Only 10% Will See This Post – and That’s OK

June 19, 2015

When a news site needs to post something about social media, it seems like the surefire winner over the past few years has been to talk about how few of a page’s Facebook followers will see what they post – in marketing terms, the organic reach of a post. The comments that follow are just as predictable. “That’s crazy!” “That’s horrible.” “Facebook sucks.”

Get your torches and pitchforks ready: Facebook’s doing what’s best for its users.

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Justin is one of the developers at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.

Hello World!

June 15, 2015

Hello World! Gary Bragdon checking in from the offices of Sephone Interactive Media.

I’m a new face at Sephone, and as such, it seems fitting that I should take the time to write a little something about myself and what my experience has been like to date.

For starters, I’m currently enrolled as a student at Husson University. To be more specific, I’m a WebMedia major at NESCom, so for anyone who hasn’t guessed, I’m quite excited to be working where I am. I haven’t quite finished with the program, but I’m in my Junior year and thoroughly enjoying my education.

Aside from working with computers and the web, I also spend a lot of time reading and writing. I have eclectic taste when it comes to the former – my bookshelf is home to Harper Lee, Stephen King and John Locke. When it comes to writing my aim is a little more specific, as I very rarely write anything other than poetry.

I’m also very much into music, and have been from a young age. I sing and play drums (and I can almost do them at the same time!), and while I’m not currently involved with any specific groups, I’ve been in a number of bands, choirs and even was in the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestra for a while. Again, my taste is eclectic, though if I had to pick a few favorite genres, I’d opt for psychedelic rock, singer/songwriters and classical music.

Lastly, I’ve been known to play video games from time to time (and chat about them in the office, to the possible chagrin of my coworkers). On the chance there is interest in my tastes, I have a preference for RPGs and puzzle-based games.

With regard to my time working here, it definitely confirms for me my choice of study at college. When I first graduated high school I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to do it. Starting at NESCom was definitely the first of many steps that have helped bring me to where I am today, and now, starting at Sephone feels like a much-appreciated continuation of that journey.

While I haven’t worked at Sephone for long, I can say with certainty that I feel welcome here. I work with great people, all incredibly talented, all willing to lend a hand and help me adjust to the work environment. I’ve got a lot left to learn, definitely, but I have confidence in myself to overcome obstacles, and in everyone at Sephone to guide me along if need be.

HTML – Body Setup

June 5, 2015

In the last entry to our intro to HTML series, John went over the HTML head section and the different elements that make it up.  In this installment we will review the body of your HTML document.  The body of an HTML document is the meat and potatoes of your page.  This is the part of the page that is rendered (shown) in the browser for the website visitor to view and interact with.  In this intro to HTML entry we will review some of the basic tags that you will see when putting together your HTML body. read more

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Brady is the voice on the other end of the phone line when you call Sephone. He graduated from the New England School of Communications in 2009 and assists Sephone in building and maintaining our sites.

Why Passwords are Important

May 29, 2015

Passwords are one of the fundamental elements of online security. They can be frustrating to remember and often problematic for users. However, some form of the password is needed for the foreseeable future. We have written about passwords before, but this post will attempt to highlight the dangers of poor password management.

Why You Need a Solid Password

login attempts If you look at the image that is alongside this paragraph, you will see a log file from one of our sites. What is happening here is somebody is trying to randomly guess the password to a wordpress site. Of course Sephone has a rate limiter so the offender has to wait several seconds between attempts and eventually this IP was blocked by our automated firewall.

This will give you an idea of what is called a “brute force” attack. Always assume that there is somebody somewhere trying dozens of times a minute to guess your password and login as you.

Why You Need to Store it Properly

Another thing that happens often is, the password itself is compromised. Normally, this is through malware on your machine. If you save a password somehow, such as having your browser remember the password, or the password is stored in a cookie file, it’s possible that malware can get that password and then an outside attacker can use it.

This is why is crucial that you keep your machine up to date and don’t install unneeded software. You should take other precautions such as anti-virus and firewalls when appropriate.

Recently a clients’ machine was infected with malware and their email password was compromised. The attacker attempted to send hundreds of messages a minute, spamming people and trying to distribute their malware.

Hacked?

These are the two ways that most “hacks” happen.  A poor password was guessed or password was stolen via malware.  If you are a WordPress user too, there is a big bullseye on your back. WordPress is famous playground for “hacks.”  It is important to make sure your developer (or you), is taking the necessary steps to keep the site up to date.

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Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.

Summertime Means Travel Time

May 22, 2015

Statistics show that people travel more in the summer than they do in the winter. Stands to reason, here in the northeast we had one incredible (in Maine we say “wicked”) winter. Plans often change along with the weather and in many cases just the “threat” of weather!

Efficiency
One thing that does not change is how many hours in a day that we have – 24. We all have 24 hours and we all try to make the most of them. Planning travel whether it be vacation, business or family time, we have to pack it all in. Here’s a refresher on a few “GO TO” apps that may help in making the best of your time on the road and around in Maine this summer.

Gas BuddyGasBuddy_logo_header Is there anything  more frustrating than filling up your car and going 4 miles down the road and the gas price is .10 cheaper a gallon? Over tank full of gas it may only matter about a dollar but every dollar counts- especially when it means I don’t have to go out of my way to save it! You can find the best price for gas where you are right now, where you are going or anywhere along the way. The app is user populated, but I have found it very accurate. It is also good to provide feedback yourself to keep it valid and useful for others to use it.

My Maine

myMaineVisiting our Pine Tree State? The Maine Tourism Association has a very information rich website and app with Places to Stay, Eat and Do. This is a free app that can help you find your way around the state and makes sure you don’t miss anything. If you prefer a LARGER view mainetourism.com is a great way to plan your trip.

 

Entertainment
Looking for some fun? The Waterfront Concert app is at youwaterfront-concerts-logor fingertips with schedules, tour information as well as on the spot info through iBeacon technology. Looking to upgrade? Want a deal? Buy tickets for another show? This app can help you navigate the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor as well as the Maine State Pier in Portland, Maine for any event.

The weekend before Labor Day is our version of the Olympic cultural and music event of the year, The American Folk Festival is held on the Bangor Waterfront.

The desktopAmerican Folk Festival also has a free app and this year it will use iBeacons that can notify and help you navigate a weekend long event that literally covers the entire Bangor Waterfront. iBeacons will help you get the most of such an action packed event-music, cultural and children’s events, food and craft vendors this app does your homework for you!

Your Phone is With YOU
Use it for more than texting the kids in the back seat. All of the apps mentioned in this post are tablet and ipad friendly too. They help in efficiency on road trips.  So from all of us at Sephone, travel safely and have a great summer!

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Kelly's been known as the Marketing Maven since before the term was hip. (That means she's old.) As a natural Community Builder, she loves to get people together, bring resources to the table and solve problems!

iBeacons: the Possibilities!

May 14, 2015

We get really excited when new technologies do new things and interact in new ways. Our latest obsession is something about half of the size of a deck of cards: iBeacons.

iBeacons are small devices that can communicate with mobile apps. When a person who’s installed your app comes within the range of an iBeacon, they can receive a notification tailored to their location or can perform another action.

waterfront-ibeaconWe just added iBeacon support to our iOS and Android app for Waterfront Concerts. With an easy management tool, the WFC team can set notifications to send to anyone with the app who enters the concert venue. They can also schedule notifications so people at a concert can automatically stay up to date.

iBeacons are great way to effectively target marketing to your customers. Because you can specify a location for the notifications, you can deliver information specifically to people who are in a specific place.

Of course, building iBeacon support into the concert app has made us think about all of the other possibilities available with these little devices:

  • While a customer is in a store, they could see information about the items closest to them or locate themselves on a store map.
  • Museum-goers could pull up information on their phone about the piece of art in front of them.
  • Conservation organizations could give easy access to a trail map when a hiker passed a trailhead.
  • Community groups could create a scavenger hunt and reveal clues when someone visits a certain location.

There really is something for everyone with iBeacons. We’re really excited to see other ways we’re able to incorporate them into our apps in the future!

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Justin is one of the developers at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.

What Takes the Most Time in Your Business?

May 1, 2015

Between visits with clients, information gathering, and mobile app testing, we’ve always been a business on the go. Outside of our weekly staff meeting, it’s rare to find us all in one place.

We knew early on that working on the road and remotely could be a challenge. It takes a lot of time to hand-write and follow up on phone messages, keep people up to date, and make sure everyone’s on the same page. We realized that it would actually be cost-effective for us to develop our own tool to manage phone calls no matter who took them or where the recipient was, and Calligraphy was born. Years and almost 6,000 calls later, Calligraphy also helps us work seamlessly between our Maine and New York offices.

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Justin is one of the developers at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.

Water and Technology

April 24, 2015

The annual rite of officially saying “Spring has Sprung!” in central Maine is here.  Several hundred people will convene at the small town of Kenduskeag with the goal of staying dry (or at least upright) as they descend on a 16.5 mile journey to Bangor through the trepidatious waters of the Kenduskeag Stream armed with only a paddle and smile. And this year, it will be particularly satisfying to conquer waters that were formerly snow, ice and frost.

The Race

As a company headquartered in Bangor, the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race is at very least watched by lots of Sephone team members. I participate in the race and have written about what that is like. My most highly esteemed coworker Justin has also written about the race from the spectators perspective. He normally photographs the race and puts the photos on this FB page Justin Russell Photography. And here is a good google map if you want to learn more about the path of the race.

Water and Devices

Broken boat that sunk to the bottom.One of the things that often comes up in talks about the race is electronics. With the prevalence of social media, maybe people want to capture their experience to share with friends. We all know though, water and electronics don’t mix well. I think most everybody has at one time or another lost something to the washing machine. Here are the options as I see them for getting wet:

Several companies make waterproof containers for your phone. Some of the popular ones include the Preserver by Otterbox and LifeProof. These cases, when properly installed, do allow your phone to get wet or even submersed. Additionally, they provide your phone with a bit of buoyancy to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of a lake or pond.

Should you lose your phone while out and about, for android’s anyway, you can google “find my phone” and it will tell you where it is, even do some gps lookups, and can get you within feet of your phone. I have experienced anywhere from 80 feet accuracy to 6 feet with this service finding my phone.

Other than waterproofing your phone, the other option is forgoing the phone and using a waterproof device. The king of this arena is GoPro.  Their products have been dropped from airplanes by sky divers into pig pens and left at the bottom of the ocean for several days, as well endured grizzles attacks (warning, last link has PG-13 audio). And although GoPro’s are awesome, many companies offer rugged products such as Garmin, Canon, Nikon and Fugi. Just make sure that you are getting their waterproof product line.

So the next time you are in, on or near water, make sure that your phone is in a waterproof case or you have waterproof electronics.

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Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.