Facebook Groups : BBP – Episode 43

Facebook Groups : BBP – Episode 43

Facebook Groups

Part of the intrigue of social media was the ability to interact with your friends, family, co-workers and other like-minded people throughout the world. Unfortunately, sites like Facebook have been reduced to vehicles to segment ourselves by political beliefs, brand support, or even what we find funny.

But what if I told you there was a way to use Facebook to be better at your job, your personal hobbies, or just things you enjoy?

That’s what Facebook Groups can do.

Facebook Groups are a vehicle that like-minded people can use to distribute and discuss issues, problems and ideas. Some are totally secret, some have to approve new members, and some take any and all members that wish to join. Groups can be a nice distraction from your general Facebook feed and a great place to bounce ideas, get uplifting support, or maybe even some constructive criticism.

FB GroupsJoining A Facebook Group

The way most people participate in groups is by joining several groups. As I stated earlier, there is a group for nearly ANY interest. I’ve joined groups for small business owners, WordPress development, mobile DJ’s, Brittany dog owners, local wedding vendors, motorcycle riders, hunting/fishing, and much more. In each of these groups there are other people with at least one similar interest and will communicate on questions or comments regarding that interest.

Joining a Facebook Group is easy. Search for it, find the group, and click Join Group. But here are some more tips when you’re looking for some groups to join:

  • If you belong to other groups, online or not, find out from other members if they have joined other groups on Facebook.
  • Join several similar groups, then quickly determine which groups are useful and which are not, then unsubscribe the ones that don’t fit your needs.
  • Be active in the discussions. Ask questions. Provide answers. Input some humor into the group where applicable. Be… nice….!

Creating A Facebook Group

Not finding a group that fits exactly what you need or want? Create your own Facebook Group!

It’s free, the creation process is relatively easy, and the result can be very fulfilling.

However, be advised that owning a Facebook Group can be a lot of work depending on your subject, your members, and your personal goals for the group.

Here are a few things to consider before you create a group:

  • A group can be created for nearly any topic of interest. Have a tool you use for work, a hobby you spend a fair amount of time learning, or just an obscure skill? Start a group and see if there are any others with the same interest.
  • Do you have time to spend managing the group?
  • Are you going to approve everyone interested, or is there a manual process involved to allow users access?
  • If you are going to approve new members, do you have a documented criteria of what is needed in order to join?
  • Once approved, do you have a method of monitoring the posts and comments in order to discipline, or eventually remove users from the group?
  • If you don’t have time to monitor, are you willing (able?) to let others monitor the discussions for you?
  • How will you attract new members to the group? Other social media channels? Other online media (podcasts, YouTube)? Traditional media like radio, TV, newspapers or magazines? Or are you going to just allow search and word of mouth to attract visitors?

Facebook Groups can be a powerful, useful piece of your social media services. But, if used too much, or without restrictions can end up being a distraction in an stream already cresting its banks. Find topics useful and interesting to you, join them, or create your own, and you will start seeing some benefit from Facebook beyond the usual birthdays, lunch posts, and meme photos.

Episode 43 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast

In episode 43 we talk about some of the things listed here, and expand on them a bit. We also talk about my Samsung Chromebook Pro, which I started using last week as my out-of-the-office computer. Check it out below, or subscribe to the 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

 

BBP : EP0039 – GSuite & Mailbird

BBP : EP0039 – GSuite & Mailbird

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 39 – GSuite & Mailbird

Hosted by : Marv Dorner, owner of BeBizzy Consulting

Ever get the feeling that someone’s watching you?

That happened to me this week, as I started to look for a replacement for my Outlook replacement, Mailbird. The problem was that although I had hundreds of contacts saved in my various GSuite email accounts, there was no way to easily sync to or from GSuite. On many occassions I was either grabbing email addresses from my phone or having to log into the web interface to gather the email addresses so I could send.

Just this morning, I recevied an email from Mailbird claiming they had a new Contact Manager ready to roll out, all I had to do was update Mailbird, click a few things and BOOM!, contacts. The scariest part was that it worked EXACTLY like it was supposed to work, and now I don’t have to look for a new email system. Way to go, Mailbird! Check them out if you’re a GSuite or Gmail email user.

And if your NOT a GSuite user… here’s why you should be.

GSuite is a powerful email, calendar, document sharing, task & project management solution. Some other benefits are:

  • Uses Google secure and “always-on” hosting solution. I have had very minimal outages in many years of use.
  • The system is available from anywhere, so as long as you can get to a computer, tablet or phone and remember your login info, you can see you mail, calendar and documents.
  • Easy to share documents within the GSuite environment, so anyone with your domain email can easily receive, share or collaborate on documents.
  • You can still use Outlook. While I recommend getting outside the Office forcefield with apps like Mailbirdold reliable still works with GSuite.
  • 2-Step Verification security to protect your email.
  • 3rd party apps like CRMs, project management suites, mind mapping tools, and much more can be easily made available across the network.
  • Excellent support
  • Relatively cheap at $5 per email address per month.

Check out if GSuite is a good fit for you and your business by going to https://gsuite.google.com

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 : EP0037 – Wave Accounting

BBP : EP0037 – Wave Accounting

Happy Tax Week, everybody!

Episode 37 – Wave Accounting

This week I am happy to be joined by Rob Maurin from Wave to discuss this awesome, FREE, accounting and invoicing software.

We discuss some of the many features of this powerful business tool that will help you with your :

  • Accounting
  • Invoicing
  • Recurring Invoicing
  • Expense Tracking
  • Payroll
  • Mobile Invoicing
  • And much, much more.

I’ve been a user for several years and couldn’t be happier with the ease and completion of the system.

Check out the interview with Rob, then head over to http://waveapps.com and take Wave apps our for a drive.

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!

Website Launch – Path To Pono

Website Launch – Path To Pono

Path to Pono is a business coaching and mentoring business located in Bismarck, ND, and specializing in Family Recovery Coaching, Recruitment, Leadership Development and much more.

The website was built on the WordPress format and has an SSL to increase the Google search score and encrypt contact forms and browsing content.

If you have questions on how you can put your and your business on the Path To Pono, contact Sandy Thompson at 701-400-7190, or use their Contact Form on the website.

Check out some other BeBizzy websites, including a recently launched Leingang Homes website by visiting our Web Portfolio, then contact us to see how BeBizzy Consulting can get your found on the internet!

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!

BBP : EP 26 – Make WordPress Go Faster

BBP : EP 26 – Make WordPress Go Faster

There are two complaints when a client is discussing the option of moving to WordPress.

  1. WordPress isn’t secure. Something I discussed in a previous blog post – Is WordPress Safe?
  2. How can I make my slow WordPress site faster? And besides being a recent blog post, we discuss that on this week’s BeBizzy Break Podcast.

Make WordPress Faster

Of all the things that will make customers leave your site before they consume any of your information, images, videos or any other sort of content, a slow loading site is #1 on the list.

Many things cause slow sites, and on today’s episode of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we will talk a bit about them.

  1. Making your server run better and serve up the pages quicker.
  2. Installing and turning on page caching to make sure returning visitors see pages faster
  3. Compressing and resizing images to decrease the file size being sent to the brower.
  4. Turning off and removing unused plugins and themes on the page to reduce the number of calls and possible security holes.
  5. “Minifying” CSS, javascript and HTML to decrease the number of files that have to be loaded to make the hidden portion of the website work. This is the most technical fix of the five, so make sure you are backing up the files AND database prior to messing around with this process.

Speeding up WordPress is something that can be achieved if done correctly, so either get dirty and clean up your website, or contact BeBizzy Consulting today and we will take a look and see how we can decrease your page load times.

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!

Speed Up WordPress With These Five Easy Steps

Speed Up WordPress With These Five Easy Steps

One of the major perceived issues of WordPress sites is speed. Many WordPress sites are hosted on bargain hosting services not configured with speed (or in some cases reliability) in mind, are loaded with unnecessary plugins, and the free themes can sometimes cause a long load time.

But with a few steps your WordPress load many times faster than it currently does. So below are some ways to:

Speed Up WordPress With These Five Easy Steps

Hosting

Let’s start with the hosting. If you look at how a page loads you will most likely see the main response time is due to the host. Discount hosts are usually in a totally shared environment so there’s some extra equipment and scripts to run through to identify your site’s location and then direct the visitor there. Using dedicated hosting or even a VPS (Virtual Private Server) can really help this step. Some hosts will allow the addition of extra processing power, more memory and different hard drive space and types to boost your site’s response time.

Caching

Do you have content that remains fairly static on your website’s main pages? By implementing some caching plugins or scripts you can set the expiration time for images, content, and even some programming so as long as it still resides in the browser history of a user it can pull from the computer’s memory instead of downloading it again from your server. Of course they still have to pull from your server for the first visit, so implementing the other steps in this list will help as well. And if you’re on a server that limits or charges you more for bandwidth, caching can reduce cost by not repeatedly serving the same content, scripts and images over and over.

Images

Have you changed the size of your images for the web? How many times have you seen an image slowly loading into place on a page? Image resizing and compression is a great way to speed up your page and allow you to put more imagery on the site. Besides changing the physical and file sizes images on your site with Photoshop or other tools, there are many plugins and online resources that can reduce the size of your images.

Plugins

How many inactive plugins are on your site? How many plugins are running that SHOULD be inactive on your site due to WordPress and your theme revisions? Getting rid of unused plugins is a great way to speed up, and secure, your WordPress sites so review your installed list and take out the ones you haven’t, or no longer need.

Minify

This process is probably the most technical of the five, but it really speed up your site if done right. The minify process can reduce the number and size of your CSS files, javascript resources and even your theme’s HTML files to speed up how quickly they load and run. Some possible issues you can encounter are a total site crash, removal of some functionality or possibly some font changes and other small site variations, so make sure you do a complete site review as you go through the code minification process. Most plugins that do this offer a way to back out if the process causes an issue, but not all, so MAKE SURE YOU ARE BACKING UP THE SITE.

——————————-

WordPress can be a very secure, quick website CMS (content management system) that allows users to be on the web in a much shorter time that custom programming. It’s easily customizable system allows users to make thousands of changes to the programming and functionality of the website, including site speed. If you run your own site, check out some above the suggestions on the list above.

But if you want to either build a new site, or have your current site revised and sped up, give BeBizzy Consulting a call,

And leave the technical stuff to us.

BBP : EP 25 – Sara Hawkins’ Top 10 Things to Do For 2017

BBP : EP 25 – Sara Hawkins’ Top 10 Things to Do For 2017

Welcome to episode 25 of the BeBizzy Break!

Today we’re going to bring back Sara Hawkins to talk about some basic business, website and tech planning for 2017.

As always, please consult your lawyers, accounts and other professionals before acting on some of these topics. We discuss them in general and your situation may be vastly different that what was implied.

Top 10 Things To Do In 2017

1. Consider incorporating if you have not already

2. Get an EIN if you are a sole proprietor

3. Consider what big expenses you may need, plan for them

4. Create an expense tracking system

5. Create, Review, or Update Website Policies

6. Create or Update contracts you use

7. Do a year-end analysis of what you did well and what could have been better

8. Plan out when your legal filings are due and put them on your calendar for the year

9. Review the images on your website; get a subscription to stock photo site or use quality free sites like unsplash, new old stock, death to the stock photo, good free photos (owner of site shares pix), stocksnap.io, gratisography (Ryan McGuire of Bells Design), Life of Pix (LEEROY creative agency)

10. Create Guest Blogger guidelines or agreements

The interview ran about an hour, but there was just too much great stuff we didn’t want to stop!

Enjoy!

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!