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| October 3, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI —  Even pre-recession, before The New Normal taught us all to work smarter, my TALKERS coverage of the January 2009 Consumer Electronics Show reviewed that year’s Shiny New Object, the under-$300 netbook computer.

It was smaller/lighter than laptops/notebooks, and had longer battery life.  And back when many Windows users were cursing Vista, those new machines came pre-loaded with trusty Windows XP, since netbooks’ processors couldn’t run memory hog Vista.

“But,” I cautioned, netbooks were “light on word processing, spreadsheet, and other productivity software that comes pre-installed as MS Office on notebooks and desktop computers.  Even some low-end notebooks give you Works instead of higher-octane Office.”  Not to worry.  As I also discovered at CES2009, “before you spend for the Office upgrade, at least try out the same functionality FREE, by downloading the suite of look-alike programs from www.OpenOffice.org.”Unlike a radio industry that clings to “We’ve always done it this way”/”We’ve never done it that way,” the Consumer Electronics Industry delights in obsoleting whatever new-new-thing got all the “ooo’s and ahhh’s” at last year’s convention.  And, sure enough, along came tablets, most notably iPad; as software evolves into apps.

I cover conventions for TALKERS  – and now for RadioInfo  –  and because you can’t hit ‘em all, I try to.  So I wanted to offer some highly recommended reading I found at a recent conference: Upgrade to FREE (TSTC Publishing) by witty Beth Ziesenis.

Or as she’s better-known to a couple thousand Twitter followers, @AskBethZ, “Your Nerdy Best Friend, the chick you call when you want to know if there really *is* an app for that.”

Engaging, quirky Beth now makes her living as a public speaker.  Topic: Free apps you can find on the internet; and hers was the most useful session I attended at the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Association Executives.  When you’ve howled-through her presentation – taking notes as fast as you can type – you’ll see why she’s doing so well.  The videos on her website will crack you up…and were effortlessly produced with?  Yep, a free app.

WARNING: You will spend much-too-much time at www.AskBethZ.com, for three reasons:

  • She’s a character, and her website conveys that.  (Does YOURS, and your social media, humanize you?)
  • You WILL find lots of free, useful online tools there.
  • And, as Dan Rather says, “pull back and take the wide-angle shot.”  Beth’s act walks-the-walk I’ve been talking-up to anyone making a living on-air who’s willing to listen: Decide what you REALLY enjoy doing, even more than your day job, and create Internet content about THAT.  Do it with gusto – and employing the skill set you’ve accrued as a broadcaster – and your Internet sideline could become your day job!

See/hear/read more from consultant Holland Cooke at www.HollandCooke.com; and follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke.  HC will present “Database Your Tribe…NOW” at the Talkers Los Angeles New Media Seminar on Thursday October 11.







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Category: Opinions