SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Six apps and trackers to find your lost gadgets

 

app trackers

© Depositphotos So that's where you left it ...

Finding yourself out and about without your smartphone can make you feel naked. We rely on these devices so much that losing them creates a huge problem, preventing you from messaging friends for aid or mapping your way back home.

Losing any similarly essential device, like your laptop, creates an equally huge headache. To rediscover these lost gadgets, we've collected tech that finds your tech. These six apps and trackers can plot your devices on a map, force them to make audible sounds, and perform other tricks to help you reunite.

For Apple: Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac
Apple wants you to keep its devices safe, and to that end, it built a phone and tablet tracker into iOS and a laptop finder into macOS. Enable the feature on all your Apple hardware, and you'll be able to see the current location of any device on a map.

To set it up on an iPhone or iPad, open Settings and tap your Apple ID at the top. Then pick your device and select Find My iPhone (or Find My iPad) to switch on the feature. On a computer, open System Preferences and click iCloud. Then tick the Find My Mac box. During this process, Apple may prompt you to sign in with your Apple ID credentials, so make sure you have your password close to hand.

Once you've enabled the tracker, you can forget about it until you need it. If you do lose a device, grab your remaining machine(s) and open the appropriate app: Find My iPhone on a phone, Find My iPad on a tablet, or the iCloud web app in any browser window. Sign in, click the All Devices menu, and pick a device to see its location on a map. Within this app, you can also select a device and prompt it to make a sound, lock itself, or erase all its data.

The lock option is particularly useful because you can make the lost device display a custom message. For example, if you lose your iPhone, make the gadget share a message requesting its safe return and providing an email address where finders can contact you. And to prevent those finders from snooping further, locking the screen will protect your data.

For Android: Find My Device
Like Apple, Google has included a device-locating tool, called Find My Device, on Android. To enable it, open Settings and tap Security & location. Turn the feature on to start tracking your phone or tablet. Then install the Find My Device app on a backup phone or tablet.

To see where your gadget is, you have a few options. Open the app on your backup device, visit the Find My Device web portal, or just sign into your Google account and then type "where's my device?" into the search engine. As with the Apple service, you can make the lost machine play a sound (even when it's in silent mode), lock the device while its screen displays a message, or completely erase your information. Check out a map to view its last known location, battery level, and even the name of the Wi-Fi network it's currently connected to. Based on this information, you can decide whether it's gone forever or still can be retrieved.

Unfortunately, Google doesn't offer similar protections for Chromebooks — at least for the time being. So if you lose one of these Chrome OS-powered laptops, you won't be able to find it through Google. However, keep reading to learn about a third-party app that may be able to do the job.

For Samsung: Find My Mobile
Samsung owners can use the aforementioned Google tracker or Samsung's built-in Find My Mobile tool, which works very similarly. To access it, first set up a password-protected Samsung account.

Next, enable the tracker by opening Settings, tapping Lock screen and security, and choosing Find My Mobile. On this menu, make sure to toggle the Remote controls switch to On so that you can operate your phone or tablet from another device.

If your gadget goes missing, head to the Find My Mobile website and sign in with your Samsung credentials. Here, you can check out the last known location of your phone or tablet on a map. Like with the other tracker apps, you can ring your device even if it's in quiet mode, lock it so nobody else will be able to access it, and wipe it remotely if you don't think you're going to get it back.

From the same website, you can perform other useful tasks, such as unlocking a device whose PIN you've forgotten and backing up data. Just pick the relevant option from the list on the right-hand side of the site.

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WeWork is buying Meetup

WeWork

 

WeWork has agreed to buy Meetup for an undisclosed amount, the coworking company announced. It’s a natural fit between WeWork, valued at $20 billion, and Meetup, a community platform with 35 million members that has hosted more than 300,000 “IRL” events (in real life), Mashable notes. WeWork has continued to rapidly expand its empire — including purchasing Lord & Taylor’s flagship New York store, opening a private kindergarten, and leading a $32 million investment in a women’s coworking space. Meetup will stay a standalone company for now, but will go on a hiring spree, per Wired.

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ClearCenter Acquires Minebox IT Services GmbH

Clearcenter

 

ClearCenter to integrate Minebox blockchain-based decentralized technology with ClearOS open source Security, Cloud, Server, Network and Gateway IT management offerings

MADRID, Spain, OREM, Utah and VIENNA, Austria - (Nov. 30, 2017) - ClearCenter today announced that it has acquired Minebox IT Services GmbH in a move to round out ClearCenter’s Hybrid IT Linux-based IT management operating system, ClearOS. Minebox is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and today’s announcement was made at the HPE Discover 2017 show in Madrid, Spain. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Both Minebox and ClearCenter have existing partnerships with HPE and each have optimized their solutions for HPE’s new Gen10 line of ProLiant servers.

"The escalation of general interest in the blockchain has produced a spike in security concerns around protecting blockchains and associated technologies," said Michael Proper, ClearCenter Founder and CEO. "By integrating Minebox with ClearOS and ClearCenter’s Gateway.Management security layer, we will provide the most secure method to manage decentralized hybrid on-premises and cloud-based storage.”

Minebox is based on an open source decentralized cloud backend. It stores files locally like Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems do, but also keeps encrypted pieces of each file on multiple nodes around the world. This eliminates any single point of failure, ensures redundancy and offers the highest possible uptime. With Minebox, users hold the encryption keys and own their data. No outside entity can access or control a user’s files.

"ClearCenter is a perfect fit together with Minebox's employees and customers," said Vlado Petrushev, CEO and COO or Minebox. "By joining forces with ClearCenter, we will be able to support a larger audience, expand into new markets and build new products to serve data storage needs for the coming decades."

ClearCenter's ClearOS is a next-generation open source server operating system that includes critical gateway, network and cloud security features. It delivers a powerful Hybrid IT management solution with an elegant user interface that is completely web-based. A key service within ClearOS is the Gateway.Management security layer. ClearCenter plans for a tight integration with Gateway.Management and Minebox technology to aid in protection from ransomware, viruses, malware and IoT-targeting threats.

Gateway.Management uses full egress control and Machine Learning-based whitelisting. These features allow customers to protect networks, machines and users without expensive hardware, subscriptions, or labor costs.

"The one layer of security that consistently mitigates modern threats, even during zero-day periods, is egress control," said David Redekop, ClearCenter Security Architect and Gateway.Management creator. "From an endpoint device, this Zero-trust Model means that all outbound access is denied unless approved."

About ClearCenter
ClearCenter creates simple, secure and affordable products for managing Hybrid IT. ClearCenter's ClearOS is a Linux-based open source operating system for managing Cloud, Server, Network and Gateway layers. It is designed for homes, small-to-medium size businesses and distributed environments. ClearOS has more than 430,000 deployments serving more than 10.4 million users. It is available in multiple languages and being used in 154 countries around the globe today. Visit http://www.clearcenter.com for more information.

About Minebox IT Solutions GmbH
Minebox is building data storage, archiving and backup solutions using NAS computers, blockchain technology, peer to peer networks, public-key cryptography and open source, decentralized data storage systems. Visit http://minebox.io for more information.

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5 Digital Marketing Mistakes That Will Doom Your Business

Success for modern small businesses depends on the effective use of digital marketing channels. Unfortunately, many companies have failed, despite their effort to engage their online audience.

To help your company gain the most from online opportunities, learn about the following five digital marketing mistakes and use the tips that follow to help you avoid them.

1. Lack of Planning

Before you do any marketing, you should thoroughly understand your business and its mission. Afterward, you can plan your digital marketing strategy in a way that is consistent with the other parts of your operation.

By spending time understanding your goals, you can stay focused and avoid wasting resources on unnecessary and counterproductive activities. So, before moving forward take some basic steps:

  • Identify and understand your operational environment. This includes your customers, competitors, industry, and logistics.

  • Write down what you want to accomplish via digital marketing.
  • Break down your objectives so you know what you need to do with each of your marketing channels.

As soon as you have a plan, you can start promoting your brand.

2. Irrelevant Content

Companies that lose their focus face all-but-certain doom. Avoid that mistake by sticking with your marketing plan. As part of that focus, make sure that everything you either publish or post has relevance to your business.

Both poorly defining your market and creating low-quality content can contribute to a loss of focus. You can avoid these problems by first understanding your audience and then send the right messages.

As part of your effort, remember that relevance has much to do with channel selection and timing. Even the most valuable content will fall flat if you fail to get it to the right people when they most need it.

3. Focusing on Social Media Alone

Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter attract millions of daily users. For this reason, many companies make the mistake of focusing on social media and ignoring their website.

Without a website, your prospects and customers have no way to expand their knowledge of your brand and products. So, after reading your social media posts, people have nowhere else to go.

Rather than using social networks to replace your website, use them to funnel qualified traffic to your website. That way, people who want to learn more about your brand can click links that lead to your website.

4. Missing Out On Automation

Many growing companies fail to capitalize on their opportunities because the needs of customers exceed their support capabilities. Businesses in this predicament are doomed unless they embrace automation. Many never do.

When you use technology to perform repetitive tasks and distribute information, you expand the capabilities of your staff. As a result, you can control expenses while improving service. In other words, automation is a win-win option, so never ignore it.

In addition to reducing the number of manual actions required in your daily operation, automation can improve accuracy. After all, every time either you or your team manually enters data, you can make a mistake. Meanwhile, automated tools can without error repeatedly enter the same data all day, every day.

5. No Genuine Email Personalization

Email is a powerful weapon in your digital marketing arsenal, so make sure you use it properly. However, successful email marketing involves much more than sending out promotional notices.

Personalization can make a big difference with your email campaigns by tailoring your messages to individual recipients and audience segments. For starters, you should use an email tool that can insert first names into the text and mention the last products that recipients have bought.

In the end, email personalization gives you a chance to make your customer relationship data work for you. As you include more data points in your messages, you can expect to see more conversions. Additionally, every message you send should include new content.

Final Thoughts

Many companies before you have met their doom because of the above five marketing mistakes. Act now to plan your digital strategy and follow that action with relevant content and an effective website.

Furthermore, by using automation, you can boost your ability to support customers and create personalized email messages. Ultimately, these tips can lead to operational stability and long-term growth.

Author bio: Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. Connect with Ashley via Twitter.

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3 Mistakes People Make with Their Company Blog

While there are as many mistakes to make with your blog as there are bloggers out there, company blogs face a unique set of challenges. If you’re too technical, you lose your audience, while if you are too personal makes you compete with every other generic blogger. Here are three mistakes people make with their company blog.


“Press Releases Go Here, Too”
Posting press releases on the company blog is a mistake for several reasons. First, it gets hit with a duplicate content penalty. Second, no one wants toBlog Mistakes read a blog that consists of generic press releases. Third, you should have marketing channels to distribute press releases better suited to that type of content than posting it on your blog.


“I Posted Six Months Ago”
More than half of all blogs are started and essentially finished because they haven’t seen a new post in six months or more. No one will follow you on social media or follow your blog if you don’t post regularly. This is why many people who run out of ideas tap into guest bloggers, though you need to ensure that the content they post fits your intended brand image and doesn’t leak information you consider confidential. That said, you could let someone in another department share a story of life behind the scenes, do interviews with key personnel and essentially drum up content from other work groups to keep the content flowing.

Don’t forget the opportunity recycling old content creates, such as posting an old interview and then adding a follow-up section on what the person is doing now. Throwback Thursday and Wayback Wednesday are opportunities to post old advertisements and then talk about when you discontinued that product or service and the benefits of the later generation offerings available now.

“Oh, This Generic Post Is Good Enough”
Generic content fails for several reasons. First, it is boring. Second, it won’t stand out in a search for any key term. Third, no one is going to see any reason to share it, and you will lose high-quality backlinks to your site. Instead, look for tailored blog posts focused on a key search phrase or question. It is actually to your benefit to have different blog posts for each product model since you can post a different blog post each day. It is better to post several half-page blogs, each with a unique focus, rather than try to craft one long blog that addresses multiple topics.

If you don’t know what topics would work well for your audience, you can always work with a firm like Click Intelligence to identify the key search terms your customers are using but don’t find enough good content on, then create search engine optimized blog posts for those search terms. However, trying to optimize the blog for search engines too hard risks having it penalized as spam: that’s why it’s important to ask the experts.

Conclusion
Making simple mistakes like not blogging often enough or going too heavy on the marketing on the company blog loses your audience while insufficient hard information costs you your credibility. Try to stand out as much as you can - don't be afraid to rely on internal resources to diversify your blog posts and keep your content fresh.

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