My Three Words – 2017

My Three Words – 2017

Five or six years ago I read a post by Chris Brogan of Owner Media Group that had a way of distilling goals for the coming year down to three words. The goal was to provide a mission statement of sorts for how to manage your personal and professional life in three short words.

Every year I have done this exercise with varying degrees of success. Distractions found their way into the course of activity. Jobs were started or stopped, clients gained and lost… but this year is going to be different. For the first time in several years I have a fairly clear path laid out in front of me. BeBizzy Consulting is starting to pick up speed, BeLoud Entertainment is running like a well-oiled machine and my health is as good as it’s been in decades (where’s something wood to knock on?).

This year I’m putting more in stock for the three words. This year I am going to do everything I can to stay on the center line of this road.

So without further ado…
my three words.

Traction

Merriam-Webster : “the adhesive friction of a body on a surface on which it moves.”

I define traction as gaining momentum as previous efforts start to work. The website, social media channels, podcasts… everything is finally working together to move the BeBizzy machine.

Last year I picked up clients in Boston, LA and Minneapolis, and done podcasts with people as far away as Australia, to go along with my local clients In order to keep this train moving along the tracks, continuing the traction gained last year will only make everything work bigger, better and faster.

Focus

Merriam-Webster : “force or intensity of expression that gives impressiveness or importance to something.”

As with many small businesses I offered a large number of possible solutions to customers. But over time some have definitely emerged as areas of focus in the business. Of course website design and hosting, social media marketing and some operational offerings have been a constant. But I never saw podcast producing and support as being a bigger part of my business. So I will be scaling back on trying other services and focusing on what is working and is driving more business.

Education

Merriam-Webster : “the field of study that deals mainly with methods of learning in schools”

Due to some health issues and time constraints, I have not put the time invested in the past on increasing learning in my fields of interest.

But, now that I have things running with some consistency, it’s time to continue educating myself in several areas including SEO (search engine optimization), WordPress security, and the mobile web.

So that’s it… traction, focus and education.

Seems easy enough to gain momentum towards a goal and get smarter during the process. I’m looking forward to getting there, and beyond, with your help, encouragement, and maybe a bit of constructive criticism along the way.

What are your three words for 2017?

Post them in the comments below, or better yet, send them to me on Twitter and let’s talk about them!

Let’s get this year started… and leave the technical stuff to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories Triggered by a Football

Memories Triggered by a Football

It’s amazing what can trigger a memory. Usually it’s a scent, travel to a previously familiar place, or even a song.

But today I was looking for something in our storage and uncovered… a football. Not a photo, a old piece of clothing, or even a scrap of paper indicating a major day in my life. A mini football.

This football really embodies an important period of my life, both personally and professionally. You see, this football was purchased, and first used as myself and a hundred or so others entered the world of tech support. We were briefly trained and set loose on supporting a major ISP’s dial-up (remember that?) and DSL internet service. It was my first real “professional” job in a string of being a retail and service industry employee.

It wasn’t my first brush with technology. I have been playing with, programming on, and fixing computers since my friend’s Apple II and my own Commodore 64 in the mid-80’s. Heck, I was a veteran of the internet by 1999 having been on BBS boards and basic ISP service since the early 90’s. I rose through the ranks fairly quickly becoming a TTL (tech lead) in just a few weeks, monitoring calls and coaching techs to get better. I was a technical trainer. I worked on the group’s website to get information out to technicians in three separate call centers. I manually, and eventually electronically developed a call routing system that made sure calls were sent to call centers with availability. I worked with Tier 2 (upper level techs) in the ISP’s headquarters to streamline the support process, even creating a tech group between first level technicians and Tier 2 to handle harder issues that didn’t need direct connection to critical infrastructure tools. And finally, I was reluctantly moved into a management position.

All of this happened in a short time, but that brief two-year job set the next 20 years into motion.

I hunt and play softball with one of my supervisors from this job. Another lives just a block or so up the street from me. I play volleyball with another co-worker. An Officer Cartman doll still sits on my shelf right above my laptop that patrolled my office, a gift from another employee. My next job was a COO (eventually) position managing and working with several people from my teams. Almost every position I’ve had since, regardless of the job type, had someone I either supervised, or worked with at that job. Some of the people I worked with have leadership positions in companies or other organizations, even political positions.

What Is Love - HaddawayThis little football represents so much. I’m still building websites. I’m still consulting on technical issues. I’m still using the internet as the primary tool for marketing and performing work. I even used the internet to listen to some 90’s music while writing this blog post.

The important takeaway today is you never know how the experiences from a current position will affect you in 10, 15, or even 20 years. I am back working with someone I haven’t done anything with in almost 15 years on a new project. I never expected THAT!

Use every project, job, encounter, whatever as a learning experience. Get better at what you do because of it. Get better of interacting with people because of it. That way, when you find your football again, all of those experiences, good and bad, will come back to you as well and make your personal and professional life better because of it.

Have a great holiday season, everyone, and here’s to a wonderful 2017!

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 22 – I (almost) Got My Gacillia Nuts Scammed

BBP: Episode 22 – I (almost) Got My Gacillia Nuts Scammed

Oh sure, first another blizzard, and now I almost get sucked into a nut website scam?

Set BS detectors to stun!

EP22 – The Gacillia Nut Website Scam

I almost got taken by a scammer this week. I was approached, through text (?) by a gentleman who wanted a website built for his company based in Washington DC. I do some work with a company out of Boston, and also have had past clients out east, so this wasn’t totally out of left field. But something just didnt sound right. Below is the text sent to me…

“I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible .http://www.agroamerica.com.… the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.”

James claimed to be hearing impared, so no phone conversation could be used. Now I know why. An internet search for Gacilla Nut revealed this scam IMMEDIATELY, right down to the exact copy of the contact email/text. Apparantly the next step will be to say the credit card won’t go through, and to provide him with a checking account number so he can transfer money. I think we all know what happens next.

So, I’ve deleted the invoice, and will kill the contract with James. If anything else happens, I’ll report back to you here.

UPDATE : I received the “can you do me a favor” email last night. See below:

“The favor is that I will send you my credit card to charge for the sum of $5,700.00 plus 3% Cc company charges, You will deduct $2,000.00 as deposit for the design of the website plus extra $200.00 as a tip for handling perfect work for me and you will send the remaining $3,500.00 to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he receive the $3,500.00 and you will have the money cash deposit to their account…. He would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you so work can start asap, Sending of funds would be after money clears into your account and you will be charging my card for remaining balance upon completion of work, Kindly get back to me so we can proceed with payment asap”

So the scam is apparently to get paid a large sum, pay his contracted graphic design guy most of it, then I’m guessing a chargeback for the initial payment to me, leaving me out the $3500 to his “project consultant.” Brilliant.

I reported this to the North Dakota Attorney General’s office and was basically told to cut off contact with “James.” Since it’s most likely international and been going on for several years, the likelihood of stopping this from happening again is slim. There is a website run by the federal government to report items like this, so I was given IC3.GOV to file a report.

In other news:

  • Fitbit bought Pebble watches. I’ve also heard that Pebble is now dead… I hope this isn’t true. My first smartwatch was a Pebble and I loved it.
  • I updated three sites to WordPress 4.7, which came out yesterday, with no issues. Hopefully this trend continues!

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 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 20 – Change Your Google Password (again) & Sara Hawkins

BBP : Episode 20 – Change Your Google Password (again) & Sara Hawkins

Well, we’re digging out from our first big blizzard of the 2016-2017 winter here in North Dakota, but that hasn’t stopped us work-from-home guys from getting stuff done.

And just to warm up a bit, I took the opportunity to talk to Sara Hawkins about some basic legal issues this week

Change Your Google Password (again) & Sara Hawkins

  • Googlian – a malware attack was found on over 1million Google accounts that came from compromised phones. For sure, change your password, and you may want to take other precautions if you feel your phone and account has been compromised.
  • Sara F. Hawkins joins the podcast today in the first of a series of interviews centering around why and when you would want to engage an attorney as a small or solo business owner.

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: Episode 18 – Closing Datamarket, Get AMP’d & Corrected Facebook Data

BBP: Episode 18 – Closing Datamarket, Get AMP’d & Corrected Facebook Data

Happy Monday, everyone! Just a quick podcast today as I’m heading out of town for a client meeting.

Episode 18 – Closing the Datamarket, Get AMP’d & Facebook Reporting Errors

  • Google has announced last week that while it likes mobile sites to be build with AMP (accelerated mobile page) in mind, it will still show desktop site results above AMP sites, even in mobile searches.
    • Takeaway might be to put AMP design on the back burner and focus on responsive right now.
  • Microsoft Azure Datamarket is closing March 31, 2017.
    • Start looking for alternatives now to avoid the rush
  • Facebook acknowledged it found reporting issues in video views and more back in September and it has adjusted numbers accordingly.
    • The company has promised to bring in more 3rd party data reviews to ensure the accuracy of information.

That’s it for today!

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

 

 

BBP: Episode 16 – Yahoo! Mail, SSLs & Wearable Security

BBP: Episode 16 – Yahoo! Mail, SSLs & Wearable Security

It’s November 14, 2016… and it’s 56° in North Dakota. Something’s not right.

Episode 16 – Yahoo! Mail, SSLs and Wearable Security

But on today’s BeBizzy Break Podcast I talk a little bit about:

  • Yahoo! Mail, and why you should get rid of that thing moving to Outlook.com or Gmail
  • Why you should start planning on getting an SSL installed on your website to use HTTPS, even if you don’t collect secure information and just want it to maintain your current search position.
  • And wearable device security.

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!