Tool: Atom Finance

I recently came across a finance tool that I have been pretty pleased by so far. Credit to Morning Brew newsletter, which introduced the tool. It’s called Atom Finance. It is essentially very similar to Seeking Alpha. As far as I am concerned, Atom Finance can do pretty much what Seeking Alpha does. Below are a few screenshots for your reference

There are three features I particularly like about the tool so far. The first is that in the Financials segment, I can pick and choose variables to show on the interactive bar chart. All I need to do is to click on the variables in the table below the chart.

The other feature I like is the capability to customize peer group, a feature that I believe is currently at an extra cost on Seeking Alpha

The third feature that I appreciate is that I can view earnings call transcripts smoothly from the beginning.

There are usually a few hours between the end of the earnings calls and the transcripts on Seeking Alpha. I haven’t observed how long it takes on Atom Finance, but I will and once I do, I will update this post accordingly.

For now, the tool is free just like Seeking Alpha. It is a handy tool to do research and I personally prefer the User Interace of Atom Finance to that of Seeking Alpha, which I am deeply grateful to for their transcripts. I am by no means affiliated with Atom Finance in any capacity. I am just being reciprocal of their allowing me to use the tool for free.

I hope you will like the tool and if you do, help spread the word to help a young company.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a pro privacy search engine that is available on almost all browsers. Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo does not profile you online, meaning that the search engine doesn’t collect your information or track you everywhere so that the information can be used to tailor ads. DDG has been doing pretty well. Here is its traffic report:

Source: DuckDuckGo

I use both Google and DuckDuckGo on my Mac, with the latter as my default search engine. Even though DDG does the job most of the time and gives me reasonable results, it is not as good as Google. I am not even talking about the personalization of searches. Below are the two examples that shows DDG has some work to do.

Search Results

When you look for a location, DDG doesn’t offer immediately a map option on the engine to the location. Here is my trying to find Ted and Wally’s, a known ice cream shop in Omaha.

There is nowhere I can find its opening hours, address or direction to the place immediately. Here is how it looks on Google, with the same keyword

There is a lot more information given by Google. Instead of multiple clicks to find out the basic information, I don’t even have to go anywhere to know the address, phone number and opening hours. Direction is just one click away.

Search Time Frame

With DuckDuckGo, you can only filter searches as far as the past month.

On Google, the options are much more varied.

I love DDG. The team believes that it is possible to have a profitable search engine without profiling users. It’s been killing it. However, I hope that they can bring more improvements to the engine and make it better so that one day I will be an exclusive user of DDG, instead of having both DDG and Google on my computer right now.

If you haven’t used DDG and you care about your privacy online, try it because as mentioned, it does the job.

Tool: Design Ideas in PowerPoint

A late night preparation for Monday’s work led me to the discovery of an interesting feature in PowerPoint. I have no idea how I got to have it on my Mac, but I am pleased that I do. 

Apparently, there is a Design Ideas feature in PowerPoint. After some text is added to a slide, the feature suggests ideas how to structure a slide. Below is an example I got

1st round of suggestions on a slide with simple text

The lock icon is suggested because of, I guess, my use of the words “encryption” and “security”. After I chose that particular design, the tool kept feeding me more suggestions based on what I chose

2nd round of suggestions 

This tool is not perfect, of course. Yet, it can be pretty handy to anyone desiring to deliver an effective presentation. It’s the whole point, isn’t it? Using visuals and effects to drive home the message, instead of a sea of characters and words. 

Tool: Realtimeboard

I stumbled upon this tool while reading an article on TechCrunch. It’s an online collaboration tool with visual diagrams that users can use to generate ideas and present. Boards can be shared between multiple teammates; which I can will be pretty valuable if you love the power of collaboration and white boards as a brainstorming tool. At my company, the C-suite folks all have white boards inside their office to flesh out ideas. Some whiteboards are also placed in the hallways to keep everyone updated on the status of projects. However, physical white boards are physically limited and it can get tricky to engage multiple folks, especially from different offices.

Realtimeboard is your whiteboard without such limitations. The boards are infinitely large and can be zoomed in or out comfortably. The visual components are pretty straightforward and easy to use. Users can add links, comments and images at will. Furthermore, boards are accessible regardless of where members are.

Below is a board I am working on in a school project.

realtimeboard

As can be seen in the image, comments can be added in yellow boxes and links come with the logo of the website links. Nodes can be moved around or added easily. If you want to mimic the same map in, let’s say, PowerPoint, moving or adding nodes requires taxing extra work on moving the connection lines or arrows around. With Realtimeboard, such a requirement is unnecessary. Therefore, a lot of time is saved.

Export options are plenty: PDF, image, csv and so on:

realtimeboard_2

I am not an investor in this firm. Just a fan that wants to show some token of appreciation to a cool tool.

Tool: Repl.it

I recently and fortunately came across a very interesting tool called Repl.it. Here is what it brings to the table:

Usually, the normal steps in programming include writing code in a text editor such as Pycharm or Eclipse, uploading to a repository such as GitHub and pushing it to a PaaS like Heroku or PythonAnywhere. However, even a text editor such as Pycharm requires some installation and housekeeping that can seem daunting to beginners.

Repl.it lowers that entry barrier. It allows coding in many popular languages right from a browser. Below is a quick code I wrote to have a dropdown menu from 1 to 49:

repl

All it takes is Internet, a browser and one-minute sign-up.

As of now, Repl.it seems to be focused on students. It’s free and its premium packages are very student-friendly. The Classroom Pro package is only $1/student/month. I think coding is fun and Repl.it seems to be highly useful in making coding accessible.

I am not an investor in the tool or one of its employees. Just a fan. I am glad that the startup recently raised some funding from the VCs.

Gmail new look and ZenHub add-on

Gmail new look

I have been using the new UI of Gmail for around one or two months. While I am not a professional user, here is what I think about the new look.

So far, the look and feel is more sleek and modern than its previous predecessor. In the past, the Calendar & Task were hidden under the Compose button. Now, they are more visible by being on the right-hand column of the screen. If you use Calendar & Task frequently, it is a nice improvement to have.

The new Gmail offers recommended responses, depending on the content of the received message. Below is an example. A schoolmate of mine thanked me for helping me with a matter. Gmail offered three suggested responses and all I have to do is to click on one of them. Perhaps, it’s interesting, but to some extent, I don’t feel too comfortable when Google outright shows that our email is read. Nonetheless, if I keep using the service knowing that my emails are read anyway, the new feature may come in handy as some point, especially when I am on the go.

Gmail_1

Another feature I noticed was reminders. I received an email from a friend 5 days ago. Detecting that I haven’t replied for 5 days, Gmail has a subtle reminder as you can see below. I don’t have much traffic to my mailbox, but if you are a busy person with a lot of email exchange, this may be useful.

Gmail_2

So far, I have been pleased with the new Gmail experience. I wasn’t a big fan of Google products’ UX and UI in the past, but this time I have to say that they did the right thing here.

ZenHub

I have been in a couple of software development courses at school. Trello was our go-to Kanban tool to manage stories and tasks. While the tool does its job, I was suggested to use another tool called ZenHub.

ZenHub is a free add-on on Chrome browser. It’s integrated into your Github account. If your team shares a private GitHub repository, ZenHub can be integrated into that repository and your team can manage epics & stories without changing browser tabs.

ZenHub_1

As you can see on the screenshot, ZenHub offers many more features than Trello. The default set-up includes more than three columns that are offered by Trello. The tool also comes with Reports function as can be seen on the screenshot. The Reports function imports information you put in each epic/story and helps create burndown chart with an extra manual step on Excel.

ZenHub_2

Of course, more features in a new tool require some getting-used-to. Nonetheless, I think it’s a convenient software. Shout-out to the ZenHub team and I look forward to using it more often in the future.