Mozy is MSPWorld MVP

Members of the Mozy team spent last week in Austin, Texas. In addition to the world class BBQ, bats, and Texas Longhorn football, Austin is also renowned for hosting the largest gathering of MSP’s (managed service providers) in North America. We had a great time meeting with the MSP community this past week, and had a great time at MSPWorld.

We were encouraged by the stories from Mozy resellers who stopped by the booth and shared experiences about how being a Mozy reseller have changed their business. We were also very honored to receive the MVP award as voted by the community (pictured below, complete with Mozy ‘Back the F:\ Up!’ t-shirts in the background).

MSPWorld MVP Award

Hearing great feedback from our resellers validates all the work we’ve done the past few years to build a cloud services channel program where our partners come first. Our awesome resellers have contributed to significant channel growth over the past year. Over 5,000 Mozy resellers are now protecting their customers’ data with trusted MozyPro Online Backup.

Get more information about the Mozy Reseller Program here: http://partners.mozy.com.

Links of Interest – Oct 10

Apple Maps Inspires Brilliant (but Fake) New Yorker Cover

Leave it to the Mad men over at Mad Magazine to put Apple in its place over its second-rate Apple Maps effort.

The minds at Mad took illustrator Saul Steinberg’s famous New Yorker cover from 1976, showing the world as seen from Manhattan’s 9th Avenue, and gave it the Apple Maps treatment, see here on Gothamist.com.

Apple has recently taken flak for its often-incorrect mapping application in its new iOS 6, and Google has wasted no time letting mobile users know that its maps service can be found on the web and will soon be available in a native iOS app.

Google made its Street View service available in mobile browsers. To access Street View panoramic imagery, Google advises people to visit maps.google.com using a mobile device and then search for a location.

Bee Brains Help to Make Robots Smarter

One particular study in the UK is creating quite the buzz.

Researchers there are studying how bees smell and perceive the world in a project that hopes to produce a simulation of the winged creatures’ sensory systems.

The simulated bee brain will be used by a flying robot to help it make decisions about how to navigate safely, according to the BBC.

Robots involved in the project could help in search-and-rescue missions or work in agriculture by mechanically pollinating crops.

The research involves scientists from the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex. The project aims to create models of the neural systems in a bee’s brain that helps it make sense of what it sees and smells, according to the BBC.

James Marshall, a computer scientist at the University of Sheffield who is coordinating the project, said simulating a brain was one of the “major challenges” of artificial intelligence.

Many previous attempts to re-create biological brains in silicon have focused on the cognitive systems found in humans, monkeys and mice, he said.

Study Shows Baldness Can Be a Business Advantage

Baldness, a business advantage?Don’t perfect that comb-over just yet.

According to a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, men with shaved domes may seem more powerful because the look is associated with hypermasculine images, such as the military, professional athletes and Hollywood action heroes such as Bruce Willis.

The study goes on to reveal men with shaved heads are perceived to be more masculine, dominant and, in some cases, to have greater leadership potential than those with longer locks or with thinning hair, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some executives say the look makes them appear younger and gives them more confidence than a comb-over.

“I’m not saying that shaving your head makes you successful, but it starts the conversation that you’ve done something active,” said Seth Godin, 52, a smooth-headed tech entrepreneur and writer who embraces the bare look. “These are people who decide to own what they have, as opposed to trying to pretend to be something else.”

No word yet on what sort of advantage a mullet brings to the boardroom.

 

MozyHome with Stash

 

Frightful Computer Haiku Contest v 2.0

Two years ago, we laughed and we cried as we read through your submissions in our first edition of the “Frightful Computer Haiku Contest”. This year, we’re bringing the contest back. We want your scary computer related haikus! Comment on this post with your haiku to enter to win $50!

Mozy Frightful Haiku Halloween Contest

Need a refresher on how to create a haiku? It’s simple. Line one is five syllables, line two is seven syllables, and line three is five syllables. If you need to, you can make sure your haiku has the right arrangement of syllables using haikuchecker.com.

Here is an example:

My awesome laptop
Had no chance in a fight with
My neighbor’s dumb cat

We’ll choose our four favorites, and here are the prizes you could win:

  • Grand prize: $50 Amazon.com gift card
  • Three runners up will receive $25 Amazon.com gift cards.
  • The winning haikus will also be featured on our Facebook page and Twitter account.

To enter: Simply comment on your post with your frightful computer haiku.

Rules:

  • Your haiku must be original. Don’t just copy one of the ones someone submitted last time (or this time), because that’s just lame. And we will be checking.
  • Your haiku must be awesome, but this goes without saying.
  • One entry per person. Please do not submit the same haiku over and over again.
  • Submit your haiku by Oct. 26, 11:59 PM MDT. Winners will be announced on Monday, Oct. 29.

That’s it! Pretty easy, right? So get your haiku on and submit away! Like this contest? Click here to tweet it!

We Have to Start Meeting Like This: How the Cloud is Making the Conference Room Obsolete

We have to start meeting like thisPart of the experience of working in a world of mobile tech is that your meetings are no longer conference-room bound.

Instead, you can bring together people from anyplace, using a virtual space that opens your team up to possibilities that once required a lot more time and money.

Want to sit down with your graphics designer in San Francisco, but also pull in your head of marketing who’s at an expo this week in Toronto? And you’re in New York? With the help of cloud computing, you can.

Cloud conferencing allows users to share information and makes meetings a multimedia experience. This isn’t a teleconference with disembodied voices bouncing off the walls of a teleconference. Attendees can work with all the documents, sound, and images — the real-time collaboration that you’re used to in a physical space.

So, how do you get your small-business on board with meeting software? And how much is all this going to cost, anyway? Let’s take a quick trot around the course of cloud conference technology, noting some of the platforms out there in the online-meeting world, especially those that put your small-business budget in the front seat and allow you to work for low costs or for free.

1. MeetingKing 

If all you need is a basic way to participate as a team from individual screens, MeetingKing is a free way to get started along that path. Beginning with its nuts-and-bolts public meeting space, if you wish you can later pick from a suite of paid monthly programs. The top-end version of the app costs about $125 per month.

At its most elaborate, you’re looking at packed-in templates for creating agendas and minutes and customizable graphics such as logos. Each meeting gets archived for a period of time — from three months to forever — depending on the package that you choose.

2. MeetingSense

MeetingSense can take your online conference to yet another level. In includes task-allocation and tracking features, and communications- and member-update options that create connectivity between the pre-, during, and post-meeting experience.

And MeetingSense’s pricing is scalable. You pay approximately $20 per member, per month. So you can implement the app by assigning it to particular team members within a particular timeframe. Start it when you need it, turn it off when you’re done.

3. AgreeDo

This app approaches cloud conferencing with a similar suite of tools to the preceding example, but it provides them for free. From keeping track of decisions and documents, to getting those needed documents to everyone once the meeting is done, you can’t really beat the number of options at this the price. The company suggests that for-pay features may be forthcoming, but for now users get access to everything without a charge.

4. Minutes.io 

Say you don’t need a whole suit of cloud conference services, and you haven’t the time to learn a whole software system.

If it’s simply minutes and to-do lists you’re looking to create, and you want the ability to push them to participants and link them to other software applications along the line, check out the free Minutes.io app.

Presenting an intuitive and tablet-friendly environment, your end result is an interactive doc that shows tasks, decisions, and ownerships at a glance. It gets stored locally on your browser, so even if the meeting you’re in hasn’t got an Internet connection, they’ll live in stasis, awaiting publication, until you’re in a Wi-Fi zone again.

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Links of Interest – October 8

Facebook Unwraps a Gift Service

Facebook GiftsFacebook, apparently looking to join the e-commerce fray, is preparing a new service called “Facebook Gifts” that will encourage users to buy and send presents.

Initial items include gifts such as gift cards and cupcakes, but Facebook said it will add more options, according to The LA Times.

Users can send gifts from birthday reminders or when visiting a friend’s timeline.

Friends can enter their shipping information and swap gifts for different sizes, flavors or styles before the gift ships, according to Facebook.

Payments can be made as soon as users send the gift or they can choose to pay later. Their friends, meanwhile, can provide their address once they choose to accept the gift and it “will show up on their doorstep a few days late,” according to a news release from Facebook.

Ever conscious of privacy and security concerns, when you pay for a Facebook Gift, Facebook stores your credit card for future use. However, if you don’t want to have your credit card information stored on your account, you can remove it after making a purchase.

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Self-Driving Cars Bill

It seems California drivers may soon be able to catch a nap, finish writing that screenplay or do just about any activity one isn’t supposed to do while driving an automobile.

A bill sponsored by State Senator Alex Padilla will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate autonomous vehicles on California highways, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

“Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality — the self-driving car,” Governor Jerry Brown said. “Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish, but they’ll get over it.”

Google currently has a fleet of 12 computer-controlled vehicles that has logged more than 300,000 miles of self-driving without an accident, according to Google.

“I think the self-driving car can really dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin said.

Newly Found Comet Could Look Spectacular in 2013

Who says you need a darkened sky to witness a breathtaking celestial phenomenon?

A newly discovered comet, first sighted by Russian astronomers, could put on an impressive celestial display next year. The comet will be bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky, according to Space.com.

The object, named Comet ISON, was announced Sept. 24 by Russians Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. The new comet is officially known as C/2012 S1.

Comet ISON was 625 million miles from Earth and 584 million miles from the sun when it was first sighted. The comet is located in the dim constellation of Cancer. According to Space.com, it was shining at magnitude 18.8 on the reverse scale used by astronomers to measure the brightness of sky objects (the lower the number, the brighter the object). The comet is currently about 100,000 times fainter than the dimmest star that can be seen with the unaided eye.

Yet at its closest point to the sun, which is due Nov. 28, 2013, the comet has the potential to become a dazzling object, perhaps bright enough to be visible for a short time in broad daylight.

 

MozyHome Online Backup

Mozy Reseller Program Hits Its Stride

Today, at MSPWorld, Mozy is showcasing significant enhancements to its Mozy Reseller Program in 2012.

These include:

• A revamped Reseller Program and portal 2.0 in the U.S. and Europe
• The debut of fully customizable, co-branded marketing and sales materials
• A new MDF program
• New lead management tools (including opportunity registration) to help resellers grow their businesses with Mozy
• Lead sharing for Mozy PlatinumTM resellers
• New channel-friendly pricing for MozyPro® and MozyEnterprise®

Mozy has been able to double channel business the past three years and rapid growth in new markets including Europe and Asia.

“We’ve never been more focused as a company on selling Mozy through the channel than we are right now,” said Darrell Gamble, Director of Channel Sales at Mozy, recognized as a CRN Channel Chief for 2012. “Since we rolled out our all-new reseller portal and new pricing for MozyPro and MozyEnterprise earlier in the year, the feedback from our resellers has been tremendous. We’re here at MSPWorld talking to MSPs about how they can introduce recurring revenue streams into their business by reselling Mozy’s industry leading suite of world-class cloud services.”

“Before we became a Mozy reseller we went through several of the online backup competitors and reviewed their products,” said Dan Winterhalter at Infitech LLC (www.infitech.net), a managed service provider (MSP) based in West Chester, OH. “What we found right off the bat was that the Mozy pricing was right, the product worked well, and it had the best feature set when it comes to server backup. Those things were the most important to us. Since then we’ve been able to get to know their people and watch Mozy constantly improve the product and the reseller program over time. We now have over 400 active clients on Mozy, backing up multiple terabytes of data. And we’re only just getting started.”

“Seven years ago when Mozy was founded, our mission was to ‘back up the world,’” said Gamble, “We’re now covering everything from home computers to mission-critical servers and workstations, and Mozy backup is in use at SMBs, mid-market companies and large enterprises. And we have our trusted partners to thank for much of that growth. Our partners told us what tools they needed to be successful, and ever since we’ve been focused on delivering a world-class channel program.”

You can find more information about the Mozy Reseller Program and the enhancements announced earlier in 2012 are available at http://partners.mozy.com.

Small-Business Networking: Internet Connections Eclipsing the Old Face-to-Face?

Here are the numbers: 74% of small-business owners in a recent poll say that networking online is as, or more, important than meeting with their networks face-to-face.

The number is among the results of a new survey conducted by Manta, an online community-builder for small businesses.

Small Business Online NetworkingThe survey numbers are of the kind that make you sit up and address some long-held notions. The idea that the importance of online networking is eclipsing person-to-person? It is absolutely contrary what old-school networking strategies have emphasized for so long.

But then, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Consumers and business owners, nowadays they’re on the web. Mobile businessaccounts for some 1 billion workers. And small-business owners are freshly focusing on the facts.

Let’s take a closer look, talk to some owners about the change, and find out what else the survey can tell us about the development of networking on the web.

Connecting Online: One Sweet Step at a Time

Sherry Sheppard owns i love cupcakes, in Largo, Florida. For her, getting online and bringing her concept to new people is an integral part of her work.

“Continuous customer support and tools,” Sheppard says of her Internet networking experience, “have really helped us leverage creative ways to reach people. New and innovative opportunities to market to and connect with people online has really helped get our specialty cupcake bakery noticed, which has proven to be vital to our ongoing success.”

To what extent?

Sheppard says that 70% of her business comes to her via online networking. That’s more than just frosting on the cake.

Running the Numbers: Online Networking on the Rise

Of the 600 small businesses polled, Manta’s survey helps paint the picture of not only how many owners say web-based networking is important, but it also gives us a sense of how much time they’re spending doing it throughout the year.

  • 52% say they dedicate half or more of their business networking time to online channels in 2012.
  • Percentage of owners who say they give all their business-networking attention to the web: 7%
  • 36% of the owners said that half or more of their new customers in the past year found them through online channels.
  • Company websites are still leading the pack, when it comes to driving business. 24% of the owners said so.
  • Close behind is Facebook. 19% of the owners polled said The Social Network was the chief driver of business from the web to their services.

Building Businesses Online: Standing Out in the Crowd

The numbers certainly tell a story. But the thinking behind these stats is perhaps best summarized by one small-business executive who’s competing for customers daily.

“Since there are so many avenues to connect with people today, it’s important to consistently stand out from all the noise,” says Joseph Buczek, president of Indiana and Missouri-based Lighthouse Construction and Restoration, Inc. “In the architectural and remodeling industry, I have a lot of competitors and I need to be where my customers are – and that’s online.”

 

MozyPro - Online Backup For Business

 

Links of Interest – October 1

Samsung Confirms Galaxy Note II for All Major U.S. Carriers

Samsung has confirmed that the much-anticipated Galaxy Note II smartphone will be available on Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular in the U.S. by the middle of November.

Smartphone aficionados know the current Galaxy Note smartphone for its 5.3-inch display. Not be be outdone, the new one is even larger, and features a 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED touch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, according to PCMag.com.

The Galaxy Note II will also come with a 1.6-GHz, quad-core Samsung Exynos processor that’s optimized for LTE, plus 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Each Galaxy Note II has a microSD card slot that allows for expandable storage of up to 64GB.

The Galaxy Note II will arrive on each carrier preloaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, making it the first Samsung smartphone to run Google’s most advanced version of Android out of the gate.

Photos, Videos Bigger in Twitter Redesign

Mozy on TwitterA redesign of Twitter’s Website and mobile apps could generate new revenue streams by placing greater emphasis on photos and videos.

In other words, a picture is now worth 140 characters, writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s Benny Evangelista.

Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo, appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, announced that the  company has completely overhauled its iPad app, updated its website and revamped its iPhone and Android apps to make visual elements such as photos and videos more prominent.

Costolo told the show hosts — including Ryan Seacrest and his nearly 8 million Twitter followers — that the microblogging service was responding to Twitter users who wanted better ways to express themselves.

“What we’ve heard over and over again from our users is they want to bring more of their personality to their profile pages,” he said.

But the redesign also signals new advertising opportunities for Twitter, which has reported success with ad products like its text-based Promoted Tweets. Could there be a Promoted Photos in the works?

Snow on Mars: NASA spacecraft spots ‘dry ice’ snowflakes

A spacecraft orbiting Mars has detected carbon dioxide snow falling on the Red Planet, making Mars the only body in the solar system known to host this weird weather phenomenon, according to Space.com.

The snow on Mars fell from clouds around the planet’s south pole during the Martian winter spanning 2006 and 2007, with scientists discovering it only after sifting through observations by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The Martian south pole hosts a frozen carbon dioxide — or “dry ice” — cap year-round, and the new discovery may help explain how it formed and persists, researchers said.

“These are the first definitive detections of carbon-dioxide snow clouds,” lead author Paul Hayne, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. “We firmly establish the clouds are composed of carbon dioxide — flakes of Martian air — and they are thick enough to result in snowfall accumulation at the surface.”

 

MozyHome - Free Online Backup

 

Mobile Business 101: Communicate Better, Collaborate Better (Here’s How)

Mobile Business 101What’s more impressive than a mobile workforce 1 billion workers strong?

It’s this: a mobile workforce topping the 1.3-billion member mark.

That’s the recent prediction by the International Data Corp., which tracks workforce trends. That’s a lot of employees communicating all at once via a whole spectrum of devices.

When it comes to small businesses, the success of going mobile largely depends on a well-planned and smartly implemented communication system. Mobile small-biz professionals need to plug into best practices to keep everything running smoothly, out there on the road.

Let’s look at four ways to do just that, (with some advice provided by industry experts at eVoice to help out). It’s time for a quick study of mobile business 101.

1. Unify Your Company’s Mobile-Comm Profile

No matter how sophisticated your network of mobile employees, if you’re presenting your customers with the concept of a company, stick with a single central phone number that they can call. Thanks to technology, anyone can connect to the trunk number, and then get connected to a representative’s roaming mobile device.

In this age of cloud-based systems, that’s the reality. Virtual phone systems mean that the call, to the caller, will sound  just like the conventional greeting and menu-option environment that they’ve come to expect. It doesn’t matter where the person picking up the call is actually speaking from.

2. Deploy Voicemail as a Prioritizing Tool

It’s an old trick, but it’s still a good one when it comes to protecting employees’ valuable time. Prioritize calls by what virtual-phone software tells them about the incoming caller allows them to divert certain conversations that they can get to further down the line, and bump the most important calls to the top of their response list. Virtual voicemail means that the mobile worker can — again, thanks to cloud technology — access the account from anywhere during the day.

3. Circumvent the Dead Zones: VoIP Helps Eliminate Carrier Loss

Versatile and professional communication from anywhere, in this mobile work-world: that does  sound appealing.

But many of us know the truth about office-ing from our smartphones: dropped calls, cellular dead zones, these things mark the surefire path to frustration for the client and the small-business.

Clicking over to a virtual phone system can help, one that bounces hard-to-connect calls to the Internet and replaces a potentially shaky carrier with hardwired Wi-Fi whenever its possible to get online. It can make all the difference when that important call catches you out in the country. (Especially if you’re tethering for Internet anywhere.)

4. Cloud Conference 

When it comes to demos, real-time brainstorming, and all the business-class communication that used to have come solely from the board room, the cloud is now the conference room for mobile workers.

According to one recent survey conducted by ConferBlogs, 77% of employees and owners of small- to medium-sized businesses say that web conferencing saves them travel time, travel costs, and connects them to more people than traditional face-to-face meet-ups.

There is certainly more than one option out there, when it comes to the tech that can drive these mobile communications strategies.

From Adobe Connect to MegaMeeting, from Vocalocity to the suite of tools that come with eVoice, the range of services — and prices — allow small businesses to pick and choose what suits them best.

Start with these tips and get your mobile workforce talking —  and conferencing, and sharing desktops. All these points of integration will make them part of a dynamic and moving workforce, soon to be 1.3 billion strong.

 

Mozy Mobile Apps

 

Getting Started With Email Marketing

Getting Started With Email Marketing

Getting Started with Email MarketingEmail is a part of many marketing budgets, strategies and concepts for big businesses. If you’re just starting out or are looking to expand your current online marketing efforts beyond the basics of social media, it’s time you made email marketing part of your next campaign. From determining whether you should send out newsletters or retargeted emails, getting started with email marketing can seem a bit overwhelming.   Here are some of the questions you may be asking yourself, and the answers.

How Do I Create a Database?

Before you get in to the design or messaging, you need to have a list of emails that you’re sending your email marketing campaigns out to. If you don’t have contacts to send your campaign messages out to, there is no way you’ll be successful. In order to create a database to use for your email marketing efforts, you should:

  • Start by collecting and organizing the emails of past and current customers. You may already have these, but if you don’t a call or direct mail card can help you head off in the right direction.
  • Ask for an email address in exchange for an offer. A basic clipboard on your counter or form on your website, that says “Sign up here to receive discount coupons via email!” or “Sign up here to get our free Newsletter via email!” will get your list going.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t ask for too much information up front; you could scare someone off. All you really need is a first name and email address. The rest of the information you ask is up to you, but the more information you require the more likely someone is to say, “No thanks.”
  • Have a privacy policy in place. Let customers know how you plan to use the information they provide. Look at similar sites and companies to get a feel for what you should be doing – including getting the permission of customers to send them emails.

Should I Use HTML or Plain-Text?

If you have no experience in email marketing campaigns, creating and designing brand new one may seem overwhelming. However, there are a number of tools out there to help you get started. MailChimp has a number of resources available for those getting started with email marketing. When it comes to the design of your email campaigns, consider:

  • Testing the email before you send. HTML emails can look different than expected when they are opened. Run the test on a few different free email services such as Yahoo!, Gmail, MSN and Hotmail to make sure it’s what you expect.
  •  CSS vs. HTML vs. Plain-Text. CSS doesn’t work too well in an HTML email, HTML images are sometimes ‘broken’ and plain-text is the most consistent. However, HTML is more like the world we live in – colorful and full of imagery – and is often considered the best method for email marketing campaigns.
  • Keeping the design simple. Place your logo in the upper-left hand corner, keep your call to action above the fold and avoid adding so much pizzazz that the important things get lost. Using a few images is great, but keep your message in mind!

What’s the Message?

What you hope to get from your email marketing efforts will contribute greatly to what your message should be. If you’re looking to showcase a product or indicate an upcoming event, your message needs to be a compelling reflection of that. Keep in mind why you’re sending these emails out and gear your content towards the right audience.

  • Your call to action, which is based on what you want those receiving your emails to do, needs to be above the fold. This means having the CTA in sight, without any scrolling necessary, when someone opens the email.
  • Be interesting! Put yourself in your customer’s shoes to consider what they want to read and receive in an email. Your tone, content and design all need to reflect this. Track the results of your efforts to see what is working best with your audience.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

Yes, of course there is! Email marketing takes some time and isn’t an overnight process. Always include an opt-out option and stay up to date on your results reports. Knowing what is successful and what isn’t is the best way to move forward.

  • Make sure you send emails from a non-personal email address. Instead of sending out blasts from janedoe@xyz.com, consider info@xyz.com, newsletter@xyz.com, etc.
  • Segment your audience. Your campaign may not apply to everyone in your database so organize each person by different demographics including age, location, interests, conversion likelihood, etc.
  • Send your emails early in the week. Emails typically have a lifespan of 3 days, so sending out your messages on Monday or Tuesday will often be better than sending out on Friday. Of course, it depends on your audience.

An email marketing company can help you with your email campaign efforts. But, if you’re more of a DIY marketer, take each of these questions into account and make sure you have a plan in place before sending any emails out. There are a number of resources, including HTML email templates, online for free. When it comes to getting started in email marketing, you need to have a goal and related call to action, design, and overall messaging in mind. Remember, this is a branding opportunity and you need to make the most of it.

Author Bio: Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as web design and online marketing. She is a web content writer for Business.com. 

The views and opinions of  this post are solely those of the author of the post. Mozy does not specifically endorse any of the commercial products or services mentioned in this post.

 

MozyPro Online Backup for Businesses