Bethany

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Bee Brains can Out Smart Computers ?

In General, Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Okay, so this post doesn’t have anything to do with social media, directly…

    However, since the Social Buzz Media “mascot” is BUZZ, the Bee…we figured we would share how cool he really is.

    We’ve all heard how a bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, given the size & weight of the bee, and how small their wings are. And people say “the reason the bumble bee can fly is because nobody every told him he couldn’t.” Well, that is the same mentality and principle we started with at Social Buzz Media as we helped small businesses & entrepreneurs get started with social technologies. (By the way – research has shown that the bee can fly because it’s wings move at a SUPER FAST rate, in a helicopter-like motion.)

    Anyway, Buzz just got a promotion. :-) Research has now shown that bees can solve complex mathematical problems, which keep computers busy for days. (The full report will be featured in American Naturalist journal.)

    “The insects learn to fly the shortest route between flowers discovered in random order, effectively solving the “traveling salesman problem,'” said scientists at Royal Holloway (Univ. of London).

    It’s amazing that bees manage to reach the same location as a computer would choose, using a brain the size of a grass seed!

    “Despite their tiny brains bees are capable of extraordinary feats of behaviour,” said Raine. “We need to understand how they can solve the travelling salesman problem without a computer.”

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    Hmmm – makes me ponder whether we rely on computers too much… if a bee can figure it out, do we really need to rely technology to do our thinking/problem solving? Our minds have unlimited potential. Hey, I love technology – just thinking we could take the lesson from the bee who uses his own mind. Just pondering out loud. :)

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Improve Collaboration

In General, LinkedIn, Strategy on October 20, 2010 at 12:29 am

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek

Think back to a project you had to collaborate on with fellow colleagues or classmates.  You would all come together for a meeting, discuss the project/solution, delegate who does what part…and then go home, or back to your desk to work individually.  (I’m thinking back to college, before all of these social/online tools were invented…trying to coordinate everyone’s crazy schedules and whatnot.)

Then, most likely, you ran into that challenge of combining/blending everyone’s work together or even being able to discuss your work with everyone at one time.

Well, those days are pretty much over.  The following tools now make it easier to collaborate on projects, online.  Check them out:

From Authority Labs:

Skype is handy for conference calls, remote podcasting, filesharing. You can buy US-local numbers and use it for call forwarding when abroad. It even saves voice mail for playbacks!

Basecamp enables you to file documents in a secure place with varying degrees of access per team member. Great for brainstorming, client collaboration, note-taking or project management. (You can even use it to build a race car.)

Google Docs not only helps you open PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and Word documents from the cloud, but you can share, store and collaborate on editing them in real time. Revise a presentation with your Skype buddy; download files to your desktop when done.

Dropbox helps you sync and share files à distance. The free version starts at 2 GB of storage. It also keeps previous versions of files in case something goes horribly wrong in the present. (We’ve gushed over this one before.)

Evernote creates digital Post-It-like notes for you! Keep everything you need to remember in one Net-accessible place. Build an image gallery for someone to offer feedback on; share conference notes.

What other tools do you utilize to help collaborate?

*LinkedIn has a couple of apps to help you collaborate within your network: GoogleDocs & Box.net
Others have recommended: www.taroby.com & www.digitalbucket.net

 

WordPress Offsite Redirect

In Blogging on October 15, 2010 at 10:14 am

If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you most likely are utilizing WordPress.com as your blogging platform. :)

There’s good news if you’ve been wanting to host your own blog  (versus example.wordpress.com)!  Now, WordPress offers an Offsite Redirect upgrade, which will redirect your traffic —  which comes to your old domain (example.wordpress.com) — to your new URL (example.com).

You can access this feature in the dashboard, under “Upgrades.”  The cost is $12/year, no bad at all. :)

For more information, WordPress Support.

 

2010 Holiday Shopping Predictions

In General, Strategy, Trends on October 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

Can you believe November, AKA shopping season, is right around the corner?!  The International Council of Shopping Centers recently stated, “U.S. retailers’ sales will climb 3 percent to 3.5 percent this holiday season, the best performance since 2006, as the economy improves.”  This is GREAT news for U.S. retailers, as “total retail sales in November and December account for 20 percent to 40 percent of [their] annual revenue” (National Retail Federation).

So, let’s dive into the 2010 holiday season product forecast!   ….

Hitwise Intelligence (web & search analysis firm) said that what we search and browse for leading up to the end of the year holidays has a strong correlation to what we actually buy (online & in store).  This insight offers marketers some guidance as far as what to pay attention to leading up to Q4.

When looking at market share and web traffic stats from the last week of August; here’s a breakdown of how pre-holiday stats stack up for the most popular consumer electronics products (According to Mashable):

  1. Apple Is on a Roll: With major releases throughout the year, Apple’s new iPhone 4, iPad and revamped line of iPods are guaranteed to show strong holiday shopping numbers. This brand grabbed five of the top 20 spots in consumer electronics-related markets for the month of August alone — that amounts to 42.1%.  Top products:  iPhone, iPad, new iPods, MacBook
  2. Games & Gadgets Will Make Great Gifts:By far and away, the two most dominant verticals in consumer electronics will be gadgets and gaming.  Microsoft’s Xbox & Kinect (controller-free interaction system, available Nov 4).
  3. Non-Apple gadgets:  HTC’s Desire and Samsung’s Galaxy S lines are both performing well. One surprising product was the Kymera Magic Wand, a gestural remote control that’s half Avatar, half Harry Potter.

Also, Best Buy, the world’s largest consumer-electronics retailer, said mobile phones, Internet-connected televisions and tablet computers such as Apple Inc.’s iPad will be among its top-selling items.

What’s on your holiday shopping list this year?  What are your predictions?

Fact: Facebook Improves Your Happiness

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2010 at 8:02 am

We’ve all had days that we’ve felt “not as great as usual.”  Well, apparently we just need more time on a social networking site, like Facebook.  I say that half-jokingly, because of the following report…and I’ll explain more at the end.  Read on to see what Computer Weekly shared:

Facebook, social network, social networking, social media

Using social networking sites, such as Facebook, makes a direct impact on our happiness, according to a report by the Chartered Institute for IT, BCS.

A report, titled “The Information Dividend: Why IT makes you happier”, claimed the use of IT and internet connectivity has a positive impact on life satisfaction. The benefits of social networking are most pronounced in the first two years of connectivity, says the British Computer Society (BCS).

Paul Flatters from the Trajectory Partnership, which carried out the research on behalf of the Institute, said: “Social networking makes us happier. Given the immediate uplift in life satisfaction that people experience when using these sites, teaching people about how to use services like Facebook could be a more effective way of bridging the digital divide and getting people online.”       Complete Story

Now, adding to the above report… it’s the SOCIAL INTERACTION and ENGAGEMENT that takes place that makes people happier.  And it just so happens that Facebook is one of the TOOLS that enable social interaction and engagement.  Plus, social networks (as well as mobile technologies), satisfy the typical American behavior of “we want Minute rice in 30 seconds,” with the quick conversations that can take place.  (Wooowwee, remember back when we waited for snail mail?)

At the end of the day, or the end of life…it’s all about the RELATIONSHIPS we have with people.  Yes, we are fortunate to be living in a time that we can communicate easier, quicker and with more people…however, we still need meet people FACE TO FACE and to pick up the phone and TALK to folks, whenever possible.   I’ll save the psychology for another blog post. :)

“BEE” HAPPY!