BloggingEducationMarketingMobile AppsProductivitySecurity & PrivacyShoppingSocial MediaTechnologyUncategorized

In our office we share memes, eat cake and brainstorm… a lot. But there’s one thing we do even more of.

We use our phones, like a lot, a lot! We use them for testing apps, testing websites, social media management, communication, the list goes on. So with that said, we want to give you the inside scoop of what apps we love to use day in day out, and why they are vital to our entertainment, productivity, communication and lifestyle.

We wrote an article a few weeks back about some of our favorite phone gadgets. Some were for pleasure, others for productivity. If you missed it, you can check it out here as today’s article goes hand in hand. So between, web designers, developers, digital marketers and our CEO, these apps are the ones you need to download, like yesterday!

Let’s begin with entertainment.

Head phones

Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play Music, we need music like we need our coffee!

Podcast can be under entertainment and productivity as there are so many different types of podcasts out there. Our top favorite podcast apps are Podcasts (Apple) and Castbox. Castbox has over  95 million volumes of content and is available for almost all devices.

A few musicians came forward in the office and shared their favorite apps. Guitar Tuna was recommended by a few as an app to tune your guitar on the go or as a back up. It is available for both Apple and Android. Tabs is an app that has thousands of guitar, bass and ukulele tabs and chords for all your favorite songs. If you are looking to take up an instrument here’s two apps that are a go-to’s for the musicians in the office.

Audible is another app that fits into productivity and entertainment. Audible is a mobile library, with loads of books you can listen to or read.

Quora is an app to share opinions, knowledge and feedback. Ask a question and get a helpful answer.

Productivity

editing

Lynda.com is a popular app for taking online courses. You can choose a topic you would like to learn, for example: photography, web design, film, finance, interior design. The list is endless. You can also choose software you would like to learn. So if you are a photographer, maybe a course that is beneficial to your business is learning how to use Photoshop. If you are looking to get into finance industry, a valuable course might be learning QuickBooks, you can learn QuickBooks for payroll, online, for a Mac, etc.

We also have a lot of photographers in the office, so photo-shop apps or editing apps came up right away. Our favorites are Lightroom and Photoshop Fix, both are easy to use and high quality.

Our office uses Microsoft Teams to communicate and share info with each other (as well as a truck load of memes) it’s a secure way to create group messages. There are so many features within the program to expand functionality: like creating different groups, include files, planners and meetings.

If you want to create logos or invitations an extremely useful app is Canva. You can create logos, Pinterest graphics, resize images to fit other social media platforms, create business cards and so much more! We use this everyday to create our graphics, and images.

Lifestyle

Family Organization

Everyone has those apps they use regularly or occasionally that just make your life so much easier. When it comes to lifestyle, the office has a variety of favorites.

Some of us are obsessed with the weather, so we’ve got you covered with choosing the best weather apps. WeatherCan and The Weather Network are our most reliable apps we would recommend to anyone and everyone.

Cozi is a popular app for family organization. You can add shopping lists, cleaning schedules and upcoming events that your family has planned. It’s the perfect app for a busy family and even busier parents.

If you are prone to migraines which some are in the office the Migraine Buddy app is the best app according to both patients and doctors. This app helps you record and identify all aspects of your migraine. For example; what triggers them, your symptoms, medications and so on.

Headspace is a meditation app that helps you let go of stress, learn to relax and get a better nights sleep. If you don’t already have this app it’s definitely a must! Everyone can use a few techniques to reduce stress and anxiety during our busy lives.

 

What are some apps that are essential for you or just plain fun? Let us know in the ‘leave a comment’ section at the bottom! We’d love to hear from you.

 

BloggingMarketingProductivitySecurity & PrivacySelf-ImprovementSocial MediaUncategorized

screen time

Social media nowadays is more than just a social network. It is used as a tool for businesses and a way to communicate with others. Although sometimes, we can get too caught up in the scrolling world that we don’t realize how it could be affecting our well being, relationships and even work.

As a digital marketing specialist I work with various social media platforms every day. It’s my job to scroll, to build community and relationships with people. Social media is a business tool so deleting it just isn’t an option… or is it?

The answer is yes. Yes, you can delete social media and you know why? Because it’s good for you.

community

 

The average person will spend nearly two hours a day on social media.

Want to to see if you fit the average? Take a look at your Screen Time feature (if you have an iPhone.) The results will likely surprise you. You can see which categories you spend the most time on. Entertainment, productivity, social networking etc. You can also see how many notifications you get a day and how many times you pick up your device. As someone who works on social media for work, my times may be a bit above average but I want to give you a look at what my statistics look like.

Average Screen time per day: 4 hours 33 minutes

Social networking (you will be knocked off your feet here) 24 *hours* 20 minutes! (Time for a social media detox!)

Pickups: 92 per day

Notifications: 59 per day

This is a lot of phone time! Most of it is social networking.

So here’s why it’s so important to take some time away from social media, even if you use it as a business tool. And some tips to get around the business aspect of it to put your mind at ease when you step away.

 

1. Social media tends to make you focus on others more than yourself

You mindlessly scroll, coming across a picture of how your co-worker bought a new car, or that your friends went out and had sushi on Saturday night. Are these things you really need to know about? No, not really. It’s entertaining, for sure. But this tends to just make you more concerned with what others are doing with their lives, rather than what you are doing with yours. Weekends spent working towards your personal, or business goals may not be glamorous or Instagram worthy. But it’s good for you. Taking the time away from social media means that you have to go out of your way to find out about other peoples lives. Its not just information accessibly to you. So if you need to know what others are doing you will have to be intentional.

private

2. Too public

Privacy has gone out the window, that is usually when it comes to social media. Of course as a business, keeping people in the loop about new offers or features you offer is key to your account and potential leads. But are you being too public with your personal account? Or finding it draining when others are too public with their lives? This could be a sign that you need to take a step away from the screen. Realigning what is appropriate to post on social media platforms and what is private to you or your family sometimes comes from taking a step away and realizing that you can still have a good time, without having to post about it or update your Facebook status.

3. Distorted version of reality

I can tell you that many accounts you follow on Instagram or Facebook are not all they say they are. Not that they are lying to you with their words, but sometimes it can be hard to differentiate whats real and whats not in an image. You see it in magazines, on billboards, TV ads and so many more places, especially on your own device. With the apps available to literally anyone, you can’t trust what is real or not. I can make the trees in the fall look more radiant than they actually are, my skin more glowing, even make water move in a still image. False images are thrown to you left and right and sometimes it’s exhausting. Even if you don’t realize it.

photoshop

4. Live in the moment

Ever been to a wedding and can’t actually see the beautiful bride because of all the phones popping up all over the place? Cellphones have actually changed how professional photographers do their job. Some couples have asked that people put their phones in a basket because the photographer won’t be able to get beautiful pictures without arms stretched all over the isle trying to get pictures or live videos for the world to see. We have sometimes forgotten how to truly live in the moment. Taking a social media detox will make events or scenery more fulfilling for you. Try going outdoors for a hike and just breathe in the fresh air, take in the moment.

Resist the temptation to pull out your phone to document the event or share it with your friends. Do it for you.

you are here

5. Free up your time

Now that your phone doesn’t have 410 notifications (okay maybe that an exaggeration) a day from Facebook or Twitter what do you do with all your free time? You can read a book, try yoga, go for a long walk with your dog… the possibilities are endless. You may even notice your energy go up, with removing yourself from comparison and false reality.

 

Quick tips to take a break from social media if you need it for work:

  • Get a scheduling app. Apps like Buffer or Tailwind can schedule your content for you if you need to be on top of posting for your business. Put in a bit extra time to retrieve content and caption your posts. Schedule them for times that suit your audience, simple as that!
  • Only delete your personal account to cut down on time you spend endlessly scrolling on the platform. Restrict your time limits to only work hours or only to answer messages or comments. (check in once a day for only a few minutes and avoid going into the feed. Only check notifications or places that actually need your attention.)
  • Hire someone to manage your social media accounts for you, so your account is still active even if you aren’t. This will make it easier if you want to make it a routine to get unconnected with the digital world more often.

social media

Taking a digital detox (more specifically social media) has multiple benefits to your personal well being.  The world will not end if you don’t upload a picture of your food. Allow yourself to step away from time to time. It’s becoming more and more important as social media grows to set boundaries with what’s private and what’s public. Start with one day, then a weekend, and adjust accordingly. Some can go a month, while for others, a day is just as refreshing.

 

If you are looking for someone to manage social media for your business, send us an email or call us at 780-652-1190

MarketingSecurity & PrivacyWeb Development

Apple made an announcement on June 5th that will change the economics of the internet. They plan to improve the Safari experience by adjusting ad tracking. Ad tracking is in-market research that monitors a brand’s performance including brand and advertising awareness, product trial and usage, and attitudes about the brand versus their competition.

Companies can follow you around the Internet in order to get further insight to better their advertising campaigns. This is how we are marketed to on the Internet.

Most consumers do not appreciate the attempts to be marketed to while on the internet. These online advertisements feel threatening when they take over your whole screen, and are annoying when they start playing sound when you haven’t allowed them to.

Not only are these inconveniences, but since these advertisements can follow you around and track what you do on the internet, it is a security breach to many consumers and Apple never wants their customers to be in a position where they feel uncomfortable.

So Apple created a new feature,

“Intelligent Tracking Prevention [ITP] is a new WebKit feature that reduces cross-site tracking by further limiting cookies and other website data, Intelligent Tracking Prevention collects statistics on resource loads as well as user interactions such as taps, clicks, and text entries. The statistics are put into buckets per top privately-controlled domain or TLD+1.”- Apple’s John Wilander.

In plain English: ad-tracking can only follow you around for 24 hours and Safari will delete all of a site’s tracking cookies if you do not visit the site for 30 days. This means that their ability to track you is fundamentally limited, and will improve your privacy and experience online.

Will Safari’s numbers rise with the promise of less advertising traffic? To a browser like Google’s Chrome, less advertisements would not be quite as beneficial as it will be for Apple — Apple’s business model doesn’t revolve around advertising sales. Thus, Apple is not intimidated by a lack of advertisements. They would prefer happy, safe customers and they may have found another way to give them more security and a better experience.

Now, this announcement did not make everyone happy; 6 major trade groups expressed concern with these plans. With this in place, it restricts the tracking abilities of websites and advertisers which could cut into their bottom line. What is good for the consumer privacy, would not be good for them. They explained this in an open letter to Apple.

“Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful.” — The Data and Marketing Association and the Network Advertising Initiative.

Advertisers will not be able to use target marketing to select their audiences and it will be more difficult for them to know how well or poorly their strategy is operating. These associations wanted to make their concerns very clear to Apple and the rest of the Internet.

For many small businesses that use these marketing tools, they will find themselves needing to adjust strategy. This means that some of Panda Rose’s clients might be affected as well. We agree with Apple that ensuring consumer privacy should be top priority, and will help our clients to work with these new restrictions.

Tess Houcher 

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Security & PrivacyShoppingTechnology

It has been ten years since the first iPhone was released. Apple’s iPhone has changed not only the way that we communicate, but the way we think and live our everyday lives. In 2007 we were introduced to the touch screen, where we were no longer pushing buttons, instead we were touching software. The phone was reinvented. In the year 2017 the iPhone updated again. But is this high tech getting cool or creepy . . .

On September 12th, broadcasting from the Steve Jobs Theater in California, excited Apple employees, journalists and notable individuals filled the room. The crowd was welcomed with the soundtrack of Apple’s past advertisements as they waited for the presentation to begin. Tim Cook walked onto the stage after the voice of Steve Jobs spoke in the dark theater and gave a short and meaningful speech on the importance of individuals being true to themselves. He explained that being true to one’s self is the very practice that makes Apple, Apple.

Tim proceeded to announce Apple’s latest upgrades for a few of their existing products throughout the event. These upgrades include an updated Apple Watch, Apple TV 4K, the iPhone 8, wireless charging by Qi and the Apple stores. I had the privilege to watch the Apple presentation in its entirety this year, so I am going to give a brief description of a few of these upgrades, which I find quite fascinating.

The Apple Watch presented by Jeff Williams:

It was confirmed that the Apple Watch is now the number one watch in the world and I assume it will continue to be the best there is with the new Series 3 update.

Among other additions, the biggest enhancement of the watch is that it now comes with cellular. Older versions of the watch would need wifi to text or receive a phone call so people would always need their phones wherever they went. Now you can leave your phone at home while you do errands or go for a run and you will still be connected to the rest of your busy world.

The Apple Watch amazingly, is still the same size as the Series 2 watch even with the cellular upgrade. Other new features of the watch include more detail in the heart rate information, a skiing app and brand new wristbands. All of these upgrades give the Apple Watch Series 3 the potential to be life altering to its users.

Wireless Charging presented by Phil Schiller:

Apple was very excited to announce their new innovative form of technology from Qi which charges your latest iPhone products without them needing to be plugged in. This upgrade handles a few problems which have been experienced with the original way of charging your iPhone.

The action of plugging and unplugging your phone is a simple task but more often then we would like to admit (or maybe it’s just me…) we forget that our phone is plugged in and attempt to walk away only to be unpleasantly surprised by our phones flying out of our hands back to the source of their charging. Apple kindly takes this simple annoyance and fixes it for those of us who could be labeled as forgetful or clumsy. (Thank you Apple.) Another problem fixed by wireless charging is that now you can’t get anything stuck in your iPhone.

Phil explained that Apple has also taken into consideration that businesses such as food chains, airports and vehicles could eventually have these charging units implanted into easy access places for their customers. With no fear of the charging units being stolen from public places, as they would be embedded into the architecture. The simplicity that comes with the wireless charging unit from Qi is an exciting beginning for a world without wires.

The iPhone X Presented by Phil Schiller:

Phil also introduced the reinvention of the iPhone- 2017 edition, the iPhone X. The biggest news about the latest iPhone is how the device is unlocked. To unlock your iPhone X, you don’t even need to touch the screen. This is done by the iPhone recognizing your face.

They have called this Face ID. A map of your face is created when you first set up your phone using sensors, cameras, and an invisible dot projector. These features make up the TrueDepth camera system. And while individuals often change their appearances by dying or trimming their hair, wearing a hat or glasses, or growing a beard; like magic, the iPhone will adjust to you as you change.

This does not mean it is simple for someone who is not you to unlock your phone. Apple worked with professional mask makers in Hollywood to ensure that the system would know the difference between the fake and real you.

This all sounds almost creepy… a device that knows your face like another person would? Could Apple see me if they wanted to? Apple addressed this before a conspiracy could even take off. Just like Touch ID, the information gathered by Face ID is stored strictly on your iPhone. Apple will not get a map of your face when you personalize the device and then create a clone of you for their life-like robot army… at least that’s what I’ve been told.

Final Thoughts:

Although it is intriguing to poke at the idea that Apple has the ability to see all their customers through the front facing cameras of each device, Apple has repeatedly been very reliable when it comes to security. Unlike their competitors who often have issues with keeping their customers protected from bugs and hackers.

Panda Rose has always recommended Apple to their clients. With Apple’s ability to maintain security consistently, it’s hard not to trust the well-loved company with our customers. They have kept their reputation clean and I am certain they will strive to ensure that continues.

Tess Houcher

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