If you’re one of the few remaining Blackberry users out there you probably find yourself feeling a little left behind when reading about the amazingly-innovative Apple and Android apps on the market. I (Kristin) still use a Blackberry for two very specific reasons.  1) I had two Android phones and shattered the screen on 4 devices (I had insurance luckily!). However, I learned that this isn’t necessarily the phone’s problem… more so the fact that I am super clumsy and I need a bullet proof device that can accomodate me. 2) I like having a keyboard with buttons (just a personal preference thing).

Although, I wish I could use instagr.am, Words With Friends, and even our very own thinkspace member’s application, MeMeTales, I have found these 5 Blackberry apps to be extremely useful. Let me know what you think, and if you have any applications that you would add to the list!

1. Who Is It- LED Light Alerts for Contacts

This free app allows you to assign LED light notification colors for different contacts. I have assigned all of my highly frequented contacts with a different color. It’s nice to see who has called, texted, or emailed you without looking at the screen.

2. UberSocial

UberSocial is a full-featured Twitter application. In my opinion, it’s the best Twitter client available for Blackberry.

3. YouMail Visual Voicemail

YouMail allows you to listen to your voicemail messages without dialing into your mailbox. This application sends you an email when you have a voicemail with an attached .wav file. I personally hate calling my voicemail box so this application has made checking my voicemails far less painful.

4. Taxi Magic

I use Taxi Magic for when I need to order a cab. The app gives you the ability to schedule out cab rides in the future. Taxi Magic services Orange Cab, and I have found that the wait time between their mobile app inquiries and phone inquiries are the same.

5. AccuWeather for Blackberry

The AccuWeather app doesn’t do anything spectacular compared to most weather apps. However, it does place a small temperature icon on your home screen. It’s nice to glance at my home screen and see what the temperature is outside.

I still adore my trusty Blackberry Bold phone. It has survived many falls and still manages to call, text, email, tweet, check in, and wake me up in the morning. And for now, that’s all I ask for!

 

 

 

When I was in school, I worked two jobs to pay my bills. During the day, I was a busy barista serving tasty coffee concoctions to thirsty regulars. Nights and weekends, I worked as a waitress at a local Greek restaurant that served garlic-infused Gyros to die for. During this time, a substantial portion of my income was attributed to the tips I received on a daily basis. Needless to say, I always seemed to have at least a hundred dollars cash burning a hole in my pocket. For some reason, that cash always seemed to have an odd habit of “disappearing.”

I know quite a few of my friends who’ve had the same issues. I don’t know what it is, but somebody gets even a twenty dollar bill in their hand and it’s gone faster than you can say “Bob’s Your Uncle.” The same is normally true for most with gift cards; and definitely true with myself! If I get a gift card for Christmas, you can bet that it will be spent by New Years. However, this story didn’t ring so true when I got another certain gift card.

I’ve had a $250 Apple Store gift card safely tucked in my purse for going on three months and I just can’t get myself to spend it. I’ve wanted an iPhone for years and now that my favorite carrier has finally launched the phone, I still just can’t get myself to make the purchase! The constant lure of “bigger and better” things to come has me in a seemingly endless state of shopping purgatory. I’m always waiting for Apple’s next big thing.

The iPhone 5 is rumored to have many new and exciting features, but the only thing I really care about is that they may release a white version (vain, I know)! What about the other Apple users out there? Have you already purchased the iPhone 4? Or, are you waiting for the iPhone 5? I’d love your feedback!

We are proud to introduce you to one of our thinkspace members, Maya Bissiner, who is the founder of Memetales. Maya has created a web and mobile platform that presents stories to children and encourages reading through a game-like experience. Maya has fused her passion of being a mother as well as a tech geek through the development of Memetales. Take a moment to watch our interview with Maya to learn more about her startup. Maya will be one of six presenters at Tuesday’s Seattle 2.0 Tech-n-Tell event.  Want to learn more? There is still plenty of time to register for the event.

thinkspace loves entrepreneursThere is a special soft spot in my heart for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. They are passionate, focused and driven which is inspiring and completely energizes me when I get the opportunity to work with them. Typically smaller startups don’t have a staff to handle their website and marketing needs. If this sounds like your company; then keep reading. Often businesses publish their website quickly with little time to devote towards research, design, creating content and functionality. Or worse, the business doesn’t put a website up at all. But, I’ve got something that’s a lot better than either of these options!

Here are a couple of questions you might have:

  • How do I get a website that allows for customers to find me online?
  • Can I get a website that doesn’t take a lot of time to maintain so I can focus on my business?
  • Can I get a website that I can edit and update myself?
  • How can I get a website that doesn’t hurt my checkbook and still looks professional?

Setting Up For Success:

thinkspace offers WordPress websites starting at $500If you are looking to build a website or considering a refresh of your current website; don’t frown! This is an exciting time for you and your business. Learning about how to utilize your business skills and employ them online is going to be a rewarding experience and a great investment for your business.

Don’t get overwhelmed, come talk to any of the thinkspace staff about the website and marketing packages we offer. We can talk with you about your specific needs, ideas and solutions.

Here are a couple of myths:

  • The best websites are the most beautiful and have animated dancing unicorns.
  • The best websites get millions of hits every day.
  • The best websites are #1 in search results for Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • The best websites have the most keywords packed into their website.
  • The best websites are the ones are esthetically pleasing to me.

The truth is that most successful websites are able to prove with their content, website design, and choices if images these three essential things:

  1. They know who their customers are.
  2. They understand their customer’s needs.
  3. They are qualified to meet their customer’s needs.

There can be many goals for a website. They can also serve many different purposes, from building the business’s brand, being a place to promote events, and sell products. My challenge to you is to create a website that is clear to visitors on what you want them to do.

  1. Make a purchase
  2. Contact you – Email, Phone, mail
  3. Share your content/products – through social media, email
  4. Connect with you – Social media, Events, Make an appointment

Creating great website contentBuilding Content

To build content for your website start with making a list of all the most frequently asked questions by your customers. Try to be concise, stick to one to two sentences and answer each question like you would if the customer was in front of you. Then arrange your answers by level of importance to customers and the top four are most likely your static pages. The others make excellent content for your blog, social media channels and email newsletters.

Research & Finding the Conversation

Take some time to research similar businesses, locally, state, then nationwide.  Take notes on what you do and don’t like about their website, what content you think was neat. One of the best ways to find out where conversations are happening about you, your business and your competitors is to use Google Alerts. You might find out that there are conversations happening about your business on Linkedin that you didn’t even know about.

The Summary:

  1. Focus on your customer, their needs and the solution you bring to the table
  2. Know what you want people to do when they come to your website
  3. Write content that answers common questions your sales or customer service representative would normally answer.
  4. Find out where the conversations are happening online and where you should be investing your energy
  5. Have a website built that is easy on your budget and staff

For more information about what thinkspace can offer you contact us! We would love to work with you.

This weekend I finally sat down and figured out how to tether my iPad to my Windows Mobile phone. After getting it connected I’m so glad that I didn’t wait and buy the iPad 3G which costs $629 + $30/mo or $360/yr. for a data plan.

In order to figure this out, I started searching for an application that would turn my phone into a Wifi Router.  From there it’s simple to just go into the settings of the iPad and select the Wifi Router (my cellphone).

My friend Alvin, posted on his Facebook wall that he successfully tethered his iPhone 3GS to his iPad.  He said it was super simple with an application that he bought called Cydia.  There is a very good detailed blog post “How to tether your iPad to your iPhone (via Wifi)“.  Basically to recap it here are the steps.

Tether your iPad to your iPhone

  1. Download and run blackra1n on your Mac or PC.
  2. Install Cydia on your iPhone.
  3. Use Cydia to search for and download MyWi which costs $9.99.
  4. Enable your iPhone as a WiFi hotspot, and give it a 40 or 105-bit encryption key.

Tether your iPad to your Windows Mobile phone

Download “WMWifiRouter“.  It’s basically turns a smartphone into a WifiRouter. The installation is quite easy.

  1. Download a trial application from the website to make sure it’s compatible with your phone.
  2. Configure the name of your WiFI Router and create a WEP Key.
  3. Go into your iPad settings and pick the WiFI Router.
  4. I was able to jump on the Internet and quickly connect to a few websites.  After a few minutes the trial program tell you that trial key is expired and you’ll be forced to buy the application if you want to keep using it.  It costs $19.99, which is a bit steep in my opinion because the iPhone Application that does the same thing costs $9.99.

There’s even a YouTube video on how to tether an iPad to a Droid. Here’s the link. Later this summer, I’ll be upgrading out of my Samsung i760. I’m glad I will have a ton of good choices like the new iPhone 4G, Droid Ultimate, or even a Windows Mobile 7!

Also check out: The 8 Best Business iPad Apps.