Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Want better Zooms at home? Check out EIG Pro

One of the things we’ve all learned during this long lockdown is that it’s possible to work and be productive without going to an office. Video conferencing tools like Zoom or FaceTime have become part of our everyday digital toolkit.

But if you’re like me, you’re tired of seeing everyone in tiny squares on your laptop screen. Is that a smile or grimace on your boss’s face? We’ve had to adjust how we read body language and physical cues in our new online workplace.

Think about how much better video conferencing would be if you used a big-screen TV, like the one you use to watch movies and sports. Consultants like EIG PRO can make that happen.

EIG - Elusive Integrators Group - has expertise in building video conferencing rooms for businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The photo here is one example. Now EIG PRO is doing more residential work because, you know, everyone has turned their homes into their business offices.  

There’s an article on the company’s blog that discusses some of the many business benefits of video conferencing, such as reduced costs and improved productivity. 

For a closer look at the range of work that EIG PRO offers, visit the company’s website.  You can also contact or follow the company on Facebook and Instagram and @eig_pro on Twitter.

Monday, January 25, 2021

DarkCyber blog features naked Bitcoin, Parler unplugged and me

I join tech expert Stephen E Arnold this week to discuss how Amazon pulled the plug on the alt-right message board Parler and what that might mean for the future of open communication on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. 

Arnold also has a surprising report on how Bitcoin might not be the anonymous money-moving system that we were told it is.And ties the efforts to unmask Bitcoin to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and to a mysterious suicide. 

You can watch the latest episode below and check out more of Arnold’s article and videos at his DarkCyber blog.

Friday, January 15, 2021

This Covid mask plays music and takes calls

Two things that don’t play well together in this pandemic world are Covid masks and earbud headphones. 

Adjust your mask and your buds might go sailing our of your ear. Trust me, I’ve been there.

That why the MaskFone caught my eye. It’s among the new gadgets that made its debut at the all-online CES trade show this month.

It’s a stylish black mask that has a built-in microphone and lightweight Bluetooth earbuds.  

The washable mask has a slot for replaceable PM 2.5 filters. The earbuds 12 hour battery life with function controls built into the front of the mask. The buds are IPX5 water and sweat resistant.

MaskFone costs $49.95 and is available on the MaskFone website.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

EIG PRO unspools high-end cabling projects

My cell phone, tablet and laptop computer bring me email, text messages, news reports, stock prices, and a stead stream of photos of my darling grandchildren. And they all arrive without wires or cables.

But be assured, there are plenty of wires and cables involved in producing the magic of the Internet. They just tend to congregate out of sight, under the floor or above the ceiling tiles in commercial buildings and education centers and in nondescript rooms packed with sophisticated switching equipment. 

Getting Internet service to my home is a relatively simple process. I just needed one small wire run from a utility pole to a junction box mounted on the side of the house. 

But wiring a business office or an educational institution requires a miles of cables and a cadre of highly-trained installers and technicians. 

People like those at EIG PRO.

EIG - Elusive Integrators Group - is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area where it specializes in a wide range of audio-visual integration projects and high-end cabling work. 

The company doesn’t lay down the thousands of miles of underwater cables that connect the US to the rest of the world, but it knows how to bring data from those cables to an office building, hospital, research lab or college campus.  


As the EIG people like to put it: 

Data cabling makes the world run

EIG projects include cable structure planning and installation, data network troubleshooting, fiber installations and WiFi and cloud integrations.

Some of the EIG projects featured on the company’s website include executive boardrooms with individual data terminals; audiovisual displays in a football locker room; indoor and outdoor audiovisual and device controls for luxury apartment complexes; and business conferencing “Zoom Rooms.”

For a closer look at EIG PRO, check out the video below and find the company on Facebook and Instagram and @eig_pro on Twitter.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Plug-in lets Google Forms collect payments

It's the season for giving and sharing and that means my email inbox is stuffed with requests from various worth causes asking me to make a donation or purchase some of their merchandise. 

As I click through to their websites, I'm often surprised to see how many organizations could be making it easier for me to give them money. They could cut out unnecessary clicks by building their payment platform using Google Forms and a new plug-in from the developers at Payable.  

The Payable add-on delivers easy online commerce tools to any website. For example. author Flora Isom-Marion uses the Payable form to sell her latest book. The form collects customer information and lets them choose either a e-book or physical book and lets them pay with a credit card or with PayPal. 

Other organizations are using Payable forms to take registrations for events such as a game, musical performance or sports clinic.

The Payable add-on uses themes and colors from the user's Google Form. Users can incorporate a variety of elements into their payment form including taxes, shipping information, handling fees or upgrades.     

In addition to PayPal, the developers say they plan to integrate other digital payment options like Venmo, CashApp, Zelle and even Bitcoin.

To get a closer look at all the options, visit the Payable website

Friday, December 4, 2020

New app will show you've had a COVID shot

Vaccines to protect us against COVID-19 are expected to arrive in a matter of weeks and before long, we'll all be lining up to get one. 

But amid that good news, there are still some unanswered questions about how we will function in a vaccinated society. Tiara Lyons had some of those questions after she gave birth during the pandemic and as she prepared to search for a babysitter. Ideally, the sitter would be someone who had been vaccinated. 

"I felt it was too risky for me to simply take the babysitter’s word they were vaccinated, yet also felt it was too invasive to ask a stranger for medical records," she said.

That's when she got the inspiration to create an app that would allow people to share proof of their vaccination certification. Today, Lyons is the founder and CEO of Vaccertify, a Seattle-based start-up that has created a prototype app that is also called Vaccertify. 

Once vaccinations are available, users can create a digital certification by uploading their vaccination record, a government-issued identification document and a selfie photo. Vaccertify then creates a ID screen that includes a scannable QR code linked to a profile in the Vaccertify database. The system also uses a private PIN that must be entered in order to view the certificate.

Like Lyons' babysitter concerns, Vaccertify is designed to be used in social or business interactions. 
For example, a homeowner might want proof that service providers are vaccinated before allowing them access to their home. A party host might want only vaccinated guests at an event. Visitors to a group home could be screened using Vaccertify. And certification could soon become a connection point for online dating.

The cost to use Vaccertify is $49.99 with the certificate posted in seven days. Users can pay more for faster processing.

For a closer look at the service and to find out when it will be available, visit the Vaccertify website and follow @Vaccertify on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ensellify has market data for eBay sellers

For more than 20 years, I've been selling things on eBay with a sales approach that could best be described as "winging it." If I had something to move - maybe a used phone or some other tech gear - I wrote it up a posted it. 

Then one of my customers told me I should time auctions to end on weekends because that's when potential buyers are more likely to be browsing for bargains. 

Now I've found Ensellify, an eBay-focused market research tool. It offers more tips and data to help sellers their approach and treat their eBay store more like the business that it is. 

For example, Ensellify helps eBay sellers identify popular products and discover opportunities in markets where demand is high but supply is low. Listings for watches, it seems, get more traction  in period just before Valentine's Day. 

The service also assists sellers with competitor research in a specific product niche. It provides data on product pricing and it suggest keywords to use in a listing title to help boost a listing's visibility. 

Ensellify is a subscription service with pricing that ranges from $15 for one month to $70 for six months. 

To get a closer look at the service, visit the Ensellify website.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Face maker tricks out Android watches

I have two adult children who both thumb their noses at Apple products in general and the Apple Watch in particular. They are all in with Android phones and Android watches.

One big reason why they favor Android is Andros give them much more control over their devices than the other guys. They especially like to personalize their watch faces.

That’s why I told them about Live The Times. It’s a development house that offers more than 30 faces for watches that run Wear OS. And a lot of them are pretty slick.

The Courser face caught my attention. It offers multiple complications such as moving bezels and an analog and digital stopwatch. , and custom complications. The bezels rotate and work with the analog hands to add functionality. 

The Executive Gold Earth shows some serious style and the Cyber Red Tech tells time down to the second, for someone who wants to make every second on this planet count.

The most popular face in the collection is the Flames watch face. It has a detailed fire animation and complications such as weather updates and heart rate sensor support.

Live The Times faces support a variety of Android watches including models mad by LG, Asus and Fossil along with fashion brands such as Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade and Emporio Armani. To see the full collection, visit the Live The Times website and companion store on Google Play

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