Category Archives: Technology

Understanding barcodes to find out product origins

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Have you ever wondered where your product was actually made? Well looking at the barcode will give you a clue. The first three numbers on a barcode are the country code of the member organisation (although not necessarily where the product was made).  It give you a good idea where that little knick-knack came from

Here are a few of the GS1 listings from Wikipedia

Numbers

Country

000 – 019 US and Canada
060 – 099 US and Canada
300 – 379 France and Monaco
400 – 440 Germany
489 Hong Kong
500 – 509 UK
690 – 695 China
750 Mexico
754 – 755 Canada
890 India
930 – 939 Australia
940 – 949 New Zealand

The rest of the world is detailed at the Wikipedia listings – but it gives you a great insight into where your purchase came from and a way for you to focus on buying locally if you choose.

Interesting stuff…

Image credit: joelogon

Eileen is a social business and social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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Google’s patent filing gives us ultra targeted ads

Google has filed a patent giving it an insight to where we are when we use our mobile phones. 

Ear we go: Adverts could soon be produced according to environmental conditions such as background noise, if Google's patent becomes reality

According to the Mail, this technology could glean information from the background sounds in your environment and use this to deliver more targeted advertising to you

The patent ‘describes using ‘temperature, humidity, light and air composition’ to produced targeted adverts’.  There are some huge possibilities here for advertisers if Google decides to go ahead and develop a sensor from this…

One one hand this could really benefit consumers.  They get ultra targeted ads, relevant to the time of day, weather, humidity, or local conditions.  It could be an ad mans dream.  But there could be other, less desirable outcomes…

According to Ofcom, 22 per cent of adults and 47 per cent of teenagers use our phones in the bathroom. Goodness only knows what sort of ads Google would be sending us based on the data it gathers there…

Certainly one to watch – when – or if it ever makes it off the drawing (patent) board…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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Our smartphone addiction–according to Ofcom

Do you get separation anxiety when you can’ not find your phone?  If so, you are not along.  According to the annual report from Ofcom smartphones are taking over our lives.  Over 27 per cent of adults in the UK now own a smartphone.  The annual report from Offcom highlights some interesting facts about our smartphone use in the UK amongst other things.

We are using our mobile devices more and more. We even use them instead of our landlines and our broadband connections. Mobile voice calls are up 350% and SMS messages are up 2000%.  This has been accompanied by a corresponding decline in fixed line voice calls.  We use mainly contract based plans, with pay as you go usage decreasing to 16%. Getting a contract with a smartphone included in the deal may have facilitated this growth..

Here are some callouts from the report:

Smartphone usage:

We still make more calls from landlines than we do from mobile phones but 81% of us make and receive calls on our mobile every day

59% of our smartphones are less than a year old

37% of adults claim to be addicted to their smartphone

60% of teenagers claim to be addicted to their smartphone – especially teenage girls.  They also send more texts than make calls

Where do we use our phones:

51% say they use it whilst socialising and are not too bothered when asked to turn the device off.  0ver 10% ignore the turn off  demands and continue to use the device anyway

23% use it during a meal with others.  Teenagers use their phones at meal times more than adults

81% of us never turn their phones off

22% use their smartphone in the bathroom and 47% of teenagers claim to use smartphones in the bathroom

Work lives:

30% use their phones at work for personal calls

25% use their phone for work calls when not on duty

24% use their phone for work when on holiday

Internet use:

25% of all UK advertising spend is on the internet, ahead of TV advertising. 

Mobile advertising grew by 121% to reach £83 million

28% of UK adults access internet services on their mobile devices – up from 22%

57% of mobile users access social networking sites. Facebook comes out top at with 97% of users accessing it.  Twitter comes second at 26%, MySpace (13%) and Bebo (10%)

53% send and receive emails

42% use mobile search

Teens use their smartphone for social networking (62%, listening to music (62%) and playing games(50%)

And in the UK, the iPhone is still the dominant device – followed by the BlackBerry..

Smartphone brand choice amongst users: Ofcom report

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Some great statistics for marketers to chew over – warning the document runs to 341 pages. There are sections on TV, Radio and internet usage in addition for financial figures and growth.  Well worth a scan through…

 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Will Dropmark be the Dropbox killer?

Dropmark looks like it’s going to be a nice evolution in the move to cloud storage. It has similar features to Dropbox in as much you can Drag and drop files for synchronisation to the web.  You can collaborate with others in file sharing projects.  But the visual enhancements make it look so much nicer.  have a look at this video..

Custom playlists and podcasts, photo slideshows.  Shared collections.  It recognises content from Flickr, Vimeo and YouTube.  you can even upload your iTunes up there.  There’s an RSS feed for notifications when new content is added.

It looks so much nicer than either Dropbox, or the more clunkier skydrive.   I’ll be playing with it to see if it’s as good as the video suggests.

If it is, then I think that Dropbox will start to lose traction unless it re-invents itself with some extra features.  Dropmark appears to have just about everything already…

You can get an early preview if you use this invite code or you can wait till March 1st to get your own.

Let me know what you think Smile

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Digg loses popularity contest to Reddit

Google Trends shows an interesting decline in the popularity of Digg over the last few years:

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Graph from Google Trends

Digg was redesigned recently but I don’t think that the design was entirely down to the new interface.  I think that Digg was already starting to decline and reddit (and stumbleupon) started to take advantage

The linear voting system at Digg was often accused of vote rigging, where like minded members of the community banded together to vote up articles.  The algorithm has changed to avoid the mob mentality of previous Digg implementations

There was no decent Android app for Digg compared to Reddit which has several apps for both Android and iOS

Digg might have grown too big to be Agile. Digg refocused, laying off 37% of staff in October 2010

Digg wasn’t flexible to change with the times compared to Reddit.  In October, the front page was archived to give a clearer page view

I think business agility is key to keeping ahead as social behaviour changes.  Having an effective presence across PC’s tablets and mobile devices keeps your business on all devices.  Having the ability to deliver compelling and interactive applications as the market moves requires dynamism and flexibility.

Facebook have shown that even with a user base of over 800 million, they can still be flexible.  They have changed their security, privacy and user interface several times since Google + was launched in June.  Digg should have taken action earlier – as Reddit started it’s rise. 

But now, it looks like Digg is going the same way as MySpace…and other shiny new things that have lost their lustre…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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Mask bot: The robot with the human face

I’m not sure I’m all that keen on this new concept out of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen.  They’ve created a robot mask upon which is projected the image of a human face in 3D.  And it looks eerily realistic..

Photo credit:  Dr. Takaaki Kuratate and his robot communication interface Mask-Bot

 

The robot appears to listen to you – and respond to your voice by moving its head, raising its eyebrows and fluttering its eyelashes,  It can talk too, responding to simple commands.  But it looks like a real person – and that is creepy..

The bot can reproduce speech typed into a keyboard, converting the text to a female or male voice, as yet it can’t understand the spoken word.  Ultimately it is intended to be used in future video conferencing solutions or as virtual companions for people living alone…

Kudos to the Kurzweil blog for the find…

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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The evolution of productivity. From Cooltown to cool world..

I remember when I worked at HP, I was blown away by the innovations in technology hardware and software that was coming out of the futures lab.  Biometric readers for log on, cars that knew where the next petrol station was, devices that recognised who you were and digital displays in cars.  I was looking at an unlikely technological brave new world that amazed me.  At the turn of the century, satellite navigation systems weren’t common and had a large margin of error, phones didn’t have nice user interfaces, and cars weren’t very intelligent.  The Cooltown video, developed by HP in 2001 showed an incredible world, with connected systems, location aware devices and email that responded to voice commands.

 

The video is now a trip down memory lane.  Did you recognise the early versions of things you use every day like the smartphone, email that talks to you, web conferencing, VOIP calling  and GPRS tracking?  Technology like this is now part of our daily lives.  Software such as Windows has evolved significantly too since the early days of the GUI and Microsoft have been giving tasters of how the future of productivity is going to look like 10 years on from here…

I’m sure in 10 years time, we’ll be looking back at this video and wondering what all the fuss was about, but hopefully videos such as these will inspire us to create the need for the next technology generation.  it may only be a dream now, but… who knows?

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.