A day without my laptop

A few weeks ago, I went to work without my Macbook’s power adapter. To make matters worse, I used my macbook on the 1.5 hour commute… Net result, I only had a 2 hours battery life for a 9 hour day.

Luckily for me – I had my iPhone (Lucky is incorrect, I always carry it). I had never considered my iPhone to be as business capable as previously owned Windows Mobile & Nokia phones, but it disproved that in a hurry.

I did have my email configured on the phone so that was not a worry. What really helped me out that day was Quickoffice, an app I had installed on my phone for over 2 months, but never had an opportunity to use.

I moved all the relevant files (2 documents and a ppt) I needed for the day, to the phone, crossed my fingers and watched my Macbook save memory state and shut off.

As far as email goes, I had no issues. The iPhone had been quite impressive handling emails since I started using it. What I did need to do was configure quickOffice to edit my attachments. This was a circuitous route that involved sending the attachment to a specific email address and then re-downloading it in Quickoffice.

I realized that day that the biggest problem with the iPhone is – that apps cannot access the file system. A very misguided sense of security.

Anyway, Quickoffice does allow quite usable editing tools, considering it is a mobile application, allowing me to finish 2 documents, and read up another couple from mail.

At the end of the day – I had to charge my iPhone in the middle of the day – the iPhone helped me retain my productivity (granted it had been a slower than average day :p).

It is obviously becoming apparent that devices like iPhones, Windows Mobile sets, and other smart(er)phones have the ability to take over from a computer for day to day tasks.

The next step should be a universal docking station, where any smartphone can be plugged in, and provide a keyboard and a large screen monitor –  I am looking forward to it.

Microsoft Bizspark – helping Startups

The Microsoft Bizspark programme has been started to help startups beat the cost of software licencing and setup their production infrastructure.

The programme provides qualifying startups with a 3 year MSDN subscription with access to production level licenses. The Licences available in the programme include Operating Systems, Server Operating Systems & Servers as well as Development Environments.

The Bizspark programme also includes two support incidents per year. Additionally the site also provides a showcase to startups, helping you provide visibility to Investors, clients & partners.

The biggest cost to a startup would be the software licences and often times Startups are forced to use pirated licences to offset costs. This programme obviously defrays the cost and prevents the use of pirated software.

The qualifiers to the programme are simple –

  1. The Startup must be a developer, developing software and new technologies to form the basis of its core business offering.
  2. Those developing for cloud computing efforts, also have a production grade licence to provide the services online.
  3. The startup should be less than 3 years founded, and have less than a $1 million in annual revenue
  4. The startup should be privately funded
  5. The programme has an enrollment fee of $100, which has to be paid when you exit the programme.

The programmes qualifiers have to be updated every year. Startups not in the business of development, eg: providing creative development services, outsourcing services, and infrastructure services (hosting) are not eligible for the programme.

Startups that meet the eligibility criteria, can signup here.

Digital agencies – why are we scared of performing?

Why do digital agencies offer complete resistance to ROI or performance based models of marketing? Instead why are agencies and Internet companies adopting ‘soft bullying’ methods to increase digital spends and increase revenue?

There has been a recent glut of press releases and statements made about how marketers would be substantially increasing the spends in their marketing budgets for the digital medium.

Forester recently released a report which said said that marketer spend on Interactive is expected to grow to $55 billion by 2014. Impressive analysis and seemed quite logical, What no published story about the report mentioned, was that possibly TV would possibly grow to.

Along with this report there was a commentary started in the digital marketing space in India – with experts suggesting that the digital spends would increase from 1-2 % to 10% and beyond. The major problem with this type of posturing is that the agencies and Industry bodies are speaking independently, and not with the client views in mind. Within this same report (Source: afaqs.com) FMCG marketers have raised their concerns with the digital medium primarily being one of reach and internet access, and that is one reason with which even I am apt to agree with – despite no amount of soapbox speeches from the IAMAI – when the country classifies 256kbps as broadband, I am concerned.

The aforementioned Forester report was actually considering the US Market, and it is that market which a lot of digital agencies draw a comparison to when making these requests for increasing budgets. Digital ad spends are higher in the US and UK, but so are campaign delivery channels and vectors. Digital is not limited to the Web and the mobile, and in-fact is drawing more budgets because it has integrated with traditional methods of advertising. Another critical aspect is that the cast majority of consumers overseas do live their lives digitally, this is still not true of us in India.

But coming back to Performance based models of marketing – these same US and UK markets with the 10 – 15% spends on digital have adopted performance based models for digital and from their are rolling it to their other channels.

Digital agencies and publishers though fight a ROI principle and want to avoid talking about it (In two years in this industry I have worked on only 1 ROI based campaign, 2 others I could not do do to a lack of publisher clarity) A publisher, will not even provide you with clear traffic numbers and delivery rate on properties, so that even if as an agency you are taking the entire delivery risk, you are not able to perform. Surprisingly enough CPC based publishers are amongst the worst here, the numbers they provide you are on such a wide scale, that the pure maths that is a CPC campaign becomes a quadratic equation that you probably need Wolfram alpha to solve.

So why is there this great aversion to numbers, why don’t we as marketers put out the correct facts – with the necessary caveats – rather than running campaigns on best effort basis.

The Internet’s best feature is that it is quantifiable – Is that what we marketers are scared of?

Full disclosure: I work in the digital advertising industry, with a digital agency. At the same time I would like some practices within this industry to change – for the better.

iPhone 3.0 Update – we have copy and paste

The Live event previewing the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware started in Apple’s Cupertino time hall building at 10:30 pm IST approx today.

Apart from general promotional information about the iPhone sales – available in 80 countries and 13.7 million sold in 2008. Apple has now sold 17 Million iPhones

The feature list for the iPhone 2.0 SDK and Firmware was next

  1. In app pricing – offering developers the ability to price not just the app but for individual content. eg: magazine subscriptions
  2. Peer to Peer networks – over bluetooth powered by Bonjour (Apples Zero conf networking technology) iPhone 3.0 will automatically discover other applications over Bluetooth, and there’s no pairing involved
  3. The Maps API would be opened up to developers allowing developers to embed Google Maps in theri applications
  4. Core Location would now be available to developers to build turn-by turn directions into their apps, but as they cannot use maps due to licensing reasons, developers would have to provide their own maps.
  5. No background processing BUT there is now support for Push notifications. Notifications would pass through an Apple server. Applications can pass badges for icons (letting users know of waiting messages or IMs etc.)
  6. 1000 API’s to be made available for developers – Ability to access the music library and access email from within an app.
  7. A lot of games and apps are demoed– showing off notification and true multiplayer over wifi
  8. COPY AND PASTE IS COMING TO THE iPHONE 3.0 (YAY) Two finger tap to select and a bubble overhead with options
  1. By the way Copy and Paste works across all applications (third party as well), and images
  2. Landscape keyboard in all applications – Mail and SMS
  3. SMS Forwarding has been added finally as well as deleting individual and multiple messages
  4. And we have MMS 🙂
  5. An apple developed Voice Memo application – No voice dialing though
  6. CalDAV support for calendar and ability to add subscriptions
  7. Global Search – including support for Messages, web, and itunes Song library (based on Apple’s Spotlight technology) And support for Applications as well
  8. 100 new features will arrive with this firmware including
    1. Sync notes with your Mac
      Shake to Shuffle your playlist
      Stereo Bluetooth
      Safari will support autofill and antiphishing technology

So when is this available –

  • The developer beta – available immediately
  • Official release – This summer – which might mean – June

The release is free for iphone users and $9.95 for Touch users

I guess Im a installing the beta soon…

CNET Live link here

So still not tethering and flash, but still this makes the phone the best out there in my opinion…

Wishlist for iPhone 3.0

Ok so a lot of wishlists have been floating around for the iPhone firmware update – this one is mine

  1. Copy and Paste – I want copy and paste on my iPhone globally. Which would mean that I can copy from Safari, and paste into email, or into and SMS. I hope this basic ability might even appear before 3.0
  2. SMS Forwarding – Ok so if you enable copy and past – I dont have much issues not having this, but come-on guys, sometimes a funny SMS just has to be forwarded.
  3. Tethering – AT&T had issues with tethering, does that mean that all providers globally would, Although I can understand one logical reason – my Vodafone data rates with iPhone are half of the data rates that are applicable normally, so carriers may have a genuine fear of being chocked.

The 3.0 firmware being previewed on the 17th may not be released thereabouts and there might actually be a couple of months (maybe even wait till june for the hardware refresh) before we see it.

But as one iPhone owner who does not want to Jailbreak – I’m waiting quite anxiously.