Archive for January, 2012


privacyWell, Google has stirred the privacy pot up again. There is no opt out, if you use any Google product, your actions will be tracked. So, what does this portent for Google Search, Gmail and *gasp* YouTube?  Well, if you are surfing online and have something you don’t want anyone to know, you shouldn’t use any Google product or the Chrome browser.  Clearly, Google will be tracking everything and if you have something to hide, it will be available to others.

Now, the privacy policy has no effect on me.  Techsnoop says nothing or goes nowhere online that can’t be defended.  But, Techsnoop understands that some are in different situations.  Advice is this; read all privacy policies of browsers before you use them.  Understand who and under what circumstances your activities may be exposed.  Know how you will be tracked.  And finally, if you are online, live transparently.  Keep your secrets off line.  Technology has always had the potential to expose activity.  This is not new, Google is just stating it simply and clearly.  If you use our product, your information will be monitored.

Big Brother is not watching you yet, he’s just recording you for future viewing.  Think of it as DVR for the Internet and act accordingly.

Happy surfing.

small businessThose of you who follow Techsnoop’s Helper know we have been pushing support for Small Business in America.  Today’s post is about a town who turned out to do just that.  Chagrin Falls, Ohio has a hardware store that has been family owned and operated for 72 years.

One resident started an e-mail that was forwarded to friends until nearly the entire town turned out to make purchases at the hardware store.  Out of town friends even made phone orders.  The message challenged friends to spend at least $21 at the store.  Well, as Techsnoop stated in an earlier post, $20 may not seem much, but when added up over a community, it can keep a small business open and hiring.

This story highlights the power of social media leveraged for good and how true community is defined.

Kudos to Chagrin Falls, Ohio and all who supported Chagrin Hardware.

LG-Thin-Skype-TVAndroid powered TVs, wireless streaming of your personal media content and super-cheap tablets for education are some of the big stars at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

TV of the future has arrived (where’s my hovercar?).  The TVs at CES this year were packed with features for connectivity, streaming, 3D and super-thin.  They nearly disappear when viewed from the side.  Clearly these are meant to be wall mounted works of art integrated into your decor.  No longer will the TV be a necessary floor-hogging monster.  These are sleek and beautiful even when off.  They encourage being left on with a screen saver picture.

Save your pennies, the must-have item on this year’s Christmas list will be TV.

If you got an upgraded snazzy new smartphone or tablet for Christmas, here are the next great free apps; Shazam Player, Path and NBA Game.  Path is the new Social Media app that is intended for only those in your closest inner circle.  Path logs where you go, what you do, what you listen to, when you sleep and wake (I hope without pics) and generally can reconstruct your entire life day by day.  Clearly not information you want to share casually.  In fact, if you use this app, be sure to download and use a strong antivirus and wipe/recover software in case you lose your phone or it is stolen.

If you aren’t tech-savvy, make friends with a geek.  Your home is going connected soon.

mobile sitesSince mobile browsing is at an all time high and increasing each day, it’s high time you made your site mobile friendly.  If you are a small business on a budget, you can still have a mobile version of your website up and running in a few easy steps.

First up; Duda Mobile.  It just doesn’t get any easier than using Duda Mobile.  A few simple clicks and you have a mobile site.  The drawback is limited ability to optimize the site and no access to the actual code.  But, it is simple, fast and FREE.  So no complaints.

The following have not been tested by me but are worth exploring; Mobeezo, mobiSiteGalore, Zinadoo, onbile, WixMobile,and of course, Google has a free mobile site builder (they have everything don’t they).

I must add that some of these create a mobile version of your existing site, but others require you to choose their template and re-create a version of your site.  The best solution is up to you, but Duda Mobile syncs with your existing site so that your content is always updated.

Since they’re free, you can try them all and see which suits your business best.

Now you have no excuses to not be Productive in 2012!

Free StuffThe economy is improving, but you still need to watch the entertainment budget.  Here are a few free resources for you and the family to stay entertained and on budget.  And who doesn’t like to get free stuff?

Amazon.  Yes, this is a huge shopping site and they have great deals.  But two of their best deals are free.  The Amazon App store for Android offers a free premium app every day.  Just visit the site every day from your Android device or your computer and add the app to your device.  You can install it as needed and it doesn’t expire.  Some apps are games, some scaled back versions of paid apps and some are full versions.  Too good to pass up.

Got a new tablet and need books?  Ereader News Today.  If you “Like” their Facebook page, you can get updates to remind you to visit the site each day. Ereader lists books that are offered on Amazon for free each day.  Many are limited time freebies so you should download as soon as possible.  Check the price before downloading to make sure the price has not returned to normal or that the free price is not limited to Prime members.  If you don’t have a Kindle, the Kindle reader is free to download to your laptop or Android device.  And if you have 2 or 3 bucks to spend, Amazon offers a bargain book of the day usually discounted 75 to 90%.  A good way to try out new authors or genres.  If you are an iPhone or iPad user, the iTunes store also offers free eBooks on a frequent basis.

Designers, try out Psd Tuts a great site for sharpening your skills and creating dramatic Graphics and Websites.  And of course, the tutorials and resources on this site are free!

Whenever possible, leave a small donation on free sites to help keep the resources flowing.  I commit this year to donating $10 per month to free, Small Business sites.

So, happy after Christmas specials and get productive in 2012!

Small Business Tips

small businessEntrepreneurship is a great way to increase lifestyle flexibility, stabilize or supplement your income or just change careers.  There are many ways to get started in your own business and it is best to try a home based business or a cubicle rental if you are short of start up funds.

Be ready to work long hours to get started so prepare some frozen meals ahead of time so you won’t waste money on fast food or get run down from eating junk food.  If you are choosing a field where you have little experience but lots of interest, go back to school first.  A one or two year certificate program and an internship can gain you experience, credentials and contacts.

Networking is key in starting a business.  New businesses will have a small marketing budget so key in on trade shows and other events where you can hand out materials face to face.  People will be more likely to utilize a new business from someone they have met and liked.  Use Social Media.  Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can all be great free marketing essentials.  If you don’t understand how to use them, network with those who can show you.

Here are some top business markets for up and coming entrepreneurs.  Some may offer franchise opportunities if you have some money to invest.  Only put your money into well investigated franchises.  Also, make sure your market area is not saturated with this particular business type.

Finally, get ready to succeed.  This is harder than it seems.  Many business owners don’t know what to do when the money starts rolling in.  Have a reinvestment plan, a growth structure and, if you plan to retire from this business, a sell out or phase out plan so that you don’t leave your loyal customers high and dry.

2012 The Year of #SmallBusiness

Small Business Rocks

chartAccording to Get Busy Media, there are over 27 million small businesses in America and they account for 60 to 80% of all employment.   These figures suggest strongly that the only way out of economic malaise is for entrepreneurs to keep plugging away and for all of us to utilize Small Businesses in our buying activities.  Small businesses hire faster, engage with customers better and innovate more than large firms.

Small businesses also barter, deal and discount more than big box stores.  Because their prices tend to be slightly higher, small businesses offer more value and customer service.  Most importantly, small businesses stabilize neighborhoods by renting properties not attractive to larger businesses.  This keeps their services close to your home and negates the need to burn extra gas driving miles to the mall or super center.

Small business owners are your neighbors, friends and relatives.  Give them your business if you want to see economic turn around.  A $20 purchase to you may mean nothing.  But to the small business owner, it may mean making payroll or not.

There are many resolutions being made today, most doomed before the end of the month.  But try to make and keep this resolution; shop small business once a month this year.  You may keep someone employed, find a new best store and make some lifelong friends.

Well worth the price difference isn’t it?

Have a safe, blessed, prosperous and productive 2012 and pass it along.

For more statistics on Small Business, see Entrepreneur.com.

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