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Top 5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Smartphone

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.    

Here are the top 5 spring cleaning tips for your smartphone or tablet. Spring is FINALLY here, and hopefully where you live it feels like it too. Spring cleaning happens every year. Most of the time it makes us think to clean our closet, office, garage or house. Most of those things don’t get a lot of use, so why not clean the device you use every day – your smartphone?

Review these 5 steps to see what you can find on your phone that is slowing you down.

1. Fight Germs- Spring is a time for new beginnings, but it is also a time for germs to thrive. Especially ones that were dormant during the cold winter months. Our phones are one of the few things that touch our face and hands constantly, so they can harbor some pretty nasty stuff if not cared for properly. There are a few simple things you can do to help you smartphone stay germ free. Do not use your smartphone in the restroom. Wash your hands frequently.

Clean your LCD screen, and the case if you use one. You can buy disposable wipes to specifically do this, but you really don’t need to. The best way to do this is to first power your device down and make sure it is unplugged. Dampen a soft cloth ( DO NOT use paper towels) with water and swipe it down gently. Never use harsh chemicals, solvents, or window cleaners to clean your tablet or smartphone.

2. Streamline Entertainment- Storage always seems to be a hot button when it comes to our devices. Movies, music, and apps can take over our smart phones. Five full length HD movies can take up as much as fifteen GB of storage on your device. Delete those and stream your movies via Hulu or Netflix. Music is huge for me. I love it, and I’m in the music education business. Songs don’t take up as much space as video, but most people have lots more music anyway. There is no way most people can get all they music they own on their device. Only store short playlists you use for working out, or taking your commute. For everything else, use Spotify. It’s a music streaming service that has over 30 million songs it their catalogue. If you’ve tired Spotify and don’t like it, don’t worry. There are lots of other options like Google Music, and Pandora.

3. Tidy Up Information- Sort emails into folders. Unsubscribe from email lists you never read. Check and adjust syncing frequency. Text messages can be decepitvely huge when cluttering up your storage. Be sure to go through and delete all old texts that you don’t need anymore. Update your voicemail greeting. Keeping your greeting fresh shows that you are invested in hearing from people. Sort contacts into groups for a more efficent experience. If your device has a ‘favorites’ option for contacts, use that as well. Back up all your contacts to your computer, or use cloud service like Gmail. Also, go through and delete any apps that you don’t use. Those take up space too.

4. Security- Use a PIN or a passcode to protect your information is your device is lost or stolen. Less that half of all smartphone users have a passcode on their device. If you have children who have their own smartphones or tablets, be sure you check and update the parental settings on what they are using. Check your insurance policy on your phone. Make sure it is up to date. If you don’t have insurance, consider buying a case and screen protector for you phone. The most common issue smartphones have is a cracked or broken screen. InvisibleShield makes a great product with real Tempered GLASS that is a Screen Protecter. Verizon has some great accessory bundles here.

5. Photos and Videos- The number one cause of phone clutter is photos and videos. Keep your memories by downloading your pics and videos to your computer, then dump them onto an external hard drive. I take this one step further, because I also upload all my content to Flickr and YouTube as well. This way it’s backed up twice incase something bad happens. You can also use services like Google and Dropbox to do this as well. I chose Flickr because the give you 1 TB of free space. Once you’ve done that, then delete them all from your device so you won’t have any duplicates.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any suggestions that I’ve missed, please comment below. Enjoy your smartphone, and your spring!

Meerkat is the Evolution of Twitter and Video

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.   

The keyword in the tech world this week has been ‘Meerkat’. If you don’t use twitter much, it’s possible you haven’t heard about it yet. Ask the average person what meerkat is, they’ll tell you they are small furry animals from Africa. So is this what we are talking about? No. Meerkat is a new app that connects your camera phone to your twitter feed.  Combine that with the power of my Verizon network and this means it’s then possible for me to live stream from my smartphone from almost anywhere!

The app launched March 10th and blew up at SXSW. As with most third-party apps that connect to twitter, if you hit the sweet spot you can gain traction fast. This happened for Meerkat when Jimmy Fallon signed up for the app, then began rehearsing the monologue for his show while live streaming it to twitter! Not a bad situation for a new app. The titans of tech like Lance Ulanoff, Gary V, and Guy Kawasaki are also using the service. When people with such large twitter followings join, you can imagine how fast they pick up new downloads, and users.

 

Jimmy Fallon on Meerkat

Jimmy Fallon on Meerkat

 

 

History continues to repeat itself with Twitter and third-party apps. Meerkat just launched and Twitter has already put measures in place to slow it down. Why? Well Twitter has it’s own live streaming service coming soon called Periscope. In the words of Meerkat, “Everything that happens on Meerkat, happens on Twitter.” That’s been the key to success so far, but also could be the end of the app if Twitter decides to cut it off totally.

How does it work? Meerkat connects your phone camera to your Twitter feed; once you’ve installed the app, you type in a status and hit the “stream” button—and just like that, a link goes out to your Twitter followers with live video from wherever it is you are pointing the camera.

Our smartphones have become embedded in our daily lives, and this is just the next logical step. This is yet another reason to make sure you have the correct carrier for your smart phone. Live streaming over the Verizon network will be a powerful tool for many smartphone users. Live stream apps have come and gone before, but we are now in an era of mobile broadband, where everyone has a 4G smart phone.

I can see this being a big help to me this summer when we take our School of Rock students on tour. We can livestream footage of the concerts to the parents at home that weren’t able to make the trip. Live events right from your smartphone, what will they think of next?

They have also added a gamification aspect to the app, where users get points for use. This is a cool site that shows who the leaders are in the Meerkat community. https://www.rise.global/meerkat

Google to Favor Mobile Friendly Sites in Search Rankings

Small businesses and website managers felt a shockwave recently when Google announced the new push toward making sites mobile friendly. This should not be taken lightly, as there are lots of businesses out there who have sites that will be penalized. Google has confirmed that it is now going to take into account whether or not a website is mobile-friendly when it is indexing sites for its search engine. What does this mean for websites? The ones that are not mobile-friendly will not be ranked higher than those who are.

Mobile Friendly Test

Mobile Friendly Test

The announcement says that the change won’t be reflected in rankings until April 2015.  Site owners will now have a little over a month scrabble and make the necessary changes. The last thing any site manager wants is to fail to make the required changes for Google and then see their site penalized for not being mobile-friendly.

The announcement came about through a post on its Webmaster Central blog. Here is an excerpt from the post and the link to it:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Now that we know what’s coming, let’s talk about some solutions to the new challenge. For help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you are a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages. You can use the Mobile-Friendly Test to see the status of what needs to be done. You can also use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

Good luck everyone!