The person who contacted me has experienced similiar issues - it is (unfortunately) good to know that it was not just us!
The person who contacted me has experienced similiar issues - it is (unfortunately) good to know that it was not just us!
We held the first of the above series of events last night and it went well. Aidan gave a short talk on domain names and personal V business email addresses and then John Ellis spoke about his site - e-insuranceireland.com
The people there were from a variety of backgrounds in terms of their internet knowledge and we covered a diverse range of topics in the Q&A. In the next couple of events we will cover email attachments, mailing lists and searching the internet.
There definitely appears to be demand for this sort of event and I suspect there would also be room for a similiar series pitched a little higher. As Ciaran from Micksgarage posted on the Help Yourself blog this morning "A lot of IIA presentations are good but you cannot beat the local group dynamic"
We will invite one or two of the surrounding County Enterprise Boards to the next event and see if they want to borrow from what we are doing. It is not novel nor is it particularly innovative - it is just happening!
From the Berkun blog (the host of a great project management email list - remember those :-) ) comes a post, linked here, on how to run an unconference. That is a gathering where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants and not surprisingly it is a geek phrase!
Mostly commons sense but a good overview and a couple of links at the end to other resources. Worth a read if you (like me) are going to, speaking at or helping at the Barcamp Ireland day on Saturday 30th Sept in Cork.
Sometime it isn't easy for "normal" businessess and entrepreneurs to get their heads around the internet - it is techie, it can be difficult to understand and it is changing quickly.
My contribution to solving this problem for the last year or two has been to moan about it. Strangely that did not help. Now I am being more constructive - with the help of another entreprenuer in Kilkenny - Aidan Coonan, and Kilkenny CEB.
On Wednesday 27th we are starting something called Help Youself which at it's core is a support network for bemused businesses. The format is a monthly talk with 15 mins on a particular topic (non techie and simple) and 20 minutes or thereabouts from a local business person /entrepreneur (again non-techie) who will talk about their site and use of the internet. Then Q&A to round out the hour.
Details of the first talk can be seen here. It is in Langtons at 6pm. And it's free!
This is being supported with a online resource for additonal information etc.
It will need to be developed and changed in response to what people need and want - but it's a start :-)
In March I posted (link here) a query on template driven website design services and received a number of responses.
I was preparing for the delivery of a training course (postponed until October) that will bring 10 complete novices through the process of developing their own sites and then being able to maintain them. Nothing fancy - just an effective and cheap way of dipping their toes in the water.
At the time I settled on the Yahoo service - Sitebuilder - because of cost and ease of use. Today, getting ready again for the course delivery I revisited that decision and came across a service that I tagged a couple of months ago - http://sitekreator.com.
It is a pure online service (the Yahoo one involved a hefty software download) and so far it is pretty ok to use. It allows for the kind of easy integration of blogs and forums and comes in Free and Business/Premium versions.
I will post after the course about the participants experience of using it - in the meantime welcome readers feedback on their experience with same. A quick google turned up some really good reviews of it with very few horror stories.
Just had a quick scan of an article in APC magazine about the new Office Interface development for the Mac and this paragraph caught my eye:
“We had what we thought was going to be this perfect UI solution, and the first time we put it in the labs, no-one understood it! It was so different they were completely confused! We just finished up another round of usability testing on the new UI yesterday, and the program manager said the difference is like night and day”.
Anyone who has been through the mill of trying to accomodate a variety of sometimes conflicting requirements in the design of a website/service will understand the background to the above. The majority of people will not quite understand how something that looks so simple can be so difficult. But now you can learn more.
Alan "Spoilt Child" O'Rourke from the Award Winning Spoilt Child Design agency in Dundalk is giving a talk on this very topic at Barcamp Ireland - User v Business: Finding a balance in a user interface with Toddle.ie
And it's free to attend. Yes - free :-)
..to help keep the non-geeks company at barcampireland. There are a couple of us (that I know of) on the list of attendees/presenters - link here - but more are needed to make it a balanced day.
Otherwise we are going to have the spectacle of watching presenters doing live coding and/or live podcasts. Or both!
The way the day proceeds and what is discussed are both in the hands of attendees. It's free, it's great networking and it should be a great learning experience. Think about it :-)
I have no particular inclination to upgrade my current Phone/PDA setup (Phones are Motorola V535 flipfone and Sony-Ericsson S700 and I use the Palm TX). For the first time in a couple of years I do not see the need to change nor do I have any compelling reasons to.
This could alter that: http://www.thinksecret.com/news/0609phone.html
Apple is counting its first phone will stir the U.S. market and enjoy the same buzz that Motorola's RAZR and LG's Chocolate phone have. To that end, Apple will pack several high-end features into its phone, including a 3-megapixel camera, 2.2-inch display, and complete iTunes/iPod features and integration, sources with direct connections to the company's plans report.
I know that this is an endlessly circulating rumour - but a boy can hope :-)
As mentioned on the 14th I am going to do a couple of posts (and will happily do more as I come across good ones) on blogs as marketing tools in the hands of "ordinary" entrepreneurs. By that I mean bloggers who do not match the profile of the majority to date in Ireland:
My first is on Rebecca Allen. She is a textile artist based in Leitrim and she started her blog on the 15th July - her blog is here: www.irishcraftworker.typepad.com
Her blog is a classic mixture of her work, her environment and her personal life. It is perfect for giving a feel for the inspiration and stories behind the pieces that she produces. She has some great touches such as the use of feedburner to provide an email update service for visitors who may not be familar with RSS feeds. We email each other from time to time and she has shared with me some thoughts on her blogging.
Due to the work she is putting into it opportunities are starting to crop up for her. These range from the chance to be part of wider blogging networks such as b5media and emomsathome to being contacted by a TV researcher to explore her participation in a series currently in development. Both networks will greater increase her potential readership and should also do wonders for her search engine rankings!
On the textile artist side she has sold a piece via the blog and has had enquiries from a number of US retailers about her work. (The US is one of the themes that my next blog focus piece will have in common with Rebecca)
She has been supported by her local Enterprise Board in Leitrim (who incidently are the first County Enterprise Board with a blog - lceb.blogspot.com- nice one) and the ability of her blog to attract international business has helped her in her pitch to them.
Thanks for sharing your experience Rebecca.
...soon to be announced by Pat Phelan - who enticed dozens of comments on the first draft of the homepage for Roam4free by offering a phone as a prize. 11 of us were shortlisted and the lucky blogger will be contacted tomorrow.
I don't have a blackberry but my flipfone will be on all day :-)
UPDATE - well done Adam!
I have just started a project where I will be assessing the use of the internet to encourage visitors to visit and stay in rural areas. Part of that will be an attempt to assess the "critical mass" factor in aggregator travel sites - at what scale does an aggregator site become effective?
This is difficult to judge - too few attractions on a site and tourists may not find it attractive because it does not present enough options for them to choose from.
If anyone has thoughts or places for me to go look I would be grateful :-)
It is rarely I come across sites that I remember for their design and effectiveness of communication - mostly because of the volume of sites that I see and also because really, really good design is rare enough.
This site is sweet. http://www.nudo-italia.com/ Nudo - Adopt an olive tree
Look at their sparse text on the intro page that still manages to get across an uncommon idea clearly and quickly.
Look at the their use of human beings in the pop-ups - go to the Trees Need Love page and click on the No Pesticides in the Summer link. No certificates here - just the in-your-face shot of their organic standards inspector :-)
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did - and still do. After you adopt your tree you get sent the olive oil from the harvest. It's gotta be good :-)
I enjoyed the Women In Business Conference yesterday - definitely a different "vibe" when you have a 140 female entrepreneurs in a room together.
Two items in particular caught attendees attention in my talk. Fotolia - a great image marketplace. And blogging. I chucked blogs/blogging in at the end of my talk more out of passion than strict adherence to my topic guidelines.
To my surprise it was the single most commented on element afterwards - mostly "now I understand what blogs are/blogging is" and also some really good discussions on how they can be used by businesses and the practicalities of setting one up and whether they can be used instead of a website.
It may have helped that I used Annette Clancy's blog (which I subscribe to) as an example of how her 6 month old blog has put her to the top of a Google search for her name that has over 280,000 search results.
At the conference I came across one totally non-techie business who use their blog to market into North America. I am going to combine a post on that with some feedback I received yesterday from another non-techie business blogger.
That post, in a day or two, will show the effectiveness of blogs as marketing tools in the hands of "normal" micro enterprises ;-)
This is backup for a talk I am doing on Wednesday 13th Sept in Kilkenny at a conference called "Head Right for Success" which is being run by the County Enterprise Boards in the South East. This is a series of urls for the services and software that I mention in the talk and it is based around the theme of free and near-free services and software
dbTwang - www.dbtwang.com
Mapping - Google Maps - www.google.com/maps
Mapping - Remember The Milk - www.rememberthemilk.com
Accounts - Twinfield - www.twinfield.ie
Ajax - Protopage - www.protopage.com
AntiVirus - Clam AV - www.clamwin.com/
AntiVirus - AOL - www.activevirusshield.com
Firewall - Zonealarm - www.zonealarm.com
AntiSpyware - Spybot - www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html
Antispyware - Ad-Aware - www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/
Security Monitor - AOL - free.aol.com/tryaolfree/index3.adp?promo=808522&service=asm
Video Clip Screen Capture - Aviscreen - www.bobyte.com/AviScreen/
Format Conversion - Windows Media Encoder - www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/encoder/default.mspx
FashionFix - Martina Bohanna - martina.bohanna.com
An Irish Craftworker - Rebecca Allen - irishcraftworker.typepad.com
Vendemia Wine Blog - Helen - vendemiaorganicwines.blogspot.com/
Ice Cream Ireland - Kieran Murply - www.icecreamireland.com
Interactions - Annette Clancy - www.inter-actions.biz/blog/
And just to state the obvious this is not an exaustive list in any category - just the ones that I am familiar with.
UPDATE: Added Remember The Milk
UPDATE 2: Corrected Fotolia link
How sad is this.
While working on the start of a new project for my consultancy that has just been given the green light I am also keeping a passive eye on Engadget's coverage (linked here) of the Apple event in San Fran that will start shortly.
On a second monitor I may add - there is work happening on the main one!
UPDATE: I am not the only one - engadget.com is timing out at 18.14 GMT. I assume that is due to the traffic on their servers.
UPDATE 2: I am watching http://www.gizmodo.com/ - they are the only ones I can find who are not timing out!
UPDATE 3: Spoke too soon - Http/1.1 Service Unavailable
UPDATE 4: The movie deal that isn't - only the 4 Disney studios are being carried initially. Speculation that they could not swing a deal with the other studios was right.
With a subject header like that it could be chocolate bars - however it is actually small internet businesses :-)
I posted this on Eirepreneur on Sept 1st and thought I may as well reuse here and also bring attention to some of the businesses. It is a list of some of the successful internet sites based around South Tipperary that were mentioned to me in conversation with Edmond from the Enterprise Board there.
The business models and approach of each vary - James Whelan's site is an extension of his real world persona and is partially used by him to follow through on the contacts he makes as he travels the country. Paperpassion informs people about the product and then sales are closed by phone and Applianceparts builds on the founder's encyclopedia-like memory for parts.
From looking at the original URL it looks like the Irish Jeweller has migrated from his own site to one nestled within the ebay system - I would be interested to hear if anyone has heard how that transition works?
I have got to say that over the years there have been recipients of the IIA Net Visionary awards that I have not entirely agreed with.
So this year I am going to try and be a little more proactive and pick a couple of businesses for the nominations. I am coming across more and more interesting small businesses who have done great things with the internet in a quiet way. It would be good to see smaller regional businesses getting short listed. And some blogger/entrepreneurs could fit the mix as well!
Bloggers - dig deep into your local knowledge of happening internet businesses and sites and nominate away.
The link for the award categories is here: http://www.netvisionary.ie/awards.html
From Solutions Watch (linked here)
SimpleSeating is a new Web 2.0 product, currently in private beta, for seating arrangement and chart creation. It aims to simplify the process by providing its users a web-based interface with drag-and-drop functionality and easy guest management. At first impression I thought, “Seating charts? Really?” I’ve never thought about this market before, but seating charts are actually common with events, school systems, and conferences. Whether you are planning a wedding or arranging a class full of students, seating charts are often used and SimpleSeating hopes to make the creation process painless.
This is no overnight success story - rather a steady burner :-)
On the go since 1996 Infacta (founded by Jonathan Hill) have spawned an office in the US and moved to a new one in Sligo - see their post linked here. I can only say good things about Jonathan and the Infacta business and products he has built. (and I do - see previous posts!)
Both he and the people who he works with are professional to deal with - well done to all concerned.
Additional beta invitations for the Amazon Elastic Cloud beta have just come out (09.50 GMT) and I am now the proud owner of one:
For those of you who have not come across it this is computing on demand - or at least that is my understanding of it. You get to use the computing power of Amazon's server farm(s) as and when you require it with the immediate ability to scale up and down your use of same. And you only pay per use.
Now if Jungle Disk can release a "Cloud Use for Dummies" application I could use my elastic cloud to power my gaming! For those of you who are interested my current billing from Amazon Web Services is:
The HyperScope is a high-performance thought processor that enables you to navigate, view, and link to documents in sophisticated ways. It's the brainchild of Doug Engelbart, the inventor of hypertext and the mouse, and is the first step towards his larger vision for an Open Hyperdocument System.
I picked it up from Read/Write Web
For anyone interested I am giving a talk at a full day seminar being run in Kilkenny on Wednesday 13th September by 4 of the Enterprise Boards in the South East.
The conference is entitled "Head Right for Success - South East Women in Business" and men are welcome as well :-)
More details here: http://www.kceb.ie/headrightfor%20success.shtml
I am going to be talking about dbTwang and in particular looking at some of the great free and very cheap online and offline software and services that are available for internet start-ups today.
In a couple of weeks time Martina (my wife) is going to be launching her "Internet Guide to Shopping for Wide Calved Boots". For those of you in the audience who are not familiar with this problem you will have to believe me when I say that it (boots for wide calves) was one of the most persistent search terms used for a couple of months by visitors to her blog site - http://martina.bohanna.com
In the meantime her traffic has continued to rise steadily and last month she had nearly 3,000 unique visitors - on a site with great content but zero marketing. So we are going to self-publish a pdf format guide (probably at a $10 price point) and would like suggestions on how to backend that.
Easiest would be manually - orders via paypal and then the guide emailed out. After that I guess there are some good fulfilment systems for this sort of thing with different levels of complexity. Suggestions welcome - thanks.
Despite having little interest in hurling (being from Carlow!) I have just watched Kilkenny beating Cork in the All Ireland Hurling Final.
Any Kilkenny fans I had spoken to in the last couple of days did not hold out much hope of winning - despite that the team played with great attitude and skill.
Shame Tom Raftery is away from his TV and the internet :-)