Sync your Windows PDA with Mac Address book and Mac and Google calenders

One of the downsides of being a Mac user is the difficulty in synching a Windows PDA phone to your Mac. You can resolve that two ways

  1. Buy an iphone – no good if you are still on a contract paying off another phone
  2. Get Syncmate from Eltima software

Syncmate is now available with a free edition that allows you to sync your contacts and calendars – including Google calendar. The expert edition allows you to sync itunes and iphoto plus some other goodies as well.Syncmate screenshot

I have had this up and running quickly and the support questions I had were answered super quickly.

Here is a feature list and a screen shot from their site:

  • Synchronize Favorites, Contacts, Calendar, Notes in mobile device accordingly with their analogues Bookmarks, Address Book, iCal, Stickies on Mac OS
  • Ability to work with iTunes and iPhoto
  • Synchronize separate folders
  • Build-in converter, which compresses video to MPEG4
  • Synchronization via USB cable and WiFi
  • Compatibility with Windows Mobile Pocket PC 2005/2006, Windows Mobile Smartphone 2005/2006

Google Adsense wasn’t making sense

Recently I took Google Adsense ads off my blog. Why?

Two reasons

  1. No one was clicking on them
  2. I wanted to use the space taken up by Google to promote my own content

To be fair, I haven’t spent hours and hours tweaking Google Adsense formats, and perhaps if I had I might have got a better result. However, the click through rates can be pretty low click on content networks for Google Adwords campaigns, and after several thousand impressions and few clicks I decided to make a change.

The other more nagging issue is the value that the ads add for the readers. Whilst lots of bloggers do use Adsense to make some really good money (see Darren Rouse’s blog at www.problogger.com for plenty of good tips), it takes a really concerted effort to build up lots of traffic.

If you have had any experience with Google Adsense, I’d love to hear it, please comment on this post….

Mofuse traffic greater than direct to a blog?

In the same way that the television screen has been overtaken by the computer screen, I am beginning to wonder if Mofuse (the mobile version of my site) might overtake direct traffic.

Just checking my stats for yesterday – quiet day on the blog, 26 page views according to Google. Feedburner has 33 people subscribed via RSS – but up to 175 views, mofuse shows 31 page views.

Interesting, but what does it mean? Like all bloggers, I’d like getting the numbers upwards. With these three different services we are seeing different definitions of hits, and perhaps here there is also some overlap in users that either click on a rss feed and then decide to go to the blog. No doubt this will become clearer, but the early tip is an obvious one – cover all the formats that you can.

There is also the second question of clarifying who is looking at what traffic. Those that are coming directly to the blog are reading more of the articles on directorship matters. Those coming to RSS are reading what’s more recent (more the Web 2.0 posts), and those to the mobile version are reading a similar mix but mainly iphone related.

So, what is your preferred means of checking out content? I’d love to know….

Is the iphone driving mobile content?

The Smell of Good Business on iphoneFeedburner post from The Smell of Good Business on iphone

The ipod has really changed the way we use music – we’ve got 3 in our household (4 if you count my original 40 gig hard drive version that died). But the potential for the iphone to change the way we get and consume web based information is vast.

So, you’ve gotta get mobile. Thankfully, it is easier than you might think thanks to MoFuse.com

As I blog on WordPress, less than 2 minutes later I have m.justindavies.com.au as well as http://justindavies.mofuse.mobi and an iphone specific URL at http://justindavies.mofuse.mobi/iphone

As a tip, if you create your own address off your domain as I have done (m.justindavies.com.au), remember to add the cname record at your domain so it will work.

Importantly with any web presence, you have got to track it – and this is where mofuse excels providing great stats tracking. I suspect we will see lots of growth in iphone related traffic. For more on the topics of tracking users, please see my Feedburner post.

So, comments please. Where do you think the growth in online traffic for the iphone will come from? And how will it drive the way we use mobile phones in the future?

Top 100 Web 2.0 apps

Find the top 100 web apps as per BRW at Ross Dawson’s blog here

Thanks to Ross Dawson for compiling the list onto his blog, and great to see so many great ideas out of Perth (which has been described by people such as Christopher Golis who established Nanyang Ventures and wrote “Enterprise and Venture Capital” as the entrepreneurial capital of Australia).

It is a great creative space…. and I would love to hear from anyone who knows of others that are contenders for next year’s list….

Why you need your RSS feeds fed through Feedburner

One of the great things about running your own blog on your own domain is that you can pump Google Analytics through it. I use WordPress for my blog and quite a few people I know also do so.

Whilst Google Analytics is fantastic at tracking who is looking at what and when, the big area that is unknown is the RSS feed – increasingly people are using RSS in various readers – Google Reader, Safari etc to keep up to date with news without having to visit various blogs.

One of the benefits of firing your feed via Feedburner is that you get access to statistics on who is reading your blog via RSS.

Another reason for looking at Feedburner is that if you change your blog address, those people who subscribed to your feed at that blog address. My feed address from this blog is www.justindavies.com.au/feed but you can also subscribe to the feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/~u/justindavies

Why is all this important to track? Well I have discovered that I have as many people tracking my blog via RSS as I have visiting it – and that means I have twice the readers I thought that I had. I can also see which posts they are reading (the RSS readers populate all posts, so chances are those that subscribe will read more than one.

Non executive directors liability issues

At our recent “Chatham House” meeting (graduates of the AICD course in Perth) we discussed the issues of:
1. Some of the great practical advice that graduates of the AICD Company Directors course had been able to apply; and
2. The legal issues and risks of being a director, particularly non-executive

The course is very good at outlining responsibilities and legal issues for directors – highly recommended if you are considering or are a director. Interesting, a number of participants indicated it is significant enough for them to never consider being a director. I have asked many people including various directors as well as Professor Bob Garrett who wrote The Fish Rots from the Head, amongst other books (signed copies proudly on my bookshelf) whether they shared the view that the legal position against directors is too onerous. No one seems to share the view.

In some respects, the purpose of a limited liability company is to encourage considered risk taking. However in recent times a great deal of that risk has been transferred to the board.

I was very pleased to see a great article by John M Green in this month’s Company Director magazine that succinctly gets to the heart of the issue. He also proposes a better way.

As John describes it, the key issue is that non-exec directors fees may be (depending upon the size of the company) from $30k to $200k per year. If the company faces a significant claim, directors can face unlimited liability, a weak business judgement rule and a newly burgeoning litigation industry? So, small amount of fees against potentially catastrophic risk. He makes a very good point.

Non executive directors are always going to be disadvantaged in business knowledge as compared to company management. Those people who have the talent to be non-executives also potentially can add value to companies by consulting – without the legal liability, and with the ability to involve their own consulting firm to deliver on other projects to the company without conflict of interest becoming an issue.

Non execs play an important role however in the governance of companies – and the role is required as more companies take the path of listing to expand their capital base.

John M Green’s suggestions (to apply only if fraud hasn’t occured):
1. Cap NED’s liability in proportion to their fees
2. Consider Charity NED’s and cap a fixed flat amount
3. Consider NED’s shares as part of settlement.

In summary, the reason why many people I have asked indicate that nothing is wrong with the current system is that the penalties are necessary to have big deterrents to avoid situations like HIH. I agree wholeheartedly. The area of reasonable concern is where directors act in good faith, being diligent and genuinely acting in the company’s best interests. Potential consequences are catastrophic but the rate of prosecution is low. John’s suggestions leave the big stick against fraud, but provide a more sensible position for NEDs. I look forward to the outcome of the government review in this area.

What do you think? Please leave your comments on your experience and views.

Digital reputation management – the rise and rise of PR 2.0

Check out What we can learn from the WA gas crisis

From that post:

On June 3 a massive gas explosion happened sparking a gas crisis in the state at Varanus – a small island off the North West coast of Western Australia.

About 30% of WA’s energy supply was dependent on the pipeline from Varanus for their energy needs.

Perth is now on energy rations, with large business told each evening how much energy they have for the following day. Casuals are being placed on standby and large mineral processing plants have been shut down – which are the powerhouse for the national economy.

Alan Carpenter, WA’s Premier went on television this week in an unprecedented call for people to reduce their energy consumption – heating, appliances and shorter showers to keep the state’s economy going. The WA Chamber of Commerce has said that as many as 10% of Perth businesses could go out of business as a result of this.

The author, Todd Davies, goes on to discuss in detail the importance of building resilience into organisations so that they can resist shocks more easily.

Whether you call it resilient thinking or plain old fashioned disaster recovery planning, there is a whole area in which online reputation management comes into play. Resilience in reputation is dependent upon the appropriate role that companies play within the communities they work within. Companies that give back generally have stronger brands, attract more staff, are much more highly respected – and tend to be more profitable, and no doubt resilient. One of the things I will be talking on soon is PR 2.0 (See my speaking page for when).

A recent email that has been doing the rounds indicates very strongly that a reckless lack of maintenance by Apache created the disaster, and with a number of photos from the site, would make some – maybe many – people think it is credible. I do not have the facts to form a view – but from a reputation management viewpoint, neither do the general public. Coupled with some recent press from The West Australian indicated that this disaster was predicted 4 years ago, the view is that a bunch of people must have let their eyes come off the ball in a way that is simply unacceptable given the knock on effect.

Back to the point of the post – PR 2.0 effectively is the approach to managing issues online. How do social media come into play? How resilient will your reputation be should an event happen? How do you react particularly when reaction to an event gets near tipping point?

Like all disaster recovery planning, you need the scenarios and responses determined and practised well ahead of time. Communication planning is the same deal. We have seen remarkable little from the company in terms of hands on response. Again without facts, can an audience be blamed for assuming the company may not care?

WordPress as a content management system (CMS)

Kingsley Junior Football Club home page

Whilst at CeBIT there was plenty of discussion about content management systems and in a session I sat in there was a discussion about the difficulty of getting them to work appropriately. Indeed I spoke with someone prior to the session who was about to implement their 3rd tilt at content management in 4 years…. clearly this is a challenging area to get right.

The presenter was pretty strong on all of the challenges and problems with implementing CMS – and even though many of those issues exist organisations have really very little choice – they must implement a content management system to meet various record keeping requirements and retain sanity. Our Perth team at Ross has assisted 5 organisations in Perth implement CMS successfully and in two cases the pages being managed is north of 8000. Without a CMS you are history.

But what about the lower end of the market? Whilst there are plenty of open source systems (I don’t have any personal experience with them other than WordPress), the big challenge is getting the software out of the way of the communication.

So, when my son’s junior football club (the Kingsley Junior Football Club) asked me to help them with a website (more correctly, my wife who is on the committee told them I would do it!!) here is what I did:

  1. Created a new in stance of WordPress at Mediatemple (which is where I host this blog) and setup the MySQL database. Fortunately the WordPress instructions are very good (get the detailed instructions, not the overview). Fair bit of mucking around here, but would be much, much quicker second time around.
    There is a load of hosting providers for WordPress. Mediatemple does have a one click install of WordPress – but it is an old version. With the various warnings in the market at the moment about the risk of not keeping WordPress current, you need to log in manually and follow instructions to update the appropriate files by FTP
  2. I found some WordPress designs that had elements of what I wanted in the design
  3. I then sketched up (yes, using old fashioned but very efficient technology – a pencil on graph paper) exactly what I wanted and where
  4. Reach for your favourite web designers (in my case, the guys at Bam Creative) and I provided them with a formal brief of what I needed. I also provided them with the log in details so they could upload and test the template. After some tweaking we were all set. This was set up with left hand and right hand WordPress widgets
  5. Add Flickr widget – create a new WordPress widget and paste the widget code you get from the Flickr site. Fiddle with the size settings until you get what you want.
  6. And ditto with the right hand side.
  7. Once all done, put in your Google Analytics code and you are away at your test domain.
  8. Migrate your domain (this is currently sitting with a different registrar but will be moved -big tip, make sure that the domain details haven’t been lost, it is a real pain to migrate the domain)

So, all up the site we were trying to emulate in the WA Football League would have cost circa $20k to $30k. We got this one away for under a few thousand dollars and around 50 hours of my time. The Club is now managing and adding the content, and I think it looks pretty good. The latest edition of WordPress is easier to use, and well worth considering….

Techramp and Transaction 2.0 – Final day at CeBIT roundup

Thursday 22 May 2008 was the big day of Transaction 2.0 and Techramp. What a hoot….. up at 5.45 having worked on my content until 1am, quick run in the gym to get the blood moving and off to CeBIT by 7.30 to ensure everything was honkey dorey and to meet Ivan Kaye from Business Strategies International at 8am.

It started with me introducing Jackie Taranto, MD of Hannover Fairs Australia to officially open Transaction 2.0. She was telling me prior to the introduction about some of the things that she was involved with to try to grow the industry and the work that Hannover has done in this regard. A down to earth dynamo is a good description.

Then I introduced Paul Slakely of Google to talk about cloud computing, interesting topics that ran for an hour with all the questions from the people that attended. Great speaker who was very candid about where this is going. Make no doubt about it, Google is going after providing a huge range of services for businesses. Nice to be able to tell him that Gilad Greenbaum and I collaborated on a Google Spreadsheet to set up the conference.

Then Transaction 2.0 split into 2 rooms with me chairing Techramp. First up was Jason Calacanis who promised to convince everyone that they should fire everyone that is average and good in the business, and how he had mathematically proven it. Got people thinking (intentionally controversial) and he has spent a lot of time thinking about this topic. Whilst it may sound brutal and a tad unkind, his analogy was sports. We all know that we expect coaches to fire – quickly – average performers and transition your good performers to excellent performers. Watch mahalo – let’s see how he goes. Was fun trying to explain his presentation in 4 minutes at the airport to Richard Giles of scouta

About this point my brother who was in the audience came up to say hello. With a “know this bloke?” I turned to find my father who had surprised me by coming over from Australind in Western Australia to check out the day. Paid full fair to get to Sydney and full freight for the CeBIT ticket. What a huge and wonderful surprise, nice one Dad…

Mick from Polenizer then got up to talk about focus (good book on that, see Focus from the book link above) as it relates to startup companies. Great talk and right on the money for mine.

I felt like I was trying to steer the speedboat from the ski’s with trying to keep the thing to time. The audience strapped themselves in and hung on, and I think enjoyed themselves immensely.

Quick caffeine break and back into it. Txt messages to Gilad back and forth to keep ourselves running during the day (damned if I know where he gets his energy from).

Great panel on user centric design, thanks Ruby, Oliver, Peter and Russ – particularly Russ for seizing the initiative in getting the session off to a good start by flying some questions around to the panel members to get us thinking.

Justin Davies presenting \"The Pitch\"

Then we got stuck into Hells Kitchen with Phil from Pollenizer.

Vishal Sharma chaired a panel discussion on Web 2.0 trends, great job and a great panel – Duncan Riley, Gilad Greenbaum, contributions from Mike Cannon-Brookes from Atlassian.

Finally it was time to get onto the final 5 best Aussie startups. 6 minutes plus 3 minutes of questions. Interesting technical startups.

All of the presentations were interesting and showed companies at really different stages of their thinking. I think each one will have gone away with lots of really good feedback and ways of moving forward. All to be commended on having a red hot go and having the courage to put themselves out there. I’m afraid I just couldn’t stretch out the winner announcement ala Australian idol but was pleased to announce Good Barry unanimously