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4 Ways iCloud Drive Will Change Your Apple Experience

iCloud

Apple’s announcement at the World Wide Developers Expo in early June has caused quite a stir online. Soon the tech giant will be exploring competitive cloud services, which threatens to cut into the customer base at Dropbox and Google Drive.

Apple recently announced the new pricing tiers and capabilities of iCloud Drive, which builds on the company’s existing freemium cloud service. However, Apple is detangling the cloud storage integration from proprietary apps and giving your files room to breath in separate cloud storage drive.

Here are four of the highlights.

1. Lower prices

Currently, iCloud users have to pay $20 for a 10GB upgrade and $100 for a 50GB upgrade each year for storage space that goes beyond the free 5GB. Once iCloud Drive comes out with upgraded pricing tiers, however, users will be able to get 20 GB for $0.99 a month, which works out to just $12 a year.

This dramatic increase in storage capacity and reduction in price will make iCloud Drive far more accessible than its previous service.

2. Scalable capacities

If you can’t survive on just 20 GB, then you’re still covered. There are scalable storage capacities that range from 200GB to 1 TB, which will allow you to back up large hard drives and big files, such as movies and audio.

This can be a great advantage for small businesses or sole proprietors who would like to back up all their files on a single cloud storage account.

3. Integration

One of the most appealing aspects of iCloud Drive will be its integration for Apple mobile and computer platforms. The iCloud Drive capabilities are built directly into the upcoming Mac OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 systems, so users won’t have to download separate software to access and edit their files.

The iCloud Drive folder will be visible from Finder, so you can just drag and drop files to this location, or save directly to it like any other folder.

4. Cross-platform support

One the most exciting services of iCloud Drive is its support for Windows. Apple’s products have been notoriously proprietary to their own hardware and operating systems. This cross-platform support makes iCloud Drive a potential contender in mixed platform business environments.

The enhancements to Apple’s current iCloud service will make cloud storage and sharing much easier for users on Apple devices and PCs. Web-based industries from digital marketing firms to web developers are keeping an eye on cloud technologies, since they can serve both clients and employees with important data.

It’ll be interesting to see how the cloud storage industry changes after iCloud Drive is unleashed.

Social:

The Social Media Prenup: Do You Really Need One?

socialmedia

Visit a legal document site and you’re apt to find just about anything. But an item that’s becoming increasingly popular of late is the social media prenup.

It’s a document couples sign that dictates what they can and can’t post, tweet, or share about each other. ABC News recently picked up on the trend, and pointed out that saying what a person can’t do can be a risky move.

Is it really necessary and, more important, what’s at the core of its popularity?

Critics suggest that a couple that needs such an agreement probably has bigger issues, but people say the same about folks who draw up “regular” prenups. While it’s a good idea to have a social media guru at the helm if you’re a business owner, do you really need a legally binding agreement to make sure your significant other tags you only in the most flattering photos?

According to many social media professionals, you might as well save your money and exercise basic courtesy.

Be nice on social media

Most people know when a photo isn’t flattering, but they’ll usually tag it anyway. In other cases, a person may look at him- or herself in a photo and doesn’t think about it from anyone else’s perspective.

Consider it from that aspect before you post no-makeup pics, swimsuit photos, or a first photo of the morning shot, no matter who it is. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else. Too often, people forget to observe the golden rule on social media.

The same thing goes for posting private information, even if you don’t explicitly name the person. People aren’t stupid, and they can infer (correctly or not) a lot of things from your “cryptic” comments.

Keep your personal life to yourself, don’t air your dirty laundry, and remember that screen shots ensure that once something’s online, it’s there for good.

Keep emotions in check

Posting while angry or frustrated can lead you into a lot of trouble. Keep your fights offline, and remember that your sense of humor won’t necessarily appeal to everyone.

You might come off as rude, childish, or immature, and you drag other people into your personal life. Even if you apologize online, you’ll mainly be putting cracks in the foundation of your relationship for all to see, and providing free entertainment.

It’s unfortunate that people have perceived a need for a social media prenup, but it’s not Mt. Everest: You don’t have to obtain it just because it’s there.

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last update: September 1, 2014

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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

Mobile:

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.

 

Mobile:

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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Content Marketing In 2014: 4 Tips For Success

Content-Marketing

As 2014 rolls on, business owners want to know which Internet marketing strategies they should be using to increase conversion rates and expand their customer base. While there are a variety of strategies to accomplish this objective, content is still king in the world of online advertising.

This being the case, businesses interested in experiencing continual growth and expansion in the online world should remind themselves that interesting, informative content has to be integral to their strategic plan. Here are four tips to make your content great (and therefore more marketable).

1. Keep your content scannable

As noted by Nielsen Norman Group, the majority of Internet users do not read the articles they pull up in their entirety. Instead, they scan.

Since readers prefer content that’s “scannable,” business owners who want to market their blog posts and articles effectively should ensure that they can be skimmed for the information the reader wants. There are several strategies you can employ to make your content scannable, including headers, bullets, and numbered lists.

2. Include videos

Videos have become tremendously popular on the Internet. Clearly, more and more people are accessing them.

Video Brewery has commented on some of comScore’s significant findings regarding online engagement with videos. For example, 45% of Internet users view a minimum of one online video per month.

Additionally, the average Internet user sees about 32.2 videos per month. Numerous people have stated that videos help them make more informed purchasing decisions, so business owners who want to make their content marketable should think about including links to descriptive videos with their content.

3. Use catchy titles

One of the most effective content marketing strategies that business owners can use to attract the attention of potential customers is catchy titles. There are a variety of things that can be done to make a title catchy, such as putting it in question format.

In citing the efficacy of this strategy, Mashable referenced Huffington Post’s ingenious article title “What Time Is the Super Bowl?” In addition to posing meaningful questions and reeling readers in by suggesting you will provide a useful and accurate answer, other catchy title ideas include the use of words such as “secret” and “how to” in your headline.

4. Be substantive

Although many readers are interested in being entertained by content, most are primarily concerned about obtaining the information they’re looking for. As noted by Supple Solutions in its article ”Insights to the Future of Digital Marketing,” research indicates that 78% of people who use the Internet do so to conduct product research.

Since this is the case, making your blog posts and/or articles informative is still key to ensuring that your content is marketable.

Summing it all up

This year, content marketing remains one of the most effective methods of Internet advertising to catch and keep the attention of prospective customers. If you’re a business owner, it’s important for you to expand your operations in the online world by implementing proven techniques that take your content from good to great.

By integrating some or all of the aforementioned tricks into your company’s strategic Internet marketing plan, you will likely find yourself gathering more and more attention from your target audience.

Mobile:

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.

Mobile:

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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