Trending February 2024 # Idb’s Holiday Gift Guide: Macbook Users # Suggested March 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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Holiday shopping in today’s tech-driven world can be a daunting task, but never fear, iDB is here to help! Using our extensive product knowledge, we’ve put together a series of holiday gift guides with great gift ideas for a wide variety of ages, tastes, budgets and more. Today’s guide offers up some great gift ideas for MacBook users.

Satechi Aluminum Type-C Pro Hub

If you have a newer MacBook model, with only a few of ports, I can’t think of a better accessory to get for it than a USB-C hub from Satechi. I’ve been using one with my MacBook Pro for more than a year and I just can’t overstate how valuable it’s proven to be. Add it to your MacBook and you’ll get a 4K-capable HDMI port, Thunderbolt 3 port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port and a Micro/SD card reader. You can literally hook up anything to it.

Buy for $63

Edifier S350DB Speaker System

Of course you’re going to want a good pair of earbuds or headphones when traveling with your MacBook, but what about when you’re at home? Every desk deserves a solid 2.1 speaker system, and my favorite right now is the S350DB from Edifier. It combines old school styling with modern features such as built-in Bluetooth, wireless remote and several input options. Plus the included 8-inch subwoofer really thumps.

Buy for $300

Logitech MX Master 2S Wireless Mouse

I’ve been using an MX Master mouse from Logitech virtually every day for more than a year now, so I have no problem recommending its predecessor for this list. It looks big, but the ergonomic design makes for comfortable long-term use and it has a laundry-list of features including hyper-fast scrolling, customizable buttons and the ability to control up to 3 computers at once. Plus, the battery lasts up to 70 days and it can be charged while in use.

Buy for $68

Logitech K780 Wireless Keyboard

While we’re at it, wireless keyboards also make a great gift for MacBook users. Some folks just aren’t fans of the built-in keyboard, and an external keyboard gives you more flexibility with your laptop setup. So why the K780? Like the aforementioned MX Master this Logitech keyboard can seamlessly switch between three devices, I love the feel and feedback of the circular keys, and the built-in cradle is perfect for a smartphone or tablet.

Buy for $60

Twelve South Curve for Laptops

Laptop stands free up desk space, bring their displays up to eye level, and pair great with a wireless keyboard and mouse. There are obviously hundreds of options out there, but these days I’m partial to the Twelve South Curve. It features a beautiful, one-piece design that goes perfectly with the MacBook and keeps 70% of its base exposed for optimal cooling. No MacBook? No Problem. The Curve was made to be compatible with most laptop models.

Buy for $40

Satechi Universal Vertical Laptop Stand

If the person you are shopping for already has an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, you may want to consider getting them a vertical laptop stand. I really like this one from Satechi—it’s made from anodized aluminum and comes in three different colors to better match your laptop. Plus, it has a built-in adjustment knob for universal fit. Why a vertical stand? It frees up desk space, promotes airflow, and yes, the laptop still works when closed.

Buy for $40

Picaso Lab Classic Brown Leather Sleeve

What if you’re leaving the office and want to pack up the MacBook? There are countless bags and cases out there with all of the zippers and pockets in the world, but allow me to suggest something more minimal and luxurious: a leather sleeve from Picaso Lab. Each of them is made from 4-8 sq. ft. of Napa leather and 3 yards of polyester thread, and cured for up to 48 hours. There’s also no ugly logo on the exterior, and the company offers custom engraving.

Buy for $96

Note: get 15% off with promo code idownload15

Marshall Major II Bluetooth Headphones

What about headphones? Of course you could get them a pair of Beats or Bose headphones, but I really like these from Marshall. The company is an absolute legend in the speaker/amplifier game and I really like the blend of modern and vintage in this iconic design. These headphones are also comfortable to wear for long periods, fold for easy storage, offer up to 30 hours of playback, and sound good to boot.

Buy for $80

Also be sure to check out our other gift guides:

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How To Use Chatgpt In Hong Kong: A Guide For Users

If you’re based in Hong Kong and looking to use ChatGPT, the popular artificial intelligence language model, you may have noticed that the service is currently inaccessible without a VPN connection. This can be frustrating for those who want to use the platform for various purposes, such as language learning, research, or chatbot development. But don’t worry – there are ways to use ChatGPT in Hong Kong with a few workarounds. In this article, we’ll explore the different methods you can use to access ChatGPT in Hong Kong and provide you with a comprehensive guide to using the platform.

See More : How to Use ChatGPT on Mobile for Free (Android & iPhone)

How to use ChatGPT in Hong Kong with a VPN

Alternative ways to access ChatGPT in Hong Kong

Tips for using ChatGPT effectively

To use ChatGPT in Hong Kong, you need to connect to a supported country or region using a VPN. This allows you to bypass internet censorship laws and regulations and access the platform from Hong Kong. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Register for a VPN and download the VPN software onto your device.

Connect to a supported country or region. Some of the countries that support ChatGPT include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Singapore.

Navigate to the ChatGPT website and register for an OpenAI account.

Pass the ChatGPT Mobile SMS Authentication to complete the registration. You can either ask your friends overseas for their phone numbers or use an SMS collection service to receive the verification code.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can start using ChatGPT from Hong Kong. Keep in mind that you’ll need to maintain a stable VPN connection to continue using the platform.

Also See : Is TruthGPT a Cryptocurrency?

If using a VPN sounds like too much trouble, there are a few alternative ways to experience ChatGPT in Hong Kong.

Poe is a chatbot launched by Quora in December 2023. It’s free to download and doesn’t require a VPN for Hong Kong users. Poe is a chatbot that can answer questions related to various topics such as science, technology, and current events. While it’s not the same as ChatGPT, it’s an alternative for those who want to use a chatbot for language learning or research purposes. Currently, Poe only has an iOS version, which may limit its accessibility for some users.

Another option is to use a workaround provided by the University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong. This workaround involves modifying the network settings on your device to access the ChatGPT website. However, this workaround may not be as reliable as using a VPN, and it may require technical expertise to set up.

If you choose to use a VPN, Surfshark is a reliable option for accessing ChatGPT in Hong Kong. It’s a fast and secure VPN service that offers servers in over 65 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. Surfshark also has servers in Hong Kong, which would allow you to access ChatGPT with ease.

Surfshark is known for its strict no-logs policy, meaning that they don’t keep any records of your online activity. This is a great feature if you value your privacy and security online. Additionally, Surfshark offers a range of security features, including AES-256 encryption, automatic kill switch, and leak protection.

One of the best things about Surfshark is that it allows you to use its service on an unlimited number of devices. This means that you can protect all of your devices with one subscription, which is a great value for money.

Also Read : How to Use HuggingGPT Models to Solve AI Tasks

Here are some tips for using ChatGPT effectively:

When you’re using ChatGPT, try to use simple and specific prompts to get the best results. If your prompts are too vague or complicated, ChatGPT might have a hard time understanding what you’re looking for. Instead, try to be as clear and specific as possible, so that ChatGPT can generate a response that meets your needs.

ChatGPT is a machine learning model, which means it can learn from the input it receives. If you want ChatGPT to generate responses that match your writing style, try to

provide it with examples of your writing. This can help ChatGPT learn your preferences and generate more accurate responses.

ChatGPT can work with a variety of prompt formats, including questions, statements, and keywords. If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for with one type of prompt, try switching to another format to see if that helps. Experimenting with different prompt formats can help you find the one that works best for your needs.

If you’re using ChatGPT to generate content for a specific audience, make sure to tell it who that audience is. This can help ChatGPT generate responses that are tailored to that audience’s needs and preferences.

If you’re using ChatGPT to generate content, consider asking for a higher word count than you actually need. This can give ChatGPT more context to work with, which can result in more accurate and detailed responses.

When you’re using ChatGPT, try to engage in a conversation rather than just asking one-off questions. By asking follow-up prompts and providing additional context, you can help ChatGPT generate more accurate and relevant responses.

ChatGPT is a versatile tool that can be used for a wide range of tasks, including brainstorming, generating first drafts of content, solving coding problems, finding titles for articles, and much more. Experiment with different use cases to see how ChatGPT can best serve your needs.

Finally, it’s worth noting that ChatGPT’s performance can be measured using a metric called perplexity, which measures how well the model is able to predict the next word in a sequence. The lower the perplexity, the better the model’s performance. However, this metric can be difficult to interpret and may not always be a reliable indicator of ChatGPT’s overall performance.

In Summary, To use ChatGPT in Hong Kong, you can access the platform by connecting to a VPN in a supported country like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, or Singapore. After registering for an OpenAI account on the ChatGPT website, complete the Mobile SMS Authentication by using a friend’s phone number abroad or an SMS collection service. Remember to maintain a stable VPN connection to continue using the platform.

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Bu Trustee Robert Hildreth Gives Record Gift To Wbur

BU Trustee Robert Hildreth Gives Record Gift to WBUR “Transformative” $1 million will go to education reporting

BU trustee Robert Hildreth, who gave $1 million for education journalism to WBUR, with high school senior Temi Ashorobi (left), one of the students helped by Hildreth’s philanthropy FUEL Education, and her mother, Taiye. Photo courtesy of WBUR

BU trustee Robert Hildreth has given a record $1 million to WBUR, BU’s National Public Radio station, a gift that will allow the station to significantly expand its coverage of education.

Hildreth’s gift, the radio station’s largest ever from an individual and the first seven-figure donation toward its capital campaign, will be used to assemble a team—an editor, a reporter, and likely a producer and a multimedia developer producer—to cover both K-12 and higher education, says Sam Fleming, WBUR’s managing director of news and programming.

The team will produce on-air reports, special podcasts, and online coverage, possibly on a platform and/or phone app developed with money from the gift. The team also will contribute to National Public Radio’s new education coverage initiative, NPR Ed, which would have been impossible without Hildreth’s “transformative” gift, says general manager Charlie Kravetz.

For a city so dominated by education (one of Boston’s nicknames is the Athens of America), Kravetz says, the local media, his station included, undercover the topic currently. “Right now, we don’t have an education reporter,” he says. “We have a variety of reporters who cover education when stories come up.”

“This is probably the center of higher education in America,” says Fleming. Just as WBUR has a blog devoted to health issues, “we believe education deserves the same kind of treatment.” But Fleming and Kravetz stress that the new team won’t be just all-higher-education-all-the-time. Issues roiling K-12 education in Massachusetts, from charter schools to adopting national Common Core learning standards, will also be a focus, Kravetz says.

The goal will be to talk not just “to education wonks,” but also to families dealing with dinner-table issues, from the soaring cost of college to the competition among high schoolers for precious slots at universities. Almost anyone “could come up with a list as easily as I could. There are a lot of things to talk about,” Fleming says. He hopes the first reports by the new team will appear by late summer or early fall.

Education is a longtime passion of Hildreth’s. The founder and president of International Bank Services, which trades and services loans globally, he is also founder and executive director of Families United in Educational Leadership (FUEL Education). The nonprofit organization helps low-income families send their children to college by providing services from information to financial incentives. In the current graduation season, more than 100 students in greater Boston will graduate high school with college savings accounts arranged with FUEL’s help.

“WBUR puts a human face on the problems confronting college students today,” says Hildreth, who has written about student debt and other problems for WBUR’s opinion page, “Cognoscenti.”

A BU trustee since 2011, Hildreth gave $2 million five years ago to the University’s Creative Writing Program. He is a graduate of Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and George Washington University.

Explore Related Topics:

Macbook Air And Macbook Pro With M1 Reviews Roundup: Apple Delivers

Today is the day: Apple Silicon Macs are out in the wild, which means Apple has made its transition to an ARM-based processor.

So, now that the transition has begun, and Apple is going all-in with the M1 processor, how’s it going out of the gate? The good news is that it looks like Apple didn’t just scrape by here. Rather, the company has apparently done a fantastic job with the new ARM-based processor. Speed and performance is significantly improved, and so has battery life. All in a familiar package with the same price tag as the Intel models these new versions are replacing.

Let’s dig into the reviews.

Reviews roundup for the Apple Silicon MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

“Apple exceeded our expectations”. That’s the wrap-up from The Verge, and the rest of the review sums it up nicely. For all intents and purposes, it appears that Apple has indeed delivered on most of its promises with the M1 processor. That includes the improved battery life, and, yes, a big bump in performance. However, while the positives are numerous, the primary negative remains the webcam. In fact, it’s the only reason The Verge didn’t give the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro a 10 in its scoring.

Processor transitions are supposed to be messy and complicated. Early adopters of the new chips usually sign up for broken apps, slowdowns, and weird bugs. Through careful integration of its new processor and its software, Apple has avoided all of that.

You don’t have to worry about any of the technical details that have enabled the MacBook Air to successfully navigate that transition. The fact that I can say that is perhaps the most impressive thing of all.

Because it just works.

And here’s the video review for both M1-equipped laptops:

TechCrunch says the M1-powered MacBook Pro is powerful. So much so that it makes the Intel chips “obsolete overnight”. And that’s certainly high praise right from the start. However, it’s the battery life that will ultimately really “blow you away” for whoever picks up this machine.

In addition to charting battery performance in some real world tests, I also ran a couple of dedicated battery tests. In some cases they ran so long I thought I had left it plugged in by mistake, it’s that good.

I ran a mixed web browsing and web video playback script that hit a series of pages, waited for 30 seconds and then moved on to simulate browsing. The results return a pretty common sight in our tests, with the M1 outperforming the other MacBooks by just over 25%.

Pocket-Lint notes that the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro share the same design language as the previous models, which could be perceived as a negative for some. However, beyond that, the publication praises Apple’s changes under the hood. As expected, and discovered by the other reviews, the M1 is in a class all of its own, basically. It delivers on the power, the performance, and the battery life.

But this is the first generation, and the desire to upgrade may be even stronger a year from now:

So, the big question: should you go for this MacBook Pro? If you’re already hankering for an upgrade, and want vastly improved battery life, then it’s a good shout. But be prepared to want the next MacBook Pro after this one even more. And if that’s a fear, then it’s probably best to wait a year to find out what the 2023 model will deliver.

Overall, the M1 processor in the MacBook Pro feels like the start of something new and impressive. It’ll be fascinating to see where it goes in the future – and how the industry responds.

WIRED says the new MacBook Pro is a “force to be reckoned with”, and calls the battery life “unreal”. The publication gives the new laptop a 9 out of 10, and says it offers “great performance overall”. However, WIRED also knocks the new laptop(s) for having a less than great webcam, and says there should be more ports in general.

But, overall, the new M1-equipped laptops standout in all the right ways.

Does the lack of a fan matter? For most people, no. The MacBook Air easily crushes its predecessor in performance. In a Geekbench 5 CPU benchmark test, the new MacBook Air’s single-core score (1,692) outperformed 2023’s 16-inch MacBook Pro(1,207), and nearly matched it in multi-core performance (7,264 versus 7,536). In real-world terms, the first place I noticed a drastic improvement was Safari. It’s buttery smooth, handling more than 30 tabs with ease. (I like pinned tabs, OK?)

Apps like Safari, which are engineered for the new M1 processor, are fast and snappy. I’ve yet to see a single stutter or pause from them. The good news is that apps made with Intel in mind can still launch perfectly fine thanks to Rosetta 2, a translation process that helps apps made for the old x86-architecture work on Apple silicon. You’ll see a prompt to install Rosetta when you first try to download one of these apps. The installation takes a few extra seconds, and the rest of the process is just business as usual.

Additional reading (and watching)

Here are a few more reviews worth checking out:

The Wall Street Journal is just as impressed with the new M1-equipped laptops

Engadget is pleased with the new M1 processor, isn’t happy with the webcam, but loves the battery life

Marques Brownlee

iJustine

Tom’s Guide

Wrap-up

So, all well and good then. Sounds like Apple is moving in the right direction, and came out with a bang to kick things off.

But, are you upgrading your laptop to an M1-powered MacBook Air or MacBook Pro? Let us know!

Your Holiday Marketing Campaign Checklist: 6 Essentials

Holiday shopping accounts for a significant share of retail sales in the United States.

Americans spend billions of dollars on gifts, decorations, and food for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter, and other holidays throughout the year.

To cash in on holiday spending, take some time to set up a well-planned holiday marketing campaign.

Don’t miss your chance to attract new clients, skyrocket your sales, and gain high profits.

Here’s a six-step strategy to help you develop an efficient holiday marketing campaign.

1. ‘Holidize’ Your Website

Setting a festive mood and tapping into holiday emotions are essential .

Visitors will stay longer on your website and explore it with greater enthusiasm if they sense the approaching holidays on each and every webpage.

Bring emotional context to all your website’s elements, including footers, headers, CTAs, and other elements.

Decking your site with holiday cheer reinforces the connection users already have with your brand.

Holiday Discounts First

If you offer holiday discounts, make sure they are the first things visitors see on your website.

Keep in mind that the average visitor doesn’t have a lot of patience.

2. Email Campaign

A festive email is a must for every marketing campaign. Customers are eagerly waiting to receive special email offers and save money on pre-holiday discounts.

Use colorful designs, beautiful pictures, and numbers that prominently display discounts.

No one wants to read large chunks of text, so keep it simple and to the point.

Keep Your Most Loyal Customers Closer

You are probably planning to announce special holiday discounts and freebies, which is definitely a great idea.

Consider expanding your offerings with a special email to your current clients.

Provide extra rewards to make them feel special and to encourage them to visit your website more often.

Keep Cool & Be Helpful

Don’t be too pushy, which could easily turn people off. Remember, you are not the only business out there with festive Facebook posts and colorful campaigns.

Hundreds of brands put high hopes in the holiday season, and some remind their audience of special offers as often as four times a week.

However, if your strategy is well planned and your content is engaging, twice a week should be more than enough.

Holiday Email Campaign Ideas

Although they may seem somewhat cliche, keep in mind that some people wait to receive exclusive emails so they can shop with holiday discounts.

Here are five ideas for your email campaign:

Discounts for Early Birds: Encourage shoppers to purchase holiday gifts early, offering attractive discounts for a limited period of time.

Special Prices for Online Orders Only: Capture your customers’ attention with a tempting offer of extra discounts when they purchase gifts without leaving home.

Exclusive Discount Code Inside: Intrigue shoppers with an offer of exclusive bargains.

Last Chance for Any Online Order: Create a sense of urgency and engage shoppers to order before it’s too late. Let them know the last possible date they can safely expect a package to be delivered on time.

Greeting Card: Send your final email on the eve of a holiday. Make it a simple message with a beautiful design.

The final holiday email serves two goals:

It builds lasting relationships with your customers.

It encourages last-minute shoppers to choose your store.

3. Leverage the Power of Social Media

Use Facebook, Twitter, and similar social media platforms where your potential buyers are likely to rest, have fun, and communicate with close people.

Make enticing offers and create a warm holiday atmosphere to encourage web users to buy, share posts with bright pictures and inspiring phrases, come up with a special hashtag, and provide gifts for mentioning it.

Also, pay attention to Instagram and Pinterest. Being visual is essential during the holiday season. People are searching for handmade gifts, inspiration, ideas for food and entertaining, greeting cards, and more.

Don’t just sell your product. Create a montage that depicts it in full holiday splendor. And don’t forget to link to your website!

If you offer some professional services, LinkedIn would be of great use. Ecommerce companies should consider holding promotions on marketplaces and providing discounts to clients ordering several services at once.

4. Organize a Contest

Contests are great social media tools, and the holidays offer an especially perfect opportunity to entertain your customers, since everyone is happy to get an extra gift.

If you sponsor a photo contest on your website, don’t just limit it to one or two winners. Use the best photos to create a special blog post, or to create a complete webpage.

You can really get creative with this one, and people will be pleased to see their photos online, even if they don’t win first place.

Festive contests bring more traffic and engagement, and attract new subscribers.

This approach works perfectly for both large brands and local companies.

5. Posts with Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Some people put off holiday shopping until the last minute.

Reach out to procrastinators who still need a gift or two just days before the holidays.

By offering last-minute gift ideas, you provide a valuable service to your customers, and save late shoppers from the stress and embarrassment of not finding an appropriate gift.

Use phrases like “last minute gift ideas” in your posts as perfect triggers to get the attention of your audience.

6. Launch Your Holiday PPC

Don’t limit your campaign to your existing audience. Let new customers discover your business – and buy from you.

Advertise your brand to the right people in need of your services during the holiday season. Find your target audience in Google Ads, come up with catchy phrases, and expand your business.

There are no rules for when to start your PPC campaign. Launch it any time before the holidays, or use the classic Advent theme to offer new items each day.

You can change your entire holiday ad campaign daily, or every few days.

If you have an online store on Amazon, this is a great place to realize your PPC strategy. This platform offers ready solutions (Sponsored Products vs. Sponsored Brands) so that you do not even have to struggle to come up with something new.

Summary

Now is the time to check your marketing campaign (and check them twice) so you can start spreading some holiday cheer.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

Texting Apps For Business Users

Texting used to be nothing more than a form of entertainment for teens and young adults who wanted to stay in touch—constantly—with their friends. But these days, texting is a business tool, and a serious one at that. Businesses are using texting as a means of inter-office communication and as a way to reach out to business contacts and even customers. And while your smartphone comes with its own, perfectly serviceable texting app, if you’re relying on that alone to fill your texting needs, you might be missing out. A third-party texting app can offer more features and an improved design and save you money as it won’t rely on your monthly messaging plan. Here are five to consider.

WhatsApp

Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone; free for one year, 99 cents after

Business users will appreciate the Broadcast feature, which lets you send a group message that recipients see individually.

Any roundup of text messaging apps has to include a mention of WhatsApp, which was purchased by Facebook earlier this year. That move thrust this already incredibly popular app directly into the tech world’s limelight. And for good reason: WhatsApp is reasonably priced (free for the first year; 99 cents per year after that), works on a variety of platforms (Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian, and Windows Phone), and sports a clean, easy-to-use design. It also features a massive user base—more than 500 million people—which is important since you can only connect with other What’sApp users. I was pleasantly surprised to see several of my contacts on there when I loaded the app. WhatsApp lets you send photos and videos, share your location, and create group chats. The downsides of WhatsApp? It’s widely regarded as a consumer app, so your business partners may balk at installing it, and it lacks a desktop component or a tablet version, which many of its rivals offer.

TextSecure

Android; free

TextSecure’s interface is all business, fitting for this security-minded app.

Business users looking for more security will appreciate TextSecure, a free app for Android phones. It adds end-to-end encryption to your messages, but only if you’re communicating with other TextSecure users. Since TextSecure only works on Android phones and isn’t exactly a household name, its user base is limited. Luckily, you can use it to text anyone on your contact list, but those messages will not be encrypted—something TextSecure notifies you of automatically. TextSecure’s interface is not going to wow potential users, but the app is perfectly serviceable and easy to use.

Wickr

Android, iOS; free

Wickr’s security tools go beyond self-destructing messages; it also erases deleted messages from your device.

Cue the “Mission: Impossible” theme song. Wickr, a free app for Android and iOS, is something straight out of spy fantasies. It’s capable of delivering what it says are “top secret” messages to fellow Wickr users—ones that disappear after a select interval. You can send text, photos, or videos to a single user or a group, and if one of the users is not on Wickr, they will receive an invitation to join the service. You also set an expiration point for the message, anywhere from three seconds to six days. Wickr says all messages are “forensically wiped” after they expire and that the service users peer-to-peer encryption to protect all of the data it transmits. It also allows you to delete location data and claims to never store your messages or user information on the company’s servers. Some of its features, such as the ability to add graffiti to your messages, are a little lighthearted for business use, but overall Wickr has the potential to be a solid professional tool.

Viber

Android, iOS, Bada, BlackBerry, Nokia, Windows Phone, Linus, Mac OS, Windows; free

Viber doesn’t look like a business app, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have business potential.

In some respects, it’s almost unfair to call Viber a texting app because, really, it does a lot more than that. This free app works with Android, Bada, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia, and Windows Phones, as well as on Windows, Linux, and Mac desktops. It lets you connect to other Viber users for free via voice, video, or text messaging and make voice calls to non-users when you buy Viber Out credits. Some of its texting features will turn off business users, especially its animated backgrounds and emoticons. But I like its ability to bring your text messages to your desktop computer, even in the middle of a chat session.

Text Me

Android, iOS, Windows Phone; free

Despite its name, Text Me offers more than just texting. This free app lets you make voice and video calls, too. It works with Android, iOS and Windows Phones and lets you send messages to and from folks who aren’t using the app on their end—a nice plus if you don’t want to convince your friends and colleagues to download an app. The downside is that Text Me requires you to sign up for a new number, likely to be a big issue for business folks who have already shared contact info with coworkers and clients. You’ll also need to purchase Text Me credits if you’d like to send international SMS or make calls to non-Text Me users.

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