Online Biz

Archive for the ‘Eworld’ Category

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.

Advertisements

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.

The intellectual property battle rages on between Apple and Samsung. In April 2011, Apple filed for patent infringement, claiming that Samsung copied its iPhone and iPad designs. Courts all over the world have taken on this battle. Europe and Australia, for instance, have ordered preliminary injunctions barring Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from shelves — just in time for the holiday season.

 

Provided by Stephanie Buck

Debate is still raging about how many people are really using Google+ and whether it can ever overtake Facebook. But at least one prominent user was making active use of the site Wednesday: President Barack Obama.

Obama’s profile, which just gained a “verified account” tick mark, appears to have been launched first thing Wednesday morning. Naturally, it isn’t being run by the President himself, but by his reelection campaign — a fact that the profile’s posts makes no attempt to hide.

“Welcome to the Obama 2012 Google+ page,” reads the first Presidential post. “We’re still kicking the tires and figuring this out, so let us know what you’d like to see here and your ideas for how we can use this space to help you stay connected to the campaign.”

One one hand, Obama’s arrival is an important stamp of approval for the nascent social network. Obama has been active on Twitter and Facebook since he was a U.S. Senator running for the highest office in the land; his social media savvy is often credited with boosting his first presidential campaign, helping to recruit an army of young campaign workers and small donors. The President held a Town Hall with Twitter in June, and another at Facebook in April.

On the other hand, the relative lack of fanfare surrounding Obama’s arrival may indicate just how far Google+ has to go. His first post was arguably the most historic thing to happen on Google+ this week; more than 12 hours later, it boasts just 110 shares. (For comparison, one of our more popular Facebook stories this week has been shared more than 3,000 times in a day.)

Since that first announcement, Obama’s campaign has posted twice more Wednesday — once to tout the President’s tax credits for unemployed veterans, and once to push a campaign contest where winners get to have dinner with Obama. It has posted nine scrapbook photos, and no videos.

We’re looking forward to the President’s first Google+ hangout, which may supplant the meeting of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Llama as the most historic hangout in Google+’s young life.

 

Provided by Chris Taylor

Steve Jobs Emails

An ebook released Tuesday takes an inside look at the email correspondence of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

“Letters to Steve: Inside the Email Inbox of Apple’s Steve Jobs” ($2.99), by CNN technology writer Mark Milian, explores how the tech innovator fielded emails from fans — and how he handled the missing Apple iPhone 4 prototype dilemma with Gizmodo editors.

Jobs often responded to customer emails directly, which is highly unorthodox for someone in his position. Many ended up online.

Milian spent months scouring the Internet, looking at blog postings and message boards for email correspondences, and spoke to many of those who were lucky enough to get a response. The book, available for the Kindle, is a compilation of what he found.

Mashable spoke with Milian about what it was like to receive an email from the former Apple chief executive — and what kind of questions generally triggered him to respond.

Mashable: What trends did you notice about Jobs’ email responses while doing your research?

Milian: Steve Jobs is often described as a perfectionist, and he was known to be obsessive about typography. But he occasionally made typos. He was also inconsistent about whether he’d sign his name or include “Best” in his sign-off signature. Some of the sources I interviewed for the book believed he had assistants help him with his mail, but I didn’t find any evidence to support that.

Mashable: What type of emails grabbed his attention?

Milian: Flattery certainly helped people get a response. However, some would sent combative emails and still get replies, even if they were unpleasant. It’s obvious that Jobs cared very deeply about many of the topics he took the time to address. He cared about customers having exceptional experiences with their products and Apple’s repair system. But he also cared about things you’d never guess he had a passion for. For example, he’d write long missives about Flash or the H.264 video codec or the Objective-C programming language. If someone happened to touch on a topic he was engrossed in at a certain point, it got his attention.

Mashable: Is it unusual for someone with such executive power to field customer service inquiries?

Milian: There’s a chapter in the book about how Jobs directly handled customer-service inquiries by e-mail and occasionally by phone. Sure, you’ll find some CEOs on Twitter and Google+, but you won’t see them personally helping a customer get their laptop repaired. It fits with Apple’s mission statement to make sure customers have a great experience. If someone’s iPod is broken, that person is not having a good experience. Jobs at times felt like it was his duty to handle those types of emails.

Mashable: Which email exchange sticks out most in your mind?

Milian: Steve Jobs loved to end emails with a zing. An email I got exclusively for the ebook came from a man that runs a company. The man wrote to a bunch of people at Apple including Jobs about a flaw in the App Store’s ranking system. Jobs replied and explained some changes coming to the App Store, and then ended his email with a great jab: “I notice that your app has not received great reviews.”

He also played every angle in an attempt to get that [prototype iPhone 4] back, and it showed his brilliant negotiating tactics. However, Gizmodo was not about to give that phone up without a fight.

Mashable: What is it that most shocked you about the emails?

Milian: I was a bit surprised that so many people would so readily publish private correspondences without Jobs’ permission. I can see why, of course. He’s an icon, and people were excited when they received a message from him. But I found it unusual that many didn’t think twice about forwarding these e-mails to reporters or posting them to their own blogs.

 

Provided by Samantha Murphy

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

 

ipad-3-concept

Next models of iPad and iPhone could get a boost in size to go along with improved specs.

While the normal tendency is to make each iteration of a product slimmer, a new rumor suggests that the next generation of iPads and iPhones could actually be a step up in both specs and size.

Citing the site’s “most reliable source,” iLounge has posted some details about the next generation of iPads and iPhones that suggest both product lines will gain a little size when new models are released in 2012.

With the iPad 3, the size increase will only add about .7mm of thickness to the tablet computer. The change is necessary to support a second light bar for the higher-resolution display — rumored to be an impressive 2048 x 1536 pixels. The site indicates that that the iPad 3 could debut sometime in January for a March release.

As for the iPhone 5, the site’s source says the phone will need an extra 8mm to accommodate its new 4-inch display. Upgrades to the phone’s battery could also play into the size increase.

The report suggests that the iPhone 5 will debut sometime in the summer, and that it’s still in the engineering phase (as opposed to early production).

 

Provided by Rick Marshall