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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 6th Jan 2014

New Year’s the perfect time to start making changes. Here are some top resolutions for business owners who want a fruitful 2014. - By Tirebuck Recruitment

1. Become a better delegator

Your business is your baby – it’s tough to trust others with it. However, you’re just one person and the only way to realistically grow is to share responsibility.

2. Learn something new every day

No doubt your business keeps you busy! Always try to learn something new a day to stay on top of your game.

3. Drop what’s not working

If there’s ever a time of year for cleansing your business, now’s it! If something’s not quite working, axe it. You’ll then have more time to focus on what is.

4. Talk less and listen more

They say that the most intelligent people are good listeners. It’s because you learn more by listening more.

5. Set achievable goals

Optimism is useful, but focusing on unrealistic pipedreams and you may not accomplish anything at all. Focus on setting yourself small, achievable SMART goals…let’s see where you are at the start of 2015!

6. Join a new networking group

Social media isn’t just for teenagers. It’s a great way of finding out about your competition, getting customer insight and sharing ideas with others in your industry.

7. Take time to mentor and teach

Employees will become better at their job. They’ll also feel more loyalty to you and your company.

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 6th Jan 2014

Jay Yarow  - Jan. 5, 2014,  - Businessinsider.com - Tech

Microsoft Is A Total Mess Because Of Steve Ballmer, And That's Why No One Wants To Be Its New CEO, Says The WSJ

Microsoft says it will have a new CEO in the "early part" of this year.

Whenever that may be, it will be behind schedule.

Microsoft was hoping to have a new CEO in place by November or December, say Shira Ovide and Joann Lubin at the Wall Street Journal.

The reason Microsoft doesn't have a new CEO right now, according to Ovide and Lubin, is that the job isn't all that appealing thanks to two big problems: One is called Bill Gates and the other is called Steve Ballmer.

"At least some external executives who discussed the CEO job with Microsoft directors have expressed concerns about being hamstrung if the two men continue to serve on the board, according to people familiar with their thinking," report Ovide and Lubin.

In particular, the Journal's reporters go after Ballmer pretty hard: "Some candidates for the top post at Microsoft seem to be particularly uneasy about Mr. Ballmer, according to people familiar with their thinking. He has made several recent decisions that have altered the company's strategy and generated controversy among managers and investors."

Just before Ballmer announced his retirement, he created a sweeping re-organization of the company. This has led to a lot of talented engineers leaving Microsoft as they either lost battles for promotions, or found themselves in new, less-desirable roles.

A new CEO will be stuck with Ballmer's re-org, which was done with the board's support. Or the new CEO will have to tear it up, which means another period of awkward transition for Microsoft, and for the new CEO, an awkward board dynamic, since Ballmer is still on the board.

Then, after announcing his retirement, Ballmer spent $7.2 billion buying Nokia, a dying handset maker. This is a turnaround project within Microsoft the next chief executive will have to deal with.

Ballmer is expected to be on Microsoft's board. And, as the WSJ notes, he's not a quiet guy who will sit idly if a new CEO tries to rip up everything he's done.

Then there's Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, the richest person in the world, a guy who is mostly revered in Microsoft, and has his own very strong opinions about what Microsoft should be doing next.

The problem, though, is that Gates isn't attuned to what's happening in tech the way he once was. He's busy saving the world. His time is spent meeting with heads of state, and figuring out how to cure poverty and global disease. His brain power is not trained 100% on iPads, servers, enterprise software, and web-based software. (When you're fighting Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and Tim Cook, who spend every second of the day thinking about tech, you need to be just as focused.)

Anyone that's CEO will have Gates bending his or her ear. And they can't just ignore Gates.

In addition to Gates and Ballmer, Microsoft is also about to add an activist board member. ValueAct, which took a stake in Microsoft, is getting its own board member starting this year. Although, the ValueAct board member could be helpful to the new CEO, since ValueAct wants Microsoft to change its ways.

If the board room dynamics weren't difficult enough, there's the actual company which has gone from a near-monopoly in computing to an almost also-ran status in consumer tech.

So, yeah, it's a tough job!

But, there is only one job like this available in the world. And if you're scared off by all the above, you shouldn't take the job. Microsoft is going to have to have to find the right person, even if it takes a little longer than expected.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/wsj-microsoft-ceo-search-2014-1#ixzz2pcuSAJ2q
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/wsj-microsoft-ceo-search-2014-1#ixzz2pcuSAJ2q

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 6th Jan 2014

Ben Bajarin for TabTimes-2014-01-05-Mashable.com

The tablet has had a remarkable run the past few years. But it is important to note that in the majority of use cases tablet are not replacing PCs but rather are extending the life of PCs.

We know from our data as well as a number of other firms' research that over 90% of tablets sold today have been sold to existing PC owners. And in nearly every supporting data point I have, those tablets are being used to accompany the PC not to replace it. (By PC, I generally mean notebooks).

So it begs the question whether the PC-killing tablet is a valid narrative or not. I'd contend that this is not a valid narrative and, more importantly, it could affect tablet sales to a degree in 2014.

A key point about tablet sales is that the vast majority sold are 8" or smaller. Which means that the vast number of tablets bought by consumers are not even contenders to replace the PC. In fact, when you look at tablet usage data you notice that they are used heavier during the evening hours while PCs are used heavier during the day time/work hours.

Think of it this way: PC by day, tablet by night. Oh sure, lots of people use their tablets during the day for both entertainment and business reasons (e.g. sales people and other road warriors), but I think this sums up the use case for most tablet owners.

Now, if we acknowledge the point that the vast majority of tablets on the market are used in conjunction with PCs, then we acknowledge that the PC is still used and valued by a large number of consumers. If this is true, those PCs will still need to replaced. So the question then becomes: When will this happen and could it have an effect on the tablet market?

The evidence is clear that 2013 was the lost year for the PC. One of the steepest declines on record, as it has been a stable growth market since the early 2000s. We believe that 2014 could mark a turnaround for the PC sector and catch many by surprise.

Part of the logic for this is the number of PCs in the market being used that are 4 years or older. Depending on whose estimates you use, the number is around 300-350 million. A good percentage of these customers got away with not refreshing their PCs due to their tablet purchases. Those who have not refreshed their PC for school, work, home, etc., simply can't wait much longer. A PC refresh is coming and it could impact tablet sales.

The tablet/PC hybrid
A caveat to this thinking is that consumers will find the idea of a tablet and PC combined together as an attractive option. Perhaps when a consumer looks to replace their PC they will find something like Microsoft's Surface an attractive offering. Many in the PC ecosystem are hoping this is the case but I am still skeptical.

I think what corporate employees, small business workers, and even consumers want is the best PC for their needs and the best tablet for their needs. This means they will continue to buy two separate devices that are each best for all the things they want.

While I applaud the efforts of Microsoft, Intel, and others in the PC ecosystem to work to build 2-in-1 PCs and tablets, I'm not optimistic that they will appeal to the masses. I believe some segments of both business and consumer customers will gravitate to these form factors but I don't believe they will make up the majority of sales of either PCs or tablets.

I believe the market for PCs and tablets will swing like a pendulum. The years that PCs aren't being refreshed as much tablets sales will boom higher and vice-versa. For everyone who cares about hardware, from IT to the OEMs who make the devices, managing refresh rates and building products that take advantage of refresh years will be critical.

But of course truly innovative products and lower price points could produce a hot seller in either camp regardless of refresh cycles. Given the product maturity on the PC side, I think another breakout tablet is far more likely.

Ben Bajarin is Director of the Consumer Technology Practice at Creative Strategies, a strategy consulting firm in Silicon Valley.

Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 17th Dec 2013

BBC NewsBeat - 16th December 2013

Justin Bieber photo among the year's online highlights

The most popular people, places and events of 2013 on social media have been revealed.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have published details of how their users snapped, tagged and posted their way through the year.

From pop stars to a new Pope, there are familiar faces and some surprisingly popular places.

Measured by likes, re-tweets, hashtags and check-ins, here are some of the online highlights of 2013.

Justin Bieber's picture with Will Smith was the most popular photo on Instagram of 2013, picking up 1,496,070 likes.

Pope Francis was the most talked about topic on Facebook, with Miley Cyrus, Nelson Mandela and former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also in the top 10.

One Direction dominate the most followed UK-based Instagram accounts. Harry Styles is first with 5,718,141 followers, Niall Horan is second ahead of @onedirection.

Leah Michele's post after the death of Glee co-star Cory Monteith and a tweet confirming Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker was killed were the most re-tweeted posts of the year.

News events dominated the most talked about topics on Facebook including the birth of Prince George, and Pope Francis.

The year's top hashtags on Instagram include #friends, #food, #fashion and #selfie, but the most popular is #love.

On Twitter, One Direction's Niall Horan announcing his 20th birthday was one of the most shared, the site said "behind-the-scenes perspectives and personal updates" from the band are always popular.

The most popular life events added to Facebook users timelines were adding a relationship, getting engaged or getting married.

On Facebook, the most popular UK check-in destination in 2013 was The O2.

London was the fourth most geo-tagged city on Instagram behind New York, Bangkok and Los Angeles.

The most popular location was the Siam Paragon shopping complex in Bangkok, with Times Square in New York and Disneyland in California also featuring highly.

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter.

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 17th Dec 2013

it Sneak - V3.co.uk - 10th Dec 2013

Facebook has revealed that it has been working on a 'sympathise' button to replace the 'like' function we've all become so familiar with.

During a Q&A session at a Facebook Compassion Research Day, the firm attempted to find out how to better engage users emotionally and increase harmony on the social network between friends who may not be getting along.

For example, one presentation showed how reminding a user how long they've known a friend for and the interests they share reduces the likelihood of them following through with a complaint about a post.

Another, the BBC reports, involves taking into account the mood of a post and to then display a sympathise or like button accordingly. There are, however, no plans to launch this feature at the moment.

It is an interesting idea, although Sneak thinks it would be much better to give users the choice to 'sympathise' with any post. For example, the most common life events for Facebook users this year were new relationships, engagements and marriages. Want to subtly show your disapproval? 'Sympathise' with someone who's got married. Checked in at a bad venue? Sympathise.

Speaking of check-ins, the UK's most popular destination for users tagging themselves is The O2 in London, while the most discussed topic of the year globally was Pope Francis. The royal baby only ranked third, with Facebook users seemingly following the papal story more religiously. Bizarrely, in the UK the royal baby ranked even lower, fourth behind Andy Murray, Margaret Thatcher and the UEFA Champions League final.

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 16th Dec 2013

Today I Found Out  -

Being wary of Friday the 13th is much more than a quaint superstition observed by a few uneducated people in distant, unreachable towns and hamlets. In the United States alone, it is estimated that between 17 and 21 million people dread that date to the extent that it can be officially classified as a phobia.
So why is Friday the 13th considered such an “evil” day?
The origins aren’t perfectly clear, but we do know that both Friday and, separately, the number 13 have long been considered unlucky and it was around the late 19th century that the first documented instances started popping up of people putting the two together to form the unluckiest day of all.
To start with, the most popular theory as to why Friday is considered unlucky or an evil day is thought by many to spring from Christianity. By tradition, Friday is considered the day that Eve gave Adam the “apple” and they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden- of course, “Friday” wouldn’t have been around yet. (Note: In addition to that, the notion that it was an apple is a second century invention and contrary to what is stated in Genesis.)
Also by tradition, Adam and Eve were purported to have died on a the then nonexistent “Friday”. The Temple of Solomon was said to have been destroyed on Friday. And Jesus was traditionally considered to have been crucified on a Friday, the day we refer to now as Good Friday. Though, interestingly, there are several references in somewhat recent history of Good Friday being considered the one exception to Fridays being bad luck. Such as this reference from 1857:
"Notwithstanding the prejudice against sailing on a Friday… most of the pleasure-boats… make their first voyage for the season on Good Friday."
Others theorize that Friday being unlucky predated Christianity. The name “Friday” was chosen in honor of the Norse goddess Frigg, also known as Freyja, who was the multitalented goddess of love, beauty, wisdom, war, death, and magic. Teutonic people are thought to have considered the day extremely unlucky, especially for weddings, due in part to the lovely goddess the day was named for. Later, the Christian church attempted to demonize the goddess, so that may or may not be a contributing factor as well.
Whatever the case, despite these quite old origin theories, well documented instances of the notion that Friday was popularly considered unlucky among the masses doesn’t seem to have popped up until around the mid-17th century. Within the next two centuries after that, the idea continued to spread and by the 19th century was nearly ubiquitous in certain cultures.
As for the unluckiness of the number 13, as with Friday, there are numerous possibilities for the origin, the most popular of which also stems from Christianity. It is considered incredibly bad luck to have 13 people sitting at a table for dinner, which supposedly is due to the fact that Judas Iscariot was by tradition the 13th person to be seated to dine at the Last Supper.
However, the Hindus also believed that it was bad luck for 13 people to gather together for any purpose at the same time.
Far away in northern Europe, the Vikings of ancient times told a very similar story. According to the old Norse myth, 12 gods were feasting at the banquet hall at Valhalla, when Loki, the god of Mischief, showed up uninvited. This, of course, brought the count of gods up to the dreaded number of 13. Loki then encouraged Hod, the blind god of winter and darkness, to murder Balder the Good with a spear of mistletoe, throwing all of Valhalla into mourning, and once again providing another example of a story in history that congregating with 13 for dinner is a bad idea.
So why all these separate religions having such a similar tradition of demonizing the number 13? There are those that theorize the number 13 may have been purposely denigrated by the founders of the patriarchal religions to eradicate the influence of the Mother Goddess. In goddess worshiping cultures, the number 13 was often revered, as it represented the number of lunar and menstrual cycles that occur annually. It is believed by those who adhere to this theory that as the 12-month solar calendar came into use over the 13-month lunar calendar, the number 13 itself became suspect.
It should be noted, though, that not all cultures in the ancient world recoiled at the number 13. The Ancient Egyptians believed life was a spiritual journey that unfolded in stages. They believed that 12 of those stages occurred in this life, but last, the 13th, was a joyous transformative ascension to an eternal afterlife. So the number 13 represented death to the Egyptians, but not death as in decay and fear, but as acknowledgement of a glorious eternal life. Of course, it’s always possible the association with death from Egyptian tradition later morphed into death in an unlucky sense later by cultures influenced by Egypt.
As with the notion of Friday being unlucky, “13″ being popularly considered unlucky really seemed to gain steam around the 17th-18th centuries, and by the 19th century in the Western world was likewise extremely widespread in several different cultures.
So when did Friday and the number 13 join forces like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of bad luck to terrorize the masses? You’ll often read that it’s when the Knights Templar were arrested on Friday, October 13, 1307. However, that origin story is a modern notion with no basis in any documented history.
Others point to the last day of King Harold II’s reign on Friday, October 13, 1066. William of Normandy gave him the opportunity to relinquish his crown, which he refused. The next day William took it by force at the Battle of Hastings, causing Harold’s demise. Again, it is a modern idea that this is where the first “Friday the 13th is the ultimate unlucky day” notion came about.
It perhaps isn’t surprising, given that both Friday and “13″ as unlucky didn’t reach their zenith in popularity until the 19th century, that it wasn’t until around the mid to late 19th century that the two were put together as the ultimate unlucky day.
One of the earliest references of this comes from a club formed by William Fowler. Fowler set out to prove that these sorts of superstitions are baseless. He thus formed a club known as “The Thirteen Club” in which club members would meet in groups of 13 to dine, with their first ever get together occurring, of course, on the unluckiest day of the week- Friday the 13th in January of 1881.
To thumb their noses even further at the fates, they had club members walk under a ladder before sitting down to a table in room 13 of the building they were in. They also made sure there was plenty of spilled salt on the table before they dined.
A slightly earlier documented reference comes from 1869, in the biography of Gioachino Rossini where the author, Henry Sutherland Edwards notes:
"He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that one Friday 13th of November he died."
(Interestingly, traditionally in Italy, Friday the 13th was not considered unlucky, with 13 being often considered a lucky number there until extremely recently when Western European and American influence started to change that. For Italians, classically, 17 was the unlucky number and thus Friday the 17th became the Italian version of Friday the 13th. Nevertheless, Henry Sutherland Edwards was British so, though he was writing about an Italian composer, applied his own superstition to Gioachino Rossini.)
The notion of Friday the 13th being the unluckiest of the unlucky picked up steam from around this point and once we get into the early 20th century, there are numerous documented instances of people referencing it in this way, such as the 1907 novel by stockbroker Thomas W. Lawson called Friday the Thirteenth, which told of a stockbroker’s efforts to destroy the market on that ominous date.
So, aside from the popular “Friday the 13th” film franchise, what makes the Friday the 13th superstition stick so stubbornly in our collective consciousness? Psychologists point to the fact that if anything negative happens on that specific date, people make a permanent association between the event and the date in their minds, conveniently forgetting all those times Friday the 13th has passed uneventfully. In short, it is a classic example of confirmation bias.

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 16th Dec 2013

by Lee Bell  - 13 Dec 2013

AUSTIN: Dell has joined forces with Dropbox to make it easier for customers to access data from anywhere using the cloud.

The deal, which was announced at the firm's Dell World conference in Texas on Thursday, means Dell can offer its customers Dropbox for Business. This will provide a secure enterprise file-sharing and collaboration solution, as well as IT control and visibility of data.

"I'm pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Dropbox," said Michael Dell during the opening keynote on Thursday. "Pairing Dropbox for business with our own Dell data-protection cloud service, this gives customers an industry-leading solution that encrypts and protects their data as it moves in and out of public clouds."

Offering Dropbox for Business through its own sales organisation, the partnership means Dropbox will soon be pre-installed on Dell devices, so employees will have access to the service at all times.

Dropbox's partnerships executive Kevin Chung said, "This partnership will give businesses several ways for employees to work better together. For starters, Dell will offer Dropbox for Business to its customers as a solution to help employees access company information from wherever they are, and let IT maintain control over corporate data."

The partnership will also bring Dropbox for Business integration into the Dell Data Protection Cloud service, part of the Dell Data Protection solutions portfolio.
Dell said Dropbox for Business will be available in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in late 2014, with announcements in developments across Dell's consumer and commercial client platforms due "in the coming months".

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 16th Dec 2013

Huffington Post UK - posted 13th December 2013

There are definitely speakers that sound better than this - but there are none which are quite so… flat.

Designed by Coralie Gourguechon, this paper-cone speaker is fully-functional, but made largely from a single sheet of A4.

The device has its electrical components left exposed on the paper, including the battery, cables and circuits.

To turn on the speaker you just pop out the cone, plug in your sound source and enjoy amplified music.

In a statement she said:

"These electronic modules are patterns that can be arranged in the space of a sheet of paper. The cut allows to deploy a module which represent a mechanical function. The modules feature colorful back indication, whose role is to graphically represent the item. The voids between the modules are used to place the tracks and components needed to make an operating system."

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 11th Dec 2013

 V3.co.uk - by Michael Passingham 10 Dec 2013

Social collaboration firm Huddle has unveiled Note, a new lightweight note-taking and sharing application, aimed at mobile workers tempted by similar products from Evernote, Google and cloud storage company Box. The London-based company has also revamped its iOS offering, and Android updates are due to arrive in 2014.

The cross-platform service offers basic word processing within Huddle's enterprise software on desktop and mobile devices. Huddle Note is intended to be a lightweight supplement to software suites such as Microsoft Office and Google Docs for workers who do not require more complex functionality.

In addition to editing, users can view document version histories, leave feedback in the form of chat messages and keep track of who has viewed the file, much like any other file stored on a business Huddle installation. Documents can be created while a user is offline, and will be synced to Huddle servers once an internet connection is established.

Huddle Note is a clear competitor to Box Notes, which was unveiled by the cloud storage startup in September. While it features slightly more advanced features such as simultaneous document editing similar to Google Docs, Box's product is currently in its beta stages. Huddle chief executive Alastair Mitchell was keen to point out that Huddle Note is a fully fledged release. He said: "What's interesting is that two very intelligent teams 8,000 kilometers apart are developing very similar features picking on the same megatrend.

"This whole trend and move to different types of content and more lightweight word processing and content creation is further evidence of businesses moving to the cloud away from legacy stacks."

Mitchell explained that more advanced features like embedding video and real-time editing would eventually appear as the product evolves.

Elsewhere, Huddle's iOS mobile app has received an overhaul, including the addition of Note, better notifications and improved file syncing. A similarly updated version of the firm's Android app is due in early 2014, but Mitchell noted that a beta version of Note for Android is already available to try.

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 10th Dec 2013

Today I found out.com

The practice of saying “o’clock” is a remnant of simpler times when clocks weren’t very prevalent and people told time by a variety of means, depending on where they were and what references were available.

Generally, of course, the Sun was used as a reference point, with solar time being slightly different than clock time. Clocks divide the time evenly, whereas, by solar time, hour lengths vary somewhat based on a variety of factors, like what season it is.

Thus, to distinguish the fact that one was referencing a clock’s time, rather than something like a sundial, as early as the fourteenth century one would say something like, “It is six of the clock,” which later got slurred down to “six o’clock” sometime around the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. In those centuries, it was also somewhat common to just drop the “o’” altogether and say something like “six clock.”

Using the form of “o’clock” particularly increased in popularity around the eighteenth century when it became common to do a similar slurring in the names of many things such as “Will-o’-the wisp” from “Will of the wisp” (stemming from a legend of an evil blacksmith named Will Smith, with “wisp” meaning “torch”) and “Jack-o’-lantern” from “Jack of the lantern” (which originally just meant “man of the lantern” with “Jack,” at the time, being the generic “any man” name. Later, either this or the Irish legend of “Stingy Jack” got this name transferred to referring to carved pumpkins with lit candles inside).

While today, with clocks being ubiquitous and few telling direct time by the Sun, it isn’t necessary in most cases to specify we are referencing time from clocks, the practice of saying “o’clock” has stuck around anyway

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