Out of sheer curiosity more than anything else, I recently bought an Amazon Echo Dot with its Alexa Personal Assistant function. If you are unfamiliar with the Echo concept, it is an Artificial Intelligence tool that can carry out a wide range of tasks on your behalf when you issue spoken instructions. As a basic example, you can activate the device by the start word, usually Alexa, and then telling it to play a Spotify playlist or a single track.

Not exactly earth shattering stuff but bear with me.  As I said, I bought the device out of curiosity; after using it for two weeks I don’t know whether to be excited or scared crapless! Here’s why.

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newton emailIt is no secret that I am a big fan of the Newton email app. The metamorphosis from CloudMagic was too much for some people who were unwilling to pay the premium price for one of the slickest and powerful email clients for mobile devices.  Just as you think the service cannot get any better, the developers have come up with a swathe of improvements. The most important of these is two-step authentication, an absolute must in the era of the hack.  Setting it up is very easy and you can either use it via a SMS message to your mobile  phone or by using a series of codes that you can access and keep safe.

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I have long maintained that if an app or service is of great benefit to you, then it is worth paying for. Hell, I even wrote a post about the services I am more than happy to pay for. But there is a band of people who believe that everything they want on the net is free and their right to use as such. A case in point is CloudMagic which recently returned as Newton  with a stack of turbocharged added extras.  A typical discourse would have been:

“Wow! CloudMagic is the best free email app for Android and IoS with some fab features. It really is head and tails above anything else on the market and I cannot envisage using another mobile email solution. Great, I have just tread that CloudMagic is changing its name to Newton and will have even more great value added modules. I can’t wait.

“Hang on, they want to charge for Newton? Screw that. I am dumping this and going with Outlook. It may be crap but it’s free!”
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I have been blogging on and off and in various formats since the late 1990s. I have never sought fame and fortune and my last blog, closed a fair few years ago, was getting between 12-15,000 visits a month and had a Google Page 4 Ranking. I gave that up because it became all-consuming and it just wasn’t fun anymore.

The Tech Savvy SMB ( TSSMB) has been going at a far slower pace for two years and last week was named as one of the top 30 must read SMB tech blogs by BizTech magazine.

A big thank you goes out to Phil Goldstein and BizTech magazine for this honour.

You can read the full article here.

pb-logotype-150My regular reader knows that I have been for some time a huge fan of Mailbird and I have reviewed it here as it has moved from one incarnation to the next. However, of late I have been a little unhappy with small things. For example, emails have been slow to load and on one or two occasions haven’t arrived at all. Also, Mailbird has been promising Google Contacts sync for what seems like years and it still hasn’t arrived. I want Google Contacts, not Star Wars and Rio themes. Also, the much vaunted Wingman add-on has obviously been shot down in flames and disappeared into the sea.

So I decided to revisit Postbox to see if my earlier comparisons between the two posted here were fair. It turns out there is much that I have missed in Postbox 4 and humble pie is an awfully dry meal.

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