose the category of where you’ll put your Airtag (e.g., keys, backpack).

Airtags are exclusive to iOS devices. Its Precision Finding feature is compatible only with these devices:

  • iPhone 11, Pro, and Pro Max
  • iPhone 12, mini, Pro, Pro Max

Verdict: Tile wins this round again. After all, Tile has had the upper hand for almost ten years and has developed different products ideal for the needs of its various users.

Finding Your Things

Once you set up your device to your respective tracker, it’s time to test which is the best.

If you want to find your items using Tile, open the Tile App, click on the Tile, and click Find. It will alert you with the ringtone you set for the Tile.

Tiles aren’t the only things you can find. For example, you have your Tile on hand but need to find your phone, press the button on your Tile twice, and it will help you locate your phone. In addition, the 2020 Tiles are updated to notify you even if your phone is on Silent mode.

On the other hand, you have two options when finding an item with Airtag. That is, of course, you have compatible devices for the Precision Finding feature. You can locate an item through sound or Precision Finding. If an item is within range, it will direct you to the item and notify “Here” when you’ve reached your destination.

Finding Items in Public

In instances where you do lose an item in public, how are these trackers in action?

Tile has the Tile Network. So, for example, you lose your Tile. But another user may be within range of your Tile. The app will notify you that someone has found your Tile.

Airtags follow the same method. But Apple goes the extra mile by activating Lost Mode for an Airtag. You’ll immediately get notified of your item’s location, even if the person who found your item doesn’t have an iOS device. It’s all thanks to NFC.

Verdict: This one’s a tie. Airtags don’t have buttons that will help you locate your phone, but it has Precision Finding. Meanwhile, Tile can help you locate items through sound only, but it can help you find your smartphone with a push of a button (or two).

Airtags vs. Tile: Prices

Tile has more products in its tracker line. While they may have an advantage over versatility, let’s see which one is worth buying.

As a new release, there’s only one type of Airtags available for Apple users.

The cost of a one-pack Airtags is $29.99. Meanwhile, the four-pack is $99.99.

But what about Tile? Here is a breakdown of their prices for each type of Tile.

Pro

  • One-pack: $34.99
  • Two-pack: $59.99
  • Four-pack: $99.99

Mate

  • One-pack: $24.99
  • Two-pack: $47.99
  • Four-pack: $69.99

Slim

  • One-pack: $29.99
  • Two-pack: $53.99

Sticker

  • Two-pack: $39.99
  • Four-pack: $59.99

Verdict: Once again, Tile gets the win here. You can get a Tile based on your budget.

Airtags vs. Tile: Other Specs

Range

Tile specifies the range of how you can find your tracker in your home or anywhere else. But, of course, this also depends on which Tile you want to get.

Tile range:

  • Pro: 400 ft.
  • Mate and Slim: 200 ft.
  • Sticker: 150 ft.

On the other hand, Apple didn’t specify the range for their Airtags. However, TechCrunch estimates that it could be 40 ft. Meanwhile, TechRadar suggests that it could be as wide as 800 ft., considering it uses Bluetooth 5.0.

Water-Resistant or Waterproof?

Airtags are water-resistant, but Tile Pros and Mates are too. The Tile Slim and Sticker are waterproof.

Customization

Apple offers free engraving on the Airtags. On the other hand, Tile doesn’t have personal customization options, but they have different colors, as mentioned above. Also, for Tile, you can set the ringtone to whichever sound you like.

Privacy

Trackers like Tile and Airtags may pose the issue of privacy because you can slip a Tile or an Airtag in another person’s bag or belonging. Based on news reports, it appears that Apple has addressed potential privacy concerns. Airtags have a “Pairing Lock” that won’t pair an Airtag with another device.

If, in any case, someone could be stalking you, you will receive a notification that there’s an Airtag with you. Even those without an iOS device or smartphone can still benefit from this feature since the Airtag will make an alarm if it’s out of range after three days.

On the other hand, Tile says that they don’t sell or save any of their users’ data. They keep your data anonymous and of other Tile users.

Integrations

Users can connect Tile to their partners. Here’s where you can integrate Tile:

  • Fitbit (Inspire 2 has a built-in Tile)
  • HP (has products with built-in Tile)
  • Amazon (Amazon Alexa)

Conclusion

Tile has the upper hand as it’s been in the market for almost ten years. In addition, it has different product lines and prices for various budgets. But it doesn’t mean that Apple’s tracker isn’t inferior. Even if it’s a new release, it’s a worthy competitor to Tile. It’s way ahead in the privacy and precision tracking game.

Regardless of what you choose, both trackers do their job in helping you locate items instantly. Plus, you can be sure that trackers have privacy features in place and will give you peace of mind.

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