Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Twelve months is a long time in the consumer technology arena, which explains why this roundup of the best of Mashable’s tech and gadgets posts from the past year is such a fantastically mammoth list.
From facts about big tech brands to unusual laptop sleeves and geeky tees for kids, we’ve written a lot for gadget-lovers in 2010, so take a look below for the ultimate catch-up resource on all things gadgets and tech.
We hope you enjoy the roundup of the results of our labors from the past year — please be sure to bookmark, subscribe, sign-up, follow or “like” to see much, much more of the same in 2011.
Our gadget-related lists have brought you stylish accessories, green gadgets and useful kits in 2010. Here’s a list of lists.
- Tough Tech: 10 Rugged Gadgets That Will Go the Distance
- 6 Great Gloves for Touchscreen Gadget Lovers
- 10 Crazy Gadgets for Cats and Dogs
- 5 Stylish Computer Mice for the Design Aficionado
- Especially For You: 8 Great Gadgets You Can Personalize
- 10 Useful Gadgets for Connected Teens
- Especially For You: 8 Great Gadgets You Can Personalize
- Build It Yourself: 8 Fun Electronics Kits Under $100
- 10 Comfortable Lap Desks for Cozy Computing
- 5 MP3 Players for Pumping Up Your Workouts
- 12 Tech Toys for a Geeked-Out Wedding
- 5 Beautiful Keyboards to Spice Up Your Boring Desk
- 10 Unique Headphones for Listening in Style
- 15 Creative USB Drives for Storing Your Data in Style
- 10 Great Watches for Gadget Lovers [PICS]
- 10 Cool and Unusual Laptop Sleeves [PICS]
- 10 Cool Tech Toys for Kids [PICS]
- 5 Energy Efficient Office Gadgets
- 10 Cool Cable Management Solutions [PICS]
- 5 Gadgets That Will Transform Your Home
- 10 Excellent Examples of Recycled Gadgetry
- Top 10 Modern Gadgets with Retro Styling [PICS]
- 10 Ways to Trick Out Your Barnes & Noble Nook
- 5 Terrific Gadgets for the Social Media Shutterbug
- 10 Excellent Accessories for Your Amazon Kindle
- 5 Important Tips for Better Eye Health in a Digital World
- 5 Innovative Technologies Changing Health Care [VIDEOS]
- 9 Notable Tech Flops That Live in Infamy
- 8 Ways Technology Is Improving Education
- 5 Technologies That Are Changing the Way We Drive
- 8 Classic Tech Sounds that Defined Our Digital World [VIDEOS]
- 10 Amazing Real Life Robots
- 5 Media Format Flops Destined To Be Forgotten [VIDEOS]
- 5 Futuristic Concept Phone Designs
- 10 Incredible Inventions from The World Maker Faire [PICS]
- 11 Astounding Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True
- 5 Innovative Tech Camps for Kids and Teens
- 8 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Electronics
Tech Company Resources
- 11 True Stories Behind Tech’s Top Names
- 10 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Google
- 10 Fascinating Facebook Facts
- 10 Fun Microsoft Facts You Might Not Know
- 10 Entertaining eBay Facts You Might Not Know
- 10 Great Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses of Google [VIDEOS]
- Tech Tourism: 10 Great Geek Destinations
We’ve had tons of fun in the past 12 months with some light-hearted articles looking at all things geek. Here’s a review for you…
- 10 Great Geek Tees For Kids
- 10 Fun Facebook Accessories
- 15 Awesome Android Accessories
- 10 Pieces of Gorgeous Geek Jewelry [PICS]
- 10 Great Geeky Tattoos [PICS]
- 9 Ways to Geek Out Your T-Shirt Collection
- 10 Incredible Geeky LEGO Creations [PICS]
- 5 Must-Have Geek Collectibles
- Top 10 Geekiest Marriage Proposals
- 5 Fun FarmVille Accessories
- Top 10 Geekiest Decorations for Your Home or Office [PICS]
- 5 Hilarious Gadget Unboxing Videos
- Top 10 Robot Videos on YouTube
- Top 10 LEGO Movie Tributes on YouTube
- 10 Best LEGO Music Videos on YouTube
Beyond the hardware side of things, we’ve been busy online in 2010, offering you a variety of how-to guides, websites to bookmark and entertainment options you’ll find waiting for you on the web.
- 10 Chrome Web Apps to Check Out
- 4 Awesome Photo Sharing Alternatives to Flickr and Facebook
- 4 Social Web Apps for Making and Sharing Your Travel Plans
- 7 Essential Podcasts You Should Add to Your Playlist
- HOW TO: Create Your Own Customized Short URL
- 5 Tools for Keeping Track of Your Passwords
- 5 Free Ways to Improve Your Typing Skills Online
- 10 Killer Firefox Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts
- 10 Dead Simple Gmail Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts
- 10 Killer Google Chrome Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts
- Gmail Priority Inbox: 5 Tips for Better Productivity
- HOW TO: Change the Google Logo to Your Favorite Google Doodle
- HOW TO: Create Free Music Playlists Online
- 5 Free Ways to Identify that Song Stuck in Your Head
- 10 Must-See Google Street View Sightings
- 5 Must-See Google Easter Eggs
Whether you’re a full-fledged fanboy or just an Apple admirer, we’re sure you’ll see something click-worthy in our list of all things Cupertino.
- 5 Vintage Apple Products That Time Forgot [PICS]
- 10 Fascinating Facts You Didn’t Know About Apple
- The Evolution of the Apple Mouse [PICS]
- 10 Geekiest Apple-Flavored Cakes [PICS]
- 10 Vintage Apple Ads That Time Forgot [VIDEOS]
- 10 Adorable Apple-Themed Baby Accessories
Those “imagineers” at Disney World know waiting in line too long can spoil your fun. That’s why they’ve created ingenious ways to cut down on wait times at Disney’s enormously popular theme park.
According to The New York Times, Disney has combined high technology with imagination to track visitors and keep them constantly entertained. Nestled inside a high-tech command center that could double as a set on a James Bond movie, technicians monitor banks of cameras, using color-coded mapping software and an array of secret tracking and counting techniques that monitor the numbers of visitors in the rides and restaurants of the theme park.
If those cameras and sensors detect, for example, that lines at thePirates of the Caribbean ride are getting too long, they can dispatch more boats to move additional visitors through. If the ride’s already running at its maximum capacity, they can direct a “cast member” playing Captain Jack Sparrow to pop out of one of the discreetly placed doors and distract the bored visitors.
Some of the rides, such as Space Mountain, are equipped with 90-second video games to keep people occupied until they’ve made it to the front of the line. And, there are iPhone apps available that notify visitors where they can find a cast member playing Sleeping Beauty, who will be more than happy to sign autographs.
Disney has always been secretive with its technology, but somehow The New York Times was able to find out that future plans for the Disney parks might include wristbands with chips inside that transmit the visitor’s name, credit card number and favorite Disney characters. This will enable guests to pay for drinks and fun with a swipe of that wristband and even have robotic characters inside some of the attractions call out their names.
And that’s just the stuff they’re telling us about. Creepy? Maybe. Innovative? Definitely.
“We would like to be thought leaders” is a common statement you will come across in most strategy meetings of companies these days. “Thought leadership” is a term that has come into its own in the past few years and is one of the primary communication methods that enterprises are using to connect with customers. However, given the growing number of proclaimed “thought leaders” and social media platforms strewn with blogs, tweets, videos and the likes, the term is fast becoming one of the most overused buzzwords. The scenario gets more complex what with customers becoming increasingly involved and influencing the buying process more so than ever before. It’s imperative to reach the target audiences with innovative ideas and information that stands apart from the crowd.
So what does it take to be a different “thought leader”?
The sheer volume of white papers, case studies and blog posts is no longer enough to establish one’s expertise. Rather, the hallmark of a true thought leader is one that presents new and challenging ideas along with quality and relevant insights to challenges that customers face today. What really differentiates a thought leader from others is the recognition and acknowledgement from the public that the company is a renowned expert and providing value rather than just another company selling its products and services.
The 5F model for successful thought leadership campaigns:
Focus - on the customer
Most organizations create content revolving around their products and services. However, what people really need care about is how you can help them address their issues and deliver solutions for the same. By providing the audience with fresh, educational content and useful insights on current trends, rather than just a sales pitch, thought leaders can demonstrate that they understand the problems that customers face and are committed to resolving them. Cisco’s large scale thought leadership program for the Cisco Global Education Group is driven by partnerships with number of leading corporate, government, educational and endowment groups to help improve education, technology infrastructure on a global basis. With numerous initiatives that span research, publications, marketing, and events, Cisco is seen as a market leader and expert in the education space.
Rather than just propagating or repackaging the same topics that everyone else is discussing, thought leaders need to stand out with a new angle or a new approach, idea or concept. With original ideas, new concepts or approaches forming a basis of a unique opinion that strikes off by itself in a crowded marketplace, thought leaders can help take the organization and customers forward. Deloitte’s Risk Intelligent Enterprise program takes a strong stand on what “risk intelligence” is about and how it relates to business strategy. With a series of white papers and publications, this innovative program goes well beyond conventional thinking and focuses on the upside of taking risks in a the downturn as well and helps companies understand one of today's most critical management issues in a thoughtful, creative, and responsible way.
The best thought leadership programs are built around evidence-based research. By backing new ideas and viewpoints with hard data and facts, a company can establish its expertise and influence in that subject. It also helps to showcase the company’s ability to offer something truly valuable to its customers. IBM’s Institute of Business Value has a long track record of churning out publications backed by substantial research findings. Its Global C suite study for instance gives practical insights for organizations that can facilitate their business strategies.
Facilitate- knowledge sharing
The willingness to openly share important information and best practices is what differentiates a true thought leader from the rest. Most companies tend to hold back crucial information to generate enquiries and lead generation. However, by openly sharing their resources and expertise with customers, they can promote themselves as the go-to authorities and knowledge experts in that space. McKinsey’s solution to this is reflected in its popular microsite, ‘What Matters’, that convenes outside experts and McKinsey consultants from around the world to offer a broad range of expert views on key global issues to clients and others.
Fix attention- Engage the audience
By creating compelling content that are relevant to customers and driving them to contribute and share with their connections, thought leaders gain a tremendous opportunity to influence agendas and establish standards in the market. It is also important to demonstrate that the company encourages and listens to customer feedback - online communities, discussion forums and chat rooms are key ways to foster a relationship with customers and engage directly with them. Dell has a large social media presence with over 3.5 million community members spanning across it’s blog Direct2Dell and IdeaStorm, along with popular networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Flicker. And through these platforms, Dell actively works on customer engagement by providing them meaningful information, inviting them to brainstorm, share opinions and feedback.
Thought leadership is a fine balance between meeting customers’ desire for something relevant, and interesting, and meeting organizational growth strategies. When done right, thought leadership is an effective strategy to get noticed in today's increasingly competitive marketplace. It allows a company to inject its brand’s personality in a crowded marketplace and gives a human face to its point of view. And it works because it gives consumers what they want: useful, relevant information, not a sales pitch, a chance to engage in a two-way dialogue with companies they consider doing business with. So it’s time to do a “mirror-mirror” & ask yourself “who is the real thought leader among all”.
This exclusive guest post was written by Karthik Nagendra who handles handles the Global Thought leadership Marketing initiatives at Wipro Technologies. He also regularly blogs at www.thoughtspotblog.wordpress.com and can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/karthiknagendra.
|In this, our final Top Ten Newsletter of 2010, we've rounded up the most popular articles among readers this year. Topics they were most interested in include decision-making biases, digital marketing, and management in uncertain times.|
4. STRATEGY The case for behavioral strategy Left unchecked, subconscious biases will undermine strategic decision making. Learn how to counter them and improve corporate performance, and explore an accompanying interactive showing the biases most pertinent to business and the ways they can combine to create dysfunctional patterns in corporate cultures. Plus, take this brief survey on how you make decisions, and we'll send you feedback on how your decision-making style compares with those of other respondents and on how to avoid any biases you may be prone to.
5. GOVERNANCE Why good bosses tune in to their people Know how to project power, counsels Stanford management professor Bob Sutton, since those you lead need to believe you have it for it to be effective. And to lock in your team’s loyalty, boldly defend their backs.
6. ORGANIZATION How centered leaders achieve extraordinary results Executives can thrive at work and in life by adopting a leadership model that revolves around finding their strengths and connecting with others.
7. CORPORATE FINANCE Creating value: An interactive tutorial In this video presentation, McKinsey partner Tim Koller explores the four guiding principles of corporate finance that all executives can use to home in on value creation when they make strategic decisions.
8. ORGANIZATION Retaining key employees in times of change Many companies throw financial incentives at senior executives and star performers during times of change. There is a better and less costly solution.
9. MARKETING Unlocking the elusive potential of social networks To realize the marketing potential of virtual activities, you have to make them truly useful for consumers.
10. ORGANIZATION Boosting the productivity of knowledge workers The key is identifying and addressing the barriers workers face in their daily interactions.