Tomorrow’s Tech Today For Bodies and Homes

By Jayme Soulati--"The Bean"

Today’s Wall Street Journal is so chock full of tech gadgets, apps, solutions and gizmos for all parts of the body, the home and our pockets that I have to share the latest incarnation of cool new toys with you:

  • Google, ever the inventor, is spawning Google Glass, a Star Trek type of eyewear that puts a screen in the upper corner of the right eye and gives wearers the chance to take images, video and send mail without using a smartphone. The Google X lab is still honing the software, but a reporter got a sneak preview and insists this wearable electronic gadget is going to be the next biggest must-have toy.
  • Make no mistake, the Google piece above was well timed as Apple’s iPhone 5 is set to hit the market tomorrow! The iPhone latest iteration has carriers clamoring for more subscribers to big data plans while at the same time the big data plans are being limited so we pay more. iPhone 5 will run exclusively on 4G so data arrives quicker at less cost; figures the carriers would skew that to ensure more money in some way, shape or form.  (Aside: I have to wonder how Apple will continue to jolt the industry so everyone jumps when Apple launches? Consumers will tire of the next best plaything because cost to buy is so prohibitive when nothing is wrong with the current model, iPhone 4S…mumbled Jayme to herself.)
  • Tech for Tweens has taken shape in a software solution called FashionPlaytes that gives the highly profitable demographic, 5 to 12-year-olds to play fashionista and create unique designs and wearable art. T-shirts, leggings and dresses can be customized with little-girl accessories like ribbons and sequins, and the product is created and shipped directly to the budding designers’ hands.
  • Twine is a square flat little box that looks like an iPass transponder. For $99, it senses changes in temperatures or vibrations and alerts homeowners via WiFi text message. If a plant needs water or the pipes are freezing in the vacant rental property, this gadget does the deal. GreenGoose has kids’ dental hygiene in mind with a $49 toothbrush sensor, a downloadable mobile game and cartoons to keep kids brushing for two minutes.
  • Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) help everyone boost auditory skills without paying ~$8000 for prescription hearing aids. These over-the-counter devices are intended for kids who listened to loud music, construction workers using jack hammers every day and anyone else wanting to boost hearing with less price. Imagine the industry revolution right around the corner when another ridiculously costly device gets replaced by Bell + Howell Silver Sonic XL for a total of $40…REALLY?!
  • Extreme heat or a bunch of teeny needles in your face are what’s being used to reduce or eliminate wrinkles for those wanting to beat the clock. A company called Ulthera went to market in 2010 with a machine that heats up to 150 degrees F and penetrates 4.5 millimeters under the skin to reach fibrous tissue that shapes the skin. Get this…Ultherapy is considered the most painful treatment and doctors administer narcotics or ibuprofen to help patients weather the aftermath of sagging necks and jowls. Ohmygoodness…is it worth it? Ask me in 20 years.
  • Guys? Promise, scientists are seeking a baldness cure. They’re looking at Vitamin D receptors, inflammation as a culprit, Rogaine (a good solution), and hair transplants (that need to be repeated?), and anything else possible. But, sadly, a solution is far from ready to hit market. You know what? Bald is sexy, fellas…just sayin’, and it keeps you younger, too, without the silver fox look…so why not embrace your inner baldness?
Which device, app, gizmo or gadget appeals to your home and body of the future?


Migrating PC To Mac 2

I ran a Q&A with Mark Robins, CEO of Lawyer Locate in Canada, about his company’s migration to Mac from Windows. Using Apple Care, his migration was easy peazy lemon squeezy. Heh; have always wanted to use that in a blog post.

As for me, let me set up a back story and see if you agree with how I’m transitioning:

  • PR/marketing professional with a Business-to-Business Social Media Marketing virtual firm.
  • Operating Windows XP work station, about three years old with two external hard drives, home to a near-daily blog with lots of photos, client files, accounting, and gosh knows what else.
  • Outlook in box filled with 10,000 emails and an out box of 5,000. Outlook folders of archives from 2009 and beyond for clients.

I bought the iMac, now affectionately called Big Mac, with a Time Capsule, track pad, keypad with numerals, and Windows for Mac without Outlook. Set up was a breeze, except I thought the Time Capsule was a modem; in fact it was an external hard drive. I think it can be a modem, though, and that’s what had me confused with the set up.

Before I took Big Mac out of the box, I called Geek Squad twice and spoke with  others who had already migrated. I decided to run two operating systems in order not to miss anyone or any file. Problem was, my PC was infected with a Trojan virus, 257 threats and registry issues. Geek Squad fixed it in four hours one night while I watched, took a nap and got back up to work again at [1:30] a.m.

With the PC fixed, I could set up Big Mac with three email accounts (easy) and as needed, began to email files from the PC to myself on Big Mac. On day two of using both computers, I was typing emails on one screen while on the phone, hunting for files on the PC, and turning to Big Mac to work and send the file.

My thought is not to migrate all my files over to Big Mac, but to keep a PC so as to be able to access files from the external hard drive as needed.  And, if kidlet needs Windows at school instead of Mac, well, then she can be compatible. I decided not to use Outlook; it was one of the main reasons I needed a new computer — too many bugs and issues and so frustrating. I’m using iMail synchronized with Gmail, and the calendar is working fine with Outlook invites hitting the timeline no problem.

I’m so excited about the potential of Mac with movies, photo editing, Power Point and more. If I can ever get the font resolution to rectify that will be wonderful, but I have to remember, it’s only day two.

And, one final thing — I anticipate many more professionals and individuals and families migrating to Mac prompted by iPhone and iPad synchronization with the primary computer. That’s another solid reason I made the switch.

Thanks to @Geoff Reiner for sharing his resource about Mac here via Dan Rodney. Thanks, too, to Greig Sutherland of Arb-Aid in Denmark for his book recco, Mac At Work. I’m all ears!

Migrating PC to iMac

The most challenging tech experience of all has begun; I’m migrating from PC (Windows XP, a life-time user) to Mac. The iMac, named Big Mac, sat in the box two weeks because I was in fear of how best to begin. I’ll keep you informed of my tips and tricks along the way, but I thought it best to ask the experts who have already graduated from this experience.

Today’s special guest is Mark C. Robins, CEO of Lawyer Locate, a Canadian firm that does exactly as its name suggests. Mark is one of the most generous Twitter pals on Earth. Nary a Friday goes by when he isn’t doling out #FF greetings, and I love him for that.

My questions have multiplied since I wrote this; the Big Mac was still safely ensconced in its box. Today is day two of the experience, and my head is swimming. Mark is going to help me and you, too:

What is the first tip you’d offer someone migrating from PC to Mac?

If possible let Apple transfer all your PC files and programs for you; there may be a small cost if you did not Buy “Joint Venture” but well worth it to have the experts do it.

If you have an external hard drive that houses photos, music, files and Outlook email what do you recommend for files migration?

Again same as the previous answer let Apple do it for you. In Canada it is simple to take your Mac and drive to the Apple Store Genius Bar (make an online appointment first) and they will do the rest, sometimes while you wait.

Are there resources you used when you/your company migrated over? Sites, links, apps that make it easier?

Sorry to sound like a broken record but we did a great deal of research into this and found that even our PC IT people recommended letting Apple do it. In our case we have four iMac’s to set up and they took care of all the transfers and set up over a single weekend.

Here is the link to joint ventureJayme Note: I bought three years of Geek Squad, Ask An Agent, and I want to say I have called several times and am duly impressed. They will take remote control of my PC or Mac and do all the set up for me.

On a scale of 1-10, how hard is this migration? How long do you expect it to take?

It took 1 weekend at the Apple store to completely migrate all our PC data and  programs. We opted to use “VM Virtual Machine for our Windows stuff.

Talk about iMail vs. Outlook? Compatibility? Best way to migrate files or archives?

There were some issues at first with bringing over PST files and the iMail does not have as many pretty bells and whistles. In the end, we have found iMail much better and more stable than Outlook. There’s also the issue of ease of use with our iPhones , iPads etc. We chose to use PST Converter Pro to import our Outlook PST files.

I’m already going to run Windows for Mac, but not Outlook. What other software is recommended to ensure compatibility?

VM ware Fusion is what we use and it works great; there’s a bonus of faster speeds as it uses 100% of your RAM to run the windows program so no bogging down, and easy switching between Mac and windows.

I’m thinking I’ll always need to keep a Windows computer/laptop handy to access external hard drives’ files; what do you think about that?

No need at all! You can have all your PC and Mac files on the same iMac hard drive and I suggest you invest in a Mac “Time Capsule” back up drive.

What advice can you give someone without an IT department migrating on his/her own? (I’m thinking it’s “have patience!”)

At the beginning I suggested that you use Apple care, Genius Bar and Joint Venture. The Apple support is second to none and I highly recommend using them when you have issues or problems. You will no longer need an IT person or company. With Apple they take care of you from beginning to end and everything in between.

Making the change was a huge fear for me but once we started there has been no looking back. I cannot imagine ever going back to PC-based computing and even now I rarely use the Windows side of my iMac. There’s really nothing there that I can’t do with an Apple App.

Enjoy the new way of computing, Jayme, one without blue screens and crashes!


Eight Key Learnings About A Blog’s Back End

It’s been dark here for about a week as I decided to give myself a birthday gift (yep, it’s today!) and finally integrate my blog into my website – kinda like an all-in-one package, It’s only taken me two years to complete this phase of the journey – what do you think? Thanks to New England Multimedia for all the hard work to make it happen, too.

This redesign and integration of the blog with the website (so each has the same look and feel) doesn’t happen overnight – unless you’re absolutely brilliant and can jump ahead about 10 growing pains.

Understanding your back-end or the inside of a blog is important to knowing how to build your blog. You need to consider the following as you grow and take your blog to the next level:

  • Hosting. When bloggers start out, it’s really easy to jump onto, Blogger, or other free’ish platform and begin blogging in five minutes. I did that and had my first post published in 20 minutes, but it felt wrong.  I didn’t want to market a third-party platform while I was blogging; I wanted to brand myself in my own house.  That means you should self-host your blog on a domain name you own and purchase a hosting package alongside. You can do that on Posterous or Tumblr, too.
  • Domains/Branding. This is tricky and takes some thought. If you’re blogging for fun, then it becomes more for business, think through what to call your blog, your company, your domain, and all your social media identities, too. (That’s also branding.) When you get too creative and have a name for Twitter, one for your blog, one where you work, and a different domain name, then no one knows what you’re marketing or where to find you. Right, AlaskaChick?

I registered many years ago and had no idea how I’d ever use it. I had no website and it was pre-social media. When I began blogging two years ago, I titled the blog Soulati-‘TUDE! and registered it on The branding was simple, and people knew it was me.

  • Design. Here’s the rocky pathway. Premium WordPress templates are wonderful, yet they take some tech knowledge to launch. Free WordPress templates are, well, free. You get what you pay for. I have paid for Thesis, Genesis, and Headway along with some skins for the latter. (I’ve been running two blogs.) I’ve tried a few freebies, too, and immediately saw the limitations.

Finally, I engaged with a tech person who helped me grapple with the existing themes. After a bit, he offered to design a fresh skin for me with my input. I loved it because it was totally different. That stayed in place nearly nine months or so with many tweaks to update and keep things fresh.

Mind you, the blog design never synched with my website! I spent money redesigning my website with a new logo mark I love, but the blog didn’t match. So, I never promoted my website; ever. I promoted the blog url because that’s where 99.9 percent of the activity was. My website was flat; no analytics or SEO; and no visitors.

  • Analytics. Everyone knows how much I’ve left this area of the internet alone. I wasn’t in the business of monetizing my blog, or wanting to earn new business. Having a blog that didn’t match my website was an embarrassment. I knew that until I did something about it, I’d continue to be in the dark; no inbound marketing for me.
  • Developers. To take the next leap, I knew I had to work with someone who knew what they were talking about. I am so glad I created a relationship with New England Multimedia on Twitter because it was a no brainer to invite them to help me. Scott produced this new house in two weeks; I was intricately involved, of course, but the process was give and take – beautiful.  I invested some coin, but what it got me was integration and a trusted advisor.
  • Commenting  Systems. I already received a question why I switched from Disqus to LiveFyre. As I explained, LiveFyre is a BMW and Disqus is a Cadillac. They’re both sweet, but Livefyre is going to work the comments harder for me and keep the community growing.  (Besides, I get to rack up points faster…heh.) I love the responsiveness of the LiveFyre team, too. I wrote a tweet calling for help in a Sunday evening, and, lo, they were all over it. Very impressive.
  • Software/Backups/Hosts. Another reason you elect to go with a larger developer when you’re serious about growing your blog is because that team needs to know about software on the back end. There are back-ups, copies to make, developer sites to create and play with, uploads, kinks, plug-ins, and more to grapple with. No web host is the same; there will be hurdles. If you don’t have confidence in your business partner to deliver on the back-end, you’re as good as dead. No blog functions without tech glitches. (That may be a very good reason to stick with Blogger or, if you’re afraid of IT!)
  • Plug-Ins. When you start anew, take a look around the plug-ins on your favorite blogs. What are they using? Is it cluttered? Do they need to have both Digg-Digg and Sociable? What’s your view on Buffer, as it’s becoming more popular? Instead of throwing plug-ins on your blog just to be trendy, dissect these and think of how your visitors will use them.  Considerable time was spent between Scott and I on this topic. I was educating him more on the usages of the plug-ins and their importance, while he was cautioning me on load times (and did we really need to have another one to slow down the site?).

These areas may give you some food for thought. I glossed over each, but if you’d like more info, please ask. And, BTW, welcome to my new digs! Happy, happy to have you.

How To Migrate Blackberry Email to iPhone 4S

Everyone has varied experiences when they get a new device. For me, the only device I’ve never had issues ramping up is Blackberry smartphones. I got a Motorola Droid from Verizon, and my client’s email never worked; I stopped trying (Verizon couldn’t help me).

A year ago, I tried the Samsung smartphone and email was intermittent and battery life horrible. I reverted to Blackberry and was happy until recently. I decided to turn in the Blackberry (due to RIM’s recent global outages for email service) and try the iPhone 4S.

Synching two POP3 email accounts and one Gmail account to the iPhone has been an experience of ultimate frustration. As of this writing, I am still waiting for help on how to configure my client’s email account (which I absolutely must have) on the iPhone 4S; I was finally successful after five hours Saturday installing my primary business account (in addition to six more hours on this).

As said in the first line, everyone has varying experiences of success, so this story may not hold true for you; however, because this has been so challenging, it’s my duty to share and hopefully head you off at the pass with a solution rather than go down the ravine as I did.

Backstory: Migrating to iPhone from Blackberry

I’m going to recount each step I took to get to a solution, and you may wish to skip ahead to the juicy answer –whichever is best for you. I’m hoping I can help; here goes:

1. Gmail is easily installed in iPhone within two minutes; no problems. I believe Yahoo goes easy, too.

2. When installing a POP3 email account that works with Outlook, choose “other” on the iPhone under settings, mail, set up account.

3. When I installed my two accounts, I was able to get a few emails for a day. Luckily, I was near my PC all day and could compare what I was missing. I only received 10 percent of my emails on the iPhone after my first installation.

4. I returned to AT&T where I got the phone, but the salesman couldn’t help me.

5. Saturday morning, I began my quest for help via Twitter and Facebook. Thanks to Michael Schechter, Gregg Morris, Jenn Whinnem, Erin Feldman, Ray Andrews, and a gentleman from Malaysia for offering major support, tips, and interest in this problem.

6. It was suggested that I do a hard reboot, delete the accounts and reinstall them and look at push technology (which I had no idea about).

7. I did the first things first and at the same time issued two trouble tickets to the web hosts for the POP3 accounts; I had no idea they would be working weekends. I use ChiHost for my business and Successful Hosting for my client’s account.

8. The push thing was something I didn’t know, so I went to a Mobile Mail website and talked to live chat support. I thought this was my solution because the site stated all my emails could be combined, blah, blah. Turns out, it wasn’t, because my email was not hosted with this company. Wrong turn.

9. I went to Apple support community chat and saw tons and tons of people with the exact same problems I was having – migrating from Blackberry to iPhone. The push technology doesn’t exist on iPhone; it’s more like a pull. When I sit with my Blackberry near my PC, Blackberry ALWAYS gets emails first, and then my Outlook brings them off the server. With the iPhone, that does not work; emails are not automatically pushed; and there are only settings for checking for mail every 15 minutes, no more frequently.

10. Meanwhile, the ChiHost support team sent me a response and said that Outlook settings on my PC had to match those of the smartphone. Ah-hah! So, I went through the motions of deleting the account and reinstalling it with the exact settings. Still didn’t work; felt like mail was getting bogged down.

11. ChiHost was great; they said the following:

>>Turn off SSL or anything encrypted.

>>Use advanced settings and ensure ports match what’s being used in Outlook. To know what ports you have for incoming and outgoing mail, go to your Outlook email accounts and click on your existing email. Go to “more settings” and “advanced.” Check ports; often a default is 110 and 25, but another email account I use requires 465 and 995 so each host is different.

>>For the outgoing server, where it says optional user name and password on the iPhone; it’s NOT optional! Add this information in there.

>>Where it says “authenticate” check “password.”

11. I did get a response from Successful Hosting yesterday, but I missed it because I was mobile Saturday and emails were not flowing to client’s email. I just sent them a response back to ask for the proper port settings for the client POP3 account on the iPhone (because the settings I added still aren’t working). This has not been resolved yet.

12. I was told I get to upgrade my smartphone for my client, and guess what? I’m returning to the tried and true workhorse – Blackberry. I have to trust that RIM is going to get its kinks worked out because after this experience and everyone else’s who took time to go to Apple for help (and didn’t get it in the community chat), I have to think there will be a lot of peeps returning to Blackberry.

As for the browser experience? Hands down, it’s iPhone. I have been simply amazed this weekend (not to mention the awesome Siri technology – astonishing, astonishing) with the speed, clarity, mobile readiness of this smartphone.

And, so, the moral to the story is this – ask yourself what goals you have for your smartphone – I’d suggest Blackberry if you want workhorse email dependability for multiple accounts, and I’d suggest iPhone if you want awesome browsing experience and you’re fine with a Gmail or Yahoo email account.  Droid was not my favorite phone and Samsung a year ago – no way.

I hope this piece helps someone; goodness knows I didn’t have the time to waste on this, but perhaps I’m smarter for the next time than I was two days ago. I bet you can add your smartphone war stories and other solutions to add to this list. I can’t thank my colleagues enough who weathered this experience alongside and offered suggestions. Knowing I had that support was so helpful.