Cool Software

Tracking Your Mileage Made Easy

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photoI stumbled upon a great little iPhone App that makes tracking your mileage easy. If you need to track your miles for tax purposes or even to bill a client, MileBug will probably do the job. There is a paid and free version available. The free version works great. You can only track up to ten logged items at once. However, all you need to do is email the 10 items to yourself, delete them off your device and start over to keep the free version useful!

Several cool features I really like about MileBug:

  1. The ability to have several Businesses and Breakdowns. In other words, you can name your company and the purpose of the visits such as “Estimates,” “Project Management” “Warranty Work.”
  2. Multiple Vehicles: If your car is in the shop and you have to use a personal vehicle or rental, you can add that to the program.
  3. Types and Rates: You can receive tax deductions for charitable work and medical needs. So, if you are running to the hospital, click on “medical” within the program to track your miles!
  4. Emailed Reports: The reports function is the real winner. They are easy to read and VERY well organized. All you do is select the “range” of dates and click “email.” It is that simple. This way, if you have an estimator using his own vehicle, he can use MileBug to track his estimate calls, follow ups, etc. and email you a report right from his device, assuming he has an iPhone! If only RIM would be more proactive on making useful business applications for the Blackberry!

Finally, one of the drawbacks is using the Odometer feature only. You have to discipline yourself to remember to track your mileage in the proper order. Therefore, if you logged in a trip on Wednesday and forgot about your Monday trip login, it will mess up the Odometer. It would be really nice if it had a feature for just typing in the mileage manual. In the past, I just typed in the Directions in Google Map, the Route I would take and write in the total 2-way mileage. So that is the only major drawback.

Try out the free version. If it is as cool as I described, by the unlimited version for $3.99.

Getting Things Done: Great To-Do List App

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ThingsBlackberry and Palm devices always did a great job including a good and easy to use task manager application. On the old PALM, you actually had a button for “To-Do’s” right on the front of your device. Making list were easy and checking them off was even more fun! Now that the technology age is so much more advanced since the early Palm Pilot models of the late 1990s, we think we need better programs to manage our crazy schedules. Books have been written about how to manage your time more efficiently, including the popular “Getting Things Done” book by David Allen.

The iPhone, being the latest and greatest mobile device on the market does not come with a standard task manager program. Apple left that particular App to the App creators! If you do a search for a good “to do” list for you iPhone, it will be hard finding one that is easy to use and even reminds you when things are do. I’m still in the testing stages of finding a quality task management App for my iPhone, but so far, I like the App called “Things.” This App cost $9.99 from the Apps Store on your device. However, if you are familiar with the Getting Things Done method or have your own creative way to organize your list, Things is probably a great little program for you to try. I know it is $9.99 but if it really does help you organize your busy schedule better, I’m sure it is worth it. Things allows you to quickly jot down thoughts and to-dos. It then saves them into a folder called “Inbox.” The next step, when you have the time, is to go into your Inbox and categorize and priorities your recent to-do items. Things then will organize your items into separate folders such as: Today, Next, Scheduled and Someday. All items can also be tagged. I use the “tag” function as the categories for the companies I am working for on an ongoing basis.

Two final “cool” features are the Projects section and the ability to email your items to yourself or someone else. The projects area gives you the capability of naming projects and the items that need to be done to accomplish the overall goal.

To learn more, visit Things and watch their short video on how it can save you time and money!

LinkedIn for iPhone

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LinkedIn, as I have explained in an earlier post, is a fantastic networking tool for business owners and business executives. It really is a “must” if you are trying to grow your business and seek to build connections and relationships locally or nationwide. LinkedIn‘s recommendation tool is also very helpful. You can ask friends, co-workers, former employers, etc. to write a brief recommendation and use that as a selling point when you are meeting with prospective clients.

LinkedIn has been accessible for the smartphone industry for quite awhile at m.linkedin.com. They have not released a Blackberry Application as of yet but have a good App for the iPhone. I still cannot understand why so many companies build applications for business people using the iPhone first and not the Blackberry. The iPhone is an incredible device, but there are still thousands, if not hundreds of thousands more Blackberry business users than there are iPhone users. The iPhone has around 50,000 and counting Applications (Apps) while the Blackberry has 5,000+ apps available. Whatever the reason behind why LinkedIn created an iPhone App first, I do not know! I will say that the App is easy to use and very nice looking! My only thumbs down opinion of the iPhone LinkedIn App is that it does not have an “inbox” installed. In other words, you cannot send and receive messages within this program. You still have to get on the mobile website or check your inbox from a regular PC or Mac. Hey…we can’t have everything at our fingertips…Yet! I’m sure this feature will be installed on a later version.

In the mean time, I hope a Blackberry App for LinkedIn will come out soon! It has been over a year since the iPhone App was released.

WordPress for the iPhone

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WPAlthough it is much faster, easier and more accurate to use a personal computer and a regular size keyboard to write blogs, it is still nice to have the mobile flexibility to write a blog on a mobile phone if you are trying to kill some time. Maybe you are sitting at an airport and your flight got delayed or you are in between estimates/ appointments. Whatever your excuse might be, getting the WordPress App for iPhone or Blackberry isn’t a necessity of life. It is just A very cool and easy to use application to have on your device.

I have played with the Blackberry and the iPhone App and they both are fantastic. It still takes 3-4 times as long to write a blog using a mobile phone compared to the “proper” way!

Anyways, if you really feel like being really high-tech, download the app(s) and try it out!

IPhone Users: http://iPhone.wordpress.org

Bkackberry Users: http://blackberry.wordpress.org

P.S. I typed this blog using the iPhone WordPress App.

Blackberry for Mac is Coming to Town

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Some of us cannot switch to the iPhone because we are on another carrier other than AT&T. There are also some of us who just like the Blackberry better as well! Regardless of why you have a Blackberry instead of an iPhone, you may be quite frustrated if you try to sync your Blackberry using your Mac computer. At the office, you just plug your device into your PC and let the Blackberry Desktop run its course. Mac users at home have a more challenging experience with their BB as there is not a Research in Motion (RIM) product compatible with a Mac (to date). There are after market software to sync, but they just can’t compare with the PC’s Blackberry Desktop.

This is all about to change, says a recent article from BusinessWeek. I am not sure why Mac and RIM are talking, because the Blackberry is a direct competitor of the iPhone. Whatever their reasons are, this article might excite you to keep your Blackberry just a little longer, if you are a true Mac user.

SalesForce CRM vs. SugarCRM

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I am currently evaluating two Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs for small business owners. Once I am done with my test, I will post my results. The “standard” for small businesses use to be a program called ACT! by Sage. It is still a decent program, but it is not available online. Because businesses are trying to save money, an online CRM program is the way to go. This way, a business can manage sales staff remotely and be kept up to date on their sales process! There are tons more functions in a CRM program, but the more functions, the more it cost.

So, I will keep my customers and visitors updated on my discovery of what I feel is the best. I may find that they are both great programs and the final decision will be one’s budget. To be continued…

Freshbooks: An easy to use Online Invoicing program

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If you are a small business owner who wants to make your invoicing easier to create, send and track, Freshbooks is probably the coolest and easiest to use on the market today. You can sign up for a free account (up to 3 client) to give it a try. When you sign up you get your own business URL (example: http://yourcompany.freshbooks.com) which is customized with your company colors and logo. You can also track expenses and keep track of your time while working on a project.

To learn more about this amazing little software program, check out Freshbooks. One final thing that I personally like is how Freshbooks integrates with a number of other quality online programs such as: Outright.com, Clarity Accounting, iPhone, etc. For a list of the programs Freshbooks integrates with: Check the Add-On list.

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