24-hours into #iPadWeek: I’m an idiot. Also, email saved the day!

My new office set-up: got my iPad wrapped in soft, brown leather inside the Brookstone Keyboard Pro case.

If you’ve been following along, yesterday I found out that my MacBook Pro is going to be in the shop for longer than I expected and that I’m going to be working from my iPad all week. Last night I decided to try and get ahead on some of my work and started drafting a blog post for the site when I realized that I needed some screenshots from a website that doesn’t work on the iPad.

“No big deal,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just borrow my roommate’s computer for a minute.” So I hopped on his laptop, took a few screenshots, copied them to a USB flash drive, and walked back over to my iPad to plug it in. A brilliant plan except… why did I think that iPad’s have USB ports?

As I said in the title of this post, I’m an idiot.  Read More

LG and Box offer 50Gigs of Free Cloud Storage

I’ve been touting Dropbox as THE go-to cloud storage service for quite some time now. It’s available on a wide variety of devices, and many mobile apps integrate with it. But, there is something about free that gets my ears to perk up. Case and point, Box.net, a direct Dropbox competitor is offering anyone with an LG Android smartphone 50GB of free space for life. Read More

Premade Recipes Make ifttt Awesome

A while back, we found “if this then that”, a cool new way to automate some of the logistical work of your social media campaign.  “If this then that”, or just “ifttt”, is a way to write custom recipes or routines that fit your social media campaign perfectly.  That’s awesome, and what’s even more awesome is that you can share these recipes with the world.  You’re also free to use the recipes that have already been shared by others, rather than having to make them all up from scratch. Today I’m going to take a look at some of the coolest recipes I’ve found, and let you know how you can put them to work with your social media outreach. Read More

New iPod Touch – Business Productivity Tool?

One of the many announcements during this week’s Apple event was the fact that the popular iPod Touch will now come in white, will get the iOS 5 platform, and the price has been reduced to $199 for the entry-level 8 GB version.

Now that sounds all well and dandy for the parent looking to get a gift for their tween… they can download apps that will let them txt message with their friends who are too young to have a full-blown smartphone. Said tween will also be able to play games, listen to music and movies, etc. without destroying their family’s wireless minutes. All in all, at $199 the iPod touch is a great gift, and is now a better value than ever.

But allow me to present another option for the iPod Touch – it can double as an outstanding mobile business productivity device.  That’s right, with the help of the 400,00 titles strong App Store, you can turn a “fun and games” device into a business expense. Read More

ifttt makes social media a breeze

Social media is a big part of any modern marketing campaign.  However, managing social media properly can mean a lot of time-consuming work.  It’s one thing to have a solid plan, but the real work comes with the day-in, day-out hands-on implementation of this plan.  There are lots of products that claim to automate this process, but they’re all missing a key thing: variety.  You can set your tumblr to auto-update to your twitter, and your twitter could update your facebook, but this creates a single monolithic, repetitive structure.  So, how do you add nuance to your social media plan without adding complexity and hours to your day? Read More

The New Dropbox for Android is Ready for Business Use

Regular readers of this site are probably familiar with Dropbox, as it’s one of Terrence Gaines’ favorite mobile apps, and with good reason.  The popular cloud-based service provides users with 2gb of free file-hosting storage space (though you’ll have to bribe the company with some real legal tender if you need additional gigs), which can then be accessed and/or modified from nearly any device (so long as that device is powered by Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, Linux, Android, or Blackberry… which it probably is).

For enterprise and small-business users employing Android phones, however, Dropbox has provided more angst than joy over the past couple years, as the Dropbox Android app has suffered from buggy performance and limited functionality.  The company recently released a thoroughly revamped Android app, which promises to finally bring full parity to Dropbox’s mobile offerings; but does it?

One of Dropbox’s most efficiency-catalyzing features has been its ability to automatically synchronize files; if a sales agent in the field secured a new order, a Dropbox-enabled spreadsheet in the central office would immediately reflect the change in inventory.  That’s how Dropbox worked on an iPhone, at least, but until this most recent version of Dropbox, Android users were forced to manually upload files.  I’m happy to report that Dropbox’s Android app finally incorporates full automatic synchronization, which works like a charm over both wi-fi and 3G connections.   As for the erratic performance of earlier iterations of Dropbox for Android, my extensive testing found none of the hang-ups or crashes that plagued earlier builds.  This is a robust, solidly performing app that’s ready for the challenging rigors of business use.

Despite the significant improvements Dropbox has implemented, prospective users should be aware that the mobile app does not have the full functionality of a desktop Dropbox client.  For instance, within the Android app, it’s impossible to move files from one folder to another, and external apps are needed to properly view documents, PDFs, or movie files (QuickOffice is one great doc app, and offers built-in Dropbox compatibility).

For those burned by bad experiences with previous versions of Dropbox’s Android app, the stability and improved functionality of Dropbox’s latest iteration make it worthy of a second look.  While the Android app’s features can’t match those of a full desktop client,  the limitations are unlikely to be noticed by most people working in the field.  Dropbox has finally released an Android app that lives up to the high standards set by the company’s other OS offerings, which makes it easy to recommend this app to any business looking to improve their information-sharing capabilities across disparate devices or users. What are you waiting for? Sign up for Dropbox today, and then get the Dropbox app for Android.

ShopSavvy and Dropbox Combine for Shopping Productivity

Small business owners stay busy—I know because I am one. I mean, juggling a personal life, a family, a 9-5 job, and managing your own business is overwhelming. So finding the time to bargain, coupon clip, comparison shop, and price match may not be in the “I really need to set aside some time to do this” bucket of things to do.

Small business owners can also benefit from using their smartphone in conjunction with mobile apps to help them save money on everyday business needs. The ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner app for iPhone and Android devices is one of those apps that can help you save time and money by finding the best deals locally and online with just a quick scan of a product’s barcode.

ShopSavvy can read UPC, EAN, and QR codes, so it can function as your all-in-one app for all your scanning needs. The cool part of the app is that it will search its database to find the lowest price locally and online from just about every major retailer. If you find a better deal locally, the app will give you directions and other details to the store where the item is available and an indication of whether or not the item is in stock. Find the item priced better online, ShopSavvy will send you to the merchant’s eCommerce site to buy directly, or save your item(s) to buy later.

Speaking of saving stuff, If you’ve ever read just about ANY of my previous articles, you should know that I am a huge Dropbox fan. Well guess what, ShopSavvy integrates with your Dropbox account so you can save your scan history and lists you’ve made in the app to your Dropbox cloud. This is handy because it syncs your data across all of the devices connected to your Dropbox account for anytime anywhere access, no matter what device you are using.

If you are able to free up some time to hit up your neighborhood office supply store for little, but important things for your business like printer ink, download the ShopSavvy app and start scanning those items to see if you can save a buck or two…And don’t forget to write off that ink as a business expense! While you’re at it, see if you can write off the $1.99 for the cost to download the ShopSavvy app that helps you save money for your business.

I may be stretching it a bit on that one!

DROPitTO.me – Securely receive files from anyone to your Dropbox

You all should know by now that I am a huge Dropbox fan. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered the ever-growing list of apps and services that utilize Dropbox.

One of the apps that stuck out was the DROPitTOme online service lets you request files from anyone that will automatically be uploaded to your Dropbox account. Now, if you’re going from Dropbox user to Dropbox user, file sharing is included in the basic account. But, if you need a file from somebody who has never heard of Dropbox (shame on them), the quickest way to receive a file I guess would be via email. Most people with a smartphone have access to their email accounts on the go, and most people know how to send an email.

But, if you’re dealing a user who doesn’t use Dropbox AND wants to send a huge file, that’s where DROPitTOme comes in. You can send your upload link to anyone and they can add files up to 75mb directly to your Dropbox account – Most other email clients only allow up to 10mb per email attachment. DITM will also create a separate folder that won’t mess with your current Dropbox structure.

Once you’ve registered an account and linked to Dropbox, DITM will generate a special upload link (http://dropitto.me/username) that’s secured with a special upload password that you assign to. Once the link and password is accepted, users can start to upload any kind of file Dropbox currently accepts. upload/transfer is crazy fast, and you will be sent an email with the uploaded file details when the transfer is complete. Files are available immediately to access via the web, connected computers or (wait for it) any smartphone or mobile device connected to your Dropbox account.

That upload link stays the same no matter who you give it to and there is no time limit/timeout period to when a user with your link/pass can upload files. That may be a good or bad thing, so you have the ability to change the upload password at any time, or toggle upload capabilities on and off.

My only gripe is there is no bulk upload option, so you will have to upload those files one at a time. But for free (or a donation), what more can you ask for from a quick and easy way to receive files that are automatically added to your Dropbox account for instant access via a smartphone?

I thought so. So visit the DROPitTOme site and let us know what you think in the comment section.

Request DropBox Files From Anyone with AirDropper

If you don’t already know by now, I’m a fan of the DropBox cloud storage app/service that allows me to store files in the cloud AND synchronize my files across ALL my devices. DropBox even allows for sharing files with other DropBox users.

But what if the other person is not a DropBox user? If you want to receive a file to add to your DropBox directory from somebody who is not using DropBox, you have to go through the normal challenge of sending it via email (and praying it’s small enough), or using another download site where you are bombarded with a 5000 eleven ads, and other various un-solicited software to download. Once you get the file, you have to upload it DropBox yourself.

If you use DropBox heavy like me and need a simple way to receive files, check out AirDropper – the neat little service that allows you to receive files and send them directly to DropBox.

It works like this: You go to the AirDropper site and connect it to your DropBox account. Don’t worry, AirDropper does not access your files. It simply creates a secure upload site where the recipient of the site (the person you are requesting the file from) can upload the file you are requesting. Once you enter your email address and recipient’s email address and a brief description of the file, they are sent an email with the site where they upload the file.

Once they upload the file, AirDropper doesn’t send you the file to then upload to DropBox, it is actually uploading the file to your DropBox directory using a special “AirDropper” folder. You just go into the AirDropper folder and do what you want with the file. Once you receive the file, it is synched and made available to all your other devices running DropBox.

No software to download, no special instructions to send, no jumping through hoops to receive/get access to a file. The AirDropper service is currently in beta, so they are currently testing things out. One of the things they are aware of and working on is the ability to upload multiple files instead of just one at a time. One thing they are NOT working on is putting a cap on the size of the file you want to send. On the site, they claim to have sent/receive a 75mb file with hopes of supporting 100mb file transfers. So rest assured, it’s highly likely you will get that PowerPoint presentation you requested. Additionally, AirDropper promises secure file transfers to the tune of industry-standard SSL encryption at each stage of the request process. Once the file is sent, AirDropper does not store/archive any files. What you see in DropBox is the only copy out there!

I did mention it’s free (for now) to use AirDropper right?

If you are using DropBox, try them out and send feedback so those guys (and gals I’m assuming) can get out of beta and provide their hardcore users (I plan to be one) with a nice, smooth, and simple AirDropper service to receive files directly to DropBox.

Dropbox + DocsToGo = Match Made in Mobile Productivity Heaven

Most of time when I need to do something with an invoice, I am sitting in front of The Precious my laptop, so it never dawned on me that I may be out and about and need to make a quick change on my iPad or my BlackBerry (still waiting to see if Apple will fix the “death grip”). So last night I messed around with opening up a document, editing it and sending it out in an email or saving it for later all on my iPad.

It didn’t take me very long to find the right combination. I am already experimenting with keeping all of my business documents stored in the cloud with Dropbox so I can access all my files no matter what device I am using…and yes, I back it up offline. But that [Dropbox] is mainly for accessing, sharing, and backing up files. The missing link was finding the right app that allowed me to edit files found in my Dropbox, and saving them back to their current locations or emailing them to a potential client. So, I looked on Dropbox’s site to find a list of “friendlies” that worked with Dropbox, and boom, DocsToGo was on the list.

If you are not familiar with DocsToGo, they have been in the mobile documents game for a minute. Since the evolution of smart phones, DocsToGo has given mobile users the ability to open, edit and share documents via many mobile devices.

The cool thing about the DropBox/DocsToGo combination is you can skip the whole “download a document first, then open up an app that can access the file you downloaded, then open up the document, then edit the document, save it, then open up your email client, then find the new document, then send it.” If I am just looking at a document in and decide “hey I need to change something”, I can simply click the “Open With” button and DocsToGo (if installed and configured) will open the document so I can make the changes. When I am done and ready to save, I can save it right to Dropbox. If I want to share the document, DocsToGo will immediately open up my email client to send.

I am a neat freak when it comes to documents. So the ability to keep all my documents in Dropbox, and use DocsToGo, regardless of the device, to open, edit, and share my documents is a must. With DocsToGo and Dropbox, keeping all my files in sync with the many devices I use, in addition to editing and sharing those documents regardless of what device I use, is a match made in mobile productivity heaven.

Now If I only could print the darn thing…

If you have any suggestions or know of any other combinations out there, drop in and leave a comment to let us know what works best for you?