02 January 2015

A Life Saving Drone?

Many people probably got a drone for a Christmas present in 2014. 

Most of them are likely to have been toys. Fun but, ultimately, trivial.

But, 'drone based' business or services appear to be popping up regularly. Most businesses using drones focus on photography. Amazon is looking at delivering parcels.

What about other ideas?

Take this one which is a drone containing a defibrillator which could help save lives of people who have had a heart attack.

23 December 2014

Sponsored video: Do you ever ask how your digital device works?

Intel 2 in 1

Asking questions is part of any editors job. Who, what, where and how are the tools of the trade for any journalist or editor who needs to understand how anything works.

For instance, I visited a company today which specialises in making data centre cooling equipment. It is big business. It is an industry which few people see. But, most people who use the internet rely on without knowing it.

Without data centre cooling, you would have no Facebook (one of their customers, in fact) or Google. These companies have data centres, massive data centres, which host the information you share. If they are not kept cool, their websites and apps would not work.

But, did you ever ask yourself how Facebook or Google handles all that information? Probably not. Why would you? If it works, what is the point in knowing how it works?

Writing on the fly

Another aspect of being an editor is that, often, you can find yourself having to submit copy to include in the next issue on the fly.

Take today, after the meeting in the morning with the manufacturer, I was the passenger in my colleague's car. Rather than waiting to get back to the office to submit my 'Editor's introduction', which had to be in the next day, I took out my tablet PC and started to type.

When I finished the copy, I emailed the document from my tablet PC to my editorial coordinator in the office. Yet, I gave no thought to how the tablet PC worked. It just did what I told it to do.

Intel asks 'How?'

That is why Intel's latest campaign is interesting. They were trying to find out if passers-by on the street knew anything about their digital devices. Intel asked: 'What Makes Your Favourite Computing Devices Work?'

Few people could explain.

Intel showed these people a '2 in 1' tablet PC and laptop device. Next, they showed them what made the device work. People seemed quite surprised.

Watch the video below to see what some of them said.

Although this video is a sponsored, these are all my own thoughts!

22 December 2014

SEO: Setting expectations on results

SEO (search engine optimisation) is sometimes thought of as dark art. In fact, it is simple at its core. Search engines are looking relevant, high quality information or content which helps people find answers to their questions or curiosity.

A good SEO consultant has to set their client's expectations carefully because getting good results (i.e. more relevant visitors who buy products from your website) is hard work and can take a long time.

It is important to understand and to communicate what needs to happen for you to get results from your website from search engine optimisation. SEO is always changing as technology moves.

Rand Fisk, from MOZ, explains how SEO consultants should set the expectations of their clients succinctly in his weekly video:

22 November 2014

The Rise of the Drones and Aerial Business Opportunities

Drones are opening up opportunities for creative businesses rapidly. The cost of buying a drone has dropped dramatically making them affordable for small, entrepreneurial businesses to offer services to domestic and business customers.

One particular business is providing aerial photography and videos for customers who want their property or business filmed from the air. Alternatively, a shipping company might want one of their vessels filmed while out at sea.

The instances of when and where a drone can be used to shoot a video or take high quality videos are endless.

One such 'drone business' is Airstoc. They have some amazing HD videos on their website as samples and they offer their services to take videos anywhere in the world.

Here is their promotion video:

17 November 2014

4 Unusual Publishing Platforms

It has never been easier to self-publish your own book, ebook or magazine. The days of being held back from publishing what you want to publish are gone.

The choice of tools to use to publish your 'content' to the world have exploded beyond the free blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger which are widely used and still popular.

There are specific systems to help you publish ebooks easily. Systems which help you publish magazines, microsites and presentations alike. Some are free; some are paid for. Here is a selection of ten publishing platforms which you may not have seen before:

eBook Publishing


Liberio is a free, online ebook publishing system which connects your copy stored on Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, Github and your Amazon Kindle account to enable you to publish directly into formats which can be used on ebook readers (namely .epub, .mobi and .zip).

It has a very nice interface and it is very easy to use. When logged in, you upload content from where you have it stored into the 'creation' area of the website. From there you can set up how you want your ebook to be categorised on Amazon's Kindle store, insert keywords to help it be found more easily and upload a cover image.

There are more options for customising and preparing your ebook such as including an ISBN, inserting a table of contents and page breaks before headings.



If you want an alternative to WordPress, then take a look at Ghost. It is a very simple but elegant blogging platform which is a lot less fussy to set up than WordPress.

There are two options for Ghost, namely using their hosted system, or downloading the software and installing it on your web server. The latter might be a bit techie for most people but the process looks pretty simple for those who want it on their own web server.

Setting up Ghost is very simple (on the hosted version) and the interface is intuitive and focuses on getting the basics set up quickly. When you write your first post the interface is split vertically in two providing the raw post on the left and the preview on the right. You write the post in Markdown, which is easy to learn but might put some people off.

Changing the theme is easy enough by downloading a free or paid-for template from their marketplace and uploading it into the system.

Ghost provides a free trial (no card needed) for the hosted version. The Pro version starts at $10 a month for one blog. The self-hosted version is free.


Rainmaker is a relatively new blogging platform which is built on the WordPress content management system but which already comes pre-loaded with many of the plug-ins that make WordPress so powerful.

Rainmaker takes away all of the fiddling about with plug-ins and the installation of self-hosted content management systems.

Rainmaker is very easy to use and makes optimising your website straightforward. It is aimed at 'content marketers' and 'internet entrepreneurs' who are selling digital products, for example.

Rainmaker costs US$95 per month.

Magazine Publishing


Readymag is a 'simple to use' platform for creating online magazines, microsites and presentations.

Its user interface is very simple to use, allowing drag and drop design to easily add elements to your magazine or web page. A series of free templates make it easy to set up a good looking website or magazine quickly. Each of the free templates also shows you which devices it designed to work well on. You can also create your own templates.

Readymag has a free version for you to set up a magazine and test it out.

Make Money from Writing

It is good to have a platform to help you publish but, if you want to make some money from your creation, it is wise to learn how to do so.

Nathan Barry - Authority
Not so much a platform, but a tutorial on how to make money comes from Nathan Barry with his 'Authority' tutorials and book which is designed to help you self publish your books and understand how to generate some lucre from them or it.