Online Marketing and Podcasting

There has been a steady upsurge of podcasting ever since the early 2000s and a slew of advertising campaigns that followed. Podcasts are touted as the future of radio, and judging by the rising popularity of the former and the decline of the latter, it looks to be true.

Now, to sum up podcasting: it’s basically audio series available online sometimes free, sometimes paid. It’s a great on-demand offspring of traditional radio but without the inherent difficulty of amateurs breaking in seeing as how it’s readily possible for anyone with audio recording and editing to podcast.

There are a few advantages of podcasting to traditional radio, chief among them being the sheer variety of podcasts available due to its more grass-roots origins. With this sheer variety comes a wide spectrum of listeners as well that would make perfect targets for an ad campaign.

Now I cannot emphasize enough doing research about which podcast one wishes to advertise and partner with. Smaller, relatively unknown podcasters are usually self-funded and just do it in their spare time while at the other end of the spectrum there are the ones who have already been sponsored by next to everyone and are operating at a fully professional level.

Usually, if you’re a new up-and-comer to online marketing and you want to go down the podcasting sponsorship route, the smaller ones are the best way to go. A small Google trends search will usually show how popular a show or series is and the same is true for podcasts.

The goal with patronage of a certain small-time-guy is to be the one to push him over the edge from amateur to professional podcaster. This more or less ensures an increase in attention for you and the gratitude of listeners.

A lot can be gained by the proper choice of who to sponsor and when to do it. There are many older podcasts out there who’ve already built strong and productive relationships with their long-time sponsors.

A few more words to the wise is that there are large scale advertisers who are specifically working with podcasters who jump on every opportunity to scoop up a popular podcast. A great example of this is when Mailchimp, an online email marketing service, landed a spot as a major contributor to the creation of Radiotopia, a group of podcasts that banded together to share both listeners and content.

As a whole the industry looks only to expand, if the ever increasing number of podcasts on iTunes is anything to be believed. Much growth can be garnered with a timely sponsorship and continued patronage of the right podcast.…

Apple & Microsoft: Politics vs. Performance

iPhone 5, iOS 6. Surface, Windows 8.
Scott Forstall was the man behind iOS and Siri. Steven Sinofsky was the President of Windows Division. The men were favorites of their founders, Jobs and Gates. Each has a long record of success. They were seen as successors to Ballmer and Cook.

Instead, within weeks after their biggest wins, the two arecast aside. Their former colleagues criticize them openly. What happened?If Your Boss Thinks You’re Better Than He Is…
… you’ll find yourself jobless.Scott Forstall

Forstall was the guy who looked at new stuff and might say That’s not how Steve would do it or Steve would want it this way. He should know, he came to Apple with Steve Jobs from NeXT in 1997. Jobs was his mentor and his sponsor.
Scott Forstall did not disappoint.

In his time at Apple, he had successfully supervised Mac OS X and iOS. He was the point man Siri and Apple Maps. He played crucial roles in the release of iPads and iPhones. In every case, he had been handpicked bySteve Jobs who backed him when he ran into roadblocks or opposition.

He did not always have cordial relations, but always delivered on his projects. He was called mini-Jobs. Fortune called him the next CEO of Apple.
After the Apple Maps disaster in iOS 6 (and iPhone 5), Tim Cook publicly apologized. Cook also asked iPhone owners to use Bing, Nokia or Google instead of Apple Maps. Cook appeared humble and leader-like to everyone outside. Internally at Apple, it was a humiliation and rebuke to the man in charge of iOS and Apple Maps: Scott Forstall.

Now, the other managers at Apple weighed in on how difficult and uncooperative Scott was. The circle was complete.
Scott Forstall was relieved of his duties. He will serve out 2013 as an advisor, before he’s eased out. No Steve Jobs to protect him now.Steve Sinofsky

Not long after he joined Microsoft in 1989, Steven Sinofsky met and impressed Gates. As successful record saw a meteoric rise, he also had the backing of Gates himself.

After successfully leading the Microsoft Office division, Sinofsky was asked to head the Windows Divisionafter the Vista disaster. Sinofsky delivered Windows 7 ahead of time, impressing both the consumers and company with software that delivered more than it promised. Just as he did with Microsoft Office, he raised the quality and reputation of Windows.

Powerful critics of Sinofsky within Microsoft lost their arguments and left the company— all except one.
Sinofsky was in the thick of things. He ran the Windows Division; he was in charge of developing Microsoft Surface; he was in charge of merging Zune and Xbox operations and software, integrating Windows Phone into the Windows superset; and so on.

He certainly was the most powerful man at Microsoft after Gates and Ballmer. He also overestimated his importance to Ballmer and Gates. The die was cast long ago. Right after the release of Windows 8 and Surface, Ballmer-Sinofsky showdown happened. Only person surprised by the “mutually agreed” departure was, perhaps, Sinofsky.

There are statements from Microsoft about how collaboration and horizontal integration are important. All of them mixed with whispers of how uncollegial the “empire builder” Sinofsky was.Questions?

Clearly, both Sinofsky and Forstall were high achievers and remarkable talents— more so than all, or at least, most of their peers. No place for the talented in Apple and Microsoft, if they argued with their colleagues?

Even if Forstall and Sinofsky were obnoxious, as people would have us believe, why were Cook and Ballmer unable to control them or compel them to work with others? What does that say aboutTim Cook and Steve Ballmeras leaders?

Apple and Microsoft are managing with a depleted bench. Sinofsky’s job is shared by two managers promoted from within, neither likely to replace him in the long run. Forstall’s job is given to a manager who retired (rather than tangle with Forstall) and came back. Where are these tech giants going to find a new generation of leaders with vision any time soon?Recommended PostsTuesday, August 6, 2013
It is three years since the iPad, and eleven years since the first Windows tablet.

Apple, Google and Microsoft, with their iOS, Android and Windows have a huge stake in cornering the tablet world. …Sunday, December 16, 2012
It was the first new input device of the computer age. Older than most people realize, mouse was invented in 1963, and patented.

Now, fifty years old, mouse is under siege from newer technologies: …Friday, August 17, 2012
iPhone has been a trailblazer, and a market leader for all phones for 5 years. What will the new iPhone’s features and specs be?

Update (September 12): Everything in this August 17 article has come…

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Microsoft has Agreed to Extend the Lifecycle of Windows XP

After bowing to pressure from consumer demand and the EU, Microsoft has agreed to extend the lifecycle of Windows XP.

Is this really any surprise? Windows XP is more stable, more compatible, less resource-hungry, more secure, and generally a better OS (although of course it doesn’t have a patch on Linux or OS X).
Computer users are finally seeing the light in the fact that Vista is a completely botched operating system compared to the Longhorn vision that appeared… well… it seems like aeons ago now. And all we have now is a slow, clunky, and generally dreadful OS.

Is this all Microsoft could come up with? It’s no wonder people are staying with XP.
Another point that irks me about Vista is that, instead of getting on with it, Microsoft seemed to try to juggle that with trying to introduce tit-for-tat competition for every product Apple and Google pumped out, desperate to remain the market leader.

The Zune. Windows Live Search. Windows Desktop Search. Windows Live Maps. Windows Onecare. Internet Explorer 7.
Even Vista’s start button looks suspiciously like it was pinched from Aqua, OS X’s interface.
It’s even released a few (practically useless) open-source tools. Why are they useless, you may ask? Not just because of rubbish, clunky functionality, but because of the fact that they need Microsoft’s proprietary code to run!

The only decent software Microsoft has turned out lately is Office 2007, and that works magnificently on XP. So there. All the more reason to dump Vista into its own recycle bin.
(Incidentally, I hear that Vista DVDs make a great light show when microwaved.)
According to this Slashdot story, Apple is planning to turn iPhones that have been unlocked from AT&T Wireless into very expensive and elaborate paperweights.
Now, I personally believe this is wrong. A person has the right to use their mobile phone as a client on whichever network they would like.

However, I am finding it difficult to place the blame on anyone in particular.
On the one hand, Apple could be blamed for wanting a commission from each iPhone call, and therefore resorting to locking the iPhone into only one carrier.
Alternatively, AT&T could be blamed for the fact that they’re generally such a rubbish mobile provider, and that they also earn a huge commission off the iPhone (probably bigger than Apple’s, as you’re tied into a rolling contract, feeding AT&T with $59.99 a month).
In the end, I can’t really point the blame at anyone for this situation. However, I do have a suggestion to Apple for the next version of the iPhone.

Instead of tying iPhone users to a single provider, why not program the iPhone to charge x proportion in addition to the call price from either your credit/debit card or SIM card and credit that to Apple? That means that it could be SIM-independent, the iPhone could work with whichever carrier you want, and everyone’s happy. (Except AT&T, but they deserve it.)

For all the advances in speech recognition, mice, touch-displays and graphics tablets, most of our input to our computers comes from the humble old keyboard. Yes, that rectangle in front of you with strategically-arranged buttons on it. And it looks to stay that way.
Because you use your keyboard so much, it becomes a pain to use even if there are just minor niggles with the design. So it’s important that you pick the right one – the one that your computer comes with might not necessarily suit you.

Of course, if you’re in a setting where a computer will be used by more than one person, you have to compomise. But in the event that a computer will be used mainly by you, then it’s very helpful to get the right type of keyboard. There’s no shortage of them, so you’re sure to find your perfect match out there somewhere.Tactile feedback
You may find buttons a pain to press, and therefore opt for a modern, laser-projected, hi-tech keyboard. However, most people prefer some kind of tactile feedback when they press the keys, so they’ll probably want a real keyboard.Buttons

There are many different kinds of buttons you can have on your keyboard – multimedia hotkeys, shortcuts to applications, trackballs and so on. Work out what you’ll be using the keyboard for and then think, “What task would become so much easier for me if there was a key for it?”
Most ‘multimedia’ keyboards are programmable. That is, you can assign x button to open y program. Easy peasy, with most keyboards.That Irritating Key
This is my current keyboard. I don’t like it.

The reason I detest it so much lies in the key in the top-left hand corner, marked with a big “F”.
This is the F-lock key, which switches the F1-F12 keys between their normal functions, and sending programmed sequences to the computer (eg alt-f-o for F3, which is marked ‘open’).
This is a real pain outside of office applications, and is quite annoying inside them too as I’m more likely to use Control+O.So ideally you’d want a keyboard with or without this feature, according to your needs.Extra Buttons
One thing I do like about my keyboard is the set of media controls in the corner, so I can mute iTunes when a phone call comes in, skip past a track I don’t like etc. It also has a Power Off and Standby button.
Now, these are common on today’s keyboards, so if you want one make sure you get one with this ability.The Normal Buttons
If you’re used to typing on a QWERTY keyboard, then there’s no point getting a Dvorak keyboard. Simple as. Choose your keyboard layout wisely.

Also decide if you want your function keys across the top or down the side, your shift key in the centre or bottom of each side of the keyboard, and what shape you want the Return key to be.
Also, a word on the modifier keys – these differ between PCs and Macs. On PCs, the Control key is used to access shortcuts, the Meta or Windows key is used to access OS features, and the Alt key is used to pull down the menus.…