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As our society skews further toward Maturian, more and more seniors are becoming tech-savvy. A recent humorous tip on shortcodes for senior text messagers has been making the rounds and it is too funny.

They say that laughter is the best medicine and that happy people live longer. So with that in mind, this is a gift for your longevity. Enjoy!

Texting for Seniors

ATD: At The Doctor's

BTW: Bring The Wheelchair

BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth

CBM: Covered By Medicare

CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center

DWI: Driving While Incontinent

FWBB: Friend With Beta Blockers

FWIW: Forgot Where I Was

FYI: Found Your Insulin

GGPBL:  Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!

GHA: Got Heartburn Again

IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?

LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out

LOL: Living On Lipitor

LWO: Lawrence Welk's On

OMMR: On My Massage Recliner

OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.

ROFL... CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing... And Can't Get Up

TTYL: Talk To You Louder

WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?

WTP: Where's The  Prunes?

WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil

SOURCE: Examiner.com

After you read that, watch this delightful video.

A Reminder That Laughter is the Best Medicine

http://www.caregiverstress.com/2010/07/a-reminder-that-laughter-is-the-best-medicine/

 

This morning (Feb 11, 2011), Nokia and Microsoft announced that they will work together to deliver Nokia phones on the Microsoft Windows Phone platform. Desperate move? Yes. A good one given the situation that  both players are in? Yes.

Nokia CEO apparently wrote this letter to Nokia employees explaining just how dire their situation was. He equated it to standing on a burning oil platform where the best option is to jump into risky waters. Elop had learned that Nokia had missed the shift to developer-friendly ecosystems and platforms for mobiles. Apple's iPhone/AppStore and Google's Android/AppStore combos were sucking all of the market oxygen out of the room. In his words:

Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.

In 2008, Apple's market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

And then, there is Android. In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry's innovation to its core.

...and then the money quote:

The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.

This is one of the decisions we need to make. In the meantime, we've lost market share, we've lost mind share and we've lost time.

The employee letter was probably leaked purposefully to get the market up to speed as quickly as employees. It was meant to shock those within and outside into the realization that Nokia management saw disaster looming and was serious about making fundamental changes in strategy. There's a story about Cortés burning his ships (actually "scuttling", but that's a nit) to prevent his men from shifting their focus from the task at hand. Elop may have been doing the same with this memo to get everyone "on board" and truly focused on the success of the new stategy.

Why is this the right move for Nokia and Microsoft and their customers? Let's consider their options.

  1. Build another ecosystem - Nokia has failed trying to do this already with Symbian and MeeGo stalled while iOS and Android swallow up market and mind share. Even with a renewed focus, it's unlikely that these platforms can become relevant quickly enough. Most mature markets can only support three dominant players. With iOS, Android and Blackberry dominant, where does that leave Nokia? Also, staying with internal programs is not NEWS. Nokia needs to be news to get others paying attention to them.
  2. Join iOS - Not really an option. Apple jealously guards their ecosystems.
  3. Join Android - What ...and join the many previously no-name phone manufacturers like HTC and fall prey to the whims of Google? That would be an unequal partnership and further subordinate Nokia's brand.
  4. Join Microsoft - Right choice.
    1. Microsoft Phone is getting some positive nods. TechCrunch wrote about the Microsoft Phone launch "Wow, With Windows Phone 7, Did Microsoft Actually Bring A Gun To A Gun Fight?":
      Brian X. Chen had a nice rundown in Wired today as to why he thinks Windows Phone could lead to better products than Android. The basic gist? Microsoft is sort of taking a middle of the road approach between Apple and Google in the mobile space. They’re working with a lot of partners (like Google), but they’re imposing a fairly strict set of manufacturing rules and rigorously testing to make sure the products are up to standards (like Apple).

      The end result, I suspect, will be products that fall in between the iPhone and Android phones in terms of build quality. And maybe even usability. That coupled with multiple carrier and OEM partners will mean a lot of units sold for Microsoft. And it could actually expose a weakness in Android if people start to associate those phones with crappier build quality.

    2. Microsoft needs to reach critical mass soon to stay relevant themselves in the space and Nokia needs a smart partner with resources to help move quickly. Also, Microsoft has motivation and NEEDS Nokia to be successful.
    3. Microsoft has a vast developer network, but developers choose what to work on based on bang for the buck - essentially, what's shipping (or will be shipping) the most and presenting the largest footprint? Microsoft can get quite a few of its developer partners to pay attention now.

The company that could be most worried about this deal is Blackberry. If the Nokia / Microsoft initiative succeeds, and both players are desperate to make it so, then RIM's Blackberry OS becomes the somewhat forgotten 4th player.

Laptop Magazine Diagrams the Bracket
OS Bowl Game 2: BlackBerry vs. Windows Phone 7

As a multi-channel user experience guy, this is exciting because the levels of innovation in user experience and platform design will create varied opportunities for retailers and app developers and deliver fascinating choices for buyers. That's good for EVERYONE.

It seems that almost all gadgets these days can charge from a USB port, but we need adapters to connect them to our wall outlets. This innovative company, FastMac, has come up with a solution -- add two USB ports to a wall socket. As I plan the building of our new home, I have added these to my parts list for sockets near each likely chair for my iPhone, HTC EVO, headsets... Who knows how many devices might connect to these over the life of the home. What about LED Christmas light strings? They're $19.95 as I write this and made in America.

USB Plus Power Socket

Rob HudsonVivosity Consulting, LLC |  Your online effectiveness personal trainer.

Google has just announced (Sept 8, 2010) their latest innovation in search - Google Instant. Google Instant starts providing search results AS YOU TYPE. Google's Marissa Mayer claims that its primary benefit is in saving us time. Maybe it will save time, or maybe it will take more of it. Time will tell. Let's take a quick look.

Google believes that by offering results as you type, you will be able to skip typing unnecessary characters and therefore save time. In my testing, it can deliver that result for me. I can also see where it could cause problems. Previously, Google's suggested search results were always a nice touch. It wasn't always right about what I was looking for, but was handy when they got it right. Here is Google's pitch for the product:

Saves Time?

When I start typing the typical words that I might use to find one of my customers, Google saved me 9 characters. "brookfield interi" rather than "brookfield interior design" delivered iDesign 4 Interiors even above "Brookfield Interiors".

Google Instant results for iDesign 4 Interiors

HOWEVER, Google takes into account location, my search history and other factors to determine what they offer as suggested results. Quickly, you can think of cases where those weighting elements would be, but also might not be helpful. For me, it was a small time-saver. It raises questions for me about what to predict for potential customers searching for my clients though. After all, the results will be different based on their own locations and search histories. While I wouldn't expect Google to design the product for SEO companies, it could send a lot of companies back to Google school.

If you happen to be a bit like me, you might also find the predicted search results occasionally distracting for two reasons:

  1. Things are happening while you type, so you might have to be looking at two places at once for this to work - search field AND results.
  2. Bing's hilarious "search overload" ads come to life in realtime by catching my eye with a result that is off target, but gets me hooked. The ol' bait and switch trap. This could be a horror for ADHD sufferers.

Privacy Alert?

In a Computerworld article, the writer Mitch Wagner observed

I get the same results whether I'm logged in or not, with private browsing switched on in Firefox, with cookies cleared, and with permission revoked for Google to use my location (which is actually a little disturbing -- why is Google still showing me search results for the local power company and furniture store if it's not supposed to know who or where I am?).

This is more of a general warning regarding the depth of personal information being gathered by Google and not specific to Google Instant.

Psychology?

Whenever a company tries to anticipate your needs, there are two key issues to consider:

1. Do you really know me?

  • If you do, is it creepy?
  • If you don't, is it annoying?

2. Does your supposed desired behavior actually help me?

Psychology Issues with Google Instant
The classic case involves TiVo as showcased in the Wall Street Journal article "If TiVo Thinks You Are Gay, Here's How to Set It Straight" available here. Also, Microsoft's Clippy helper agent became more of a nuisance than a helper as it tried to anticipate what users wanted. Most users wanted to turn it OFF.

Time Will Tell

We'll see over time if this innovation is a huge positive move for Google or another bad science project. Sadly, Google's track record leans toward bad science project with some huge wins such as simple search, AdWords, Maps... and massive failures such as Google Wave and Nexus One online sales. Google Wave was a big play to redefine email non-realtime & realtime communications, but they misjudged user behaviors. Sometimes it appears that Google is too internally focused in its testing of experiences and Google is heavily an engineering bunch. However, this is a difficult area for the best of companies. I hope that this helps us all to sift through the growing heaps of content online.

Fun With Google Instant

If you have a little time to play, you might try entering each letter of the alphabet individually and see what Google thinks the rankings of top results should be for YOU.

abc

The site Twittercism.com posted a good summary of tips for writing effective tweets on Twitter. I will share the top 7 tips below. Why should you care? Many of you may not yet even understand why Twitter is relevant to you. Think of it this way. In the early days of search, there were several search alternatives and then along came Google. At first, it may not have been clear why Google was better. It didn't sort by categories. It had very little content on its home page, and still does. Yet, it helped you to find things efficiently.

For my business and personal interests, Twitter helps me to stay on top of issues, perform research and to express myself quickly. Unlike Facebook, which is clearly popular, you do not have to be a "friend" to follow someone's thought stream. With Twitter, I can find people "tweeting" about things that interest, enlighten and/or educate me and stay connected to them informally, usually without having to ask for permission. After all, very few Twitter accounts ARE private. Remember that all tweets are limited to 140 characters.
How might you take advantage of Twitter?

LISTENING

First, LISTEN to what is being said and benefit from readership. Search ( http://search.twitter.com/ ) for a topic of interest and watch for tweets that resonate with you. Twitter allows you to search for a topic in the worldwide conversation and "follow" the thought stream of what is being said about it.

Second, FOLLOW a few of the tweeters that interest you and see if they maintain your interest. Do this for a while to get a sense of what you like about what they share with others. Think about how you might do the same with your areas of interest. UNFOLLOW those that stop being interesting. For those tweeters that DO interest you, who are THEY following?

AUTHORING

Once you get a feel for tweets, RETWEET a few of the tweets that you really find interesting. This is just like forwarding an email that you received, only anybody can see it. Originally, retweets were distinguished by "RT" leading the tweet. Now Twitter puts the RT reference in a descriptive area rather than in the tweet so that it doesn't take up characters.

By retweeting, you extend the reach of someone that you are following beyond their follower set or community of interest (COI). If you have gained followers, then your followers will see what you've harvested from the others that you are following. This idea of bridging communities of interest is one way that you will gain followers, because you "harvest" great thoughts and links and share them. In the simple diagram below, I seek to visualize sets of followers in each orb. Some are large groups and some are small and some bridge naturally with other COI and some are more like islands.

Twitter_Communities_of_Interest

Retweeting also provides a nod to the author and is considered a nice thing to do, so you gain some level of appreciation for the author. Another nice thing to do is to list the tweeters that you find most interesting in a tweet on Follow Friday. On Friday, you edit a tweet preceded by "#FF" and followed by the Twitter names that you recommend to others. This is a great way to get others to do the same for you.

Twitter Tools

Not sure how to do this Twitter thing? The site http://oneforty.com/ provides reviews of tools that you can use.

7 Tips For Writing The Perfect Tweet

There is far more content at Twittercism, but in summary, they are:

Overall, maximize readability and maximize retweetability. Make your tweets "to the point" - clear and concise and as instantly meaningful as possible. Try not to use all 140 characters so that others can forward your tweet with their own thoughts appended.

  1. Think Like Your Readers

    • Know your audience and speak to them.
  2. Use Consistent Excellence To Stand Out From The Crowd

    • Maintain the quality of your tweets or you will be "Unfollowed".
  3. Sell The Headline (In A Non-Salesman Way)

    • Grab their interest like a news headline would, but don't oversell. Stay authentic.
  4. Use Correct (And Acceptable) Punctuation

    • Self-explanatory.
  5. Accept Nothing Less Than Flawless Grammar And Perfect Spelling

    • Self-explanatory.
  6. Observe The Magic Retweet Number

    • 115 characters or less seems optimal. If you add more, then others may not RT your message because they would have to rewrite your tweet to add any clarifying or supportive content.
  7. Shorten All Links With Bit.ly (And Nothing Else)

    • Bit.ly is an awesome tool, but this is not a firm suggestion. I find Ow.ly and Su.pr to be good tools as well with stats/analytics to track who clicks on your links, if you set up an account and login before you shorten. Shorteners help you to fit those URLs in your 140 characters. A few people are offended by the .LY shorteners due to the fact that .LY domains refer to Libya as .US refers to the United States. If your audience might be sensitive to that, then Su.pr might be the way to go.

I would add a #8.

8. Almost always have a link to content that supports your headline.

  • Studies show that the most retweeted content includes links and those who tend to use links get followed more often. Why? Links to source content help users to sift out unsubstantiated opinion and find follow-up content to further explore the topic. In short, it helps your users to be more engaged and you're helping them to serve their needs. The Twittercism author appears to assume this fact as a foregone conclusion.

I encourage you to visit http://twittercism.com/the-perfect-tweet/ to read the original post and make sure to follow the linksin the article.

Twitter - Follow Vivosity On Twitter

Wonderful interview with Stanley Hainsworth, the designer and owner of Tether, Inc. in Seattle, WA. Stanley was a lead designer/creative director at Nike, Lego and Starbucks and decided to form his own company because he saw that there were too many great, American brands that were poorly leveraging their stories. He notes examples Microsoft and Wal-Mart. He explains that both have amazing stories that have been told poorly and are not well understood.

He shows his deep understanding of branding by creating his own personal brand through an extraordinary hair style that will help you to remember him quite well. He seems like a guy that you would want to get to know better. That's really the story of business branding as well. Make customers want to know you better. Startup guru, venture capitalist and former Apple Evangelist Guy Kawasaki similarly says that companies should have "meaning". Stanley sums it up well: "Great companies read your soul. They give you something you didn't even know that you needed."

Watch this interview by Robert Scoble. It will be time well spent IMHO.

More info:
Tether web site: http://www.tetherinc.com/