iOS 7 and Gadget Goodies

The new iOS 7 for iPhones already has wider acceptance than the upgrade from 5 to 6. While any new software has some issues – did you download the patch, too? – there’s a lot to like.

I’ve preferred the iPhone to the Android phones in part because of their tighter controls over app development. iOS 7 is the third operating-system upgrade for the iPhone and Apple devices while there have been some 10 Droid upgrades. Although open software opens up the Droid devices for more innovation, Apple developers can put more time into their efforts knowing that they will be around longer and their work more profitable.

Before I tell you what I like about iOS 7, I do have one disappointment. I bought a new car, which has the capability for Droid phones to read my email and allow me to use voice-to-text to reply. My iPhone can read the message, but Siri can only respond that I’m driving and will reply later.

With that out of the way, I like the new control center. By swiping up, you can immediately access well-used or needed functions such as a flashlight, clock and timer, calculator and camera and tweak several settings. You can also call back a trashed email message by shaking your iPhone after you delete it – something that can come in handy if you’re trying to handle email while walking.

If you combine the new phone with the new OS, you get much faster navigation. Nav is still better on the older phones, and you get a better keyboard, the ability to brighten your screen and a more functional Siri. One other really good feature is automatic updates.

And, of course, with the gift-giving holidays coming up, now’s the time to start thinking about new gadgets. We should soon be seeing a new iPad and IPad Mini along with ultra-high-def 4K TVs and smart watches.

But one of my new favorites is the Sonos Wireless Hi-Fi speaker system that works with your computer and wireless network to provide Internet radio or music stored on a device throughout your house. My system is set up with five zones, and the speakers in each zone can each play a separate channel or play any combination of channels in any number of zones. The system is controlled by any computer or device that has the software and is connected wirelessly to the router. The only cord it needs is the power cord.

What’s your favorite new gadget? How do you like the new iOS 7 or latest Droid OS? Leave a comment to share your thoughts. If you need any advice about using a device or choosing a gadget, we’re always available to answer your questions by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.

Getting the Right Technology Match

In talking about preparing for the end of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system, we’re counseling clients and prospects more and more about the need for a systematic approach. Remember, Windows XP support ends next April, and we strongly recommend upgrading to Windows 7. As we’ve pointed out many times, Windows 8 is difficult for most business users to get used to. And because it’s such a departure from the look and feel most users like, anyone who needs to shuttle between the two platforms will want to tear his or her hair out.

However, upgrading one part of your technology system may have unintended consequences for an entire operation. We can perform a lot of magic on systems, but even the best IT support company can’t give you more rabbits if you don’t have a hat. You can supply the hat by following this tech system checklist.

  1. Don’t buy retail. Price aside, every retailer we’ve looked at does not sell computers with Windows 7. You’ll need to go directly through a manufacturer that offers you the Windows 7 option, but even then, you need to consider a number of factors. Every manufacturer’s website will have enough options and feature packages to make your head spin.
  2. Have the right computer. In all likelihood, if you have a computer running XP, it likely won’t handle Windows 7. Many old machines have 32-bit processing, and the newer operating system works best with 64-bit processing. The performance difference between the two is like night and day.
  3. Get the right processor in your computer. Many Windows-based computers come with either Intel or AMD processors. Each of those has a variety of processing speeds. The fastest isn’t necessarily the best for you. Higher-speed chips are required for doing a lot complex calculations, gaming and working with graphics (which, to a computer are complex calculations).
  4. Right-size your RAM. RAM (random access memory) is where your computer does its thinking. Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the more information your computer can process faster. As with selecting the right chip, the amount of RAM you need depends on the application you’re running. In some cases, you can add RAM by adding and/or upgrading the RAM chips, but every computer has a finite RAM limit.
  5. Consider your peripherals. If you are a small business or have a home office and are hanging in with an older computer, you likely will need to upgrade peripherals, such as your printer and monitor. An older printer may not be able to handle a newer, faster computer. As with everything else, printer manufacturers reach a point where it doesn’t pay them to develop drivers (the software that connects the computer and your network to the printer) to support obsolete printers. And, if your old printers slow down computer and network performance, you won’t get full value. While older CRT monitors may still work, they’ll be so slow and fuzzy that you’ll strain your patience and your eyes. Flat-screen monitors will give you a bigger viewing area with higher resolution, and they’ll use much less power, too.  If you do wind up with a Windows 8 computer and want to use it like a tablet with a touchscreen, you’ll need a touchscreen monitor.
  6. Upgrade your software. When you go from a 32-bit to a 64-bit computer, you’ll need to upgrade your software. Older applications won’t run efficiently on the new computer, and you’ll lose time or capability or both. Again, software publishers reach a financial tipping point when supporting old software, so just roll this into your budget to get the best ROI on technology.
  7. Maintain enough network capacity. Businesses and homes depend on wireless networks with sufficient capacity to meet business, entertainment and education needs. For all the money you spend computers, devices and big TVs (including cable and satellite fees), it makes sense to have a network to handle everything. We’re seeing a lot of homeowners with under-powered networks, either because the routers are not robust enough or because they don’t have a good system of boosters to relay signals. Boosters can improve network performance substantially, but you need to locate them in the right places. In some newer, bigger buildings with a lot more concrete and rebar steel, you need to be especially careful about your installation.

Let’s talk about the technology you have and what you want technology to do. Then we can help you source and set up the right systems to give you a faster ROI and longer, less expensive service life. Drop us an email or call us – 973-433-6676

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.


Searching for Business

Like everyone else, we’re always looking for ways to use the Internet to grow our business. Search engine optimization (SEO) has been around for a long time, but gaining a top ranking requires you to hit a moving target. Here’s what we did.

We started by hiring Pam Aungst and Pam Ann Marketing, a specialist in local search engine marketing. Being local was very important to us because even though we have clients far away – whom we serve over the Internet – so much of what we do depends on at least one site visit to understand how everything fits together.

Pam gave us a roadmap based on the geographic area we wanted to cover and keywords that connect widely used search terms to our services. We tied all of this into Google Local to focus on searchers in the area we wanted to serve.  Essentially, this was like preparing the foundation for building a house.

The “house” we built was a link with a shortened URL for our Google Local listing (, which many of you have already seen. We use this for soliciting customer reviews.  The link allows us to more easily direct you to our listing, instead of having to type in long and complex web address that actually takes you to the link. We know we are asking you to do us a favor when we ask you to write a review, so we want to make it as convenient as possible.

By the way, if you are so moved, you can click that link now and write a review. If you have any questions, a link can walk you through the process and help you decide if you want to sign up for Google +. It’s not necessary to sign up to write a review. We needed to be part of Google + and part of the Google SEO system, however, because it is part of the way to show up higher in Google searches – which was our goal.

With all of that set up, we couldn’t be passive. We started actively soliciting reviews through our link – – and we’re still doing it because it helps our marketing effort. The reviews must be genuine and placed by the reviewer. Any company that posts fake reviews can be fined and sued for deceptive advertising practices.

Pam told us that getting reviews would be the most critical part of our SEO marketing campaign, and that we would need to be diligent about asking for them. We followed her advice, and quickly got 12 positive reviews on our Google Local listing. We jumped from position #14 to #1 for “it support” on Google Local, from zero to #2 for “it support mac”, and from zero to #4 for “it support” in regular (organic) Google search results.

You can read Pam’s case history on our success from her perspective and get an understanding of what it takes to raise your SEO profile. We also invite you to contact us (973-433-6676) if you have any questions about SEO marketing from a “customer” point of view. Growing together is a good thing for all of us.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.