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Microsoft Windows 10 Announcement

Published by on October 1, 2014

Earlier this week it was announced that Microsoft are developing a new operating system, known as Windows 10. They have decided to skip straight from Windows 8 to Windows 10 to mark a new era for the software.

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It is expected that Windows 10 will launch before the end of 2015.

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This isn’t going to be your average OS update. No, Microsoft is planning big things for Windows 10, with hopes of it being the most intuitive and powerful operating system to date.

Moving on from Windows 8

A recent study by NetMarketShare found that just 13.4% of users were currently running their PCs on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. Compare that to the 51.2% of people using Windows 7 and 23.9% of people still using Windows XP and it is clear that Microsoft’s most recent operating system has been largely unpopular.

One of the likely reasons behind users reluctance to use Windows 8 is due to its unique interface. The use of touch screen friendly tiles suggested that Microsoft were concentrating more on smartphone and tablet users and less on PC users. Despite the fact the new user interface was supposed to be intuitive and easy to use, many users found it to be complicated and difficult to navigate using a mouse and keyboard.

The great thing about Microsoft is that they listen to their customers. When they get things wrong, they consult with consumers, find out what they need and deliver it. With this in mind, it is looking like Windows 10 is going to be their most collaboratively designed OS to date.

Windows 10 an OS with the wow factor

The new operating system is packed with a wide range of new features for users to enjoy. It has also welcomed back some of the existing features that were previously scrapped for Windows 8. One of these features is the start button. Microsoft removed the ‘start’ button from Windows 8, but it was clearly missed. It is believed that many users were put off from upgrading to Windows 8 because the start button and menu functionality they were familiar with was no longer there to use.

Another feature that Windows 10 will keep is the resizable tiles used in Windows 8. These tiles will be used in the start menu to provide users with quick notifications from relevant apps (email, social media etc.)

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Windows 10 will work across all devices, including two-in-one laptop tablets.

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Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 has been designed to dynamically adjust to the device it is being viewed on. The layout will change to be more desktop or touch screen friendly depending on the device you are using. It will also be able to recognise if a two-in-one device (the next big trend according to Microsoft) is being used. This means that if a user detaches their laptop screen to use it as a tablet, the operating system will be able to adjust itself accordingly.

A more unified approach

Microsoft is planning a more unified approach with the launch of Windows 10. The software will be available to run across all devices from smartphones and tablets to PCs, laptops and even Xbox game consoles. All of the applications will be available to download from a single store and there are also plans to introduce universal apps in the near future.

Winning back business users

One of the main reasons why Microsoft is overhauling its operating system is to win back the business users it lost through the Windows 8 era. What Microsoft have realised is that even though we are seeing an increase in the use of digital tablets and smartphones, PCs are still predominantly used in the work place. There is still a great need for the OS interface to offer easy navigation with a mouse and keyboard.

The company is keen to get enterprise users on board with Windows 10 and will be giving them an early look at the new operating system, before the public, so they can get used to using it before it officially launches.

Offering the best of both worlds

Microsoft’s aim for the new Windows 10 system is to offer the best of both Windows 7 and 8, making it familiar and beneficial to all users, everywhere, no matter what devices they are using. Windows 10 is expected to be released before the end of 2015 and will mark a new era for the OS brand.

Image credits: mj0310 and intelfreepress

Guide to Google Plus B2B Marketing

Published by on September 19, 2014

Almost twenty years ago, Google was just a concept in somebody’s mind – a way to formulate and create an online archive to store data. The idea was first made concrete on Stanford’s campus. It was so popular storage space ran out. A year and a £100,00 angel investment later, and Google entered the public sphere. It was an experiment, and no one knew, or predicted rather, how far it could go.

In addition to being the largest search engine hub, Google has also managed to create one of the largest email accounts, it competes regularly with companies like Apple to develop creative “hit” technology like the Android phone or the Google Nexus “iPad,” and it is even rumored to have developed an automated car. Now, Google has entered the world of business.

For companies looking to do business to business transactions, Google+ is becoming not only the best social media platform to do it, but the best way to do it period. It’s public, it’s free, and it allows for private circles to expand and be shared in other private business circles. Here’s out it works:

GuidetoGoogleplus
Categories: Infographic

Pinterest and Shopify – Perfect Partners Following Rich Pins Enablement

Published by on September 18, 2014
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Pinterest and Shopify strategically working together

Back in July, Pinterest and Shopify made a joint announcement about a partnership between the two companies. Now the dust has settled we thought we’d investigate what happened and how this has benefitted Shopify customers and users of Pinterest.

What was the agreement?

As from July 18th Pinterest revealed that they had enabled rich pin functionality for all Shopify merchants. This is an exciting move for Shopify merchants who can benefit from functionality such as stock availability and real-time pricing. Previously rich pins were created by unnecessarily complicated metadata behind the scenes but this can now be achieved through the Shopify API integration with Pinterest.

What are Pinterest rich pins?

Rich pins are enhanced pins on Pinterest. Pins with additional information that make the Shopify customers experience more enhanced. There are currently five types of rich pins, these are i) Article, ii) Movie, iii) Place, iv) Product and v) Recipe.

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An example of an article pin

Why are rich pins so important?

Rich pins will enhance the user’s experience. Examples are improved click through rates, price notification emails on Pinterest notifying customers who’d pinned the product where a price drop occurs (this is a free and effective form of marketing).

Conclusion

So why not experiment? If you haven’t already set-up your Pinterest account today at http://www.pinterest.com, it’s a social media channel which is especially effective for eCommerce sites.

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Pinterest Rolls Out Notifications and Analytics Dashboard Functionality

Published by on September 18, 2014
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A screenshot from the new Pinterest Analytics dashboard

On August 26th Pinterest launched their new notification and analytics dashboard, we review the functionality and features and what this brings for users.

Reason for the new Notifications and Analytics Dashboard

Pinterest has been a tremendous success since its launch in March 2010. No business can afford breathing space in the social market though so to address a gap with competitors such as Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest have launched their new Analytics dashboard.

We are aware that many customers rely solely on Google Analytics but using other sources such as Pinterest Analytics is well worth experimenting with particularly if you have a lot of Pinterest activity.

Pinterest commented about the launch of the new functionality:

“The aim is to enable customers to improve their marketing and product strategies, with meaningful insights about what their customers are interested in.”

Need for a Business Account

Unfortunately only business account holders of Pinterest will have access to the Analytics functionality. Given its value it is definitely worth considering paying for a business account.

Link to Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics information can be found at http://analytics.pinterest.com/

How to use the Pinterest Analytics Information

The best approach is to study, analyse, tweak and react to the information you see. Continual revision of your Pinterest approach until its fine tuned to perfection will pay rich dividends in the medium-long term. We strongly recommend all customers to investigate Pinterest Analytics and are here to help with any questions or queries.

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Launch of Apple iPhone 6

Published by on September 9, 2014
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Apple are all a buzz with the new iPhone 6 !

Yes it’s the day that all technology fans have been waiting for, the day that Apple announced the launch of it’s latest members of the iPhone family, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  The event took place at the Flint Centre for Performing Arts (the venue used to launch the original Mac computer and iPhone 5) at around 10am California time (6pm UK time) and whilst we weren’t one of the lucky few at the event, we did manage to catch the live stream so we can tell you all about the new product launches !

Introducing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

The iPhone is a product that has ultimately changed our lives and today marked an important day in Apple’s history, the announcement of the biggest advancements in iPhone technology to date. They will be bringing out two new models, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus which will come in two sizes. The iPhone 6 measuring 4.7” and the iPhone 6 Plus measuring 5.5”.  The extra screen size has allowed for a new landscape mode that facilitates a bigger keyboard and extra functionality for apps like Messenger.

However there is a lot more to the new iPhone models than the larger displays. Apple CEO Time Cook has described the new models as ‘without a doubt the best iPhones we’ve ever done.’

Brand new look

One of the most notable features of the new models is their new sleek look. Instead of having distinctive corners they have a rounded, seamless service. The two new models are also the thinnest phones Apple has ever made. The iPhone 6 is just 6.9mm thick and the iPhone 6 Plus 7.1 mm.

Brand new Retina HD display

Both iPhones will feature Apple’s brand new Retina HD display – the best display in the industry. The iPhone 6 has a resolution of 1334 x 750 with 326 pixels per inch and the iPhone 6 Plus has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with 401 pixels per inch.

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The new Apple iPhone 6

84 times faster than original iPhone

The graphics on the iPhone 6 are a whopping 84 times faster than the original iPhone and the new devices also benefit from a processor performance that is 50 times faster than the original devices. Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be powered by the Apple-designed A8 Chip which has up to 25% faster processing power and up to 50% faster graphics.

Better battery life

During the even Phil Schiller came on to talk about battery life – something that is of interest to the majority of smartphone users! According to Schiller, Apple have improved the battery life using ‘every metric’ over the iPhone 5S and have also put the extra space in the iPhone 6 to good use by installing a bigger battery.

The iPhone 6 has a battery life of fifty hours of audio and eleven hours of video. The 6 Plus has a battery life of eighty hours of audio and fourteen hours of video.

8MP iSight Camera

The new camera on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has a sensor feature called Focus Pixels, which is designed to speed up the auto focus. The cameras on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will also be able to take 43 megapixel panoramic photos, using the iPhone’s A8 processor to achieve advanced face detection. The 6 Plus will also come with a new optical image stabilisation system to help you take sharp photos; great for if you have shaky hands or are photographing in low light conditions.

iOS 8, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch

It’s not just two new iPhones that were announced at the event, but also the launch of iOS 8. The new system supports the following devices: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display and will be available to download free from 17th September 2014.

If that wasn’t enough, Apple also announced the launch of Apple Pay (a technology designed to replace the wallet) and the much anticipated Apple Watch (or as everyone seems to be calling it the iWatch).  Apple Pay will be launching in the US sometime this year, but there is currently no word on when it will be launched in the UK.

The Apple Watch has a completely customisable watch face and a dial on the side known as ‘the crown,’ which will allow you to perform tasks on the Apple Watch without obstructing the screen with your finger. Like the new iPhones, the Apple Watch is also integrated with Siri.

Back to the iPhone 6…

The new iPhone 6 will be available in the same colours as the 5S (gold, silver and space grey) with three storage variants: 16, 64 and 128GB. Prices will start at $199 for an iPhone 6 on a two year contract. The 6 Plus will start at $299. The iPhone 6 will be available for pre-ordering from 12th September 2014 and will be officially launched in stores on 19th September 2014.

Image credits: DownloadsourcesES and Worldleaks

Avoiding Unexpected Data Play Charges When using Facebook

Published by on September 6, 2014
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The Money Saving Expert website reported on 4th September that many Facebook users are being charged for unexpected data play charges. We report on this issue here, so that you can be forearmed and forewarned about the issue – and of course so you can avoid the charges!

What are data play charges?

Facebook recently confirmed that videos embedded into users newsfeeds will automatically play by default. This is the case for Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connections. To stop this auto-play feature you have to opt out.

How to avoid the charges

The charges occur when users exceed their data limit. This quite easy to do when consuming video content as this is very intensive from a memory perspective.

The way to avoid the charges is quite simple. All you need to do is change your device settings and the videos will not auto-play. This trend is fairly recent and therefore is catching many people out, change your settings to avoid unnecessary charges.

How to turn auto-play off?

The following advice is taken from Money Saving Expert about how to turn the auto=play function off your devices.

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Advice taken from the Money Saving expert website

Facebook lack of comment

Facebook are officially not commenting about this auto-play debacle. Their only related comment is to say that users can avoid the charges by changing their configuration settings. Unfortunately this is too late for many people.

Categories: Social Media

TwitPic Service Closes Due to Twitter Trademark Dispute

Published by on September 6, 2014
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It was announced on 4th September that the once popular TwitPic service is to close permanently. Still ranked in the top three thousand most visited sites in the world TwitPic says this is due to a trademark dispute with Twitter. We explore the ramifications in this article.

What is TwitPic?

TwitPic is an image hosting website which can be used independently of Twitter. It was very popular in the early days of Twitter as it contained functionality not originally in Twitter which has now been added in. The extra functionality in Twitter has reduced the functionality of TwitPic over time.

Closure announcement

On 4th September TwitPic announced:

“A few weeks ago Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since TwitPic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.”

“Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down TwitPic.”

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A screenshot of the TwitPic image sharing service

Why did people use TwitPic?
TwitPic was used by hundreds of thousands of users originally as Twitter didn’t offer this functionality, Twitter has now bridged the gap and this has led to a decline in TwitPic usage.
TwitPic was famed for providing photographs in real-time and as such provide images of news events “as they happened”.
Perhaps the height of TwitPic use came on 19th January when birds hitting the engine of US Airways Flight 1549, caused the plane to land in the Hudson River. New York locals took pictures of the crash scene and uploaded them to Twitter via TwitPic. There were so many people trying to view TwitPic that the servers crashed.
What implications does TwitPic’s Closure have for me?
None really, all of the functionality provided is offered inside Twitter or from alternative external providers. TwitPic is largely a redundant technology following upgrades to Twitter over the past few years.

Conclusion
For more details about how you can use Twitter effectively for your business or for a relaxed technology discussion call us at Online Media Direct.

Categories: Social Media