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Microsoft

  • March 25, 2018

    Who sells more smartphones?

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  • February 20, 2018

    Harman Kardon Invoke Speaker Review

    I have to say the Harman Kardon Invoke is the first Microsoft Cortana speaker and it’s not a bad choice for me being a Microsoft guy. The speaker is well designed and sounds better than any of the Amazon Echo or Google Home to date. The Harman Kardon Invoke sound quality is no surprise considering Harman Kardon sound quality is on par or very close to Sonos quality sound. Like I said the sound quality on the Harman Kardon Invoke is amazing and support for all music service platforms is great with the usual heavy hitters like Spotify, Pandora, iHeartradio and TuneIn all standard out of the box. This does not surprise me considering Microsoft Groove was abandoned for Spotify so Microsoft has no native music service anymore unlike Google and Amazon. The top blue indicator light is really cool and I like it better than the turning ring of Alexa and the spinning volume controls remind me of the original Echo feature before the addition of the up and down buttons on the new Amazon Echo models. The downfall of the Harman Kardon Invoke is not the music quality but the lack of support from Google Calendar and third party supported apps. Cortana only really works with Microsoft apps for features like checking your calendar or getting reminders. Hopefully, additional feature and functionality will come with future software updates. The addition of third-party apps like Uber, Dominoes and many others that are already on Echo and Google Home would help make Cortana much better in the long run if Microsoft Cortona does expand to more speakers in the future. The other downside is the Harman Kardon Invoke also limits you to just one account on the device, so multiple family members or roommates can’t check their calendars on the same...
  • February 15, 2018

    Does Anyone Use Skype?

    The question I am asking today is does anyone use Skype anymore? This recent story is the reason I am asking this. Recently my wife and her friend wanted to video chat about something. My wife’s friend has an iPhone and my wife has an Android. The first pick was Facetime by her friend but since this is iOS only that could not happen. Then my wife and her friend were going to do Google Hangouts but since her friend did not have a Gmail account this was not possible. My wife suggested Google Due since she uses to talk to all her friends with Androids and all you need to link up is the phone number to message. They both realize they had snap chat and since they are both contacts on each other phones it worked. After they were on the call they realized Facebook would have been an option as well. The reason for the story is to prove my point when you want to talk to someone the process needs to be easy, quick and fast. For a quick video chat as long as the personal phone number is in your phone that’s all you need this is why Snapchat and Duo have done so well its quick easy and simple. Mostly everyone has a Facebook account this is the reason why Facebook has gotten so popular for messaging, calling and video chatting. Google Hangouts does well because of Google’s large user base and popularity of Gmail Googles email service. One thing great about Google Hangouts is as long as you have a Gmail account you have a Hangouts account already created. Hangouts does have an advantage as well since its installed by default on every Android phone sold. Skype is the dying video chat messenger for multiple...
  • I want to highlight the Stamp App on today as it recently has helped many readers and users who at one time had no way to move their ready built playlist to new streaming music services. Like all great apps, the Stamp App solved that real-world problem of moving playlists between different music platforms an issue that many music lovers have when they switch music streaming services. First of all, I need to say like most reading the site I love music. I was for the longest time a diehard Spotify guy but now that I have YouTube Red I am loving Google Music more and more with its more convenient interface but that’s another post for another day. Around summer time I was experimenting with different music services and for me having my playlists is key. This even became more relevant to me as readers of the site were emailing me because Groove was shutting down and readers wanted a way to move there playlist from Groove to Google, Pandora and other services besides Spotify which Microsoft offered to help users move to from them shutting down Groove. The Stamp app easily allows you to download their app which is available on almost all platforms and for $9.99 “You pay only ONCE and get lifetime updates and support.” And you can move playlists from any music service anytime you want.   The app is so simple you log in to service you want to move from and then you Login to the service you want to move to then pick the playlists you want to copy to the new service and hit go. The app is such a great tool and lives up to the slogan on the website “FREE YOUR MUSIC”. I would like to point out that...
  • November 15, 2017

    Microsoft Listings and Connections Review

    Microsoft Business Center has added Microsoft Listings and Microsoft Connections to the new suite of business apps Microsoft made available to masses recently. Microsoft Listings is actually a great tool allowing you to manage all your business information from one place. Once you all your business info (phone number, website, address, hours of operation) you can then send all this info to business online listing services like Bing, Google, Facebook, and Yelp. I am sure there are more to come in time. I would imagine sites like Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Expedia and Priceline will be included for sites listed as Hotel or Travel down the road. This is Microsoft first real attempt to build a small business marketing tool I am sure more features are to come soon. I would like to see them pull in page analytics from Facebook and Google but that will remain to be seen. Microsoft Connections is an attempt to take market share away from the big mail marketing sites like mail chimp.  Microsoft describes connections as “Email Marketing made easy Our easy-to-create, professional-looking email campaigns make it easy to showcase your business and drive up sales.” Microsoft Connections lets you build mailing lists and send a marketing campaign to users on your mailing list. These are both crucial parts of companies like Hubspot and Salesforce that Microsoft has never had and are trying to break into that market along with Outlook Customer Manager. I think that Microsoft Connections is a great tool for email marketing but again needs a lot of work. Right now it’s very limited with no analytical data like who opened the email, click rate or conversion rate. I think Microsoft is on their way to being a full feature CRM (Customer Resource Manager) they just need more time to develop...
  • November 13, 2017

    Office 365 Microsoft Invoicing Review

    Another cloud-based application being offered with Office 365 for Business with the new Business Center roll out is Microsoft Invoicing. My last post I wrote about Microsoft Bookings with is one of the last cloud-based services offered by the new Business Center in Office 365 for business premium. Microsoft Invoicing would be considered another vital part of the business since it’s how you would get paid. Microsoft Invoicing is not as good as bookings but it works well for just being rolled out. The one thing that stands out to me is the fact that you can’t create an invoice without creating prices. Prices are broken down into a bunch of different units. Which at times I think makes the process harder and more difficult. I like how Microsoft breaks down the difference between invoicing and estimate I think that really makes it easy and more companies should do that with there software. Invoicing and Estimates forms look the same for the most part. The one thing again that can be a pain is you must enter all the customer info into your Outlook CRM before you can go any further you can’t just put a name in there. Once they are added the process gets a little easier as you can just pick them from a propogated list. The customer tax rate is pretty cool since you can change it easily if the customer is tax exempt or lives in a different state. Microsoft Invoicing right now you can only take PayPal at the moment which really limits you when it comes to taking customers payments. Many customers like to use Credit Cards and they can’t do that but there is always cash and check like always. User settings there is a spot to change payment terms 14 days, 21 days, Cash On Delivery (COD)...
  • November 6, 2017

    Office 365 Microsoft Bookings Review

    As part of Microsoft’s new Business Center which is included with Office 365 for Business Premium Microsoft has added a new app called Microsoft Bookings. Microsoft Bookings is a scheduling app for service companies that allow clients and customers to book and schedule services for a company. Bookings is great Microsoft service for any size business that wants to start offering online scheduling of services provided by a company. Having your customers book their own services is more convenient for them and saves on unnecessary phone calls, emails and text to the owner or staff of a company. Bookings is easy to set up first you must fill in all your business information into the online form and upload your company logo. Once that is complete Office 365 walks you through the steps of adding the hours and dates you would like to use for scheduling. On that page, you can put the hours you want customers to be able to schedule for example you may want 9-5 on Mondays but maybe Tuesdays you have something scheduled in the morning you may want says Tuesdays only 11-5. The next thing you will need to do is add your services, prices and scheduling time increments. If you were a cleaning company, for example, you may want to list laundry services 20 dollars an hour and then carpet cleaning at 50 dollars for half hour. This way when the customers go to book you will know what service they need so you know what equipment and staff you would need. You must link a calendar to Bookings and add staff permissions to that calendar if you have employees with Office 365. Once all of this is done you just hit publish and Office 365 will give you your link for Microsoft Bookings...
  • Satya Nadella is the third CEO (Chief Operating Officer) in Microsoft’s 42 years of operation. Bill Gates served as CEO for 35 years then Steve Ballmer took over then in 2014 Satya Nadella took over and had to reinvent the company.  Satya Nadella new book Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone goes into depth of how he turned Microsoft around from losing the mobile market to being a huge cloud company with a new vision. Bill Gates does provide Forewords which are very good as well. Satya Nadella really gets into his personal life talking about coming to America meeting his wife and having his children. He talks about his love of the game cricket. He talks about starting at Microsoft and about being a salesman than to working on Windows NT and building Bing. Satya Nadella talks about Microsoft losing the mobile market and making a bad purchase in the Nokia.  Satya Nadella talks about Azure and creating cloud-based services and moving products like Microsoft Office to the cloud and taking Microsoft subscription based in the cloud. He gets into competing with Amazon’s AWS infrastructure.   Satya Nadella talks about Microsoft security and trust with customers data and uptime guarantees. Nadella talks about working with Apple and changing company culture to work with companies to bring Microsoft to their platforms. He talks about bring Microsoft Office to Apple’s iOS and Googles Android. Nadella talks about partnering with companies that Microsoft used to compete with and changing Microsofts company mentality to a software and services company.  Satya Nadella goes on to explain that the companies mission statement was outdated to say a computer on every desk has already happened and the company needed a more modern mission statement and goal to strive four in the changing landscape of computing. This was a great book I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in Microsoft’s new visions and strategies. This book is also...
  • October 30, 2017

    Skype New Desktop App Has Been Released

    The long-awaited Skype desktop app is here for the entire world to download. Well almost everyone. Skype announced on their blog “The Skype for desktop Preview and the next generation of Skype for mobile improved the way you connect with your contacts and added expanded capabilities such as personalized themes, chat list, and @mentions to the Skype experience. The Skype desktop app—now out of preview and rolling out today—brings all these exciting new improvements and features to your desktop. It’s all built on brand-new technology that scales to billions of people on a reliable platform.” The new Skype allows for you to use the same Skype on mobile and on the desktop makes for a more unified experience. New feature include Customization themes Better organize chat lists Share cloud-based, files, photos, and videos Send files via dragging and dropping files up to 300 MB over Skype uses less battery power now that it’s in the cloud. Added Cross-device functionality Added Notification panel Chat media gallery Conversation fun with Reactions and @mentions Status updates are back Bots are back But the update is not for everyone if you read further on post “Windows 10 November Update (2016) and lower, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Linux and have automatic updates enabled, the update will be delivered to you when it’s ready. If you would like to get the update manually, you can download and install the new version at Skype.com. Windows 10 users will receive an update shortly to add the new features.” For a small number of user, you will need to wait but great things are sometimes worth waiting to get in tech.
  • October 14, 2017

    Using Skype To Replace Landline Phone

    I recently decided to ditch my landline phone for Skype. The first reason I decided to ditch my landline was because of cost for a phone with the unlimited long distance which I am playing close to $77 dollars a month from Verizon. After looking at several VoIP services I decided that Skype was the best choice for me. Ooma and other services want the purchase of hardware I already have a smartphone for walking around and most of the time I use my landline I am on my computer anyway. The reason I went with Skype is because I need the video conference call feature and screen sharing. I figured I could dump my Verizon phone line and cancel my Webex subscription and consolidate everything into one service to save money. Skype offers unlimited calls to USA and Canada for $2.99 month that’s about 39 dollars a year. This would be enough for most people but I wanted a designated number which is 18 dollars a quarter or 39 dollars a year. Considering Webex is fifteen dollars month and Verizon is $77 I am coming out way ahead. Skype is very versatile as well I use it to call landline phones from my laptop or phone when I have weak cell phone reception. I use it for multiuser conference calls and remote support using its screen sharing features. Skype has recently added a Cortana Bot which can help with finding quick information like weather info and sports scores. The Skype Bot can also be used for reminders and messenger features. Skype does SMS messaging to phones this is, unfortunately, a pay as you go feature at a few cents a text which sounds pricey but is very handy. I think that eventually, this will be a feature bundled in...