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February 8th, 2016

2016Feb8_AndroidPhone_CIf you haven’t yet woken up this Monday morning, get ready for a cold splash of water to the face. For Android users, the Facebook app is draining 20% of your battery life and potentially slowing your smartphone by 15%, essentially making it a dumb phone. Shocking as this may sound, there is a way to have your Facebook and use it too—without such a damaging blow to speed and battery. Read on for the full scoop.

The flaw with the Facebook app was first reported by a tech writer, Russell Holly, from androidcentral.com. Here’s what he had to say about it...

"Recently I noticed some performance issues on multiple phones, and had started paying closer attention to what exactly was causing these problems. When Facebook turned out to be one of the more egregious resource hogs, I uninstalled it to see how things improved...Not only did my performance issues go away entirely, but I discovered I didn't actually lose any of the Facebook features I cared about by uninstalling the app."

Russell Holly, however, is not the only one who’s noticed a difference in Android performance after uninstalling Facebook. Since his finding, there have been numerous reports from tech writers and Android users across the globe. Furthermore, some users have also noticed a 15% boost in speed once they uninstalled Facebook and the Messenger app.

Alternative methods to get your Facebook fill

As one of the Android’s most popular apps, whether or not to install or uninstall Facebook can be a tough decision. However, the battery benefits are so big that it’s worth exploring alternate methods to get your Facebook fill. One is to simply uninstall Facebook and keep the Messenger app. This will not give you the full 20/15% boost, but will provide a noticeable difference in both speed and battery life. Alternatively, you can also access Facebook via Google Chrome or your other Internet browser. By doing this, you can still use most of the same Facebook features (with the exceptions of a few such as location-based functionality and Instant Articles, among others) and still get the max boost to your battery and speed.

As for Facebook, this isn’t the first time the app has been accused of slowing down a phone. Last October, the app was found to drastically drain the iPhone’s battery as well. Facebook promised to work on correcting that issue, and have a similar response to this, "We have heard reports of some people experiencing speed issues stemming from our Android app...We are looking into this and will keep [users] posted. We are committed to continuing to improve these issues."

So while you’re pondering whether or not to uninstall Facebook on your phone, feel free to shoot us any of your other Android questions or concerns. We are happy to help resolve any of your Android or other IT related issues.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 11th, 2016

AndroidPhone_Jan1_CYou have an iTunes Library. And it is an iTunes Library you have curated for years now and are attached to. However, if you have purchased or are thinking about getting an Android phone, you’re probably a bit concerned your music won’t be able to make the switch with you. Well we have some good news. Using one of these handy methods will let you enjoy your iTunes Library on an Android phone.

Drag and Drop

The most straightforward method of moving music involves a task you're probably already familiar with, dragging and dropping files. Alternatively, you can also copy and paste them, the choice is yours.

Start by connecting your Android phone to your laptop. From there, you will need to create a new folder on your Android phone from your laptop where you will place your music and open it up. Once that is completed, you should then open iTunes and highlight the songs you want to move. From there you can either drag and drop the files directly into the newly created folder on your Android phone, or select copy and then paste them into the folder. The results will be the same either way and your music will transfer over to your phone. Remember, if your laptop is a Mac you will need the Android File Transfer app available from Android in order to do this.

Apple Music

Apple Music recently made its way to Android and in addition to the streaming music service you are also able to access the songs you have purchased through iTunes. When you open up the Apple Music app you should be able to see your playlists from your iTunes Library show up when you go to My Music > My Playlists. There are two things you will want to take note of when considering Apple Music for Android. First, it is $10 a month to subscribe to the service and use the app. Second, the app is still new and Apple has not quite worked out all the kinks just yet according to reports.

Google Play Music

If you don’t need the physical files on your phone and are happy having access to your music via the cloud, then Google Play Music is a solution you might want to consider. For starters, it comes pre-loaded on all Android phones so the first step is already taken care of for you. You’ll need to download the Google Music Play app on your laptop (it's compatible with both Mac and PC), and then connect it to your iTunes library which will help you during the setup process. You can store up to 20,000 songs on your Google cloud at any given time which should be enough space for most people.

The downside of Google Play Music is that you’ll need to be connected to the Internet in order to have access to your music, which means this solution isn’t ideal if you’re on a plane for a long time or in another scenario where Internet access isn’t readily available.

If you’re thinking about switching from iOS to Android phones for your business then why not give our experts a call. We can help make sure your transition a smooth one.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

November 27th, 2015

AndroidPhone_Nov5_CSamsung Pay is just one of a number of services available to consumers and businesses looking to make the most of growth in the mobile payments sector, whether for the sake of greater convenience or enhanced bottom-line profit. Apple Pay and Google Wallet may steal most of the headlines when it comes to the mobile payments sector, but Samsung continues to show it is serious about getting its own slice of the action, too - most recently with its announcement of the integration of eight additional credit and debit card issuers.

Samsung Pay, which the company claims to be the most accepted mobile payment system around, already supports payment made through three of the major and most popular networks in the United States and elsewhere: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. The latest development will be of most benefit to customers in the US, or those with accounts at these US-based financial institutions but who themselves are based overseas.

Among the newly supported payment methods are Visa cards issued through the American bank Chase and through the Navy Federal Credit Union, as well as MasterCard credit and debit cards held against accounts with the following US institutions:

    • Citizens Equity First Credit Union
    • Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
    • Security Service Federal Credit Union
    • State Employees’ Credit Union
    • SunTrust
    • Virginia Credit Union
Other major banking institutions already supported for transactions processed through Samsung pay include Bank of America, Citibank, U.S. Bank, and Synchrony Financial. The growth of Samsung Pay, and the widening choice of options for making use of the service, are signs of the increased importance of the mobile payments sector - something that smart businesses are paying close attention to, in order to be able to identify how to best exploit the growth opportunities this presents.

Find out how you can make mobile payments work for your business - give us a call today and talk to one of our friendly team.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 9th, 2015

Colorful marshmallows in glass jar on light wooden background closeupMarshmallows might be something you only associated with campfires and mugs of hot chocolate but, in much the same way as Apples and Blackberries will never again be mere fruit, so the humble gelatin-filled marshmallow is giving its name to the latest iteration of the Android operating system - also known as Android 6.0 M. There’s no confirmed date yet for release to the public, but with the Developer Preview doing the rounds we finally know what the Google platform’s latest update has in store for us.

Marshmallow was first announced at the Google I/O conference earlier this year, but it’s taken a while for a version to come through that’s ready for developers to get their hands on. However, that’s now happened, and the first publicly available release of the operating system is expected to be on the new Nexus 5 and 6 mobile devices in the coming weeks. Sadly, the rest of us are unlikely to have a crack at Marshmallow until the end of 2015 at the earliest. But when that time does come around, it’s packed with these developments.

Visual voicemail

No more dialing voicemail and listening for long-winded prompts - Marshmallow is set to offer visual voicemail functionality from right within the main phone app. That means you can see at a glance who has left you a message, listen to each voicemail, and quickly hit a button to get more information or call or text back - all without needing to wait for a long list of options to play out first. Since this feature requires work at the carrier’s end to enable compatibility, it’s expected to be available only on a handful of networks to begin with - but the list should grow as time goes on.

Screen rotation

Here’s something that competitor Apple has offered its users since even the earliest iterations of its devices - the simple ability to rotate the screen and use it in landscape as well as portrait view. It’s a wonder it’s taken Google this long to realize this was a big and frustrating gap in the Android’s functionality, but at least the wait is over. You’ll now be able to rotate the screen whether you’re on the home screen or deep in an app.

Improved app drawer

Previous releases of the Android operating system have switched up Apple’s conventional single-level, horizontal-scrolling app drawer - used for accessing apps that are already open - with a bigger and vertical-scrolling drawer. But until now this has been plagued by bugs and apparently poorly-thought-out design, with out-of-place alphabetical organization and an ineffective use of space. Marshmallow sees these fixed, with space for more icons on screen - meaning faster and simpler scrolling - and floating alphabetical icons that both save space and look cleaner.

When it’s finally released in full, Marshmallow will also pack in a range of other smaller updates. If you want to learn more about how to integrate Android devices into your business and optimize productivity in the process, just give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

April 17th, 2015

AndroidPhone_Apr17_CYou’re in the middle of an important conversation on your Android phone. Suddenly, a ‘battery low’ notification pops up on the screen. You hastily try to close applications and adjust settings, but the damage has been done. This is frustrating especially when you have no charger with you, and your battery life just keeps on draining until it’s dead. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. So we’ve rounded up a few tips to preserve your battery life before it’s too late.

Adjust display settings

Are you using auto-brightness display? While it sounds convenient to have your Android phone adjust the brightness on its own, this feature actually sets the brightness level higher than you really need. Save your battery by setting the brightness manually - you can always tweak it when you have to. Reduce the screen timeout display, too, so that your phone screen goes back to black faster when not in use, saving even more power.

Activate power saving mode

This is a pretty handy feature found in high-end Android phones. Power saving mode automatically limits your phone’s processor and display to use as little power as possible without turning off critical functions. You’ll still have access to basic apps, such as texting, calling, the calculator, web browsing, and Facebook. And this feature can be set to automatically activate when your Android phone’s battery drops to a certain level, so make sure you use it!

Uninstall apps

When was the last time you actually cleaned up your Android device’s installations? Navigate to Settings and Apps to find a complete list of all your applications. You can save a huge amount of storage space by getting rid of unused apps. This, in turn, will stop the processor from running these apps in the background, giving your battery a little more life.

Organize the home screen

Most Android phone users don’t realize that a cluttered home screen sucks away their battery life as well. Stash away the widgets you don’t need and ditch the live wallpapers, since animated backgrounds consume a lot of power.

Turn off vibrations

Vibration lets you know about incoming calls, messages, and notifications. But in some cases too many vibrations can be an unnecessary battery killer. You can eliminate redundant vibrations such as keypresses by turning them off on the Language & Input settings screen. While you’re at it, turn off the sound on keypress to boost saving capabilities further.

Hide notifications

As in the case of vibrations, sometimes notifications can burn away your battery, especially if you have installed a number of applications that are desperate for your attention every few hours. So ask yourself these questions: Do you need to know every time someone posts to or comments on your Facebook page? Do you want to hear about the latest deals and offers from your application? If not, do your battery justice and turn off the needless notifications.

Use location services wisely

Some apps like Google Maps require you to turn on location services to display your surroundings and give you directions. But location service chips away your battery life very quickly and you should turn it on only for as long as you need to. Either switch to lower accuracy or turn it off, and you can save a lot of power.

Battery shortage can be a frustrating issue for Android phone users. In extreme cases, you can invest in a spare battery to ensure continued use. To learn more about how to preserve battery life on your Android devices, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 11th, 2015

Androidphone_Feb11_CAs the number of Android smartphone and tablet users continues to rise, so does the competition to gain market share. Android device manufacturers have worked hard to come up with the cutting-edge technology to stay one step ahead of the game. 2015 is the year to expect big things from technology’s biggest names. If you’re a devoted Android user, you’ll love these upcoming devices that are bound to make a big splash.

Samsung Galaxy S6

If you’re a Samsung Galaxy S5 fan, the new Galaxy S6 will be just what you’re looking for. Samsung plans to change the overall design of this model following criticism of Galaxy S5’s conservative style. There are rumors about its quad-HD screen with 2560x1440 resolution, metal unibody, a 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB of RAM, and better camera and battery performance. As usual, the S6 will be available in three storage options: 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

Galaxy S6 is expected to debut at the Samsung Unpacked event, scheduled for March 1st in Barcelona. The release date should be around a month after the official announcement. It’s unlikely that Samsung will be making the Galaxy S6 any cheaper than the current Galaxy S5. So far, the estimated price for the 32GB model is around $650, the 64GB model around $800, and the 128GB version could cost an extra $100 more.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

The Note series from Samsung has always managed to impress Android users. This means Samsung has to come up with something special to stand out further. Word has it that the Note 5 will employ an Ultra HD, 4K display and a camera with up to 50 megapixels. You can also expect wireless charging and a two-day battery life.

The release date for Note 5 is still yet to be confirmed, but Samsung tradition suggests the launch will be somewhere during September and October. As for the starting price, Samsung’s Note series has always been costly, and Note 5’s additional features could further increase the price up to around $750.

Sony Xperia Z4

After Xperia Z3’s debut in September 2014, Sony has been working around the clock to strengthen its Z-series products. The Xperia Z4 is expected to have a 5.5-inch quad-HD screen with a Snapdragon 810 processor. Sony’s smartphones are well-known for their camera quality, and the Xperia Z4 may pack in an even more impressive camera and image sensor. The new sensor will be able to record videos much faster and smoother than the previous Xperia Z3.

Sony has announced that it will not be presenting Xperia Z4 at the world’s largest mobile trade show this March, so we can assume that it will be released at a later stage in 2015. The price is rumored to be around $600-$650.

LG G4

The one thing LG prides itself on is its innovation, and the new LG G4 is sure to house some extra features. There’s a possibility that the G4 will have an eye scanner to gain secure access to the phone, but a fingerprint scanner would be more likely. LG’s smartphones are already on top when it comes to screen resolution, so G4’s display will probably be ahead of its competitors. Furthermore, a new stylus known as the G Pen will replace the poorly received LG G3 stylus.

Since the G3 is available for $600, we can assume G4 to cost the same or more at its launch. Its release is expected to come in May 2015.

Want to find out how Android phones can fit into your workplace? Get in touch with us today and see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 23rd, 2014

androidphone_Dec22_CGoogle's Android 5.0 has finally been released and many devices are starting to be upgraded. With the update comes a new layout and a number of new features, including a tweak to the way open and recent apps are handled. Dubbed Overview, this development offers enhanced views of open and recent apps. That being said, there is some grumbling over the way open Google Chrome tabs are handled by this feature.

A brief look at Overview in Android 5.0

Android 5.0 brings about a useful change to the way Android handles multitasking. On older versions, you have the "Recent apps" feature which is accessed by pressing the square button (usually at the bottom-right of the screen) or tapping on the home button twice. When opened, you usually see a list of recent apps listed either with small snapshots or as a live list showing content.

In Android 5.0, the recent apps list has been changed to Overview which now displays open apps in cards, much like Google Now cards. You scroll through the cards to see your apps and swipe them away to close them.

How Overview works with Chrome

While the new multitask view is a great, and certainly attractive, way to see your open or recent apps, one niggling issue for some users is that each tab in Chrome is given its own card. If you are like most users and have linked your desktop browser with your phone so that tabs open in the browser show up on Chrome on your device, you will likely see a large number of cards pop up in Overview.

If you are trying to find an app, scrolling through these cards can be annoying. Luckily, there is a way to turn this feature off and set it so that Chrome itself is assigned only one card.

How to disable individual Chrome tabs in Overview

To disable individual cards for each tab:
  1. Open Chrome on your Android device.
  2. Press the three vertical dots at the top-right of the screen.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Tap Merge tabs and apps.
  5. Slide the radio at the top right to the left (Off).
  6. Press OK in the pop-up window.
Chrome will reload with tabs being contained within the app itself. The number of open tabs will be displayed at the top-right of the window with a number inside a small box. Tapping on this number will display your existing tabs.

If you are looking to learn more about Android and how you can use it in your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

November 20th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Nov17_CAndroid users, especially business owners and managers who use Google Apps, often rely on Google Calendar as a handy tool to help ensure that they stay on schedule. With the recent new version of Android, 5.0. Google has released some updated versions of their mobile apps as well. Google Calendar is one of the latest to undergo an upgrade, with some interesting new features introduced.

The idea behind the new Google Calendar

According to Google, the new Calendar app has been designed to truly help make lives easier. With the older version of Calendar, you have to take time to copy and paste information like location, phone numbers, and details into each event. This leads many users to simply skip adding important information when they create new events on their mobile devices.

With the latest version of Google Calendar, Google aims to make the creation of events and addition of information far easier. To do this, the new app has some useful features including:

Events pulled from Gmail

These days, when you book a flight or confirm a meeting, etc. you usually receive an email with a confirmation number and some contact information. In the new Calendar, events like this will be pulled automatically from Gmail emails and added to Calendar, along with relevant information.

For example, if you book a flight to attend a conference, you will see a new Calendar entry added with the flight information. Beyond this, events will be updated in real time, so if there is a delay with the event or you are sent an email update, Calendar will update this information on your calendar.

Assists

This new feature allows you to quickly and easily create group events. Now, when you create a new event and begin to type in information Calendar will make suggestions based on what you are typing.

For example, if you want to set a meeting with John at Starbucks around the corner you can start typing: 'Meet' and Google will come up with a list of suggested events. Tap Meeting from the drop-down menu and this will pop up in the text box. The drop-down menu changes to allow you to select more options, such as With. Tap this and enter the first letter of a name, and then select who to invite. The drop-down menu will change again and allow you to select a location by simply typing a few letters.

From the demo we have seen, this works quite well and definitely speeds up the creation of events.

Schedule View

This is a new view that has been designed to provide you with an in-depth view of the events you have scheduled. According to the Google blog, this view, "includes photos and maps of the places you’re going, cityscapes of travel destinations, and illustrations of everyday events like dinner, drinks, and yoga."

Essentially, this view makes it easier for you to see what is going on at a quick glance. Many mobile users find Schedule View particularly useful as they don't have to navigate their main calendar which can be tricky to read when you have a wealth of events planned.

How do I get the latest Google Calendar?

As of the writing of this article, the app is available on the Google Play store for all Android devices running Android 4.1. You should be able to get the app by updating the existing Google Calendar app. If you don't have the app, you can find it by searching for Google Calendar from the Google Play Store app.

If you are interested in learning more about Android, contact us today to see how our systems and experts can benefit your business too.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 24th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Oct20_CEvery system needs a benchmark, and for Android that standard is Google's Nexus line of devices. These phones and tablets offer users a pure Android experience, along with hardware that sets the trend for the coming year. In mid October, Google launched not one but three new Nexus devices and officially named the next version of Android.

Android L becomes Android 5.0 - Lollipop

While Google announced Android L earlier this year, little was said about what the full name of the next version of Android would be. The company finally laid speculation to rest with the announcement that the next version of Android will be 5.0 - Lollipop.

This is the first major update to the Android platform pretty much since Android 4.0 was released back in 2011. While the different versions of 4.0 introduced useful features and changes, the overall look of the system has largely remained the same. Android 5.0 will change this, with what is called Material Design, which brings a universal look (user interface) to apps across all devices.

Beyond a new look, 5.0 will introduce a new operating environment and coding that allows apps to run faster and more efficiently on existing hardware. Support for faster and more powerful processors is also being included so over the next few years you can expect to see phones and tablets become even more powerful.

To begin with, Android 5.0 will be available on the newly announced Nexus devices, along with older Nexus devices (7, 7 (2012), 5 and 4), some Motorola devices, and all Google Play Edition devices. The company has not set an official release date for this update, but you can probably expect it sometime in mid-November. Other devices will have to wait until the manufacturers can adopt this version of Android to their systems.

The Nexus 6

Like most other popular devices, there have been solid rumors about the Nexus 6 all over the Internet. True to these ruminations, the 6 will be made by Motorola and will be a large phone - 6 inches in fact. Here is a brief rundown of the important specs for business users:
  • Screen size - The display is 5.96 inches diagonally, with the total size being 6 inches from top-left to bottom-right.
  • Battery - The battery is 3220 mAh, which should be more than enough to see you through a day. Motorola has also included their fast-charging technology which can produce six hours of use from a 15 minute charge.
  • Processor and RAM - The processor is a top of the line Snapdragon 805 quad core 2.7 GHz. There is also 3 GB of RAM, which means there is more than enough processing power to run everything you need.
  • Memory - The device is available with either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage.
  • Price and availability - Unlike previous Nexus devices, this phone starts at USD 650 for the 32 GB version, while the 64 GB version costs USD 700. Pre orders for this device start on the Google Play store on October 29 with the device being released in mid-November of this year.

The Nexus 9

The Nexus 9 is the newest tablet in the Nexus line. Made by HTC, it looks to have been designed to compete directly with the iPad Air. Here is a brief rundown of its tech specifications:
  • Screen size - The display on this device is 8.9 inches diagonally, with the total size being 9 inches from top-left to bottom-right.
  • Battery - The battery is a 6700 mAh, which should be more than enough to see you through a couple of days of use.
  • Processor and RAM - There is a high-quality processor running at 2.3 GHz. There is also 2 GB of RAM, which means there is more than enough processing power.
  • Memory - The device is available with either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage.
  • Price and availability - This tablet starts at USD 400 for the 32 GB version. There is also be a keyboard case, which looks similar to those purchased for Microsoft's Surface. The device is available to pre order from the Google Play store on October 17, with a release date of November 3 of this year.

The Nexus Player

This new Nexus device is the next step in the evolution of the Chromecast, or Google's device-to-TV broadcasting device. Like similar solutions, it allows users to stream content from their devices, or stations like Netflix, onto their TV or HDMI monitors. While at first glance this may not be the most useful device for businesses, there is one feature that could prove popular: You will have the ability to broadcast what's on your device's screen on your television screen.

This includes Chrome tabs, so if you use cloud-based software like Google Apps you can technically use this to stream presentations or to collaboratively work on documents in a meeting format.

Coming in at USD 99 per set, this could be an affordable solution for companies who don't want to invest in a projector, or who already have a television screen in their office. The system went up for pre order on the Google Play store on October 17.

If you would like to learn more about Google's Nexus devices contact us today and we can help you make the right tech decisions for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 25th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Sep22_CIn any operating system, the folder is among the most important features. It allows users to store and access similar data, and when it comes to mobile operating systems like Android, folders can be used to help manage apps. What you may not know about when it comes to folders on Android however is how to create and manage them.

Creating folders

On most devices, when you install a new app the icon will be automatically added to your home screen, or onto a screen where there is space. While this is useful, many of us have a large number of apps installed, and it can be a bit of a chore actually finding the icon you are looking for.

The easiest solution is to group icons together into a folder. This can be done by:

  1. Pressing and holding on an app on your device's home screen.
  2. Dragging it over another app and letting go.
You should see both of the icons moved into a circle and kind of hovering over each other. This indicates they are now in a folder. It is important to note that these folders only appear on your home screen. If you combine say Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn apps into a folder on your home screen, they will not be put into a folder in your app drawer.

Naming folders

When you create new folders, you will notice that there is no text below the icon as there is with other icons. This is because you need to name the folder, which can be done by:
  1. Tapping on the newly created folder.
  2. Tapping on Unnamed Folder in the pop-up window.
  3. Naming the folder.
  4. Pressing Done at the bottom of the keyboard.
The name you assign to the folder will show up under each icon on your home screen. If you are going to use different folders, it is a good idea to pick names related to the apps they contain. For example, if you put all of your email apps in one folder, call the folder 'Email'. This will make your apps easier to find.

Adding/removing apps from folders

You can easily add apps to folders by either dragging them from the home screen over to the folder and letting go, or:
  1. Opening your device's app drawer (usually indicated by a number of squares).
  2. Finding the app you would like to put into a folder.
  3. Pressing on it, and holding your finger down until the home screen pops up.
  4. Dragging it over the folder you would like it to be placed in.
  5. Letting go.
If done right, the app's icon should be automatically dropped into the folder. You can also remove apps from folders by tapping on the folder where the app is, pressing on the app, then dragging it up to Remove, which should appear at the top of the screen. This will remove it from the home screen, but will not uninstall the app. You can also tap on the app and move it out of the folder to an empty place on the home screen.

Moving folders

You can move a folder's location the same way you do so with an app: Tap and hold on the folder until the screen changes slightly and drag it to where you would like it to be. On newer versions of Android, the apps should all move to make room for the folder.

Deleting folders

Finally, you can delete a folder by either dragging all of the apps out of the folder, or pressing and holding on the folder until the screen changes and dragging it up to Remove. This will remove the folder and all the stored app icons, but it won't delete the apps.

If you have any questions about using an Android device, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.