New Apple Video Shows How Apps Are Changing the World

Apple’s latest video is a ten minute epic that showcases the role apps are playing in a rapidly changing information-driven world. Through the video you travel to Kenya to see the changing face of mobile-driven health care, witness what it takes to be an amazing Paralympic rowing champion in America, experience an app that is revitalizing language in tribal community in the Northwest Territories of Canada, and find out how smartphone and tablets apps are changing the way individuals afflicted with Autism communicate.

Less an add for any of Apple’s iPhone or iPad, this is about how the apps that run on those devices can actually change the world. For any aspiring app developers out there, this is a must-watch.

Mario’s Top 3: Cutting the Cord on Your Internet, Waterproof Tablets, And A New Photo App

(On a mobile device and can’t see the video embedded above? Click this link to watch directly on the TODAY show website)

First, cutting the cord meant cutting off your expensive cable bill and relying on streaming sites like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu to replace traditional TV viewing with the latest online tech. Now, folks are cutting the cord on their Internet connections. Some people are turning to the abundance of free WiFi hotspots at coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, libraries, and the millions of other places that offer WiFi to get their fix. Others are finding that the Internet connections on their smartphones or tablets are more than enough for them to cut the cord at home.

I also discuss the absolute latest in tablet technology and spill a cup of coffee all over a brand new Sony Xperia Tablet Z with no problems. Finally, I take a look at an app called kicksend that makes it dead simple to get prints of your photos by sending them to a local photo lab straight from your smartphone. How cool is that?

Get a great deal on Parallels Desktop and 8 Other Mac Apps in the SuperBundle

One new software trend that’s been taking the Internet by storm as of late is something that massively benefits both consumers and software producers—bundles. By bundling together different software packages and offering them at a steep discount, often far more copies of programs can be sold at much, much lower prices than consumers would otherwise have to pay.

Take Nova Development’s new spring Mac SuperBundle. They’re offering the latest version of Parallels Desktop, an excellent virtualization software that lets you run an entire Windows Vista, 7 or 8 instance inside your Mac, without having to reboot your computer! For those who need to run the occasional Windows app but don’t want or need the full Windows experience, Parallels Desktop is the perfect solution. While the software usually retails for $79 alone, the SuperBundle gives you a copy of Parallels for just $49, while also bundling some other interesting apps that may be of use to your business. While I’ve used Parallels extensively and can definitely vouch for it, I’ve had much less experience with some of the other software below, though I will share some thoughts on why it helps to make the whole thing a great deal: Read More

3 Best Cloud Apps for Mobile Small Business Users

Cloud Apps for Small Business ProductivitySmartphone Apps That Help You Get Faster and Smarter Online

Last week I discussed the best cloud apps for managing your contacts and business cards, but what about everything else you do while on the go? Can you use the cloud to be more productive in other areas? Of course you can! There are apps that leverage the cloud to do almost everything you do online, and they can help you do it smarter (and faster!). Here are a few of my favorites:

1.   Cloud file storage

No matter what line of business you’re in, there are surely dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of files you need to manage. Wouldn’t it be great to have access to them everywhere you go? Thankfully, the prices of cloud storage are falling every year, and it’s becoming simpler than ever to point an app to your documents folder and let it sync to the cloud and across your devices.

Stop carrying around flash drives and never be caught in a meeting without access to a crucial document ever again!

If you’re a small business or entrepreneur, one great solution I like is to switch your business over to Google Drive, which provides both document storage and editing of all your docs, spreadsheets, and presentations in one place. Fully compatible with other office suites but available on every device you can think of, Drive is a great way to promote team collaboration on important documents and make sure your company has all of their important docs in one place.

But larger companies that may be more resistant to switching over to Google for all their document needs, either Dropbox  or can help. You can get several gigabytes of storage on either service for free so you can try them out, and since both offer apps for every mobile device out there, you can have your documents, pictures, and more easily synced across all your devices and never be caught without a crucial file again!

Continue Reading This Post at the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog –>


3 Apps To Help You Get More Out of AirPlay

Last week we talked a little about how to set up AirPlay so you can use it to play music or mirror your Mac. It’s great wireless tech that can work in a home or an office, but still has some limitations, especially if you’re not a full-on Mac and iOS user. Here are three apps that will extend AirPlay for Windows, Android, and even Mac users.

airbubble for airplayAirBubble

This one is for Android users. AirBubble is a free Android app that lives on your phone, but talks to AirPlay source devices so it can act as a receiver and stream music to your phone. Great if you use iTunes but are an Android user. Find AirBubble in the Google Play store.

DoubleTwist with AirSync

DoubleTwist is an Android media player, and AirSync is a $5 extension available for purchase in the Google Play store. The extension lets you you stream music or video to an Apple TV (or an XBox 360, PC or Mac). It can also double as a way to wirelessly sync your iTunes to your Android phone, so that’s a bonus. Find AirSync in the Google Play store.

airfoil app to extend Apple AirPlayAirFoil

AirFoil may be the most versatile 3rd party streaming app out there. It costs $30, but it can send audio from any music player (not just iTunes) and can even use apps running on your computer or phone, like Spotify. Multiple users can access the same network, so it’s a great way to set up a collaborative music system in an office that lets everyone take a turn playing DJ. Available for Windows and PC, AirFoil lets you stream from a computer directly to other computers, AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, iPhones and iPods Touch. Most devices will need to have software enabled to act as receivers: check out the the full list of compatible devices and software needed here. Available from Rogue Amoeba.

Safe Browsing and Parental Controls (TODAY Show video)

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Apps Mentioned in this piece:

Private WiFi – Encrypts your data so anything you transmit online (usernames, passwords, credit cards) aren’t visible to anyone else using the same WiFi network.

Private Browsing – A feature on many major browsers tooday, including Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. You can use this to keep your browsing history safe on a public or shared computer.

Parental Controls – No matter what devices your children are using, there are parental controls you need to be using! Here are some instructions for setting them up on Windows, iPhone, Mac, Blackberry, and Kindle Fire.

Mac Calendar App to Try: Fantastical

fantastical app screengrab
Fantastical’s “natural language” in action

The Mac calendar app, iCal, is fine. But it’s only fine: it could be a lot better. I actually prefer Outlook, but it’s not worth the trade-off to me to have to work on a PC. Fantastical is actually better than both.

Fantastical’s real advantage is in something they call the “natural language engine.” What that means from a practical perspective is that it can parse the general info entered into an event. In other words, you type in the basics of the event (Lunch with Mario at 53 Front Street at noon) into the main input area. Fantastical will use that info to complete the rest of the event’s fields, like date and time. It can even invite people from your contact list if you include them in the general info.

Other highlights include that you can incorporate all your calendars into one spot: Google, iCal, etc. It also lives conveniently in your menu bar for easy access. And it almost goes without saying, but of course there’s an iPhone app that goes with it.

I especially like that the app feels familiar, but the design aesthetic is nicer than iCal. There’s something about iCal that, in addition to being slightly counterintuitive, is also just kind of ugly. It feels dated. Fantastical is just better designed.

This is Mac desktop app, which means you can download it from the Mac app store. It’ll set you back $20, but you can try it free for two weeks. That should be enough time to figure out if Fantastical is right for you!

Check out Fantastical at the Flexibits website.

How the New Microsoft Office 365 Can Work for Small Business

Microsoft Office365 from AT&TThe idea behind the new Office 365 is that there are two key needs for small businesses these days: mobile accessibility and streamlined IT. After all, time spent dealing with tech headaches is time you’re not actually working on your business. Office365 seeks to streamline your tech by providing all your productivity apps through one cloud-based service, and can include the Microsoft Office Suite so many of us have come to rely on.

Exchange Online
Exchange email is probably not a new idea for you. The trouble is, running an exchange server for email is complicated and not cheap. Microsoft has figured out how to have exchange email live online, so you can sync and manage email, calendars and contacts across devices. There are even shared calendars, just like the real (now old-fashioned) deal.

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