Inside PR 446: Let’s talk about podcasting on the verge

Is podcasting on the verge of tipping from a creator-driven medium to an advertiser-driven channel? UNU predicts the trends. Microsoft gets LinkedIn. And crises bring out the best in both social and mainstream media. Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley tackle these topics and more in this week’s Inside PR podcast.


Midroll acquires Stitcher

A big deal by podcasting standards. Podcast advertising broker Midroll has acquired Stitcher. I think that independent podcasters have reason to worry that, if successful, Midroll/Stitcher will do to podcasting what Facebook did to the open Web. Martin and Gini are still making up their minds about this. Whatever your view, if you care about podcasting, this is an #IPRMustKnow.

Who knew UNU?

UNU is a site that uses the wisdom of the crowd to answer questions and predict trends. Very 2008.

Microsoft acquires LinkedIn

The news that Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn broke just before we recorded this episode. So here you get our first impressions of the potential benefits and downsides of Microsoft’s integration of LinkedIn with its Office suite.

Crisis brings out the best in us

Finally, in the wake of the Orlando shootings, we reflect on the current state of crisis communications, how news flows through social media and the important role of mainstream media to establish context, discern authoritative, credible witness testimony and curate the reports from social media.


This article is cross-posted on Inside PR.

Goodbye Mouse. Hello Touchpad.

I love technology. Not so much that I crave every new shiny object. But I do love to get new things that make my life easier or extend my reach.

While I love learning and mastering new things, I know that not everybody is like me. As a business owner, I have to be pragmatic in what technologies I introduce into our workplace. I have to respect those people who would rather keep working with something that does the job just fine than spend time learning a new way of working for what might turn out to be a marginal improvement in productivity or capability.

And that brings me to Windows 8. On one hand, I see the promise of the first major upgrade in the  personal computer interface since Windows 95. On the other hand, I am concerned that the effort to learn a new user interface will far outweigh its potential benefits. So I’m going to make myself the test dummy for Windows 8 at Thornley Fallis and 76design.

I’ve ordered an initial Windows 8 notebook computer to test Microsoft’s new operating system. It’s a Dell XPS 13, a truly sweet Ultra book. I’ve been using one of these systems with Windows 7 since last spring and it’s the best notebook I’ve ever owned. Thin. Light. Capable. So it’s a natural platform for my first test of Windows 8.

From what I’ve read, Windows 8 is a much different experience. It’s built so that I can navigate using gestures on a touchscreen. That works when I have the notebook sitting on my lap. But when I’m at my desk, that just doesn’t work for me. My notebook is hooked up to a larger second screen and it sits behind a wireless keyboard. A surefire recipe for back trouble if I’m constantly reaching across the keyboard to touch the screen.

I want to replicate the touchscreen gestures on my desktop, without the need to lean forward to reach my computer screen.

So, it’s goodbye traditional mouse. Hello touchpad.

In anticipation of the launch of Windows 8, I ordered one of Logitech’s brand-new T650 Touchpads. This touchpad promises to let me use all of the gestures I would use on the screen itself, but on a glass trackpad sitting on my desk beside my keyboard where the mouse traditionally would be.

It arrived this morning.  And within only a few hours of use, I realized that I will never go back to a traditional mouse. Even on my current system operating Windows 7 it makes everything on the computer easier. Scrolling. Selecting text. Switching between programs. It’s all just so much more fluid using the touchpad. Even if I ultimately don’t move over the Windows 8, Microsoft has done me (and Logitech) a huge favour by prompting me to look for a modern alternative to the mouse.

What about you? Do you still use a mouse? Have you tried a touchpad? What do you think of each?

Windows 7 Review. There's a lot to like.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know that I endured a serious case of #VistaFail. Microsoft Windows Vista began to install a service pack on my notebook – and then it crashed. And it kept crashing. Ultimately, I was forced to reinstall the operating system, losing data in the process. (This happened while I was on the road and unable to back up my data.) Then, the ultimate insult. The morning after I got my computer up and running, as I was shutting it down to leave my hotel room, I received another unasked-for message that Windows was installing updates. Not just one update, but 32 updates. And, as always, the helpful onscreen message warned me not to shut down my machine.

windows7Enough is enough. Happily, this last #VistaFail occurred on the morning of October 22 – the day that Windows 7 went on sale. So, I took myself off to the nearest Future Shop and bought two copies of Windows 7 – one for my notebook and one for my desktop (Did I mention that my desktop also was struggling to install the same set of patches?)

So, now I’ve been living with Windows 7 for several days. And I’d like to share what I think of it.

The Good

Wow. I love the new Task Bar. The Windows 7 version of the Task Bar allows me to pin to it the programs that I use most frequently. And instead of individual icons for each open document, I see only the program icons. If I want to see individual documents, I only have to hover my cursor over the program icon in the taskbar. A popup window appears above the icon showing miniature versions of each open document. Hover over a miniature version and it appears full size on your display. Click on it and it opens for editing. With the new Windows 7 Taskbar, all my favourite programs and open documents are right there where I can see them.


Windows 7 is fast. Much faster than Vista. This shows up when I boot up. But it is much more dramatic when I open programs like iTunes. With Vista, it could take as much as a minute when I plugged my iPhone into my PC before iTunes opened. With Vista, it now takes less than 5 seconds. Goodbye time wasted waiting for tasks to complete.

Finding files and programs. Windows 7 search function is vastly improved over earlier versions of Windows. Want to change opening folders and files to single click from double click, but you can’t find the right place to do this in Control Panel?  Simply search the term “single click” in the Start button search and you’ll be provided with a link directly to the Folder Options screen in which you can make this change.


Even better, Windows 7 makes it much more simple to find files spread across folders on your hard disk and on external hard drives. They’ve added “libraries”‘ of your documents, music, pictures and videos. What’s the difference between a library and a folder? A library will display documents, pictures, music or vidoes that you have saved anywhere on your computer. Want to add the contents of an external hard disk to be displayed in your libraries?  You can easily add a folder to a library from a drop down menu in the folder. Find your files easily regardless of where you stored them.


Home Networking is made easy with Windows 7. A new feature, HomeGroup, enables any user to set up a home network to share folders, files and printers with other users. A very nice, overdue feature.


The Not So Good

I discovered that I couldn’t do a simple upgrade from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Professional. I had to do a much more time consuming clean install of Windows 7. More time consuming because I had to restore all my drivers and reinstall all my applications. That was a full day lost. I can’t understand why a simple upgrade from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Professional isn’t possible. The only advertised differences between Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate is that the latter offers Bitlocker data encryption and the ability to switch between 35 languages. I don’t need either of those features. So, I purchased Windows 7 Professional. It wasn’t until I had the disk in my computer hard drive that I received a message that I couldn’t upgrade from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Professional. My first #Windows7Fail. Another Microsoft “Gotcha.”

Once I’d installed Windows 7, it turned out that Windows 7 drivers are not yet available for each of my Dell computers. The Dell download site offered Windows 7 drivers for my enterprise-class Latitude E 6400. However, it did not yet have Windows 7 downloads for my Vostro 400 desktop. Given that the Vostro line is targeted at small businesses that don’t have dedicated IT departments, that was disappointing. Hopefully, Dell soon will offer drivers for the entire Vostro line.

Home networking. My home computer is on my office domain. And Windows 7 won’t allow me to set up a home network with other users in my family. Instead, I’ll have to ask my son or daughter to  so that I can access files and printers remotely.

The Bottom Line

If Windows Vista is your current operating system, run, don’t walk, to your nearest store and get a copy of Windows 7. If you’re still using Windows XP, I think that you’ll find the user experience of Windows 7 more than justifies the upgrade.

Bonus Tip

The experience of using Windows 7 is quite different from Windows XP and Vista. You can start using it straight out of the box and discover new features serendipitously. But you don’t need to do this. Microsoft offers an outstanding set of introductory videos. I found several particlarly helpful, especially

Getting Started for tips on how to use the new Taskbar, the “jumplists” of recently or frequently opened files, and how to easily arranged windows to take all or half of your display space.

Find your files for tips on how to use Libraries and Search to quickly find files and programs.

Sharing files with HomeGroup to see how easy it is to set up a home network and share files and printers.

What’s your experience with Windows 7?

Are you using Windows 7? What’s your experience with it? Are there features you’re finding useful? Are you encountering problems? Share your experience by leaving a comment.

Hasta la Vista. It's Windows 7 or Nothing


Windows Vista can do that? Well it can’t give me a consistently reliable operating system.

That’s it. I’m fed up. I will buy no more PCs for Thornley Fallis or 76design until Windows 7 is introduced. (Listen closely and you’ll hear the roar of approval from all my fed up with Vista computer users.)

Since Microsoft introduced Vista, I swam against the current and purchased Vista Ultimate for all of the desktops in our company. But that’s it. Finis. Over. Done.

I’m prepared to call a dud a dud. And Windows Vista is the dud to end all duds!

I will not buy another new PC until Microsoft spits out Windows 7.

So, Friends at Dell, please tell MSFT to hurry it up.

No Windows 7. No new PC orders from Thornley Fallis or 76design.