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google-reader

How to survive the death of Google Reader

Sadly, Google Reader is leaving the world next week. They are calling it “retirement” but that’s a nice why of saying they are killing it. But, we’ve all mourned and we knew this day would be coming. July 1st is just about here, and for those of us that are procrastinators are freaking out about transferring RSS feeds and finding a new reader that we like.

Before doing anything, and definitely before July 1st, make sure to make a copy of all of your data through Google Takeout. You’ll receive the data as an XML file and it will be easily transferrable to whichever reader you choose to use.

Speaking of choosing a reader, there’s a lot out there. Feedly seems to be a favorite alternative to Google Reader for many. However, make sure to look around and do your research before choosing one. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with this program. Here’s a good list of readers to check out.

When choosing which program you want to use, consider the following:

  • How important are images?
  • Do you want to be blasted with ads? Do you mind ads?
  • How do you want to consume your information?
  • Do you want something that is similar to Google reader or are you ready for a big change?
  • Do you want a program that has been around for a while and has fixed all major glitches?

These questions are important because it can help you weed out many of the new startups that rushed to create a program in only a few months that would replace Google Reader. You don’t want to get stuck with something that will die on you again, or won’t be reliable.

Finding a feed reader that works for you might be a little frustrating, but it will be worth it in the end. You’ll be able to consume news the way you want and tailor it to your needs.


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What Google Fiber means for the tech scene in Utah County

Yesterday it was announced that Provo will be the third city to receive Google Fiber, Google’s super-fast Internet service. The announcement came after Mayor Curtis promised he had some “Epic” news to share. Twitter blew up with assumptions as to what the announcement could be, using the #Provoepicannouncement hashtag. Many of the assumptions were comical, but several people suspected Google Fiber.

“Once connected, Provo will be one of the first cities in the world where access to broadband will flow like water or electricity,” Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Fiber said.

Google bought the fiber optic network that was laid years ago for the iProvo project that was never completed. Because of this, they hope to have Google Fiber in every home by the end of the year.

This is cool. But what does it mean for the growing tech scene here in Utah County? Well, first, I think the fact that Google Fiber is setting up shop here is proof and recognition that the tech and startup scene is, in fact, really awesome where we are.

Provo/Orem was ranked number 2 in the nation for the number of patents granted in the country. Don’t believe me that we have hundreds of tech startups here? Check out this list. Oh, and we’ve been rated one of the best places for businesses and careers by Forbes. So for the residents here, it makes sense that Google would join in, and everyone is excited.

With Google Fiber, businesses will have access to the fastest Internet in the world, speeding up downloading and uploading processes. The Utah County tech scene will be on the cutting edge of the future of the Internet.

This will also be a huge incentive for companies to relocate to the Provo area. SAAS companies would especially benefit from the fast Internet that will be offered.

As a startup in the Provo/Orem area, we are excited to see Google Fiber implemented, and even more excited to see the growth it will bring in the future to our neck of the woods.


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Replacing Your Laptop with a Tablet

Over the last year or so tablets have become a fairly commonplace gadget. As they improve on both the hardware and software they are becoming a realistic replacement for a laptop–at least in certain situations. I rarely take my laptop home from work (except on the weekends) instead taking the much smaller and lighter iPad. As I’ve started to make this switch I started to find more and more apps and accessories to help me in my transition and actually make it happen. As a disclaimer, I do have a spare laptop and a desktop at home if I really need to do something that the iPad can’t do–because hey–if I really need to get something done sometimes the iPad doesn’t cut it.  But in most instances a tablet can replace my laptop for what I do at home. So what are some of the things that made my life easier?

Apps: Most of what has made my life easier is getting the right apps.

Dropbox: At Trafficado we use Dropbox a lot. So I need to be able to access files wherever I go. And that means I need to be able to view them at home on my iPad. So this app is a must have for me. The thing I don’t like about the app is that I can’t edit the files and sync them with Dropbox–but recently I came across CloudOn which lets you sync with your DropBox account and then edit and re-save files. I haven’t been using it for very long, but so far it’s worked well to edit Word and Excel files straight from the iPad from DropBox.

Social Media Manager (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc.): I use Hootsuite for managing my social media for work so having the app helps me easily view my streams and schedule tweets and Facebook status updates.

Raven: Need to check some rankings or traffic levels before you send off an email? Need to add a link or check your link manager? Do so from the handy dandy Raven app. It’s another necessity for an internet marketer working from the iPad. It takes a little getting used to at first to feel like you can get where you want, but once you do it’s a breeze.

RSS Reader (I use FeeddlerRSS): I catch my favorite marketing blogs via my reader, and the bulk of blog reading is done at home on the iPad. I use FeeddlerRSS to access my Google Reader feed and then either email or mark as starred anything that I want to pay attention to later.

WordPress: I use the WordPress app to check on sites, make quick edits and to write blog posts for sites. I don’t love certain things about it (mainly blog post formatting issues) but it’s great for getting posts in and saved as drafts where you only have to add an image or tweak some headers or something before you push it live.  And if you have to send it live from the iPad, you can do it.

Google: I use G-Whizz and iMailG to access Google Docs, Google Talk, and some of the other Google services that they don’t have in their own Gmail app.  G-Whiz is pretty comprehensive and it works just fine, but I have multiple Gmail accounts that I use and I don’t like switching between accounts in one app, so I use two different apps (really 3–but only occasionally) to stay on top of those items.

Go To Meeting: I don’t participate in tons of webinars, but it’s nice to have the app for when I need to on the go. And the app is a breeze to use.

Skype/Video Chat: For those times when you want to meet “face to face” the Skype app is handy to have and is simple to use.

 

Accessories

The main accessory that I love is my Zaggfolio keyboard. It makes typing a breeze and almost as fast as a laptop. If you’re doing any significant amount of typing, this is a must.

I’ve also been eyeing the ASUS Transformer Prime which has a pretty slick tablet/keyboard combo that rivals the iPad/Zaggfolio combo–but I haven’t been able to play around with it much yet so I can’t make a recommendation either way yet. However, I’m pretty convinced that you should keep your phone/tablet on the same operating system, so unless I made the change to an Android phone I probably wouldn’t seriously consider switching to a non-iOS tablet.

Apple iPad2 with Zaggfolio compared with Asus Transformer Prime

Overall, I’m becoming more and more reliant on my iPad and use it for more and more in both my personal and work life. But the key is finding the right setup for you to make sure that you aren’t caught in a tough spot needing to get something done that your tablet can’t do.  And that has been getting easier and easier recently–but let’s just say that I’m not replacing my laptop at work anytime soon with my iPad.


iphone-4s

Apple’s Big Announcement–iPhone 4s

Whenever Apple has a “big announcement” there are always speculations and rumors. When the announcement actually came yesterday many people were underwhelmed when there was no iPhone 5 and we were left with an iPhone 4s. While Apple did the same with the 3G and the 3GS, many were expecting a jump straight to the 5 in this case. Well, now we have the details. On October 14 the new iPhone will be released (pre-orders start on October 7) and people have little time to decide whether or not they think it’s worth it to make the switch to the new phone. Here’s a quick re-cap of the features and specs of the new phone:

The design is basically the same as the current iPhone 4.  So the outsides will all look the same, but the insides are different. The processor will be an A5 chip (the same as the iPad 2) which will make the phone and downloads faster. The battery life will be

better–8 hours of talk time on 3G, 14 hours on 2G, or 10 hours of watching video. The camera will be an 8 megapixel camera with 60% more pixels.  So the new phone will give you a decent bump in performance. The operating system has been upgraded as well and will include a lot of features that have been lacking before such as a new notification system (similar to the Android system), iCloud to wirelessly store you music and pictures, better sync-ability between iOS devices, and more.

However, Siri might be the best part of the iPhone 4s. It’s a “personal assistant” that
goes everywhere with you. Essentially it is a voice activated question and answer application that can give you directions, send messages, book events on your calendar, answer questions,  and much more.

So there is definitely some positive features, even if the upgrade doesn’t live up to the hype of the mythical iPhone 5.


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Amazon Announces Kindle Fire

The first real threat to Apple’s iPad dominance was possibly announced by Amazon yesterday. The Kindle Fire looks like a solid alternative to the iPad. Running the Android OS it has some definite benefits. They came in at a $200 price point which is significantly cheaper than the lowest priced iPad (currently $500) which we think will lead a lot of people to jump into the tablet world  that wouldn’t have otherwise.  The screen is a 7 inch screen (the iPad has a 10 inch screen) which will mean something different to each of us. Browsing is a little less ideal on a smaller screen but the ability to control and to handle can be a little easier.  The other plus is that Amazon can actually compete on their content offering with their music and video collection. And they have perhaps the best book collection because of their standard Kindle base.  In fact, it sounds like they are keeping the Fire at such a competitive price simply to get you hooked on their content network–they may even be taking a loss on the tablet to get more users into their content collection.  And then you have the Android app collection, which isn’t too shabby either. Overall, it has a lot going for it. A lot of questions are still on the table since virtually no one has used the Fire yet, but it’s looking like a promising option for Android tablet users.

 

A quick summary analysis:

Negatives:

No camera/mic

Only 8 gb memory

Positives:

Free Amazon Cloud storage

Access to Amazon’s media content network

$200 allows a much cheaper price point to get into the tablet world


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Google’s Biggest Gamble [Infographic]

This graphic was taken from Marketing Pilgrim on how information can be used to promote your business. Google is the largest “provider” of information both through their search engine and their other services that they use to gather information about you and then use that information to provide you with information they think you want. How well they accomplish that is still up for debate. Enjoy the graphic.

 

Infographic from Marketing Pilgrim titled "Google's Biggest Gamble"