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Are You a Well-Rounded IT Pro? Take a Free CEB Assessment to Find Out

In General, Sponsored, Technology by Michael Sheehan

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Capella University.  The opinions and text are all mine.

I have worked in the Information Technology (IT) industry for many years. From cloud computing to enterprise software to consumer electronics, I feel as though my skills are pretty broad when it comes to IT. I am also the head of IT at our home. If any gadget doesn’t work, or a printer won’t print or if the WiFi network is down, I’m the self-trained “IT professional.” But to be a successful IT professional in the business world and remain competitive, it’s a bit more complicated. You must have a well-rounded repertoire of skills that goes beyond simply knowing about the technology specific to your job. That’s why continuously learning from other experts, like Capella University is so essential to keep your skill set up to date.

Capella University Assessment - infographic 88%

Graphic source: “Rising to the Challenge of Change in IT,” Capella University, 2016.
1 – “The IT Talent Crisis Nobody is Talking About,” CEB, 2014

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Watch out Sonos & Echo – New Whyd Orb-like Speaker Listens & Plays

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Technology by Michael Sheehan0 Comments

I don’t usually write about gadgets unless I can actually get my hands on them and try them out in order to form an opinion. But there was enough compelling information about the Whyd speaker to warrant an exception. I do have a bit of experience when it comes to speakers. I have two Sonos Play:1’s and recently installed an Amazon Echo, as well as a few other portable and standalone speakers. From what I understand about the Whyd product, it is taking the best features of Sonos and Echo and others, and merging them into one pretty package of sound performance and design.

Here’s what I find compelling about this new speaker. Sonos is known for its great sound – crisp highs and solid lows and bass – I can attest to this even with the entry-level Play:1. Amazon’s Echo has a unique voice control which allows you to control many aspects of the service including requesting for songs or artists or streaming radio stations. So what Whyd has done is taken the best of both worlds and merged them together – voice commands coupled with superior sound. And, they have packaged it all into an elegant design. Of course, as I have not heard the Whyd in action, I cannot confirm the statements on the sound quality.

HighTechDad Whyd Speakers - all of the colorsRead More

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Parent Advice: Know Where That Car Comes From

In Auto, General, How To, Opinion by Michael Sheehan0 Comments

This article is not what you think. At least not from reading the title. It’s not about “stranger danger” or that odd-looking white van that cruises down the street, freaking people out. It’s not about the ridesharing vehicle that shows up at to take someone in your family somewhere. It’s not about that teenager who is picking or dropping off your son or daughter in the morning or late at night. It IS, though, actually about the car itself. Let me explain.

Used Car Buying Tips - old Pontiac dealer

Source: Flickr Commons

I have one daughter who is of driving age and one quickly approaching that on ramp (and one more dying to be driven around by the other two). Recently, there has been some discussion about the fact we only have two cars and we probably would need another one so that we aren’t playing a game of musical chairs when it comes to driving somewhere. So, as a dad who likes cars, my thoughts are turning to that third set of wheels, and deciding if the third car will be for my wife and the kids get her car, or if the kids get a car.

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2016 Mazda CX-9 Review: 10+ Great Things My Family Loved

In Auto, General, Opinion, Review, Video by Michael Sheehan0 Comments

For about a week, my family and I got to experience the fun that is the 2016 Mazda CX-9, the recently redesigned SUV from Mazda. We took it to the store and to drop offs and all around town, we went into San Francisco and back, and we drove it up to Lake Tahoe and used it there for a week. The goal was to put the Mazda CX-9 through a variety of tasks and routine tests. And after about ten days using the Mazda CX-9, I polled my family about the things that they liked the best about the CX-9.

HighTechDad 2016 Mazda CX-9 Review - side view

First, before I dive into those ten (actually more) things that we liked about the 2016 Mazda CX-9, I have to clarify something for those who may have stumbled across this car review expected lots of geeky facts and stats about this car. You won’t find them here. While I do love driving and cars…a lot…my reviews don’t focus on what a Car & Driver or Autoweek cover…you know, acceleration speeds, compression ratios, skid pad results, the kinds of brakes or shocks or displacement or whatever. Want geeky stuff? Go to the pros. I evaluate cars by how they work with my family and what I like about them as a driver and a dad. And I ask my family to pitch in. Making a car purchase is often a family decision so when test driving, I feel that should be “family driven” as well (pun intended).Read More

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Do You “Know Your Stuff”? App Helps You Create Digital Inventory of Your Property

In Application, General, Review, Safety, Security, Sponsored by Michael Sheehan0 Comments

Ok, imagine this hypothetical scenario. While you are away from your home or business or other property, a rip in the time/space continuum opens up, swallowing your entire property. (Yeah, ok, I’m a bit of a Trekkie but think of similar, more realistic disaster scenarios like fire, weather storms, or earthquakes.) Would you know all of the “stuff” in your home to be able to replace it later? Yeah, you could try to remember everything and list it out after the fact, but you would probably not be able to recall everything nor its actual value. Luckily, there is a tool (which includes a mobile app and website) provided by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) called “Know Your Stuff” which allows you to easily document all of your properties, the rooms in those properties and all of the “stuff” in each of the rooms.

Know Your Stuff - banner

For the purpose of this sponsored article, I actually decided to do the inventory of a timeshare my family has up in South Lake Tahoe. This is actually one of the critical use cases for the Know Your Stuff app and service. You probably have a better idea of things in your home where you are day after day, but if you only visit a vacation property occasionally, remembering everything is probably a bit more difficult. Also, I only chose to highlight a few things within our timeshare so that I could demonstrate how this app and service works (which are both free, by the way). Doing a full-fledged digital and photo inventory of everything of value will probably take hours or days. Luckily, the smartphone Know Your Stuff app makes it quite easy, if not fun!

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EMIE Power Blade Review – Great Back-to-School or Work Portable Battery

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Sponsored, Video by Michael Sheehan

There are literally thousands upon thousands of portable batteries in the market. From ultra-high capacity to solar-powered to some with crazy designs, the choices are practically limitless. So why the heck would I be writing a review about another portable battery solution for your smartphone or tablet? Well, this one really jumped out at me because of its design. The EMIE Power Blade is different. It’s unique. And I feel it’s a great back-to-school gadget (or a nice addition to a worker’s tool chest).

EMIE Power Blade - in the package

First, in full disclosure, this is a sponsored review. But, I don’t usually agree to do sponsored articles on anything. The product or service must be compelling and interesting and not run-of-the-mill. While I may be chosen to write about something, there are times where I don’t feel that the product or service fits into what my audience is expecting. In this particular case, I did feel that the EMIE Power Blade fell into that niche of technology and parenting, and it was something that I felt warranted additional coverage.Read More

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Business Tip: Audit your LinkedIn Business Profile Periodically for Fake Employees [updated]

In Content Strategy, General, How To, Opinion by Michael Sheehan0 Comments

A few years ago, I set up a LinkedIn business profile for my consultancy, HTD Strategies. I periodically tweak some of the content on the site as well as maintain the business profile. Knowing how to manage a LinkedIn business profile is an important content marketing skill and strategy for a business and its content should be a living, breathing entity. But you need to also audit your LinkedIn Business Profile because people may actually begin associating their own LinkedIn personal profiles as “work experience.” Having fake employees can potentially damage your online reputation. Here’s how to identify if your LinkedIn business profile is being improperly used and how to resolve issues.

So, just the other day, I decided to do an audit of my LinkedIn business profile and I was truly surprised to learn that I actually had “employees.” Let me set the record straight; HTD Strategies is my own consultancy of one person…me. At least, for now. So you can imagine that when I saw two other “employees” listed that I had some cause for concern.

When I first discovered the “extra” employees, I took a quick screenshot. Supposedly I have a “programmer” located in Ontario, Canada and a “manager” in Monterey Park, CA.

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