When I worked on the Intro to Facebook presentation I found a few simple tips or guidelines to using Facebook. These are great things to remember for both new users and seasoned veterans.
One of my Mother’s Day presents from Jack was a great Wordle sign of words he chose about me. Wordle is a fun online tool that allows you to make word clouds with any set of words you have. I was inspired to make one about my Mom.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!
This is the Wordle that Jack created for me.
I have been using Office 365 for almost two years for my small business. It has been a great service for me at a reasonable price and very little downtime.
Before using Office 365, I had researched options to get my email, calendar and contacts onto an Exchange server, which would eliminate sync problems I was having between devices. Most services were double the price of Office 365 for just the Exchange portion and didn’t include the other services they provide.
Included with my Office 365 service is SharePoint access and website hosting. I recently moved our www.denike.com website over to Office 365 too. They have a few different templates to choose from and a pretty easy design interface. It works for our site, but if you need something more custom or have specific features it may not work for you.
Using an Exchange server has been more than worth the money for me. I am able to have my email, calendar, contacts and other elements of Outlook synced across my phone, iPad and laptops in real-time. Before this I would have to use a kluged system of POP3 for email, Google sync for calendar and periodic manual syncing for contacts. Things were never completely coordinated. Now I have access across multiple devices seamlessly and even have access through the web via the Office 365 portal.
The main drawback of Office 365 for Small Business is that you pay per user. However for me I only have two registered users, Jim and I, so it is still cheaper than using Exchange through another host. If you have more users than that it could become more expensive, but you get more services too.
If you own a small business and are looking for a way to get on an Exchange server and access the other Office tools, Office 365 is a great way to go.
What tools do you use for your small business?
I was not compensated in any way for this post by Microsoft or Office 365. These are just my opinions.
Within Facebook you have the ability to create and join Groups. These Groups can be small or large, public or private and are useful in all sorts of different settings.
I am a member of many Groups, some for brainstorming ideas, others centered around a common cause or organizations to which I belong. No matter what the reason is for forming a Facebook Group they can be an incredibly useful tool.
Here are some tips and benefits of using Facebook Groups.
- Groups can be open, closed, or secret.
- Open means everyone can see the Group, who is in it and what they post.
- Closed means the Group and who is in it can be seen by anyone, but posts are only shown within the Group
- Secret means the Group, members and posts are only seen by members.
- You don’t have to be friends with all the members of a Group to be in it. This is a great way to interact with different people without having thousands of friends.
- Photos can be uploaded by any Group member, similar to uploading photos in your profile.
- Members can also share documents and files. It is an easy way to distribute a file for editing too many people without having to email it.
- Specific Group events can also be created and manage on the Group calendar.
- Find or create Groups around common causes. I am a member of a Group of parents who have kids with Ocular Albinism and Oculocutaneous Albinism.
- Use Groups to coordinate local organizations. We have a Group for our cub scout pack where we share photos and event information.
- Groups can be used as a way to collaborate around a subject or project. I am a member of a Group where we talk about story ideas.
- Utilize Groups to share items. I have a community Group where we share children’s books as a way of promoting reading without spending a fortune on books.
- Connect with people from events through a Group. If you are attending a conference or workshop see if there is a Group and meet people ahead of time. After the conference continue to interact and dialog with people you have met.
Are you in any Facebook Groups? How are using Groups?
I recently found a new online diagramming tool called Creately. It has a simple easy to understand interface and many templates and types of diagrams to choose from. I have made a site map and a mind map for an e-book I am working on. Here is an intro video to help you get started using Creately.
Before Christmas I posted tips for choosing a tablet for your child. As a follow-up I wanted to give you a direct comparison of some of the options available on the market. All of them could be good solutions depending upon your situation. We chose to get Nexus 7’s for the boys because it gave us the greatest flexibility at a price we could afford.
Two weeks ago I finally bought the new router that we have needed for months. If I checked the date on my first email about routers to Paul, my brother-in-law and tech expert, it was probably last summer. Ours had been working intermittently and recently we had to reset it a couple times a day, so time for a new one.
After significant research I settled on the MyNet N900 from WD. It got good reviews, met my criteria and Best Buy was offering a gift card with the purchase. Previously I had been pretty loyal to Linksys/Cisco, but I was in favor of trying a new brand since our current router was failing less than three years after purchase.
The MyNet N900 is dual band N series router. Dual band means that it transmits on two frequencies — 2.4 GHz, which lots of wireless devices use, and 5 GHz, which only newer wireless devices use. The 5 GHz band is less crowded, so it can be faster to use if your device is capable. N series refers to the Wi-Fi standard. There is a new Wi-Fi standard of AC that is now available, which is supposed to be significantly faster than N. However there are very few devices on the market that are equipped to use AC and most experts are saying that we are at least a year away from mainstream device availability.
My criteria, in order of importance, for choosing a new router were:
1. Speed – I wanted the fastest N series router technology available, which is N900. I ruled out an AC router, because our new technology purchases are going to be this year and the likelihood of them using AC technology was small. Therefore I didn’t feel it warranted spending the extra money on an AC router at this time.
2. Dual band – most N series routers have dual band, but not all so make sure you confirm this.
3. Reviews – I always look at reviews to see how the routers test in the real world. I usually use CNET and PCmag, and sometimes Gizmodo. They have standardized testing procedures and help me narrow down my choices.
4. Price – Usually routers in a certain class are around the same price, but I take it into consideration.
5. Looks – When all other things are equal I will use form factor to break the tie.
So far the router is working well. However one thing to note is that I was surprised that a few of my devices do not utilize the 5 GHz band. At first I actually thought that the router wasn’t working correctly, but discovered that my little HP laptop, the old range extender and the Xbox don’t use the 5 GHz band.
I also added a WD MyNet Range Extender to our network to help amplify the 5 GHz signal in our family room. It helps keep our signal strong throughout the rest of the house. Hopefully this new set-up will keep our house happy and with a strong wireless signal.
We have chosen to give our children tablets for Christmas this year, but trying to determine which one has been difficult. With the explosion of the tablet market there are so many options– how do you narrow them down to make the right choice?
Since our oldest has an iPod Touch we thought the decision was simple and we would just get one of those for the other one. However he has vision issues and we just feel that it was too small. So that has opened up a new universe of options.
These are some of the questions that I am using as part of my decision-making process:
· What devices do we already own? Since we have already invested time and money in a particular platform it may make sense to stick with that one. However, there is no point in staying with a platform you know if it isn’t the correct fit.
· What platforms do we want to invest in as our needs grow? Over the next year, I do plan to make some new technology purchases. How do the tablets play into that decision?
· Price? How much is too much for a child’s device? Some are expensive and may not make the most sense for a child who will be harder on it than and adult.
· Child’s age? My preschooler has different needs than a fourth or fifth grader. The apps or tools that he is going to use are different. He will need a simple interface that will make it easy to find his movies, apps and games. My second grader will need more security since he now wants to begin to look up YouTube videos and visit some websites.
· App store? What kind of apps are available for a particular device? Just because they have thousands of apps doesn’t mean they have the correct ones for your child.
· Manufacturer? This is a minor consideration for me, but still one to think about. The larger the manufacturer the better chance a major retailor can service the device. It is also good to look at their reputation of producing good products.
· Custom? Does the device have a custom interface? Can you easily modify it to meet your needs? Some many not let you have any flexibility, while others could be very open.
If you are considering a tablet for your child this holiday season, I hope you find this helpful and you are able to make an educated choice.
This was originally posted on Mom It Forward on November 28, 2012.
Today I have a post on how to choose a tablet for your child this holiday season on Mom It Forward. In it I have tips and questions we are using to help decide what to get for Will this year.
Are you giving your child a tablet? What one have you decided on? If you haven’t decided, take a look at my tips.