Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Three Ways to Prevent 'Perfection Paralysis' in Your Company

Do your employees feel paralyzed by the desire to be perfect? Sometime because of your company's culture and processes, they feel they must never make a mistake, know how to do everything right away, and outperform their colleagues. Sound familiar?
It shouldn't be that way.
"In an era where organizations place such high value on disruption, perfection is not the end goal, and actually, it can't be the end goal," said Amir Orad, CEO of Sisense, a business analytics software company. "Business success today is focused on agility and innovation." While it's good to aim high, if workers hold themselves to impossible expectations, they'll likely fall short all the time. Their confidence will waver until they feel helpless in their own careers. As a leader, you should focus on making your employees feel supported and encouraged. So on that ground, here's how to prevent perfection paralysis in your workplace.
1.Communicate: While we talk on this, one thing you should take note of is that "every part of a company is important, and without communication and teamwork, your business is unlikely to succeed". But while mediums like email and texting are convenient for quick chats, they shouldn't be the primary form of communication in your company. "Individuals today shouldn't be afraid to meet with their managers face-to-face or, at minimum, on the phone, to talk through ideas and make decisions in real time," said Orad. In person, you can avoid tone-related miscommunications, and employees will feel your support as more than just words written on the train or typed hastily before a meeting. In your face-to-face interactions, you should assure your employees that mistakes are not only expected but encouraged.
2.Take risks: Sometime the fear of failure can be detrimental to performance and hold employees back from reaching their full potential. As a leader, you should take risks yourself to show that it's all right to fail, so long as you're trying. "In today's fast-paced business landscape, there is no time to wait for everything to align and create a 'sure thing' – this doesn't exist," said Orad. "If employees – or leaders, for that matter – fear failure, it can poison innovation and disruption in the firm." Reassure your workers that innovation is worth the risk by swallowing your own fear and pushing boundaries. Managers should always reward risks and never punish failure, said Orad. "Company leaders and managers need to practice what they preach, both in terms of ideating projects and campaigns, but also being advocates for employees who bring disruptive – and possibly risky – innovation to the table," he added.
3.Encourage new ideas: On this ground, your company's culture should make your employees feel like they can speak up about their ideas, regardless of how timid they may be. "Employees build self-confidence when they see their ideas become reality and receive acknowledgment for their work," said Orad. However, don't just support ideas that are successful, said Orad – make sure you're giving all valid ideas a chance, even if you're not sure they will work. "That acknowledgment seems obvious for managers when employees win the proverbial lottery with a big idea, but good managers also need to remember to do it when an employee comes up with an idea that's creative, well-researched, elegant and, unfortunately, wrong," he said. Finally,taking the time to show your appreciation for your workers' brainstorming, researching and planning process will make them feel more comfortable and excited to share future proposals.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Samsung Bixby Voice: How you can set up and use the Galaxy S8 assistant

Update 8/22/17: Bixby Voice is now available worldwide. It’s been a long time expectation, but in any case Bixby has finally found its voice. Samsung has begun pushing out the final piece of its AI package, Bixby Voice, to all Galaxy S8 phones in more than 200 countries and territories. Before long, millions of people will be saying, “Hi Bixby” to summon the new assistant—though Bixby still only supports English and Korean despite the worldwide rollout. Now, while we might not need another AI assistant on our phones, Bixby is actually a pretty good companion to Google Assistant. It’s a little slow on the trigger at times, but I was impressed with how well it was able to understand me. And Bixby isn’t a clone of Google Assistant or Sir eitheri. Samsung’s AI is more servant than smartie pants, carrying out phone tasks that would normally require numerous steps. Here's everything you need to know to get started:
Setting up Bixby Voice:
How do I know if I have it?
Just like all of Samsung’s updates, Bixby Voice will be a staggered release that will vary depending on your carrier. Once it’s available, your phone should alert you to the change, but there are a couple of ways you can check to see of it’s been pushed to your handset. First, swipe left to get to the Bixby Home screen. If Bixby Voice is live, you’ll see a new “b” symbol next to the Bixby Vision eye and Bixby Reminders bell icons. If you don’t see it, tap the overflow menu in the top right and select Settings. Then tap the About Bixby option and it will tell you if there are any available updates. You’ll need to update your other Galaxy apps. To do that, open the Galaxy Apps store, tap the overflow menu icon in the top right, then My Apps, and Update. If any apps need to be updated, they will appear on the next screen. If Bixby Voice is one of them, once it finishes updating you’ll be ready to go.
How do I get started? Now on this ground, to start using Bixby, swipe over to the Bixby Home screen and it should walk you through the setup process, which is pretty simple. In the screens that follow, you’ll practice saying, “Hi Bixby,” and try out a few commands. Additionally, there are a few general options in the Bixby Home Settings menu, including background color, feedback sounds, speaking style, and notifications.
What apps does Bixby work with?
First, at launch, Bixby will only work with a handful of Samsung’s own apps:
Bixby Vision
What about third-party apps? First, at launch, Bixby is only designed to work with the apps above, but Samsung is looking to bring Bixby Voice to more apps quickly, including some popular third-party apps. The Bixby Labs tab in the Home Settings shows you what apps are in development and lets you opt in to test them. Bixby Labs already includes some intriguing upcoming apps, including Instagram, YouTube, Play Music, Maps, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Twitter.
Using Bixby Voice:
How do I summon Bixby?
In this area, there are two ways to summon Bixby. You can say, “Hi Bixby” or you can press and hold the phone’s side button. A small blue circle will appear in the left corner of the screen ready to receive your request. Just know that the side button works like a walkie-talkie, so you’ll need to keep it pressed until you finish your command.
Can I use Bixby on the lock screen? Sort of. You can summon Bixby on the lock screen by either pressing the button or saying “Hi Bixby” like usual. But on this ground, you’ll need to unlock your phone before it can actually perform your request.
Can I type commands to Bixby? For sure you can! When you summon Bixby you’ll see a Full Screen button to the right. Tap it and Bixby will expand to fill the whole display. Then select the Search Commands field in the center and you’ll be able to type to Bixby instead of talk to it.
How do I know what I can ask? Most of it are trial and error, but you can see a list of suggested questions for each app in Bixby Home. Tap the overflow menu, select Apps with voice, and choose the app you want. Inside each you’ll find a list of actionable requests.
Can I correct Bixby? Okay on this note, Samsung wants to get Bixby up to speed as quickly as possible, so after each request is completed (or not), a question will appear on the screen asking, “How was my response?” Tap Great and you’ll get 5 XP points. Tap Let’s improve and and Bixby will take you to a screen where you can select words that were misunderstood or describe what went wrong.
Wait, XP points? What’s that? Take note that Samsung has gamified Bixby Voice to encourage people to use it. As you level up, you’ll unlock features (these seem to just be background colors for now). You can track your level on the My Bixby page.
Bixby Voice features: While you’ll need to use Samsung’s apps to take advantage of Bixby at launch, there’s a lot you can do with them. Here are some examples:
General commands
You can launch any app with Bixby just by saying “Open” and the app name. Or you can say, “Open Chrome as a pop-up” to enter that mode. You also can say, “Take a screenshot” to capture what’s on your screen, or “Close recent apps” to clear out your carousel. Basically, if your S8 can do it, there’s a good chance Bixby can assist.
Ask Bixby to take a selfie, and it will open the camera app and flip to the front camera, with a countdown timer that gives you three seconds to perfect your pout before the shutter snaps. You can also say things like, “Take a picture with the rear camera,” “Turn the flash off,” or “Turn off HDR,” and it will oblige. And when you’re in the camera app, you can say, “Hi Bixby, take a picture” and it will capture the moment. Calculator You can use Bixby Voice to calculate simple equations. If you say, “What’s 6 plus 3” or “What’s 12 percent of 900,” it will open Calculator, input the equation, and show you the solution. However, if you want to multiply the answer by 3, you’ll need to start a new equation. It doesn’t understand what to do when you say, “Times 3” or “Multiply that by 3.” It doesn’t get conversions either. If you ask how many pints are in a cup, it will take you to the conversion section of the Calculator, but after asking what you want to convert, it will say, “Turns out I’m not able to do that.” But it shouldn’t be too long before it can.
Bixby Vision
Bixby Vision has been live since the Galaxy S8 debuted, and Bixby Voice doesn’t add much to enhance it. It does, however, make it easier to use. You can say, “Open Bixby Vision,” or “Search Bixby Vision,” and the Vision-enabled camera will open. Or you can say, “Translate this text” or “Show nearby restaurants,” and it will launch the appropriate section of Bixby Vision. But you’ll still need to interact with the screen to find things. And you need to be specific. If you ask something general like, “What is this?” or “How much does this cost?” Bixby isn’t smart enough to trigger Vision to find the answer.
Bixby Voice really shines when it comes to the Settings app. You can toggle and tweak all sorts of settings on your Galaxy S8 using Bixby, from turning off W-Fi, to turning on the flashlight, to raising the brightness. You can also say things like, “Turn on power-saving mode,” “How much data have I used this month,” and “Change the wallpaper,” and Bixby will take you to the proper screen and perform the action. It’ll even display your IMEI number if you ask. I tried dozens of queries and couldn’t find a settings command that it didn’t understand. It’s 100 percent Bixby’s strongest suit.
Bixby Voice works as you’d expect when it comes to making calls. Say something like, “Call mom on mobile” and it’ll start a phone call. For incoming calls, you can say, “Accept” or “Decline,” though it’s just as easy to tap the screen. You can also easily add a contact or see someone’s info just by asking. You can say, “Block the last number,” which is helpful for spam calls, or “Show missed calls” to see what you missed. You can also ask Bixby to block a specific number or person, open the dialer, or turn off the ringer. Bixby tips
Check your history If you want to see the most recent things you’ve asked Bixby to do, you can find it on your personalized Bixby page. Go to Bixby Home, tap the overflow menu, and select My Bixby. That’s where you’ll see your activity, as well as a few settings shortcuts and tutorials. It appears to keep a running list of every interaction, so you can scroll through your whole conversation history to see how far it’s come.
Set up quick commands
When you first start using Bixby, it's going to prompt you to use pretty specific commands, like “Open phone and call Chris.” But as you use it, you’ll quickly discover that it can understand shortcuts like, “Call Chris,” or “Message Mom,” too. In addition to these, you can add shortcuts to specific commands to cut down on what you need to say. After you ask it to do something, you’ll see an Add quick command option below your request. Tap it and you can give Bixby an alternative string for that command. For older queries, you’ll need to hit up your conversation history. Go to My Bixby, tap Conversations, and you’ll see a Suggest another phrase button below each prior request. Tap the one you want and you’ll be able to type out a new way to say it.
Enable dictation: Inside the Hello Bixby settings you are going to find a Dictation on keyboard toggle. Turn it on and Bixby will transcribe your words on command whenever you’re using the keyboard. You can activate it by either holding down the Bixby key or pressing the microphone key on the keyboard. But you’ll need to use the Samsung Keyboard for now. To switch, press the keyboard icon at the right of the navigation bar.
This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Save Money and Enlarge Productivity by Upgrading Your Technology

Small business budgets are very close, especially where IT is concerned. But technology upgrades can pay for themselves quickly by improving IT performance and enabling employees to accomplish more in less time. So while you take that to note, it may be time to focus on your IT assets to ensure they run smoothly and efficiently. Without going too far, here are a few steps you can take to make sure your business technology is functional and up to date.
Run the latest operating system: On this ground, older operating systems, like Microsoft Windows 7, have potential security flaws that hackers take advantage of, making a system more vulnerable to malware and other attacks. It's not enough to run a current protection suite, such as one that combines antivirus, antispyware and a firewall, because the operating system itself may contain security holes. With new cyberattacks being launched daily, your organization could easily fall prey to a ransomware attack or malware infection. Windows 10, Microsoft's latest desktop operating system, is designed to be more secure than previous versions. Plus, it has a decent shelf life and should run just fine on PC hardware you purchased within the past three or four years. It requires a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 20GB of free hard disk space (for the 64-bit version). Your PCs that are running Windows 7 probably meet those specifications already. The latest OS lets employees take advantage of a host of new apps and programs that boost productivity. And because Windows 10 runs on all kinds of devices, including smartphones and high-end laptops, your employees get a consistent user experience regardless of which device they use.
Note: Microsoft will continue to push security patches and hotfixes to Windows 7 computers until Jan. 14, 2020 (when extended support ends).
Update hardware technology: Over time, computers, peripherals and printers become outdated and move into the legacy class. For very old hardware (say five years or more), you might have a hard time finding drivers that support new operating systems and applications, leading to compatibility and reliability issues. And on this ground, one major issue with legacy computers is inadequate RAM, which can be a major pain point for users. Web browsers, especially, require a lot of memory. Just open Task Manager in Windows and browse the running processes to see how much more memory a browser uses than most other programs. Many employees tend to have a browser open at all times, along with other software, so a computer without enough RAM can greatly decrease employee productivity while increasing their frustration level. Keeping old equipment in use might seem like a money saver, but it requires more maintenance than new equipment in the form of upgrades and repairs. And now, waiting until your server crashes to replace it is risky, potentially setting your business back for days at a time and resulting in loss of revenue. Consider an upgrade cycle of every three years for computers, or more often if you can afford it.
Digitize and centralize documents: Paper documents are always inefficient and limit accessibility. You'll do your business a favor by scanning paper documents, such as accounting, sales and project files, and making them available on a centralized company network or, better yet, in the cloud. The low cost of online storage makes cloud services a good business value, and documents are available 24/7 from any computer or device. One other plus is that you don't have to maintain backups yourself. Cloud service providers back up your data automatically as part of their core services, and rescuing data that's been accidentally deleted is much like fetching files from the Windows Recycle Bin.
Worried about security? With proper folder organization, you will be able to set simple user and group permissions to prevent users from accessing documents they shouldn't see.
Maintain a reliable, high-speed network The first thing you should know here is that a high-speed network connection that's available 24/7 enables organizations to run modern applications, like office suites and customer relationship management software, that might tax older, slower networks. Employees appreciate an optimized network connection that allows them to complete work faster and move on to the next task. One other important benefit of a reliable network is collaboration. Online collaboration services let staff use voice or video applications to meet one-on-one or in teams, and they make remote employees feel like they're an active part of the office. The ability to archive previous discussions and search through them removes the need to take copious notes during meetings or to share details via email. Crafting a technology refresh plan is one way to support your organization's mission, goals and strategies, and to keep employees working productively.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Google Maps:The 5 expert tips you should be using

Long ago Google Maps had set the standard for how maps and navigation apps should function on a smartphone. On your Android device, it’s likely one of the best apps you use, and it’s even better once you start poking and prodding its settings panel. But are you getting everything you can out of Google Maps? Here are some tips to make Google Maps even more efficient.
1.Share your location with a loved one: May be you don't know, this used to be an option available inside Google+. Well, the writing’s on the wall for Google’s ill-fated social network, which is why Google bundled location sharing into Google Maps instead. To share your location, open Google Maps and then tap the hamburger menu in the top-left corner of the app. Now tap Share location to get started with the setup process. You can share your location for a specific length of time with whomever you specify from your contacts. Once you’ve selected your contacts, you’ll get a prompt letting you know those people can view your route. You can also create a shareable link of your locale for pals who don’t typically use Google Maps. This lets them see your trek in a web browser. When you’re finished driving or walking—or you’re simply ready to go off the grid—you can opt to stop sharing your location from the same menu screen. You can also share your trip's progress if you’ve got a long commute ahead. As for me, I use this particular feature with my husband, because we both drive at odd times throughout the day. The feature lets me know if he’s okay—and sometimes I use it to figure out if he’s close enough to bring home my favorite takeout.
2.Add stops along your route: One thing you should know here, is that there’s nothing worse than being on the road and having no idea where to pull off for that much-needed rest stop. Fortunately, Google Maps lets you plan your route in increments. For instance, if you’re dying to try out that vegan fast food joint on the way up to Mendocino County, you can add it as a stop along your route. From the Google Maps app, tap the menu option in the upper-right corner of the app and select “Add Stop.” The app will add another line for you to search for a locale. After you’ve located it, you can adjust where it falls on your route timeline by tapping the entry and dragging as necessary. After you’ve planned out your route, tap Done, then tap the same menu button to add a shortcut to your home screen. It’s a good idea to do this in case the Maps app crashes (it happens!), or you’re planning out routes ahead of time and need to save your progress.
3. Find something to do:
Don’t get bored. Find something to do by just typing in “things to do.”
Let's assume that you didn’t have time to plan out your route to Disneyland—and you’re not exactly a fan of Yelp’s rambly reviews. Google offers its own system for reviews of restaurants and places, and you can tap into them if you’re in a bind with nothing to do. Launch Google Maps and type things to do near me. Maps will find your locale and then immediately display a list of—what else?—things to do. You can summon more accurate results by adding a specific location to your search criteria. For instance, I typed in “things to do in Buellton,” and Google immediately directed me to Ostrichland USA. Play around with the “near me” search syntax, because the right keywords can help you find pretty much anything you need.
4. Download offline maps:
When you download maps directly to your phone, you’ll avoid having to rely on spotty wireless service.
In my own case, I try to stick to walking and the subway whenever I’m in New York City—it makes me feel like a local. But I often don’t have cell service underground, forcing me to disembark before planning my Maps route. It’s a waste of riding time! Google Maps’ offline maps offer significant help in these situations, and they’re also useful if you’re trying to save on data. On your phone, launch Google Maps and then search for an area. Once it loads, tap More Info, and then the menu button in the upper-right corner. Tap Download offline map to begin. If your smartphone comes equipped with an additional expansion slot, you can save offline maps to the SD card by tapping Settings on the main menu screen, and then Device > SD card.
5.Program your home and work addresses:
Let Google Maps be your north star by programming your home address ahead of time.
If it happens that you’re constantly inputting your home and work addresses in Google Maps for driving directions, you might consider programming them, so they’re always offered as destination options. In the main Google Maps menu, select Settings and tap the top option, Edit home and work. From here, enter the addresses as needed. In my own case I work from home, so I set my “work” address as the nearest train station so that Google always has travel times ready as I catch transit into the city. You can program additional places, too, by searching for the location on the main map. Then, tap More info > Label.
This story, was originally published by PCWorld.

The 6 Interview Skills That Will Get You Hired

Taking interview – whether for a new job or a different position with your current employer – can be a nerve-racking experience. You hope that your qualifications speak for themselves, but they may not be enough to make you stand out from a pool of equally talented applicants. So in this regard, to get noticed, spend time developing a few key interview skills. By learning to form an authentic connection with the interviewer and clearly articulating your value to the company, you will move one step closer to the job you want.
1. Clarify interview questions: One thing here, is that most people are afraid to ask an interviewer to clarify a question, said Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of job listing website FlexJobs. You might worry that the interviewer will think you weren't paying attention, but ensuring that you thoroughly understand the question can really help you give a thoughtful, relevant response.
"Try to paraphrase the question and say, 'Is this what you're asking?'" Fell said. You can also use this as an opportunity to turn the tables on interviewers and ask them questions. By treating the interview like a two-way conversation and asking intelligent and thoughtful questions, candidates can gauge whether the company is a good fit for them, says Dana Leavy-Detrick, certified career coach and founder of Aspyre Solutions. "Candidates should pose questions that will ultimately provide them with deeper insight into the company's values, cultures and even challenges," she said. For example, candidates can ask interviewers to speak about their own career with the company, describe a typical day, or highlight the qualities that make someone successful with the organization.
2. Think out loud: One major mistake that many interviewees make is stalling when they don't have an answer ready, or responding with "I don't know." Shon Burton, CEO of social recruiting tool HiringSolved, said that thinking aloud is a good tactic to combat this problem.
"The best approach is to have humble confidence," Burton said. "Repeat the interviewer's question, and work through your thought process out loud. The interviewer may give you a hint if you're actively thinking instead of stalling."
3. Communicate nonverbally: On this note, being mindful of your presence and aware of your body language will help you appear more calm and in control. "Good nonverbal communication speaks volumes about a candidate," said Jonna Myers, an instructor at the Everett Dobson School of Business at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
"It's something most people don't practice, but it makes it very evident when you're nervous." Myers recommended conducting mock interviews with a friend or in front of a mirror to practice your eye contact, posture and other body language indicators of confidence. "Since there's no quicker way to kill an interview than to come across disinterested, bored or unengaged, having an opportunity to practice and get feedback will help you overcome the little nuances of your interview persona that you may not be aware of yet," said Sanjay Sathe, president and CEO of the outplacement firm RiseSmart.
4. Know your resume: In the real sense, this may seem obvious, but knowing your own resume inside and out is crucial to interview success. You can take it to the next level by walking into every interview prepared to provide measurable specifics about the accomplishments documented in your resume.
"Whenever possible, include a statistic to put your accomplishments in perspective," recommended Sathe. According to Sathe, it's much more compelling to say that you delivered customer service to more than 120 customers per week and achieved a 75 percent resolution rating than simply saying that you provided customer service and resolved issues.
"Whatever your contributions were, quantifying them will legitimize your accomplishments," he said.
5. Tell a compelling story: In this regard, hiring managers can collect bits and pieces of information about you everywhere, from your resume to your Twitter feed. In isolation, these individual details don't always accurately represent you, but you can use the interview to bring these fragments together, creating a fuller narrative of who you are and what you can offer an employer. "The interview is your opportunity to tie everything together and tell a cohesive and compelling story about yourself and your brand," said Sathe. "Creating vignettes that tell a story of your accomplishments and your career trajectory that are tied into the needs of the employer is considerably more compelling ... than a disjointed list of past job responsibilities and a description of your skills."
6. Leverage knowledge of the company and interviewer: each and every job seeker has been told to thoroughly research the company and position they're interviewing for, but it's just as important to know how to use that information to your advantage. Now, on this note, Myers recommended researching not only the job description and organization, but the community in which it's located. "It's very impressive when a candidate can talk about why he or she is a good fit for the position, as well as things that are going on in the company's community," she said. Along the line, Burton added that using LinkedIn to research the hiring manager and anyone else you might be speaking to before the interview can give you an understanding of each person's background and potentially some common ground to spark a discussion. Additionally, following the company on Facebook and Twitter, as well as setting a Google alert to receive notices whenever the company appears in the news, will enable you to thoroughly research the company and its industry. By immersing yourself in this information, you can shape interview questions and talking points that speak specifically and intelligently to the business you are looking to enter.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Chromecast mirroring explained: How you can beam your phone or PC screen to the TV

One truth is that, in a perfect world, screen mirroring is something Chromecast users would never need to do. Compared to apps that support Chromecast natively—enabling you to hit the Cast button and have just the video appear on the screen moments later—mirroring your entire display is an inferior process. Because the video is streaming to Chromecast from your device instead of the internet, it puts a major drain on battery life and is prone to stuttering or choppiness—especially on slower Wi-Fi connections. Still, there are times when screen mirroring is your best option. It’s the only way, for instance, to watch Amazon Prime videos on Chromecast, and it’s the simplest method for viewing photos on the big screen from social networks such as Facebook. Screen mirroring is supported on phones running Android 4.4.2 or higher, and web-page mirroring works with any computer running Google’s Chrome browser.
Here's how to do it:
Mirroring in the Chrome browser: To mirror the display from a laptop or desktop, you must use the Chrome browser for Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS. Because tab mirroring can drain battery life, however, you might want to plug your laptop into a power source first. Chrome used to require an extension for mirroring, but this feature is now built into the core browser. Just follow these instructions: Select the Chromecast icon (the rectangle with a Wi-Fi icon in one corner) to the right of the address bar. You can also select "Okay, Got It" to dismiss the welcome message. To mirror your current browser tab, simply select your Chromecast from the list. To mirror your entire desktop display, click on "Cast tab," then select "Cast desktop." Select your device from the list, then decide whether to uncheck the box for sharing audio. Select "Share" to begin casting. To lower the volume or stop casting, click the Chromecast icon to bring up the menu. (You’ll still need to increase your television’s volume if the sound isn’t loud enough.) You can also stop Casting by exiting the Chrome browser.
Chromecast mirroring from an Android device: Android screen mirroring should work with any phone or tablet running Android 4.4.2 or higher. Again, it’s a good idea to keep your device plugged into a charger while watching a movie or TV show. Here’s the foolproof way to start Casting: Open the Google Home app, which is the same app you used to set up the Chromecast. Tap the menu button in the top-left corner, then tap "Cast screen/audio" at the top of the menu. On the next page, tap "Cast screen/audio," then select your Chromecast from the list to begin mirroring. To stop casting, tap "Disconnect" in this menu, or open your notification shade and "Disconnect" under the "Casting screen" notification there. And here’s a possible shortcut for Android devices running 5.0 or higher: Swipe down from the top of the screen to see the notification shade, then you open your quick settings menu. (Access to quick settings can vary by device, but a second swipe down should do the trick on stock Android and newer Samsung phones.) Look for the "Cast" button in the quick settings menu. If you don’t see it, look for a menu button that lets you edit quick settings shortcuts. Tap the “Cast"" button, then select your Chromecast from the list to begin casting. To stop casting, tap "Disconnect" in this menu, or open your notification shade and "Disconnect" under the "Casting screen" notification there. So now in both cases, you’ll want to rotate your phone into landscape mode while watching a video. Otherwise, it’ll occupy only a small vertical slice of the television screen. Unfortunately, there’s no way to mirror an iPhone or iPad display onto Chromecast. You can send locally stored media files to Chromecast with an app like Allcast, but for full screen mirroring, you’ll need an Apple TV or Lightning Digital AV Adapter.

Social Media for Your Business: A Marketer's Guide

Looking at the large percentage of the public using social media – Pew Research Center reports that 70 percent – businesses can't afford not to interact with customers via channels like Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. But while you should be marketing via social media, you shouldn't necessarily be on every channel. It's important for you to invest in the platforms where you're more likely to reach and engage with your audience. To choose the best social media channels for you to interact with your customers, take some time to familiarize yourself with each network, how it runs and what demographics use that platform. Here are the basics you need to know about today's most popular social media platforms.
Facebook: Facebook is the biggest social network on the web, both in terms of name recognition and total number of users. With nearly 2 billion active users, Facebook is a great medium for connecting people from all over the world with your business. In the 13 years since it launched, Facebook has grown from a simple website where college students could keep in touch into a multifaceted web and mobile social platform where anyone can connect with not just their friends and family, but also celebrities, organizations, businesses and more, thanks to the Pages feature. Now, considering that Facebook has a wealth of options for any type of organization, it's a great starting point for your business, regardless of your industry. You can use Facebook to share photos, videos, important company updates and more. Additionally, the site can be more low-maintenance than other social networks. Whether you post several updates a day or only a few a week won't make much of a difference in what your fans think of you.
Twitter: With Twitter, you are able to share short text updates (of 140 characters or fewer), along with videos, images, links, polls and more. You can also easily interact with other users by mentioning their usernames in your posts, so Twitter is a great way to quickly connect with people all around the world. Twitter averages about 328 million active users worldwide and is one of the top 10 websites in the United States. Because of its wide reach, this platform is not only a great way to market your business, but also an effective channel for handling customer service. For example, if you maintain an active Twitter presence, customers who are also active on the platform will seek you out to express concerns or share their praise. If you have interesting content, Twitter is also a great tool for quickly spreading the word. Retweeting and sharing other users' content is incredibly simple. Hashtags help boost posts, and if a user with a lot of followers retweets you, your content has the potential to go viral. But with Twitter, it's important that you remember to find balance. Don't simply share your own links or media; instead, make sure you are also sharing a lot of interesting, relevant content from other Twitter users and from around the web so your audience doesn't think you care only about what your business is doing.
Pinterest: This visually oriented platform enables users to save and display content by "pinning" digital bulletin boards, which can be organized by category. For example, a personal user might have a food board dedicated to pinning recipes, another board dedicated to photography, and so on. The platform also has a series of special types of pins called Rich Pins, which brands can use to add special information to their pins, like product details and even location maps. Every pin includes an image or video, and like Facebook, it is fairly low-maintenance in terms of post frequency. However, keeping your boards organized and search-friendly can be time-consuming. It's also more of a niche network than Facebook or Twitter, so it may not work for everyone. Popular categories on the site are DIY projects, fashion, exercise, beauty, photography and food. That's not to say that businesses outside of these categories can't succeed on the platform, but it does make Pinterest an especially good marketing tool for businesses in those areas.
Instagram: Just like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual social media platform based entirely on photo and video posts. The Facebook-owned network has more than 700 million active users, many of whom post about food, art, travel, fashion and similar subjects. Instagram is distinguished by its unique filters and photo- and video-editing options. It's important to note that this platform is almost entirely mobile: You can't take photos or create new posts on the desktop version. More artistic niches tend to excel on Instagram, and it may not be the best fit for your business, depending on your industry. Regardless, it's important that the person running your account have a good eye for detail and at least basic photography skills so the photos and videos posted to your account are high-quality. And more, don't be discouraged if your industry is underrepresented on Instagram; if you can find the right hashtags to latch onto and post intriguing photos, you will most likely make it work.
Snapchat: This is another mobile-only visual social media network that's known for its disappearing content. The 150 million-plus app users can send videos and photos, available for up to 10 seconds at a time, to one another, or post content to their public Stories, which disappears after 24 hours. Over the past five years, the app has expanded to include chat, messaging, image storage, events and media content. Now, content can easily be saved and uploaded elsewhere. Because posts are so temporary, there is less pressure to create super-polished content. You can also see how many and which specific users viewed your story. A small business will mostly likely utilize the platform for its Stories, but keep in mind that only users who have added you can view the story content. However, once you have an audience, the story feature allows you to easily create story-driven and interactive content.
YouTube: YouTube is a video-sharing platform with over a billion users, where people can view, upload, rate, share and comment on content. Now owned by Google, the site is a huge hub for news and entertainment. Created over a decade ago, YouTube has gone through numerous changes. Let say for instance, users can now make money from Google AdSense, with the revenue dependent on the number of views on a video. Many businesses on YouTube have a creative, visual or educational component. The platform is heavily driven by creativity in nature, so it's important to have a tailored video editor producing content. However, your business doesn't need a channel to market on the platform. There's a subculture of vloggers called YouTubers who publish frequent videos and often maintain large audiences. Often, businesses partner with YouTubers for product placement, because these users already have engaged audiences