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The best gear for starting a small business – TechCrunch

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Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions.

When you’re ready to start a small business, having some helpful essentials will make the process a bit easier. Whether you need to print your own business cards or you’re ready to process orders on a reliable laptop, we’ve put together a few of our recommendations that will cover the basics.

Photo: Michael Hession                                                                                   

Business Card Printing Service: Vistaprint

Vistaprint has the best print quality of all the services we tested, and its website offers the best ordering and design experience. If you don’t need a large quantity of business cards, Vistaprint will allow you to order batches as small as 100. You can choose from thousands of templates and a variety of finishes. During printing testing, we were able to read small type and we found that the service’s colors and trimming were accurate.

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Website Builder for Small Businesses: Wix

For an easy-to-use website builder that makes editing, creating, and finding your business’ site manageable, we recommend Wix. Compared to other site builders we tested, Wix’s template-editing tools get a working site up and running fastest. The platform offers a broad range of plug-ins for integrating tools like Google Maps and OpenTable. Adding plug-ins for things like contact forms, menus and reservations is also painless. There aren’t an overwhelming number of website templates, but the ones that are available offer a good mix. Plus Wix has an intuitive editing interface and built-in SEO tools.

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

 Windows Ultrabook: Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 is a powerful laptop that can be used on the go or with your home office setup. It’s light, has a durable build, plus it’s equipped with an impressive 13.3-inch screen. Previous versions of the XPS 13 have been our top pick for over three years, because it offers the best balance of features and performance of any ultrabook we’ve tested. We like that it’s compact, comes with a good trackpad and keyboard, and that it has a mix of new and old ports. We recommend the configuration that has 8GB of RAM, a 256 GB PCIe solid-state drive, and an Intel Core i7-8550U processor.

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald                                                                                                               

All-in-one Printer: HP OfficeJet Pro 8720

Having your own all-in-one printer will let you print and scan important documents whenever you need to. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 offers simple installation and it’s paired with intuitive software and ink that’s affordable. It has a durable build and a large, responsive touchscreen. In addition to handling everyday printing tasks, the OfficeJet Pro can produce colorful graphics and high-quality photos. You can connect to and operate the printer from a computer, tablet, mobile device or the printer control panel. In our tests over Wi-Fi, we didn’t experience any connectivity issues.                          

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

VPN Service: IVPN

A trusted virtual private network provides more online protection beyond device encryption, secure passwords and privacy plug-ins while using a home network or public Wi-Fi. After spending over 130 hours testing 32 VPN services, we chose IVPN as the best VPN provider for most people. It’s easy to set up, has easy-to-use apps, and can be used with most any device running macOS, Windows, iOS or Android. Overall, IVPN offers solid performance and doesn’t cut corners on security nor transparency. You don’t have to worry about your activity or logins being monitored. It’s pricier than competitors but worth the investment because it’s fast, stable, integrates with all major platforms, and comes with features that block data on unsecured connections.

These picks may have been updated by WirecutterWhen readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions.

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The First Tesla Semi Has Been Delivered After Lengthy Delays

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There had long been suggestion Pepsi would be one of Tesla’s biggest customers — with a subsidiary spotted installing charging stations at one of its plants and test driving the trucks earlier this year. Tesla also placed an order for 100 of the high tech trucks shortly after they were announced in 2017. In October, Musk confirmed the company’s first truck was almost ready for delivery, and it would be going to the soft drink manufacturer.

Today, Tesla finally made it official and delivered its first production semis to Pepsi. Speaking at the handover, which took place at a Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, Musk described his motivation for designing the truck. The Tesla CEO claims that trucks make up less than 1% of vehicles in the United States, but are responsible for a large chunk of emissions. Musk said it will both help the environment and improve the health of individuals living near highways. At the end of the presentation, Musk thanked Pepsico and described them as a “great partner.” 

The trucks’ keycards were then handed over to Pepsi’s representatives, followed by several high fives. The trucks’ first cargo run involved “an enormous amount of Frito Lays” which were handed out to people in attendance. Pepsi’s Kirk Tanner then took the mic and said: “I want to thank the people who have spent countless hours to make this a reality.” before thanking Elon Musk and the other Tesla representatives. Other companies are also interested in Tesla’s electric semi. Budweiser, Walmart, and UPS are amongst those who have placed pre-orders — with Budweiser ordering at least 40 of the large electric vehicles.

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Kanye West Is No Longer Buying Twitter-Rival Parler

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It’s unclear whether West’s recent controversies have anything to do with the Parler deal falling apart. In a statement shared with CNBC, Parler’s owner notes that the “decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November.” Parler says it will be on the lookout for the growth opportunities, without clarifying if it was looking for investors to scale up, or full-fledged buyers. The latter seems unlikely to happen, given the current state of layoffs in the tech industry and the looming fears of a recession.

Parlement Technologies reportedly had high hopes from its acquisition deal with Kanye West. Soon after the agreement press release went out, Parler sent out an email to its “VIP” users, offering them perks like a gold badge for being valuable personalities on the platform. Politico reports that the email campaign inadvertently revealed the personal contact information of nearly a dozen lawmakers and some well-known conservative personalities.

Citing an insider source, Axios reports that West’s unstable financial situation following the cancellation of lucrative deals with the likes of Adidas played a role in his Parler plans falling apart. In the meanwhile, West has returned to Twitter, after his account was restricted for a few weeks ago over sharing anti-Semitic remarks. West currently has a huge follower base of over 18 million on Twitter, which dwarfs the total number of users on Parler, as of December 2021.

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Elon Musk Says Twitter’s Potential Removal From iOS App Store Was ‘Misunderstanding’

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Barely two days after Elon Musk feuded with Apple publicly, he met with Tim Cook to settle the differences. “We resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so,” Elon Musk tweeted last evening. This was a few hours after he shared a video of Apple’s HQ to disclose the location of the meeting.

However, Elon Musk didn’t reveal if Apple will continue advertising on Twitter. According to the Washington Post, Apple was the biggest ad spender on Twitter in Q1 2022. It spent an average of $4 million per week to run ads on Twitter between January to March this year — this added up to about 4% of Twitter’s revenue. However, Reuters reports that Apple reduced its weekly ad budget on Twitter to $131,600 a few weeks after Elon Musk bought the social media company. We also haven’t heard from Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, about the agenda of his meeting with Elon Musk. 

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