Customizing Your Android Smartphone Screens

Customizing Your Android Smartphone Screens

settingsAndroid smartphones are wonderful devices. The ways you can communicate with friends, family, co-workers and clients are almost limitless. Text messaging, instant message, social media, news sites, and yes, even phone calls are all just a finger press away. Add some calendar apps, weather widgets, productivity tools, media programs, a camera and news readers and you have a full-blown computer in your pocket or purse.

So why are you still using that default home screen background and ringtone? Your device has so many ways to customize the experience based on personal or business criteria, making the smartphone a much more powerful way to manage your life.

Below are some tips to make your phone, well, yours. Make it easier to get at apps, data, contacts and more with just a few minutes of customizing. Enjoy!

Launcher

The launcher is the look, feel and function of the whole operating system. It controls how many icons you can add to a page, how large the widgets can be, what shortcuts you have on the dock at the bottom of the screen and more. The default launcher installed by your mobile company is pretty good, but did you know that by adding free or really cheap launchers you can extend the capabilities and function of the launcher? My favorite launcher app is Nova Launcher. I use the $4.99 version to get a few extra features, but the free one works pretty well. This little program will allow changes to :

  • Number of vertical and horizonal apps allowed in the grid. Great for tablets that have WAY more real estate.
  • Icon and folder size and the label layout.
  • Whether or not the Google Search Bar is present and how it looks.
  • How the App Drawer (where all of your installed apps are located) looks including scrolling direction and type, color, , animation and much more
  • Custom gestures and other inputs.
  • The ability to back up your desktop layout and import it into a differernt phone/tablet. This is HUGE is you’re transferring to a new device.

Try out the Nova Launcher or one of the many other launcher programs at the Google Play Store.

Folders

One of the limitations of the iOS platform used on iPhones and iPads is the inability of having an icon located in more than one place. That is NOT an issue with Android, so if you want an application link in a “Tools” folder, and also in a “Financial” folder, you have this option. Creating folders on your home screen, or just about anywhere else, is very simple.

  1. Drag an applcation shortcut on top of another icon. The system will hesitate for a moment and then drop the icon into a newly created folder along with the original appllication.
  2. Repeat this process for all of your applications until the folder is filled with your desired apps.
  3. Click on the folder once to open, then click on “Unnamed Folder” at the bottom and give your folder a name that identifies the types of apps contained like “Contacts,”  “Tools,” or “Social.”

I create multiple folders on multiple pages so I can get at business or personal specific information quickly.

Widgets

Widgets are an awesome way to bring some additional functionality to the Android environment. They are essentially ways to display app data on a particular screen in a way that makes it available at a glance or directly get to the app data. Some examples of widgets are weather data, email accounts, news and tasks.

  1. Widgets can be added anywhere there’s room and is done simply by clicking and holding anywhere on an open area of screen, opening the widget option.
  2. Click “Widgets” and select the information you’d like to add to the page like your weather app, or email.
  3. Drag the widget to the location of the page and release. If it fits, you will usually see some options to configure the layout, color, update times, etc for the data.

And below are a few of my favorites:

  • MoreCast – Great weather app that has several widgets to display current weather data and forecasts.
  • TypeMail – I have four email accounts on my phone so having unread counts or easily viewable widgets makes it easy to get to each account without opening several apps.
  • GTasks – I use Google Tasks to manage my several businesses and personal tasks. GTasks keeps them separate, but combines if I need.
  • Month – Have multiple Google Calendars on your device? Month combilnes them into one easy-to-view calendar widget.

Pages

Still trying to cram all of your information or data on to one screen? Android will let you keep as many pages as you wish, move them around so you can access them on the left or right swipe of your thumb, and set your “home” page.

As stated before, I have four businesses on my phone that I keep track of. Each business has a “page” full of contacts, tasks, email and other widgets and shortcuts. This allows me to keep everything separate and if I need a client phone number I go to the business page, pull up the “Contact” folder and click on the contact to make the call, email or text. I also keep links to specific apps here, shortcuts to web pages, and even a quick way to get to my OneNote or Drive accounts so I can access files or take notes on a specific client.

Pages are also a great way to separate your media like music or podcasts, books, and games from work related or personal information, or just to create a news and social media page loaded with constantly changing info that doesn’t interfere with your main page functionality.

Ringtones

Early on the Android system provided a way to assign new ringtones, and eventually a way to assign ringtones to specific contacts.

This is incredibly handy if you want to keep business and personal contacts straight, or even to know when your daughter calls. Now, changing the default ringtone is pretty simple, but editing a contact with a specific ringtone can be a bit more difficult for inexperienced users, but essentially:

  1. Pull the contact up in “Contacts” and “Edit” the contact.
  2. Select “More” at the bottom of the contact and scroll down until you see “Ringtone”
  3. Select one of the pre-programmed ringtones, or “Add ringtone” at the bottom, which will allow you to search for songs or other ringtones and assign it to the contact.

As I said before, the Android operating system has a TON of ways to customize the experience exactly to your liking. Charge up that phone, create some pages, start adding shortcuts and widgets, and turn that computer in your hand into the device your friends and family will envy!

I have included some images below of my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge pages. Use them as inspiration if you need, or tell me how YOU customized your phone or tablet @BeBizzy on Twitter or in the comments below!

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! 

#VZWBuzz

2016-03-30-20.01.57  2016-03-30-20.02.25  2016-03-30-20.02.18

 

 

Should I Buy A Laptop or Tablet?

Should I Buy A Laptop or Tablet?

macbook-924015_960_720A few years ago it was professed that the tablet was going to rapidly replace laptop and desktop computers as the device of choice for both businesses and consumers.

Late last year and earlier this year tablets were proclaimed dead by dozens of tech writers.

So who’s right?

Ummm… both?

Here’s the deal. Computers are content creation devices. Tablets are content consumption devices. Make sense?

Why Buy a Laptop?

Laptop_and_computersMost of us own or have used laptops are work or at home. They are wonderful devices that allow you to take work virtually anywhere, especially if you can get online through Wi-Fi connections or using a mobile hotspot (my Verizon hotspot has saved me MANY times). The main benefit of the laptop is that you can do almost anything on them, including basic business tasks like spreadsheets, word documents, web surfing and the like, as well as photo, video and audio editing, coding, database work and more.

And, if you’re willing to pay slightly higher than the price of decent tablets, you can load a laptop with tons of RAM, processor power and HDD space. Laptops are also fairly easy to connect multiple devices like external monitors, HDD’s and other memory, keyboards, speakers, wired networks and more. Weight and thickness has also come way down for most laptops, even those with larger screens.

If there’s one thing against laptops, it’s battery power. Some laptops run at a lower power to save battery, but you lose some of the processor power when that happens. Batteries can drain quickly during travel or when working remotely. More expensive laptops pack in a bit more power but that can add weight, and even heat, which takes away some of the portability features demanded by certain users.

Why Buy a Tablet?

ipadTablets are becoming very common for both business people and home users, but they do lack a bit of the power possessed by their laptop cousins.

First, let’s look at the consumer-level usefulness. Tablets are perfect for sitting down and listening to music, watching TV shows or movies on Netflix, listening to pocasts, reading magazines or playing games, surfing the web, reading emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… all the ways we consume content. If you are looking for something to do this, it’s hard to find a better technology than the iPad or Android tablets like the Samsung Note 10.1.

Now let’s look at the business side. I’ve know plenty of people who have tried, and failed, at using their tablet to conduct their business. Most of the time it’s due to needing and/or wanting to do too much for the device to handle. Here’s what you’re NOT going to be easily able to do on your tablet. Code, create/edit spreadsheets, edit graphics, sound or movies, and connect easily to most business display systems such as projectors or televisions.

As far as where the tablets are awesome on the business side there are these aspects of business. Meeting notes, online presentations, multiple email accounts, tasks, project management, file viewing and sharing, and specific monitoring tools like Google Analytics.

So, it comes down to this. My wife surfs the web, reads her Nook, does social media like Facebook and Twitter, plays some games and looks at some coupons in her email. A tablet is perfect for her.

I create pivot tabled Excel sheets, monitor numerous email accounts, create graphics and manage websites, and share my screen during online meetings. When I leave the comfort of my office a laptop is often the weapon of choice. However, if I’m running out to meet with a bride or prospective client, view an online meeting, communicate via Skype or Hangouts, or even travel, I take my tablet.

What About the 2-In-Ones?

maxresdefaultThere’s a new class of device that’s beginning to grab some market share, especially on the Windows side of the arena, called 2-In-Ones. These devices offer a slightly stripped down version of the powerful laptop, throws in some extended battery and a smaller keyboard, a touch screen, and a few ports to extend the capabilities. I own an Asus that serves as one of these devices, and while the screen folds 360° to become a tablet (the keyboard shuts off and Windows changes to a tablet mode), I find the size and weight to be a bit of a challenge, However, there are new devices like the Surface Pro 4, the new Samsung Galaxy TabPro S (the first device I have gotten really excited about in a while), and even the iPad Pro 12.9″ and 9.7″ that are pushing this category towards being more useful.

So, Which One Should I Buy?

The bottom line is that you might want both, especially if you’re a business professional that goes out of the office for meetings or an executive that mostly needs to consume data instead of create it.

If you’re ever going to need to work with graphics, audio, video or even large, complete spreadsheets, it’s hard to bet against the Windows or Mac laptop. Sometimes you just need the extra power.

But if you’re mostly going to be consuming information from websites, Webex meetings, documents or other media, I would recommend the tablet.

Final Things to Consider

One more thing to consider on both of these devices is your connection. The tablet is there to consume media and web traffic. Getting it attached to your cellular plan as an LTE device is a great thing if you’re going to be working in areas void of available Wi-Fi. These can include the great outdoors, some restaurants, and even on the road. But the reality is that most people, both business and general consumers, will have access to Wi-Fi much of the time.

Our homes, at airports and hotels, places of business, and even many bars and restaurants have connections available to users. Just make sure you are using protective measures such as not sending financial or other critical business data over these connections unencrypted or otherwise protected.

If you have questions or comments on tablets and laptops, please leave them in the comment section below or shoot them at me on Twitter @BeBizzy.

Then, leave the technical stuff to us!

 

Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge Review

Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge Review

samsungs7_curveThe. Perfect. Phone.

I’ve read and listened to several reviews of the S7 in the last few days and that’s the general feeling I’ve gotten from them. And now that I finally have my hands on one, I totally agree!

I’ve moved to this phone from the Samsung Note 5, and those of you that know me know I am a huge fan of that platform. I don’t use the S-Pen as much as I should on the phone, but I love the large form factor and feel of the phone.

But the S7, and especially the S7 Edge which I have, is close in size when compared to the Note 5 and the battery is exactly the same size so there will be some adjustment to a smaller phone, but it hopefully will be minimal.

The S7 also has what’s been called the best mobile screen available with its 5.1″ Super AMOLED screen. My favorite feature is the return of the micro-SD card. I’m a DJ and love to have music on my phone as a backup in case my external HDD fails at an event. The S7 now supports micro-SD cards up to 200GB, so my 128GB card should not be a problem!

And the stock camera app is FAST. The camera is a step down in mega-pixels to 12 from 16 but should be adequate. Grabbing moving objects like pets was no issue, with little or no blur. And the low-light capture feature is amazing. I’m excited to test in low-light wedding venues in the coming months.

Throw in a 3000mAH battery on the S7, and a huge 3600mAH battery on the S7 Edge, and you have a pretty close to perfect phone. Oh, did I mention both phones are water resistant?

For a more complete list of specs, check out the full list at the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy S7 page at Verizon Wireless. The S7 Edge specs are here.

Then, follow me on Twitter @BeBizzy to let me know what you think or to see some of the awesome photos I will take with the Samsung Galaxy S7.  I can’t wait!

Samsung S7 and S7 Edge Review from The Verge

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! 

#VZWBuzz

 

Marketing Your Business Online

Marketing Your Business Online

contentiskingAs a business owner it’s tough to decide where the marketing budget goes. That is especially true for small businesses in a market like Bismarck, Mandan, or one of the many other small cities in North Dakota.

However, online marketing and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others are making it easier to reach targeted customers by using specific age, sex, location and other factors.

How much time and/or money should you be spending on your online marketing budget? A lot of that depends on your need to acquire new customers, the type of goods or services you are offering, and your abilities to put time or money towards a successful online campaign.

Today I’d like to cover some very, very, VERY basic guidelines for marketing your business online in search engines and social networking sites.

And don’t forget, BeBizzy Consulting can do all of this for you!
  • Overall – Find common elements like the same images, colors, and message on multiple locations. You should try to use the same logo, header images, colors and profile pictures on every site unless it’s absolutely impossible.
  • Google, Bing and other Search Engines – Claim your business! Most sites have a way for you to say you own a business and have some control over what’s shown here like hours of operation, location, photos and more.
  • Facebook – Create a page, not your personal feed. At some point you will want to share things that should’t be on that business page like baby photos, political opinions or borderline inappropriate content.
  • Twitter – Although limited in the amount of characters you can use, Twitter is a great way to 1) create backlinks to your content, and 2) reach a demographic that spends less time in Facebook
  • LinkedIn – A great vehicle if you’re selling B2B. Set up your business site and encourage you and your employees to set up personal profiles including your business and its services.
  • Your Website – Make sure it’s responsive or has a mobile version and/or app. More and more customers conduct a majority of their online lives on mobile devices, make sure you can reach them.

This is a lot of work, but if it’s done right and it’s done often enough an be a very effective acquisition tool for your business.

Below is an infographic that displays a few small business online marketing trends. Check them out then make some changes to your online presence. OR, contact BeBizzy Consulting and let’s discuss your internet marketing needs, then leave the technical stuff to us!

Online Marketing for Small Businesses #InfographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan

Why You Need a Responsive Website

Why You Need a Responsive Website

responsiveFor the last few years, whether I’ve been working for an advertising agency or now at BeBizzy Consulting, the main question is, “why do I need a new website?

The answers are numerous, but one stands out above all the rest… your site needs to be responsive.

By definition, responsive sites provide a similar experience to visitors regardless of the device or resolution on which they view the site. What that really means is that whether the users hits the site on their desktop or on their smarphone the information should be similar. Not exactly the same, as the screen sizes are vastly different, but similar.

The arguments to spend the money on responsive design are many, including:

  • Nearly 60% of American adults use a smartphone, and almost that same amount of internet traffic is performed by mobile devices. Your site needs to be viewed on these devices with a positive experience.
  • The smartphone is the new phone book. Every year we get a phone book delivered, but how many times do you look contact information up on your smartphone instead of dusting off a large, alphabetical listing? Responsive sites provide an easy way to get your contact information front and center on your page even to mobile users.
  • If B2B, more millenials are doing research on your companies and using mobile devices.
  • Huge difference in computer sizes. I use two 23″ monitors, some use a single 27″, and then there’s the mobile guy who uses a 12″ laptop. All need a similar experience.
  • Does your competition have a responsive site yet? If they do, they are getting leads from mobile users. If they do not, YOU can get a jump on them and get more leads.
  • If you are doing any sort of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) it’s much easier to optimize for one site than for two. Send everyone to the same page for the same information and focus marketing dollars instead of splitting and spending extra money to reach both audiences.
  • Google, who owns nearly 70% of the search market, states that responsive web design is an industry best practice.
  • And finally, nearly 75% of consumers bring their smartphone to the bathroom. Talk about a captive audience.

So on to the next question. How much will this cost?rwd

Not as much as you would think, with BeBizzy Consulting anyways. All of our development is built on the WordPress CRM system. The code is installed in our shared server environment, backed up nightly, secured and kept updated by some great software, and is incredibly easy to navigate and edit. Best of all, the themes we purchase and use are all responsive and have been tested on many devices across many browsers to ensure your potential clients are getting to you regardless of which device is used.

So what’s the next step? Well, contacting us would be the best, easiest next step towards determining if you need to complete the migration to a responsive site. There are definitely a few more items to be concerned about like current SEO efforts and other special coding that may exist. If you want to do some checking for yourself I would suggest making a list of competitors or businesses similar in other areas and checking their websites. If you’re seeing others already configured for responsive, you’re already behind. If not, it’s a chance to jump out front and potentially capture some market share.

Responsive web design is not new, nor will it be going anywhere soon. Designing a site that’s capable to be displayed on virtually any device and display similar information is huge in minimizing the cost of multiple SEO campaigns and managing several versions of one site. Contact BeBizzy Consulting and let’s see how we can move you towards that mobile-friendly website. You decide what you want on the site, then leave the technical stuff to us.

 

Using Microsoft Office on your Mobile Device

Using Microsoft Office on your Mobile Device

Microsoft_Office_2013_logo.svgOne of the major obstacles to moving towards tablets and other mobile devices, especially for non-Millennials, is the dependence on software products, especially Microsoft Office.

Most of us have created a Word document, spreadsheet in Excel, or even a PowerPoint presentation in Microsoft Office. In fact, I was surprised to find that the popular one version of Microsoft Office (Office 365) had TRIPLED its market share in just one year (7.7% to 25.2%). And like it or not, Office is still the weapon of choice when it comes to business documents ahead of Google Docs or other choices.

When Microsoft updated their mobile version of Office in both Android and iOS tablets and phones recently it brought the old company into the 21st Century and made it realistic to use non-Microsoft mobile devices as a valid business tool.

So grab your tablet and log into Google Play to install these great apps. I will suggest using a Bluetooth keyboard (I use the Logitech k480 keyboard) and even a Bluetooth mouse (Microsoft Wireless Presenter Mouse 8000) to really make the experience as good possible.

Below is a quick description of each Office app with Google Play download links along with some tips where needed. I even included a few lesser-known Microsoft apps for your pleasure. Keep in mind most of these apps will be free in their full versions as long as you have an Office 365 account. Let me know your thoughts of using the apps, or if you have any questions that pop up! Send them to @BeBizzy on Twitter, or use the comment section below.

Word
Microsoft Word is the document type of choice for most businesses. It’s easy to track changes, easy to format, and very powerful in it’s publishing and security capabilities. Nearly every editable document you will receive from anyone will be in a Word format. Add to that easy conversion of completed documents to PDF and you have a very powerful business tool at your fingertips.

Excel
Everyone’s favorite spreadsheet application comes to mobile devices. The only limitation I have found is the ability to create and sometimes use pivot tables is lost or decreased in the mobile version. Otherwise, formulas, data entry and other functions all seem to perform just like the desktop version.

PowerPoint
Who hasn’t had to either present or sit through a PowerPoint in their business career? Now create, save and even present your great ideas by using this mobile version and send straight to a Chromecast or other enabled device to be viewed by the general masses in your meeting.

Outlook
I’ve only recently added this application to my devices after initially installing and not liking. Recent upgrades are close, but still not perfect. However, I’ve added four email accounts with some luck, and am so far impressed with the performance. Easy access to the calendar is a big deal, even using Google email accounts, and the look on a tablet is very close to the desktop version. The final big benefit is the ability to log into several cloud services to attach or save documents quickly. These services include OneDrive, Dropbox and Box.com, all of which I use on a daily basis.

One tip is that if you are setting up an email account that’s not Gmail, exchange or Microsoft 365, or Yahoo enabled you may have to include the port numbers in your inbound and outbound servers. For example, use imap.servername.com:993 if the SSL port for your service is 993.

OneNote
OneNote is my favorite note-taking application, even above Evernote. The ability to create multiple notebooks, multiple folders and documents containing text, handwriting (great on a Samsung Note 10.1 and Note 5), and images is a wonderful way to keep your notes. Sharing is very easy as well so you can send random thoughts, to-do lists and more to co-workers quickly through the app. OneNote automatically syncs and all of your notes appear magically on other devices that are logged into the same account, making backups less of a dramatic need, and keeping your notes are your fingertips regardless of which device you are using.

OneDrive
This is Microsoft’s cloud service. Most of the products automatically log into OneDrive to open or save documents automatically, and that allows easy transfer between your other devices, and also to share with other users. There are different levels of storage space available based on subscription type and price.

Office Lens
My favorite alternative Office mobile app! This is a great app that uses your camera to take photos of a screen, printed sheet, or whiteboard and allows you to easily edit that photo to be saved and/or included in other documents. It will even straighten the photo, or remove background noise if needed. Great business app!

I’ve tried other office services like Google Apps and others, but now having access to the familiar Microsoft Office for my business and personal use is nothing short of magical. Gone are the days of installing third-party apps that covert documents or create a different, limited version of the Office document types, only needing to be converted later to office formats. Gone are the days of having to handle a document to a third-party cloud service to ensure it’s available across devices. Microsoft Office has arrived… again, and you should take another look.

Got any other tips for using Office or other apps on tablets?   Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, 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.

#VZWBuzz

 

Best Android Business Apps for 2016

Best Android Business Apps for 2016

mobile-phone-998871_960_720Most of us do some work either away from our office or in our home. As a result more and more we are conducting business on our tablets and mobile phones over wi-fi or cellular networks.

In the past that meant trying to shoehorn common office tasks done by brand-name software into a process that edited or transformed them into something else so the mobile devices could read or edit them. But that’s no longer the case. Microsoft Office and other platforms are now universal and make working out of the office much easier. Couple that with some amazing apps specific to business uses and your phone or tablet is a powerful business tool.

Below are some of my favorite apps and their uses for Android phones. I have many, if not all, of these installed on my iPad as well. Check these out, and share your favorite business apps with me @BeBizzy on Twitter or below in the comments so 2016 can be the most productive year ever!

Notes and Meetings – Like it or not, meetings are the way of today’s business. Luckily online meetings are becoming a bigger part of the meeting landscape which allows multi-tasking, easier note taking and recording of the meetings. Check out a few of these apps to enhance your meeting experience.

OneNote – My favorite note taking app from Microsoft. Having a Microsoft account allows you to share the same notes across all platforms (PC, phone, tablet), keep multiple “notebooks” and chose from a number of formats.

WebEx & Join.me – Odds are that if you’re attending an online meeting you’re using one of these three tools. All three offer screen sharing and even communicating right through the device.

Office Lens – This is one of my favorite apps. It’s an easy way from Microsoft to photograph a document, visual slide or marker board, clean up and enhance the image, and save to be shared.

Chromecast – If you have a Chromecast device and want to share your screen through a wi-fi connection, Chromecast is the easier method. Share directly to a flat screen TV or projection with the touch of a button.

Google Drive – An easy way to share or collaborate on documents

Dropbox – My favorite way to save documents and share if needed. It’s very easy to limit who has access and even for how long. One of the few tools I subscribe to monthly.

Time/Cost Tracking and Tasks – Even if you don’t own a business you will most likely be responsible to track time, projects and productivity. The below apps will allow you to easily to do this and more.

Milebug – I’ve been tracking my mileage on Milebug for years. It allows multiple starting points, destinations, vehicles and reasons so you can track almost anything. It also provides an easy way to export the data for reporting needs.

Shoeboxed – Great way to save, upload, categorize and report on receipts. Generates great monthly or yearly looks at categories which can easily be made to match your company’s cost centers or the tax codes.

GTasks – This is a better way to access Google Tasks through widgets on multiple screens

Jiffy – Need a way to track time spent on individual tasks or projects? Jiffy does that and more.

Google Analytics – Want to see how your websites and campaigns are performing? Google Analytics provides a great view into this and more.

Office and Other Documents – Microsoft Office is the universal document system. That, along with mail and other events are an important part of the business process.

Microsoft Office – If you have a valid subscription Microsoft Office is available to install on your mobile devices to create, view and/or edit Office documents right on your phone or tablet. Tools available are Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

TypeMail – The best mail app available for Android and iPhones. Allows for multiple accounts, signatures and widgets to handle all mailing needs.

LastPass – All of these applications and softwares require passwords, and LastPass allows all of these passwords to be more secure and easier to create and retrieve.

News and Media – Many of us like to stay informed about our areas of expertise and the internet has made this much easier that waiting for industry specific publications to be mailed monthly. Use the apps below to follow your favorite people and/or business verticals.

Pocket Casts – Great podcast app. Find your favorite audio or video podcast and subscribe. Keeps everything organized across multiple devices.

Pocket – Need to save a website to read for later? Pocket will do this, sync across devices and platforms, and categorize them for easy sorting.

LinkedIn – Great social media app providing contacts, news, groups and other information unique to your circle.

Hootsuite – Most of us are on multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Hootsuite allows you to see of this in one place, post to them collectively (or a single platform), and organize according to lists or other criteria.

There you have it. A few of my favorite apps to make my device more useful to conduct business. Let me know below or @BeBizzy on Twitter if you have any to add to this list!

In addition to these, I use screens unique to personal and business functions by utilizing the widgets, contacts and other links to applications. Keep everything organized on your devices and you will become more productive in 2016 as well!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received a mobile phone and with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Best Android Apps for the Upcoming Election

Best Android Apps for the Upcoming Election

vote-661888_640Like it or not, Republican, Democrat or none of the above, we’re inside of one year until another major election in the United States, and probably in your local area. Next November local results, state offices and national responsibilities will all be decided by civic-minded adults who wander to local polling locations and cast their ballot for any or all of the candidates that mean something to them.

But with all of the noise on the internet, television and other media formats, how do you get the information you need instead of what the candidates and PAC’s WANT you to hear?

Being a fairly open-minded, maybe even skeptical, voter (I’ve voted both parties in the last few elections), I’ve tried to assemble a list of apps that make a case for positions across the board. And if I have one message in this post it’s this… listen to all sides WITHOUT your bias. No one is completely right, or completely wrong and if you go into the argument already closed off to one side or the other, then why even listen to or read what’s being said?

US 270          
US 270 Free (270 is the number of electoral votes needed to win the US Presidential election) is an app to track electoral votes and news as it relates to the upcoming presidential election. Stay up to date on predicted outcomes, create your own maps and theories to share, and see strategies emerge as the 2016 election unfolds.

Poll Up          
Poll Up is connected directly to the Huffington Posts polling system, which should shoot polling results directly to the app. As with all polls, use this with an “eyes wide open” thought process knowing that numbers can be made to tell just about any story.

Ad Hawk          
Great app that listens to political TV ads and then pinpoints who is directly responsible to the ad. This is useful when you just want to know who is paying the money to run that crazy, or inspired advertisement that strikes a chord with you.

All Politics          
All Politics is an app to get political news all in one place. The news is a gathering of aggregated and original news from Politico, Fox, MSNBC and other sources so it should provide many sides to any argument.

Pocket Casts          
Pocket Casts is only one of several podcasting apps that can be used to listen to a wide variety of shows that run across the political spectrum. Nothing get the base fired up like an un-filtered, un-regulated broadcast where a host can say or do anything he/she wishes. Listen at your own risk. You can also use many other apps, such as:

And don’t forget, your local newspaper, radio channel or favorite television news probably has an app that can be arranged to display political news as a default. Make sure you are checking that out. There’s also the national news organizations listed below. Keep in mind that all of them have political leanings one way or another, but again, it is good to sometimes hear the other side and to have the open mind to possibly be persuaded.

Elections have a way of dominating our thoughts, discussions and media for many months as they get closer. Social media has magnified this by allowing users to voice their political leanings by easily sharing online media or just a passing thought on events like the Presidential debates or the recent Paris terrorist attacks. Create lists on Twitter (I have a list of local Bismarck, North Dakota and National news organizations), follow on Facebook, or even stay connected by watching Periscope or Meerkat videos.

But being uneducated at the polls is not an excuse anymore. You have all of the resources available on the web or your favorite mobile device. Use them to gather or, if so desired, distribute knowledge on topics that are near and dear to your heart. But remember, there are those who stand to gain if they can somehow motivate you to think one way or another. There has never been a time more lending towards knowing all sides of an argument and cutting through the media leanings. Take some time to learn about the issues that matter most to you, and vote accordingly.

Do you have an app that you use all of the time to track or stay informed about an issue? Add them to the comment section below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter.

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received a mobile phone and with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own.

 

Best Android Apps for Your Ghost Hunting Adventure

Best Android Apps for Your Ghost Hunting Adventure

halloweenIf there’s something strange in your neighborhood. What’cha gonna install?

SOME ANDROID APPS!

It’s that time of year, kids. All the spooks and goblins will the roaming the streets and decorating our homes and places of business. And “adults” will be able to attend ghost crawls where local celebrities guide you around the most haunted places in town. So what better time to pull out your cell phones and use some apps to get a jump on those spirits before they jump out at you!

I’ve compiled a list of Android paranormal apps on which you can use your skeletal little hands to find other spooky creatures that go bump in the night. Use them well… IF YOU DARE!

Find Local Haunted Houses

Not sure where to go to find those spirits or other haunts? Check out this list of maps and information that will take you to locations that have been reported to be home to your spooky neighbors. What are you going to do if YOUR house is listed?

>>Download the Find Local Haunted Houses app from the Play Store

Paranormal Field Guide

Before you head out, or even while you’re wandering the halls of the abandoned insane asylum, this online guide will tell you what your sight, touch and other senses are detecting and why.

>>Download the Paranormal Field Guide from the Play Store

Ghost Radar : Classic

It doesn’t get more “classic” than this. Turn on the app and watch the screen for blips that indicate “abnormal” readings. It will even tell you why the reading is abnormal.

>>Download Ghost Radar : Class from the Play Store

Ultimate EMF Detector

If you’ve ever watched a ghost hunting show you will know one of the most basic tools used by the “professional” is an EMF detector. Carry one with you on your phone with this cool app and help find that ghost that’s hidden in the shadows.

>>Download the Ultimate EMF Detector from the Play Store

EVP Recorder with Detector

Nothing is creepier than when you hear that detached voice whispering something that was undetected by anyone in the room. Turn on your EVP recorder while out and about and listen to it later… in a dark room… alone.

>>Download the EVP Recorder with Detector from the Play Store

Well, good luck, ghost hunter. Gather up your cross, wooden stake, garlic cloves and your smartphone loaded with these great apps and have a SPOOKTACULAR Halloween!

Surely I’ve missed some of your favorite apps in this list. Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter and I’ll add them to the post!

And just because I love the 80’s, we’re going to end with Michael Jackson’s, “Thriller” video, because it’s the internet, and we can.

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received a mobile phone and with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own.