With the tornados this week in Edmond, Luther, Shawnee, Carney and of course Moore, it’s just not the week to write about tech. I live in Edmond and a tornado came within 1/2 mile of our house Sunday afternoon, May 19. I was keeping my eye on the TV and even had our under-the-stairs-closet ready to dive in with my dog, Sophie along with a few supplies. My husband was at a meeting at the church building and had called me from there. I heard the TV guy say, it sure is an interesting formation in Edmond right around 33rd & Bryant and it’s… then the power went out and Sophie and I went in the closet! It was very still, very little rain and no hail. We waited a while and then came out. I didn’t hear a thing right around here.
Shortly afterwards, I got a couple of text messages from friends and family asking if we were OK and that’s when I found out one had gone through some neighborhoods to the north of us. When Doug got home, we got in the car and did a little tour and found so many huge trees down in the neighborhood next to us.
The video is more up close to the damage with fallen trees very close to the road – you’ll hear chainsaws going, and this was just an hour or two after the tornado went through.
Then Monday came along with many warnings that it was prime tornado-making weather. It was already muggy and warm early in the morning with lots of clouds. I turned the TV on in the early afternoon as clouds looked more and more threatening and I knew all the local stations would be in full weather broadcast mode with helicopters and every available news person and accompanying camera man spread all over the metro and parts of the state. The video of that huge, black mass of destruction hitting Moore, Oklahoma was incredible and it was horrible to watch. I’d check the #okwx Twitter stream to get up to the second information and see photos. I passed along a few tweets of information I thought would be helpful, but mostly felt helpless and sickened by the damage I knew it was doing.
Then Oklahoma became the national news target once again with every national and cable channel represented here for a couple of days. I was proud of our Governor, Mary Fallin as well as the first responders and city officials. Things were well organized in a short time. The over-flowing of prayers, money, food, supplies and volunteers hasn’t stopped and won’t until the need is gone. Oklahomans have a history of being incredibly generous and giving and I see it time after time.
To bring technology into the picture here at the end, it was interesting that the plain-old SMS, or text message became the go-to communication vehicle during the Moore crisis. With no power, that meant land lines were gone and the cell towers were strained to the max so the news outlets let the people know to use texting to let people know their status.
Here are some resources to get information and links on how to donate to the Tornado Relief. I think it’s effective and worth-while donating through our church.
Great Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MooreTornado?hc_location=stream
Do be careful when you donate as there are always the scammers out after tragedies.
Guest article from Dylan Johnson-brief bio below. Thanks for offering to guest blog, Dylan!
Jailbreaking your phone allows you to gain access to areas that are normally off limits. Normally, Apple has total control of your phone but by performing this process, they lose the control. In the case of the iPhone, jailbreaking the phone allows users to access things not offered in the Apple store, which means third-party apps not authorized by Apple. Even though companies like Apple do not like this idea, it is not illegal and there is really nothing they can do about it. However, just because you can do something, does not always mean it is a good idea. Here are some pros and cons to jailbreaking your iPhone and you can decide yourself “To jailbreak or not to jailbreak.”
When you travel internationally, roaming charges would normally be incurred when you are outside your home country. If you jailbreak your iPhone, you will be able to purchase a very inexpensive SIM card from the country where you are visiting and put it in your iPhone. Although you will be using a different phone number, local calls will be a breeze and very inexpensive.
Get Any App You Want
Although Apple has quite a selection of apps for the iPhone, there are some things you just cannot get through Apple. By performing a phone jailbreak, you can gain access to anything. Not only can you download apps that are not available with Apple, but you can also customize settings and themes for your iPhone. These are features that are not available from Apple.
The same way you can buy a SIM card overseas or international, you can buy a SIM card to put in a phone that is no longer activated. Instead of giving the phone to someone, who in turn will have to get a contract to use it, if the phone is jailbreaked, they can switch carriers. This will definitely be less expensive than signing a contract and you can budget your expenses with a pay as you go card. There is a small downside, some of the features that AT&T offers will not be available, like the voicemail but all and all it is a great idea.
If you are unsure this is what you want to do or not, jailbreakme is an app that is fully reversible. That means if you do not like the functionality of your phone after it is jailbreaked, all you need to do is re-sync your phone to the computer via iTunes and it is back to new.
More Customized Content
Cydia is a great app to revive the look of the iPhone. You can change wallpapers, statuses and even icons by using it. Of course, it only works on jailbreaked phones so if you are interested in these features, jailbreaking might be the choice for you.
This is a phenomenon that can occur when jailbreaking an iPhone. It does at it implies, it makes the phone unusable, thus named a brick. It will require a complete reset and restore, which will wipe out all information on the phone. It can be fixed but it can be quite a hassle.
No Apple Warranty
If you alter your iPhone in a way that is not approved by Apple, i.e. jailbreaking, the warranty becomes null and void. One of the great things about Apple is that you can take your phone to any Apple store and have your phone serviced. This is a convenient and helpful feature to go with the iPhone because you are assured customer support.
The Potential for Bugs
Well, if you change your iPhone’s functionality, you might remove some of the protective features. This could make your iPhone susceptible to bugs and viruses. Features such as FaceTime and MMS have reportedly been rendered useless due to bugs on unsupported jailbreaked iPhones. Although software and app developers have been able to work out quite a few of these issues, you are still at risk if you jailbreak your iPhone.
Again, by kicking Apple out of your iPhone, you have many risks. One of the most important of these is security. Apparently, hackers are able to hack jailbreaked iPhones and plant virus software on the phones from a remote location. The thought of your phone being a breeding ground for viruses might deter a jailbreak for sure.
We all know Apple as well as other companies with smartphone technology offer frequent updates. If your phone is jailbreaked, you will not receive these automatic updates. This could affect the functionality of your iPhone drastically. You can install jailbreak updates, they are just a little trickier.
All in all, jail breaking your phone has a bit of a bad stigma and scares people a little, however a lot of it is unfounded. There is not as much to fear as one might think. You do lose your warranty with Apple, however if you are cool, there is no harm in trying to bring it in to apple. I have actually heard it usually works anyways. So, if you like to play it safe, there is no harm in that and you and your phone can live worry free. If you are feeling adventurous or you’ve got a knack to hack, then this is rookie stuff.
Dylan Johnson is photographer and creative director at Security Options He writes on home automation, green technology, music and photography.
This was my first time to attend the IVAA Live Summit, (the International Virtual Assistant’s Association), a group run for and by VAs to strengthen, train and network. I joined the group just last year and while reading through the website, I saw they were looking for speakers for their conference which was held just last week (May 1-3), in Philadelphia.
Since I’m a SkyDrive Insider, I thought I’d like sharing what I know about SkyDrive to the group. So many people just aren’t aware of all the great things SkyDrive offers. So I spent a couple hours filling out my form and found out my application was accepted!
Fast forward to April, and I was working on my presentation and practicing it quite a bit. The conference began on May 1st and my SkyDrive presentation was Thursday, so I got a bit of time to watch the other great speakers and their presentations as well as talk to people who asked me questions about what SkyDrive is. I was happy to share with them what it is, how I use it and outlined how I thought it could benefit them and their teams and clients. Most weren’t aware of the free Microsoft web apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), neither did they know about the collaboration features.
Before my presentation, I was also asked about Office 2013 and Office 365. Since I use both of these products, I told them how it helps me in my business, i.e. I don’t have to administer my own email, it syncs flawlessly among all my gadgets, mail is backed up and I also get SharePoint storage and Lync. I decided to incorporate a couple slides into my presentation about this and showed them how easy it was to save and share documents right from within Office 2013. The handout condensing my main points is below.
Microsoft SkyDrive-For Your Team, Your Clients, Your Life
SkyDrive – Updated – Apps for IOs, Android, Mobile & Tablets
· 7GB storage with options to purchase additional storage per year at a price less than Google or Dropbox
· Access your files from anywhere
· Collaborate on documents at the same time, version history, chat, leave comments, use Facebook chat on SkyDrive
· Use free Microsoft Web Apps to create or revise Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents in the cloud. No need to have Office installed on your computer
· Upload files up to 2GB to SkyDrive (when you have the app installed on your computer)
· Selective sync – want to use SkyDrive on your mobile device, but don’t have much space? Choose to sync only the folders and documents you need on each device
· Upload any type of document including executables, movies, photos, pdfs, etc.
· Easily share an entire folder, or just a document with whomever you wish. Your recipient will not have to have a Microsoft account or have to sign in to access what you share with them
· Get an embed code to share a folder or photos or documents from SkyDrive
· Share Presentations, Photos, documents easily with your social networks via SkyDrive
· Excel surveys – use this free feature to create a survey to send out
· Recycle bin feature-users can put documents in there with the ability to restore them later and it doesn’t count against your storage limit
Bonus Features to Be Discussed
· Time permitting, we’ll go over two options to apply your custom domain name for free with two service providers you may not know about. With Google Apps discontinuing their free service last December, many VAs and clients may be looking for an alternative.
· We’ll look at Office 2013 and how smoothly it integrates with SkyDrive
The Ace Conference Center in Philadelphia was our venue. It was a great facility, very roomy and the meeting rooms were up-to-date technology wise and the staff was so accommodating. We had great food and snacks every day. Meeting so many new VAs was a great experience. I went there not knowing a soul and came home with quite a few business cards and hope to keep in touch with many.
This week, I’ve been in Philadelphia at the IVAA Live Conference. (International Virtual Assistants Association). I’ve only been a member of IVAA for about a year and felt that getting to know some from this group would be an encouragement to me and perhaps I could encourage others. In addition it’s a great networking experience and I’ve always found it worthwhile to meet people. A fellow VA I met said, ‘It’s so nice to meet people in person rather than looking at a flat photo’. I hadn’t thought of photos being ‘flat’, but they certainly are. Although we had a program book with people’s photos and bios, the meet and greet process is so superior to that.
Before I’d decided to attend, I saw they had a call for speakers to pitch them on topics. Since I’ve been a SkyDrive Insider, I thought perhaps a session on SkyDrive tailored for the VA’s business might be something of interest. I filled out an extensive form last Fall and found it was accepted early in 2013. So the last couple of months, I’ve been putting together a presentation geared towards the VA’s needs as well as sharing with them the advantages of Office 365 and Office 2013. I’ll do another blog post on that later.
So here are some reasons to attend conferences.
For those of us established or new in our fields, conferences are a great way to either strengthen your network or start a network of folks to help in your business. This is not the place to be shy or stay in your room all the time. I came here not knowing anyone and will leave having met 10 or more people I’ve been able to have conversations with people about everything from the ‘hot’ VA topics to how and why of the different types of social media we use.
Increase Your Knowledge
A well put together conference will have topics of interest to fulfill a range of needs. In the case of the IVAA, they did a masterful job choosing topics with a blend of nuts and bolts (how to use specific software) as well as getting the right people here to coach us by giving us concrete business building blocks to take home and implement.
Revitalize and de-stress
Many conferences are simply a series of rah-rah moments strung together, so it’s important to intentionally choose the type of conference that will send you home renewed, yet relaxed. If you head home with a list of things you want to implement along with a renewed sense of purpose, it was time and money well spent.
What conferences have you attended recently and what was your purpose for attending? Was it meaningful and would you go back to that one and why? Please leave your comments.
Think of Office 365 as our small business alternative to expensive servers, software and maintenance. Office 365 can be used by one to hundreds of people in business at a very reasonable price point. To give you a quick look, here’s a synopsis of what you’ll get:
Office 365 Benefits
- Access to Office web apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote). Share and collaborate in real time with co-workers or anyone you give permissions to. Bonus: anyone has access to Microsoft web apps even if they don’t have Office on their local computer
- Plenty of storage. I haven’t seen the exact amount, but I believe it’s 10GB for O365 accounts. Here’s what I’ve seen
- Sync up to 20,000 items in your SkyDrive Pro library, including files and folders
- Sync up to 5,000 items in other SharePoint libraries, including folders and files
- Ability to download files up to 2GB
- With SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint, you’ll have access to folders locally on your computer in addition to access from any connected computer and many devices (tablets, phones)
- For small companies, the SharePoint interface means you can set up team sites where employees can log in to access and check out documents
- Newsfeed-share, follow and keep up with teams, projects, etc. with this feature (newsfeed is an internal feature where employees can follow people or projects)
- You’re automatically upgraded and using the latest versions of Office
Storing and Sharing Documents
SkyDrive Pro lets you sync your SkyDrive library or other SharePoint libraries on team sites to your computer. You can then work with files in these libraries directly in Windows Explorer. You can access these files even when you’re offline. Updates to files sync with SharePoint whenever you’re online. This is from The Office website. The SkyDrive Pro feature allows you and your employees the ability to work on documents locally on your computer and then they will sync up the next time you’re on-line.
The O365 admin controls what is put in the ‘Team Site’ and who has access to the team site. That means certain employees have access to folders or libraries and some folders/libraries can be accessed only by the admin.
The below is copied directly from the link above. So many people are confused about SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint, that I wanted to give you what Microsoft wrote
SkyDrive Pro is your professional library—the place to keep your work documents and other files. You can think of SkyDrive Pro as your SkyDrive for business. When you store your files on SkyDrive Pro, only you can see them, but you can easily share them with co-workers and access them from your mobile devices. Your files are safely kept in the cloud with SharePoint Online or on your company’s SharePoint Server 2013 servers, depending on what your company has set up.
SkyDrive Pro lets you:
- Store and organize your private documents and other files in a secure location in the cloud or on your company’s SharePoint servers.
- Share files and folders with other people in your organization and give them permission to review or edit the content.
- Synchronize files and folders in your SkyDrive Pro and other SharePoint libraries with your computer or mobile devices, so you can access your content offline. end of quote from Microsoft
How does SkyDrive Pro differ from SkyDrive?
Again, I’ve taken this from the Microsoft website: Here’s the difference:
- SkyDrive is free online storage that provides you with a personal library where you can upload and access files from any of your devices. Download one of the SkyDrive apps and you can easily save your documents, photos, and other files in this library, share them with friends, and even collaborate on content. For more information about using SkyDrive, see Work together on Office documents in SkyDrive.
- SkyDrive Pro provides you with a personal library for business, where you can upload and access documents, photos, and other files from your computer. This SkyDrive Pro library is managed by your organization and from there you can easily share and collaborate on content with co-workers. In addition, with the SkyDrive Pro client application, you can synchronize library files and folders with your local computer. (End of Microsoft quote.)
The New Dashboard Look On-Line
Here is a look at what current O365 user’s on-line Dashboard will look like. Click the image and you’ll be taken to my friend Todd Klindt’s SharePoint blog where you can read about Share-Point-y stuff. In the article this links to, he is talking about SharePoint 2013 and SkyDrive Pro-fascinating reading .
Below is what my current Dashboard looks like. I will be glad to get the navigation links (Newsfeed, SkyDrive, Sites) that Todd has. I think I’ll also get a link to email in my dashboard.
It All Boils Down To
- Secure storage for your business documents
- Ability to share entire folders, or individual documents with clients
- The admin has the ability to set up library/folder sharing for employees
- With SkyDrive Pro, your professional documents are available when you’re off-line and they’ll sync up when you’re back on-line
- If your company has a server at the office, employees usually won’t have after-hours access to them from their home computers. With Office 365, they can have access to documents from anywhere with an internet connection. Documents are available on smart phones or tablets (Android & Apple) with the Sky Drive apps for smart phones
We haven’t talked about all the different plans and pricing. There are a number of packages – you can look at them here. I’m getting along very well with the $6/month Small Business plan. There was a 30-day free trial with all plans, but now I see the trial is available only for the most expensive plan.
Consider what you get vs. what you have now. Do you now have mail that syncs across all your devices, do you have secure storage and anywhere access to your documents, would you like to have video conferencing, chat and file exchange with Lync? Since I manage my office set-up, things have been much easier since I switched to Office 365.