The biggest tech mistakes of 2013

Tech companies aren’t perfect. Far from it. They make their share of mistakes, and the Business Insider Web site has gone to the trouble to prove it. The site recently ran its list of the biggest consumer technology mistakes of 2013. Here are some of the mentions:

Google’s Barge

When Google launched a barge in the San Francisco Bay, it started a round of speculation. Just what was Google up to? As Business Insider says, first people thought the barge might be a floating data center. Others thought it might be a unique storefront to sell Google Glass. No one knows yet what it might be. But Google definitely messed up. As Business Insider reports, the company failed to obtain the proper permits for the barge. The floating disaster is now under investigation.

iPhone 5C

Apple is still a technology leader. But it also makes mistakes. One of them might be its line of iPhone 5C smartphones. These brightly colored phones haven’t caught on with the public, even with the phones’ lower prices. Business Insider reports that Apple might be cutting 5C production in order to manufacture more of the higher-end iPhone 5S models.

TV versus Aereo

Know what Aereo is? It’s actually an interesting new way to watch TV. The service transmits broadcast channels to your tablet and phone. As Business Insider reports, TV companies aren’t happy about it. They’ve attacked Aereo with lawsuits. The problem? It isn’t working. As Business Insider says, the attacks have done little but bring attention to Aereo.

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How BackPeddle can save your business from social media disasters

Did you ever wish that your small business could have a social media do-over? Thanks to a new app, BackPeddle, you have your chance. BusinessWire recently distributed a release about the new app. And it appears that BackPeddle might be of use to businesses. After all, its makers say that the app gives users the chance to control the life cycle of anything they’ve posted on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Control

With BackPeddle, users can control who sees their content, where that content is posted and for how long it can be viewed. Users with both iOS and Android phones can now download the app. It’s easy to see how this could help business owners. Maybe owners want only a small batch of their social media followers to see information about a sale or new product. With BackPeddle they can control who receives their messages. Or maybe they’d like to run a limited sale. With BackPeddle they can automatically schedule social media announcements that disappear after a set period of time.

What it does

According to BusinessWire, users can rely on BackPeddle to set a set amount of time that their content can be viewed before it expires and then disappears. Business owners can also take back any message or photo from any site. This requires just one click, according to BusinessWire. We all know that this can be a particularly useful tool for business owners. What if an employee posted an embarrassing message on a company Twitter, Facebook and Google+ page? Now companies can simply erase it from all sites with a single click.

Not foolproof

Of course, BackPeddle isn’t foolproof. Sure, business owners can instantly delete embarrassing photos or posts. But that doesn’t stop others from taking screen shots of all that embarrassing content. The best defense against a social media disaster? Owners still need to train their employees on how best to use sites such as Twitter and Facebook. And they need to clearly spell out what is and isn’t acceptable social media use.

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Don’t care about Twitter’s IPO? You’re not alone

You might have heard that Twitter held an IPO earlier this fall. You might have heard, too, that Twitter’s shares opened strongly at $45.10 on their first trading day. And, if you’re like most U.S. residents, you really don’t care. It’s a truth pointed out in a recent Wired story by Ryan Tate: Most of the country is not interested in Twitter’s big IPO.

Activity

The IPO actually went quite well for the social media site. According to the Wired story, more than 11 million Twitter shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange during the first few minutes of trading. That, Tate writes, is evidence of strong demand.

Bored?

Tate, though, also writes that few people outside of either Silicon Valley or Wall Street care. Why is this? For one thing, Tate points out, Twitter isn’t all that big of a company. Its valuation sits at about $31.5 billion. Compare that to Facebook, a company that has a valuation of about $120 billion. Amazon, meanwhile, is worth $163 billion, while Google checks in at $342 billion. In other words, Twitter is a relatively small player in the tech world.

Losing money

At the same time, Twitter actually loses money. The Wired story points out that Twitter lost $80 million last year. For the first nine months of 2013 the company posted a net loss of $134 million. Twitter has never been profitable. It’s hard, then, for the average person to get overly excited about the company. Finally, there’s the fact that a relatively small number of people in the United States actually use Twitter. It only has 53 million monthly active users here. Facebook reaches 180 million to 199 million people in the United States, according to the Wired story.

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What is the best tablet for your budget?

Tablets remain hot. In fact, most computer experts predict that by 2015 tablet sales will overtake the combined sales of laptops and desktop PCs. That has led to a crowded tablet marketplace, with manufacturers flooding the shelves of retailers with tablets of all sizes and price points. Deciding which tablet is right for you can be a challenge. Fortunately, the Christian Science Monitor recently ran a list of the best tablets for every size budget.

Hannspree 13.3-inch tablet

For the more budget-minded consumer, the Christian Science Monitor recommends the Hannspree 13.3-inch 16GB Android tablet. The paper calls this tablet a great laptop replacement for casual users. And its price of $199.99 is a solid bargain. This tablet is no weakling, either, with the Monitor reporting that it is powerful enough for both work and play.

Refurbished iPad Mini

If you don’t need a full-size iPad, the Christian Science Monitor recommends that you look for a refurbished iPad Mini. Refurbished iPads come with the standard one-year Apple warranty, which is good. The 32GB WiFi version of this tablet can be found from the Apple Store in a refurbished version for just $419. That price might seem steep, but for an iPad Mini, it’s quite affordable.

Microsoft Surface Pro 10.6-inch

The Microsoft Surface Pro might get some bad press, but the tablet is actually a good one for anyone who wants to use it for work. It’s also a solid choice for students who need it to complete homework assignments and reports. The Monitor reports that it’s possible to find a Surface Pro 10.6-inch 128GB Windows 8 tablet for $679 at the Microsoft Store.

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Ignoring social media, SEO can make your business extinct

Want to hurt your small business? Be a social media dinosaur. That’s the message from Forbes contributor Larry Myler, who recently wrote a column about how important it is for business owners to embrace both social media and SEO based content. Businesses that rely on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to communicate with customers give themselves an edge today, Myler wrote. And those who work with outside companies to boost the SEO strength of their webpages gain yet one more tool to help them reach success.

The history of business tech

Myler illustrates his column with what he calls a brief history of business technology. In the late 1980s, he writes, businesses needed a fax machine and a fax number on their business cards to survive. In the late 1990s, businesses needed a website. In the late 2000s, business needed proactive plans to manage their social media. And in the late 2010s? Myler writes that if you still have a fax machine and a fax number on your business cards that you’re in serious trouble.

Why social media matters

Businesses need to increase their social media footprints today, Myler writes. It’s the best, and most economical, way for them to reach current and potential customers. Through sites such as Twitter and Facebook, businesses can inform their customers of upcoming sales and events, they can advertise new products and they can engage their paying customers in dialogue. It’s a way to makes customers feel closer to businesses.

SEO issues

SEO is important, too. You want potential customers to be able to find your business’ website, blog and social media pages online. SEO gives you the best chances of luring all those Google searchers to your business’ online homes. Myler states that it’s a good investment to spend on a qualified SEO firm to help make your company’s website more visible.

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