Why Haven’t You Backed Up Your Phone Data?

Why Haven’t You Backed Up Your Phone Data?

“… and you didn’t have this backed up?”

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.

Technology Fails

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.

Have suggestions, questions or comments on these backup solutions? Either use the Contact Us form, or drop me a message on Twitter @BeBizzy!

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 5 – New Office, iPhone 7 & WordPress Updates

BBP : Episode 5 – New Office, iPhone 7 & WordPress Updates

On today’s show we talk about why I missed last week while I moved computers, desks, exercise equipment and a host of other junk to a new office.

We also talk why this year’s iPhone is just a place holder for next year’s 10 year anniversary device, and updating WordPress and Divi.

Have a comment, question or even an interview suggestion? Contact me or send me a note on Twitter @BeBizzy.

Then leave the technical stuff to us!

BBP : Episode 4 – Tobi Walter from Shoeboxed

BBP : Episode 4 – Tobi Walter from Shoeboxed

Episode Four of the BeBizzy Break Podcast features a great interview with Tobi Walter from Shoeboxed, joined by Claudio Amand.

Shoeboxed is a receipt and expense organizer that allows users to uploaded scanned or photographed receipts and organize them for easy presentation to accounting and tax preparation staff. I’ve been a user for several years and couldn’t run my businesses without it.

Tobi also talks about how Shoeboxed is being used for banks and financial institutions, and hints at some additional functionality.

To-Do List Before Updating a WordPress Theme

To-Do List Before Updating a WordPress Theme

There’s a few days to a web developer that are like Christmas. Usually it’s when they get a new computer, new software, or sometimes, when a new theme gets released.

But, new themes are not without danger. Occasionally there’s a conflict with installed plugins, custom programming, or just CSS changes and often the only way to determine if there will be an issue is to install the update on a live site. FYI, this is NOT the recommended situation, but sometimes it’s all you have in a small business.

So it’s important to do some pre and post-work on themes to make sure it’s OK to move to a new, or update your current theme. Below is a checklist you or your website developer should be following before throwing the switch.

  1. Document Current Known Custom Programming – Make sure you have a list (documented or in your head) of everything that’s been added as custom programming to a site. Many times simply doing a small .x update to a theme can overwrite files that have been edited to your needs or likes.
  2. Check the Footer! – Adsense codes, Google Analytics, custom footer text and more often get added to the theme’s footer file. This is one of the files often moved to a child theme for just this reason, so make sure you know what’s there.
  3. Research Known Theme Testing Stats – Most of the time the theme will have been tested against several versions of WordPress prior to launch but make sure your version gets a green light prior to installation.
  4. Back Everything Up – Back up your files, the database and everything the site has so it’s relatively easy to go back if this update goes sideways. You’ll be happy you did!
  5. Notify Clients – Prior to updating, notify your clients and tell them when and WHY you are updating, especially if it will change how the user interacts with the admin page, has to edit current page data, or even log in.
  6. Delete Unused Plugins and Themes – Not only will this make the site easier to edit when you do have to find a solution to a problem, extra code causes longer load times and can even be a security risk if the plugins are not being updated.

Now, you’re ready to install the update. Run it, wait for it to finish, and then…

  1. Log Back In – Make sure the admin comes back up. If you use a plugin to “move” the login page, make sure it still works and you can still log in there.
  2. Test Several Browsers –  Most of us have our default browsers, but make sure it works across as many as possible to identify potential issues.
  3. Test Several Devices – If you have them, it’s great to test across several computers, phones, tablets and other devices to make sure your site looks as it should.
  4. Request User Feedback – Publish a blog post, Facebook message or Tweet stating that you have updated the site and to notify you of any issues that pop up. Then address them as quickly as possible, as you most likely will hear from far less people than actually have seen or experienced the errors.

Not an all-inclusive list on what you can and should do in the event of a theme or WordPress upgrade, but it’s a start. I’m looking forward to a major Divi upgrade sometime today, so I’ll be, or have already, following this list to ensure a smooth update for my sites, and for my clients.

Have a suggestion I left our or a comment on this list? Leave it in the comments below, or drop me a not @BeBizzy on Twitter.

BBP : Episode 3 – Cables, Sports, Updates & Manage WP

BBP : Episode 3 – Cables, Sports, Updates & Manage WP

Episode Three of the BeBizzy Break Podcast on this busy day-after-Labor-Day episode.

Topics include unwinding my giant ball of cables and ancient technology, college football apps, a pending Divi upgrade, and whether or not I should be afraid of the sale of ManageWP to GoDaddy.

If you have a suggestion for a future interview, please contact BeBizzy via our form or on Twitter @BeBizzy.

Enjoy the conversation with Scott, and don’t forget to give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher!

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 2 – Scott McCarthy, Silicon Plains

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 2 – Scott McCarthy, Silicon Plains

Episode TWO of the BeBizzy Break podcast is up and available for download from iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Pocket Casts, so go get subscribed and listen to my interview with Scott McCarthy, VP of Sales at Silicon Plains.

We talk about how a managed services company can enhance your IT staff for all businesses regardless of size.

Silicon Plains is located in Bismarck, ND and their website is http://www.siliconplains.net. Give Scott a call at 701-390-9876 if you’re interested in their services or just want to talk about how a managed services provider can make your technology stronger and work better towards making your business more profitable.

If you have a suggestion for a future interview, please contact BeBizzy via our form or on Twitter @BeBizzy.

Enjoy the conversation with Scott, and don’t forget to give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher!

Motorola Moto Z Droid Smartphone

Motorola Moto Z Droid Smartphone

Most Olympic swimming events are decided by tenths, even hundredths of seconds. During this Olympic cycle there have even been several ties for medals as there was literally no way to separate athletes as they came to the wall.

And then there were the races that had Katie Ledecky.

Ledecky won the 800m freestyle final by 11 SECONDS. The entire field of runners in the Mens 100m sprint ran their complete race in a shorter amount of time than that. And aside from Katie just being a superior athlete, a main reason for her dominance was a change in the stroke she was using. By changing the game, she changed the outcome… by a lot.

Same goes for technology. When we were tired of carrying CD’s around, mp3’s showed up. When we were tired of carrying multiple sets of media around that stored mp3’s, the iPod appeared. As a DJ I’ve used LP’s, VHS tapes, cassettes, CDs and now mp3 and mp4 files stored on laptops for all my music allowing thousands of songs instead of a handful of records in crates.

On the mobile phone front we were at a bit of a crossroads. Both Android and iOS are pretty good at what they do, and unless you were an enthusiast the same phone would work for years at a pretty acceptable level. All have good cameras, have LTE network service (some networks are better than others), decent processors and are built thinner and lighter. Many have expandable storage. All can have cases and protective covers added.

But once in a while someone changes the game. The Motorola Moto Z Droid is that change. AND, it’s exclusive to Verizon Wireless.

On the surface, the phone is like most any other high-end smartphones.

  • 5.5″ Gorilla Glass screen
  • Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32/64GB memory, expandable up to 256GB
  • 13MP primary, 5MP selfie camera
  • Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, accelerometer
  • 2600 mAh battery
  • NO headphone jack! Don’t worry, there’s an adapter to connect to the USB-C in the box and another way to listen available.

Ok, the lack of a standard headphone jack is weird, but other than that, pretty standard stuff.

The MODS

Moto ModsWhat changes the game, is the MODS.

For those of you not familiar with the new mods for the Moto Z, here you go. Mods are attached to the main phone body by a series of powerful magnets, making the attachment easy and not requiring any disassembly of the phone. These mods allow you to transform your phone so the capabilities are extended and include:

  • Moto Insta-Share Projector
    Project your phone screen up to 70″ on any surface, self adjusting the keystone to accomodate the picture. Great for business people who may need to show spreadsheets or slides, or just anyone who may want to show photos or video to friends or family.
  • JBL Soundboost Speaker
    High quality JBL sound anywhere with a built-in kickstand. There’s even an extra battery that brings up to 10 hours of extra battery life.
  • Incipio offGRID Power Pack
    Need up to 22 hours of extra battery life? This sleek battery “case” looks like a beautiful case and continues to work with wireless charging.
  • Moto Style Shell
    Add materials like real wood, genuine leather and more as a styling case to the Moto Z with the Style Shells. Magnets allows you to change in seconds, and while the unprotected back of the phone has the camera protruding a bit more than most phones, the shells (and other mods) bring the camera flush and protected.

So why the big deal?

Phones like the iPhone do a great job of finding the “happy medium.” The have good storage, a good camera, decent battery and ok speakers. Several Android phones maintained the slightly “better-than-average” features as well with better cameras and ok sound, or a great battery, but poor front camera.

The Moto Z mods allow additional functionality to be added to an already great device by simply attaching extension mods to the original phone via strong magnets. So a business person who doesn’t need impressive sound can have a 70″ projector in his pocket, or a power user can have an additional 2200 mAh of battery ( for a TOTAL OF 4800 mAh!!), or that girl who takes a ton of videos can show them using the JBL speaker mod with the attached kickstand.

Throw in the fact that most of us buy some sort of case but may want to go without, or with a different look for multiple events and this makes the mods invaluable.

This phone and the mods are a great step forward in mobile technology. Sure, eventually, we’ll all have a projector built in, a great battery, and amazing speakers in a same small footprint occupied by the Moto Z and other great smartphones. But until then, the Moto Z forces other mobile phone companies to take a look at their devices and think, “What about this?”

Check out the Moto Z Droid and it’s mods at a local Verizon store or at the Verizon Wirless website.

Want to learn more about the Moto Z mods? Watch the official video:

or this great review of the projector and speaker from Hot Hardware.

Do you have, or want, the Motorola Moto Z Droid? I’d love to hear your review on the device, or get questions if you need some clarification on something before you take the plunge.

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

Right Time To Move To A Phablet?

Right Time To Move To A Phablet?

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.
  • And more…

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! 

#VZWBuzz #ad

Simplify Your Life With Google Tasks

Simplify Your Life With Google Tasks

We’re getting to that time when summer is coming to a close, vacations are wrapping up, and school is on the horizon for many families. On top of that, soon it will be the holiday season, sports, school meetings and conferences, and oh yeah, work.

How will you manage all of those details to make sure everything gets done. Many use the standard central hand-written calendar on the refrigerator or family cork board. Or worse, there’s the sea of post-it notes decorating our desks, computer monitors and desks. But did you know the better solution is probably in your hand right now?

Google Tasks has been around for quite a while, but is one of the least utilized of the standard Google products but it’s also one of the easiest and most powerful to use.

Google Tasks

Some basic information about Google Tasks:

  • Integrates with Google Calendar. With so many of us using Gmail for our email system, this calendar is used daily by many of us.
  • Great Chrome extensions that puts your task list near your address bar with a simple click.
  • Tons of great widgets that allow display and interaction with your task list.
  • Ability to set due dates, reminders, and even colorize tasks for easy identification.
  • Make a repeatable reminder for tasks like bill payments, regular meetings, and more.
  • You can even share tasks with other family members or co-workers in the event that you need some help completing the task.

So no that we’ve seen the need and basic capabilities of Google Tasks, let’s take a look at some mobile apps available on both Android and iOS that bring out the utility of Tasks.

  • GTasks – My favorite Google Task app. It easily lets users create categories, colorize them, and sort by due date, alphabetically, or more. The standard version is free, with a paid version for more capabilities. Works on both mobile platforms. It also includes some great widgets that allow you to show all tasks, or a specific category so multiple views can be created.
  • Tasks – Standard app for Google Task users. Again, free version does all the basic features but there is a paid version for more versatility.
  • Sync2 – Want to sync your Google tasks with Outlook? Sync2 does a great job of importing not only your tasks, but calendars and contacts. The program can be set up to sync in any direction, including bi-directional so any changes made to either the PC or mobile version are sync’d to the other. Sync2 is about $40, but if you have multiple devices, this is well worth it.

I use Google Tasks to run two businesses, keep up with personal items, and keep my daughter going in college. By setting up multiple widgets on multiple pages on my Samsung S7 Edge, I am able to keep multiple balls in the air and keep things moving. Entering new tasks is extremely easy using GTasks on my phone, or the Chrome extension on my PC, and the items are sync’s directly with all devices, including my Outlook program.

Get organized and productive using your favorite mobile device using Google Tasks as your primary task manager. Your kids, your work and your sanity will appreciate it.

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 #ad