Archive for May, 2005

iPod on the Road

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

My iPod is very cool–but if I want to listen to business podcasts (and my music) in the car, I’ve got to do some serious maneuvering. The Washington Post reports on the options.Two Ways to Take iPod on the Road

Well, as technology spurts forward, its creators just aren’t thinking quite far enough ahead. Guess I’m pretty much out of luck on that car thing.

Reuters headlines blogger influence study

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

I gotta tell ya, the very fact that a major news wire carries a story with a headline like this–”Study: Blogs haven’t displaced media”–and that Pew and all those guys spent all that time analyzing this topic–is just another sign of how powerful an influence blogs are becoming.

The study compared the influence of blogs as compared to mainstream media outlets on the recent U.S. presidential race. (I am very proud to note–being a long-time blogger, I somehow feel I have a personal stake in the blogworld–that bloggers spent a lot less time talking about somebody’s lesbian daughter than did the mainstreamers. Probably because we don’t have to sell any newspapers…

Other discoveries: 8 of 10 journalists read blogs; bloggers act as guides for the mainstream media to the rest of the Intern; 43 percent of the public says the press has too much freedom; 6 in 10 people feel the media shows bias in reporting the news; 20% said the government should be allowed to censor the press.

Oh, and the best: 85% of journalists believe in free speech protections, but 75% of them don’t think bloggers are journalists because they don’t follow “commonly held ethical standards.”

I don’t know about you, but to me that statement reeks of “Methinks thou doth protest too much.”

Search engine optimizing in Cleveland

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

Just posted over on Capitalist Cleveland about vertical search and how it might change the SEO game. I mentioned a few of the local companies I know of who are doing search engine optimization (SEO).

Anyway, just thought I’d see who comes up when I type “search engine optimization Cleveland” into the Google search box.

Here’s what I got this morning for search engine optimization Cleveland.

Perfect example of how you might have to diversify your strategies–some “sponsored links” (I love how this new term for advertising attempts to avoid the connotations of America’s love/hate relationship with paid ads) and some organic (using the copy, headlines, titles, etc. on your pages to help your positioning).

Well, using a search engine is one way to find a search engine optimization company in Cleveland. Networking and under-the-radar marketing work pretty well, too, if you’re good.

Cellphone tax

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Are you willing to pay a cellphone tax to keep your city solvent? Baltimore and other cities are trying it, but cellphone companies are crying foul. Why should cellphone use, they say, be singled out for sin-taxing like tobacco?

“Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile filed a lawsuit in February in Maryland Tax Court against Baltimore and Montgomery County, which has its own wireless tax. They contend the cellphone fee is effectively a sales tax, which only the state has the right to impose.”

One city is proposing a 5% tax. Well, I don’t know about you, but we already pay luxury tax on special items and sin tax on drinking (in some states like Ohio we render it directly through the nasal passages because they control the price as well), so I don’t see why cell service doesn’t fit that type of situation.

I understand the cellphone companies’ concerns that this might cut down on the number of subscribers they can enlist. But it seems shortsighted to think that if a major city dies and puts thousands out of work, you’ll have a bigger subscriber base.

And also to think that somebody–but not you–should be taxed to keep that from happening. Also published at BlogCritics.org

REALLY wireless is at hand

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

We love our wireless connectivity, but sometimes it’s hard to find a place that has a router and will let you use it for free. But that seeking is gonna get easier soon.

Faster transmission speeds over greater distances–we’ve written about WiMAx before, but now it’s actually on the ground. Intel just started shipping WiMax-enabled chips, and major service providers and equipment vendors are planning IP-based data, voice and video products to work on them. AT&T is doing a commercial trial next month–and that’s where the business will be at first: applications like processing credit card orders and inventory control.

But you and I will be next. Of course, when I can get my through my Treo phone that I’ve decided to buy, I probably won’t care as much. But let’s face it, when you need to type a lot of information, the tiny keypad on a phone isn’t going to cut it. So I wonder: will we see more–or fewer–wired coffee shops in the world?

More "blogs are big"

Monday, May 9th, 2005

Blogs are changing business, trumpets the latest article in Business Week. Nine million blogs, 40,000 new ones a day–40 of which are serious full-blown business blogs like this one, like Microsoft’s, like the many employees of Google, like–yes, we’re not making this up–General Motors vice-chairman Bob Lutz FastLane.

Draw up some rules and regulations so employees know what’s bloggable and what’s not, because this phenomenon isn’t going away. It’s growing by leaps and bounds. Check out Technorati, PubSub and other places to subscribe to RSS feeds.

For someone like me who’s been talking about how incredibly powerful and important this new medium is for business, this is all kind of ho-hum. But if you haven’t caught on yourself, now there’s plenty of places to read about why you should.

Hitting the wall: time to hire

Friday, May 6th, 2005

It’s not easy when you’re a struggling entrepreneur to start hiring–with all the attendant extra responsibilities. Yet what are you supposed to do? Many people try to get it all done with contractors, and for some people that works. For others, there’s no escaping the need to open the Pandora’s box and hire people.

The benefits of hiring are that people may be able to help you better as they become more familiar with your business, and they are somehwat less likely–if you treat them right–to walk away. The disadvantages are more money and lots more effort–and a need for a skill set that many entrepreneurs simply don’t have: managing people.

Some HR firms specialize in helping small and medium-sized businesses combat the extra paperwork and hassle that hiring involves. You might want to take a look at this entry over on my Capitalist Cleveland blog–good tips from a free white paper on cutting costs.

Business blogs up and coming–at last

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

It’s been a long time I’ve been talking about how valuable blogs are as part of your PR and promotional efforts. At last, it seems, the truth is penetrating. Here’s an analysis of a recent HP study that says 10% of small businesses are planning to include blogs in their marketing plans.

Talks about gender differences (more women than men are planning the business blogs, while men supposedly dominate the regular blogworld) and makes some excellent recommendations to blogging software creators about what features ought to be included in releases designed for businesses:

  • ability to set up categories and excellent built-in search functions, so that business information can be found more easily — chronological archiving is better for personal diaries and not very useful for business blogs
  • features that are more like commercial websites, including “About Us” sections, press room pages, and better navigation functionality
  • easy ability to build customized RSS feeds for individual pages such as press rooms
  • search engines that target business blogs specifically
  • plug and play integration of eCommerce features such as product catalogs and shopping carts on sidebars

Thanks to Anita Campbell for this excellent list. Now, Google, when can we expect these things?!

At last–truly portable computing

Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Imagine being able to carry around your computer to research sessions, meetings, seminars, etc. with little more effort than carrying a book. No cords, no heaving heavy stuff around. Well, Bill Gates has been listening (and maybe getting tired of carrying his own heavy computer around).

Microsoft is working on an ultra-thin Tablet, in the $800 price range (current code name Ultra Mobile 2007) that will weigh about a pound and would have an all-day battery life. What’s not to like?

He’s only hedging a little (“we do believe this is achievable), and says the device will be a camera, a phone, a music device that will complement the PC.

And listen to this–they’re talking about

…a new, fixed document format, Metro, which he said will be “available free to the world.” These documents can be created on any platform and shared acoss the world. Plus, Metro-compatible printers will give a new and enhanced printing experience.

What I get out of this is that they’re coming up with a new and simplified document format that will rival the portability and universal readability of the PDF–and looks like it will require new hardware (they’re partnering with computer manufacturer Acer). Hey, if they get it even a tad faster and easier to use (PDFs are notoriously slow to open and navigate), Adobe’s PDF could be in trouble–though Adobe’s getting aggressive about positioning itself (heck, they even recently bought Macromedia for billions of dollars).

Well anyway, Microsoft, now you’re talkin’. When you get there, a lot of us will be there. …unless, of course, someone beats you to it.

Also posted to BlogCritics.org