Archives for December 2012

End-of-Year advice for small business owners


As the year comes to a close, entrepreneur and author Bill McBean offers eight items to do now “to set your business up for success in 2013 and beyond.”

“Too many owners and their senior staff just get so caught up in the daily whirlwind that they lose sight of the realities of business ownership,” he says. “When that happens, success may not evaporate overnight, but it will, inevitably, slip away. It doesn’t have to be this way. It pays to step back and reevaluate your market and your company’s place in it by making sure your practices are in line with ‘the facts.’”

Among the eight “must-dos” McBean says you should tackle are:

• Hold a 2012 post-mortem.
• Pinpoint your best customers.
• Review your marketing campaign.
• Meet with your accountant, your attorney, and other key advisors.
• Set realistic goals for next year. Then, dial up the “aggression factor” just a little bit more.

The full article is here.

Our interview with McBean is here.

McBean’s book, The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t is available here.


Software-only App spins iPhone 5 for automated panorama


We’ve all taken plenty of panoramic pics by slowly spinning in place, or at least waving the camera across the scene. Good 360-degree panoramic photos require the camera be atop a tripod and turned by hand, or set on a turntable-like motor. But what about that motor already in a phone: the vibration motor that replaces or amplifies a ring tone? Believe it or not, that vibration can move a phone — not just across a table, but, when well controlled, in incremental degrees for a full rotation.

The Cycloramic app works only on the iPhone 5 — that device is balanced just right with the placement of the vibrator, says developer Egos Ventures.

“Cycloramic rotates your iPhone 5 automatically so that it can shoot videos handsfree!” the company says. The phone can’t have cover on it, and must be placed upright on a smooth, level surface. “It may not work perfectly everywhere,” they warn, so “practice a few times before you try to impress you friends.”

And it is impressive: NY Times writer David Pogue included it in his Brightest Ideas of 2012 column and said it’s “Great for winning bar bets.” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said it’s “Unexpected, fanciful, and useful all at the same time.”

My own review is a bit less effusive: “Worth a buck to play with it for a few minutes.” Nonetheless, pretty cool.

A minor downside: The app only creates a video, not a pannable still image or 360 format such as QTVR.


Toshiba to launch faster CompactFlash cards


Toshiba announced a new line of high-performance CompactFlash image storage cards “expressly targeting the digital single lens reflex camera market.”

The company says its Exceria Pro 2 series of 16, 32, and 64 gigabyte cards will come to market in spring of 2013, “and offer the world’s highest level read and write speeds,” and “meet the demands of the high-end DSLR market, including high resolution image capture, sustained continuous shooting, HD video recording, and high speed data transfers to other devices.”

With Toshiba’s NAND flash memory and dedicated firmware, the cards will achieve a read speed of 160MB per second, and write speeds of 150MB/s, the highest level yet reported, the company says.

The market for SLRs is expected to grow by 50 percent from now to 2015, Toshiba adds, “and demand for CF cards will grow with it. Toshiba aims to capture a 30% market share by 2015 by developing high performance memory cards.”

Not a kitten picture! – A story about taking photos

For your Saturday morning amusement and edification:
Photographer Mattias Klum presents images from his wild life photography — in particular, when a big cat got way, way too near! The close-up shot is priceless, as is the message he takes away from the experience.

The full picture-story is here.



Laser TV projects high-contrast 100-inch screen


A turned-off TV is a big dark display; a projector can light up an image on a generally bright white screen hat can be positioned anywhere; but a new laser projection system works only with a big black screen that’s permanently mounted on a nearby wall.

The new imaging system from LG Electronics combines a short-throw laser projector that can shine a 100-inch image from just 22 inches away from the complementary included pitch-black screen, resulting in a 1080p home theater with a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio.

LG claims the Hecto laser system uses specialized lamps that will run for up to 25,000 hours without replacement, “roughly five times longer than mercury-based lamps.” The main projector is compact, and just 5.7 inches high. Pricing was not announced.
CNet has more here.