Friday, 22 February 2013

Robots in the workplace

What will your workplace look like 50 years from now? Automated processes are replacing humans in more and more industries, including health and education. Farms today look totally different from how they did in the early twentieth century, when most heavy work was done manually. Machines today are not only used for heavy processes, they are valuable where precision is required too. As technology improves at an ever-startling rate, the question is, what is it about your job that requires a human?

Sources: The Guardian/Wired

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The top 10 games apps for office workers

There's nothing we like more than wasting a couple of hours on Angry Birds in the Mission Imblogable office (and we're pretty sure the boss doesn't read the blog). You're the same, yeah? Of course you are! And that's why we've put together a list of our faves, just for you:

1. Angry Birds


Duh, right? If this isn't part of your life already, you've got some serious thinking to do. Go ahead, we'll be here when you get back.


2. Plants vs. Zombies

We're a big fan of the whole zombie scene. (Vampires are so over.) So, not surprisingly, Plants vs. Zombies makes it onto our list. Use badass plants to make sure those pesky zombies can't cross the lawn and invade your home. We like to pretend the home is our office and the zombies are our clients. KIDDING.

3. Words with Friends

Sooo, it's basically Scrabble, but better. The rules are slightly different, the board is slightly different, the points are slightly different... but yeah, it's pretty much Scrabble. Only you don't have to pack it all away after, and you never lose a piece. Bonus!

4. Paper Toss


Flicking wads of paper into the office bin. That's it, really. Surprisingly addictive, and far better than flicking actual wads of paper into the actual office bin. Because nobody ever shouted at you or made you pick up any virtual pieces of trash now, did they? You can also toss paper at your virtual coworkers, which is particularly therapeutic if you name them after your real live coworkers on a stressful day. (There's grenades and stuff too. Just sayin'.)

5. Rayman Jungle Run

Oh, Rayman! We're super excited to have this little fella land in our pockets, a safe haven to retreat to on one of those days. A good dose of nostalgia to take us back to our childhood is what we need sometimes, and Rayman is the perfect guy for the job. Feeling down on the tube? Get Rayman out. Down on the bus? Rayman. On the train? Rayman! Always Rayman. And, apparently, always feeling down while commuting. Funny that.

6. Infinity Blade

If you're a gamer at heart – and we're not talking 'likes to play the occasional game of Solitaire' – and are disappointed that there are no seriously epic games to play while out and about, then obviously you should just stay home and play WoW. Or you could stick Infinity Blade on your iPhone, go outside for once, and get so engrossed you miss your bus stop.

7. Fruit Ninja

Slice and dice fruit as it flies onto your screen. So simple, so elegant, so perfectly addictive. Okay, so there are bombs as well as fruit, and it's not really that elegant. But the other stuff is true.

8. Street Fighter IV

You already know we love retreating to our childhood via the medium of mobile games, but what you DIDN'T know is that we don't always do it for comfort and that lovely safe feeling. Sometimes we just want to hit stuff. Not gonna lie, there may be some pent up aggression involved.

And those are our top er, 8, as it happens. Because that's what happens when you write the title of your article first. Anyway, enjoy! Or get back to work, whatever.

This list of apps was brought to you with the help of our friends at Nimble Mobile. If you need some quality mobile app development to really push your business into the mobile world, then they're the guys you need to contact.







Is iWatch the next big Apple?

Another day, another Apple product to spend money on! The latest rumours to ripple through the web are that Apple are designing an iWatch. With all the functionality of their other products, this would a wearable device that others are sure to copy. But is the rumour even true? It's certainly got people talking!
 
Sources: The Guardian/Fastcodesign/Business Insider

Monday, 18 February 2013

London at the Oscars [infographic]



The Oscars are approaching fast...but how many times has London been a backdrop for past winners? Can you name the actors and actresses displayed as illustrations for each film?


London at the Oscars - Infographic
Brought to you by Property Division, web design and online marketing for the property industry.

Pinterest valuation

Pinterest, is the social scrapbooking site that allows users to 'pin' online pictures to boards and group them together in terms of interest. Users can follow each other and join groups, all based around the themes of the boards. With over 48 million users, it's a classic social media success story, although it has no obvious revenue stream.

The company is now seeking to raise more funds against a valuation of between $2 and $2.5 billion. But will it go so high, even after the recent fall in Facebook shares? The company is still in talks.

For everything you need to know about using Pinterest, check out our beginners guide.

Sources: Wall Street Journal/Search Engine Journal

Sunday, 17 February 2013

How to improve your bounce rate

Improving your bounce rate will mean that your visitors stay longer on your site. Visitors that stay longer on your site are much more likely to convert. So how do you go about it? And what is a good bounce rate anyway? This article gives you information on what sort of percentages you should be looking for, as well as tips to improve your bounce rate.

Read the full article here

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Growing your business with generosity

Looking to try and grow your business? Welcome to the club. In this interesting post from CopyBlogger, they suggest you try a little generosity, to create some reciprocity. It's worth a read, and then worth a try. Talking of reciprocity, fancy writing a guest blog post for us here at Mission Imblogable? Get in contact.

Full article here

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Decoding Internet Dating Profiles



It's that time of year again: Valentine's Day – when websites turn pink, online deals for romantic getaways are touted relentlessly, and dating websites need to update their servers to deal with the influx of singles creating new profiles.

If you've found yourself swept into the world of online dating this Valentine's Day and are now scratching your head, trying to decipher what your potential matches' profiles actually mean, don't worry – help is at hand. Guys and gals, we have decoded internet dating profiles for you:

Username
For someone with bags of self-confidence, just look for a normal username. You know, the kind that is er... their name. People who use their actual name (or part of it) are confident in themselves, and don't feel the need to bolster their persona with adjectives they aspire to.

On the other hand, if you're after somebody with low self-esteem that you'll have to compliment all night, look for anyone whose username includes the word sexy, pretty or hot.

The Pictures
If you want to go on a date with someone you feel physically attracted to, do not, under any circumstances, judge their appearance on their profile pic alone. Profile pictures always – always  show a person in their best light. You never see a double chin on a profile picture, do you?

So browse through the rest of their photos too, and look for candid shots to get a better of idea of what they really look like. To further safeguard against people of an… unsuitable appearance, just type their name into Facebook and see what comes up. Just don't blame us when a restraining order's taken out against you.

Spelling and Grammar
Nobody wants to end up on a date with an unintelligible chump. To reduce this risk, look for people who know how to string a sentence together. There's nothing as abhorrent as a person who writes 'u' instead of 'you,' right? Goodness, how can you hope to hold a worthwhile conversation with someone of that ilk?

We don't care about hot they are, you're not going on a date with them. Now go to your bedroom and cover yourself up.

Interests
It's not a good sign if somebody lists their interests as 'going out,' 'shopping,' and 'hanging out with friends.' Because, let's be honest – they're not really interests, are they? They're just things you do. Another key point to remember is that people who have interests are more likely to be interesting. You see how that works?

Interests are a fab way to tell if you'll get along with someone. If you have things in common, you'll not only have something to talk about, but you'll potentially have things to do together if you decide to continue dating. If you love the great outdoors, look for somebody who lists rock climbing or hiking in their interests. If you love food, look for somebody who lists cooking in their interests. Actually, you should definitely do this. Especially if you tend to use your oven for storage.

By following the tips in this guide, this Valentine's Day will* see you on a date with a confident, fantastically good-looking, intelligent, interesting person who will bake cookies for you. You're welcome.

* Might not, actually.

New client work: website for Hartley Fowler










We're really proud to announce the launch of a new website for Hartley Fowler, chartered accountants. We've followed their company colour scheme of blue and orange to create a bright and functional site that's perfect for their requirements. There's a news feed on the home page which will keep the site current, and they can continue to add content whenever they choose.

The site has been built using our Foundation Content Management System, which means that they can add and amend pages as often as the business makes changes.


New website for Hartley Fowler




















If you're in the market for a web development agency that's going to work with you to create a site tailored to your needs, then get in touch with the team at Art Division.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Stop lonely dinners with this new iPod dock


A Japanese company has come up with a great new way to dock your iPod at the same time as improving the solo dining experience. If you're out in a restaurant dining alone then it's tricky to hold your iPhone too. Maybe you'd like to read your emails, watch some streamed content, or just surf the web at the same time. Well now you can! The bow has a docking station that holds your mobile while you eat, conveniently allowing you to get on with your online life and get your dinner simultaneously!



Sources: Mashable/TechnoBuffalo/PCMag

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Inspiration for your next blog post

How's your content strategy working? Stuck for ideas for your blog? Struggling to keep things multichannel? These are problems facing us all today, so try to think outside the box when it comes to your next blog posts. Plan them out, and look around you to see what's working for the competition. There are some great articles here for inspiration, check them out:

Read the full post here

Friday, 8 February 2013

Facebook conversion metric

Are you measuring your ROI when it comes to Facebook? Find out how to use their new conversion metric so you can really value your social traction.

Full article here

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Is Twitter going downhill?

Very interesting blog post here, on how one journalist feels about Twitter. Is is a prison that you can't get out of once you've started? We still love it for making connections and audience growing. But how long will that be the case?

Read the full post here

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Great video content on a tiny budget

Thanks to Emma Cobbledick of Genius Marketing for this guest post.

I’m sure you’ve heard at least a few of your marketing savvy friends and colleagues riff about how video is the future and we all need to be producing amazing video content to make the biggest possible impact on the modern web. All well and good but how does the average small business achieve this on a tiny budget? Here are some of the things I’ve learned whilst assisting with video projects for clients and friends:

Decide your approach

Deciding your approach means answering these two simple questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the video? (i.e. what do you want people to feel and ultimately do after watching it?)
  2. What do you need to show people to achieve that purpose?

So if your idea is to do a demonstration video of your software to help people see what they’d be buying, you’re going to want to be devoting your energy to the best possible recording of your voice with a clear visual of what is happening on your screen, followed by a simple call to action and maybe an incentive to buy now.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to position yourself as a credible, knowledgeable person in a particular field, we’ll need to have you front and centre in your video not your screen and focus on creating that image through what you say, how you say it and all the nonverbal cues you give your audience. Instead of finishing by asking people to buy, you’d give them the option to engage with more of your content, sign up for your newsletter, get in touch, whatever feels most appropriate.

Some interesting examples

Here are a few links to different styles of low budget video to inspire you when creating your next piece:
Take a fridge or whiteboard, some Plasticine, record and speed up before laying the voiceover on top. It really is that simple, check it out:



The product is something really mundane and boring but using humour these guys manage to keep the product front and centre without losing their audience to boredom…there are endless possibilities to keep the series going also:


This is a music video but the style would be ideally suited for a commercial style video production and it was very cheap to produce:



There are a few clever editing twiddles here but the real meat is found in the facts coming up in front of the video and in the black and white shot sound bites, all totally achievable on a low budget with no advanced skills:



Essential kit

Contrary to many people’s assumptions, you don’t need professional cameras, lighting etc. to create compelling video content. That said it is worth investing in some small items that will improve the quality of your recordings.

Camera: If you own a digital camcorder (expect to pay £150-£160+), a decent quality webcam (£40-£60) or even a newer generation iPhone, it’s likely that this will do the job; the trick to capturing good video images is to sort out the position of the camera so you can look comfortably into it straight on (not up, down or to one side) and that your shot is well lit.

Lighting: You can shoot great video in good natural light against a clean, plain coloured wall, but if video is going to be more than a one off occurrence in your content strategy then it makes sense to buy a pair of softbox studio lights (about £70-80) which will add a really professional look to your video.

Microphone: Whilst it’s likely you can use a decent webcam to record footage, their microphones just aren’t up to snuff. A separate, quality USB plugin microphone (I use Logitech, approx. £20) will be perfect for this sort of work, or if you are using a digital camera then professional add on microphones start at £40.

Software: If you use Windows it’s likely that you already have their Movie Maker programme loaded onto your computer. This is a really intuitive programme that lets you layer video, images and music into a sleek video, with animations and other visual effects. If you don’t have it on your computer it’s free to download and to my mind the best free software out there.

Services: If you’re not very technical, you can find some very talented freelance video animators and editors to give professional polish to your recording (e-lance is a great place to source them from). Often they’ll be students or recent graduates looking to expand their work experience so their rates are very reasonable, just make sure you review their portfolio before you engage their services to make sure you like their style and are happy with the quality of what they’ve produced.

Professional delivery tips

Prepare: You don’t have to know a script word for word but you should have a good idea of what you are going to say and be comfortable with it. Don’t be afraid to add humour if appropriate and try to align to content to who you are normally. Trying to be a whole different person for the camera can only end badly unless you’ve done your time in RADA.

Think about any props you might need, what you are going to wear and how you are going to structure your time (don’t try and cram 10 different messages into 5 minutes!)

Practice: Because you’re doing your video using the DIY method, there’s no time pressure; it’s not like the clock is ticking and your readies are trickling inexorably into someone else’s pocket as a result.

Take your time, do test runs, make sure you’ve got your set up right and that you can start to relax in front of the camera (this goes for voice only videos too as nerves lead to a tense sounding audio, filled with “um”s and stumbles). Work on your delivery so you’re relaxed, speaking slowly and avoiding that forced cheerfulness/in your face style of the cheesy salesperson.

Perfect: Evaluating what you’ve produced, investing time in the edit and not being afraid to go back and start over on sections you’re not happy with. That said, you need to get the video up and out there for it to do any good so if you tend towards the detail focussed and obsessive, recognise the need to define a level that is “good enough”, stop and publish your content.


About our guest blogger, Emma Cobbledick of Genius Marketing:

I’m a former marketing director turned marketing consultant and copywriter, whose 30 years of experience of a small family business has led me to specialise in helping micro businesses promote themselves effectively. 

I take the tried and tested principles of marketing and translate them into achievable, action driven plans that fit into the frenetic life of most small businesses

If you are interested in guest blogging for us then drop us a line about it.

Raspberry Pi schools giveaway

How do we create the next generation of programmers and developers? Google and Raspberry Pi have teamed up to organise a scheme that will see 15,000 of the Pi devices given away to school children in the UK. The devices encourage children to learn basic programming skills, as they use a command line to create different processes. Experts hope that this will help move computer science away from a software use culture to a software creation phase.

More about this story: The Guardian/BBC/Raspberry Pi

Friday, 1 February 2013

Pinterest tries out new design

Social media image site Pinterest will roll out a new look to a small group of users.They are aiming for easier, more intuitive navigation, bigger pins with more related information and a faster site. Once it's been tested, changes may be rolled out on the main site.

Sources: Techcrunch/Social Times/Digital Trends

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