Virtual Knee Surgery App

I am a self-professed geek who loves nothing more than learning more useless information. I also suffer from chronic knee pain as a result of a break whilst taking part in a trampoline experiment in the summer of 2008! When I came across the Virtual Knee Surgery App on the Google Play store on Sunday evening, I could not resist downloading it after all it was free what had I to lose!

The graphics on this app are great, as a senior doctor talks you through everything from reading the x-ray, surgery preparation, and on to the gory details of slitting the skin, hammering and drilling and stitching up when done. A very realistic insight into knee surgery! I found the game very informative; it asked questions to make me understand why each step is done. Not letting the user proceed until they have the correct answer to why an action is done. One of the purposes of this app is to put knee surgery patients minds at ease… another purpose is simply to engage eager minds who want to spend 10 minutes learning some pointless information. The app is free on the Google Play store, and right now I am off to download its sister app Virtual Heart Surgery.

 

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Appy Monday – Blendoku

This is one for anyone who likes puzzles, colours, and a challenge. Blendoku is a free, colour-blending puzzle game by Lonely Few

The game involves sorting colours by shade and colour to fit a grid, seems simple doesn’t it? Don’t worry, Blendoku’s difficulty ranges from simple to master levels, where you must change from one colour to the next through twists and turns on the board, and there are plenty of levels to keep you occupied on those long commutes into work or simply when you’ve got a few minutes to relax. Blendoku is suitable for everyone, from the casual gamer, to kids, to more experienced gamers, and anyone looking to challenge their colour matching skills.

Blendoku features over 475 levels, with a secret negative mode, which provides a new challenge for levels already beaten, a leaderboard and badges for those who can get a perfect score, there are even extra level packs that you can buy for €1.79, each containing 150 more levels, sorted by difficulty.

Check out the official gameplay video here:

Blendoku is available on both the Google play store and the iTunes app store.

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Appy Monday – Hailo

We’ve all struggled to flag down a taxi, at one time or another. St. Patrick’s day, Halloween, or even just a regular Friday night, you can be left standing out on the curb, in the cold, for what seems like an eternity before you manage to commandeer yourself one of those elusive, fluorescent lit chariots. Even ordering one from your own home to head out on the town can be a labour in itself! 

Hailo changes all that. You sign in to the app, with the usual account creation mumbo-jumbo, and it uses wi-fi, gps or your internet connection to not only locate you, but also the closest available taxi to you. 

It gives you an estimated time of arrival, details on the driver, and the ability to select what type of cab you need (whether it be standard or 6-seater, etc.). It even allows you to choose whether to pay in cash, or to set up your account with a credit or debit card. So you can get home, even if you don’t have any money on you! 

It’s fantastically simple to use, free to download, and performs beautifully. No calling, organising, or any fuss. Just flick it on, and within a couple of clicks you’ll have your transport provided in a few short minutes. 

You can’t get home without it! 

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Etsy – The online market place for creative people

Etsy is a marketplace like Amazon or Ebay that cators for the more creative seller, you can buy and sell all things creative, handmade, and vintage on there. Kind of like a giant arts & hobby shop! Etsy is your one stop shop for a unquie gift for any occasion.

Etsy sellers range from hobbyists to professionals, who use the site to make a full time living. Each seller on Etsy has their own shop front which they can promote directly to their target market. Sellers can optimise and promote different products, offer unique discount codes and use the shop lto sell all of their unque products. Buyers can search for different iproducts using the search box on the homepage, or look through the different categories, buyers must have an account with Etsy. The account is free and can be integrated with Facebook to make the sign-in and registration process faster. Etsy charges a small fee to use their service

Sellers have access to Shop Stats – like Google Anaylitics for Etsy Shops. They allow you to see where your shop views are coming from, how many views, the most-viewed items in your shop, and the keywords shoppers use to find your items in Etsy search and other search engines. 

Some of the cool ideas & gifts:

Printable wedding invites €23.30

Customised Cute Birthday Outfit €46.50

Geeky T-Shirt €13.20

Vintage Beads €5.40

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Young Irish Entrepreneurs Spotlight – Focail Iontacha

Young Irish entrepreneur Alex Whelan from County Cork answered a few questions for B*Different on behalf of Focail Iontacha on what appearing on Junior Dragons Den with the board game Focail Iontachahas done for the business.

How was your business doing before appearing on Junior Dragons Den?

Before appearing on JDD our business was only in the early developing stages as we specifically made the business and product for the purpose of entering the competition. Before the show we focused mainly on the creation of the game and the physical product aspect of the business as our aim was to have it ready to present to the dragons.

How has the show helped you?

The show has helped us by providing us with some urgently needed start-up cash and has also acted as a vital source of advertising for our company as many of our customers know us from Dragons’ Den and related events. This has been our primary source of advertisement as we are running on a low budget and so has been essential for us! 

What have you done since the show?

Since the show we have had the game produced and it has gone to market. Our sales are doing well considering our limited marketing and advertisement to date and we have managed to get our game into a popular retailer for school books in Cork City with no mark up. This is a great opportunity for our game as it maximizes potential for profit and makes distribution easier! We have been busy giving demonstrations to schools in our area as well as making influential contacts in Gaeltacht regions. We are continuously looking for new funding ideas and searching for grants to help us with our new business and relieve some of the financial burden! 

What are your plans for the next year?

We plan to re release the game in August/September when the school year is to begin again as this will be prime time to sell to schools and parents who are in search of Irish resources. We hope that our game can feature on The Late Late Toy Show as this would be brilliant advertising for the Christmas market, which will be very busy for us with educational toys back in vogue. We are planning to do a press launch sometime during the summer and we hope to get some celebrity endorsement as we travel around the county to various summer shows and festivals with the game! Over all we hope to reach our target sales of 1000 units so that we can go ahead with the next phase of Focail Iontacha! 

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Appy Monday – MyFitnessPal

Losing weight and getting fit isn’t easy, we all know that. A good diet and willpower are key to success. There’s only one source of willpower, but there are almost too many supposedly “good” diets out there; each telling you they’re the one that’s right for you. 

MyFitnessPal is different. It’s a huge, community driven source of dietary information. It doesn’t pretend to be a miracle cure. Instead, it provides you with nutritional information about the foods you eat and the calories you burn, allowing you to make correct decisions about your eating habits. It educates you.

The app provides you with a recommended calorie intake for the day, based on your physical information, and gradually lowers it as your weight drops. In effect, it’s a calorie counter, and a food diary, but it’s more than that.

You put in your current weight, your goal weight, and then track the food you eat each day, quickly selecting it from an extensive database. You can even scan in barcodes for quick and easy addition to the diary. The calories are reduced from your daily total, showing you what you have left to eat for the day.

You can eat what you want, but if you have a slice of chocolate cake for breakfast, you’d better be prepared to go hungry for the rest of the day!

It’s all about helping you teach yourself good habits. It’s a guide, based on your life, and because you’re the one that’s inputting the information it’s instantly tailored to you. You can create set meals, add your own recipes to the database, and ask others in the community for advice.

The app takes a realistic approach to assisting you in your goals. It knows that each day is different. That you won’t always get the opportunity to eat healthy, or plan your meals. It’s not going to tell you that you have to do 200 push-ups each day, or run 10 miles; it’s not a dictator.

MyFitnessPal provides you with the knowledge you need to help yourself make the correct decisions. Combine this app with any increase in exercise, drink tonnes of water and be patient. Success will come and happiness will follow!

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8 Tips on Promoting Your Event Online

  1.  Plan, who are the audience you want to attend?  What form of social media and digital marketing is best to communicate to them, what event websites reach the target audience?
  2.  Create a Hashtag for the event and promote it everywhere.  Use it on your blog and website.   Encourage your audience to ask questions on Twitter using the hashtag.  Where possible at the event use a big screen or wall where Tweets can be displayed. There is a free tool www.twitterfontana.com, which allows you to do this. 
  3. Update on your blog and on your social media sites about how the planning stage  of  is going, keep the audience interested with stories and pictures.  Engage with your audience and encourage them for feedback and ideas.  Give them a taster or snippet of what to expect. For example during my work in Wolfticket Theatre before the Halloween Showcase we uploaded a video with interview and a snippet of  a rehearsal this created excellent engagement  with a huge amount of shares
  4. If it is a Dublin based event there are event websites that will promote your event for free they are www.dublineventguide.com and www.dublintown.ie.  They have massive traffic and at my previous work for Wolfticket Theatre we found these sites to be an invaluable tool for marketing our event on their site.  It is another useful method of driving traffic to your own site.
  5. Bring a photographer and encourage people to tag themselves on Facebook once they are uploaded online
  6. Be open and ask your audience for feedback online, having this instant feedback is invaluable for key learning’s 
  7. Remember find out what works for the future how did the audience hear about it, what would you do differently? What website suits your audience to promote it
  8. Update your next blog post very soon after using the imagery and photographs from it

 

About The Author: 

Brian Cronin is a marketing professional with over 7 years FMCG experience across various roles. opportunitiesBrian can be found tweeting from @bcronin82 and his linkedin can be found here

opportunitiesWe would highly recommend getting in touch with Brian for any marketing or event planning opportunities you may have.

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Why is my website being outranked by a low quality site?

A question we hear all too often here at B*Different HQ. Why is my page rank 6 homepage being outranked by this old page rank 3 website?  

To start at the beginning too many people look at Page Rank, Domain Authority, Page Authority and even inbound link numbers as the be all and end all of their search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics. All of these are important elements but on their own they mean nothing.

Page Rank is what Google uses to determine the importance of a web page, It was developed at Stanford University by Google founders Larry Page (who it assumed to be named after) and Sergey Brin. Page Rank uses links as votes, and every unique link to a web page from another is counted as a vote in that pages favour.  That should mean that a website with the most links should just rank number one organically shouldn’t it?

Well no… With the evolution of SEO over the years, there has always been black hat SEO’s looking to rank quick and fast by any means possible, Keyword Stuffing, Directory Links, Spam Comments, Link Farms, Link buying and Selling whatever it took they did it.

Google are constantly updating their ranking algorithm to make sure that they serve the user the most relevant content. Over the last two years Google Panda and Google Penguin have been hard at work making sure that these manipulative strategies won’t work, when it comes to ranking.

Google’s ranking algorithms take over 200 ranking factors into consideration and is constantly being refreshed. For all the factors we know about there are 10 others that they keep to themselves.

There is no magic trick to ranking your website at number one in Google, but fresh relevant content that adheres to the Google Webmaster guidelines is the only way in which to do it long term, so next time you get an email offering you the number one spot on google for €99 a month or 500 backlinks for €45 just press delete and save your website and yourself from the stresses of getting knocked out of Google Results.

For a brief look into some of the Ranking Factors we know Google use check out this cool info graphic from the team at Search Engine Land.

”Search

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Social Platform Phlok to create 100 jobs with $600,000 investment

Phlok Helping People Shop Local!

 

Irish owned Social Platform Phlok, are delighted to announce the creation of 100 new jobs over the coming 18 months following investment of $600,000.

With the investment of $600,000 from private and institutional investors, Phlok will be recruiting over 100 new staff in the areas of Software Development, Sales, Training and Account Management over the coming months across the island of Ireland.

Phlok is a unique rewards platform that offers end-users the opportunity to earn virtual currency as they interact with businesses on Phlok. Paul Graham (CEO) said, “Gaining these investors allows us to execute on our vision to assist local businesses to attract consumers back to their main streets.  Phlok’s goal is to connect local businesses with local people incentivising consumers to Shop Local.

 

Having launched just six months ago Phlok has already gained 300 businesses throughout Ireland including shops, restaurants, bars, off licenses, pharmacies, coffee shops, car dealerships, clothes retailers and even clairvoyants. Phlok businesses have already witnessed in excess of €200,000 worth of sales and over 10,000,000 social media impressions occur through Phlok’s innovative platform.

A unique social media concept, Phlok is the new web and smartphone platform that incentivises consumers with virtual currency (Phlok points), collectable and spendable with any business on the Phlok network. Businesses worry less about their social media presence as their customers are promoting them when collecting their Phlok points and consumers gain more than Phlok points, they are exposed to exclusive promotions that local businesses can target them with from time to time. The innovation with Phlok is the ability to collect immense value as a consumer without it costing any individual business more than a few cents. Phlok points accumulate extremely quickly and can become quite addictive, bringing people back to Main Street more often. 

Paul added “We established Phlok to be the key digital incentive platform and become pervasive in the marketplace. Phlok is becoming an additional integral element of the business to business and business to consumer economy.  Our overall aim is to get local customers to transact more often with local business and support an ongoing vibrant community. Phlok makes the term ‘Shop Local’ make sense

The impact that Phlok can have on a business is extremely measurable. Phlok’s Business Control Panel gives simple to use and vital information on the people that have connected with them on the Phlok platform. Not only, can they see who is connected to them, but they get visibiity of key consumer data based on spending habits with the ability to communicate individually or by demographic group when encouraging them to try their service or product.

Phlok is not targeted at a specific demographic, in the past six months statistics have shown a range of user profiles expanding across all ages, professions and geographical areas.Phlok uses virtual currency incentives to make social media easy and profitable for businesses giving consumers a reason to shop local.

To download Phlok, click here

Phlok for business, click here 

To visit the main Phlok website, click here 

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KickStarting 21st Century Patronage with Kickstarter

The greatest artists of history required the financial assistance of the wealthy when they wanted to undertake projects. Fast forward centuries and how do modern-day innovators fund their work? Well, there’s a site for that. That site is the four year old KickStarter. It is the new facilitator in canvassing people for money in backing your proposed project. You create a page with your proposal, the amount you are targeting to collect and date by which you want to collect it by. If visitors to the site have not pledged the complete target amount by your proposed date, then the project is cancelled and the creators receive no money.

The creator who proposed the project retains 100% ownership. Why do people support such projects and initiatives when they do not receive any shareholding in the company themselves? It is quite simple. In most scenarios the pledger may just receive an early copy of the album if they have supported an artist, or a discounted unit of the product if they back an engineer. Sometimes it is products that visitors to the site wish to see created and will gladly support its development in the hope of the product being brought to market. Once such example of this type of project is the Pebble Watch. This watch is the most supported venture ever on the KickStarter site, with the project having over $10,250,000 pledged from 68,928 visitors to the site. This is far greater than the relatively smaller sum of $100,000 that the creators originally targeted to collect.

This new form of crowd sourcing could be the way forward for anyone looking to fund any ideas, but the reach of such sites comes at a cost. Traditionally you may have been able to cross the street if someone was looking for funding, but now they can send you the link anywhere and at anytime. Not only that, but one may also receive a large number of requests from connections in your network that you may not know very well from all over the globe.

There is also the perceived lack of control by site management over what appears on the site and what happens to the money that has been raised. The creator could easily just used the money to go on holidays. There is no assurance that the cash will be used responsibly or efficiently or at all. The site also charges a 5% administration fee, excluding the 3-5% additional charge that Amazon charges to process the money. A 10% collectors fee is still better than the assignment not starting at all due to cash flow difficulties.

With the site’s vices in mind, it is still difficult to ignore the impact it is having and its potential into the future. KickStater claims that over 4.3 million people have pledged over $670 million, but we don’t know what proportion of this figure has been passed onto project creators.

Also striking is the power of the cumulative help of modern day patrons. Similar to Obama’s election fundraising strategy, it may be more beneficial to have many smaller donators rather than a limited number of larger givers.

So it’s the working class helping first time artists and developers? Well, not in all cases. For example Zach Braff , star of the hit TV sitcom Scrubs, raised over $3.1 million dollars for his film “Wish I was Here”. Braff has an estimated net worth of $22 million so it really proves that the site is open to all. Celebrities like Braff, and others with large social media following, can really effectively raise money.

With Braff passionately supporting  KickStarter, and with other well-known faces almost certain to utilize the sites tools in the future, it would appear that the sites success and popularity is only set to rise. So why don’t you post that project that you’ve always wanted to complete but never had the support of the cash? If you do, please send us on a link so we can help you in your efforts. 

About The Author: 

Shane McCarthy Business Information Systems student in University College Cork. 

Shane can be found tweeting from @TechShane and is always open to chats about business and technology! 

Check out his Webasite, Twitter and linkedin

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Part 3: A Need to BDifferent – Claremorris Colts RFC

As the season entered the home straight we were about to have our biggest moment as a club to date. Firstly our girls were chosen as the Connacht representative to attend the Aviva mini rugby festival in Ashbourne, Co. Meath. In a truly magical day our girls were fantastic in the way they conducted themselves on and off the pitch. Then in early April our secretary got a letter to say we were one of three nominations for Connacht rugby club of the year for the 2011/12 season.

To say we were shocked was an understatement, however although we were nominated we really didn’t think we would win as other nominees Connemara RFC & Loughrea RFC were more established than us and surely in our view in with a better chance of winning.

A wedding on the same night meant I was unable to attend the black tie affair in the Connemara Coast Hotel however when the phone rang at approx 11pm I knew from the crackling voice on the other end we had done it. Connacht rugby club of the year in our third season WOW!

As the season wound down things got even busier for us in the committee room. Recently we acquired 5 acres of land in town and we knew we had to put a plan together to fund the development of the grounds.  George Hook agreed to broadcast his Newstalk show the Right Hook live from the McWilliam Park hotel Claremorris. We then held the launch of our pitch development fundraiser that night in the McWilliam. The following day we planned a scrum clinic for local coaches,  truly was a rugby first for the West of Ireland.

So the Newstalk crew rolled into Claremorris on the Friday afternoon with George all set to do his thing. Club chairman Fergal Leonard and yours truly even got 10 minutes on air with the gregarious broadcaster to help spread the rugby gospel country wide.

It didn’t stop there however as later that night came the launch of the ‘Buy a Sod’ campaign. The draw was launched by a who’s who of the rugby world including, George Hook , ex Irish international Jim Glennon, current Connacht captain and Mayo man Gavin Duffy, world renowned scrum coach the great Roly Meates and ex Connacht, Munster and Wasps man Peter Bracken. The idea of the night was to boost the profile locally and help generate some sales. As the night went on the four post squares were auctioned off to crowd who had assembled.  The auctioneer for the night was Jim Glennon who judging by his performance certainly has a backup career if he ever gives up the day job. It was a fantastic night for all involved with the club.

The club also received a huge surprise on the night when local women Liz Killeen presented the club with an Ireland jersey signed by the grand slam winning squad of 2009 on behalf or her cousin John ‘The Bull’ Hayes who could not attend on the night, but promised to give the Claremorris Colts ‘New Field’ the once over once it was up and running.

The fun didn’t stop there as the Mayo club had an even bigger day planned for Saturday. We organised a Scrum Clinic and invited every club in Connacht to send their youth rugby coaches along to the clinic and hear the rugby bible according to Roly Meates. We also organised a Family Day and invited all locals to come and watch the scrum clinic and enjoy the activities such as bouncy castles, face painting, a BBQ and many others.

There was a fantastic turnout with over 70 coaches from across Connacht learning from Roly Meates, George Hook and Peter Bracken. Roly Meates gave a master class in how to coach the scrum and I can certainly say that every coach learned something new from the great man. There were also an army of parents and helpers on hand to ensure everything ran smoothly on the day and more importantly everybody got fed and watered. This was a truly magical rugby weekend from a fledging club and we now plan to build on this success and know we must continue to grow if Claremorris RFC are to have a home of their own in the very near future.

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Appy Monday – SwiftKey Keyboard

This week I downloaded the SwiftKey Keyboard as it was half price (€1.99) in the Google Play store. For a long time I have had issues using the standard issue keyboard on my Samsung Galaxy. Many people have texted me back acknowledging my badly predicted words, mixed up spelling and general confusion of my seemingly encrypted messages. According to the reviews on the Google Play store Swiftkey Keyboard was going to be the answer to my problems.

SwiftKey is currently the Google Play Editors’ Choice app and number one in the paid app category. What makes this keyboard different from the many others available is the apps capability of understanding not just the patterns in your typing style, but also how different words work together. Swiftkey Keyboard is weirdly accurate at predicting the next word in your sentences giving you a choice of three words on top of the keyboard to save you typing it out. The more you use Swiftkey the more accurate it gets learning from your use of words in email, texts and social media.

One of the best features of the Swiftkey app is its Flow technology, flow allows you to input words by holding your finger down and dragging it along the screen like swype. Flow allows you to continue typing even inputting spaces so you can type multiple words with out lifting your finger from the screen, this can be tricky at first but after a while you will gain some speed and will be sending your messages as quick, but more accurately than ever.

I was so happy with this app, that i actually just typed this blog post using it! You can download SwiftKey from Google Play Store Here

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