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Best stylus to use with your iPad? (part 1)

Pens Stylus2

I’ll start by saying I’m a gadget boy — any marketing consultant working on innovation or product delivery has got to know about gadgets. When I got my first iPad last year, I quickly realised that my finger tip was useless for writing. I’ve been collecting styli or styluses and starting to get a good collection.

I have been stopped plenty of times to be asked what’s my preferred tool and over the past 12 months, I’ve used quite a few and thrown out some immediately.

In the picture above there are 3 styli – they are always with me – can you guess what they are? Oh and why did I include a pen and highlighter – so you can get an idea of their size.

Understand your website visitors with live web stats with GoSquared

I just started to use GoSquared this week – If you’ve got a high traffic website (well any website really) and want some real-time web analytics or insights – then you better get started with a FREE GoSquared account today. Using GoSquared I can watch as visitors come and go.

Free Web Analytics & insights

LiveStats for www damiensaunders com 2011 05 30 16 19 28


GoSquared monitors and analyses your website’s traffic in real-time – and you can watch all the action in the LiveStats console – which is like a 3 part Heads-Up Display. You just add another Tracking Code in your webpages.

GoSquared Trends for www damiensaunders com 2011 05 30 16 16 20

Trends provides something similar to Google Analytics dashboard – while I prefer Google Analytics for the data-mining – Trends is a good snapshot of what’s popular.

The asynchronous tracking code does not impact your sites performance – but I haven’t tested this against any caching plugins.

A GoSquared free account allows you to monitor 1 website with 10,000 page views each month.

WordPress plugin of choice

Out of the box, I was prompted to install the WordPress plugin making this an all too easy choice. There are no widgets or dashboard.


The real-time analytics makes GoSquared a must-have plugin to recommend for any WordPress install.

Made the switch – online accounting tools that are easy to use

Made the switch – online accounting tools that are easy to use

Zoho books

I’ve made the switch to Zoho Books … as an international traveller and marketing consultant, I needed accounting tools that move with me and one that is flexible with invoicing in a number of currencies.

Zoho Invoice has been my friend for some time – but I wasn’t committed to this product – when Zoho Books arrived I jumped ship and have paid up for 12 months.

Zoho Books allows me to

  • Invoice in what ever currency I like (an extra premium feature in most other packages)
  • Import Expenses from credit card statements or csv files
  • Run cashflow reports, balance statements and more
  • Reconcile bank accounts, credit cards (but manually)
  • Keep my accountant happy (well mostly it does)

Have you tried Zoho Books? or Zoho Invoice?


[info]If you’re thinking of making the switch and need help to get started with Zoho Books — then I’m available for hire[/info

Redmine for Issues & Bug track – things I learned


Redmine is described as a flexible project management web application SaaS. I’ve been using it for the past 5 months within a mobile marketing agency – where its used for testing, operations, work orders, issue management and its wiki is used for documentation.

Redmine can not be compared to other bug track, issues or fault management systems like JIRA or CRM platforms with helpdesk tools. It’s flexible, but that comes with a price. The unassuming website for Redmine gives you a quick feel of the platform.

Things I learned – Right-Click Contextual Menu

Screen shot 2011 05 13 at 10 00 56

Redmine has a hidden right-click contextual menu – which allows you to access the bulk edit tools and to quickly assig, close or update any of the logged issues.

I wish I’d known that from day one .. but at least in the past week I’ve found it useful to quickly update several hundred work issues.

Custom Fields – Use them

Custom Fields provide the easy way to make Redmine grow and fit your business – using custom fields made it a breeze to cross-reference mobile app platforms, test status and more.

Custom fields need an Administrator account to be created – and make sure to set the field to be searchable so that its contents are indexed!


Must have Android Apps for Marketing Consultants

Android desktop livewallpaper

What shortcuts or widgets should you save to the desktop of you Anrdoid phone? As a marketing consultant I’ve customised my phone lots (thanks to Cyanogenmod) .. but my desktop stays the same.

I don’t have many widgets as they eat up battery life (and annoyingly want internet connection).

What’s on your Android Desktop?

Winamp – best music player for Android

Now that I have a larger long-life battery – I’m back to listening to music on my phone. Winamp runs on my Media PC / HTPC so with its WiFi device sync .. Winamp is the best choice. Sweet as.


NewsRob – best Google Reader app

NewsRob beats the pants off other apps and is better than Googles own Reader client because it has really great offline capability. When you live in London and travel on the underground / tubes then its great to have something to read.


AppBrain – Best App for finding new Android Apps

I’m late to discover AppBrain – I’m still not sure if its any better then the Market app. But it does have a good Recommend to me feature. I wish it would remember all my previous installed apps (even the free ones) and reinstall them for me when I reset my phone or delete my SD Card (which I do lots).


The other icons are pretty familar – With unlimtied SMS I use that lots and GTalk is great too. Camera app is linked to Dropbox and Titanium Media Sync so my snap happy pics are always stored somewhere. live Wallpaper is also pretty impressive.


What do you recommend to have as apps or widgets?

A Marketing Consultants Guide to Business Class Apps for iPad

Apple logo

If you haven’t got an iPad or still not convinced you’ll need one – then you’re kidding yourself. As a marketing consultant new gadgets like the iPad need to be purchased, used extensively and then replaced with the next new shiny gadget. Why – you might ask? Because how else can you have an opinion or recommend a solution to your clients.

Today – I’m taking a quick look at the list of apps featured in iTunes under the category ‘business class’. Which ones would you need straight away? which one’s are just overkill — or just not suitable for UK users.

iTunes - Business Class iPad Apps

Business Class apps for iPad what are essential?

Dropbox of course – with 2GB of free space and syncing across multiple machines, this is a fast and easy way to access documents on the go. Of course you can increase space if you invite friends to Dropbox.

GoodReader for iPad – can open pretty much any document you from pdf to word to epub. I just discovered that you can add annotations and freehand comments which makes it useful for signing legal documents.

iMockups for iPad – if you do want to try making sketches or wireframes then this could be one to try. But it’s overdue an update so lets keep sketching with Autodesk for now.

What’s so bad about this collection?

There just isn’t much good to say about this featured collection .. many of the apps have very low ratings and the customer comments are very undesirable.  If you’re one of these featured apps – then that’s a great promotional opportunity – if you developed these apps and have so many negative comments – you need to fix them.

It’s nice to see at least 1 UK app in the list – even if it is the Financial Times app  — which is pretty useless unless you’ve paid.

There is a new breed of apps for online meetings – as I’m still waiting for my iPad2, my experiences of online meetings using Skype have been pretty flakey – unless you’ve got great wifi connected to a fast broadband connection.