links for 2011-01-26

  • The lure of a paperless office has been around for decades. But the technology is finally here. And ecommerce businesses are uniquely suited to go completely paperless — receipts, invoices, newsletters and much more are electronic documents already. Ditch the paper-based filing system with tangible cabinets, shelves, storage facilities filled with documents, folders, stacks of papers and go completely digital with searchable PDFs, storage clouds, e-faxing and more. There are many benefits to eliminating paper in your business. A paperless filing system takes up far less space and makes for faster retrieval of data in your files and sharing of that data electronically. And it’s an effective way to go green; less paper used is presumably better for the environment. Here are the basic building blocks and issues to be mindful of when considering going paperless.
  • eMarketer estimates that, even with the hype around newer social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, nearly two in five US companies will maintain a public-facing blog this year for marketing purposes. This usage is on the rise as firms will increasingly realize the value of the blogosphere to further a variety of corporate functions, such as communications, lead generation, customer service and brand marketing. Among Fortune 1,000 companies surveyed by blog printing firm Blog2Print, nearly a quarter had a corporate blog. The marketing department was most often responsible for writing it, followed closely by a social media or blog specialist, and the tone of blog was normally set by the company’s CEO. Asked what made a blog great, respondents cited an engaged community nearly twice as often as any other attribute.
  • Like most entrepreneurs, Gina Masullo knows her time is her currency. So the founder of Word Count Communications, a one-woman public relations firm in the West Village, tries to make the most of it. On Fridays, when it's hard to schedule appointments with journalists who are on deadline, she books meetings with her clients instead. When she needs a break from working in her office, she brings her laptop to the library, rather than a coffee shop, because she knows that she works better in a quiet environment.
  • Hand a two-year-old child a shoe and she will probably end up throwing it. Hand her an iPhone, however, and she'll navigate through it to find her favorite app in no time. Those are two lessons that I (and other members of the Ars staff) have learned first-hand in recent years, but it's not just us. According to a new survey from security software maker AVG, kids can grasp new tech skills long before they even learn how to do normal kid things, such as swimming or tying their shoelaces. AVG surveyed 2,200 parents with children between the ages of two and five in the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Nineteen percent said their kids know how to access a smartphone application (and it's not just the older kids either—17 percent of 2- to 3-year-olds did as well). Another 58 percent can play a computer game, and 25% of kids can open and operate a Web browser. By comparison, only nine percent of kids between 2 and 5 can tie their shoelaces.

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