#technologytrends: Apple Update

 

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You may have noticed that Apple released yet another software update. This one is iOS 9.2.1 and is 38.1 MB. This update is for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. This update is focused on bug fixes, security fixes, and performance improvements.

It will not fix the battery meter bug, but this intermediate update allows Apple to address it in the next update along with the ability to add live photos in messages and passcode for notes.

Other updates to watch for are “Night Shift”, “Car Play” improvements, and yes even addressing why your battery meter gets stuck when you change your time zone.

To view this update on your iPhone or Ipad, go to the settings app, click on general, and click on Software Update page.

To view more technology trends visit my blog. #technologytrends

For more information click n on: https://support.apple.com/HT201222

Three Effective Ways To Communicate

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When asked, many individuals believe that they possess strong communication skills and are able to connect with their audience effectively.

This is contradictory to the numerous case studies that report  deficiencies in workplace communication.  The University of Chicago School of Business conducted a study recently that identified familiarity as the main source for communication breakdown within the workplace.

When peers communicate with each other there is an assumption factor that causes miscommunication because there is a  belief in a false pretense that the person they are sharing information with is as informed about the subject as they are.

In order to reduce misunderstandings and to be effective in communication here are three tips to ensure your intended message is received.

1.)  Be Clear and Concise

Take a breath and take the time to articulate your message in a clear and concise manner.

Talking so people will comprehend your message means you must adjust your message to your target audience and their understanding and if possible, their personality.

Do not use big words or buzz words to impress rather gauge your success on good dialogue. If your audience is asking good questions, you know you’re on the right track.

2.) Listen

When you communicate, you must give people the opportunity to speak their minds too. If your conversation is a one-way street it is not communication rather a lecture.

When you are communicating face to face you are able to pick up nonverbal cues that are just as important as the words that are being spoken. Take advantage of this communication and you will understand the true message that is being communicated.

3.) Connect

Communication is about more than just exchanging ideas. It’s about understanding the intentions behind the information. We hear a lot of conversations in a day and forget, most of what is being said, however, we remember how people make us feel. If you take the time to be connected with those who you talk with you will find that you have a better understanding of what is really being conveyed.

Communication is an important element of leadership that is a part your everyday responsibilities. Taking the time to be intentional in how you engage others is key to achieving your goals.

What do you think is the key to great communication? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

 

 

 

Top 10+ 1 Christmas Traditions

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Can you believe December is almost here? It might be the lack of lines during black friday shopping or the lack of snow in Michigan, but it just doesnt feel like its time to string the lights and hang the mistle toe.

That all changed this morning though when the kids and I started to haul the endless totes of decorations up from the basement. Once I put my favorite Christmas albumn on Christmas Number 1’s and watched the kids eyes dance with excitment as they carefully unwrapped the nativity sceen  I felt the childlike wonder in my own heart as I took in the scene of my kids diving into our family traditions we love so much.

I believe it is so very important to be intentional with the limited time you have with your family and create lasting traditions.Traditions are a lot like heirlooms that are handed down and they strengthen our sense of belonging to a particular “clan” and become priceless when those who once were near have passed on.

Here are my families Top 10 Christmas traditions to help spread a little Christmas cheer!

1.) Elf on the Shelf.  On the evening of Thanksgiving this little guy makes his grand appearance and the kids wake very early while I am preparing to go Black Friday shopping to see what mischeive he has created. Each night the elf appears in a different part of our house doing some crazy activity and each day my kids share with the elf secret ideas for gifts. The best part about the elf is that he watches over the house and the kids know he reports all of their behavior to Santa so they are on their best behavior for almost 25 days straight.

2.) Black Friday Shopping.  I have arose as early as 3am and one year I never went to bed to take advantage of the door busters. It is always a good time with family and friends and we never take it too seriously or camp out with the crazies. Rather we just enjoy endless shopping at our own speed without kids. This opportunity is something that only happens once a year and I enjoy it.

3.) Nativity setup. My kids know that the very first thing that we put out before anything else gets hung or decorated is our very old and special Nativity. It is a good reminder for my family as to the meaning of Christmas and it has a prominent place in our home. Now that my kids are in their tween years they get to set it up on their own. I take a picture of them standing near it every year when they have it how they want it.

4.) A tree in each bedroom. I have bought the kids each a small pre-lit tree for their room that they get to decorate on their own. The ornaments are ones they have made or that we have bought and are mostly their favorite characters. I have one even in my room and it is typically ordaned with Starbucks cups or hallmark ornaments that I have collected.

5.) 1 Family Ornament must be obtained at our local Christmas store, Bronners. I drag my husband and kids every year to bronners for a singular objective…Find the perfect ornament we can put our name and date on for our tree. We have done this every year since we were married and I have told greg he will be pushing me down the huge store when I am 80 because I love it so much.

6.) Santa at Bronners. While we are at the worlds largest Christmas store we send the kids to see santa to share all their Christmas wishes and we get a picture of the moment. What is great about Bronners is that they allow you to take your own pictures and they do not charge you to see Santa and get the pic.

7.) Christmas Tree selection. Dragging home the christmas tree is always the Saturday night after Thanksgiving and the tree must be a “Real” tree. No fakes ever! We have gone to lots, home depot, and farms over the years and have enjoyed going different places to select our tree, but the tradition is that daddy is the one who has the last say and is the one who picks the spot. The kids always touch the branches and smell the trees to be sure that they approve. I look for the holes and sparce areas while Gregory is always concerned if the tree is too tall.

8.) Christmas cookie baking before tree decorating. A simple rule in our house is that cookies must abound before we take on the chore of adorning the tree. It is a lot of work and the kids love frosting the cookies and such while daddy is wrestling with the tree and stringing the lights. It gives the kids something to do while we are prepping the tree for all the millions of ornaments new and old.

9.) Placement of the Star. The tree decorating is the job of kids and well mostly mom. Once its perfect we put away all the boxes and call for dad. We watch as he carefully asends the ladder and puts the star in place. It is the final step in making our Christmas decorating complete.

10.) Christmas Eve PJS, cookies and a note for Santa, and feed the reindeer. Since the kids were born we  dress them in holiday pjs, write a note to santa, leave a plate of cookies out for santa, and make reindeer food and sprinkle it out on our front lawn.

Reindeer Recipe we use:

In a small ziploc bag, mix:

  • 1/4 cup oatmeal.
  • 1/4 cup sugar.
  • sprinkle of red or green sugar crystals (for cake decorating).

As the kids get older I wonder how soon this tradition will end, but this is one I am sure they will remember when they are grown and have little ones of their own.

This year I am adding a number 11 as I know our santa traditions and Elf on the shelf moments will be coming most likely to a close..maybe…its never too late to add new traditions to replace those that are no longer possible.

11.) Read the Christmas story before gifts. I have to admit this tradition has not always happened, but now that the kids are older they will read the story to us and no present will be opened until the story is done and we take the time to remember why Jesus was born.

What traditions do you hold dear and carry out each and every year?

 

Apple Watch is a time saver

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Many of my friends and colleagues were not surprised when I purchased my watch this fall. I was not even the first in my network to adorn Apples latest gadget. I was trying to decide what the ROI would be over and above my Pebble 33mm Plastic-Black Silicone that then cost $99 versus Apple’s sport watch in black that cost $349. (By the way Apple watches are $100 off at Best Buy and Target for Black Friday)

In the last three months, I have found that the price is worth the volume of work that I can complete and the freedom I can enjoy while I am away from my desk.

Here Are 10 reasons Apple is worth the time:

  • I can leave my phone on my desk and walk around the house without it in my hand or pocket, but still answer and reply to calls and messages from my watch.
  • With Siri you do not have to type in texts and the diction is spot on.
  • Control your music with your voice, not typing in the song you want and reaching for your phone while you are driving or out and about where your phone may be in a purse or bag. You simply hold down the main button and talk. This also applies to Map and Phone calls.
  • Apple pay is quick and easy to use at Starbucks. Need I say more? The scan connects better than the phone app and I am not handing my phone to an attendant through a drive thru.
  • I do not have to wear a different gadget to track my steps and log my distance and the activity of my choice is also easy to track on the watch.
  • I can view my email discretely and the alerts are not obnoxious but a vibration that is only noticed by the one wearing the watch.
  • I never have to turn off my phone, but I can set it aside when I need to without worrying about missing an important message. (Except when I am in an airplane…)
  • I can use the main features of most of my favorite apps and there is a native version for the watch.
  • My directTV remote is an app on my watch and it responds better than the providers.

Cnet gave the watch a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars because of battery life only lasts a day. I have yet to go only a day with my watch and I have it on 24/7.

Do you need an Apple watch? No, right now your phone handles most of what a watch does. Cnet makes a good point, though “It’s meant to be a small assistant, to help you look at your phone less. It’s helped me stay more connected, but I still use my phone more than I should”. I want to be present in the moments that count and with this watch I feel that I am.

 

 

What Size TV Is On Your List?

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In my quest to be prepared for Black Friday I have scoured the leaked ads of all the major stores and I have read the reviews on cnet, wired, amazon, reviewed, and  reddit. Early in my research,  I quickly came to the notion that size is not the only thing to consider when choosing what TV to acquire for Christmas.

In this post, I will cover the top 5 things to consider when choosing the best TV for you and a few brands and models I am considering.

  1. Do you want Your TV to be SMART? What makes a TV SMART anyway? If you already own a component (WII U, Ruku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire stick, Google Chrome, etc..) that already allows your TV to connect to subscriptions like NetFlix, HULU, Amazon, and Sling, than save yourself some money and get a dumb TV. A SMART TV simply means you do not need another device connected to your TV to access subscriptions mentioned above. The only caveat to a SMART TV is that certain TVS have their own apps downloaded that you can not access with the components that are mentioned above.
  2. Is 1080 ok or do I need to get the 4k, which after all is the latest and greatest? A 4k also known as UHD (Ultra High Definition) TV’s, have four times as many pixels as standard 1080p resolution. It sounds really good, but when you stand side by side with each that are the same size you will be hard-pressed to see the difference. The only thing that you will notice is that your wallet is lighter if you go for the new 4k.  Another thing to consider is if you are interested in also acquiring an Apple TV, do not go with a 4k as the 4th generation APPLE TV is only compatible with 708 and 1080.
  3. What type of TV provides the best picture? Hands down an OLED TV is the best, but the high price does not give you the biggest bang for your buck. The TV everyone will gravitate to sounds like the LED LCD.
  4. LED does not mean a better picture, but Bigger screen does mean better picture.  37? 42? 50? 65?90? What size is best for you? Depending on your space your picture will improve as you move up the scale. Geffory Morrsion recommends that “when you sit 9 feet from your TV it should fill 40% of your field of vision”. This means a TV that is between 65-68 inches is ideal.
  5. The more HDMI ports the merrier!! In case you need extra ports check out this hub: OREI HD-104 1×4 

There are other features like curved TVS, 3D, and front project TVs, but due to the price and scarcity they likely will have the same lifespan as the Plasma.

So based on my research I am looking for a 1080 largest screen possible (doesn’t have to be smart) LED LCD TV with many HDMI ports. Below are the top Black Friday TV promotions I have found thus far.

  1. Walmart 55-inch 1080p LED TCL Roku TV model $348
  2. SAMS Vizio 55-inch TV SMART with 3 HDMI ports $448
  3. Target Samsung 60-inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV $697.99
  4. Walmart Vizio 70-inch TV $898

What TV has caught your eye?

 

 

 

 

Draw Readers To Your Blog

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If you want to retain your audience, your blog must be kept fresh and interesting. Reading the repeated ideas of a hot topic becomes less appealing. It is easy to fall into the trap of rewriting the same type of content over and over, or drilling too deep into the same tips or advice.

Your blog needs to be something that people are inspired by and that provides thought leadership. But with lifes busy pace often we all are struggling to find time to manage everything and our creative juices and light bulb moments are not always captured.

So here’s a few tips to help you generate more content ideas for your blog.

  • Keep your blog to one topic, written with your target audience in mind, and make sure it is concise and clearly written.
  • Educate yourself before you write so that you report on information that is accurate
  • Use tools to help you curate your content

Content Lifecycle plugins and widgets help to keep your content fresh. Not all data regardless of format can be created equal in shelf life (Jones, 2011). There are tools and widgets available in wordpress that can help you manage your blog to ensure that your content is not becoming stale. (Jive, codex, tutsplus to name a few).

  • Educate yourself on topics that have a following

Google’s keyword planner tool, Quicksprout, or BuzzSumo are great tools for generating ideas for content topics that have a following. Here is how it works, if you’re interested in a topic use these tools to search longtail keywords. These tools will tell you how many people are searching for particular topics, so you’ll know what the demand for your idea.

  • Write about topics that coorelate with current events, major holidays, and other celebrated moments.

People are interested in learning more about the specialities of the day or the current events that capture our attention. Write about these events to drive traffic to your site.

 What do you think of these blogging tips?  Are there others that I missed?  

Please share below in the comments! 

References;

Jones, C. (2011). Clout the art and science of influential web content. Berkley California: New Riders.

Pizza Throwdown Fundraiser, Thursday, November 12th, 6-8 pm (Koen and Ashtyn’s School)

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Mark Your Calendars! 2nd Annual Greater Genesee County Pizza Throwdown on Thursday, November 12th from 6-8 pm

What is that? All you can Eat Pizza (from 10 different vendors) for $10 Fundraiser for the school that Koen and Ashtyn attend.

While you are there: Vote for the best pizza in Genesee County!  Check out silent auction items that include vacations, sport tickets, and other items from local businesses and eat desserts that are on sale.

Tickets are sold at the door and are $10 adults/$5.00 seniors, students and children/$25.00 family.

Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund of Faithway Christian School.

Want more information about the school? Check out FaithWay