Do You Need Tech Help?
The phone rang indicating an unknown number. As is my practice, I ignored the call. If it was important, the caller would most likely leave a voicemail message. Indeed, there was a message.
Upon listening to the message, I realized it was yet another similar request starting with, “I got your name from ________ , who indicated that you could help me with my computer, mobile phone, Internet, etc.”
Before taking on a new client, it is important to determine in advance whether or not I can help them. The following is the process I follow:
– Return the phone call and discuss the client’s needs. If I could not help them, I didn’t want to waste their time or money.
– If we jointly determine to move forward, before setting up a meeting, I discuss my fees and ask them to compose a list of topics they are interested in addressing.
– At our first meeting, we discuss their needs and set priorities.
– I evaluate if their existing equipment supports their needs. Perhaps simple upgrades/maintenance is necessary. If not, I recommend and assist in ordering and installing a new computer, mobile phone, etc.
Once we are ready to tackle the prioritized list of projects, we discuss my rules:
– Initially, each meeting lasts only one hour. I have found my clients tend to feel overloaded after an hour.
– Only one topic will be discussed per session.
– The client should have a separate notebook and take their own notes.
– Once I have demonstrated a task, its up to the the client to take over and practice with my supervision.
– If follow-up meetings are scheduled, we first review the work of the previous meeting to make sure that there are no questions before proceeding with a new task.
– I indicate that I am available via phone or e-mail to answer questions between meetings at no charge.
I do not prepare notes or work with a standard list of recommended equipment. I often meet many people in the course of a day and personalize their hardware and software to fit their needs.
From The Desk to My Hand
It was the middle of 1982, and as my business partner and I were making our way through The Netherlands Schiphol Airport, we decided to stop by the local Duty Free Shop. One of the busiest stores in the terminal, they carried some of the most recognizable brands and designer items. As we made our way through their many aisles, we stopped at a new department featuring some of their latest products.
Our eyes were immediately drawn to a new electronic device which was getting a great deal of attention. And there it was, the Commodore 64 computer, the first of its kind. Up until that time, my partner and I had never utilized any technology for our business or personal lives. So, without hesitation, we both lined up and each purchased our first computer. We both struggled to learn how to use it and had no idea how this simple computer would start a revolution that would change our lives and how businesses would operate in the future.
For the past few years, I had been hopping around the world with only telephones and faxes (very expensive!) as a means to communicate with business partners. All meetings were conducted face to face. I was making monthly trips to Europe and at least 4 trips a year to the Far East. There were several instances when I would fly to a country, meet with associates in the airport to sign agreements, and hop on the next plane home.
As the ‘80s moved forward, Microsoft introduced their first Windows computer, while Apple launched its initial Macintosh unit. Companies started to provide their staffs with desktop computers for word processing. Computers started to pop up in homes. The Age of Technology was in full swing, and in the mid nineties, AOL started offering Internet access through telephone lines. However, it would take time before any work could be done away from your desk.
Moving through the ‘90’s, technology gradually crept into our lives. Computers became more powerful, and laptops became a necessary accessory. Toward the end of the decade, handheld devices started to enter the market. The blackberry became a staple as a pager, email provider, and a rudimentary means of access to the Internet. Starting in 2001, Apple entered the handheld market with its first iPod, offering music and other features, such as the ability to listen to books through Audible. The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 was a game changer. Google’s Android followed shortly thereafter, in 2008. Starting in 2010, tablets were introduced by both Apple and Google.
All of a sudden, we became a mobile society. No longer were we tethered to our desks. We were able to communicate and access information on the road. As we moved through the decade, it was possible to leave our computers at the office and home. Phones and tablets became mainstream, as handheld devices outsold computers. It is estimated that in 2021, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide stood at almost 15 billion, up from just over 14 billion in the previous year.
I have been writing this document on a number of different devices from several locations. In the past, this could only have been accomplished by saving the file on a “flash drive” and transferring it from device to device. Now, with the advent of “cloud storage,” it can be accessed on any computer I use, as well as a phone or tablet.
Growing up, television was still in its infancy. Listening to the radio was mainstream. We now have “Smart TVs” with Internet access. Why go to movies with the advent of “streaming?” Isn’t it ironic that radio has returned in the form of podcasts which lets us enjoy programs similar to how we relied on radios 70 – 80 years ago?
I often look at my life through a prism of “pre and post technology’s infancy.” I have written about my overall discomfort with corporate life, particularly the travel that was involved, prior to the Internet becoming mainstream. Having made the decision in the early 90’s to change careers, what would have happened if I hadn’t recognized the potential of the Internet and decided to be a computer tutor and technology consultant? At 52, where would I have turned. I had a successful corporate career, but needed another challenge. Looking back to nearly 30 years ago, the world of technology offered me the opportunity to pursue a second career, which has been rewarding and exciting.
As I complete this article from my handheld device in the park, thank you Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Case, and the many others who have made this ride so enjoyable.
How to Select the Right Cellphone Provider
Confused by all the offers from the major cell phone providers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.)?
There’s a price war going on between the major carriers. Although price is a consideration in selecting a carrier, saving a few dollars should not be the major factor when signing a contract. Having an unlimited or discounted data or phone plan is useless if your service is poor.
First, you must determine which provider offers the best service in your area. Are you frequently getting disconnected in the middle of a call? How is the voice quality of the calls?
Second, you should check the signal strength in all parts of your home or office. If you are a frequent traveler, how is the service on the road? How about your second home? If you are moving to a new location, check with your neighbors. Find out what works for them and which provider (s) have poor reception. I have a client who recently moved a few blocks away and found the provider she was using in her old apartment did not work in her new building. Another client found that her provider only worked in a few rooms in her new building.
There are a number of discounted service providers offering deep discounted rates. However, the majority of them are using one of the major providers listed above. If you elect to go that route, check out who they are using before signing up.
Don’t be tempted to sign up with a provider because of a great deal or a pretty new phone offer. The name of the game is quality of service.
IBM and Apple Make a Deal
Did you ever believe that IBM would be selling iPhones and iPads?
Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President, and CEO, in a press release stated that “Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”
As part of the exclusive IBM MobileFirst for iOS deal, IBM will sell iPhones and iPads loaded with software for its business clients.
Click Here to read the full article
Do You Want Internet Access in the Subway?
AT&T pledges wireless in every NYC subway station
AT&T has agreed to provide wireless service to every underground subway station, making it the second carrier to make the commitment.
Currently, there is wireless service from every major carrier except Sprint in the initial 36 stations of the MTA’s plan to wire all 278 underground stations by 2017.
The second phase, which will be completed by the end of the summer, will increase the number of stations with wireless by 40, covering midtown Manhattan and Queens locations.
“The ability to make and receive phone calls underground is an important improvement for safety and security as well as convenience, and our customers will certainly appreciate it,” MTA chief Thomas Prendergast said in a statement.
To read the complete article Click Here
What do you think?
What Your Kids Can Teach You About Tech
“The millennial generation has consumer technology figured out. They keep costs to a bare minimum while their parents pay hundreds of dollars a month for cellphone, cable or satellite TV, Internet services and other technology.” So states Karen Blumenthal in an article in the Wall Street Journal.
In her article, she suggests you consider whether you need a landline and why many people are just relying on their cell phone at home. For those of you that have a smartphone, make sure your data plan matches your usage.
Savings can also be realized by making sure you are using wireless technology, whether at home or on the road to access the Internet.
And finally, do you really need a TV?
To read her article click below:
The Mobile World is Now – Are You Prepared?
Over 700 million smartphones (Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, RIM’s Blackberry, etc.) were shipped globally in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. In an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, major companies, such as Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon are all competing for a share of the global market. If you already own a smartphone or tablet (Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy, Microsoft’s Surface, etc.), you are probably familiar with the world of apps, which is an abbreviation for application, a piece of software which is run on your phone and tablet.
How important is it for you to be a true “road warrior?” Well, the same article reveals that sales of smartphones were nearly double that of the traditional PC last year. Within the next two years, more people will be accessing the Internet through a mobile device than a computer.
If you find you are on the wrong side of the “Great Digital Divide,” and want to learn all about the mobile world, my e-book (pictured below) contains many useful tips. You can order it directly from Amazon by clicking on the image below.
ARE YOU SECURING YOUR MOBILE DEVICES?
We are living in a mobile world. Chances are that you are using your smartphone and tablet more than your computer for e-mail and information. Are your mobile devices secure? Do you know how to find them if they are lost?
Within the next couple of years, more people will be accessing the Internet through a mobile device than with a desktop or laptop computer.
Listen in to my BlogTalkRadio program for a discussion with my guest, Neil Forster, President of Forster Technology Solutions, about what you need to know about securing your mobile devices and how to locate them if they are misplaced.
What You Need to Know About Microsoft’s Window 8
Are you in the market for a new computer? Should you be upgrading to Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system?
Microsoft has made a major commitment with its new operating system. The major shift in technology to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets has resulted in a slowdown in the purchasing of traditional desktop computers.
Microsoft has finally decided to grab market share from leaders such as Apple, Google, and Amazon with the introduction of an operating system for both desktop and tablets.
Should Microsoft be part of your future? Click below and listen to Jim Blue and Carl Mazzanti, a Microsoft Partner of the Year, talk about what you need to know before making a decision.
If you want to discuss whether or not Windows 8 is right for you, do not hesitate to contact me directly at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at email@example.com
CHILD OFF TO COLLEGE THIS FALL? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
As a parent, do you have the basic computer skills to maintain contact with your college student? Does your technology support your efforts, and do you have the most cost efficient systems in place?
The following are some points that you should be thinking about before the move-in date:
– Will you need to upgrade either your equipment or services?
– How do you determine your child’s equipment needs while in college?
– Does the cell phone provider that you use at home (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) have a strong network at your child’s school?
– What can you do to keep your communication costs down?
– What are the most cost efficient ways to stay in communication with your child in college?
– How do you keep in contact with your child who is studying abroad without incurring large telephone charges?
– Has your child’s school granted you online access to key school resources?
– Does your child know how to reach you 24/7?
The chances are that your child may be more up-to-date on the latest technology than you. It is important that you discuss a strategy to communicate in a cost efficient manner. If your child is studying thousands of miles away, or perhaps in any country, you do not want to incur telephone charges that approach the cost of tuition!
Most universities no longer provide phones in their dorms. The use of cell phones and other mobile technology tools has significantly enhanced our ability to maintain our relationships with our children in college. Are you prepared?
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