Are you looking to purchase a set top-box / media streaming device but can’t decide which one? Hands down Logitech Revue with Google TV is the way to go.
I had Boxee Box first and fell in love. The setup was relatively easy, and with no base for comparison it seemed to have a slew of features. I was able to attach an external storage device to it and use it to play music, videos (not .3gp Android Videos) or create slideshows of favorite photos. The remote was small but featured a full qwerty keyboard on the back that seamed ingenious. I could stream Netflix, listen to Pandora, watch YouTube videos. However, it was terribly unstable. Applications would hang, or lose functionality, and the Boxee Box constantly required a reboot. I could only open a few apps, or even search for a few songs on Vevo before it would freeze up. Several of their popular apps had similar issues, if they worked at all. Web browsing was also a very clunky experience, with limited functionality on many sites.
Then Logitech’s Revue with Google TV came into my life and I haven’t looked back. I purchased this on a whim, with pretty low expectations, after the announcement that its price had dropped below $100 (from $300) and that Google was working to add the Honeycomb Android operating system to it, with the Android market, which would allow me to install apps to the device just like a tablet or smartphone. Initially, the setup was a bit more involved than the Boxee Box had been, however this extra effort is due to some added functionality. Its remote control is a hybrid between a PC keyboard and a Harmony remote and has the ability to control all of my entertainment devices (TV, Cable Box, Audio Receiver, and Revue). I was able to get through the configuration in about 15 minutes, thanks to the fact that I already own a harmony remote and had been familiar with the setup and where my model #’s lived on my devices. At first the remote seemed huge, but once I started using it made perfect sense. It’s basically a full wireless keyboard with touchpad and it makes searching the web and using the apps so easy. Using the Revue is a seamless experience. Since the cable box is routed through the Revue to my TV, I don’t need to change the input on my TV or change the AV output, as the cable box and Revue are fed off the same signal. Google and Logitech made a concerted effort on stability when they teamed up to build this device, and it shows. I’ve only had to reboot the device a handful of times since setting it up, whereas I may have had that many reboots in a single day with the Boxee Box. When you use the search button on the keyboard you are searching Google, your Revue, YouTube, and your cable channels. This powerful search functionality is amazing. You can also use the Revue in a PIP mode, so you can see and hear your TV shows while playing with the Revue configuration…or better yet to watch your FF scores, while keeping an eye on the live games. The internet browser appears to be some form of Chrome, so where many sites failed on the Boxee Box, the Revue excels and mimics the ease of web browsing on a computer. The stock apps on
the Revue appear to be less apps and more specially designed web pages that feed your content, but I have had no complaints with the way these work or with their stability.
Also. The Revue is thin and sleek and fit on my entertainment console without needing to move anything around. It slid right on top of my cable box and is almost unnoticeable. The Boxee Box’s awkward cube shape stuck out like a sore thumb.
My only real complaint about the Revue is that the interface is a little less intuitive than the Boxee, similar to any other Android device. It takes a little tweaking and playing to learn all that can be done with the UI to make it most useable. Hopefully this will be improved with the release of Honeycomb this fall. For nearly $100 less, the Google Revue not only beats out Boxee Box on price but also functionality.
Do you use a set-top box or streaming media device? Have you tried the Revue or Boxee Box? What do you think?
Company websites provide a few different ways to contact the business with service related questions or technical issues by listing a phone number to call, an address to mail or visit, and more commonly these days is a free online service to chat with a live customer service representative who will create a support ticket for you.
When visiting a company website looking for a way to report a technical issue, you may see a “free chat service” button on the service or support page or a little box that flies onto the screen with a photo of a person wearing a headset with text that reads, “Want to chat? Click here now”. Instead of sitting on your phone selecting options and waiting on hold for 5 minutes, live chat service provides the opportunity to get answers fast. Chatting with a customer service rep can be convenient to find out new information, report a technical issue or ask a question about a company service. The customer service representative can quickly create a new service ticket and schedule time for a technician to assist you with your issue.
Some benefits to using live chat for service or support issues are:
- Your question or issue is handled almost immediately
- Generally, you find out more information than before the chat started
- Whether your question is answered right away or an appointment is made for an actual phone call with a technician, most likely you will be more satisfied by the end of the conversation knowing an action plan
- A transcript of the entire chat conversation can be e-mailed to save in your records and for future reference
So next time you are visiting a company website looking for a way to submit a service request and you see a “Want to chat?” button, take advantage of the opportunity to chat with a live customer service rep for technical assistance or ask a general question; you will probably feel more satisfied than you did before the chat began.
Want to install a free customer chat program to service current and potential clients visiting your company website? Try using Comm100, a free customer service and customer communication software provider. Click here to read more and install the software, http://www.comm100.com/livechat/install.aspx
It’s a new year, which means it’s time for new business strategies to keep your small business evolving and always fresh and new. It’s time to develop new ways to keep your desktops clutter-free and create a much more organized office space for more efficiency all around the office.
Meet, “Future Office”.
Remember on The Jetsons, how all of their futuristic household electronics seemed so far-fetched? You were laughing back then, but now we use Skype for video phone calls across the world, electric hybrid cars, the electric Roomba vacuum cleaning robot, a single handheld device used for surfing the Internet, talking on the phone, taking photos, video chat and watching movies — also known as a the iPhone, the Segway transports security cops around the mall with authority and a bit of humor, and there’s the countless wireless electronics that allow us to break free from sitting still.
How is it that as modern technology continues to successfully evolve, using endless amounts of paper in the office is still very slow to progress? Most business owners are still not completely confident in trusting technology to improve their business lives even though their lives outside the office have improved immensely thanks to modern technology.
Future Office technology does not just mean using modern technology, like computers, projectors and printers. It refers to what we are using these modern technological machines for. No one uses a typewriter anymore because it’s not anywhere nearly as advanced as a computer and especially because it uses paper. Yet for some reason, after we type on a computer, we still bother to print the document and pop it in the mailbox or into a fax machine. While technology has evolved, the concept has remained exactly the same. Why on earth are we still printing documents to mail and fax?
The ultimate Future Office would not contain any paper. Every document would be received by e-mail, downloaded from a website, or received by an electronic fax website service. All out-going mail would be e-mailed or electronically faxed using a website service. All magazines, newspapers, bills, checks and invoices would be subscribed to online or delivered directly to your inbox.
If we have computers, then there is no more need for filing cabinets taking up space in your offices. Desk drawers would only contain a small stash of emergency post-it notes, a couple of pens, a pack of gum, and hand sanitizer. Take a look around your desk area right now. Look through your drawers. How many items do you see that exist only for the sole purpose to accommodate the use of paper? A plethora of pens and pencils, tape, stapler, tacks, paperclips, bulletin board, scissors, filing cabinets, binders, highlighters, Sharpies, folders, and envelopes. Now imagine if all of those items disappeared and ask yourself, “Do I even really need any of this stuff if we didn’t use paper?”
I bet a good third of you could go paperless tomorrow (as long as it’s a regular business day). Because you already have a computer and the internet. That’s virtually all you need. Sure you have filing cabinets full of old papers, but the operative word there is “old”; Expired, Obsolete, Ancient, In-the-past. All you need now is a scanner to scan all of your beloved (legal) documents stuffed inside your filing cabinets and load them neatly into digital folders on your hand-dandy computer.
The content of the Internet is always expanding, therefore the infrastructure of Internet service providers has to expand as well. For years, dial-up connections were sufficient to deal with the simple webpages, bulletin boards, and Usenet groups that made up the web. However, soon people found ways to compress music into manageable file sizes (the .mp3 format), create massive online databases with graphical clients (online video games), and share pictures with each other online.
DSL and Cable provided the next step allowing those mediums to flow and develop, and allow the growth of media and interactive content into forms like YouTube and Facebook. Now we have the ability to stream entire libraries of High-Def content to our systems (Hulu, Netflix) and new “cloud computing” technologies are emerging that will allow people to use the power of a system elsewhere and stream the results to their own system allowing them to use on their tablets, netbooks, and iPads, which used to be only possible with a very powerful desktop.
Net Neutrality: All Bits Are Created Equal
The concern that Internet providers have with not being able to keep up with the growth and provide speedy service is a concern that their systems will not be able to compete, and someone else like Verizon FiOS or Google Fiber will be able to step in to provide the required service by taking over and replacing them. Most DSL connections no longer qualify as “High Speed” connections under many standards and cable companies are worried that they are already having problems keeping up with systems like Verizon FiOS. As speed and bandwidth requirements increase it will require a massive investment by cable companies to improve or replace their infrastructure, otherwise they may go the way of AOL (purchased by Time Warner) and Prodigy (purchased by AT&T).
From a customer’s perspective, Internet providers were considering technology to set limits, or intentionally degrade service, allowing you to pay your monthly fee, but then tag on additional charges for allowing you to view YouTube, access Facebook, or stream from services like Netflix or Hulu. Another example would be Comcast’s recent purchase of NBC, and a concern arose that Comcast may see it as profitable to provide faster service to NBC shows and news, while degrading service to competitors like Fox News or independent news groups that are critical of Comcast business practices.
In part, net neutrality is about preventing corporate censorship and preventing unfair corporate practices, but it is more so about encouraging continued innovation and growth in technology and communications.
Net Neutrality refers to the idea that all websites are entitled to the same amount of broadband speed and space/access on the Internet. Even though an Internet service provider like Comcast could quite possibly charge space and speed of any website on its Internet service, this new law prohibits that from happening. Without this law, smaller companies that perhaps couldn’t afford to pay for the speed and space on the web will continue amongst the competition for all Internet websites.
This law neutralizes the rights of all website owners to equal presence on the Internet. However, this law was just recently put into effect…
“The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to adopt “Net neutrality” rules, giving the agency regulatory power to protect the free flow of information over the Internet.
Net neutrality means that all content on the Internet must be treated equally, so Internet providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable can’t deliver Amazon.com faster than eBay, and can’t simply block access to sites like Netflix and Hulu.
The Internet is changing and the rapid growth of online video from YouTube, Netflix and Skype is sucking up bandwidth, making it difficult for Internet providers to give speedy service to all of their customers.”
Read more & see the video on CNN.com, http://ow.ly/3xZx1
Do you think that any company willing to pay should be entitled to quicker broadband speed and more media & data space on the Internet? If you answered ‘yes’, what do you think will happen to the many start-ups and smaller businesses out there trying to make their name on the Internet in a sea of giant, international corporation’s websites?
Many local businesses still rely heavily on word-of-mouth and printed material for marketing to existing and perspective clients. Now in the digital age, the most tangible and effective method of communication and interaction between businesses and consumers is for companies to own a custom-made website on the Internet. A unique, one-of-a-kind, company branded website provides a good sense of what the company will be like even before a phone call or visit to the store; sort of like making a sale before the sale.
Does your small business currently have a company website? I applaud those of you who raised your hand. As for the rest of you, what’s the hold up? Continuing to let your business spiral down the drain by not having a company website is really a terrible plan for a successful future in your industry. Your competitors are probably thriving based on great customer service, great selection of products and services, and also because they have a company website.
Here is a good analogy explaining why having a company website is vital: You know those annoying CAPTCHA things on websites where you have to enter a random practically undecipherable code to ensure the response you’re submitting is not generated by a robot? Yeah, those. Having a company website is sort of like that: your company website cannot be updated by a robot nor can a robot pay for your monthly hosting service to keep your company website online. In other words, if your company website is up and running, your business must be as well. While it can take months for Yellow Pages to update your business listing and a week for the mailman to deliver your company newsletter, a website can be updated in seconds. To put it all into perspective: the magazine issue that published your product of the month club ad in 1997 will continue to exist long after your business goes under.
At the end of the day, the only sure way for prospective customers to know your small business is still going full force is to visit your company website on the Internet; hopefully containing fresh content, highlighting new products and services, all in hopes of increasing sales and contribute to your already flourishing business.