TeamUp – Reviewed Part One

Our TeamUp Calendar
Our TeamUp Calendar

TeamUp is an online group calendaring tool that I found and am now using heavily for my 6 person content creation team.  My team works remotely. We share files via Google Drive and had tried using a joint Google Calendar, but that just never seemed to have caught on with my team.

So, before I went on vacation I started looking for an easy to use, user-friendly online calendaring app to keep my team on track.

First, I do want to say that I am not being paid by team up or receive any consideration from them, I am simply a user turned advocate.

In fact I am using the free version right now although they do have a premium version and I am carefully scoping it out.

Here’s what I like and why you may want to consider using TeamUp too.

Easy to set up
I was calendaring tasks for my team in less than 10 minutes and the application was intuitive. I did not even have to read the documentation, although they do have nice videos and startup guides.

Color Coded
Each team member has their own color. I can see at a glance who has tasks to do and each team member can click their own color and see only their tasks in the group calendar.

SmartPhone App
My team has Apple phones and I have an Android one. Whatever I selected to try had to have an app available for iPhone and Android. TeamUp’s app in Android looks prettier. The Apple version looks more like a daily agenda list.

Come back Wednesday January 25th to read the rest of my review.




Lookout App Reviewed

Stay safe with your phone by using Lookout.
Stay safe with your phone by using Lookout.

For several years I have had on my Android smartphone the Lookout app. I upgraded to Premium for $29.99 a year and wanted to share my experience in using this app.

First, I am not paid for this review. I like the app and wanted to share my experience with you.

Here’s why I like the app and went premium.

I like the security features. Before the market was flooded with antivirus and security apps, I had Lookout to keep me safe.

I like the integrated feature that allows me to find my phone, to wipe my phone if it is lost, and to sound an alarm to help find my phone. Although now Verizon and even Samsung have these as phone integrated features now for free,. Lookout had them became device standards.

I like the online interface that allows me to manage device files, backups, call logs and images. Although Verizon has this feature now with Verizon Cloud, it is buggy and does not always perform backups for days and weeks.

Lookout also protects against the following: chargeware, items billed to your wireless bill without your consent; adware; app dropper;  bot apps, click fraud; exploits; riskware; root enablers; surveillance ware; toll fraud; and Trojans.

It also keeps you apprised of what apps see and use on your phone to help you be in control of your privacy.

Here’s what I like that they just introduced this year.

This year Lookout added a nice app that automatically opens up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when I go online. Although I have NordVPN for this use, I do like the automatic feature and use it more than NordVPN. I like this additional feature for security and consider it a nice perk for using their product.

Although smartphones may have some of these features now rolled into their device software, Lookout is proactively adding features and services that devices do not have at this time to keep your smartphone safe from schemers, spammers, and thieves.

I consider the $29.99 a year price a real value.



Asurion – The Best Protection for Your Smartphone

My phone is on the fritz, HELP!
My phone is on the fritz, HELP!

If you do business via smartphone like me, to have your phone go on the fritz is enough to have you pull your hair out. I use a Samsung Galaxy S5 and am not really wanting to upgrade to have a not waterproof phone or one that may burn me when I hold it.  With my phone on the fritz and having just returned from vacation, I needed help fast.

For two years I have had extra insurance coverage for my phone and that of my staff. We use Asurion through Verizon. In less than 30 minutes on the phone with Verizon and then less than 10 minutes with Asurion, I had a new refurbished phone on the way.

I was concerned about getting a refurbished phone, but I have to say the phone I got had a brand new battery, looked sparkling clean and totally new. Glitchy behavior gone, my smartphone is now back to work and my old phone returned in the mail – all with totally no hassle.

I am so pleased with the process that I wrote this post just because I felt it important to share with my readers the service, speed, and hassle-free solution that Asurion has provided.

Thanks Asurion! My refurbished phone is great and I’d never know it was not brand spanking new.

Oh, P.S. I got a free one year no question warranty on the replacement phone giving me total peace of mind.


VPN’s for Smartphone Protection

My bank's been hacked! How Could that Be?
My bank’s been hacked! How Could that Be?

If you are like me, you use your smartphone as an extension of your business. From banking to email to social media to entertainment, my smartphone allows me to work from almost anywhere. But just how secure can that be?

It turns out that if you connect to Wi-Fi at stores, Starbucks, and even the grocery store you may be putting your personal information and even credit card and banking information at risk. Connect to your bank while piggybacking on free Wi-Fi and you may be letting hackers into your accounts.

This is where a private encrypted virtual network can solve the security problem, especially in airports or while on travel.

I have tested a number of applications this month and NordVPN has been my winner. First I am not being paid for this blog post or given free service for my review. I did test Norton Wi-Fi Security, ViperVPN and NordVPN

Here’s why NordVPN gets my vote:

First, it is super easy. To be protected, I click one button in the app. If I want I can select my server location. So if I am in India, I can appear to be located in the US. But, I don’t have to do that if I don’t want. I did not have to use any complicated settings as I did on the other apps.

Second, it works! I connected at Giant Grocery Stores, Target, my home Wi-Fi, and even secured login Wi-Fi and wide open Wi-Fi. I had trouble with the Norton app connecting anywhere but home. With ViperVPN they have your free trial so limited that you cannot even test could you connect where you wanted. NordVPN on the other hand gave me a free three day trial no strings attached.

As I will be using this app to be secure for my business when I travel, ease of us and consistency was really important for me. I am no techie and don’t want to learn about TCP and packets, I just want to be secure. NordVPN makes is super easy. I can easily see I am connected, I get connected fast, and I can see the key in my top menu to know I am encrypted on Wi-Fi or using data.

Not important to me but may be important to you is the low price. I am paying $8 a month on a month to month basis, but could pay about $6.58 or so a month if I paid for the year in advance.

With my bank account having been hacked and the hackers knowing my online user name, password, and PIN you just cannot be too safe when it comes to your smartphone and any banking information.

Try it out yourself by visiting NordVPN. You’ll have to ask customer support by email for the three day trial. Set up your account, but don’t pay and give them your email to get your trial.


Why Pay When You Can Get Free!

Time is Money! When It Comes to Deleting Spam Comments
Time is Money! When It Comes to Deleting Spam Comments

Everyone likes a bargain! Sometimes however you’ll want to pay for an app or WordPress plugin that is really valuable, but why pay when you can get one that does the trick for free?

I deleted Askimet as my spam plugin in WordPress when they moved to pay to play and really tried to wring $5 a month out of their users after years of free service. I understand that everyone needs to make a buck, but in the world of WordPress what they offered was not unique.

I searched for spam filtering plugins. I found Cleantalk and tried it for the seven day free trial period. I liked the interface, but just did not feel that paying for it was worth it to me. Cleantalk bills $8 per year. Not a lot, but free is free.

Now I am trying out the free WordPress plugin Anti Spam Bee. This plugin appears free – well at least for now.

Before you buy of any plugin, make sure to try it out. I may be back with Cleantalk, but for now I am going free, free, free with the big yellow bee of Anti Spam Bee.




Tips on Handling a Bad Review

Bright Idea Tips for Handling a Bad Review
Bright Idea Tips for Handling a Bad Review

Sometimes a well meaning friend will send you a link to a bad review about you or your business that they found online and it can spoil your day. Here are a few things to know about how to handle a bad review.

Not all bad reviews need a response
Not everything needs you to respond. In some cases a response may be worse than just letting the review stay out there. If you do decide to write a response, take a deep breath. Never respond to or write a rebuttal when you are upset or angry. Take time to craft a thoughtful response and be conciliatory in your comments. Acknowledge the feelings of the reviewer.

You cannot please everyone
This is hard for some business owners, but you cannot please everyone every time. Take the bad along with the good and know that there are simply some “trolls” out there that get their jollies crushing you online.

Consider the review placement
If the review is on Google+, Yelp, or another highly visible site, I do recommend that you consider writing a rebuttal. If appropriate, I would encourage you to even contact the client – if they have given enough information for you to identify them and see if you can fix the problem. A customer who has had a problem resolved can be your biggest advocate. Don’t forget to ask them to update their review after you have fixed the problem. If the review is not on a high profile site, know that even then, it may still be visible to others and may still need your attention.

Move forward and learn from any errors
If you did get a bad review that is warranted, use the opportunity as a chance to retrain staff or challenge your current processes. You can really learn a lot about how customers perceive you from reviews even bad ones.

Move forward after a bad review, remember you’ve pleased plenty of other customers and stay focused on what you do right and work to improve areas where you may be weak.

Need help solving a problem like a bad review?  Visit our website at to find out how we can help today.