Blackberry Protect Is A Must Have App For Your Blackberry

Last night I had a slight panic when I realized I had misplaced my phone while at law school.  I use ‘slight’ to describe my level of panic because I had previously installed Blackberry Protect on my beloved Bold 9930.  Blackberry Protect is an application that provides a host of features, like cloud backup and restore, GPS location of the phone, remote lockout, remote wipe, and remote messaging and audible alerts.  I had never used Blackberry Protect’s features beside cloud backup until last night.

When my federal income tax ended, I mistakenly left my phone on the seat adjacent to mine.  I then went to my debtor/creditor rights class and ten minutes after sitting down I realized I didn’t have my phone.  Luckily, I had access to the internet (I take notes on my laptop), so I logged into the Blackberry Protect website.  Below is a screen capture of Blackberry Protect, showing what you can do to locate your phone or take other measures to remotely secure it.

I viewed the location of my phone and saw that it was likely at my law school (there may be a discrepancy of where the GPS says the phone is and where it actually is).  I then locked it remotely, meaning that someone could not use the phone or access and information on the phone without a password I designated.  Thanks to Blackberry Protect, I now had the peace of mind that if I could not find my phone, someone else couldn’t use it or the information on it (personal logins, emails, etc).  The screen capture doesn’t show the final step a user can take if he or she cannot recover the phone.   Blackberry Protect allows users to remotely wipe the phone, thereby removing all personal information, email accounts, etc. from the phone.

I waited until my debtor/creditor rights class was over and returned to the classroom where my federal income class is taught.  I couldn’t find the phone when I looked for it, so I logged back into Blackberry Protect through my laptop, and sent a message to my phone, instructing it to play an audible tone. My phone played the tone, even though I had set the ringer to silent.  I then easily found my phone and left the classroom greatly relieved.

If you are a Blackberry owner, you should install Blackberry Protect on your phone.  It’s free and simple to use.  If you don’t have a Blackberry, you should see if a similar application exists for your phone.  Blackberry users, do you use Blackberry Protect?  Android and iPhone users, what apps are available to help you locate your phone?

Blogging with a Nexus 7


I recently tried using my Blackberry Playbook to blog so I wanted to see how my Nexus 7 would work for mobile blogging. The test is a bit different since I’m using the WordPress Android app instead of accessing my blog over the internet and I’m using the onscreen keyboard instead of a Bluetooth keyboard. 

So far, I’m really impressed with the Nexus 7. I picked it up so I would have a reference device to test how clients’ websites display on Android devices but I’m finding that the Nexus 7 is becoming my go-to tablet device. I still have some apprehensions about using an Android device but the Nexus 7 but its excellent design and OS are winning me over. The Jellybean OS runs great on the Nexus 7 and the tablet itself is easy to hold and use thanks to its design and the material used on its back.  So far battery life has been excellent and the selection of apps optimized for the Nexus 7 increases each day. I can definitely see myself using the Nexus 7 for mobile blogging or to post when I don’t have my laptop. 

What’s your mobile device of choice for blogging on the go?

Blogging From My Blackberry Playbook

I broke the case for my Blackberry Playbook so I thought I would try out the Mini Keyboard pictured above instead of going back to an Otterbox or Ballistic type case. It’s pretty unusual, to say the least, to type on such a small keyboard. I like the portability and weight of the Mini Keyboard and Playbook, but I think I’ll stick to blogging from my laptop. Anyone out there using a physical keyboard with their tablets? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on and experience with whatever you’re using.

I’m Impressed with the Monster Clarity HD Precision Micro Bluetooth Speaker

My wife returned from a business trip with a bunch of goodies in a “swag bag” she received at her conference.  I put dibs on this one as soon as I saw it.

If you’re looking for a bluetooth speaker that has awesome clarity for hands-free calling and/or conference calls while also great sound for your music library or streaming apps, the Monster Clarity HD Precision Micro may be for you.  Since it uses Bluetooth, any device so equipped should work fine with the Clarity HD.  I use a Blackberry Bold 9930, and pairing the phone to the Clarity HD Precision Micro was a snap.  I streamed music using the Pandora and Slacker Radio apps on my Blackberry and also placed a few calls using the Clarity HD Precision Micro.  The music sounded great as did the calls.  While I may not have much use for it now, I would have bought this in a second if it was available when I traveled for my previous jobs.  I also would pick this up if I worked somewhere that has a BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) policy and used smartphones as the primary way for employees to communicate with each other or with clients (places with remote offices, etc.).

You can find the Clarity HD Precision Micro on Amazon, Best Buy (and probably lots of other places).  You can read more about it here and here.

Are there any other products you would recommend similar to the Clarity HD Precision Micro?

Automated Slide Shows vs. Walk Arounds for Dealership Generated Digital Content

HD video cameras such as the Flip and content hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo ushered a golden age of sharing digital video content.  Before this democratization of digital content creation and distribution, it was prohibitively expensive for dealerships to fully leverage existing technology to create compelling visual content.  Back then, because of these costs and distribution venues limited to broadcast/cable television, the format of video content was almost exclusively commercials, focused on particular bargains offered for a limited time, and to a lesser extent, infomercials, which spanned a wide variety of topics.  Very rarely would you see dealership-generated content broadcast on television that varied from a deal-specific advertising message.

Now, with a HD video camera, relatively inexpensive and standard on a host of smartphones such as the iPhone, and decent editing software, dealers can create compelling digital content and distribute this content to viewers in their local market and around the world.  But, while the tools are more accessible than before, the challenge now is creating content that resonates with consumers.  Various vendors that serve the automotive industry have stepped in to fill this content void that many stores face.

At my previous dealership, we used a service similar to the dealer below to generate content for YouTube.  This format is known as a ‘slide show’ because the video is created using photography provided by the dealer:

Some dealers are using another approach, which is to generate content specific to a particular vehicle in a “walk-around” format created by an actual person and not a digital service.  In the automotive industry, a walk-around is a presentation on a vehicle where a sales person literally walks a customer around the vehicle, noting particular features and benefits that the vehicle has.  For example, with the customer at the rear of the vehicle, the sales person may explain the LED tail lights that are standard on the vehicle and how LED lighting fires quicker and is brighter on average that a typical bulb, which notifies people who you are in front of, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.   Below is an example of this approach:

The slide shows are automated, while the walk-around presentation above is labor and time intensive.  The quality of a particular walk-around presentation depends solely on the skill and expertise of whoever at the dealership is tasked with creating this content.  If the dealership has the wrong person making this video, a consumer may be turned off because of issues with the video like poor audio, poor video or poor information provided in the video.  While slide shows are not labor intensive, do not rely on the skills of the dealership’s employees, and can be executed on a consistent and timely basis, they are far from perfect.  The program often mispronounces features and equipment, is very impersonal and may not highlight the features and benefits important to consumers.

So, which do you think is a more effective method?  If you were looking to purchase a vehicle, which format would give the seller top-of-mind awareness, assuming quality was the same?  How should a dealership measure effectiveness; views on YouTube, conversions on the dealer’s website, or some other method?  Is there a place for both, or neither, in a dealer’s digital marketing plans?