Request a Google+ Invitation Here

Archive for June, 2011

Request a Google+ Invitation Here

Posted on: June 29th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Reposted from the Huffington Post:

Google is betting that its new social network, Google+, will fix what it calls the “awkward” state of online sharing–but Google isn’t sharing invitations to its latest project with everyone.

Users have been clamoring for invitations to Google+, which Google launched as a limited “field trial,” noting “you may find some rough edges.” Access to the project is currently by invitation only, and a limited number of users were given 15 invitations apiece to bring others on board.

If you’re eager to begin trying out Google+ and can’t find someone with a spare invitation, you can sign up to request a Google+ account here. Google has created an entry form that asks people to submit their first name and email address so they can stay posted as the service is rolled out more fully. “We’re still ironing out a few kinks in Google+, so it’s not quite ready for everyone to climb aboard,” Google wrote. “But, if you want, we’ll let you know the minute the doors are open for real. Cool? Cool.”

Google has also created a Twitter account, GooglePlus, that has been tweeting out information about the new service.

This is hardly the first time that Google has created a buzz by limiting a new service to a select group of initial users. Like Google+, Google Wave was at first available only by invitation, as was Gmail.

Check out 9 things you need to know about Google+ here, then take a visual tour of the new social network here.

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Google Analytics Gets an Upgrade

Posted on: June 28th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Here’s a cool video from the Google Analytics team. The video is about the re-make of Google Analytics, which Access Computer Technology uses to measure our clients’  Web exposure.


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Don’t Upgrade Everything

Posted on: June 24th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Everyone gets excited when the next model comes out. We all think that 3.0 is better than 2.0, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes last year’s gadget is better than this year’s new one. Here’s a helpful article in Upgrade Your Life from Yahoo News (by  Becky Worley):


Stand Alone GPS Navigators vs. GPS Smartphone Apps

Most modern smartphones have built-in maps and GPS units. But those built-in apps don’t give turn-by-turn audio directions, like those you may be used to from a dedicated GPS. You can buy apps that give turn by turn directions, but they tend to be expensive, and require up-front costs or monthly subscription fees. (Mapquest is a notable exception; it’s free for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.)

Also, most GPS devices are mounted to a car’s windshield, which makes it safer for the driver. With a smartphone you have to glance down at the device, and take your eyes farther away from the road.

If your car doesn’t have a GPS unit, buying an app with turn-by-turn audio directions plus a windshield mount for your smartphone might save you some money. But if you’re already used to how your navigator works, there’s no reason to “upgrade” and spoil a good thing.
Wired phone headsets vs. Bluetooth headsets
Most states now require a headset if you want to talk on your phone while driving. And wireless Bluetooth headsets are heavily marketed as must-have accessories for exactly that reason.
But what if you already have a wired headset just laying around? Becky leaves hers in the car and plugs it in when she starts driving. It doesn’t need to be “paired” with her phone or to have its battery charged, and she always knows where it is when she wants to use it. Other benefits: Wired headsets cost as little as $10, and often have better sound quality than Bluetooth models.


Laptops vs. tablets

The iPad (and Android tablets like the Xoom) are great for browsing the web, playing video games, and reading ebooks. But can they replace your old laptop completely? If you’re like most people, the answer is no.

First off, a tablet shows only one app at a time, and is slow to switch between apps or copy-and-paste things between them. So if you need to switch back and forth between your web browser and another app — like, say, to write a report for school or for work — you’ll really want to use your computer to do it.

Second, those multi-touch screens are nice, but they’re not easy to type with. And if you’re thinking of buying a Bluetooth keyboard, for an extra $60 or more, you might as well just keep your old laptop around and use its built-in keyboard. Most tablet apps don’t have keyboard shortcuts,anyway, plus they can’t use a mouse. So you’ll be reaching up to tap the screen a lot, which is no fun at all.


Nintendo DS vs. Nintendo 3DS

The 3DS is the latest version of Nintendo’s DS handheld game console. Its schtick is that it plays 3d games that don’t need any glasses, which is fun if it doesn’t make your eyes sore. But it just came out this year, so there are very few 3d games available … and if you want to buy them, you’ll have to pay full retail price.

Becky’s suggestion? Stick with your old DS. There are literally hundreds of DS titles out there, and many of them can be found used at places like Gamestop. Even a new DS title doesn’t cost as much as new 3DS games, so you get more games for your money.

The best part is that old DS games work just fine on the 3DS. So when you finally do upgrade, you won’t have to leave your whole library behind.


iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 5

In a previous episode of Upgrade Your Life, Becky gave us a preview of the iPhone 5, based on industry speculation and leaked information. Besides being better and faster, it might have a bigger screen, or even new features like NFC (Near Field Communication) that let you use your iPhone to pay for things in stores.

Right now, people are expecting that the iPhone 5 will be introduced in September, and on sale before the holidays. They might also roll out a faster iPhone 5 for Verizon, that would be compatible with their 4G network. So if you’re thinking of buying an iPhone 4 — or just a new smartphone in general — it might be better to wait and see what Apple comes up with first.You don’t have to.

Good Tech Support is Key

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

When it comes to computer tech support, an individuals who is there with you and is a good listener is key. Calling an 800- number and getting routed to India is not going to help turn your day around. When your computer is down, so you are you. Access Computer Technology prides itself on our fast response time, free phone support, and the keen ability to listen to the client’s problems. Once we have listened, we won’t leave until we find a solution.

The following article struck a chord with us. It’s written by Jim Hillibish and it explains why good listeners and problem solvers are what you want to look for in good tech support.

A friend of mine wanted to reinstall his Internet service. He called the company’s tech support.

After waiting 22 minutes for them to answer, well, what’s the point?

Amazingly, the tech rep could not tell him how to install his company’s service. He passed my friend to the company that made his router. The Indian guy who barely spoke English was clueless and hung up.

No wonder product support ranks near the bottom on the Consumer Reports recent customer-service poll. Just about every company that deals with the public is in trouble here. Our expectation as customers is zero when we need help.

Another strange thing here is paid tech support. From what I hear from users, it’s no better than the freebie. The only difference is the meter’s running — $68 a call. They want your credit-card number before they don’t solve your problem.

There is a way around this, and it’s called the Internet. A lot of companies now offer knowledge bases to answer questions with no intervention by a human who is asleep at the phone. These can work well, but there’s one problem. If your computer is not working, how do you access it? OK, go to the library.

I’ve talked to tech-support reps who seem brain dead about their product. Those same knowledge bases, where you type in some keywords and get an answer, are what they use. If it’s not in the computer, these people don’t know it.

That’s a problem because diagnosing computer programs can be more difficult than, say, brain surgery. One thing always leads to another. People who cannot follow this chain will be blind to solutions.

If I may stereotype, a lot of these folks have problems communicating, especially when they are trying to translate English and look up answers at the same time.

Apparently, companies actually think all this is very smart. It saves gobs of money. They’re living for the present and seem oblivious to losing that customer in the future.

The solution is to only hire people who are good listeners, problem solvers and actually enjoy helping us. I know from long experience that’s a very rare creature in this business.

Reposted from Lake News Online

Using Social Media Marketing to Extend Your Brand

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Fox Business just published a great article today by “Woody” Woodward about the power of social media.

The Right Way to Use Social Media to Extend Your Brand

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s resignation last week proved the power of social media.

Nearly every day we get hit with some kind of social media misstep in celebrity culture, politics, and business that serves to both amuse and annoy us. Social media can be a powerful and incredibly cost-effective tool for reaching potential customers and supporters.

But here’s the problem: Many people don’t take the time to learn how to harness the power of social media for positive gain as opposed to negative, which can wreak havoc on their careers.

As a freelancer, independent consultant or small business owner, you can use social media to elevate your brand to actually compete with the major players. Social media is truly the great marketing equalizer. Think about the reach that both Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have developed purely through their social media efforts.

Don’t just take my word for it, the popular site Social Media Examiner released its 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report and the numbers are astounding. They surveyed more than 3,300 marketers and found the following:

The No.1 advantage of social media marketing is generating more business exposure, as indicated by 88% of marketers. Increased traffic (72%) and improved search rankings (62%) were also major advantages;
45% of people who’ve only invested 12 months or less in social media marketing reported they gained new partnerships;

“By spending as little six hours per week on social media efforts, 52% of marketers saw lead generation benefits.

So, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to create your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and get your brand rolling. Here are a few tips to get your social media campaign going:

1) Use Management Tools: Social media management tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck are great ways to manage accounts and save precious time. These tools allow you to schedule posts in advance and automatically release them over the course of time. These tools make it easy to keep your followers up to date without being strapped behind a keyboard. Make sure to still throw in something unique on each page so people have a reason to follow more than of your social networking accounts.

2) Engage and Interact: You must engage your followers: start conversations with people, respond promptly to questions/comments and thank them when they spread the word about your brand. Don’t think of social media as a one-way street; after all, it is called “social” media. Help promote your followers by spreading the word about their businesses and/or accomplishments as well.

3) Provide Value: You have to make sure you deliver some sort of value to those who are going to take the time to follow you. This might mean coupons, articles related to your niche, new product information, company news, or even a contest. The key is not to spend all your time shamelessly self promoting; people don’t want to follow a bunch of ads. Keep your profiles fresh and updated to keep your followers coming back.

4) Start a Blog: A blog will keep customers up to date with the day-to-day affairs of your company. Use it to give your company personality and boost your search engine optimization (SEO). Hire a part-time blogger if necessary–it’ll be worth the extra expense.

5) Set Goals: If you want to see results, you have to measure. This might be how much you want your Web traffic to increase, how many followers you want in six months, etc. Remember that meeting your goals might take months or even years, but the return on time investment is high if you are smart about how you use your time.

If you ever feel stuck, check out companies like yours that have successful social media campaigns. Observe what they are doing to grow their base. Which tactics are working? Which aren’t? Also, keep yourself up to date on current trends and strategies in social media marketing through sites like Mashable and Social Media Examiner.

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook

A Video Tripod That Follows You

Posted on: June 17th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

With more people using video to Skype, this could be one of the best new inventions. It is a tripod that follows you as you move. Take a look at the cool video demonstrating the Remarkable Tripod at Wimp.com.

Google Improves Image Search

Posted on: June 17th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Mashable reports that Google has added a couple of features to its main search engine that make it easier to search for images and browse through image-related results.

Now, the images that show up in main search results will increase in size when you move your mouse over them, making it easier to choose the ones you want.

Furthermore, if you indicate that you’re searching for images in the main search – for example, if you add words such as “images” or “photos” to your search query – Google will recognize it and offer you a grid of images on top of the standard search results.

These new features are available on google.com in English, but Google promises global availability in the next month.

Read the rest of this article on Mashable.

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