Amazing Skype Codec and New Cloud technology gets lost in iPhone 5 buzz

Mob mentality can be personified in the numbers of Chinese children taken out of school to make iPhones that Apple is expecting to sell to on launch day. When the government can state that the anticipated sale of iPhone 5 will single-handily boost the economy, despite loud cries of “don’t buy it” coming from Apple’s opposition, you know Tim Cook is keeping Steve Job’s business model of selling to a culture alive and well.

How about the business altering new Skype codec that is set to make your communication crisper and less choppy? Audio engineers at Skype teamed up with Xiph.Org to make CD quality audio that is intended for the internet. Even if you disregard Skype and video calls, if this kind of technology is successful, we would be looking at a whole new way of streaming music on the internet. Now that’s a business improvement that can put the world ahead again. So maybe dancing around an iPhone with a smaller plug in its bottom is not really worth our time anymore. What about updating your company to the cloud? As business people, we should move away from navel gazing at our phones and return to looking for innovation that can make our business move faster. It would also be a great change of pace for recent technological media.

I doubt that Andriod phones are made in a more educationally sound environment than Apple phones are. The keyboard on any OS before Andriod’s Ice Cream Sandwhich isn’t exactly the best. But I don’t even see the internet pointing that out anymore. But just about every article I have written about technology in the last month has been about my disappointment with Apple, and that’s not normally my top priority. Speculation about the new iPhone takes up a large portion of the internet about five months after the release of the previous model. And that considering the updates are not even that spectacular.

Here we are again, with model 5, which really has few noticeable changes from the 4S, considering its most popular feature Siri is still in beta. Again with the smaller, thinner, better, words being thrown around. The difference is that if parts of the previous phones were ‘revolutionary‘, the only ‘revolting’ aspect of the 5th model is the smaller charger and larger screen. Let’s call the new phone what it is, a leap to catch up to current Andriod phones. Instead of standing in line right now, let’s wait for the iPhone 5z (or G, S, X, really take your letter pick) to come out with an actual NEW and Revolutionary feature that will cause all of the competition to jump in and try to get ahead again. I have said it before: technology became lost when innovation stopped being a business model and culture turned into one.

Windows 8 and Businesses Won’t Mix

I have previously written about Windows 8 being a real nail bitter. Already the new Windows Surface tablet is proving to be troublesome, which Microsoft addressed by lowering the cost from the predicted 600$ to a possible 200$ to rival that of the Amazon Kindle running on Andriod. Recently every head hunting company shrieked with excitement upon hearing about LinkedIn integration into the new Outlook, Microsoft will be releasing with their new OS. Of course, they got excited all too soon. Everyone from Gabe Newell to random internet strangers have pointed out the numerous flaws in the new operating. This leads me to believe that alas, companies will not be switching to Windows 8, but rather doing another version of “sit and wait on Windows XP,” this time titled “sit and wait on Windows 7,” until Microsoft gets the next thing right.

What’s Not Going to Stick:

  1. Some people might be ok with a tablet-like interface, but it’s pretty clear that if only 11 percent of the adult population owns a tablet, not everyone wants to use one. Really the displeasure should be obvious, considering no one buys a desktop if they really want a tablet. Especially, considering the comparative cost of the two. I could sit here and be frustrated over the fact that had Apple started the desktop-as-tablet revolution, Macheads would have been sure to claim it as the new way of technology. Instead, I am going to point out that Microsoft started the tablet-as-desktop revolution, forcing non-tablet users to integrate into tablet format on their computers. Basically, it’s nice to have a tablet that works like a computer and syncs all of its information across all devices, but not one wants a computer that looks like it has half of the features a desktop.
  2. I might be overly skeptical, but I’m not really sure that the LinkedIn integration will work the way recruiters want it to. Sure, there is no doubt we will get to see whatever your contact may have added to their LinkedIn profile. But do we also want the reminders that we still need to connect with someone we have possibly never spoken to based on a recommendation? What about the idea that social media is invading into one of the few things online we still like to believe is personal—our email? Is this inevitable because social media is an inseparable part of today’s society or did LinkedIn and Microsoft just get greedy?
  3.  It can’t be used comfortably for…anything. The start and desktop as apps? Having Office on the cloud? Not many people have adapted Microsoft’s current tools. Let’s look at the update from the perspective of those people who do not get the latest gadgets all the time. The good ol’ baby boomers who are still a huge part of the economy in their working efforts. I’m certainly generalizing here, many have an issue adapting early to a new operating system that looks nothing like anything they’ve dealt with before. Other than those who are now sporting the new Windows Phone and eagerly waiting for the Surface Tablet, Window’s new OS will be a big change—something that few want to deal with. One of the reasons that Windows 7 was successful, was its mix between some people being familiar with Vista and wanting a better version of it and others just sitting on Windows XP for entirely too long. Most companies will not jump on the band wagon right away and will in fact run away from it if it’s too unfamiliar.

Finally: I hate to admit it, but people have always turned to Windows to be innovative while keeping things familiar. It’s one of the reasons people do not switch to Mac. I am not suggesting that Microsoft should have just stayed with Windows 7, but this is not the answer. People were not prepared and they certainly will have a tough time adjusting. If my predictions are right, this new OS will roll out, already few like it and even fewer will once it’s out of beta. Their next operating system will simply remove the new extremes and become more videogame-friendly again. Unless, Microsoft is also trying to get people to use their Xboxes and not their PC’s for gaming, but that’s a huge can of worms we are not about to open yet.

Tech Brands, Reciprocate the Love with Competition

No office is complete without a techie. You know, the person who looks up specs for new items and definitely has a solid stance on the whole Windows vs Mac. Ok, maybe that person is me here at Winston. Regardless, that person is invaluable to the company they side with in a debate. All of their online rantings on tech websites, social media and blogs will diligently defend their favorable company with (usually) valid points to their friends, colleges (even if most of the time they can empty eyes as a response) and anyone willing to listen. Why are these people and their crazy antics so important? Because they increase brand recognition with their viral brand royalty. This means that not only is this person always going to buy the product you are selling, they might also persuade a person or two to do the same. These people are so important that their angry outcries of “why this?” and “I can’t take it anymore!” need to be heard and quickly soothed. Geeks need to continually be able to out-argue each other, because if they can easily concede to in an argument to competitor’s progress, your brand has just lost the tech war.

It’s scary to see that the government might not buy your product anymore because you have become less eco-friendly than you previously promised and it’s even scarier when people begin to say that your competition is getting ahead of you. At least it should be. I am not just referring to Jelly Bean’s lightening speeds, Siri’s lack of emotion or timely responses. I am speaking more along the lines of costumers outright letting you know (through a widely respected source) that they are switching from your product if you do not deliver in your next and (possibly last) opportunity. Google bothered quite a few people when it decided to make the internet more friendly by asking people to use their real names to comment on Youtube posts.

Apple’s response of removing Youtube from their new OS is not exactly a better business step. Consider how often you use or know someone who uses Youtube. Now consider how many videos you see that are not hosted by Youtube. Are you starting to understand the rampant foot shooting being done here? My point is, no business ever should regress. Competition exists so that your company knows that someone can always ‘one up’ you, not so that you can sit back when you think you are ahead of the curve. Deleting a service you have because your competition is involved or relaxing on your updates because you think you’re ahead is not recommended if you are rolling out a product that is known to raise expectations. In the technological industry a mishap or one lost audience member means thousands  of dollars in lost revenue.

Bottom Line? Get those who don’t like you on your side and keep those who already love you—closer.

Google Fiber For Your Business?

Google is nowhere done growing. Neither was Skynet in 2029 when it sent back the Terminator. Much like the number of zeros the number googol has, Google’s abilities run into hundreds. At this point, it’s passed pandemic proportions and moved into worldwide contagion. Much like with Apple products, you can completely Google yourself out. Chromium powered laptops, Andriod phones and tablets are a techie’s open source dream. Recently, tech companies have begun to press the power of wireless internet. Apple discontinued Ethernet ports in their new MacBook Pros and Chrome Books’ OS Chromium relies heavily on the internet to power and store your information.

The next step for Google is only natural: make internet better. Google’s next great, multi-million, multi-year venture is called Google Fiber. Fiber is going to be doing what so far only Verizon Quantum has attempted to do, for quite a bit of cash. Verizon services can offer you up to 300 Mbps speeds (2.2 min to download an HD movie) for 89.99 per month, and so far no major cable companies can compete. That is until Google came in with its Wal-Mart sized competition. Google is trying to do to basic home internet what Wal-Mart did to retail store prices.

Fiber offers a wide range of pricing from 0$ per month (that’s no typo) to 120$ for TV and high speed internet. For every business owner and tech nerd with at least three devices, this is a dream come true. And the three people whom I have pointed in the direction of Fiber have gotten excited all over for the mere prospect.

Cons: Getting closer to the possibility of having Skynet cyborg overlords. But seriously, let’s clarify some information. In order to use the free internet, a person needs to be part of the set up installation process that costs a 10$ when Fiber makes it to your city and a 300$ installation fee or 25$ a month, after which your internet is maintained at no cost. On all the other plans the installation fee is waived.  Will there be another catch? Possibly, in this case the large corporation will not be seeking to suck money from us, but something far more valuable—our consumer habits.

 

For your business, Google Fiber is an excellent prospect. Just consider the value of the product you could be receiving! For the time being, Fiber is not available for businesses even in Kansas City, as Google is keeping it residential during development.

It’s also important to note that several important addendums may need to take place before Fiber comes to your town, not to mention, your business. First, Fiber just launched in Kansas City in July. And the first tests have not brought the best results. Just as well, after initial testing, Google could realize the true cost of maintaining a 1Gbps speed and charge a lot more. Still, Google’s idea is truly noble: make internet a must have easy access tool for everyone and raise the bar in speed while they are doing it. Perhaps just seeing the competition heat up with make cable companies reconsider their current rates.

The Worst Bullies: Yourself and Internet Strangers.

It’s an overused saying but there is seldom a thing that’s more important than staying positive in today’s world. With the internet growing every day, our altercations with people also become more common. Really, the only way a person nowadays can avoid communicating constantly is actually moving in under a rock. Naturally, when encountering more people daily, it’s more likely that more than a few of them will be duds—mean spirited people who communicate for the sake of saying something and don’t always consider the feelings of the person on the receiving end. Here is a list of places where you are very likely to encounter someone with an attitude, why they do so and what you can do to avoid stressing out over it.

Location: Any Type of Social Media.

Anyone who has posted something on any public site has encountered belligerent anonymous strangers. Your friends on Facebook might not always be the kindest, but having their name out certainly makes a person double check whether their comment might be offensive. LinkedIn is also fairly safe because business etiquette teaches us to say nothing if there is nothing nice to be said. Meanwhile, the likes of YouTube, Twitter, and, sadly sometimes Reddit, can be rather aggressive in their comments. Some people have learned how to handle these really well. However, most of us do not know what to do and take comments of such nature personally.

Saturday Night Live Displays Internet Bullies at their Finest

Solution to Social Media. Thankfully, because the internet is so vast, it’s really easy to avoid something and refocus your energy on something else. However. we all know that no matter how many times someone says “just ignore it,” the problem really is that you cannot. You should deal with it, just not the same way the bully would. On facebook you can defriend someone or block them. On the other sites, do not be afraid to report someone as spam. Use that button, and freely. Just like pesky fake accounts that ask you to buy something in return for a ‘follow,’ people who are rude and pugnacious deserve to know that they are spamming you with their negative, unconstructive criticism. Try to focus on positive things that people are saying. In your next video or tweet thank someone for how pleasant they were. Not only will this model the idea that being nice gets you recognized, it will also make an indirect jab by ignoring negative comments. There are few things people will want to continue to do without recognition. If the comments get out of hand and you have used all of your resources, don’t be afraid to just retreat. Either discontinue your discourse about the topic, delete your post, or just hide people’s ability to comment on your posts. It might seem drastic, but if you’re truly not learning anything from everyone’s input (how to better your post next time, spelling error you might need to fix) then it’s not worth your time. Finally, refocus your attention to more positive social networks and blogs that more closely relate to your interests- hellogiggles.com might be one for example, Pinterest.com might be another. Getty Images has an entire website dedicated to inspiring people.

Location: Job Seeking When You Feel Like You’ve Drained All Of Your Resources.

We have all been there at one point. There are a thousand aunts that suddenly show up to edit your resume because they know best. There are two thousand companies where you are “just not a good fit.” Three thousand books that will make it seem you’ve been doing the wrong thing this whole time.

Solution to Job Seeking Woes. Keep persevering. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of a job search was 21 weeks as of January, 2012. That means that you could be lucky and fall below that number or need some help as you exceed the time frame. Another statistic claims that people give up looking after five months–and that’s the one which needs to be addressed foremost. This is no normal Bully situation you’re dealing with. In this case, often the bully is you and/or someone close by. It’s very rare that parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents understand of your situation. They want you to succeed but preferably without you having to borrow money from them or ‘crash’ at their place. Hence, their patience will be rather short and their advice rather one-sided. It might be a good idea to distance yourself from those relatives that are forcing their advice upon you, especially if they are not coming with professional knowledge. That being said, it will be more upsetting if you are left wondering what would have happened if you did take that chance and follow someone’s advice.  As long as you can honestly tell yourself that you tried, and/or their advice did not work, you gave it your best shot.

Keep positive by re-reading your resume. After all, that resume is supposed to be your best foot forward before the employer has seen your face. Re-read it and edit it until it makes you smile because that’s the reaction an employer should have when they see your perfect qualifications. When it comes to work, your earning potential and your feelings, it’s tough to keep telling yourself you are doing a great job. You become your own bully.The recommendation here is to seek professional advice. You might not want temporary work, but a good staffing agency will tweak your resume and give you some pointers before you go on an interview. Going on a temporary assignment is not always the worst idea if you have been out of work for a while, especially considering some companies will keep you on after their contract with the staffing agency is through.

Most importantly, don’t forget to always keep your chin above the water, because if you’re nice, the world needs more people like you.

Is Office 15 Worthy of Your Office?

We could sit here and discuss forever how Android’s new Jelly Bean OS beats iPhone’s Siri in every test. However, that would be just for fun, a distraction from the important business that Windows announced on Monday. Hope you have not gotten used to Office 2010 because an update is coming and like Windows 7 was to Windows Vista—this one is big. Windows is trying to compete with a world full of desk top apps and tablets. Office’s new format will follow everything else in the shiney Windows 8 OS. Considering that Microsoft is entering that land a little bit late with its Surface tablet launching five years after the iPad, it’s important that everything works. Especially when keeping in mind that during its first display the tablet lowered many expectations. Microsoft promises that the Office 15 (aka Office 2013) will be convenient to use without a difficult learning curve. We’ve observed that learning might come be harder to those who have not joined Office 365, the cloud-enabled application system that businesses have been slow to adapt to. Microsoft promised during its Monday announcement that they will be working to better 365 while they put out the new Office 2013.[1]

The new Office Suite forces you to deal with the currently clumsy Office 365. If the previous version asked that you create your document on your desktop first, with the Word, PowerPoint or Excel doc and then upload it, Office 2013 will prefer you to start from the online server and only download the doc to your desktop if you need it. Your recent documents will show up as tiles once you open the desktop version the Office program. Again, tablet friendly. On the same note, Office 365 is supposed to make collaborations painless and it delivers. Little underlines and bubbles make it is easy to see when someone on your team is helping you out. No word yet whether all parties can have the same documents open at the same time without the program freaking out.

Here are some other highlights, summarized: Reading docs is easy too. When you’re in ‘Read Only’ mode entire paragraphs can be collapsed and all borders/mark ups removed, so that only one thing is front your eyes at a time. Office 2013 is able to read and edit PDF documents. Not only can you change a PDF document or embed it inside of your new Word.doc, you can then save that completed work as either a .pdf or a .doc. You can also embed videos into your document. Now to Excel. It’s gotten smarter so that it knows ahead of time what you are about to put into a new column if it’s seen that name/thing/number somewhere else before.  It will also recommends charts for you based on the contents of the table you created. Powerpoint can be uploaded online, which makes it great for moving your presentations as needed. Finally, Outlook has been made easier by modifying how you set up mail rules.

Business Worthiness: While this might be pretty convenient for those will little desktop memory, it is certainly a new manner of doing things. It might take a while to get used to not going to My Documents or your neat little folders on your home screen. The alternative will make neat little folders on the server that everyone can see across the company if you choose to do so without the hassle of having to look through your entire computer. As you can see, it’s business savvy to have the cloud to save space and time, but the learning curve might be considerably not worth it.  Keep in mind, however, that if the new Office does well, your business might be left in program dust.


[1] If you have a mid-size business, it might be easier to use SkyDrive, the cloud system that Microsoft holds for its Hotmail uses that can store up to 7GB of data and easily syncs with both its current Office, 2010 and Office 15.

Businesses Might be Forced to Remove Macs from the Picture

Apple’s last conference left a lot of people very excited for their next product’s main attraction, the Retina display. Some of the features of the new Mac could make a great addition to any workforce. It helps that the MacBook Pro is able to run multiple monitors without a problem. Another being how cool the Mac stays under the pressure of running those monitors. But there are a lot of issues waiting for the business consumer that are easily overlooked because of society’s general obsession with Apple products. Specifically, Going Green. We’ve installed recycling bins on every street corner (at least as observed in NY/NJ), we use ecofriendly water bottles, compostable potato chip bags, recycling bins specifically for plastic bags are in every grocery and paper speakers amp up our phones. So how is it that Apple’s latest computer has moved so far away from those efforts?

The latest MacBook Pro with Retina has been deemed “The least Repairable Laptop” on the market. Perhaps a consumer could overlook the fact that the new Retina machine does not have an Ethernet port. Maybe they could get excited for the  three monitor hook up because of the graphics it enables. Let’s not even discuss the fact that Apple can no longer claim to be virus free. Most will probably even look past the fast that the outdated technology (RAM and Processors compared to competitors) will not stand the test of a year’s time.  “Fine, I can update the parts, add an ethernet” Macheads might immediately chime in. However, being “the least repairable laptop” means that you no longer can just update any piece on your own. It means that repair costs go up and so do the spare pieces needed to make a more complete laptop. More importantly, it means the government can’t purchase the machines. Before anyone gets upset claiming government control over everything, I would like to point out that the regulation only asks that the machine be easily disassembled to recycle. Seems like a noble cause to us.

Apple’s new release just doesn’t stand the poor-economy-consumer test. What’s to come for the environmentally friendly folks who want a compostable laptop Apple just recently boasted? In a profit driven world there is no room for wallet comfort, and certainly no room for ecofriendly.

Apple actually accomplished a lot of things for their business and yours. They can return their product to being exclusive, because those with their senses intact will doubtfully purchase a computer that cannot be updated for anything less than Apple charges. The MacBook Pro with Retina will return Macs to Designers, who need the graphics, but don’t need constant contact with the internet and conversely will not be receiving viruses from its use. As an entrepreneur, no one expects companies who have switched to Mac to switch to Windows, but during the next update, you will be forced to reconsider shelling out a thousand dollars for a laptop that loses a the basic functions a business uses, the internet. If the government can’t stand behind a private company that accounts for much of the U.S. imports, how could you?