November 23rd, 2015

People want to read your blog. You may not think it’s true, but the fact of the matter is that someone somewhere is looking for information on a subject you know inside and out. Of course, this information has to be presented in way that is engaging and unique to stand out and catch people's attention as perhaps incorporate key search terms. But with a little work your blog can become an asset for your company. Here are a few tips to make it happen.

We’re not here to judge. However, if any one of these scenarios resembles the current state of your blog, it might be time to do something about it. We know you’re busy and that the last thing you want to do is write about your business but, with content that is carefully crafted and curated, your company will have an unique asset that can help lead your marketing, by establishing you as an expert in your field, and promote sales efforts by driving people to your website.

You’re probably wondering where to begin. Well go ahead and reset the password for your WordPress or Tumblr account, because we have a few pointers to help you get started.

Use your blog to build your brand identity

For small and medium-sized businesses, it can be difficult to build a brand identity. You have your logo and colors, but what does your brand consist of beyond that? What is its personality, what characteristics does it have, and what is its tone? These are just a few of the questions you need to consider before you begin writing your blog posts, or having someone else write them for you, of course, which is a good option for busy business people.

A blog that reflects the personality of your business helps to give you a brand identity in the minds of readers by letting them know just what your company is. A hardware store is most likely going to want the contents of its blog to be straightforward, reliable and no-nonsense, while a marketing company is likely to have a blog that shows off its creativity, playfulness and skill at design and wordplay. This is your chance to develop your company’s identity, and explore just how you wish to be perceived by online readers.

Tip: Before starting to write posts for your blog, picture your business as a person, and write down what this person would say and how they would say it. This should be used as the foundation for each and every blog post.

Create a strategy and schedule for your blog

A clearly defined schedule and game plan for your blog will help make sure that once the ball starts rolling, it keeps rolling. Your goal from a scheduling perspective should be to have at least one new post a week. More is always better, but weekly posts will at least let both readers and Google know your site is still active.

In terms of a blogging strategy, don’t feel like every post needs to be a second coming of The Odyssey. Sometimes all you need to do is come up with a quick tip, or share a video you think is useful to people visiting your website. Varying the the length and type of content featured on your blog is a good way to keep things fresh.

Tip: At the start of each month, you should come up with blog topics and a deadline for each post. This should help make sure content is always going up on your blog.

Lead and inform, but do not sell

One of the biggest challenges for small and medium-sized businesses with a blog is to keep the content related to your company without putting on the hard sell. Realistically, the goal of your blog should be to point people in the direction of your business without pushing them into buying something. They should be able to reach that conclusion organically.

Let’s use an auto parts store as an example. A blog on the quality of the windshield wipers it sells is unlikely to generate a lot of interest. That’s because it is not something that resonates with a lot of people. A post on the dangers of driving with old wiper blades, however, will help get readers more interested in investing in new blades. And the good news for them is that they can purchase new wiper blades right, without even having to leave your website.

Tip: In addition to creating informational posts, don’t be afraid to add blog posts about your employees, especially if you do not have dedicated staff pages on your website. This can enable people get to know the names and faces behind your business, and help potential customers to feel more comfortable with your company as a whole.

You made it to our blog, so there must be something to this whole blogging thing. Get in touch with us if you want to know more about how blogging, or any other technology-related tools, can help add value to your business. And of course, feel free to keep reading our blog while you’re here!

Published with permission from Source.

November 23rd, 2015
November 23rd, 2015
November 10th, 2015

Hardware_Nov10_BPurchasing a new computer can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with its components. You’ll want to make sure you make the right choice so you don’t end up buying one that becomes obsolete within just a few months. How much money should you spend? Which model is the best for you? What about the specifications? While there is no fixed formula when it comes to buying a new computer, these guidelines will help you make an informed decision.

Desktop or Laptop?

This depends on your working style and environment. The rule is quite simple: if you rarely work out of the office, get a desktop PC. If you need to work at home, on the go, or at client meetings, then go for a laptop. It’s worth noting that desktops are generally cheaper than laptops at similar specifications, have a longer usage life, and make for easier changing or upgrading of components. Laptops, on the other hand, are very portable due to their compact size, they consume less energy, and they offer a more flexible user experience.


If you want a computer that loads programs in a flash, completes tasks almost instantly, and runs smoothly at all times, then we recommend you invest in the strongest processors available. The performance of a processor is determined by its number of cores and speed, so the bigger the number, the better. Processors with two to four cores will often suffice for most users. However, if your tasks involve rendering high-definition images, animations, graphics, and analysis, then for optimum results it makes sense to get a processor with more than four cores.


Random Access Memory (RAM) allows your computer to perform multiple tasks at once without a hitch. Just like processors, the amount of RAM your computer has will determine how fast it will run when you work on several programs simultaneously. Nowadays, standard computers come with 1-2GB of RAM. However, we advise you to get at least 4GB, or even 8GB, of RAM so that you can navigate smoothly between tasks such as email browsing, Internet surfing, and working on word processing documents and spreadsheets.

Hard Drive

The bigger the hard drive, the more space you have to store files. If you plan on using your computer with no peripherals, you’ll want to choose a computer that offers the biggest hard drive. But remember that you can always purchase an external hard drive to transfer or store files if your current hard drive is running out of space. Another thing to consider in a hard drive is its spin speed. Modern computers usually have 5400rpm or 7200rpm drives, the latter being more efficient. The faster your hard drive disk is spinning, the quicker data can be transferred to and from it.

Operating Systems

Picking an operating system is a big decision when it comes to choosing a new computer. You’ll probably want to stick with an operating system you’re already familiar with, since it can take some time to adapt yourself to a new OS. Here are some of the popular options available on the market:
    • Windows
    • Mac
    • Linux
    • Ubuntu
Most people will just go for either Windows or Mac OS, because the complexity of Linux and Ubuntu mean they are are not popular among everyday users.

Want more hardware tips and tricks? Get in touch with our technology experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
November 9th, 2015

164_B_SMAs a business owner, you may think social media isn’t worth the effort. You may have dabbled in Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn and seen minimal (if any) results. Of course there are other businesses that do well on these platforms - like Nike or Google - you may think. But these are exciting brands! What can a business owner with a boring brand do? Quite a lot actually. And to prove this point, here is one “boring brand” with a large following on social media that everyone can learn from.

Owning a “boring brand” is not an excuse for a poor social media presence

You've probably heard of 3M but may not know exactly what they do. However, there’s a good chance you may have some of their products in your house. If you have Ace bandages, Scotchgard, or Post-it notes lying around your bathroom or home office, then you are guilty of being an owner of 3M products.

So when it comes to social media, why does this company matter? Simple. They have 121,000 followers on Twitter, which may sound pretty remarkable when the name of this brand isn’t Apple, BMW or Taylor Swift. So how does a company like 3M succeed? Here are a few things they do well, and you can do too.

Invest in people

If you’re the sole person shooting out tweets, updating the status of your business’s Facebook page or writing articles to post on Linkedin - all while you’re trying to run your business - it’s no wonder your social media presence is failing. You know as well as anyone, that you don’t have the time for it. And for this reason, it’s impossible to put your full effort into growing a social media presence. So why not hire at least one expert (or maybe a few) to manage it for you? You’ll likely see a noticeable uptick in your followers. And even better, you’ll no longer be distracted with social media, and can focus on growing your business. What’s not to love about that?

As for may wonder, how many people do they employ to manage their social media presence? The answer is about ten, which is a very tiny percentage of the 90,000 employees who work there. Obviously, with 120,000 followers, their efforts are paying off.

Shoot for more content over quality content

Quality content is undoubtedly important, but quality should not be an excuse to avoid publishing content. As a business owner, that means you can’t review and approve every post and article that goes out. You need to trust your social media team to do their job. What’s more, you may fear that your team could commit some social media faux pas and accidentally publish content that outrages some of your followers. Here’s a news flash for you: it’s likely going to happen at one point or another. 3M publishes content quickly. Do you think they’ve posted content that some of their 120,000 followers have disagreed with? Of course they have. When you speak to the masses, there is no way to please everybody. So sit back, accept it and trust your social media staff. Mistakes will happen, but nothing engages your followers more than fresh, timely content. That is except for this last pointer...

Ask questions

Many social media platforms are all about engagement. If you’re aiming for more followers, you need to engage your customers and prospects. And a perfect way to do so is to ask questions. Not only does this create a connection between your brand and your customer, but it also attracts new followers. 3M posed the question, “what does science mean to you?” to their Twitter following with some incredible results. The tweet generated more than 500 favorites and 200 retweets. This is an example of the power of a question. So when it comes to social media, remember to ask questions, respond and engage. This is what many of the platforms are designed for.

What it comes down to is that your business already provides value and improves your customers’ lives in one way or another. If it didn’t, no one would buy from you and you wouldn’t have a business to begin with. So leverage that value and educate your customers on social media. You are the expert, and there are people out there who are interested in what you have to say.

For assistance with your social media presence or any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Social Media
November 4th, 2015

164_mob_BFor nearly two months now, Apple’s iOS 9 has been available for upgrade. But if you have yet to make the switch, you may still be curious about its new features and whether or not they make it worth installing. If this is you, here’s what you need to know about iOS 9 and four of its most popular new features.

Introducing the News App

If you waste countless minutes everyday visiting different websites searching for your news, now you no longer have to. Pre-installed in iOS 9 is a new app called News. This app collects articles from a variety of news organizations and sources, and puts them in one place for your viewing convenience. Once you start using this app it will learn what type of stories you are interested in, and then gather articles to suit your unique tastes.

Improved Notes

The Notes app has gotten a major overhaul in iOS 9 and has some nifty new features. First off, you can now add checklists and bullets to your notes. So if you’re about do some shopping at the supermarket, forget about the traditional paper written grocery list. Instead, you can create your list in the Notes app and check off each item as you put it in your cart. Additionally, you can now insert maps or photos into a note, and even sketch a drawing with the tip of your finger.

Better battery

While a long battery life is not something smartphones are known for, the iPhone is making steps to improve it with iOS 9. The core technologies and built-in apps of the new OS now consume less power, which means you may be able to squeeze out an extra hour of battery life after updating.

Furthermore, iOS 9 now comes with Low Power Mode, which helps to conserve battery life. So if you’re nowhere near an outlet, and are praying you have enough power to last for the next few hours, Lower Power Mode is your savior. To turn it on, go to Settings and Battery.

And if these new battery improvements for iOS 9 aren’t already outstanding enough, now you can also find out which apps are sucking the most juice out of your battery. In Settings > Battery, click on Battery Percentage to see a list of apps you’ve used in the past 48 hours and the percentage of your battery life they have consumed. This will help you quickly identify the apps that are draining your power, so you can close them to prevent further battery loss.

Switching between apps is easier than ever

From time to time, every iPhone user needs to toggle between apps. Whether you’re switching between Mail and Safari, or Notes and iBooks, doing this can feel like an unnecessary annoyance as you are forced to return to your Home screen before switching. With iOS 9, not anymore. In a progression from the app switchers seen in previous iterations of iOS, now if you’re in Safari and want to return to your email, a little black button in the top left hand corner gives you the option. In this case, it will read Back to Mail. Just tap on it and you can return to your mail without first having to return to the home screen. This feature works for any two apps you’re toggling between.

So should you update to iOS 9?

Upgrading to iOS 9 is a big deal, as it is for any OS update to your iPhone. The reason? Once you do it, it’s nearly impossible to go back. While the four features mentioned above may sound appealing, here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to update to iOS 9.

Owners of older versions of the iPhone, such as 4S, 5, and 5S, may be wary about reports that updating to iOS 9 has caused noticeable slowdown on these versions. For example, it can cause delays in launching and switching between apps, slow down camera performance, and lead to your phone taking longer to turn on.

However, it should be noted that if you choose to put off updating, you may leave your phone at risk to security vulnerabilities. What’s more, you may not be able to update to the latest version of apps as they will, at one point or another, no longer work with an older OS.

Whether you choose to update to iOS 9 or stick with your current version, our experts are happy to fill you in as to which is the best decision for you. Contact us today to learn more about iOS 9 or get support for any of your iPhone needs.

Published with permission from Source.

November 3rd, 2015

Office_Nov3_BMac users who have been using Office 2011 now have a reason to smile: Microsoft finally released the latest Office 2016 for Mac in September. Office 2016 is packed with powerful new features for Microsoft’s core applications, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, all of which are designed to run and perform seamlessly on the Mac platform. Here’s what you need to know about Microsoft’s new Office release, and how it can benefit your business.

So what’s new?

The obvious change in Office 2016 for Mac is the user interface. You’ll experience a cleaner and more modern design that looks consistent across all core applications. The toolbars and icons have been redesigned with a minimalistic approach, resulting in less clutter and making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Looks are not the only improvement. Office 2016 for Mac provides huge improvements to the performance of Microsoft’s well-known applications.

Word 2016

Apart from the interface changes, in Word 2016 multiple Mac users can now work simultaneously on the same document. When a user working on a file saves any changes, a notification that highlights the changes is sent to other users. This new feature is similar to that of Google Docs, where users can collaborate by sharing and editing files online. Word 2016 includes a style pane on the right-hand side of the screen. When selected, you can apply pre-set styles to texts and paragraphs. What’s more, Word 2016 also adds a nifty new navigation pane, allowing you to navigate through files based on the changes you’ve made, including comments, formatting, deletion, and more.

PowerPoint 2016

The most prominent change made to PowerPoint 2016 is the redesigned ribbon. Many ribbons have been removed, renamed, and given new icons. The new PowerPoint also has the very same collaboration features as Word, meaning you and your colleagues can edit presentations simultaneously. In addition, Microsoft has added 24 all-new themes to PowerPoint, and these aren’t just normal themes - with just one click, you can alternate between different color palettes, fonts, and background styles for your current theme. These new features are identical to the ones in PowerPoint for Windows, but they have more functionality and are much easier to use.

Excel 2016

As soon as you launch Excel 2016, you’ll be greeted by its modern new appearance. One addition is a slicer tool that greatly increases the performance of pivot tables. With slicers, you can create buttons that simplify data filtering in a pivot table report without the need to use drop-down lists. Another new feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of the Analysis Toolpak extension. This add-on is especially useful if you want to generate complex statistical and engineering data - the Analysis Toolpak offers a number of advanced formulas that were absent in the former Excel for Mac 2011.

Outlook 2016

The previous Outlook for Mac 2011 proved to be flawed in many areas. And if you find that Apple Mail is not living up to your expectations, Outlook 2016 will be a great alternative to meet your email needs. As with other Office 2016 applications, the new Outlook has gotten a visual revamp. Some notable new features include improved usability, such as a blue vertical bar spanning across unread messages, faster email search and filtering, and a more powerful database and mail server that enables you to send and receive messages much more quickly.

Want to learn more about Office 2016 for Mac, and how you can implement it into your business? Give us a call today; we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from Source.

November 2nd, 2015

BusinessContinuity_Nov2_BThere is nothing worse for a company and its customers than being forced to close because of inclement weather. And with winter almost upon us once again, now is a good time to make sure your business continuity plan is prepared for anything and everything mother nature is looking to throw your way. By communicating with your staff and customers before, and during, a storm, you can ensure your company can make it through rain, sleet or snow.

While weather varies drastically depending on where you live, nowhere is immune from inclement conditions during the winter. It’s only a matter of time before your local weatherperson appears on TV warning you to brace for yet another “Storm of the Century”, and in turn everyone whips themselves into a frenzy preparing for the worst-case scenario.

However, you shouldn’t just be focusing on your personal affairs; you need to make sure your business is ready as well. Even if the forecast doesn’t turn out to be accurate, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. For this to happen, you will need to stay in constant contact with both your employees and customers before and during a storm to make sure they know what to expect. Doing this will help limit interruptions and make sure clients can adjust the expectations they have of your business. Here is how you can use communication technology to prepare for any possible service interruptions caused by bad weather.


The great thing about technological advancements over the past few years is that they allow for many employees to work from home, or from anywhere that has an internet connection. However, they must be prepared to do so. That means you should be letting employees know that there is a chance they might be working from home three or four days before a storm is due to hit. During this time, have your IT department or provider check with those employees to ensure they have the capabilities to work from home, even if it is in a limited capacity.

During this time, designate certain employees as flex workers if you can’t determine just how bad the weather will be the next day. This means that they will check the weather in the morning and come in if it is safe. They will also be in charge of informing other employees whether or not they will need to come into work.

Finally, make sure there is an updated spreadsheet or file with all your employees’ contact details, and that this is available to those who may need it. It is important that each person at your company is able to be reached via multiple channels, because you never know which services a storm may knock out. Having this ready before anything happens will allow for more efficient communication during inclement weather.


Your customers depend on you, and it is absolutely vital that you keep them informed of how the weather situation will affect your business. One of the easiest ways to do this is via social media. In the days leading up to the storm, let your followers know that you are keeping an eye on the situation, and provide contact information for someone at your company who can give them additional information if needed.

If your business will have to close because of bad weather, it’s good practice to announce it as far ahead of time as possible. Ideally this will be done on the night before or, at the latest, early in the morning of the closure. You don’t want customers trekking in three feet of snow to get to your shop or office, only to find out it's closed.

Make sure you get in touch with clients right away to inform them of any delays that might occur in delivering goods or services because of the office shut-down, and give them an estimate as to when your business will be fully operational again. Just because you aren’t responsible for the weather doesn’t mean you can stop being accountable altogether. Staying ahead of the game will prove to clients that your company is organized and prepared for anything.

Of course, communication is just one part of a comprehensive business continuity plan. Contact our experts today and find out how we can keep your company functional no matter the weather.

Published with permission from Source.

October 30th, 2015

Windows_Oct13_BIn Microsoft’s ongoing attempt to go one better than Google and Apple in the user-experience stakes, Windows 10’s Cortana digital assistant comes with countless functions to compete with Google Now and Siri. Now, in partnership with manufacturer Lenovo, the REACHit service lets Cortana search and deliver seamless results from not only your local drives, but cloud-based systems like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box. The move means it suddenly got a whole lot easier to quickly find what you’re looking for.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 convertible laptop device, expected to be released by the end of 2015, will be among the first to feature the REACHit app, available only on Lenovo PCs running Windows 10. At the heart of REACHit is an improved search experience that allows users to track down files across their various devices - meaning you’ll find what you’re looking for, regardless of whether you saved it on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone - and cloud-based services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.

These kind of comprehensive queries bear similarity to the deep Spotlight searches made possible in Apple’s latest operating system release, El Capitan. But REACHit can be used with both voice commands and plain-English typed search terms, something to be expected given it uses Cortana as a base upon which Lenovo and Microsoft have collaborated to develop additional functionality. The search flexibility means it’s possible not only to look for specific files when you already know the name, but also to specify parameters and find everything that matches. That includes finding photos, for example, based on where and when they were taken, who they’ve been shared with, and when they were last accessed. Perhaps most practically, this means REACHit can use date and location information to locate files even where they are not tagged in a way that would normally assist search execution.

Restricting the types of files that can be searched by REACHit, and the kind of information it uses to conduct those searches, will allow you to allay some privacy concerns - particularly prevalent given that the app is cloud-hosted. Certainly, REACHit signals further advancements in simplified natural-language searching across the numerous devices most of us now routinely use. It also exemplifies the increased importance manufacturers are attaching to an enhanced user experience that enables us to save valuable minutes in our workday.

Want to find out how effective implementation of Windows 10 in your workplace could help you boost productivity? Give us a call and we’ll show you.

Published with permission from Source.

October 28th, 2015

iPhone_Oct28_BAfter a year of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally released the iPhone 6s and its bigger counterpart, the iPhone 6s Plus. The tech giant has added several key improvements to the device, including the upgrade to iOS 9, a high-resolution camera, and numerous other new features and internal upgrades. Here’s all you need to know about the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

3D Touch

3D Touch is perhaps the biggest key improvement in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. This is a hardware-enabled feature that can’t be implemented in the older versions of the iPhone. This nifty feature lets you have a peek at your phone’s content - without actually opening it, or leaving what you’re doing - with just a slightly harder press on the screen. For instance, you can preview emails and text messages, take a brief look at websites, and view calendar entries and image galleries, by simply applying more pressure to the relevant application button. Press harder still and you can view the item in full-screen mode.


The new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are made with 7000 Series aluminium, the very same grade of aluminium used in the aerospace industry, making it the strongest alloy Apple has ever used in its iPhone series. These latest releases are slightly heavier and thicker than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but it’s difficult to visually distinguish between the new models and the originals. The 6s series, however, comes in a new rose gold color, adding to the gold, silver, and space gray that are already available.


The iPhone 6s retains a 4.7-inch, 1,334x750 pixel screen, and the 6s Plus a 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel display, both with excellent viewing angles, brightness, and real-life colors. Although the resolution remains the same as that of their predecessors, the 6s series boasts new cover glass on the screen, which Apple claims to be the strongest cover glass found on any smartphone.


The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are powered by Apple’s latest iOS 9, which comes with a number of new additions, including upgraded versions of Notes, Maps, Siri, Apple Pay and countless other apps. The phones are built with Apple’s powerful dual-core A9 processor, and come with 2GB of RAM. Devoted iPhone fans will love the results - faster app and webpage load times, smoother app switching, and no lags or hangs.


The iPhone camera has gotten a resolution upgrade for the first time in four years. The 6s series come with a 12-megapixel camera, which can record 4K videos and take incredibly vivid and lively photos. You can also take beautiful selfies, and make and receive high-definition video calls, with the front camera’s 5-megapixel resolution.

Battery Life

Apple has redesigned the batteries used by the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, making them smaller and lighter but with longer life. You can expect up to 10 hours of Internet usage on 3G, 11 hours of HD video playback, and up to 50 hours of audio playback on the iPhone 6s on a single charge, with the 6s Plus being slightly more durable.

If you’re looking to learn more about the latest iPhones and how you can implement them into your business, give us a call today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic iPhone