Monthly Archives: April 2012

Google Announces Free Cloud Storage Service, Google Drive

Google Drive Coffee

Image Credit: yukop

Earlier this week, Google announced the rollout of its latest service, Google Drive. This virtual storage space allows you to create and store files in the cloud. Additionally, you can share and collaborate on files, keeping up with changes in real time.

Google Drive quickly differentiates itself from its competitors both by the amount of size they offer for free (a robust 5GB), as well as with a plethora of amazing features that users are sure to love.

One of the more beneficial features is the ability to view over 30 different files types in your browser, even if you don’t have the program installed on your computer. This means you can still view your friend’s shared Photoshop file using your web browser, even if you don’t have Photoshop on your computer.

Additionally, Google Drive allows you to track changes, and saves your revisions, keeping changes for up to 30 days, or choose to keep a particular revision permanently stored, depending on your needs.

You can also download and upload files with ease, regardless of platform. Want to save files from your IPad in your Google Drive and later move those same files to your PC? No problem, Google has you covered and allows you to easily move and save files, no matter what device or computer you are using.

If you want to use Google Drive there is currently a wait list (as Google always does with any new service), so if you want to be one of the first to use it, then go to the Google Drive Sign Up site and request some space. They’ll notify you when it’s ready.

Click here to read a comparison of different cloud storage services to see how they stack up.

Are you using Google Drive now? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you find cool new tools to make work and life easier. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

How to Accept Credit Card Payments on Location

Square Credit Card Reader

Image Credit: bfishadow

Have you ever been at an event or trade show where someone wanted to pay for your services by credit card, but had to decline because you had no way to accept payments?

This problem may soon be a thing of the past. There are now credit-card reading devices that physically plug into your smartphone, allowing you to swipe cards and accept payments on location.

Best of all, because the technology is still so new, most companies offer the devices and services at little to no cost to the business. It’s a win-win situation.

Here’s a rundown of a few of the companies offering card-readers for smartphones.

Square

Like its name, the card-reader offered by Square is a small, white, square device that plugs into the headphone jack of your smartphone. The device itself is free. Additionally, there are no monthly fees or merchant accounts required to use the service.

The Square service has slightly higher service fees than other companies, but because it’s essentially free otherwise, it’s great for businesses who accept payments sporadically.

PayPal Here

PayPal also offers a free thumb-sized card reader and free app that connects with your smartphone. Their fees are also similar to Square’s and they have no monthly commitment.

However, the service is on “exclusive release” now, meaning they won’t send the device to just anyone who asks. Instead, if you are interested in using PayPal’s Here service, you will need to sign up for their wait list, and they will contact you upon availability.

GoPayment

Intuit also offers a free mobile payment service, called GoPayment. Their free transaction rates are on par with the other two services. However, GoPayment also has a monthly plan option, where you can reduce your transaction fees by 1%, if you pay a monthly service fee of $12.95.

The monthly plan could be a great option for businesses processing a large volume of on-demand credit card payments.

As long as you have a smart phone, you have the ability to accept payments on demand, wherever you are in the world. Order one of these devices and you will never have to turn away a paying customer again.

Do you use a card-reader to accept credit cards on demand? How does it work for you? Leave us a comment telling us about it.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you do business anywhere. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Best Free Music Websites

Record Player

Image Credit: Ferrari + caballos + fuerza = cerebro Humano 

So you spent all week listening while you worked, right, like we talked about in Monday’s post, “Why You Should Allow Music into the Office”?

No? Why not? Maybe listening while working isn’t for you, or maybe it isn’t a habit yet. Or maybe you just don’t know where to turn to listen to free music all day long.

Well don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of our favorite music websites. We love these sites because they’re free, the ads are minimally obtrusive, and the services just plain rock in general.

8tracks

As a throwback to the mix-tape era, 8tracks provides user-created playlists composed of eight tracks or more (hence the name).  By using listener-based playlists, 8tracks can provide a wide and diverse range of music, and connect songs and artists together organically, in ways that feel natural to the listener.

However, be warned that the pictures accompanying playlists aren’t always safe for work, so if your office has policies against the viewing of nudity or pornographic materials you may want to stay away at work, or at the very least hide the browser.

You can access playlists for free online, or through their mobile app.

Grooveshark

If you are in the mood to listen to something specific, then use Grooveshark. (Spotify is a similar service.) Grooveshark allows you to search for artists and create your own playlists. You can even save playlists for later, which is great because if you’re picky, it can take a while to queue up the perfect playlist.

They also have a radio feature where you can listen to music by genre, but their genres are loosely defined so you end up listening to a lot of junk too. If you’re looking for a radio-style service, there are better options out there.

Grooveshark is free to use online, but costs money for the ad-free version, or to use the mobile features.

Last.fm

This free web-based radio watches, or Scrobles, what you listen to, and then recommends similar songs and artists, allowing you to learn about great new music. You can even customize your radio stations by artist or genre, and can mix and match, choosing up to three to mash together.

You will have to watch a short add anytime you start a new station, or switch between stations. Additionally, if you’re listening for a long period of time, the music may stop playing. If this happens, check the browser window, they are checking to make sure you are still listening, and stop the music to avoid playing to an empty room (a great work feature). Simply click ok and playback resumes.

Spotify

This free music service is software based, not browser-based, so you will have to download the program to be able to listen to the service. Spotify is a good option for some, depending on your music needs.

There are some limitations and restrictions on the number of free listening hours you’re allotted, although they allow unlimited listening for free for the first 6 months. Click here to read about how much music you can listen to with Spotify.

What’s your favorite place to go for free music? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who enjoys helping you do enjoy your work. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.