March 31, 2016

The Squirrels Monthly Edcamp Roundup – March 2016

The Squirrels team proudly sponsored over 200 attendees this month at EdcampAccessNJ in Morristown, New Jersey. This was the only Edcamp we sponsored in March, as we decided to dedicate most of the month to purchasing some fun, new swag for future Edcamps! Edcamp organizers and attendees, you’re in for a treat!

New Jersey is a little too far for us to travel from our cozy Northeast Ohio office, but we were there in spirit and cheered them on from our social media accounts!

Our Edcamp contributions help educators explore innovative ideas that make learning more engaging for both the teacher and the student. We’re happy to know that our efforts directly enhance the student learning experience.

If you also weren’t able to attend EdcampAccessNJ, here are just a few of the popular discussion topics:

  • Using technology to engage students with learning disabilities
  • Free technology for the classroom
  • Twitter, Voxer, Blab
  • Mashing it up with Chrome
  • Formative assessment
  • Engage with robots
  • Inclusive tech solutions with robotics and “pingable” technology

EdCamp Access NJ Board

We hope all of the EdcampAccessNJ organizers and educators had a positive and rewarding experience!

If you are hosting your own Edcamp and are interested in a Squirrels sponsorship, fill out our Edcamp Sign Up Form. Sponsorship may include monetary or swag donations, discounts on our products and more!

March 30, 2016

How to Turn Your iPad into an Extended Desktop for Mac

Extended Desktop Blog Image

If you ask a random sampling of iPad owners how they use their tablet, you’ll likely get drastically different answers based on the individual.

To some people, an iPad is a relaxation tool used to read books, play games or stay up to date on social media while on the road. Others use it as a business tool to collect data, present or take notes. Our new AirParrot Remote iOS app now lets you use that iPad as an extra monitor for your Mac!

The AirParrot Remote “Extend Desktop” feature turns your iPad into a wireless extra display for your computer. You can drag documents, apps and browsers from your computer to your iPad, just as you would with any extra monitor connected via the old wired connection method.

All you need to use your iPad as an extended desktop is the latest version of our AirParrot 2 software installed on your Mac and the AirParrot Remote app on your iPad.

  1. Connect your MacBook and iPad to the same Wi-Fi network
  2. Open the latest version of AirParrot 2 on your MacBook
  3. Open the AirParrot Remote app on your iPad
  4. Select your computer from the list of available devices in the AirParrot Remote menu to connect
  5. Tap the “Extend Desktop” option in AirParrot Remote and then tap the desktop preview image at the top of the AirParrot Remote menu
  6. Now your iPad is working as an extra display for your computer! You may drag files, windows and applications from your computer to your iPad.

Protip: This feature is used to create an extra display, but it doubles as a way to remotely control your computer’s mouse and keyboard. You can actually edit documents and manage apps running on your computer from the iPad. Pretty cool, right?

You can grab AirParrot 2 for $12.99 in our online store and the new AirParrot Remote app for $6.99 in the Apple App Store.

Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any comments or questions in the replies below! We’re happy to help.

March 28, 2016

How to Display Digital Signage with AirParrot Remote

Digital Signage with AirParrot 2 and AirParrot Remote

Digital signage is part of our everyday lives. It’s found on screens in malls, airports, car dealerships, restaurants, universities and sports venues. Marketers spend hours carefully crafting attention-grabbing messaging to promote deals, features, offers, rewards or events.

The AirParrot 2 and AirParrot Remote combo makes it really easy to deliver your digital signage across multiple screens simultaneously.

AirParrot 2 ($12.99) lets you stream all of your great content from one computer to multiple digital displays at once! Even better, our new AirParrot Remote iOS app ($6.99) lets you build repeating playlists in AirParrot so you can press play and walk away while your digital signage is on display all day. Did we just rhyme?

Any Apple TV, Chromecast or Reflector-enabled device can receive AirParrot 2 connections. As long as you have AirParrot 2 running on one computer, you can use AirParrot Remote to create the playlist and select the destinations for that playlist all from the palm of your hand.

We do this in the office all the time. Except instead of digital ads, we create photo collages of our Photoshop Friday battles to put on display for all of our visitors. Those Photoshop Friday collaborations can get pretty….weird. We included one of the photos below for your entertainment.

Squirrels Photoshop FridaySquirrels Photoshop Friday

Learn more about the AirParrot 2 desktop mirroring/streaming app and the AirParrot Remote iOS app. You can grab AirParrot 2 from our website (or a free trial) and AirParrot Remote from the Apple App Store.

March 23, 2016

How to use your iPad as a Second Screen While Presenting

Our new AirParrot Remote app is the perfect companion for your next big presentation. With AirParrot Remote, you can access the presentation software running on your Mac or PC from your iPad. How is this possible? Well, we’re pretty sure our developers are wizards.

Ok, so maybe they’re just really good at their jobs.

AirParrot Remote delivers the “Presenter View” of presentation software such as PowerPoint, Keynote and Prezi to your iPad while showing the “Audience View” on the big screen. Presenters can walk around the room and keep their audience engaged while changing slides and accessing notes from their iPad.

AirParrot Remote as a Second Screen

To use your iPad as a second, controllable screen while presenting:

  1. Connect your laptop to a projector via wire
  2. Open AirParrot 2 on the laptop
  3. Open AirParrot Remote on your iPad and wirelessly connect to AirParrot 2
  4. Select “Extend Desktop” from the AirParrot Remote menu
  5. Open the presentation software on your computer and enable Presenter View

That’s it! Now you’re ready to command the attention of any room. The Presenter View is in your hands while everyone else is viewing the audience-friendly presentation at the front of the room. This feature is especially useful for longer presentations where notes come in handy, such as product pitches, new client proposals and funding requests.

That’s just one of many great features in our AirParrot Remote iOS app. Learn more about AirParrot Remote here or pick it up on the App Store for $6.99.

March 22, 2016

How Startups Can Compete Against Tech Titans

Apple released its long-anticipated iOS 9.3 update to iPhone and iPad users yesterday, bringing great joy to consumers and cautious optimism to app developers.

Each new iOS iteration has the potential to open a new realm of possibilities for developers. It could also collapse their business overnight by introducing a native solution that renders their app useless.

It happens so often that it’s known in the tech world as “getting Sherlocked,” a reference to a 2002 Apple update that made the Watson search program obsolete.

Getting Sherlocked is often considered a death sentence, but is that always true? In the case of AirParrot, the first app that allowed users to wirelessly display and stream content from their computer to Apple TV and Chromecast, it was an opportunity.

AirParrot was released by Squirrels LLC on February 15, 2012. Apple announced its native AirPlay solution for Mac on February 16, 2012. Sherlocked.

Apple’s iOS devices had previously been able to mirror to Apple TV, but this was the first Apple release that allowed MacBook computers to do it. The new mirroring solution from one of the world’s biggest tech companies directly competed for market share with AirParrot, an app created by a small startup.

AP 1

This story is common in the tech industry. Major companies unveil native solutions that directly compete with preexisting technology from smaller, privately held companies. The long list of Sherlocked products includes the following recent highlights:

  • 2016: F.lux, with the release of Apple’s Night Shift
  • 2015: Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, after the release of Apple Music
  • 2014: Dropbox, after the release of Apple iCloud Drive
  • 2013: 1Password, after the release of Apple iCloud Keychain

It’s easy to understand why less than one percent of apps succeed. Even if all the right market conditions are in place – cost, value, demand – and an app is developed and marketed to perfection, there’s always the possibility that a major tech company will render it obsolete with a competing solution.

But being Sherlocked isn’t always the end. Startups can turn being Sherlocked into an opportunity.

Leverage media coverage
Major tech corporations like Apple, Google and Microsoft are always in the news. A surplus of media coverage accompanies any new product or technology they announce. That media blitz is an opportunity for startups with alternative solutions that add value or serve different markets to gain media coverage.

Timing matters. Demand for news and information about newly announced technology is greatest when one of the major tech players is involved. Startup leaders should offer tech expertise, insight and alternative solutions to gain exposure for their products or services.

Rely on brand advocates
Companies that are in a position to be Sherlocked were in the market first with technology that’s in demand. They likely have a database of customers that includes thought leaders, early tech adopters and most importantly, brand advocates. These consumers can provide product testimonials and reviews. Fellow consumers are much more likely to trust the word of friends, family and people in their network than the word of a company trying to sell a product.

Squirrels took advantage of the AirPlay beta-testing period to grow its AirParrot user base and gain valuable brand advocates.

Differentiate the product
Sherlocked companies need to find ways to show consumers why their product is still relevant. The developer may need to devote resources to explore product enhancements to better compete with the larger corporations.

Three key differentiators separated AirParrot from AirPlay.

  • Availability
    Word spread through tech publications and message boards that there was an AirPlay alternative that was available immediately. Users didn’t have to wait through the AirPlay beta-testing period.
  • Compatibility
    Apple’s AirPlay solution was only available on new Mac models, making AirParrot a more accessible option for Mac and Windows users to mirror content to their Apple TVs.
  • Adaptability
    In addition to compatibility with older Macs, subsequent feature updates further differentiated AirParrot from Apple’s native AirPlay mirroring. Now four years later, AirParrot 2 has bridged the technological divide between MacBooks, Windows computers and Google Chromebooks, allowing users of any of those devices to mirror and stream their computer screens to one or more Chromecasts and Apple TVs simultaneously.

AirParrot is still a market leader in screen-mirroring technology today. It thrives because it’s a simple, cost-effective solution used by educators, developers, businesses and general consumers around the world to wirelessly share screens, test apps, extend desktops, enjoy music and make meeting rooms more collaborative.

So how can a tech startup survive when a tech titan adopts a similar solution? Leverage the inevitable influx of media coverage, rely on pre-existing product advocates to raise awareness and continue to add differentiators that make its product more accessible, compatible and adaptable than competing solutions.

To learn more about AirParrot, visit http://www.airsquirrels.com/airparrot/.