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Digital Storage Solutions for Teams: Google Drive

Google Drive might be one of the most prevalent forms of digital storage for teams due to how many people actively use Gmail. When you sign up for a Gmail account, you automatically have a Google Drive account and are allocated 15 GB of free online storage to keep your photos, stories, designs, videos, and more. Once your files are stored in Drive they can be reached from any smartphone, tablet or computer, much other cloud storage solutions.

History of Drive

Created by Google and launched in April of 2012, Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service that allows users to store files in the cloud, share files and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with collaborators. Included in the Google Drive suite are Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, an office suite where you can collaboratively edit documents and more. This feature is somewhat unique to Drive as Dropbox doesn’t have a competitor and the iCloud version works a little differently. You can view documents offline and edit them, but your changes will not be saved until you are connected to the internet. Currently there are more than 240 million active users of Drive.

How We Use It

At Foojee we use Google Drive in a very specific way. It’s a great way to actively navigate shared ‘sheets’ which we regularly use to track hours, mileage and other important company data. Drive is great because of it’s built in office suite. We can quickly open, edit and close spreadsheets, docs, and presentations within our browsers without having to open another application. These documents can also be shared with people outside of our organization or with an accountant who may need to see that information to make sure contractors and employees get paid correctly. To be totally honest we use Drive almost exclusively for the docs and spreadsheets. 

As far as storing actual files in Drive, we don’t do much of that. It can absolutely be used to store files and organizationally used in a similar way to Dropbox (If you missed last week’s post on Dropbox, we recommend you check it out). You can upload files and organize them in folders. Drive actually has a great search tool that will help you locate any files you have uploaded. We were already set up on Dropbox and we aren’t wild about some of Google’s privacy policies so we opted to stick with the former instead of switching to Drive.

Security

Google and security is always an interesting conversation. There have been a couple of data hacks in the past, but recently Google has done a better job of securing everyone’s data. The only area of concern for some is that Google has a close relationship with US intelligence agencies and provides information to them upon request. There’s always more to the story, but it’s not our area of expertise so we try to avoid that conversation.

On the upside, Google also offers two-step authentication for greater security so when enabled users must provide a short random code that is sent to their phones via text message. Google has also switched to user secure sockets layer communication (HTTPS) by default. Third-party Google Drive plugins do exist that enable ‘at rest encryption’ of data stored, which adds yet another layer of security.

Pricing

Google Drive, like many services offers a freemium plan. When you create your account you are given 15 GB of cloud storage for free. You can choose to sit on that amount or Google offers tiered pricing.

15GB -  Free

100 GB - $1.99/month

1 TB - $9.99/month

10 TB - $99.99/month

20 TB - $199.99/month

30 TB - $299.99/month

We can’t even fathom using 30 TB of cloud storage, but if your company is big enough and you need that size solution then Drive might be just what you need. We aren’t processing many documents or much data through Google so we’ve been able to manage just fine with the free account.

Final Word

Google Drive bears a striking resemblance to Dropbox in many ways, but where it differs is the inclusion of it’s native, online-based office suite. For some companies, having the ability to collaborate on documents online and in real-time is incredibly important and useful. If you can look past the office suite, then Dropbox might be better for you, especially if security and user experience are important to you. Having multiple Gmail (or Google) accounts logged in and trying to switch between them and all of the documents contained in each can quickly become a hassle. Switching between ‘personal’ and ‘work’ Dropbox accounts is simple and streamlined. 

Ultimately, we recommend you spend a week or two using any of the services we discuss and decide what will work best for you and your workflow or even your company. If you have questions or opinions on the services we’ve talked about so far, we would love to hear them in the comments below!

Digital Storage Solutions for Teams: Dropbox

When it comes to Digital Storage in the workplace, there are a number of viable options. Some of you might be asking why digital storage is necessary when you can have a local copy of your documents on your device or you can save files to a centralized server. Those are both great to have, but what if your hard drive fails or worse, what if the server in your office dies and all of your stored data is lost? All of that precious client data and countless hours of work could be gone in the blink of an eye.

One of your options is to have the documents you regularly need and use stored in the cloud. Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring, in-depth, the cloud storage solutions currently available to you. We have tested and tried these services and found what we like best, but we will objectively give you the information you need to make the best decision for your needs.

History of Dropbox

Dropbox is a file hosting service headquartered in San Francisco, California, that offers not only cloud storage, but file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. Dropbox bills itself as a home for “all your photos, docs, videos, and files.” One of the cool features about installing Dropbox on your laptop or desktop is that it allows you to create a special folder on your machine which Dropbox synchronizes so it appears to be the same same folder and same contents regardless of what computer is used to view it. When you place a file in this folder it then becomes accessible via the Dropbox website and it’s accompanying mobile app. Upon creating an account, Dropbox sets you up with a freemium account, meaning you are offered a free account with a set storage size and then offered the option of increasing your storage via paid subscriptions.

How We Use It

At Foojee we have a Dropbox Business account which means that everyone on our team is allotted 1TB of cloud storage. We use Dropbox to keep track of team passwords, client projects, marketing documents, operation documents, sales documents, our service infrastructure, and any presentation materials for workshops we host. Because we’re set up as a team, whenever a file is uploaded to the Foojee Dropbox account, everyone on the team then has instant access to that document. We can then open the documents directly on our devices, edit it (if necessary) and then save it back to Dropbox so everyone can access the updated file. It’s amazing to be able to share documents among 7 of us spread out around the metro Atlanta area, edit them in real time and then save the edited file right back to Dropbox so the next team member can pick up where the other left off.

Security

With Dropbox, your files are always safe because they are not stored locally. That means even if your device dies, your data is still stored in the cloud. Dropbox will even allow you to undo mistakes and undelete files if you accidentally put them in the trash.

Dropbox stores your file data using 256-bit AES encryption and they use a secure tunnel to transfer files between them and you. You can then securely access files and folders any time via the paths we’ve mentioned above. Dropbox also claims to work very hard to protect your information from unauthorized access and they have designed policies and controls to safeguard your data. Dropbox also allows you to enable two-step verification which makes your account that much harder t o infiltrate. Once two-step verification is enabled you will be required to enter your password and a 6-digit security code sent via text message in order to access your account.

If you’d like to go a step further, Dropbox allows you to easily monitor linked devices, active web sessions and third-party apps that have access to your account. If something looks funny to you, you can cut off access with a swift click. You can opt to receive notifications whenever a new device or app is linked to your account as well as having the ability to monitor all account activity.

Pricing

There are a few things to know about Dropbox pricing. As mentioned earlier, it is a freemium service. When you sign up for a ‘free’ account, you are automatically allocated 2 GB of storage that you can access from anywhere. You can then refer friends to start using Dropbox and if they sign up, Dropbox rewards you with more free storage (which is capped at 20 GB for free).

Also available to all users is Dropbox Pro which runs $9.99/month per user and allots 1 TB (1,000 GB) of space, additional sharing controls and the ability to remotely wipe your account.

Dropbox for Business is in a league of it’s own. When it comes to teams and digital storage, Dropbox has set up this pricing plan to be $15/user/month. With that pricing you are given “as much storage as you need”, unlimited file recovery, file sharing controls and priority support. 

Final Word

Dropbox is a powerful cloud storage solution not only for individuals, but for teams as well. Yes, you’re going to have to put up $15/month for each user in your company, but we believe that is worth having your data securely stored in the cloud just in case anything goes wrong with your local backups. 

Your employees can sign up for a personal Dropbox account and manage both their personal and work accounts from the same interface. We would encourage this because giving them the option of storing personal data is great, but without the personal account they’ll be more likely to store those files on your company account and that’s not ideal for anyone.

If you need to store documents, files, photos, and client data, then Dropbox might just be the right fit for you. At the very least, we would recommend giving it a test run for a few people on your team, allowing some time to get a flow going, and then make a final decision.

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks as we dive into two alternative cloud storage solutions: Google Drive and iCloud!

Let's Talk Evernote

Evernote is one of the most robust documentation apps available on the market today. Regardless of what you want or need, Evernote can probably deliver in one way or another. Today's post might run a little long, but we're not striving to cut corners, we're striving to give you the best information we can so you can go out and use what you've learned to improve your life and work flow.

That being said, people are always asking us what the best apps are and our response will almost always be "the one you'll use." What we mean by that is, the best app is the one you're going to use and will commit to using regularly. Sure, something better may come up in 6 months, but until then we wholeheartedly believe in committing and working with what you have in front of you. Like any tool, you need to understand how to use it completely so you can then create anything you want. Can you imagine trying to make a kitchen table without understanding how to use a table saw? It would be nearly impossible. Until you take the time to learn and get comfortable with Evernote, don't expect to be a master of documentation.

Pros of Evernote

Evernote is simple and easy to use. Once you spend a little bit of time getting used to the interface and understand where everything is, using the app becomes a breeze. You can absolutely make Evernote what you want with ease. Understanding how to manage notebooks and the notes within them will make your life much easier. Evernote is always with you. The iOS app is just as robust as the app available for your Mac. The two versions easily sync together making sure that any and all changes are accessible on whatever device you are using at the time. Possibly one of the best features of Evernote is that it's searchable. We'll get into the functionality of search later in this article, but being able to search tags or keywords in your notes makes life so much easier.

Note Functionality

Any time you create a note within Evernote you can customize just about anything. Much like a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Pages, you can change fonts, alignments, and highlights. Also available for your customization are bullets as well as checkboxes in case you need to create a "To-Do" list or a grocery list. Reminders are included within notes along with tables so you can fathom the varied functionality. You should also keep in mind that you can attach audio files, images and other types of files to notes. Evernote even allows you to draw or handwrite your notes if you have an iPad (using apps like Penultimate). 

Notebooks

Notebooks may be one of the best parts about Evernote. It's amazing to be able to organize notebooks based on your own personal preferences. Our recommendation is to have at least one 'personal' notebook, one 'work' notebook, and then have others as needed such as a medical notebook, sermon notebook (if you're a church person), project notebook, and shared notebooks. All of these can be incredibly useful if you put in the small amount of effort it takes to keep up with them.

Tags

Tags are also arguably one of the best features of Evernote. Whenever you create a note, you have the ability to tag that note with specific keywords that will enable you to search and find it easily later down the road. Tags are the most flexible way to organize because you can create notes without regard to what notebook they are in, but later when you want to find that note you can just search the tag you added. Then regardless of which notebook the note is in, you can easily search and find exactly what you want. We still strongly advise you organize via notebooks, but if you don't then tagging will make your searches much easier.

Tags are also a great way to save articles that you want to read later on (we'll cover how to do this later in the article). You can tag important notes, client notes, team member notes, social media ideas and more. The list is only limited by your imagination and how creative you can get with your note organization. It is totally up to you how this plays out.

Search

Search in Evernote is one of the more robust tools available. I wish the search in my email worked as well as the search in Evernote. The beauty of this feature is that when search, Evernote is not only search typed text, but also handwritten text as well as text in any images you've attached to notes. You read that correctly. If you've uploaded any handwritten text or images with text to Evernote, then when you search a word or phrase Evernote will include all of those formats in it's search. When you are creating notes or uploading items to Evernote, the question you should always ask yourself is, "how will I search this in six months?" The answer to that question will help you determine the best way to organize your workflow within Evernote.

Reminders

You can make each individual note a reminder in Evernote. When you open a specific note, just look for an alarm clock icon and click it. You can then set a reminder for a date in the future, clear a reminder you've already set, or mark one as already done. You can also use these reminders to be 'due dates' if you need to keep yourself on a specific deadline. Reminders have saved our tails more times than we can count within Evernote.

Evernote Clipper

If you're going to commit to using Evernote then you need to install this extension in whatever browser you use (please tell us you're using Safari). Once you add the Evernote Clipper to your browser, you should see the Evernote icon embedded in a button somewhere on the top of the browser's bar...Once the extension is installed you can then easily click that button to save articles, make notes about specific webpages, and tweet articles. There are other features, but those are the three we have found most useful.

Evernote Paid Versions

For $24/year Evernote will give you 1GB of storage, access to notes offline, the ability to clip from anywhere on the web, the ability to save emails into Evernote and the ability to add a passcode lock on the mobile app. For $49/year you can have access to notebooks offline, you can share notebooks, you can have access to presentation mode, in-document searching, you can view previous versions of your notes and you get unlimited storage! 

Evernote Business is also available for $12 per month/user. With that pricing you get more storage, centralized management, the company owns the data, and you have the ability to share notebooks between teams. 

Final Word

Evernote is simple enough to conquer your everyday documentation and project needs while also having the ability to tackle robust team-based workflows. If you've never given Evernote a chance, then we highly recommend you do so. Download the app on your Mac and your iPhone and work with it for 30-60 days. After that time, step back and reevaluate your progress. If your life has been made easier and simpler by using Evernote, then stick with it! Come back to this article and re-discover what you've been doing right and what you can improve when using this awesome app.

We're always here to answer questions you may have and help however we can. Just Tweet at us or leave a comment below!

Interested in learning about our favorite ways to use Evernote?

Check out this PDF handout!

 

 

Best Security Practices in the Digital Age

Security matters now more than ever. Whether it's a credit card information breach, a company you 'trust' actually combing your accounts for personal information, or your computer getting hacked, it is vital to understand that your data is more at risk than ever.

So the question is, how can I protect my information?

Well there’s good news, we love helping people protect themselves and their loved ones, and we’ve got some expertise to help. We’ll cover a few things in this article, some simple and some complex, but both necessary.

Device Security

The first thing you want to do on any of your devices is set a password. Available in a few different forms, a typed password can be used on your Mac while on your iOS devices you can opt for a numeric passcode or if you have a newer Apple device, you can use Touch ID to lock and unlock.

The next thing you’ll want to do is disable automatic login (if it's turned on). Often when people place laptops or other devices in their homes it seems easier to enable automatic login so they don’t have to always type in a password to login. The tradeoff is that should someone break in to your home they have immediate access to all of your files with ease. Unlikely? Sure. Impossible? Unfortunately, no.

You should also know that were hackers somehow able to gain access to your computer remotely and you have automatic login enabled, you’ve made it that much easier for them to comb your files, possibly without you even knowing. Disable automatic login on your devices, we can’t recommend it enough.

All Macs come with a piece of software installed called FileVault. FileVault helps prevent unauthorized access to data stored on your startup disk by encrypting your documents. Fun fact, when FileVault is enabled, you cannot log in automatically. A password will always be required. You can always turn off FileVault, but it cannot hurt to protect and encrypt your data!

Something else you may want to look into is an Antivirus monitoring software or Malware detector. We all hear the rumors that Macs are not susceptible to viruses and the like, but that's not entirely true. It is more difficult to contract viruses on your machine, but not impossible and it can't hurt to protect yourself ahead of time. That’s why we recommend Sophos. They offer a free Antivirus software for Home based machines. It runs quietly in the background, can detect threats and remove them just as easily.

You may also want to get a Monitoring system for your Mac and today luck is on your side. Foojee actually offers a product called Fast that runs in the background of your machine and detects issues that might come up with the hardware of your machine. For example, if your hard drive is on the brink of failure, Foojee Fast detects the issue and sends us an alert and reminder to reach out to you so you can take the proper steps to rectify the issue! If you’re interested in Foojee Fast, you can download it by clicking here.

Account Security

When we talk about account security, we mean your Google, Social Media, Online Bank accounts and more. Just as your hardware is susceptible to privacy invasion so are your online accounts and we want to help you protect them. The best way you can do that is to come up with solid passwords. Mix a combination of lower case letters, uppercase letters, numbers and punctuation. The longer your password, the better (I know, I hate remembering long passwords too)! For example: “p3tnAme.sTreEt*

Sure, it’ll be a pain to type in those kind of passwords, but once you do it a few times, you’ll get the hang of it. Isn’t an extra 5 seconds of typing worth ensuring the security of your data?

If any of your online accounts allow for two-factor authentication, enable it. Two-factor allows you an extra layer of protection, it proves you are human, and it proves you are who you say you are. Enabling two-passwords makes it even more difficult for hackers to get anywhere near your data. Services like Dropbox, Slack, Evernote, iCloud, and even Google will allow you to enable two-factor authentication. Give it a shot!

Useful Tools

We wanted to share some of the useful tools we’ve been collecting over the years.

1Password (mentioned in our previous blog post) is great because it can store all types of important information, generate passwords, and securely share with people of your choosing. You can also have the app generate passwords and remember them for you if you'd like! The app does require a slight financial investment on your end ($49.99 for OS X, $9.99 for iOS), but we believe the product is worth the money.

When you’re traveling and using wifi, if there is no password for you to log on to a public wifi network (like at Starbucks), that means your data can be read by others. The best solution is to encrypt your connection with a VPN tunnel. Cloak VPN Service was created just for that purpose and at $9.99/month for unlimited devices/connections it's hard to beat.

Wrap Up

It's important to remember that technology is a tool not a human. People will always find a way to corrupt the use of a tool, but you can protect yourself using the tips and tools mentioned in this post. Make sure all of your devices are password protected and your data, encrypted. Enable two-factor authentication for your account security and create unique passwords! Use the tools we mentioned to help you do just that! 

If you have questions about your personal digital security or security solutions for business, we'd love to talk with you! You can shoot an email to info@foojee.com or leave us a comment below!

Productivity Apps for the Mac

Productivity Apps for the Mac

Are you a productivity junkie? Streamlining and simplifying workflows is kind of a hobby for a few of us on the Foojee team. We're somewhat addicted to productivity apps. We believe anyone can benefit from simplifying their flow via the millions of apps available to us as OS X (and iOS!) users. Today, we wanted to share with you some of our favorites!

While we may recommend certain apps or software, we also highly encourage you to do your own research. Read up on apps that interest you, read reviews, and decide if it’s the best fit for you before moving forward. If you ever have questions, we’re always here to help! You can reach us easily by leaving a comment at the end of this post!

1Password

1Password is arguably one of our favorites here at Foojee.  A bit more holistic, 1Password enables us to encrypt not only personal items, but also allows us to create multiple 'vaults' so we can separately store both personal and work data. Keychain, which is built in to the Apple operating system, is great and contains some of the same functions, but 1Password has the upper hand. 1Password stores all of your passwords, secure notes, credit cards and almost any other sensitive data you might have and keeps it locked in vault that can unlocked by entering a master password (hence 1Password). All of the vaults are encrypted for optimal security. It’s amazing to be able to enter all of your login information into one app and to update it whenever you have to create a new password and only ever have to remember one password in order to access everything you need. You can have multiple ‘vaults’ (I have a personal vault and Foojee vault for work) and it will sync passwords to your iOS devices.

$49.99 for Mac

Wunderlist

A fantastic organized way of keeping track of your “To-Do’s”, Wunderlist allows you to easily share lists with others who can then create tasks, assign them, or complete available to-do’s. The desktop app readily syncs not only with iOS, but also with the Apple Watch app. You’d be surprised how helpful the Watch app is especially when strolling through a grocery store. I don’t even have to take my phone out of my pocket, but that’s another story. Wunderlist is organized, shareable, mobile and beyond helpful especially if you’re forgetful! The shared lists are invaluable for working among teams (or for sharing to-do's between your spouse and yourself)!

Free

Messages

The unspoken hero of the Apple product world. Now that you can send and receive text messages (SMS) alongside iMessages on your Mac thanks to recent improvements to OS X, this app is more helpful than ever. Be sure to clean out your messages on your Mac from time to time. If you need to hold on to a certain conversation because it contains important information you can delete the thread on your Mac while the same thread stays open on your iPhone (and vice versa). The messages on your Mac are copies so you can delete them if you only need a specific thread on a mobile device. Another cool feature that some don’t know is that if you’re iMessaging someone (meaning you’re both using Apple devices) you can actually share your screen with them from your Mac. While not an everyday feature, it’s still cool to have!

Free (Built in to your devices)

Slack

Slack is currently one of our favorite apps. Our team tries to get together once a week, but sometimes it just isn’t possible or realistic to get everyone together when we’re spread out all over metro Atlanta visiting clients through the week. But we still need a quick, reliable, and non-invasive way to communicate with each other. If we’re totally honest, email just doesn’t cut it. Our inboxes are full enough without bombarding each other with internal communications. In comes Slack. It’s a messaging app for teams that keeps everything in one place and makes it all searchable. It’s free for as long as you want for an unlimited number of people. You can easily upload and share files, not to mention it’s emoji-friendly! There are a number of Slack integrations currently available and the list is growing everyday. We use it regularly. Just about the only time I don’t have a notification bubble from Slack is on the weekends. Think of slack as a hybrid between email and a messaging application, but it's simple, easy-to-use, and there are both OS X and iOS versions available.

Free (Upgrade Options Available Based on Business Needs)

iStat Menus

A great way to get more info from that white bar always at the top of your screen, iStat Menus allows you to customize the information shown. It can show you upload and download internet speeds, how your CPU is being utilized, calendar updates and more. For those of you looking to further customize your computing experience, this might be right up your alley. Just to be clear, this is one of the nerdier apps we'll recommend. 

$18

TextExpander

The name says it all. TextExpander is a Mac typing shortcut app. The program allows you to save time and keystrokes by expanding custom keyboard shortcuts into your frequently used text and more. For example, if you’re prospecting to make sales you could create a TextExpander file where all you do is type in “!PROSPECT” and immediately a pre-formulated email paragraph populates with blanks ready for you to fill in custom info such as names and dates before hitting send. It saves you small amounts of time that compound to save you dozens of hours that can be better spent elsewhere. Really a lifesaver for those sending bulk emails with customization needs!

$45

Droplr

Droplr is a file-sharing tool for your Mac and social media needs. It allows you to drag & drop a file onto the Droplr icon in your menu bar. From there the file is uploaded to your Droplr account in the cloud and a link is automatically created and copied to your clipboard, you can then paste the link anywhere to share it. 24 hours after being uploaded, the files in your account will self-destruct allowing you to continue using your space without worrying about running over data limits (although there is a pro version that removes those worries).

Free

Soulver

Soulver is a calculator application that goes above and beyond the native mac app. This particular program allows you to do ‘back-of-the-envelope’ calculations that are more like your typical, everyday problems. You can use words in your calculations, make easy conversions, and do calculations with stocks among a number of other great, easy-to-use features.

$12

Moom*

Moom is an app that lets you easily move and zoom windows using the mouse or your keyboard. It also allows window ‘snapping’ to enable multi-tasking. You can choose from preset window size and location options or you can use a grid to draw the desired size and location of your window. You can also input keyboard shortcuts to make resizing windows a breeze. *Moom is a fantastic app, but it should be noted that when Apple launches OS X El Capitan in a couple of months one of the big features they are touting is the ability to ‘multi-task’ and customize windows. This will allow you to natively have more control and functionality over the windows you’re using which could make Moom outdated or irrelevant.

$10

CopyClip

CopyClip is a great free app that allows you to improve control over your clipboard. It runs quietly in your menu bar and stores all that you have copied or cut recently allowing you to quickly locate those items and reuse them. I often get upset when I copy something knowing I’ll need it soon, and before long I’ve copied over it with something else without having the chance to paste the first thing somewhere. CopyClip eliminates that issue and allows me to go back to items I’ve copied and for which I still have a need.

Free

BusyCal 2

BusyCal is a calendar for grown ups. It has some powerful features including a customizable calendar view, an integrated info panel for quickly viewing and editing events, integrated To Dos that display in the calendar and carry-forward until completed, and more. The app includes a menu bar icon for quick access. You can also customize fonts, get a live weather feed and the list goes on and on. BusyCal supports iCloud, Exchange, Google Calendar and more so it should be compatible with what you’re already using and it can sync to your iOS devices. If you’re looking to step up your calendar game or put everything in one place, this might be for you!

$50

BusyContacts

BusyContacts is also a grown up version of contacts and (good news) it works with BusyCal! This particular app makes it easy to create and manage your contacts. Having BusyContacts and BusyCal 2 is almost like having a personal CRM solution to better organize your life. This app allows you to customize your views, tag your contacts, integrate with your social networks and apply smart filters when you need them.

$50

Quicksilver

Quicksilver is a utility app for OS X that allows you the ability to take care of common tasks quickly and without thought. Quicksilver is an upgraded version of Spotlight on your current Mac. While Spotlight knows how to find things, Quicksilver finds things quicker and then allows you to do something with it. You can just start typing in Quicksilver to get what you want instead of searching and clicking multiple times before getting what you wanted in the first place. Apple has recently touted coming upgrades to Spotlight so we will be interested to see what improvements they make compared to Quicksilver.

Free

CrashPlan Pro

If your computer were to crash right now and you had no back up, what crucial data would be lost? How many precious family photos and videos would just be gone? CrashPlan is here to solve that tension. CrashPlan runs in the background of your machine and backs up your data to an offsite cloud server. This way, if anything were to ever happen, you’d be able to revert to your most recent back up and you shouldn’t lose any of that important data. Foojee actually offers CrashPlan as a service and we cannot recommend this particular app highly enough!

 

If you have any questions about the apps above, just leave us a comment below! We'd love to talk with you!

Using the New Photos App on Your Mac

Back in March Apple rolled out a new addition to their suite of built-in apps for Macs, this one called Photos. Photos is ultimately the replacement for iPhoto and Aperture which Apple has not completely done away with, but rather announced they will stop updating those programs moving forward.

Photos is the answer to what many people have wanted to see for years by bringing continuity to the Apple photo family. Photos makes it possible to take a picture on any device and store it in your iCloud Photo Library automatically. Once a photo is stored in your iCloud library it’s then possible to see all your photos on any device at any time. The beauty is that none of the photos are stored locally on your devices. Instead of photos taking up precious space on your iPhone or iPad, they are located in iCloud, but can be previewed on your device and downloaded at any time.

The trade off is stop storing all photos on your device and store them in iCloud. Every iCloud account is allotted 5GB of space for free. For some people, that will be enough to store their photos, but for those using their iPhone cameras regularly, this limit can quickly be surpassed. The remedy is to pay a small monthly fee. You can quickly upgrade your iCloud storage space by paying a tiered monthly fee.

Tiered Storage Packages in iCloud

5GB = Free

20 GB = $.99/month

200 GB = $3.99/month

500GB = $9.99/month

1TB = $19.99/month

The tradeoff to not upgrading your storage package is that you will eventually run out of free iCloud storage and your local iPhone storage may also fill up. Then you’re left fiddling with 3rd party apps and integrations which will never run or work as smoothly as those made by Apple. Multiple members of our team quickly jumped on the iCloud storage packages in order to take full advantage of Apple’s storage offerings, but I have personally stuck with my 5GB of free storage and have had no problems so far. You can always wait to pay for the storage later, but by waiting you run the risk of prices increasing!

I’m a curator of photos more than I am a collector. I often go through my photo library and delete old, unnecessary photos. There are plenty of people who would rather just hold on to every image they capture or they just don’t care about going in to their library so the thousands of useless photos don’t bother them. They want to go back and get whatever picture whenever they want it. I, however, know that I’ll only want to look back at the best of the best so I’m constantly picking through my library which helps keep my storage requirements low.

One of the great things about Photos is that the organizational flow is almost identical to that of the Photos app on your iOS devices. You’ve probably been using Photos on your mobile devices for at least the last year if not longer. But now there is seamless integration between working with Photos on your Mac and and your iPhone (or iPad).

While the integration with iCloud Photo Library is great, for me, the integration with my MacBook has proved invaluable. Having every photo I take on my iPhone show up automatically on my MacBook, ready to be edited, uploaded, and shared has simplified my life. Using Photos on my MacBook, I can organize and edit my pictures, share them with family members or friends (from within the app), and upload them to Facebook or Twitter without ever leaving the Photos app.

Photos was designed to simplify your life and reduce the friction between your devices. It absolutely succeeds. As a first generation app, there are obviously going to be some things left to be desired, but we’re really excited to see how Apple continues to develop this new program and make it more intuitive and useful for everyday use.

Here are some of the features and limitations of Photos:

Cool Features

  • If you prefer to take most of your pictures on your iPhone, there’s now a way to sort between specialty photos and video. That includes things like panoramics, burst shots, slow motion and timelapse video. iOS already does this, but now you can do it on your Mac.
  • Photos now includes an auto-crop tool that analyzes your picture to figure out where the horizon is and adjusts it according to the rules of composition.
  • A new zoomed out view is also available for collections and years that makes thumbnails tiny. You can see the actual pictures by clicking and scrubbing down, similar to the functionality of iOS.

Limitations

  • If you’re an avid photographer who likes to shoot RAW or seriously edit your pictures, you’ll find Photos to be lacking as the native editing tools are minimal at best
  • If you want to email a photo then you’ll be redirected to external apps. Instead of the built-in mail tool, you’ll have to take an extra step to email photos. Not a deal breaker, but not as easy as it could be.
  • You can’t geotag photos (like you can on Instagram), but you can sort and search by where photos were taken.
  • Can’t edit videos in the Photos app, it’ll redirect you to iMovie

Final Word

Apple is always pushing the bar towards better, seamless integration and Photos allows us to do what we’ve wanted for so long that it’s hard to be overly distracted with the app’s shortcomings. 

Give the app a shot. Take a picture on an iPhone, get on your Mac and edit the photo immediately in the Photos, then wake up the iPad and post the edited photo to Facebook. All without ever having to transfer files manually or go out of our way to make any of it happen. Apple will do the heavy lifting for you.

If you have any questions about Photos or have run in to any hiccups as you’re using the new app, reach out with a comment below or shoot us an email. We’d love to help however we can!

Help Us Welcome Terrance Gaines to the Foojee Team!

If you look up “techie who is always the go-to guy when anybody has a question about gadgets and gizmos” in the dictionary, Terrance's face would appear.

Born and raised in Indianapolis but now living in ATL with his wife and two beautiful girls, his passion for technology has evolved from a thing he shares with family and friends, to working in IT, to helping people discover the best technology has to offer on his tech blog BrothaTech.com

2015 BrothaTech Headshot.jpg

What do you do at Foojee?

Apple Product Expert

What did you do before Foojee?

Mobile Device Management at Georgia State University

Which app could you not live without?

Evernote hands down. It’s open on all my devices everyday all day

Coolest place you've ever been?

Montego Bay, Jamaica. They have the best beaches and I don’t swim in any water where I can’t see my feet.

What do you do for fun?

Play with my kids and I’m starting to get back into gaming. I really want to take up drones as a hobby in the near future

So...what are your plans for tonight?

Catch up on Orange Is The New Black on Netflix with the Mrs.

What’s your favorite apple?

I crisp Granny Smith

Help Us Welcome Kevin Norris to the Foojee Team!

From Oregon Trail to OS X, Kevin (K.No to us) is all about the Mac and has a knack for evaluating the latest iOS app. For years Kevin worked in partnership with Foojee during his tenure at Apple as a Business Specialist. In 2014 he decided it was time to make the switch. He out-kicked his coverage when he landed his wife Cherise and has taken on her love for movies. Their weekends in Suwanee consist of bowling, Alabama Football, Braves Baseball and hanging out with their black lab, Toby! Enjoy our Q&A with him below!

What do you do at Foojee?

I work to ensure that our clients’ Apple technology functions at optimum capacity so that they can focus on what they do best. 

What did you do before Foojee?

I worked in partnership with Foojee as an Apple Business Specialist in the Atlanta market.

Which app could you not live without?

1Password 

Coolest place you've ever been?

Cancun, Mexico. Got tackled by a 20 foot wave.

What do you do for fun?

Bowling and smoking Daniel in table tennis.

So...what are your plans for tonight?

Got a hot date. I married her 3 years ago.

...Favorite apple?

Am I allowed to say anything but Foojee?

Help Us Welcome Daniel Kosmala to the Foojee Team!

Meet our newest team member Daniel Kosmala! As Director of Marketing, Daniel is the first hire outside of our typical mold. While helping us out with product support, he is leading the charge for Foojee as we continue to grow and set our eyes on new heights.  As a marketer, he is reviving and breathing life into all of our social media efforts as well as reworking our website, evolving our digital strategy and setting us up for future success. 

On the weekends you can find him playing pick-up basketball and spending time with his wife. We're thrilled to have Daniel, and can't wait for you to meet him if you haven't already. We thought it'd be fun to introduce him to our clients and friends with some Q & A. Enjoy!

NicoleandDaniel

What do you do at Foojee?

I am the Director of Marketing, which means I am only in charge of running our Twitter account. Nothing else. (That's mostly a joke)

What did you do before Foojee?

I worked for a nonprofit called Radical Mentoring and wondered how all the guys at Foojee managed to dress so well.

Which app could you not live without?

Wunderlist. I have a terrible memory so having readily accessible 'To-Do' lists for work, groceries, home, etc is invaluable for me. Just ask my wife how helpful this app has been in getting me to complete projects around our home.

Coolest place you've ever been?

Excellence Resorts Playa Mujeres. It was unreal.

What do you do for fun?

Hang out with my wife, watch movies, eat with friends, and I love playing pick up basketball.

So...what are your plans for tonight?

My wife is a night shift nurse and she works tonight so it’s looking like making myself a burger, watching some playoff basketball or cleaning up the house.

...Favorite apple?

The kind you can make into a fried pie. Yum.

Video: ACEs Conference New Orleans 2015

It's been a while since we've posted blogs regularly and in that time we've gone through a number of exciting changes. One change you may have already noticed is that we hired three new people to join the Foojee team! With the year getting into full swing we knew we wanted the team to spend time together bonding. Recognizing that our crammed schedules may not be changing anytime soon, Lucas decided it would be beneficial to bite the bullet and head out for two days. Part fun, part learning, we traveled to New Orleans in mid-May for the 2015 ACEs Conference. For the majority of the team, this was their first trip to Louisiana! Above is a highlight reel of our trip!

The tagline of the ACEs Conference is "For Consultants By Consultants". The conference wasn't necessarily about Apple or their products, but more of an opportunity to dive into the managing and consulting parts of our business. Some of the topics included building your business, crafting your brand, getting vulnerable with clients, and more. On top of all we learned, we got an invaluable chance to network with people in our industry from all over the country. The free time spent out with other consultants and our own team members was invaluable and made the entire trip worthwhile. We're already working to take what we learned and experienced in New Orleans to refine who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

Besides learning and networking we also got to spend some time exploring the riverfront and French Quarter in New Orleans. One of our top priorities was to eat some fantastic cajun food accompanied by plenty of laughter. We had an incredible trip and can't wait for the next Foojee team adventure!