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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.

 

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last update: July 23, 2014

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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.

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The Best Music Training Apps for iOS Devices

It’s never too late to learn how to play an instrument. Whether you’d like your kids to start learning how to read music, or you want some training for yourself, these apps can be excellent starting resources.

Learning how to read and play sheet music is a great way to build cognitive dexterity and keep your mind sharp. Take a look at these great music training apps for Apple’s iOS devices.

Nota

Are you intimidated by music theory? This revolutionary app will get you over that barrier with an extensive database of theory definitions, visuals, and auditory examples.

You’ll start memorizing a variety of music scales in no time. Nota is really geared toward education; it will help you retain information with built-in quizzes and progress-tracking systems.

If you ever need help building a chord during a jam session, you can quickly look up the notes with this app’s reference tool.

GarageBand

Both adults and children will have fun playing with the virtual keyboards, guitars, and drum sets in this dynamic music creation app. You can record, edit, and share your masterpieces with others, without knowing how to read music at all.

Just explore the exhaustive sound libraries, put on a metronome, choose a virtual instrument, and start jamming! Don’t worry about mistakes, because you can use the built-in music editor to splice and re-record later.

Notes! Learn to Read Music

Some people learn better with flashcards. Notes! has assembled the symbols for every note and its position on a piano keyboard with easy-to-read, virtual notecards.

You can also plug in MIDI devices, such as electronic keyboards, so that you can view note transcriptions live while you’re playing different sounds.

Rhythm Cat

The whimsical black-cat animation in this app will be your tutor. Get to know the basics of timing, staff markings, rests, and beats while the cat dances across the screen.

This app is ideal for novice sheet music readers who want to get acquainted with rhythm concepts. Before you know it, you’ll be able to pick up classical violin sheet music and play these pieces like a pro!

Learning how to read sheet music is just the beginning. You’ll be able to master your favorites, and pretty soon, you might even find yourself transcribing original songs.

The digital era has made it easy for budding musicians to learn, create, and share their future masterpieces.

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An Amber Alert for Dogs

New technology has now made it much easier for you to locate a missing pet. A new app, PiP (Positive Identification of Pet), will undoubtedly be reuniting dog owners with their long-lost best friends after they wander out of the yard.

This digital app is one of many services now available to pet owners, who will surely appreciate it.

How it works

Philip Rooyakkers designed the app for tech-savvy pet enthusiasts. In each pet profile created in the system, a photo of the pet is uploaded with basic profile information entered by the pet owner.

When the pet disappears, the owner can activate an alert. PiP will then place a call to the pet owner to learn more about the details. The information is instantaneously transmitted to all the local shelters and clinics.

Any animal clinic or shelter within a 15-mile radius will receive the information. If someone finds the missing pet, a photo can be uploaded with the face of the animal.

The database will cross-reference the new pet information with files in the system to verify a match. Information regarding unique facial features of the pet is stored in the database.

The technology is capable of analyzing sophisticated pet features to identify a potential match. When a match is identified, the owner is notified that the match has been made. Customer care representatives from the company keep the pet owner updated of the progress of the search.

Who receives the information

The information gathered is made available to other entities besides the local clinics, hospitals, and shelters. The app also monitors social media activities by major outlets to see whether any posts were uploaded in those areas about a missing pet.

Popular venues such as Facebook and Twitter are monitored. The system also searches Kijiji and Craigslist for potential match information.

The subscription

Thousands of people have gone online to register their pet information. More than half of the people who download the app actually end up registering their pet for the service.

The free app can be downloaded into any iPhone or Android. Pet owners can pay an annual fee of $18.99 to have their pet profile information added to the system, which breaks down to about $1.49 per month.

What inspired the app

App creator Rooyakkers was inspired by his own experience. In 2011, he reported losing his Yorkshire terrier. The terrier was located within 24 hours, but he began working on a plan to help pet owners who face the same crisis.

he app connects a community of pet enthusiasts who work together to help pet owners reunite with their lost pets. The user-friendly app allows people to submit their pet information to a centralized database with ease, where all account information can be readily cross-referenced for a potential match.

Clinics, social media, animal hospitals, and users all work together to reunite animals with their families. In unifying a community of pet enthusiasts and incorporating facial recognition technology, the app enables pet owners to have more access than ever to resources that will locate a missing pet.

There are plenty of new toys and tools to help you enjoy your life with your pet, but preparing for a crisis when your animal is not there could be the smartest pet purchase you make.

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Apps Every Realtor Should Have

Selling properties is no easy job, but if you’re a real estate agent, you my be making it tougher than it has to be. The good news is that it’s currently a seller’s market, and more homeowners are looking to outsource the task of unloading their property. HouseSold

That means more commissions for you, but also a lot more work. But you should know that if it’s related to real estate, there’s probably an app for it.

Depending on your specialty, there are any number of apps that might work for you. If you own a real estate franchise, are in the field as a Realtor, or specialize in a niche type of property, you already have a full plate.

Check out MagicPlan, which enables you to customize floor plans with the swipe of a finger. The camera maps out a room and creates an instant mapping system, which means instant floor plans for your marketing efforts.

Apps to try

When it comes to the biggies like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, Redfin, and others, you probably already have a favorite. But do you have their app?

Each one has its pros and cons, so don’t assume your favorite website will naturally turn out to be your favorite app. They’re all free, so spend a little time playing with each, and pick the one that looks like it could be your go-to resource. Any more than one and you risk wasting of a lot of time.

You need to be able to jot down notes quickly, especially when you’re meeting with sellers and buyers, and that’s exactly what JotNote Scanner lets you do. Part notetaker and part scanner, it can turn any iPhone into an instant scanner so you can share from cloud storage, email, and other locations.

Nobody has time for massive scanners anymore, so leave those high-tech gadgets in the office and streamline your mobile readiness.

Keep up with the competition

Real estate still entails a lot of paperwork, and there’s no telling when you might have to grab a few potted plants for extra curb appeal just before an open house. Lose that receipt, and you’ve instantly lost a deduction.

Apps such as Priximiant’s Digital Receipts let you snap a photo of a receipt and store it instantly. The app is free, and it helps you go green in a paperless environment.

Stay on top of the local market with LoopNet, which is basically an MLS for commercial properties. This is crucial for commercial real estate agents who need to have a pulse on what’s happening in the market at all times.

With more high-tech businesses sure to be launched in 2014, those commercial shoppers will be looking for property, and you need to keep up with their tech savviness.

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Is a Handyman in Your Smartphone a Good Idea?

You have access to absolutely everything in your smartphone, from YouTube videos on how to fix a garbage disposal to apps on the basics for being a handyman. This is certainly convenient, and in some cases it can save you a lot of money and hassle.

However, no technology can be a genuine substitute for a true handyman. Is the trend of everyone going DIY and being frugal getting out of hand?

There are some handyman services you can certainly do yourself most of the time, such as swapping out a light bulb or cleaning a rain gutter, assuming you’re physically capable. However, handymen do a lot more than that, such as full remodeling, plumbing, and some are even certified electricians.

Many of these tasks require a license for a reason; they can be dangerous in a newbie’s hands. Here’s how to tell if a handyman task is doable for you, or you should get professional help instead.

Know where the technology comes from

If you look at a six-minute Vine video on how to install a deadbolt, you might have a better idea than you did six minutes ago, but you’re no handyman. While there’s no chance of getting electrocuted as there would be with doorbell wiring, do you really want to risk having a door that’s less than 100 percent safe?

If a burglar targets your home, you want the peace of mind of knowing an expert installed the locks. Websites such as YouTube and Vine certainly have some very helpful tutorials, but you need to look closer and see who posted them.

Read the handyman reviews and see if the social media site links to a professional company or organization. Is the person who made the video a certified expert who has testimonies to back him or her up? If so, you’re on the right path.

Understand your own limits

There are how-to guides online and apps targeted for fellow handyman professionals and Average Joes alike. It’s not the creator’s job to keep you safe from yourself, so make sure you understand if you’re in the target demographic or not.

If everything sounds Greek but you think you may be able to follow along, it’s probably better to sit this one out and call in the experts. It’s understandable that you desire that grand feeling that comes from taking care of your own homestead, though.

If you want to improve your handyman skills, there are many ways to do it. It can provide you with great satisfaction in the long run, but you shouldn’t dive into the deep end right away.

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