Blog

July 18th, 2014

iPad_July14_CWith the adoption of social media platforms like Facebook and mobile devices like the iPad, we have seen the way we communicate change drastically in a few short years. Facebook realized this a while ago and introduced a stand-alone messenger app. The only thing is: the app was only optimized for the iPhone, until now that is.

Facebook Messenger on the iPad

Over the past few months, Facebook has been set on separating the two main functions of their platform - at least for mobile users. What this had led to is two separate Facebook apps, with the main Facebook app being just for social media functions, and a stand-alone app for its popular messenger service.

Up until now, there has been one version of the Facebook Messenger app for iOS, and it was optimized to smaller iPhone screens, meaning if you used it on iPad, it looked a little weird. In early July 2014, Facebook set about fixing this by releasing a new update to the app, which brought full support for the iPad's bigger screen.

When you download this app onto your iPad, you will have the same functionality as the other versions, including the ability to call people, send group chats, share photos, and best of all message people.

Where to get the app

It may seem a bit odd to have a separate app just for messaging on Facebook, but it can be useful for businesses who use this form of communication. Essentially, the app makes it easier to use just the messaging features without having to deal with the full social media aspect of the platform.

If this sounds like a useful app, you can download it from the iTunes Store for free.

Using the app

If you have not used the app before, it may take a bit of time to get used to it and to set it up. When you first download and open the app you should be asked to log in using your Facebook account. You should then see your contacts pop up with recent messages at the top.

Tapping on a chat will open the window with your message history and standard messaging abilities. You can scroll through your different chats on the left and view these by tapping on them.

At the bottom of the main chat history window you should see a number of buttons:

  • Recent - The default view, showing recent chats or messages in chronological order with the newest being at the top.
  • Group - Shows only your Group chats, again with the most recent messages at the top.
  • People - Brings up your contacts so you can start new messages. Simply search for a contact and tap on their name to start chatting.
  • Settings - Opens the Settings panel, allowing you to change various features including the alerts that are shown when you have a new message.
One potentially useful feature the app offers is the ability to call people directly from the chat window. If you open a chat, you should see a phone icon at the top-right of the screen. Tapping this will allow you to call the person you are chatting with, and if they also have the Messenger app installed, the call will be free. If the other person doesn't have the app installed then you will get a message saying that carrier rates may apply.

Looking to learn more about using Facebook on the iPad? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic iPad
July 16th, 2014

Office365_July14_CEarlier this year, Microsoft announced an enhanced document collaboration experience with the Outlook Web App for Office 365 users. With collaboration becoming a vital aspect in most businesses, it’s for a comprehensive view of the added features of Outlook Web App that help simplify your email tasks and boost collaboration.

Side-by-side view of documents and email

When your colleague sends you a document to review, you’ll see the document attached in an email in your Inbox. When you open the attachment, you can now see the contents of that document within the email itself. No more flipping back and forth between windows to get the information you need.

Files supported for viewing in this new feature include Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint files, most types of image files and PDF files. You can perform all of the standard messaging actions right from within this unified view making it easy to review information in the email alongside the attachment itself.

Easy document editing and reply

What do you do when you want to edit the attachment in your email? You download the attachment, make your changes, re-attach the file and send your reply. Now you can say goodbye to all that hassle. With the new side-by-side view, all you have to do is simply click Edit a Copy right above the attachment and message.

When you do this, a draft reply-all message is created for you to store this new edited version of the attachment. Then, a new editable copy of the attachment you received is created and renamed with your name at the end of the filename. This way you can differentiate the new copy of the file from the original one. The new copy of the attachment is live, meaning any changes made are automatically saved. Once you're done editing, simply type a response in the email and click Send. Types of files supported for editing include Word, Excel and PowerPoint files created in Microsoft Office 2007 and above.

Additional enhancements

In addition to the side-by-side view and edit-and-reply enhancements, the attachment user interface has also been updated. Now when you attach files, the overview is bigger and better looking. You can also now download multiple attachments at once in the form of a single zip file, making life a tad easier.

While Outlook Web App's added features might not be a total game changer, you can be sure that the next time you’re looking to collaborate, you’re able to do so faster and easier. Want to learn more about Office 365 and its apps? Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 12th, 2014

Hardware_July07_CNow that we’ve looked into the differences between Mac and PC in terms of operating system, software and specifications, let's continue to dig deeper in determining the differences between the two rivals. It is vital that you look into all aspects before deciding which one you want to go for since you’ll likely be using it for many years. This includes models, availability, security, customer satisfaction, and of course price.

Models

Apple offers five computer lines comprising of the Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro. This limited selection is not a sign of weakness but a part of the company’s 'less is more' approach to marketing.

PCs have a larger variety to choose from, with industry giants such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, who offer numerous configurations of both desktop and laptop models. This can be beneficial in helping you find a specific computer that meets your needs.

Availability

When it comes to third party retail stores, Apple is more selective than PC manufacturers about where it sell its products. As of April 2014, Apple has 424 retail stores in 16 countries and an online store available in 39 countries. However, Macs are still not available at many stores that sell PCs.

PCs are the most numerous and popular computers out there, and can be found at every store that sells computers, except for Apple stores. This makes it easier to find PCs, especially if you don't live near an Apple store.

Security

With the vast majority of computers running on Windows, most attacks focus on PCs. Malware like Trojans, which trick users into installing the software by pretending to be a useful program, or botnets, are common to PCs, but rarely harm Macs.

This doesn’t mean that Macs are 100% secure. As Macs become more popular, threats are increasing. Nonetheless, a Mac user is still less likely to be a victim of successful attack than a PC user.

Customer satisfaction

Recent surveys conducted by PCWorld and PCMag revealed that personal users choose Mac over every single brand of PC available. Businesses on the other hand still prefer to stick with PCs.

While Apple does score high on many surveys, especially because of the value placed on face-to-face service, there are a number of PC manufacturers that offer a comparable service. Also, there are more smaller repair shops that offer unrivalled customer service.

Price

One of the most cited differences between a Mac and a PC is price. Generally speaking, Macs are more expensive than PCs due to their preference of building products around higher-end computers with more costly components. The cheapest Mac computer is the Macbook Air which starts from USD$899, while various models of PCs can be found at a much lower price.

Mac and PC both have strong and weak points. It’s best to try both and see which is the better tool for you and which will cover your business needs. If you are looking for a new system, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Hardware
July 3rd, 2014

Windows_June30_CWhile computers and laptops are useful tools in helping you get your work done, waiting for them to boot-up or having to rush and save your work before your battery runs out can be a pain. If this sounds familiar then you might want to familiarize yourself with the hibernate mode on Windows 8, and learn how you can benefit from this handy operating system (OS) power function.

What is Hibernation mode?

Hibernation allows you to power down your computer while retaining its current operating state e.g., leaving programs open. In other words, with hibernation, your computer saves the contents of its Random Access Memory (RAM) to your hard disk or other non-volatile storage, so that when you want to resume your work you can start where you last left off. Available on every Windows OS, hibernation can usually be set in your power settings manually or even automatically so that it activates when your laptop's battery is low.

How to enable hibernation on your laptop or computer running Windows 8:

  1. In your system tray, click the battery icon and select More power options from the panel that pops up.
  2. In the Power Options window, select either Choose what closing lid does or Choose what the power button does from the left panel.
  3. In the power options window, click on the blue text that says Change settings that are currently unavailable.
  4. At the bottom of the window, a new set of options will become available. Check the box next to Hibernate and click Save changes. Voila, the hibernate feature will now show up in the power options window that is displayed when you press the power button on your computer or laptop.
This feature allows you to resume work from where you left off within seconds, since you don’t have to boot up your computer nor re-open programs you were using. Not only that, but hibernation saves more battery power than sleep mode and uses no power while hibernated, a feature most laptops can really benefit from.

Hibernation is also useful if hardware maintenance has to be performed which requires powering down the hardware. For servers which need to be started up as quickly as possible after maintenance, hibernating and getting going again can be much quicker than shutting down and restarting the server applications.

Despite the benefits of hibernation, it is important to note that your computer does need to be shut down every once in a while to avoid performance degradation. Moreover, you should avoid hibernating your computer when you know you won’t be using it for a long period of time.

Hibernation mode can help boost productivity, decrease boot-up time, as well as help save your computer’s battery time. Interested in learning more about Windows 8/8.1 and its features? Contact us today for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 4th, 2014

Office365_June02_CReports to be finalized hold you captive in your office; business meetings keep you in the conference room all day; and the ritual of exchanging ideas with your business partners keeps you locked up in your workplace. Break free and boost productivity outside of your office with Microsoft Lync, a messaging tool that allows you to escape your office and still perform all your duties just as effectively.

Get immediate response with instant messaging

Sending emails is a fast and standard way to communicate in business. However, there are times when you have to convey or get hold of some important information in the soonest time possible. Stashing your message in a pile of emails might not cut it and this is when you can switch to Lync’s instant messaging feature. Your message will be sent immediately, with a pop-up also appearing on the recipient's device to flag the message so you know it will most likely have been seen. It’s fast, efficient, and by cutting to the chase, a real time saver.

Hold meetings with HD video conferencing

Reporting can be done with ease through Lync’s HD video conferencing capabilities. This enables you to gather your associates from anywhere in the world, whether to present specific data or deliberate a decision. Not only does this allow communication with several people at the same time but also transmits clear videos to the other end of the line with its 1080p HD quality.

Brainstorm with your team through application sharing

Online meetings sometimes prohibit the sharing of files. With Lync’s application-sharing capabilities, you can easily exchange ideas with your team. You can share PowerPoint presentations, documents, images, Web pages or your desktop with your team to stimulate conversation based on your input and what you have to report. Lync supports all animations and features of Microsoft PowerPoint, letting you create an engaging presentation without the restriction of your location. If you choose to share your desktop instead, you can select which part of your screen you’d like to show your clients, eliminating the unimportant clutter flashed on your monitors. You can also share a virtual whiteboard that allows you to collaborate with your team as if you were stood in the same room. Online communication has become today’s trend for conducting business meetings. However, the choice of which application to use to accomplish tasks requires knowledge of the key features of specific programs. Through Lync’s online communication system, companies have minimized expenses allotted for reserving third-party conference areas, business trips, and in purchasing expensive communication systems. Lync supports Windows, iOS and Android systems. What could it support, enhance, and boost in your business?
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 24th, 2014

iPad_May19_CSafari is the default browser on all Apple systems. Many business users who have iPads tend to stick with this browser, largely because it offers all of the same plus points as other browsers and tends to work well on the Apple system. Safari has some great features but some, such as the Favorites Bar can remain hidden unless you activate them. The benefit of this is that this will allow you to do more with your browser.

While loading pages using Safari may happen in a blink of an eye, typing and retyping url addresses can be a hassle. Safari’s bookmarking toolbar, known as Favorites Bar, is one way to save your favorite Web addresses for future browsing. However, this is often hidden with the default setting.

By enabling the Favorites Bar on your device, you can create a handy tool to hold all your saved Web pages for future reference. You can access these files in a single click and make browsing frequently visited sites quicker and easier. Here are some steps and guidelines to assist you in using iPad’s Favorites Bar.

Show the Favorites Bar in your browser

To show your favorite pages on your Web browser, go to your device’s Settings menu and look for Safari. You’ll then see a number of options at the right side of your display. In the General Options, tap the Show Favorites Bar so that the switch turns green, indicating its activation.

Once this is enabled, you can then head back to Safari and browse as you save and edit the most important pages on your browser. These pages will be lined up below your address bar for easy access.

Add a bookmark

Add a page to your list of favorites by clicking the Share button at the left side of the address bar for that page. The dialog box will show several options, so tap Bookmark and input specific details before you hit Save.

Edit and delete saved pages

Your saved sites might be good for a long time to come or just in the short-term. When a site becomes redundant or you want to demote it, you can delete this from your bookmarks folder or place it at the bottom of your list, below more important and more frequently used sites.

To be able to do this, go to the Bookmarks button at the right of your address bar and tap on Favorites from the dropdown list. The sites you have saved will be shown. Tap Edit at the bottom right of the dialog box. You will then see a circular red button at the left side of your list while on the right side will be an arrow and a set of multiple horizontal lines at the far right.

You can delete the pages by tapping the red minus button at the left side or rearrange them by pressing the horizontal lines and dragging the pages where you prefer them to be. Tap the arrow to edit site information such as title, link, and location.

The Safari Favorites Bar can help you navigate and get to your most visited sites more easily and efficiently and being so easy to set up there really is no reason not to utilize this feature. For businesses, getting quickly to sites that are used all the time increases productivity and efficiency.

If you are looking to learn more about the iPad and how you can use it in your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic iPad
May 21st, 2014

Office_May19_CThe word processor is one of the integral pieces of software at a business's disposal. While there are more than a few options available to users, the most useful has to be Microsoft Word. With a variety of useful features, users can create almost any style of document. Many of us use Word on a daily basis, yet we still find new features to make our jobs easier. One such example is the Spike.

What is the Spike?

If you have worked in the restaurant industry, or worked in offices that use older systems you are likely familiar with what a spike is.. It is literally a spike that is used to hold paper that you have finished with but want to keep hold of, perhaps to collate or check through later. Think of chefs spiking orders once the food's left the kitchen or a secretary spiking an invoice that's been paid.

Much like this physical tool, the Spike in Word allows users to essentially hold different items together until they need to be used. This feature is similar to the standard 'copy'' that we are all used to. The main difference is that the Spike can store information and content from different sources of your document, not just the last part you copied.

Say for example you have a 10-page sales report and want to create an executive summary. Instead of copying and pasting the main points from each section one at a time, you can copy each section to the Spike and then paste all of them at once.

How this feature works

You can add content to the Spike by simply highlighting it and pressing Ctrl + F3. This will cut the text you have highlighted and place it onto the Spike. From there, go and select the other content you would like to use.

Once you have all of the content spiked, you can paste it by:

  1. Clicking the mouse cursor where you would like to place the content. You can do this in your existing document or in a new document.
  2. Pressing Ctrl + Shift + F3.
This will take all of the content you have cut to the Spike and paste it into the document, and erase all of the content saved in the Spike. If you want to keep the content stored in the Spike and still paste it, you can do so by:
  1. Clicking the mouse cursor where you would like to place the content. You can do this in your existing document, a new document or another open document.
  2. Typing spike.
  3. Hitting F3.
This will put the content into your document while keeping a copy of it in the Spike. Be warned however, when using the Spike, your content will be cut from the source document. If you are staying within the same document, we recommend that you copy the content you would like to post into a new document and paste it there. Then, Spike it from there.

Viewing what you have spiked

If you forget what you have spiked, you can view what is stored there by:
  1. Clicking on the Insert tab.
  2. Clicking Quick Parts.
  3. Selecting AutoText from the drop down menu.
  4. Clicking on Spike.
As long as you don't click Insert or anything else, you should be able to see the content.

If you are looking to learn more about using Word or any other Office program, talk to us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 2nd, 2014

iPhone_Apr28_CEvery time Apple releases the latest iPhone, there is always a buzz of excitement, and anticipation with many people looking to upgrade. This means that almost overnight, there is a glut of older models on the market to be sold, or simply to sit in drawers unused and gathering dust. So if you are one of these "early-adopters" here are some tips about what to do with your old smartphone.

Travel Phone: Escape roaming fees

If your work requires you to constantly travel out of the country, have your old iPhone unlocked to avoid paying roaming charges. Unlocked iPhones can easily be connected to a local network service, but you automatically lose the warranty. Well, this should not be a huge concern since your timeworn gadget will most likely be disposed of one way or another so it may as well save you money and let you keep in touch overseas. International roaming services can be amazingly expensive. Your old iPhone can help you save hundreds of dollars if unlocked and save you more than you'd make on a sale.

Multimedia Player: Music streaming and photography

Versatility is an intrinsic character of every iPhone. Its multimedia capabilities are stunning. And what's more, it can be used without a SIM card. If you don’t need a spare phone, you can use it for music streaming and creating playlists just like an iPod or for taking snaps of people and places.

If you don’t have enough cash to purchase a DSLR, your old iPhone can do wonders for you. The improved lens and displays of iPhone 4s, 5, 5c and 5s put the tools of a great photographer in your pocket. And there are numerous apps that can help you take pro shots using just your iPhone.

Sell: Make money out of it

Perhaps, this is the most common way to repurpose your old iPhone. Make easy money by selling it to someone you know or via online auction sites such as eBay or Amazon. There is a good market for this, especially if it is in good working condition and priced fairly.

When pricing, you may want to study the market place to find out what old phones are changing hands for. Evaluate the condition of your phone – memory, warranty, performance, etc. This will give you a better perspective on the minimum rate you would accept in exchange for your old iPhone.

Trade: Get something out of it

Check for trade promotions available online. You may find items that you want in exchange for your old iPhone. There are sites that offer gift cards or credit points that you can use to purchase a range of items that could be of more use than your spare phone.

Give: As a gift or donation

If the above-mentioned repurposing methods do not appeal to you, maybe it’s time that you make someone happy and gift your old iPhone. Perhaps a less tech-savvy officemate who's not upgraded for years, or a friend who has recently lost his or her mobile phone – that happens to all of us at some time or another after all. Another good idea is to hand it on to a local charity or business where it can do more good than sitting unused at home.

Of course, you can only give away your phone if it is in a good working condition. If the phone has reached the end of its useful life, then it may be better to get it recycled. After all, it's full of precious metals and chips that can be reused.

Participate in recycling programs

It’s always a good idea to participate in recycling programs. Instead of throwing your scratched and damaged iPhone, find a center that recycles old phones (or parts of them). They'll have better ideas about how to dispose or salvage the gadget. If you are lucky, you might even get a little extra cash out of it.

Your old iPhones deserve more than just being a space taker in an unused drawer. So put it to good use and see if the options above are something you might want to consider.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic iPhone
April 25th, 2014

iPad_April22_CWith the release of newer IOS versions, more features are also being made available to users. One of them is multitasking. The first versions of IOS did not have this. On these early versions, only one app could be used at a time. It was only with the release of IOS 4, that the feature was first introduced. It lets users open a new app without closing the other one. When an app is actively in use, the other opened apps run in the background and are readily available for quick access.

The benefits of multitasking

Users of supported iOS devices will benefit greatly from the new multitasking feature. If you’re using one of these devices, here are some of the advantages.
  • Quick switching to other apps – when you open another application, the previous applications do not close unless you do it manually. Instead, they stay in the background ready for a quick launch. There’s no need to keep opening and closing various apps as multiple apps can be opened at once.
  • Continue from where you left off – the current application that you’re using is the active app. Applications running in the background on the other hand stay how you left them, so you can continue with what you’re doing when you access them again. Some apps would still be active even while running in the background like the music player that lets you use another app while songs are being played.
  • Keep all apps updated – the multitasking feature is smarter in the latest iOS release. It determines which apps you often use and make them automatically available in the background with all the latest updates, when you need to use them.

How to use the multitasking feature

Multitasking is a feature that’s automatically enabled on all supported iOS devices. Open the apps that you need to use and the inactive apps will run in the background. If you wish to switch from one app to another, here’s how you do it.
  1. Double tap the physical home button on your iOS device.
  2. A preview of the running apps in the background and their icons will be shown. You can see three apps at a time. If you have several apps running, swipe left or right to view more.
  3. Tap on the preview of the app you wish to access. You may also tap on its icon, which will also bring up the application you selected.
The preview feature was only introduced in iOS 7. If you’re running an older OS, you would only see the icons at the bottom of the screen and not the preview.

How to kill apps that are running in the background

You may want to kill running apps running in the background for various reasons like saving battery life or due to app crash. There are two ways on how to kill apps. The old method is to press an app’s icon until the screen wiggles. A red icon on top of the app will then appear. Tapping on the icon will close the app. But if you are using iOS 7 and you have the preview, swiping it up will kill the application.

Since these apps are taking up some of your battery life, there’s no point in keeping them running unless you are flicking back to them and using them.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic iPad
April 9th, 2014

Office365_Apr07_CThe latest version of Microsoft OneNote was released in 2013 and is now available for download for free. This cross-platform application lets you create notes online and access them on any device where OneNote is installed. It also allows sharing and collaboration with other users, making it easier to work on a continuing project and keep up to date. You can save what you like on your notes, including images, tables, and more.

If you are looking for a powerful note program, OneNote has some great features.

Access and edit notes anywhere

Windows PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone all support OneNote. Install the appropriate version and you can access your notebooks from any of these devices. Previous versions require that you manually sync your notebooks to make them accessible on all devices. However, with the latest version this is no longer required as your notes are automatically synced on your OneDrive. This means you can view and edit them anywhere where you have an Internet connection.

You can access notes on your mobile device that you originally created on your computer. If you have access to a computer that does not have OneNote installed you can easily find the application on the Web. If you go to OneNote’s page on the Web you can log in to the account linked with your installed versions of OneNote and use as you normally would.

Organize data in notebooks

OneNote is a great tool for organizing different data and files. You can create various notebooks that contain information on specific subjects. For instance, you could create a notebook for personal use, a notebook containing client information, etc. Each of these notebooks can then contain various sections with color coded tabs, making it easy to organize files.

This feature is helpful, especially if you are working with a large volume of data. Searching for specific information or data is also straightforward with a convenient search function. You can simply type your keyword in the search field and wait for the result. Click on your chosen result and you will be taken to that particular note.

Third party integration

The latest version of OneNote also has a new cloud API that allows third party applications to be used. This allows users to enjoy more features, as they are not just confined to the features that are native to OneNote. One of the apps that you can use is OneNote Clipper. Install this on your browser and use it to automatically save clippings from the Web in just one click.

Work on important tables

Tables are often used for creating databases or for comparing and listing data. Creating tables in OneNote 2013 is more convenient as it now allows you sort data within a table, designate header rows, as well as change the color of the cells. You can also insert an Excel spreadsheet into your notes.

Write handwritten notes

If you are using a touch capable device you can write notes or draw using a stylus or your fingers. This is especially helpful for jotting down quick notes or reminders about what to insert on a page. Circling or underlining a word or group of words is quick and easy to do.

Organized data and files are easy to access, which is vital when you need this information at your fingertips. OneNote keeps data in order so you can easily find what you need when you need it.

Find out how OneNote and other tech innovations and updates can support your business productivity. Get in touch today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.