Why preparing a structure for a roundtable is a waste of time.

Before the SAScon event started last Friday, I had the pleasure of chairing a roundtable with some exceptional individuals from the digital world. You can see a snippet from the session below, and the full version will be published shortly.

Give the early start to the event, and the calibre of the people taking part, I was determined  to undertake some serious preparation for the discussion. This consisted of questioning work colleagues, and fellow SAScon organisers, as well as time day-dreaming in a coffee shop.

The culmination was a long list of topics and potential questions that might kickstart the conversation or re-ignite it if we hit tumbleweed.

How many questions did I end up using?

One.

Yup. Just one.

…and it wasn’t even a good one. I simply started by asking Dane Stanley what he thought his biggest challenge was going to be this year.

Next thing I know we’ve moved through a variety of topics from horsemeat to wearable media, with a number of detours via social media engagement and cross-channel analytics.

I should have known better. Put a smart group of people in a room (excluding me), with a topic they feel strongly about, and good things happen.

Thanks again to the roundtable participants who made it such a enthralling discussion. To hear more of their wisdom I’ve linked to their twitter profiles below:

I can’t wait for my next one.

5 reasons to install Aviate now!

Last week Yahoo! announced their acquisition of Aviate the software company that produces an Android Launcher that is customised to your activities.

I’ll be honest; the app was new to me so I quickly downloaded and installed.

My expectations we’re too high since my last launcher experience was the extremely drab and (IMHO) pointless Facebook Home, which lasted less than an hour on my phone.

The first hour with Aviate, was much more impressive and over the next week I discovered some pretty cool functionality. So, here are my 5 reason why Android users need this app.

1. Smart home screen – Not only does the minimalist screen allow you to customise it with your own photo, it seems to start be featuring what it believes are your most frequently used apps.

What’s even more impressive, is that this screen changes depending on variables such as location and time of day. The screen grab opposite was for when I’m at Home, but it changes when it know’s I’m at work, or travelling.

2. Auto-categorized apps- if you’ve ever used folders on the Android home screen(s) you’ve probably put together your own categories of apps. Well, Aviate automatically does that for you. With one swipe it brings up a page of your most popular categories and apps.  Which brings me to…

3. Customised categories – Don’t want to be limited to a few categories? Then you can add some more. Furthermore, you can move categories between categories to suit your own preference.

4. Integration with other apps – while Aviate does obvious things like pull the weather from Google Weather, and your up coming events/reminders from your Google Calendar, it doesn’t stop there. The device seems to pull on 4sq for location data and allows you to check-in. In all fairness this does add an extra unnecessary click to the process, but It’s pretty good all the same.

5. Widgets - I was a little worried, that a launcher replacing the typical Android home screen might negate the use of widgets – one of the highlights of the Android OS. However, I quickly learned that you can add different widgets to different home pages, making specific tasks within some of your favourite apps quickly accessible.In my case that was Evernote.

It’s been just a week since I installed the app, but it’s definitely a keeper. My expectation is that I’ll unlock more personalised options as the software learns more about how I interact with my phone.

So, when are you going to download it?

Evernote continues to digitise paper, with Post-It

I’m a big fan of Evernote. Not used it? Well you need to damn well sign-up now!

Earlier in the year I, was tempted into buying the Moleskine/Evernote notebook (with Smart Stickers) as a way of digitising my notes old skool notes.

Yes, i was disappointed to learn that it didn’t work with Android initially, but that’s fixed and it’s water under the bridge. I’ve now got into the habit of photographing my, most illegibly, notes in case a need to refer to them when I don’t have the physical pad with me. [On a separate note, I’m thinking of purchasing a Tile to stick to my notepad since I lose it so often….but, there’s no Android app yet :-( ]

Well, today Evernote have gone one step further and announced a rather nifty partnership with 3M to create bespoke Post-It notes, and an app to scan and store them in your Evernote account.

Brilliant.

…oh yeah. It’s iOS7 only so far :-(

 

Google takes apps out of the browser

This week Google released an update to Chrome that made searching from a new tab faster.

Yeah….but where are my apps?

The thing is, I launch new tabs to quickly access my chrome apps and the update moved this a click further away.

Yeah, I know..first world problem.

The “app” tab is still there, but I haven’t yet found a setting that makes it default for new tabs.

Instead, I’ve now installed the chrome app launcher onto my windows taskbar, which allows you to fire up those apps even without the chrome browser being open.

That’s better.

 

4 things to love about the OUYA

Today sees the retail launch of the hotly anticipated OUYA console.

I’ve talked before about my current disappointment with the device but, to be clear, I think it has great potential. So let’s get positive.

What are the 4 best things to love about the OUYA?

1. It’s really small – especially when compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles.

2. It’s very easy to set-up. Just plug in a couple of cables and add your wi-fi details, then you’re off.


3. Enthusiastic development community. There’s a lot of support for the this device and OUYA has thousands of developers signed-up to release games for the platform.

4. Public/consumer support.  The original Kickstarter project raised over a million dollars in just over 8 hours. Part of this comes from the trend to have a more DIY approach to tech, as we’ve seen with the success of the Raspberry Pi.

The company then went on to raise a further $15 million of VC funding.

Have you got your hands on one yet? What do you like about the console?