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.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

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!

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

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!

BBP : EP0031 – Case of the Googles

BBP : EP0031 – Case of the Googles

Host : Marv Dorner, BeBizzy Consulting

We’re talking about Google Keep, Google Docs, and Google Chromebooks today on the BeBizzy Break.

But first, we’re proud to annouce the launch of our newest website, Path To Pono. Contact Sandy Thompson with questions about recruiting great employees, developing leadership in your organization, and helping your family with substance abuse.

Now, on the Googles.

  • Google has finally brought Google Keep into the GSuite environement in the web version (desktop and browser)
    • Easily import Keep notes into Google Docs
    • Google Keep is the notetaking app available on all devices (Android, iOS and in your browser) that takes audio, handwriting, images and itemized lists. You can also color code, and tag notes for ease in search and identification.
  • Samsung Chromebook Pro – my next tech purchase (when it gets released)
    • Chromebooks allow you to live in the Google environement for documents, the Chrome browser, photos and more. And now there’s a reasonably priced great device called “Kevin” that even allows users to run Android apps on their Chromebook.
    • The device is convertable to a tablet, and even has a Samsung S-Pen for taking notes and other visual needs.
    • The Chromebook Plus is available for $449, with the Chromebook Pro being released in “Spring 2017” for around $500.

Have a great week, everyone. Spring is slowly on the way!

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 : EP0029 – Why Should You Join Your Local Chamber?

BBP : EP0029 – Why Should You Join Your Local Chamber?

Are you a member of a local chamber of commerce or other business organization? What are some of the benefits, and challenges, you face by being a member, or NOT being a member?

Episode 29 – Why Should You Join Your Local Chamber?

Today we talk about those challenges and opportunities with Chelse Simon, Amanda Schwieters, and David Leingang of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce. They touched on some of the networking, leadership, volunteering and other opportunities that Chamber members and non-members can take advantage of within the Chamber.

We also talked about why or why not your chamber could be active within the political arena and how chamber members can either get educated or share their experince with other business professionals.

Take advantage of your local chamber by contacting their leadership either through the web, on the phone or just go there in person, and see how joining can benefit your small or solo business.

We did talk about some tech issues before the interview, mostly concerning Verizon’ Unlimted plan. While it’s not a good fit for me, I would encourage you to call their sales professionals and review your current account settings and whether or not the unlimited plan, or one of their other plans is a good account for you.

We also talked about Google Home and Amazon Echo possibly making phone calls by the end of the year, finally overcoming some regulatory and technical issues. I’m excited for this and will be keeping a close eye on this one.

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 : EP 0027 – Is It Time To Dump Microsoft Office?

BBP : EP 0027 – Is It Time To Dump Microsoft Office?

New year, new tools!

Since I host my own email and use Office significantly less than I used to, it’s time to finally get rid of paying $10/month for Microsoft Office and find a more cost-effective solution. So the question to you is :

WPS OfficeIs It Time To Dump Microsoft Office?

Short answer? Yes!

I’ve decided it’s time to dump paying monthly for Microsoft Office and pay a one-time fee for WPS Office of $79. This provides a great office solution completely compatible with MS Office files for up to three years for 25% of the price!

So, if you don’t use Office very often and are looking for a great way to still conduct business with people who do use it, WPS Office has a great FREE version, or a paid version (pay monthly, quarterly, or annually).

I’ve been using it for a few months and recommend making the switch today.

By the way, if you’re using Microsoft Outlook for your Gmail or G Suite emails, Mailbird is a great product I’ve been using for that as well.

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!

My 2017 Smartphone Wishlist

My 2017 Smartphone Wishlist

You have a smartphone. Heck, you might even be reading this on a smartphone.

And we take these wonderful gadgets for granted. We shop on them, entertain ourselves on them, run our business communications on them, and some times we just waste time on them. But it’s rare that we’re ever happy with what we have because the next big thing is always six months away, right?

So with the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone almost upon us I thought it was a good time to compile a list of things I want in my next smartphone. All of the flagship phones  from Samsung, Motorola, Google, and even Apple are close, but they always seem to have one or more things missing. I know, I know, there’s only so much space in these ever shrinking product profiles, but a guy can dream, right?

So here it is…

My 2017 Smartphone Wishlist

  • Screen size – I’ve always been a “bigger is better” fan, but the 5″ screen is really a sweet spot. However, knowing I need more space for battery and other stuff, I think we’ll need a 5.5″ screen. Besides, watching videos, reading emails and doing just about anything else is just better on a bigger, more colorful screen.
  • Battery Size : Speaking of battery, we need to find a way to get to 4000mAh batteries without causing heat or cramping of other stuff. We put a more powerful computer that I owned five years ago on my DESK, in my pocket, so the wizards at the battery company can find a way to do this. Also, why every phone doesn’t have wireless charging as an option is beyond my comprehension.
  • Camera : A really, really, really good rear facing camera. Like the one on the Pixel, good, camera. 15-20mp, image stabilization, low light correction, like the Google Pixel. If you want/need to cut corners on something do it on the front facing camera. I rarely use it for selfies, video or anything else, but we need a good main camera, like on the Google Pixel (did I hit that one home?).
  • Case : Drop proof, spill proof, not overly thin and not overly light. I like to feel like I have something made well, but not a brick.
  • Memory : Expandable memory!!! I am a mobile DJ and also run a web design and consulting business. I LOVE to have backups of my data, so if I can have all or most of my websites on my phone, and critical music to play at a wedding all saved on a memory card, life is good. Others could save critical documents, photos, notes, just about anything on their phones. As far as onboard memory, I think any phone needs to be at last 32GB going forward. We all have too many apps and other information to use an 16GB phone anymore, of course 64 is better, right?
  • Speakers : Stereo speakers are a must-have. The end.
  • Accessories : I am a big fan of the Moto Mods. The ability to easily snap on a JBL speaker to workout of sit around a fire outside, easily add extra battery without working with difficult cases, or adding a crazy-good camera to an already good camera is wonderful. Other manufacturers should take a look at this method as an option. I’m agnostic about the headphone port. Although the old ports worked well, the USB-C adapters or wireless headphones get the job done.

Well there you have it. Build this phone, keep it under $800 and make sure it safely goes about its job, and anything else you add to it is just fluff. I hear things like a possibly curved screen on coming iPhones, flip phone smartphones that hinge the screen in the middle, and even have seen phone attachments that project a touchable phone image on your arm. We’re at that point where, like cars, things are being added to the smartphone that are nice-to-haves, not needs. For those of us who rely on mobile computing to run businesses and other parts of our life, we just want the needs covered more reliably and for an acceptable cost.

What do YOU want on your next smartphone? Better selfie-cameras? A standard headphone jack? Let me know in the comments 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 (#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! 

#VZWBuzz #ad

BBP: Episode 21 – Happy WordPress 4.7 Eve, Google Handle and Chromebooks

BBP: Episode 21 – Happy WordPress 4.7 Eve, Google Handle and Chromebooks

Happy WordPress 4.7 Eve, everybody! Start backing things up and getting ready to upgrade!

Episode 21 – Happy WordPress 4.7 Eve, Google Handle and Chromebooks

  • WordPress 4.7 is scheduled to drop tomorrow (12/6/2016) with promised security updates and more.
    • Start updating and backing things up in preparation.
  • Google Handle is available for the Chrome browser and iOS.
    • Makes it easy to create a task from an email and set a reminder to the Google calendar.
    • Chrome app to use in browser and iOS app available.
  • Thinking about getting a Chromebook, are you using one?
  • Also, we will be bringing Sara Hawkins back once or twice a month, so if there’s a legal topic you would like us to talk about, send it to bebizzy.com or @bebizzy on Twitter!

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 19 – Twitter Suspensions, 9.4 Billion in Mobile Profit, and Milebug

BBP: Episode 19 – Twitter Suspensions, 9.4 Billion in Mobile Profit, and Milebug

Happy Week After Thanksgiving, everyone.

Hope you had a wonderful long weekend, or OK short weekend if you were working.

Episode 19 – Twitter Suspensions, 9.4 Billion in Mobile Profit, and Milebug

  • Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, got his Twitter account suspended by accident last week. I’ve had this as well. What can you do once this happens?
  • Smartphone PROFIT for the 3rd quarter was $9.4 BILLION globally. Out of that, Apple gobbled up 91% of that profit.
  • Microsoft continues to attempt to make it OK for the LinkedIn purchase with the EU. Now opening Outlook to 3rd party app developers in regards to LinkedIn info
  • Real News – What is real news? Can you actually build something to filter out “semi-real” news? How does this affect advertising?
  • Milebug – Awesome Android and iOS app to track mileage and other expenses. I’ve been using it for years and highly recommend it.

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:Eposide 17 – Holiday Marketing with Mandy Edwards and Google Photoscan

BBP:Eposide 17 – Holiday Marketing with Mandy Edwards and Google Photoscan

Oh the weather outside is frightful… or at least it will be in a few days. Big storm a’comin’ to the midwest and heading east.

BBP: Episode 17 – Google Photoscan and Holiday Marketing

But inside here on the BeBizzy Break Podcast we’re just talking about the holidays and your marketing.

  • Google Photoscan – need to digitize your old photos and upload them to social media or a secure cloud location? Photoscan will do just that. Available for the iOS & Android devices you can easily scan any old photo or document and keep it digitally.
  • Mandy Edwards from ME Marketing Services  joins the Break to discuss getting your small business ready for the holiday season with some tips on making your digital locations as well as your traditional marketing efforts a bit more seasonal.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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!

Digitize Old Photos With Google Photoscan

Digitize Old Photos With Google Photoscan

Your smartphone is a wonderful device to capture memories either with comments on social media, saved voicemails, but especially photos and video taken with your onboard camera.

Earlier this month I bragged about the Hasselblad True Zoom camera mod for my Moto Z Force phone, but today Google I saw the next big step in saving memories, Google Photoscan.

Digitize Old Photos With Google Photoscan

This isn’t new. For as long as phones have had cameras we’ve been snapping photos of old pictures on the wall or in albums and sending them to friends and family either to embarrass them or just to remember. But it’s always been noticeable with the flash, crooked framing or a table in the background. Google Photoscan does away with most of that!

While scanning a photo isn’t just “BOOP-BOOP-BOOP-BOOP,” it does get easier with a little practice and the results are MUCH better than just firing your camera at the wall. Check out this image I scanned just a few minutes ago from a photo mounted on my wall.

Google Photoscan Kauai

Now compare this to the original photo taken in Kauai a few years ago.

Kauai - Original

Sure, theres a little difference in color, a slight blemish at the top because of the light, but overall, pretty good! Now check out a photo in the same lighting conditions as the first photo just using my smartphone camera.

camera phone

Photoscan logoGoogle Photoscan is a wonderful app for both iOS and Android, so with those long, wintery weekends and evenings coming up, put your phone and Google Photos to work and save some of those old photos lying around the house with your smartphone!

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! 

#VZWBuzz #ad