Managing Storage on Your Devices

It doesn’t get more disappointing than to get a message that you can’t shoot a photo or video because your storage is full. Don’t let a storage shortage limit your ability to capture those memorable vacation moments. You can get the storage you need, and the sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be.

You can sometimes get two storage messages at the same time. One message is that your cloud storage is full, and the other is that your device is full. It’s easier to tackle the first message.

In our opinion, you can maintain enough storage and optimize your storage options by spending money wisely on storage space – both in the cloud and on your computers or devices. We’re sometimes amazed that people won’t spend anywhere from $11.88 (that’s 99 cents a month) to $100 for cloud storage for photos and videos. Whatever mobile platform you use, iOS or Android, there’s a way to buy cloud-based storage to back up any number of gigabytes you need for photos and videos on the fly. Just make sure you do it over a cellular network, which is preferable to a network that’s supposed to be secure, such as a hotel’s network. (See Safe Travels, Safe Wi-Fi.)

The extra cloud storage is the most effective and efficient way to make sure you have storage capacity, and it’s also the best way to make sure you don’t lose any photos or videos because you damage or lose your device. With many people taking vacations at places with water, including cruises, it’s all too easy to drop a phone into the water. You may lose the phone, but it’s replaceable. Your photos and videos are not.

Along that same line, newer cameras have the capability to send your photos automatically to your device or to back them up in the cloud. Although the files sent to your device may be smaller, getting them out of your camera keeps them safe in the event you lose your camera or damage its storage medium.

Getting back to a device, if its storage capacity is full, you’ll need to manually delete data, which could be photos, emails or files that are automatically downloaded by an app. Deletion steps will vary, but it’s an issue you can resolve before your trip.

If you are buying a new device, you can get one with more storage capacity. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that we use our phones for more than we think we will, including more photos and videos. You can use up 16 GB of storage very quickly, and it might be a better investment to spend, say, $100 more to get 64 GB of storage. If you spend the money on more storage now, it could increase the service life of your phone, which brings us to another point.

That other point is that many people tend to hang on to technology longer than they should – and fail to install all the software updates. The result is a slow system that leads to frustration and one that is wide open to a security breach (and that’s all we’ll say about that for now).

Here’s an example of one instance with a photo library with 100 GB of data. The system was too old to work with the pictures and email them – and there wasn’t enough hard disk space to work with the pictures. In addition, the photos on the computer hadn’t been backed up for two years. To make a long story short, it took an entire weekend to back up the photos so that the client could restore them to a new, faster system. Any money that might have been saved by hanging on to the old technology probably got eaten up by the time spent for an overdue upgrade.

Today’s technology is a much better value than yesterday’s latest-and-greatest equipment. Systems are faster, which enable them to handle more tasks in less time, and they can handle the latest software, which enables you to do more things. And the prices are the same, if not less.

The daunting part is trying to figure what will work best for you. Whether it’s a phone, a tablet or a computer, we can help you cut through all the hype to identify a system or cloud-based storage plan that meets your needs – nothing more and certainly nothing less. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to talk about your needs and budgets.

Checking my Apple Watch for my Apple Car

The Apple Watch is due out soon, and that’s exciting. I can’t help but wonder if an Apple Watch will sound an alarm when my Apple Car is in. Regardless, I love what technology enables us to do.

When I use my Apple Watch – you all know I will have one as soon as it hits the market – I’ll be reminded of how technology affects our lives. It doesn’t seem that long ago that my father held a pager to a telephone to send the codes to his answering machine to pick up messages – which we now refer to as voice mail (that we can get through our cellphones).

That seems so primitive today. In setting up medical releases for our parents to use while caring for our children during our upcoming vacation, I realized that we had the wrong name on one set of instructions. Because I could go online with my iPhone and because I have Microsoft Word for my phone, I had the document already. So, I made the necessary changes and sent it back to the bank. How great is that?

Many of you take it for granted at your offices and homes that you can answer email, respond to text messages and update calendars seamlessly using computers and mobile devices – cellphones and tablets. If it’s not seamless, speak to us, and we can resolve that for you. I’m able to go online with my iPhone or iPad at clients to check things within their systems, and I can troubleshoot many problems remotely from anywhere – as long as I can get an Internet connection.

Those same Internet connections enable you and your associates to work remotely and access critical information to conduct your business more effectively. You not only ever give it a second thought, you demand it.

This spills into our personal use of technology. I have an app that allows me to see who’s ringing my doorbell – whether I’m home or not. If I’m not home, I can talk to the person at the door, and that’s very useful when I can’t be there to accept delivery of a package I need for a client.

Will I be able to use this app with an Apple Watch? Will I be able to use a lot of the apps from my iPhone, including Apple Pay? Will I be able to do things I haven’t been able to do before? The answer to the last question holds the most promise for me.

Indications are that answer is “yes.” I should be able to find out for sure well before the end of this month, and I should have mine by the middle of next month. You will need to have an iPhone (5c, 5s, 6 and 6+) to use the Apple Watch.

You can read a lot about the expected functions of the Apple Watch in this article by the British publication   ITPro. Some highlights, as reported in the article, include:

  • An expected price of about $350
  • Use with Apple Pay and health applications
  • The ability to build your own watch for appearance and function
  • Get messages and use other communications tools through your iPhone, including Siri to get directions
  • Customized applications, such as one with a hotel chain to automate the check-in process

Needless to say, app developers are already hard at work. For me, however, anticipation has wheels: a possible Apple car. Rumors have been abundant for the past few months about Apple entering the car business. As one recent TV news report shows, the company has a lot of cash and a lot of ambitions, especially as electric cars and more software and electronics become parts of all cars. Apple’s strength has been using hardware to house its software innovations, and as the video clip shows, software and electronics are an increasing part of a car’s value.

I could easily see an Apple Car – or an “Apple-driven” car – taking advantage of so many apps we use on our iPhones and iPads as well as the anticipated Apple Watch. It makes a lot of sense. Apple devices are widely used, and the company already has strong ties with all major cellular carriers. Extending those relationships to the global automotive industry would be a logical next step.

I’ll be checking my Apple Watch for new developments – but you don’t have to wait to take advantage of innovations. We can help you adopt and adapt to new technology in the office, at home and even in your car. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to make sure your Wi-Fi infrastructure is capable of meeting all of your needs. We can also help you – and your office and/or family – make sure all of your devices sync to each other and your entire office or home IT systems to give you all the functionality you’ve envisioned – and more.

Wear it…Do it

A really close friend of ours who crossed a trip to CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas off his bucket list said wearable technology was the fascination for him. Will you want to trade a Rolex for an Apple Watch? It’s a fun trade to ponder.

If you have a Rolex, you know it’s an exquisite timepiece that speaks to the ultimate in quality and fashion. But Internet-connected watches are stepping up in quality as a timepiece – and let you do things like read and write emails and text messages, open your garage door. It’s a sign that a lot of functional apps are moving from your phone to your wrist.

Sony’s Smart Watch 3 and LG’s LG-W120L were two headliner smart watches at CES. But the prospect of the Apple Watch, most likely in March, is the elephant that’s not yet in the room but is walking to the door.

Is Apple going to be cutting edge? Only time will tell. But one thing about Apple is that its new products generally work well out of the gate. The company vets its developers and tests their work, and the result is a relatively bug-free application that’s as secure as you can get.

So, as the Apple apps move from the device to the wrist, Apple Pay is an indication of what we can expect. All you need to do is have your phone in your hand, put your thumb on the reader and go. It’s taken off so fast, that we’ve come across cashiers in stores who haven’t yet learned how it works. If you can transfer Apple Pay from an iPhone to an Apple Watch, you’ll be able to activate the reader and press your thumb in one motion.

Whatever we wear and use to access the Internet, 2015’s realities will be compared to the movie “Back to the Future II,” which looked some 25 years or so into the future. We don’t have flying cars or robots like Rosie from the Jetsons, but we have drones, and some companies say they are close on hoverboards and self-lacing shoes.

Once wearable technology becomes more commonplace, we are sure that app developers will quickly find ways to make it more usable. When Apple introduced the iPad, it seemed to need to justify its existence. Today, tablets are becoming replacements for laptops for certain types of applications, especially for people who travel or do a lot work from outside the office. Wearables are likely to take over many of the functions of mobile phones, and that means people will be walking into offices and homes and accessing our networks.

We’ve already talked about network security. In addition, you’ll need network stability to make sure all those new devices and technologies can work as you and everyone in your office or home expects. Nothing gets more frustrating or aggravating than the latest-and-greatest technology that doesn’t work. We can help you step forward to the future by analyzing your network and the load it will need to handle. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up an appointment. And, we’ll check out your security at the same time.

By the way, we still think automobiles have the longest way to go in the Internet of Things. Yes, there’s a lot of good phone integration, and you can use apps to send commands to your car. BMW is even testing a valet parking app. That will most certainly be a convenience – especially if all I need to do is talk into my watch.

Eye on 2015

Every year holds promises for new technology. Here’s what we see coming in 2015.

For Apple fans, we expect to see the Apple Watch and the iPad Pro. With the iPad model, we’re likely to go from mini to maxi. Some details are starting to leak out, including a 12” to 13” screen, which would put it into the Microsoft Surface category. Speculation includes a new processor and four speakers in the new model with a release date in early spring.

Early spring is also a rumored release time for the Apple Watch. We’ll be watching.

On the Microsoft front, we just loaded a test version of Windows 10. We’ll see how it flows and what similarities it has to Windows 8 and the things we liked in Windows 7. Rumors abound on this product, too, but we hear rumblings of a Microsoft “event” for late January. The rumor mill also points to the operating system working across all platforms, including smartphones, tablets and Xbox One consoles.

We expect a continuing trend toward more use of Microsoft Office 365. We sell it to a lot of our clients and continue to recommend it. We helped a client with Exchange cut costs from $700 to $96.

We also look for improvements to Office 365 and Outlook for the Mac. It was released on Halloween (how’s that for “trick or treat?”), and we immediately downloaded it while traveling. It has the look and feel of Office and Outlook, and while there are some differences between Windows and Mac in the way I use it, the Mac version is 1000 times better than it was. We still don’t have One-Drive for the Mac, but we’re hopeful that will come out next year.

The other tech darling of the consumer world is 4K ultra high-def TV. Flat screen TVs with 720 and 1080 resolution have gotten dirt cheap to the point that you can save a lot of space and electricity costs by junking your “tube” TV.

But if 4K TV catches on in 2015 as we expect, it’s just a matter of time until you’ll want to have it. Priming that pump will be the growth of non-cable, non-satellite content delivery technology from Amazon, Apple TV, Roku and others.

New content delivery systems are just another reminder that technology can change on a dime. So if you’re contemplating a new purchase, be sure to talk to us – especially if you’re buying technology for your office and are looking for tax-saving opportunities. If you don’t need next year’s soon-to-be latest and greatest, you can find some good pricing on this year’s technology and be eligible for applicable tax write-offs for office systems. Call – 973-433-6676 – or email to set up an appointment.

iOS 8 Family Affair

With iOS 8, Apple made great strides in helping families manage iCloud accounts and Family Share. Now, you can have separate accounts for up to six family members with parents able to control what their children buy and download.

Sharing music, apps, photos, movies and other iTunes purchases was a pain in the neck before Apple got all of its bugs out of iOS 8. We always found the biggest problems involved tracking what individuals bought in the iTunes store and then keeping adults’ and kids’ content separate. This had little to do with what’s appropriate; it was more a matter of neither wanting the other’s content.

Now, all you need to do is get iOS 8 on all devices – iPhones, iPads – and the Yosemite operating system on Apple computers. You can go to Settings on each device and enable Family Sharing and then go to iCloud settings. The set-up can be a little complicated. One person, designated as the Family Organizer, needs to go to Settings > iCloud > Set up Family Sharing… and follow the instructions, which include entering an iTunes ID and agreeing to paying for anything downloaded by the family members.

Here’s where it can get a little tricky – and there are some things we are still testing out as a family. While I am our Family Organizer, my wife and I have Approval Rights for any purchases made by our children. However, we also have it set up so that if someone – like a doting grandparent – gives them Apple gift cards, any charges for their downloaded material is drawn from their accounts before their parents pay.

We have helped a number of clients set up Apple Family Sharing, and we can help customize your set-up for your family’s needs. Just give us a call – 973-433-6676 – or send us an email for an appointment. And remember, we are available without any holiday surcharges to help you set up any electronics during this festive time of the year.

Tech Help for the Holidays

We’re available to help make sure all of your technology gifts are fully up and running. Nothing is more frustrating than technology presents that don’t work as they should, and sometimes only an IT specialist can orchestrate the solution.

That was the situation last year, when one of clients bought some new cell phones and wanted to pass down the older phones to children. We went there on Christmas Eve day to do what the carriers’ retail stores can’t or won’t do: Complete all the data transfers and phone number activations necessary to make Christmas Day merry.

We looked at all the contacts, apps and other data that needed to be transferred to the new phones. In some cases, data can hide in places where most retail techs don’t know to look. In other cases, for example, contacts can be in different places on different phones or not match exactly. The danger in not knowing where to look is that a technician can erase data from the old phone. Once that happens, it’s gone.

We also took the time to understand how each family member planned to use his or her device so that we could set up each one properly. We also made sure they all knew how to access all the features.

We had to program five phones, and that took the better part of a half-day. But the next day, when the stores were closed, everyone enjoyed their new phones.

Whether you are buying new technology for your home or business, you can maximize performance and by making sure your infrastructure has the capability to handle increased traffic.

For homes, this means having the pipeline to handle streaming to new, large flat-screen TVs and/or multiple devices that play streaming content. For businesses, this means being able to handle the newer, faster systems that help you process more business faster – along with a twist.

Some of those Christmas gifts, namely phones and tablets, will likely wind up coming into your office. Whether they’re for business or personal use, they will tap into your office’s network.

So, tap into our service. We can make everyone’s holiday gifts are running properly. Drop us an email to schedule an appointment, but make sure you call us if you need us (973-433-6676) – especially on Christmas Day.

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

Dick Tracy’s Technology Update?


Back in 1946, Dick Tracy, the famous comic-strip detective, broke technological ground when he began wearing his 2-Way Wrist Radio. Sixty-seven years later, we’re hearing a lot of rumors about a new Apple iWatch.

Chester Gould, creator of Dick Tracy, gave his character the new communication device after visiting with inventor Al Gross, a pioneer in mobile wireless communication. Gould upgraded Tracy to a 2-Way Wrist TV in 1964, but we’re way beyond that today.

Some people have put their older iPod Nanos on wristbands, essentially making them into multi-functional wristwatches. Other manufacturers have put “smart watches” on the market, but they haven’t achieved Rolex status. However, nobody can match Apple’s technology buzz. The reports we’ve come across as this newsletter went to publication indicate that manufacturing is gearing up for getting the new device on the market this summer.

I would find it especially helpful. We all have smartphones clipped to our belts or in our purses, and they’re hard to access just to see who’s calling. With a device on our wrist and Bluetooth, it would be as simple as checking the time to see the caller ID and know if you need to pull out your phone or activate it with a voice command.

Other manufacturers have some capability with smartphones, wrist-borne devices and Bluetooth already on the market, so this type of device makes sense for Apple. We’ll be watching.

We’ll also be watching for a possible new iPad – rumored to be released in March – and new developments in Apple TV. Maybe this and a new wrist device will enable us to watch Dick Tracy reruns while we’re walking the dog or waiting for a bus or train.

Check in for updates on our website or Facebook page.

Cutting the Cable? Ditching the Dish?

Evolving technologies that stream content to our TVs and mobile devices are portending the end for cable and satellite TV. They’re not going away all that quickly, but it’s just a matter of time.  HDMI allows you watch anything from a computer on a TV. So, if you can wait a day to watch your favorite TV show, you can go to a website and watch it at your convenience. Live sports and news are another story, but you know the technology will be there to deliver the content.

As for TVs, our experience shows that the best deals on big flat screen TVs usually come in the middle of January – two weeks before the Super Bowl.

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