Devices:

Minding Your Tech Manners At a Special Event

One of the greatest things about modern technology is that people are always connected to the rest of the world. They can discreetly send text messages to anyone at any time, access the Internet with a device that fits in their pocket and share photos and videos on social media at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, this is also one of the worst things about modern technology.

It’s so easy to connect with smartphones and tablets in public that people tend to forget that there are certain situations when they should just put their devices down. There are rules of etiquette that people should be expected to follow, especially when they’re at upscale event venues for weddings or special presentations. Special events deserve a higher level of formality and respect than the average get together, suggests the GrandView, and tech etiquette should be made to fit the occasion. Here are just some things that everyone should keep in mind before they take their smartphones and tablets out at a special event.

Ask for Permission Before Taking Photographs

Phones on cameras and tablets make it very easy to snap a picture and post it on Facebook or Instagram, so much so that many people think nothing of posting pictures of a wedding for all the world to see before the actual wedding party is ready for the professional photographer. Capturing a special moment and preserving it on a Facebook wall is fine, but not when it’s done without permission. Many would say that it’s in poor taste, so it’s always important to ask for permission before taking out any device with a camera, says Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert.

Don’t Text at the Dinner Table

Sending a text message usually isn’t a social faux pas when one isn’t engaged in a social activity, but many people these days will take out their phones to text or tweet during formal dinners and presentations. Not only is the texter distracted from what is going on around them, but it’s incredibly rude to whoever may be speaking. Proper etiquette when responding to a text message, says Kevin Daum writing for INC., should be to respond at a later time or to excuse oneself if the message cannot wait.

Be Careful When Using a Tablet to Take Pictures

Tablets are capable of taking photos and videos as well as smart phones, but people tend to forget how large some of these devices can be. It’s no fun to be seated behind someone who is trying to record a video by holding up something the size of a picture frame. At best, it’s distracting and can block people’s view. Anybody who wants to use a tablet for this purpose should make sure they aren’t inconveniencing anybody near them. Otherwise, a smartphone or small camera is much better in these situations.

Turn Down the Volume

Although people are going to be less likely to carry on a loud phone conversation or use noisy apps at upscale special events, it still happens. Anybody who must take or make a phone call should go someplace away from the crowd and speak at a reasonable volume. Meanwhile, any apps or functions that make a lot of distracting noises should be muted. Nobody likes to hear loud conversations or irritating noises, especially at weddings, formal dinners and important business meetings.

 

Devices:

5 Devices That Depend on an Awesome Home Wireless Network

There was a time when home Internet connections didn’t need to be very fast. There were people who needed to be on a fast network, but for the most part people could do everything they wanted on their computers with a simple dial-up connection. Of course, that time is long gone. Today, people are connected to the Internet at all times via wireless networks that work far better and faster than dial-up connections ever did.

Some could argue that a good Wi-Fi connection is all about convenience, but the truth is that most modern households need a fast Internet connection; there are simply too many gadgets that rely on one. People aren’t just downloading programs and streaming video from their computers anymore. They’re connecting on tablets, smartphones, video game systems and even their televisions. Many households even have several devices connected to a network at once. Running just a few of these devices at once will require a decent high-speed Internet connection, says Astound, and some households will require a faster connection than others. Here are just five devices that people might have in their homes that will require a fast home wireless network.

Computers

Although computers don’t get as much attention as other devices anymore, they are still arguably the best way to access websites and online services. According to the U.S. Census, 83.8 percent of United States households have at least one computer, with many having more than one now that computers are relatively inexpensive. Some of these computers are used for simple web browsing and email, but others are used for online gaming, streaming video and even for full-time employment. A home with more than one computer will need much higher data transfer rates to prevent the users from experiencing significant lag.

Smartphones

Smartphones can run on their providers’ networks, but many users choose to connect them to a home wireless network so they don’t use all the data transferring available in their data plans. These phones are often as sophisticated as most computers, and many people almost exclusively access the Internet from them.

Tablets

Tablets are becoming as common as smartphones and computers in the home and elsewhere, so naturally they need a reliable wireless network. Tablets are great for streaming video, but an unreliable network can slow such services to a crawl.

Video Game Systems

Video game consoles have evolved into full-fledged entertainment systems that are capable of streaming video and communicating over long distances. This kind of activity is fun and useful as long as there is a strong enough connection to support it, but a slow connection can destroy an online gaming session faster than anything.Even those who still just use game systems for video games are almost always connected to a network for online play; many big-name gaming companies design their products to require a connection to the internet to thwart would-be pirates. A fast internet connection will keep any gamer in hog heaven while still allowing other residents in the household to watch HD videos or comfortably surf the web.

Smart TV

Smart TVs are relatively new, but they will very likely become the norm in the next year or two. Most high-quality televisions that were sold in 2014 were smart, according to Cedric Demers writing for Rtings.com, and it is very likely that any TVs that are sold in the next year will allow for even greater connectivity. Naturally, these new TVs will require a strong wireless connection to be worth the purchase. Smart TVs will go a long way in blurring the lines between computers and television, especially for those who don’t regularly access the Internet from any other devices.

 

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last update: August 2, 2015

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The Future of Digital Advertising (and advertising in general) is Mobile

Minority Report Mobile Advertising

There are several scenes in the (under-rated) movie Minority Report where a glimpse of the advertising future can be seen. Even a dozen years ago, the movie showed a future where advertising came alive to be directed at individuals, focused on exact messages, and proactive in the way they interacted. Today, this is the trend that is driving much of what is happening in our world.

No, we’re not quite there yet when it comes to the aggressive nature of ads. We’re getting there; people are more accepting of advertising that stimulates the senses and follows them around wherever they go. The little devices in our pockets are not just for communication. They are advertising venues through which we seek what we want at that very moment.

Continue reading The Future of Digital Advertising (and advertising in general) is Mobile

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Aussie Techie Designs Cloud Storage That’s “Death Proof”

Everyone’s moving into the cloud, including the Department of Defense (DOD), but what will happen to your files when you pass away? Jamie Wilson, an accountant in Australia, never thought about it until his father was dying from pancreatic cancer in 2009.

At the time, Wilson was forced to track down piles of paperwork for taxes, portfolios, insurance policies, and the like. There simply had to be a better way to organize things during such a trying time, he thought.

While there are plenty of companies offer prime cloud technology, nothing was described as being suitable for people with a terminal disease, or who just wanted to be prepared post-mortem.

Wilson says, “I couldn’t believe, with all the technology and security measures, that there wasn’t a central location where this information can go. In the event that my dad dropped dead, I would have struggled to find all that information … how many people face this when they lose a loved one?”

A passionate start

Up to that time, Wilson managed a $400 million portfolio for the wealthiest of Aussie clients, but he quit in order to start up a software company. Traveling between the US and Sydney to meet with developers, it took three years for his dream to come true.

He founded Your Digital File, the first cloud storage company designed to make the paperwork simple after a person passes away. The biggest difference between this company and the others is security.

Typically, if you have cloud storage, then you’re in control of who can gain access to the files, which works great as long as you’re able to do so. However, Your Digital File also has a “private key” which is saved on both devices and USB sticks.

A copy of this can be located in escrow so that if someone dies or becomes incapacitated, the next of kin can easily get to the documents. It may prove to be a permanent pillar for other technologies, too.

The key to success

According to Wilson, a private key is safer than a password, because it must be used to access files every time. However, it doesn’t control escrow servicing at all.

There are some companies, such as Dropbox, that supposedly encrypt files with a key, but Wilson’s invention is encrypted individually. He says, “I wanted to ensure that this information is 100 percent confidential with the integrity of having a non-reputable system.”

Currently, sizes are available in 1GB simply because of bandwidth dictation. However, there’s no reason they couldn’t be larger.

In less than one month, 130 clients signed up with Wilson’s service, including firms that boasted more than 4,000 clients of their own. It’s the latest advancement in B2B cloud storage; Your Digital File provides everyone with the security they need.

 

Apps:

Technology Bridges the Gap between Reality and Your Dream Home

Shopping for a home can easily become a stressful exercise. There are room numbers, bathrooms and half-baths, and neighborhood to consider; additional questions pop up endlessly throughout the shopping process.

The stress of shopping for a new home is only amplified when external factors such as being under a time crunch to purchase a place and get your family moved come into play.

Fortunately, there are tools that will guide you through the home buying process. MSN Real Estate found a bunch of them that will “supercharge” your home buying activity. While real estate agents are a great resource in the home-buying process, your agent won’t be available to you 24/7.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be deprived of support whenever you need it. The answers to your questions and the key to managing stress during the process lie in using the latest available technology.

Getting tech-y with the home search

There are all sorts of tools that can help make the home-buying process a lot simpler and smoother. You can access apps on your tablet that help you explore neighborhoods, websites that identify homes that have recently gone on sale, and even phone apps that will alert you with a text message or ringtone as soon as a home you’re interested in experiences a price drop.

In what other ways can you use technology to your advantage? Let’s say you wanted to check out luxury real estate in Washington D.C.; you might start by going to a website run by a firm like the Dwellus Group.

Here, you’ll see information about homes in your target region, and you may even find a home that you think is perfect for you. But the question is: How would you know for sure?

It’s time to study the financial details, such as the monthly mortgage payment, the homeowners insurance, the likely appraisal value of the property as compared to the asking price. Then there are the quality of life aspects, such as the performance of the local schools.

Is there a full-service hospital nearby? Does the neighborhood have a homeowners association? A dog park? Is it in a flood zone?

Mobile apps to the rescue

This might sound like a lot to think about, but if you have the right technology on hand, then all of this information will be readily available at your fingertips. BizJournals found that certain apps really do reduce many of the most common challenges of the home-buying process.

Apps make it easy to answer all these questions by putting it in one place. Then, there are mortgage payment calculators, videos, online surveys, and similar tools that will bring to your attention issues and questions that never crossed your mind.

If you think that you’re ready to purchase a home, then technology is going to be your best friend. Whether you’re a first time home buyer or you wish to purchase a vacation home to enjoy in retirement, there are online tools that will make the entire process easier.

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Use Digital Systems to Deal with Change Better

A resistance to change can ring the death toll for a business, especially if this stagnation occurs throughout your company’s culture. Savvy entrepreneurs understand that they need to be light-footed and adapt to survive in ever-shifting business climates.

Companies have to roll with the tide to accomplish their goals. Changes to team rosters, inventory, training, and office spaces shouldn’t disrupt operations for long. godigital

Here are a few digital systems that will keep you up and running during a major shift.

Computer and mobile device management

When you hire new employees, you’ll want to give them access to the devices and files they need to succeed. But when your staffing is in flux, how do you control who has access to what?

During layoff periods, your company should be able to deactivate former employee access with ease to avoid data liabilities. Your IT department can set up remote permission profiles through the use of computer and mobile device management apps.

During major staffing changes, IT should be able to make swift changes to user profiles, control data access, and secure mobile devices.

Inventory databases

If you’re currently keeping track of your back orders, inventory counts, and shrinkage, but still shipping manually, then your company should invest in an automated system. A dynamic inventory database will automatically adjust for transactions, counts, and orders.

Most of these systems play well with peripherals such as bar code scanners, which can make life easier in the stockroom.

Training materials

As companies grow and adapt, leaders should adjust professional mentoring to meet the needs of the business. But how do you implement change on a wide-scale basis?

Collaborative cloud systems can help mentors share documentation amongst themselves; that way, new training handbooks and materials can be rolled out at once. Having a single directory for training materials can be much easier to manage than multiple email drafts.

Unified communications

Let’s say that your company has grown so large that you’ve had to split a team across two offices. However, staff members in these locations still need to talk with one another and collaborate on projects.

That’s where unified communication systems come in. You’ll be able to talk, text, and videoconference with your colleagues despite distance barriers.

Keep your company’s culture flexible by adopting databases and digital systems to manage your office communications, training, data access, and inventory. These systems can prove to be indispensible to a successful and competitive company.

Devices:

What’s Going on With Those Funny Looking Modular Smartphones

If you’ve been paying attention to tech news for the last few days, then you’re probably scratching your head over the latest designs to grace Google’s line of Android smartphones. They look like a crazy art project, a blend between retro-futuristic design and De Stijl blocks. No, this isn’t some contest entry from an art student – it’s Google’s new foray into modular phones, starting with Project Ara. modular smartphone

Beyond Just Looks

These Frankenstein phones aren’t just characterized by a blocky aesthetic – the entire phone is actually built out of several miniature parts, which are essentially “plug and play.” Did your camera just break? Well, instead of replacing your entire phone, you can just swap the camera out for a new one. This concept was demonstrated at the Project Ara unveiling, when the phone was dropped. The screen cracked, but that wasn’t a big deal, since the display could easily be swapped within seconds.

Build Your Own Smartphone

The current smartphone market locks consumers into a certain amount of selections, made available by cellular carriers. Device upgrade options are traditionally limited to one new device every two years for a subsidized price. Google’s modular smartphone will challenge what we mean by a “new device,” because in theory you could keep swapping parts to upgrade your phone incrementally. It’ll be interesting to see how Project Ara challenges the current model of phone upgrades.

Modular phones will also challenge the way we think about phone warranties. Companies like Apple thrive on Genius Bar charges and iPhone upgrades, especially for the unfortunate people who haven’t invested in their AppleCare Plus warranties. IPhones have proprietary parts that are extremely difficult for DIY techies to fix on their own. When modular phones hit stores, repairing broken components might be as simple as plugging in a new piece.

Niche Markets

While it’ll be some time before modular phones become a part of everyday society, we might begin to see niche markets surface. Just take a look at the PC world: you’ve got hardware tailored for gaming, business, and casual use. We might begin to see a rise in specialty phones once modular components come out, with special features for gaming or business software solutions.

Modular, customizable phones will completely change the landscape of smartphone sales. Google’s Project Ara has the potential to disrupt current upgrade and warranty policies, while giving consumers greater control over their hardware. It’ll be very interesting to see how the cellular market shifts in preparation for modular phones.

Computers:

Home Buyers Are Barely Hitting The Pavement Anymore

In the past, prospective home buyers contacted a real estate agent and started the process of visiting homes. Property after property was viewed and evaluated. At some point, the buyers decided on a home.

It might not have been the perfect home, but it felt good enough after doing all that legwork. Today’s age of online mortgage lending and home listings brings the real estate market into the home, however. Home buyers search for the right property right on the computer, and often find it.

Get pre-approved loan first

Buyers aren’t limited to their local bank anymore. If you go online, you’ll find many lenders looking for their next client. For most lenders, there’s no commitment to take the loan after a quote.

Simple information from the buyer is necessary for a rough estimate on maximum property principal and interest rates. One site can even have multiple lenders competing for a buyer’s business.

The lenders propose their best offer in hopes of winning the client. There are no awkward bank meetings or intimidating clerks. Buyers have a good chance at a perfect loan that fits their financial needs.

Earth view

As technology improves, buyers have a better view of the world than ever before. Specialized laptop, cell phone, and tablet apps and software allow buyers to look at a satellite snapshot of their potential new neighborhood.

Zoom in for a look at street level, from gorgeous park landscaping to unsightly vacant lots. If buyers are looking for a new property in a different neighborhood, a satellite view may give them a better look than a typical drive-by.

Access to statistics on crime and schools

A safe home another goal of buyers. However, it’s sometimes difficult to identify bad neighborhoods with one or two visits alone.

Several online resources offer statistical data regarding both crime levels and school performance. For example, buyers can find out about local sexual predators housed in the area, or last year’s robbery rate.

Alternatively, look up local school scores to find the areas with the brightest students. Schools with dedicated teachers, students, and parents often reflect a close-knit community. All these online resources provide another layer of information for a well-informed choice during house hunting.

Open houses online

Online property listings allow buyers to view dozens of homes in a day, without leaving their computer. As websites have expanded, each listing often shows photos of the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and outdoor areas.

With more photos, properties have a better chance at a sale. Some listings offer a 360-degree view that gives buyers a look around the entire room. Descriptions of amenities, along with filtering applications, allow buyers to pinpoint the perfect property in a specific area. Once it’s found, buyers can ask their Realtor about visiting the property for a tour of the premises.

The online world has made it much easier for both buyers and sellers to find the perfect match. With the right descriptions and and photos on a reputable website, a beautiful home can really shine.

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