25 August 2011

How Tesco is using QR codes in Korea

Day by day, I see the use of QR codes increasing by companies and brands around the world. I saw a poster on the train yesterday advertising a business course at Cambridge University which had a QR code in the bottom right hand corner of it.

More impressively, Tesco is using QR codes to expand their market share in Korea in an innovative way. Here is a video explaining how they are using them to compete with the market leader.

Social Media Monitoring Tools

It's all very well to send tweets or update your Facebook wall and to read what other people are saying, but if you are in business and using social media you need to be a bit more organised so that you can measure and monitor what is being said about your business or brand.

There is an increasing number of tools available to help businesses keep track of the effectiveness of their social media marketing. Mashable has a good article explaining some of the tools on the market.

Mashable - The Social Media Guide

Have podcasts had their day?

The ability to create your own TV channel or radio show is now easy through services like Ustream or podcasting  technology. But the question is who is listening to your podcasts or watching your TV program. The BBC recently wrote this article about podcasting and whether it has had its day or not.

BBC News - Podcasts: Who still listens to them?

22 August 2011

Monday morning motivation

I came across this slide show on SlideShare this morning. Just what one needs on a Monday morning - A good kick up the back side to get going!

19 August 2011

UCAS website crashes with demand from students

I just don't understand why the university clearing service's website crashed today.

Websites crash due to unexpected demand. But, UCAS know exactly how many people to expect on their website at this time of year. It is hardly an unknown quantity to just how many people are going to be wanting to know whether they have got the grades for their first or second choice university.

So, why the crash of their website?

The only plausible explanation can be that they were basing their demand forecast on what they experienced on their website last year.

Or, that the UCAS website was so tightly managed that the fact that it went live half an hour earlier than was widely known by its audience meant that the bandwidth allocated for usage on the site was utterly inadequate.

How long does an organisation need to anticipate demand like this? Five years? Ten years? I think I smell the whiff of either inexperience or incompetence here.

A-levels spark university battle

17 August 2011

Patent Mayhem

You know when something is really being taken seriously when the news is full of stories about companies suing each other over patents.

The news is full of stories about Apple suing Samsung over their Galaxy Tab stating that it's a blatant infringement of their iPad patents. But, then you hear reports that Apple manipulated photos of Samsung's tablet so that it looked as though it was the same size as the ipad in the submission to the court.

In the BBC news article below, HTC is now suing Apple over patent infringements.

This can only show how big this smartphone and tablet computer business is going to be. I, for one, am so enamoured with my Samsung Galaxy smartphone that I am actually considering getting a Samsung tablet when they become cheaper. They are so useful.

HTC sues Apple in patent dispute

Creative uses of the iPad by retail businesses

I came across this article on Mashable about how small retailers are using iPads within their businesses to get more customers, take orders and differentiate themselves. Tabllet PCs are starting to move beyond just personal use.


15 August 2011

Citrix app for Chromebooks

I love the idea of Google's Chromebooks, their recent innovation of providing an operating for laptops which run almost exclusively with the 'cloud'.

However, they do have some limitations with what you can do with them.

Citrux, however, has come up with a solution for business whuch could prove useful.

Read more below.

Your friend is sharing the 'Citrix app opens Windows for Chromebook owners' article with you.

QR Codes usage is growing

If the popularity of the posts about QR codes on this blog is anything to go by then the news that QR codes are being used by a significant number of smartphone users now is not a surprise.
QR codes are a great way to add a link from a printed page to, say, a mobile webpage.

Read the article on Engadget below for more details.
Your friend is sharing the 'Comscore finds 6.2 percent of smartphone users scan QR codes' article with you.

12 August 2011

Samsung Galaxy S II review

I have never owned an iPhone, so the last two weeks have been a revelation to me using the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Firstly, it's noticeably larger than the ubiquitous iPhone, having a large screen. However, it's not so big that it won't fit easily into my pocket and it is very slim. The advantage of the large screen, is that a) it makes it that much easier to hit the right keys or buttons on the screen (My Blackberry 9700 has a keyboard designed for people with great hand-eye-thumb coordination (i.e. not me) and b) it makes watching videos and reading web pages a much better experience than on smaller screened smart-phones.

The next thing I noticed about the S II is how easy it is to hook up with Google applications like GMail, Docs and Blogger. Now, you would expect that from an Android phone, but suddenly, using these 'cloud' based services come into their own.

For instance, I have started this post using the Android Blogger app (which is clean, easy to use and much better than other free Blogger app alternatives). Getting my personal emails is a synch on the phone and my inbox is always up to date. Using Google Maps is a joy, especially when recently in Sweden on holiday and trying to find my way around Stockholm. (The data bill wad somewhat horrific).

But, the biggest thing I have noticed is how quick it is to change between applications, as well as how bright and clear is its screen. It is very responsive to my touch commands and there is a good choice of apps on the 'Market'.

Its battery life is about the same as my Blackberry 9700, which means I have to charge it everyday if I leave the wifi on; if I have the GPS; if I leave the screen on full brightness and if I use the apps on it a lot. So, that's nothing I'm not already used to.

One experience I had with the handset was when I fell asleep listening to the radio through the internet. I had left the mobile phone plugged into the charger and it was in a case. I woke up in the morning and the S2 had switched itself and discharged the battery. I put this down to the fact that it had probably overheated (it was under my pillow too!). This is probably a good thing, though.

The aspect about the Galaxy S II that I have found pretty annoying is the position of the power button. It's on the right hand side of the smartphone and I have, on a couple of occasions pressed it by mistake when answering a call, which switches it off.

Nevertheless, the Samsung Galaxy S II is a smartphone. I am very pleased with it. It is fast, powerful and very easy to use. It is more impressive than the iPhones many friends and colleagues have. It takes good photos and videos and the Google Android applications for it are excellent. 

Super interactive books

Books are great and the next major shift in publishing, books and reading is already here. What with Kindles and iPads or smartphones, an increasing number of adults and children are reading in a digital way as their first choice of how to read their latest book.

One company called 'Push Pop Press' is making software to help publishers make highly interactive books. Take a look at the video below to see what they are doing with Al Gore's latest book:

Smartphones are not as good as old mobiles for calls

It's interesting to read that my new Samsung Galaxy S II is not as good as my old phone. But, I would still rather have the Samsung smartphone. YOu simply cannot do as much with a 2G phone.

Smartphones worse at phone calls than older models - Telegraph

PCs going the way of the typewriter

The beginning of the end PCs is already here. As much as many will continue to use them, they no longer lead the world of computing.

This article in the Daily Telegraph explains why.

IBM: 'PCs going the way of the typewriter' - Telegraph

08 August 2011

How does a bookseller survive these days?

Today, I was reminded that there is more to buying a book than buying it through my Amazon Kindle. There are bookshops still out there, fighting their independent corner, still offering the traditional experience of walking into a shop, browsing, sniffing and sampling books off a shelf.

With the major stores like Waterstones and Borders either closing shops left right and centre, or liquidating themselves entirely, you would have thought that it was nearly all over for bookshops. People are either buying books online, in a supermarket or as eBooks on their Kindles or iPads.

But, there is a small handful of niche bookshops around the country who provide what the big booksellers cannot which is local knowledge and specialist knowledge. There is still a market for these bookshops. You just have to look on The Guardian's website to see where they are.

And, the joy of running a niche business, serving customers in a close and personal way is what still remains a strong reason for anyone with the wish to exercise their entrepreneurial drive on a traditional business with the potential of bringing the potential of the internet to bear and, so, bring it to new customers.

So, if you have £35,000 kicking around and fancy running a bookshop with potential for the future. There is one available, hereInterested parties should contact Westcountry Commerical Business Agents - property@westcountrycommercial.com, Mr Gary Cleverdon, tel +44(0)1363 775500.
The asking price is £35K +  stock at value (approx £10,000). The owner's email is books@creditonbookshop.co.uk.

Running a niche business is good. Running it in the West Country is even better.