Three Tips for Choosing Android Apps

Recently, I decided to upgrade my cell phone to an Android smart phone. Unlike Windows, IOS and Android are basically Unix derivatives. If I go to the Quota discussion entitled Are IOS, Android, Macintosh, and Linux, all related to Unix? at Is Windows the only off-league operating system? , the answers confirm my hypothesis. And the Forbes article entitled  Is Unix Now The Most Successful Operating System Of All Time? mentions, “Yes, it is true that both Apple at +0.4%‘s iOS and and Google  at .45%‘s Android are variations of the basic Unix Operating System. And 900 million concurrent users might indeed be the largest number of people using an operating system yet.”

Phone

But Android is the current market share holder. The Apple Publication Mac Rumors confirms this in iOS and Android Combine for 96.3% Smart phone Market Share in Fourth Quarter at Smart Phone market share. It mentions that,”The latest numbers from research firm IDC reveal that the smart-phone market continues to be a largely two-horse race between iOS and Android, which accounted for 19.7% and 76.6% market share in the fourth quarter respectively.

So if you are going with the Android apps and Android phone, here are some tips I discovered to be useful:

Asian market and antivirus

Let’s look at antivirus. In reality, you can get by without an anti-virus on a Unix cloned operating system. But to have an extra layer of protection, it’s worth while to add one – especially a good free one. There’s a good article entitled  20 Best Free Android Security and Privacy Apps 2015. I’m running with a candidate from Asian called 360 Security, which is a leading company in China at China security. But any one in the article is good or ones with many high ratings, downloads and many reviewers on Google play.

You should only run and install one antivirus solution. Otherwise, they might fight against each other and consider the other one as enemies. I have also played with Bit Defender, Avast and AVG on the PC before. They are also good. Ccleaner compliments 360 Security for cleanup and speed boost.

Instant Messaging

The other Asian market comes with instant messages. I have both Whatsapp and Line installed. Whatsapp was purchased by Facebook for nineteen million. In a Forbes article entitled Line Takes On WeChat, As Whatsapp Watches at Smart phone instant messaging, it said this,” Just a month after word emerged that Japanese mobile messaging giant Line had found a China partner, new reports are saying the company is preparing to formally enter the market in the next few months. “

I believe in having two variations of the same tool available – except for anti-virus. Line and Whatsapp fit the bill. And Line is another Asian innovation.

Conserving resources

In the PC world, I like Google Chrome and Firefox. But I stay away from Google Chrome on my PC, as it likes to autostart itself. Even if you take care of this in the Windows start-up menu, Google Chrome will reset itself on continued usage. Therefore, I go with Firefox.

But mobile providers like to cap or limit you total monthly bandwidth. The fastest browser is Opera Mini, which is developed initially by a telecoms company in Norway. I prefer it for Android, but Chrome or Firefox for the PC or Android vi WiFi.

Any tips for our audience

My Boost Mobile plan only covers the US, while Ooma and Google Voice covers US and Canada.  However, I can call Canada via Mobile and WIFI spots via:

  • Google Hangouts Dialer App.  You must have a free Google Voice account set up.
  • The MagicJack App.  They have gotten good marks on Google Play and  Amazon – better than the Ooma mobile app.  I’ll need to test it.

Any tips you can think of? If so, please share them.

Strategies to Grow and Protect Your Business

According to American Express Open’s Small Business Monitor, 32 percent of entrepreneurs are making growth a top priority and are largely abandoning a “wait-and-see approach” to business. While all business owners dream about steady growth, too fast too soon can derail your plans without a strategy in place. Here are some of the stages to consider during your business’s growth from little fish to serious contender.

Strategies to Grow & Protect Your Business

Go Lean

The relatively new but popular business methodology, lean start-up, aims to dive into experimenting with everything from advertising to sales over meticulous planning. Small and struggling business owners may embrace the lean philosophy as a means to fail fast or succeed quickly. They often skip the big offices and fancy gadgets and favor working from home or a small office space to figure out if their business is working. Lean businesses want to move fast so they can either turn a profit or close it down and move onto a different idea.

Instead of slaving over business plans and presenting to investors, lean start-ups often use customer development to test ideas and get out in the field immediately for feedback on everything from pricing to acquisition strategies. Going lean can also reduce overhead and the need to invest in office space, equipment and staff until they get feedback from the field.

Moving from Home to Office Space

A business may look to moving into a professional office space once it secure clients, has a track record for success, and gains some confidence and momentum. A growing business will need to make room for an expanding support staff and equipment. Business owners may go the traditional commercial lease route, or get creative and opt for co-working space.

ShareDesk allows businesses to book thousands of work and meeting spaces in cities around the world. Rent a cubicle, desk or entire office by the hour, day or month. This situation can offer an interim space for growing businesses who need more space but aren’t ready to make the leap to a full-time lease. And if your business entails out-of-town business meetings, you can find meeting room space for roughly $10 an hour with access to presentation equipment and professional communal spaces.

Honoring Your Customers’ Privacy

Malware, viruses and cyber attacks are now the normal business news from Target’s hack all the way to J.P. Morgan’s security compromise. Whether you’re a micro-company or rapidly growing, you owe it to your customers to protect privacy and online security. A data breach could compromise your customers’ social security numbers, bank account numbers or even health information.

Unfortunately small businesses can’t do much to prevent a breach, but you can monitor and get help before it spirals. Using a company like LifeLock can help monitor data points, scan for threats, help restore your identity and financial reputation and track your credit score.

Managing your Employees

As your company grows, so will your staff. But that doesn’t mean you need to go out and hire a team at the first sign of success. Consider hand-picking a virtual staff to help with bookkeeping, customer service, project management and administrative tasks first. Virtual staffing agencies like Virtual Staff Finder can help identify candidates that match your needs and even help with the interviewing process.

At some point you will probably need some in-house staff. You may find managing employees in the office all day to prove an overwhelming task. Overloading your staff with details, meetings and tedious admin tasks can lead to cognitive overload and diminish concentration. Give your team enough structure to stay organized on the task at hand, but give them freedom to do their jobs and eliminate needless paperwork and bureaucracy.

Should VoIP Be Regulated?

The growing penetration of Internet into our workspaces as well as homes has enriched our lives but at the same time it has thrown up some unique challenges. Data on the web moves freely and openly. Will it be the same for VoIP calls and data pertaining to the calls? Are the businesses going to accept that the calls move freely when they are being transmitted over the Internet? The assumption of this fact might be easy for many, especially when any kind of regulation on the web is not accepted easily and often resisted. However, if it is the business VoIP connection then regulations on it has to be there for the benefit of the business.

VOIP

Rules and Regulations

If you have recently switched to VoIP then in the coming days you might even adopt mobile VoIP as well. You will need to drill deeper into the VoIP regulations if you wish to safeguard your VoIP connections against a variety of malpractices. The VoIP users in the E.U. countries and North America have to abide by some of the regulation when the VoIP connection leverages PSTN connection. The regulation has to be put because the legacy carriers do not want to lose money and needs to be compensated when their network is used. The corporate users are able to receive the services at cheaper rates but here the VoIP connection complies with the legacy standards. This is needed because the service providers are compelled to provide good quality.

For the VoIP connection that does not leverage the PSTN, regulations are generally not used. For instance when Skype has to use such a connection, it uses the PC to PC communication. On the other hand when business make use of such applications they tend to prefer quality over the free services. The limited features and integration disabilities does not make the experience better.

In case you are a user who belongs to the zone where both the regulated as well as unregulated VoIP connections are used then the quality of the connections will definitely vary. For the business that want to focus on their core business functions, partnering with a provider that providers regulated VoIP will prove to be very useful. You will have to find out how things work out in reality and then take your decision regarding the regulation.

A College Scholarship Contest

Recently, I got an email from Jamie Smith, about a scholarship program there are having. Because I believe in education and the cost is high, I thought I would share info on this scholarship contest.

Unfortunately, I have been seeing a large number of commercials on TV for universities that have questionable accreditation credentials. One boasts of preparing students for technology certification exams. But a search for this school on Google or Bing brings up questionable business practices, questionable accreditation and high tuition costs – after all, it is a for profit university. I feel a student would be better off getting an associates degree in computer science or related technology, from their in-district junior college. Then just take some private industrial courses, to prepare for certification. Anyway, let me turn this over to Jamie:

Swift

“FormSwift is a project focused on creating personal and legal templates that are customizable, easy to use, and highly professional. For select businesses and organizations, including schools, non-profits, and athletic associations, we offer a tailored set of free services, such as our non-profit documents hub .”

“We have decided to start a scholarship contest , because, as a young, growing start up ourself, we understand the importance of counting every penny when trying to start your dreams. By giving $1,000 to the scholarship winner, we hope to help a young, start up savvy college student or high school senior realize the potential and power of her or his ideas. We, as a business, spend most of our day thinking about how to help organizations grow by easing the burden of important tasks, such as filling out tax forms so in turn, we hope our scholarship applicants can dedicate a few hours to think and come up with a concrete way paperless documents or our business can positively benefit the environment, colleges, or the business world in general.”

“During our final decision process, we will reward the scholarship entry with the most creativity, originality, and clarity of purpose. Because the scholarship is not limited by GPA, major, or geographic region, we hope we to give a voice and opportunity to every type of student. In conclusion, we hope our scholarship can teach our applicants that being successful in the start up world is not necessarily dependent on traditional metrics, but rather staying true to your most passionate ideas.”

Jamie Smith is a Content Outreach Associate for FormSwift, specializing in sharing the various free services FormSwift can offer to help businesses and organizations manage their paperwork.

Romance Scams Revisited

A while back, I wrote a blog post entitled Take the Money and Run. It was about a woman, who tried to trap me in a romance scam. I thought it might be fun to share some portions of exchanged emails and make some brief commentary. We will call that woman by the name of Gertrude, which is Hamlet’s mother and Queen of Denmark.

Here’s the first email I received in July of 2014.

“My name is Gertrude, a friend of yours from Linkedln, and i got your address from your contact info. I like your looks, you are cute and you remind me of someone i used to know. i would love to be friends with you meanwhile Thanks a lot”

The person goes on to say they are a nurse in Nigeria and work for UNICEF. Here are the clues something is wrong:

Notice the works “with you meanwhile Thanks a lot”? If someone is really a nurse, they should have had some basic courses in English composition. That means knowing when to punctuate a sentence and begin a new one.

They are really NOT friends with me on LinkedIn. They don’t have many connections (i.e. only one or two) and nobody recommending them or endorsing them.

Well, this does sound interesting, so I decided to correspond. Granted, we only exchanged or two emails daily. But two days into the correspondence, she wrote about her mom dying and a past bad relationship. The problem is that if I want out with someone and went on two dates three or four hours long, neither of us would bring up family members passing or bad past relationships. At least, that has been my experience. But this person brought it up in casual email conversations.

Five days later, this was part of the email I’ve received from her:

“ It sounds so good to talk about ones feelings and never hold back and just being truthful and sincere, what we have now is the mirror of the kind of relationship I would love to go into, a real genuine relationship based on honesty. Well, as you know its the joy of every woman to have a family and its my dream here too, i want to have my own kids and a loving man in my life, to love and take care of them.”

“I am really interested in wanting to know about what makes you the special person you are today, i can date anyone as long as there is love between us. I want to know more about your family, your background, your life experiences, your goals and dreams, your interests, and anything else you want to tell me…”

Moving a bit fast, don’t you think?

Then came the con and here’s part of an email, where she shared she was sick:

“The doctor advised me to get my own food stuffs since that’s what i have always done, he also prescribed some stronger meds and anti-biotics for me to get. he said i needed them urgently or i risk getting worse cause the ones i am on right now aren’t strong enough. i am so scared here my dear, I asked the camp commandant if she will be able to help me get the food and meds from outside the camp cause i am very weak and i wont be able to go the distance needed to get them myself. she agreed to help me. But the problem i have right now is that i don’t have any money on me now. As a worker i do get paid some amount of money when I’m back home and we get little allowances for personal upkeep here,…”

What can we learn here? If you read the original post, I was asked for money. I took a day or two before responding and did some background investigation. I found out it was a scam and didn’t respond. The moral? People don’t show up with offers of much money, lottery prizes, etc., unless you are related to rich people or entered the lottery by buying a ticket. A beautiful woman doesn’t fall for you in a few days via email. In fact, it might take a few real dates, before any chemistry is happening between you. And if folks want you to buy something, give money, etc., without you taking time to check things out – walk away.

Digital Marketing Role Models

You’ve seen it before: the hair stylist whose hair is consistently haywire, the accountant who mismanages his money. When you want advice on how to do something, you want to know those experts in their field practice what they preach. So when it comes to digital marketing, who is worthy of praise and credibility?

Digital Marketing Role Models

HubSpot

Well-known as the all-in-one-marketing software for businesses, HubSpot has a lot of hype to live up to. It promises functions like blogging to CMS to calls to action to marketing automation to analytics and everything in between. It’d be easy to point to specific examples of each of these, but the best proof of all is the company’s enormous success. When the company went public, its market valuation was $880 million. Not bad. HubSpot itself has mastered the arts of building a solid brand identity, blogs (the company has multiple blogs) and, of course, inbound marketing as a larger umbrella. If you’re looking for a pro to imitate in these arenas, look no further.

Marketo

Marketo has branded itself as a marketing automation software largely for midsize and enterprise companies. While the solution itself has a street reputation of being a bit complex (maybe even cumbersome), there’s no denying its efficacy. As a premier solution for the savvy, more advanced marketer, Marketo hits the mark in what it offers. Marketo provides endless resources to help with training and optimizing the use of the software. Its own use of email marketing and automated marketing methods is strategic and effective.

Unbounce

Unbounce prides itself on being a landing page extraordinaire, and with ammunition to back up its claim. If you’re looking for a solution that enables the layman to build, publish and test landing pages, this tool is your best friend. With a litany of case studies to peruse, as well as landing page examples, customers can see what they can expect before they ever make a commitment. One quick glance at the examples is all the evidence you need to know this is a company that understands the ins and outs of professional, successful landing pages.

WebDAM

Finally, what’s digital marketing without a strong brand presence? WebDAM should be the go-to guru for all things brand management. As the king of brand management software, the company delivers an easy way to keep your brand’s identity consistent, along with management of assets used in landing page creation. Check out the website and you’ll instantly see WebDAM’s credibility in action. With a distinct brand voice and imagery, the company’s marketing messages are aligned with its website messages. WebDAM was also featured in HubSpot as an example of top-notch landing page design, which corroborates its claim as expert of managing assets used in landing page creation.

These are a few companies that not only deliver what they promise to, but also take their own advice. Isn’t that both admirable and refreshing?

Is Windows 10 a good thing?

Windows has an official preview video. If you follow tech news, you find Windows is offering a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users. You just need to survey some recent articles:

And some articles like Trusted Reviews, are asking the question: Windows 10 vs Windows 7: Should you upgrade? They do offer some points I would consider:

  • “One of the least talked about improvements of Windows 8, and subsequently Windows 10, is that it does include a raft of performance upgrades.” I wonder how it will fair with third party software? I like to run high quality free and open source software. Will Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome run as fast as Windows explorer? Will Thunderbird be just as fast – if not faster – on Windows 10 then my current Windows 7?
  • “However, Windows 10 ups the ante by adding Windows Store apps and web search, as well as a much more organized results page.” Windows 7 search is not bad. In fact, I wasn’t sure how Microsoft could improve it.
  • “What’s more, it includes Cortana, the digital personal assistant.” Someday we may be able to talk to our computer, like we see in the Star Trek TV and movie series. But now is not that time. If I look at the Google and Bing language translators, they have a long ways to go. They do get things wrong, as I’m relearning French and Spanish, and learning Portuguese. How can they realize what I am saying and translate it into commands a machine can understand? Voice recognition is a long ways off, as far as perfection goes.
  • The other points the article considers is a better file management system. But it is a tab bit slower than Windows 7 on gaming. And the monitor is more customizable. All nice points to consider. But none of these is a show stopper.
  • “As such, if you’ve got a copy of Windows 7 you’d almost be foolish not to upgrade.” What about security? I haven’t seen a comparison of Windows 7 and Windows 10 security. Perhaps more articles will address this aspect in the future?

So how will Windows roll this out? Well, Network world said Microsoft will reportedly release Windows 10 RTM in June . Tech Republic thinks Microsoft for the enterprise is doing fine. This is reflected in A Microsoft we can actually believe.

What will I do? I plan to wait until the first official release is in place. Whether that is in June – or as I can guess – sometime a bit later. No early preview version for me. But I like what I see and it will extend the time I can use an operating system on Windows hardware – without purchasing a new upgrade. I hope Microsoft goes the way of Apple and Ubuntu and offers free operating system upgrades to existing users.

On another note, I will share an article I like by Seth Godin: Is Google making the web stupid?

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