Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 4?

My first Apple Watch was a gift from my wife, she invited me to lunch for Valentine’s and surprised me with a stop at our local Apple store to get me one of these new Apple watches. I got one, the 42mm stainless steel watch with the silver Milanese loop band and I have been using it since then. I wasn’t convinced it was a useful device for a while until the software started to get better and also some handy apps came along.

Initially, the Apple Watch wasn’t received well, people were mocking it and making fun of Apple for producing such a device (see screenshot below). The truth is that the first edition or Series 0 wasn’t ready, they just weren’t good enough yet.

img_1286

Personally, I was impressed by it, I really liked the design and the functionality, yes the series 0 was the thickest, the slowest, and the software was full of bugs, but it was still impressive. For example, the activity and heart rate apps where pretty good since the beginning, and in my opinion, there wasn’t anything as good and accurate as the Apple Watch.

Early competition

At the time, a lot of people where buying Fitbits, including myself, but while these devices were convenient and inexpensive, the quality and durability was pretty bad. In contrast, the Apple Watch not only kept track of my steps but it also did a lot more, like checking my heart rate, and it had some useful apps.

A few years have passed since the first Apple Watch was released, its popularity has grown, sales of it have increased, and let’s be honest, the new Apple Watch is way better than the first version. The reality is that this watch is for people who love Apple products. The point is, Apple isn’t the only company who improved their Smartwatch line and its features, there are new competitors who in my eyes, have built much better products for exercise tracking, with much better battery life, and they also look great.

Garmin, for example, made a smart move by releasing GPS Watches of various price levels and needs. Gamin’s GPS Watches are well built and well designed, and in my opinion, they are still the best GPS Watch you can buy today. The battery life in all models of their GPS Watch surpasses that of the Apple Watch, and this is an essential factor for anyone serious about their fitness training.

The new Series 4

Apple-Watch-Series4_LiquidMetal_09122018

The new Series 4 is definitely a good watch and a big improvement over the Series 3. Below is a summary of what’s new and how it compares to previous versions.

The Series 4’s come in two new sizes, a 40mm case (977 sq mm display area) and a 44mm (759 sq mm display area).

It’s also thinner, almost as thin as the Series 0’s 10.5mm (if you can remember), the Series 4 is 10.7mm thin while the Series 3 is 11.4mm thin.

It has a faster processor, a 64-bit dual-core S4 processor which makes it up to 2x faster than S3 processor.

The best new feature – in my opinion, an Electrical heart sensor (ECG app), the ECG app is coming later this year.

Second-generation optical heart sensor, Fall detection, and a Digital Crown with haptic feedback.

The main disadvantage

The new Apple Watch series 4 didn’t have an improvement to its battery life when compared to the series 3. By looking at the technical details for the series 3 and 4, the battery hasn’t improved much, if any. Watches on both series 3 and 4 have a battery life of up to 18 hours and up to 5 hours with GPS, according to Apple’s website.

All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours.

In contrast, one of the most popular GPS Watches, the Garmin Fénix 5 Plus has a battery that will last for up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode, with music, according to Garmin’s website.

Battery performance: up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode with music (depending on settings)

When it comes to watches and its use as fitness watches Garmin is winning, and this is why Garmin’s line of watches is still a better choice than an Apple watch if you are looking to keep track of your workouts such as running, cycling, and swimming.

The main advantage

Apple did a great improvement to the Apple Watch Series 4, this device seems to be focused not only on fitness but it is now a viable and potentially reliable medical device that can help save lives. The introduction of features like the ECG feature is getting a lot of attention, and I think with reason. Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said it himself

We know this feature is going to save lives.

I agree with that statement, having the ability to monitor not only your heart rate but also having an electrocardiograph right there on your wrist is definitely something amazing.

President of the American Heart Association Dr. Ivor J. Benjamin discusses the benefits of the new Apple Watch Series 4 heart health features.

The ECG feature wasn’t the only thing that Apple surprised us with, the new Series 4 will also bring advanced activity and communications features, along with revolutionary health capabilities, including a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls. 

The fall detection feature could be useful for anyone, but this seems to be a great way for Apple to tap into a new user base that hasn’t paid attention to their Apple Watch in the past.

Should you buy the new Apple Watch Series 4?

If you have any of the previous versions, you will definitely see the benefits of the new version + the two main health-related features. If you are older or are at risk of a heart disease, buying this watch could save your life. With the ECG app (to be released later this year), users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.

How to Add Google AdSense to Your Blog

When you’ve had a blog or website for a while, plenty of content and visitors, one of the options you have it to monetize it is displaying ads. You care about your site and your content, and you should care about the ads you choose to show on your website. Google AdSense offers a way to display relevant ads, and it also gives you control over the look and the position of these ads.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use AdSense.

What is Google AdSense

It is a program run by Google that allows bloggers and website owners to serve automatic text, image, video, or interactive media advertisements, that are targeted to site content and audience.

This program is a great way to monetize your blog, it is easy to set up, and it just works. After you sign up for this program, you copy and paste a piece of code on your site, and Google starts serving the highest paying ads on your website.

Get started with Google AdSense

Most people running a website already have what’s necessary to get started with it. Here are the three things you need to get started:

  1. A Google account – If you have a Gmail account or use any other Google service, you already have one. If you don’t, you can sign up for a Gmail account, it’s free and easy.
  2. Original content – Any content from your website or blog created from scratch. This is one of the main requirements this program has.
  3. Phone number and postal address – The phone number and address associated with your bank account is needed to receive payments from AdSense.

Add Google AdSense to your website

Once you know you’ve met the requirements above, the next step is to sign up for a Google AdSense account.

Once you create an account, log in to Google AdSense and go to the menu labeled MyAds. In there, you can create ads, choose the size, the style and also filter the type of ads you want to serve on your website.

After creating your ads and customizing them, you’ll be able to copy a script to paste on the areas of your website where you want these ads to appear.

The Google AdSense website also includes other tools to help you set up your ads and to track its performance. This site will also show you your earnings once your ads are displayed on your site.

If you need further help with Google AdSense, we invite you to visit Google AdSense’s resource site, it has a link and lots of information to help you make the most out of your Google AdSense account.

If you need help setting up Google AdSense in your site(s) or need help with website/WordPress development, please let us know.

How to Start a Blog

Starting a blog is a great way to share your interests, your knowledge and your opinion on. A blog can also be something you use to write things you’ve learned or are learning, and it’s healthy too. Don’t worry too much about not having specific topics to write about, create your blog and start writing. In this post, we show you how to start a blog.

There are many ways to start and launch a blog. The easiest option is to have your blog hosted by a company like WordPress or Squarespace. There are other services but these are two of the most popular choices as they are both reliable and easy to use. Another option is to blog on a platform where all you need to do is write and nothing else. Platforms like Medium allow you to do this and many people do prefer that. However, I think having your own blog is still important and necessary.

The domain name

The first thing you need to do is register a domain name in case you don’t have one already.

Domain names help identify one or more IP addresses which are numbers used to identify a computer on a network. For example, the domain name ontechies.com represents an IP address. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages. For example, in the following URL the domain name is ontechies.com.

http://ontechies.com/2015/09/12/how-to-choose-the-perfect-tablet/

Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which top-level domain (TLD) it belongs to. There are only a limited number of such domains. For example:

  • com – commercial business
  • gov – government agencies
  • net – network organizations
  • edu – educational institutions
  • org – non-commercial organizations
  • more…

While there are many places where you can find a domain name, one of my favorites for its simplicity and speed when searching is domize.com. This tool allows you to type a domain name (anything without spaces) and it will show you if it is available for purchase. For obvious reasons, it is better to find a domain name that is easy to remember. Once you find an available domain name, click the link to buy it or go directly to one of many registrars out there. For simplicity, reliability and price, we recommend you use GoDaddy. It is easy to use and their prices are competitive.

The blog

If you don’t want to go trough the trouble of doing all of this, both WordPress and Squarespace have the option to buy a domain name from them. But wanted to show you how you can find and buy a domain name in case you want to have more control over it, or end up using a different blogging platform.

To start your blog, let’s assume you decide on WordPress as the platform, and we highly recommend it. WordPress is what this blog uses and many, many more. WordPress offers an open source version which you can download and host it on any server you want. It also offers a hosted version, which allows you to start right away, it’s free and it is the easiest and overall the best way to start.

Head over to WordPress.com and find the link to create a blog. It should be very visible. WordPress enhanced its sign up process and it helps you go through the steps of signing up and creating your blog.

Once you finish with the sign-up process you will have a basic blog. Below is a screen shot of what WordPress dashboard looks like:

wp_dashboard

On the left column you’ll find access to all features and options WordPress.com offers. There are a few areas you would want to get familiar with as you will spend most of your time there. The Site Stats under Dashboard and the Posts section. In the beginning, you’ll spend some time on Appearance and Settings.

Posts and stats

The Stats section under the Dashboard offers more than just basic stats for your blog. In this section you’ll see summaries on your blog traffic, referrers, top posts and pages, search engine terms, clicks, and total number of posts, categories, tags, followers and shares.

The Posts section is the one you’ll end up using the most. This is where you can access all blog posts you have written and also where you can start new posts. The Add New post screen is very self-explanatory, it has an editor with many editing and styling options, and sections where you can add categories, format, tags, etc. It is also from this page where you can publish your post immediately, or set a schedule so it can be published later.

Appearance

In this section you can search, preview and install both free and premium themes. One thing you need to know is that with the WordPress.com hosted solution, you are limited to the functionality they offer and you cannot install any plugins. While this might be a deal breaker to many, most people wanting to setup their first blog are probably better off without extra plugins, at least in the beginning. As of today, I still have my personal blog hosted using WordPress.com without third-party plugins and it works for me. If you want to use any of the many plugins available for WordPress, you are going to need to download WordPress from here and host it yourself. If you decide to do this, one of the WordPress hosting companies we recommend is DreamHost.

Widgets and Menus

This section provides you with a lot of options to change the layout and functionality of your blog. Depending on the theme you chose, you’ll have different sections available to place widgets which are small bits of packaged code that offer functionality to your page. For example, there are widgets to display Categories, Search, Twitter Timeline, Tag Cloud, etc. The screen shot below shows you what this sections looks like, the widgets available and the sections in the blog where I can display these widgets.

WordPress widgets

 

To use any of these widgets, you drag them into one of the sections available for your theme and then click on the arrow pointing down to open the widget’s options. The screen shot above shows the Search and Recent Posts widget located in the Sidebar section of the blog with the options visible. This should give you an idea on how it works.

The Menu section lets you setup a menu and again, depending on the theme you select, you’ll have different options to display menus. For example, some themes are setup in a way to display different menus on the header and maybe the footer area of your blog.

WordPress menus

As the image above shows, you have many options to add items to your menu. You can add pages you’ve created by checking the box and then click on Add to Menu. Following the same steps you can add links to posts, custom links, link to categories, etc to your menu.

Settings

This section has options to change different settings as shown in the screen shot below. This is where you will change the title of your blog, timezone, language, comment’s options, follower settings, and sharing settings among other things.

WordPress settings

 

There are many things more that WordPress offers. You don’t have to learn everything now, just start writing posts and get familiar with the platform.

 

How To Choose the Perfect Tablet

When it comes to tablets, there are specific things you need to look at before you buy. One big mistake is to buy a tablet just because it is popular. Instead, do some research and spend sometime figuring out what kind of features, operating system and price will make the perfect tablet for you.

Tablets are useful for consuming media and play casual games. But some newer models are also good for creating content.

What is your goal with the tablet?

This is the number one question you need to ask yourself. A tablet is common for casual gaming, watching movies, browsing the internet, checking email, and to read books.  Understanding which is the main reason you want a tablet will help when selecting one. Figure out what matters the most to you and write it down, this will help you select the perfect tablet.

For Gaming

Apple’s iPad is the best option for people looking to use the tablet for gaming. The reason for this is the large array of great game titles available in the App Store. However, the game selection in the Microsoft Store and Google Play Store is improving. If you are a die-hard gamer and want to be able to play with a tablet, the NVidia Shield Tablet is for you.

For Kids

A priority for most parents getting a tablet for their kids is safety. Tablets give you access to content that can be inappropriate for kids, so a tablet offering parental controls is important. The Microsoft Surface and Amazon Fire HD (kids version) tablets offer strong parental controls. For small kids, you may also consider kid-focused tablets from Nabi.

For Business and Productivity

If you need a tablet to stay connected when on the go, something like the Microsoft Surface is what you need. This tablet comes with MS Office preloaded and you can buy the Surface Cover which is also a keyboard. Another option is the iPad Pro, which has a large screen and you can also get a Smart Cover which is also a keyboard. If you are a MS Office user, this application is also available for the iPad Pro.

For Media Consumption

If your goal for a new tablet is to watch movies and read books, the Fire HDX is a great option. Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll have access to a wide variety of TV shows, movies and music. With this tablet you also have access to exclusive content from Amazon.

The iPad Air and the Microsoft Surface also offer exclusive access to their content platforms. With the iPad, you’ll have access to the iTunes library, and with the Surface you’ll enjoy Xbox integration.

What operating system is best for you?

Choosing a tablet with an operating system you are comfortable with is essential. For example, if you are a PC user, a tablet running Windows or Android will fit you better. If you are a Mac user, then the iPad is a good idea. Why is this so important? you’ll save time and effort if you get a tablet running an operating system you are familiar with. The operating system in a tablet will also determine the apps you’ll be able to install and use.

Here is a look at some of the tablet operating systems available today:

Windows

This is the most powerful operating system available for tablets today. The reason being that it is a full version of Windows and you can run any application you currently run on your PC. There is also the benefit of having a wide variety of companies offering tablets with Windows.

Tablets running Windows are a good option for those who want to do heavy-duty computing on a tablet.

Android

Like Windows, this operating system is available in many different tablets out there. This gives you a wide array of devices to choose from, with screen sizes ranging from 6 inches to 13 inches.

Tablets running Android are a great option for those who already have Android Phones. The cost of tablets running Android also tends to be lower than those running Windows or iOS.

Tablets running Android are a great option for people who just want a tablet to browse the web and check email. Android also offers a huge variety of apps.

iOS

This is Apple’s mobile operating system and it is available for both the iPhone and the iPad. The iPad is the most popular tablet out there, the simplicity of the operating system and the large availability of apps and games is the reason for this.

What features are important to you?

Battery Life

Battery life is affected by battery size, brightness of the screen, and the time a tablet is left on. With this in mind,  if battery life is a priority for you then you should look at this article. At the moment, the Lenovo Yoga tablet is the one with the longest battery life at 14.2 hours. The Samsung Galaxy and the iPad Air come in second and third place at 13.4 and 13.2 hours.

Screen Size and Resolution

Tablets come in  sizes ranging from 5 inches to now over 12 inches with the iPad Pro at 12.9 inches. If you work with photo or video editing applications, a larger screen is a must. Also, watching a movie and playing certain games is more enjoyable in a big screen. Both the Surface Pro and the iPad offer the best screen resolution.

Memory

Tablets come with internal memory ranging from just 1 GB to 512 GB. The Surface Pro and a few other Windows tablets offering up to 512 GB of memory are a great choice if you have that need. Also, most tablets running Windows and Android have expandable storage.

Wireless Connectivity

There are different versions of Wi-Fi, at the moment we have 802.11b/g and 802.11n. The 802.11n specification is the best when you are planning on streaming video or downloading large files. Also, a tablet that supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio bands provide the best Wi-Fi connectivity.

Camera

Most tablets come with one and sometimes two cameras. Tablets aren’t a great choice to use as cameras to take photos. But if you need to use your tablet for video conferencing, make sure the tablet you buy has a camera on the front.

Price

Tablet prices range from less than a $100 to more than $1000 dollars. The features and even the brand will dictate the price of a tablet. There is a wide range of tablet prices for any budget. The Amazon Fire HD at just $99 is the cheapest tablet and the Apple iPads have the higher cost.

12 Online Tools to Spy on Your Competitors

When you start to plan the creation of your website for your business, startup or blog, one of the things I recommend is to check these online tools to help you understand more about your competitors and how they are handling their online resources. The goal is to have a better understanding of who your competitor’s clients are, and the things they are doing online that are working and not.

Good artists copy, great artists steal. – Pablo Picasso

One of the things to keep in mind is that you should not worry too much about what your competitors are doing. Use these tools merely to see what they are doing and is actually working for them. It is important not to follow your competitor’s too closely, it is vital that your personal or corporate brand is if not unique, at least different. I recommend you read Different by Youngme Moon, it’s a book about the importance of being different.

Below are the 5 online tools to help you spy on your competitors (and yourself):

Find competitor’s sites offering similar services and products

These are online tools that help you find out about other sites that provide related services and/or products to yours or whatever website you enter in their search box. For example, if you enter wordpress.com, you might get a list and some details about sites like Blogger, Livejournal, Typepad, etc. You get the idea right?

Similar Sites: similarsites.com

Xmarks: xmarks.com

Find Similar Sites: findsimilarsites.com

Get insights for any competitor’s website or app

These are online tools that provide you with a lot of details about any web application. Some of these details might include the following:

  • Referrals
  • Traffic from search, social and display ads
  • Audience
  • Similar Sites
  • Mobile Apps
  • Web Server
  • Nameserver Providers
  • Email Services
  • Hosting Providers
  • Frameworks
  • JavaScript Libraries
  • CDN Providers
  • Etc…

The amount of details you get for a specific website or app depends on whether you use their free or paid version. However, even the free versions of these tools provide plenty of details and valuable information. Enjoy!

SimilarWeb: similarweb.com

BuiltWith: builtwith.com

Get your competitor’s keywords and backlinks

These services allow you to track different competitors’ backlinks, keywords, and Ads. They show you a lot of valuable competitive data. The following online tools are probably some of my favorites as they help me get the competitive data that I am interested in 😉

Monitor Backlinks: monitorbacklinks.com

SpyFu: spyfu.com

Link Prospector: linkprospector.citationlabs.com

Ontolo: ontolo.com

Get details on your competitor’s mentions

These services are fantastic and they can be time wasters. Be careful. The following services allow you to track mentions of your competitor’s keywords, websites, social media accounts, etc… Of course, you SHOULD use them to track mentions of your own website and social media accounts too.

Google Alerts: google.com/alerts

SocialMention: socialmention.com

The Takeaway

It is worth to mention that most of the companies above offer their services for free or have a free trial version you can try before you are ready to invest money in their tool. These are definitely useful tools to use when building your site, your links, Ads, etc… It gives you a good picture of what your competitors are using and doing. If you are not ready to invest your time and money on these tools, it is OK, you can still get most of the information these tools provide for free. However, the time commitment to get this information without these tools is enormous. Please consider that when you make your decision on whether or not you should use these tools.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have any feedback or insights about using any of the tools above? Do you know of any other tools that can give you the same type of details and valuable information? Please share it with everyone by posting the information in the comment’s section below.