Category Archives: Marketing

Is ASUS the Next Apple?

ASUS Eee PCOver the past couple of years there has been a lot of talk about UMPC or Ultra Mobile PC’s. There were lots of prototypes from companies like Intel, but everything was in the future. Then a company called ASUS, or ASUSTek, released their Eee PC in 2007. This was a very small notebook that make the bold step of having Linux as the operating system. At first no one was quite sure what to thinks about it, but over the last year, the Eee PC has taken off. Probably the biggest reason is the retail price is in the $400 range.

The other bold steps made by ASUS was that the Eee PC had no hard disk. You can get one in 4GB, 8GB and now 16GB flash memory. This means no moving parts in the notebook, which leads to more reliability. Lastly, the screen is 7 inches.

In terms of functionality you have all the basics. Wifi, internet browsing, web cam and audio. Accoding to their web site there are over 40 applications pre-installed.

Now why do I ask if ASUS is the next Apple? Over the years I have attended my share of tech. events and became aware of the number of Apple Mac Books vs. other laptops being used by the audience. Recently when I attended the Northern Voice event in Vancouver, another group of notebooks was popping up. This was the Eee PC. It was funny to watch as people pulled out their Eee PC, slowly small crowds began to form. The owners were checking their email, writing blog postings and recording video of speakers. The biggest draw, was the small footprint.

The popularity of these notebooks was further confirmed by third party accessory companies who are now coming out with products for the Eee PC. A-Data has released Eee PC branded flash memory and USB memory stick.

Due to the success of the Eee PC, there are competitors who have their notebooks being released over the next couple of months. Acer, HP and MSI as well as many other lesser known manufacturers are all fighting for their piece of the pie. ASUS is not laying down and letting these others take market share. They are releasing a 9 inch screen version, will now go up to 32 GB of RAM and…will come installed with Microsoft Windows XP.

The market for ultra portables will heat up further in June when Intel releases their Atom processor. This small footprint, high performance processor will be perfect for the ultra portables. ASUS has decided to push out their 9 inch screen in May rather than wait for the Atom processor. Others are a mixed bag. Whether or not this will be a mis-step for ASUS, only time will tell. Right now it is their market share to grow or not.

Podcasting 101: Posting your Podcast

Now that you have recorded your podcast, it is time to post it so everyone can listen and/or download it.

There are several choices when you are posting your podcast. Do you want to host the file on your hosting provider or do you want to put the files somewhere else. I’ll start with putting them in the same place as your blog. You simply create a directory/folder on your FTP server (you should have a tool to do this already, I use FileZilla). Then you FTP the files to that folder. When you create your blog post about the podcast you will need a link to the file, in order for Feedburner to recognize the location of the media file. If you are using WordPress, there is a great plugin called Podpress. Once you have this installed, it adds an on line player and several other features that make it easy to add podcasts. I use this plugin and you can see what it looks like on these 2 posts.

You’ll notice a couple of features. One is that you can color code the player to match the colors of your web site. Two, it gives the user the choice of playing it online or downloading it and listen on their PC.

You can also have your podcasts hosted on another provider. The choice among podcasters for this is Libsyn. They have several packages available. The big benefit, is that they charge you for storage space and not the bandwidth when your podcasts are downloaded.

When you have everything loaded up, it’s time to tell the world. Similar to pinging search engines about a new blog post, you would do the same thing with your podcasts. Obviously the most popular podcast site is iTunes. In order to get your podcast on their directory you will need an iTunes account. For this you will need a credit card, even if you never plan on buying anything from their store. Once you have your account, you load up iTunes, go to the Store, select Podcasts from the upper left box, then submit a Podcast from the lower left box. From there you follow the prompts of where you feed is and what your podcast is about etc. When you submit a podcast the first time, it will take 24-48 hours to get a response back with your podcast account number. You can take that number and put it into the form on Podpress, or you can save the link for future reference. There are a few ways of adding a button to your site that allows people to subscribe to your podcast. The first way is to use that link that was sent to you and attach it to a button. There are, however, some watch-outs to be aware of when using this method. If you have a podcast that comes out more frequently than once a week, you will want to use the methods below to link to your iTunes button. Sometimes it can take days before iTunes will update your podcasts on their store. So I recommend you use one of the following methods to attach to the iTunes button on your site. (assuming your are using Feedburner). You can use either the itpc://feeds.feedburner/[your feed name] or pcast://feeds.feedburner/[your feed name].

There are several podcast specific directories you should use to list your podcasts.

  • Odeo.com – directory and podcast service
  • Yahoo – has a podcast search and tag-based index
  • Podcasting News’ Podcast Directory is the largest user-built directory of podcasts.
  • Podcast Alley, one of the most popular podcasting sites, has a large podcast directory.
  • Digital Podcast
  • iPodder.org is a large podcast directory.

  • PodcastPickle Â
  • PodcastDirectory.com
  • A Podcast Directory is available at Podcast.net.
  • iPodderX

There are several other methods to marketing your podcast. You can watch Chris Penn’s excellent presentation at Podcamp Toronto here.

Podcasting 100

 This is the first in a series of posts to explain how to start podcasting 101. This is the pre-post about the things you need to do before you start podcasting. I recently attended Podcamp Toronto. This was a fantastic event where 300 people got together to share their knowledge and experience about podcasting.

The key phrase is web presence. You could have the greatest podcast on earth, but if you don’t have a presence, then no one will be able to find it, or you for that matter. Julien Smith was one of the speakers at Podcamp Toronto. He gave a fantastic presentation on Giving Your Podcast A Google Presence. You can download the video (80 MB) here. Julien make some tremendous points about Google and podcasting. Basically, Google couldn’t care less if you have a podcast. Google knows text…not audio. In order to help Google out, you need to start with a blog, or a web site. You should put the podcast notes on your site and/or get a transcript done. This will help Google when it searches you site.

Your Own Domain:

First, decide on a domain name. I could spend a post or two about how to choose a name, but Bill Sweetman gave a great presentation (40MB) about this at Podcamp. Once you have a name picked out and you have registered the domain; find yourself a good web hosting service. I reccommend this over any of the free services from Blogger, or WordPress. I have seen too many people who have lost their blogs because of some technical issue. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a Blogger blog, or WordPress blog. Both offer their software for free to put on any web hosting service you use. This blog uses WordPress software and my hosting service is 1 & 1. Neither of the steps are expensive. To register a domain costs about $10 a year and a basic web or blog hosting service can be as low as $5 a month.

RSS Feed:

Next you need to create a feed. RSS is a standard format (XML) text file that allows many other readers see your posts. Now most blogging software will create an RSS feed. However, Feedburner.com will allow you to publicize your feed and add several extra features at the click of a button. For podcasters, the most important feature to turn on is the SmartCast feature in the Optimize tab. This will automatically add the tags required to put your podcast on iTunes and add media tags when you post an mp3 file to your site.

Ping’s The Thing:

Once you have created somthing new for your site. You need to tell the world that it is there. The easiest way to do this is tell all the search engines, blog directories and podcast directories that you have created something new. Pingoat is a great service to do this. Once you have filled out your sites information you should add the site to your links group in your browser. Then all you have to do is click on the button in your browser and Pingoat will start telling all the services that you have new content.

Of course to help Google to search your site, you should have a site map. There is a WordPress addin that will create the site map and ping Google to come and search your site. You can download here.

Tags:

Tags are keywords that will help others to find your posts or podcasts. Technorati is the largest and most popular site for tag searching. You will need to “claim” you blog on their site. Once that is done, you can add some tags in the profile page to help others find your blog and podcasts. You should also tag your posts. You can see my Technorati tags below next to the green icon. Most blogging platforms support Technorati tags. For WordPress there is a plugin called Ultimate Tag Warrior. This adds an entry bar right under the posting page to add your tags. It also allows you to list related posts from your blog. This helps people to find your other posts on the same topic. Lorelle gives a great tutorial on using Tag Warrior in this post.

Community Sites:

Now the next thing is to get yourself published on some community sites. Such as mySpace, Flickr, Linkedin, Facebook, Friendster and StumbledUpon. Chris Penn from The Financial Aid Podcast gave 2 presentation on these tips and tricks. Podcast Marketing: Five tools and strategies to grow your audience TODAY (60MB) and notes. Plus, Podcast 401 – 5 steps to a bigger audience and slides.

Now you’re ready to start recording! In the next few posts I will discuss the various hardware and software required to start your first podcast. Plus, how to post it on iTunes and other services so the World can subscibe to you. As always, if you have any questions, just send me an email or leave a comment.

Podcamp Toronto 2007

podcamplogo.jpgI just came back from Podcamp Toronto 2007. All I can say is WOW!. This was an excellent event. I would like to give a huge thanks to all of the organizers. This was no small feat to pull this off.

    Leesa Barnes of Podonomics – Organizer, Media Liaison.Â

Podcamp was a collection of sessions for the novice to advanced podcaster. Podcasters and Podcaster wannabees from both the US and Canada came out to learn more about marketing, branding, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), improving audio quality and building your community and traffic. Several of the sessions are available to view at the Podcamp Wiki.  Mitch Joel’s presentation on branding was excellent. Julien Smith’s discussion about Google couldn’t care less if you have a podcast was both entertaining and enlightening. Christopher Penn gave 2 sessions on the tools needed to expand your audience. There were many other sessions that you can review on line.

The one area that seemed to be missing was Podcasting for newbies. From a showing of hands in a few sessions it appeared to be 20-25% of the attendees had not produced a podcast. Contrast this against some of the attendees who had been podcasting for 5-10 years. (I wonder what podcasts were called before the iPod?). I offered my services to put together a presentation for the next camp to talk about all the steps I have learned over the past months about podcasting. I also offer my knowledge to anyone who has questions about Podcasting. I will be doing a series of posts over the next few weeks precisely about this topic. So if you have a question, leave me a comment.

Holiday Gift Guide

‘Tis the season, and this year there are many choices for the geeks out there. Rather than list all the stuff, below are a number of links that you can check out for yourself.

For the gadget nut, one of my favorite sites is:

They have a wish list for him and a list for her. (come on ladies, find that inner geek that’s inside of you!!)

For the iPod fanatics, you have to see the annual gift guide from iLounge This .pdf download not has a ton of product information, it also gives great review and talks about the technology available along with tips for your iPods.

For the hard core techie, there is Chris Pirillo’s 50 Geek Gift Ideas.

Tags: , , chris pirillo, ,

Creating Podcasts

It is rather simple to create Podcasts. You simply record a conversation. That conversation could be in person, over the phone, or in many cases over Skype.

Where it becomes difficult is processing the recording. As anyone who has tried to post a podcast in its raw state, it can be very difficult to follow due to the varying volumes of voices. There are 2 tools out there that can help with this process.

One of of the most popular open source products is Audacity. This is a complete recording studio for Windows, Mac or Linux. It is available for download here.

A new product is out in Beta called the Levelator from Gigavox Media. It is simpler, yet more complex. Audacity will level the volumes, but does it in real time as it is playing the track. Levelator creates a map of the full track first, then applies some algorithms to level the volumes.

Tags: , netcast, , Levelator,

Build a better mousepad

I recently came across a great mouse pad. Yes I know, this is hardly a gadget or high up on the technology ladder. But when something like this works, if just feels right. The mouse pad is by Microthin in the US. It is called WOWPAD. It is a very think piece of plastic, with a tacky bottom. The surface works great for 2 reasons. It is very smooth, so the mouse glides across the surface with very little force. Plus the texture picks up the movements of a laser mouse much quicker than other pads.

Other benefits of the pad. It is washable…when was the last time you washed your mousepad? And the best thing about it is that you can tack it into a magazine page the same way you would put in a brochure.