Thursday, February 23, 2017

New social network is built on videos

How do you get to know someone? Sharing messages and photos are fine, but it’s hard to beat the impact of video.

Video delivers a person’s image along with their voice, facial expressions and movements. It’s the best medium we have until holograms arrive.

And video is the foundation of Kazzanova, a social discovery network where members introduce themselves by posting a 60-second video with their profile.

Members can view the most popular videos and search the collection to find other members with shared interests. The can build a circle of friends and exchange private messages with other users.

A member’s profile includes their score, which is based on their level of participation in the network and responses from other members. Your score increases when you post, share and invite others to join and when others give your content a “WOW.”

Kazzanova is a available as a free download for iPhones in the iTunes App Store and for Androids in the Google Play Store.

Tools give mobile apps a workout

Every digital developer knows a story like the one I read in a business magazine. It was about a company that made a pitch to the investors on the TV show Shark Tank.

After the show aired, the company’s website got so many hits that its server crashed, costing the company millions in lost sales.

Experitest is a service that helps companies prepare for a guard against  disasters like that. It provides quality assurance tools for mobile app developers including manual testing, performance testing, load testing and monitoring for mobile applications.

The Experitest toolkit includes cloud-based mobile app testing tools that can be based online or on site. Other tools test mobile app functionality and performance. They include test scripting and results reporting with screen shots and videos.

The tools are available for all mobile operating systems, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry and they integrate with all Application Lifecycle Management environments.

For more details, visit the Experitest website.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

UK service puts content on top blogs

There are more than 150 million blogs in the world, way more than any any business hoping to see its product mentioned online could possibly reach. Nor should it want to.

Savvy marketers would tell them that only blogs worth reaching are those with a shared topic interest and a high visibility ranking. And those are the blogs that iNet Ventures says it can target.

The UK-based digital marketing service specialized in influencer marketing. In other words, it helps businesses get their stories told on blogs that have the power to influence prospective clients and buyers.

The company says it targets blogs in the client’s niche area and uses “an organic approach which avoids unnatural SEO practices.” It gets links placed on blogs that, like this one, have a domain authority rating of 20 or higher.

Prices for one link placement start at £35. For more information and to see the full range of services, visit the iNet Ventures website.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Malwarebytes suite fights computer invaders

A few years ago, a friend asked me to find out why her computer was acting oddly and functioning slowly. It turned out that her PC was infected with malware and adware and the only solution was to have her hard drive wiped and restored, a job that cost her almost $300.

A cyber security collection of protection programs developed by  Malwarebytes is one of the leading programs that can protect a personal computer against those types of expensive invasions and infections.  

Malwarebytes anti malware shields desktop and laptop computers - running either Windows or Apple’s Mac operating system - as well as mobile devices against a variety of dangerous malware threats.

The package offers multiple modes of scanning, including a custom function that lets users designate how and how often their computer is inspected. Real Time protection is available as a premium feature for users who want constant protection against spyware, adware, malware and other threats.

A free trail version of Malwarebytes is available to download for PC or Mac at the Anti Malware Suite website.

Encore headphones are priced for groups

I’m no fan of earbuds. I’ve tried at least a dozen different ones and none of them ever felt comfortable in my ears. Give me real headphones any time.

That’s why I was happy to find the special deal at Encore Data Products where they’re selling stereo headphones for $2.99.

At that price I could afford to buy several pair to stash in my nightstand, car, travel bag and any other spot where they could be handy to have.

Encore says these phones have a four-foot cable with volume control with leatherette earpads and a volume control wheel built into the cable.

The ENC-CCV model headphones would be a good fit for schools, libraries, training centers and similar situations where multiple headphones are needed. The earpads can be wiped clean after each use.

The headphones come in bags that could be labelled and assigned to individual students.

You can get more details on the ENC-CCV headphones or get a quote on volume purchase at the Encore Data Products website. The company is also @EncoreDataProd on Twitter. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tank Spotter app targets the propane industry

Gizmo Editor Review

You don’t have to know anything about the propane industry to recognize that Tank Spotter could be an incredibly useful app for anyone in that line of business. It can help a sales staff find and manage new customers and help installation techs meet the stringent government safety requirements.

The app was developed by Bill Stomp, a war veteran who said he drew on his experience in military intelligence.

“The idea for this app comes from that world,” Stomp told me. “We would gather intel from our field guys - marines, seals, airplanes, satellites, etc. - and then ‘spot’ the enemy. In the fuel delivery industry we have field guys called drivers, techs, managers and sales people. They can ‘spot’ sales leads such as a competitor's fuel tanks with the app."

Tank Spotter’s home page presents a series of options for dealing with a company’s existing accounts and with potential new clients.

Let’s say an employee or manager is driving around their home area and they see a property with one or more propane tanks. Is it one of theirs? Does it belong to a competitor? Maybe it’s an opportunity to make a new sale.

To "spot" the tank, they open their mobile phone or tablet and click to the Tank Finder page. This page is the heart of the app. It lists the actions you can take when you have eyes on a tank. Users can log it as a sales lead, a safety or maintenance issue, or record it as one of your tanks and update the details associated with that installation.

Options let users note the type of tank, its address and description, the name of the business and the company’s contact person. A single button lets them use GPS technology to record and map the tank’s location. They can also capture a photo or record a short video.

A delivery driver or maintenance tech can use similar features for logging safety issue or a maintenance issues. The data is either sent immediately to the company’s central database or stored until the phone is within cell phone range, a useful feature in remote areas where many propane customers are located.

A section called View Tanks Spotted presents a map showing all the collected tanks, with color-coded pins to match the different types of reports. A competitor's tank get one color, other colors are assigned to safety issues or sales prospects. The map can help the company plan and schedule sales calls or safety inspections to focus on a specific area.

Another useful feature is the Tank Docs section that lets users create digital versions of the various forms that a propane dealer has to fill out, file and store. An Estimator section includes tools for estimating pricing for a new account or create an invoice for a new or existing client. Users can also record meter readings leak checks and safety inspections.

Tank Spotter is a well-designed app that anyone with basic data-entry skills will be comfortable using. And, it’s an excellent example of how mobile technology can be put to work helping even the smallest business.

Tank Spotter is available to download in the Google Play Store. For a closer look at how the app works, visit the Tank Spotter website and watch my video review below.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Service provides temporary email addresses

It’s not uncommon for a digital service to demand your email address before it grants you access to a website, a game, a document or a social media platform.

That’s because for marketers, your email address is gold. Once you express interest in their product and hand over your contact address, they can slam your inbox with offers, coupons and assorted dreck.

This is the sort of situation when you might wish you had a disposable email address. That’s exactly whet a service called Temp Mail Address provides.

The site generates a random name under it’s domain and gives you a temporary mailbox. The name and the mailbox live for only one hour, long enough for you to get and deal with confirmation messages or other communication. It's kind of like SnapChat for email addresses.

The service is free and the operators don’t ask for your real address or any other personal information in order to use it. For more details, click the About box on the Temp Mail Address website.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Gear Heads explore Virtual Reality

Like any emerging technology, the world of Virtual Reality can be confusing. Headsets can vary from one mobile phone brand to another. And where can you go to learn about the best new VR games?

The gear heads at Gear Heads VR hope to fill that gap. They’ve created a website that posts reviews and profiles of VR gear and software.

The site lists four different headsets as the best of the year (so far). Each listing is accompanied by ratings on the product’s design, quality and price along with a link to buy the headset.

Visitors will also find a review of the Oculus Rift. Here’s a snippet:

This headset offers a lot in regards to comfort and immersion experience, but the best games have yet to be made. 

The game list includes reviews ARK Park, Robo Recall, Fallout 4 and Star Trek: Bridge Crew, among others.

For a deeper dive into Virtual Reality equipment and content, check out the Gear Heads VR website.

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