I got to utter those words a month or so ago when I was called about a computer that was taken over by a ransomware program.
As a computer tech these words bring so many emotions. Despair, confusion, anger… they all are there. And yet several times a year we get that computer, tablet or smartphone and the user lost all of her photos, all of her contacts, and all of her documents.
There are several reasons for this, first, you just expect technology to work. There’s also lack of knowledge of backup options, inability to afford costly solutions, lack of time, and let’s face it, sometimes it’s just being lazy.
Well let’s just get this out of the way… your technology WILL fail at some point. Hard drives can only spin so many times before they die, flash memory isn’t immortal and phones get dropped. So knowing failure is inevitable, why would you NOT back up? And it’s easier, and cheaper, than you may think.
Below are a few ways to get information off your phone and into the cloud. We’ve all heard the term “cloud” being thrown around, but it’s simply this. It’s a series of computer servers accessible through a controlled login system that allows users access to their data from any device that can control that access. Meaning if you save something on the cloud, you can usually get to it from nearly ANY phone or computer you own, or in some cases just are able to access the internet.
A quick word of warning! Getting this information off your local device and backed up, even to a system claiming to be encrypted or secure, can make the data more vulnerable.
Your Mobile Phone Provider Network : Most mobile phone networks have a way to back up your phone automatically with tools like Verizon Backup Assistant. You will get a certain amount of data for free, then pay a small amount to keep more data.
Dropbox : My favorite backup solution is Dropbox. This cloud service can be set up to automatically back up photos as they are taken, transfer documents to/from your smartphone, and share folders out to co-workers or family. All of my documents I would like to back up are saved on my computer not to the Documents space, but to my Dropbox folder where they are automatically uploaded and saved to other devices. You can also use it to save sound, video and other files. And the cost to get a business account is minimal compared to recovery or ransomware costs.
Your Google Account : I get common complaints about two things when a new phone is purchased or a phone is damaged; I lost my contacts and I lost my photos. Many of you have a Gmail account, especially if you are an Android user, and if you’re not, they are FREE at https://www.google.com/gmail. There are at least two things that should be done with your Google Account, set up Google Photos, and move all your contacts to be managed by Gmail.
Google Photos : Google Photos is a free or low cost (depending on the size of files being backed up) storage of photos that are available on ANY device you happend to be logged into. Smartphones can be set up to upload photos as they are taken and your phone has access to wi-fi. This means the risk of losing photos is minimized. But, a word of warning, photos you may NOT want saved are uploaded immediately as well, so blurry shots and photos of subjects you may not want to save for a variety of reasons are backed up, so clean that out on the Photos app as well.
Contacts in Gmail : By importing all your contacts into Gmail, and then adding new ones to Gmail instead of saving locally to your phone, you are again making these available on any device. So when you log into that new Moto Z Droid and connect your Google account, all your contacts are automatically downloaded to the new device. Easy and free, and can be done any number of times you wish.
Google Drive : Another major FREE part of your Google account is Google Drive. It can be used really two ways. Some use it as an alternative to Microsoft Office by creating and collaborating on documents right in the browser. A second method is to use it as storage by uploading Office docs, PDFs and other items.
iCloud : If you’re an iPhone user Apple has the iCloud built into iOS. It’s located in Settings and you can turn off specific apps to keep unneeded data from being backed up.
Back Up To A Computer : Your phone is essentially a data storage device in the eyes of a computer. You can always back up your photos and other information by plugging it in as a USB device and pushing/pulling data from it almost like treating it as another hard drive. The downside to this is that you’ve moved it from one potential failure device to another, but the odds of both failing at the same time are remote. And for what it’s worth… BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER TOO! You’ll be happy when your hard drive stops, you need that important Word doc, or ransomware takes over your computer and you could fix it by re-installing Windows instead of paying that shady dude on the phone $1k.
Paid Backup Apps : There are a few paid solutions like Carbonite & iDrive out there. These promise a bit more encryption and safety so if you have more that just a few photos and contacts, you may wish to consider going this route.
Why are you still reading?
Please, please, PLEASE back up your phone and computer data! It really only takes a few moments and you’ll be SO happy when the day comes to either move to a fabulous new phone or your device meets a horrible end. I personally back up my photos/videos to both Dropbox and Google Photos simply because it’s cheap and I can get them from anywhere. And I change phones as a Verizon Lifestyle Blogger every few months so having my contacts sync immediately is a huge benefit.
Or, take your chances that your device won’t ever fail while you own it, and if it does you can pay me a few bucks to try to salvage things off the memory. Personally, I’d rather show you how to set up the new device than attempt to recover damaged data, so you can stop reading and set up your backup now.
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!
Most of us have used cell phones, or more recently, smartphones in our daily life. In recent years, our phones have replaced our computers as our go-to internet device, our communication device, even our entertainment device.
Even more recently companies like Samsung, Google and even Apple have moved to larger devices. Some have included a stylus, some have included extra battery, but all have added screen real estate which makes video, games, and even apps better and easier to use.
So is it time to move to a phablet (phone/tablet)?
I have used cell phones since the day of bag phones (yeah, I’m old… I know). Since the bag phone I’ve used large brick phones, small flip phones, a large Microsoft Pocket PC with a hidden keyboard, iPhones, Android phones, and yes, even phablets. I’ve been the COO of an internet company, worked in inside and outside sales, a marketing agency, and now own two businesses.
Of all my experiences, needs and uses my favorite phone to this day is my Samsung Note.
To be fair, I use my phone for a TON of different things like taking notes during meetings, keeping my schedule up to date, websites, emails, social media, photos and much, much more. But really, what could you get from that extra screen real estate?
Larger videos for you and the family to watch Netflix or your own videos.
More readable font sizes without cramming things on to your narrow screen
Pen stylus for note taking, picture drawing, or stylus-specific apps.
Better screen for GPS apps
Better mobile internet viewing, especially for mobile-enabled pages, but even when viewing websites that have not been made for mobile viewing (call me if this is your page… I can help!)
An awesome social media experience when it comes to Facebook, Instagram and others. Photos and videos just look better in a larger format.
What might be some of the negatives?
Larger footprint takes up more space in purse or can be tough to fit in a pocket.
For those with smaller hands (me!) it can be problematic to use one-handed (the Note software compensates for this if activated).
The larger screen does use battery at a faster rate
If you already use a tablet, some of the features could overlap, or possibly be replaced by a phablet (positive?).
So with the recent announcement of the Samsung Note 7, and the impending iPhone 7+ (rumored) announcement days away, now might be the time to consider a larger phone. Personally, I am out-of-contract, and am definitely considering the move to the Note 7 when it’s released in early September. After viewing the launch announcement and reviews (like this one from T3.com) it looks like very comparable specs to my Samsung Galaxy S7, with a larger screen and a few other great features like a bigger battery, more memory, the external memory is back, and of course, the S-Pen and assorted apps.
As the release date approaches and the iPhone announcement becomes official, I would encourage you to read reviews online, talk to your local Verizon store, and even watch the #VZWBUZZ hashtag on Twitter to get some awesome information on the Note 7 and the many benefits of the phablet devices. I can’t wait!
Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, 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!
Yesterday I was on the fence on whether I should buy a Chromebook or not. For those of you not familiar with Chromebooks, they are cheap, laptop-like devices running Google’s Chrome OS. They have very little onboard memory, HD screens, similar ports to commercial laptops, and depend greatly on internet cloud services for hosting files and work. Some even come with LTE connectivity.
I have a laptop and also a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, but the laptop, while powerful and work-friendly, is large and battery life is “ok.” The Note 10.1 is an awesome tool for email, following social media and viewing the web, digital books, entertainment and file viewing.
The Chromebook was to fill the void between the two because of these features:
Smaller than the laptop but larger than the tablet.
Full keyboard to make typing easier.
Wonderful battery life.
Great connectivity to cloud-based file storage like Google Drive, Dropbox and others.
So as I’m researching the Chromebooks from Asus, HP, Toshiba and Samsung, I stumbled upon another solution. What if I found a keyboard that was easy to use, full-featured, and could work on multiple devices when I inevitably upgrade from the Note 10.1?
About an hour later after a trip to Best Buy I had my solution in-hand, the Logitech k480 Bluetooth Keyboard.
The k480 has a ton of features that make this perfect.
Full featured keyboard including a selector to choose between a PC/Android layout and iOS.
Can connect to up to three difference devices using the numbered dial.
Rubberized cradle to securely holding your tablet or phone (or both in portrait mode!)
Now, I can use my tablet as my laptop/Chromebook clone. Android now has a full Microsoft Office version to create and edit documents and presentations. The 10″ screen is more than enough to work on WordPress in my browser, making blogging easy. I was worried about the charging port being on the bottom, but with a screen rotator app I can flip it 180 degrees and plug in on the “top” of the tablet. The channel even allows headphones to be plugged in with the device upside down.
Want to hear the best part? This keyboard is only around $50! Order one up on Amazon right now and turn that Android, Windows or iOS tablet into an even more powerful work device.
What are your thoughts on Chromebooks or the Logitech k480 keyboard? Let me know in the comments below, or just give a shout out on Twitter @BeBizzy!
Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I receive devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Well, it’s time to treat yourself to a shiny new smartphone this holiday season and get in on the revolution that is changing the way most of us consume data, media and communication. Smartphones are everywhere and consumer are upgrading like mad, as it’s never been a better time to get in on the smartphone movement.
Here’s ten reasons you don’t have to stay behind and carry that flip phone, and a GPS, and a camera, and an ipod anymore. Step into the next big thing with a new smartphone. (more…)
Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather is a bit cooler. The leaves and surrounding farmlands take on rich, earthy colors. And it’s a time for many of us here in North Dakota to drive out into rural North Dakota (yes, we have cities here) in pursuit of hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
As you might imagine, many of the roads away from the pavement are in less than perfect condition, often requiring 4WD vehicles, or at least a brave soul strong enough to dig other vehicles out when they get stuck.
These drivers of 4WD vehicles come in many shapes and sizes. Some choose luxury vehicles like Cadillac Escalades and Lincoln Navigators. These guys usually stay on fairly well-groomed roads and drive right up to their hunting area with much exploring. Then there’s the rest of us. We drive old Ford pickups, beat up Jeeps, and in my case, a 1994 Chevy Suburban, and we occasionally take the road less traveled (that’s me, stuck in the picture). (more…)