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Bulllet

Bullet is an innovative and simple accounting software solution for businesses.

The software has turned a tedious task into a quick and simple one and we at Mercury Digital cannot commend it high enough. As a new company, we had a hard choice of what kind of accounting system we wished to put in place. We knew if we got solid practices in place straight away we could better manage our cash flow, an imperative requirement of a start up.

We had looked at some well known names in the industry and their packages just seems laborious and rigid. Then we came across Bullet, coming from a non accounting background this software seemed to be the perfect solution. We are able to handle all our own accounts in a simple and easy to understand way.

 

The opening screen looks like this:

As you can see everything is clearly laid out for you. Your to do list is highlighted at the top  of the page, which will be a list of outstanding bills or Vat returns to be done. Then you have six options to delve further into the software suite. Within each category there is a video from Peter Connor co-founder of Bullet explaining in two minutes how to use that section.

 

Invoices:

Within this section you have the option to create an invoice, record a payment on an invoice, input your customers details, create a credit note or export the invoices to another format.

 

The invoices contain all relevant company information and can be send direct to the customer via email or exported as a pdf and posted.

Then when a payment comes in you can easily record that against the invoice.

 

Money In:

This section covers any loans into the company from a bank or director perhaps or allows you to record a payment from a customer. It will show all relevant invoices from that customer and you can pick which one the payment is relevant to. You also have the option of exporting all invoice payments to a pdf.

 

Money out:

This section covers all bills your company receives; such as lease/hire purchase agreement, a recurring bill like rent, your everyday invoices or expenses and late tax penalties. When you enter a bill the system asks if the bill was paid for by the business or one of the employees. If an employee paid for it, the expense is automatically added to the wages bill as this is money due back to that employee.

 

Again you have the option to export your bills or expenses file which will be able to feed directly into your financials for the year.

 

Wages:

This section allows you to easily pay your employees their set wage and/or any expenses due. It automatically calculates their PAYE, PRSI and USC. When you add your employee details you can upload the relevant ROS file so that you have accurate tax credits for them.

 

The pay slip comes out looking like this:

It contains all relevant information for the employee to see. The software also records the tax payment under the tax section. You can then automatically file your P30, P35l and any VAT returns you have for the period.

 

The last section to note is the health check which is your cash flow. It determines your creditor and debtor days and shows you how much cash you are retaining in the business each month.

 

The best things about this software is that the suite is fully integrated, with each section feeding into each other and allowing you to to move from one task to the next effortlessly. It is linked to the Revenue’s website enabling you to upload the ROS files for each of your employees and file VAT returns directly from the website.

 

When you have entered your information each period you can then export the relevant bills, expenses, payments etc to a spreadsheet and easily pull them into your end of year financials, saving a lot of headache and wasted time. The site also removes paper waste as pay slips are sent directly to employees via email, as are invoices to customers and so on. This accounting package is an absolute must for SMEs saving you time and money and adding so much value to the day to day running of your business.

 

Customers can get a free 30 day trial of the service from:

https://www.bullethq.com/index.page

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Mercury Digital are happy to announce the release of the latest video produced by Tim
Duggan and Eoghan Kidney. The music video of Irish dance band This Club’s latest single
‘Up’ was shot around Dublin over two days. The post production was handled by London
based company Smoke and Mirrors.

The video was a great success all around with both Tim and Eoghan praising the quality of
work and dedication of all involved.

‘It is always such a pleasure to work with a great talent and on this production we had not
only a great band but great actors and a great team. We all had good fun making this and I
think the video will do great things for the band as well as Roz and Eoghan.’ Tim Duggan
CEO

‘We think Rex and Roz will go really far in their acting careers and we can’t wait to work
with them and This Club again in the future.‘ Eoghan Kidney

This club – Up

Siemens_Blog_Banner

 

Mercury Digital are delighted to announce that we have become the official mobile partner for Siemens offering consulting and development services to further focus their mobile enabled and smartphone products.

Mercury Digitals’ specific expertise in HTML5 and Native app consuting, development and design have been called upon to initially work on the Siemens SPC Anywhere security system.

Users of intruder detection installations based on the versatile Security Products from Siemens SPC product range can now monitor and control their systems from almost anywhere, using a new free iOS application (app) available on the App Store.

More info here http://www.sourcesecurity.com/new-products/listing/1/product-profile/intruder-alarms/control-panels-systems-and-accessories.1/control-panels-systems-and-accessories/siemens-spcanywhere-mobile-app-intruder-alarm-system-control-panel.html

Download here :

With SPCanywhere, users can monitor multiple SPC installations via an attractive and intuitive graphical user interface. SPCanywhere provides an overview of the system area status, as well as the status of all the zones and door controls. For each installation, users can select a map view, which provides an instant overview with icons that clearly show positioning of the detectors and verification cameras. Tapping on an icon allows the user to control doors, areas and zones, or to display real time images live on the iPhone or iPad.

Mercury are working closely with Siemens Swiss and Irish offices to bring the existing SPC technology to Android and Windows mobile smartphones and tablets.

This is a huge step for Mercury and to get the validation from such a large global client that HTML5 development and deployment are bankable for the future is the best endorsement of our business.

Tim Duggan – CEO of Mercury is delighted with this new deal and excited for the future for his clients
“We have been working in mobile native development and design since 2008 and even in those early days we saw that native coding for smartphone was a one trick pony, kind of like a wrist watch – its a limited use utility in a way, there is no flexibility or scalability in a native source code base.

So when we started working with HTML5 and cross deployment frameworks like phonegap, Titanium and others, we started to see a more streamlined way of working with 80% of our clients applications.
We didnt see there been a point in releasing a new ‘phonegap’ platform but we did see the value in becoming expert consultants and developers in this rapidly changing area, and to wait and see how the market took and still is taking to HTML5 while departing from native builds. While we we still also work on native development, we are finding more and more of our clients are waking up to the fact that cross platform is the way to go. There are obvious advantages to using native development in gaming and very high graphic and render load applications, HTML5 is constantly catching up with these.
We have recently engaged with new enterprise clients who have very solid IT teams, but until now, they have been locked into different technologies for delivering their solutionsWith Adobes purchase of Phone Gap and the ongoing wind-down of Flash, its clear that Adobe are investing in a HTML5 future, in not only mobile but also across their entire web product range.

The work we recently did on an interactive kids book in developing a platform, was really pushing the boundries of what we could do with HTML5 and the broswer hardware acceleration. I think this was something that really impressed Siemens in demonstrating what we can do. We had been talking with the head of Google Android in the UK and the Head of Chrome and they were very impressed with how much we had pushed the performance. So much so that we were in open water with regards to how much the Google developer teams could advise on what more could be done.
Sean, our top HTML5 dev really added IP and value to steamline the performance of the application and this is really our sweet spot as a company in pushing performance and code to offer the best experience possible.”

The new contract with Siemens means a stronger future for Mercury Digital, but by no means does it mean that we are limited in new work bandwidth. If anything, we are looking forward to taking on new SME and enterprise level clients and we always enjoy working with Startups that have a technical build and consulting requirement.

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Resident app enthusiast Emma O’Leary takes the latest and greatest mobile applications for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone for a test drive. We hand-select our monthly app reviews based on app popularity, their utility features, creative execution and technical delivery. Check out our top 5 apps for this month. Hope you enjoy folks.

 

Headspace (On-The-Go) 

Price: Free  Developer: Headspace Meditation Limited

Headspace is an app designed to help people relax through the use of soothing narrations and simple animations. There is a selection of plans to      download to use with Headspace, the one I tried out was for beginners. The “Take Ten” plan only requires 10 minutes for 10 days, not too  demanding for people with a tight schedule. The narrator, Andy, talks you through some breathing and relaxation techniques that accompany  animations. The app is also scattered with simplistic characters and has a nice green almost pastel colour theme, which keeps in tune with the calming theme. This app differs greatly from other relaxation and meditation apps I’ve tried before, most consist of “calming” soundtracks of a breeze or waves crashing and a messy design. Which is usually a photo of the sea and information boxes thrown across the page.

The design was by far my favourite part of the app. It ties in perfectly with the whole relaxation concept of the app itself. Other apps I’ve tried out have been really untidy, looks wise, most with a generic sea or landscape background with text scattered across it, whereas this is well structured and very unique. The colour scheme consists of pastel blues and greens with strong oranges and purples. There are also little illustrated characters on various sections of the app and throughout the short animated videos. Overall the app flowed perfectly, easy to use interface and it looks the part.

Technology wise headspace has really invested in animation, with the main driving force being their animation aided relaxation method. After trying out some other apps that are targeting the same market, I have to say nothing stands out as much as headspace. Other apps, such as “Simply Being” or “ Take A Break” seem to be concentrated on audio tracks, which I found a little boring compared to Headspace. As someone who doesn’t really use these kind of apps I can’t say if these relaxation techniques really work. Reviews I’ve read so far are all positive with users asking for more programs and saying how it helped them sleep better.

I’d give this a 3 out of 5, it’s a brilliant app and works perfectly but then again it’s not really for me.

             

Android app on Google Play
     

Hipster

Price: Free  Developer: Hipster Inc.

Hipster is a social networking app that encourages you to send “postcards” to your friends. These postcards are photos altered with a “theme”, or filter. To be honest when I downloaded this I took one look at it and thought Instagram. It’s basically the same idea but you call your filtered image a “postcard”, the themes are also nothing new. Like Instagram you can add friends, upload to a number of social networking sites, view “most popular” and “newest”. When trying the app out I ran into a problem with using an image I had previously taken, it would not upload at all. I tried a ridiculous amount of times and even with different pictures and nothing! It worked fine with taking a photo there and then. I can’t see this doingas well as Instagram as it seems to have loyal following and is one of the most popular photo applications on the market at the moment (Facebook recently bought it for 1 billion). Hipster is a free but then again so is Instagram.

I actually preferred the design of this app to Instagram, Hipster has a much more polished design andalmost vintage feel to it which goes hand in hand with the picture filters. It took me a little time to get used to the interface as it’s slightly different to Instagram but it’s easy enough to get the hang of it.

Technology wise Hipster is a clone of Instagram, as it’s the same basic idea.  Although “Hipster” has a more personal feel to it as you can add a little message and your location to the back of your “postcard”, which you can then send to a friend and also upload to your social networking site.

Reviews are slightly mixed about this app, while people are declaring their love for this they add a little side note stating problems like freezing and it doesn’t work. I don’t think “Hipster” will do as well as Instagram, as it has a cult following and peopledon’t seem to be tiring of it anytime soon. I think it will certainly do better than apps like Streamzoo, which has many glitches, as it works (almost) perfectly.

I think I’d give this maybe 2 and a half out of 5. Simply because I had trouble uploading a picture and I already have Instagram.

          

Android app on Google Play
     

Yelp

Price: Free  Developer: Yelp Inc.

As a newcomer to Dublin, I’m not familiar with a lot of places; hidden restaurants and shops in the corners of little side streets are all unknown to me. I don’t know how many times I’ve come to Dublin and wanted to try out a certain restaurant but could never find it. If this is you, Yelp is your best friend! Free and no account needed to use the service, Yelp helps you find exactly what you’re looking for in whatever part of the world you may be. You simply type in your destination, what you’re looking for (café, bar, shop, hotel etc) and you are provided with a detailed list or if you like there’s a photo gallery option. The photo gallery is brilliant, excellent for helping you find your destination! You can also filter by cost, best match, distance, highest rated and opening times. I will definitely be using this next time I’m looking for a restaurant or hotel.

Design wise I thought overall it looked really well. Its also very accommodating to user, with the option to view your search in a text list or photo gallery, making it easier to find your location. The app provides you with a map location, address, review and photo. The interface is brilliant and very easy to use you simply type in your location and use the filter to narrow your search down, and you’re ready to go!

Yelp incorporates a bit of augmented reality into its app; it has a monocle function, which allows the user overlay business information, such as names and reviews, onto the world around you. This would have to be what gives Yelp the edge in the app market. If you make an account with Yelp you’ll be able to bookmark your favourite places, brilliant if you’d like to revisit somewhere.

Yelp is definitely ahead of the rest with its outstanding monocle app. I also think the picture gallery is a great idea.

I would give Yelp a 4 out of 5, it runs so well and looks brilliant too.

          

Android app on Google Play
     

Zite

Price: Free   Developer: Zite Inc.

Zite is a personalised magazine app, which lets you pick and choose categories you’re interested in. The app brings articles, based on your interests, together in a newspaper style layout. When you set up your account you are given roughly 3 pages of categories to choose from, so there’s something there for everyone. The home page is made up of top new stories from around the world and at the right hand side is a list of your interests or selections. Simply click on one and you’ll be given an endless number of articles from all over the web. When you select an article you’d like to read it comes up in pop-out window. I really liked this as I thought it would direct you to another site and you’d have to select “back” and lose your place in the page (something that really annoys me about Reddit).There are also great options when you select an article suchas “more from this journalist” and “more about…” whichever topic the article was about. I think this is a brilliant application as it cuts down the user’s time looking all over the web for articles of their interest and would be excellent for people who read online newspapers or magazines.

Zite’s design is very minimal, perfect for an app with so much content. It has a very polished, clean feel to it. Everything from the colour scheme to the font is very clean cut. The layout is almost that of a newspaper, with a little more order. The title, snippet of the article and most times an image appear in neatly places columns. I really liked this design, as other news apps like daily mail, are pretty much like newspapers, very messy and nearly impossible to read.

Zite gets better with every use, as it adapts to and learns more about your interests from which articles you read.

I’d give Zite a 3 and a half out of 5. I really like the whole design and concept of the app but I find myself forgetting about when I go to read articles.

           

Android app on Google Play
     

Dominos Pizza

Price: Free  Developer: Domino’s Pizza Group Limited

Food delivery apps, to me, are an excellent idea. Perfect for anyone who has no credit, no intention of cooking and plenty of wifi. At first I had trouble with the app recognizing my address but after a few attempts it worked. Once you have your address in, you are greeted with a vibrant, pizza filled layout with a little tool bar at the bottom of the page (pizzas, sides, subs, drinks, desserts, deals, basket). It also tells you what Domino’s branch you’ll be ordering from and their phone number. When you select a tool bar option you get a sliding menu with a picture, description and price of each type of pizza. Once you’ve selected your type, size and crust you’re ready to go. You can watch your orders cooking and delivery progress. Overall the app is well structured and easy to use. Since deliveries usually don’t start till 5pm there is a pre-order option, which is ideal as that’s not an option for over the phone deliveries.

The design of the app worked really well with the concept. The interface is simple, straight forward and very colorful, staying true to the logo colours; blue, red and white. The layout and flow are very logical so there’s no second guessing and the user should know exactly what to do from the first use.

You place your order, wait and then eat. Simple! A brilliant feature is you get to watch your order’s process or track it. You can watch how much time it takes for your order to be placed, prep, bake, quality check and delivery time. Which really puts your mind at rest if you’re unsure about ordering via app.

I don’t think the app itself has much competition as its the official dominos app. There aren’t many other big brand delivery apps on the market at the moment, so Dominos is definitely one step ahead of the rest. 4 out of 5, lost a mark as it took a few attempts for it to recognize my address.

 

Android app on Google Play
     

Superstar interns Wanted

IN April we announced a new mobile development partnership with Belly of Fire publications. Today we release fully illustrated, interactive and audio integrated android app Walter the Wandering Wave for Google Play. This signature storybook series is built entirely from scratch on our unified universal web OS code-base, an accomplishment that really pushed the limits of the HTML5 platform and language. We collaborated with Google’s Android team throughout this ground-breaking development. Google’s Chrome division also chipped in as our platform utilises the Chrome browser heavily.

We now have a shining example of the phenomenal abilities of HTML5 versus native code and look forward to starting work on the next book in the Walter series straight away. At the same time, we are talking with new publishing clients who would like to utilise the Mercury platform.

This deal with Belly of Fire also gives Mercury Digital visibility across the North American and Canadian market. Belly of Fire and Mercury Digital have negotiated a $CAD 2 million media deal with Play Taxi Media for over 3,000 cabs in Canada and are in discussions with the same firm over a 5 million dollar North American media partnership. This initial Canadian deal will drive downloads of the Android version of the Walter app and power agency recognition for Mercury Digital.

Android app on Google Play

Catalpa NYC

The Catalpa NYCapplication is the mobile companion to New York City’s best summer event!

Mercury Digital were proud to create the Catalpa NYC application, the perfect mobile companion to New York City’s best summer event! Knowing how easy it is for festival goers to get lost in the moment Mercury Digital partnered with Catalpa NYC to create a HTML5 application to help revellers not miss a single second of the magic.

This cross platform application came with an easy to use “My Festival” functionality to help users make the most of their weekend. By Selecting thier favorite artist the user could create your own tailored experience and receive handy reminders detailing where and when their favourite bands would be taking to the stage. Building on our HTML5 platform it doesn’t matter what smart phone is in the party-goers pocket we’ll have them covered.

Held over July 28th+29th on Randalls Island, Catalpa will feature some of the world’s hottest artists including The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg with special guests, TV On The Radio, A$AP Rocky, Girl Talk, Felix da Housecat, Cold War Kids, Zola Jesus, Araabmuzik, Matisyahu and many more.

Catalpa NYC also plays host to a number of entertaining and incredibly unique features such as The High Times Magazine Reggae Stage, The Inflatable Church of Sham Marriages, Huge Art Installations, The Arcadia Spectacular, A Silent Disco and even a choice from some of the best and quirkiest New York eateries on-site! This is New York City’s Music Festival!

Mercury Digital Blog Post

As a leading mobile app development company in Ireland, we naturally look ahead to new technologies coming on-stream. Not just that, we adopt mobile software solutions, responsive web languages and web OS trends in advance of market adoption, a strategy that positions the agency to consult with authority on mobile innovation. We give our clients competitive edge with concepts that deliver impressive digital user experience and brand engagement or remarketing.

One such mobile platform that is on our radar for twenty twelve is Windows Phone. Microsoft, the undisputed King of desktop software, is but a minnow in the mobile operating ecosystem. Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile systems hold the majority market share with Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 mere back-markers.

Everyone loves the under-dog! With Microsoft joined at the hip to Nokia (still a mobile hardware powerhouse, albeit recently pipped by Samsung in volume sales) and Windows Phone 8 due for release later this year, high street shoppers will see a lot more devices running Microsoft’s mobile OS through 2013. As one of “Ireland’s top developers“, we’ve been trialling the Nokia Lumia 800 running Windows OS. In-hand, it has a solid feel to it, reminiscent of a slick external hard-drive rather than a phone with its wrap-around casing and mixture of sharp and smooth edges. It boasts high-end hardware specs but it’s the software that interests us.

As Forbes points out, the stand-out feature is the alternative Windows 8 UI, a tile grid style more akin to what we are seeing in web OS standards now with live feeds aggregating at one central interface instead of individual apps. This dashboard display approach dubbed Metro is a key differentiator for Windows Phone. It spearheads Microsoft’s mobile strategy of achieving a uniform media experience across digital devices, be it tablet, desktop, mobile, TV, xbox; any connected screen in essence. Microsoft envisages an internet that renders the device irrelevant, much like Google. They champion advanced proprietary cloud technologies (who isn’t!) and backing ubiquitous, cost-effective hardware.

Integration is the name of the game, and Microsoft knows better than most that the wheel turns very slowly when it comes to technological change. It is easy to brand them complacent, lulled in to a false sense of security with windows and office dominance but the winds of change are blowing and Microsoft has more than ruffled a few feathers with some major market swoops such as Bing, their facebook “friendship”, Nokia and Ovi Maps. Tie in cloud services in the form of office 365 and sharepoint and suddenly Microsoft has more than the requisite weaponry to join the battle for mobile supremcy!

Our advice, do what the smart money is on. Centralise and unify your development IP in HTML5 to take advantage not just in booming iOS and Android App markets but across Windows Phone Marketplace and others. You’ve got to be in to win, and out team picks itself!

Merc_digital_blog

HTC Phone WizardFi (Fantasy Interactive) designed the much talked about new HTC.com. With minimal clutter but maximum content, Fi have created a beautifully easy to navigate, user friendly website, with nice interactive features such as the phone wizard and the 360° view of the HTC phones. Rich in video content and craft style graphics, this website makes HTC phones very attractive, though I am an easy target as my iPhone battery life makes me want to throw it under a passing bus.

Although I like the concept & design of the Phone Wizard which helps one choose the most suitable HTC for them based on how they use it, selecting various combinations of productivity, video, music, gaming, imaging & messaging produces the exact same results. So really it’s more of a catwalk than a wizard. It seems as if Fi have taken the ‘Quietly Brilliant’ tagline of HTC and ensured this be reflected in the websites interface.

A great insight into the way the team at Fi work, is their case study section of their own website. They show there work-flow & stage-by-stage development of the project. The case study gives a real insight into the thought and consideration that goes into making a great piece of design. Understanding the clients needs, & most importantly the potential customers needs was key to the decision making processes.

At Mercury Digital we take a similar approach to our projects, defining the needs of client & user is our first step. In my recent blog about design & entrepreneurship I spoke about understanding the objectives of the project, this may not always be what the client envisaged from the start, but we ensure that the best solution is found in order to meet their users/customers expectations and more. As a team of designer, producers & developers that work closely together we are always discussing projects from every angle.

Superstar Interns Wanted

Mercury Digital, a highly exciting Dublin based software company is looking for a smart intern. The commitment would be around 15 hours a week for the next 8 weeks with a view to extend the position to a paid position after the initial period.

You would be based on Barrow street beside Google and you would be exposed to a very high level of software development and cloud based technology.

We are looking for a candidate that is smart, quick thinking and proactive. You must have great internet research skills and computer experience.

You will have an interest in web, technology and or entertainment technology and software.

Ability to work in any of the following technologies is a plus.

  • Final Cut Pro
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Java
  • Javascript
  • OO
  • C/C# / Obj C.
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • InDesign.

Transport costs and lunch expenses would be covered.

Please send C.Vs to
hello@thisismercurydigital.com

Design & Entrepreneurship Blogpost

@wellsriley hits the nail on the head! Design & Entrepreneurship sitting in a tree, M A K E G R E A T T H I N G S! Ok that may be a very long winded version of the childhood tease but it’s pretty accurate.

As Riley discusses on his (beautifully designed) website http://startupsthisishowdesignworks.com/ [A guide for non-designers], design is an essential aspect of successful start-up businesses. As a designer myself I may seem slightly biased but I honestly think it is very short-sighted to think that a start-up can get to a successful level without heavy involvement of a designer or two.

Designers by nature are problem solvers; it is not all about good looks and charm! A product must make sense to the users. It should be easy and smooth.

With so many new products appearing on the market everyday, businesses need to lure the users in with the promise of a useful, fun, interesting or time-saving product, but how do they hold on to users? With good design, well thought through user-interface and architecture!

I’m specifically talking about web design and mobile applications as these are our specialities at Mercury Digital. I for one will not use a beautiful looking product if it doesn’t do it’s job, but equally I get frustrated with great ideas executed badly and with a lame interface. The users experience is crucial. You want them to use, explore, interact, and share this experience with their friends and colleagues.

At Mercury Digital our working process involves design input throughout the project from start to finish ensuring consistency and quality is maintained. We learn, ask questions, understand, research, ideate, design, prototype, discuss, design, test, design, discuss, design, deliver/launch.

Great design starts with the understanding of the problem. What are you creating, who is it for, why do they need it? Never assume that people know about your product, your interface or what you are about. It is the designers job to make this discovery process easy for users.

Add designers to the mixI believe that good design has the potential to make peoples lives less cumbersome and more interesting. As Jack Dorsey of Twitter & Square says ’It’s really complex to make something simple’, so give adequate time and scope for designers to create that masterpiece you are looking for.