The OpenSure Free Press 5th December 2011

Hello and welcome to the last Free Press for 2011. We’ll be making some changes in 2012, which will include more technical help and advice. If there’s any subject you’d like to see covered, please get in touch.

In the meantime, let’s jingle all the way into some technical news and reviews…

Five steps for a successful QR code marketing campaign
You’re familiar with QR codes, right? Those strange little blocks of interference that pop up on adverts and products? They’re Quick Response codes and are a short-cut to all sorts of information. You need a barcode app (we like this one) and a smart-phone to use them. Read on to find out how using them might help your company.

CRM software explained
More sets of initials. This lot stands for Customer Relationship Management software, which is designed to help you understand and keep track of customers so that you can keep them happy and find more people like them, so maintaining a nice healthy customer base. Read this IT Donut article to find out more.

Apple’s turn for a green data centre (probably)
It had to happen. Apple has clearly had enough of the harm its appalling environmental credentials are doing to its image and so is switching its “vast” North Carolina data centre from coal power to solar, according to this BusinessGreen article. Hoorah, and about time.

Data centres currently consume about three per cent of US power supply, according to Greenpeace.

This is why the actions of enormous and wealthy companies such as Facebook, Apple and Google really do matter. Don’t hold your breath though:

It’s not even clear when Apple intends to break ground on the solar facility. Todd Herms, Maiden’s town manager, said the company had yet to approach the town for a building permit. There are few clues towards Apple’s plans in its initial permit, which lays out plans for the company to bank the soil to avoid it washing into nearby creeks.

“The plans say solar farm but for all the permits show they could be putting a big mobile home park there,” said [Toni] Norton [engineer for the local authority].

RIP Google+ (possibly)
Are reports of the demise of Google+ premature? Read these two articles and decide for yourself. The first is a BBC article that can’t decide whether Google+, launched six months ago, is just getting started or has already fallen flat on its face. On the one hand:

The online tool gained 10 million users within the first 16 days after its private launch, and 40 million within the first 100 days, making it the fastest-growing social network in the history of the web.

But on the other:

…web analytics firm Chitika reported in October that excitement appeared to have waned for Google+ one month after its public launch, with traffic down 60% after spiking to 1,200% of pre-launch levels.

The other article, by NinetyFive Creative, concerns Google+ business pages, at last. NinetyFive Creative likes what it sees. This sounds encouraging:

It’s straightforward to set up a page, very easy to use, and with the potential to exert greater control over Google search results for your brand, it’s definitely worth exploring.

The article goes on to list the features it likes, including the famous Circles, together with Hangouts and Direct Connect. Read the article for a translation.

Israel is really happening
We hear about Israel all the time in the news, and it’s rarely positive. But somehow, in the face of what it’s easy to believe from the news is constant shelling and privation, or perhaps because of it, Israel has bred “many young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs “.

Tiny Israel, a country embroiled in conflicts for decades, has managed to transform itself from a stretch of farmland into a high-tech wonder.

The article reveals some quite staggering facts, among them:

  • Israel is a world leader in terms of research and development spending as a percentage of the economy
  • In 2010 alone the flow of venture capital amounted to $884m (£558m)
  • Israel currently has almost 4,000 active technology start-ups – more than any other country outside the United States
Read the article and find yourself thinking twice about military service.

Other odds and ends that have caught our eye recently:

And a sneak preview of a new feature for 2012:

Who have we followed recently?

  • @NinetyFiveC – Worcester-based creative consultants
  • @PollyClient – an open source tool for tracking multiple Twitter accounts
  • @BrandRepublic – marketing/digital etc
  • @ABridgwater – tech journalist
  • @farminguk – well, we are in Herefordshire
Thank-you for giving the newsletter a few minutes of your time this year. May we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We should be back on Monday 9th January.

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