Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Home Automation

I would love to get into some real good home automation. I think the technology is there (or at least almost there) to make some really cool things now.

It would be great if there were microphones set throughout the house so you could just say "computer.. do this" or "computer.. dim lights.. set dinner party mood" or "computer activate house alarm for downstairs" when you go to bed. Windows Vista has some good voice recognition that is heavily underused. I have got some good results after giving it rigourous training. Of course it still occasionaly does some blunders but it is getting there. Like wise no use is made of the speech API really either. I think with these 2 combined you could do some very interesting things.

One place is in the kitchen. There are already usages of LCD television screens in kitchens ect.. but really these should be computers with voice recognition ect.. so that you can say to it, "Recipe for Lamb Rogan Josh Curry" for example. It might not get it right every time but you could use the touch screen to help. It could then give a tutorial video of how to cook it. You could say "pause" at the appropriate sections ect..
You could also leave notes for people when they come in the house. If you had an RFID tag on your key ring for example, the computer could identify it was you and read you back the note like "don't forget to wash the pots". Mmm actually that sounds like my hell!! I get enough of that without the use of technology!!!

Ah I can just imagine now. I walk into the kitchen and the computer says
"Dominic, you have 14 messages.... "make sure you do the dishes, we are running
out of milk, please take the washing out of the machine and hang it up"

Seriously though, why aren't we doing things like this? The price is not the big prohibitor here is it really? When so much is already spent on houses. I suppose one worry is still the pace of technology.... mmm I need to look into this further. Of course you understand this is all inspired by the computer from the Enterprise in Next Generation.





Thursday, 2 July 2009

Posture

I have decided to give a posture correcting strap a go for my back. As some will probably know I fell off a cliff 2 years ago and had some extremely serious injuries and obviously I am still recovering from them. The biggest thing that gives me grief everyday is a back neck and back. It doesn’t help that I am sat at a computer almost all the time.

back

Anyway I saw this in the back of a computer magazine and thought I’d give it a try. It’s not something I would normally do but when you back is on fire you will try anything! Here is the website and below is the product.

I will left you know how I get on with it when it arrives!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Velosos 5Qs

We covered an interesting thing today on the Emarketing course. The general feel today was an introduction into writing persuasive content and how you engage the customer / reader on your website (although the same ideas apply off the web as well).

The main idea to get a customer interested in your products and services is engage in an internal conversation in their heads. The idea is to give them content that they can identify with, makes them think about themselves and what they want and need and then suggests a solution to them (ie: your product / service).

There is a person called Veloso I after a bit of digging I assume it it this Maria Veloso. They have 5 big questions that were pushed as a great framework to write content. We call them the 5qs!


  1. What's the problem? Identify the problem with the customer in the text, or explain a situation that helps them identify their own current problem.
    For example, you currently don't have all the sports channels on television so can't watch the premiership matches.

  2. Why hasn't this been solved before? The customer may not have thought about it, the price may never have been right or the product just wasn't advanced enough.
    For example, the customer is not in often enough on a saturday to watch the matches and often they want to watch 2 matches that are on at the same time so what's the point.


  3. What are the possibilites? How can they solve the newly identified problem.
    For exmaple they could get Sky Plus and Setanta Sports.

  4. What's different now? Make them imagine what it would be like with the product and the problem they had solved. Appeal to the right hand sidfe of the brain (the emotional side) so that they can make a decision that the problem needs to be fixed.
    They are now able to go out on a Saturday or stay in and watch the games, they can record the games if they are not there and still watch them later in the evening.

  5. What should happen next? This is where the introduction of your company and your services come in and you in clude a call to action to contact you or buy the product form the website.
    For example, if this was for Sky+ and Sky sports, the article could call them to contact Sky now and get the Sky+ box for free for a limited time now (incidentally they are currently doing this at the time of writing).
As I am writing this at the moment it feels a little bit airy fairy and cheesy. When I was on the course it didn't quite sound like this. I think it is important to follow these ideas, but in a more subliminal way. Ensure that you are identifying a problem, why it's a problem, what they could do with the problem solved and how you can help solve it. When you look at all good content on the web in general they are already doing this in one subliminal way or another.

I am still thinking how this can be applied to a software development company (which I work for). I think if we were selling e-commerce solutions then it is fairly easy: In relation to the 5 questions above I could outline the following:
  1. The customer doesn't currently have an e-commerce site so can't sell well on the web
  2. They have not done it before as they didn't have the expertise
  3. They could make a lot of money from selling on the web. In fact if they are selling a small niche product that is quickly becoming the best / only way
  4. Once it is set up they are getting lots of orders through, making plent yof money and the business is secure with less overheads
  5. My company is an expert development company that can set up the e-commerce site for them
The course is going well. I think I need to keep thinking about what as a company we want to sell to people and how can we package it up for them.

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