Top Five Online Services to make your 2018 a Business Success

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Having worked for myself for many many years, I welcome good services and tools that can make my job easier. Not only does it allow you to smile more at the end of the day, it also gives you some time back and I am sure everyone would admit to liking more time on their hands. I check out new online services regularly and would like to share my top five picks with you today.

I always need to send videos and other files to my clients, more or less on a daily basis. If you need to send files quickly and easily, to someone in the same workplace or to the other side of the world, Send Anywhere could be right up your street. Not only is this a free service, it allows you to send files with no maximum file size. Imagine being able to move files between your own devices when you get a new smartphone or laptop. Or perhaps you need to get that finished video over to a teammate for approval. This is no problem, using the simple web-driven interface. There’s even a WiFi Direct feature that allows you to send files without using data or the internet.

Another really cool use-case scenario relates to emails. Many email providers limit the maximum file size you can attach. With Send Anywhere that problem no longer exists, your file is presented to the recipient as a link which they simply click to download the attachment. Imagine that … email attachments with no limits. 

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Also worth noting is that you don’t even need to register to use this service. A simple six-digit key is all you need to get started. Did I mention that all file transfer from Send Anywhere are safely encrypted to ensure maximum security as well as privacy? With just six digits, you are ready to send your files anywhere, across mobile devices, desktop and the web.  

Intuit Quickbooks Self Employed is a real time saver for small business and especially sole traders. As a content creator myself, I used to spend hours doing my accounts and really hated it. Now my bank account is linked to Quickbooks, with all my transactions syncing across automatically. Nowadays, I just spend one hour per month reconciling my invoices and receipts. It even allows you to track mileage (another great saving on your tax bill) and invoice your customers too. When tax time comes around, help is at hand here with reports that help you file your tax return. It’s super easy to use and a real time saver.

Google Keep is relatively new to my collections of useful services. This allows you to make quick notes, checklists, audio memos, photos, screenshots and reminders. These are then saved to the cloud and accessible across multiple platforms, for example your Android or iOS smartphone and Windows and MacOS via your web browser.

MailChimp for keeping your customers informed is super powerful and it’s free at certain levels. The most simple explanation of this is an email subscription list service. You get your customers to subscribe to your list, then on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis (you decide), you can send them an email newsletter. This is very powerful, as you can update them on new services, special offers etc and it keeps you connected to your customer-base. On the free service you can have up to 2,000 subscribers and send a maximum 12,000 emails per month. You can even check how many of your customers actually opened your email newsletter too. 

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My wildcard service is indeed one you should definitely have heard of, but often overlooked as a business tool. Making your Instagram a business account, allows you to access very useful analytics about the photos you are sharing. A top tip here is to share photos that are not just trying to sell to your customers every single time. Sharing inspirational photographs, that have some relevance to what you do is important. Of equal importance is adding extra value to your followers (and potential customers). Making them smile once per day will make your company more personable and with clever planning can open many new doors for you.

You can download Send Anywhere here.

*Sponsored post. Opinions remain writer's own.

WHAT’S THE GAME, ANDROID?

What’s in a game? With more than a billion people using the Android operating system, we wonder what the future holds for gamers on this ubiquitous platform. With a 75% share of the market and a billion users, Android is the MVP player in the mobile game.

The latest iteration of the Android OS continues the list of alphabetical confectionary. Marshmallow was officially released last October and improves the Lollipop experience. A new version – Android N (nougat?) – is due in May. What can we expect?

FE FI FO FUM

On the official Android blog, there is a lot of talk about Project Fi. Project Fi is all about affordable, all-encompassing, wireless connectivity. By partnering with both networks and hardware providers, Project Fi promises an even more connected experience.

For gamers, this means never having to quit that winning streak or pull out of that poker tournament. Described by Google as the ‘network of networks’, there’s a good chance Project Fi will be a ‘promoted option’ on the Android OS of the future. Google will try to consolidate the world’s networks to benefit its users.

ID ME

In a connected world, we can be exactly what and who we want to be. We think the new Android OS will enable gamers to create truly unique online identities that can be used across multiple applications and websites.

Rather than access your favourite online casino or gaming site with a specific user name and password, unique to that particular client, you will use your generic Android Gamer ID.

The advantages of this could be both simple ‘one-stop’ banking and community-based play. It will be easier to find friends and be discovered. You can also develop an online reputation for your avatar and ID. Online casinos and gaming sites would need to sign up to the system.

GAME ON THE MOVE

Mobile gaming follows the hardware. As mobile devices get more complex, and more central to people’s lives, mobile gaming follows suit and gains in sophistication and ease of access.

Android will facilitate online casino gaming and support the shift from land-based to online action. As the hunger for tax revenues increases, more and more territories will give online gaming the green light.

AND FINALLY…

Significant jumps in mobile OS technology are far and few between. What is unrelenting – however – is ‘improvement’. All the recent Android updates have been mainly about enhancing and improving what’s already on offer.

Our prediction is an evolution of all aspects of the mobile gaming experience, from better online IDs, an environment with no disconnects, and more flexible access to the gaming experience you want. That’s what we’re betting on…

Samsung do it again with the Galaxy S7

Samsung appear to have done it again with their new Galaxy S7, continuing to cut the gap between themselves and Apple's iPhone as the most popular mobile phone on the market when their latest smartphone hits the shelves on March 11. When it comes to Android phones, nobody quite does it like Samsung, and the Galaxy S7 has already been a hit for a host of reasons, from its camera to its memory slot. Both the S7 and the S7 Edge, the slimmer version of the phone, are being tipped to challenge the iPhone 6 at the top of the best selling charts over the next few months, and it's hard to find any real fault in this new release from Samsung.

People want a lot more from their phones than ever before. Whether it's creating high-quality videos for YouTube, checking the latest football scores with ESPN, booking a flight with Skyscanner or any number of modern uses for smartphones, people need their phones to capable of more functions than ever before.

Having placed a lot of emphasis on gamers, with some exciting developments in the pipeline for virtual reality, the S7 is a lot more than just a phone. And for those gaming fans who have an interest in online casinos, whether it’s playing pokies with 32Red or competing in poker tournaments, this smartphone is more than capable of juggling everything a gamer could need to stay on top of all the action. 

But as well as offering users all the latest apps and features, the public want to know the more traditionally important functions of a phone are as important as those new innovations. So, what are the main things we need to know about Samsung's latest product. 

Image Credit:  the Inquirer

Image Credit: the Inquirer

 

Camera: The most obvious improvement with the S7 has to be its camera. With a clear focus on low-light settings, Samsung have reduced the camera from 16 to 12 megapixels, albeit it using bigger pixels that allow 56 percent more light - something that has clearly worked.Boasting a f/1.7 aperture with a rearranged sensor layout for quicker focus speeds, the Galaxy S7 camera could well be one of the most complete on the market. From its colour capture, to its lightning quick shutter speed, if you're only going to get hyped about one aspect of Samsung's latest design, it has to be its camera.

Water Resistant: While there was a lot to like about the Galaxy S6, the fact it wasn't water resistant didn't go down well with those that had become used to it. With an impressive IP68 rating, the S7 can survive a drop in five foot of water for up to time scale of up half an hour. It might not be advised to take the new Galaxy with you on your next scuba diving session, but the fact the S7 is water resistant does make bath-time a little less nervous.

Video Credit: The Verge

24-Hour Display: One long-standing problem when it comes to smartphones has been the quest to provide 24-hour information on a lock-screen display without milking the battery. Samsung appear to have solved this with their energy-efficient AMOLED display and Snapdragon 820 processor, which means the 'Always On' feature can show the time, calendar and notifications on the screen around-the-clock. It might not be the biggest task to check the time without having to unlock your phone, but this is yet another welcome little touch from Samsung that make this phone so impressive. 

Gaming: As well as being able to download your favourite sports and betting apps, such as 32Red or UNIBET, Samsung have placed particular focus on both gaming and virtual reality. When it comes to gaming, Samsung have created TouchWiz, a customised version of Android that comes complete with its own hub. This brilliant feature allows the user to shoot video or voice calls and text into small icons, meaning you don't have to lose your place in whatever game you're playing just to send a call from your Gran to voicemail. 

The Edge won’t frustrate you....as much: The launch of the Edge on the S6 certainly caught the attention of a lot of people, but then it definitely failed to maintain that attention due to a number of reasons. But rather than cut their losses on the feature - allowing users to swipe to favourite apps from the side of your phone, Samsung have upped it a level, adding more panels and even allowing third-party developers to get involved. So, if you're regularly emailing the same person, you can customise your Edge so that a shortcut will automatically open the email with the recipient’s details already included. 

Any good?

Aside from these nice and very welcome features, the real strength from the Galaxy S7 comes from the fact that it isn't a million miles away from the S6 - which was such a hit when it came out last year. 

SSD Equals New Tricks for Old MacBooks

Wondering how to revive the flagging spirits of your aging MacBook? Nothing will have more impact than swapping out your hard drive for a solid-state drive, more commonly known as SSD. No, really. People speak of the results in rapturous language. So set aside a little time and get a few tools for an easy upgrade that can be done on any Mac released in 2012 or before. Following is a quick overview of the process, but there are several reliable video resources online.

SSDs are quite a bit more expensive than a standard hard drive, so to replace a good-size HDD will cost you at least £100. It’s worth it if your alternative is purchasing a new MacBook.

What will you need? An internal SSD, a cable or dock for initially connecting the drive externally, a set of small Phillips-head and torx-head screwdrivers, and a utility that will back up your hard drive, such as SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner.

First, format and load up the SSD: Connect it via a SATA-to-USB cable or a dock, launch Disk Utility, and click Erase. Next, with your chosen utility, you’ll clone your Mac’s hard drive to the SSD. Eject the SSD and shut down your computer.

Remove the back cover on your Mac. Before touching anything inside the case, ground yourself to discharge static electricity; an optional safety step is to disconnect the battery. Unscrew and remove the bracket covering the hard drive. To disconnect the drive, don’t pull on the long attached ribbon, but instead gently wiggle the connector itself. Remove and set aside the four screws in the hard drive. Insert the SSD into the drive bay, attach the ribbon, put the screws back in, and work backwards to reseat the drive and close your computer back up. Now restart. It might take a few moments for your MacBook to make friends with the new drive, but when it does you will notice the difference.

What will you get in return for this effort? Speed, speed and speed. If you’ve come to that point in your Mac’s life when launching an application, saving a document, or starting up and shutting down are taking a painfully long time, converting to a solid-state drive will not only solve those problems, it will have you zipping around faster than you did when that laptop was new. In numerous benchmarking tests, SSDs perform much faster than HDDs in every measure – bandwidth, input-output, response time. If you’re a gamer, designer, illustrator, photographer, or videographer, you will wonder how you survived this long without an SSD.

Standard hard drives consist of spinning platters with motors that run a mechanism over the surface, writing and reading data. The whole operation uses battery life, causes heat, and is prone to damage by both accident and heavy use. SSDs have no moving parts and their design allows them to read data instantaneously, so they don’t generate heat, make no sound, won’t break if you drop your laptop, and are more energy efficient so they save battery life. In other words, there is no downside to this upgrade.

Revealed: The top Christmas gadgets of the last decade

Smart watches set to top tech-savvy Christmas lists … From games consoles to tablets and wearables, the top technology Christmas gifts of the last decade chart how the world has advanced. The way we game, read, track our fitness and work has been revolutionised since 2005. As Christmas approaches, what better way to celebrate trends in technology than to take a look at the most successful technology products of the past ten years?

2005
Back in 2005, 1.1 million of us sent Shane Ward to the Christmas top spot, and number one on everyone’s Christmas list was the brand new Xbox 360. Demand hugely outstripped supply, with hundreds of gamers queuing for hours in the rain to lay their hands on the console, which sold out in hours. The Xbox franchise has continued to delight gamers; 9 years later, Microsoft announced that Xbox 360 sales stood at 84 million units sold, with lifetime game sales for the platform at $37.7 billion. On last calculation, Xbox 360 gamers have logged more than 88 billion hours of gameplay, which is equivalent to more than 100,000 centuries.

2006
2006 saw Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond in ‘Casino Royale’, and Sony’s fight back against Microsoft, in the shape of the Play Station 3. First introduced in 1995, the Play Station and Play Station 2 are still the best-selling home game consoles in history. To date the four Play Station versions have sold a total of 344 million units.

2007
2007 was the year gaming got physical, with stocks of Nintendo’s Wii finally becoming widely available to buy. Named a ‘revolution’ by Forbes Magazine, which claimed that the Wii ‘has re-invented video gaming, making it more social, more intuitive and surprisingly physically engaging…it’s potentially the device that will make video gaming as widely enjoyed as board or card games.’ Since launch, it’s sold more than 100 million units.

2008
It’s hard to imagine life before the smart phone, but 2008 was the year the 3G iPhone hit our shores. Now in its 12th incarnation, over 500 million iPhones have been sold, currently making it the best-selling smartphone of all time.

2009
The Amazon Kindle took technology into a new realm, revolutionising the way we consume new and enduring classic literature. The Kindle 2 was launched in 2009 and by early the next year the founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, stated that "millions of people now own Kindles” and that “six Kindle books were being sold for every 10 physical books". Kindle remains the undisputed leader of the e-reader. The company is famously secretive about sales figures but 2013 estimates put sales of all Kindle devices at roughly 44 million.

2010
Pre-2010, the thought of receiving a tablet for Christmas was understandably unlikely to be anywhere near the top of anyone’s list. That all changed with the unveiling of the iPad in January 2010 by then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In contrast to earlier tablet PCs, the iPad was marketed as a consumer device that would fill the gap between smartphones and laptop computers. Over 292 million have been sold to date.

2011
2011 was a momentous year for Brits, with the union of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In the world of technology, all eyes were on the launch of the first commercially successful ‘phablet’, the Samsung Galaxy Note. Whilst some media outlets questioned the viability of the device due to its 5.3-inch (135-mm) screen, the Note received a positive reception, selling 1 million units in two months.

2012
2012 was the year that London was Olympics-obsessed, Facebook debuted on the stock market, Felix Baumgartner jumped from space and the iPad went mini. Lighter and thinner than its predecessor, the iPad Mini reportedly sold three million units in the three days post launch.

2013
Sony’s next generation console, the Playstation 4, launched in November 2013. Six months later, 7 million homes world-wide owned a PS4. Having lost several previous battles to Nintendo’s Wii, Sony was finally winning the games console war.

2014
To 2014 and wearable technology; namely the fitness tracker. Sales have risen 250% year-on-year and from mid-2014 to mid-2015, the wearable industry grew by a massive 223%. At this rate, it’s possible that the market will actually reach the predicted $74 billion mark by 2025.

2015
2015 is undoubtedly the year of the smartwatch, combining fitness tracking, time keeping and connectivity in one package. The global smartwatch market has the potential to reach $32.9 billion by 2020, registering a compound annual growth rate of 68% between 2014 and 2020. It’s thought that 135 million wearable devices will be sold by 2018 – 68 million of them smart watches. Few other industries have such growth perspectives, and the potential to revolutionise how people communicate, monitor their health, work, and interact with their surroundings.

James Jie, Managing Director of Huawei UK and Ireland says, “It’s fascinating to see the impact that technology has had upon our lives during the past decade. In the recent past we saw technology as either fitting in with our work life – for instance PCs – or play, in the shape of games consoles. Now those boundaries no longer exist as technology is embedded within our daily lives. This is no more evident than in the rise of wearable technologies such as the Huawei Watch, which combines connectivity with style.”

Jie continues, “At Huawei, we invest 10% of our sales income into research and development to ensure that we are driving new technology forwards. In 2014 alone, we invested $1.2 billion into R&D. The Huawei Watch embodies our unfailing ambition to deliver an all-connected future across wearables, vehicles and smart phones. Looking back at the past ten years, it’s amazing how far technology has advanced and we look forward to being at the forefront of new advancements for years to come.”

For more information, please visit: http://consumer.huawei.com/minisite/worldwide/huawei-watch/

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B: This post was sponsored by Huawei.

Your iPhone is Your New Backpack

Believe it or not iPhones have a way of simplifying almost anything. Take school for example, a lot of money, time and planning goes into preparing you for a new semester. You have to purchase supplies, new books, reading requirements and much, much more. There’s an app for that. In this list of compiled back-to-school apps you will find almost everything that you are looking for. 

Textbooks aren’t cheap and of course you can buy them used and save money - or you can download CourseSmart and view the full text of more than 7,000 textbooks all on your iPhone for free. Bought for your iPhone the books cost half as much as their print equivalents and without all the weight and bulk on your back. 

For those reading assignments, download Stanza. If you are required to read some of the classics this app has more than 30,000 to choose from, all free. It’s a great app for required reading or just catching up on a good book. 

Your professors talk quickly and you don’t write quite that fast so it’s hard to keep up. Evernote is an app that lets you type and synchronise notes, voice memos, photos from your iPhone directly to the web. You don’t have to worry about missing something, forgetting your notebook or losing your notes, it can all be accessed from the app or the Evernote website. 

If you can get away with having your iPhone out in class, download the Graphing Calculator. This might not get you through advanced calculus but it can help you through most maths courses. With this app you can graph multiple equations and it will email the results to you. 

MyHomework will help you stay on top of your assignments by organising them for you. Keep track of your class schedule and any upcoming assignments. It will colour-code them and keep you aware of their due date. Also, it will automatically sync with your desktop, always keeping you updated. 

Everyone has use for a dictionary every now and then, so download the Dictionary.com app. Whether you are writing a term paper, studying vocabulary or just trying to expand your knowledge of the English language, this app will do just that. 

Documents To Go gives you the ability to sync and view Office files and PDFs to your phone while allowing you to create documents as well. 

Flashcards are the perfect studying strategy and Brainscape is the perfect app. You waste the majority of your time writing out flashcards when you should be studying. With this app you can create free flashcards or download already-made cards to study with. Share them between groups and with syncing, you can always pick up where you left off no matter which device you use. 

One of the worst parts about writing term papers and essays is the bibliography. You’ve spent a lot of time on gruelling research and the worst part is writing out your references. With EasyBib you simply scan the barcode of the book you’ve used and watch as the app creates bibliography magic. 

Going back to school doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful. The iPhone has a way of simplifying lives and tasks and even assignments. These school apps are guaranteed to take some of the load off while keeping you up to date and on top of upcoming assignments.

Glasscubes Collaboration and Project Management Software

Smart-minded creative groups, businesses, charities and other teams are all benefitting from the wave of cloud-based document sharing and project management tools that allow for remote working, team efficiency and major savings on costs.

In particular, there is a very special offering from Glasscubes, whose extremely intuitive and complete setup represents superb value to small and mid-sized businesses. 

So below you'll find a round up of why we at Geekanoids are so impressed with Glasscubes' solution for better collaboration.

• Cost The price structure for Glasscubes is the best in the industry. Even where alternative software packages offer a similar suite of high-quality tools for teamwork, there's no comparison when it comes to how the contracts are managed. Glasscubes provide huge flexibility to their customers (no fixed, long-term contracts), and huge storage at very low prices.

• Security Clearly this is an essential issue for any group that handles sensitive information. Glasscubes' infrastructure for storage and security is operated using 2048 bit encryptionand Interxion's data facility in the heart of London's financial centre.

• Workspaces The hub of a group's online interaction, the workspaces are customisable, and provide huge advantages over more traditional methods for exchanging information and files, messaging and project management. Conversations are threaded and avoid the problematic email experience of important pieces of information getting lost in a long chain of comments. Documents are version-controlled, which means individuals can always be sure that they are accessing or working on the correct amended version of a file. Meanwhile, tasks are reported and easily traced throughout a project's development.

• Customer services Glasscubes' UK-based technical support receives excellent feedback and reviews from customers. They provide email, online chat and telephone support to customers of all sizes (many companies will limit their support for customers that fall below a certain account-size threshold), with a super-quick 3-hour response time.

With such a powerful set of benefits to be gained from moving from a paper-led office culture to a smart online one, the opportunity to enhance a team's ability to interact, develop and close out projects with high-level collaboration software will be an exciting prospect for team leaders and business owners everywhere.

ExpenseIn Preview: the Brand-New UK App for Receipt Management

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November 2015 will see the introduction of a very exciting new business expenses app, ExpenseIn, for those of us who as part of our general routine have to manage a large number of receipts and complete the associated VAT returns in order to make allowable expenses claims for businesspurposes with the HMRC.

The Problem
Historically, individuals have had to collate all the receipts that they accumulated driving around the country's motorways, attending client, partner or investor meetings and presentations, staying overnight at hotels or B&Bs, while grabbing lunches and lattes on the go. All those receipts would have to be retained and filed, which would invariably mean an overflowing, receipt-stuffed wallet, or desktop spikes with pierced and crumpled bills going all the way back until last Christmas and beyond.

But that's not all.

As a company employee, they would then have to spend hours filling in spreadsheets for the finance department, who would in turn have to scrutinise those returns and interact with said employee until all parties were satisfied that the claims and receipts matched up, with each claim legitimate and in keeping with the latest UK tax requirements. A huge amount of combined company hours.

The ExpenseIn App Solution
So for the self-employed, finance department and business owner, the facility that ExpenseIn provides to track and organise expense records comes as an absolute godsend.

Importantly, a USP of the ExpenseIn app is that it comes from UK tax specialists, with a working knowledge of UK tax law and business practices, who are therefore able to ensure that all updates are fully compliant with the latest in HMRC developments.

Furthermore, the app itself looks extremely efficient, practical and simple to use - receipts are captured and then discarded while their record is easily accessible and exportable in the cloud-based storage system; expenses can be submitted in an intuitively simple way; approval flows are straightforward and logical to set up; and policies are quick to establish or amend.

But what's also very attractive is ExpenseIn's pricing system, which, especially with the annual payment plan, is tremendously competitive, with costs close to half of those of some main competitors.

So taking into account the breadth and depth of ExpenseIn's features, simple yet thorough setup and pricing, we at Geekanoids really can't wait for its November release.

iMend.com your Smartphone

If you are unfortunate to either break your smartphone or for it to develop a fault, it can be a tricky business find a reliable repair service. 

I was recently approached to take a look at iMend.com and was impressed to find an easy to navigate website and very transparent repair service. The icing on the cake is that you can either send your smartphone in for repair or they can come to you. 

Check out the video below for more details.

Please note: This is a sponsored video.

Be a doer with Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL

I strongly believe that you should act upon your dreams and wishes today, rather than putting it of until tomorrow. Throughout my many years on YouTube, I have personally received many questions asking for advice. After giving such advice, many have responded that will take action on my advice next week, or next month. Why wait? We only have a limited time on this planet and should take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way and live for the day. 

Microsoft are encouraging just this with their "Be a Doer" campaign … "Doers are the ones who get things done. The ones who act upon their dreams. Doers need a smartphone to help them achieve more. A smartphone with the ability to get things done on the go." 

In the video below we get to see the Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL in action with signature Microsoft services like Office, OneNote, Outlook and Cortana - the tools to help you be a doer. Check it out for yourself and get involved.

Love, Language and Lumia #MakeItHappen

When Microsoft discovered that Ed, a 28 year-old accountant from London, wanted to learn Spanish to deliver the groom’s speech at his wedding in Mexico, they came straight to his rescue. Track Ed’s journey as he embarks on a crash course in Spanish; all to surprise his family and friends in a heart-warming video.

Every day this December we’re helping people #MakeItHappen, so share your resolution with us to get involved http://lumia.ms/makeithappen