RJH Solutions

SEO and Website Development Internet Marketing Blog in Toronto

4 Must-Haves to Fully Benefit from Google Chromecasts’ Service

rhecht

Chromecast_dongleWhen Google came out with Chromecast in July 2013, many people likely did not know what to do with it. The whole idea seemed foreign: a cast a browser tab from Google Chrome and pay $40-50 for that.

After receiving it as a gift recently, I’ve since been using it and found it to be indispensable. Here are the items you need in order to get the most benefit from this device.

1. A Chromecast Device

This one is obvious. Without it there’s no point to this post.

2. TV with an HDMI port slot and USB

lg-tvIn order to view the Chromecast, you need a TV with HDMI capabilities. HDMI as a technology came out in 2002-2003, and only really started being mainstream in TVs since 2008. While that doesn’t seem so long ago, if your TV doesn’t have HDMI it’s likely at least 7-8 years old. At the low cost of HDMI flat-screen TVs, this is a must.

Even newer TV’s have a USB port. This isn’t necessary but is a huge help. Without the USB port, your Chromecast will need to be charged using an outlet, which can be a pain. The USB essentially “powers” the Chromecast while it’s doing its job.

3. Specific Devices with WiFi Capability

Courtesy: v3.co.uk

Courtesy: v3.co.uk

Once you have Chomecast set up on your TV, you need a device to “cast” it to. This can be done from a Mac/PC or a phone/tablet with iOS or Android utilizing WiFi capabilities. If you have a desktop that doesn’t have WiFi, it won’t work. Tried that. Alternatively if you’re a tech geek running Ubuntu with Chrome, it should work as Chrome apps like “Google Cast” should be installable regardless of the system.

If you have a tablet that’s not running iOS or specific Android systems, it won’t work. This is a shame as high-end devices like the Kindle Fire don’t have the capacity to have Chromecast installed where it can properly integrate with apps like Google Cast and place the option in its own version of Netflix and YouTube.

4. Netflix/YouTube

This is also a must for TV junkies. With Netflix/YouTube you can cast these videos from any tablet or phone. From a Mac/PC there are ways to cast a video straight from the Chrome Browser. For file types that are not MP4 or FLV there is an extension called “Videostream for Google Chromecast” which pretty much streams any filetype.

5. Wireless Gigabit Router with High-Speed Internet (optional)

While this is optional, if you want optimal viewing performance without hogging everyone else’s internet usage, invest in the Gigabit router over an ethernet router. Most Gigabit routers today are optimized for Netflix/YouTube streaming, though you should first check if this is specified. The WiFi difference between 54 MbPS and 300 MbPs is very significant.

The high-speed option is for the same reason. If you can find an internet provider that offers competitive flat rates without overage charges, go with that. It’s worth it as you don’t need to pay “through the roof” for a quality internet experience.

Getting a OnePlus One Phone – Addressing Site Navigation Issues

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Courtesy of oneplus.net

Courtesy of oneplus.net

I have been using an iPhone 5 for the last two years and noticed apparent issues with it since I needed to get a bloated lithium-ion battery and screen replaced, among other things. For one thing, the sensor on the top wasn’t always working when I placed the phone to my ear, causing my cheek to dial numbers to my chagrin, as well as to the chagrin of the person on the other line. It also caused my cheek to do things like mute the conversation or put it on speaker. In addition, the charger would only charge if positioned a specific way. It was very inconvenient. To make matters worse, the phone was under Apple Care warranty for the first year, so they would have charged an arm and a leg being that I was past the first year.

Since I am presently in my final year of a 3 year plan with Rogers, and Best Buy doesn’t have the deal for an iPhone under Rogers like it used to when an iPhone 5 64 GB could be had for $200 during X-mas/New Years, I found myself stuck with a defective iPhone for another year. Even if I were to trade in my iPhone 5 and pay the difference, I would still need to pay something like $160 for the remainder of my iPhone before I could get another one from Rogers (can one say #rogerssucks ?). What was there to do?

I thought of Android phones, but most of them, especially Samsung devices, have relatively poor battery life and are flimsy unless you get an extended battery with a casing that makes it feel insanely thick. There had to be a better way.

OnePlus One: A Better Solution

Enter the OnePlus. The new company from China has made a $350 USD Android phone with 64 GB storage (close to $500 CAD – bummer, but still) called the OnePlus One with oodles of features and great battery life by doing virtually no traditional advertising. Due to the overall positive reviews, I’ve wanted to get one for a while but to do so, you need an invite which can get very tricky. Once you get the invite, you have 24 hours to purchase the phone or else you need to start from the very beginning. I was recently lucky enough to get one invite after trolling the social media landscape (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+, you name it). Each person gets that one invite to distribute on an odd day (I’m still waiting for mine) and it’s treated like gold.

Website Navigational Issues

Once I created an account, though, it was practically impossible to log in in order to get a phone. See the below screencast:

So what was I to do? No matter what I did I couldn’t log in, even to submit a support ticket. After pulling out a few hairs, I contacted the Facebook/OnePlus community and was advised on the stupidest thing on the planet which actually worked. To “log in” you need to first select a country. How does one do so? Visit this page (https://oneplus.net/choose-country) while logged in. Once the country gets selected, the country “session” gets logged and allows  you to proceed. I’m being serious here: without that you’re essentially a sitting duck!

Now that that hurdle has been passed, I have now ordered my phone and am eagerly awaiting a phone in the mail that has all the great features of a top-notch smartphone at a fraction of the cost, and without being tied into any cellphone agreement.

***UPDATE December 21, 2014***

It appears that the website issue for OnePlus has been fixed.

HostSo.com Web Hosting Services Review – Negative

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hostso-logo_bgRecently I was advised by a friend of mine to try switching my web hosting to HostSo. The pitch was that they operated a server that had 12 GB of RAM, and if one paid only $8.56/month for their ULTRA plan, one had unlimited space. I decided to give it a shot, which lasted a total of three days.

Here’s how it went: I went to the website and purchased the hosting plan. That setup was straightforward. One thing that gave off a red flag was the inability for them to enable Shell access on my own account for “security purposes.” That bothered me was that my website files, zipped, were too large to be unzipped on their server.

I had asked server support via Live Chat to unzip the files for me if possible. They did – to an extent. When they unzipped my website files they forgot to include all subdirectories and pointers. That left behind a huge mess of files all in the same directory for me to delete, as there was not much more I could do with them. I realized then and there that I would need to upload all website files the old-fashioned way.

After doing that (many hours later), setting up the necessary MySQL databases for my WordPress sites and pointing everything correctly, I noticed that my websites were all running slowly despite the claim that the server ran on 12 GB of RAM. My guess was there were already too many websites being hosted already on their server which was causing the sites to already run slowly. I set up WP-SuperCache (or W3-Total Cache, I forget which – they’re both good) to cache and speed up the sites. That helped a little. Then the unspeakable (in terms of customer service) happened.

The following day after my sites were launched I noticed that none of my WordPress sites, built on a Multisite configuration, were showing. I found that the “Permissions” to the required website directory were set to “000.” I reset the permissions of that and all subdirectories, then asked server support what happened. Their response? “Oh, we decided to disable that directory as it was causing too much of a load on our server.” Well duh! Websites do tend to do that. They also instructed me to optimize my databases and it won’t happen again. When I did, I replied that I had done so, but that what bothered me was that they took my sites down without my asking, and that concerned me from a business perspective. They replied that it won’t happen again before they warn me, and that I need to continue optimizing my databases. I decided then and there to leave their hosting in a flash.

When I asked to leave their hosting, they asked me why and I explained that their hosting didn’t meet my business requirements. It took a lot of back-and-forth with setting up a formal ticket, among other things, to finally get some sort of Credit Cart refund. Since they were using 2Checkout to process their payments, they returned the exact amount I paid them, but I received something like $8 less than they paid me due to 2Checkout’s insane processing fees. Whatever, at that point I decided to cut my losses.

I later learned from doing some Google searches that others had real complaints about HostSo’s Services. Among them were:

http://www.webhostingstuff.com/review/HostSocom.html

https://wordpress.org/support/topic/hostso-or-blue-host

https://forums.digitalpoint.com/threads/hostso-com-another-scam-company.1654806/

In short, never again. I had a terrible experience with them and don’t want to see others fall into the same trap.

Sayonara Proscan PLT1044 Tablet, It Was Nice Knowing You

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A couple of years ago I obtained a Proscan 10.1 inch tablet and wrote instructions on how to install Google Marketplace. It served its purpose at the time. However, at this point I think it’s time to kiss it goodbye.

Why? Simple: the Lithium Ion battery pretty much exploded, causing irreversible damage to the tablet and screen, popping it open among other things. Here are some screenshots of the wreckage.

IMG_8504 IMG_8459 IMG_8455

IMG_8466 IMG_8471

For me, it served its purpose. Now that it’s gone it’s time to put it to rest. Goodbye, sweet sorrow 🙁

How to: Adding a Featured Image in WordPress

rhecht

wordpress-logo-teal1. In functions.php:


add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );

2. To display featured images in your theme, you need to edit your templates and add this line of code where you want to display the featured image:



3. To set custom size in functions.php:


set_post_thumbnail_size( 50, 50);

4. To add additional image sizes:

// Image size for single posts
add_image_size( ‘single-post-thumbnail’, 590, 180 );

5. Here is how to call a custom image size:



Special thanks to: http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-add-featured-image-or-post-thumbnails-in-wordpress/

Online Reputation Management Dead?!

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reputation management

Last week, I attended a seminar on Online Reputation Management in downtown Toronto. The main discussion in the seminar was whether online reputation management is dead or not. Important reputation management figures were cited, including Don Sorensen, President of Big Blue Robot Digital Marketing Firm. I share similar sentiments as Sorenson, who argues that “online reputation management is very much alive and inevitable in this digital age; it’s time for companies to improve their reputation management strategy or suffer the consequences…”

Before attending the seminar, it never crossed my mind that people would actually think the term ‘online reputation management’ was a thing of the past. My thoughts are completely the opposite. In fact, I felt privileged to write about it in this feature blog and express my concern.

Online Reputation Management should be a priority for every business and individual with an online presence; I can’t stress that enough. Building a positive reputation can take years to achieve and that all can be washed away by one bad or false review that was not properly managed.

 

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6 Common Prospecting Errors to Avoid in Online Marketing

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New clients are your lifeblood and frequently are the most expensive areas of investment. Sometimes we move so fast that we don’t slow down to think about what we’re doing or saying, how we’re doing it or saying it and if it’s the most effective way for us to get from “Point A to Point B”. Here are six things that we should try to avoid when prospecting to potential customers.

 

prospecting

 

1. More Cold Calls Means More Sales

The success of your prospecting will be much greater if you make less calls and spend more time researching your prospect’s website prior to you picking up the phone. Many sales managers focus on the quantity of calls versus the quality of the call and this practice should be avoided.

 

2. No Sales Appointments for the Week

Make a goal for yourself – 5 new sales appointments each week. That’s not much to ask – it translates to just 1 appointment each business day. If this sounds like hard work, then you’re probably not investing the time and the energy to make engaging and strategic outreaches.

 

3. No Content Management System (CMS)

Every prospect call made should be properly documented in a easy to use contact management software program. In your notes, detail facts such as what the company does, the names of the c-level executive, recent news, birthdays, and main competitors should always be included. Review those notes every time you make a follow up call. More importantly, don’t type all your notes in the system while you are on the phone with the prospect. Take out a pen and paper and write down the notes as you speak. When done, summarize the main points in the CMS.

 

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About iRISEmedia

iRISEmedia.com is a web design, social media marketing, online marketing, and online advertising firm in Toronto, Canada. Our team helps clients increase their reach and profitability by developing and implementing customized and targeted online and social media marketing strategies. We service clients in Toronto, Ontario, the GTA and throughout Canada as well as globally.

 

7 Mistakes Unsuccessful Job Seekers Make

anon

girl-presentation-quizzical-skeptical-confused-listeningRICHARD KIRBY, PERSONAL BRANDING BLOG
DEC. 12, 2013

WARNING: Occasionally I lapse into tough love mode when trying to get the attention of those who are carelessly hurting themselves and their loved ones.

This is one of those times.

Over the years, I have seen more than my share of job seekers lose their marriages, their homes, and more due to being lackadaisical. So, I broach this subject not in a spirit of criticism or judgment, but rather in a spirit of wanting to help as many people as possible gain the careers and incomes they desire.

Here’s a question I ask that you consider carefully: If you are currently looking for a new job, whether employed or unemployed, are you a lackadaisical job seeker? If you are not familiar with this unusual word, see here.

This word is delightfully evocative, bringing to mind some languid person lolling on a couch while all around goes to ruin, so accurately evoking its modern idea of somebody who lacks enthusiasm and determination or is carelessly lazy.

Avoiding common behaviors of lackadaisical job seekers will improve the attractiveness of your personal brand, contribute to your job search results, and make you feel better about yourself and your future prospects.

Here is a short list of lackadaisical job seeker behaviors:

1. Returning calls days later rather than hours or minutes later.
2. Losing self control in conversations and either talking too much or not answering questions.
3. Spending the majority of time at home applying for jobs online.
4. Sending out mass emails asking for help.
5. Finding escapes from working at it, such as television or shopping or golf.
6. Attending group networking events, job fairs, etc.
7. Wasting time and precious energy blaming a boss (or the economy or a spouse or others) for the current situation.

The self absorbed job seeker is a familiar stereotype. Let me share an example of #2 that happened to me this week…

I was speaking with a financial executive who left his last full-time job in 2011. For the last two years, he has been working freelance projects. Early in our discussion, one of my questions evoked a long-winded response that dance around the point rather than addressing it.

My advice: Don’t frustrate people who can help you by droning on and on. And stop and consider for a moment that, although someone may be expressing an interest in you, this doesn’t mean they are OK with you monopolizing the conversation in self-absorbed bliss, ignoring the fact that they are a fellow human being who also has needs. I know this sounds harsh, but I speak with multiple job seekers each week who fit the stereotype.

This example is particularly relevant to job search networking. As noted in the networking chapter of “Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),

Once you have gotten to know each other a bit, your next goal is to identify how you may be able to help them. Don’t skip this step! If how you can help them is not clear, then you can be direct and ask, “How can I best help you?” This seems obvious, but you would be amazed how many networkers fail to ask a question such as this.

If you are offended by my example and are sure you don’t “do #2″ on people, then please don’t string me up by the thumbs via a critical comment. I’m not talking about you. I am, however, talking about the majority of job seekers who don’t recognize that they do this.

My seven item list could be a lot longer. But, this is a good start. As a job seeker, avoiding as many of these behaviors as possible will definitely contribute to your future success… which is what I want for you. Good luck and happy (job) hunting!

This article originally appeared at Personal Branding Blog. Copyright 2014.

Read more: http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/the-seven-habits-of-lackadaisical-job-seekers/#ixzz3GetZzl2P

The 13 Worst Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

anon

startup-entrepreneurBy: ERIK SHERMAN

There are many mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur: marketing mistakes, decision-making mistakes, technology mistakes, and so much more.

But there are mistakes that slow you down and ones that can stop you dead in your tracks. A recent discussion on Quora focused on the unavoidable mistakes that new entrepreneurs often make. There were many good suggests from businesspeople who chimed in. Here are 13 that were particularly insightful and sticky.

Hide from problems

When things go wrong, what you absolutely, positively, without a doubt should not do is hide. Only when you face the issues do you have a chance of finding solutions. That also means to avoid pretending that all is well with investors and staff. They can often be helpful, so why not let them?

Be all things to all potential customers

You can never please all the people all the time. One implication is that you will never develop a product or service that is attractive to the entire market, let alone all people. Don’t bother. Focus on what you can do for a particular subset.

Try to do too much at the start

You want a product or service that will startle everyone and draw buyers. It’s understandable, but there’s a tradeoff. If you spend too much time chasing perfection, you won’t have the time to chase customers, allowing a competitor to slip in with a product that may not be as amazing, but that has the advantage of being available for purchase.

Ignore the answers you get to the questions you ask

You will (or should) talk frequently to staff, investors, vendors, prospects, and customers. They can offer great insights and advice that can improve your business. But that only happens when you actually listen to what they say and not dismiss it. Not that you should automatically do what everyone tells you, but if you dismiss anything that doesn’t immediately agree with your assumptions, you’re going to tank your business.

Slavishly copy a successful startup

You’ve seen the new tech company, restaurant concept, consumer product, or some other successful new business. It’s an enormous mistake to try to copy what you just saw. You will have different abilities, resources, ideas, and opportunities. If you can’t significantly improve the idea, do something else. Why start off as an also-ran?

Think that great products are enough to succeed

Ralph Waldo Emerson was wrong. Build a better mousetrap and the world will not beat a path to your door. You need to create a strong business, learn to market, and handle problems. Only a fully-developed company will succeed. A great product alone is likely to fade into obscurity.

Skip the proof of concept

You’re sure that you know what people want. Of course you do. But what if you’re wrong? Unthinkable, of course, but it’s all too possible. Rather than assume your omniscience, test your ideas. Better to find and fix the problems at the start so you can proceed more smoothly and successfully.

Rush to economies of scale

You want your business to be a blockbuster. But don’t plan on it. Building an infrastructure and hiring the people necessary for a big rollout is a mistake if you do that too early because you’ll burn through resources before you can justify the expense. Catching up to growth is painful, but never catching up to capacity is much worse.

Stay fixed on your vision

Entrepreneurs are often passionate about their concepts and plans. That doesn’t mean the world is. People may react differently than you expected. Changing circumstances might close some doors or open others. Adapt your idea as necessary to make the business work.

Run out of cash

Money is the blood of your company. If you don’t cut expenses wherever possible without threatening the quality of your products or operations, you open a corporate vein and bleed onto the floor. Forget the fancy office or perks. The more money you save, the more time you have to get things right and see the business blossom.

Work out the details with co-founders later

You go into business with a partner, maybe an old friend, and suddenly things don’t work the way you expected. Someone isn’t putting in the effort or can’t get the necessary results. If you haven’t considered such issues as a parting of the ways, who has the final say on decisions, or how or when you cash out, then you are an accident waiting to happen. Get the details straight at the beginning.

Hiring the easy gets

Hiring is a painful and expensive undertaking. You meet people who seem to be matches and so want to bring them on. Resist and create a real HR process. Evaluate and vet candidates, and get the types of expertise, both technical and managerial, your company will need.

Be satisfied with basic financial data

A bookkeeper and a copy of QuickBooks is not a financial system. If your intent is to make the company grow, you need accounting that is complaint with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, as that’s what investors, acquiring companies, or the stock market will expect. Set it up right from the beginning. In addition, work out what metrics will be most important to various aspects of the business and generate those numbers. Know the incremental cost of an additional product unit, how expensive it is to acquire a news customer, the average customer’s lifetime value, or whatever else might make a difference to how you make decisions.

Read more: http://www.inc.com/erik-sherman/13-business-killing-mistakes-to-avoid.html#ixzz3GdF9ey4w