Blackberry Playbook Review

Today the Blackberry Playbook is released in the UK so I thought it a good time to put down my thoughts on it since I’ve had one to use for the last month. In case you don’t know much about it the Playbook is Blackberry maker RIM’s debut tablet and iPad competitor. It has a 7″ screen and is about the size of a paperback book though only the thickness of a smartphone this is in comparison to an iPad which has a 10″ screen and is more the size of an A4 piece of paper.
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Case Study: Your Reception Desk Call Management System

We recently completed a new call management system for our client Your Reception Desk who provide telephone answering and virtual office services. Automating or consolidating paper and spreadsheet systems is just one of a range of services we offer and the efficiencies and time savings that can be achieved are well worth it.

This is what Nick French from Your Reception Desk has to say:

Our New Telephone Answering System

For the last couple of years we have been using an ‘off the shelf’ package for recording and sending on the messages we take on behalf of our customers.

After a lot of research we had to make to with the best of 3 different systems, and whilst this ‘did the job’ it was not ideal.

Several months ago we met James Cooke of Cooke IT at 4 Networking. It quickly became apparent that James knows his stuff!

The first thing we commissioned James to do was build a simple system that kept track of the credits used by our Pay As You Go customers. We were very impressed with the result and so we decided to commission him to build us a bespoke Call Manager system.

We had looked at what was available to us ‘off the shelf’, took all the best bits, took away the irrelevant bits and gave James the specification.

We went live with the new system on 12/10/10 and are absolutely delighted with it.

When one of our girls takes a call all the relevant information is there for her on one screen. She can efficiently handle the call and pass on the message to the customer just the way they want it.

The additional benefits for our customers are:

1. For customers who request an ‘end of day’ report, the new one has a better and clearer format, with a choice of pdf or html style

2. Brand new feature: Customers can login to view their messages online, ideal for people that have deleted a message sent to them or can’t find it, as they can login to the system to see it any time of day or night.

We’re really looking forward to testing out this system over time. Thanks again to James Cooke for doing such a good job!

Social media marketing and myth

Interestingly (to me at least)  I came across a post on LinkedIn the other day by Ashish Kulkarni titled

Does Social Media really work for businesses who are not a Social Media company? Or is it a fantastic waste of time and money?

Its interesting because its a question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently and its not helped by some supposed “experts” telling me things that simply aren’t true or quantifiable. You may for instance have been told to get involved with other peoples blogs because that creates a link on their site which points back to yours giving you a boost in search engine rankings. This is almost always not the case because virtually every blog now uses nofollow rules which mean search engines ignore their links in terms of rankings. I’m just going to breeze past the fact that Twitter was only publicly launched in August 2006 which was a month before Facebook opened its doors to anyone with an email address and that a maximum of 4 years can’t give you a large portfolio to base judgements on.

I have however ran into a few people who have shaken away a little of the dust from my scepticism on the matter. They’re the people who use good old fashioned copyrighting skills to produce engaging and researched material which despite the proliferation of content produced in 140 character long segments seems to be what a lot of people want to read.

I still like a quantifiable result, I’m probably a left-brainer. I like to put in place systems that make people work faster or easier, do something they couldn’t do before or simply safeguard their data which is often far more valuable than people realise. In the end I’m waiting for a social media company to show me a campaign that tracks its results and hopefully gives some hard, measurable results showing that it was effective. Maybe then I can answer Ashish’s question.

This Week Only – 19th July

This Week OnlyEvery week we put out a special offer to both our new and existing customers that we publish via our Twitter feed and this blog. If you’d like to take it up simply call us on 0141 530 4965 or email us. The offer closes at 5pm on the Friday of the week of the offer.

For Everyone

Zimbra InboxWe love hosted email because it has a whole raft of features built in. It lets you access your email from a range of computers, has built in backup, spam and antivirus protection and unlocks collaboration tools such as shared inboxes and calendars. Our most popular product is hosted Zimbra which is a fantastic product which works with Microsofts Outlook but can also synchronise your emails, calendar and contacts with your iPhone, Nokia and some Google based Android phones. This week we’re offering 10% off the cost of any Zimbra mailbox when you take out a 12 month contract. The normal cost is £3.99 a month per mailbox with a one off £7.99 setup fee but if you order this week you can get it for £39.90 for the whole year and if you need two or more mailboxes we’ll even waive the setup fee!

So without further adieu Cooke IT would love to help you get a great deal so contact us on 0141 530 4965 or email us.

This Week Only – 12th July

This Week Only

Every week we put out a special offer to both our new and existing customers that we publish via our Twitter feed and this blog. If you’d like to take it up simply call us on 0141 530 4965 or email us. The offer closes at 5pm on the Friday of the week of the offer.

For Our New Customers

This week we’re celebrating Jelly July! Call us out for a free audit and we’ll also bring you a bag of sweets. Our audits cover all the essentials, we’ll checkout your PCs, network, backup and security software and afterwards we can tell whether there’s anything you might want to improve on to boost your productivity. Because we work with a wide range of clients we’re up-to-date with best practise and are in a position to advise you on what can save you time and money in your IT.

Call us today on 0141 530 4965 to take advantage of this offer.

For Our Existing Customers

Well we wouldn’t like you to feel left out just because you already take advantage of our services! For all our customers who we visit for a regular systems checkup or a scheduled IT strategy discussion we’ll also bring you some sweets too.

This Week Only – 28th June

This Week Only

Every week we put out a special offer to both our new and existing customers that we publish via our Twitter feed and this blog. If you’d like to take it up simply call us on 0141 530 4965 or email us. The offer closes at 5pm on the Friday of the week of the offer.

For Everyonerunning shoes

We’re giving 10% off our new start pack which is a great deal for any businesses taking on new employees. Our pack includes a desktop or laptop, we’ll setup a new email address, add the computer to your existing network and even setup their mobile phone to receive their email.  Everything your new employee needs to feel right at home and gets everyone off to a great start

So without further ado Cooke IT would love to help you get a great deal so contact us on 0141 530 4965 or email us.

My 6 email timesavers

Zimbra InboxEmail is the hub of most small businesses now-a-days. Ask yourself what are the top items that you just couldn’t do without and my bet is that top two would be your phone and email.

With that in mind here are a few of the things that make interacting with your inbox that little bit nicer and quicker. We use and promote the Zimbra email system which is an alternative to Microsoft Outlook but it has a few additions that make life that little bit nicer and these are my top 6: Continue reading

This Week Only – 21st June

This Week Only

avast logo

Every week we put out a special offer to both our new and existing customers that we publish via our Twitter feed and this blog. If you’d like to take it up simply call us on 0141 530 4965 or email us. The offer closes at 5pm on the Friday of the week of the offer.

For Everyone

We’re giving away a free copy of Avast Antivirus with every laptop, desktop or server. Antivirus software should be one of the first things you put on a new PC because, as was recently pointed out to us, 70% of websites that could infect your computer with a virus were legitimate sites that had been hacked. It shows that you don’t have to be doing anything untoward on the web to be at risk and there is no way to practise safe surfing with some AV.

So without further adieu Cooke IT would love to help you get a good deal on a new PC and to keep it running well we’ll install it with a years license of Avast antivirus worth £24.95.

This Week Only – 14th June

This Week Only

Every week we put out a special offer to both our new and existing customers that we publish via our Twitter feed and this blog. If you’d like to take it up simply call us on 0141 530 4965 or email us. The offer closes at 5pm on the Friday of the week of the offer.

For Our New Customers

We’re giving away fUsain Boltree PC MOTs worth £50! Do you go make a cup of tea while your computer boots up, are you bombarded with popups when you browse the web or just worried your computers security isn’t up to the job? If so have Cooke IT check it. We’ll come to your office or place of work (or you can drop your laptop or desktop off if you prefer) and we’ll have you sorted usually within an hour.

There’s only two tiny clauses with this. Your premises must be in our area of operations (central Scotland) and you must book for within two weeks of the end of the offer.

For Our Existing Customers

If we’ve already got your PCs running faster than Usain Bolt you can still benefit by recommending our services. For everyone you introduce to a free PC MOT we’ll give you either a months free online backup or an hours additional onsite support depending on what services you have with us. Not a support or backup customer? Don’t worry you can still take advantage of the offer for our new customers.

How to make the web read like a newspaper

Before adblock plus After Adblock Plus After Readability

How can you turn the original ad laden page into something a little easier on the eyes?

Sometimes you’re reading a long article on the web, perhaps from a newspapers website or the BBC and you’d just prefer it if all those distracting adverts went away and you had a view just like a good old newspaper? For a long time I’ve used and recommended an addon for the Firefox web browser called Adblock Plus which does what it says on the tin. It takes a fairly standard website (top left) and cuts the ads out (middle) which speeds up the download of the page and makes it look a lot nicer too. However at the Woldwide Developer Conference Apple boss, Steve Jobs, just launched a new version of his Safari web browser with a built in “Reader” feature. This takes a page like that shown above on the left and turns it into a nicely formatted news style page as shown on the right.

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