Posts Tagged ‘iPAD’
So as days get marked off on the advent calendar, and we small business owners/freelancers try to avoid (or attend, depending on your view point) as many Christmas parties as possible with our clients, our thoughts move over to gifts. What to get Aunt Gilda, what would Uncle Bob like this year, and of course, what to get yourself.
If like me, you have been working hard on your business, then why not use the Christmas period to treat yourself with a nice little present from your company – tax free of course. Or if you are even more shrewd, why not pick a present now and get it in the new year sales.
So what presents could a freelancer or small business owner possibly want from their company?!?
Latest Wizz-Bang Device
Admit it, you have been toying with the thought all year of buying that expensive shimmering electric gadget, but have never been able to justify it. Whether it’s an iPAD, another tablet device (such as the Galaxy android tablet which I love the look of), an iPhone, or whatever else you are drawn to, maybe Christmas is the time to treat yourself. Think of a good tax reason why you must have it (research and development, office communication, doing a project for a customer, etc), and let the company treat you to your hearts desire.
An e-book Reader
I talked about ebook readers for small business about a year ago, and how they can help grow your business. Yes, Ok, iPADS and other tablets can be used for reading ebooks, but true ebooks (the Sony-505 or the kindle) are true ebooks, which means that the battery lasts forever (weeks or months so is good for all holidays) and can be read in full direct sunlight – try that on an iPAD. An ebook reader can be purchased both for research and education, and can be argued to be a valid business expense.
What about brushing up on your skills? There are plenty of on-line and off-line teaching groups out there (I can recommend LearningTree here in the UK) that can teach you the latest version of the design products you use, or can teach you new skills. Education is one of those slippery subjects in terms of taxable benefit, so before signing up and having the company pay, check with your accountant first.
Books and Material
A cheaper version of self improvement is through books. Again, there are plenty of books through sites like amazon that teach you new skills in 30 days (such as the Wrox series of books such as learn SQL Server Integration Studio 2010 in 30 days) – and all can be purchased through the company.
What about your computers. I have talked about the latest tablet fad, but what about your desktop, laptops, notebooks and servers – are they in line for an upgrade? With December being a very slow month for commercial sales in computing, there are some terrific deals to be had from Dell, Compaq and HP.
Bigger and Faster of what you have
And what about other items you use in your office or home office – can they be upgraded? As an example, you may have an A4 laser printer, but does it scan and fax?!? If it does, what about buying an additional A3 colour printer – very useful for printing colour brochures, A3 project plans and other large documents. What about storage, portable disk drives, DVD burners etc? What about new chairs, a new desk, an extra monitor?
A Christmas Party
And finally, don’t forget that as a small business you are still entitled to hold Christmas parties – even if you are a one man band.. and the company can pay up to a tax free limit of £150 per person. For me, this year my staff and I (there are not a lot of us) are having our Christmas party on new years eve, in London, at a murder mystery event with sleep over. It will be a good event – thank you my company.
It’s a quickie from me today as I am tied up in an extended discussion which I want to share, because sooner or later, we are all going to hit this problem – and that is… what platform is the future???
Lets say you come up with an idea for something to do with computers – an idea for a product or a service. This product or service say needs some software or a web site – so which way does the future lead? In the 1980’s and early 1990′s, it was easy.. it either ran on a PC for single user systems (spreadsheets or word processing) or run as a terminal service on a mainframes for multi-user systems (accounts, payroll, etc).
Not now everything is much more complex. Through advances in technology, you have so many choices. You have client applications (with a sub choice of Windows or Mac), or web applications (with a mad variety of development options) and finally mobile options (with sub choices of Android, iPhone/iPAD or Windows7 mobile).
Of course, many companies make choices to either support multiple versions of their applications with multiple code sets doing the exact same thing, or try to provide web based versions that are in some way usable on mobile devices including the iPAD tablets. The first option is impossible to maintain (unless you throw money at the problem), with the second option being ultimately unusable (or deeply disappointing).
Which is why I also believe that the big guns of software are ultimately doomed. Yes, players like Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle will survive for a little longer because of their big name products (SQL Server, Photoshop, etc), but the smaller brands will take over, brands who are happy to adapt to the new technologies or provide cheaper/free replacements.
Of course what ever the choice, the fact that most people expect the product to be free is always going to be the big consideration (when is the last time you paid for a phone app, or a web service?). Which is why I am happy to provide feedback, sit on panels to consider the future, but also happy for other people to risk their money on picking the platform. Which ever platform they pick, I am of course more than happy to support them.
We all have a limited number of attention units; things we can think about at any time. Trying to keep everything in your head robs you of attention units, which means you have less units to invest in completing your basic daily tasks.
Jack Canfield, US Self Improvement Coach
Ask my wife, she will tell you – I am a master of the lists. I create To Do for packing for holidays, To Do lists for shopping, lists for holidays, project plans with associated ToDo lists for any home projects such as new kitchens or updating the bathroom, and of course I run a To Do list for my small business activities.
Its fairly safe to say, I have tried and used most To Do lists systems around, and all have left me wanting for something more….. flexible and powerful.
A couple of months ago, I was reading a blog on Freelancer, and an item sparked my interest on a web (cloud) based To Do management system called ToodleDo (yes, the name didn’t sell it to me either). As I read more and did my own research, I found how wonderfully connected the system is. So may I present, my guide to the ultimate List and To Do tracking system…
The heart of the ToodleDo system is the web based ToodleDo To Do list manager. The web site provides two forms of membership – free (which I currently use) and premium, which allows sub-tasks and goal links. The web site allows a fairly basic setup of To Do items divided into folders (projects, customers, home areas, etc) and goals, with each To Do list items having (optionally) a title, description, notes, priority, star (favourite), folder, goal, estimated duration, start date/time, due date/time and links.
Email and Twitter Links
The ToodleDo engine allows you to create To Do items by emailing a predefined email address or forwarding tweets onto a specific twitter address. These will then be added to your To Do list. Perfect.
ToodleDo browser Plug Ins
Depending on your web browser, there are a range of web browser plug ins that let you view and work on your todo list within your browser (without having to go to the Toodledo web site), add new To Do items, and clip web site text/pictures to turn them into To Do items.
Mobile Phone Links
Because ToodleDo puts your To Do list in the cloud, mobile versions have been developed which allow you to view, update, mark as done and refine your To Do list on your mobile device, with the changes synchronised to your ToodleDo account, so everything remains in sync. For the iPhone (and iPAD), there are many such applications including the official ToodleDo app. On android (the device I use), I can recommend the Got To Do application – a free and premium version is available as per the paid and free ToodleDo account options.
So far, this combination of Free tools is the best To Do management system I have used. RECOMMENDED!
A man who insists on walking up stream against the flow of water, will only realise his mistake once he is drown.
A list of old technology for you: Cassette tapes, floppy disks, modems, walkmans, arcade games, VHS tapes (and recorders), Black and White Televisions, pagers, fax machines, Visual Basic (v4, v5 or v6) and Compact Disks. Ok, so maybe CDs are not dead, but the time is coming when they will be a thing of memory.
As the news filtered down that the iPAD was selling at 3 every second, and apple are selling even more of the 4th generation of the iPhone, we can all imagine the land fill that will be created as everybody sells the iPhone 3’s for the new sleeker, sexier, faster iPhone. Change is a certainty, progress is optional.
As a fairly old freelancer, I have watched lots of technology come and go. All of it served its purpose at the time, but now none of it is used, and in time nobody will remember it. When change occurs, whatever the form, there will always be people who are scared because, well, change can be scary. Whether it’s the latest phone, a change in direction in your work life, a change in your personal situation, or a change of health. But change can sometimes be good.
As the old Chinese proverb teaches us, we can fight change all we want, but sometimes (more often than not) by the time you realise change is happening, it is too late to fight the change. Best go with the change, otherwise you will end up drowned.
But there is a third way. Rather than fight the change, or be swept along with the flow, the other option is simply to move out of the path, let it pass you by, and look for the solid ground where you can create your niche. In Freelancing, landing the customers is all about have a niece, where you stand out, excel and don’t try to fit in. If you are just another programmer, or writer, or marketing consultant, how can you be spotted amongst the throng?
Seth Godins always good at spotting the third way, so let me leave you with some of Seths thoughts on the iPAD revolution….
Steve Jobs reports today that Apple is selling an iPad every three seconds. This is a pretty urgent moment for my friends on the Kindle team….
…..You either become the best and only platform for consuming books worth buying or you fail. And the only way to create that footprint in the face of an iPad is to make it so cheap to buy and use it’s irresistible.
I saw a two-year old kid (in diapers, in a stroller), using an iPod Touch today. Not just looking at it, but browsing menus and interacting. This is a revolution, guys.
Let me run some names past you…… Hoover – what do you think of? Cleaning the floor? What about Frisbee? Are you thinking about playing catch in the park? How about a nice Coke? Ready for a drink? Kleenex? What do you think about? If I was to ask you to Google it – what would you do?
All of these are classic examples of products which are or were brand leaders, which we now view as the name for the generic product – regardless of the manufacturer. There are lots of Hoovers, even if they are manufactured by Dyson or Panasonic. A pepsi is viewed as a Coke. You can google things in Microsoft Bling, and Frisbee is no longer making Frisbees – a company in china is.
It’s important to be first – first is where the money is, where the recognition is, and where the returns of more sales over time are. When the original hoover came out, there was no competition, so everybody bought their hoover from… Hoover.
Now what has this to do with the iPhone App store? Well, when the app store was first introduced, lots of people reported making thousands and even millions from applications that people downloaded and paid for. Why? Well the app store was new, and the content was limited. But now, the app store has thousands upon thousands of applications covering every possible handheld application use. Think of a possible use, and there will be an application to cover it – and most of them are now free.
I know 5 or 6 people who are still gazing into the stars, and dreaming of the day when they place their iPhone app on the store, and it starts generating money for them. Yes, it may happen, but the people who got there first have already got the downloads, so their apps appear at the top of the list, and the new products are right at the bottom, not selling or at least not selling sufficient numbers to cover the cost of the initial development. The story is going to be the same with the iPAD – anybody thinking they will be developing the killer money making life changing app is going to be disappointed.
Being 1st with a new product, service or benefit is so important. But trying to do it via the iPhone app store is not the way to go.