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Best Tech Tip: Doing This One Thing Fixes a Majority of Your Device Glitches
What's our best tech tip? We live in an age where the hum of technology is as constant as the ticking of a clock. Technology is our silent partner in nearly every daily task: it is everywhere from the moment we silence our smartphone alarms in the morning to the second we power down our laptops at night. Yet, technology, unfortunately, is not infallible. Glitches and freezes can turn a happy workday into a hectic one. However, there is a surprisingly simple yet often overlooked remedy to many of our technological troubles: properly restarting our devices. First things first Before touching that power button, make sure all your work is saved. This step cannot be overstated, especially when documents, client information, and contracts are involved. If you can't save your files because your computer is frozen, here's a workaround hack: if visible, take a picture of the documents to capture a temporary backup until you can (hopefully) access the documents or retrieve the temporary file versions. If not, at least you have a partial record to recreate. Pro tip: When your computer is frozen, it's a great time to reach out to a Tech Helpline analyst who might be able to get you "unstuck" by guiding you through troubleshooting steps. The proper sequence to power down Closing all open applications is your next step. This action goes beyond simply saving work; it's about terminating tasks that could be causing your device to malfunction. This includes your web browser, which often runs multiple processes in the background that can consume valuable memory and processing power. When you are powering down, there is a sequence that you should ideally follow. First, don't touch that power button! Instead, try to use your operating system's standard shutdown and restart prompts, if possible. This lets your computer close all running processes correctly, save necessary system information, and power down without risking data corruption. For smartphones or tablets, use the device's built-in power-off function to ensure all apps are automatically closed correctly before the device turns off. Pro tip: Before you flip the power switch on your laptop because it is frozen, again, you should contact a Tech Helpline analyst for assistance first. The technical reasons it works From a technical standpoint, restarting your device clears its RAM or Random Access Memory. The RAM serves as the device's immediate memory, temporarily storing data from active processes. Much like a desk cluttered with files, a RAM brimming with data from various applications can become inefficient and, eventually, unresponsive because it is overwhelmed. Shutting down also resets the system's cache or cache memory. Cache, as defined by Britannica, is a "supplementary memory system that temporarily stores frequently used instructions and data for quicker processing by the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer. The cache augments, and is an extension of, a computer's main memory." While intended to speed up process times by storing temporary files, your cache can become corrupted or overloaded. This can cause applications to freeze or crash. Restarting the device clears the cache, much like emptying the trash bin below your desk to prevent overflow. How to envision the benefits of a restart In lay terms, imagine your device as an employee with a desk piled high with tasks (data). Throughout the day, this employee becomes less efficient as the pile grows. By the end of the day, if these tasks are not filed away (saved), and the desk is not cleared (applications closed), the next day begins with yesterday's clutter: the employee is behind even before their day starts! Powering off your device with a restart is akin to that employee having a fresh, clean desk to start each morning. Longer-term benefits Beyond the immediate fix, there are long-term benefits to powering down devices and restarting them. You can prolong the life of your devices by allowing them to cool down, reducing the risk of hardware damage from overheating. Leaving your laptop or desktop on all the time can be detrimental. Restarting also ensures that any updates to your software or security patches to your operating system have the chance to install correctly, as many times, they will require a complete restart to take effect. Making it a routine For real estate agents, making device restarts a part of your regular work routine can mean the difference between a productive workday and one packed with hours lost to troubleshooting. By simply powering off your devices regularly, you ensure they're ready for performance. The bottom line Powering down your devices can become a regular maintenance ritual that ensures your digital tools can keep up with the relentless pace of life as a real estate agent! Yes, it takes a bit of time and patience, but you often can gain a giant leap in device performance. So, give your devices the break they crave and take that moment during the restart to enjoy a few moments of quiet in your busy world. And keep in mind that if during any of these steps, things go sideways – or you need extra assistance – contact a Tech Helpline analyst to help you get things fixed! To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog. Related reading 5 Common Tech Mistakes Real Estate Agents Should Avoid The 5 Most Common Questions Agents Ask When They Call Tech Support Top Tech Issues Every Real Estate Pro
Meet the Folks from Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity in Person as They Attend Conferences Coast-to-Coast
Team members from Tech Helpline, real estate's No. 1 tech support service, and Form Simplicity, the only Realtor association-owned digital transaction management solution, are back on the road. Throughout the rest of this year, thousands of real estate agents and brokers nationwide who use Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity will have the opportunity to meet some of the friendly folks who make the magic happen in person as these two wholly-owned Florida Realtors® operations travel to meet users. It's going to be a busy convention season this fall, so here's a list of upcoming meetings and conferences attended by Tech Helpline and/or Form Simplicity: August 16-17, 2023 – Orlando, FL. Florida Realtors Convention & Trade Expo: If you want to meet most of the team that runs Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline in person, this is the one event to attend! Florida Realtors is the largest state Realtor association, and this is its biggest event of the year. You can't miss them as their exhibit is in the main hallway of the hotel's convention center since both products are coveted benefits for Florida Realtors members. August 29-30, 2023 – Miami Beach, FL. NAR iOi Summit – Innovation, Opportunity, Investment: At the fifth annual iOi Summit, more than 700 PropTech leaders and futurists, investors, and forward-thinking real estate professionals are coming together to fuel the industry's future. PropTech is driving transformation in real estate, and iOi is all about the latest firms vying to bring industry-changing innovations to the market to tackle the most crucial issues and significant problems. The iOi Summit is the intersection of where technology and real estate meet and where you can meet the folks from both Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline! September 5-8, 2023 – Savannah, GA. Georgia Realtors® Annual Conference & Expo: Both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity will appear at the Georgia Realtors® Annual Conference & Expo, located at the Savannah Convention Center. Tech Helpline is an included member benefit for members of some local associations, while Form Simplicity is available for a small annual fee. September 18-20, 2023 – Hot Springs, AR. 99th Annual Arkansas REALTORS® Trade Show & Convention: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will be present at the Arkansas REALTORS® Convention & Trade Expo, located at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Both products are included member benefits for Arkansas REALTORS®. September 19-21, 2023 – Springfield, MO. Missouri REALTORS® Fall Business Conference: Both Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will be at the Missouri REALTORS® Fall Business Conference at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center. For Missouri REALTORS®, Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity's Starter Edition are a member benefit. September 19-21, 2023 – Richmond, VA. Virginia REALTORS® Annual Convention: Meet team members from Tech Helpline at the Virginia REALTORS® Annual Convention at the Richmond Marriott. Tech Helpline is an included member benefit for Virginia REALTORS®. September 19-22, 2023 – Cheyenne, WY. Wyoming REALTORS® Conference & Expo: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will travel to the Wyoming Realtors Conference and Expo, where Form Simplicity education and training expert Kaz will be teaching three one-hour classes. His popular courses include "The Foundations of Form Simplicity" (1CE), "Optimizing Your Workflow with Form Simplicity" (1CE), and "eSign and Close!" (1CE). Both products are included benefits for Wyoming REALTORS members. September 27-29, 2023 – Manhattan, KS. Kansas Association of REALTORS® Convention: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will also be at the Kansas Association of REALTORS® Convention at the Hilton Garden Inn. Tech Helpline is an included member benefit for Kansas REALTORS®, while Form Simplicity is available for a small annual fee. October 3-5, 2023 – New Orleans, LA. CMLS2023: Stop by the Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline exhibit at CMLS2023, located at the Marriott in downtown New Orleans. October 10-13, 2023 – Sun Valley, ID. Idaho REALTORS® Convention: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline also will be at the Idaho REALTORS® Convention at the Sun Valley Resort. Both products are included benefits for Idaho REALTORS members. October 16-19, 2023 – Savannah, GA. Region 4 REALTORS® Conference & Expo: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will then travel to the Region 4 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, where over a thousand real estate professionals from Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee come together to drive the industry forward. North Carolina, South Carolina, and some local associations from Georgia and Tennessee provide Tech Helpline as a member benefit. November 3, 2023 – Meridian, ID. Intermountain MLS Training & Tech Fair: Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will head to the Intermountain MLS Training & Tech Fair at the Courtyard by Marriott. Both products are included benefits for Idaho REALTORS®. November 11-14, 2023 – Anaheim, CA. NAR NXT The REALTOR® Experience: Meet the Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline team at the biggest Realtor event of the year at Orange County Convention Center in Booth #510. Some local associations throughout California provide Tech Helpline as a member benefit. December 4-7, 2023 – Atlantic City, NJ. Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo: The Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline team wraps up its travel schedule with the Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Hosts include the New Jersey Realtors, NYSAR, and the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. Depending on the member's location in the tri-state area, Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline may be a member benefit. If you are planning to attend any of these events, please stop by and say "Hi" to the friendly folks from Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity! About Tech Helpline As real estate's No. 1 tech support firm, Tech Helpline began 20 years ago as a service for members of Florida Realtors. Known for its no-nonsense technical advice and warm, friendly customer service, Tech Helpline rapidly grew by offering its service to other REALTOR associations and organizations, multiple listing services (MLSs), and real estate brokerage firms. Tech Helpline is the real estate industry's No. 1 tech support service, available to nearly half the Realtors in North America – with 765,000 members, 17 state associations, and 68 local associations and organizations in the US and Canada. Form Simplicity Form Simplicity serves the real estate industry by providing real estate professionals with an end-to-end, digital real estate transaction management solution to expedite real estate transactions to create more deals and less paperwork. Form Simplicity gives real estate agents and brokers the tools to create, manage, share, and store transactions digitally in the cloud, the key to fully digital transactions. In addition, users can create and edit transactions on mobile devices. Form Simplicity's cloud-based platform is a cost-effective solution for Realtor associations, MLS systems, and brokerage firms nationwide. Remember to bring all your questions to the Tech Helpline or Form Simplicity team as they are ready to help you — or connect you with a Tech Helpline analyst or Form Simplicity expert to ensure you get the answers and support you need. We hope to see somewhere on the road — soon! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns both Tech Helpline and Form
5 Common Tech Mistakes Real Estate Agents Should Avoid
Today more than ever, real estate agents rely heavily on technology to engage their clients and streamline their workflow, which helps deliver exceptional services to clients. However, even the most tech-savvy agents can fall victim to common mistakes that hinder their productivity and success. How can agents ensure their tech stays in tip-top shape? Here are five common mistakes to avoid: 1. Ignoring software updates One of the most common mistakes agents make is ignoring software updates for their software and devices. These updates often contain important security fixes and feature enhancements that can improve the overall performance and efficiency of your daily tech. For software updates, most experts recommend you simply make sure you have your settings on automatic update. Pro tip: Instead of automatic updates, another approach is to set aside a specific time each month to check for updates and install them. For example, set a calendar reminder for updates on the second Monday of every month. This will keep your devices and applications secure, help you continue running your business smoothly, and time your updates when they work best for you. 2. Failing to back up data If you lose vital data due to a system crash or an accidental deletion, it can ruin more than your workday: it can negatively impact a customer relationship or impede your business. Therefore, it is essential to regularly back up your files and information to prevent data loss, protecting you and your clients. Pro tip: Use an automated backup service on the cloud or external storage devices to protect your data. Schedule regular backups and perform periodic checks to confirm the process is working correctly. 3. Neglecting cybersecurity In the digital world, cybersecurity should be a top priority for all real estate agents. A compromised system or stolen personal or client information can lead to financial loss, damaged reputation, and loss of business. Pro tip: Protect your devices with antivirus software and firewalls. Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts and enable multi-factor authentication where available. Always be extra cautious when clicking on unfamiliar links or opening suspicious email attachments. 4. Relying on outdated technology Using outdated technology can slow down your work, making you less competitive in the deadline-driven real estate industry. Older devices and software may also lack essential features and security measures, putting your data – and business – at risk. Pro tip: Regularly assess your technology and consider upgrading or replacing outdated devices and software. Stay informed about the latest advancements in real estate technology and invest in tools that can help you stay ahead of the competition. 5. Not leveraging technology to its full potential Many real estate agents underutilize the technology at their disposal, especially tools provided by their brokerage or local MLS. Are you missing opportunities to improve efficiency, marketing, and client communication? Technology can help, but only if you are well-versed in all that these tools can do to help you improve your business. You don't know what you don't know, so educating yourself more about each tech tool offer can help you avoid missed opportunities to improve your business. Pro tip: Set aside "learning" time to dive deeper into the most common tech tools and software you use. Attend webinars, watch instructional videos and reviews, read articles, and talk to other agents about how they use the same tech to improve your skills. All these tasks can help you stay updated on the latest tips and best practices for using your real estate technology. By avoiding these five common tech mistakes, real estate agents can ensure their technology remains in top shape, and they can get the most out of the tech they use. Staying current with technology and cybersecurity best practices is an ongoing process: it takes a conscious effort to stay informed and adapt as needed. Finally, if you, like hundreds of thousands of agents, have access to Tech Helpline, don't hesitate to reach out for tech support. A patient, friendly expert is available to help you overcome just about any tech challenge you may have. In addition, you can connect with a tech analyst by email, call, or chat on the Tech Helpline app, and they will be happy to help you keep your tech in tip-top shape. Other related articles: Top 5 Ways for Real Estate Agents to Protect Their Data and Personal Privacy Don't fall for it: 4 new online + offline scams and how to protect yourself Slow Searches? 4 Simple Steps to Optimize Your Web Browser 5 ways you can spring clean your tech Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form