Google+ adds an API for apps – but study suggests 40% fall in use

“Programmers will be able to write third-party apps that hook into search engine’s new social service, just as outside study suggests rapid fall in usage over part month

Google+ has launched an API that should allow developers to write third-party apps that will be able to post and read directly to the service – a move that may be sorely needed, after an independent study suggested that the number of posts to the service has fallen by over 40% in the past two months.

However Dave Winer, a strong advocate of systems that interoperate, was dismissive about the API: “Google doesn’t get it“, he wrote:

They need an API with one call, one that posts a tweet to their service. So people can hook up Twitter clients to Google-Plus, so the hundred million active Twitter users can post to Google-Plus from the comfort of whatever tools they depend on.

Of course it isn’t the hundred million that they need, it’s the hundred thousand who do all the work on Twitter. The ones that can’t be bothered with a service that doesn’t have basic rudimentary API support.”

Read the Guardian article in full -> here

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Schools prevented from becoming academies by bank fears over PFI deals

 

“Michael Gove may have to rewrite legislation for his education flagship policy after 16 schools have their plans put on hold

The government’s flagship programme to convert hundreds of schools to academies has been delayed after banks refused to sign private finance contracts.

At least 16 schools that were due to leave local authority control at the start of this term have been put on hold after banks questioned whether councils would still be liable for PFI repayments.

Councils have been forced to step in to run the schools while the problems are resolved. Teachers have been transferred back to local authority payrolls and the disbanded governing bodies reformed.

The delay could hit dozens more schools that were rebuilt under PFI schemes, and the government is calling in lawyers to reassure the banks. Ministers could be forced to rewrite legislation, which was fast-tracked in the weeks after the coalition was formed, to clarify the situation.”

Read the article by Polly Curtis and Jeevan Vasagar -> here

 

 

 

Business Apps

I absolutely love my iPad and often get asked about how effective it actually is as business tool – here’s my answer… the iPad is like any technology tool it can be very useful but it takes time & patience to find how what best suits you and your industry. I have jotted down some of the apps that I find most useful at the moment – but I must confess that I am fairly fickle and do have regular ‘clear outs’ of apps once I find something better. I’m also interested in finding out which apps you use for business – so please let us know using the ‘comments’ section below and we’ll add them to our list.

Name    £ Description

lino

free

Online ‘stickies’ service for making notes; easy to use and linked to email so reminders are sent to your email account. There are no limits to the number of ‘stickies’ or  noticeboards you can set up – so you can set up different noticeboards for different projects easily and colour code them. Can upload docs, images and web links to the ‘stickies’ – a bit similar to Infinote.

Prezi viewer

free

Used to view prezi presentations (www.prezi.com); can drag to pan and zoom in / out of topics during meetings and add in additional notes, comments. I never use ppt now as Prezi has the wow factor in presentations – syncs with the desktop version, enabling presentations to be created & viewed on both

Pages

£5.99

Word processing app – multi touch gestures for creating letters, reports, project plans, etc. Inserting images, tables and text has never been so easy. Once downloaded a tutorial guide is provided which shows you how to use the application fully.

Numbers

£5.99

Spreadsheet app – can be a bit tricky to start with but the tutorial guide covers all the key points.

Keynote

£5.99

Presentation app and can be connected to a projector to deliver presentation to bigger groups – much slicker than powerpoint and again a tutorial guide is provided.

Infinote

free

Another note taking app which is best used during brain storming activities – you can have multiple noteboards, can print from your iPad and has search functionality too.

Flipboard

free

Social media in a magazine layout which makes it easy to read all feeds from my Twitter, facebook, Google Reader and Flickr accounts – highly recommended

Memeo ConnectReader

?

Syncs with Google Docs and can be used to import from Google Docs to Pages, Numbers & Keynote – some duplicate functionality withDropbox but I use both

Adobe PhotoShop Express

free

Used to edit and share photos – particularly useful when illustrating projects to clients

iTranslate

free

Universal translator for the iPad

Good Reader

£2.99

PDF reader for iPad – can be synched with Dropbox and be used to ‘read’ books, movies, maps & pictures

Dragon Dictation

free

Easy to use voice recognition app can be used to send voice notes / reminders to yourself / make notes from meetings and update Twitter etc. Works well but you need to talk clearly and needs wifi to work

WordPress

free

Used to update company wordpress blog – moderate comments, create / edit posts and pages

Invoice2go

Free (Lite)

20 built-in invoice styles, can be used to create / email invoices, keep track of payments owing & made and even calculates totals and tax. Need the full version (£8.99) to be able to add your own company logo to the invoices. It also produces an interesting range of useful reports / graphical displays.

Word Web

free

English dictionary and thesaurus

Doceri Remote

free

Needs wifi! Can launch, present and annotate any document / presentation or web page. Need to download the desktop Doceri onto the pc you wish to ‘control’ – at present the desktop Doceri is free

Stanza

free

e-reader app used to purchase and read e-books

TripAdvisor

free

Travel review app – used to find reviews for hotels, flights and restaurants. Very easy to use

Year Calendar

?

All – in – one year planner which syncs with built-in iPad calendar. Lots of icons and colours can be used to plan events easily

LinkedIn

free

This is an iphone app as yet there isn’t an iPad app for LinkedIn however you can still access discussions, send messages and edit you profile easily

Dropbox

free

Free cloud storage service which syncs files between iPad and pc – folders can be shared with others. Email attachments can be saved straight to Dropbox and you can always have access to the files

Twitbird

free

There are LOADS of iPad apps for Twitter – it’s down to personal preference and I do change apps based on functionality – at the moment this is the one I prefer

Big increase in apprenticeships due to ‘striking rise’ in trainees over 25

“Research shows apprentices over 25 up from 36,000 to 121,000, but Labour says coalition is failing to focus on key skills

The analysis reveals a 10% increase in teenage apprentices this year, compared with the academic year which started in September 2009. Teenage apprentices rose from 93,700 to 102,900. There was a 21% rise in apprentices aged 19-24, from 85,100 to 102,800. But the number of apprentices aged over 25 nearly quadrupled, from 36,300 to 121,100. Youth unemployment hit record levels earlier this year, and latest figures show around 917,000 people aged 16-24 are out of work. The research, commissioned by Labour, shows that the biggest increases in apprenticeships are in health and social care and retail.

Gordon Marsden, shadow further education and skills minister, said: “For all the government’s warm words on apprenticeships, these statistics show they haven’t got to grips with the task of supporting business and creating an environment in which quality, long-term apprenticeships can flourish and support economic growth.”

The latest statistics, from the National Apprenticeship Service, show almost 90,000 employers offer apprenticeships to 491,300 workers in England. Companies hiring the most include BT, Capita Group, Tesco and McDonald’s.”

Read the article in full by Jeevan Vasagar & Jessica Shepherd by clicking here

Our View: While it is always good to see opportunities increased for people to gain qualifications whilst they are earning,  it is disappointing to see that apprenticeships lasting more than a year are decreasing. We wonder about the quality (and level) of any qualifications which last less than a year and the potential impact they will have on the apprentices’ future. Are businesses being provided with the appropriate support and guidance to ensure that apprentices actually have the real chance to future their chosen career and not just be used as ‘cheap labour’? What’s your view / experience of apprenticeships? Good, bad or indifferent – we’re interested in what you have to say…..

iPads for business use … what do you use?

I absolutely love my iPad and often get asked about how effective it actually is as business tool – here’s my answer… the iPad is like any technology tool it can be very useful but it takes time & patience to find how what best suits you and your industry. I have jotted down some of the apps that I find most useful at the moment – but I must confess that I am fairly fickle and do have regular ‘clear outs’ of apps once I find something better. I’m also interested in finding out which apps you use for business – so please let us know using the ‘comments’ section below and we’ll add them to our list.

Name    £ Description

lino

free

Online ‘stickies’ service for making notes; easy to use and linked to email so reminders are sent to your email account. There are no limits to the number of ‘stickies’ or  noticeboards you can set up – so you can set up different noticeboards for different projects easily and colour code them. Can upload docs, images and web links to the ‘stickies’ – a bit similar to Infinote.

Prezi viewer

free

Used to view prezi presentations (www.prezi.com); can drag to pan and zoom in / out of topics during meetings and add in additional notes, comments. I never use ppt now as Prezi has the wow factor in presentations – syncs with the desktop version, enabling presentations to be created & viewed on both

Pages

£5.99

Word processing app – multi touch gestures for creating letters, reports, project plans, etc. Inserting images, tables and text has never been so easy. Once downloaded a tutorial guide is provided which shows you how to use the application fully.

Numbers

£5.99

Spreadsheet app – can be a bit tricky to start with but the tutorial guide covers all the key points.

Keynote

£5.99

Presentation app and can be connected to a projector to deliver presentation to bigger groups – much slicker than powerpoint and again a tutorial guide is provided.

Infinote

free

Another note taking app which is best used during brain storming activities – you can have multiple noteboards, can print from your iPad and has search functionality too.

Flipboard

free

Social media in a magazine layout which makes it easy to read all feeds from my Twitter, facebook, Google Reader and Flickr accounts – highly recommended

Memeo Connect Reader

?

Syncs with Google Docs and can be used to import from Google Docs to Pages, Numbers & Keynote – some duplicate functionality with Dropbox but I use both

Adobe PhotoShop Express

free

Used to edit and share photos – particularly useful when illustrating projects to clients

iTranslate

free

Universal translator for the iPad

Good Reader

£2.99

PDF reader for iPad – can be synched with Dropbox and be used to ‘read’ books, movies, maps & pictures

Dragon Dictation

free

Easy to use voice recognition app can be used to send voice notes / reminders to yourself / make notes from meetings and update Twitter etc. Works well but you need to talk clearly and needs wifi to work

WordPress

free

Used to update company wordpress blog – moderate comments, create / edit posts and pages

Invoice2go

Free (Lite)

20 built-in invoice styles, can be used to create / email invoices, keep track of payments owing & made and even calculates totals and tax. Need the full version (£8.99) to be able to add your own company logo to the invoices. It also produces an interesting range of useful reports / graphical displays.

Word Web

free

English dictionary and thesaurus

Doceri Remote

free

Needs wifi! Can launch, present and annotate any document / presentation or web page. Need to download the desktop Doceri onto the pc you wish to ‘control’ – at present the desktop Doceri is free

Stanza

free

e-reader app used to purchase and read e-books

TripAdvisor

free

Travel review app – used to find reviews for hotels, flights and restaurants. Very easy to use

Year Calendar

?

All – in – one year planner which syncs with built-in iPad calendar. Lots of icons and colours can be used to plan events easily

LinkedIn

free

This is an iphone app as yet there isn’t an iPad app for LinkedIn however you can still access discussions, send messages and edit you profile easily

Dropbox

free

Free cloud storage service which syncs files between iPad and pc – folders can be shared with others. Email attachments can be saved straight to Dropbox and you can always have access to the files

Twitbird

free

There are LOADS of iPad apps for Twitter – it’s down to personal preference and I do change apps based on functionality – at the moment this is the one I prefer

Pushing envelopes: Paying for university

Higher fees for additional university places could boost the charitable sector – a cartoon by Ros Asquith highlighting potential manipulation that could take place with the introduction of additional places at university being available ‘for sale’ at a higher price.

What are your views? Is this a step too far?