Blog

June 29th, 2016

2016June29_Virtualization_AJust understanding what office virtualization is can be difficult enough; picking from the long list of software providers that help you achieve it can feel impossible. Since virtualization is a relatively new practice for small and medium-sized businesses, there isn’t even a standardized way to go about virtualizing your company. So why not start with this simple list of the 5 most popular virtualization options and what their strengths are.

VMware

Any conversation about virtualization for small and medium-sized businesses usually starts around VMware. Although it wasn’t necessarily the first, VMware was the company that really put office virtualization on everyone’s action item list. The company offers a number of different solutions for different sized businesses with a wide variety of needs. Its ease of use and robust security features have secured its reputation as one of the best options for virtualization at SMBs.

Citrix

An average user may not recognize the company name, but has a good shot at previous knowledge of their popular remote access tools, GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. Citrix has specifically geared their virtualization software, XenApp, XenDesktop, and VDI-in-a-box toward SMBs and even claims that non-IT staff can easily manage and administer the services. They even provide a free trial to prove it.

Microsoft

Although it may be a little more difficult to manage without an in-house or outsourced IT staff, Microsoft’s Hyper-V option is hard to ignore considering its integration with the popular cloud platform Azure. Whether you’re a Microsoft loyalist or you just want to minimize the number of vendors in your network, Hyper-V offers everything you need from a virtualization service.

Oracle

This company just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Specializing in marketing software, they also offer database management, cloud storage and customer relationship management software. If you’re using any of their services already, there could be benefits to enlisting their virtualization services as well. Oracle does everything, server, desktop and app virtualization, and they believe that consolidation of all of these into one solution is what sets them apart.

Amazon

And since we’re on the topic of household names, let’s talk about Amazon’s EC2 platform, which hosts scalable virtual private servers. The ability to scale and configure capacity is definitely EC2’s biggest draw for SMBs, who are preparing for the possibility of rapid growth. Although almost any virtualization service is rooted in scalability, Amazon is leading the pack in how quickly and finely you can adjust your solution to your individual needs.

Virtualization is a really hard topic for most SMBs to tackle. This list only covers the most popular vendors, and there are plenty more out there. Choosing one based on its application possibilities and management requirements is not a subject for the lighthearted. Get in touch with us today so we can break down all of the technobabble into easy-to-understand advice and expertise.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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 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 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 10th, 2016

2016June10_Virtualization_AVirtualization has permanently changed the world of IT and computing and bringing with it the overhaul of IT architecture and workflow. One would think that it would reach its saturation point sooner or later but with constant innovation and development, virtualization has permeated and penetrated deep as to reach the client level. Here are three virtualization options for SMB’s wishing to optimize their tech resources:

Presentation virtualization

As hinted in the name, it is an application delivery method that delivers desktops or applications from a shared server. This enables access to client applications from a central server that is connected with clients. This initiates a presentation session through a web portal while giving them access to a virtualized application instance on a shared Windows Server OS. The only resources shared with the client is the graphical user interface as well as the mouse/keyboard.

Benefits of this presentation virtualization range from reduced user resource needs to simplicity, since applications are installed only once despite multiple users sharing the same application instance and even server level administration since multiple users are sharing the resources of the same system.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Sharing similarities with presentation virtualization, VDI solutions are also a remote display protocol that hosts centrally-managed virtual machines (VMs) that client PCs are connected to on a one-on-one network relationship. Also known as desktop virtualization, this method utilizes a hypervisor that is in charge of hosting a dedicated operating system VM for each client individually. Due to the fact that each client is totally separate from one another on the server, this option allows for flexibility, management and security.

Why VDI? Firstly, it saves you more money since it has smaller software licensing requirements and it also reduces the need for staff to manage and troubleshoot problems. It also allows for secure mobile access to applications by enabling hardware-based GPU sharing through a secure connection from any device as well as better desktop security thanks to customizable permissions and settings. Lastly, it allows for easier maintenance - after logging off at the end of the day the desktop can be reset wiping clean any downloaded software customizations.

Application virtualization

Application virtualization is capable of allowing applications to run in environments that are foreign to the them, for example Wine allows some Microsoft Windows apps to run on Linux. By establishing a common software baseline across multiple computers within an organization, application virtualization also reduces system integration and administration costs. Finally, it enables simplified operating system migrations, whereby applications can be transferred to removable media or between computers without having to install them: effectively becoming portable software.

Not only has virtualization revolutionized the world of IT and computing, but it also has the potential to do the same for your business. Give us a call and find out which option is best for you and your unique business requirements.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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 1st, 2016

2016June1_Facebook_AWe all know you can buy ad space on Facebook. And while ads on the world’s largest social network are generally quite affordable, they still cost money - which as a small or medium sized business owner, may be in short supply. Thankfully, there are many ways to market your business for free on Facebook. Here are a few of the most popular methods.

Get your friends on board

A business is nothing without its fans...at least on social media. So after setting up your Facebook business page, your first order of duty should be to invite your friends to “Like” your company page. Bear in mind, we use the term “friends” broadly here. Really, you should be telling pretty much everyone you know about your business. This includes family members, colleagues, that random parent you chatted with at your son’s baseball game, and any acquaintances from all walks of life. The goal of this is to create a foundation of followers to build upon as you grow your business.

Create your brand identity

On Facebook, your brand needs to do more than simply sell a product or service, because no one wants to interact with a company they feel is constantly trying to sell them. This is exactly why your brand should have a persona and human characteristic. In other words, you need a brand voice. So ask yourself, how should your brand sound? Should it be funny, easy-going, serious or inspiring? Once you’ve figured it out, ensure this voice is consistent in all your posts as it will help your audience form a relationship with your brand as they get to know it better. While you can and definitely should advertise different products or services your business offers, most of your posts should aim to entertain, inspire, and encourage social interaction. As your followers get to know your brand better, they will develop shared interests with it, which will eventually lead to trust. And when your audience finally trusts you, the sales will start to come in naturally.

Exploit algorithm changes

If you thought Google was the only platform that changed their algorithms, think again! Just like Google, Facebook also uses algorithms to determine the amount of organic reach your updates get. This raises an interesting question...how do you discover what algorithm changes Facebook has on the docket? Well, they occasionally post them on Facebook’s newsroom, so regularly check there to stay updated.

So once you’re aware of an upcoming algorithm change, how can you exploit it? Let’s look at an example. Back in the Fall of 2014 Facebook announced they’d begin to favor link posts with an image attached, over photo posts with the URL in the caption. Users who were aware of this change in advance and implemented it accordingly, were reportedly getting three times as much organic traffic by February 2015. Those who missed the announcement were left scratching their heads wondering what happened to their traffic.

Check your data

Many people believe there’s a best time and day of the week to share a post. While this is true, the actual day and time that’s best may be different from what you expect. While some people are quick to proclaim Tuesday and Thursday mornings are the best time to post, the reality is the best time to post depends on your unique business. Everyone’s audience is different, and results will vary from business to business. So while some SMBs may discover they have their audience's full attention on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, others may learn their customers are most engaged on Thursday and Friday evenings. So how can you find out when your audience is watching? Check your page’s Insights tab. This will provide you a plethora of information about your customers, including the days and times when they’re on Facebook.

While all these tips to market your business on Facebook are free, bear in mind you’ll need to invest a significant amount of time if you want to see results. To really succeed with Facebook marketing, you need to regularly interact with the platform - and not just treat it as an afterthought.

To learn more about how your business can leverage Facebook and other social media platforms, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
May 31st, 2016

2016May31_BusinessValue_ANot long ago, uploading a video to the internet was still a new and novel concept, but now we have access to multiple services for live video streaming. Most of these are free and offer great opportunities for increasing your visibility with little to no investment. Let’s take a look at 6 different ways you can utilize live internet video to increase your business value.

Business Introduction/Behind the scenes

If your company is new or suffering from low visibility, one of the best things you can do is give customers direct access to your staff and your product. A great use of live video is to take viewers on an office tour, show them how a product is made or even broadcast your business’s launch event.

Make sure to invite as many viewers as you can, but remember that most live broadcasts can be saved and viewed later. This is a video you’ll likely want to keep available after it’s finished.

Ask Me Anything (AMA)

Depending on your product or service, you may be getting a lot of conceptual questions about innovative ways to use it, what direction the company is heading and so forth. There’s no better way to address these questions than to do so in a personal and unscripted AMA segment.

If there’s a good turnout make sure to keep questions and answers moving in relevant and interesting directions. There’s nothing wrong with updating everyone on what you had for breakfast, but addressing service bugs or product feature requests is going to be a lot more beneficial for wider audiences.

How-to

Whether it’s a soon-to-be-released product or simply rehashing an existing one that’s getting lots of support requests, there’s no better way to guide customers through a ‘how to’ process than step-by-step, face-to-face.

Not only does this help to show existing clients the best way to use your product or service, it also allows potential consumers to see both your product and your customer service philosophy in action. Saving these videos can be invaluable as you continue to get questions on the product or service outlined in these videos -- it’s an easy way to build a video reference library for sales and support.

Webinar

Although all of the previous uses can be categorized as ‘customer service’, there’s no reason you can’t simply open a help desk broadcast and invite viewers to join with their support questions. If you advertise this as a customer service broadcast and steer clear of any conversations that deal with non-support related questions, you may be able to tackle more than one client’s questions at a time and no one can ever complain that contacting your support line is frustrating or tedious.

Announcements

All of the live broadcast services are deeply integrated with social media. Whether it’s Twitter or Facebook, post updates about an upcoming announcement along with a scheduled time and take the chance to make your product or service announcement far more interesting and personal than a press release or faceless status update.

Text based announcements and pre-recorded videos severely limit how you address the ‘fine-print’ questions from customers. Think of this as a chance to hold your own personal press briefing and address questions after your scripted announcement.

Promotions

In the same vein as live announcements, use social media to promise a special promotion to anyone who tunes in to a live broadcast. Before it begins, create different thresholds for how big the promotion will be depending on participation. Once you begin, check how many viewers you have to decide whether to augment or reduce the scope of what you want offer. In addition to being a more dynamic method for releasing promotions, it will create motivation among your customers to interact more directly with your company.

Socialmediatoday reports that Facebook users spend three times longer watching live broadcasts than pre-recorded video. Combine that with Facebook’s announcement that live videos are more likely to be promoted to the top of news feeds and you’d be crazy not to utilize live broadcasts.

However, there are a handful of different services to use for live video broadcasting and deciding which one is the best for you can depend on a lot of different variables. Call us with any of your questions and we’ll be happy to assist you in adding value to your business with today’s best live video services.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
May 30th, 2016

2016May30_Browsers_A Do you ever find yourself cursing your web browser’s limited functionality? Well, if you’re using Google Chrome there’s a good chance someone has created an extension to make your wish come true. There are thousands of Chrome extensions just waiting to boost your productivity with the click of a button. Let’s take a look.

crxMouse Chrome Gestures

Whether you’re switching between a dozen tabs or hopping around the company website, web navigation can start to feel a bit tedious. If you’ve got two monitors, or just a large screen, moving your mouse to the top of the screen to constantly open and close tabs can really slow down your rhythm. One solution is to learn all of the keyboard shortcuts. An even better one is the “crx Mouse Gestures” extension, which allows you to assign mouse gestures to different browser actions.

Want to go back a page? Right click and drag the mouse to the left. Want to open a new tab? Right click and drag up. Gestures allows you to customize everything, including the motions themselves. In the options menu you can draw custom gestures, for example a box, and tell crx to tie that motion into opening your Gmail inbox in a new tab. It takes no time at all to incorporate the shortcuts into your browsing habits and significantly boosts your browsing efficiency.

Readability

When it’s time to slow down your browsing and read the most recent election article or a recipe you want to try, the page is often cluttered with social sharing buttons, advertisements and stock photos. With the “Readability” extension all of this gets cleared away with the press of a button, leaving you with a clean, text-only page.

In addition to allowing for customization of font, size, and color of your “reader” page, this extension also allows for you to “save for later” and “send to my Kindle”. Readability is a perfect addition for anyone doing a lot of reading who is tired of pages containing more clutter than useful content.

OneTab

After installing the last two extensions you may find yourself with a stack of tabs sandwiched along the top of your screen. Too many open tabs can cripple your available memory. A lot of us open tabs as notes, reminders, and things to check some time in the distant future, which is why you’ll love OneTab. With this extension you can condense all of your open tabs into one page that lists each of them for easy access when you’re ready to return to them.

In addition to reducing your memory usage by up to 95 percent, OneTab will let you share your condensed tab list. If you’re working on research for a client, open all the relevant tabs and with the click of a button OneTab will create a site with a shareable link so you can send them to anyone you’d like.

Black Menu for Google

This extension puts all of Google’s sites, services and apps right in your browser menu. After clicking on the icon, a customizable menu drops down with sites like Drive, YouTube, Gmail and more. But these menu items are more than just links to your inbox and videos. When your mouse hovers over the different options it actually opens a miniaturized window, allowing you to view any of your Google services without opening a new tab or window.

Instead of opening a new tab, navigating to YouTube and searching for a video, clicking on the Black Menu icon will open a miniaturized search function. You don’t even need to open a new window or tab to watch the video; just click play and when you’re finished, clicking outside of the menu will make it like it never happened. For anyone working closely with Drive, Gmail or Google Calendar, this extension can save a lot of time.

Pop-out Youtube

If you love the Black Menu extension, but need a little more functionality out of your YouTube experience, Pop-out YouTube is the next step. This extension allows you to turn any video into a new browserless window that stays on top of all of your other windows. If you need to transcribe something, one click of the extension will pop out the video and you can click a window behind it and start working away without spending 20 minutes trying to perfectly size the window so everything remains visible.

As a quick note, there are dozens of extensions that block ads and those annoying links that overlay your cat videos. Unfortunately, Pop-out Youtube does not include this feature and it’s a good idea to install one of those as well.

Taco

Most of the extensions listed above improve the ease and flow of your internet browsing, but Taco focuses on integration to boost productivity. At its core, this extension replaces your Chrome ‘new tab’ page with a customizable framework for all of your third-party services.

With various templates and layouts, you can organize and combine tasks and notes from over 40 services including Evernote, Google, Salesforce, Trello and more. Any time you’re about to start a new project, open a new tab to search for whatever you need to complete it. But before you hit that ‘Google Search’ button, drag the task item into your ‘doing’ lane and off you go. Finished your work and need to check how your home team is doing in their game? Open a new tab, move the task to your finished lane and check the score.

These are just some of our favorite extensions. If you’d like more suggestions or support for anything Google related, we’re here for you -- don’t hesitate to call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web & Cloud