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February 6th, 2014

VoIP_Feb03_CVoIP apps can help improve your communication. That’s a fact! However, not that many business owners are familiar with how VoIP works, thus leading to them missing out on the many potential advantages that it brings. When many business bosses first set out to integrate a new solution they look at what free services are available. The question to ask is: Are these free options good for business?

Here are four of the most popular free VoIP apps available and a look at what they can offer businesses.

1. Skype

Skype is one of the pioneering apps that revolutionized VoIP. As a leading VoIP app, It has a large user base, with about 50 million users logged-in at least once during January 2013.

This service lets users make free Skype-to-Skype audio and video calls, group calls, and instant messaging. But, if you want more advanced calling features like call forwarding, SMS messages, caller ID, calling landline or other mobile phones around the globe, video conferencing, and having your own Skype number, you are going to have to subscribe to a business plan.

2. ooVoo

ooVoo, another free app, offers the optimal basics like free audio and video calling services to other users, instant messaging, and even 12-way video conferencing, which can be great for individual users and small businesses.

The biggest downside to this app is that while it does allow calls to landlines and other numbers, you need to purchase credits or a premium account which can prove a bit expensive for many users.

3. Viber

Viber offers users free calling and instant messages to other Viber users and is one of the most popular VoIP services for mobile users.

Although Viber has already released a version for Windows and Mac, this app is definitely made for Smartphones. You need to have a Viber mobile account before you can use its desktop version. This is a good solution for individual users, but may not be the best option for businesses that need to make calls to landlines or non-Viber users.

4. Jitsi

Jitsi is a free open source VoIP program formerly known as SIP Communicator that is primarily written using a popular Java script. Jitsi supports multiple operating systems as well as a variety of internet telephony.

Aside from video calling, Jitsi also offers you the features of instant messaging, desktop streaming, call recording, encryption for calls, and file sharing. Jitsi's broad compatibility and powerful encryption support may make it seem like a great tool for business. However, because it is open source it could pose potential security risks and be a challenge to manage for your business.

Is free really better?

In all honesty, the free aspects of the services above will satisfy many of the communication needs of individual users. The problem is, that many businesses still rely on traditional landline style communication e.g., people calling the business. This means that you need a service that can port - transfer - your number from the old provider to the VoIP one, while also allowing others to call the business. Many of the free services don't allow this. What this means for your business is that you will be able to call people with the program for free, but others who don't use it likely won't be able to call you so easily.

The VoIP systems provided by IT partners like us however are designed for business use and can offer the same benefits as many of the free solutions - video calls, text messaging, etc. - along with the traditional phone requirements, only delivered through a digital connection and at a cost that is usually far below traditional landline subscriptions.

The other main problem with choosing free services is that they may not be able to handle a high volume of communication, largely because many of them are designed for personal or home use, rather than a business environment. Adopting the business features will usually require a paid subscription that could end up costing you more, especially if you subscribe on a per-user basis.

If you are looking to use one of the free apps above or are considering another solution, we strongly recommend you talk to us first. We can talk you through the process, and help ensure that any service is truly right for your business. Beyond that, we can also make recommendations for a system that will truly fit your business.

If you want to know more about VoIP, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP General
January 29th, 2014

AndroidTablet_Jan27_CThe app is one of the more essential pieces of software for Android devices, including Tablets. There are nearly a million apps on Google Play, and many users have installed at least 25 apps on their devices, if not more. This means that there is a good chance that you will have more than one app that does the same thing. When this happens, you are often asked to select a default app, or even change it.

How do you set a default app?

When you install a new app that does the same thing as an already installed app, you will not usually be asked to make it your default app for that task. Instead, you should be asked when you first open the new app.

You can usually select between different apps that do the same task and confirm your choice. Take for example your email. If you install a different app than the email app that came installed on your device and open it, you should be asked if you want to make the latest app the default for email instead.

How to change the default app?

Because there are so many apps out there, we seem to follow a pattern where we use an app for a time then switch to another, either because we miss a feature, would like to try another app, or would just like to move back to one we've used before, etc.

Sure, you could just open the app manually, which is what many people do, but this can sometimes be tedious. The other alternative is to change the default app, which can be done by:

  1. Opening the Settings app on your Android device. This can normally be done by opening the app drawer and scrolling to Settings.
  2. Selecting Apps and scrolling to the app that is currently set as the default app.
  3. Tapping on it and scrolling down to Launch by default.
  4. Selecting Clear defaults.
The next step is to select the new app you would like to set as the default, and then open it. You should be asked whether you would like to make this the default app.

If you would like to learn how to get more out of your Android tablet, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 23rd, 2014

Security_Jan20_CLet's face it, technology, while essential, is getting increasingly challenging to manage. Many business owners are struggling to ensure that all of their systems are not only working properly but are also secure. One solution many turn to is the skills and support of an IT partner. These tech partners offer a wide variety of managed services, including managed antivirus solutions that help ensure systems are more secure. However, many business managers are not totally sure what managed antivirus solutions actually are.

What exactly is managed antivirus?

By now, most people are familiar with the term 'antivirus'. They know that the majority of solutions are a monthly or yearly subscription that they pay for. By subscribing, the company that created the program will update virus databases, allowing scanners to identify viruses during a computer scan. This type of antivirus software is often referred to as unmanaged, largely because the end-user has the ability to deny updates, turn off the scanner, or uninstall it.

A managed antivirus solution is provided by IT partners. These tech experts take care of installing the software on computers and other devices, and will then manage the solution. They will also ensure that scanners are up-to-date and scans are scheduled for a convenient time, thus protecting computers. The best way to think of these solutions is that they are specifically provided by a company to look after your computers and protect them from viruses.

Benefits of managed antivirus solutions

Companies that choose to integrate a managed antivirus solution generally see five main benefits.
  1. All systems will have the same level of security - With a managed service, your IT partner will make sure to install software on all your systems. This means that there should be the same program installed on your systems, and that the antivirus will be updated to ensure that systems are protected from new security threats that come along.
  2. It is easier to manage - Managing your antivirus solution can be a tough task, especially in larger companies where different solutions may need to be employed. By working with an IT partner, your antivirus solutions are managed by tech experts. This is a great solution for business owners who aren't too familiar with technology, or an overworked IT department.
  3. The solutions can be low-cost - Most managed antivirus solutions are offered as a monthly package, where companies pay per user. For some companies, this solution is more affordable per user than a non-managed solution. This is especially true if you have a high number of users and need to purchase multiple licenses.
  4. Management is continual - With unmanaged solutions, many users turn the antivirus protection off because it can slow their computer down or because they believe their usage habits are not compromising security. Managed antivirus solutions usually can't be uninstalled or turned off, meaning your systems are continually protected.
  5. Your systems are truly protected - Regardless of how secure your systems are and the steps you take to ensure that malware doesn't get through, the chances are you will eventually be infected. When you are, it may be tricky to actually completely remove the virus. IT partners are trained in how to do this quickly and efficiently and can usually completely remove the virus, ensuring that your systems are truly secure.
If you are looking for a managed antivirus solution, contact us today as we may have a solution that will work with your business.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
January 16th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Jan13_CAndroid devices are among the most popular smartphones out there. These small computers have revolutionized the way we communicate and interact with one another and will continue to become increasingly integrated into our daily lives. Like their larger cousins, Android devices do freeze from time-to-time. If this happens to your device, will you know how to deal with it?

If your Android phone or an app on the phone has frozen, here are two things you can try.

Frozen app? Try to force close it

Oftentimes when people say their phone has stopped working, the phone is running fine, it's an app that isn't working properly or which may have frozen completely. Because this does happen from time-to-time, Android has a built-in way you can force close apps when they stop working. This can be achieved by:
  1. Hitting the home button on your phone to go to the Home Screen (If you are in the app).
  2. Sliding down the notifications menu (slide from the top of your phone's screen) and tapping on the profile icon in the top-right.
  3. Tapping on Settings followed by Apps.
  4. Scrolling to the app that has stopped working and pressing on it.
  5. Pressing Force stop under the app's icon followed by OK.
These steps will close the app and usually keep it closed until you reopen the app again. However, some apps are essential and need to remain open in order for your phone to operate properly. If you are unsure of what an app does, don't force close it.

Did you try turning it off and on again?

There is a long-running gag on the tv show the IT Crowd where the techies in the basement answer every phone call by asking the caller if they have tried turning their computer off and on again.

While this may sound silly, and maybe even a little patronizing, restarting your device could be the solution it needs. In fact, many common errors are usually fixed by simply restarting your device. There are two types of restart you can execute:

  1. If you can still navigate your phone - Press and hold the power button for a second or two and the shutdown window should open. Tap on Power off and wait a few seconds. Your screen should go black and the device will be off. If you have low power, it may be a good idea to plug your phone in and charge it for a few minutes before starting your device up again. This type of shutdown/restart is the best because it allows your device to close all apps and stop all processes before it turns off.
  2. If your phone has frozen - This means you are not able to select apps and pushing the buttons does nothing. Android devices have different force restarts with most requiring you to hold the power button and volume down buttons for up to 10 seconds. Others require you to hold the power button and both of the volume buttons down. When the screen goes black, your device should switch off.
When a device has frozen, many people take the battery out - this should be an absolute last resort, as you could damage your device. If you can't remove the back cover of your device to get to the batter, don't try to remove it. Instead, try a forced restart. If this doesn't work, try plugging your device in and letting it charge for a few minutes before restarting it.

Should the device still not work, the best thing to do is to bring it to a mobile expert like us. We may be able to help you. And, if you are looking to learn more about your Android device, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 15th, 2014

SocialMedia_Jan13_CSocial media is now so common that it's expected that a company has a presence on at least one network. Because of the high level of use, sites have started to enter a more mature phase, where users are finding other ways to leverage the services. We will undoubtedly see a change in the way businesses use social media platforms in 2014 and new trends emerging which companies will be acting upon.

Here are five social media trends we believe businesses should track throughout 2014.

Successful content will become more helpful

One of the key rules of marketing is that you need to create content that is relevant to your target audience. If you can't show how your company, service or product will help the customer there is a high chance that they won't invest, or will look elsewhere.

Throughout 2014, we should see a shift of strategy with companies using social media to engage with customers to leverage data and create content aimed at being helpful to 'fans' and followers. This might include tips on how to use products and visual images that show fans how to use products, etc.

The key idea business owners should grasp is that they should not be using social media to promote their company, but rather using social media to help. When you can help your followers, you will see more positive association with your brand and possibly even more sales.

Planning ahead will become increasingly important

It used to be enough to simply have a social media account, but now you need to also be active. As more companies break into social media, you will need to post more content on a regular basis.

Because many managers and business owners are busy, they often lack the time to concentrate on social media, especially as demand grows. This means that companies will have to start planning ahead if they want to be successful on social media. What this means is likely hiring a new employee, or appointing a staff member, to run your social media activities. You will also need to schedule posts and content well ahead of time, as well as set budgets.

If you just post occasionally now, or have a profile that isn't that active, the first step you need to take is to schedule a day each week where content goes out. Take a look at older posts and see what worked well with your audience and create similar content. Schedule the content to be posted at roughly the same time each day. Over time, ramp up when you post - try posting new content on different days to see how reactions and interest changes. The key is to stick with it, and you will begin to see some positive returns - likely an increase in Likes, Shares and Comments.

Content will need to be mobile

It's not difficult to see that the mobile device - smartphone and tablet - has become the gadget of choice for many social media users. Some have even gone so far as to stop using social media on their computers entirely. This trend will grow throughout 2014 and what this means for businesses is that they need to be creating content that can be viewed easily on mobile devices.

Because mobile screens are smaller, and many companies are starting to create mobile oriented content, we should see some more visually oriented posts, including both movies and images. At the very least you should ensure that your content posted on social media platforms can be easily viewed by users on mobile devices and your other social related sites, like your blog, can also scale to fit on smaller screens.

Social data will play a key role in company strategies

As the number of users on social media continues to grow, we are starting to see a trend where many users are basically using social media for everything. Because these systems are online, data regarding nearly everything is being tracked and made available to companies and users. This social data can be a huge help if leveraged properly. For example, it allows you to see what users like and dislike, and the content that works best in certain regions, and different dynamics, etc. You can extrapolate this information to your products or services e.g., if post on how to use your product is liked more than other posts, you can assume that the product is seen to be good.

In 2014, companies will increasingly come to realize that they have access to this data and will start to use it to plot their marketing and social strategies. If you aren't already tracking your social data, now would be a good time to start. It will also pay to learn how to analyze it and develop useful insight.

Social integration is the next step

The first step in social media was to get users, including businesses, online and interacting. Now that this is happening, it's time to move onto the next step. For businesses this means integrating social media into their company. In 2014, that's what we predict we will begin to see businesses doing in larger numbers.

This trend has already started with businesses linking their websites to social media profiles but we predict it will go even further with companies integrating social data and plans into the organization as a whole. This will likely be the connecting of social data with other streams of data to make marketing and overall business decisions. In other words, social media will become an integral part of business.

What do you think the biggest social media trend will be in 2014? Let us know today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
January 9th, 2014

Security_Jan07_CIn the first few weeks of each new year, you often see business leaders and managers setting goals for the year to come. Most of these goals are determined based off of trends that have been identified as valuable. When it comes to security however, it is a good idea to not look at trends but potential threats. By knowing what could threaten your business in the year to come, you can better prepare and protect.

Here are four security threats businesses should be aware of in 2014.

Increased attacks on cloud end-points

Cloud-based systems saw solid growth throughout 2013, with numerous systems being introduced and older systems reaching new levels or maturity. Small to medium businesses in particular were heavy adopters of these systems. Because of this, we expect to see an increase in attacks against cloud providers.

Providers know this and take steps to ensure security of systems on their end. Hackers know this too, so will be likely going after the weaker points - end users. It is expected that hackers will begin targeting users of cloud systems with various schemes that try to gain control of computers and mobile devices. Once access is gained, they will go after their main target: Corporate or personal clouds and the data stored within.

This could pose a problem for many companies, especially those who access cloud systems from their mobile devices. January and February would be a good time to look into the security of all of your systems, ensuring that your cloud-based systems are secure on all devices.

Mobile malware will continue to gain popularity

Take a step back for a minute next time you are in public and look at how many people have smartphones or tablets in their hands. Chances are, at least 60% or higher will. It is fairly obvious that the mobile device is the most popular trend in tech at the moment, and whatever is popular is also a target.

We predict there will be an increase in mobile malware attacks throughout 2014. This could see either an increase in the number of apps that have malware in their code, or websites that host malware. When you visit a site with this malware, you are informed that you need to update an app, and when you agree to this the malware is downloaded and installed.

This could prove to be a tough for companies to manage, especially since the number of mobile users will likely grow. If you haven't started looking into how to secure mobile devices, now would be a good time to start.

Growth in social engineering scams targeting mobile users

Social engineering is the act of essentially tricking people to give away confidential information. Hackers have been using this for years - for example, emailing users telling them their bank account has been compromised, and that if they click on the link in the email and enter their account info, the account will be secured. In reality, the link is to a fake site that captures information which can then be used for any number of illegal activities.

As we mentioned above, the number of mobile users is steadily increasing. This means that it is highly likely that hackers will begin to target these users with mobile specific social engineering. This could be tricking them into downloading an app which then steals information stored on the phone, or simply targeting those who use just their tablet.

In order to prevent this from happening, you need to brush up on how most social engineering schemes work. You should also encourage your employees to look where the links in emails lead to and be aware that generally, most major businesses like banks don't email customers asking for passwords or user names.

Windows XP will become a big target

Microsoft will stop support for Windows XP and Office 2003 in April of this year. What this means is that they will no longer be offering security updates, software updates or support for these products. It is a sure thing that these programs are about to become a big target, and that new security loopholes and exploits will be found on a regular basis after the cessation of support.

For businesses that are using a newer version of Windows like 7 or 8, you should be secure from these exploits. If you are using XP on the other hand, you might want to upgrade as soon as possible. Contact us, we can help with that.

From the overall looks of things, we think this year will see a drastic increase in mobile based security threats, along with attacks on older versions of software. Now is a good time to review your strategies regarding both mobile and the software/hardware you use, to ensure that it is secure. If you would like help with this, please contact us today for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
January 3rd, 2014

AndroidTablet_Jan02_CIn 2013, mobile devices were once again the top tech gadget, largely due to Android. From new high-end devices to two versions of Android, and new Google Nexus devices, it was a solid year for the world's most popular mobile operating system. Now, all eyes are turning to 2014 and whether it will be an equally productive year of new developments.

So, what can we expect from Android in 2014?

1. Android beyond phones and tablets

We started to see this trend in the last quarter of 2013 with companies like Samsung introducing the Galaxy Gear smartwatch that syncs with your Samsung phone, along with cameras that run the operating system too.

While the smartwatch wasn't overly popular, the cameras that use Android are catching on. In fact, many companies, including Google, are actually developing other gadgets and devices ready for release in 2014. These will either run Android or sync with an Android device.

The other development to look out for could be the Google Glass. These wearable computers have been in testing by a select few users and the consumer version is currently rumored to be due for release in 2014. It is highly likely that Google will mention or even introduce them officially at their annual I/O conference, or a special conference in the early summer.

2. Wireless charging

The Nexus devices of 2013, Nexus 7 and 5, both came with the ability to charge wirelessly. If you purchase a small charging base e.g, Nexus Wireless Charger, that plugs into a wall socket, you can place the device on top of it and have it charge without having to plug it in.

We believe this will become a standard feature with most new devices released in 2014. Beyond that, it is highly likely that the efficiency of this method of charging will increase, making it more viable.

3. A new version of Android

It is pretty much guaranteed that there will be a new version of Android in 2014. Most believe that the next version released will be version 5.0, which will likely be an overhaul of Android. It's hard to say what will be included in the next version, but it's highly likely that the OS will see new features and even a new layout, perhaps one focused on making the system even easier to use.

If the most recent release of Android 4.4 is any indication, it is highly likely that the version Google releases this year will also work on older devices, which could encourage manufacturers to upgrade devices to the newer version.

4. Higher quality, lower costs

With the release of the Nexus 5 at the end of October 2013, Google showed that you can produce a high-end device at a mid-range price. There is a good chance that the big device manufacturers are working on devices that have powerful hardware and an affordable price tag.

This is already evident with many carriers offering phones that are not high-end price wise, yet have hardware that was considered bleeding edge last year.

5. Moving away from carrier-centric devices

Historically, mobile carriers around the world offered exclusive phones and went to great lengths to ensure other carriers didn't get to utilize these devices. With the release of more Nexus devices and Google Play edition phones - phones bought from Google, not from your carrier - we are starting to see the same devices offered by most providers.

This trend is likely to continue in 2014 and beyond, with the potential of users being able to pick their phone first then their carrier, not having to worry whether a specific mobile company will support their device or not.

6. Decreased fragmentation

The current nature of the Android market is that there is a wealth of devices running different versions of the system, which has led to a fairly fragmented market. You have devices released last year that are still running an almost two year old version of Android, and will likely not be updated.

Google appears to be taking steps to encourage developers and manufacturers to update devices. The first step taken was to ensure that the latest version of Android can be supported by older devices. This will likely continue with future versions of the system, and should result in more devices being on the same version of Android. In other words, the market should become less fragmented. This will be good for business users who need to ensure that devices are secure. Instead of developing solutions for each version of Android, they can develop a strategy for just one version, used across the board.

2014 will be an interesting year for Android, so be sure to stay tuned to learn more. If you have a question about how this system can fit into your office, please contact us today for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 27th, 2013

Security_Dec23_CThe number of accounts and websites we have to log in to is growing, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. One downside of this increased activity is that security breaches will also continue to rise as well. When it comes to security, often the weakest points are the passwords people use. Far too many passwords are weak and easily guessed, which puts systems and data at risk.

Many of the major security threats that harm a business have one factor in common - a hacker gaining access to systems by cracking a user's password. The one reason hackers are able to get into systems again and again is largely because users often don't pick strong enough passwords.

Even what we might perceive to be a strong password may not actually be as secure as we think. Sure, when you enter a new password many websites have a bar that indicates how strong your password is, but the issue is, these so called strong passwords are becoming easier to guess as more websites utilize the same requirements.

Think about the last time you changed your password. You were likely told to key in a password longer than 6-8 characters, with at least one capital letter, one number, and a special character like '!' or '$'. Many major systems have these exact, or at least very similar, requirements for password setting. However, If this is the norm, and you use a password like this too often then your passwords likely aren't as secure as you might believe them to be.

The reason for this is because of the way hackers usually capture passwords. The most common method adopted is brute force - getting a username then trying every password combination until the hacker finds one that works. There are programs you can download from the Internet that try thousands or more passwords a second, and many now include special characters, numbers, and capital letters, which makes finding passwords even easier.

How do I know if my password is secure?

In an effort to showcase how unsecure some passwords are, Microsoft's Research (MSR) Center and an intern from Carnegie Mellon University developed a password guesser called Telepathwords.

The way it works is you enter the first few letters of your password and the system guesses the next. It uses common letters and combinations to help gauge the effectiveness of a password. For example, if your password begins with the letter 'v', it will tell you that 'I', 'S' and 'A' are the most common letters to follow. If the next letter of your password isn't one of these three, there is a good chance it is more secure. If the second letter is one of these three, then your password is less secure. This may sound a little complicated, but you should check out the system here.

It is eerie at how accurate the next letters and characters often match, and this is a good tool to determine whether to create a more robust password. You don't have to worry about testing your password out either as Microsoft has noted that they don't track the keystrokes, so you password should remain secure.

How do I create a stronger password?

Ask 10 experts and you will likely get 10 different answers as to what makes a strong password. Here are three different ways to create secure passwords:
  1. Use an algorithm - The easiest way to do this is take the first letter of a saying and add a number before or after. You can also create a saying and take the first letter of each word, then add the first letter of the website, followed by the last, and then a number. This method is best for when you have a large number of websites you access on a regular basis, it can help you remember your passwords for each without you having to write these down.
  2. Use a sentence or saying - For systems that allow you to have spaces in your password, try using a random saying like, 'Dogs like pudding cups'. Sayings like this are harder to crack. This is largely because they include the space and are longer than usual.
  3. Use an acronym - Come up with a saying that describes you e.g., 'I've worked at a gas station for 20 years', and take the first letter/number of each word to create: 'Iwaagsf2y'. This gives you an easy to remember password that can be adapted for other sites.
Regardless of what type of password you develop, you should be aware that even strong passwords can still be cracked with enough persistence. So, you should be sure to change passwords on a regular basis and also not to use the same one twice. This will limit the chances of hackers being able to access your other accounts.

If you are looking for more ways to secure your systems, we can help, so get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
December 20th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Dec17_CThe smartphone is an all-singing-all-dancing device and yet in an era of multi-media, there's nothing that cuts to business like a phone call. If you have a phone, you likely have a large number of contacts, but have you ever tried to manage these contacts from your device? If you have then you'll know that it's not that easy. One option is to actually edit or manage your contacts directly from your computer instead.

You can manage your phone contacts using the three main mobile platforms - iOS, Android and Windows - from your computer. Here's how:

Manage your iOS contacts from your computer

If you use an iPhone, you can sync your contacts with Apple's iCloud. You can sign up for iCloud on your device by going to Settings and tapping on Home. Select iCloud and enter your Apple ID.

Once you have activated iCloud, or if you already have signed up for it, press the Settings app on your phone and select iCloud from the menu that opens. Once the iCloud settings open ensure that Contacts is on. This will automatically sync your contacts to iCloud and make them available to any device that you sign into using the ID you linked to the service.

Give your phone and iCloud a couple of minutes to sync and then you should be able to access these from any device. To manage contacts from your computer, the easiest thing to do is to open a Web browser and go to the iCloud website (icloud.com/#contacts).

When the site loads you should see a list of your phone contacts. You can click on a contact to edit information and even delete. Just be sure to click Done at the bottom of each contact to save any changes.

Manage your Android contacts from your computer

If you use an Android device, your best bet is to sync your contacts with your Google account. This can be done by opening the Settings app on your device, (pull down from the top of the screen and select Settings), scroll down to Accounts and tap on Google. Select your account from the menu that opens and ensure that Contacts is ticked. Press the three vertical boxes at the top of the screen and select Sync now.

The syncing of contacts should be automatic if a Google account is linked with your phone. Once the sync has completed, you can edit your contacts on your computer by:

  1. Opening any Web browser and logging into Google, using the account name that you have linked your phone with.
  2. Going to contacts.google.com
  3. Clicking on the contact you would like to edit.
  4. Editing the contact and pressing the back arrow once you have finished, which is beside Contacts above the contact info.
There is no need to save information as any changes will be automatically saved. To delete contacts, go to the main Contacts screen and tick the box beside the contact name. You can select more than one at a time if you would like to delete more than one contact at the same time. Once selected, press More, above your contact list, and select Delete contacts. Your device should sync within a minute or two and the selected contacts should be gone.

Manage your Windows Phone contacts from your computer

If you use a Windows Phone you can edit contacts on your computer using live.com. In order to do this you will need to link your phone with a Microsoft account. If you don't have one, go to signup.live.com on any Web browser and follow the sign-up process. Once you have an account, you need to link your phone to it. This can be done by:
  1. Opening Settings from the App List.
  2. Tapping on Email + Accounts.
  3. Entering your Microsoft account email address and password.
  4. Tapping Sign-in.
Your phone's contacts should sync with your account within a few minutes. To edit your contacts, go to live.com and log in. You should see all of your contacts in a list to the left side of the screen. Clicking on each contact will show contact information, and you can edit this by clicking Edit, above the card. Once you have finished editing, be sure to press Save at the bottom of the page. If you click Delete from the menu bar at the top, you will be able to remove your contact.

To learn more about using smartphones in your office, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 19th, 2013

AndroidPhone_Dec17_CAndroid is one of the big two mobile operating systems, offering apps for virtually everything. Google alone has more than 10 different apps, one of the more potentially useful being Google Now. This app is a digital assistant that can help you find the information you need while presenting additional information like traffic, important activities, etc. You can even interact with it by speaking.

How to use Google Now

With most phones, you can access Google Now by pressing and holding the home button on your device. You should see a circle appear on the screen that says Google. Swipe up to it and let go to open the app. If that doesn't work, open the app drawer on your device and look for the Google app (blue square with a lowercase g). Owners of the Nexus 5, should be able to say, "Ok, Google", from anywhere on the main screen or swipe to the left from the home screen to open Google Now.

Once you are taken to the main Google Now screen you will see useful cards that the app deems relevant to you e.g., weather, traffic, time to home, sport scores, upcoming calendar of events, information related to your most recent Google search, upcoming flight information and more.

To start a search, or interact with Google Now, simply say: "Ok, Google." If that doesn't work, tap the microphone in the search bar at the top so that you can use voice commands.

General commands

These commands are search related and you can use them to find information on Google Search. You can start a search by saying "Search for (something)," If you ask Google Now to "Search for the nearest computer repair shop," for example, you should get the same results you would using Google Search on your browser.

You can also start a search by asking a question. Ask, for example, "How many gallons is 5 liters?" and you should see the conversion pop right up.

If you come across a word and are unsure what it means, ask the app to, "Define (word)", or ask, "What does (word) mean?" You should see the definition displayed, along with additional information.

Setting notes and reminders

You can also use Google Now to set reminders and notes by saying:
  • Wake me up at (time e.g., 5 am tomorrow) - This will take you to your phone's alarm screen and automatically set your alarm.
  • Remind me to (action) on/at (time) e.g., (remind me to order pizza at 11:00 am) - This will set a reminder on your phone and let you know at 11:00 am to order pizza. You can even ask to set location specific reminders e.g., "Remind me when I get to work to email Jane."

Communication

There are a number of useful commands you can use to interact with the communication features of your phone.
  • Call (person) - Be sure to say the name of the contact as they are on your phone. If you have more than one contact with the same, or similar name, the app will ask you which one you want to call.
  • Send email to (person) subject (your subject) body (your message) - This will create an email message directly in Google Now. If the email is correct, you can press the send icon, all without having to open your email app.
  • Send SMS to (contact) (message) - Will draft a text message directly in Google Now. If the app is unsure of the contact, you will be asked to pick from a list. If the message is correct, you will be able to send it directly from the app.
There are actually over 60 useful voice commands you can use with Google Now. Check out this infographic to see all of them. If you would like to learn more about using Android in your business, please contact us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.