Tools To Die For

It’s the halfway point of 2012, and I have one extremely important question for everyone.  What services, apps, or websites are still on your “can’t live without” list?

I’m not sure when the Social Media boom officially hit, but I know for me I really started to pay attention in 2008.  I think when Twitter got hot, this whole movement became very real.  However, in the four years since I started paying attention, some have gone by the wayside, but some have remained and are still important.

Google Reader
Remember The Milk
Google Voice
Google +
Google Drive
Google Talk
You Tube
Google Alerts
Google Bookmarks

SocialMedian (before XING)

Gist – this one is the most difficult for me.  I love when they came out.  I loved the fact that I used to find past email conversations with any of my contacts with ease.   But for over a year, I have had error messages whenever I try to do that.  And their Android app is terrible.
CircleBack – when it was DubMeNow, it worked better, IMHO.  It’s still a great place to put all of your contacts.  But with Linkedin Card Munch, CardCloud, and Hello by Evernote coming on, it’s only a matter of time before this disappears from my phone.
Pandora – still a great service, but with Spotify on the scene, I find myself logging in less than once a quarter.


I would be very interested to hear which ones you are still using and which ones you have discarded.  I also want to know about great tools that I didn’t mention.


You’re Using Your Phone To Make Calls?

At the beginning of the year, I read this article by Brad McCarty about how smartphones are no longer for calls but for notifications.   As a publicist who came of age in the early 90’s, this trend is mindblowing to me. I spent countless hours making and taking calls in order to secure coverage. I remember plenty of days when my boss would be tethered to her phone (we didn’t rock cordless then) from morning to evening. My runs for lunch and coffee were very common.

Some of you young’uns may not understand the irony – we all crave phones like oxygen, yet we do not use the voice feature as the prime reason to have a phone.  Phone was once synonymous with talking.

I used an Inbound/Outbound Call Log for two decades.  If someone left a voicemail, I would write the message down on this pad.  I just realized I haven’t purchased one in a few years.  Now info gets to me via email, Google Voice transcription, tweets, Facebook messages, Skype, IM’s, and BBM’s.  I don’t have to write it down, because it’s already written on my screen or phone.

Pay attention to these paradigm shifts.  Not only do you want to be able to tell your grandkids that you looked in the newspaper to find out what was playing at the local cinema, but you also want to make sure that when these things happen, you stay in front of it by monitoring the conversations.  That’s how you will know about the new possibilities. There’s nothing worse than being late to the game as it relates to changes in your industry.

As a side note: I guess you don’t need to call folks anymore because you probably know where they are (Foursquare), what they are doing (Twitter), and what they are thinking (Facebook).

I Lost My Blackberry And Didn’t Panic

Happy New Year!

On New Year’s Eve Eve, I went to Newark’s Prudential Center with my six year old son to watch the Harlem Globetrotters play. Somewhere between the parking lot (one of the farther ones, since I was too cheap to pay top price for parking) and my seat, my phone tumbled out of my holster.

While it was a bummer that I couldn’t check in to Foursquare for the event or send pix of my son having a good time via Blackberry Messenger to my wife, I wasn’t devastated.

For one, I still had my previous Curve. One call to Verizon and they switched my number back to the older model.

Two, I just did a backup of my SD card, so my pictures and music are on my computer.

Three, I make and receive most of my cell calls via Google Voice. So, just about all of my contacts are saved via Gmail/Google Voice/Google Contacts and Google Mobile Apps makes it easy to search for contact info (especially now with the enhanced gmail plugin)

Four, Verizon Wireless has Backup Assistant, which regularly backs up the native Blackberry contact list to its site.

Five, YouMail handles the voicemail for people who call my cell phone number instead of the Google Voice number.  I get emails (with the audio link) when someone leaves a message.  I don’t need to have my phone at all times to get notified of new voicemails.

While I like the increased memory in the unit I lost, I can deal with my older model without losing a step (I was out of pocket for 3 hours) until the next Blackberry sale.

We all know how important it is to backup, but I think we are also seeing how key it is to go to the cloud as well.  Your data doesn’t have to be held hostage to a physical unit.

So will one of your New Year’s Resolutions be about spending more time in the cloud?

The Best Blackberry App For Networkers

If your Blackberry doubles as your computer, because you are on the go, then having Google Mobile App on the phone is a must.  I talked about it before, but the recent changes to the search feature make this app critical for folks who are constantly emailing and making calls away from the office.

If you are like me, your contact list is a little too big for Blackberry’s hard drive to deal with.  I hate having to do battery pulls for my Curve 8530 – so I have a skeleton list on my phone.  Doing contact searches in the  GMail app is hit or miss for me. If I’m trying to find a name I haven’t pulled up in awhile, I get that “This program requires a working data connection. Please check your signal strength” message.  Which is ludicrous.

But with the Google Mobile App, you can do quick searches for names and info from Google, GMail, and Google Docs. And I use all of these products, so this is right up my alley.  It also unofficially searches Google Voice, because if you run your email through GMail and get your GVoice notifications at that email address, then all texts and voice message notifications can be searched.

If you’ve made a ton of calls on Google Voice or put 5,000 names in GMail contacts , then you will love this.

What do you think is the best Blackberry app?

So Busy Networking, I Had No Time To Post

Yeah, I know what you’re saying.  “Bryan, you better make time!”  And that’s true.  I apologize for the absense.  I also had a server issue that knocked me out of commission for over a week.

My title is not an excuse for not posting.  Posting can be vital to networking success, so it should have been on my schedule.   No ifs, ands or buts.  I must say that the posts I viewed while I was on the go, helped me when networking at various group meetings and one-to-one meetings.  Stuff from Larry Sharpe (Don’t Give Out Your Business Card), Ivan Misner (3 Ways To Get More Business At Your Next Networking Event), and Valeria Maltoni (How I Use LinkedIn Content For Intelligence)…just to name a few, was fascinating stuff to check out.

I also planned to review some helpful apps and things that enabled me to stay connected while I was on the go, but like I said in a previous post, smarter people than me have contributed great reviews/how-to’s already, so I will just link to hem. The following helped me immensely when my hosting company’s server went haywire rendering mewith no website or spotty email. Here’s my list:

Google Calendar (though I am playing around with
Google Voice
DimDim (thanks for the tip, Francisco)
Google Mobile Apps for Blackberry

I promise to not be out of touch for so long…regardless of the circumstances.  Let me know which ones you use or if there are some other apps that are worth pursuing.