Blog

June 23rd, 2016

2016June23_Hardware_AIn today’s modern age, the waves we surf tend to be invisible and keyboards are the new surfboards. Having a reliable Wi-Fi connection is key in keeping daily business operations up and running, so sluggish internet is definitely the last thing you and your business needs. Here are 10 ways that help speed up your Wi-Fi connection:

Router centralization and elevation

For optimal signal strength it is best to place the router in the middle of the room, away from other electronics without any doors or walls obstructing it either. It’s always good to keep the router high since routers tend to spread signals downwards, meaning the higher you place it, the more coverage you’re going to get.

Reposition antennas

Try positioning them perpendicular to each other, one being horizontal and the other vertical. Reception is maximized when your device and the transmitter are both operating on the same plane. Former Apple Wi-Fi engineer, Alf Watt, attests to this theory: “perpendicularly positioned antennas ensure optimal wireless reception”.

Use powerline network adapters

Multi-story housing prevents routers from being centrally located, so the next best thing is to use powerline network adapters. These devices work by utilizing the electrical wiring in the walls. First off you would have to plug it in near to and connect it with your router through an Ethernet cable, then plug in the second adapter after you have chosen a room for network coverage. Connection will then be delivered.

Wireless security

Setting up wireless security prevents your network from being compromised by external threats that lead to undesired downtime. After logging into your router’s admin page, change the encryption method to WPA2 and select a password that’s easy to remember.

Utilize heat mapping software

This allows you to see what your wireless heat map looks like, showing you exactly how much coverage each area is getting. With this information, you’d be able to reposition the router into an optimal position, adjust antennas or powerline network adapters to eradicate problematic areas.

Switch to 5GHz

Firstly there are two frequencies to choose from: 2.4 and 5GHz, and for homes or offices dotted with electronic devices the 2.4 GHz spectrum gets crowded pretty quickly. Solve this problem by switching to the 5GHz spectrum since it allows for more devices without cluttering the Wi-Fi.

Move to less crowded channels

Living in crowded neighborhoods or buildings mean that you share the same signal space, depending on which frequency your network operates on. By choosing the right channel, interference is reduced thus speeding up the Wi-Fi. Applications such as Wifi Analyzer or WifiInfoView helps find which channels are overflowing and which ones aren’t.

Router upgrades

Wireless and internet technology have come a long way in the past 5 years, and if your router is older than that - you might want to consider upgrading it. The easiest way to determine if your router is slowing down is to look up the model number and compare its specs with those of the internet package from your ISP.

Turn old routers into Wi-Fi repeaters

When you want to extend your network but your powerline network adapters won't do, the next best option is to turn your old router into a wireless bridge. This involves installation of custom firmware on your router. If wiring isn’t your thing, this is the best alternative of extending your Wi-Fi to the outer limits of your property.

Contact your ISP as a last resort

If nothing does the trick you should consider calling your ISP. Despite it being an uncomfortable task to accomplish it potentially saves you any future frustration. By contacting your ISP, they’d be able to diagnose the problem and provide a solution for it, at your own expense of course.

The benefits of having an efficient and stable Wi-Fi connection are endless; better communication with clients, more streamlined business operations or even watching your favorite videos without the buffering. Give your business the edge it deserves by giving us a call, we’ll gladly answer any questions you have.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Hardware
June 22nd, 2016

2016June22_Web_AThere are quite a few content management systems (CMS) available for small and medium sized businesses to market themselves on the internet, all working to maximize the value of their features and eliminate gaps in service. One of these, Squarespace, has made a big splash with the addition of their ecommerce analysis functions. When choosing which CMS is right for you, one small feature could make or break your profitability. Let’s take a closer look at Squarespace’s new offerings to see if they’re right for you.

Squarespace publicly admits that their earliest iterations of Commerce, the platform’s ecommerce tool, were targeted at businesses that didn’t see their online sales as their number one objective. Unsurprisingly, that mentality didn’t last long and the website creation company caved in to consumer demands for deeper functionality.

Squarespace Commerce originally did offer some data analysis via a service titled ‘Metrics’, but was recently granted a huge upgrade and the new title of ‘Advanced Analytics’. To access it, simply click ‘Analytics’ from the ‘Home Menu’ on your site. From there, you are taken to a dashboard that displays an overview of seven of your most important data points: Revenue, Units Sold, Orders, Visits, Conversion Rate, Average Order Volume and Revenue per Visit. You can see the performance of these variables over any period of time you set and exact values can be found by clicking on the graph wherever you need more specific information.

So far this isn’t anything that several other CMS platforms can offer you. What begins to set Squarespace Commerce apart is the ability to sift these seven data points by source. You can filter the indicators by sources such as device (desktop, mobile, tablet), site/social network (Google, Facebook, direct, etc.) or by specifying which product produced the data. Although, potentially the most helpful upgrade of all is the ‘Abandoned Checkout’ feature. As one of the biggest problems among ecommerce sites, Squarespace sets its sights on determining why your customers fail to finish their purchase in your online store. It does this by tracking data from all seven of the aforementioned data points and allowing you to create custom followup emails for anyone that has entered their email address and added items to their cart without finishing their purchase. The email can act as a simple reminder or even include a ‘Complete your Order’ call to action in the text of the message.

And since Squarespace is putting such a huge emphasis on data, there’s a whole tab under the Analytics menu titled ‘Purchase Funnel’ that allows you to see how far into the shopping process your customers get. You can compare the number of site visits to the number of users that viewed a product, added an item to a cart and completed a purchase, all in one screen. This will allow you to see where in your sales process you’re losing customer interest.

Of course with any announcement comes all of the finer details like adding templates for ecommerce websites, the addition of a mobile app that allows store managers to keep an eye on their ecommerce from mobile devices and an order delivery calculator.

Although Squarespace promises more availability of customer data is on the way, it still believes that business owners don’t want to be inundated with overly verbose data. Right now they want to focus on simple, key indicators that result in higher profits.

Nowadays the vast majority of SMBs will be offering at least one product or service for sale over the internet. There are a lot of different ways to go about it, but something as simple as improved conversion tracking or mobile management on your ecommerce store could become the reason your company is in the black, or the red. We’re well versed in all of the CMS vendors operating today and we’d love to help you find out which one is best for you -- ask us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web & Cloud
June 21st, 2016

2016June21_SocialMedia_AIn today’s modern age, the speed in which your reputation can change almost as fast as the speed of light. For example, your reputation might be stellar one day and completely flop the next - meaning that striking a balance isn’t no walk in the park. In order your business to reach its peak, it’s important to understand how to utilize reputation marketing to establish much-needed consistency. Here are ten tools to help get you on your way:

ConsumerAffairs

Businesses can forge a strong online reputation and boost revenue with an array of advanced features. Namely, unpaid business plans along with third-party accreditation programs coupled with powerful software as a service (SaaS) platforms - offering companies various resources to convert customer engagement into cash.

BazaarVoice

Ideal for companies with deeper budgets, BazaarVoice extends the online marketing potential of customers’ voices to shopping portals, offline channels as well as natural search. Customers are also able to leave reviews, rating, questions and other customer-generated content on client websites which will then be shared on social media.

Better Business Bureau

Suitable for entrepreneurs and SMBs, not only does this non-profit group mediate and resolve customer-business disputes but also helps you to personally interact with customers - other networking services are also available at an affordable price.

Yotpo

The mechanism behind this ecommerce-oriented plug and play solution is that if you have made online purchases via Yotpo, after receiving them you will get an email asking you to review the product(s). This Mail After Purchase (MAP) provides more verified reviews since they are sent directly to the customer.

Cision

Focusing more on public relations, Cision allows your company to connect with over 1.6 million contacts and outlets, including influential journalists, bloggers and social influencers that would normally be inaccessible.

Percolate

Create campaigns, store files, create content and manage your business’s marketing efforts with Percolate. It takes into account all your details, target audience, brand identity and objectives, after which it provides a cross-channel marketing calendar that helps you plan ahead and eases the process of sharing content with consumers on social media, the Internet and other methods.

Reputation Loop

Similar to Yotpo, Reputation Loop primarily works by automatically emailing customers for product reviews but with this tool, additional features such as real-time reporting, review monitoring on Yelp and Google+ are at your brand manager's disposal.

TinyTorch

Utilizing social influencers and user-generated content (UGC) to build your online profile, TinyTorch is a social platform that allows brands to identify, monitor and manage their online presence. The tool helps you locate your most influential customers and redistribute their stories and photos across multiple marketing channels.

HootSuite

This social media management platform allows your business to monitor and sync all social media accounts onto one interface. HootSuite makes it easier to monitor customer feedback on their social media accounts and share positive reviews across multiple social media networks at once.

TrustPilot

TrustPilot is ideal for businesses looking for something simple to work with. Users get to leave business reviews on its website while offering both free and paid brand listings. It’s an easily-navigable site equipped with an assortment of analytic and engagement tools,

Building a credible and consistent brand reputation might not be easy, but it isn’t an impossible task to complete. Whether or not you have one, it’s never too late to start. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the efficient tools that’ll help you get started on creating your own company’s reputation.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
June 20th, 2016

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The NBA Finals may now be over but for one team, the losses keep coming. Yahoo! Sports reported that the Milwaukee Bucks fell victim to a spoofed email scam last month. Names, addresses, Social Security numbers, compensation information and dates of birth of the players were unknowingly sent to a hacker and created a massive security issue for the team. And just because your employees don’t make millions of dollars doesn’t mean hackers won't target your company. Here are four ways to protect yourself from spoofed emails.

Education is key There are countless cliches out there promoting the importance of education, but when it comes to cyber security, you might as well embrace them all. In the case of spoofed emails, you need to make sure your employees know what these are and how they can harm your company. They can come in several forms and look to attack your organization in a number of different ways. A good defense starts with trained employees using best security practices when it comes to emails. Knowledge isn’t just the key to success, it’s the building block of a comprehensive email security plan.

Check the sender The easiest way to determine a real email from a spoofed one is to view who is sending it. While your basic junk mail folder will screen the really lazy attempts at spoofing, you and your employees can’t rely on it to weed out everything. A lot of cybercriminals have gotten skilled at mimicking the look and feel of companies through professional looking graphics and signatures. For starters, you are going to want to ignore email display names as these can be deceptive. The domain name provides the best clues as to who the sender really is. For instance, if an email requesting your company’s financial documents claims to be from the IRS but the domain reads IRSgov.com, it’s a spoof email since that domain is not what the IRS uses. If you ever spot an email containing a domain you consider to be suspicious, delete it immediately. If it is from a legitimate sender, they will send you a follow up email in a couple of days.

Embrace DMARC Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) can help reduce the risk of spoofed emails being sent internally. For businesses that do not set this up, it is possible for someone to spoof an email account that looks like it is from your business or a current employee and send it from a different server. As we saw in the case with the Bucks, these can appear legitimate to employees who will then in turn do what is requested such as turn off security settings or handover sensitive data. With DMARC in place you can prevent spoofed emails from utilizing your domains by requiring any email sent by your domain to come from your server. This greatly reduces the risk of an internal spoofed email showing up in the inbox of your employees.

Utilize email protections A lot of companies believe they can get by with the simple protections that come standard with an email client. However, doing the bare minimum is rarely enough to stop spoofed emails, not to mention all of the other threats lurking in your inbox, and high-powered email and spam protection will give your organization the added layer of security it needs. Much like elite-level basketball players need the best coaching and equipment to succeed, the only way to truly reduce the risk of falling victim of a spoofed email is to educate your staff properly and then equip them with email filtering. This ensures they aren’t wasting their time constantly trying to identify legitimate emails from fake ones but are prepared when the situation presents itself.

When it comes to email security, working with us is a slam dunk. We may not have the skills of Steph Curry on the basketball court but when in the realm of IT, competitors say they want to be like us. Give us a call today to find out more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
June 16th, 2016

2016June16_Office_AOne of the skills crucial to the success of businesses today is digital literacy. This isn’t the proficiency of reading and reciting gadget labels, but according to Cornell University, "the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet." One of the first steps involves mastering Microsoft Excel. Here are seven tips that turns new users into power users in no time:

Easy as pie Charts

If you’d still like stakeholders to continue investing in your business, bombarding them with endless numbers and decimal points might not be the wisest thing to do. It might be better to compile the data into a comprehensive chart. Enter the Recommended Charts tool that offers a basic visuals that depict the latest data trends. More than one set of numbers? No problem, since you can insert multiple charts onto one sheet. After entering the data into the column headers, head to Insert > Chart > Chart Type and choose whichever one you’d like.

Conditional Formatting

This tool helps you highlight any points of interest within your dataset, for example, you are presenting the latest numbers on project efficiency - any numbers lower than 80% are highlighted in red, making it easier for everyone in the office to not only see but also understand the dataset. If red isn’t your favorite color, the formatting is fully-customizable. Select the cell, click Home > Conditional Formatting > Add and voila!

Quick Analysis

Lessen the time needed to sift through and compile numbers from small data sets while also reducing time needed to create charts. Select the data, then click on the icon in the bottom right corner and bring up the Quick Analysis menu - this comprises a variety of tools such as formatting, charts, tables, totals and Sparklines.

Autofill

After Excel picks up on the pattern within your data, Autofill fills in the other rows and columns for you. This saves you time by removing the need of having to manually enter row upon row of data. Just click and hold the lower-right column of the cell and drag the column the down.

Power View

After making yourself comfortable, allow this Microsoft Powerpoint-compatible data exploration and visualization tool to help decipher large datasets to create interactive, presentation-grade reports. With Power View, not only are you saving copious amounts of working time but also minimizing any human errors that could affect the accuracy of the report. For Excel 2013, click Insert > Report.

Pivot Tables

When it comes to data analysis, Pivot Tables might be one of the most powerful yet intimidating tools in Excel’s arsenal. Summarize large amounts of data in lists or tables without having to use a single formula. Head over to Insert > Pivot Tables and select the data range, then select the fields in the top-half of the right-hand sidebar to generate the table.

VLookUp

If you think using Excel was challenging, try working across multiple sheets and workbooks, now that’s a challenge. With the help of VLookUp, you can create reports and/or summaries by collating data from the multiple sheets. For example, sales professionals can pull information on item descriptions, prices, inventory etc. without having to endlessly wander between rows and columns. Start off by selecting the VLOOKUP formula in the formula menu, then enter the cell containing the reference number. Then enter the range of data you want to pull the data from, the column for the data point you’re looking and click either “True” or “False”.

It’s safe to say that Excel is one of the most commonly used business software on the market. And yet not everyone is able to fully utilize it. For any questions on the previously mentioned, or other features on Excel give us a call and allow us to help elevate your user status from beginner to pro.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
June 15th, 2016

2016June15_HealthcareArticles_AESPN recently reported that a laptop containing the medical records of thousands of NFL players was stolen from the car of a Washington Redskins’ trainer. And while the team released a statement saying no health information protected under HIPAA guidelines was at risk, the incident shows that EMRs are vulnerable no matter the size of your company. That’s why you need to have all medical records completely protected no matter where they are being stored.

And while the Redskins’ situation was bad, an NFL spokesperson did state that the NFL EMR system was not compromised and the league believes the thief was unable to gain access to the intercepted computer or its files. However, this does not mean the situation is resolved and the team is now in the process of informing every person who could be affected.

Not only is this embarrassing but the Redskins could also be vulnerable to civil lawsuits from players affected even if no HIPAA protected information was accessed. If this sensitive data had been breached the team would have faced a significant fine from the federal government in addition to these lawsuits.

According to Bloomberg Business News, a Massachusetts hospital was required to pay the federal government $850,000 for HIPAA violations last year after a laptop containing private health information was stolen. This event triggered a system-wide analysis which revealed several other areas of non-compliance. Not only was the hospital required to pay the fine, but it also had to invest heavily to upgrade their technology systems.

These two stories can serve as a valuable learning tool for any organization that stores documents or files that are regulated under HIPAA guidelines. For starters, it is important to understand that while email threats like phishing are very real and dangerous, the easiest way for a person to gain access to medical records is to simply take the device they are physically stored on.

That is why it is absolutely vital to have any device, be it a smartphone, a computer or tablet, password protected and encrypted should it store or transmit medical information of any sort. This, however, is simply the bare minimum and you might want to consider additional security measures such as two-factor authentication to add an extra level of protection to your devices.

Another thing to consider is storing your EMR using the cloud. When files are stored on the cloud, it means you have complete control over who is able to access these documents and where they can be accessed from. In the case of a missing laptop, once it has been reported as lost, you can immediately block it from retrieving any files and perform a remote wipe which will erase anything currently stored on it.

It is important to remember that every device, even those at companies that use the cloud for document access and storage, still need to have strong passwords and encryption in place. Also, it should be noted that transferring HIPAA-protected data to the cloud is a process that must be handled with care. There are several things which must be addressed to ensure your data is protected in line with all government regulations. Bringing in a cloud service provider who specializes in HIPAA storage can make this process a smooth one for you, your staff, and your patients.

Need help protecting your EMR? Interested in learning more about utilizing the cloud to store your documents? Contact us today. We’re experts in HIPAA-related matters and will guarantee your information remains safe and compliant.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Healthcare
June 14th, 2016

2016June14_Productivity_AThe word ‘Community’ is derived from the Latin term communitas meaning ‘things shared by many or all’, which hints at our innate desire to connect with others. With the Internet being such a powerful medium, connecting people regardless of their locations has never been easier. Imagine thousands and thousands of people that are genuinely interested in what your company does -- that level of attention would not only propel but possibly skyrocket your business to heights you didn’t think possible. But before running, we must first walk. Here are five tips for building an online community for your business:

Make sure your customers are passionate

The number one rule of online community is that it should be a place where like-minded people are genuinely interested in your brand and are able to engage, if that’s not the case, it won’t be any different from throwing a party that everyone ignored. Make sure you have brand appeal, pick up on vibes your customers are giving off and figure out what they really want. The size of your online community isn’t what’s important, customer’s annual revenue and genuine passion for your products play a much bigger role.

Loosen the reins

It’s an undeniable fact that you have put copious amounts of time and energy into building and managing your business - so you can’t help but develop an attachment to it. What business owners have to realize is that your company really belongs to your users. This is a difficult obstacle to overcome, but when you are still clinging on for dear life and discouraging open discussion, you’ve basically shot yourself in the foot. Several times.

Another rule to follow is NEVER delete a post (unless it’s spam), under no circumstances would you want to hide negative feedback. Online communities might be the reality check you’ve been looking for, so accept honest feedback with open arms.

Create a rich experience

Thriving communities are the ones that engage in numerous activities, the same can be said for online communities as well. An example to help put things in perspective is bird watching. Let's say one community only has support forums dedicated to basic subjects whereas the other community offers a feature request area that allow customers to give their thoughts on what they want to see next as well as a visual library on local species. Ensure that there’s always something for your community to do.

Invest in infrastructure

Dedicated team members and the right software are essential components required in taking on an online community - don’t pinch any pennies here. Growing the team and utilizing suitable tech resources are necessary steps that (although nerve-wracking) need to be taken. Entice customers further by tying up all the technological loose ends, make it easy-to-use and devoid of downtime.

Don’t stress over measurements

We live in a time where numbers hold immeasurable power and people expect dashboards to show trending activity constantly. It’s a fact that measuring the ROI of an online community is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There is one way of measuring your community’s value, not with a measuring tape, but by looking at the number of posts.

If you're aiming to establish higher brand credibility, corporate integrity and customer loyalty but aren’t exactly sure how to go about it, just give us a call! We’ll help you with any questions you may have about building an online community for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
June 9th, 2016

2016June9_Security_AAlthough some may have hoped that the threat of ransomware was on the decline, the reality is that it’s quite the opposite. Until now, attacks seemed to be targeted directly at its victims, but Microsoft warns that may no longer be true. With their discovery of self-propagating ransomware it’s vital to fully understand the possible risk of infection.

Ransomware, the malware that locks up infected systems and demands payment to return access to users, has been steadily increasing its infection rate over the course of this year. Enigma Software reported that, “After staying steady for the last six months of 2015, ransomware detection has begun to climb; February saw a 19 percent increase over January, while March had almost a 10 percent increase over February. Then, in April, infections more than doubled.”

And as if that wasn’t frightening enough, Microsoft announced last week that a recently detected ransomware software was found copying itself onto USB and network drives. The ransomware, titled ZCryptor, disguises itself as either an Adobe Flash installer or a Microsoft Office file to trick users into opening it.

Once opened, it displays a prompt that says “There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive D:”. If you see this after opening a suspicious file, it is most likely ZCryptor trying to distract you while it works in the background to add a registry key that buries itself deep in your system and begins to encrypt your files.

Although previous ransomware iterations like Alpha Ransomware had the ability to find and encrypt files on shared network drives, security experts believe this is the first time a ransomware variant has included self-replication via removable drives into its framework.

When it was first detected in May, Microsoft found ZCryptor singling out 88 different file types for encryption. However, later on a security expert analyzed the ransomware and found 121 targeted file types -- inferring that creators of the malware were continuing to develop its source code.

It’s commonplace for ransomware to demand payment to be made in Bitcoins as they’re an almost totally untraceable online currency. ZCryptor is no different, demanding 1.2 Bitcoins (500 USD) unless payment is more than four days after infection -- then it increases to five Bitcoins (2,700 USD).

Compared to other more complex security threats, ransomware is still relatively easy to avoid. Always verify the source of email attachments and website downloads before opening files, disable macros in Microsoft Office programs, maintain regular backups and update your security software.

Still concerned about security at your SMB? It doesn’t have to be as difficult and draining as you may think. Contact us today for advice on keeping your network protected around the clock.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
June 7th, 2016

2016June7__MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_AMicrosoft smartphones have always seemed to pale in comparison to Android and Apple devices. Perhaps one of the largest reasons why is because it entered the smartphone game too late. And the recent “strategic retreat” from the consumer market only suggests that Microsoft is far from reaching their initial goals with their mobile platform. Here are some more details on why Microsoft is backing out of the mobile phone market.

A brief history

The Windows Phone was introduced in 2010 and quite late in entering the smartphone game. After acquiring Nokia - a company facing severe losses - for $7.6 billion, Microsoft introduced Lumia handsets in the market. Since then however, Lumia handset sales fell by 49%. Additionally, over 10,000 employees were laid off and the failed smartphone venture would then be sold to Foxconn, a multinational company in Taiwan, for $350 million.

Reasons for the failure

There were many reasons why the Microsoft smartphone was not successful in the consumer market. Perhaps the biggest reason was because Microsoft entered the smartphone market too late, especially when Apple and Android devices were already starting to dominate the market. While the Windows Phone was a perfectly fine device, it lacked the “wow” factor that brands like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android captured.

Apple and Android already had a wide variety of apps and features available for users by the time Microsoft joined in. So it didn’t help that Microsoft, at the time, had limited access to popular social media apps and advanced hardware features, which is why consumers kept lining up for the latest iPhone. Furthermore, Microsoft’s phone success had only been limited by its low price point and commitment to security, which might be good for business but not for consumer use.

Additionally, the success of Apple and Google was a result of being laser focused on the mobile market, while Microsoft simply had priorities other than their smartphone venture. Overall, phones are just a very small part in Microsoft’s strategy. They are more focused in areas like developing their cloud productivity suite, the Surface Pro tablet, and getting more consumers and organizations to use Windows 10 as their operating system of choice. On the other hand, Android’s operating system was far more advanced and Apple’s constant development of their hardware made it almost impossible for Microsoft to infiltrate the smartphone market. Therefore from the beginning, Microsoft was already fighting an uphill battle.

What now?

Though Microsoft has experienced a heavy blow in their smartphone development, this doesn’t mean they are down for the count. They decided to remove their products from the consumer market and focus on enterprise only markets as their product appeals to value-oriented buyers. As for the significant losses, Microsoft is not likely to go broke any time soon.

There are also rumors going around that the success of the Surface Pro tablet might bring about a Surface Phone. And even if there won’t be one, Microsoft’s tablets performance are on par, if not better, than the iPad Pro, so the company still has chances to enter the mobility devices market. At the end of the day, the failure of Microsoft’s smartphone gives the tech company more time to focus on areas like HoloLens, Internet of Things (IoT), gaming, the cloud, and the further development of their operating system.

Do you think Microsoft will survive their smartphone blunders? If you want to learn more about the latest Microsoft trends, features, and applications, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic windows
June 6th, 2016

2016June6_AndroidPhone_AGoogle has announced another batch of features coming to your Android phone, possibly as soon as next month. Although some of the items are simple and subtle integrations and others are far more grandiose, they’re all going to drastically improve the performance of your phone. Since some people view their mobile device as something akin to an extension of their body, let’s take an in-depth look at the new things you’ll be able to do.

Split Screen

The most visible and exciting feature is Android’s new ‘split-screen’ functionality. Soon you will be able to enter your ‘overview’ mode (the button that shows all of your open apps in a rolodex style queue), click and hold on an app like YouTube and drag it to the top of your screen where it will dock. The bottom half of your screen will remain in ‘overview’ mode, allowing you to select an app to occupy the bottom half of the screen. With this update, sending an email while YouTube is open won’t cause any interruption in either of the two programs. It’s the same as having two monitors, just on a much smaller scale.

Because phone manufacturers get to layer their own components on top of Google’s core Android operating system, Samsung and LG already have a few ‘split-screen’ devices. However, by integrating this item into every Android phone regardless of manufacturer, app developers will have more incentive to optimize their product for this feature or even develop new apps designed entirely around this functionality.

Fast App Switching

Do you ever find yourself switching back and forth between two apps? Maybe you need to write an email on your phone, while using a web page as reference material. Switching between the two can really slow down the flow of your work, and Google has finally addressed this by improving the ‘overview’ interface. In addition to limiting the number of displayed programs and adding a ‘clear all’ button, Android mobile devices will get ‘fast app switching’. With this feature a simple double tap of your ‘overview’ button will switch to the last program you used. After switching to the previous app, you can double tap again to return to the original app. It’s simple, but goes a long way.

Updated Notification Window

Next up is a small change to the native notification window. At the moment, if one app has multiple notifications they all get grouped into one vague ‘card’ in your notification window. I/O announced that in the future users will be able to tap on one of those cards to expand it for more detail. Instead of just seeing that you have six emails from various users, you’ll be able to see more information and access response actions for each individual notification within apps.

Instant Apps

How many times have you installed an app that you didn’t want, but needed for a one-time use? Whether it’s to purchase tickets, gain access to a promotion or receive something from a friend who uses the app, it can be a lengthy and tedious process. With ‘Instant Apps’ Android will give you the option to temporarily load software, similar to a webpage, so you can access the service without actually downloading the unnecessary app. Google promises this will take mere seconds compared to the time it currently takes to download and install full programs before using them.

Some tech writers have cited ‘Instant Apps’ as actually faster than loading a website, with all of the security and safety of an app. Additionally, while the 3 features before this one will be released for phones with the most recent OS update, Google is making ‘Instant Apps’ available to developers for any phone running anything newer than the Jellybean OS.

In general, Android phones offer a lot more customization and developer-specific options when compared to Apple’s mobile devices. However, that can mean a lot more upkeep as well. If you’re having trouble maintaining your Android device’s peak capacity or need help managing their updates, don’t hesitate to call us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android