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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

EWASTE

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

By Clint Dehnert

I have never considered myself and environmentalist or “tree huger” on any scale. But with today’s society it is impossible to not at least be aware of some of the environmental  issues. One issue in particular has stuck in my mind since I saw a show about ewaste a few years ago. We live in a day and age that things that are here today, can be gone tomorrow. Things are changing faster than we have ever seen in the history of the world. In my research for this subject, I found a quote by a reporter at the New York Times that sums it all up; There is no heaven for cellphones.”

The information that I am bringing up is all over Youtube and Greenpeace’s website. We have recently started the holiday shopping season and witnessed “Black Friday” “Small Business Saturday” and “Cyber Monday.” Most of the hot products are electronics like big screen TV’s, Smartphone’s, and the tablet.

Every holiday season around Thanksgiving time you see the new technology hit the shelves and airwaves. With this all in the back of your mind, I ask, what happens to the old TV? What happens to the old computer or laptop?

According to Urbanmining.org 41.1 million computers, 20 million TV’s, and 100 million cellphones are being replaced every year. Only 13% of these millions of electronics are recycled and disposed of properly. To put it bluntly, we are polluting our entire world with toxic chemicals with our insatiable appetite for the latest electronic technology.

Even the recycling centers are a business. To keep profits up, some are breaking the law. After the good, reusable components are reclaimed; they are sending it to the same places that it would have gone if you would not have recycled it at all.    

The examples are in Asia and Africa where policy and regulation is nonexistent or not enforced in some cases. What happens there is what is polluting the environment as well as killing fellow human beings. It is what is putting toxic chemicals in our food chain.

Things like lead, mercury, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals are making it into landfills here in the U.S. Some of the components that are recycled are being burned to claim the precious metals and making it into the air and water supply in other countries. All water eventually ends up in the ocean doesn’t it? The ocean supplies food for all over the world right?  Having to have the latest technology is putting toxic chemicals in your food, water, and the air you breathe.

With the almighty dollar driving our every move, I noticed something in my research that was not stated on any of the sites. On YouTube, I found videos about extracting the minimal amount of gold that is in a circuit board. These videos have been viewed by over 160,000 viewers. Some of the videos that show what this is doing to the environment have been viewed by only a couple thousand. This extraction process utilizes things like Nitric and Hydrochloric Acid.

In this process, you can see the vapors (nitrogen dioxide)  spewing from the container and making it into the open air, this cannot be good for the environment, and in the end, us. I find it ironic that the very products that are causing this “ewaste issue” are a necessity so we can further pollute the vital resources of our everyday life. We need a new computer so we can watch a YouTube video with better picture quality on how to claim gold out of our old computers! See a pattern?


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QR CRAZE-overuse and overload?

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

By Heidi Adams

What is a QR code?

QR stands for “quick response”.  Essentially the little black and white squares are a 2D barcode.  These barcodes are able to be scanned via traditional POS scanners or new smart phones and mobile devices. The codes are able to take users to a website, store data or even send an sms message.

The codes themselves are now able to be customized due to scanners having a 30% error correction rate.  This means that your logo can actually be superimposed over the QR code and the code will still function.

Do consumers see the value in QR codes anymore?

QR code placement has grown quickly in the last year-due in part to high amounts of smart phone subscribers.   While shopping this holiday season I’ve been inundated with QR codes.

They are even on items I wouldn’t suspect at first glance.  I think that consumers are starting to lose interest in QR codes without guidance.  What I mean by that is QR codes need to have a perceived value in order to be scanned.

At first, consumers were excited simply by the technology they possessed to be able to scan something and do something new.  Now if there isn’t an attached value to the QR code, it becomes a waste of the consumer’s time.  Here are a few examples to illustrate what I mean.

Bad Examples:

  • A QR code on consumer packaging with no description-next to complete information about the product.
    • Why doesn’t this work?  Well if the data that is already needed is there to purchase a product, why would you scan the code.  Consumers are used to the code not leading to valuable information.
    • How to improve this? How about linking the code to consumer reviews or customer comments about the product. In addition to linking the code- TELL your customers why and what they will get out of scanning the QR.
    • A QR code on a website as part of a logo.
      • Why doesn’t this work?  All this says to me is “we’re trendy”. Take Macy’s for example.  It has been changed since, but a few months ago the middle of their traditional star logo was changed out for a QR code.  The code led to their website.  The logo was on their website.  Can you say, “redundant”?
      • How to improve this? Make the QR do something interesting.  How about linking to a coupon to be used in store that you can keep on your smart phone. You could even have it download an app for you, for shopping on the go.
      • QR code in a TV commercial.
        • Why doesn’t this work? Most commercials are about 30 seconds long. Why waste precious seconds showing a QR code that consumers wont have time to scan. Duncan Hines has a QR code in one of their box mix cake commercials.  It’s so pointless; it’s on the screen for less than 5 seconds.
        • How to improve this? Remove it- don’t waste the time or money.

Good Examples:

*Please note that the next three examples are “print” media.  Often the social media and traditional advertising don’t mesh together in the message.  A QR code is a great way to weave those two mediums together.

  • QR code for plant care tips on nursery seedling packaging.
    • Why does it work? The packaging on some plants at Home Depot this past spring, included a QR code.   The packaging also noted that if you wanted care tips about the plant, to scan the code. There was immediately added value to the product.

    • QR code on business card.
      • Why does it work? This one can go either way, but in the example I have the businessman decided to make his QR code link up to a coupon!  What a great reason to keep the card.  If you do use a QR on your business card make sure that it links up to something different than the information you have typed out.  Also make sure to write what to do with the code or tell the person you’re handing it to.
      • QR code on a DVD display.
        • Why does it work?  This is the best use of a QR code I have seen this holiday season. The QR code was on the display for a newly released DVD.  The display said to scan the code to see a trailer for the movie!  Genius.  If you didn’t see a trailer for it yet or didn’t remember the movie- here is the perfect opportunity to check it out again.  They only way to make that better would be to have free WiFi in the store!

What are some of the best or worst QR code uses you’ve seen?

DIY

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Written By: Pete Patten

With everybody feeling the economic crunch in one way or another, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) trend has gained momentum. This trend makes sense as people try to creatively save money anyway they can. Most of the time, technology is the driving force for DIYers. Smartphones, tablets, and electronic deviceshave unleashed a tidal wave of opportunities for people to track, analyze, control, and learn how to do something on their own.

English: A gray version of an emblem used by i...

Image via Wikipedia

Health related DIY information, activities, and devices are becoming more available and popular to the public. Apple has over 9,000 health apps available through their App store. There are blood pressure monitoring devices, pedometers, work-out plans, dietary plans, and just about anything else you can think of.

With the recent boom in home improvement, there are shows that you can DVR that can help you step-by-step through a project of any size. Websites offer advice, blueprints, diagrams, and instructions, all geared toward lending a helping hand for people trying to save a few dollars.

Put aside the saving money part of doing-it-yourself for just a second. There is also the aspect of accomplishment and success that needs to be calculated into the DIY trend. Talk about conversation pieces – and having pride in the work that you can do on your own.

The bottom line is people need to take a step back for a moment and realize that you really can do it yourself. With so many resources available, it’s time to use the technology and knowledge that is out there at your fingertips. There’s no need to freak out when you gain a pound or two. There’s no reason to think you can’t update or replace the trim and doors in your house. Stop what you are doing for a minute and do a little research on how to improve the situation – on your own. It might take you a time or two to figure out exactly how to do something but it’s ok – you can save money while finding a sense of accomplishment at the same time.

QR Codes Track Ad Effectiveness

December 13, 2011 3 comments
Written By: Steven Krause
Have you been noticing these coded squares popping up almost everywhere you look? They are on street posts, in magazines, newspapers, flyers, billboards, business cards, and web pages.  Pretty much everywhere I look these days I see one of these coded squares staring me in the face. Well, if you don’t know what this is, it is a quick response code or a qr code and you’d better get used to seeing them. It is one of the latest and more unique forms of advertising that’s sweeping the smart phone society we live in today.
If you own a smart phone, like the majority of society does today, you can download a mobile app called a qr code reader and use your smart phone to scan boxes like the one above. It will open a browser on your smart phone and take you to whatever company that produced the qr code website to view either products, promotions, or contact information the company or individual wants to provide to the public.
According to beqrious.com, there are estimated to be more than 53 million smart phone users in the United States that all have the capability to download qr code reader apps allowing users to scan qr codes.   Business owners have the ability to generate these qr codes for free and use them to link smart phone users to their blogs, web sites, social media pages, articles, product pages, or pretty much any information you want to communicate or advertise to the many people who own a smart phone. This unique new form of advertising is an emerging trend in the advertising world.  The best part about it for business owners is that it is free to generate these codes. This cheap new form of advertising is also easier to measure effectiveness as compared to traditional advertising strategies like magazine ads, newsletters, TV commercials, and radio ads, because it keeps track of the number of scans each code has undertaken. Also according to beqrious.com the amount of information a company can provide within the qr code is limitless in terms of length, size, and space, whereas with traditional media you would have to pay for additional airtime and advertising space.
With the mobile hand-held internet capabilities available today, qr codes allow for a more interactive experience for users to view advertisements. In the article, “QR Codes Track Ad Effectiveness” written by Libby Vertz, Vertz writes about how qr codes helped the Municipal Credit Union in New York wanted to make a more interactive experience for their members with their advertising creating to a more memorable message for the viewers. The article also stated that the qr codes created over 150 click-throughs on their web site showing that their members appreciated the ability to get information quickly through their smartphones. Credit Union Magazine QR Codes Track Ad Effectiveness.
This would be an effective and cheap way for small businesses to provide an interactive way to advertise to the masses. With the majority of the public owning a smartphone these days, this would be an effective way to jump start a small business, by providing smart phone users a way to view your products, web page, contact information, promotions, etc. Also, by being able to measure it effectively, by monitoring web traffic that is directed from the qr code scans, it makes it easy for business owners to tell if the campaign was a success or not. By not knowing where the qr code will take them until after they have scanned it also gives business owners the ability to capture or attain new customers simply by smart phone users being curious about where the code will lead them. With qr codes the possibilities are endless. With the large number of smart phone users today this form of advertising provides a large reach and high ad frequency potential that could be an effective way for small businesses to spread awareness and get their name out there.
If your business isn’t currently using this form of advertising I strongly recommend that you take advantage of this new medium before you get left in the dust.