Tech Talk: TV’s getting Smart

The goggle box has come an awful long way since Scottish engineer John Logie Baird demonstrated the first mechanical television system in January 1926.  Today, it has moved on greatly from the set that was encased in a wooden cupboard and made to look like a piece of furniture that sat in the corner of the living room and which everyone crowded round to watch just two channels.  With hundreds of channels, multiple sets in houses, 3D capability and online streaming, television viewing has been transformed.

Smart TV is on the rise, bringing internet connectivity to your TV screen, allowing you to surf the net, chat on Skype or stream rental films directly onto your living room’s big screen.

You are able to hook your Smart TV up to the internet either through an Ethernet connection to your Broadband hub, or wirelessly, as most sets come Wi-Fi ready.  To make the most of your online viewing experience the experts recommend that you have a minimum 2Mb internet connection.

Just like anything, the cheaper models will have more limited capabilities, while top of the range sets come fully loaded with all sorts of kit and their price will reflect this.

But why do we need internet on our TVs?  Well, we’ve all done it; sat in our living room watching The Apprentice on the TV while our laptop sits on our knees plugged into Facebook and we chat to our friends about the latest escapades of those vying for Lord Sugar’s attention!  Smart TV allows all of this to happen on your TV screen without the need to have your laptop sitting making your legs get hotter and hotter as it starts to overheat.  Currently only some models are fitted with social networking functionality.

The TVs are also be able to ‘talk’ to some of the other gadgets and devices that are around your home.  For example you can wirelessly send photos and music from your mobile phone to your TV screen.

So instead of shutting away your TV set in a cupboard, it looks like your TV will continue to be your window on the world and play an even more important part in your life going forward.  A final question remains unanswered though: what will our TV be able to do next?

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Interesting Aberdeen: Where is Pocket Park?

Pocket Park AberdeenIt was a question we found ourselves asking.  When Clare joined the team we thought it was only right that we got some new photographs taken – after all, we always tell you how important pictures are.  Having decided that we’d do our photo shoot outside, the photographer suggested we met him at Pocket Park.  The venue name was met with blank faces all round the office.  Having thought we all knew Aberdeen fairly well – some of us have lived here all our lives – we were stumped.  It is in fact on Schoolhill, just outside the Art Gallery where the statue of Major-General Charles Gordon stands.

Having looked at images of Schoolhill on the Silver City Vault website, it looks very much like Pocket Park was filled with rose bushes and surrounded by iron railings at the turn of the twentieth century.  The marks where the iron railings once stood can still be seen today.  The old photographs that are included on the Silver City Vault show the area outside the Art Gallery looking very different from the current concrete slabs shaded by leafy trees.

One constant, though, in the area since mid-1888 has been the statue of Major-General Charles George Gordon R.E.C.E who stands guard at the arch to the Robert Gordon quadrangle.  The 9ft bronze statue, created by Scottish sculptor Thomas Stuart Burnett, stands on a 9ft Correnie granite plinth and was erected and presented to the City of Aberdeen through the subscriptions – amounting to £1,000 – of the Gordon clan.

Major-General Gordon was born in January 1833 and served as an officer in the British army seeing action in the Crimean War, but he made his military reputation in China – earning the nickname Chinese Gordon.  He later became the Governor-General of Sudan, where he did much to suppress revolts and the slave trade.

He resigned from the British army in 1890, but at the request of the British Government Gordon went to Khartoum to oversee the evacuation of Egyptian soldiers and civilians following a serious revolt in Sudan.  It was here in January 1885, after protecting the city from Muslim reformer and self proclaimed Madhi, Muhammad Ahmad, for over a year, that he fell.  The siege of Khartoum is one of the most famous and heroic sieges in history.

His career, although sometimes controversial, has generally always enjoyed a good reputation, as can be seen in the 1966 film Khartoum in which he was depicted by Charlton Heston.

Charity fundraising: Supporting good causes

Running shoesHere at Innes Associates we are always keen to do our bit to support organisations that help others.  Over the years we’ve walked over hot coals, taken part in walks, got on our bikes and even bounced up and down, all in aid of raising money for charity.

Last month Ian took on the challenge of raising money for Alzheimer Scotland when he took to the streets of Aberdeen for the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k race.  Although not quite keeping up with the blistering pace of the winner who crossed the finishing line in 32mins 23secs – nearly a minute ahead of the second fastest runner – Ian did achieve a personal best on what was a rather calm, sunny and hot Sunday morning.

He finished the 6.2 mile course as the 369th fastest runner in a field of 3,667 competitors in a time of 45mins and 08secs – nearly two minutes faster than on the same route last year.  Well done to Ian and everyone else who ran the race.

Christmas comes but once a year

Christmas presentsIt may only last one day every year, but Christmas seems to get earlier each year.  Last year, Christmas goods were jostling for space in supermarket aisles with back to school items.  But for some businesses, advance planning for the festive season is a priority.  In the world of publishing, the final planning for those glossy Christmas editions of magazines that are sold in December happens in August.  Not to be outdone, we completed an order of Christmas menus for one client back in April!  And although the majority of summer still lies ahead (fingers crossed), it is probably the ideal time to start thinking about what you might need for Christmas gifts.

Over recent years there has been a move by many firms to send e-cards instead of posting cards at Christmas.  This has been driven partly by the cost of postage and the time involved in writing and sending them.  But isn’t it lovely to get an envelope through the post that doesn’t contain a bill?  Perhaps you want to look at getting cards custom designed or print your details onto charity cards you’ve purchased.

A good way to make Christmas last all year – and for you to be a permanent reminder to your clients – is to give them a calendar or diary.  These come in all shapes and sizes and there is plenty of variation on the theme too.  Instead of a wall mounted calendar, you could look at a desktop version or create a mouse mat sized calendar doodle pad.

Perhaps you give your clients a gift at the end of the year?  If you have a number of female clients, you could look at supporting a good cause with your purchases.  Inspired Soap is part of Aberdeen-based charity Inspire and produces a range of good quality fragrant soaps and hand creams – including bog myrtle, which helps repel the Scottish midge!  You could support the charity by purchasing some of the gifts and then package them up into a nice hamper.

The options for Christmas gifts really are endless and very much dependant on your budget.  Get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Just before you go, here’s another little fact.  Christmas Comes But Once A Year is a 1936 animated short film produced by New York-based Fleischer Studios.  It is the story of a professor who discovers on Christmas morning that children in a local orphanage are very upset to have received broken toys as presents.  He goes out of his way to make new toys for them out of household goods and appliances and when he dresses as Santa Claus and delivers the toys to the children they are overjoyed.

New Staff Member Appointed At Aberdeen Firm

The team at Innes Associates

Left to right: Innes Associates managing director Charlie Innes with PR account managers Clare Scott and Ian McLaren

Aberdeen-based marketing and communications consultancy Innes Associates has appointed a new member of staff as it looks to continue building its client base following a period of growth.

Clare Scott has joined the company as a PR account manager, where she will work alongside managing director Charlie Innes and existing PR account manager Ian McLaren.

A graduate of the Robert Gordon University, Clare has spent the past 17 years working in various public relations and marketing roles.  This has included spells at Banff and Buchan College, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre and communications agencies in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

More recently she worked as a freelance consultant providing PR and marketing support to a number of small and medium-sized companies in north-east Scotland.

Her appointment comes a few months after the advertising, marketing and public relations firm relocated to larger offices in the centre of Aberdeen.  The agency manages the PR, marketing and advertising requirements of clients in sectors as diverse as oil and gas, industrial inspection, leisure and professional services.

Charlie Innes, managing director of Innes Associates, said: “Clare brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that has been built up across a wide range of industries.  She will provide an extremely valuable contribution to the company and the clients that she works with.

“The time felt right to increase our headcount and this will help drive forward our growth plans.  It is an exciting time and I am pleased to welcome Clare onboard.”

Commenting on her appointment, Clare said: “I am very excited to have joined the team at Innes Associates and very much look forward to applying my marketing and PR experience to the varied portfolio of clients that the company looks after.”

Established in 2003 by Charlie Innes, Innes Associates offers an integrated advertising, marketing and PR service that can be tailored to clients’ specific requirements.  Since its inception, the company has experienced sustained growth and developed its service offering.  With a client base spread across Scotland, Innes Associates has built a strong reputation in raising the profile of companies it works with.  For more information, e-mail info@charlieinnes.com or telephone 01224 452177.