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    • No one finding your website? We can help. SEGenie™ is an affordable alternative to expensive pay-per-click advertising. It works and it comes with a warranty.
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April 18, 2014

Recently, the internet service provider (ISP) GWI, has made changes to their network.  This change no longer allows unauthenticated SMTP (outgoing) email.

So what does that mean?

Well, if you are a GWI customer and send email through their server, you will need to authenticate it before you will be able to send email.  To do this,  you will need a username and password that GWI will be able to provide to you.

How to know if you send through GWI

It varies from mail client to mail client, but in most cases, you will need to go to your email or account settings on your computer, tablet or phone.  One there,  you should see an area for “Outgoing Email.”  There should be a server name associated with it.  If this server name is smtp.gwi.net or outgoing.gwi.net, then you are attempting to send mail through their servers and this effects you.

What’s next?

If you are a Sephone customer and need to send email you can use our webmail to do so.  This can be accessed by going to mail. YourDomainName.ext (replace YourDomainName.ext with your actual domain name. For example: Sephone’s is, sephone.com. )  Here,  you will be able to login with your email address and password and can send mail.  The next step would be to contact GWI to get your username and password and have them walk you through their authenticating process.

As an alternative,  Sephone can migrate your email to our new solution, Google Apps Mail.  This is a more robust email service, providing a better webmail interface, easier remote access, along with the full suite of Google services.  There is an extra cost to this though, at $5 per account per month.  If this is something you are interested in exploring, please contact us at 207-262-5040.

Reference for GWI outgoing settings: http://www.gwi.net/kb/article.php?id=005

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.
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April 16, 2014

Boat on a VehicleFor nearly 50 years on the third Saturday in April, one of the largest canoe races in nation takes place in Penobscot County. Nearly a thousand people travel to Kenduskeag Maine in the morning with boats and gear in tow. Over the course of an hour and half, all the participates will take their turn getting in the water and starting their 16.5 mile journey southeast to Bangor, where the stream dumps into the mighty Penobscot River. It’s a rite of passage, it’s a sign of the spring season, it’s the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race.

Technology in a Canoe Race

In the last five years a few things have changed about the race, a few have not. One of the things that has not changed, cellular phone coverage at the starting line. It’s poor, even without all the extra people, it’s poor. Don’t count on your phone working well at the starting line. It might work some, but it will be poor service. Of course, many people don’t take their phone for fear of losing it in the stream.

The United States Geological Survey has a water gauge at the bridge at Six Mile Falls that measures water height and volume. This has been running for the past five years, it’s nice to see the water levels to know if it’s going to be a fast year, boney year, or normal year. As I write this, the water level is 10+ feet. Which is very high. The last four races, have been 4.9, 3.5, 7.5, and 4.4 (2013 to 2010). Under 4 is boney, 5 to 7 is a good fun race, it’s very fast when it’s 8+.

Another neat thing about race conditions is social media. Not everybody lives right in Bangor. The days before the race, tons of videos and pictures of the rapids make onto social media sites, so people not handy to the stream can “scout” the rapids without actually being there.

The rugged waterproof type video cameras are showing up more and more. GoPro’s are the most popular by far, but you see others from time to time. Below is a video of the race from such a camera on a kayak from a guy scouting out this year’s race.

What is Running the Race Like?

Upon arriving in Kenduskeag Village, normally you are greeted with many vehicles and a little bit of a challenge locating a parking spot. After parking, you walk into the big white building right off of route 15 just before the bridge to get your t-shirts, stickers and vest with number on it. Everybody then gathers around the starting line (which is the bridge over the Kenduskeag Stream right by the white building) to hear a few rules. Then the loud speaker calls out boats number 1 through 5 on the line. Those boats, get into the water, and then “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!”. Every 60 seconds until all the boats are gone, this continues.

A few hundred yards pass the starting line, most of the people on the shore are gone, the road is gone, and you meander through a pretty calm stream for the next 10 miles. No rapids really, you go under Route 15 once, and every now and again are close to small residential roads or railroad tracks.

After the first ten miles, things change, Route 221 comes up on the left, you can hear the hum of tires on your right from Route 15. Over the sound of the water, you here the crowd roar. The river vultures. Six Mile Falls. The sign for the optional portage is on the right. Boats are shuffling all over as they pick the way they want to navigate through the falls. You start seeing people on the banks. The main drop comes into view, you focus, get low, and paddle hard. Upon bouncing through the drop, there is a sea of people, eager to see some action. The bridge is loaded with the large objective lens of expensive camera equipment. The stream is littered with paddles, inverted boats, and rescue workers.

The next few miles are simple enough. Small rapids here and there, normally navigated without too much effort. Passing through the outskirts of Bangor, much of the stream is an easy walk from residential streets and many people sit in chairs on the edges, often with words of encouragement.

Shopping, 2011Once you get into more of the heart of Bangor, there are two portages, both of them around Valley Avenue.  It’s normal to see people stretching as they have been in a boat for hours at that point and their legs may not be awake. Both portages are around 100 yards. The first one over level ground on a trail, the other, over muddy hilly ground.

Upon getting back in the water after the second portage, comes the final test of the race. Shopping Cart. It’s a little bit of rough ride the 100 yards before shopping cart with some “pushy” water. Shopping Cart proper is a drop followed up by standing waves. It feels like you riding a seesaw, while being splashed with 37 degree water.

After Shopping Cart, it’s all peaches and cream. Under the bridges and through the canals of downtown Bangor. People are thronging the railings around the stream, clapping and cheering mostly. After going under State Street, the big “Finish Line” banner is visible on the bridge connected to the Pickering Square parking garage. Then it’s all laughs, coffee and chilli.

Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.
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April 16, 2014

Spectators at the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe RaceThe 48th annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race happens this weekend in Bangor. It’s a lot of fun for the hundreds of canoeists and kayakers who actually brave the fast, cold water, but it’s probably just as fun for the people who line the banks of the stream to watch the participants as they pass – and maybe hoping for an occasional (or not-so-occasional) tip of a boat as the racers move over the rapids.

I’ve been going to the races as a spectator for quite a while, and it’s been a lot of fun to see how the art of canoe race spectating has evolved over the years. And as it has in so many areas of our lives, technology has been a big part of the changes.

Photography

As cameras have gotten more and more advanced (and less and less expensive), it seems like they show up in more places than ever. There’s always been a crowd of people standing on the stream’s banks, but it seems like more and more of them bring cameras along with them. Taking photos of the race is tough but fun, and luckily even high-quality cameras are relatively affordable now.

Social media

It’s been great watching as more people share photos and videos of the race from interesting perspectives in recent years, and it’s amazing to think that even just a few years ago, it was difficult to share information from the stream. These days, people can tweet or share media or thoughts as they happen on Facebook and Twitter, and it lets people who weren’t able to head down to the Kenduskeag take part in the race vicariously.

It will be interesting to see how spectating continues to evolve. It’s amazing to think that things like a video livestream from the banks is possible (and pretty easy to do with the right apps) now; when I first went to the race, that wouldn’t have been an option! Maybe in the future technologies like GPS or advanced photo sharing will allow people watching the race to be more immersed in what’s happening along the 16-mile route. As usual with technology, it’s tough to predict until it actually happens!

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.
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April 10, 2014

SecurityWe at Sephone have known about the heartbleed vulnerability since Monday. We were relatively quiet on the matter figuring it was not something that the everyday person cares about. Yesterday and today it seems that every news organization has published a story about it. So it’s time we speak up.

What is it

OpenSSL is a piece of software that most internet hosts use to secure things like HTTPS:// type connections. That piece of software had a bug in it. This bug could potentially let sophisticated attackers see the contents of an HTTPS connection. For example, you could of been on a website buying something, the green lock was in your address bar, indicating that you had an encrypted connection. Even though everything looked fine, a potential attacker could of been seeing your credit card information.

Was Sephone at Risk

It’s a complicated answer, but the short answer is no. The longer answer: nearly all (91%) of our servers did not have the version that had the vulnerability in it. The ones that did, were not using HTTPS or processing credits cards or dealing with any sensitive data. The ones with the vulnerable version were upgraded Monday. So our exposure was extremely small.

Is it Fixed

Yeah, there is a fix and a release and it’s been well published. Most of internet hosts have upgraded (or disabled the feature with the bug). Of course I can’t speak for every internet host and service provider, but word got out on far and wide on Monday and server admins were urged to upgrade. Overall the upgrades seemed to have gone swimmingly.

Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.
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April 4, 2014

If you are a business owner,  you know there is no way you can keep up with everything.  You have to prioritize.  For some reason we still have only 24 hours in a day and we keep jamming about 45 into them – we are constantly trying to do more with less.  Then your body just says, “Hey, if you don’t slow down on your own, we are going to slow you down !

Everything starts taking perspective, doesn’t it?  It boils down to, “What really is important?”

You go to your doctor because you aren’t feeling well or perhaps you want to keep feeling well.  You got to a car mechanic because he is the “doctor” for your car. You are trying to make a living and feed your family, pay your employees and “All That Jazz.”  You need to do what is most important and the rest you need to ask others to do for you. The experts.

Who Are You?

Are you trying to do that with your message?  Your story?  Your livelihood? Yes, you can probably muddle your way through a free website program, but how long does that take?  You say, “I can do it on the weekend.” But do you?  And if you do, then what?  Once it’s up, it’s done?  Does it look like your company or anybody else’s? Are you a bed and breakfast and now you look like a flower shop?  Are the photos you are using stock and do you have permission to use them?  And with all things we can accomplish on the web today, have you wondered if a web developer could make you more efficient and save you oodles of money?

The World

The World is yours when you are online.  People see your web presence and they make judgements.  Do they see the care and concern you have for your customer? Your company’s honesty and integrity and what makes you different from “the other guys?”

If this post leaves you wondering, why not give us a call  207.262.5040 or email me?

 

Kelly's been known as the Marketing Maven since before the term was hip. (That means she's old.) She loves to get people together and help when she can to bring resources to the table and solve problems!
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March 26, 2014

Web applications are onea that are used through your web browser. Examples include facebook, gmail and basecamp. This is instead of an application (or program) that is installed on your desktop such as outlook or word.

Advantages

  1. Most of your information is stored on a server somewhere. These means you can spill a whole pot of coffee on your computer and it can completely burn up. As long as you remember your url (web address), username and password, once you get a new computer and all you have to do login and you are back in business.
  2. By and large, you don’t have to worry about versions or OS (operating system) compatibility.  No different versions for Macs and Windows, no worrying about installing updates.
  3. No disk space (or very little) is taken up on your computer or device.
  4. You can use your application on different computers. You can use on your work computer, your home computer, laptop and tablet, and likely have no issues. Snow days are no problems any more.

Disadvantages

If there are any, it’s only that you need to be connected to the internet for all of this to work. Your internet goes down, and you can’t get to your app.  Also, internet speed may play a factor. Most web apps don’t need too much bandwidth, but some will. If you have a slow internet connection, that may affect the performance of your web app.

The Future

With more and more people accessing information, saving information and sharing information the more appealing a web based program or application is for speed, convenience and learning curve. Most of us are using them every day in more ways than we know.

Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.
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March 17, 2014

sephone-bar

When you hear about domain names – facebook.com, ebay.com, sephone.com – most of the focus is usually on the part before the dot. But what do those few letters at the end of the domain mean?

The right-most portion of a domain name is called a TLD, or top-level domain. It is, in short, a category for domains. You’re probably used to hearing about a lot of domains that end in “.com”, a shortened version of “commercial”. But names on the web go far, far beyond that!

In the beginning… .com, .net, .org

The first batch of top-level domains were created in early 1985: .com, .net (for networks), .org (originally for non-profit organizations), .edu (for educational institutions), .gov (for government), and .mil (for military). Some top-level domains (including .edu, .gov, and .mil) are limited, and they can only be reserved with certain qualifications. The other three big TLDs are now unrestricted.

Country codes

But what about the other top-level domains? In many cases, domains in use may be assigned to a certain country. Here are some of the common country code TLDs you may see on the sites you visit:

  • .uk: United Kingdom
  • .fr: France
  • .de: Germany (Deutschland)
  • .cn: China
  • .in: India
  • .ie: Ireland

Individual countries have different policies about how people can use their domains. Some require registrants to be a citizen. Other countries leave registration pretty open, which allows domain owners to be a bit creative with their names (for example, the original del.icio.us used the United States’s .us domain, and bit.ly uses Libya’s .ly).

The new frontier

As the use of domain names has grown, people continue to look for new ways to create easy-to-remember homes online. Much like the addition of new toll-free prefixes in addition to the original 800 numbers, new domains are added periodically as well (for example, .ws and .info).

In 2014 companies will be adding thousands of new options for top-level specialty domains – everything from .photos to .coffee to .community.

If you’d like to talk about the best choices for your business’s domain name, or if you’d like to register additional names for your company, we’d be happy to discuss your options!

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.
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March 13, 2014

We wont start this off by saying what “ASSUME” means because that saying is older than me. We have spoken about this topic in this blog and I have written about it in other blogs before.

COMMUNICATION.

I was reminded this week again just how fragile communication is.  Since it something that is at the forefront of my mind, I have also heard it from many others.

ONE WAY

It seemed  so much easier when we had “One to One” communication. Business correspondence came in the mail with your name on it, you opened it, you read it, you responded to it.  The telephone rang,  (the LAND LINE) Business Phoneor you called the number of the person you wanted to speak to, you spoke to them, or left a message with someone or in their voice mail.

Face to Face: You went to a meeting or a reception and you greeted people and communication happened. Relationships happened.  Business happened.  And if it didn’t go the way you thought it might often you knew and understood why. You could feel it.

All seemed right with the world.

The More Ways = NO WAY

How many times have you missed that “thing” you really wanted to know about?  Maybe you DVR your favorite TV shows but you skip the ads? Emails go to SPAM folders and JUNK folders.  But what about when  they aren’t SPAM or JUNK? Some times emails get lost or hung up somewhere.  You may see them on your phone, think you answered them only to learn later that you didn’t.  But you really thought you had!

Facebook.  Yes, people are on it all the time. But just because it is put on Facebook does not mean everybody sees it.  Facebook’s algorithm decides what a person sees based on what is to Facebook’s  benefit or some mathematical equation.  And if you see something on Facebook and you don’t occasionally reach out and connect with that person, with “in-person,”  phone or at least an email, does it really doesn’t count.  Lurching, spying, creeping around is just that.  CREEPY!  Facebook and other social media sites do not absolve you of being human and actually engaging and caring.  Once my financial planner showed up at my office with some flowers that she picked from her garden, for no obvious reason.  You bet-that was special!

Ground Rules

Ask. What does your customer use as a main mode of communication? Use that when communicating with them. Don’t expect that they will change their whole way of communication to make you happy.  Let them know if there is a reason you need to communicate about something that is out of their comfort zone, like account validation or password reset that they know how and why.

They are the customer, remember?

                                                                                                                  *Thank you Hubspot for the use of your image.

Kelly's been known as the Marketing Maven since before the term was hip. (That means she's old.) She loves to get people together and help when she can to bring resources to the table and solve problems!
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