Bluestacks – Run Android Apps on Your Computer

Bluestacks – Run Android Apps on Your Computer

We all have favorite phone apps to run our business, interact with friends and family, or entertain us.

But if you are on the Android system it can sometimes be painful when you can’t use your phone and need or want to use that app. Bluestacks runs an Android emulator right on your PC or Mac!

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Bluestacks

Quite simply, Bluestacks runs an Android emulator on your computer by basically creating a new phone on your computer. You set it up like a new phone or tablet with your Google account, you get access to the Google Play store, and you install the apps you wish to use.

Why Would I Use An Emulator Instead of My Phone?

So why would you use an Android emulator instead of just pulling the phone out of you pocket or purse and using that?

Some of the reasons would include :

  • Your favorite apps may not be available in the Windows or Apple stores, or in the Chrome Extensions.
  • Many favorite apps are available in online versions through the browser, but if you have many tabs open at one, it’s easy to lose track of what’s there and close it by accident or lose information when the browser crashes.
  • Some workplaces simply frown, discourage, or completely refuse to allow the use of smartphones in the office.
  • In multiple monitor uses it allows the Bluestacks app to be placed in a position outside the typical email and web browser locations.

How Bluestacks Works and Looks

First all, if you’ve ever used an Android tablet, it looks and works very similar to that. The interface has large, easy to click/touch shortcuts. Bluestacks will work with both touch screen and a mouse/keyboard so don’t think you need a touchscreen computer to work the app.

Each app will open in their own tab, and music and other media will play unless the “System App” folder is opened to change settings, visit the Google Play store and other maintenance items. There is a small big of lag noticeable, but compared to virtual Windows boxes or other emulators, Bluestacks run very efficiently.

There’s not much noticeable drain on computer resources, but I didn’t test it on a lower-end Windows computer, so there is a possibility of the app not wanting to run efficiently on boxes with low RAM or single-core processors. Remember you ARE running basically another device off your laptop or desktop.

One thing I did not like the tendency of some apps to default to portrait mode. I saw this on my Chromebook as well, and there is no way I’ve found to fix this. The portrait mode happens when an app is not designed to work in tablet mode and switches the emulator window to portrait mode to display properly. Most of the time the window goes back to landscape when another app is opened, but I have seen it stay portrait when switching back.

Should I Try Bluestacks?

Easy answer? Yes! If you’re like me and rely on your smartphone or tablet to handle some tasks like your calendar, task management, time tracking, notes, chat communication and more Bluestack is a great way of handling all of those. I used to listen to podcasts and music, keep Slack open, handle incoming website tickets and view/edit my calendar on my Chromebook and phone. Now my phone sits in my charger and my laptop went back to being a laptop instead of a second primary device.

And when I get the urge to play games like the now popular FIFA Soccer, Hungry Shark World during Shark Week, or the always fun Clash of Clans, I can do it on my large computer screen instead of my tiny smartphone.

Give Bluestacks a try, and let me know what you think!

Got a suggestion for a topic, interview or other show idea? Send it over at BeBizzy.com or on Twitter @BeBizzy

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I receive mobile devices with line of service from Verizon and will occasionally talk about them in blog posts, social media and podcasts. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

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Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Episode 66 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast : Samsung Galaxy S9

We’re back after a few weeks of traveling, too much work, and an illness thrown in for good measure with episode 66 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast where we discuss the Samsung Galaxy S9 phone and how it compares to the Samsung Note 8 and the Google Pixel 2 XL.

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Before we get into the main portion of the podcast, I have a few smaller items to talk about; a cautionary tale and two reasons to back up.

  • Cautionary Tale : woman has a computer break down, needs to write an article on her iPhone. Instead of using one of dozens of apps, she instead chooses to write the article on the tiny iPhone keyboard and uses her texting app, thinking when it’s done she can send it and then migrate it to a computer. Being mostly done one evening, she left the app running and went to sleep. The next morning, she picked up the phone, hit the space key, and ERASED everything she had previously written on her article. There is NO WAY to recover that information. Had she used one of the many office or note taking apps available for little or no cost, this would not have been an issue.
  • Backup Reminder One : Was asked by ANOTHER person last week if it’s possible to recover photos lost on a now-defective iPhone. This individual has never turned on their iCloud backups, Google Photos, Dropbox, Carbonite, or anything else, just left them on their phone. Now that the phone is dead there is NO way to recover these treasures without expensive recovery processes which may or may not work. BACK UP YOUR DATA!!
  • Backup Reminder Two : Many of my websites were attacked last week. I knew this by getting warned by the Wordfence app, which notifies me if anyone has a failed login attempt or if any critical files were changed. By using a weekly backup, all I had to do was restore a backup for the sites and change some login info.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Review

  • Had my Samsung S9 phone for about a week and it’s finally time to provide my review, and my comparisons to the Samsung Note 8 and Google Pixel 2 XL.
  • I’m lucky enough to be a member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 
Spec S9 S9+
Price $800 $930
Operating System Android 8.0 Android 8.0
Screen Size 5.8″ 2960x1440 Quad+ Super AMOLED 6.2″ 2960x1440 Quad+ Super AMOLED
Processor Exynos9810 Exynos9810
RAM 4GB 6GB
Storage (as tested) 64GB 64GB
MicroSD Slot Up to 400GB Up to 400GB
Rear Camera 12.MP 12 MP
Front Camera 8MP 8MP
Battery Life 11 13
Weight 5.74 oz. 6.67 oz.

Look, Feel & Design

Compared to the Note 8 and the Pixel 2 XL, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is only 3/4″ of an inch smaller, but boy is it noticeable! Carrying in my front pocket was much less bulky, and holding the phone in my hands was significantly different that the other two giant phones.

Typing and some other “business” uses were a bit more difficult with the smaller screen, so if you do a LOT of critical functions like posting to work social media, composing long emails, or maybe even typing notes, the S9+ may be a better option that the S9.

Battery Life

If there was one place I saw a drastic difference in the S9 compared to the other two phones it was the battery. I’m a big power user so the more battery I have the better. The S9 only has a 3000mAh battery, but the S9+ has a 3500mAh battery which is more comparable to the Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL. The larger form factor has the benefit for more room, which is largely taken up by the battery.

Performance

The new Samsung Exynos 9 processor in both of these devices is fast! Boot times, app opening, even page transitions are noticeably quicker than the Note 8 & Pixel 2 XL. There’s some discussion on whether the Exynos 9 is on par with the A10 processor in the Apple iPhone X and tests seem to place it right in between the A10 and the Snapdragon on the other flagship phones. Either way, this is really quick  even compared to just the last version of the S-series phones.

Software

Luckily the Samsung S9 and S9+ come with Android 8 Oreo installed so the security and feature updates are available. Not surprisingly the Google Pixel 2 XL is running an even more advanced of Android. But what IS surprising is that the Note 8 is still running Android 7.1. As of this recording AT&T has started rolling out Oreo for the Note 8, but we’re still waiting on Verizon (hopefully we’re just waiting until after the Easter holiday weekend to make sure there’s no run on the call center, so next week?)

Sound

While the Note 8 still had the standard single speaker on the bottom of the phone which can easily be covered up and muted, the Samsung S9 has some amazing sound quality built in. They are running a surround system with Dolby Atmos technology and plays back great sound even if the exposed speaker is covered by the hand, clothing or other method. It’s not quite as good as the Google Pixel 2 XL, but this is simply because the Pixel 2 has stereo front firing speakers built into the bezel, which costs a little real estate on the screen, but features great sound.

Camera

I’ve saved the best for last. The Super Speed Dual Pixel camera on the S9 is simply better than the Pixel 2, which as been crowned the best smartphone camera for several months. The Auto function does a great job of selecting the right white balance, exposure and focus. And if you go to the Professional mode, you can get really creative with all of those functions. But on the video side, the Super Slo-Mo camera is really innovative. At 960 frames per second for short burst the super slo-mo camera delivers crystal clear slow motion video. And it didn’t really matter how fast the video was moving. The low-light capture is stunning with no artifacts in the darker sections of the photos. FYI, to open the camera quickly you can double-press the power button.

Summary

As a phone for personal and light business use, I would have no problem recommending the Samsung Galaxy S9. It’s the fastest phone I’ve ever owned, the screen is great, sound is amazing and the camera is the best smartphone camera available.

I’m a bit of fan of the larger form factor, and while I didn’t get a chance to test the S9+, I have held one in a Verizon store and played with it. The form and performance is similar to the Note 8 making typing and other tasks a bit easier for me.

You can check out both phone and dozens of others at your local Verizon store, or at VerizonWireless.com.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on your digital assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home and on your podcasting apps like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio or wherever you get your podcast files from, like the PocketCasts app!

Got a suggestion for a topic, interview or other show idea? Send it over at BeBizzy.com or on Twitter @BeBizzy

Have a great easter weekend everyone, stay safe on April fools, and we’ll see you next time on the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

Some photos and videos from the S9

 

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Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Weeks ago, I promised a comparison between the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8 smartphones. I purchased the Pixel 2 XL prior to Christmas in 2017, and as a #brandpartner for Verizon wireless, I was given a Samsung Note 8 a few weeks ago to test and talk about.

I’ve finally got a few weeks under my belt of using the phones at the same time to do basically the same things, and I’m finally ready to give my impressions.

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The Basics

First of all, I’d like to preface the comments on the comparison of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs the Samsung Note 8 by stating you can’t go wrong with either of these phones. There are differences, and frankly if you could combine the two of these phones you’d have the perfect smartphone… and probably the most expensive. So I get it, you can’t have everything in one phone, but a guy can dream, right?

A couple of other things before I continue. I use both phones with a plastic cover on the back and a glass protector on the front. This ads some bulk and minimal weight but keeps the phone protected against dropping and normal wear. I am also comparing these phones in their ability to conduct business more than as a “leisure” device. So taking photos of kids will be less important than ability to run apps, answer emails, etc. (although I DO take a ton of pictures of my dogs).

Here is some basic spec information on the Pixel 2 XL vs. Note 8.

SpecGoogle Pixel 2 XLSamsung Note 8
Price$949$950
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1Android 7.1
Screen Size6", 2880x1440 P-OLED6.3", 2960x14440 AMOLED
ProcessorSnapdragon 835Snapdragon 835
RAM4GB6GB
Storage (as tested)128GB64GB
MicroSD SlotNoUp to 256GB
Rear Camera12.2MP12MP w/second 12MP telephoto
Front Camera8MP8MP
Battery Life12:0911:11
Size6.22 x 3.02 x .31"6.4 x 2.94 x .34"
Weight6.17 oz.6.88 oz.

Look, Feel & Design

Both phones are roughly the same size, weight and “bulk”. But I’m used to a large phone so this isn’t a big deal. Even though it’s technically larger, the Note 8 just seems smaller and lighter. It is thinner and maybe that lends itself to tricking it’s the smaller phone. The bezel is also smaller on the Note  8 than the Pixel 2 XL which provides some extra screen real estate at the top and bottom of the screen.

In true Google fashion the screen is good, but not awesome. My impression of Google in regards to their hardware, and in some cases their software, is here it is, it’s functional and wonderful, now go use it. The Note 8 screen is probably the best screen I’ve seen on a smartphone. However, watching YouTube videos (for work!) seems better on the Pixel 2 XL because the screen isn’t as “stretched” for some videos. One note regarding the Pixel 2 XL and burn-in… I’ve had the phone since the release date and have had no burn in visible on the device.

Something that is a great addition to most Android phones in the last few years is the existence of a fingerprint sensor. Both of these phones have them as a way to log into the phone, but the Pixel 2 XL seems much more easy to use because of placement than the Note 8, which sometimes forces more manipulation of the phone in order to reach the sensor especially when using a back cover.

One final point on the look & feel, typing is easier on the Google Pixel 2 XL. No idea why, just fewer typing mistakes on this device. They are virtually the same size, so I wish I had a reason but I do not.

Advantage : 

Battery Life

If you use your phone primarily as a business communication device battery life is a primary concern for you. And both of these phones offer excellent battery life with a 3520mAh battery on the Pixel 2 XL and a smaller 3300mAh on the Note 8. The slight decrease in batter size on the Note 8 IS noticeable when you’re working away from a charger, taking lots of phone calls, or using the screen a lot. Testing data reveals the Pixel 2 XL has a very impressive battery life of over 12 hours when being used consistently to view the web over a 4G connection, while the Note 8 comes in at just over 11 hours. Real-life experience has shown me the Pixel 2 XL to be even more protective of it’s battery level.

Both batteries charge extremely fast when using their provided charging plug and cable. And one feature I really miss on the Google Pixel 2 XL is the presence of wireless charging, which is a feature of the Samsung Note 8.

Advantage : 

Performance

Both of these phones have the same processor, the Snapdragon 835. And while the Note 8 has a slight advantage in actual processor testing data, it just feels like the Pixel 2 XL is quicker and better at handling requests to process data. Even with it’s added 2GB of RAM, the Note 8 occasionally lags or locks on certain requests, while the Pixel 2 XL just hammers it out quickly and smoothly. Now don’t get me wrong, the Note 8 is wonderfully quick and opens multiple apps well, again it’s more of a feeling that justifiable. And when you have invoicing, social media, mileage tracking, calendars and more open, seconds count.

In regards to network and voice performance, the Google Pixel 2 XL is better here as well. I work in a downstairs office with only a very small window. The rest is concrete walls on three sides, so it’s a bit of a bunker. When using the Note 8, I get a noticeable dropping or cutting out of calls in comparison to my Pixel 2 XL with two bars compared to three on the Pixel XL, and even the Wi-Fi radio seems to have a better, longer-reaching connection.

Advantage :

Software

Here’s where some of the comparisons have issues. The Google Pixel 2 XL is running Android 8.1.1 (Oreo) and the Samsung Note 8 is running 7.1.1 (Nougat). This software upgrade is just a few days away from the Note 8, but as it stands now there are a few things that lean towards the Pixel 2 XL. Security upgrades, notification dots on app icons, picture in picture on videos and some notifications on apps that are killing your battery are an advantage Oreo brings and that means the Pixel 2 XL wins.

There also is the “stock” Android versus the modified Samsung Android experience debate. Stock is just that, no extra default apps installed, no bloatware, and no Bixby (Samsungs smart assistant) which even has it’s own button on the Note 8, and also which I have disabled.

Advantage :

Special Features

One of the drawbacks of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8 is what was a benefit in the software section above… stock. On the Pixel 2 XL you get what you get. No SD memory slot, smaller RAM, no S-Pen, just a stock version of Android 8 running on an awesome device.

So the Note 8 easily wins this category. First, the memory expansion. I use my extra memory for a lot of things. I store music (I am a DJ), I store web files, I store data backups, things that will come in handy if I cannot get access to the Verizon network (which frankly doesn’t happen too often). I do miss the expandable memory, which is really why I paid the extra money for the 128GB version of the Pixel 2 XL.

So let’s talk about the S-Pen. The S-Pen is one of those things you don’t miss until you do. I so rarely use it, but when I do it’s for something pretty important like a diagram, quick hall layout when talking to bridal clients, a website example, or just a quick note. I actually do use it quite a bit on my Samsung Chromebook Pro, and before that on my Samsung Note 10.1 2014 tablet. Both of these are larger form-factors and easier to write, but the pen works the same across all of these devices.

Advantage : 

Sound

This is going to be quick. The Google Pixel 2 XL is the best sounding smartphone I’ve ever owned. Period. The dual front-firing speakers are louder and can broadcast sound regardless of how you are holding the device. The Note 8’s small speaker on the bottom of the device gets covered up or just is so small it doesn’t carry very well.

This sound advantage continues to the phone itself as well. The sound quality on normal phone calls is better than even wired phone systems, and if used on speaker phones there is no comparison of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8.

Also, Bluetooth seems more stable and less “laggy” when on a phone call. That’s probably a product of Oreo vs. Nougat, but I call it like I see it.

Advantage :

Camera

Both of the cameras on these devices are spectacular. The Google Pixel 2 XL is a bit more balanced and more accurate for colors, and the anti-shake correction on videos is pretty awesome if you are using it attached to something that moves, in a vehicle or on a bike, and just walking or running.

But again, the cameras on both the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Note 8 are great features, but many articles claim the Google Pixel 2 XL camera to simply be the best phone camera available and I agree. So crank up the resolution on those photos of whiteboards, presentations, or anything else for work, then get them saved to your unlimited Google cloud storage for use later.

 

Google Pixel 2 XL photos

GP2XL-wall  GP2XL-flower  GP2XL-farley

Samsung Note 8 photos

SN8-wall  SN8-flower  SN8-farley

Advantage :

Summary

Well, looking at these results and forced to make a decision, I would choose the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8. I’m sure shortly after I publish this Android 8 will get installed on the Note 8 and we’ll have to do this again, but as it stands now, the Google Pixel 2 XL just has too much going for it starting with the better operating system, then easier to use form factor, easier to use fingerprint unlock reader, better sound, better battery life, and snappier performance.

However, if you want that extra 1/4″ or so of screen real estate, a seemingly smaller footprint, wireless charging and ability to add a very large SD storage card, the Note 8 is for you.

Both phones are significant increase in quality over their last versions as well as their flagship competitors, so really you can’t go wrong. And the large footprint is simply awesome if you use it for many business tasks, note taking, and communications.

You can check out both phone and dozens of others at your local Verizon store, or at VerizonWireless.com.

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Added as a Verizon Brand Ambassador

Google Mobile Results Changes

In early January 2018 Google announced some upcoming changes to the search results that will be presented based on the type of device used to access the search.

One of the ranking factors that will be used in presenting mobile results as of July 2018 will be page load speed. In the past, page load was not a high ranking factor for mobile results, so this is a fairly big change.

So now is the time to start thinking about redesigning the page, moving to a faster host, or making significant other changes to the page to increase your load speed on your mobile page.

Google has already been using page load speed as a primary factor on desktop sites, but will now us speed in determining mobile results.

Now Google has stated it will be used more to punish very slow sites by moving them down the page ranks than it will be to lift faster pages, but I expect it to become more significant in ranking mobile results in the near future.

So the tip for better mobile results on Google searches is to start planning for a mobile site, get it optimized, get it running on a faster server, and get it indexed by Google and ready for the change in July 2018.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon (#ad). No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, we meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

Your Tech Is Good Enough – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 59

Your Tech Is Good Enough – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 59

Host : Marv DornerBeBizzy Consulting

On Episode 59 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast, we talk about the passing of another geriatric internet property, Compuserve, a renewal of the browser wars with Firefox Quantum, and why your technology is good enough.

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Tech News

  • Compuserve Forums
    • Joins Microsoft Paint and AIM as old tech services being shut down in 2017.
    • Compuserve was the first major online service provider before AOL took over
    • The Forums were the last service of the once-proud ISP to remain functional
    • The service will be terminated on December 15, 2017 and odds are if no one would have said anything, you never would have known.
  •  Firefox Quantum
    • New browser from Mozilla that promises to be faster, and use less memory.
    • Some extensions may not work, so beware

Your current tech is good enough

  • FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
  • There’s always a faster, shinier, and more “feature rich” device
  • And while there’s something to be gained with tech that works better and faster, your current technology might be already good enough, or could be made so with a few minor tweaks or upgrades.

Smartphones

There’s really no big leaps forward in phone features

  • Sure there’s cosmetic upgrades like smaller bezels, larger and brighter screens, somewhat better battery
  • Most smartphone issues can be solved by doing a few easy things
    • Replacing the battery, if possible, or carry an external battery or recharging device.
    • Clear up memory by deleting apps, using streaming audio and video services, and uploading photos to free cloud services like Google Photos, them deleting the local files.
    • Run Updates – Make sure you’re running the most recent operating system and app updates. Having everything updated makes it easier to troubleshoot and work together.
    • Factory Reset – Things still running slow? Sometimes it’s just best to flush the system and start over with a new operating system install. Keep in mind you will lost all of your data on the phone, so back up and connect to cloud services.

Computers

Talk about no huge leaps forward, computers have remained pretty constant for many years

  • Improvements like the Microsoft Surface, Chromebooks and even iPad Pros are blurring the lines between computers and mobile, but even they “promise” to be able to do what you can already do with a computer, just smaller and lighter.
  • Both “major” operating systems, Windows and iOS have promised no major upgrades anymore, just incremental updates.
  • Hard Drives have become so large it’s hard for a vast majority of users to come close to filling it up.
  • You can increase the life of your computer by doing some very easy, cost effective things like :
    • Add RAM – Memory is cheap, and of all the things to replace requires the least amount of technical know-how and time. RAM is easily accessible in desktops by removing the case, and most laptops have a cover to remove to get at the RAM and maybe the HDD. Major products like Crucial have scanners and selectors to make sure you’re getting the right memory to upgrade your device.
    • HDD – Have an old or small hard drive? There’s a real good chance that your HDD is a spinning disc, and believe it or not, it’s WHEN it will fail, not IF. Check out Seagate or Western Digital to find a suitable replacement. You can also migrate less often or large files to an external drive for a small price and they easily connect to your current computer via USB.
    • To the Cloud! – Get your photos and other important files uploaded to a cloud service like Dropbox to ensure ease of access & transfer, and also security in the event of a hardware failure or catastrophic office event.

Websites

I know, it seems weird that a web development company would tell you that your website is good enough. There ARE times when it’s best to update the website like when you need :

  • Responsive Design – Have a site that is old and doesn’t work on a smartphone or smaller screen? Might be time to update to a responsive website.
  • CMS like WordPress – Maybe it’s time to take over the management of your own website. WordPress allows you to post your own pages, a blog, and more.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Maybe you’re site is all set up an running as you need, but you’re just not getting found on the internet. By optimizing your SEO and your Local Business Listing you increase the chances of being found by potential customers.
  • Social Media Marketing & Training  – Like SEO, your website might not be the problem, maybe it’s just getting the word out. Social Media offers an easy way to engage your fans and followers and market to new clients.

Other Items

We are constantly hit with marketing messages on stuff you “NEED” to ensure you have the most current technology or your life will be horrible. Vehicle enhancements like rear hatches that open with your foot, lane change chimes, and others are safety features, but really just being a better driver will fix that. 4K and 3D TV’s are wonderful, but there is little programming that takes advantage of the technology. VR goggles are fun toys, but again, there’s very little cool, productive programming for them. And voice controlled devices like Google Home or Alexa are neat, and have a utility to them, but often you have a device in your hands or pocket that can do the same thing.

I LOVE technology, and our economy relies on constant updating of computers, furniture, cars, homes and just about everything else. But sometimes saving that money for something else is your best bet.

Have any questions or suggestions on using current technology instead of buying new gear? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 57 – Google Pixel 2 XL

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 57 – Google Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 XL is the anxously awaited android smartphone from Google. It runs a stock version of Android O(reo), and is loaded with a lot of great features.

Here’s the specs

  • Operating System : Android 8.0
  • Cameras : 12.2MP Read – 8PM Front
  • Processors : Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835
  • Display : P-OLED capacitive touchscreen, 1440x2880 pixels (18:9 ratio), Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Memory & Storage : RAM-4GB   Storage 64GB & 128GB
  • Dimensions : 6.2x3.0″
  • Colors : Black, White, Blue
  • Batter : 3520 mAh
  • Sensors : Active Edge squeeze technology
  • Ports : USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
    • No headphone jack
    • No expandable memory slot
  • Materials – Aluminum unibody – Water and dust resistant

Google Pixel 2 page at the Google Store

There have been discussions of screen burn-in, a bluish tint and a few other things.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

In this episode we talk about managing your passwords and updating technology to stay secure.

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

Tech News

Yahoo Email Hack – Now up to 3 Billion accounts, apparently every yahoo account. – announced by the new owner, Verizon

  • No credit card information in the breach, but
  • Suspect part is that the new intelligence was just recently obtained AFTER the deal closed to buy Yahoo.

Equifax update – there’s a good chance the company will have to pay penalties to affected consumers going north of $1B.

  • For the record, $1B comes to just over $7 per possible affected user.

Cortana is now rollout out into Skype. You should start seeing it appear in private and group chats to offer assistance for scheduling and other items.

  • Will also appear in the Android and iOS versions soon.
  • Still not sold on voice systems like Google, Amazon or Siri, but I hope to become more reliant on it when the new Pixel 2 phone arrives
  • Microsoft claims 141 million “monthly” users of Cortana. I use it only when I accidentally click the button on my desktop toolbar, so that probably counts at least once a month.
  • Siri – 41.4 monthly, 19% daily.
  • Google claims 20% of mobile searches are voice searches – couldn’t find a published #
  • Becoming more popular
  • Would love to discuss voice searches and voice control on a future episode, so if you’re an “expert” please contact me.

Today’s topic – You are Responsible for Updating Your Technology

  • In the last month, I’ve had to do the following:
    • Rescued three websites from obvious hacking
      • Two were hijacked by an out-of-date WordPress plugin and dozens of fake blog posts linking to a casino were placed on the sites.
      • One was using a password created several years ago and the FTP was compromised, with THOUSANDS (over 50k) web pages were created, uploaded and indexed by google.
        • The new index.php page and all the rest were the only ones showing up in Google searches because of the dominance.
    • About six months ago I got a call that a WordPress site built over five years ago had NEVER been updated, and now stopped working.
      • That required updating WP, finding out what, if any of the existing plugins would still work with the new WP, and we had to find alternate solutions for outdated, un-updatable, or costly upgrades to certain plugins.
    • Two months ago I worked on a computer that was full of malware. The client was still running Windows XP and didn’t want to update. Windows XP was abandoned by Microsoft in April 2014, meaning there was no further development on the operating system and it would be exposed as insecure.
    • In all cases, there was a massive cleanup, one new install of WP, and a complete forced re-indexing of the website by Google and other search engines.

ALL of these could have been avoided if the core functions would have been maintained. By following just a few steps, your computer, phones and other devices can stay up to date and minimize the danger of being compromised.

Remember, criminals will most always take the low-hanging fruit, like the computer not updated in over 5 years, the WordPress site with outdated plugins, or the FTP password that hasn’t changed in half a decade.

A word of warning… updates can sometimes fail, and even cause larger issues. BACK UP YOUR DATA before running updates, or just in general. However, the risk of something bad happening during an update is nothing compared to the possible issues that can happen by running an out-of-date system.

  • WordPress and Other Websites
  1. Back up everything on a regular basis – Always have a way to reset if something bad happens, even if you lose some data.
  2. Turn on automatic updates for plugins and incremental WordPress updates.
  3. Use a service to update multiple sites if needed.
  4. Turn on notifications for major WordPress or theme releases, and run them after you back up, update plugins and prepare for possible downtime.
  5. Also change your FTP and Cpanel passwords on a regular basis, or when someone leaves the organization.
  • Windows Computers
  1. Back up on a regular basis. Services like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and others offer cheap, or even free secure cloud services that will back up your data.
  2. Turn on automatic updates in the control panel. This will run in the background, and prompt to reboot when larger updates appear.
  3. If you can update your operating system to at least Windows 8.2 you will at least be receiving regular security updates. There was a time you could have updated to Windows 10 for free, but you most likely missed that if you’re still running an older version.
  4. Keep your software like browsers, office software and other major applications like Photoshop and others up to date by regularly checking, or selecting auto-updates if prompted.
  • Mobile Devices
  1. Back up on a regular basis (notice a theme here?). Most carriers have this available, but you can keep your music in the cloud, photos backed up to Google Photos for free, contacts saved to Gmail or Gsuite, again for free, and other data can use Dropbox, Carbonite and other services.
  2. Go into the Play Store or Updates on your mobile device and click Update All on a regular basis.
  3. Always accept operating system updates when prompted, your device is properly charged or connected to a power source, and you have the necessary allotted time to accomplish the update. Do a full reboot once in a while to clear the device and also to re-engage auto-updates when the phone reaches back out to the carrier or app store.

Updates are an easy way to keep your site and devices secure. Criminals are looking for the easy targets when you’re dealing with electronic crime, so stay on top of your systems and update regularly.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

GoDaddy Smartline : BBP – Episode 51

GoDaddy Smartline : BBP – Episode 51

In this episode we talk about Android Oreo, Skype, Chromebook Bluetooth issues, Facebook bandwidth limitations and GoDaddy Smartline.

BBP : Episode 51 – GoDaddy Smartline

  • New Android version is officially Oreo.
    • Google announced this on during the solar eclipse in New York.
    • Faster, better battery life, better copy and paste, picture in picture.
    • No specific date on release, but most compatible devices should have it by the end of 2017
    • Watch the announcemet here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDLc-QPFNs0
  • My phone situation
    • The cell towers seem to be back up as my connection is much better
    • However, I did choose Skype as my inbound/outbound backup.
    • Worst part is now when I get a phone call, my phone, my Chromebook, my iPad and my computer all ring. I finally stopped leaving Skype on all the time on my Chromebook, so that removed one of the devices.
  • One issue I’ve discovered is common with Chromebooks in general is a bit of an issue with Bluetooth audio. Seems that streaming audio via BT on the Chromebooks is a bit flakey So factor that into your decision making. LOVE the Chromebook, but that makes two big things I don’t like, the other is a limit on
  • Facebook will start distributing files based on the ability of users to view the content due to their bandwidth.
    • This means that if you have a large video file or even a very large image, it may be NOT shown to users on slower mobile devices, or even slower home and office connection
    • This does not mean you should NOT use video or images, it just means you should make sure you take some time to compress or optimize your file before you upload.
    • This will make sure your message, advertising, or video of your dog playing will get seen my more people.
    • BeBizzy Consulting can help you with your social media. Contact us today!
  • GoDaddy Smartline
    • 100 minutes per month
    • 100 texts s/r per month
    • Add a second number so you don’t have to give out your mobile
    • Make and receive calls using the Smartline business number.
    • Also use Smartline to send/receive text messages

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Can You Hear Me Now? – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 48

Can You Hear Me Now? – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 48

Have a favorite small or home business phone system tip? I’m looking for help!

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 48 – Can You Hear Me Now?

I am currently having a problem with my phone.

A few weeks ago, my mobile phone connection has significantly dropped off in my home office. I’m in a basement with only a small window directly above my head to the outside world. I get nearly no bars on my phone connection, and my 4G LTE is suspect.

So, I’m looking for some possible solutions to make phone calls with my clients a reality. So far I’ve considered :

  • Skype In and Out
    • Relatively cheap
    • Sound quallity is suspect
  • Ooma & Vonage
    • Extra equipment including a desktop phone
    • Upfront cost then relatively cheap
  • Grasshopper and RingCentral
    • Established, proven product
    • Little bit more expensive per month
    • Still needs some additional equipment
  • Other VOIP Solutions
    • Cost is low
    • Worried it goes away in a year
    • Technology is sometimes good, sometimes a little sketchy.

So let me know what you’re currently using if you are also unable to go exclusively with your smart phone, and we’ll talk about my decision in a future podcast!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Samsung Chromebook Pro Review

Samsung Chromebook Pro Review

Samsung Chromebook Pro Review

The Samsung Chromebook Pro launch is the first time in a LONG time I’ve been excited for a new piece of technology. Sure, there’s  the fun of unboxing a new smartphone, laptop or smartwatch. There’s the uncertainty of how a device like Google Home, the Nest family of devices or even a Bluetooth speaker will work or sound. But nothing is comparing to the restlessness I’ve been experiencing waiting for the Samsung Chromebook Pro to arrive.

The Chromebook Pro got announced back in February 2017 along with a Chromebook Plus. They are essentially the same device, with a better processor and a fancy black color for the Plus… and $100 more. The Plus came out as expected in March, but the Pro was given a soft launch of “April 2017.” April came and went, articles went up blasting Samsung for missing the launch… then most of May went by. Finally, Samsung announced it would be selling the device online at Amazon, Best Buy and a few other online locations on May 28, 2017. Of course, by the time I looked at Amazon it was gone and none of the other places even had it listed on their sites.

So I waited, and waited, and waited… until it surfaced (see what I did there?) on BestBuy.com for the promised price of $549. I couldn’t purchase it fast enough, and thought it would be delivered in time for the weekend, which didn’t happen. So I waited some more… and then all day Monday until it finally showed up around 4:30pm!

So I used it the rest of the day, and even typed this review on the Chromebook Pro the next day, and here’s what I found.

Samsung Chromebook Pro – The Good

Thinking about purchasing the Samsung Chromebook Pro? Here’s some reasons why you should!

  • Weight – Not the other wait; that was bad. But this thing is LIGHT! With the Chromebook Pro I’m replacing a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and an Asus TP300L laptop. Both were noticeably heavier (especially with a case on the Note 10.1) and much bulkier than the Chromebook Pro.
  • Android Apps on the Chromebook – Probably THE most impressive move forward, and frankly what held it back on the release, is the ability to install and run Android apps on the Chromebook Pro. I love Typemail for email, I use Google Voice and Hangouts for calls and SMS messages, OneNote for notes, and more and instead of having to do everything inside the browser, now I can install apps I’m used to using on my tablet and phone to do these things and more.
  • Battery Life – Samsung claims over 10 hours of battery, but with real use I’m seeing closer to 8. Considering I was getting about 3 on my Asus laptop, and about 6 on the Note 10.1, I’ll take eight hours. On the flip side, the battery charges amazingly fast using the USB-C power adapter.
  • Speed – With only a 2.2gHz processor, I wasn’t expecting the Chromebook Pro to be overly snappy. But no matter how many apps I opened, media I had running, browser windows I had up on Chrome, I never really saw any lag.
  • Screen – The screen is incredibly bright, incredibly clear and even with small text, incredibly crisp. It is a little weird with the 4:3 ratio instead of the now-common 16:9, but that took moments to get used to. The bezel around the screen was slightly larger than I expected with Samsung’s journey into infinity screens on their S8 phones, but with the black case is less noticeable than with a silver or grey case.
  • Convertible Screen – The screen flips around a full 360 degrees to convert the Chromebook to a full Android tablet. Reading books, Texture magazines, websites and other media was a great experience, and watching video had stunning video, ok audio (fixed with earbuds), but did lose a little with the 4:3 ratio (see below).
  • S-Pen – Apple has then Pencil, Microsoft has their Surface Pen, but the S-Pen available for not taking and drawing on Samsung devices is still the best electronic pen that I’ve used.

Samsung Chromebook Pro – The Bad

Some of the features on the Chromebook Pro are not spectacular, but not a big deal in my mind. Below are a few things that probably won’t either move you in one direction or the other if you’re thinking about purchasing the Pro.

  • Keyboard Size – The keyboard is a bit small, but the keys have decent travel and everything is there, although the backspace key is slightly undersized and if you like to “scream” on social media, there’s no dedicated caps lock.
  • Ports – The only available ports on the device are two USB-C connectors, a headphone jack, and a micro-SD card reader. So if you’re the type that connects multiple devices you will need a USB-C to USB hub. Personally I connect through BT or WI-FI in most cases, so not a bid deal.
  • Speakers – There was a lot of discussion of the speakers located under the case and the sound not being very loud. I am either using external speakers or earbuds, so for me, again not a big deal. If you are serious about your sound on mobile devices, I still suggest a BT speaker.
  • Fingerprints and Other Marks – The black case looks great, but it does get a little marked up easily, and of course the touch screen can hold fingerprints so keep it clean!
  • Apps Resizing – Not all Android apps are able to be resized and some are limited to phone size only. I’m currently looking for a way to install tablet version of some of my favorite apps like Scribblepost and others, but for now I’ll just use the browser version.

Samsung Chromebook Pro – The Ugly

Looking for a reason to NOT buy the Chromebook Pro? Here’s a couple that will hopefully be addressed shortly and become a totally non-issue.

  • Apps Not Recognizing SD Card – I’m a mobile DJ, I listen to lots of podcasts, and as a website programmer I like to have the ability to backup and retrieve website files on storage devices. So when I found out that my apps couldn’t find the SD card to play music, podcasts and even my Dropbox folder, I was a little put off. I’m sure it will get fixed, but with only 32GB of onboard memory, it seems a little odd for the device not to recognize the SD as acceptable storage.
  • 32GB of Onboard Memory – Considering my first Windows desktop had a “massive” 2GB HDD it seems odd to complain the Chromebook Pro only has 32GB of onboard space. When apps start natively seeing the 128GB SD card I have in the device this will be a totally non-issue, but as it stands now I’m not a fan of the smaller hard drive.
  • Reports of Apps Crashing – There are some reports of the Chromebook Pro crashing when a fair amount of apps and browser windows are active. I have not seen this, in fact, as I type this post I have 10+ browser windows open, TypeMail, OneNote, PocketCasts (playing a podcast), Hootsuite and one more app running with no issues. If it becomes more common for apps to crash the device this is a very real issue, but for me it’s not.

I plan on using the Samsung Chromebook Pro as my daily machine for a few days, with the exception of recording my podcast and maybe a few other things. So as I find more benefits and issues I will make sure to document them here.

Thinking about purchasing the Chromebook Pro? It’s listed on Amazon here for the standard price of $549 (same everywhere else), but at the time of this post was sold out. I’m sure more are on the way.

Looking to save a few bucks but get many of the same benefits minus some computing power? Try the Samsung Chromebook Plus for $449.

Samsung Chromebook Pro Amazon

Some of the Chromebook Pro specs

  • 11.1 in x 8.7 in x 0.5 in
  • 2.38 lbs
  • 12.3 LED Backlight Screen (2400 x 1600 resolution)
  • Intel Core m3 (6th Gen) 6Y30 / 0.9 GHz Dual Core
  • RAM – 4GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 32 GB SSD – (eMMC)
  • 720p Front Facing Camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • 2 x USB-C Headphone/microphone combo jack
  • MicroSD Card Reader