Home security monitoring systems, what to consider when purchasing,  Featured on SRQ DAILY: TUESDAY April 12, 2016 – TUESDAY TECH TALK

Home security monitoring systems, what to consider when purchasing

You can’t go a day without seeing or hearing the latest ads from countless home security monitoring systems. Having one can lower your homeowners’ insurance rates, deter crime, and give you peace of mind when you are not at home. Video surveillance systems are becoming very routine throughout our lives at home, at work, and in public venues. We are being watched when out in public or in a residential neighborhood. So what’s the purpose of the security system, anyway? And how do you really decipher what’s a good option for you? Here are some quick pointers to aid you in your buying decision.

The first step is to determine what you want to monitor. Is it the access to the exterior of your entire property? Your house? Your front door? Or just the inside environment? Do you want to monitor your home only when you’re not at home? Do you have pets inside when you are gone that may trip a motion sensor? Do you want to check in from your mobile device? Are you confident with the do-it-yourself set up? Most security systems today come with everything you need out-of-the-box. Taking into consideration what you really want to monitor will help you determine the right system for you.

Innovate or disintegrate – why keeping current with technology is a must, Featured on SRQ DAILY: TUESDAY April 5, 2016 – TUESDAY TECH TALK

Innovate or disintegrate – why keeping current with technology is a must

Innovate or disintegrate – I had the opportunity to attend an event in March regarding empathetic design presented by The CEO Forum and BIG (Big Ideas on the Gulfcoast) guest speakers Dr. Deena McDonagh and Walter Herbst. Dr. McDonagh is an Associate Professor of Industrial Design in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and faculty at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. Mr. Herbst founded Herbst LaZar Bell Inc. in 1962 which has grown into one three largest independently owned product design and development firms in the country.

The two focused their talk on the growing emphasis technology usability plays in the consumer marketplace. What I found most compelling was learning how our assumptions and design concepts are being put to the test. Dr. McDonagh shared a few very interesting case studies including everything from how we use a roll of toilet paper to how we tattoo ourselves with brands like Harley Davidson.

She emphasized in one of her examples that it was clear the designers were men and the women’s perspective was never taken into consideration in designing the product. She went on to illustrate how the product was useful and well intended but the lack of understanding and efficacy for the user in the design and implementation of the concept left quite a few people with the inability to fully use the technology as it was intended.

The benefits and risks of using geo-location on your mobile device, Featured on SRQ DAILY: TUESDAY MARCH 29, 2016 – TUESDAY TECH TALK

The benefits and risks of using geo-location on your mobile device

The rise in precision of geo-location features on smartphones and mobile devices can have enormous advantages for you as a consumer – as well as extremely dangerous consequences. So, just how does your smartphone know where in the world you are? When location services are enabled on devices, the precise physical location of your phone (and you, assuming you are chained to it…) can be pinpointed via latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates down to a matter of feet.

As a user, this can be great for you if you are dying for a Starbucks in the middle of Manhattan, lost in a new city trying to get to a job interview, or wondering why in the world your kid isn’t home at curfew. And, as a business, you can take advantage of geo-location with geo-targeting – knowing your customers’ locations and serving them selected offers based on their proximity to your business.

However, there is a darker side. When GPS or geo-location is enabled on your devices, it may embed the exact location you were when you took photos with your smartphone or mobile device.

You have all of this fantastic technology at your fingertips and everywhere you see great opportunities to capture a lifetime of memories: family fun times, vacations, work events, or just documenting what you had for breakfast! We all do it. We take a quick snapshot, upload it to one of our favorite social networks, and voilà! In a matter of seconds, our lives are on display for thousands of people to enjoy and comment on. Or, do something far more sinister…

No WIFI Connection? Working on emails off-line is a great option! Featured on SRQ DAILY: TUESDAY MARCH 22, 2016 – TUESDAY TECH TALK

No WIFI Connection? Working on emails off-line is a great option!

Have you ever been somewhere with no WiFi connection and felt like there’s nothing you could do to be productive? Say you are on vacation, away from the office, or in a location where there is no free Internet. You have your laptop with you. What do you do to use your time effectively? Many email systems will allow you to work off-line. It’s not only possible, it’s also a good way to make use of idle time.

Depending upon what email service you use, you may be able to respond to existing emails, compose new ones, or just take some time to clean up your inbox or sent mail. To work offline, first you must determine what type of email service you’re using. Is your email a web-based system that requires you to login into a URL, such as www.outlook.com? If that’s your scenario, you can use your mobile device’s Internet access as an WIFI “hotspot.” Check under your settings or control panel options on your mobile device to see if your device allows this. Then, turn the option “on.” Now, check your laptop WIFI icon and you should see the name of your mobile device, like “John’s iPhone.” This solution is called “tethering.” It basically shares the mobile device WIFI with your computer so you can check and write emails fully accessing the Internet.

Techknowledge: How to Troubleshoot Like a Champ! Featured on SRQ DAILY: TUESDAY MARCH 15, 2016 – TUESDAY TECH TALK

Techknowledge: How to Troubleshoot Like a Champ!

Techknowledge if you’ve ever become frustrated trying to overcome a technology challenge, today’s Tech Tip will give you advice on taming the tech beast and discovering ways to fix it yourself.

With a little self-drive, curiosity, and perseverance, you will be amazed how some simple daily troubleshooting on your part can help you gain the techknowledge you need to solve many issues yourself.

Think about the multitude of new technologies that have launched during your lifetime and how you felt when you first used them. Remember the first time you used a DVD player? Got your first cell phone? Streamed a movie on your TV? Heard about “cloud” storage solutions? Do you remember how long it took you to get up to speed? I’m guessing your answer is “no.” Today, most of those inventions are probably essential to your everyday life and as simple to use as electricity. My aim is get you to feel as confident as possible to solve other technology snafus.

What to do when Apple AirPlay isn’t playing nice, Featured on SRQ DAILY: TUESDAY MARCH 1, 2016 – TUESDAY TECH TALK

I found out the hard way that Apple’s AirPlay doesn’t always work as advertised. According to Apple: “With AirPlay, you can stream music, photos, and videos to your AppleTV, or stream music to your AirPort Express or AirPlay-enabled speakers.” Of course if you’re using AirPlay with any Apple suite of products, chances are the feature will work fine on your phone, computer, or tablet. But what if you’re using Flickr video, or Spotify? Have you noticed that sometimes your video won’t play? You get the boilerplate error message saying something went wrong.

After some serious time troubleshooting and a lot of trial and error, I stumbled upon a solution that allows your video to play. Be aware that since you are connecting devices, notifications from one of your connected devices may interrupt your movie viewing? What do I mean? When you’re trying to access Apple TV and you’re trying to play a Flickr video, the only way I found to make it work is to mirror your screen or connect using mirroring. This allows the video to play both on your device and through Apple TV. Don’t get me started on the inconvenience this causes. Using this option, you’re basically tying up two devices and using up your mobile phone or tablet batteries unless the device is plugged into an electrical outlet.

Everyday Tech, This weeks Tech Tips, Featured on SRQ DAILY: TUESDAY FEBRUARY 23, 2016 – TUESDAY TECH TALK

Everyday Tech Tips, This weeks Tuesday’s Tech Tips departs from my usual business orientation to focus on one of my favorite, personal technology topics: home and entertainment systems!

Today, you can wire and add wireless network connectivity to everything from your air conditioner, appliances and home alarm to gaming, entertainment systems, and tablets. The convenience of going high-tech at home can be an amazing convenience, but it’s not without its challenges.

You have many different options on how you set up your network configuration. You might choose to limit access to certain devices based on the user (different settings for mom and dad or each child), the time of the day, or even set time ranges when each device may be used. Let’s say you have kids who need to use a tablet or laptop for school homework each weekday. You can set up a standard time range internet access will work for each device: Monday through Thursday from 3pm-8pm for example. That way, you can be assured your kids are not up until 1am playing video games on school nights! You can also set internet content filters to limit which sites your children can access. Best of all, these features can be customized for each device and password protected so only you can change them.

Creativity many businesses view creative services as a cost-center, when in truth, a well-defined creative service department should help to increase your bottom line. The potential value of a good creative marketing team extends far beyond copywriting and graphic design services. Instead of utilizing your creative team as implementers, the real value of these professionals is to aid you in addressing your critical business challenges.

Including your creative staff at the strategy level, will enable you to incorporate design thinking, or a human-centered approach into your business process. Start looking at the creative department as an intricate part of your client service and include them in brainstorming solutions to difficult problems.

Repackaging ideas and maximizing creative services within your business is low cost and high impact. Including the creative team in strategy sessions builds buy-in and can provide an entirely different perspective. Best of all, the team approach will ensure implementation is targeted and mission-specific, moving the team forward to develop even stronger campaigns.

Is your business social media saavy?  Featured on SRQ DAILY: TUESDAY February 2, 2016 – TUESDAY TECH TALK

Including social media in your marketing mix can be a very convenient, cost-effective way of communicating instantly with a large group of people. Using it correctly can help strengthen your relationship with current and potential customers, share your organization’s successes with the public, and enhance your overall business reputation. However, using Social Media without a defined strategy can drive folks away from your business in an instant.

Too many businesses flock to social media as a trendy cure-all (or so they think) to their marketing woes with no real plan of action. To create a successful social media presence, you first need to determine if your social media accounts will be used for personal or business purposes. Then, be sure to focus your efforts and your posts to the relevant audience. If your Facebook page exists to share personal information with your family, for example, don’t accept friend requests from business associates and/or post personal items to the public. Your business accounts should be used to provide intelligent, concise and well thought out posts that showcase your business and your professional expertise. Provide links to resources wherever possible or available.

Linking your life: privacy vs. simplicity, Tuesday Tech, Published by SRQ Daily Freshly Squeezed Content Every Morning – Tuesday January 26, 2016

Staying in control of your digital life and sharing content between all of your devices sounds like a dream come true… until you really look into it. Today, you have the world at your fingertips and can access whatever you need, whenever you need it – at home or in the office. But, are you sure you really want to do that? Let’s look at the pros and cons…

For starters, linking your applications among all devices is very simple and convenient, eliminates the chances of you missing an important call, text message, or email and makes you feel much more in control of your digital life. This connectivity helps you respond to communications in a timely manner, make changes or updates to social networks from anywhere at anytime, or take and upload photos instantaneously to access from any of your mobile devices.

Yet, this simplicity also comes with a drawback: the potential loss of your privacy. For example, say you are using Facebook on your office computer to chat with a friend. You step away from your desk and continue the conversation from your mobile device. If you’ve left Facebook open on your computer browser at your desk, anyone walking by will be able to watch your chat in real time – as it happens – with the text printing right on the screen. Logging out of one device before logging into another reduces this threat to your privacy. Password protect all of your devices with unique, challenging, and memorable passwords to safeguard your information and your content.