HTC One M8 300x197 First Thoughts: Review of HTC One M8 #VZWbuzzI received the HTC One M8 the same day I received the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet and it was a toss up on what device I was going to explore first. HTC, I owe you an official apology for neglecting you for so long!

Here are some highlights on some of the HTC One M8:

  • Dual camera: I’m not sure what other phones are on the market that have this and I’m not really what situations really would call for a dual camera but it’s pretty nifty nonetheless
  • There is a Zoe Camera feature I had to research because there is no apparent explanation on what it is or what it would be used for (it’s apparently really useful!)
  • HTC Advantage: No charge 50GB Google Drive storage (for two years from date of redemption) AND free cracked screen replacement (one time offer during the first six months of ownership)
  • It’s incredibly thin and with the rounded edges it comfortably rests in your hand while reading, texting, etc. However, the brushed metal case made me feel as though it would slide right out of my hands at any given moment so I immediately bought a case. **If you’re interested in a fun, interactive case I suggest you check out this review on the Dot View case by my friend, Tommy.
  • Dual front facing speakers: you’ll love this feature if you love music or watch movies on your phone
  • TV + Phone Integration: I don’t have a Smart TV so this is a feature I’m unable to test

I switched from a Droid X to the Samsung Note 3 in late 2013 and for awhile I was having a hard time adjusting to a phone that is so large but once I got used to it, I came to really enjoy it, especially for it’s larger style keyboard which has ample spacing between the characters.

I really only have three complaints about the Samsung Note 3:

  • Due to its size I can’t text with just one hand
  • It has its own funky charger and although it will charge with a standard micro-USB it won’t charge as fast
  • With the (larger-than-usual) charger and with the input on the bottom of the phone it starts to hurt your fingers after 5-10 minutes (or maybe my fingers are unusually sensitive?)

These three things nearly convinced me to switch over to the HTC One M8: 

  • The smaller design with rounded edges allows for me to text with just one hand
  • While the charging port is also on the bottom of the phone, it’s the standard micro-USB and doesn’t hurt my fingers when the phone is resting on them
  • I listen to music on my phone all the time so having front facing speakers is a big bonus

How did the transfer go? 

  • As with all Android devices it’s super easy to move to a new phone since everything is connected to your Google account
  • HTC has a transfer tool which I used to transfer all data from my Note 3 to the HTC One M8. It was incredibly easy to do and took approximately (I discovered I had 6865 text messages and 848 photos. Yikes! I need to do some cleanup.)
  • Having the option to NOT sync in my Google Plus contacts made me incredibly grateful (seriously, I do not want thousands of G+ contacts in my phone)
  • I thought more of my text messages would come through considering I have Verizon Messages set up on both devices. I’m not 100% sure how complete that restore was as old MMS texts show but not “word” only text messages.
  • Surprisingly the transfer also set the HTC wallpaper to the wallpaper I had on my Note 3

So what phone am I using now? 

I decided to stay with the Note 3 for just one reason. The Note 3 allows me to set unique notification sounds for each person in my contact list for incoming text messages. The HTC One M8 only allows for personalization only on the incoming call ringtone. Most of my communication is via text so having the ability to modify the text sound for each contact is something that is a must for me. That one thing trumps everything. However, don’t let my one reason impact your decision. Check out the HTC One M8 for yourself!

If you’re considering the HTC One M8 here are some other posts to check out:

 

As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received the HTC One M8 (with a line of service) from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.

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Depositphotos 22370589 xs 300x199 Text Smarter with Verizon Messages #VZWbuzzVerizon Messages is an easy and seamless way to sync all of your texting across multiple devices. The app is available for both Android and iOS and can also be downloaded to your computer as well. I’ll go ahead and (shamefully) admit that this allows me to multi-task when I’m on a webinar or screen share because I can send and receive texts from my Sony Xperia Z2 tablet while I’m on my phone.

I first started using the app earlier this year but quickly dismissed it because I have a thing against apps that use the color red. (Weird, I know!) In June, while the Midwest Verizon team was in Chicago, we were learning more about the Samsung Note Tablet and they covered the messages app in-depth. It was then I realized I was missing out on a lot of features which aren’t available on standard texting apps and I made the official switch.

Reasons why I love Verizon Messages:

  • Messages sync across my Samsung Note 3, my Sony Xperia Z2 tablet and my Samsung Note tablet so no matter which device I’m using, I have everything at my fingertips (they also have computer apps, more on that a bit later).
  • Glympse, a real-time location sharing service. My son often texts and asks, “When will you be home?” With Verizon Messages I can send him a Glympse and he can watch/monitor my progress back to the house. (You can also use Glympse in group messages!)
  • More emojis! Why not have a little bit more fun texting? As you type it will suggest possible emojis, such as a phone, book, or a dress. Best of all, the emojis can be viewed by both iOS and Android users.
  • Send voice/audio messages via text.
  • Set up an auto-reply message to stay safer when you’re driving or otherwise unavailable.
  • Send messages over WiFi. How cool is this?! No cell service needed to send messages, which means you can also send messages to international numbers.

One of the things I like best is that you can make it all “you” with all of the customization options available. Now if only I could change the color of the app from red!

One thing I’d suggest setting up at the same time, if you’re not already using it, is Verizon’s Cloud Storage. Be sure to set it up on your mobile device first and then set it up on any tablets you have. Tip: Set up Cloud Storage to save messages and it will be easy to restore your messages if you change devices.

**side note: I did try to set up Verizon Messages on my MacBook Pro but using it was really clunky so I use a different app for texting from my computer. I was a MightyText fan but they’ve been having recent delivery problems so I switched to AirDroid instead (which offers a lot more than just texting from a web interface).

There are a lot more features available that I don’t mention above. Check it out for yourself and let me know what other features get you excited.

As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received devices (with a line of service) from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.

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Depositphotos 52262339 xs 300x200 Harness Technology to Simplify Your Business BookkeepingDid you know there are ways to simplify bookkeeping by utilizing cloud services?

Imagine the satisfaction and relief you’ll experience by having all of your business bookkeeping up to date. You won’t have to set aside multiple nights and weekends as tax time creeps near to get your records sorted out while praying and hoping you have everything on hand.

Most virtual assistants offer Paypal as a client payment option but cringe at the ~3% Paypal keeps. Merchant service (credit card processing) accounts for small businesses can be cost-prohibitive once you factor in monthly fees, annual compliance charges, etc. Additionally, if you’d like the ability to process American Express there are typically even more hoops to jump through.  There are incredibly cost-effective and easy ways to accept credit cards and to receive payments through Paypal for only $.50.

I will be speaking at IVAA’s Virtual Summit on Friday, October 17, 2014. My session will focus on five different tools you can implement in your business  to save both time and money (or even for bookkeeping clients you service).

Execute these solutions and you will experience the following benefits:

  • Reduce your admin time maintaining your business bookkeeping.
  • Easily keep up your bookkeeping on a monthly basis so you can regularly run financial reports to monitor the health of your business.
  • Utilize cloud services to automate bookkeeping tasks. The more you automate the less time you need to spend!
  • Offer your clients multiple online payment options by accepting all major credit cards, including AMEX. Best of all there are no monthly service fees and no annual compliance fee. (You will still have to pay processing fees)

NOTE: By offering multiple easy online payment options you can often reduce your Accounts Receivable turnaround time.

  • Receive Paypal payments for a mere $.50 – no matter how large your invoice is.
  • If you bill by the minute/hour you will be able to effortlessly and accurately track billable time and simply invoice from time records.
  • Have a team and need to bill for their billable time too? Easy peasy whether you have a team of one or thirty!

Two of the services are free to use and the other three will cost between $47.90 – $71.90 per month (total). Think that’s too high? Look at the savings I’ve personally experienced from January 1, 2014 through August 31, 2014.

  • $48,656.21 collected via Paypal payments
  • The normal ~ 3% Paypal fees would have resulted in $1,459.69 being kept by Paypal
  • My Paypal fees were only $103.96 – that’s a savings of $1,355.73!
  • I’ve paid $456.76 for the services – deduct this from the $1,355.73 and that leaves me with a net savings of $898.97.

Not factored in are the countless hours of my own time I’ve saved with invoicing and bookkeeping. Whatever time I save on my own business tasks is time I can be working, and billing, a client.

Join me on Friday, October 17, 2014 to learn how you can set up and utilize these services for yourself. (Registration link here)

Your time is valuable. Invest in yourself!

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Sony’s New Xperia Z2 Tablet Takes Tech To A New Level #VZWbuzz

by Michelle MangenSeptember 22, 2014 Verizon Lifestyle

I’ve never been much of a tablet girl because I feel I am much faster and efficient when I’m working from my laptop. Because I charge most of my clients for actual time spent I do my best to work from the devices best suited for the “job” and where I am most efficient. Therefore [...]

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Device Tips and Apps to Be Better Prepared for Hurricanes #VZWbuzz

by Michelle MangenAugust 25, 2014 Verizon Lifestyle

When I first decided I was moving from Wisconsin to Florida many friends said something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh, aren’t you worried about hurricanes?” I told them I’d actually prefer hurricanes over tornados, which are pretty common in Wisconsin. I went on to explain that at least with hurricanes we typically have [...]

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