Posts made in May, 2014

Transitioning your Business into the Cloud

Posted by on May 28, 2014

    The cloud: the ethereal word that encompasses where all of our information is floating these days. We’re turning from racks full of paper files to gigabytes filled with data. The ease of cloud computing may be the right decision for your business, and we’re here to show you how to start thinking about making that transition.   If you need an explanation of what the cloud is, Mashable has a pretty user-friendly description of it that you can read here. Cloud Computing: The Complete Guide is another comprehensive guide to the cloud that you can check out.   The major draw of transitioning to the cloud is the ease of access; instead of being stuck using software or pulling up information from just one location, you can access it from anywhere. It’s likely that some of what you do is already focused in the cloud: for example, your email, if you use a web-based service instead of a desktop-based client. Perhaps you share brainstorming documents or your employee manual on Google Drive. Taking this convenience and inter-connectivity and making it a reality with all or most of your information might be the next step.   Most small businesses let larger companies take care of the cloud computing...

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What can Kickstarter do for Your Business?

Posted by on May 22, 2014

In 2012, our Beaverton parent company ran and successfully completed a Kickstarter project to fund the creation of a video game. This allowed us to embark on a project for the people who helped fund us, and we found the whole process to be an interesting learning experience.   Kickstarter is mostly used to get businesses off the ground by funding a project. It’s not always used for already-established companies, but if done right, an existing company can run a legitimate and useful Kickstarter campaign.   Kickstarter is not meant to be for “fund my life” projects. For example, launching a campaign to pay for your office rent for six months is not a worthy use of your backer’s money, and is against Kickstarter’s policies. A campaign should result in a finished project, however long that takes, that you can then give to those who have backed you.   A fantastic way to use Kickstarter is for promotion. By creating a project and getting it funded, you are exposing your business to all of the people who funded you, many of whom will spread the word about other aspects of your business. These extend to not only local potential customers, but national and possibly even global customers depending on...

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A Review of Firefox’s Surprisingly Awesome New Australis Interface

Posted by on May 19, 2014

I’ve been a pretty big Firefox fan for quite a few years, and so I had mixed feelings about the newest update. Mozilla not only updated the version to 29, but introduced an entirely new interface, called Australis. In this post, I’m going to take look at the new interface from a casual user’s point of view.   The Australis UI is probably the most drastically different browser design I’ve seen from Firefox in awhile. The last update that shocked me so much was when the menu bar was hidden and I grumbled about having to take up more precious screen space by un-hiding it. But in all respects, that was a pretty small change compared to this time around. Mozilla completely revamped the usability and made it very reminiscent of the Windows 8 OS or Google Chrome. The difference between Firefox and Chrome, however, is pretty noticeable. Firefox has always been about customizability, and while the default interface and design is very user-friendly, you can go beyond the basics to make the browser entirely your own with add-ons and plugins galore.   The largest noticeable change is the menu redesign. Instead of menu options being accessible by the orange button drop-down menu on top left, it’s a stealthier,...

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Let’s Look at Google’s New Hummingbird Search Algorithm

Posted by on May 12, 2014

Hummingbird, launched in September 2013, is a fascinating new search algorithm developed by Google (who else?). What makes it so cool is that instead of taking a search query and analyzing it word-by-word—often coming up with results that are irrelevant to the original search—it takes the entire query and analyzes it for meaning. That is really neat. Think of search engines as little bodiless robot pals. Would you rather have a robot pal who responded better to a question such as “old video dog escape 1900s” or a more complete question like “could you find me the old video about the dog who escaped from his owners that takes place in the early twentieth century?” Of course, you probably wouldn’t want to be typing quite that much, but you might use Siri or another voice-enabled program to ask questions in full sentences.   Hummingbird takes your intentions, not your actual words, and comes up with what you actually want. For example, if you type “simple web design affordable quality” and  your search engine comes up with results based on your words, not your meaning, that have to do with simple, quality web design, but not affordable web design, then that’s not very helpful.   So what will this algorithm...

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Branding–more than just a large company’s concern

Posted by on May 5, 2014

Most small businesses do not have dedicated marketing teams that create a brand. Instead, brand development might be outsourced to a marketing firm or glossed over in favor of other aspects of the business, when in fact it should be a huge focus.   A brand is the face of your company. It encompasses not only the business’s name and logo, but is also how your business is presented and implemented to the outside world. Think of the ubiquitous example of McDonalds, for instance. Can you sing their jingle in your mind? Can you envision their color scheme? Their brand is strong, and is what has carried them through years and years of business. Of course, you don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar company to implement a strong brand, and we’re going to give you some basic tips to get you started.   Let’s skip over the part where you come up with your logo and name. Let’s assume they’re solid, professional, and representative of your company. So how do you continue to implement your brand from here? The number one answer is consistency, consistency, consistency. Make sure that everything that goes out to the public, or that is even passed around internally, is consistent with your brand....

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