Monthly Archives: December 2012

5 Must Have Apps for The Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant Appstop apps executive assistant

Executive Assistants are a breed apart.  Between aligning their tone and vision with that of their boss, to juggling 3 or more different tasks at the same time, their day is busier than yours-trust me. Below are five of some of the most popular and useful apps designed for the Executive Assistant who is constantly on the go. From accounting to productivity, these apps are indispensable for the professional managing multiple deadlines at the same time.  Some are free, some are paid but all of them are aimed at making your day a little easier.

 

QuickBooks Online

describe the image

A recent reinvention of the original Quickbooks, this iPhone app connects existing users to Intuit’s ubiquitous accounting software. Now you can check real time bank and credit card info and integrate the same accounts payable and receivable features that many users have come to know and love. It even allows users to search and update multiple customer databases and update profit and loss reports.

(The actual app is free; QuickBooks Online incurs a $9.95 monthly fee.)

Pocket PunchclockPocket Punchclock

This app makes it super easy to log the amount of time spent on multiple tasks.  The app is the ideal solution for various assistants who bill by the hour or freelance professionals that need to officially keep track of their time. The software has  a user friendly stopwatch style clock and allows you to work with more than one timesheet.  It documents exact times and charges and integrates your smartphones GPS to include location based info. All this and the info can be e-mailed as well

(Cost: $9.99)

Ambianceambiance iphone app

Some Assistants require some peace of mind to stay productive. While straight white noise has its proponents, this app produces over a dozen soothing sounds to relax to. Sounds include: a roaring camp fire, rain and wind, and crashing waves.

 (Cost: $0.99)

SpeechCloud Voice Dialerspeechcloud

Everyone knows that the missing link of the iPhone is voice-activated dialing.  Other operating systems can intuitively dial contacts by simply saying “Call office” or “Call Cell”.  Finally an app that fills this void. Hold down the clearly visible button and enunciate the name of a person in your contact list when prompted.

(Free)

Jott for iPhonejott for iphone

This simple but ingenious app can record your award winning ideas or brainstormed thoughts when you speak them into your iPhone’s built in mic.  Additionally, it can also transcribe your dictated voice notes into text (perfect for email or dictation). The app is free, but maintaining a Jott account is a pre requisite.

(Free)

5 Things You Don’t Know About International Travel

International Travel

As the CEO and founder of a worldwide transportation network, I spend roughly half of my waking day speaking with airport car service clients and corporate travel planners.  As a byproduct of this hectic schedule, I’ve learned a few savvy tips and tricks  for making your travel experiences easier. From watching the entire last season of “Breaking Bad” to learning how to call outside of a foreign country for free!  Here’s five guarded travel tips gathered from discerning and seasoned business travellers, that I’ve put together just for you

You Can access your Netflix Account While Traveling Abroad.

Additionally you should be able to view Hulu and HBO Go, browse Pandora Radio or checkout your Facebook status in China. You’ll need one thing- a VPN. This is also known as a “Virtual Private Network,” and what it accomplishes is simple and amazing!  It allows you to route your Internet traffic through a network with a distinct IP address, mirroring your network back home in The USA, while you’re browsing away in a train in Berlin.

Hide My Ass! (Yes that’s really the name) and Strong VPN are two reputable and cost effective VPN options, they start at $6.55 per monthly use.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll have a fair access to numerous global servers. Getting set up is a cinch and both VPN services have top notch 24-hour customer service hotlines. Any of the aforementioned VPNs are compatible with a tablet, smartphone or laptop.

You Can Call the States for Free

T-Mobile has one of the best coverage options for international travellers; it’s a closely guarded secret they’d rather you not know about.  You can bet that they won’t publicize that all international calls made over a Wi-Fi connection are free. Like, totally free. You can forget about data or roaming charges altogether.

Calls are made using Wi-Fi connect with a UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) network.-this kind of works in the same way as the VPN.  What a UMA does is give the caller using the Wi-Fi a separate and standalone IP access to T-Mobile’s core network.  This essentially mirrors the same type of wireless connection made in the United States.

As a matter of plain stated fact-Mobile, hands down, has one of the best overseas data plan. Unlimited email access can be had for a monthly fee of $19.99-not bad!   Unfortunately the use of Twitter and Facebook is not included in this plan.  But honestly once you get the hang of the Wi-Fi and UMA network you can freely surf the web browser and log into any and all social media apps.

Electronic Pick-Pocketing is On the Rise

Tech savvy thieves are now using what’s known as RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) “skimming”.  RFIDs are really just the condensed radio frequency chips that hold all the data contained in your passports, credit cards and other personal identification cards that have a magnetic stripe.  Snatching that data is easy as pie for some of these thieves. The majority of them stroll around with a portable card reader and briskly walk by or ‘bump’ you in a crowded place.

I have heard a personal story of one  executive whose data was snatched while travelling,  only to find his bank accounts drained, within hours. Pickpocket hotspots include shopping malls, train stations and busy hubs like airports.

The best defense is a personal offense: Think about shopping around for a RFID-Anti Theft wallet or personal carrying case. Some travel specialists recommend PacSafe’s anti-theft RFIDtec 150 RFID blocking passport case.

Forget About the Power Converter.

I can’t tell you how many times I get asked about adaptor plugs for different countries, and if one needs to invest in a converter. Here’s the bottom line. Today, almost all up to date electronic gadgets come with a built in power charger as part of the adapter.  Yes that includes iPhones, tablets and cameras as well as almost all smartphone models.

What you will need however is what’s called a travel plug adapter. Different countries use different kinds of plugs. In Eastern Europe, there’s these distinct looking round two headed prongs. In England there’s those square shaped three-pronged plugs. Just remember to do some homework before you travel overseas, and find out what kind of travel plug adapter you’ll need. I personally recommend Kensington International travel plug adapter.

The only instance when you will you need a power converter is when using appliances that use an inordinate amount of wattage; hair curling irons, blow dryers or Norelco type shavers.  Honestly, you’ll thank me later for purchasing these items abroad; You can save yourself a whole lot of headaches and possible socket meltdowns!

Download the App for That

Need some useful sentences in Japanese? Personal travel recommendations from a local guide   Underground subway schedules?  There’s probably an app for that. Seriously

It’s a wise choice to by contextually specific travel apps for your destination city  before you travel abroad. Some of my favorites include: mapswithme (for offline downloadable navigation), currency (for up to date exchange rates) and worldmate (for everything from flight updates to travel itineraries)

Smart Apps  don’t hog up too much memory and many are free. The paid apps are often the best investment you can make when you find yourself in a jam in a foreign land.

5 Unique Gift Ideas for The Boss

Executive Gifting

Executive gifts should be chosen carefully, but that doesn’t mean your search for the perfect gift  for your boss has to be boring.  If you are planning on gifting your boss this season, keep his/her needs in mind. We have put together a variety of 5 original gifts for various budgets and various bosses.  Choose wisely!

Apple iTunes Gift Card

Presenting your boss with a thoughtful reminder of suggested apps along with an iTunes-app store gift card, can often be the most understated way to earn some serious brownie points without putting a second mortgage on your home Two apps that have been receiving a lot of buzz as of late: FlightTrack Pro-which has an simple and smart user interface that lets the executive traveler stay on top of flights updates and delays. Outpost is the ideal app for busy executives in charge of multiple projects.  It has one of the most elegant management tools available on the app market

Cost: Starting at $25

Apple Magic Mouseapple magic mouse

The fabled Apple tablet is due for release in 2013. In the meanwhile, tantalize the Mac nerd (c’mon we all know one!) with the newly released Apple multi-touch Magic Mouse. In typical Apple fashion, the user experience is both sexy and intuitive.  The mac fanboy/girl on your list will be able to scroll around their home screen with a single-finger slide on the surface area of the mouse.  Swiping with two digits will move the user through photos or web pages. The wireless wonder uses two AA batteries and employs an auto shutoff feature when not in use-smart!

Cost: $69

CorePack Fly Messenger Bag by Speckspeck products corepack fly messenger bag

Perfect for the young executive, this laptop bag is ergonomic and plays nice with those pesky TSA check points. The CorePack Fly Messenger Bag by Speck unsnaps, lays flat and reveals a secondary compartment that is specially made to cradle and protect your laptop.  This allows you to slide it right through those TSA conveyer belts and zip right through airport security checkpoints-sans fumbling. It features a removable shoulder strap and a special pocket designed to hold an iPod-complete with a pass-through for ear buds. Available in two striking and elegant colors, this item is sure to get plenty of mileage.

Cost: $89.95

Powermat Portable Charging Matpowermat portable charging

What was the last count on the number of mobile and portable devices your boss was carrying around?  I bet it’s at least two devices.  This nearly wireless mat connects through a traditional wall socket and can juice up to three devices simultaneously. The caveat is that multiple devices need to be fitted with receiver cases or USB connectors in order to be able to charge up. The featherweight mat folds up and comes complete with it’s own carrying bag, making it an ideal travel companion.

Cost: $99 and $39.99 for an iPhone Receiver Case ,  $29.99 for a “universal receiver” which has a complete USB adapter kit for various devices.

5Barz “Road Warrior” Cell Phone Booster5barz road warrior cell phone booster

We left the best (and priciest) for last! This “Road Warrior” unit is essentially a signal booster that dramatically increases cell phone reception and almost eliminates dropped calls. The simple and intuitive design has a built in cradle that will accept a veritable anthology of cell phone models.  It plugs into both cigar lighter sockets and standard wall outlets. Weighing in at a svelte 1lb, this little life-saver is well worth the hefty price tag.

Cost: $299

Images: inc.com, theawesomer.com,blushberry.net

5 Pieces of Travel Tech Gear You’re Not Using Yet

Travel Tech Gear That’s a WIN!

While flying the “friendly skies” and jet setting for business may sound exciting, there are common complications inherent when moving you and all your stuff from A to B.  Here are some hot new products that hit the shelves recently.  We have chosen 5 of the most preferred pieces of travel tech gear recommended by some of our airport car service clients. All are priced below 100.00 and easily pay for themselves in both convenience and utility.

 

Iogear Bluetooth 4.0 USB Micro Adapter iogear-bluetooth-adapter

What: The Iogear Bluetooth 4.0 USB Micro Adapter is a tiny piece of tech wonder that can convert any PC with a USB port into a Bluetooth-enabled device.

WIN!: This teeny adapter engages with Bluetooth 4.0, the most recent generation of Bluetooth technology- and the fastest. Also, this micro adapter uses very little power itself,  so it won’t drain the battery life of your laptop or device.

Cost: $12

 

Kensington International Travel Plug AdapterKensington International-Travel-Plug-Adapter

What: The Travel Plug Adapter is a packable adapter fitted with plugs that function in over 150 countries.

WIN!: You don’t have to buy a separate  adapter each time you travel to a different country, and this portable gadget takes up very little space in your carry-on

Cost: $20

MyGica A680B USB HDTV Tuner MyGica-A680B-USB-HDTV-Tuner

What: The MyGica A680B USB HDTV Tuner is a USB adapter that allows your PC  to receive HDTV signals.

WIN!: You can watch HDTV for free-on your PC! This tiny USB stick gives you the capability to watch, pause  and rewind live HDTV.  You can even play with a recording cue and set scheduled recordings to watch later-right onto your hard drive. The tuner is compatible with Windows 7 Media Center, the caveat is that it doesn’t play nice work with earlier versions of Windows. Buyer beware.

Cost: $24

The Speck CandyShell Card Case

What: The Speck CandyShell Card Case protects your iPhone while providing a

speck candy shell with cash

utilitarian slot to stash cash and cards credit cards.

WIN!: The case has a grippy, rubberized slot that securely stashes currency and credit cards , eliminating the need to schlep around a heavy purse or wallet.  The rubberized  trim also remains flush with the iPhone’s bezel, which supposedly defends the notoriously fragile iPhone screen should it land face first.

Cost: $25

DreamTraveler iAD301 DreamTraveler-iAD301

What: No mess of cords and devices scattered across your hotel room desk. This elegant and simple charger consolidates the mess into an intuitive and user friendly design. iLuv  walked away with a  2012 CES Innovation award for this slim travel-size combo power strip featuring built in surge protection and a USB charger for iOS devices completed by a slide-out charging port.

 

WIN!: The Device can charge six devices simultaneously with one USB charging dock, two separately amped USB ports, and three grounded outlets.  Charge all your Apple products in a snap. The hottest facet of DreamTraveler’s design has to be the three built in grounded outlets which let you charge everything from a camera to a laptop.

Cost:  $70 (currently on Backorder)

 

 

Images: kensigton.com, iogear.com, meritline.com, bhphotovideo.com

5 Hot New Apps for International Travel

top-travel-apps

Award Winning International Travel Apps

International Travel can be complicated. There have been some recent releases of high end robust software.  Some are free, all are feature rich and offer the international traveller the capabilites of a personal travel agent in the palm of their hand

 

MapsWithMe: is the ideal buddy to bring on any executive travel journey as it provides travel manuals and offline maps for any global location. Once set up, just check the boxes for the places you’ll be staying and the app will give you the ability to download “offline”maps and any pertinent info regarding the location you will be staying at. (Including local guide-like tidbits). Maps are sourced from OpenStreetMap and virtual travel manuals come from Wikitravel.

mapswithme app

Currency: gives real time info on exchange rate covering in excess of 100 currencies and countries. This app is perfect for overseas travel when you need up to the minute exchange rate conversion info. This app gives a data rich” thumbnail flags” readout for the appropriate currencies. All you have to do is enter your currencies that you plan on using during your journey and you can instantly keep a close eye on the exchange rates at a glance. You have the option of manually refreshing exchange rates or allowing the app to auto refresh in hourly or daily intervals.

currency app

WorldMate: app basically has all you’ll need under one thumbnail. It tracks your itinerary and provides accurate weather forecasts.  It also gives you a currency converter and allows you to book hotels through the free version.  There’s also the indispensable travel notifications, which keep you in the know with weather affected delays and syncs to do lists for the day. Some of the hottest capabilities of the Gold version ($3.99-iTunes) of this app include: weather forecast, currency conversion, live flight updating, and a snazzy tip calculator.  It also features a rich database of flight and Hotel Searches and World Clocks.  The high end Itinerary manager as well as automated flight alerts are some of the most raved about features

worldmate app

Safe To Go™ is a robust dual user integration app that provides a dialed in user experience.  It is on one hand, a mobile app that allows travellers in the field real time access to flight and itinerary updates.  On the other end it has an integrated corporate travel desktop app that keeps an eye on corporate clients in the field and provides travel alerts.  It’s great for times with high security alert, as well as zones with security hotspots.  While it’s no replacement for executive protection-it comes close. Complete with an itinerary and software management for everything from car, hotel and flight info.  The hottest facet of the app is the ability for the client manager to provide “duty of care by alerting travelers if they’re in a danger zone; kidnapping, criminal, political, extreme weather, health hazards, etc.”

safe-to-go-app

Word Lens: app has native translation software built into it.  It uses your phones camera to capture printed words from the foreign language and translates them into the language of your choice.  Many of our airport car service clients use Word Lens for family vacations, executive travel or just for the heck of it.  It’s integrated for use on the iPad or iPhone and while the app is free language bundles are a paid upgrade.

Worldlens-app

 

 

 

images: apkfullapps.com, computerworld.com, tripatlas.com, corporatetraveldesigns.com,inpiratoblogs.com