Anticipating Technical Challenges Working From Home

Anticipating Technical Challenges Working From Home

Technical Challenges Working From Home

Working from can present some very unique, and possibly unforeseen challenges for companies and workers. It’s easy to say that events like the coronavirus outbreak can be handled just by sending workers home with their laptops, but what about phone calls, secure company communications, other household members, etc?

On today’s episode of the BeBizzy Break podcast we talk about these and other challenges you should at least be aware of when working out of the office.

Plan For Technical Issues Working From Home

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Non-Technical Issues

Before you decide, or your boss decides for you, that you will be working from home due to coronavirus or anything else, there are some non-technical issues that need to be checked off. 

  • Do I NEED to be around other people?
  • Do I have a place to work uninterrupted or will I be surrounded by daycare kids, vacuum cleaners or anything else?
  • Do I have the motivation to still get up on time, still get “ready” for work, and still do my job?

If these can’t be overcome, perhaps you can still come into work but be put in an office or other small space, but you will have some familiar surroundings.

Potential Technical Issues

Now on to the meat of our discussion today, preparing for working from home technically.  Some things you need to consider :

  • Phone Calls – Is your phone system ready to provide easy forwarding to cell or home phones? Do your employees have plans available to handle increased minutes?
  • Bandwidth – Most of us don’t have unlimited fiber or T1 lines into our homes, so an increase in bandwidth could cause traffic jams on the residential superhighway. With large number of people working from home will flood the pipes with VOIP calls, online video and audio online meetings, email, screen sharing and everything else that uses bandwidth. 
  • VPNs – VPNs are a great way to stay safe online, and some companies use them to connect offsite users with servers and applications that will only run “inside” the building. Some things to consider with VPNs are the technical capabilities of the users to install and use the VPN, the support side, the capacity of the VPN server, and more. 
  • Subscriptions to Meeting Platforms – If your business requires meetings does it have the financial stomach to purchase meeting and other subscriptions to facilitate these meetings? 
  • Equipment  – if you’re not going to provide computers and other gear to employees to work from home how are you going to ensure their gear is worthy to be used? Is it free from virus and malware or do you need to clean or even purchase/install software? Are these computers used only by the employee or is there a potential for clients and coworkers to see things they shouldn’t see like shopping sites, games, movies… or worse?
  • Passwords & Security  – All work gear should require passwords. Do you have password managers that can be used on other devices? Can two-factor authentication (2FA) be used outside the office in the form of USB keys, authenticator apps or text message?

None of these issues are insurmountable if your business is flexible enough, but in the case of some these could provide significant obstacles to allowing your employees to work from home. Review your policies, equipment and processes, and when the smoke clears from this virus scare, maybe it’s time to do an analysis to see if this work from home thing should be made permanent, or if it’s better to have everyone under one roof.

What are your thoughts on working from home? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Plan For Technical Issues Working From Home

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site With WP-Rocket

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site With WP-Rocket

What is WP Rocket?

WP Rocket is a caching and optimization plugin that takes the code, content, images, videos and other pieces of your website and finds a faster way to present them to your website visitors. That can be storing them on their computers or on a CDN (content data network). It can be combining or moving CSS and javascript files to minimize the time spend processing the code. It can be reducing the number of calls made off the server to Google or other sites.

WP Rocket does all of this, with about ten minutes of setup and a few bucks. Speaking of a few bucks… if you want to purchase WP Rocket, go to bebizzy.com/rocket and get started today!

WP Rocket

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

How Can WP Rocket Speed Up My Website?

There’s only so much you can do technically to increase your website speed. Load times are based on server response times, bandwidth, hard drive speeds… and then it’s down to the software. 

CDNs and optimized code definitely help but eventually you’re down to leaning on more involved 

Features

  • Basic setup was done in about 10 minutes.  Advanced setup, configuration and testing can take additional time, but all options are pretty much toggled on/off.
  • Page caching
    Really decreases page load time by serving up indexed and cached items.
  • Preloading
    Because the crawler simulates a visit to preload the cache, the indexing of your website by search engines is instantly improved.
  • Sitemap loading
  • GZIP Compression
    WP Rocket compresses HTML, CSS, javascript and other code to optimize it by decreasing the size.
  • Browser Caching
    Modern browsers can look for the same photo, video, HTML code and other pieces of a website faster locally that it can sending requests to a website. WP Rocket helps optimize that.
  • Database optimization
    WP Rocket helps clean up databases and make them run more efficiently.
  • Google fonts
    Decreases the requests for unused fonts by only grabbing what is needed to properly display on the site.
  • Remove query strings from Static Resources
    Improves load time and testing scores by removing query strings from CSS and JS files.
  • Lazyload images and videos
    Images and other content doesn’t load until it becomes evident the visitor wants or needs them.
  • Defer Javascript
    Load JS files at the bottom of the page unless necessary elsewhere. This speeds up the page by not loading code before visible items.
  • CDN
    I have mine connected to my Stackpath CDNs, but Cloudflare and other URLS are easily inserted in the settings.
  • Works with eCommerce

Pricing 

All pricing for WP Rocket is on an annual basis to keep updates and support access. You could allow the plugin to lapse, but as WordPress, PHP versions, your themes, your other plugins and more advance the plugin may not work as intended and also become a security issue.

  • $49 for one site
  • $99 for three sites (annual)
  • $249 for unlimited websites

Some other features

  • Works for multi-lingual sites
  • Works in multisite environments
  • You can turn on and off features to connected users with a simple toggle button
  • All features of the plugin can work on mobile without additional programming or configuration.

Support is email support. Only sent one ticket but got a response in about two hours, which is decent.

If you’re looking to speed up your WordPress site, I can’t recommend WP Rocket enough! Head over to https://bebizzy.com/rocket and get signed up.

Do you use WP Rocket or another caching pluging? Leave me comments @BeBizzy on Twitter!

WP Rocket

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Is It Time For A New Business Phone System? Try Jive!

Is It Time For A New Business Phone System? Try Jive!

Still using your old regular phone system or mobile phone for you business?

Traditional phone systems… well… suck. They are running on technology that really hasn’t changed much in 20 years, have a definite limit on sound quality and reliability, are expensive, and are very rigid on what they can do.

VoIP systems, or voice over IP, are a very modern, versatile way to bring your phone system in the modern world, and Jive is emerging as a leader in the space. 

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What is Jive?

While Jive has been a leader in VoIP for nearly 15 years and customer satisfaction scores are at or near the top at all times, they really got traction about a year ago when it was acquired by LogMeIn, a screen sharing and conferencing system that has also acquired GoToMeeting and other systems. The addition of the Jive phone system has added a vital link to the LogMeIn experience.

By itself, Jive is a full-featured VoIP system that can be used by nearly any business setting from a single-seat to a call center controlling tens of thousands of agents. 

What’s Needed to Get Started?

Odds are you already have everything you need to get started with Jive. The softphone uses your computer or a mobile device to handle the calls. Because it’s all done over the internet, no phone lines, accounts or equipment is needed. Calls get routed from a number you get provided to any/all devices with the softphone installed. 

To customize the experience an IVR can be put in place, customized hold music and more to get a very professional appearance to your potential or existing clients. 

VoIP phones are available, and plug into the network jacks instead of using phone wiring, which means you can take the phone and softphones with you when you travel, move offices, or just want to be somewhere besides your office. 

What’s Included with Jive?

Jive comes with over 80 included products including

  • GoToMeeting
  • GoToWebinar
  • Softphone apps
  • A suite of reporting applications
  • Auto attendants
  • Custom hold music
  • Call recording
  • And so much more!

Support?

24×7 support is available for Jive customers whether you’re a single seat, or giant call center. Three “tiers” of support are available, like most phone and other systems, with level 1 handing basic questions and account issue, and tiers 2 & 3 available for more complex and networking issues. 

Jive  does offer customized integration when you first sign up for the service, and a dedicated account manager is assigned to larger clients to make the launch as easy as possible. 

How Can You Get Started with Jive?

To get started with Jive , the best way is to contact Dallin McEwin directly. Either follow this link to send a message, call 385-206-3863 and mention the BeBIzzy Break Podcast, or email dallin.mcewen@logmein.com, and Dallin will get your phone system on the launch pad. 

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions on Jive or another VoIP solution? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

Landing Pages

You’ve probably heard of landing pages. You may even HAVE a landing page. But you also might not know why you have it, what it’s doing, or even how to fix it if you’re not seeing results.

On today’s Episode 70 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk with the Landing Page School Podcast host Nicholas Scalice and find out what you might, and might not, know about landing pages.

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First, some tech news

First, two big updates in the last week or so.

WordPress 4.9.8 was launched.  We are getting very close to 5.0, which will include the Gutenberg update to WordPress. Very anticipated version which will bring on a visual editor and promises to change the WP landscape for the better. That remains to be seen with older websites, themes, etc. But the 4.9.8 update does have the “Try Gutenberg” callout. It’s an opportunity to try the Gutenberg editor before it is released in 5.0. I have not doesn’t it yet, but will test shortly.

Also has 18 privacy fixes and a few other improvements. I’ve updated all my sites with not issues, but make sure you back up before you do anything.

Also, Android released it’s Android P (Pie) update for the Google Pixel phones. I updated my Pixel 2 XL on Monday. Small changes in the notifications and menus, but for the most part it was a pretty seamless update. I’m sure there will be more as I use it, including the Adaptive Battery feature, which promises to turn down battery usage on apps that are not in use at the time, but still running.

Finally, Samsung will be announcing the Note 9 tomorrow (Aug 9). Lots of huge improvements for this devices anticipated including a bigger battery, better screen and camera, and the Adaptive Battery. Can’t wait for that announcement. FYI, you can sign up to watch the announcement live at this Samsung website.

Now on to today’s main topic… landing pages. Most of you have heard the term, and maybe even use them on your websites. But I have a couple of sites that are going to be implementing them, and decided now would be a great time to bring in an expert, which is why I called on Nicholas Scalice, the host of the Landing Page School Podcast.  So this is me, and Nicolas Scalice… enjoy.

What are Landing Pages

Landing pages are a page on your website that has a very specific purpose, audience, and/or message. It should be developed to get the visitor to perform one action… purchase something, sign up, request info, download a PDF, contact you… one specific action.

The difference between a home page, or even an interior page and a landing page is on these pages, you are directing visitors to other pages in the website to get more information, and on a landing page, again, you are getting visitors to do that one specific action.

How to Get Traffic To A Landing Page

Most traffic is directed to landing pages through paid marketing efforts. Things like Google Ads and Facebook ads allow you to be very specific to the audience and who you would drive to see the main message on that landing page. It also works if you drive landing pages through traditional means like billboards, radio, tv, print, etc because you are serving a very specific message on both the ad and the landing page. The trick is NOT to drive all of this traffic to the home page, as that has a very open message instead of the message match between the ad copy and the page.

What Should You Have On A Landing Page?

Nicholas gave us six items to have on a landing page which answer certain questions :

  1. What Is It? What is the offer? What is the landing page about?
  2. Can It Help Me? Is it something that can make my life or business better or easier?
  3. Do I Like It? Is the visual design of the page good and trushworthy?
  4. Do Others Like It? Is there social proof that says other visitors and clients like it?
  5. Trust. Is there something on the landing page that says this site and/or product is trustworthy?
  6. How Do I Get It? What’s the call to action? How do I order, sign up, or purchase?

In regards to length of the page, there is not measurement. In fact, it’s good practice to NOT index the page so SEO rules don’t apply. Concentrate on conversion optimization, not SEO optimization. Also keep in mind, where your customers will be viewing the page. If it’s mobile, small images, less text and other mobile tricks should be implemented to work on phones and tablets. Responsive or mobile themes are necessary in today’s business climate!

What Are Mistakes Made on Landing Pages?

The number one mistake made on landing pages is not having a great offer. The site might be awesome, and the ad-spend might be well thought out, but the offer might not be well thought of. Some poorly designed pages do very well, while a well designed site might not convert because the offer is bad.

It’s also a mistake to have incorrect “micro-copy,” the text on your buttons, subheadings, etc that are action focused. If you can build the “value” into the button or other text it will convert better. Try completing the phrase “I want to…” with the button or link text. I want to contact you, I want to download the free e-book, I want to purchase your widget all work great.

A/B Testing

You’re probably never going to develop the perfect landing page on run #1. A/B testing only works if you have enough traffic, and you have a plan on what to test, how long, what are we testing for, etc.

Nicholas suggests testing “bigger things” like the offer instead of button color or text.

How Do I Build A Landing Page

Unbounce : drag and drop builder for

WordPress : Page Builder called Elementor, and other themes make it easy to build quickly and efficiently.

LeadPages : Landing page creator that also interfaces with WordPress and other platforms.

How Can I Contact Nicholas Scalice?

Have any questions or suggestions landing pages or any other technology affecting your business? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Bluestacks – Run Android Apps on Your Computer

Bluestacks – Run Android Apps on Your Computer

We all have favorite phone apps to run our business, interact with friends and family, or entertain us.

But if you are on the Android system it can sometimes be painful when you can’t use your phone and need or want to use that app. Bluestacks runs an Android emulator right on your PC or Mac!

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Bluestacks

Quite simply, Bluestacks runs an Android emulator on your computer by basically creating a new phone on your computer. You set it up like a new phone or tablet with your Google account, you get access to the Google Play store, and you install the apps you wish to use.

Why Would I Use An Emulator Instead of My Phone?

So why would you use an Android emulator instead of just pulling the phone out of you pocket or purse and using that?

Some of the reasons would include :

  • Your favorite apps may not be available in the Windows or Apple stores, or in the Chrome Extensions.
  • Many favorite apps are available in online versions through the browser, but if you have many tabs open at one, it’s easy to lose track of what’s there and close it by accident or lose information when the browser crashes.
  • Some workplaces simply frown, discourage, or completely refuse to allow the use of smartphones in the office.
  • In multiple monitor uses it allows the Bluestacks app to be placed in a position outside the typical email and web browser locations.

How Bluestacks Works and Looks

First all, if you’ve ever used an Android tablet, it looks and works very similar to that. The interface has large, easy to click/touch shortcuts. Bluestacks will work with both touch screen and a mouse/keyboard so don’t think you need a touchscreen computer to work the app.

Each app will open in their own tab, and music and other media will play unless the “System App” folder is opened to change settings, visit the Google Play store and other maintenance items. There is a small big of lag noticeable, but compared to virtual Windows boxes or other emulators, Bluestacks run very efficiently.

There’s not much noticeable drain on computer resources, but I didn’t test it on a lower-end Windows computer, so there is a possibility of the app not wanting to run efficiently on boxes with low RAM or single-core processors. Remember you ARE running basically another device off your laptop or desktop.

One thing I did not like the tendency of some apps to default to portrait mode. I saw this on my Chromebook as well, and there is no way I’ve found to fix this. The portrait mode happens when an app is not designed to work in tablet mode and switches the emulator window to portrait mode to display properly. Most of the time the window goes back to landscape when another app is opened, but I have seen it stay portrait when switching back.

Should I Try Bluestacks?

Easy answer? Yes! If you’re like me and rely on your smartphone or tablet to handle some tasks like your calendar, task management, time tracking, notes, chat communication and more Bluestack is a great way of handling all of those. I used to listen to podcasts and music, keep Slack open, handle incoming website tickets and view/edit my calendar on my Chromebook and phone. Now my phone sits in my charger and my laptop went back to being a laptop instead of a second primary device.

And when I get the urge to play games like the now popular FIFA Soccer, Hungry Shark World during Shark Week, or the always fun Clash of Clans, I can do it on my large computer screen instead of my tiny smartphone.

Give Bluestacks a try, and let me know what you think!

Got a suggestion for a topic, interview or other show idea? Send it over at BeBizzy.com or on Twitter @BeBizzy

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I receive mobile devices with line of service from Verizon and will occasionally talk about them in blog posts, social media and podcasts. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

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Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Episode 66 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast : Samsung Galaxy S9

We’re back after a few weeks of traveling, too much work, and an illness thrown in for good measure with episode 66 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast where we discuss the Samsung Galaxy S9 phone and how it compares to the Samsung Note 8 and the Google Pixel 2 XL.

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Before we get into the main portion of the podcast, I have a few smaller items to talk about; a cautionary tale and two reasons to back up.

  • Cautionary Tale : woman has a computer break down, needs to write an article on her iPhone. Instead of using one of dozens of apps, she instead chooses to write the article on the tiny iPhone keyboard and uses her texting app, thinking when it’s done she can send it and then migrate it to a computer. Being mostly done one evening, she left the app running and went to sleep. The next morning, she picked up the phone, hit the space key, and ERASED everything she had previously written on her article. There is NO WAY to recover that information. Had she used one of the many office or note taking apps available for little or no cost, this would not have been an issue.
  • Backup Reminder One : Was asked by ANOTHER person last week if it’s possible to recover photos lost on a now-defective iPhone. This individual has never turned on their iCloud backups, Google Photos, Dropbox, Carbonite, or anything else, just left them on their phone. Now that the phone is dead there is NO way to recover these treasures without expensive recovery processes which may or may not work. BACK UP YOUR DATA!!
  • Backup Reminder Two : Many of my websites were attacked last week. I knew this by getting warned by the Wordfence app, which notifies me if anyone has a failed login attempt or if any critical files were changed. By using a weekly backup, all I had to do was restore a backup for the sites and change some login info.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Review

  • Had my Samsung S9 phone for about a week and it’s finally time to provide my review, and my comparisons to the Samsung Note 8 and Google Pixel 2 XL.
  • I’m lucky enough to be a member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 
Spec S9 S9+
Price $800 $930
Operating System Android 8.0 Android 8.0
Screen Size 5.8″ 2960×1440 Quad+ Super AMOLED 6.2″ 2960×1440 Quad+ Super AMOLED
Processor Exynos9810 Exynos9810
RAM 4GB 6GB
Storage (as tested) 64GB 64GB
MicroSD Slot Up to 400GB Up to 400GB
Rear Camera 12.MP 12 MP
Front Camera 8MP 8MP
Battery Life 11 13
Weight 5.74 oz. 6.67 oz.

Look, Feel & Design

Compared to the Note 8 and the Pixel 2 XL, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is only 3/4″ of an inch smaller, but boy is it noticeable! Carrying in my front pocket was much less bulky, and holding the phone in my hands was significantly different that the other two giant phones.

Typing and some other “business” uses were a bit more difficult with the smaller screen, so if you do a LOT of critical functions like posting to work social media, composing long emails, or maybe even typing notes, the S9+ may be a better option that the S9.

Battery Life

If there was one place I saw a drastic difference in the S9 compared to the other two phones it was the battery. I’m a big power user so the more battery I have the better. The S9 only has a 3000mAh battery, but the S9+ has a 3500mAh battery which is more comparable to the Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL. The larger form factor has the benefit for more room, which is largely taken up by the battery.

Performance

The new Samsung Exynos 9 processor in both of these devices is fast! Boot times, app opening, even page transitions are noticeably quicker than the Note 8 & Pixel 2 XL. There’s some discussion on whether the Exynos 9 is on par with the A10 processor in the Apple iPhone X and tests seem to place it right in between the A10 and the Snapdragon on the other flagship phones. Either way, this is really quick  even compared to just the last version of the S-series phones.

Software

Luckily the Samsung S9 and S9+ come with Android 8 Oreo installed so the security and feature updates are available. Not surprisingly the Google Pixel 2 XL is running an even more advanced of Android. But what IS surprising is that the Note 8 is still running Android 7.1. As of this recording AT&T has started rolling out Oreo for the Note 8, but we’re still waiting on Verizon (hopefully we’re just waiting until after the Easter holiday weekend to make sure there’s no run on the call center, so next week?)

Sound

While the Note 8 still had the standard single speaker on the bottom of the phone which can easily be covered up and muted, the Samsung S9 has some amazing sound quality built in. They are running a surround system with Dolby Atmos technology and plays back great sound even if the exposed speaker is covered by the hand, clothing or other method. It’s not quite as good as the Google Pixel 2 XL, but this is simply because the Pixel 2 has stereo front firing speakers built into the bezel, which costs a little real estate on the screen, but features great sound.

Camera

I’ve saved the best for last. The Super Speed Dual Pixel camera on the S9 is simply better than the Pixel 2, which as been crowned the best smartphone camera for several months. The Auto function does a great job of selecting the right white balance, exposure and focus. And if you go to the Professional mode, you can get really creative with all of those functions. But on the video side, the Super Slo-Mo camera is really innovative. At 960 frames per second for short burst the super slo-mo camera delivers crystal clear slow motion video. And it didn’t really matter how fast the video was moving. The low-light capture is stunning with no artifacts in the darker sections of the photos. FYI, to open the camera quickly you can double-press the power button.

Summary

As a phone for personal and light business use, I would have no problem recommending the Samsung Galaxy S9. It’s the fastest phone I’ve ever owned, the screen is great, sound is amazing and the camera is the best smartphone camera available.

I’m a bit of fan of the larger form factor, and while I didn’t get a chance to test the S9+, I have held one in a Verizon store and played with it. The form and performance is similar to the Note 8 making typing and other tasks a bit easier for me.

You can check out both phone and dozens of others at your local Verizon store, or at VerizonWireless.com.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on your digital assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home and on your podcasting apps like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio or wherever you get your podcast files from, like the PocketCasts app!

Got a suggestion for a topic, interview or other show idea? Send it over at BeBizzy.com or on Twitter @BeBizzy

Have a great easter weekend everyone, stay safe on April fools, and we’ll see you next time on the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

Some photos and videos from the S9

 

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Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Weeks ago, I promised a comparison between the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8 smartphones. I purchased the Pixel 2 XL prior to Christmas in 2017, and as a #brandpartner for Verizon wireless, I was given a Samsung Note 8 a few weeks ago to test and talk about.

I’ve finally got a few weeks under my belt of using the phones at the same time to do basically the same things, and I’m finally ready to give my impressions.

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The Basics

First of all, I’d like to preface the comments on the comparison of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs the Samsung Note 8 by stating you can’t go wrong with either of these phones. There are differences, and frankly if you could combine the two of these phones you’d have the perfect smartphone… and probably the most expensive. So I get it, you can’t have everything in one phone, but a guy can dream, right?

A couple of other things before I continue. I use both phones with a plastic cover on the back and a glass protector on the front. This ads some bulk and minimal weight but keeps the phone protected against dropping and normal wear. I am also comparing these phones in their ability to conduct business more than as a “leisure” device. So taking photos of kids will be less important than ability to run apps, answer emails, etc. (although I DO take a ton of pictures of my dogs).

Here is some basic spec information on the Pixel 2 XL vs. Note 8.

[table id=1 /]

Look, Feel & Design

Both phones are roughly the same size, weight and “bulk”. But I’m used to a large phone so this isn’t a big deal. Even though it’s technically larger, the Note 8 just seems smaller and lighter. It is thinner and maybe that lends itself to tricking it’s the smaller phone. The bezel is also smaller on the Note  8 than the Pixel 2 XL which provides some extra screen real estate at the top and bottom of the screen.

In true Google fashion the screen is good, but not awesome. My impression of Google in regards to their hardware, and in some cases their software, is here it is, it’s functional and wonderful, now go use it. The Note 8 screen is probably the best screen I’ve seen on a smartphone. However, watching YouTube videos (for work!) seems better on the Pixel 2 XL because the screen isn’t as “stretched” for some videos. One note regarding the Pixel 2 XL and burn-in… I’ve had the phone since the release date and have had no burn in visible on the device.

Something that is a great addition to most Android phones in the last few years is the existence of a fingerprint sensor. Both of these phones have them as a way to log into the phone, but the Pixel 2 XL seems much more easy to use because of placement than the Note 8, which sometimes forces more manipulation of the phone in order to reach the sensor especially when using a back cover.

One final point on the look & feel, typing is easier on the Google Pixel 2 XL. No idea why, just fewer typing mistakes on this device. They are virtually the same size, so I wish I had a reason but I do not.

Advantage : 

Battery Life

If you use your phone primarily as a business communication device battery life is a primary concern for you. And both of these phones offer excellent battery life with a 3520mAh battery on the Pixel 2 XL and a smaller 3300mAh on the Note 8. The slight decrease in batter size on the Note 8 IS noticeable when you’re working away from a charger, taking lots of phone calls, or using the screen a lot. Testing data reveals the Pixel 2 XL has a very impressive battery life of over 12 hours when being used consistently to view the web over a 4G connection, while the Note 8 comes in at just over 11 hours. Real-life experience has shown me the Pixel 2 XL to be even more protective of it’s battery level.

Both batteries charge extremely fast when using their provided charging plug and cable. And one feature I really miss on the Google Pixel 2 XL is the presence of wireless charging, which is a feature of the Samsung Note 8.

Advantage : 

Performance

Both of these phones have the same processor, the Snapdragon 835. And while the Note 8 has a slight advantage in actual processor testing data, it just feels like the Pixel 2 XL is quicker and better at handling requests to process data. Even with it’s added 2GB of RAM, the Note 8 occasionally lags or locks on certain requests, while the Pixel 2 XL just hammers it out quickly and smoothly. Now don’t get me wrong, the Note 8 is wonderfully quick and opens multiple apps well, again it’s more of a feeling that justifiable. And when you have invoicing, social media, mileage tracking, calendars and more open, seconds count.

In regards to network and voice performance, the Google Pixel 2 XL is better here as well. I work in a downstairs office with only a very small window. The rest is concrete walls on three sides, so it’s a bit of a bunker. When using the Note 8, I get a noticeable dropping or cutting out of calls in comparison to my Pixel 2 XL with two bars compared to three on the Pixel XL, and even the Wi-Fi radio seems to have a better, longer-reaching connection.

Advantage :

Software

Here’s where some of the comparisons have issues. The Google Pixel 2 XL is running Android 8.1.1 (Oreo) and the Samsung Note 8 is running 7.1.1 (Nougat). This software upgrade is just a few days away from the Note 8, but as it stands now there are a few things that lean towards the Pixel 2 XL. Security upgrades, notification dots on app icons, picture in picture on videos and some notifications on apps that are killing your battery are an advantage Oreo brings and that means the Pixel 2 XL wins.

There also is the “stock” Android versus the modified Samsung Android experience debate. Stock is just that, no extra default apps installed, no bloatware, and no Bixby (Samsungs smart assistant) which even has it’s own button on the Note 8, and also which I have disabled.

Advantage :

Special Features

One of the drawbacks of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8 is what was a benefit in the software section above… stock. On the Pixel 2 XL you get what you get. No SD memory slot, smaller RAM, no S-Pen, just a stock version of Android 8 running on an awesome device.

So the Note 8 easily wins this category. First, the memory expansion. I use my extra memory for a lot of things. I store music (I am a DJ), I store web files, I store data backups, things that will come in handy if I cannot get access to the Verizon network (which frankly doesn’t happen too often). I do miss the expandable memory, which is really why I paid the extra money for the 128GB version of the Pixel 2 XL.

So let’s talk about the S-Pen. The S-Pen is one of those things you don’t miss until you do. I so rarely use it, but when I do it’s for something pretty important like a diagram, quick hall layout when talking to bridal clients, a website example, or just a quick note. I actually do use it quite a bit on my Samsung Chromebook Pro, and before that on my Samsung Note 10.1 2014 tablet. Both of these are larger form-factors and easier to write, but the pen works the same across all of these devices.

Advantage : 

Sound

This is going to be quick. The Google Pixel 2 XL is the best sounding smartphone I’ve ever owned. Period. The dual front-firing speakers are louder and can broadcast sound regardless of how you are holding the device. The Note 8’s small speaker on the bottom of the device gets covered up or just is so small it doesn’t carry very well.

This sound advantage continues to the phone itself as well. The sound quality on normal phone calls is better than even wired phone systems, and if used on speaker phones there is no comparison of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8.

Also, Bluetooth seems more stable and less “laggy” when on a phone call. That’s probably a product of Oreo vs. Nougat, but I call it like I see it.

Advantage :

Camera

Both of the cameras on these devices are spectacular. The Google Pixel 2 XL is a bit more balanced and more accurate for colors, and the anti-shake correction on videos is pretty awesome if you are using it attached to something that moves, in a vehicle or on a bike, and just walking or running.

But again, the cameras on both the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Note 8 are great features, but many articles claim the Google Pixel 2 XL camera to simply be the best phone camera available and I agree. So crank up the resolution on those photos of whiteboards, presentations, or anything else for work, then get them saved to your unlimited Google cloud storage for use later.

 

Samsung Note 8 photos

SN8-wall  SN8-flower  SN8-farley

Advantage :

Summary

Well, looking at these results and forced to make a decision, I would choose the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8. I’m sure shortly after I publish this Android 8 will get installed on the Note 8 and we’ll have to do this again, but as it stands now, the Google Pixel 2 XL just has too much going for it starting with the better operating system, then easier to use form factor, easier to use fingerprint unlock reader, better sound, better battery life, and snappier performance.

However, if you want that extra 1/4″ or so of screen real estate, a seemingly smaller footprint, wireless charging and ability to add a very large SD storage card, the Note 8 is for you.

Both phones are significant increase in quality over their last versions as well as their flagship competitors, so really you can’t go wrong. And the large footprint is simply awesome if you use it for many business tasks, note taking, and communications.

You can check out both phone and dozens of others at your local Verizon store, or at VerizonWireless.com.

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Episode 63 – Upcoming Changes for Google Mobile Results

Added as a Verizon Brand Ambassador

Google Mobile Results Changes

In early January 2018 Google announced some upcoming changes to the search results that will be presented based on the type of device used to access the search.

One of the ranking factors that will be used in presenting mobile results as of July 2018 will be page load speed. In the past, page load was not a high ranking factor for mobile results, so this is a fairly big change.

So now is the time to start thinking about redesigning the page, moving to a faster host, or making significant other changes to the page to increase your load speed on your mobile page.

Google has already been using page load speed as a primary factor on desktop sites, but will now us speed in determining mobile results.

Now Google has stated it will be used more to punish very slow sites by moving them down the page ranks than it will be to lift faster pages, but I expect it to become more significant in ranking mobile results in the near future.

So the tip for better mobile results on Google searches is to start planning for a mobile site, get it optimized, get it running on a faster server, and get it indexed by Google and ready for the change in July 2018.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon (#ad). No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, we meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

BBP : Episode 56 – Capterra

BBP : Episode 56 – Capterra

In this episode we talk about how Capterra can help you find the right software solution to manage your business.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Tech News

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update released on Oct 17

  • As always, running updates has certain risks, as talked about on last week’s podcast
  • Make sure you have plenty of time to run the updates, possibly a couple of hours.
  • Always back up and know there’s that small chance the backup may fail and you’ll either have to revert back, or it could cause your system to become unstable.
  • Features.
    • People Integration – You can now pin friends, co-workers, business partners, family members, etc to the task bar for easy access. It can even be used to contact via Skype
    • Fluent Design – a new design language from Microsoft regarding animations and effects. Some included changes are blur effects, easier resizing of apps and windows and a “shinier” design for the Start Menu.
  • You can also pin website shortcuts to the task bar. This was available in previous versions of Windows, and now it’s back.
  • New emojis – dinosaurs, genies, zombies and more are part of the Unicode updates for the fall creators update.
  • Cortana – Cortana notifications can now be seen on your Android phone. And you can control Windows a bit with Cortana, including locking, signing out, shut down or restarting your computer.

Google Advanced Protection

  • Meant for high-profile celebrities, politicians and other possible targets for hacking.
  • Advanced security features for your account (gmail, google drive, etc)
  • Need a physical key to unlock your data (USB)
  • It also locks down your files and email to ONLY Google apps, eliminating the possibility of using 3rd party programs to attain the data.
  • This will make using Google’s products a bit more tough, but if you’re concerned about information security more than you are about ease of use, this may be a good solution.

Capterra

Capterra is a website with a mission to match up businesses with the right software to optimize any part of the operation. Whether it’s project management software, bookkeeping, marketing, testing or just about anything else, Capterra can suggest the right software taking into account budget, ease of use and more.

  • Guest : Claire Alexander – General Manager of Capterra
  • http://capterra.com
  • Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Capterra/
  • Twitter : https://twitter.com/capterra
  • Website to help find a software solution for your business
  • Capterra has been around since 1999
  • Virtually any sort of software for your business organized by software type, then displaying the most used, best cost effective or easiest to use.

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

In this episode we talk about managing your passwords and updating technology to stay secure.

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

Tech News

Yahoo Email Hack – Now up to 3 Billion accounts, apparently every yahoo account. – announced by the new owner, Verizon

  • No credit card information in the breach, but
  • Suspect part is that the new intelligence was just recently obtained AFTER the deal closed to buy Yahoo.

Equifax update – there’s a good chance the company will have to pay penalties to affected consumers going north of $1B.

  • For the record, $1B comes to just over $7 per possible affected user.

Cortana is now rollout out into Skype. You should start seeing it appear in private and group chats to offer assistance for scheduling and other items.

  • Will also appear in the Android and iOS versions soon.
  • Still not sold on voice systems like Google, Amazon or Siri, but I hope to become more reliant on it when the new Pixel 2 phone arrives
  • Microsoft claims 141 million “monthly” users of Cortana. I use it only when I accidentally click the button on my desktop toolbar, so that probably counts at least once a month.
  • Siri – 41.4 monthly, 19% daily.
  • Google claims 20% of mobile searches are voice searches – couldn’t find a published #
  • Becoming more popular
  • Would love to discuss voice searches and voice control on a future episode, so if you’re an “expert” please contact me.

Today’s topic – You are Responsible for Updating Your Technology

  • In the last month, I’ve had to do the following:
    • Rescued three websites from obvious hacking
    • About six months ago I got a call that a WordPress site built over five years ago had NEVER been updated, and now stopped working.
      • That required updating WP, finding out what, if any of the existing plugins would still work with the new WP, and we had to find alternate solutions for outdated, un-updatable, or costly upgrades to certain plugins.
    • Two months ago I worked on a computer that was full of malware. The client was still running Windows XP and didn’t want to update. Windows XP was abandoned by Microsoft in April 2014, meaning there was no further development on the operating system and it would be exposed as insecure.
    • In all cases, there was a massive cleanup, one new install of WP, and a complete forced re-indexing of the website by Google and other search engines.

ALL of these could have been avoided if the core functions would have been maintained. By following just a few steps, your computer, phones and other devices can stay up to date and minimize the danger of being compromised.

Remember, criminals will most always take the low-hanging fruit, like the computer not updated in over 5 years, the WordPress site with outdated plugins, or the FTP password that hasn’t changed in half a decade.

A word of warning… updates can sometimes fail, and even cause larger issues. BACK UP YOUR DATA before running updates, or just in general. However, the risk of something bad happening during an update is nothing compared to the possible issues that can happen by running an out-of-date system.

  1. Back up everything on a regular basis – Always have a way to reset if something bad happens, even if you lose some data.
  2. Turn on automatic updates for plugins and incremental WordPress updates.
  3. Use a service to update multiple sites if needed.
  4. Turn on notifications for major WordPress or theme releases, and run them after you back up, update plugins and prepare for possible downtime.
  5. Also change your FTP and Cpanel passwords on a regular basis, or when someone leaves the organization.
  • Windows Computers
  1. Back up on a regular basis. Services like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and others offer cheap, or even free secure cloud services that will back up your data.
  2. Turn on automatic updates in the control panel. This will run in the background, and prompt to reboot when larger updates appear.
  3. If you can update your operating system to at least Windows 8.2 you will at least be receiving regular security updates. There was a time you could have updated to Windows 10 for free, but you most likely missed that if you’re still running an older version.
  4. Keep your software like browsers, office software and other major applications like Photoshop and others up to date by regularly checking, or selecting auto-updates if prompted.
  • Mobile Devices
  1. Back up on a regular basis (notice a theme here?). Most carriers have this available, but you can keep your music in the cloud, photos backed up to Google Photos for free, contacts saved to Gmail or Gsuite, again for free, and other data can use Dropbox, Carbonite and other services.
  2. Go into the Play Store or Updates on your mobile device and click Update All on a regular basis.
  3. Always accept operating system updates when prompted, your device is properly charged or connected to a power source, and you have the necessary allotted time to accomplish the update. Do a full reboot once in a while to clear the device and also to re-engage auto-updates when the phone reaches back out to the carrier or app store.

Updates are an easy way to keep your site and devices secure. Criminals are looking for the easy targets when you’re dealing with electronic crime, so stay on top of your systems and update regularly.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!