Friday, 20 November 2009

Newsletter Issue 175, November 2009



Sam Young Newsletter


Issue 175, November 2009

Hi guys,

In a post-recession world, how can we take better care of our customers? Check out Eco-Economy below.

I have some stats from Trendwatching that indicate we will be Online 24/7 by 2014. 


Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.



Eco-Economy



Some coming trends to think about as the world climbs out of the current recession may make the difference between businesses that take off and those that crawl.

A few interesting pieces of news came across my desk this week, which got me thinking about about the new links between ecology and economics:

  • Apple has apparently refused to repair PCs which belong to customers who smoke, advising that nicotine is on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) list of hazardous substances and Apple would not require an employee to repair anything deemed hazardous to their health. A US Consumerist website claims to have received reports from two Mac users stating that US Apple repair centres have declined to fix 'Applecare'-warrantied PCs, claiming that the warranties have been voided due to second-hand smoke contamination under OSHA regulations (while it is entirely logical that nicotine and other toxic cigarette residues would seep into computers over time, providing a health risk for Mac techies when fixing them is a bit of a stretch). See http://apcmag.com/apple-wont-work-on-macs-owned-by-smokers.htm
  • Bundanoon in NSW, taking inspiration from the Tasmanian town of Coles Bay which went 'Plastic Bag Free' in 2003, is Australia's first bottled-water free town. To put to rest repeated consent applications from the Norlex conglomerate, which wanted to drill for bottled water, the townsfolk responded by banning bottled water completely (http://www.bundanoon.nsw.au/bundy-on-tap.html), and installing filtered drinking fountains.
  • And speaking of plastic bags, New Zealanders use 1 billion plastic shopping bags per year (a mind boggling over-consumption for a mere 4 million people), but China - with a population of two billion - knocks us into a cocked hat for green practices. They have reduced their use of plastic bags 66% in the first year of legislating against single-use plastic bags by an amazing 40 billion bags, from kick-off in June 2008 through to June 2009 (http://www.chinaretail.org/shownews.asp?id=766). Collingwood is Nelson's only plastic bag free town; although Wanaka and Kaikoura have now followed suit. However, the worst on the planet are the Americans, who throw away almost 100 billion plastic bags every year, only recycling between 1 and 3 percent. Hong Kong, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Germany and the Netherlands are all plastic bag free. Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland and Ireland have a plastics tax.
  • Soda stream is being advertised on TV again - probably for the first time since the 70s, by my recollection - with the pull strategy of the young Australian boy on the ad saying that they were not contributing to landfills by using soda stream, and that soda stream is an "Active Green" company as it consumes CO2. Quite a different marketing ploy to the 1970s and early 80s (http://www.sodastream.com.au/earthfriendly).

So what do all these things have in common? That in our post-recession, hyped-up global-warming world, the human race is starting to think about becoming a whole lot less wasteful, and I suspect in the medium term we will be a lot more careful of what knock-on effects we create. Mr FastFoodChain and Ms Supermarket need to take into account that a few greener practices will get customers onside; being clever about not creating the waste in the first place, so we don't have to deal with it later, will stand businesses in good stead.

Time and time again it has been proved that the only way to change our profligate habits has been legislation. However, while New Zealand's Waste Minimisation Bill was a total fizzer, there is nothing to stop each and every one of us from doing our bit, personally and in our own businesses.

Individually we can all make changes in how we do things; which will in turn keep our costs down. We can pass on savings directly to our customers, or pass those savings on to causes that we - and our customers - are passionate about, such as those reported this week by Trendwatch in Holland - http://trendwatching.com/briefing/#embedded.

Something for us all to think about.

 



Online 24/7



I was just reading on Trendwatching's website some projections of our mobile data use (at http://trendwatching.com/briefing/). We are apparently going to be quite "well connected" by 2013 or 2014:

  • Globally, mobile data traffic will double every year through 2013, increasing 66-fold between 2008 and 2013. Mobile data traffic will grow at a CAGR of 131% between 2008 and 2013, reaching over 2 exabytes per month by 2013 (Cisco, 2009)
  • The number of Orange 3G mobile broadband customers had increased to 21.7 million at 30 June 2009, compared with 13.4 million in June 2008, an increase of 62% in one year
  • The overall number of individual mobile users in Western Europe is set to grow to 344 million at year-end 2014. By 2014, a third of Western European consumers will own internet-enabled phones compared with 18% in 2009. Mobile Internet adoption is set to grow to 39% in Western Europe in 2014 from 13% in 2008 (Forrester Research, August 2009)
  • 6.5 billion tweets sent from Twitter thus far

Makes you wonder where you can cash in, and what trends you need to be up with, doesn't it...



Detecting Wireless Freeloaders



If you have a wireless network that suddenly starts slowing down, you may have someone else freeloading downloads on your account. And when you suddenly want to find out who else may be tapping into your network, most of us are a bit stuck.

However, there is an easy way to see which IP addresses are connecting to your router - and that is to query your router.

What you want is your router's status page. Anyone with network access to the router can see the status page simply by typing the router's LAN address into their browser's address bar (eg D-link at http://192.168.0.1/). Some routers may require a bit more navigation to get to the page that displays who's connected, but it is usually fairly easy.

Hey presto! There's the information you're looking for.

On home wireless networks, just compare the number of PCs the router says are connected to the number you should have. If you should have two and there are three connections, you know there's a problem and you need greater security. You might find there is a car parked on the street with someone in it. You could try turning your router off & see if they drive away. Then get some advice on how to better secure your internet connection (or do it yourself by reading the following article at http://windowssecrets.com/2009/10/08/07-Take-steps-to-secure-your-home-networks-router).

For larger setups, turn on all the machines you want connected to the LAN, note their IP addresses, and scan the router's list for "alien" IPs.

Bookmark your router's home page (IE - Add to favourites). Then you can check for anyone who shouldn't be on your router with a single click.

:-)



TLAs for SMEs



Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:

  • RTLS, Real-Time Location System. This is one of a number of technologies detecting the current geo-location of a target, which may be anything from a vehicle to an item in a manufacturing plant to a person (...and cellphones, GPS etc).


Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.



Tips, Short+Hot Keys

Over the next few newsletters, we are looking at all the things you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl in Windows Media Player. This is our sixth section in this series:

  • Windows Media Player "Switch between the inner and outer areas of the Player" Ctrl & Tab
  • Windows Media Player "Specify either a URL or path of a file" Ctrl & U
  • Windows Media Player "Close or stop playing a file on the File menu" Ctrl & W
  • Windows Media Player "Delete a selected item in the Copy to CD or Device feature" Delete
  • Windows Media Player "Select the next item in the list" Down Arrow
  • Windows Media Player "Play an item" or "Carry out the command for the selected item or button" or "Go to the selected link" Enter
  • Windows Media Player "Hide the menu" ESC



Hot Linx

For instructions on how to back up and restore Outlook, there is a useful little How To page at "How To Outlook". Check it out at http://www.howto-outlook.com/howto/backupandrestore.htm

And if you would like a bit of a laugh, check out the Heineken ad on YouTube (shades of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, rinsed through Lerner & Loewe's My Fair Lady) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz9_YfIQaz4

A couple of newsletters ago I talked about MetLife International, and their study of International Employee Benefits trends. Some clients have asked about their survey tool; go to http://www.whymetlife.com/benchmarkingtool/criteria.asp (NB: use "North-West" US as your demographic area).

If you are interested in knowing more about Corporate Social Responsibility, check out Mallen Baker's site at http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/definition.php



                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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