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Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

The cryptocurrency market rebounded in evening trading on Wednesday. 
A massive crash sliced market capitalization in half from its all time high.
At the time of writing, the market had picked up over $100 billion in value

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Alcoa misses estimate as Brazil drought hits production

(Reuters) – Aluminum producer Alcoa Corp’s profit and revenue both missed market estimates for the fourth quarter as a drought in Brazil hit bauxite production and higher power prices in Spain boosted expenses, the company said on Wednesday.

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How to Increase Your Productivity as a Freelance Web Designer?

Freelancers often find themselves wondering how to be more productive. They look into ways to do more work in the same amount of time or do the same amount of work in less time.

This frustration is often based on an inability to stay focused. Freelancers are not tied to strict schedules, nor do they work under the supervision.

An obvious solution is to become more disciplined. However, this piece of advice is about as useful as being told to “work smarter”. This is unless, of course, you’re given some direction on how to go about it.

The following three productivity techniques can turn things around for you. They’re easy to put into practice, and you can start today!

Productivity Technique #1: With Be Theme’s pre-built websites, you can finish a client’s website in 4 hours

Be Theme’s gallery of pre-built websites is not only impressive; at 300+ and counting, it’s the largest on the market. Not only can you find the right one to work within a matter of minutes, but you can install it with a single click.

You need not worry about writing code or building wireframes either. You just need to pick your pre-built website.

Be Theme’s powerful assortment of pre-built websites will allow you to build a website in 4 hours. How’s that for productivity?

Here’s what other freelancers have to say:

10 Be Theme pre-built designs you could use to build a functioning website in a matter of hours

Be Salmon

The large food presentation images are guaranteed to capture user attention, as is the customer’s testimonials section. Users also appreciate how the interactive menu assists navigation.

BeDetailings2

A bold, professional appearance featuring before and after images is what clients and users want to see in a website representing a niche of this type. The price listing for services encourages users to respond to a call for action.

BeMeeting

Features include a standard menu for events & meetings websites, and an eye-catching countdown clock. A “clean” design like this one, always supports a user’s need for easy navigation.

BeManicure

Luxurious imagery, soft design, and an overall feeling of elegance and professionalism is what can make any website serving this niche successful. The integrated eShop will impress the client, and is a real productivity booster for the designer.

BeDenim

Bold imagery & color combinations are used to attract and engage the audience this website is speaking to. Its intuitive icons that promote easy navigation, and the integrated eShop do the rest.

BeHipHop

A creative website serving a pop culture deserves a hip design like this one. The integrated video and audio player will keep users interested, and the section outlining concert and album release announcements ensures repeat visitors.

BeCafe2

It’s amazing how large images like this one inside the online menu can draw in customers. This pre-built website also features a photo gallery of the business, and an informative “About Us” page.

BeDrawing

This pre-built website’s key features contribute to the success of a creative business’s online presence. They include an impressive gallery, a presentation video, and a simple and clean design.

BeTraining

Important features in a website for this niche include an intuitive menu for an eLearning platform, the ability to easily navigate through an events calendar, and the use of large, attention-getting video thumbnails.

BeClinic2

A sharp, simple design like this one, is always a good design approach for this niche. It is easy to navigate and easy to find and read important information.

Productivity Technique #2: Be more flexible instead of forcing yourself into a strict schedule

Being more disciplined can make you more productive. Yet, taking a “nose-to-the-grindstone” approach can sometimes do more harm than good. Working to a schedule (something not always easy for a freelancer) has its good points, but it’s all too easy to overdo it.

As a freelancer, you can manage to be flexible in your workday activities. Like that, you’ll generally be better off, in terms of productivity.

What does “being flexible” mean?

When you’re working on a task and get stuck; take a break. Go outside for some fresh air; take your dog for a walk; enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend.

Your subconscious mind will continue to work your problem. It does a better job of it without your “conscious” interference. With this approach, you’re much more apt to experience those rewarding “Got it!” moments.

Being flexible can also mean working to a general to-do list, rather than an overly specific one. Make a list of what you want to get done, but not the steps you need to take on how to get things done. People have a greater tendency to get hung up on specific tasks than on more general ones. This can lead to frustration, and an inability to get anything done.

Productivity Technique #3: Calculate how much a lack of productivity can cost you every day

There is no doubt you are familiar with the saying that “time is money”. In fact, you can, without much effort, calculate how much a lack of productivity can cost you every day.

The hard way is to keep track of the time you spend on each of the tasks you work on a day. Doing so can hint at how productive you might be, but doesn’t tell you much about how you could be more productive.

A better approach is to keep track of those periods where you’re not being productive when you should be. For instance, when you find yourself procrastinating or wasting your time. This is what you need to know.

These non-productive periods are habits you’ve acquired that slow down the process. But, you can do something about. These do not include walking your dog or enjoying a cup of coffee, or taking a 15-minute break to clear your mind!

You might be working on an hourly fee basis or a fixed fee basis on an assignment. Either way, you can generally calculate the cost per hour you’re charging. Now, it’s simply a matter of adding up the times you’ve wasted rather than working. That will tell you what procrastinating or being non-productive is costing you!

Write that time down on a sticky note, and periodically update it. Like that, you can see the progress you’re making as you strive to become more productive.

Conclusion

These then, are 3 effective techniques you can use to increase your productivity. They will help you to improve yourself as a freelancing web designer:

Let Be Theme help you create websites in as little as 4 hours (or less)

Do not work to strictly-segmented schedules or detailed to-do lists. Instead, be more flexible in your approach to your work

Calculate how much procrastination is costing you. You’ll quickly become motivated to do something about it

What is the best part of these techniques? They don’t force you into a productivity-boosting stratagem. You are free to choose whichever path suits you or your lifestyle better.

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With an eye on China, India is looking to buy more US-made advanced sub-hunting planes

India has bought 12 advanced sub-hunting planes to beef up its anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
India is looking to boost its military in response to a growing Chinese presence in the region, particularly under the waters of

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Automakers, U.S. lawmakers hope for progress on self-driving car bill

DETROIT (Reuters) – Automakers and lawmakers expressed hope on Tuesday that U.S. Congress would soon pass a stalled bill aimed at speeding self-driving cars to market, even as safety advocates argued for more performance requirements.

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Preparing for the WordPress Gutenberg Editor

If you use WordPress, a big change is coming. The impending release of version 5.0 will bring along with it the new Gutenberg editor. It’s poised to become a major step up in terms of the ability to customize the look of your content in a default WordPress installation.

It’s a very different experience in that this new editor will break content sections down into “blocks”. Blocks will enable you to, say, add a full-width image right in the middle of a blog post. Or you might build your own custom blocks that allow users to implement different layouts.

In short, Gutenberg brings a little bit of what page builder plugins have been doing for years – without some the fancier bells and whistles. It’s a more unified way to mix text and multimedia into your content. And it promises to be a much more user-friendly and visual way to do things.

This evolution has brought about a ton of debate and, naturally, a good bit of concern. WordPress boasts an enormous market share and designers/developers/users are rightfully wary of such a big change. The team responsible for Gutenberg is taking steps to assuage concerns, but the bottom line is that we won’t know the full effect of things until the official release.

While WordPress 5.0 will be released sometime in 2018, you can try Gutenberg now in the form of a plugin. If you want to get a behind-the-scenes look, check out the 2017 State of the Word Address, which features a live demo.

Gutenberg is something that all of us should be aware of. In order to take full advantage of the new editor, there are some steps we’ll have to take. Plus, some may decide not to use it at all as the “classic” editor will still be available as a plugin for the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to prepare for the big change. We’ll look at the considerations and share some helpful resources that can guide you along the way.

The Gutenberg Editor

The Decision to Switch (Or Not)

Major changes to any software usually lead a healthy portion of users to avoid upgrading. Operating systems are a great example as many larger companies are still a version or two behind. Of course, for security and compatibility reasons, it’s never recommended that we run outdated versions of WordPress. So, in that way, upgrading to 5.0 isn’t really optional.

But since we can decide to continue using the classic editor via a plugin, the decision of whether to utilize Gutenberg is one we’ll all have to make. Depending on the setup of your site, switching could be kind of a big deal. Developers will have to consider:

  • Any potential complications with existing themes, plugins and customizations.
  • If a client is responsible for managing content, some training may be required.
  • The increased demand for customer support, should something unexpectedly break.
  • If you’re already using a page builder plugin, does it make sense to change?

One thing is for sure, it will be a process for many of us. For mission-critical sites, it might not be a great idea to implement changes without testing them first within a development environment. If you manage multiple sites, that can be a whole lot of work.

I would suspect that some developers would choose to hold off on switching for some time – at least for existing sites. On the other hand, if a site could really benefit from the added capabilities of Gutenberg, then it might make sense to take the plunge.

Your Theme and Gutenberg

By default, your theme should work with Gutenberg just as it does now with the classic editor. But you do have the ability to add in extra styling for the various available blocks. For example, the image block places code similar to the following into a published page:

So, you could provide some CSS for .wp-block-image to jazz things up a bit – although it’s not required.

But where the editor really holds promise with themes is the ability to create your own custom blocks. Think of the potential to add site-specific layouts and content directly into the editor. Then add in the fact that you can pass styles on to the back end of your site, providing users with a more accurate WYSIWYG experience. This could be quite the game-changer when building a site. Check out the resources section below to learn more.

Your Theme and Gutenberg

Plugin and Customization Compatibility

This is where much of the concern lies with both developers and site owners. Untold numbers of websites have had their back end customized in some shape or form. And just about everyone with a website that runs on WordPress uses plugins. So yes, there is the potential for something to go wrong.

However, this is an area where the folks behind-the-scenes are really working diligently. Backwards compatibility has always been a key part of WordPress and that doesn’t figure to change now. And the larger plugins out there all have an incentive to make sure that their products work with the new editor. There’s simply too much to lose for everyone involved for this not to work.

But, as mentioned earlier, testing everything out in a development environment is the best way to know how Gutenberg will affect the setup of your site. From there, you can figure out what (if any) issues you might need to clean up.

While it certainly sounds like most configurations will work just fine, there is always that chance that something doesn’t play nice with the new editor.

Client Considerations

One other area of interest is how Gutenberg may affect your clients. The way it stands, not everyone knows that an entirely new editing experience is on the way. Casual users probably aren’t paying close attention, even though recent WordPress upgrades have mentioned the coming changes. So they may be in for a bit of a shock when 5.0 drops.

But this is where we can take it upon ourselves to make a difference. Engage clients and let them know that Gutenberg is on the horizon. Provide a general background and maybe a few user-friendly links that might help them become more familiar with the UI.

A little bit of education now can (hopefully) save you from a few panicked calls later on.

Client Considerations

Resources

As Gutenberg continues to evolve, there are more valuable resources coming out to help you learn and prepare:

Gutenberg Handbook
There is a process behind creating custom blocks. To learn more, check out the Gutenberg Handbook. It takes an in-depth look at how the editor works and provides some tutorials on block creation.

Gutenberg Boilerplate
Ahmad Awais has created a boilerplate for building custom blocks for Gutenberg. He has included a few different scenarios that can serve as a great learning tool.

Gutenberg Theme
If you want to see an example of how a theme can take advantage of Gutenberg, take a look at the free Gutenberg Theme over on GitHub. It was built by Tammie Lister, who is the head of the team working on the new editor. The theme isn’t necessarily meant for a production environment, but provides a useful playground for interested developers.

WordPress Gutenberg Guide
Codeinwp has put together an illustrated guide that will get you familiar with the basics of Gutenberg, along with some more advanced tricks.

Development Updates
The official source for Gutenberg Development Updates is a great way to keep up with new features, along with thoughts from the developers themselves.

Block Party

The full release of Gutenberg will be a watershed moment in the history of WordPress. And, overall, it looks to be a change for the better. There will certainly be an adjustment period and some bumps in the road. But that is only more the reason to dig in now and see how everything works.

You’ll get a sense of how you might benefit from Gutenberg and valuable knowledge on how to handle the transition ahead.

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Global carmakers to invest at least $90 billion in electric vehicles

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co’s plan to double its electrified vehicle spending is part of an investment tsunami in batteries and electric cars by global automakers that now totals $90 billion and is still growing, a Reuters analysis shows.

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10 Beautiful Website Login Pages

Login pages will always be an integral component of the modern web. The way we interact with them may well change in the future as new technologies like Touch ID or facial recognition make their way to the web. But for now, designers are tasked with making the process as simple as possible with input fields. They also have to ensure the design is in-keeping with the rest of the site design language, and incorporates key elements of the brand in order to reassure the user when inputting sensitive data.

In this article, we are going to select ten of the most beautiful and easy-to-use login pages on the web today.

Sweet

Sweet

Sweet’s login page uses an abundance of bright, colorful gradients. It makes for a welcoming and attractive login screen with a hint of playfulness and perfect continuation of the company’s branding.

Zendesk

Zendesk

Zendesk’s login is simple but incredibly easy to use. The simplified logo and subtle footer illustration are beautiful additions without distracting from the important content area.

Squarespace

Squarespace

Squarespace’s login is dark, minimal, and on-brand. It has no visual distractions, just two simple inputs and a CTA. It’s a beautiful continuation of their design direction.

Headway

Headway

One of the more unique designs, Headway has split the login screen to include a beautiful image panel of the left. In this panel it also includes some client logos and their own logo. The blue CTA button is clear, attractive, and stands out perfectly.

VSCO

VSCO

Similar to Squarespace, VSCO uses a minimal design direction for their login page. It includes the company logo, easily accessible links for important actions, and perfect contrast between descriptions, placeholder text, and the primary CTA.

Drip

Drip

Drip’s login design is bold, using elements of both minimalism and brutalism. The colors are stark but cohesive and effective. The mono typography is a neat touch and makes this design stand out as one of the most unique and memorable.

Lookback

Lookback

Lookback implements design language from Material Design for their login. It uses great color contrast and a card background with subtle depth effects.

Buffy

Buffy

Buffy’s login design is so simple and easy to use. It’s unique in the way it’s positioned to the left, and includes a simple but fun illustration.

Paddle

Paddle

Paddle’s simple login form carries through the use of their brand colors, and combines with a highly visual but delightfully subtle background graphic.

Expo

Expo

Expo also uses a subtle background graphic for their login page. The design offers excellent contrast with a clearly defined primary CTA.

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'It's not a cause for alarm': Why advertisers aren't fretting over Facebook's huge News Feed change (FB)

While publishers are bracing themselves for a massive hit and re-assessing their strategies, advertisers don’t seem half as perturbed.
This is not the first time Facebook has tweaked its algorithm, and unlike publishers, brands have been

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Ford ups electric vehicle plans to $11 billion by 2022: executive

(Reuters) – Ford Motor Co will increase significantly its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022, Chairman Bill Ford told reporters on Sunday at the Detroit auto show.

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