Proposalware: No-Hassle Mobile Proposals

propwareProposals are no fun. Well, maybe they can be a little fun if you’re part of a proposals team within a larger company, but preparing them when you’re a freelancer working on your own is definitely no barrel of laughs. You’ve probably got ongoing contract work to focus on, and finding time to bid on new work, even if you know you’ll need it, isn’t always your top priority. Templates are good, but how do you make sure you always have access to the right template when you need it? Proposalware is a new proposal web app that hopes to simplify things by centralizing them — and by introducing a crucial mobile component to make sure you have access wherever you might be. Read More about Proposalware: No-Hassle Mobile Proposals

Rumor Has It: Apple Putting 3G Into MacBooks, Rendering USB Sticks Useless

nousbstickAs if I didn’t have enough USB sticks sitting around doing nothing (512KB flash drives, Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless dongles, etc.). Now it looks like my 3G mobile broadband USB modem might soon join the ranks of the neglected and forgotten. Not because 4G networks are being built out as we speak, but because it looks like Apple (s aapl) is gearing up to start building 3G radios into their notebook computers. It’s about time, too, and frankly I’m surprised that more computer manufacturers haven’t gone this route long ago, considering the significant added incentive to buyers of having wide-coverage Internet access built in to their machines.

News of the new direction for Mac hardware comes from job postings, which have been garnering quite a bit of attention for Apple lately, considering the recent buzz about chip-making related positions. Now Cupertino seems to be looking for a few good 3G QA, design, and testing engineers to join their camp. The job descriptions, listed on their Hardware Engineering jobs site, list a variety of wireless specifications, with 3G among them, and the jobs in question talk about Mac applications specifically, so this isn’t just an iPhone-oriented position, as I initially suspected. Read More about Rumor Has It: Apple Putting 3G Into MacBooks, Rendering USB Sticks Useless

Some Good News for New Media Job Seekers

We have a message for those of you still out there looking for work: Don’t give up — people are finding jobs. Back in December, we spoke with three unemployed people about how tough it was looking for new media work. Today we are happy to report that two of those people have found full-time gigs (and no, they aren’t baristas) and the third is certainly staying busy with freelance work.
Former PopSiren host Sarah Lane is now working full-time as an “Online Producer: News” for Current. She says her role is “sort of undefined right now, but making some cool web-based original content is in the works.” At least one of her responsibilities is hosting video segments like this one asking Why We Love Twitter.

John Halecky had spent the longest amount of time looking for work after being laid off from ReelzChannel last July. He was recently hired by online movie ticketing service Fandango (s CMSCA) to manage their original online content. He credited his new gig to persistence, including regularly calling his network of people to remind them that he was still available. Finally, after months of staying in touch, a former colleague of Halecky’s who worked at Fandango had the budget to bring him on board.
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Online Community Managers: What Do They Do?

In my post from earlier this week, Online Community Manager: Yes, It’s Really A Job, I talked about how online community manager jobs continue to be a hot position for web workers despite the current economic conditions. The Monday post was in preparation for a talk that I gave at Oregon State University yesterday to a mix of students and other people from the business community in Corvallis who were interested in learning more about community management careers. I wanted to follow up on Monday’s post with a few more details about community manager positions along with a copy of the presentation that I used for my talk. Read More about Online Community Managers: What Do They Do?

Demand for iPhone Developers Up 500%

The SDK and the success of the App Store have combined to create an emerging professional category, that of iPhone application developer.

According to oDesk, a technology outsourcer billing itself as the “leading marketplace and global IT platform for outsourcing technology jobs to certified, freelance, Apple iPhone developers”, demand has risen for iPhone-related positions from 30 to upwards of 140 jobs per month over the past six months.
While the numbers are drawn from internal oDesk records only, such a steep increase is unlikely to be an isolated phenomenon. Nor is oDesk’s sample pool a limited one, since they have representation in over 100 countries worldwide, including major markets like the U.S. and China.
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Weekly App Store Roundup: Oct. 18, 2008

Amidst the hubbub of this week’s Apple announcements, the App Store continued to bubble away with a host of new apps joining the fray. As ever, The Apple Blog is here to separate the signal from the noise and sound off on a selection of the freshest apps to hit the store.

This time we’re casting a big thoughtful eye over Jobs, TeeDroid 3G and PuzzleManiak.
Jobs 1.0 ($4.99) – There’s been a panoply of freelancer time-tracking tools arriving at the App Store of late, many of which seem a tad on the rushed side. Jobs 1.0, though, looks to have a well-considered feature-set and a clear, concise interface.
The problem is that there are already several sites (with integrated iPhone web apps) that do the job much better and are rich in exactly the kind of features freelancers need. To name but two, Tempo and Harvest are incredibly accomplished time-trackers and in the case of the latter, handles expenses, invoices and even an OS X widget. Despite the solid feature-set, including CSV export of time-sheets, Jobs 1.0 may not be a prudent investment for the savvy freelancer looking to track time more efficiently.
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Qualcomm Marries Satellite and Cellular Networks

Qualcomm said today that it will build a chipset to offer combined cellular and satellite radios in one handset. It hopes to offer them in 2010. This is a boost for the struggling satellite companies and offers up the potential for a small phone that is integrated with existing CDMA cellular networks.

To build a successful satellite business a company needs access to spectrum, money to launch the satellites and a convenient handset at a reasonable price. During the ’90s this last hurdle was never really surmounted because handsets were big and couldn’t switch over to cell networks. It looked like that would be the case again for a new generation of satellite firms pushing a combined terrestrial and satellite network. Qualcomm’s chipsets and the willingness of cellular carriers to accept handoffs from satellite networks could change all that.

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Microsoft Stabilizes Office 2008 & Is Taking Names

On June 24th, Microsoft released Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.1 Update which included numerous fixes to stability & performance. This is almost a mandatory update as it addresses significant bugs in almost all Office components. Users experiencing crashes in all Office applications will be glad to know that this has been fixed across the board and Microsoft has also fixed a date issue in charts displayed in Word & PowerPoint.

Six issue areas were corrected or improved in Word 2008 specifically, many of which are conversion-related (between various Word versions) and one involved a macro-glitch may have had a nasty impact in a multi-platform shop (as it lay waste to VBA macros in some circumstances).

Eight groups of issues in Excel 2008 have been addressed including a formula bug that you may not have even noticed (formulas were not executed properly under a few scenarios). PowerPoint 2008 is not nearly as sluggish as it has been and you can more confidently sleep/wake your Mac with Entourage 2008 running.

The Microsoft Office 2008 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Update (12.1.0) must be installed on the computer before you install the Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.1 Update. The 153 MB installer is available now from Microsoft via direct download or through their local software update service (that is installed with Office 2008).

I have downloaded and installed the update with no ill after effects and can confirm that PowerPoint is noticeably speedier.

Looking For A Few Good Macophiles

Microsoft is also expanding its commitment to Mac products and is on a hiring frenzy. They are in search of candidates for multiple roles including Program Managers, Developers, Testers, User Experience, and Marketing, primarily in Redmond and Silicon Valley. You can send your resume to [email protected] if you are interested.

This is your chance to make a difference if you are a fit for any of the open positions.

If you have loaded the update, let us know your experience in the comments and if you successfully land a job, definitely drop us a note!

Apple’s Stock Roller Coaster Ride

The picture above shows AAPL stock since just before the Stevenote Monday. It has only dropped 13 dollars since then, but rumors of Steve’s poor health, and the impossibility of living up to the hype has caused it to drop all the same.

Historically, Apple takes a bit of a dive after each Keynote by Jobs, but they still rise all the same higher than they were before. Although everyone seems to be making a big fuss about Jobs’ health, the fact of the matter is that Apple continually performs.

That does raise the concern about Steve Jobs: at some point, he is going to leave Apple, and what is that going to do to the company? Has Apple created a culture that is sufficient for Jobs’ will to be carried out long after he retires, or will Apple go the way it did the last time Jobs left?

That is a worrisome question. I sure would hate to have Apple lose all the ground it has gained. What do you think?

Want to design the future of Apple’s Pro Apps?

Do you possess a relentless attention to detail, a gifted eye for aesthetics and the ability to quickly grasp and distill highly complex matters? Then you just may be qualified to design future versions of Final Cut Pro, Motion and Soundtrack Pro!

Apple always has job openings, but it’s a bit rarer that they post one at Senior Human Interface Designer (free account required)

Maybe they’re just having a hard time finding enough candidates who not only possess “complete mastery of the Mac OS X platform,” but also have:

  • Minimum 5 years of experience creating innovative and visually stunning user experiences. 
  • Degree in interaction design, human factor and/or visual design (or equivalent). 
  • An outstanding body of work demonstrating the successful delivery of innovative application interface design solutions. 
  • Deep understanding of Apple’s human interface design language and the ability to translate it into future designs of Apple’s professional applications.
  • Exceptional understanding of fundamental design disciplines (typography, composition, information architecture, color and animation) and principals (affordance, clustering, consistency, usability, etc.) 
  • Ability to create final graphic assets for flawless design implementation 

Upon further reflection, that list could almost be Steve Jobs’ résumé. Oh, but “the candidate must be a natural collaborator who prefers developing designs in a team environment.” Sorry Steve. To apply for this position, go to