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HP Envy Review DKemp DesignsTech Upgrade

Hello fellow geeks, technophiles and those who need translation of geek-speak. Wondering what Techsnoop has been up to? Wonder no more! Techsnoop has been busy learning many new software tricks. This put a massive strain on Techsnoop’s trusty Toshiba laptop which has served faithfully for many years as a design ninja.

Shopping for new tech is one of Techsnoop’s favorite activities, but not when there is a ticking clock. The stress of getting the best value in a crunch situation is not fun. But the Geek Gods were with Techsnoop, and a great deal appeared on an unlikely contender: the HP Envy x360. A convertible laptop was not even on the list of shopping items in this replacement foray. But the specs on this model were irresistible.

The Look

HP Envy CaseA sleek aluminum body with subtle curves, makes this a beautiful laptop even when closed. Under the hood, 12GB of ram, 6GB of video ram and a 1TB hard drive offer speedy response and lots of room for large design files. Altogether this created the need for a closer look. This is a Windows 10, 64 bit system with a 6th generation i7 processor and the price was so great, Techsnoop can’t even print it. Let’s just say many laptops with lesser specs were much more expensive.

 

Spectacular Specs

The official roundup:

Design – slim, lightweight aluminum body makes this beautiful to look at, hold and show off.
Weight – about 5 lbs, average and not too taxing to carry around. The trade-off is no optical (DVD) drive, but not a deal breaker.
Screen – bright, crisp, saturated colors. Not retina, but very close.
Touch – the touch screen has great sensitivity and seems calibrated correctly, with 95% or better accuracy.
Windows 10 – much better than Windows 8, Windows 10 allows you to configure and work the way you want with minimal distractions from the UI. Kudos.
Battery – five to six hours of use on a charge, Techsnoop gets between 4 and 5 hours with heavy applications and video playback.
Keyboard – keys are sensitive and responsive. A small dip keeps keys flush with the tray so keys don’t get pushed when in tablet mode. And there is a backlight button so you can keep working in dim lighting.

In fact, Techsnoop was working smoothly during a recent power outage in the Metro area! (But no internet :-()

Fun on the Go

The tent style is fun and efficient for watching video, learning tutorials or following recipes, while the tablet is great for taking notes, sketching or collaborating. No matter which form is used, the HP x360 is a solid computing tool to have. While Techsnoop will be adding more tech to the family, the HP Envy is a welcome and fun addition.

HP Envy Tablet HP Envy Stand

Tesla Model 3Entrepreneurs everywhere dream of making big announcements to the public on their newest product or service launch. We hope an ever-changing public will receive our offerings with enthusiasm and profits. Many existing companies fall short with anticipating what the public needs or will spend hard-earned dollars on. One leader stands out as both visionary and humble spokesperson.

Enter Tesla

Elon Musk has done it again. As a visionary he is on point all the time, but his masterful delivery of new products is a pattern for all aspiring startup leaders. Speaking gracefully to an enthusiastic crowd, Mr. Musk succinctly outlines why his product is necessary, how it was developed and what the benefits are to all stakeholders.

While many will decry that $35,000 is not exactly a low-end price, it is certainly in the mid-price range of new vehicles today.

Let us know in the comments what you think.

Tesla Unveils Model 3 from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

Superphone Evolution

Samsung clawed themselves  to the top of the smartphone mountain and have reigned King of super-sized smartphones for a while now. Their sleek looks and crisp specs managed to woo Techsnoop from the beloved HTC Evo line-up. Led solidly by the Galaxy and Note super phones, Samsung forced everyone, including Apple to up their phone game. Now Samsung finds themselves in an uncomfortable position. They still have premium phones, but many competitors have managed to improve their specs and catch up. And, at a lower price.

Note Evolution

Credit: CNET

The Note 4 is a premium phone and needed only minor upgrades for the Note 5. A faster processor and possibly a slimmer profile would have been great. The improvements to the S-Pen are solid. Why in the name of all that is tech-savvy would Samsung take a step back and have a non-removable battery? The Note line is not for the messaging-selfie obsessed crowd. This is a phone for multi-tasking professionals and we don’t want non-removable batteries and non-expandable storage. Ask HTC, as they lost this market to the Note when they adopted these features.

Techsnoop has several non-negotiable requirements for a phone. One is excellent camera, another is expandable memory, and a third is removable battery. Samsung has dropped the last two on the Note 5 and ensured that this phone is not on the list of considerations for upgrade. Phone makers listen to your customers; we don’t want cloud storage at the expense of expandable storage. It is not an acceptable trade-off.

The Note 5 has a great screen, nice upgrade features and the latest Android OS along with the upgraded S-Pen. The specs are a modest upgrade from the Note 4 and makes the phone a good choice for some who are not super users. But with both built-in battery and non-expandable storage, the Note 5 doesn’t make Techsnoop’s contender list for upgrade. Perhaps Samsung will wake up with the Note 6.

What are your deal-breaker features on a smartphone?

So Mobilegeddon has arrived and you are not ready.

What is a small business owner to do? First, call a web designer now. Not next week, now. DKemp Designs offers free 15 minute phone consultations to any business owner on all types of technology solutions. Next, make a list of business goals that can be met with technology and prioritize according to importance.

Customers should be able to:

Locate you
Call you
See hours
Know what type of business you offer

All on the home page of your mobile site. If any of these are missing, you need an immediate makeover.

If your business does not have a mobile ready website yet, here are some facts on future mobile usage from DR4WARD to get you going.

mobile data usage by 2020

 

Superhero SEO Help

Are you a small business owner completely confused by SEO? Does the new Google algorithm keep you awake at night? Well this great infographic from VAYU Media should help sort out the confusion. While SEO is best left in the hands of professionals, your web designer should be savvy enough to get you started. And if you are short on budget, you can always hire an intern or recent grad part-time to get set up.

Once you are raking in the dough from your newly optimized, mobile-ready website, hire a professional to boost you further. And remember, DKemp Designs is always happy to give you a free 15 minute consultation on your web presence.

Questions? Post them in the comments and Techsnoop will be happy to help.

The SEO Puzzle

Small Business ToolsTablet, smartphone, laptop, POS terminal, Windows, iOS, Linux. What to choose, what is a business owner to do? The array of technology tools for business grows and changes everyday. But the needs of your business have to be addressed with stability and profitability.

Go for Tried and True

As a small business owner you may be tempted to get the latest, shiniest, gizmo. But small businesses have less room to respond if the latest technology fails or is discontinued. Better to stay with tested and stable technology in both software and hardware.

The must haves

Every business needs to capture information, retrieve it and back it up. In addition, small businesses must accept a minimum of credit and debit cards. Checks are optional but a good idea. What items can meet these needs?

Website with Branded business Email
Smartphone
Desktop or laptop
External back up
Cloud service
Card processing

Balance the Budget

Website/email: Your website connects you to the world of customers. A professional, mobile ready site and branded email says you are a trusted resource. Face it, no one wants to contact “janedoe7987@anyoldemail.com”, they want to see “customerservice@yourbusinessname.com”.

Back up: When deciding where to cut corners, consider what equipment will be used most and what services are most critical. In an emergency or equipment failure, backups can be the difference between closing or operating as usual. Keep critical information backed up on an external drive and a cloud service. Zip files to conserve space.

Cloud service: Yes, you need a cloud service for sharing files, extra back up and convenience. Start small with Google Drive or Dropbox, then consider a paid service depending on your needs.

Smartphone: A tablet is nice to have and convenient, but your smartphone gets more use. This is not the place to pinch pennies. Get the best phone you can afford with a big and bright screen. In the age of app driven productivity, a large screen phone with maximum RAM can substitute for a tablet or even a laptop in a jam. Check this review for guidance.

Desktop or laptop? Desktop PCs are great, but if security is an issue, using laptops in the office allows you to take your information home. In the event of damage or vandalism, your business is secure. Laptops also allow you to work seamlessly from home, a big issue for entrepreneurs who typically work 12+ hour days.

Card Processing: Using a service such as Square allows you to take payments on your laptop or smartphone and send invoices. Fees are low and the smartphone card reader is free.

DKemp Designs is happy to offer your business a free 15 minute phone consultation on any area of tech needs.

Working Freelance

Well, another year has passed and a lot was accomplished. Contacts made, family nurtured, skills expanded and I’m still standing! How great is that?

So, what next?

Many people use New Year’s Day to re-assess their goals and dreams, but I prefer my birthday. It is a more true measure of where I am in the universe. How have my experiences reshaped my moral compass? Maybe what was important last year is not as important today. After all, we live in changing times. So, forge ahead.

First, Access.

What worked in the past year? I make an informal list of where my biggest gains came from. For me, the biggest gains came when I stayed organized. Making a list and ticking things off is satisfying, but it also leads to rewards. Keeping focused on business expanding activities grows the business and creates income.

Next, be Ruthless.

Yep, there are some things we all do that make for false happiness but are a productivity drain. Sorry Facebook, time spent with you will be cut by 70 percent. Why? Although Facebook is the Monster in the closet we can’t ignore, it doesn’t bring the profits that other social media does. In less time per week, I get more leads and business generated from Twitter and LinkedIn than Facebook. It’s hard because I like being on Facebook, but chop, chop.

Wrap Up.

Decide on three objectives for the coming year and prepare an action plan. I have an ongoing objective to focus on mobile. Training, tutorials and development are all focused on mobile products. Mobile marketing is not going away and small business must adopt.

Also, entertainment is a key component of digital marketing so I am upping my animation skills. My website update will downgrade the giant slider and focus on animation and interactivity. Sliders are still important, but movement and fun are the keys now.

My last objective for the coming year is to improve my health. Smoothies, more homemade food and organically grown food (by me!) are all things I will be ramping up this year. And so far I am on track with my goals.

How about you? What objectives are you focusing on? How is it going? Let me know in the comments.

Techsnoop 30 days with Note 4

The Story

After sadly having to replace the beloved HTC EVO LTE, Techsnoop choose the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. This is a story of the first 30 days with the Note 4.

The Usurper

So in Techsnoop’s 30 day shake down of real world use, the Note 4 was extremely satisfying. Although the phone is large, it is a comfortable fit in my hand. (side note, Techsnoop has hands on the large side for a female). If you need frequent one-handed operation, there are settings to make that easier. It is thin and light and beautiful to look at. And the basic functions are simple to master.

Let’s look at the number one concern; battery life. Yes, the big, bright screen does suck up energy. But a tweak of screen brightness and screen saver settings helps extend this time.  In this test Techsnoop ran 3 to 5 games continuously with 3 email accounts, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, messages and S-Health. These settings with calling and texting using Bluetooth meant twice a day charging. The included fast charger made this pretty painless.

Techsnoop 30 days with Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Credit: Phone Arena

Productivity

Social media apps including Hootsuite are easy to open and use and the recent apps button keeps everything at your fingertips for fast retrieval. Voice recorder, Office Suite, Splashtop, WordPress and Square apps all work seamlessly. These are the apps Techsnoop can’t live without. Cashing checks with the Note 4 couldn’t be easier and the 3D Anatomy app is great for learning and for looking up info if you are having pain or symptoms. The scroll, detail and zoom all work excellent.

Entertainment

Games play lighting fast and graphics are crisp. Angry Birds games were great to play with the extra screen space. The display skews cool and bright but settings can be adjusted. Techsnoop prefers the rich colors. Phone connected to my bluetooth headset smoothly and voice quality was great (till my bluetooth battery started dying). Same with music playing, sound great and quickly switched from music to voice when calls came in.

Reading with Nook, Kindle and Komik apps are all smooth and easy on the eyes. The Note 4 is light enough to not have arm strain while reading for long periods. Graphics on the comics are crisp and beautiful. Disclaimer: Techsnoop loves printed comics, they are great but storage becomes an issue quickly. So, compromise with a digital/print mix.

One benefit of the shakedown is learning that all of Techsnoop’s/DKemp Designs‘ sites are beautifully displayed on the mobile screen which is between the former HTC EVO LTE and the 7 inch tablet size previously tested.

Stay tuned to this post for the unboxing video which is being edited by IRM.

The Dirty Specs

Galaxy Note 4 Specs Techsnoop 30 days

Techsnoop is a Web Designer. I live, breathe and love web design. Techsnoop is also a front-end coder and graphic designer. I read and dream code and pictures.

DKemp Designs Workspace

Because social media and SEO affect the usefulness of design, Techsnoop has had to become proficient in these areas. But they are not my passion. They are necessary tools to meet goals.

Enter Facebook. Undisputedly the wooly mammoth of social media, as Facebook goes, so do other platforms. Which brings me to; Facebook Sucks.

No one in web design expects the status quo to remain for any length of time, however changes should be geared towards usefulness, capturing audience and integration of new technologies. Facebook ignores all of that. Their changes are arbitrary and only direct energy toward making moolah. This means catering to Big Business and their desires. How to squash ads from small businesses and start-ups and make sure all you see in the feed is Big Business seems to be their new development mantra.

Techsnoop has more than one Facebook business page. Since the implementation of new FB algorithms (a word Techsnoop had hoped was dead after college), post reach has plummeted. Regular followers are not seeing valuable content from Techsnoop just because of FB’s pandering techniques.

Keep in mind that part of what drove massive use of FB was small businesses and start-ups creating pages and having lots of followers. Big Business jumped on board after they saw the results of small business usage. So, in effect Facebook says “thanks for helping us grow, now shove off”, to small business. Not a gracious thank you.

Techsnoop has no problem with any business making money. Hey, money is central to keep a business alive. BUT, turning on the audience who helped you grow and selling them out to come-lately followers with big pockets is bad business and, frankly, rude. This is especially true because small business cannot yet afford to leave FB.

Notice the “yet”. Yes, there are grumblings afoot in the social world to replace FB in the holy trinity line up (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) with something more small business friendly. Welcome Pinterest and Instagram. While neither has overtaken FB yet, they are growing. Even more telling, the youth market has largely moved to Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms to share with their friends.

So, what’s an up and coming entrepreneur to do? Fine tune your audience, know what social channels they use most for purchasing. Focus your time and marketing budget on the top two or three only. You may find that LinkedIn or Twitter are more profitable in ROI than FB. Don’t ignore FB, just don’t spend a lot of your time and money there.

And the most important thing you can do for your business is have a mobile optimized web site that gets customers to you. Location, contact information and specials need to be prominent on the home page for smartphone users. If your web site is not mobile ready, contact a great designer like DKemp Designs now. Google will not be forgiving of non-mobile ready sites after April 21. This means one URL, readable and clickable on all devices and no flash. Sorry, HTML5 video only. And don’t forget about the great customers who supported you when you were small.

Meanwhile, Facebook is making more and more work for less return, so Techsnoop is on FB, but if you want to really contact me, hit me on Twitter @dkempdesigns or @dkempanimations where I have great conversations with great people and, make meaningful (read; profitable) connections.

DKemp Designs Why Go Mobile
Are you hung over from Black Friday or did you celebrate Cyber Weekend and avoid the crowds? As a business owner Thanksgiving can make or break you for the year. Customers remember a great shopping experience even more than the deals.  Great mobile shopping strategy begins the year before you want results.

Still need a reason to convert to a mobile-optimized website?

  • Tablet users spend 50% more than desktop shoppers.
  • Mobile ads perform 4-5 times better than desktop ads.

*http://21-vital-mobile-marketing-facts

  • Over 40% of shoppers purchased from their smartphones on Black Friday 2013.
  • 78% of local mobile searches result in a purchase.
  • Over half of all internet shopping is on a mobile device.

*https://surprising-mobile-ecommerce-facts/

What are you waiting for?

Face it, no one wants to be outside in long cold lines. Why not shop in your cozy pajamas while eating leftovers? If your business doesn’t ship, let customers buy online and pick up in 48 hours. This allows you and the customer to shop more relaxed than in a 2 to 4 hour sub-awake rush.

As one of the growing crowd of shoppers who refuse to join the crush of camped-out zombies, Techsnoop only shops online during the Friday-Monday holiday kick off. An informal poll cites ridiculous hours for the employees, over saturation of useless items, rudeness of crowds and shopping apathy as reasons many are opting out of the in person experience.

DKemp Designs black friday 2014
Get ready for the next holiday by calling a local web design company to assist you with a mobile presence. It is even more important for 2015 due to the Google Penguin search rules. Have a fun and mobile holiday season!