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Monthly Archives: February 2009

Managing all your social networks in under 2 hours a day using RSS!

OK, so I am guilty of occasionally spending too much time in a day keeping up with the various industry and personal blogs that I read; updating various social networking sites and of course Twittering.

“There has to be an easier way to manage this”, I thought; otherwise this could easily consume my entire life. A balance needs to be struck between not maintaining your social network and it ruining your life.

Possibly the easiest way of doing this for me is to use RSS feeds (if you are unfamiliar with RSS then take a look here for a good introduction).  Using various RSS feeds it’s possible to bring in all the various social networking sources into one place so that you can monitor them, keep up to date and make judgement calls as to which items need further attention.

Google Reader is superb RSS aggregator made just for this task; always there online, easily configurable, useable offline and whilst on the move! Google Reader also lets you publish your aggregated feeds back out into the community.

Within Google Reader I have now brought in RSS feeds from:

My LinkedIn profile, showing me my network updates.
My Facebook Friends status, showing me what everyone’s up to.
My personal Twitter Feed, echoed what I have posted.
My Twitter Feed showing all the tweets that I have received.
Various other Twitter feeds, for various keywords (XMPie etc.) so I can keep a track of the Twitter-Buzz for various things.
Various industry blogs and news feeds.

Connecting to LinkedIn:

On LinkedIn; connect to your account
Under your Home page, you should see a RSS Logo.
Click on there and configure your RSS feed before added it to Google Reader

Connecting to FaceBook:

Login to your FaceBook account
Select Friends from the tabs at the […]

By |February 27th, 2009|General|2 Comments

Is Microsoft trying to reinvent the QR-Code technology?

I am a great fan of QR-Codes; and wish that more publishers would adopt the technology and implement these snazzy snippets of interactive information within their advertising and media campaigns. I recently posted an article talking about how XMPie was now supporting the creation of QR-Codes; and other 2D barcodes from directly inside uDirect.

Recently I heard about Microsoft Tag, Microsoft’s own 2D Barcode technology. At first sight it would seem that Microsoft has simply reinvented the wheel and created another style of 2D Barcode; however looking closely things seem slightly different.

For starters a Microsoft tag actually uses less space to encode a single byte of information; using different coloured triangles opposed to black/white squares.

Secondly it produces smaller sized codes as you can see below:

What’s more interesting is that Microsoft Tags do not actually encode the data (URL or other text) inside the mark. What they actually do is contain a unique reference which needs to be decoded my a Microsoft Server; which in turn points to the actual URL or reference point.

Using a server in this way effectively allows you to track the usage of a code within the field – by analysing the server you can see how many people have used the mark etc.

So in essence Microsoft have not reinvented the wheel; this is a new technology.

But wait; hold the boat one second. Microsoft Tags are unique effectively because they allow a managed and traceable service. However refer back to my original posting and you will see that my using standard QR-Code and a Cross Media Marketing tool; such as XMPie PersonalEffect you can easily create personalised QR-Code, that contain a unique URL (personalised or response URL).

Thus you can create unique codes, […]

XMPie and Xerox EIP Integration

Just discovered a video of myself presenting XMPie and our integration into Xerox’s Extensible Interface Platform (EIP) at a local Xerox event back in June 2008. Only a short information pitch to a relatively small audience; but it went down well. 

XMPie presenting EIP integration into Xerox’s EIP from David Baldaro on Vimeo.

For more information on Xerox’s EIP check out Xerox’s EIP website.

By |February 24th, 2009|XMPie|0 Comments

XMPie enables local expansion in tough times

It’s great to see small firms expanding; not only in these hard times but also by using XMPie. 

A direct mail company in Somerset is winning new business and taking on new staff despite the gloomy economic conditions.

MPS, which is based in Bishop Sutton near Bristol, recently celebrated a new half-a-million pound contract in Asia and Australasia and is now expanding its workforce by a third to handle the extra demand.
What’s great to see as well is that they are getting so much success from a desktop copy of uDirect from XMPie (including the image personalisation module. 
MPS is using XMPie software to produce the 20 versions of each digital mailer and outputs 15,000 or more PDFs a week for download by the printers in Thailand and Singapore. Global fonts were brought in to handle the different languages and each mailer has a five-day turnaround and contains over 120 variable images. Data is generated from a new website offering mothers and fathers help and advice during pre and post birth.
The full article can be found in Thursday, February 19th edition of ThisIsBristol.co.uk

By |February 24th, 2009|XMPie|0 Comments

Free Guitar Hero Guitar?

Thanks to Activison and Red Octane’s ’Hapsidasical’  (A cross between Haphazard and Lacksidasical) approach to customer warranties it seems that you can replace what does not actually need replacing (or even exist!). 

A quick visit over to Activision’s support site and a click on the link for ‘Click here for technical help with Guitar Hero and other Red Octane products’ andyou are into a process for identifing issues with their products. What strikes me as weird, and haphazard is the fact that if a product is not working, they do not mandate that a serial number is given and nor do they request that the offending item is within warranty or even returned to them. 

God forbid anyone that was dishonest enough to request a replacement for a product (guitar, drum kit or microphone) that was not actually broken; or even existed to be sent to them within a few days! Surely no-one would do that would they?

By |February 17th, 2009|Blogging|1 Comment

TweetDeck on Ubuntu

For a while I have been using TweetDeck on my XP laptop to interact with Twitter. However I also have a ubuntu desktop which I commonly use as well; so I set up looking to see what Twitter clients there were for ubuntu. After a slightly fruitless search I stumbled back upon Adobe Air (which is what TweetDeck is developed using). Could you install Adobe Air on ubuntu I thought? Sure came the answer. david@george:~$ wget http://airdownload.adobe.com/air/lin/download/1.5/AdobeAIRInstaller.bin david@george:~$ chmod a+x AdobeAIRInstaller.bin david@george:~$ sudo ./AdobeAIRInstaller.bin That will get and install Adobe AIR on ubuntu david@george:~$ wget http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/TweetDeck_0_21_5.air I couldn’t find a command-line way of installing an Adobe AIR application, so the simplest way is to double-click on the .air file and install it through the Adobe AIE Application Installer. However once that is done, TweetDeck sits proud on the desktop and works! Yeah!

By |February 17th, 2009|Blogging|2 Comments

PODi makes it easier to ‘Find a Service Provider’ and examples

I noticed today that Caslon, a PODi affiliate has created a ‘Find a Service Provider’; a free service enabling clients and customers to locate service providers within the global Print On Demand and VDP sector.
PODi has launched the Beta version of its newest program to create value for print and marketing service providers – Find a Service Provider – a free, searchable online database developed by Caslon, PODi’s Affiliate.  The database is the first part of a larger plan to help service providers
Although it’s still in Beta it’s independent and nicely backed by the leading vendors. Hopefully it will grow and be a success; although searching for ‘Variable Data Printers’ in the UK only returns a single provider!.

The ‘Find a Service Provider’ portal sits alongside their database of ‘Digital Print Case Studies’; 27 of which have been produced using XMPie - which is great.

I can imagine that more of these tools and services will become available in the coming months; and even some more ‘application-focussed’ ones; which would be good.

And in that moment of silence, the world seemed calm again

What happens when a social network like Twitter fails and falls over … silence, pure silence that’s what ;-) 
For a period of time this afternoon all that Twitter users saw was a message stating that something ‘was wrong’ …. “no sh#te”, said Sherlock. And at that moment millions sighed, swore a bit and then turned around and actually talked to the person next to them. Well what else could they have done? Twitter was not twittering any more.  

By |February 11th, 2009|Blogging|0 Comments

Agency Clients Slash Budgets 20% or More, Digital is the way forward

It comes as no surprise that budgets continue to be slashed this year – which is going to hurt some. However the more forward thinking of us will grasp the opportunity from this and look more heavily to digital technology – in the composition and delivery and tracking of campaigns. 

I was reading a survey report today from www.markingcharts.com which states …
More than two-thirds (70%) of global ad agency CEOs say that their clients are cutting back their 2009 budgets, and more than 83% of that group say those cuts are at least by 20%,according to the latest Agency CEO Survey by Worldwide Partners Inc (WPI).
One of XMPie’s strong points in this market is it’s ability to help increase the value of the print conversations and communications by providing a well-coordinated and integrated campaigns across all media channels. Integrated campaigns that use all of the individual channels in the correct and most effective way possible; in a way that can be tracked and reported.

In another report by the The Conference Board …
marketing executives are under increasing pressure from CEOs to show a return on investment for their programs, but many are struggling with complex processes, technological difficulties and internal resistance to measurement systems.
Those that turn to digital technologies and use individual products to achieve the ‘feel’ of an integrated campaign will take longer to achieve the same (costing more money) and will run the risk of jepordising data and communication integrity.

Now is the time for regional, highly relevant communications – not big in-your-face national advertising campaigns which use mutiple complex technologies and processes.

GMail adds Multiple Inboxes

If your a fan of GMail as I am you’ll hopefully enjoy a new feature that Google has just introduced to GMail, Muliple Inboxes. This does not; as the name implies allow you to connect to multiple inboxes on the web. However what is does provide is a great productivity tool which allows you to split your inbox window into several ; through the use of filters.

So now I can see various topics and threads all at once from the main window; without having to open the various filters that I have.

The only downside that I can see is that support for Offline Reading is not there – so, if you currently have your mail set up for offline use you will not see the option appear under the Settings/Labs window! Shame,, but almost worth turning off offline reading for!

By |February 6th, 2009|General|0 Comments