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Category: technology

Spotting innovation: what geeks do in the weekend

Spotting innovation: what geeks do in the weekend

If you only have change to listen to one podcast, then my recommendation would have to be the Tim Ferriss Show; it’s insightful, informative and also lots of fun. And if you only have time for one episode, then I would recommend the one with Marc Andreesson. OK, that might be a bit unfair as I’ve only listened to a few, but I’ve just finished the one with Marc and it’s just awesome.

Marc is one of the seminal figures in Silicon Valley history, having helped create some of the major players in the industry. He is now co-founder of venture capital firm Andresson Horowitz, helping shape some of the companies of tomorrow. The podcast runs through a whole bunch of interesting topics, from tales of the Valley, all the way to the role of conflict in an organisation, to new and emerging technologies like drones and blockchain based companies. There was one point however that stuck with me more than many of the others.

At one point, Tim asks Marc how their company looks for the next big thing, the next thing to invest in, the next thing that’s going to change our world. Marc mentions that the next big thing is something that is considered fringe nowadays, but that will manage to make the leap into the mainstream (Crossing the Chasm?). In order to spot these trends, they ask themselves ‘what do the nerds/geeks do in the weekend?’ In other words, forgetting the activities that bring home the bacon, what do smart people do in their spare time, what’s exciting them and what are they making. There’s a lot of depth in that statement and something that resonates with me, particularly in light of what’s happening at the Isle of Man Code Club. There are a number of projects there that are based around people’s passions, are innovative and can grow into something useful. So yeah, check out what the nerds are doing over the weekend 🙂

Taskwise – a new way of working

Taskwise – a new way of working

I came across an interesting website today, a service called Taskwise; which lets you share ideas, and manage life and business better. So, how does this work? It’s a social task management tool that lets you create lists of tasks and share them with your friends.

The application lets you create lists to manage tasks and projects, lists which you can then share with friends and colleagues. It’s a collaboration tool that helps you and your team work faster, get more done; from anywhere you want. It’s a cloud-based application which can be accessed from anywhere you like. There’s a desktop application you can use, or else you can use it in a browser, on your phone or from wherever you are.

Taskwise lets you create todo lists to manage tasks in your project and assign them to different members of your team. It also lets you create all your contacts and do work with them. Looking through the feature list, I also spotted that it has a file management system that lets you share documents, spreadsheets and other files with other members of your team.

Looks interesting and the Online Edition is free to try. If you find that you like it, you can upgrade to their premium offerings which have more functionality bundled in. Sign up for a free Taskwise account!

The risk of going online

The risk of going online

There’s a lot of noise in the media at the moment about Chinese hackers making their way into western computer systems, particularly into systems of large commercial organisations like Google and Cardinal Health Inc. The reality is that as soon as you connect your network to the outside world you are exposing yourself to this risk and you need to find ways to control and mitigate these actions.

The question that’s always worth asking is if you can get away without having to open yourself up. If you’re a health organistaion for example, you could have your website showing nutrisystem reviews, but you don’t actually need to be online, especially if your workforce doesn’t need Internet access. Obviously, this may not be an option in most cases, but it’s worth understanding the risk and taking all the steps you can to reduce them.

Here I am

Here I am

Assorted smartphones. From left to right, top ...
Image via Wikipedia

Do you use a Smartphone, maybe an iPhone, a Blackberry or an Android phone? If so, you’re the target market for one of the many applications that can use GPS to determine where you are and share the information with your friends. The problem with these applications however, seems to be that they have limited lasting appeal which could be a problem when one looks at their market penetration. So, if you’re thinking about investing in one of these firms; it’s worth waiting to see if someone can develop a way to keep the market engaged. In the meantime, it would be better to put your money in psoriatic arthritis treatment or exotic investments, you may get more joy from there.

Smartphone software – An emerging market

Smartphone software – An emerging market

HTC Dream mobile phone with AZERTY keyboard fo...
Image via Wikipedia

There’s an interesting article on Business Week about Smartphone Software and the way new developments are making inroads into gaining more and more adoption amongst users. The reality is that this is still an emerging market, but one that is expecting to grow enormously in the future. There are a couple of really interesting examples of the technology on the article; one centring about a shopping experience. It talks about a smartphone being used to track a person’s shopping – scanning her items as she picks them off the shelf. This information is used at checkout to bill the customer, but it also provides valuable information about shopping patterns and location in the store. The customer is rewarded with coupons that match her shopping patterns, whether it’s for cheese or weight loss pills, it all depends on her purchases. It’s an interesting model with both parties gaining from it, a synergy that produces some interesting result.

The technology that makes this possible is the inclusion of devices in phones that makes them context aware. My phone for example, has GPS, a compass, motion sensors and other sensors that tell the phone where it is and what it’s doing. However, the applications that can use this platform are still in their infancy. Every month, new applications are produced that take advantage of this technology and over the next few years, we’ll see some amazing innovations in this sphere.

I personally, just can’t wait to see what’s around the corner 😉

Protect your data

Protect your data

What’s the worst thing that can happen to your business? Well, for some organisations, the loss of data can be critical. If strategic information gets into the hands of your competitors, it could spell a fatal blow for your business. And if you have consultants in the field, you can be particularly exposed to this risk.

So, how do you mitigate against this? Well, there are a number of companies that deal in computer protection like Alertsec who produce a full disk encryption package that locks a computer’s hard disk and prevents access to it unless the correct password is supplied. What this means is that if a laptop gets lost or stolen, your data will remain protected, away from prying eyes.

It’s one way to deal with unavoidable risk; if you can mitigate it, you can reduce the potential damage that can occur.