Vodafone buys 140 Phones4u stores, saving 900 jobs in the process

Phones4U Stores

A lot can happen in a week: just five days after Phones4u announced it was entering administration, leaving 5,596 employees facing a very uncertain future, retailers and carriers alike have stepped in to strip the company of its most important parts. Dixons Carphone has already picked up 800 employees from its rival, and now Vodafone, one of the two operators that unceremoniously ended their relationship with Phones4u in recent weeks, has announced a deal to buy 140 former stores, saving a potential 900 jobs as a result. Vodafone says it was approached by the company’s administrator and "decided to make an offer to buy 140 of its stores as a way to accelerate our retail expansion programme and save hundreds of jobs." While some people will swap their Phones4u role for a Vodafone position, today’s restructuring efforts also came at cost. The administrator announced 628 employees at Phones4u’s head office in Newcastle-under-Lyme and telesales staff in Staffordshire were today made redundant in an attempt to reduce expenses. There’s currently no word on which stores the Vodafone intends to rebrand, but we’ve asked the company for more details.

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Make Space for Big Decisions by Limiting the Small Ones

Make Space for Big Decisions by Limiting the Small Ones

Big decisions can be daunting. Pick the Brain says to reserve more energy for big decisions by making fewer small ones.

The day you have to decide which job you’re going to choose is already a tough one. If you want to make bigger decisions with ease, cut out some smaller ones where you can:

You need to save your decision-making ability as well. When something big is occupying your thoughts, don’t waste hours pondering on which cushions to get for the flat or which of the 10 strawberry jams you should get. Eliminate choice for the small stuff, get into a routine or simply limit yourself to 5 minutes to make a decision on these items.

Read more about how to successfully be more decisive by clicking the link below.

4 Steps To Become More Decisive | Pick the Brain

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A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

We don’t normally feature tool sets so prominently, but this highly-rated plier set is Amazon’s Gold Box deal of the day, and it’s marked down to an all-time-low price. [Irwin Vise-Grip GrooveLock 8-Piece Plier Set, $59]


Get these deals and more, and earlier on Deals.Kinja. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to never miss a deal, check out our Gaming and Movie/TV release calendars to plan your upcoming free time, and join us for Kinja Co-Op to vote on the best products. Got a deal we missed? Post it in the comments with a link and we’ll share right to our Deals homepage.


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

If you’re looking for a solid entry into the electric shaving scene, this Philips Norelco is marked down to its lowest price ever right now. [
Philips Norelco AT830/46 Shaver 4500, $65 after $5 Off Coupon]


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

If you own a camera, odds are you aren’t too crazy about the wrist strap that it came with. Upgrade to leather today for under $8. [
Fotasy WSB Genuine Leather Hand Wrist Strap for Mirrorless Cameras, $8]

Note: Amazon is showing temporarily unavailable, so you can either place your order and wait, or get it through a third party seller. There are a few with similar prices.


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

The Logitech G710+ was one of your top 5 nominations for Best Gaming Keyboard, and today it’s for just $100, which is near the lowest price we’ve ever seen. We don’t expect it to last long. [Logitech G710+ Gaming Keyboard, $100]


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

This is somewhat awkward timing with the new iPhones coming out today, but you can currently get an unlocked 64GB gold iPhone 5s for $600. This was retailing for $850 as recently as a few weeks ago, and in fact, Apple no longer offers a 64GB model of this. [iPhone 5s Gold 64GB, $600]


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

If you’re still paying your ISP every month for a modem rental, you should absolutely buy the Motorola SB6141. It’s not on sale today, but it is bundled with this wireless router on Newegg. It’s not an amazing router, but you could sell it on Craigslist to recoup some of the modem’s cost. [MOTOROLA SB6141 SURFboard Cable Modem plus a Free Router, $87 with promo code EMCPAWA23]


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

In addition to dramatic looks, these refurbished wireless Parrot Zik headphones are available today for $170 less than a new pair. [Parrot Zik Wireless Headphones, $205]


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

I’m pretty sure most of us plug more things into USB ports these days than actual wall outlets, so it makes a ton of sense to build USB chargers directly into our homes. Today, you can do it for just $20 per outlet, or about $5 less than usual.

Each outlet includes a pair of USB ports with a combined 18 watts and 3.6A of power behind them, which is more than enough to charge a phone and a tablet simultaneously. These would be perfect for an outlet behind your nightstand, at your desk, or in the kitchen. Sure, you could always plug in a charger, but that monopolizes an outlet, and there’s no doubt that this looks way nicer. [
Amazon]


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

Whether you’ve already caught onto the juice craze, or you just want to give it a try, few blenders make it as easy to pulverize your leftover fruits, vegetable, seeds, and even coffee beans as the NutriBullet.

You’ve probably seen this thing on cheesy infomercials, but it actually has a four star average on 3,000 Amazon reviews, so it’s no joke. It’s much more compact and easy to clean than your average blender, and since it blends directly into the cups you drink from, it won’t create as many dirty dishes either. Amazon has it today for $81, which is the lowest price they’ve ever offered. [Amazon]


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

Back in stock! This versatile Philips Norelco is only $13, and has modes that let it function as a full trimmer, detail trimmer, nose trimmer, beard & mustache trimmer, and a stubble comb. [Philips Norelco QG3330/42 Multigroom, $13]


A New Set of Pliers, Logitech Gaming Keyboard, a Better Shave [Deals]

Once again, it’s time to duke it out on behalf of your favorite products. This week: Electric toothbrushes.


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This post is brought to you by the Commerce Team. We operate independently of Editorial, and if you take advantage of a deal we recommend, we may get a small share of the sale. We read the comments, and we want your feedback.

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How to Tame Your Work Phone and Be Productive

How to Tame Your Work Phone and Be Productive

When you’re in the middle of work, the shrill ring of your phone can be an annoying disruption. Here’s how to ensure this doesn’t derail you completely and you can focus on the work at hand.

Even a three-second distraction can negatively affect your productivity. Phone calls require you to abandon what you’re doing and divert your focus elsewhere. In fact, just switching senses from using my eyes (for the computer) to using my ears makes me lose the "zone" I am in. Eliminating the interruption of phone calls just makes sense.

Create Templates and Offload Calls to Text or Email

How to Tame Your Work Phone and Be Productive

Instead of going away from your PC, set up a text message template for replies to incoming calls. This template should tell people that you are trying to reduce the number of calls you take, and for any work, they should instead email or text you. Here’s what mine looks like:

Hey, for all work-related correspondence with me, could you please text or email instead of calling? I’ll definitely respond there. I’m cutting out work phone calls to avoid constant disruption. Sorry about the inconvenience :)

Keep two things in mind: First, stress that you will respond when they take the alternate communication route and actually do it. Second, realize that you’re inconveniencing the other party and making them re-learn how to get in touch with you, so you should explain why you’re doing it, as humbly as possible.

I keep the above template as a clipboard item in Copy Bubble for Android, which lets me quickly paste it in an SMS or IM. Once someone texts you, use MightyText to reply from your PC. In fact, I have set up Gmail as a productivity hub so that texting and email happens from it. If you’re on an iPhone, try myPhoneDesktop for the same features. Of course, if you use a Mac, you should just wait for OS X Yosemite and its Continuity feature.

Some people will still insist on calling you. And there are some calls, like your boss or your client, which you can’t ignore. Use your best judgement about when to answer and when you can politely remind the person to get in touch with you in another way.

Train People to Respect Your Time Slots

How to Tame Your Work Phone and Be Productive

Not all calls can be diverted to text or email, especially those that ring on your office landline. When you get one of those calls, Francesco Cirillo (the inventor of the Pomodoro Technique) has a neat method you can follow. It’s fast enough not to majorly disrupt your productivity, but at the same time, respectful of the person who needs you:

  • Inform: Tell the other party you can’t talk to them right now and explain why.
  • Negotiate: Figure out when is the next best time that you can speak with each other, in a timely manner.
  • Schedule: Add it to your to-do list so you don’t forget. I’ve switched to a new app called Call Planner to schedule calls.
  • Call Back: Follow up and actually make that call, so they know to respect your time in the next such situation.

I prefer to block time slots in my schedule specifically for returning calls. Initially, I tried setting up a time block based on the number of calls I had to return, but I always went over the limit. Instead, now I set up the time block first and accommodate all the calls in that. It forces me to wrap up calls quickly and to get to the point faster.

Switch Off the Distraction or Move Away

How to Tame Your Work Phone and Be Productive

Your desk phone doesn’t have the same smart apps as your cellphone, which means you have less control over how you handle those interruptions. Plus, ignoring those calls might just lead to a coworker popping by your desk, which is even more of a distraction.

Our own Alan Henry has a unique solution to the landline problem:

One trick I’ve used was to move the phone so the flashing call indicator and the caller ID were in view from my field of vision while working on my computer, and then turn the ringer off. That way I was never startled or jarred by a blaring phone, and when the red light started flashing, I could glance at it without taking my fingers off the keyboard and decide whether to answer it.

Again, you can quickly add that caller to your list and call them during your phone-only time slot. The biggest benefit of this is that you don’t hear the shrill ringing of the phone, which is enough to be a distraction anyway. In fact, just to make sure other phones in adjoining cubicles don’t get to you, plug in your headphones and get things done.

When you have to do a task that needs your full focus, the best trick might be moving from your workstation to another spot, like a coffee shop. Once you’re there, set up your communication so that regular callers know you are busy.

For example, drop a line to your manager to inform them that you’re working on your project and will be available in some time. Set your instant messenger status so that coworkers know now to disturb you. On your Android smartphone, automate texts with Agent so that when anyone calls or messages, they get an auto-reply telling them that you are busy at the moment and will call back.

Make It Easy to Regain Focus

How to Tame Your Work Phone and Be Productive

Despite your best efforts to cut out phone calls, there are some calls that you can’t ignore. For example, if your boss (or worse, your boss’s boss) calls you, then you need to pick up the phone.

To quickly regain focus once you hang up, use Ernest Hemingway’s trick of stopping mid-sentence. The idea is that if you leave your work halfway, then it’s a matter of completing the task or thought which you started—and that is a quicker way to get back into the flow. Of course, it’s not as good as ignoring the call completely, but hey, it’s better than nothing.


Just to put it into perspective, I have been eliminating an average of 15 phone interruptions a day since I implemented many of the above methods. Thwarting the distractions of your phone might just be the best thing you can do for your productivity.

Photo by Alexey Pushkin (Shutterstock), Triff (Shutterstock), Matt Reinbold, rochelle hartman, Alan Cleaver.

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An App That Tells You How Obsessed You Are With Checking Your Phone

An App That Tells You How Obsessed You Are With Checking Your Phone

Deep down you know you have a problem with obsessively checking your phone for status updates, messages, emails, and countless other distractions. But do you really know how often you check it? A simple free app called Checky will keep count for you, but first you’ll want to make sure you really want to know the harsh truth.

Checky’s available for both iOS and Android, and will not only keep track of how many times you unlock your device to take a peek at what’s going on, but where you were when you did so. But will Checky actually throw off your numbers every time you check your phone to see how often you’ve checked your phone? Makes you think. [Checky via Laughing Squid]

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Plunder Pirates: Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Cheats to be the Greatest Pirate Out There

Want to be the finest pirate out there? Our beginner’s guide to Plunder Pirates should help!

The post Plunder Pirates: Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Cheats to be the Greatest Pirate Out There appeared first on 148Apps.

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How to change how Wifi networks are sorted on your Android

A few taps in the settings can make it much easier to see available Wifi networks

Sometimes the simplest of functions on your phone, such as managing Wifi networks, can be heavily obscured. With Android being an open source platform and hardware manufacturers customizing the way the operating system looks on its phones, it can sometimes be tricky to figure out how to make simple alterations to the way your settings work.

Luckily, if you are trying to simply sort your list of open and previously used Wifi networks on your phone, the task is almost identical on every Android device on the market. Let us show you how to get it done.



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See New Yorkers Experience iPhone 6 Madness in Our Interactive Map

On Friday, Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus went on sale all around the world. To give you a glimpse at the scene in New York City, we put together this interactive map, which gives a bird’s eye view at the fervor around the new iPhones in Manhattan, with a special focus on the areas surrounding the borough’s five Apple Stores.  http://ift.tt/eA8V8J

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This week in bitcoin: Price falls below $400 as market plunges

With no obvious scandals like MtGox or a market malfunction on any of the exchanges, what caused the latest flash price crash in bitcoin is anyone’s guess.

This week in bitcoin: Price falls below $400 as market plunges originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2014.

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TrueCrypt Gets a New Life, New Name

storagedude writes: Amid ongoing security concerns, the popular open source encryption program TrueCrypt may have found new life under a new name. Under the terms of the TrueCrypt license — which was a homemade open source license written by the authors themselves rather than a standard one — a forking of the code is allowed if references to TrueCrypt are removed from the code and the resulting application is not called TrueCrypt. Thus, CipherShed will be released under a standard open source license, with long-term ambitions to become a completely new product.

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