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If you want to participate in the kickoff of the holiday shopping season without feeling too much like a market-driven drone, check Small Business Saturday with the help of these social networking tools.

Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the unending onslaught of online deals, there is another holiday shopping day that might get lost in the shuffle: Small Business Saturday. This year marks the second annual such event, a new tradition that tries to steal some addition from chain retailers and big e-commerce sites and give it to local vendors.

And this year, the fledging ritual is getting some serious attention from social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, and Google have all pledge their efforts in support, offering and encouraging small business owners to use their sites’ tools to promote shopping this weekend.

Local retailers aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit this weekend. What happens to consumers who want the discounts but sans the chain names (that are sometimes attached to controversy) they go hand in hand with? Small business Saturday can fill that void along with the help of some geo-social applications.

Foursquare

amex-foursquareFoursquare has been at the top of the social-meets-location game since it began, and Small Business Saturday will be no exception. If you have an American Express card, sync it to your Foursquare account following these directions. Then when you check-in to shops who have partnered with the service via Foursquare on Saturday, you will see a button that says “load to card.” Then when you spend at least $25 or more at the participating store, you’ll get a notification saying $25 was credited to your Amex account. American Express is a sponsor of Small Business Saturday, so ratcheting up sales is in its best interest, but turns out they’re willing to compensate you for helping make the event a success.

 

etsy_iconEtsy

The purveyor of all things handcrafted is a natural fit for small business Saturday—and will appeal to those who want to buy “local” without leaving their living rooms. Just searching “Small Business Saturday” on the site brought up a slew of items that will be on sale this weekend, andthis blog catalogued some of the best e-shops on the site that offered discounts last year.

 

 

thedealmixDaily deal sites

While the likes of LivingSocial and Groupon tend to offer food and spa deals, the occasional local retailer pops up. Between now and Small Business Saturday, a minimal amount of homework and creating an account with one (or all) of these sites could save you some Monday. We’d advise getting with something likeThe Dealmix, which collects a large variety of all these local deals. Keep an eye out on any of these applications for vendor or shop deals in your area. Then make a call or check Facebook to see if they are participating in Small Business Saturday. Then add those savings to whatever discount the daily deal site was offering. Of course, you should check that you can use coupons during the Saturday sale.

 

 

 

Facebook

Facebook is offering a slew of tools for small businesses to take advantage of, but the site is also catering to consumers. Check out the Small Business Saturday Facebook page and you’ll have access to a variety of information, including city guides for optimizing your local shopping in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, as well as organized events in cities nationwide. Some of them include raffles, free gift wrapping, Santa visits for the kids, and community breakfasts.

 

 

 

 

smallbiz twitterTwitter

Be sure to follow your favorite local business on Twitter, if you haven’t already. We’re sure a great many of these sites will have implemented a Follow button (one of the tools in the Small Business Saturday kid), and will be using the hashtags #ShopSmall, #ShopSmallNov26, #SmallBizSaturday and #SmallBusinessSaturday to spread word of their discounts this weekend.

How-to-get-Macs-and-PCs-to-play-nice-together

Macs and PCs may work differently, but they can coexist together. Learn how to comfortably straddle the gap between both operating systems with these simple tips.

Microsoft and Apple have always been competitors on some level, and as a result, their fans often contain a bit of that old competitive spirit. It’s not uncommon for Mac buyers to become overnight loyalists, but Windows has an entrenched fanboy battalion as well.

Given the situation, it’s almost unnatural to think that – *gasp* – someone might own both a Windows PC and a Mac. Can you imagine the nerve? In the same household! Yet it does occur. In fact, I myself own a Windows PC as well as a MacBook, and so far one hasn’t killed the other (or me) while I slept.

With that said, getting the two to play nice can take some time. File, software, and hardware compatibility issues are not as bad as they were a decade ago, but they do exist. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome them.

Conquering old-fashioned file compatibility problems

There was once a time when trying to move a file between a PC and a Mac was a real hassle. Software on each end was wildly different, so files saved on a Mac often could not be opened in Windows without some form of conversion. Error-Cartoon

Today, this problem has lessened. However, the two operating systems continue to use different file systems. Windows relies on NTFS, while OS X uses HFS Plus.

This has no impact on actual file compatibility. A Word document written on a Mac using HFS Plus can be opened on an NTFS file system Windows PC. The problem is the method of file transfer. Macs can read files on an NTFS drive, but can’t write to an NTFS drive, while Windows can neither read nor write to HFS Plus drives. If you normally use physical media to transfer files, this could be a stumbling block.

What’s the solution? Get FAT…32. This file system, which was used by Windows back in the Windows 95/98 era, is read/write compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X. Thumb drives and external hard drives formatted with FAT32 will be compatible with both systems. Problem solved right?

Software compatibility continues to disappoint

Software is still a compatibility sticking point between Macs and PCs. It is still up to a developer to code for either operating system.

Microsoft’s debut of Office for the Mac was the only major software compatibility change to recently take place (and even this occurred years ago), but it was important. Basic productivity tasks are now much easier to complete if you own both platforms because you’ll have a set of familiar and compatible programs available on both.

Windows-7-and-Mac-OS

However, it’s almost universally true that you must purchase the Windows and Mac versions individually, which can be a pain to your pocketbook. One notable exception is Steam for Mac. This gaming platform provides gamers with both a Windows and Mac copy of a video game (if the Mac version is available) when they purchase a title.

Syncing files between systems

File sync software is a blessing if you own multiple computers, but for those who own both PCs and Macs, software compatibility issues are a roadblock. Sync software often only supports one platform or the other.

Surprisingly, one of the easier solutions comes from Microsoft. The company offers a program called Windows Live Mesh that can be used to sync files between systems, and it has both a PC and Mac version. I’ve personally used this and found it works well – and it’s completely free, no matter how much data you need to sync.

Another option is, well, any service that’s based in the cloud. Dropbox is the most common example, but there are tons of similar offerings. However, you usually need to pay once your storage needs go beyond a certain point because the files are stored in the cloud, not on your computers.

Facebook has been working for two years on a secret Facebook phone project named Buffy. Facebook is rumored to be teaming up with HTC to be build a device with a modified version of Android to create a fully integrated Facebook experience.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer might be making a comeback, but as a phone instead of a TV show or movie. Today AllThingsD is reporting that Facebook has been working on an official Facebook phone code named Buffy. The social media giant is rumored to have teamed up with HTC to produce a fully integrated Facebook mobile device. If these rumors are true we shouldn’t expect to see a Facebook phone for at least 12 to 16 months.

We started hearing rumors about a Facebook phone over a year ago, which seem to be true since the Buffy project has been in production for almost two years now. We have seen phones launch in the past year with Facebook integration, and even with a dedicated Facebook button. Buffy is said to be something completely different from anything we have seen thus far.

Buffy is said to run on a modified version of Android tweaked by Facebook so that all of its services are deeply integrated into the phone. It is also said to support HTML5 as a platform for applications, which means you should be able to play all of your favorite Facebook games on the phone.

Facebook’s app is one of the most popular app on iOS, Android, Windows 7, and Blackberry but being just an app comes with restrictions. With Google able to fully integrate Google+ into Android phones, and Apple’s new partnership with Twitter it seems like Facebook needs to make its own device to stay competitive.

Over 350 million people use Facebook apps on mobile phones, and Facebook knows that the future of social networking is mobile. Is the Facebook phone going to be too little too late when it finally comes out?

 

Provided by Mike Dunn

 

gmail-logo-good

The fix is in: Google returns the Gmail iOS app to the Apple App Store bug-free.

 

After a very public screw-up, Google has re-released the Gmail app for iOS devices into Apple’s App Store. The app is currently available for download. (Though, for some reason, it’s not showing up in the iOS App Store app, as of 3:30pm ET.) Users who managed to snag the earlier version of the app, which contained a number of bugs that rendered it inoperable, will have to either log out, or completely uninstall the app, before installing the updated version.

A native Gmail app for iOS has been a long time coming. For the past few years, users of Android-based smartphones have boasted their ability to access added functionality of Gmail which was lost when using the email service on iOS, through its app client. With this release that perk is no longer exclusive to Android users.

At the top of the new-features heap is the addition of Push Notifications, as well as greater speed, efficiency and touchscreen functionality. Better search, email address autocomplete and the ability to upload and send photos are also part of Gmail for iOS.

Google says that, since releasing the original version, it has begun to work on adding a number of additional features, as well. These include the ability to use multiple accounts. Notifications and “mobile specific” touchscreen gestures will also be getting an upgrade. “Many more” new features are on their way, says Google.

The Gmail app is free, and will work on any device that runs iOS 4 or above.

Apple’s iPad may well appeal across the board, but what kinds of people are most likely to buy one? Well, someone has done a spot of research and come up with an infographic providing the answer.

 

Whether it’s a barely-talking toddler who seems to be able to know exactly how to operate the thing, or someone in their twilight years for whom desktop computers were always just too darn tricky, the fact is that Apple’s popular iPad appeals to many types.

Data management firm BlueKai took it upon itself to take a closer look at which kinds of people would be more likely to purchase the device. Through its research, illustrated in a neat infographic at the bottom of this page, it found that an iPad buyer is most likely to be male, a fan of video games and a pet owner. It’s hard to find a connection between pets and iPads but it’s likely that it’s those video game players who are helping to push up iOS mobile gaming revenue to record levels.

Falling into the ‘highly likely to buy an iPad’ category are scientists and health care workers, as well as domestic business travelers (keeps them busy on the plane), international travelers (ditto), apartment dwellers, proponents of organic food and vitamin takers.

Other information included in the demographic included comScore’s discovery that 45.9 percent of tablet owners live in households earning in excess of $100,000 per year. Additionally, research by Nielsen showed that 70 percent of all iPad use takes place in front of a television.

The iPad is proving a huge success for Apple, which sold more than 11 million of the devices during the most recent quarter for which data is available. Precisely how many of those belong to male, pet-owning gaming fans isn’t currently known.

 

Provided by Trevor Mogg


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