If you’re an IT company (or as the Americans call it, a MSP, Managed Service Provider) you would’ve heard of Autotask – they provide software that includes a CRM, service desk, contract, scheduling – pretty much everything you need to run your IT business. We already extensively use the Autotask API with our Autotask-Xero connector.
I was invited last year to Arizona to speak at their conference, and this year I’m running a two hour workshop on the Tuesday of the conference around the Autotask API, and what it’s capable of.
The workshop will be broken into two parts – the first part being a business overview of what benefits the API can bring, the second will be a more in-depth technical demonstration, where we will actually connect to the API, and push/pull data live from Autotask.
If you’re planning on heading over, please message me on twitter.
As a punter, I don’t like any surcharges, and a quick search of Twitter seems I’m not alone:
I just don't understand cafe surcharges. Just at Rosie in Parnell and the place is full. Is that not enough? #surcharge #AucklandThe bottom line is that being open on a public holiday is more expensive. All your staff that are working on one of their normal days not only get time and a half but also a day in lieu (if it’s not one of the days they normally work, they don’t get the day in lieu). The decision for a business owner is whether to pass this directly onto customers through a surcharge.
— Aidan Cunningham (@aidocunn) April 17, 2014
At Tuihana Cafe we don’t. While I haven’t done any hard research to see if this resonates well with our customers, a quick look at the Google Analytics for our website, it seems it is a popular search term on a public holiday:
We experienced five times our normal traffic volumes on Good Friday (Apr 18), with another slight increase on Easter Sunday – Sunday isn’t a public holiday, however most people think it is (the actual holiday is the Monday).
The biggest referrer of traffic to our cafe website over the weekend? No Surcharge, a site that lists all the businesses that are surcharge free on public holidays.
It seems the cafes in nearby Kingsland have already got the message:
Almost every cafe in Kingsland has "No Surcharge" in their window today. A victory for the free market?From a tech perspective it does seem that having no surcharge is a big drawcard for customers.
— JeremyGreenbrookHeld (@JGreenbrookHeld) April 21, 2014
Yesterday I was invited down to Queen St for a special promotion for Monteiths. As well as an impressive outdoor hunting ground they’d setup opposite Britomart, we were given four different sample meals to taste made by well-known chef Sean Connolly (the chef behind The Grill at Sky City).
Monteith’s is trying to promote its beers and ciders, and especially with the ciders, show how a cider can be paired with a meat (in this case, the venison sausage).
From a more relevant technology viewpoint, they are launching a mobile app, which…
“uses augmented reality to give punters the opportunity to ‘hunt’ duck, stag, lamb and beef, everywhere from their local bar to their office. By hunting a full meat pack you go into the draw to win one of hundreds of premium Gourmet Direct meat packs for the BBQ.
The app is available now and free to download via the App Store for I-phone or Google Play for Android. All you'll need to get started is a smartphone, a steady hand and a good appetite.”
It’s quite a fun game to play, and will get you some strange looks, as from a distance it appears like you’re frantically taking photos and spinning around in a circle. On the iPhone the flash goes off, Android users are thankfully spared this.
In a complete coincidence, this app was also developed by Rush Media, the clever guys behind the longest tennis court in the world (see the post below).
This morning, as a guest of ASB Bank, I headed down to the ASB Tennis Arena in Parnell to play on what they’ve called “the longest tennis court in the world” (Guinness World Records pending).
The brain child of Saatchi & Saatchi, the system is a brilliant mix of live action and technology. Standing on a tennis court in Parnell, the player can see the other half of the court, at Wilding Park in Christchurch, on a large video projection screen (the whole setup is duplicated in Christchurch).
When the serve is made, the large gantry over the net tracks a whole stack of metrics about the tennis ball in flight – this information is then beamed to Christchurch, where a ball serving machine replicates it there. When the Christchurch player returns the serve, the process is repeated but in reverse, allowing the two players to play each other, even though they are in two completely separate locations.
There is a net in front of the screen to catch the tennis balls (above) and four cameras located in the gantry track the ball as it passes underneath (below left) and the two ball serving machines (below right), which were imported from the USA and modified for this application.
Back of the large projection screen from Oceania (below)
Screenshot of the custom software in action (below) from Rush Digital
Gantry setup, up close (below)
My thanks to ASB for the invitation, and to Danu Abeysuriya, CEO of Rush Digital Interactive, for giving me a tour of all the cool tech that they’re using.
A few weeks back I was invited along to the Asus launch at the Novotel Hotel Ellerslie to see Asus’ new offerings. They had your standard tablets and laptops that nearly all the manufacturers are pumping out at the moment. I had the impression that Asus didn’t really know what was going to take off next, so they were hedging their bets by having product offerings in just about every category imaginable (the 18.4” ASUS Transformer AiO P1801 tablet/desktop running both Android and Windows 8 deserves a mention).
The Asus Taichi was the product that stuck out the most to me. It is a hybrid of notebook and tablet. Open it up and it’s your standard 11.6” notebook; close the lid and it becomes a tablet. In notebook mode, you can turn on mirror mode, so the lid mirrors what’s on the screen. The practical application of this is you could show a Powerpoint presentation to someone sitting opposite you – they would see the slides, and you could see presenter mode.
This was the one feature I was most excited about, however there is a small issue I hadn’t thought about: it would be rare for you to use the notebook with the screen set completely vertical, but you need to do this for the other person to be able to easily see their screen. Angling the screen to either yourself or your partner puts the other person at a disadvantage.
If this one feature isn’t a biggie, this is a great combo. It has a good form factor, isn’t that heavy and is well spec’d with Intel Core i7-3517U, 4GB of RAM and 256GB SSD hard-drive.
If I was being picky, it could be a little lighter, it’s too thick when closed as a tablet, and the laptop screen should be touch screen as well (it gets annoying when you’re used to the touch screen tablet, and the laptop screen isn’t). Having two touch screens on this device would increase it’s weight, thickness and price, so I can understand why these decisions were made.
All in all, a good device, and perfect if you can’t decide whether to buy a notebook or tablet. With this, you can easily have both.