Earlier this year, I was talking with an executive coaching client about everything that was going on at once in his business life. The short and incomplete list included integrating an acquired company, moving his company’s headquarters to a new location, the annual planning process and addressing some significant new competitive threats. After hearing his list, I said to him that it reminded me of that list of stressful life events where you add up the scores of each event that is going on in your life to determine how much stress you’re dealing with.
That stressful life events list is called the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. It was developed in 1967 by two psychiatrists (unsurprisingly named Holmes and Rahe) who analyzed the coincidence of stressful life events with the health outcomes of 5,000 of their patients. If you score more than 300 points on the inventory, the research shows you have about an 80% chance of a stress-induced health breakdown in the next two years.
When you read through their list of life events through the lens of 2018, you realize how much the world and society has changed since 1967. For instance, one of the factors they listed was a spouse beginning or ceasing work outside the home. Of course, two income families were a lot less common in 1967 than they are today. Another observation about their list is almost all of their stressful life events involve a change in circumstances. Since their inventory was developed in 1967, there’s nothing on the list about the chronic stress that’s generated from 24/7 connectivity through smartphones and other devices. (Someone way more qualified than me should update the Holmes-Rahe Inventory to reflect life in the early 21st century. Just putting it out there.)
Still, it’s an interesting list and got me thinking about what would a business-life stress inventory look like? So, I started with the following events from the Holmes-Rahe and tweaked them a little bit to reflect the way business is done in 2018. Check how many apply to you and add up your points:
So, what was your score? If you checked off every item, you’d be up to 297 points and likely headed for a stress-induced health breakdown. And, of course, since it’s 2018 and not 1967, there are probably a number of other high-point items that you could add that aren’t on the list. If you scored higher than you think is healthy, I have some short-term and long-term advice. First, for the long-term, start working on changing the circumstances you can influence. What is probably more important in the short-term (and the long-term, too, for that matter), is that you establish some simple routines to mitigate the physiological and psychological impact of working in a high-stress environment. Three routines you can start right now that are easy to do and will make a positive difference are breathing, stretching and walking. This post I wrote in 2013 explains why each of them are so effective and how to get started.
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Despite having almost identical features, it’s important to note that Smart Displays are not Google Homes.
While both are powered by the Google Assistant, there are some small feature differences.
Going forward, Google could either bring to the platforms closer or continue to differentiate each from one another.
The smart assistant war has been raging on for several years now between Google and Amazon. While everyone has their preference between the Assistant and Alexa, Amazon has had a leg up in regards to hardware because the company has had two Echo speakers with displays.
While both smart assistant ecosystems thrive when giving vocal responses, having a display provides more details and allows users to visualize information. This addition to a plain speaker can make for a huge difference for the overall experience. So with all of this in mind, no one was shocked when Google announced the Smart Display product category that would compete with the Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot.
Smart Displays, which run Android Things and are powered by the Google Assistant, are marketed using the same techniques used to sell Google Homes and third-party Google Assistant speakers. Customers can ask basic queries, find information about the weather, control smart home tech, place phone calls, listen to music, and much more.
Thanks to these glaring similarities, it’s not hard to see why many customers might see Smart Displays and Google Homes being an almost identical product. While Google has never stated that they were the same, it’s good to know what features are missing from Smart Displays that users might be used to using on Google Homes or Google Assistant speakers.
As someone who owns and uses three Google Homes and one Google Assistant speaker in a small one-bedroom condo, I love the multi-room audio grouping feature. Instead of just having music playing back in a specific room, I can have the audio played back throughout my entire living space.
As the Lenovo Smart Display has a decent-sized 10W built-in speaker, music played from the device fills the room and sounds pretty good. So after I finished setting it up, I decided to rehome my kitchen’s Home Mini and would rely on the Smart Display as my main entertainment speaker in that room. I quickly learned, though, that I couldn’t add it to my house-wide sound system.
Hey Justin, thanks for your tweet. Multi-room audio group would only work with any combination of Google Home, audio devices or speakers with Chromecast built-in. We’re always looking for ways to improve and we appreciate your feedback.
As you can see from Google’s response to my tweet about the issue, audio grouping only works between Google Homes, audio devices with Chromecast built-in, or speakers with a Chromecast audio plugged into it.
Why don’t Smart Displays have Chromecast built-in? The simple answer to that is that, yes, they do. So then what’s the problem here? Why can’t Smart Display get grouped with other audio devices like Google Homes?
The best we can figure is that the feature was designed to simultaneously play audio on multiple devices, but Google never figured out a way to include devices that would require something is displayed visually. This lack of software functionality would explain why standard Chromecasts that are plugged in televisions aren’t an option for audio grouping.
So with the introduction of Smart Displays, Google still hasn’t developed a way to have that visual representation work alongside the grouped audio. This problem seems like a task that the search giant could tackle fairly quickly, but there might be some sort of limitation that the public is unaware of.
The Made by Google Twitter account gave us the canned “we’re always looking for ways to improve and we appreciate your feedback” response, so we’re not sure if this feature will or could ever make its way to Smart Displays. If enough people ask for it, though, it could be something added in a future update.
At the I/O ‘18 developer conference, Google announced Continued Conversations. This feature allows Google Homes and Google Assistant speakers to continue listening for follow-up queries or commands without the user having to state Okay or Hey Google repeatedly.
As it was a highly requested feature, this addition made sense. So with the release of Google’s Smart Displays, the lack of Continued Conversations functionality is overly apparent.
Continued Conversations is such a simple feature that the fact it wasn’t included doesn’t make much sense. As the Smart Display is more inviting and immersive, it would make sense that someone would stand in a single place and interact with the device. But instead, users will have to use the Okay or Hey Google hotword if they want to quickly move past the first answer that was given to them by the Google Assistant.
Casting Netflix to the display
Now, this next issue isn’t technically a feature that differentiates Google Homes from Smart Displays, but it is one that should be discussed.
It would be a wasted opportunity if users couldn’t take full advantage of the screen on Smart Displays. As these devices are primarily meant to be kept in high-traffic locations like the kitchen, Google added the ability for users to cast their favorite movies and TV shows to the Smart Display. The overall functionality is no different than if a customer had a small television with a Chromecast plugged into the back which was used while cooking or washing dishes.
But while owners can watch YouTube, YouTube TV, Hulu, Play Movies, and much more on these Smart Displays, Netflix is weirdly unsupported. Unfortunately, we have not been given a reason as to why Smart Displays aren’t supported by the video platform. It’s almost like Google is now giving companies like Netflix the ability to certify and pick which Chromecast-enabled devices it would like to support.
Editor’s Pick13 things you didn’t know you could do with Google Home and ChromecastLooking to buy one of the new Google Home smart speakers or Chromecast? Or do you want to make the most of one you already own? Here’s a list of the best hidden Google Home …
Going forward, we could either see Google bring the Smart Display platform closer to its Google Home line or take them down separate paths. The audio grouping functionality and continued conversation could likely be added to Smart Displays pretty easily, but Google would likely only do that if the company wanted identical functionality on both platforms.
Are there any other features that you love using on the Google Home or Google Assistant speaker that’s missing from Smart Displays? Let us know in the comment section below.
Apple’s App Store has over 2 million apps, so it can be hard to find which ones are worth your time and which ones aren’t.
That’s why Apple built in a rating system, to let users say which apps are 1-star and which ones are 5-star worthy. Apple’s ratings and reviews influence how apps show up in search results, and you can see the rating before you download.
But which apps over the 10 years since the App Store first launched have had the most uniformly positive reviews?
App analytics firm Sensor Tower used its proprietary database to find the highest rated iOS apps by percentage of positive user review — defined by the percentage of 4- or 5-star reviews in the United States over the last 10 years. Only apps with over 100,000 reviews were considered.
In this tutorial we’ll take a look at DTP (Dynamic Trunking Protocol) negotiation. DTP is normally used on Cisco IOS switches to negotiate if the interface should become an access port or trunk. By default DTP is enabled and the interfaces of your switches will be in “dynamic auto” or “dynamic desirable” mode. This means […]
We’ve been hearing a lot of good news about the economy for a couple years now.
That includes today, with the release of the second quarter GDP, which saw a 4.1% rise.
So it’s a bit of a surprise to see a report this week showing that a majority of small business owners surveyed by Insurance Bee said current economic policies are putting them most at risk right now.
It caught my guest for this week’s This Week in Small Business by surprise, too. On the show, we take a closer look at my personal picks of the best articles to appear on Small Business Trends in the last week.
Trump Trade Policy Worries
John “Colderice” Lawson had a hard time wrapping his head around that 55% number initially as we kicked off the show. However, I reminded him of some of the things that may be causing some of that worry: Trump trade policy (including tariffs and talk of trade wars), the internet sales tax …
“We’ve had a good economy for 5+ years. But I think the uncertainly stems from our political environment,” he says in our discussion. “But when have you ever had certainty? Never.”
Check out the rest of the discussion we had on all the risks faced by small business owners today.
We then shifted our focus to an article by Ronald Dod on conducting a content audit of your ecommerce site. While John wasn’t familiar with the term “content audit” he does support the concept and its goal.
He says, “We’re always putting content out there. Find the ones that have the most engagement and then utilize those. That’s a great exercise business owners should probably do. Find out what is really working and do more of that.”
This week, we wrapped by talking about some new advice from the Young Entrepreneur Council on which business documents you should keep in paper form.
We are surprised that “young entrepreneurs” are advocating for print copies of documents. You can see by our reaction that even us, uh, wiser gentlemen think that digital documents are all you really need these days.
85% of Small Business Owners Say They’re Living the Dream
“The American Dream” is a concept that can vary from person to person and seem almost impossible to really achieve. However, the vast majority of small business owners seem to feel that they’ve already reached that lofty goal.
64% of Small Business Buyers are now First-Generation U.S. Immigrants, Says BizBuySell
The Second Quarter 2018 Insight Report from BizBuySell.com is reporting record levels of business are changing hands. And of these, a third are being bought by non-natural born citizens, of which 64% are first-generation immigrants.
What is JOBS Act 3.0 and How Could It Help Your Small Business?
A new bill will allow small businesses to raise capital like larger businesses. Proponents say it will help small buinesses start a new venture and grow their company in a robust economy. A bipartisan vote in the U.S. House created the JOBS and Investor Confidence Act, also known as JOBS Act 3.0 reform.
HubSpot Launches Small Business Marketing Tool for Beginners
Small business marketing is not as simple as used to be, and the constantly shifting technological landscape may be partly to blame. HubSpot’s new Marketing Hub Starter has been created to simplify the process for small business owners. According to HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS), the Marketing Hub Starter platform was specifically designed with small businesses in mind.
eBay and Square Capital Partner to Give Sellers Access to More Capital
A new partnership between eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Square Capital will give US eBay sellers access to funds in as little as one business day. eBay and Square Capital Offer Seller Financing Eligible eBay sellers can get up to $100,000 from Square Capital, a financing arm of Square.
Yelp and Gather Partner to Help Restaurants Book Events Easier
Leading event management software Gather has officially launched its co-partnered program with Yelp, the Gather Booking Network. Gather Booking Network Gather and Yelp’s Booking Network is aimed at addressing issues in the restaurant and events industries by helping restauranteurs and other venue owners connect with event planners and people booking parties and other events.
Say What? Small Businesses Racked Up More Than $1 Billion in Sales During Amazon Prime Day
Saying Prime Day 2018 started with a bang is an understatement. Small and medium-sized businesses were able to generate more than $1 billion in sales on the first day. Prime Day 2018 Results Small businesses who took part in the 36-hour event experienced great numbers. In some cases, small business sales were 10 to 100 times higher than their average day.
Small Business Operations
Heads Up for Small Businesses Running WordPress, Huge Changes Coming with 5.0 Gutenberg
Developers love change. Making something “new” and “better” excites them. They are really excited that WordPress (WP) as we know it is going away. But for small business owners, managers and personnel, change means lost productivity, expenses and a new learning curve. It will cost you time and/or money to make this transition.
U.S. Oil Boom Fails to Help Small Businesses at the Pump
U.S. oil production continues to break records this year, and the latest federal data shows crude output hit 11 million barrels a day in the previous week, with U.S. oil production doubling in the last eight years. US Oil Production American Enterprise Institute economist Mark Perry noted the production milestone on Twitter, citing the latest U.S.
How to Learn Summer Productivity While Working on Your Small Business
The summer is one of the most challenging times to freelance. Having to juggle multiple projects is part of our job description. Juggling various projects with clients who are off on summer vacation or less responsive can be pretty tough. Then there are vacations that you want to take, and you have to make sure that your business is running smoothly while you’re away from the wheel.
15 Must-Reads Small Business Owners Can Choose from This Summer
Summer is often a time of rest and relaxation, with plenty of time to sit out by the pool or on the beach with a good book. It’s no surprise that entrepreneurs fill up their summer reading list with books that will help them run their business better.
Would You Troll Your Competitors Like Samsung Did in These Ads Targeting Apple?
Samsung released a slate of new advertisements for its Galaxy S9 smartphones, all of which are direct attacks on one of its top competitors: Apple. Samsung Trolls Apple in S9 Ads One of the commercials, published July 20 on YouTube, does more than poke fun at the iPhone X’s lack of a classic 3.5mm headphone jack.
Comcast Launches Xfinity Stream App for Business TV Customers
Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has launched the Xfinity Stream app for business, giving its business TV subscribers the opportunity to offer customers and employees access to live streaming TV. If you run a small business which sees your customers waiting, Comcast’s new live TV streaming app could prove to be a cost-effective way to keep your customers entertained and satisfied.
New Samsung Galaxy Watch Could Help Small Business Owners Become More Efficient
The Samsung Galaxy Watch is no longer a rumor as the company leaked images of the watch on its site — then quickly took them down. Images of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Leaked The snafu was reported on CNET by Scott Stein, who also managed to get a screenshot of the watch before Samsung removed the images.
Small Businesses in Charlotte, Raleigh and Oklahoma City will Get 5G from AT&T Soon
The addition of Charlotte, Raleigh, and Oklahoma City brings the total number of cities where AT&T will be providing 5G services this year to six. Dallas, Atlanta and Waco were announced earlier this year. And if all goes according to plan, AT&T looks to provide the service to a total of 12 cities across the US by the end of 2018.
The Surface Go is an odd thing. Not because of the device itself, so much as how Microsoft ultimately arrived at it. The tablet was reverse-engineered, the low-end addition to the premium Surface line.
What the company ultimately arrived at was the closest thing it’s offered to an iPad/iPad Pro competitor, to date. For its part, however, Microsoft is positioning the product as a portable, low-cost alternative to its other Surface devices.
It’s a bit of branding confusion, to be sure, but that’s never stopped Microsoft before. That’s basically the Surface line in a nutshell. The company has the resources and infrastructure to throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks — and for the most part, that’s worked well with the Surface line, which has effectively transformed from proof of concept into the Windows flagship line.
In a lot of ways, the Surface Go is a strange sort of in-between device. The form factor is essentially that of the Surface Pro, shrunk down to 10 inches, with rounded corners. The smaller footprint comes with some sacrifices, of course, including the dual-core Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y, which is a notable downgrade from the Intel Core m3/i5/i7 found on the Surface Pro. The battery, rated at nine hours, is smaller than the one you’ll find on the iPad Pro.
The port situation more closely mirrors what you’ll find on a tablet, versus a full-fledge computer, with a single USB-C, a headphone jack and the proprietary Surface Connect port. That latter bit seems like an odd choice, given the limited real estate here (not to mention the fact that you can charge via USB-C), but Microsoft’s clearly as interested in keeping existing Surface owners on board here as it is converting new ones. Part of that means making sure the system is backward-compatible with old accessories, for the multiple Surface-owning power users out there.
The keyboard is an additional $99 on top of the $400 asking price. Pretty standard with this sort of device, really. It’s a sort of Sophie’s Choice for manufacturers when building these kinds of convertibles — go the full swiveling keyboard, à la the Pixelbook, or add it as an accessory.
The latter decision is better for those devices primarily intended to be used in slate mode, but ultimately keyboard cases just aren’t going to provide the same manner of typing experience as a devoted keyboard. The Surface line has long offered one of the best keyboard cases around, but it’s just not a proper replacement if you plan on using the product primarily as a word processing device. That said, it still beats the hell out of attempting to file a story using a touchscreen.
I’ve been using it a bit in meetings and still finding it tough to get used to it. The keys are soft and necessarily lack the sort of tactile impact I’m used to on my full-time laptop. There’s also the inarguable point that these kinds of devices really remove the “lap” part from the laptop equation.
Microsoft has press shots of happy users sitting cross-legged, with the device and keyboard nestled warmly in their lap. During my initial briefing, I asked a rep whether he thought that was a reasonable use case. He gingerly attempted to recreate the pose — which is to say, it’s possible, but not particularly convenient.
You end up tensing your muscles so the whole thing doesn’t split apart. This is one category where Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S4 has the competition beat. Seems it would be easy enough to build a keyboard case that sticks together after a good jostle — but then, I’ve never attempted to make one myself.
The lovely fabric covers that have been a hallmark of the service line are here on the 10-inch model. That, coupled with multiple matching peripherals, means the Go can pass as a pretty decent fashion accessory to slip in and out of a hand bag. The device itself is a bit on the chunky side, however, which has also been something of a hallmark with the Surface line.
Windows 10 S is back, as well. The locked-down operating system has certainly found its share of critics, but Windows RT it’s not. There are a bunch of implications for using the hobbled version of Microsoft’s operating system, but chief among them is the barring of apps not downloaded from the Windows app store. That puts the device at a decided disadvantage against the iPad, which apparently boasts around 1.3 million apps optimized specifically for the tablet form factor.
The tweaks are in place for security purposes, so the systems with lower specs can handle the workload — the latter certainly makes sense here.
More than anything, however, the inclusion betrays Microsoft’s broader intentions with the device. The 10 S has two distinct targets: students and older, less-savvy users who don’t want to be bogged down with the nuances and demands of a fully open operating system.
The first category is the tell here. Microsoft has been struggling to find the right way back into education in this post-Chromebook world. Like so much of what the company does, it’s taken an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach that includes everything from the $1,000 Surface Laptop to a new category of $189 third-party devices. There’s a lot to be said for that approach. After all, no two schools/students/teachers are alike. When you’ve got the scope and resources of a Microsoft, why the heck not just make something for as broad a user base as possible?
In the realm of education, the Surface Go represents a kind of middle-ground. It’s somewhere between a Chromebook and full-fledged tablet. Like the vast majority of convertibles, it doesn’t get the balance exactly right. But, then, no device is going to be everything to everyone. The price point will certainly make it too costly for a lot of classrooms, however.
For those schools who prefer to go with the Windows camp, due to its more mainstream usage beyond the classroom, it will ultimately be difficult to justify the premium when you can go out and pick up a Windows 10 S laptop for $189. After all, the main selling point of convertible functionality is the ability switch to tablet mode for entertainment purposes. Kids these days have enough distractions already, right?
What Windows does afford users that you won’t get on the iPad, however, is the ability to switch over into desktop mode. Apple’s mobile-only tablet approach is a pretty big roadblock toward becoming a full-fledge laptop replacement. That’s precisely why Samsung is going all-in on DeX desktop mode with the Tab S4.
Windows can do both, which is why these sorts of convertible devices are the sweet spot for Microsoft’s operating system. The company has also brought some nice additions over the years, like Windows Hello face login and a number of features for Pen input. Microsoft’s magnetic pen snaps onto the side of the device magnetically, which is good news for those of us who regularly misplace peripherals.
Of course, Microsoft’s always had some of the strongest productivity offerings around. Given the relative limitations here, however, I don’t think I’d want to rely on the Surface Go (or any other tablet-first convertible, for that matter) as my primary work device. As a supplemental portable device for the meetings when you don’t want to lug a bigger laptop around, on the other hand, it could certainly make some sense.
It’s easy to see why Microsoft made the Go. Convertibles are a rare bright spot in an otherwise stagnating tablet category. That’s part of what’s made the Surface line something of a surprise hit for the company. It’s hardware cache that the company hopes will finally propel Microsoft into more mainstream tablet success.
And the Surface Go isn’t a bad little device, at the end of the day. At $400, it’s on the pricier side for a tablet, and certain sacrifices have been made for the sake of keeping the price down versus the souped up Surface Pro. And unlike other Surface devices, the Go is less about pioneering a category for Windows 10 than it is simply adding a lower-cost, portable alternative to the mix. As such, the product hits the market with a fair bit of competition. Acer and Lenovo have a couple, for starters, most of which fall below the Go’s asking price.
For Windows devotees looking for something smaller and portable with nice fashion sense, the Go is worth a look. It’s also worth having a look around at the competition. A better deal shouldn’t be too tough to find.
A new Palm device could be on the way before the end of 2018.
Filings spotted by both Android Police and Android Authority point to a new Palm smartphone with the model name PVG100.
The device will reportedly have Bluetooth 4.2, will run Android 8.1 Oreo, and will support 2.4GHx WiFi, meaning that it’s likely to be a budget device.
Another smartphone from the early aughts could be making a comeback in 2018.
It was only a few days ago that Motorola let the cat out of the bag by prematurely listing the P30, P30 Note, and P30 Play on its official Chinese website, but even though the Lenovo-owned company didn’t reveal any product images, we already know precisely how these phones are supposed to look.Rumored to go official in China tomorrow, August 15, at a press event where the Moto Z3 is also expected to expand from the US to the world’s largest smartphone market, the Motorola P30 has practically become an open book after an even more detailed leak.A whole bunch of posters and …