Tag Archives: mozy mobile app

Pivoting Can Even Work for App Companies

Nokia Cell PhoneIn the long history of innovation, there have been some incredible instances of companies pivoting to a different niche. Perhaps the most startling pivot was Nokia, which despite being the leading mobile phone maker from 1998 to 2012, was originally a small-town Finnish paper and rubber manufacturer.

But while technology companies of today might not so drastically change their infrastructure, even one-beat smartphone apps have successfully overhauled their outlook to adjust to growing tech and mobile trends.

Arguably the most notable example of an app successfully pivoting, is Instagram. Instagram was originally conceived as “Burbn,” a check-in, location-based tool. Unlike Foursquare, its main competitor in this space, Burbn enabled users to share filter-enhanced photos. Co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger quickly realized that users were more intrigued by the photo sharing aspect of Burbn than the check-in function. It was from that insight that Instagram was born. With over 100 million active users, and its historical $1 billion acquisition by Facebook, Systrom and Krieger were wise to pivot.

When Feathr launched in 2012, many people had a similar reaction: I should have thought of that. The app’s original focus was to digitally re-invent the traditional, and archaic business card, while also implementing a social, share function. But co-founder Aidan Augustin decided to point Feathr in a different direction in 2013, repositioning it as an interactive tool for corporate conferences. With Feathr, users are quickly able to access cleanly designed profiles for conference speakers, exhibitors, and other attendees, while also seamlessly connecting via LinkedIn and Twitter. Suffice to say, Feathr has vastly improved its app, and in doing so, could potentially revolutionize the vCard in the process.

Even though Qwiki, which was essentially a “video meets Wikipedia” tool, had been a heralded iPhone app since its inception in 2010, founder Doug Imbruce wasn’t satisfied. Imbruce yearned to compete with video-based social apps, like the Twitter-backed Vine. But instead of implementing Vine’s 6-second, GIF-style approach into his app, the founder went in a slightly different direction. With the new Qwiki, users can create a quick video (or slideshow) sourcing photos from one’s iPhone camera roll, and without any prior editing software knowledge, turn a folder of cute nephew baby pictures into a short video. Users can then share the video with friends, family, and the world (if you really wanted to).

 

Mozy Mobile App

 

Use Mozy to Capture Whiteboard Ideas

I’m captive to the whiteboard. So many of my work conversations require on-the-spot diagrams and quickly jotted notes that it’s sometimes impossible to talk without one. Despite all of humanity’s technological wonders, whiteboards show that our ancestors had something right when they planned hunts using sticks to draw lines in the dirt.

Naturally, I often need to capture what’s on a whiteboard before someone erases it. If you do the same, here’s a tip for how you can use Mozy to capture the whiteboard artifacts of your conversation and open them up on your computer.

Ingredients for this Tip:

So here’s what you do…

  1. Get out your mobile phone and snap a picture of the whiteboard you want to capture.
  2. Use the Mozy app to send the new photo to your Stash
    • iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) –  Launch the Mozy app and go to the Upload tab. Tap the Choose from Library button, select the photo of the whiteboard and upload it. (Note also that you can take a photo directly from the Mozy app for iOS.)
    • Android – Launch the gallery app, tap the photo of the whiteboard, and then tap the Share button. In the Share Via list, select Mozy to upload the file to your Stash. (See “Android: Using Stash with the Mozy App” for step-by-step instructions.)
  3. Once the photo has uploaded, the Stash software will download it to any computer you have linked to your Stash. Now you have a copy of the photo right on your computer.
Now you have a quick way to preserve your whiteboard thinking.

Bonus Tip:
The Fast Way to Find a File Uploaded to Your Stash

Here’s a handy trick: from the Stash menu, under Recent Activity, if you click the latest downloaded item, your computer will open its file explorer to show you the file. That gives you fast access to the whiteboard photo you just uploaded.

If you have other tips on ways that you put Mozy to work for you, leave us a comment. Perhaps we can feature your tip here on the blog.

As always, be safe and happy Stashing!

–Ted

Siri, Texas Ranger

In the 1967 classic film “Cool Hand Luke,” one of the main characters, the Captain, utters one of the most classic lines in cinema: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”

It’s a phrase that lends itself well to a number of circumstances. Like Apple’s Siri.

Siri, the voice-activated digital assistant on the iPhone 4S, was last summer’s must-have smartphone feature. This summer? Not so much. To back up this claim, see what the New York Times had to say about Siri last summer compared to this summer.

Last year, the Times’ David Pogue was clearly taken with Siri’s responses to certain questions. His headline: Siri Is One Funny Lady.

“If you don’t laugh at some of Siri’s responses, there’s something wrong with your funnybone,” Pogue wrote then, in response to these tidbits:

You: “I need to hide a body.”

Siri: “What kind of place are you looking for?”

Siri then offers you a list of choices like Reservoirs, Metal Foundries, Mines, Dumps and Swamps.

You: “Who’s your daddy?”

Siri: “You are. Can we get back to work now?”

You: “Open the pod bay doors.”

Siri: “I’m sorry, Joshua. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Sure, the responses were funny the first time, but as time wore on and the benefits of Siri waned, the dynamic with Siri also changed. There was a failure to communicate. Just see how the Times switched up its tune.

Last month’s headline: With Apple’s Siri, a Romance Gone Sour

Writer Nick Bilton chronicled how things went south between him and Siri.

“We met at an Apple product announcement in Cupertino, Calif. She was helpful, smart and even funny, cracking sarcastic jokes and making me laugh. What more could a guy ask for?

“Since then, we have had some major communication issues. She frequently misunderstands what I’m saying. Sometimes she is just unavailable. Often, she responds with the same, repetitive statement.”

Funny, but true.

With the next iPhone release expected somewhere in the near future, let’s hope one of the improvements made to the otherwise stellar device involves Siri. After all, she was released as a beta, meaning there were bugs to be worked out and a conceded room for improvement. She could use a bit of an upgrade.

But before I write her off completely, I figured I’d ask a few questions not so much for their humorous aspect, but in the event you find yourself in a do-or-die, “Walker, Texas Ranger” style situation. Walker, if you remember, was a character played by Chuck Norris who somehow always found himself battling it out with an assortment of Japanese gangs or corrupt parole officers.

Me: “How do you untie knots?”

Siri: “Checking on that for you. How about a Web search for ‘How do you untie knots?’”

Google pointed me to a climbing site and a YouTube video on how to untie a square knot. At least she understood the question.

Me: “How do you unlock a trunk from the inside?”

Siri: “Hmmm. Let me think. How about a Web search?”

A Web search turned up a helpful wikihow page titled “7 Tips on How to Escape From the Trunk of a Car.”

Walker would be impressed. I’m sure he would’ve benefited from having Siri as a sidekick. Which isn’t a bad idea if this voice-activated digital assistant gig doesn’t work out. Siri could always help Chuck Norris battle bank robbers and prove the innocence of the wrongfully accused.

One final question.

Me: “How do you stop Chuck Norris?”

Siri, in a beautifully redeeming moment, came back with a video. That video was called “You Can’t Stop Chuck Norris.”

Smart lady.

Image Credit: Chuck Norris Action Jeans / Sarah B. Brooks / CC BY 2.0

New Features in the Mozy App for iOS

Wrapping up a series of posts on the Mozy app v1.4, we finish with the new features for iOS, which includes iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. If you missed the previous two posts, check out:

In version 1.4 of the Mozy app, here are some of the new features for iOS.

Pull Down to Refresh

First up, some of our more avid Mozy app users pointed out to us that they want a better way to refresh a folder that has new items in it. Previously, you needed to navigate from a folder you were viewing and then back to it again to get it to show a new file you just uploaded from a different device (for example, a file that you added to your Stash).

Now you can just pull down on the folder view, and release to update the view. The screenshot at left shows a normal folder view. At right, you can see the pull-down “Release to refresh” screen.

    

Delete from Stash

Although Stash is still only available in beta, we continue to increase what you can do with it from a mobile device. This latest release of the Mozy app allows you to delete any file from your Stash. You can initiate a delete by looking at a file’s detail page…

…or by opening the file, and tapping the actions button  (shown in left screenshot at bottom-left) to open the actions menu (shown in right screenshot).

    

Stash Uploader Improvements

The Stash uploader also got its first interface overhaul since its debut.

In addition to its new look, you’ll notice the convenient View Mobile Uploads button, which takes you directly to the Mobile Uploads folder in your Stash. Also, the uploader can resume after an interruption. For example, an incoming phone call can send the Mozy app to the background. When you next bring the app to the foreground, the upload continues from where it left off.

Overall, you might notice a strong trend toward increasing security and making it easier to use Stash in the Mozy app. Let us know what you think by posting a comment on this post.

On most of our blog posts, we sign off with “Be safe.” On this one, we leave you with something you can actually do to make the world safer: please tell a friend about Stop the texts. Stop the wrecks.

–Ted

New Features in the Mozy App for Android

In my previous post about v1.4 of the Mozy app, I covered “Security Updates in the New Mozy App.” In this post, let’s take a look at some of the new features for Android.

Easier Access to All Files

After we added the My Mozy home tab in a previous version, there were several people who didn’t know that you could still get to the classic file browser view by hitting the Menu button. So, we added a tab-like navigation right on the main screen to make it easy to find.

SD Card Storage Features

When you use the Mozy app to download a file to your device, it gets stored on your device’s SD card. The new app adds two great features.

First, whenever you open a file that you previously downloaded, the app will check whether you have the latest version. If the local version is out of date, the app will ask you whether you want to update to the latest.

You can also remove a downloaded file from memory, too. Just tap and hold on the filename.

Stash and Android

If you use Mozy Stash, you have probably used the Mozy app to upload files to your Stash. If so, then you’ll appreciate these improvements.

You can now overwrite a file in your Stash with a newer version.

 

We also made some improvements to the auto-uploader to avoid duplicate uploads and images from other apps. If you haven’t used it before, you can enable it from Settings.

The app also adds an event to the device’s Notifications panel when an upload is in progress or completes, including auto-uploaded photos and videos.

And, you can also delete items from your Stash. Either open the file and select the delete icon, or just tap and hold on the filename. (Okay, this isn’t really new on Android, but I hadn’t mentioned it in previous blog posts, and we just added it the iOS app, so…please act like it’s new. Shh.)

Coming up in my next post, we’ll look at new features in the Mozy app for iOS.

Until then, be safe (never use the Mozy app while driving!),

–Ted

Ted Haeger
Mozy Product Management

Security Updates in the New Mozy App

Mozy Mobile App 1.4Mozy just keeps making it better and better to access and use your data from mobile devices. This week we launch version 1.4 of Mozy’s app for both Android and iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch).

Each time we update the Mozy app, I update the Mozy blog to tell you what’s new. The list is too long for a single post, so today we’re going to look at how we have further tightened security in the Mozy app.

The convenience of having all your Mozy-protected files at your fingertips is enormous. But mobile devices frequently get misplaced, lost or stolen. Mozy app v1.4 introduces the following new security measures to ensure your privacy in such situations:

  • Token-based Authorization - The Mozy app has switched to using an access token instead of your password. Although previous versions always used strong encryption to store the password, this new token-based system keeps the Mozy app from storing your password at all. That sets the stage for the next (and frequently requested) security feature…
  • Remote De-authorization - If your mobile device goes missing, gets stolen, or you’re just not sure where you put it, you can just go to your account page and select expire mobile access. When you do, it stops all access from the mobile app until you log in again, but your computers running Mozy online backup or Stash continue to work without disruption. (In other words, it expires just the app’s current token–it doesn’t change your password.)
  • Automatic De-authorization - As in previous versions of the app, if you choose to protect the app with a passcode (PIN), the app will automatically log out after 5 incorrect PIN attempts. The difference now is that instead of forgetting your password, the app now forgets its access token. (This also happens if you choose to log out manually from the app.)
  • Automatic Data Wipe - When you remotely de-authorize the app from your account, the app now removes any locally-stored data when launched. This includes: files you have marked as favorite on iOS, files downloaded to SD storage on Android, and even any usernames that the login screen had previously remembered.
  • Local File Encryption - If you use a personal key to encrypt your Mozy data, the Mozy app will now keep any downloaded files encrypted on local storage. It decrypts them when you share by email or send a file to another app.

In my next post, we’ll look at features that make the Mozy app even better for accessing and using your data while on the go.

If you have questions or comments about the items described above, please post a reply.

Until next time, be safe,

–Ted

Ted Haeger
Mozy Product Management

Just Say No to App Overload

Just Say No to App OverloadIt started innocently enough. The first one was free. So you tried it. And you liked it. And you wanted more. So you went back, this time handing over $1.99. It was good, but it could have been better, so you tried one for $6.99.

Before you knew it, your smartphone began to resemble a sort of third-rate strip mall, a hodgepodge of how to speak Thai, how to win at poker, how to properly carve a turkey. Your reliance on applications didn’t pass unnoticed, but you began making excuses, saying you were just downloading them for a friend.

As an app-aholic, downloading apps began to affect your life negatively in the following ways: You were recklessly wasting precious megabytes on your phone, you were spending more than any man should on ‘80s arcade games, and you were leading an all-around disorganized mobile existence that was affecting your work performance.

Don’t give up, though. There is help, and it only takes three or four steps to bring order back to your iPhone or Android device. Read on to find out how to restore organization to your smartphone’s applications.

Cut Ties With the Past 

That Bubblewrap app certainly provided you with hours of mindless fun, but that was three years ago. It’s time to let go of the past and move on. Delete it. It’s simply doing you no good on page 8 of your apps screen.

Call it tough love, but it’s a good idea to habitually go through your apps and get rid of ones that no longer provide any meaningful function. If you haven’t used an app in six months, cut it loose. If you find you need it again, you can always reinstall it on your phone without having to pay for it again.

There’s a Folder for That

The iPhone and Android devices have a super handy feature that allows you to group similar apps into a folder. This greatly reduces the overall clutter and sprawl that got you into this predicament in the first place, and it helps you quickly locate an app when you need it instead of having to scroll through numerous pages.

With the iPhone, simply touch one of the apps you’d like to add to a folder, wait for it to shake and then place it on top of another similar app and both will be added to the new folder. Simple as that, and each folder can hold 12 apps on the iPhone. Using this system, all of your apps could fit on just one screen.

Edit Before You Get It

Don’t be afraid to edit your app purchases before you make them, the same way you would weigh the pros and cons before buying anything. Sure, they’re cheap enough to buy on a whim, but so is malt liquor. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

If you’re confident the app will make communicating with co-workers or customers better, then go for it. If you think it might be good for only one or two uses, hold off.

It’s easy for life and work to get a bit messy every now and again. An easy way to begin regaining some order can simply start with your smartphone.

As far as restoring order to the garage, well, you’re on your own.

 

MozyHome

 

Geeking Google Earth with the Mozy App

Geeking Google Earth with the Mozy AppI’m a total geek for Google Earth. I use it to find places for my wife and I to explore in the Utah outback.

I scout out campsites with it. It helps me to locate minor roads and two tracks. Photos from Panoramio reveal lesser-known points of interest for us to explore. To me, Google Earth is one of the most wondrous innovations of the information age.

Google Earth has a native file format, known as “KML,” that you can use to share placemarks, routes, photos, and complex shapes for defining whole areas. For example, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) provides KML files for the surface geology of each US state. Also, many geolocation-enabled apps provide an “export to KML” option (Runkeeper is a great example).

Unfortunately, there has always been a big shortcoming with KML files. Although you could create them with Google Earth on your computer, you could not read them in the Google Earth app on your mobile device. At least, you couldn’t until this week. Google just updated the Android and iOS versions of Google Earth to v6.2.1 so that the app can accept when you send a KML file to it. And this is awesome for me as a Mozy user!

I have numerous KML files in my Stash–many that I have created, others that I have downloaded. So now, I can use the Mozy app to send these files to the Google Earth app. I’m so stoked about this that I created a quick demo video for any other Mozy users who are as geeky about Google Earth as I am.

If you want to try it out, but you need a KML file, you can grab the one I used for the demo video from IntrepidXJ’s Adventure Blog (and also see some fantastic trip reports showing Utah scenery).

 

Until next time, be safe,

Ted

Using the Mozy App Send Files to Your Stash

To wrap up our series of posts about what’s in the latest release of the Mozy app, we provide you a cool how-to for uploading files, using a favorite new feature: Mozy Stash.

Previous posts in this series include:

Overview

Stash is one of the hottest features ever added to the Mozy service. Although only in beta, thousands and thousands of MozyHome customers have added Stash to their account. Check out the Stash page to find out more about it.

From the Stash beta, one of the most frequently requested features has to do with the Mozy app. Many have asked for the capability to upload files from their mobile device to their Stash. It’s been possible to upload photos and videos to your Stash for a while, but not other types of files. The latest version of the Mozy app now makes it possible to upload any type of file, so that the file is then available on any of your linked computers.

Let take a look at how to do so, using my iPhone as an example. That means that the examples will be specific to iOS (which also covers iPad and iPod touch), but the workflow is similar on Android. We’ll start by showing how to send a file from the Mozy app to another app on your device. Then, we’ll show how to send a modified version back to your Stash. Along the way, I’ll mention some of the things we plan to make even better within the next couple releases.

Sending Files from Mozy to Other Mobile Apps

Even in previous versions, the Mozy app has allowed you to send files to other apps. The workflow is fairly similar, depending on whether you’re using the iOS version or the Android version of the Mozy app.

For this example, we’ll download a PowerPoint presentation and send it to Documents to Go. Start by downloading the file that you want to send to another app. Once downloaded, tap the Actions button. Then tap the Open in… button.

 

Mozy Mobile App With Stash

After that, you can select whatever applications are available.

Using the Mozy App Send Files to Your Stash

Note 1 The available applications on this screen depends on which have registered themselves as handlers for the type of file in question. If an application is not available, then it probably is unable to accept the type of file you’re trying to send to it.

Note 2 (Android) The model used by Android presents you with a “Share” button in place of “Open In…” The Share button may look a little like this:

Note 3 (iOS) While crafting this post I noticed that the Mozy app pre-pends filenames with a series of numbers. (It’s actually a milliseconds timestamp for the file.) We’ll clean that up in the next update.

Sending Files from Another App to Your Stash

Now for new feature: if you have Stash, you can upload files from other mobile apps right to your Stash!

If you have an application that supports sending files to other apps (using “Open In” on iOS, or “Share” on Android), then you can send the file directly to your Stash. Let’s take a look at how to do it, again using my iPhone as an example.

This time, we start from Documents to Go’s “Local” tab. From there, tap the Details icon to the right of the document’s name. Then, tap the Open In button on the upper right of the Details page. Finally, select Mozy as the target application.

 

Using the Mozy App Send Files to Your Stash

Your device will now take you into the Mozy app, where you can confirm the upload. (The confirmation prevents rogue apps from uploading without permission.)

 

Using the Mozy App Send Files to Your Stash

When the upload completes, you can find the file in the “Mobile Uploads” folder in your Stash.”Mobile Uploads” is a default folder currently used by the Mozy app. In a future update, we plan to provide a folder selection dialog, allowing you to select the target folder for uploading.

Tell Us What You Think

Because Stash is in beta, we’re especially eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions about any feature related to Stash. Join us in the Stash forum, where there is a thread specifically releated this blog post on mobile uploads.

Until next time, be safe,

–Ted

Some Android-only Awesomeness in the Mozy App

This morning, we released the latest edition of the Mozy app for Android to the Android Market. You can download it from there now. (If you have a Kindle Fire, it will be a few more days before Amazon completes its review for the Amazon App Store.)

With that, let’s continue our series of posts on the latest edition of Mozy app. This time, we take a look at something just for Android–whether it be the phone you got from your mobile carrier, your Kindle Fire, your Galaxy tablet, or your Nook.

As noted in the previous post, the app has a new My Mozy home screen. On Android devices only, there is a Downloaded item on the home screen. This allows you to view and use any files you’ve already downloaded–even when you don’t have an internet connection.

Mozy mobile app for Android

When you tap the Downloaded item on the “My Mozy” home screen, you see the different locations from which you have downloaded files:

Mozy Mobile App

When you select a location, you can then see whatever files that you have previously downloaded:

Mozy mobile app

Of course to download files, your device must have an SD card to store whatever you download.

Until we meet in the next blog post, be safe,

Ted
Mozy Product Management