Category Archives: Technology

The End of an Era – SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy

If you fly, you’ve seen the SkyMall catalog in the seat-back pocket in front of you. It’s been a great business model, marketing to a captive audience that may have nothing better to do for hours than watch the in-flight entertainment and read the seat-pocket reading material.

Of course a lot has changed since SkyMall came into being a quarter-century ago. Catalogs are getting thinner, and though paper catalogs aren’t going away just yet, less are printed every year. Due in part to reduced mail volumes, the United States Postal Service is losing money, and is slowing service while raising rates.

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3 Reasons Your Web Site Needs to be Mobile Friendly – and how Google is Forcing Your Hand

More and more people are using mobile devices to access the web. Why does that matter to you?

Your Customers Care

Increasing numbers of your customers use mobile devices, not only to look at information, but to buy things using those devices. For example, 37% of US iPhone Users are Buying via Mobile.

If your site isn’t friendly to mobile devices, your potential customers may go elsewhere. Even existing customers may be tempted by the web sites of your competitors.

Apps Can’t Do Everything

Your web site needs to work with mobile devices. Smaller companies, and those that don’t regularly interact with their customers online via their mobile devices, may not even have an app. People who want to find out more about the company or the products will still need to use your web site, so it had better work well with mobile.

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Find a Need and Fill It

I enjoyed reading about the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show, and not just a because of my interest in retro technology. Logo for PinBallBulbs, offering light bulbs for pinball machines at http://www.pinballbulbs.com/I was particularly intrigued by a company listed in the Show Sponsors section. When I saw the logo for PinballBulbs, the lightbulb above my own head lit-up. I was reminded of the rallying cry for sales and marketing people to Find a need and fill it.

Seriously? A company that exists to sell lightbulbs for pinball machines? A bit of investigation confirmed that they specialize in lights and lighting upgrades for pinball machines!

Sharing What You Know

Light bulbs for pinball machines? That’s an awfully narrow niche, but apparently there’s a need for them. I suspect the proprietors didn’t start with a brainstorming session and end up with an inspiration to sell a very specific product into a very specialized market. They were probably already involved with pinball machines and saw the need to replace or upgrade the many light bulbs they contain.

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How Technology Changed our Perception of Security

It used to be that if you needed a security system at home or at the office, you’d call an alarm company. Keypad of a locked Android smart phone

They would provide the full package:

  • Provide and install a security system, complete with a console and sensors and the wires that connected everything
  • Monitor the system from their office, and notify the police or fire department if something bad happened
  • You would enable and disable the system using a key or keypad on the console, but the alarm company took care of the rest

That model served a lot of people for several decades, and there is no shortage of companies offering that kind of service today. (In some markets, you’ll encounter ads for security systems several times daily on radio, TV, and other media.)

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Marketing, Technology, and Social Media Predictions for 2013

Some things are easy to predict. Some are hard. I’ll try to include some of each kind.

2013Just for the record, I’m not giving myself any credit for things that have already happened or been announced prior to the actual start of 2013. Of course some of those things certainly might give us a bit of a head start of figuring out what’s coming.

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Like a Cross Between Ballet and Speed Chess

I knew I might be in trouble when I clicked on a Google search result and the page that opened was crawling with ads. Then the page clicked-over to a different site on its own: To an article in Vogue I believe. The article itself didn’t look especially threatening, but that’s not a site I visit – and most importantly, I hadn’t done anything to be taken there.

OUTLOOK.EXE MalwareEverything seemed fine after that, but later I clicked the icon to open Microsoft Word and received a UAC (User Account Control) warning from Windows indicating that a program it didn’t trust was trying to start. Any time a Microsoft application isn’t recognized by a Microsoft operating system, something is clearly amiss. I’ve used Word zillions of times with no issue like this, which reinforced that something was wrong, so I didn’t allow it to start. The same thing happened later when I started Outlook, and then Java, underscoring that I had a serious problem.

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