All posts in Technology

Business On The Go: Past, Present And Future

business on the go

Business on the go

In our office we tend to have some really random conversations, ranging from normal everyday topics to discussions that cannot and should not be ever repeated again.

The other day we were having a civil discussion, talking about the ‘good old’ days and this got me thinking because of the work we do with businesses here at Concept Cupboard. How has business on the go changed and what is likely to happen in the future?

For some of you reading this, it’ll be a fond trip down memory lane and for others you’ll probably wonder how the hell people got any business done. So lets roll back the years… Read more…

Adding a Twitter cover photo [How To]

Screen shot 2012-09-18 at 15.18.03

Love it or hate it, cover photos are here to stay. From Facebook to Medium, we are seeing them everywhere. Now that twitter is rolling out a new app, profiles and other features why don’t you make the most of the changes before everyone else!

It’ll only take you 30 seconds so here’s how to do it.

1. Make sure you’re logged in

2. Go to http://twitter.com/settings/design where you’ll see this page

3. See where it says ‘Change Header’? Click the button and choose your image.

4. Et voila, a brand new look for your twitter profile.

 

What do you think of the new updates? Love them? Hate them? Let us know on Twitter here.

As expected, Google Glass looks epic.

Google Glass

There have been rumours abounding for some time now over one of Googles most exciting project to date. Google Glass. This is the vision from Google to release you from technology as they state here.

“We want you to be less of a slave to your devices. It’s been really liberating and I’m really excited to share it with all of you.”

If you’re still curious as to what Google Glass is, let me elaborate. It’s the product from Google X, the division tasked with ‘shaking things up’, that will essentially bring a computer and all the wonderful things that entails to your vision. Imagine a friendlier version of what the terminator sees (for now).

 

This technology really excites me. Imagine the possibilities that come from being able to record snippets of your life, overlay information over the real world and so much more that hasn’t even been thought up of yet. Most importantly though, it might mean I don’t walk into so many lampposts while trying to use augmented reality to make a virtual sandwich appear whilst waving my phone wildly in front of my face.

The glasses are still in development but Google put on a spectacular display on what they can do already in this video which has to be the best product demo I’ve ever seen. They’ve announced that the glasses will be able on sale to Google I/O attendees for $1500, and limited to the US at the moment. I’m sure they’ve got a lot more work to do yet but they’ve taken a smart strategy in using the crowd to work out the kinks.

Content overload and the rise of the aggregators

 

 

I don’t know if you’ve noticed folks but we’re facing a little bit of an epidemic. Content overload. There is more information than ever before and the rate at which this is being created is only gaining pace. According to ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt this is the scale of the problem we seem to be facing.

“Every two days, we create as much information as we did up to 2003.” –Eric Schmidt

Read more…

Wikipedia and other sites to close down in protest of SOPA

Web goes on strike

So you may or not seen these four letters floating around the web at the moment: SOPA. Otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (or House Bill 3261 but that just isn’t quite as catchy is it?). The point of the bill is to basically crack down on piracy and give greater powers to US authorities to be able to enforce this. The bill would allow copyright holders to pursue action against anyone who facilitates access to copyright infringing material. To put this into context this would essentially mean a link you post on Facebook or tweet about that linked to said infringing material would become illegal.

Read more…

Why every startup should own a MiFi device

MiFi device

Spending money on shiny new gadgets isn’t normally something I’d recommend that small businesses do, but this handy little device is worth the investment. That and it is only about £65 so it won’t break the bank. In fact it should save you money in the long run.


What is a MiFi?
Basically it turns a 3G signal into a WiFi network allowing you to connect up to 5 x devices. That means you could even let a colleague (or four) get on your network.

MiFi device



How is it different to a dongle?
With an internet dongle you have to plug it into your USB device (laptop), but with a MiFi you don’t have to plug it in. Best of all you can connect multiple devices or let colleagues access the network at the same time.


Why is it so handy?
Free WiFi hotspots are growing in number, but they aren’t everywhere & you can’t always find one when you need one. So when you do have downtime in between meetings or are travelling it is incredibly useful to be able to jump online and work as if you are at your desk.

If you spend time in hotels you may be aware that some hotels charge crazy prices for data. Why get ripped off when you can create your own WiFi network for around £2 per day?


Running costs?
The great thing is you can actually pay & go. I only top up when I need it and if i know I am going to be needing data on the move over a few weeks I’ll just buy a month’s access as opposed to a days worth.


Issues
Only once have I not been able to get a signal with my MiFi device. It was in a hotel that could have doubled as a nuclear fall out shelter as I couldn’t get a phone signal on my iPhone either. So it really does get my vote of confidence. You may also experience a few dropouts on certain train journeys, but it is better than relying on the train’s own WiFi networks. I say that from experience.


Where can you get one?
You can buy unlocked MiFi devices from Amazon, but I bought mine from Three. To find out more about getting one visit Three’s site. You can also get them in white now. Wonder where they got that idea from?

If you’ve got any thoughts or opinions on MiFis or technology for small business in general then get please leave a comment.

Learn the language of the Web: HTML

The web is made up of a diverse and complex array of programming languages that are always interacting with each other. To get anywhere on your path to mastering the web though, you’ll need to know Hypertext Markup Language or HTML as it is more commonly known.

From building your very first landing page though to developing a complex financial trading web application you need to have the basics nailed.

Woah, woah, woah I may hear from some of the less technical readers , ‘I’m not a programmer’, but don’t worry. I’ve compiled some of the resources and tips that I have used to learn the language of the web (I wasn’t born typing lines of code I promise).

These days it is easier than ever for you to learn how to code. You can go out and buy a fancy and expensive textbook if you like but there is such a vast array of knowledge on the subject of HTML on the web that all you really need is your browser. Your going to be spending a lot of time there anyway if your planning on learning to code. So here are the places you should check out for some of the best in tutorials, quizzes and everything you need for some HTML knowledge.

W3Schools



This is the first place I ever looked at when I decided I wanted to be able to start creating websites. I cannot recommend this website enough to you. It covers everything that a beginner would need in order to get up and coding pretty quickly. As well as laying out all the various HTML tags, for example <p>This is a paragraph</p>, the site also allows you to test your skills on the site and you can start to reverse engineer the code frameworks that have been laid out for you to see what different things do.

The website also has tutorials and run throughs of all the other web programming languages that you would ever need to use, just have a crack at the HTML first though.

Make sure to take a look at the site here.

Tizag

Tizag follows in a similar format to that of W3Schools but it does need a mention in this post as a great alternative. Again, it contains everything a beginner would need as well as other resources that aren’t provided by W3Schools.

There is a great resource on the website that allows you to practice coding your own website and hosts everything for you so that you can get programming right away. Their HTML viewer can be found here.

Look at other websites

You can learn a lot about how things work with HTML by simply looking at the source code behind a website.

Seeing a website in all its coded glory will show you the structure and formatting you should use whilst coding as well as seeing what you do and don’t know by seeing if you recognise the HTML tags on display.

This is where you’ll usually find the option to view it:

Then you should be seeing something like this:

Get practising!

Now all you need to do is start creating your own website, app or whatever you fancy once you’ve got some rudimentary knowledge under your belt. At this stage you don’t need to buy a domain, hosting or any of the more technical stuff; just a browser and a text editor.

To help with the markup of your HTML code I would recommend using jEdit, which is a free text editor that will help you distinguish between all the different tags and elements that your going to be writing. Just make sure to save the file with the extension .html so that it doesn’t just think your writing a note.

You really don’t need dreamweaver and the latest computer to get coding so get out there, get stuck in and enjoy learning something new!

Image Source

Steve Wozniak at IP EXPO

IPEXPO_sticky2

Earlier today I was lucky enough to be able to attend the UK’s largest IT enterprise event, the IP EXPO. There were a multitude of significant players from IT the sector but a big buzz was being created around one particular keynote speaker; the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak.

With the amount of media spotlight and outpouring of public sadness surrounding Steve Jobs’ recent death, it was no surprise that it was full house.

Whilst part of the talk was concerned with computer memory, PCI’s and memory buses (this takes me back to my Computer Science degree), I will focus on relaying the messages of innovation and enterprise that were so eloquently put during the keynote.

The keynote was introduced by Rick White who is the co-founder of a company called Fusion-io and which Steve Wozniak is Chief Science Officer. Rick stated that one of the key obstacles to innovation is saying ‘it can’t be done that way’.

After this brief and insightful introduction by Rick it was time for Steve to take to the stage. After providing some initial detail about his current venture it was during the Q&A session that some great insights into innovation, enterprise and even some comment of Apple came through.

Before the first question could be fired however he did make the request that none should revolve around the subjet of how he felt about Steve Jobs’ death. The first one however came from someone who enquired as to what he believed Apple’s future would hold in terms of maintaing the quality of its products as well as the success of the company without Steve Jobs. He responded by saying that he believed that such a culture had been laid and nurtured at the firm that they would be more than able to pay testament to the successes that they had achieved so far.

Whilst he said that there is no set rulebook for innovation, there are factors you can utilise in order to give you and your company the best chance to cultivate it. He summed up what he believed was lacking from companies today in fostering creativity and innovation through an anecdote from his time at HP. He stated that he used to be able to use tools and parts to work on his personal projects and that this education could be infinitely more valuable to the company than some of the courses that firms send their employees to presently.

Steve and Rick were also asked what they believed to be the biggest difference in innovation between the US and the UK. They both agreed that the UK was a highly innovative country but that it’s shortfalls would usually be when a company sought out venture capital. Silicon Valley and the resources that it has in terms of funding can be a powerful factor in drawing in talent from the UK.

To sum up the difference between the UK and US Steve Wozniak stated :

“We had Apple, you had Sinclair”

I will leave you with one final message.

Steve and Rick both believed that you could still work for a corporate during the day, but work on your own passion project from ’5 to 9′ (when you got back from work). It is these pursuits backed with passion that will ultimately drive you more than money ever could and this is pretty much how Apple started in its first steps to becoming the company it is today.

Viva la innovation.

Reserving your company name on social media sites

Social Media Sites

Setting up your brand on social media sites can be a really time consuming process, but “Know Em” shows you what’s available in seconds. Just follow the following process:

1. Go to www.knowem.com

2. Enter your company name in the space shown below.

Enter your information here

3. Now you can review the list of sites that is available to you.

Review what's available

It’s as easy as that. You can then review what’s available to you. Knowem does provide a service where with one click the site will reserve everything for you, which would save a fair bit of time. The service starts from $99 which is very reasonable, but it depends on your cash flow.

I’d suggest that any small business reserves at least the following:

- Twitter
- Facebook*
- Slideshare
- LinkedIn**
- YouTube

* You can’t actually reserve a Facebook URL for your company until 25 people actually like your company page. For more information on this check out this post.

** You can’t set up a company profile on LinkedIn until you have an official company email address. So email accounts with Gmail, Hotmail etc won’t work.

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