Tag Archives: Tech Tip Tuesday

Maximize Your Battery Life

Our world is increasingly mobile, it seems, and that means that battery life is a far greater concern than it used to be. As of May 2013, only 9% of Americans don’t have a cell phone of some sort and about 56% of the population has a battery-drinking smartphone. We’ve all had fears about low batteries, losing connectivity and our only real line of communication. Those fears are well-founded, especially considering that average battery life in a smartphone is around a day if you’re babying it. However, there are some things you can do to make sure your mobile link to your data and business stays running throughout the day.

iPhone charging screen

Battery Misconceptions

First and foremost, you need to know a few things about the battery itself. All cellular devices sold in the US right now use Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries, and these batteries are the most advanced battery tech we have available to us. These are not like the old rechargables we were using when cell phones first came to market.

For instance, Li-ion does not suffer from “memory effect”, and therefore does not need to be drained empty and fully refilled each time for the safety of the battery. To maintain Li-ion’s ability to hold a charge, best practice is to charge it when you can, and don’t let it discharge completely very often. Keep a charger with you and let it sip when you can. This will not harm your battery; in fact, it’s the way the battery works the best.

When you’re losing charge in your smartphone’s battery, it’s either because the battery’s charge gauge is a little off or because the battery is getting old. Be sure to do a calibration (discharge to 0 percent and recharge) as often as the manufacturer recommends. For instance, Apple recommends doing this to your iPhone once a month. This does nothing to the battery itself, it just resets the gauge.

The biggest way to damage a smartphone battery is by exposing it to excessive heat. Don’t leave the phone in a hot car or in direct sunlight; the higher the temperature, the faster the battery will degrade.

And, so you know: modern smartphone batteries are rated to last 3-5 years, which is most often longer than you’ll own the device itself, so don’t worry too much about battery health. Be responsible and you’ll be fine on this part.

Battery Usage Best Practices

Most battery drain problems are more usage related than battery health related. How you use your phone has as much (if not more) effect on how your daily charge holds up. Certain apps (like the Facebook app) are known battery drains, while your brightness settings and cellular settings can affect your charge.

By and large, the biggest culprit of battery drain is when your phone is searching for cellular signal. iPhones, which have great battery life in optimal conditions, can have abysmal battery life if they’re constantly searching for signal. One of our employees here lives in a signal dead zone and sees his battery drop from 100% to 40% in a matter of a few hours when at home, but walks out of the office every night with over 90%—he has good signal there. If you’re consistently in a low signal zone and don’t need your phone or text messages, consider turning on Airplane Mode and WiFi. Those two steps will skyrocket your battery life.

Also, hunt for apps that continually refresh in the background, such as email, Facebook, and other social and communications apps. While they’re handy, they’re also battery drains. It comes down to how necessary they are. The same employee from our previous anecdote uninstalled the Facebook app and has seen an improvement in battery life.

The simple way to put it is this: if you need your battery to last all day (and even into the next day), evaluate your apps and keep only what you need on your phone. Otherwise, be sure to carry a charger—it’s the ultimate solution to poor battery life. This should help keep your business moving!

#TechTipTuesday: How to Avoid a Scam (And How to Avoid Looking Like One)

Scams (and being identified as a scammer even if you aren’t) is one of the biggest fears of any business (and we’ve all seen the contents of our spam folders). But, while accepting large sums of cash from Nigerian princes is pretty easy to spot, how good are you at identifying more subtle scams?

nigerian prince scam

Phishing Scams

The biggest scam and internet threat out there today is the phishing scam. Phishing is a letter, fax, or email that claims to be someone from a bank or other money-handling institution looking to get your account credentials. Popular targets are large consumer banks like Bank of America. Most people think that they can identify their bank’s emails or website, but some of the phishing sites are scarily good at imitation. So much so that for each phishing blast that’s sent, 45% of people who opened the emails submitted their information.

It’s fairly simple to dodge this scam if you’re worried: always look at the address bar. If the address for a website isn’t right, it’s not the right place. Most financial institutions also sign their websites now; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari all show when these signatures are present, validate them with another authority, and display the company name. Pay attention to these and you shouldn’t fall victim.

Spam Email Scams

Spam isn’t exactly a scam, but it certainly scams you out of time and focus. Every email for a dubious substance or product takes time away from what you’re doing. But, it’s not just for prescription drugs. Spam can be any form of email that is unrequested.

And, this is one your business can fall into fairly easily. Marketing writing can be magical, well-developed, and a pleasure to read. But poor marketing writing can be misconstrued as scammy and spammy writing, which can lead to people disregarding your product or service. If you sound like an infomercial, stop—they’re already on to you. But, if you can write honestly and passionately about your service or product, you stand a chance of not being seen as spam or a scam.

Paying For Links

This isn’t technically a “scam,” but it’s gained a reputation for being a scammy-looking business practice—so much so that Google and other search engines actively penalize you for doing it if they find it. While linking out to people you know, trust, and like is important to your business’s website, paying for links are different.

Google (and most other search engines) purport to be looking for the most relevant information to a search. Part of their system is using how many links to a page it’s found to determine how useful it is. When people pay for links, they’re paying other people to link to them, thereby increasing their relevance (in theory).

In short, if you’d like to see your site disappear off Google and other search engines, go ahead and pay for them. But you’ll not see your page at the top of the Google page for much longer.

In short, the rule of thumb for avoiding being bitten by a scam is this: if it looks like you can avoid a lot of hard work and sacrifice for a low, low fee, don’t do it. If you can’t verify the identity of the web service, don’t do it. If your copy reads like Billy Mays wrote it, don’t do it.

We know that you’re class act professionals—be sure to make your business’s public appearance looks like one, too.


Tech Tip Tuesday: March 11, 2014

Apple releases iOS 7.1 for iPhone, iPad with bug fixes, new features

Summary: The latest version for iPhones and iPads landed on Monday, with new features, user interface tweaks, and a number of bug fixes that aims to appease those who have yet to upgrade.

(Image: CNET, ZDNet)

Apple has released iOS 7.1, the latest iterative version of its mobile software for its smartphones and tablets.

The software was made available for download on Monday, a week shy of six months after a radically redesigned iOS 7 was released.

The latest software version is compatible with iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and iPod touch (5th generation) devices. 

Users of iOS 7 and older versions can upgrade compatible devices over-the-air by navigating to “Software Update” in the “General” section of the device’s settings.

iOS 7.1 includes 41 bug fixes that have plagued some early adopters, along with user interface design tweaks, such as visual changes to the phone dialer and power-off features.

The software also lands with a number of new features, including:

  • CarPlay: formerly known as iOS in the Car, which supports iPhone calling, music, maps, and messaging. It also allows users to control certain functions through iOS’ in-built voice-activated assistance Siri;
  • Siri improvements: Including natural-sounding voices for U.K. English, Australian English, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. You can also use it in push-to-talk mode by holding the Home button for the duration of your query;
  • Calendar changes: The list view has returned in month view, and the update has also included country-specific holidays added for many locales;
  • iTunes Radio updates: The radio feature, first introduced in iOS 7, has been updated with new features, including the ability to buy albums over-the-air from “Now Playing”;
  • Accessibility additions: The “parallax” motion feature option now includes Weather, Messages, and multi-tasking user interface animations;
  • Camera settings bolstered: Including a setting that allows users to automatically enable HDR mode for iPhone 5s users;
  • Touch ID improved: The software that controls the biometric reader has been improved to make fingerprint recognition better.

Overall, with its user interface and bug fix improvements, the update is designed above all to resolve some of the initial problems with the software, which some insiders previously reported was rushed in order to land in line with the release of iPhone 5s and 5c smartphones in September.

According to Apple, about 82 percent of all compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices are running iOS 7 as of late February, based on App Store data.

As many millions have waited to upgrade until some of the known and well-documented bugs and user interface flaws have been resolved, that figure is expected to rise significantly in the next days.

For those not able to download over-the-air, Windows and Mac users can alternatively connect their compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices to iTunes, and upgrade by selecting the “Check for Upgrade” button in their device’s summary window. 

Or, users can download the software bundle (.IPSW) files from Apple’s website for offline installations in the coming hours. (Enterprise users can use Apple’s Phobos server for download links.) 

In past updates, downloads are often slow at first as millions attempt to upgrade at the same time.

Downloading over a Wi-Fi connection is recommended due to the size of the file, and some users may have to delete content from their devices in order to install.

By Zack Whittaker, ZDNet

Tech Tip Tuesday: March 4, 2014

The Importance of Creating Human Connections with Your Brand in Social Media

human connections

One of the best things about social media is that people are becoming more real, revealing more about themselves. People are showing more courage in putting themselves out there – sure, some guy you went to school with might judge you for sharing your feelings, but there are others with whom your opinions will resonate, and those are the people you really want to connect with. Social media facilitates better connections with likeminded folk, leading to the creation of online communities that foster encouragement, creativity and genuine relationships. It’s really great to see, really heartening to see people who might have felt out of place in the world finding others who feel the same way.

I was reminded of this when Bryan Kramer did a presentation recently where he summed this up perfectly from a business perspective:

There Is No More B2B or B2C: There Is Only Human to Human (H2H)

It’s a simple, inspiring summary that’s been rightfully praised by many in the industry. It underlines that community spirit, that tangible sense of belonging that people are finding in the social media landscape. Inspiring is the best word for it, and I applaud Bryan for his clarity.

What does this mean for business?

Bryan’s statement really captures the mood around social media and how it should be used by brands. There’s a clear shift away from advertising and selling and a move towards creating genuine connections with people. The emphasis on content is largely due to it being a way to create human connections, an opportunity to present who you are as a company, as opposed to what you do. It’s an exciting time to be involved as the opportunities for creating real, meaningful relationships are there, waiting, and the audience is looking for engagement. You just have to reach out to them, understand them, and, ideally, contribute to their world. The opportunity to take up a place of trust and service has never been better, it’s now up to businesses to take it.

So how do you do it?

Listening. This is emphasized by every social media expert in every post and every publication. You need to learn what your customers want, listen to what they’re after, then be responsive to their needs. You’ve got access to more consumer data than ever before, and most of it is happening in day to day discussions, right now, conversations that you can tap into and take notes from. You need to listen, but more than that, you need to hear what’s being said and absorb that information into your processes.

Brands need to be more human

Be real, be genuine. Be adventurous with your messaging. You know your target audience – ideally, you are amongst them yourself – so if you’re taking a risk and putting yourself out there, think about what would resonate with you. What would you respond to as a target consumer? You have the data, the platforms, the means – you can find like minded, or better ‘like-wanted’, folk that will connect with your brand identity. You just have to establish what that identity is.

Be about people

What’s the thing that people always say when they leave a company? ‘The best thing about working here was the people’. Social media gives you a chance to make all businesses about the people. Obviously, your product still needs to be great, but that inner-company camaraderie can be spread further, creating a more collaborative relationship between your business and your clients. People want to be part of a community, to feel like they belong. Social media gives you the chance to show that they belong with you.

It’s not about consumers, it’s not about clients. It’s about people. Listening, engaging, creating real connections. H2H.

They’re out there now, talking to each other, establishing like minded communities. All you have to do is go meet them.

Source: Andrew Hutchinson, Social Media Today

Tech Tip Tuesday: February 25, 2014

Apple’s Serious Security Issue: Update Your iPhone or iPad Immediately

The security hole in Apple's mobile and desktop operating systems had to do with validating the security certificates that are sent back and forth when you’re establishing a secure connection.
The security hole in Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems had to do with validating the security certificates that are sent back and forth when you’re establishing a secure connection.This week, Apple rushed out a patch for its iOS 7 and iOS 6 operating systems to fix a serious security issue. Before I explain further, let me just say this: If you’ve gotten the prompt to update and you haven’t, do it now. If you’re still running older versions of iOS on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, update now.

Done? O.K., good.

While you’re at it, go download either Chrome or Firefox for your Mac, and stop using Safari immediately until you see a security update for OS X Mavericks, as well.

In a nutshell, Apple has a security hole in both its mobile and desktop operating systems that could let a malicious hacker jump in on what you think is a secure Web transaction if you’re on a public Wi-Fi network like those at a coffee shop, airport or some other location.

The vulnerability affects SSL/TLS, or Secure Socket Layer and Transport Layer Security. These are the two technologies that supposedly encrypt the conversation between your browser and the server you’re trying to access when you visit a website. They’re represented by an “https” rather than “http” in your browser’s URL bar, and they’re supposed to mean you’ve got a secure browsing session in effect.

In fact, thanks to this bug, it’s very possible you don’t. The problem lies in validating the security certificates that are sent back and forth when you’re establishing a secure connection. Thanks to this flaw, your browser can’t verify the authenticity of an encryption certificate, meaning someone could easily be pretending to be your bank’s website, your doctor’s office site or a credit card application form.

There are excellent posts here and here about the severity, technicalities and potential of the vulnerability.

The update to iOS fixes the problem, but as of now, it’s still an issue on OS X Mavericks (although it may not exist in earlier versions of the operating system) for Macintosh computers. There’s a workaround on your Mac, though — use an alternative browser and avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots until there is a fix. That method won’t work on an iPhone, iPad or iPod, because alternatives like Chrome for iOS use the same security background as Safari.

Yes, by the way, people are deeply suspicious of both the timing of when this bug appeared and how it got there, in light of recent revelations about spying activity by the National Security Agency. I’ve also spoken to one engineer who said the errant line of code that caused the security hole could easily have been a copy/paste error that would have been extremely hard to detect.

In today’s environment, I tend to assume the worst, but the important thing now is to download the patch, watch for the Mavericks fix, and as usual, trust no one.

By: Molly Wood, New York Times

Tech Tip Tuesday: September 10, 2013

Tech Tip

Today we want to share with you an easy little trick that often causes some not-so-easy anxiety.

How to post a PDF flyer to social media when working off your phone

So you’ve just received an email with a PDF attachment, and you want to share it on your social media channels, but how?


1. Open the attachment.

2. Take a screenshot- doing so will save the screenshot in your photo stream. If you are unsure of how to take a screenshot on your device, click here for an iPhone tutorial or here for an Andorid tutorial.

3. Go to your photos, and select the screenshot image you just took.

4. Click “edit”, and crop the image. You want to crop the image, so that when posted to your social media channels it won’t look sloppy (i.e. like a screenshot).

5. Save the freshly cropped image.

6. Open a social media app (i.e Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. etc.).

7. Click “share photo”, select the image, and then add a fun and informative “caption”.

8. Click “post”, and you’re done.

CONGRATS! You just shared a professional looking post all from your phone!