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Get the most out of your Windows 10 taskbar with these customization tips

The Windows 10 experience is anchored by the taskbar. It provides an information-packed reference point for your workflow, but not every desktop serves the same purpose. Here are a few customization tips that’ll show you how to move, resize, and customize the taksbar to suit your needs.

With the myriad of different display configurations supported by Windows 10 it’s possible you’re going to end up wishing the taskbar was somewhere else. The taskbar can be oriented top, bottom, right, or left simply by left-clicking and dragging it.

I’ve heard complaints that some users find themselves unable to drag the taskbar – if this is the case for you then simply right-click on the task bar and select “Taskbar settings.”

From there you can select where you want your taskbar oriented from a drop-down menu.

It can also be expanded by moving your mouse over its inside-most edge and then left-clicking and dragging to expand or contract it.

In the same taskbar settings menu there’s also an option to “auto-hide” your taskbar in desktop and/or tablet mode. This allows you to clear your workspace from distraction or stretch your screen’s real-estate to the max by hiding the taskbar until you move your mouse over to the edge of the screen where it’s docked.

If you’re like me and you want your taskbar in sight but you’d rather it kept a low profile you can change the icon size in the taskbar settings menu by toggling “use small taskbar buttons” on.

Once you’ve got your taskbar the size and orientation you’d like you can further customize what appears on it. You can right-click on the taskbar and select from a series of options that will allow you to add toolbars.

The last area of your taskbar that you may want to customize is its color. Depending on your particular system configuration you should be able to right click on the desktop and select “Personalize” to get started. After selecting personalize choose “colors” from the menu on the left.

With your taskbar properly positioned and looking good you’ll be ready to use the dozens of shortcuts and time-savers built into it.



Na Zdorovie: Doing business with Russians explained

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once famously said: “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Even though Russia has undergone extraordinary political and cultural transformations and successfully embraced Western-style capitalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many people in the West still regard Russian business culture as very mysterious, incredibly intricate and difficult to understand. 

I am originally from Russia and currently live in Moscow, although previously, I studied, worked and lived in France and the UK. I now work for a Russian tech company and mostly deal with foreign colleagues from all over the world. Often, the people I meet seem surprised that I am Russian.  

Given my own experience, I can admit that Russian businessmen have to deal with a lot of myths and stereotypes about Russians. These may be true sometimes, but a lot of the time these myths turn out to be completely wrong.

Despite the tense political and complex economic situation, Russia still remains an important player on the global stage and undoubtedly does have massive business potential. In order to be successful in negotiating and establishing relations with Russian business partners and embrace all the existing opportunities, one needs to learn some valuable tips about getting along with Russians.

Myth 1: Russians do not smile 

While smiling is usually seen as one of the most important communication behaviors, Russian people are often accused of being gloomy. However, contrary to popular opinion — Russians DO smile, but only when there is an appropriate reason to. We smile in specific social situations, for example, when something is really funny or a person is very happy. Russians never just smile out of simple politeness, but when we do — one can be sure these smiles are sincere. 

Surprisingly, sometimes smiling in a work or study environment is not seen as appropriate in Russia – except for employees of a Western corporate environment who are expected to follow the Western style of communication. This is because ‘serious contexts’ are not considered to be a place to smile.

Not smiling to strangers is thought to be a cultural norm in Russia, since it is assumed that there is no special reason why we should greet a stranger that way. Some Russians are a bit shy when speaking English and when they see someone who doesn’t speak their mother tongue, they can get frustrated.

Myth 2: Russians are rude and aggressive

Sometimes it’s quite hard to understand Russians because of their high level of emotionality. Compared to their Western colleagues, business partners in Russia can be more direct, critical and challenging. In fact, they are not impolite, just not playing the so-called ‘small talk’ or ‘mind games’. Russian can say straight to your face everything they think, which is often seen as rude in the West. On the contrary, in Russia, that means people are actually interested and they want to know more about what you are delivering to them.

Russians value everything real, true and honest. They can fight and argue with you at the beginning just to understand who you really are and what you stand for. If you act sincere and play real, they will like you and eventually become your true friend. Keep in mind that good business relationships in Russia are always personal and in many cases business and its outcome depends on how well you can get along. In this sense, Russian culture is similar to Oriental cultures.

Myth 3: Russians never plan ahead and do not set long-term goals

From time to time, Western partners tend to be surprised by Russians missing or even ignoring deadlines. It is partly true: small Russian enterprises and startups are not keen on planning, putting emphasis on the present rather than the future. However, large Russian companies are nothing different from the West: planning is necessary and employees have to set long-term goals and stick to deadlines.

That being said, a good part of the Russian mentality is a high level of crisis mobilization: in urgent situations, Russians tend to unite under pressure and mobilize. They may eventually deliver impressive results under tight deadlines or stressful circumstances.

A good example of this could be the so-called Singles’ Day, the annual global shopping festival organized by Chinese online retailers on November 11th. According to Yandex.Checkout, last year’s stats from the sale saw the YTY 31-fold increase in orders from Russia. All the Russian and Chinese employees demonstrated impressive results and personal dedication to work. 

Myth 4: Russian companies are not competitive with Western companies

Contrary to popular Western opinion, there are many Russian companies that have accepted and embraced international standards of business etiquette. Those Russian businesses are very well aware of international trends and that ensures the flexibility of business process and make them strong competitors for many Western companies. 

Let’s not forget that 40 percent of US Fortune 500 companies were founded by either immigrants or the children of immigrants, many of whom have Russian origin.

Even though Russia’s economy has been tumultuous, a strong technological and entrepreneurial culture has developed in the country over the last five years and produced a number of fast-growing businesses. For instance, Russian tech is big, powered by programmers and developers who are able to solve non-trivial tasks and want to change the world with the help of cutting-edge technologies.

Some companies of Russian origin have already gone global and proved to be successful internationally (Telegram, Kaspersky Lab, AnywayAnyday, Abbyy, Game Insight, Xsolla to name a few). Other tech companies with Russian roots are just about to make their first big step onto the international scene but are already considered promising.

Myth 5: Russians are not aware of international trends and innovations

I travel quite a lot and was pretty surprised to discover that some things in Russia are way more innovative compared to Europe and even the USA. In the US, additional features are often provided by separate startups, Russian banks prefer to keep this functionality in-house as it gives them more control and room for development.

In constant pursuit of new clients, Russian banks have been moving more of their services online, merging Internet and mobile technology to bank the unbanked in Russia and other CIS countries. As a result, Russian banks and PSPs are ceasing to be ‘banks’ in their pure form, and are becoming more of ecosystems with a full range of services, available online.

The most important banking advancement in Russia is mobile banking which can be used by customers to carry out most necessary transactions independently without the need to visit the bank in person. According to the Global Finance Magazine’s 2016 list, the best banking app in Central and Eastern Europe is Sberbank’s mobile banking app.

Russian banks and PSPs are offering a wide array of additional instant services in apps, such as online payments for utility, parking, taxes, traffic fines and so on. Yandex.Checkout was the first in Russia to provide peer-to-peer money transfers via iMessage and also to enable online stores to accept payments via Telegram Bots, allowing their customers to pay for goods and services directly in the messenger.

Furthermore, contactless payment systems, such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, are quickly gaining popularity in Russia, being used mostly for online shopping, food delivery, housing services, cellular networks, and money transfers.

Myth 6: When entering the Russian market, it’s better to partner with international companies 

There is a widespread belief that it’s easier to partner with international companies when entering a new market. However, the specifics of the Russian market prove it’s wiser to work with local leaders, who have much more business expertise and knowledge of the market.

In Russia, just like China, localization is the key to business success. Thus, try to invest more time and effort into finding the appropriate local Russian partner who you can trust, and build a good relationship with them. 

Overall, the Russian market is quite unique: innate cultural beliefs and traditions mingle with new business attitudes and prosperity. Having boundless natural resources, with a highly educated population, aspirational and consumerist in nature, Russia offers tremendous opportunities for international players who know how to navigate the business climate. Therefore, do your homework properly and try your best to see things through Russian cultural lenses.


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Huawei Mate 10 scores 97 on DxOMark, one point behind Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2 is about to face some stiff competition from Huawei’s freshly released Mate 10 Pro flagship. Popular image quality authority DxOMark has awarded the new Mate 10 the impressive score of 97 – coming second only to the Pixel 2.

Two weeks ago, Google’s phone set a record by becoming the first device to deserve a DxO score of 98. For context, the iPhone 8 earned a score of 92 for its camera.

In comparison to the Pixel 2’s single camera, the Mate 10 touts a dual-cam setup combining a 12MP RGB sensor with a 20MP monochrome sensor. The device also features 2x lossless zoom, along with phase detection and laser autofocus.

The camera was developed in tandem with legendary photography manufacturer Leica.

Among other things, DxO lauded Huawei’s flagship for its detail preservation, fast focus, good exposure and wide dynamic range. It did warn the device’s camera suffers from low texture detail in all lighting conditions.

Still, that didn’t stop them from putting the Mate 10 in the runner-up position.

To come to this score, “DxOMark engineers capture and evaluate over 1500 test images and more than 2 hours of video in both controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes.”

That said, the overall DxO score doesn’t tell the entire story; the company takes a number of details into consideration when calculating the score. Curiously, DxO gave the Mate 10 a score of 100 for still images, compared to the Pixel 2’s 99. Still, the Pixel gets a higher overall score because it’s better at shooting video.

Those interested to find out more about how DxO’s ratings ought to watch Marques Brownlee’s excellent explainer video here:


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Denmark to students: Let schools check your search history or get expelled

Danish students are going to hate the country’s new exam rules. Denmark’s Education Minister Merete Riisager has proposed a new law that encourages students to grant schools access to their personal laptops, popular news outlet DR reports.

The proposal seeks to make it more difficult for students to cheat in exams. As part of the new rules, schools will also be allowed to do background checks on students’ search history and social media activity. The proposition has already been forwarded for further consideration.

Among other things, the draft also stipulates that examiners be allowed to, when necessary, inspect the contents of students’ laptops, including used materials, log files and more.

What is particularly unusual about the proposed law is that, while schools have no right to force access to the students’ devices, examinees will have to consent to having their laptops inspected in order to sit an exam or give a presentation.

Students that refuse to comply with these rules will have to face various penalties, like getting their devices confiscated for up to a day – or worse, getting expelled from the school altogether.

So in a way, students are forced to risk their future prospects or give up their privacy.

The proposal has so far been met with a fair bit of backlash.

The chairman of the Danish High School Association, Jens Philip Yazdani, said encroaches on students’ right to privacy. This sentiment was further supported by the chairman of the IT Political Association, Jesper Lund, and law professor Sten Schaumburg-Müller from the University of Southern Denmark.


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