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Dave Masterson's thoughts on technology happenings, personal experiences, travels, work, fun, etc.


Apple Watch

It's coming - an Apple Watch courtesy of my wonderful girlfriend. I played with one at the Apple Store, sat through an interesting demo with one of their genius guys, it was neat. 

I'll have a nice personal experience-rich report shortly after it arrives!


The Vocabulary Wheel? 

I loved this! For anyone that writes articles or makes frequent posts to social media - this will help. How many times can you portray a similar feeling with different words? For just such instances, we have the vocabulary wheel...




Grammarly wins.

How overdue is this for a tool YOU WILL USE every day? A quick download of Grammarly as a plug-in for your browser gives you the best proofreading system ever. It works on PC versions of MS Word and Outlook, not on Mac versions of MS Word as of yet. It's free, with an option to pay for more advanced critiquing of your writing available in the pay per month membership model.

I installed Grammarly as a plug-in for Chrome browser. I have a free account, so I can login from my PC at home or MacBook anywhere else. It quickly spell checks and analyzes the grammar validity of my musings. It checks for punctuation, wordiness, tense, use of colloquial phrases and more. It claims to learn your writing style, I haven't been on Grammarly long enough to see or benefit from any of this, but exciting if it's true. 

Once on their system, you can type in Outlook, in your browser (Think long Facebook posts...) or cut and paste your writing into their window on their site for the corrective process to take effect. I do read many online articles each day, it's such a relief to know tools like this are available to assist those who don't write well and remain as a nice reminder of "the rules" if you are more involved with online publishing.
Have a look, let Grammarly surprise you with corrections and suggestions you wouldn't get from regular old Microsoft spell check. Wordpress postings, Twitter, whatever you do, Grammarly can help sharpen your message. At the very least, it will keep you clear of producing and sharing embarrassing grammar and spelling mistakes with the world!




Regardless of your faith leanings, this guy is impressive! In recent speeches, he refutes centuries of closed-mindedness on behalf of the Catholic Church by stating that the longstanding theory of evolution has merit and is real! (Story here). Now, in the wake of radical Islamic terrorism feats in Paris, Australia and Africa, Pope Francis comments on security warnings and threats to his safety as he travels to the Pacific Rim this week...

"I am in God's hands," he said, joking about having asked God to spare him a painful death.

"Am I afraid? You know that I have a defect, a nice of dose of being careless. If anything should happen to me, I have told the Lord, I ask you only to give me the grace that it doesn't hurt because I am not courageous when confronted with pain. I am very timid," he said.

Count me among your fans, Your Holiness!



Guidebook - The event app

This year's World Expo saw us again partnering with Guidebook, a rapid development application for meetings and events. Each attendee was encouraged to download the app (free) on any mobile device. We filled our Guidebook with everything we could about our event. And kept it updated as events changed, notifying attendees of these changes via "push" messages they could on their devices.Guidebook is a universal app that you feed your information. This means that you will find your event in a searchable list once you get the Guidebook base app on your device. You'll also see many events to download that aren't yours, unless the administrator of that event deems their info is private, in which case they require a passcode to download. The colorful touch-sensitive screens are attractive and easy to use without a tutorial or lesson. Here's what ours looked like in May for World Expo...

 The app for Expo had the following categories -

General Expo Information - These were things that were pertinent to all attendees, i.e. our CEO Ray's Welcome Message, our keynote speaker's bio, Awards Dinner, our Dance Party details, etc.

Master Schedule - The itineraries for all 6 of our franchise brands were kept here. All of the event and location information was stored here, on a Master Schedule of the entire World Expo's activities. When a user selected a particular brand's itinerary, the app sorted just that information to display, all taken from this complete schedule listing.

Franchisee Schedule Tracks - This is the Master Schedule deliniated into our 6 brands.

Exhibitor Itinerary - This is information on the trade show, lunches and the Vendor Appreciation event we host between the two days of the trade show.

Maps - Very handy feature showing maps of the hotel and meeting space. These maps come to life when you take the time to locate each room you are using inside of the Itineraries.

Orlando - We had a "Things to do around town section with entertainment and dining tips.

Sponsors - Recognition and web links to the high-dollar sponsors of our event.

Photo Album - Collaborative photo collection bucket for anyone's Expo.

Suppliers and Booths - Probably one of the most popular links, full listing of all suppliers alphabetically with good search tool.



Very helpful were the Metrics that we as Admins could access thru the main Guidebook web portal. This gave us up to the minute details on Total number of app downloads, Number of updates and listings of user platforms. We could, from inside the Admin portal, issue updates, make changes, cancel adn add events and allow users to PUSH them to their devices. Each update afforded us the opportunity to name and describe the update and its significance. This was helpful one evening as rain moved a planned poolside event into a ballroom. Without panicking, we made the change in Guidebook, issued an update, and notified attendees that were probably in their rooms getting ready, or at the bar waiting for a meetup of friends! 

This was our second time using Guidebook. Our app had to be a winner, not only because we had 800+ attendess, but some of them are event and meeting planners themselves! ( Guidebook is a very easy tool to use - we began populating our version less than a week before our event. Our attendees liked the interaction with the app, so we'll defintiely be employing event-specific mobile apps at our future Expos. Guidebook would be a good choice in my opinion...