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Good Thinking

The Future of Work?

December 12, 2005
The Future of Work?

As companies become accustomed to seamless global telecommunications , we will eventually see companies with thousands of employees and no central office. Indeed we may even see a companies with no employees at all - just electronically-connected freelancers who live and work wherever they want across the globe. Imagine that this freedom allows people to get more of what they want out of life - money, engaging work, or time with their families. It’s not for everyone, but it is certainly the future for the likes of many Gizmag readers and our writers – the early adopters of the world. The Greater Richmond Technology Council, in partnership with Sprint, is exploring this topic in depth at TechSummit 2005, to be held on December 15 at the Richmond Marriott. TechSummit 2005 will look at the strategies, tools and applications being used successfully - nationally and locally - to change the definition of "work" and "office". One of the highlights of the event will be a keynote address by Thomas H. Davenport entitled "Thinking For A Living," designed to ask and answer the question "How can you tell whether your employees are working when their job is to think?" Mr. Davenport, a nationally recognized management expert, speaker and author, is listed by Consulting magazine as one of the nation's top 25 consultants. His most recent book, "Thinking For A Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers" was named one of Fortune's top three books of 2003. He holds the President's Chair in Information Technology and Management at Babson College in Massachussetts, and is an Accenture Fellow.  Read More

NetFlix Type ''Borrow and Return'' Retail concept

December 10, 2005 Business models morph, mimic and evolve at a rapid rate these days, which is just one of the reasons we love the borrow-and-return fashion retailing concept borrowed from NetFlix DVD rental system. Fashionable handbags cost a lot of money and given that most women would prefer to never to be seen with the same bag twice, the rental concept makes sense. Internet-based Frombagstoriches is finding enormous success with the model of 'borrowing or renting' designer handbags. This designer emporium will let anyone borrow a purse by the week, month or longer and then exchange it for another, making it a NetFlix for handbag addicts. It's the ultimate endless stream of pristine Designer handbags delivered right to your door. Now, America has enough shoe-addicted women to drive a shoe rental service, and maybe jewellery rental too and at a stretch we might one day see watch rental for men?  Read More

Hitwise announces Search Intelligence V 3.0 Keyword Research Tool

December 8, 2005 According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) internet advertising is growing at an increasing rate (33% this year compared to last), with search marketing maintaining its 40% share of the gargantuan marketplace. So if you’re going to spend money, make sure you’re doing it intelligently. Online competitive intelligence service Hitwise has announced the release of Search Intelligence Version 3.0, an update to its suite of search marketing tools. Version 3.0 brings online marketers industry-first keyword research to help them instantly identify new search terms that have proven to be successful in attracting customers to competitors' websites.  Read More

Building a better exhaust jack

December 5, 2005 Innovative off road accessory company Bushranger won a major accolade for its X Jack exhaust-operated car jack at the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas winning the Best New Exterior Accessory Product award. Exhuast-operated jacks have been around since the off-road market first boomed in the 1970s, but got a bad reputation in the early years for being puncture-prone on the underside of the vehicle and lacking in stability on surfaces such as sand, mud and loose gravel. The X Jack features a triple layer lifting surface for better durability, a hard core insert and a base with spiked feet for greater stability but the clincher which makes it an infinitely better mousetrap is the dual inflation system. Exhaust systems can be damaged which makes them difficult or impossible to use for the inflation, and sometimes they may be buried rendering them equally useless. By utilising either the vehicle’s exhaust or a portable 12 Volt compressor, the X Jack solves several of the problems associated with exhaust jacks.  Read More

Wanted: problems requiring technological solutions

November 30, 2005 A new Channel 4 (UK) television reality show will soon be taking on some of life’s most persistent irritations by employing some ingenious engineering and science to help members of the public. “Men in White” involves three maverick PHD students who will tackle these challenges by building gadgets and inventions to solve the public's dilemmas, aiming to make science, technology and engineering more accessible to the general viewing public but most of all to make it cool! The age-old issue of unwanted parking tickets and car clamping is one of the problems that the Men in White have already started on, and some others under consideration include a silent hairdryer, a prosthetic limb that can power a phone or ipod charger and a personal airbag for a novice snowboarder. There’s even the suggestion of building a handy gadget to tell you when your girlfriend has PMT!So here’s your big chance – the show is seeking ideas for gadgets. Read on for details on how to get involved.  Read More

Levitating office chair for heavy hitters

November 19, 2005 There’s a time and a place to feel confident and on top of the game, and sometimes the things around us can help us feel grounded, comfortable and empowered. When you’re next in your office and doing serious business, imagine yourself seated on this comic-book inspired throne – the chair weighs lots, but thanks to a having a hovercraft style levitation system, the 200 pound chair can be moved around to suit your moods. The objective behind Marijn van der Poll's “Chairman” was to “give today’s CEO the ultimate corporate seating object with special powers.” And that’s when you’re sitting still. When you turn on the seat, you can take full advantage of the weightlessness to ride around the room – it’s your own personal amusement park ride too. Watch the video here.  Read More

The PowerSquid: a better powerboard

November 19, 2005 Controlling the under-the-desk clutter is a problem now that so many objects require a power supply. and that's where the PowerSquid design is such a fundamental breakthrough. How many times have you cursed at one of the power-boards that live under your desk? Power-boards or power-strips were at first a GodSend when they were invented, but as a species, they have never really evolved much and until now have remained quite basic in their design. The Flexity PowerSquid Surge Protector, the latest product from the inventors of the PowerSquid, offers the logical next step in the evolution of the power strip and anyone who has ever covered up two outlets on their power-board with a power transformer will understand the advantages. The cephalopod design incorporates flexible arms for the female outlets which can easily accommodate transformer plugs without wasting any outlets, provide greater reach and flexibility, and they’re easier to plug and unplug than traditional power boards. Now it has a new sibling with a built-in surge protector – we think this is a better mousetrap, conceived by stepping outside the box-like approach of all of its predecessors. It has reinvented the moribund power delivery category for modern, mobile lifestyles. Now, what should a third generation power delivery device offer?  Read More

Landmark housing design for near-water dwellers

October 30, 2005 The 'Landmark Houses' programme was envisioned specifically for the site at Lower Mill Estate, in the Cotswold Water Park in the UK and has invited a wide variety of architects – both an older generation at the peak of their inventiveness, but still in wonder at the world out there, and a younger generation in the process of re-invention as they gather a second breath - and asked each one to speculate on the architectural poetics and ecological considerations for the design of a 'landmark house' within the context of a waterpark. Follow the links not just to eight stunningly original designs, but the floorplans as well. Inspirational for near-water dwellers.  Read More

Human Performance Management Software

October 29, 2005 We have a dashboard on our car which reads the vital data continuously, and we get hourly, daily, weekly or monthly reports on our investments and companies, yet the workplace is still largely devoid of effective, monitorable indicators of human performance. Edolution Software’s flagship product ePerformance Guide software is a feature rich product that is inclusive of three main modules: Employee Performance Appraisal, 360 Degree Feedback and eSurvey, an online survey tool. EPG allows employers and employees to communicate and implement the review process in an efficient and expedient manner necessary to be competitive in the 21st Century. EPG supports SMART methodology (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Framed) setting cascading objectives, allowing multiple action items and target dates for each objective and success factors to align employee’s goals and objectives with corporate goals and strategies. EPG provides master libraries of objectives and success factors with a powerful search engine that also allows clients to create their own searchable custom libraries at both corporate and employee levels. The use and reuse of these libraries fosters a superior knowledge of expectations by encouraging common terminology and reduces the amount of time reentering data while increasing productivity.  Read More

ZORK NOT CORK – it was only a matter of time

October 29, 2005 Wine has been one of man’s greatest pleasures over the last 10,000 years, having played a prominent role in the Phoenicean, Greek, Egyptian and Roman civilisations with the latter responsible for beginning all of the major European wine producing regions, not to mention the wine barrel, the wine bottle and the basis of the current wine appellation system. For the first few thousand years, the bitterness of wine spoilage was overcome by flavouring the wines, and many different methods have been used to prevent spoilage, such as topping wine containers with olive oil, leather tied with vine, clay stoppers, oily rag closures and most successfully, cork. But cork is inconsistent and still has an unacceptable spoilage factor and ever since French microbiologist Louis Pasteur discovered wine spoilage was caused by microorganisms, the search has been on for the ideal closure system. More than a century later, around 10% of the 15 billion wines bottled each year with cork are spoiled. The screw cap has begun capturing market share in recent years but still labours under a downmarket stigma. Now another system looks set to make its mark. Many people believe the unusually named ZORK is the greatest advancement to winemaking since the treading of the first grapes. ZORK manufactures soft re-sealable wine closures that replicate the performance of a screw cap, but pop like a cork, all without the need for a corkscrew. Adding yet another aspect to the enjoyment of wine, it also effectively reseals the bottle.  Read More

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