Archive for the ‘Business’ Category
How do you find banking services? Google, right? Maybe not.
Back in September my company did a bit of research into just how one might find banking services using web-based searches in Canada. You’d think this wouldn’t be an issue, but it is. And it doesn’t matter if you are looking for online services or branch services. We’ve summarised the problem and its impact in a press release:
60 Million Qualified Leads Untapped by Top Canadian Banks — Leading Canadian banks are missing a $300 million opportunity.
Alex Sirota, of NewPath Consulting had a look, and well, see for yourself what he thinks.
If you want, you can poke about Recursive’s website to see how we’d approach dealing with that problem and several kinds of (surprisingly) similar problems.
In summary, the manufacture and transport of that one kilogram bottle of Fiji water consumed 26.88 kilograms of water (7.1 gallons) .849 Kilograms of fossil fuel (one litre or .26 gal) and emitted 562 grams of Greenhouse Gases (1.2 pounds).
This is bad, bad, bad. There is some kind of simple personal obligation to act on this information.
So. What does a bottle of pop really cost? What does other stuff cost?
So. I’ve been busy for the last three months. I feel compelled to tell you why. The trouble is that it’s going to take a while. So I’ll start by talking a little bit about the big one.
For the last nine months or so, Recursive has had a team working on a new product that we are calling Raconteur (with a TM). This has been a full time effort, and I think everyone has done a great job on it.
Raconteur originated with an idea a business partner had some time ago, and who in fact, implemented it (the hard way) in a large site for the Manitoba government. [I can't find the link at the moment -- I'll try to remember to get it tomorrow and update this post with it]. The site is entirely in flash (which is probably why you can’t find it using Google). The idea is to profile various careers in Manitoba to help high-school students decide what to do with their lives. Each profile consists a presentation of a structured interview with someone working at some specific job. It would cover things like routines of the workday, what the work place looked like, what it was like to work there, what educational experience would be helpful, and so on. It would tell the story with text, photos, video and audio recordings. It has been very successful and, I think, a very clever use of internet technology.
At Recursive (my company, where I am one of the owners and where I work as a programmer — just making this perfectly clear) we generalised the idea in very important ways. We started from scratch, and, over the last almost-year we moved from a body of software that had to be extensively customised for each use to what we believe to be something that anybody can use. During this time we’ve implemented a number of sites, some similar to Career Destinations, others radically different (e.g. an actor’s portfolio, and a corporate website, as well as the presentation of information normally distributed as paper documents).
Raconteur is named that for a reason. It is a tool that allows a writer to tell a story on the web. It eliminates as much as possible the barriers to a writer doing this, and most importantly, provides tools that support the writer in the effort. The original use of Raconteur was telling a story of a job to a student. Recent uses have been telling stories about working in Canada to prospective immigrants, and to new arrivals. Telling the story of an actor. Telling the story of a company. Telling the story of a software product.
One particularly public site built using Raconteur, is “Raconteur’s product page”:http://www.raconteur.info/ which describes the product in a bit more detail. You can download a trial version for OS/X, Windows, and Linux from that site.
We think this is an important product — both for Recursive and in general. We have attempted to build a tool where the author can write and update a website without help from anybody else. No, this is not a new idea, but it is a different approach and it does actually work. We have let professional writers and people who write as part of their job use the system, on their own with no instruction, and they have been successful. We’ve had the pleasure of getting a few (professional) writers actually giggling at how easy it was.
We’ve got a bunch of improvements we’d like to make over the next weeks, and we’d like some users to give it a shot and let us know what they think. In fact, personally, I’d appreciate it if people would beat it up and let us know what happened.
But what I’d really like, is if somebody finds it useful.
A picture is worth a thousand words and all that, so here’s a 4000 word essay on what the forestry industry is doing in British Columbia, as of whatever the date was when the satellite snapped these. Click through any image to get to the Google Maps bookmark of the same, it’s worth it to move around a bit and get a sheer sense of scale (and see how much more there is to this than what I’ve depicted in these 4 shots.)
I’ve seen clear cuts before. They really are appalling. I’ve also seen century old wood lots. Wonderful things to walk through and explore. Too bad logging can’t stick to the ‘old ways’.
The point here is that google maps are going to provide an unintended service, and in unexpected ways. I’m looking forward to it.
via “ongoing: Forest Practices From Above”:http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2005/04/07/Shea-on-Forestry
Panic developed ‘Audion’ an mp3 player for OS/X. Audion had one major competitor: SoundJam. Audion was generally considered better, but both were pretty good. SoundJam became iTunes. Hmm. Audion hung on for a while. Then came the iPod. This story is nominally the story of Audion. It is also the story of Panic — a successful small company dealing with that success.
It is also a nice example of writing for the web. Click on those links they really add something to the story.