Increasing your productivity with a virtual phone number – Modern Diplomacy

What is virtual phone number?
A virtual phone number, or sometimes called a cloud phone number or online phone number, is a phone number that is not associated with a physical phone line or a fixed address. Instead, it operates entirely on the internet, using software hosted by a third-party provider. Users can make and receive calls and text messages from a computer or mobile device, routing calls to their existing phone numbers or devices. Virtual phone numbers are often used by businesses or individuals who need a dedicated phone number for specific purposes, such as marketing campaigns, remote work, or privacy reasons.
What use it can bring
Using a virtual phone number can increase personal productivity by enabling call forwarding to multiple devices, allowing for efficient communication without missing important calls. Additionally, it helps to keep work and personal calls separate and organized, leading to less stress and more focus on each task. The ability to set custom greetings and automatic responses also saves time and allows for a personalized touch in communication. Finally, virtual phone numbers provide added privacy and security by keeping personal phone numbers private. Using a virtual phone number can significantly improve productivity in professional life as well. It allows calls to be forwarded to multiple devices, ensuring that important calls are never missed. It also enables professionals to have a separate business phone number, keeping personal and work communication separate. Virtual phone numbers can also streamline customer communication by providing automated menus and call routing to appropriate departments. This can save time for employees, allowing them to focus on tasks that require their attention. Additionally, virtual phone numbers can provide insight into call data, allowing professionals to better understand call volume and adjust staffing accordingly.
How to set up a virtual phone number
Setting up a virtual phone number is relatively easy. Firstly, decide on the type of virtual number you require, whether it’s a local or a toll-free number. Next, choose a virtual phone service provider that aligns with your region and business needs. Once you have signed up with a service provider, select your virtual phone number and customize your call management settings. Then, connect your virtual number to your business phone, cell phone, or VOIP to answer calls made to your virtual number. Lastly, test your virtual phone to ensure it functions correctly.
Some of the top virtual phone number providers according to customer reviews and industry analysis include ESIM Plus, Grasshopper, Google Voice,, FreedomVoice, and RingCentral. These providers offer a variety of features including custom greetings, call routing, voicemail transcription, and mobile apps. They also offer different pricing plans to fit the needs and budget of small businesses and entrepreneurs. Additionally, virtual phone number providers such as MySudo and Burner offer disposable phone numbers for privacy and security purposes.
Some tips to use a virtual number more effectively:
In conclusion, opting for a virtual phone number can significantly increase your productivity. With its multiple features that allow for easy handling of calls and messages, the virtual phone number can streamline your communication system, save time and reduce stress. It can also provide a professional image that increases your credibility to clients and customers. Additionally, the virtual phone number eliminates the need for expensive hardware and maintenance costs associated with traditional phone systems. Therefore, knowing what is virtual phone number and investing in it is a wise decision for any business or individual looking to increase their productivity and efficiency.
Anatomy of a Viral YouTube Video: Key Takeaways for Marketers

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They say that social media is the greatest equalizer and that can be said when it comes to YouTube videos. Historically, YouTube has catapulted many average individuals to household name popularity.
Music behemoths like Justin Bieber started with homemade YouTube videos of him singing covers and earned more than 10 billion views even with little to no professional advertising. Michelle Phan started as a regular makeup guru posting makeup tutorials on YouTube but now has a cosmetics empire.
The difference is that they started early and the competition back then wasn’t as fierce as it is now. Today, you can buy YT views and level the playing field or take advantage of organic marketing to get the viewership you are looking for.
One can consider a video viral if it has garnered millions of views in a short period of time, usually in a matter of days or weeks. Back then, a million views was already enough to consider a video viral. But these days, you will need more views than that to enter the viral video range. But unlike then, it is much easier to make a video go viral, thanks to the higher number of YouTube users and its accessibility to users. These days, people spend more time on YouTube as well and YouTube’s very own algorithm enables even the smaller channels to reach out to a larger audience. According to statistics, the average person spends about 45 minutes a day on this platform. And since it is now accessible through our phones and SmartTVs, people prefer being on YouTube rather than other streaming sites.
Basically, for a video to go viral, your video has to be interesting enough that it gets shared by the ones who view it.
What’s in it for you? Why go the extra time and effort to make a video rake millions and millions of views? You might notice that many YouTubers go the extra mile just for those views.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably already know that the more views you have, the higher your chances of earning revenues. This is why it is a great equalizer. The average person can end up earning enough to retire at an early age when they get viral videos. You can live a comfortable life while doing the things you love to do. In the US, the average YouTuber can earn up to about $1,145 in revenues in a week.
If you are a business owner or you plan on building your own brand, YouTube is also a great place to establish that brand. There is a built-in following just waiting to discover your videos. This platform allows you to showcase your talents, skills, or products to gain more clients. It’s a highly effective marketing tool, especially if you plan on going global.
Since YouTube is accessible in most countries, you can expand your market and clientele by using it as an advertising platform.
So what are those videos that typically become viral? No matter how many channels come and go on this platform, the recipe for creating viral videos typically remains the same and that is to cater to the interest of the public. What would interest them? From the many viral videos around, here are just some of the niches and ideas you might want to consider:
Funny videos and skits are always a big hit, especially if the humor appeals to a large audience. And with the advent of YouTube shorts, these skits became even more popular. People like funny videos, especially when prepared in shorter and easy-to-digest video formats.
A tip for making funny videos or skits: know your audience. Which age group are you catering to? You should make sure that they can relate to your jokes and the humorous elements of the videos. For instance, a 90s-themed skit will definitely appeal to millennials more than Gen Z people.
Make an acoustic cover of a popular song. If you know how to play the guitar, make a guitar version of a trending song. You will immediately get suggested by the algorithm. If you make really cool artwork or craft, make a timelapse video of you doing your art or craft.
Unique talents such as sand art have also made it big in the YouTube world in the past. If you have skills that the world hasn’t seen yet, now is the best time to showcase them.
Hop on the video challenge trends. You have much higher chances of going viral when you try the trending video challenges.
So many people would go “aww” for all those cute cat or puppy videos. And what’s even nicer is that they get repetitive views. People will watch those videos again and again just for the sheer cuteness of the animals.
Do you have pets at home that you dote on? Just put a camera in your home and capture all their shenanigans. Go through those videos and piece them together to create an interesting video of your pets just living their lives without you in the house.
Discovered a new place to dine in on a low budget? Go ahead and do a tour and food recommendation. Do you have life hacks such as how to clean your home without putting in so much effort? Show your recommendations. So many people turn to YouTube for cleaning hacks.
Do you have a hack on how to open a can without a can opener? These nifty tricks will definitely get passed around a lot. Mind-blowing videos will surely be a big hit with a larger audience.
Now onto the good stuff. What should you do to make your YouTube video viral? Here are some tips that will help you get the numbers:
There have been a lot of times when poor-quality videos have gone viral. These are just videos taken with a regular phone. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on fancy gadgets. However, good quality videos are more visually dynamic and anything that can make people stop and appreciate the quality of your videos is a win.
So, take the time to take good-quality videos. Consider the lighting. Make sure you are in a place where you can record properly. Don’t worry though because there are now a lot of video editing software and tools that you can use. There are also paid courses that you can take if you want to up the ante. That will level up your editing skills, which can be very useful so you aren’t randomly grappling with the editing software you have.
It’s not just the video as well. Also, make sure you are taking advantage of the algorithm and get it to notice you. You can cleverly insert a keyword. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What kind of title will make you click? Try checking out how other YouTubers create their video titles.
Don’t just make a video and leave it to chance. Check the statistics and reports as well. Do some research so you know what kinds of videos get the most views. That will help you find a good niche that you might be able to get good revenues from.
Caught something funny in your video? Use that as a thumbnail. People might not read the title but they will definitely see the thumbnail and this can pique their attention.
However, make sure you also check the guidelines imposed by YouTube when it comes to picking thumbnails. Pick a thumbnail that still follows these guidelines.
No matter how well you edit your videos, if the content itself isn’t entertaining or useful to the viewers, it won’t be passed around. If you are creating an educational video, it should contain enough information that will hold the attention of viewers and make them want to share it on their own social media pages. So don’t go stingy with the information. Pack it all in and they will trust your channel more and come back for more.
When you are done creating your content, you can consider buying views. Buying views allows you to gain the traction you need to draw in more viewers. It’s like building a solid foundation so that you can reach your target growth faster.
Nothing beats authenticity. When people sense authenticity from you, they will naturally want to stay. That’s what you should strive to gain – not just passing viewers but subscribers who will want to view your videos time and time again.
With all the social media sites these days that also offer a great way to monetize views, why should you focus your attention on YouTube? Is it still worth it despite millions of people competing for the same audience?
There is still a lot of room for content producers on YouTube. One of the biggest perks of this platform is that it enables channels with smaller following to get their content viewed by more people. That is because their algorithm promotes videos depending on the relevance of the content and not the number of views. As a beginner, you have a higher chance of growing your channel on this platform.
To make sure you get higher chances of having viral YouTube videos, here are some of the mistakes you should avoid making:
Mistake #1: Just blindly going with the trend.
We know we said to go with what’s current but if you just do it without proper planning and proper execution, the result will just put off some people. Value proper production and quality videography over just following trends.
Mistake #2: Producing too long content.
It’s important to make your videos jam-packed with interesting things but if it’s getting too long, you could lose your viewer’s attention. What’s important is that you get your message across and you get it in a clear and succinct way. People have short attention span these days and having videos that are too long might make your channel seem boring.
Mistake #3: Focusing on short-term results.
Don’t just make content for the sake of creating content. Be intentional with your channel’s theme. What theme or niche do you want to be in?
To know that, you should know what your strengths are. Are you good at acting and making skits? Make a video about funny skits. Are you good at creative stuff? Make videos of creative stuff. It’s all about planning your content for the long term.
Mistake #4: Not supporting other YouTubers.
Networking is also a good way to market your videos. Reach out to other YouTubers and ask to do a collaboration. Collaborations help YouTubers with smaller following to reach a broader audience. So it’s time to be friendly and try to leave comments on other YouTubers.
Mistake #5: Creating videos that are not evergreen.
You would not want to spend so much time creating your videos only for the views to stop rolling in after a few days or weeks. So many views go viral years after they were first uploaded. So, make sure you make videos that will remain evergreen and relevant no matter what the season and trends are.
Staying true to who you are as a person and what your interests are will give you a better chance of creating viral YouTube videos. So don’t be afraid to take videos of what you love and share them with the world. You never know just who you might inspire by your story.
Heat pumps in buildings are in focus as the EU slashes emissions and boosts clean energy.
At the foot of the mountains of western Italy between the cities of Turin and Cuneo, Europe recently took a step forward in a campaign to provide homes with clean energy as part of the fight against climate change.
In the municipality of Verzuolo, a project called HAPPENING used EU funding to install heat pumps for a 10-unit apartment building in the run-up to this past winter. The pumps heated the apartments using solar power harnessed from rooftop panels.
Pumps push
‘Most of the energy used for heating was produced by photovoltaics and we have good feedback from the users,’ said Lorenzo Civalleri, an engineer at Italian thermal energy company Tecnozenith, which helped to set up the system.
Buildings are a major contributor to global warming because of their energy consumption for heating and cooling. In Europe, they account for 40% of energy demand and 36% of emissions of CO2, the main greenhouse gas.
About half of all energy consumed in the EU is for heating and cooling and more than 70% still comes from fossil fuels, primarily natural gas, according to Eurostat. In the residential sector, around four-fifths of energy consumption is to heat spaces and water.
Consequently, buildings are a significant part of new European legislation underpinning an EU push to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 55% in 2030 compared with 1990 levels and to become climate neutral by 2050.
And here’s where European research and development come into play.
‘Decarbonisation of existing buildings will have a key role to play in reaching the climate-protection goals that we have in Europe,’ said Irantzu Urkola, coordinator of HAPPENING. 
One European priority is accelerating the installation of heat pumps, which are an alternative to boilers.
With almost 17 million installed across Europe at the end of 2021, heat pumps not only are more efficient than boilers but also allow greater use of renewable energy including solar.
10 million more
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the EU has frontloaded plans for expanding renewables and enhancing energy efficiency to accelerate a shift away from Russian fossil fuels.
As part of this “RePowerEU” strategy, Europe aims to double the rate of deployment of heat pumps in buildings and install an extra 10 million by 2027.
That would help the EU achieve one of its big new headline targets in the climate fight: roughly doubling the share of renewables in overall energy consumption to at least 42.5% in 2030.
HAPPENING, which began in October 2020 and runs through September 2024, has focused on installing heat pumps in homes and working with their occupants to highlight the benefits including convenience and reliability.
Civalleri of Tecnozenith regards the Verzuolo demonstration, which covered 10 two-room apartments in total, as a success.
‘The heating season is finished and there were no complaints – that’s good news for us,’ he said. ‘We checked the system regularly and fixed some small issues, but we’re quite happy with the functioning of the system in the first season.’
Next stops: Austria and Spain
HAPPENING is now gearing up for heat-pump demonstrations in the town of Liezen in central Austria and in the municipality of Pasaia in northern Spain.
Heat pumps use electricity to warm a space or to produce hot water. The devices extract heat from the surrounding air, ground or water and “pump” it indoors.
When solar panels are part of the system, the electricity consumed by heat pumps is renewable because it comes from the sun. In transferring the heat, the pumps avoid the need to generate it in the way that conventional technologies such as boilers do, making the system more efficient.
In Verzuolo, first the system heats the water to 20-30 °C and stores it in a central tank before distribution around the building. In combination with rooftop solar power, the water can be heated when the sun is shining and then stored in the central tank until needed, maximising the use of renewables in the system.
‘Distributing water at this low temperature, as opposed to hotter water, means a dramatic reduction in heat losses,’ said Urkola, who works at Spain-based research and technological development centre Tecnalia.
Each apartment has its own individual heat-pump system, allowing the household to control its temperature.
The HAPPENING team will use data from the Verzuolo, Liezen and Pasaia sites to help develop guidelines for installers and consumers. In general, the project participants say a wider uptake of heat pumps is needed through more public awareness of them.
‘Local authorities will need to promote these kinds of solutions for good energy renovations of buildings, using consolidated technology that is easy to install and implement,’ said Civalleri.
Awareness and training
Boosting awareness of heat-pump technology was an aim of the EU-funded TRI-HP project, which ended in February 2023 after four years.
As part of the initiative, the team addressed the barriers to more widespread use of heat pumps.
Workshops with engineers, plumbers, architects and others responsible for installing heating systems highlighted a need for more education about heat pumps and their potential as well as improved training on how to put them in place.
In some cases, workshop participants cited higher upfront costs as a barrier. 
TRI-HP sought to develop a heat-pump system that would offer the best of the currently available technologies at a lower cost, according to Daniel Carbonell, the project coordinator.
TRI-HP, which brought together research institutes and industry partners from seven European countries, worked on two types.
One is a dual-sourcing system, which uses heat from a bore hole and from the air. Alternating between the two sources at different times of the day means the bore hole doesn’t need to be so deep, keeping investment costs down.
‘It’s usually air or ground, but this technology uses both,’ said Carbonell, who is team leader for thermal systems and modelling at Switzerland’s SPF Institute for Solar Technology. ‘This is a significant cost reduction.’
The second system uses the sun’s heat through so-called solar thermal collectors, passing it into water to be used as a source for the pump.
Even with technological advances like those under HAPPENING and TRI-HP, faster installation of heat pumps across Europe will depend on greater public awareness of the potential savings and more training of heating engineers.
Many installers are used to fitting gas and oil boilers that bring in easy profits. They’ll need to be convinced that it is worth learning new techniques. 
‘There is a need for more training,’ Carbonell said. ‘And removing mental barriers is important too.’
Research in this article was funded by the EU.
This article was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine. 
Semiconductors are as important for global capitalism today as access to energy resources. Only a handful of countries can produce the most advanced microchips, and control over their supply is becoming a key battleground in the US-China trade war.
If energy resources are the heart of global capitalism, pumping fuel around its body to keep it accumulating, its brain is made up of trillions of semiconductors. Cars, bombs, phones, refrigerators, even energy systems — today, they all rely on the computer processing power of chips. Without semiconductors in the information age, capitalism would be brain dead.
Is it more critical for capital and its various nation-states to guarantee a sufficient supply of energy resources or of semiconductors? In his new book Chip War, Chris Miller makes a compelling case for the latter: “Unlike oil, which can be bought from many countries, our production of computing power depends fundamentally on a series of choke points: tools, chemicals, and software that are often produced by a handful of companies — and sometimes only by one. No other facet of the economy is so dependent on so few firms.”
Chips, then, are both essential and difficult to produce. That combination makes them central to the strategic thinking of all nation-states.
The rise of the semiconductor has been all about miniaturization. By getting ever-more transistors onto the same-sized piece of silicon, computer processing power continually expands.
Among the first companies to manufacture commercial chips was Fairchild Semiconductor, widely considered to be one of the founders of Silicon Valley. The first chip that Fairchild sold in 1960 had four transistors. Today, the transistor count in a chip in Apple’s iPhone 14 is fifteen billion.
The US state was key to the chip industry’s liftoff. In the first half-decade of chip commercialization, around 95 percent of Fairchild’s chips were bought by NASA or the US military. While the civilian market would soon dwarf the public sector as a buyer of chips, US semiconductor capital and the US state have remained closely connected up to the present day.
The rise of the semiconductor industry was key to American hegemony both directly and indirectly. In the late 1970s, there was genuine fear in the Department of Defense (DoD) that the United States was falling behind the Soviet Union militarily. Under the leadership of William Perry, the DoD switched to a military strategy that was heavily dependent on semiconductors, known as the Offset Strategy. On that terrain, the Soviet Union — which never got close to catching the United States in computing power — could not compete.
Just as important to American imperialism was the decision of its emerging semiconductor firms to offshore production. Texas Instruments, one of the pioneers of semiconductors alongside Fairchild, established a plant in Taiwan as early as 1969.
The United States might have lost the war in Vietnam, but offshoring electronics production — especially semiconductors — ensured that American capitalism won the peace.
In the mid-1980s, fearing China’s growing power, the Taiwanese government realized it could guarantee its continued importance to the United States by making itself essential to global semiconductor supply chains.
Chang’s Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has proved more successful than Taiwan’s government could have ever dreamed. TSMC is now responsible for around 55 percent of all chips produced worldwide, and over 90 percent of the most advanced chips. Its customers include Apple and the DoD. TSMC has succeeded in the government’s ambition of making the island-state indispensable to chip supply chains.
As Asia’s economic power grew on the back of offshored electronics production, one country in particular emerged as the continent’s dominant player. Like South Korea and Taiwan, China began as a source of low-cost labor for Western big tech and evolved from there into a technological powerhouse — one that is big enough to be a major threat to US hegemony.
The United States has the upper hand in almost every sphere of the chip war. While large parts of the semiconductor supply chain are now outside of the United States, they can be found in countries — Taiwan, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Japan — that are Washington’s allies. The United States itself still has a monopoly in some essential manufacturing and software tools.
China produces 15 percent of global chips, and that number is rising quickly as the state pours investment in, but they are almost all low-tech chips.
The real leverage which China possesses stems from its huge consumer market, upon which American big tech is reliant for its revenues. Indeed, the Chinese market is so enticing that two American semiconductor firms (IBM and AMD) have even been willing to trade technology in return for market access.
In May 2020, the United States banned any company which used US chip-making products (basically every chip manufacturer) from doing business with Huawei, the gem of Chinese technology.
In this effort, the United States has been extremely successful in curtailing one of the world’s most important technology firms, by methods that include corralling allies into following its diktats. The impact of this offensive is clear: Huawei has had to divest part of its smartphone and server business, while its 5G rollout has been delayed due to chip shortages.
China’s response to all of this has been almost nonexistent, beyond strongly worded statements and appeals to the World Trade Organization.
The picture that emerges is one of “weaponized interdependence,” as Miller puts it, quoting the title of a 2021 book by political scientists Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman. Weaponized interdependence means that the closer that countries are tied together, the more avenues there are for conflict.
It would not take a lot for weaponized interdependence to escalate to war. In any war scenario, control over Taiwan and keeping TSMC operational would be a key aim for both sides. But one thing is clear: if chip production in Taiwan was cut off for any length of time, the economic impact would be comparable to the global pandemic lockdowns. Such is the centrality of TSMC’s chips to the world economy.
It may not even take a war to knock out TSMC. Its Hsinchu Science Park factories sit atop a fault line that produced an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale as recently as 1999. Global capitalism is just one large Taiwanese earthquake — or one major geopolitical miscalculation — away from meltdown.
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