Given the times we’re living in it’s not completely absurd to assume that the market for development and management of business websites is a very mature one without strong growth potential. After all, every major business that we deal with has a significant presence on the internet that likely includes points of presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ (to name the most popular spots) in addition to their own corporate website(s). If you look a little closer though you’ll find that there are many smaller businesses that have either a limited web presence or they eschew the web altogether.
Consider the image above, which represents a bulletin board in community near me about thirty minutes away from Austin, TX. Right before I took the picture someone had walked up to it to place their flyer amongst the hoards of printed media, no doubt with the hope of catching someone’s eye so that the person might some day become one of their customers. To those of us that live on the web such an approach to business marketing seems awfully antiquated but the fact is that it is an approach that is still being used by more small businesses than we can imagine.
The recent guidance by the FAA that allowed fewer restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing has lead to speedy changes in the policies of (most, but unfortunately not yet all) major airlines in the United States. In short this means that smart phones and tablets can be used in airplane mode (i.e. no data connection) for the entire flight. I fly quite a bit and my rough estimate is that this gives each traveler at least an extra hour of possible device time per flight.
Recently I started up my favorite (well, also my only) third party Skype add on (a call recording app called Pamela) and was dismayed to see a message informing me that soon (as early as next month) it would no longer function. This will occur because the folks at Skype (now owned by Microsoft) have made the decision to shut off their Desktop API.
The Skype team says that they are making the change in the name of innovation, but for power users like me it the decision felt like anything but. All that I (and perhaps you) knew is that an application that is very important to my business might not work in the very near future. So it’s lucky for me (and a bunch of podcasters that use Skype call recording apps) that the folks at Skype-rosoft partially reversed their decision this week. Below you will find the key quote from Skype’s announcement of their reversal.
However, I’m happy to share that we will be extending support for two of the most widely used features – call recording and compatibility with hardware devices – until we determine alternative options or retire the current solution. Although chat via third party applications, will cease to work as previously communicated.
As you can see call recording apps have gained a reprieve…for the moment at least. Third-party chat apps (like Trillian I suppose) weren’t so lucky. I am happy about this reversal but I also see the writing on the wall. It’s likely that Skype will continue to change in ways that will impact third party add ins. Whatever Skype-rosoft decides in the near future it’s my hope that they adhere to the best practice of allowing for backward compatibility until such a time as their alternative interfaces into Skype are sufficiently developed and documented.
Microsoft is upping the cloud storage ante by offering 200GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years to buyers of their new Surface and Surface Pro tablets.
More and more I’m seeing companies bundling in cloud storage with their storage limited (i.e. flash storage) hardware. I believe that Google offers 50GB with the purchase of a Chromebook. Other device manufacturers have special deals with Box and DropBox. The intent is the same across the board. Soothe people’s anxiety about not having enough local storage to keep all of their stuff in hand.
Microsoft is way out in front with their new 200GB offer, but like the Google deal the free storage is temporary. So if you continue to utilize the storage you will have an ongoing cost that May or may not be competitive with other alternatives.
I can’t say that Microsoft’s offer would convince me to buy one of their tabs. I do believe it will push other cloud storage companies to raise the amount of storage in their free tiers and that is definitely a good thing.
I have been using the Reeder RSS app on the iPhone and iPad (there’s a Mac version too) for a while now. Initially Reeder was just a Google Reader client. With the demise of Google Reader the developer of Reeder initially updated Reeder for iOS to support Feedbin (and subsequently other RSS services) but then decided to create a whole new app for all platforms. As of today that new app is live in the iOS app store. Since the app costs $5 and Reeder v1 still works well on the iPhone I am on the fence regarding upgrading. For those who don’t have a good mobile RSS reader and are looking for one my experience with Reeder v1 makes it easy for me to recommend Reader v2, which is universal so it looks good on both the iPhone and iPad. Do keep in mind that although you can now subscribe to feeds directly in the app that syncing across devices only occurs when you connect to another service. Reeder v2 currently supports Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, Fever and Readability.
Check the link below for information about the new integration between WordPress.com and Google+. This is a welcome development because up to now you had to create a hack (via IFTTT, also see this post) to cross post between WordPress and Google+. They also say that the new features are coming soon to self-hosted WP blogs via the Jetpack plugin.
via Your Blog, Plus One: Connect and Share on Google+.