Yahoo Axis: Aging Search Giant Making A Huge Step Into the Future with Hot New Service

In a time when the word “Google” is synonymous with searching the Internet, have you been wondering what some of those old search engines of yore are up to?  I know that I have.  I have to say that it seems that Yahoo! has not let the world pass them by, with their new Axis product they have impressed me by embracing the modern mobile culture.

The basic idea behind this product is a solid one.  Your web browsing experience follows you from device to device, from platform to platform.  If mobile productivity is your thing, then this simple concept is appealing to you, seamless movement from tablet to desktop with no syncing, really no thinking is required. Read More

Comparing Mobile Payment Technologies: PayPal? Square? Verifone? A look at all three

As you may know, the market for allowing individuals and small businesses to accept credit card payment through mobile devices is really blowing up.  In fact, just this morning I saw a television commercial for Square’s mobile payment service. PayPal is even getting into the game with their ‘PayPal Here’ solution.

We’ve talked about Square a lot here, as well as Venmo and other ways for folks to pay (and get paid) on the go.  I’m excited about these technologies, because they empower individuals and small businesses through lowering their bar for credit card integration.  Now that the powerhouse of digital payments, PayPal, has entered the space, we can be pretty sure that this type of technology is here to stay. So, the only thing left to do is to compare them and see which fits best for you and your business.

So, how do these different providers stack up? Read More

Email: The Driving Force of Mobile

I love social media, I really do.  Instagram, facebook, foursquare, and tumblr; these apps are some of the coolest available for our handhelds.  But it’s interesting to think about how all this communication would likely not be there if it weren’t for their big brother: email.

Email, and electronic communication in general, has long been the driving force of the internet. When the world went mobile, email emerged as the single most important feature of a mobile device (arguably even more important than the voice features).  RIM built a massive company mostly based around the idea of instant, secure mobile email devices.  Now, iPhone users spend less than half the time using their phone as a phone.  And in the last year, the use of smartphones by IT guys has gone from two thirds to almost all of them.

More impressively, just like web views, mobile devices are cannibalizing the desktop’s market share of opens.  This means that important business messages are being read on phones more now then ever.  My congressperson emails me, and at the bottom of the message reads the now-ubiquitous, ‘sent from my iPhone’.  Read More

Venmo To Vegas: A Simple, Free Way to Pay Your Friends and Associates

I’m at that age where everyone I know is getting married, and that means one thing: parties.  Specifically, for me as a guy this means bachelor parties, w00t!  So this week, according to Bing,  was the best time to book a July flight to Las Vegas because the prices would only go up.  No one likes to travel alone, so since my buddy Paul will be heading out to the same party we decided to fly together.

I hopped onto one of the “flight deal” sites and bought two round-trip tickets to Vegas with my credit card.  I told Paul over Gchat that I had booked our tickets, and asked him how he wanted to pay for his half.

“Do you use Venmo?”, he asked.

Well guess what? I do now!  Venmo is a simple, fun, and free way to pay your friends.  It took me less than 5 minutes to sign up with facebook, verify my bank account, and bill my friend for his part of our flight.   Read More

How to Advertise on Twitter

When I first heard about Twitter, I was skeptical.  However, I’ve really come around to it, and in some senses it has really come around to more pragmatic users.  Specifically, if you have ever wondered what it is that twitter can do for your business, especially something measurable and tangible, they have the answer to that question for you.  Over at their advertising blog they have announced a product aimed squarely at the small business market.

Last month, twitter partnered with American Express to offer its small business card members and merchants the chance to use Twitter advertising.  Initially, only a small group of had access, but access is expanding.

So what’s good about this? Read More

Square Register is the best Point of Sale for iPad

Point of sale software on the iPad is nothing new, but it’s definitely worth a second look now that Square has released Square Register, their app for accepting both card and cash payments via your iPad.

The new Square Register should be ideal for a small business owner. Once you sign up for Square, you get a Square “Card Reader”, a little dongle that allows you to swipe credit cards. As long as you have a place to stash your cash, you can also take cash payments with just a tap of your touch screen. Read More

What are you UpTo? Shared Calendar App Set to Revolutionize Business

What’s the hottest new thing imported from Detroit?  UpTo, the new calendar sharing app.  A couple of days ago, I had a chance to speak to founder and CEO Greg Schwartz about UpTo, his new motor city  venture.  UpTo is the social calendar sharing app that has been out for about two weeks.  Already, Greg has noticed that his main users are small business owners, people who were really needing something more modern from their calendar apps.

In the recent past , small businesses used Google calendars almost exclusively. Google Calendar is fairly utilitarian: you either share your whole calendar with someone, or you share nothing at all.  And, the interface is just Google’s traditional minimalist set.  UpTo has an advantage over Google Calendar in that it lets you control what you share through a rich, modern interface.  UpTo also adds social features that really enrich the calendar experience by easily sharing the activities that are relevant, while keeping private those events that are for your eyes only. Read More

What’s Good? Mobile Device Management Tools with Military-Grade Security

In case you’ve been under a rock, modern mobilty is all about being productive everywhere.  As we also know, one of the greatest concerns in any business is security.  It’s obvious that these two forces work against each other in some ways.  Empowering your staff to be productive while on the go means the increased potential of exposing your company secrets.

For a long time, RIM’s Blackberry had a stranglehold on this market segment.  If you wanted secure email on the go, Blackberry was the answer.  However, the Canadian mobile maker has lagged behind the tech curve, and it looks like the market is finally catching up with them.  Increasingly, employees want to use their personal device for mobile productivity, but using personal devices for work presents a security risk for the business.  So, how can employees stay secure without having to carry a bunch of devices around with them, doing tasks based on which device can get the job done?

Enter Good for Enterprise.  Good for Enterprise is a suite of mobile device management tools with military-grade security for data loss prevention. Their collaboration features for iOS, Android, and Windows phone enable productivity without keeping your IT team up at night. Read More

This Time I Am Getting the 4G

I’m not known for being an early adopter; I usually like to hunker down and wait for the perfect upgrade opportunity.  The new iPad, however, has me so excited that I even considered doing something that I’ve never done before: pre-ordering technology.

So why am I so excited?  Well, there are a lot of great things about the new iPad, the most obvious being the great new display.  Though the idea is simple, great-looking images can be a powerful draw.  Also, the processor been upgraded, and the new cameras are really impressive.  While all of this is exciting, the really exciting upgrade for me is the move to 4G LTE technology.  You may remember that a while back, I wrote about how my father insisted on a 4G tablet for his Christmas gift.  I told him to get an iPad, but he insisted on having 4G.  He ended up with a Galaxy, which I tried out over the holiday at his home way out in the boondocks of North Carolina.  When I attempted to use his satellite wifi (since he’s so far out in the country that cable and DSL internet isn’t available), I realized why the 4G was so important to him.  The 4G speed was wildly faster than his home internet service.

So, this morning I was sitting on my couch with the wife, discussing our next batch of gadgets while digging through the Apple iPad site.  By habit, she had picked out a white 16 gig Wifi model. Remembering her experience with her father’s Android over the holidays, and thinking of our propensity to travel, I told her I think it’s worth the extra money to get the 4G model.  After reminding her of the same thing, she agreed, the iPad really is about mobile productivity.  So we’re now gunning for the 4G model and upgrading yet another of our household’s data services.  I’m really excited about it, because I think that with the extra speed we’re going to increase our ability to be productive, connected, and entertained no matter where we are.

Are you going to get the new iPad?  If you’re even thinking about it, hit AT&T’s website and sign up to be notified when sales start.  Your thoughts in the comments.

The iPhone 4, still the device of my life

There are tons of great new devices out there, and there are even more rumors of greater devices to come.  Despite the revolutionary form and function of the iPad 2 and the siren-like draw of Siri’s voice, something about the “all in the palm of my hand” functionality of my iPhone 4 and the dreams of greater things to come has kept me using the same device for over a year and kept my upgrade money, so far, in my wallet.

Although I think that it is totally fun to tell Siri that you love her, or to ask her silly questions and  laugh at the answers, I don’t actually see a lot of utility in talking to my phone as an interface, especially since I don’t do much driving.  Outside of Siri, I feel like my iPhone 4 can do everything that the 4S can do, and for that matter everything that I need a mobile device to do.  I get my business and personal email all in one place, while the handy grouping of apps puts all of my social media into one small corner of my screen.  I can read all types of documents, handle all my faxing business, and can even hop on the command line of a web server.  And if you don’t have one yet, I believe you can get one for a lot less cash then the S model. Read More