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March 10th, 2020

Security grammar: Are you insecure when writing about unsecure technology?

Security grammar: Are you insecure when writing about unsecure technology?

At Prompt we spend a lot of our days writing about technology – big data, data warehousing, BI, CRM, BPM, ERP, API – you name it, we’re ITK. If it’s got an acronym, or a set of acronyms associated with it, then we’ve written opinion pieces, whitepapers, case studies and news releases about it.

One area that’s always hot – whether the underlying topic is mobile, cloud, BYOD, SQL injections, risk or compliance – is security. Which brings us to a very specific grammar question. Do you ever find yourself pausing and asking yourself, the people around, or the grammar gods: “Is it unsecure or insecure?”

At first, this appears a very easy question. ‘Unsecure’ can surely be eliminated – after all the word doesn’t appear in either Merriam-Webster or the Oxford English Dictionary. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal in the constantly changing world of tech speak. In the technology sector, words and phrases are coined and adopted at the drop of a Zune –  just consider the use of the words ‘virtualized’, ‘de-duplication’ or ‘phablets’.  At Prompt we have to stay current with the market and all of its constantly ‘evolving’ terms and phrases (but we don’t have to like ‘em).

The problem with this example is that while insecure can be used in both US and UK English to mean something that is not adequately protected – for example an ‘insecure investment’ – it is more typically used to describe a lack of emotional confidence or certainty. Yes, some dictionaries will go as far to state the example of ‘an insecure computer system’ and there’s a whole Wikipedia page on ‘Computer Insecurity’, while ‘Computer Unsecurity’ clearly does not earn a Wikipedia page at all. But for many of us ‘insecure’ just doesn’t sit very, um, securely in a sentence.

We can’t help think that an insecure computer system sounds a little self-conscious about the size of its processors, or needs a reassuring reboot up the backend. So where to go?

Well, we like to use either of the phrases ‘non-secure’ or ‘unsecured’. Both pass dictionary scrutiny, and each can be used quite literally to mean ‘not made secure’, which we think is a good fit for a computer system that hasn’t been protected with security measures.

Unless you are an absolute stickler for academic grammar (and if you are then tech buzzwords are going to destroy your finely balanced sensibilities in about a picosecond anyway), then you could arguably use any of the terms mentioned in this post to get your point across. The most important thing then, as is generally the case with most copywriting best practices, is that you are consistent. So pick a term, add it to your company style-guide, share it with your team, marketing contacts and agency – and then be secure in your decision.

Follow Hazel on Twitter at @HazelButters

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Posted in Prompt Grammar Tip, Technology | Comments Off on Security grammar: Are you insecure when writing about unsecure technology?

 

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May 8th, 2015




dividing line Prompt Byte

The how-to newsletter from Prompt PR

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London


22 Upper Ground

Eighth Floor

London

SE1 9PD


Boston


745 Atlantic Ave

Third Floor

Boston

MA 02111


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Welcome…

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Happy Friday everybody and welcome to another edition of the Prompt Byte. We hope you’ve had a great week and are ready for some new tips.

This week, we talk about ‘social’ acceptable copy, the three things to focus on while gearing up for a product launch and having a good newsletter. And don’t forget – we want to hear your Geek Speak guesses! Get in touch on Twitter.

Happy reading,

Hazel

Hazel Butters

CEO

Prompt PR

Twitter: @PromptLondon and @PromptBoston

Facebook: Prompt London and Prompt Boston

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How to
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How to think about product launches: Vision, authority and impact

At Prompt we help entrepreneurs and businesses launch products: apps, hardware, consumer technologies, innovative gadgets, business products and services, and high-end, complex enterprise products.

Many product launches are driven by a desire to increase sales. But selling your product, service or idea isn’t just about money – it’s about something much bigger than that. It’s about having an impact.

When we are talking to clients on the essential groundwork for effective communication that engages, influence (and helps to drive sales) we work on three core areas: vision, authority and impact.

Vision
This is the purpose behind the company or organization – the why, the reason for existing and the rationale for your anticipated path. In short, this is why your organization exists. It’s important to be clear on your vision, because it’s also the underlying ‘why’ for your product or service. Without a why it’s hard to have a passion. With it, all marketing and sales comes from a place of passion and belief.

Authority

Authority is about sharing your expertise – both in your market and on your product. It’s important to be an authority and consistently demonstrate it. This is why it is important to grasp opportunities to share your views, insights and advice on a market – speak with press, brief industry analysts, share expertise over social media and comment on relevant forums and blogs. Within your company you have experts, so allow them to have their expert opinions – on the market, on what prospects needs to be aware of and to ask – and to express these opinions and demonstrate their authority.

Impact

Impact is about results – not for your organization or company, but the impact your product, service or app has on your users’ lives. Impact could relate to a cause, emotional results, or tangible results such as saving time or money and increasing business efficiency. It’s about the transformation. Sharing examples, transformations and support from existing customers is a great way to help explain this impact to prospects.

Want to hear more about how to define your vision, authority and impact to drive technology sales? Then join our ‘How to drive technology sales’ webinar on May 15 – simply register here.

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App of the week
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Opinion 2


Opinion 2

Opinion Podcasting has been the free podcasting tool of choice for many for some time now. It’s a brilliant little app that allows you to create high-quality audio podcasts, then trim and edit them with natty drag & drop tools that make the whole experience fun and easy. But in its latest update, Opinion 2 has made the logical step to add online publishing and sharing options, removing the need for a third-party export service. Opinion 2 now provides your podcast with its own webpage and an RSS feed — and it’s all still free.

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App of the week
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Linux

The correct way to pronounce the name of this revolutionary open source operating system is NOT ‘line-ux’ to rhyme with ‘mine-ux’ or ‘pine-ux’. The creator of the Linux Kernel has always been very clear that his OS should be referred to as ‘Linux’ to rhyme with ‘Win-ux’, ‘Pin-ux’ or perhaps more pertinently, ‘Finn-ux’. That’s because the Finnish born software engineer is called Linus Benedict Torvalds, and in Scandinavia everybody pronounces Linus with a short ‘I’, not a long ‘I’ like Charlie Brown and Snoopy’s friend. But there’s no need to take our word for it when you can listen to the man himself explaining. The poor chap has been trying to tell everyone since 1991…

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Geek speak
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“Get a pocket computer, try to do what you used to do, yeah.”

Without the help of Google, can you identify the voice behind this quote?

Tweet us at @PromptBoston and @PromptLondon if you can.

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Copy corner
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Social acceptable copy

There was a time when writing for the web was considered to be a specialist skill, separate from other forms of copywriting. Content was king, but only if it was direct, pithy, succinct, short enough to fit on one screen, and compelling enough to prompt action. Webmasters and writers determined that people online were either too busy or too fickle to devote much attention span to reading tranches of text (while presumably those who preferred to read their news printed on pulped up trees had more time to fritter away digesting long features and turning pages).

Today lines have blurred considerably and pretty much all timely, consumable, disposable writing is published on the web in some form or another. This means that all content must be written with online readers in mind. It’s entirely reasonable to expect a higher degree of skipping, scanning and flicking from someone with multiple sources of information available simultaneously at their fingertips, than just one newspaper on their lap. Immediate copy writing that fits ‘above the fold’ of most computer screens is more likely to get noticed by more people. There’s still space for quality long-form copywriting online, but if anything that initial need for brevity has been compounded further by the ubiquity of small screen mobile devices and social media.

Away from more technical considerations of SEO and keywords then, are there any enduring rules of web writing that remain appropriate for social writing? We can certainly offer half a dozen quick tips that might help if you’re struggling to be heard above the hubbub:

1. Headlines must still work hard whether you are writing a 3,000 word feature or a 200 word blog post. It’s your only chance to seize a reader’s attention with big bold type and hold it for as long as you can. A clever headline is also extremely tempting and easy to forward and share without explanation

2. Only post copy that really matters to somebody, because whether your target readers are devoting 30 seconds to your piece or 30 minutes, they still need to understand clearly why you wrote it in the first place, and why they should care enough to come back for more

3. Try and make readers think ‘huh!’, or better still to utter it out loud in a cryptic way that makes other people nearby say ‘wuh?’ Copy shared is exponentially more valuable than copy swiped away, and those social media buttons are so very easy to click

4. Have faith in good copy and be patient with it. Online writing may sit on the back burner for days, or weeks, and still pick up hits and comments months or years later. Today’s copy is no longer tomorrow’s fish and chip paper

5. Be fresh, make a clear point, and ask for feedback. You’ll quickly lose trust and return visitors if you say the same old woolly things over again and never ask readers what they would like to read

6. Don’t be afraid to go long occasionally. Not everything can be explained sufficiently in 140 characters, one smartphone page, or even above the fold on a laptop screen. Never be afraid to trust your instincts and write your ideas to their natural length if you believe they need room for expression. You can always create teaser posts on your favorite social media platforms that link to the full article for those readers who trust your judgement (and have the social stamina).

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Copy corner
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Newsletters

Do you have a big email list? A small email list? Working to build an email list of any kind? No matter the you’re situation – you should absolutely be sending out e-newsletters.
Over the years, we’ve created countless newsletters for a number of clients. They’re all different lengths, different structures and are send out at different frequencies but they all wielded results.

Newsletters give you the opportunity to educate your potential, existing and past customers about your field and your company. It opens the doors for two-way communication, sparks interest and allows you to leverage existing content in new ways.

I mean, you’re reading this after all — aren’t you?

Not sure where to start? Get in touch today!

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Contact Prompt
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We hope you find our newsletter an interesting read. For any feedback on our newsletter, or to discuss how we can help you with your PR, marketing, social media/blogging initiatives, copywriting or surveys, please contact us using the details below. We are always delighted to hear from you.


London


22 Upper Ground

Eighth Floor

London

SE1 9PD


Boston


745 Atlantic Ave

Third Floor

Boston

MA 02111

info@prompt-pr.com | www.prompt-pr.com

space man
Prompt

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Copyright Prompt Communications 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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By

April 1st, 2015

The Prompt Byte: April 1, 2015

The Prompt Byte: April 1, 2015




dividing line Prompt Byte

The how-to newsletter from Prompt PR

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London


22 Upper Ground

Eighth Floor

London

SE1 9PD


Boston


745 Atlantic Ave

Third Floor

Boston

MA 02111


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Welcome…

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Welcome to a mid-week edition of the Prompt Byte! We hope you’re soaring through the days productively.

Today, spare a few seconds to learn what you’ll need to ask for in your upcoming crowdfunding campaign and when it’s right to use an apostrophe. Also keep reading if you’ve ever wondered exactly what a PDF is and why the format exists in the first place.

Here for the answer to last week’s Geek Speak? It was said by actor and writer Al Boliska. Got it right? Then go grab yourself a treat and don’t forget to let us know your guesses this week.

Oh, and have a great week!

Hazel

Hazel Butters

CEO

Prompt PR

Twitter: @PromptLondon and @PromptBoston

Facebook: Prompt London and Prompt Boston

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How to
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How to work out how much to ask for in a crowdfunding campaign

The main point of crowdfunding is, well, to raise funds from a crowd. So you would think that every team heading towards a crowdfunding launch would have carefully done its math. However in our experience this isn’t always true. Every crowdfunder seems to know their financial goal, but the supporting calculations are rarely as strong as they should be.

Some things to consider:

  • It’s important to be very clear not only about how much money you need, but also why you need it, how you will justify the figure to potential backers, and how you plan to spend their money to reach your mission
  • Be very clear about your vision. You need to communicate the core of your ambition so that potential supporters understand precisely which part of the world you want to change and how you intend to achieve it
  • Have a good mix of rewards or perks, and make sure these support your goals. Don’t have too many rewards and don’t do that ‘annoying wedding list’ thing by which you either (a) only have an overwhelming array of cheap low-priced items, or (b) only have options for the big spenders (fridge-freezers, hand-engraved crystal glasses from Paris, grand pianos…)
  • Give insight and details into any operations and finances to date. What have you raised or created so far? How have you spent and managed that money? And how has this past investment helped you to get closer to your mission?
  • Don’t over-ask, however tempting. Because you are fully committed to your campaign you might almost feel like you have to ask for as big a bucketful of cash as possible. But over-asking can make potential backers wary
  • Calculate all the costs of any rewards and add in at least a 20 percent buffer. We’ve seen campaigns slip up on the sudden unexpected costs of a backer event – even on t-shirts
  • If you are offering rewards or perks that must be physically mailed out, be very deliberate and clear about who is paying the shipping costs. If it is you, then be sure you have a buffer for any unexpected changes in delivery charges. For example, we worked on a project with physical perks in which the first items sent backers required an additional piece to be shipped out – at the vendor’s expense
  • Calculate every single manufacturing cost. If you are going to manufacture after crowdfunding, you may be working off estimates, so add in a further 20 percent buffer to ensure you are ready for any nasty surprises
  • Have stretch goals at the ready. Factor these in at the planning stage, so if/when you reach your campaign goal, you are not left scrambling to plan

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Rising stars
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Melius

Prompt works in technology hubs on either side of the pond, so we’re always keen to get to know more about the innovators on our doorsteps in both Boston and London. Each week, we’ll interview a local startup to learn more about the technology and inspiration that can be found at home. Recently we chatted with RJ Irving, co-founder and CEO of Melius. This Boston-based startup develops an application that collects your basic financial information and identifies inefficiencies to help improve your money planning for the future.

1) Tell us a bit about Melius.

Melius helps financial advisors with the front-end of their business. Most of the technology built for the financial space is geared toward making existing businesses more efficient. The trouble is that most people cannot build a business. That is where we come in. Melius is a simple tool that advisors use with their prospects to educate them about the building blocks of a strong financial plan. Built into our tool is a direct link between advisors and prospects to accelerate the on-boarding process. Most other fintech companies start with the idea of replacing the advisors all together. Melius is designed to enhance the human relationship, not replace it.

Read more, here.

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App of the week
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Scanner Pro 5


Network Toolbox

Until you actually try and do it, you probably think that you’ve got scanning covered on your smartphone or tablet. Just take a photo, save it and mail it right? But actually doing this for multiple documents in a slick business-class way is another story entirely. The day you actually need this to go well and you find yourself hovering over a scribbled Moleskin on the ‘T’, you’ll remember that you could have bought Scanner Pro5 for less than three bucks. Developed by Readdle, the creators of PDF Office, Scanner Pro 5 transforms your device into a fast and capable scanner that quickly turns any paper document into a PDF ready to upload, mail or send to Dropbox or Evernote. It even does all the tricky edge-detection and geometry stuff for you – very handy for all your crumpled expenses paperwork!

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Copy corner
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Its versus it’s

Ah, yes, the all too familiar confusion of its and it’s. The error is incredibly common and crops up in places one would never imagine, including many corporate websites and brochures. So how do you avoid a mistake that’s so easy to make? Well, it’s easy: Use it’s only when it is a contraction and you mean ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. But always use its and not it’s to mean belonging to it – the word it never takes on an apostrophe when it gets possessive.

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Copy corner
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It’s hard for anyone to buy anything off you if they don’t (a) know you, (b) like you and (c) trust you. One of the best ways that your prospects can get to know, like and trust you is PR. That’s why we think that PR should support sales, and we know that great PR is sales-led. We’re always keen to share our views on PR and how it should support and drive sales.

So we are holding a free 50-minute webinar on Friday April 3 at 11am ET (4pm BST) called: ‘How to drive technology sales with PR’. We’ll repeat the webinar (again, live) on Friday April 10, again at 11am ET. Please register at: http://bit.ly/technology-PR-sales (April 3) or http://bit.ly/tech-PR-sales-April10 (April 10).

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App of the week
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PDF

“On second thought, let’s not go to Camelot – it is a silly place.” Unless of course, you happen to be John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe Systems. Back in 1991, he outlined a document file format that he proposed to be independent of hardware, operating systems or application software. His idea was to make sharing documents easier for users amid a computing scene that was becoming increasingly disparate and fragmented, and relied upon people to use the same systems as each other if they wanted to share information in anything like its original state. Back then Warnock called his fledgling system Camelot, but two years later it was released as the PDF, or Portable Document Format. And 22 years later still, it endures as an enormously popular and accessible specification – particularly for scanning or digitally archiving paper documents.

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Geek speak
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“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

Without the help of Google, can you identify the voice behind this quote?

Tweet us at @PromptBoston and @PromptLondon if you can.

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Contact Prompt
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We hope you find our newsletter an interesting read. For any feedback on our newsletter, or to discuss how we can help you with your PR, marketing, social media/blogging initiatives, copywriting or surveys, please contact us using the details below. We are always delighted to hear from you.


London


22 Upper Ground

Eighth Floor

London

SE1 9PD


Boston


745 Atlantic Ave

Third Floor

Boston

MA 02111

info@prompt-pr.com | www.prompt-pr.com

space man
Prompt

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Copyright Prompt Communications 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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This email was sent to ~Contact.Email~.

You have recieved this email because Prompt Communications thinks you have given it permission to do so.

You can manage your newsletter and email subscriptions here: ~OptOut_15~

or if you want to unsubscribe from all emails from Prompt Communications, Prompt PR, Prompt Ed and Prompt Social then please click on this link: ~OptOut_0~

This email was sent by Prompt Communications

745 Atlantic Avenue, Floor 3 Boston, Massachusetts 02111

United States (857) 277-5140


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By

March 23rd, 2015

The Prompt Byte: March 23, 2015

The Prompt Byte: March 23, 2015

Miniature engineers fixing error on chip of motherboard


dividing line Prompt Byte

The how-to newsletter from Prompt PR

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London


22 Upper Ground

Eighth Floor

London

SE1 9PD


Boston


745 Atlantic Ave

Third Floor

Boston

MA 02111


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Welcome…

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Happy Monday! Welcome to the Prompt Byte. This week we share thoughts on how to plan the distribution of a press release (hint, try to give your PR team more than 10 minutes’ warning); the difference between further and farther; the original meaning of BASIC and introduce you to a digital lost-and-found platform called Rejjee, based in Boston.

Enjoy, and as always, happy reading!

Hazel

Hazel Butters

CEO

Prompt PR

Twitter: @PromptLondon and @PromptBoston

Facebook: Prompt London and Prompt Boston

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How to
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How to time a press release

“We have something new and the press release is going out tomorrow.” It’s a phrase to make any PR consultant shudder.

Yes, if it’s merger-and-acquisition news, or an announcement that simply has to be created and shared with no-excuses urgency, then this is not just permissible but a necessity — and every good PR person is equipped to turn around an important announcement in a limited timeframe.

But if the announcement relates to something more standard: a product that has been in research and development for months or years, a business partnership, news of a new customer sale or implementation, research or survey work that has been compiled, then WHY the need to suddenly throw the news out without taking the time to plan when and how to share it?

As a rough guide, we like to have any news scheduled in a rolling news pipeline, and to have a press release for deliberate pitching at least two weeks before it going to be released ‘in the wild.’ Longer is better, but we realize not frequently possible, and we certainly can and do work with less.

Yes, there are differences in pitching to press in Europe and the United States. There’s a whole different way of working with embargos on both continents, and different press expectations on handling news.

Today many vendors are simply too reliant on just ‘throwing releases on the wire’ and taking Google alerts, syndicated links and temporary online hits as ‘coverage.’ They are not deliberately planning news and miss the opportunity for it to be genuine, relevant and compelling to target press — and that’s a wasted release. You deserve more from your company news. So, take the time to make your announcement shine and ensure it reaches the right journalists, in the right way, and at the right time.

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Rising stars
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Rejjee

Working in technology hubs on either side of the pond, at Prompt we’re always keen to get to know more about the innovators on our doorsteps in Boston and London. Each week, we’ll interview a local startup to learn more about technology and inspiration that can be found at home.

Recently, we chatted with Gary O’Neil, founder and CEO of Rejjee — a crowd-sourced lost-and-found platform set to revolutionize the way you find and replace your most prized possessions.

Tell us a bit about Rejjee.

Rejjee is in a category all by itself. We register, report and then replace stolen or lost goods through the use of a smartphone application. We are the first digital platform in lost and found that brings the added bonus of matching users with replacement partners — ensuring that their lost or stolen goods will be returned to them one way or the other.

We work closely with insurance companies, law enforcement and retailers and the platform is free to use for retailers and the community. There is also a public incident-mapping feature — so you can report a stolen item in real time and alert others in the area.

Unlike other finder applications, this is not a battery-driven device vulnerable to technology or process mishaps. It is a complete free SaaS system anybody can use. You can even use Rejjee to find your lost puppy.

Read more, here.

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App of the week
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Network Toolbox


Network Toolbox

This app really is ridiculously cool — if you like that sort of thing. Sure, you’ll need to have spent some hard hours/years sniffing networks and pinging endless silence to really appreciate Network Toolbox. But if you were that soldier then wow, this is like a normal civilian discovering Facebook or FlappyAngries or whatever on their phone for the first time. Get this. For less than five bucks (or four quid) you can analyse local and public networks from your phone. That includes IP and port scanning, rich device and domain information, ping (of course!), FTP/SSH/SFTP client, socket analysis, trace route, spider, Bluetooth detection, SHODAN and Morpheus search integration — too many techy things to throw a screwdriver at, basically. Do you KNOW how much this stuff cost in the 1990s? Well do you? Blimey.

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Copy corner
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Further or farther?

Leading grammatical sources including Oxford English dictionaries increasingly refer to ‘further’ and ‘farther’ as interchangeable synonyms. It’s certainly the case that ‘farther’ is rapidly falling out of common usage, and that ‘further’ can now be used in any context without fear of ridicule or misunderstanding.

However there remains an historical distinction between the two words, and sticklers for grammatical accuracy will still strive to discern between the two in specific contexts. Strictly speaking then, it is preferable to use ‘farther’ in relation to physical distances: “Is the mountain farther away than the river?” “How much farther is it exactly?” This is pretty easy to remember because the word ‘far’ is right there in the word. In all other circumstances though, ‘further’ works just fine: “I’m no further in my understanding.” “Did you get much further with your research?”

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Copy corner
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Normally, we utilize this space to bang our own drum, but our hands are getting tired. So we thought we’d let some of our public relations and copywriting customers do the talking for us this week.

“In Prompt we feel we have found a public relations company that matches our own personality. Together we are goal focused and strategic, targeting relevant media audiences in key territories, and concentrating on very specific markets. Prompt has understood our ambitions to produce some excellent and metric-based results to date, including opinion pieces, interviews and coverage in core automobile, aerospace and manufacturing press.” — Rick Burke, aPriori

You can find more testimonials here.

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App of the week
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BASIC

Most people above a certain age will be somewhat familiar with BASIC. For many of us it was the first general-purpose programming language that we bumped into, while ’10 PRINT “HELLO WORLD” 20 GOTO 10’ was frequently the first ‘computer program’ that would-be techies ever wrote. But fewer people know, or have even considered, that BASIC was an acronym. It is, and it stands for ‘Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.’ The language originated at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in the early 1960s, to help students outside of scientific disciplines use and understand computers. It was immediately well-loved and extremely successful, shipping with all of the successful microcomputers of the 70s and 80s, becoming established in education systems around the world. It’s less popular today amid a great deal of more advanced competition, but is still significant in the guise of Visual Basic (fundamental in the development of .NET) and, going back to its roots, was recently made available by Nintendo on its 3DS and DSi hand-held gaming consoles.

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Geek speak
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“Do you realize if it weren’t for Edison we’d be watching TV by candlelight?”

Without the help of Google, can you identify the voice behind this quote?

Tweet us at @PromptBoston and @PromptLondon if you can.

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Contact Prompt
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We hope you find our newsletter an interesting read. For any feedback on our newsletter, or to discuss how we can help you with your PR, marketing, social media/blogging initiatives, copywriting or surveys, please contact us using the details below. We are always delighted to hear from you.


London


22 Upper Ground

Eighth Floor

London

SE1 9PD


Boston


745 Atlantic Ave

Third Floor

Boston

MA 02111

info@prompt-pr.com | www.prompt-pr.com

space man
Prompt

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Copyright Prompt Communications 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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This email was sent to ~Contact.Email~.

You have recieved this email because Prompt Communications thinks you have given it permission to do so.

You can manage your newsletter and email subscriptions here: ~OptOut_15~

or if you want to unsubscribe from all emails from Prompt Communications, Prompt PR, Prompt Ed and Prompt Social then please click on this link: ~OptOut_0~

This email was sent by Prompt Communications

745 Atlantic Avenue, Floor 3 Boston, Massachusetts 02111

United States (857) 277-5140


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By

August 7th, 2014

Kickstarter woes: Coping with crickets, tumbleweed – and direct user feedback

Kickstarter woes: Coping with crickets, tumbleweed – and direct user feedback

Over the last few days I’ve spoken a great deal about crowdfunding, with a focus on Kickstarter, so thought I’d share a few thoughts about ‘crowdfunding fear’.

I’ve previously written about ‘launch jitters’ – that moment when a start-up team or entrepreneur has to unveil its project to the big, bad outside world.  It can be a terrifying moment.

TumbleweedTake that anxiety and add a boatload more scrutiny, remorseless user comments and sudden exposure to the industry limelight and you have yourself a crowdfunding launch.

On a basic level, that is what crowdfunding may initially deliver –intense scrutiny of everything you have worked to deliver. It can be very challenging, unforgiving, harsh and intimidating. And if you think that sounds unnerving, just think about the reverse experience – post-launch tumbleweed. You hit the launch button, brace yourself for the severest of comments, and instead there’s… nothing at all. Crickets!

This is why crowdfunding is never an easy option for the faint of heart. It’s raw, immediate, unpredictable and involves direct contact with users. And yet it’s also an amazing market in which to float your idea.

According to Massolution Crowdfunding Industry Reports, crowdfunding platforms raised $1.5 billion in 2011, $2.7 billion in 2012 and $5.1 billion in 2013.

Crowdfunding has transformed how start-ups and entrepreneurs choose to launch products. They can retain equity. The success and relevance of their product or service is not determined by a room of VCs or even a single investor but by their target audiences. And the sum they actually raise might easily exceed what they targeted – just think of projects such as Star Citizen ($500,000 goal versus $2.1million funded through Kickstarter and an additional $49 million as funding continued on the company’s website), Pebble ($100,000 versus $10.3 million) and OUYA ($950,000 versus $8.6 million).

You certainly need to have a lot of confidence to secure high-figure funding on a crowdfunding platform, but it’s not always about the money. Crowdfunding is also an amazing way to test a market. Just think how Canonical’s bid for $32 million to support the Ubuntu Edge phone really dipped more than a toe (it didn’t get funded). Crowdfunding sites can be just that – a great, low-cost yet far-reaching way to test a product or idea that has  immediate and unfiltered feedback.

In our next post we’ll be reviewing some ideas for pledges and rewards to encourage backers.

Meanwhile, if you’re based on the East Coast of the US and are planning a crowdfunding launch, please sign-upfor our one-day intensive PR workshop for potential crowdfunders on September 5th.

 

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November 8th, 2013

Impromptu: Our latest tech-filled newsletter hits inboxes today

Impromptu: Our latest tech-filled newsletter hits inboxes today

Impromptu Header 8 Nov 13It’s Friday and, unless you’re in the thick of technology, PR and copywriting like us, you may have missed some interesting stories this week. When the busyness of daily life takes over, it’s not always easy to stay up to date on the latest and greatest in technology news – which where we come in.

Impromptu subscribers can sit back, relax and enjoy their coffee breaks with our award-winning newsletter, distributed directly to inboxes every other Friday, and get caught up. Never again will you be the lunk at the bar on a Saturday night who had no idea Google had a mysterious barge hanging out off the coast of Maine.

This week, Promptoids Hazel, Dave, Sinead, Jackie, Max and Sam delve into India’s mission to Mars, the big Adobe hack, bitcoins, green-tech news, media happenings on both sides of the pond and the storage disk designed to endure a million years.

Still haven’t signed up? Don’t worry – we won’t let you miss out. To view this week’s edition, simply click here. While you’re at it, be sure to follow this link and get registered. See you again in two weeks!

Would you like us to cover something specific? We’d love to hear your Impromptu feedback – tweet us at @PromptBoston and @PromptLondon.

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October 30th, 2013

Fours reasons you should learn WordPress (and four reasons you should learn it with Prompt)

Fours reasons you should learn WordPress (and four reasons you should learn it with Prompt)

Four reasons you should invest in WordPress training:

  1. WordPress is really popular, and it’s not just about blogging anymore. This is a fully-featured content management system (CMS) with a bazillion widgets (okay, thousands), a huge community, and over 65 million sites trusting it to do the business.
  2. WordPress skills are an excellent addition to your résumé or CV.  Only an employer headquartered in a cave with no Wi-Fi or 3/4G access would now argue that flexible digital skills aren’t absolutely essential!
  3. Your job, boss and colleagues will increasingly expect you to be able to work with WordPress, almost magically. And while the system is extremely user-friendly, unless you only have ambitions to do the most basic things, then it’s worth learning your way around its features and functions thoroughly.
  4. Building confidence in WordPress is empowering. If you don’t know how it feels to be able to create your own websites, publish your own content, choose a great domain and install that perfect theme without relying on others, then you really should try it.

…and four good reasons why you should learn WordPress with Prompt

 

  1. Our course is designed and taught by experienced (and friendly!) PHP programmers, and that’s the code that WordPress is built on
  2. We will give you your very own digital sandbox – a place for you to play in, try different things out, install and test widgets, look at themes and generally get your hands dirty. Our course tutors provide careful supervision and feedback, and there’s zero risk of publishing anything by mistake, or doing digital harm to your own site or brand
  3. It’s incredibly cost-effective at just $475
  4. You can get started whenever you want – sign up today and you’ll be confident and raring to go for 2014!

Sign up today for our hands-on 60-day online training, and gain control of your own website, skill yourself up and expand your digital horizons.

And why not also sign up for to receive our free ‘WordPress Wednesday’ tips, delivered each week to your inbox?

 For any further enquiries, please feel free to get in touch with a Prompt consultant at wordpress@prompt-pr.com. Thank you.

 

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October 28th, 2013

Prompt goes PR (as in Prompt PR)

Prompt goes PR (as in Prompt PR)

Hello from Prompt PR!

Who are we to you? Ideally you already know us as that tenacious team that delivered results for your business across time-zones. Or maybe to date you know us largely through all those great downloads, courses, newsletters, blog posts and social media feeds that we create and share? Perhaps you don’t know us yet – in which case, why not join us to learn Ten Ways to Promote your Technology Product, Service or App?

However you are familiar with us, you probably just know us as ‘Prompt’. Or our more formal – and much longer – name of Prompt Communications. But not any longer. Last week we updated our digital presence to Prompt PR and prompt-pr.com. This doesn’t mean much to many people, especially as the beauty of the internet means that ‘prompt-communications.com’ will continue to persist in our digital timeline, but from this point forward our digital identity and our domain will be prompt-pr.com.

So why the change? Well, a number of reasons including:

  • – ‘PR’ is much snappier than ‘communications’. It’s easier to say ‘Prompt PR’ over the phone, quicker to type, simpler for journalists, shorter for social media, easier to fit into forms with restricted address width, and more memorable to shout out at strangers from buses (if so inclined)
  • – PR is what we do. Yes, we also communicate, but we regard PR as our core, our bread and butter. If you want to relate to ‘publics’ of any kind – journalists, prospects, customers – and your business is in any way related to technology, then we’re the team for you (if you want to check us out, why not sign up for our ‘Ten ways to promote your technology product, service or app’ webinar?)
  • – We like alliteration. But don’t worry; we won’t go any further with this and start promoting and proclaiming Prompt PR profusely and prosaically to produce plentiful pizzazz, or anything like that

Clients and friends that we have already spoken to about the change think it makes a whole lot of sense to shorten our email addresses and domain – do please remember to use our new domain when contacting us. Thank you.

www.prompt-pr.com/contact-us
info@prompt-pr.com
hbutters@prompt-pr.com
@PromptBoston
@PromptLondon

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October 9th, 2013

Ten reasons your technology marketing is pants*

Ten reasons your technology marketing is pants*

*British phrase for ‘not awesome’

1. Lack of clarity: it’s not clear what you sell – or why (i.e. why your business even exists)
2. Too many acronyms and market-created terms (see #1)
3. Tendency to make ‘me too’ claims, (frequently associated with self-constructed vendor charts)
4. A sales-marketing gap: one group is selling one thing while the other is saying another
5. Not enough customer-based content and testimonials
6. Company news/press releases aren’t being pitched to the press (hitting ‘send’ on a wire service isn’t pitching)
7. You don’t have the right sales content to help shorten the sales cycle
8. No engagement with the industry analysts (we don’t mean buying relationships)
9. You need to get some swagger and show (not tell) what is different about your business, your solution and how you work
10. You’re not explaining the solution to a problem, you’re trying to sell something

Want to hear Prompt’s ‘Ten Ways’ and get some ideas of how to create content and campaigns to help technology sales?Join us for a free ‘Ten Ways to Promote your Technology Product, Service or App’ webinar that’s being held on October 10 at 11:30am ET / 4:30pm BT. Register here: http://www.prompt-the-crowd.com/technology-pr-webinar/

Missed it/unable to attend but would like the reply? Email us at ten@prompt-communications.com

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September 10th, 2013

aPriori signs new European PR contract with Prompt

aPriori signs new European PR contract with Prompt

International agency to continue to drive European media relations for PCM innovator

10 September 2013 Prompt has been appointed by enterprise product cost management software specialist aPriori to run targeted 2014 European media campaigns covering Britain, France and DACH (Germany, Switzerland and Austria).

Headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts, aPriori develops and markets enterprise product cost management software to reduce the costs of products both post- and pre-production. aPriori Product Cost Management software platform is the first solution of its kind that allows companies to maximize savings throughout the development and manufacturing stages. The software provides real-time product cost assessments, enabling discrete manufacturers and product companies to make informed decisions to drive down product costs. aPriori helps world class manufacturing corporations stay on budget and reduce excess spending. The company recently announced $6 million in additional funding on the back of a record financial year which included annual revenue growth of 84% and a 62% increase in customers alongside a fifth year of 90% customer renewals.

Rick Burke, VP of Marketing for aPriori, said: “In Prompt we feel we have found a public relations company that matches our own personality. Together we are goal focused and strategic, targeting relevant media audiences in key territories, and concentrating on very specific markets. Prompt has understood our ambitions to produce some excellent and metric-based results to date including opinion pieces, interviews and coverage in core automobile, aerospace and manufacturing press. We now look forward to continuing our momentum, press coverage and sales-focused PR activities in 2014.”

Prompt is a PR consultancy that has gained significant experience in the technology industry with PR, copywriting and marketing clients from early stage technology companies to global organisations such as Dell and Oracle Corporation. The company also offers early stage companies an introduction to PR with packaged services called ‘First Byte’ with sales-focused, ‘no surprises’ PR, thought leadership, media coverage and sales-related content.

Hazel Butters, CEO, Prompt said: “aPriori is a unique company that provides a high quality product with huge value for any businesses looking for an innovative way to make more informed manufacturing and sourcing decisions that drive significant cost out of products. Rick and his team are great to work with – and they’re incredibly focused, providing our team with the goals and objectives essential for effective, results-driven PR. We very much look forward to continuing our work with aPriori into 2014.”

About aPriori
aPriori software and services generate hard-dollar product cost savings for discrete manufacturing and product innovation companies. Using aPriori’s real-time product cost assessments, employees in engineering, sourcing and manufacturing make more-informed decisions that drive costs out of products pre- and post-production. With aPriori, manufacturers launch products at cost targets, maximize savings in re-work projects and never overpay for sourced parts.
www.apriori.com

About Prompt Communications

Founded in January 2002, Prompt Communications is a communications agency with European offices in London and US offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. Prompt Communications offers expertise across all marketing disciplines, teaming its consultants’ extensive knowledge of start-ups, technology market with experience of pan-European and American media, analyst and marketing campaigns. Using highly targeted marketing, PR, analyst relations, social media and corporate copywriting initiatives, Prompt helps its clients gain the visibility they need to achieve their business objectives, from increasing sales to enhancing reputation with stakeholders.
www.prompt-communications.com

Media Contact:
Jackie Fraser | Prompt
Tel: +44 845 053 9121 | +1 617 401 2717
press@prompt-communications.com

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August 29th, 2013

Prompt launches flexible ‘First Byte’ PR packages for tech start-ups

Prompt launches flexible ‘First Byte’ PR packages for tech start-ups

Customizable service bundles also offer ‘add-on’ options for rapid response to market opportunities

Boston, MA – August 28, 2013 – Prompt Boston has launched a range of PR, marketing, content creation and social media service packages designed specifically to benefit technology start-ups. Prompt’s ‘First Byte’ packages support key business activities that promote thought leadership, media relations and content creation. Nicknamed ‘Megabyte’,‘Gigabyte’,‘Terabyte’ and ‘Petabyte’, each scale of package also offers add-on options through a ‘Byte Size’ menu, enabling companies to respond easily to sales and growth-related opportunities, or swiftly trigger specific activities when most benefit can be gained. These optional add-ons include analyst relations, customer case studies, media training, event support and even award programs.

The programs also cover PR, media relations and copywriting in the UK, France and DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), enabling American-headquartered companies to easily extend their marketing activities to new territories and to maximize the return on their marketing dollars.

Hazel Butters, CEO of Prompt Boston, said: “With the fast-paced nature of today’s technology industry, many companies, particularly start-ups, need PR programs that are flexible, scalable and economical. Increasingly we find ourselves working with start-ups and tech companies that have previously been scared away from PR by hefty six-figure fees and teams that seem to consist of a cast of thousands.  Prompt’s ‘First Byte’ packages help our clients to build impactful, results-driven PR programs which remain focused, manageable and affordable.”

Prompt’s ‘First Byte’ PR packaged activities are delivered with full transparency to ensure clear visibility of progress and results. Through this certain and honest approach, Prompt’s specialist teams work as true extensions of clients’ internal PR and marketing teams.

Hazel concluded: “PR is an important component of any business plan or strategy. With Prompt’s packages, companies can reap valuable results and predictable returns on their investments. It’s all too easy for start-ups to regard PR as just another cost, because they aren’t made plainly aware of the tangible benefits PR brings. Others may understand the advantages of PR but feel that hidden costs make it prohibitive for them to adopt. Our start-up packages are exclusively designed for early stage companies; they contain no nasty surprise costs, and are created specifically to help smaller teams harness the power of PR as part of a viable and sustainable business strategy.”

Tammy Kahn Fennell, CEO of MarketMeSuite, a user-friendly social media platform trusted by 30,000 users to organize, prioritize and engage smarter on social media, said: “As a growing software company with commitments in engineering, new product development, customer service, partner strategy and sales, it can be challenging to free up budget and dedicate time for specific media activities. We worked with Prompt when we needed set-price media work because the team could commit to a predictable fee that helped us to plan financially, while prioritizing activities that complemented our immediate sales and growth strategy.”

To learn more about Prompt’s ‘First Byte’ PR packages, visit the website. To receive more information on pricing and package details, please fill out Prompt’s form here.

About Prompt
Prompt is a communications agency that enables marketers and entrepreneurs to increase sales and marketing effectiveness. Specializing in innovative markets including technology, green tech and sustainability, Prompt helps its clients communicate effectively and authentically with core audiences online and offline through PR, media relations, copywriting, webinars, market and industry analysis, social media, video content and customer reference programs. Prompt Communications has offices and consultants spanning in London, Massachusetts and California. Prompt’s current and former clients include Adeptra, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Aperture, Corizon, Dell Compellent, Foviance, Genesys Telecommunications, GenSight, Grouptree, IBM, jovoto, KANA, Oracle Corporation, smartFOCUS and Webtide.
www.prompt-communications.com

Media contacts:
Hazel Butters or Jackie Fraser
1 (617) 401-2717
press@prompt-communications.com

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May 29th, 2013

Prompt Communications wins Equiso public relations account

Prompt Communications wins Equiso public relations account

Prompt Boston to lead US media relations campaign for maker of streaming, gaming and browsing SmartTV Stick

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Prompt Boston, the Massachusetts office of Prompt Communications, a public relations and digital communications agency specializing in innovative markets including high-technology and green-tech, has won a new contract with Equiso, the developer of the SmartTV Stick.

Equiso’s SmartTV Stick transforms televisions, screens and projectors into web-connected Android 4.0 devices with access to a range of popular media channels and apps, including HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix, Crackle and Vudu. Along with streaming movies, TV shows and sports, the low-cost ($78), high-quality stick gives users unrestricted access to the Google Play store, with 500,000 games and apps.

EquisoThe company is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its SmartTV Stick was launched via a Kickstarter project which received the support of nearly 3,000 backers, who collectively more than doubled the company’s initial $100,000 goal.

Prompt is a digital PR consultancy with offices in Boston, London and San Francisco. With extensive experience in high-tech, including applications, services, software and hardware, Prompt has worked with start-ups to global software and technology companies including Oracle Corporation, Capgemini and IBM.

Prompt Prompt will work to increase recognition of Equiso as the company distributes its SmartTV Stick online and increases its presence with retailers. Working with Equiso’s management team, Prompt will drive a targeted PR campaign based on media outreach and analyst relations to support and demonstrate Equiso’s sales, market position and thought leadership.

Adam McBride, CEO of Equiso, said: “Prompt’s proven record of successfully working with high-tech start-ups, coupled with its Cambridge-based office that allows for desk-next-door communications, made selecting a PR firm an easy choice. Consumers across the US are looking to cut the cable cord, and the momentum we are seeing is testimony to that. With Prompt’s PR strategy, we hope to continue reaching new audiences while transforming the future of streaming, gaming and browsing.”

Hazel Butters, CEO of Prompt, said: “Equiso has a fascinating Kickstarter background, a talented management team, and a strong, relevant product. Consumers want to access apps, the internet and new programs over their TVs – the dumb TV’s days are numbered. Equiso’s SmartTV Stick gives consumers an affordable alternative without any extra cable boxes or cords. Prompt is looking forward to driving media recognition and consumer awareness around such an innovative product.”

About Equiso
Equiso.com, Inc. is an innovator of digital media platforms that leverage the convergence of internet and entertainment. Its flagship product, the Equiso SmartTV Stick transforms televisions, screens and projectors into fully-featured web-connected Android devices with access to media channels and apps including Crackle, HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix and Vudu. The device gives users full access to the Google Play store and its 500,000 games and apps, while the affordable and intuitive open platform accelerates consumer adoption of new media by lowering barriers to access. www.equiso.com

About Prompt Communications
Prompt is a communications agency that enables marketers and entrepreneurs to increase their sales and marketing effectiveness. Specializing in innovative markets including technology and healthcare, Prompt helps clients communicate effectively and authentically with core audiences online and offline through PR, media relations, copywriting, webinars, market and industry analysis, social media, video content and customer programs. Founded in 2002, Prompt Communications has US offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California and European offices in London. Prompt’s experience includes Adeptra, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Aperture, Corizon, Dell|Compellent, Foviance, Genesys Telecommunications, IBM, Integralis, jovoto, KANA, Oracle Corporation, smartFOCUS and Webtide. www.prompt-communications.com

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