BlackBerry KEYone isn’t Retro

Those of you who keep trying to label the new BlackBerry KEYone

KEYone

as a retro or somehow backward device, better think twice!  It isn’t backward but it is pushing state of the art, just look at the specs here!

If you think a keyboard is backward then you haven’t even taken a look at what this keyboard does.  If you think a keyboard is slower than swipe or touch then you really have no idea how this keyboard works and why it is fast as well as more accurate.  If your communications need to be spelled correctly you will have a hard time finding a better solution.

Watch the Inro Video for the KEYone

If BlackBerry had launched the physical keyboard today, for the first time, it would easily be in demand, maybe even more than their past phones like the Bold.  To call it retro is about the same as saying every phone you buy is retro just because it has a an ear piece and microphone, and can make a call.

The KEYone is designed for business, productivity, accuracy, compatibility, and security.  With the Android OS installed there should be no question that this is an excellent device meeting most of the needs of serious business.

The Rise of BlackBerry

BlackBerry Passport
BlackBerry Passport

Everyone likes products with the letter “Z” in the title, even BlackBerry smart phones. Z30, Z10, Z3, and there was a Z20 but it has been renamed BlackBerry Classic. Will phones with a “Z” cause BlackBerry to rise or will BlackBerry just continue to see consumers go “zzzzz….”? So far it looks like good management decisions will make a big difference for this company in the near future. Take a look at their devices Here.

BlackBerry still has a large user base, still has a very good product line, and is still a preferred handheld for many outside the United States for reasons which should be more valuable to us. In other countries security seems to be important but in the U.S. it tends be overlooked for features and entertainment. The difference in America vs. the world is interesting, and blinding to the consumer base which has dumped BlackBerry for the likes of iPhone and Samsung. In the process consumers have also dumped productivity.

A BlackBerry is still much more productive than either the iPhone or the Android devices; oh yes, and the Windows phones which are easily overlooked. Of course, if you consider watching a video on YouTube to be a productive use of your time you may not understand why a BlackBerry is more productive and if you rarely communicate business ideas, sales ideas, and social leadership ideas, you may not need a smart phone at all.

So, how will BlackBerry rise from here? There are a variety of reasons why BlackBerry should be able to rise, reclaim market-share, and capture its old position in business. This is not to say they will reach their past dominance but will likely gain their share of the modern market.

Understanding their past success is key; remember when anyone who was serious about business carried, or at least kept one of these devices on their desk? It was amazing when representatives from different corporations could send documents on the fly, respond to email in minutes, and maintain a complex schedule, all outside of the office while traveling. At some point this hard-working, fast-paced environment will make a strong comeback and the productivity of the device will make a difference. Ever used an older, slower computer and become frustrated just trying to keep up and get your work finished on time? How about incompatible software? Many of my friends who have iPhones seem to struggle to keep up, Android and Windows can slow productivity in ways too.

New software development is something which BlackBerry needs to emphasize like they used to. In the past you could count on deep software development in these devices. The keyboard shortcuts, menus, and access to communication features were amazing. The latest Z devices have dropped some of the deep design features in order to create more of a consumer level device. This seems to be changing with the new Passport and Classic being launched soon under the new leadership of John Chen.  Once again, BlackBerry products are being designed for business and productivity rather than consumer entertainment. This should be a major step forward since neither Apple nor Samsung try to make their products relevant to business. Blackberry has been known and well respected for creating devices which are key to business productivity. By following this path BlackBerry can fill the void in a segment which has been sucked dry by consumer level products and offerings which have damaged business productivity. As an example of the new trend, LinkedIn seems to have updated their applications for future use on the Passport and Classic. These types of partnerships will help drive upgrades from current customers as well as bring back some who gave up and left for other brands.

There is no doubt the BlackBerry Operating system is very fast, has many great qualities, and has room to grow with application development. It is designed for robust security, a more seamless application and software deployment, division of personal and business data, and advanced control. In the long run, if applied correctly, this operating system has strong legs to run with and gain market share.

Many Android apps are now supported or can be side-loaded to the BlackBerry 10 devices. The old problem of not having enough apps to play with is really in the past now. App happy people may be missing out anyway since regardless of which brand of phone you use, most apps are useless and many web sites can easily out-perform their app versions. I tend to save space by not using apps while saving important web site addresses to my phone’s browser. The new Z3 phone launched in Indonesia is designed with the Android app store installed and offering 200,000 apps.

A small duplication of iPhone sales, the keeping up with the Jones’ buyer, is another way BlackBerry will gain some revenue. Most fans will want a new Passport or Classic with the latest features and larger size screens. In the U.S. the Passport has the ability to gain ‘Status Symbol’ sales. The unique square screen and full QWERTY keyboard are obvious, and they imply productivity and seriousness for business.

Ultimately, a trusted business name can win and BlackBerry already has this. Now they just need enhanced software, newer business solutions,  continued security, business customizations, and more good devices. They seem to be on their way up, and I for one hope they do well. I prefer to use a business device rather than a consumer entertainment device.

Following the Whatsapp Piper

Pied PiperIt will be interesting to see how many startups change direction and try to follow the tune of Whatsapp’s moneyless trail to the pot at the end of the rainbow.  It can be easy to say to yourself, “hey, I can give away my service for a year too” and then watch all your opportunity evaporate before you can charge the first 99 cents.

Most technology innovations are out-paced, out-classed, and ou- performed so quickly that the only opportunity to make any money may be the first 99 cents charged the day you launch the business.

I would caution that for every free business that becomes successful, somehow, there seem to be more which reach at least short term success (3-5 years) by charging a fair price for providing a good service or product.  If you can’t make the first 99 cents then maybe it just isn’t worth the time risk to see if you will make the last 99 cents either, for many reasons.

Kindle Fire HD Review for Business Use

tabletThis review focuses on the productivity merits of using a Kindle Fire HD for business use.

People who work in creative job capacities and need the flexibility to move from one important subject to another, design, draw, write, or otherwise compute data and information in a dynamic marketplace, will have to consider the Kindle Fire HD as a last resort and cheap entry into the world of business productivity.

Yes, the Kindle Fire HD (referred to as the Kindle for the remainder of this review) is light years ahead of devices we may have carried only a few years ago, but when it comes to real work productivity my ancient Sharp Zaurus can actually outperform it in some key ways.

A quick list of shortfalls in the Kindle:

  • No multitasking capability  (What a huge surprise!)
  • Slow to load apps
  • The touch screen works poorly with a stylus
  • It adds weight to your laptop bag that you would rarely use
  • Apps are limited to those which best support Amazon, not your productivity
  • No Firefox or Chrome.  If you use favorites, tabs, and synch this is a big shortfall!
  • Not all apps display information in a meaningful way, and some are just odd
  • No camera or microphone, although the upgraded version does have these
  • No SD slot

Okay, yes, these things cannot all be expected on an entry level consumer oriented device designed for shopping and media.  Don’t purchase this device thinking it is designed for business either.

You would do much better with the next model up but if you really want to be productive, forget the entertainment device and get the real Kindle Reader instead.  It’s easier on the eyes, cheaper, includes 3G at no extra cost and you will likely read much faster and easier.

If you want a truly productive tablet with all the jazz, get something like the Blackberry Playbook which is nearly as powerful as a laptop and not nearly as limited as the Kindle.

2014 Focus on Business Analytics

Business AnalyticsOne of the most important features of a well-run business is database analytics.  In any business, of any size, knowledge of your client/customer sales, activities, inquiries, and marketing information (their responses back to you) can be one of the most important determinants of the success and expansion of your business.  If you don’t know what’s going on, you don’t know what to do next and may be depending on luck to grow your business.  The more random your client/customer base is, the more important this becomes.

Do you have a customer/client database?  To be sure, it is more than a list of names, addresses and phone numbers.  A real database includes a form which can be filled out for each client/customer.  The form completed as much as possible for each one, depending on how often you deal with each, how much information your customers supply, and how good you are at obtaining the information.  If your business already operates online, then you should know you have no excuses for not acquiring the data.  If you meet them in person or they come and go through a store front it may be a bit less convenient to get the information.  You can also purchase or data-mine information from the web.  The point is to get as much data as possible and collect it in a powerful database.

Why is it valuable?  Because once you have the data you can crunch it in an endless number of ways, mathematically, by date, by frequency, by items in your inventory, and almost anything you can think of.  This data is very important because when you study it you will come up with new ideas for sales, marketing, and services.  The activities of your clients/customers and your business (including staff/employees) will uncover much about your business.  You may find ways to streamline your operations, then review new activities and expand or change further.  If you have a record of requests from your employees and customers you can respond by making changes based on the frequency.  Most successful online businesses already use this data to push ads and inventory.

Even if you only own a lawn service, keeping track of requests for service will help you know when advertising may be more effective.  In a medical practice it is often known what time of year certain ailments or issues tend to show up like flu season.  Because of the complexities of a family practice, which has more variance than a specialty, the data becomes more important for business planning.  But you will need someone to design, develop the analytics to make the data valuable.

If you are successful in developing good data analytics your business may increase tremendously in value.  When selling a practice or business, this data can shed light on the real potential in developing the business under new ownership.

A list of steps to increase the value of your business with data analytics:

  • You must have a good computer, modern, latest operating systems for security
  • If you don’t have it yet, you need a web site and top web service platforms like Yahoo!, Google, Bing, WordPress, and more.
  • You need a data collection system.  Most of the web platforms above already have tools built in.  You just need to make use of them.
  • To make use of the tools above you need a good web design and analytics person who knows the ins and outs of web development, marketing, and data collection.  It is worth the money!
  • Once you have the data collected it will need to be processed.  A good database is a requirement.
  • You should review data, collection, and analytics as well as business opportunities at least once a quarter.

 

It will all grow from here.  There is a learning curve but you just need to trust that understanding the activities of your business, clients/customers/patients will help you come up with better services, products, and procedures for business success.

Yahoo! Falling to Ashes

Yahoo! may finally be heading to the pile of ashes, but we don’tInternet know for sure if they will become a Phoenix.  I’ve been using Yahoo and their services for many years.  Once the leader of the online world, only to be dramatically overshadowed by Google which is willing to take a risk on new projects.  Yahoo gets on my nerves these days for many reasons:

  1. The news content is garbage!  Must be the worst news feed in the world.
  2. User content is often too disgusting for children.
  3. Spam in the can!  I can’t believe how much spam I get.  Most people know that Yahoo seems like the spam magnet of the world.
  4. Yahoo email is the only place I get virus attacks from email these days.
  5. Web hosting service is good but behind the times for the price.
  6. No good web design tool.  They used to have a good one but failed to add CSS.
  7. Yahoo sports is okay, and Finance is really good, but that’s about all I can use them for.
  8. They killed their social platform and are now trying to bring it back in bits and pieces.
  9. Add up Google, Microsoft, WordPress, Bloomberg, and Twitter and they do pretty much everything Yahoo does and much more as a group, but better.
  10. Oh, yes, the news isn’t just bad, the headlines are often misleading which is very aggravating.
  11. The new CEO is a social butterfly who may not know what she’s doing.

Of course the new CEO could turn out okay.  The last few were… probably still jobless.  If Yahoo can regain some old glory I would be grateful to see it! If I stop using Yahoo, then where will I take my web sites and services?  I have several ideas but it isn’t as easy as it sounds.  I’m used to having one location for web design, email, and server utilities.  Google is my current choice for email and HostGator looks like a winner for web services and hosting.  The good thing about splitting up the service is that if one goes down the others should still be running, rather than an entire crash. If Yahoo truly loved, honored, and cherished my business, quality of service and support, would I ever leave them?  No. If I change, I’ll let you know.

Roku – Best Gadget Today

Get a RokuProbably the best simple gadget to buy right now is the Roku.  It’s great for streaming movies and more from multiple providers including Amazon, Hulu, Pandora, and Netflix.  Can you say “Free Movies”?  If you don’t want a BlueRay with built in streaming, or a new TV, or a game console, then this may be the gadget to get you into the new century.  If you have Wi-Fi for your computer (still a matter of joining this century) then you should be ready to go.  Oh, and the streaming providers have movies on demand and premium streaming.  If you have Netflix just add the Roku so you don’t have to wait for a DVD, you can watch an instant viewing movie while you wait… and much more!

Kindle Fire, for Business

Kindle FireWhat’s the number one reason to buy a Kindle Fire?  The ability to carry your entire library of books, of any kind, with you anywhere you go.  What’s the number one business reason to own and carry the Kindle Fire?  The ability to give presentations in a coffee shop, at lunch, in a customer’s office, or off-the-cuff nearly anywhere. Inexpensive at only $199! (click here to order)

PDF capability and more, just look at this list: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.

If you love your cell phone then you’ve gotta love the added capability a simple Kindle Fire can add for this price.   Why tie up your phone when you can free it up, and with a better screen?

Don’t forget, you can watch movies, TV and more using Netflix, HULU, Pandora… in addition to holding up to 8,000 books, lots of MP3, and so much more.

Back to presentations.  If you are in sales, marketing, management, or any other business position which requires high quality presentations on the go, get a Kindle and make it even easier.  It is small but just the right size for a more personal presentation between two or in a small group.  It actually fits on the table during a business lunch!  The screen is brilliant.  If you spend time creating presentations or showing brochures, just port them all to the Kindle or email them to yourself in PDF format.  You’ll be able to carry your entire library with you or in your cloud space.

Kindle vs Laptop.  The issues I have with using a laptop for presentations are related to time.  The time it takes to get it out of the case, set it up, boot it up, and then load the presentations.  Even if I have shortcuts it still seems to take longer than I would like.  Then I have the time issue of battery life and plugging in the laptop if it runs low.  The Kindle is more like a cell phone.  It’s ready to go instantly, loads quickly, and has at least 7 hours of use before it needs to be plugged back in; it can easily make it through a work day without a hassle.  In addition, it’s light, small, and easy to carry.  A good ultra-light laptop can easily cost $1,000 but the Kindle is still only $199 to do most of what you want to do.

It has games and more too, and I watched my sister’s kids become fully engaged and entertained.  (Me too)

It’s a true bargain!  Order one here: http://ecspex.com/kindle_store.html

Watch for Virus Style STARTNOW Toolbar Hack

I run Nortan 360 and several other security software programs, a strong firewall, and more to keep my system clean and running.  Even with a double firewall and some computer skills I couldn’t keep this irritating thing called “STARTNOW” from somehow loading into my Internet Explorer toolbar manager as well as Firefox!  I’m truly amazed it got in.  If it isn’t a hack, it sure acts like one.

Remove it like you would any toolbar but first you must go to your windows programs manager and remove the program called STARTNOW.  Once you run the uninstaller you can go into Internet Explorer and delete the toolbar.  If you don’t uninstall the program first you won’t be able to access a lot of the safety and management tools in the IE Tools dropdown.  It is less invasive in Firefox, just disable and remove the toolbar.

I hope someone goes after whoever did this.  They make appear as if it is part of Bing.  Maybe it’s a big hoax from MS.  Who knows?  Just get this garbage off the internet, please.

Ubuntu Wine Yahoo Sitebuilder

For Ubuntu Linux users.  Yahoo Sitebuilder with the latest version of Wine and the latest version of Java Runtime starts in Ubuntu 11.04.  Install the expanded version of Wine (Beta Release) from the Ubuntu Software Download Center.  Next download the latest Windows version of Java Runtime and install it using Wine.  Finally download and install Yahoo Sitebuilder 2.6 also using Wine and run it.  Be patient.  Most screen issue clear up quickly and it seems to work best if you maximize the window and don’t do anything but Sitebuilder until you finish working with your site.  There may be a few tweaks in Wine that could help.