Category Archives: Technology

Design and technology. Friends forever. The technology category is full of gadgets and gizmos that have proven to improve our work and life.

Give it some time and everything old will become new again.

I’m too young to remember the telegram but from what I’ve read, it’s a short concise message to someone far away. Telegram style is a way of writing that attempts to abbreviate words and pack as much information into the shortest possible number of words and or characters as possible.

Sound familiar?

Incidentally, you can still send telegrams if you have distant relatives that don’t respond to telephone calls, emails, fax or smoke signal.

Way back in 1886, some people were using the telephone and other people were trying to find a fair way to make those people pay for it. Angry diatribes printed in the newspapers were common, subscribers were up in arms over ridiculous fees and nobody could agree on whether usage based billing was justified.

Sound familiar?

Remember calling cards? You may have used them in college to keep long distance relationships intact or to call home from a European phone booth. Well, they’re back! And they are not only a solution for 25 cent a minute mobile long distance charges, they are a way to make a statement about your statement. In Canada, fair competition regulated by the CRTC, is an effort by the government to encourage competition and fair pricing in technology. However, Canadians are still paying some of the world’s highest cell phone bills.

Calling cards are a backwards way of saying yes to savings and no to outrageous fees.

Here’s how:

  • Invest $20 in a 900 minute calling card.
  • Download a free iphone app that remembers and auto-dials the access number and PIN. It even allows you to customize a timed response based on the voice prompts you receive when you dial in.
  • Never pay carrier fees for long distance again!

Whether you’re in Canada or the U.S. this is an easy way to take advantage of history repeating itself.

While it’s old news now that the advent of iOS 4 brought iphone owners a modern way to organize apps with folders, the practicality of deciding how to group similar apps remains a primitive notion.

The commonly accepted practice remains asking yourself a series of technical questions about the app’s functionality and then grouping them according to purpose. I have been following this procedure since being introduced to folders and it has been fraught with difficulty.

Is the calculator a utility or a productivity tool? Does the address book belong in the reference or social folder? After finally making an educated decision on how best to file an application, I was then faced with the problem of relocating it for use. This wasted valuable time. Time I could be using to abuse bandwidth based billing limits with.

I am happy to report that this issue no longer plagues me! I have a achieved iphone freedom and I have done so using the power of colour.

iphone home screen

I found that even when utilizing the correctly named function-based folder structure, I was still reliant most of the time on locating the application by it’s prominent colour scheme. This often proved itself when someone else was using my phone and I would be helping them locate something. I would tell them what it looked like rather than where it lived. I probably couldn’t even tell you the names of my folders for that matter.

light blue folder

The dynamics of this new system is easy. Each folder has a colour. Similarly coloured apps are placed together. Most apps are brand driven which lends itself well to recognition by colour.

If you want to try it, please feel free. All I ask is that you put the seconds you save toward something more meaningful than I do – like talking to someone face to face about something other than this.

Groupon is the latest and greatest in social media marketing. It’s a coupon for a heavily discounted deal on a product or service that is activated when a certain number of people choose to use it.

There are other services similar to it, LivingSocial and TeamBuy are two others. It seems to fit snuggly into a social buying niche that may start to give consumers more of a say into the prices of products they want or need.

This month’s issue of the Harvard Business Review featured an article on an aspect of Groupon that could be interest to many of the businesses who are considering delving into Groupon as a marketing strategy. Before diving in, it may be of benefit to call a team meeting and explain how the business may benefit from these extreme cost cutting measures. As it turns out, the euphoria that the Groupon-holders experience may be equivalent to the disappointment that employees feel while servicing these bargain-hunters.

Most employees feel a certain level of pride associated with the brand they represent or the level of expertise required to carry out their on-the-job responsibilities and can be easily offended when this offering is sold for next to nothing. It can easily be taken personally – when one is not mindful of the bigger picture.

In addition to the unhappiness employees feel with giving away their product or service, the typically bargain-minded Groupon user can add to the displeasure by showing a lack of etiquette by tipping poorly or being generally un-knowledgeable. This type of behaviour can further enrage the employee – resulting in a less than pleasant experience for all in involved. In fact, research has shown that the level of an Employee’s self reported happiness can directly influence the success or failure of a Groupon promotion.

Seeking your team’s approval for a Groupon promotion may be something to easily overlook. However, training on dealing with difficult customers and buy-in to the bigger picture may be the most important thing you can do to ensure the tidal wave of Grouponers don’t impact the morale of your employees and tarnish the great first impression you are hoping to exhibit.