How Many Different Types of Apps Exist ?

October 30, 2014

We live in a world of “apps”. Do you ever get confused on what all the types of apps (or applications) are? We aim to educate you on all of the types of apps that are in mainstream use and as brevity allows.

Mobile Apps

When people say “app”, there is at least a 2 out of 3 chance that they mean mobile app. A mobile app is an application that gets installed on a mobile device. Then you have an icon to use it on your home screen or from your all applications area. Generally they are installed from an app store, like Google Play, Apple App Store, or Amazon Appstore. read more

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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.

Why Choose Google?

October 23, 2014

Over the past few years we have been slowly making the transition to Google’s business class services, Google Apps for Work, here at Sephone.  We have become a Google Apps Authorized Reseller, and work with our clients to help provide them with Google’s full suite of cloud based services.  These services include things like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and more.  As an authorized reseller we work with Google to provide you with these services. So what does that mean for you?  Well, you get better services backed by Google, and the same awesome customer service you have become accustom to from Sephone.

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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.

Two-Step and Apple Pay: the Future of Online Security

October 16, 2014

Apple PayWith the launch of Apple Pay, Apple’s new contactless payment method on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, I’ve heard a lot of people asking: what’s wrong with the payment process we have now? It doesn’t take that much time to pull out a credit card.

The real issue Apple Pay solves is security, not convenience. And it’s one member of a new generation of technologies to keep your personal information safe.

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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.

There MUST be a Better Way !

October 10, 2014

If you’re a business owner, there probably isn’t a day that goes by that there are work tasks that need doing that you wonder if there wasn’t a better way of doing them. Perhaps this is an accounting function that is mundane or piled up with trouble tickets, order forms, delivery or job schedules.  Because your business is established there have been many changes but your process has become a monster.

You Are A Slave 

When we are busy, being overwhelmed is easy, but it is also an exciting time in your business – you are growing.  Things are going well.  You like helping your customers, but you are swamped.  You don’t have time to stop what you are doing to make changes.  In the meantime, the phone keeps ringing, errors are made, customers aren’t being served the way you want them to be *groan.*

Integration

You have manual processes and computer processes at your business.  You may have a couple different computer programs that you use.  Wouldn’t it be great if they would JUST talk to each other and you wouldn’t have to enter it in two places?  Integration sounds like a complicated thing but the purpose of integration is to make things more accurate, more efficient, easier.

Maybe you would like to access some information from outside or get at information from the outside the company? How about from your smartphone? Perhaps a service tech or delivery driver needs to be dispatched and time needs to be charged?  Inventory used out of their truck charged to the customer that needs it?

2014

This and many more things can be done and applications or programs can be built for your business by a local company.  A company that sits with you, maps out the process and makes it happen.  And in no time at all, you are working better, saving time and money.

At Sephone, we on solving problems like this every day. For small businesses just like yours. Call us.  We are people too.  207-262-5040.

 

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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!

Maine’s Foliage Season

October 3, 2014

Ah, foliage.

I’ve been working with the Maine Tourism Association for 6 years now. I’ve been fortunate to visit all seven of the Visitor Information Centers we operate, and I’ve answered the phones and fielded questions from visitors hundreds of times over the years. And the main question I’ve received over those years is a very simple one: “When do the leaves change?”

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Shawn Brann is the IT Specialist for the Maine Tourism Association. He loves reading about new technology. His spare time consists of doing crossword puzzles and hiking with his dog - sometimes simultaneously.

Custom keyboard shortcuts in iOS

September 26, 2014

One of the little-known features in Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad is the ability to create your own custom keyboard shortcuts. Shortcuts let you create a short sequence of characters that will save you from typing blocks of text that are frequently used or difficult to enter.

One of my favorite shortcuts is for our email address at Sephone (support@sephone.com). It comes in handy when you’re logging into services, filling out forms, or giving your email address when you join a protected Wi-Fi network.

To create this shortcut, go into the Settings app and click on the General item, click Keyboard, and click Shortcuts. You’ll see a list of shortcuts already in the system. (Apple gives you a couple to start.) Click the + button in the upper right to create your own. (Take care not to type a sequence you’d normally use while typing.)

Entering a new keyboard shortcut in iOS

When you type your shortcut, you’ll see that the first suggestion will be your expanded text – and it will automatically replace it for you when you tap the suggestion or hit the space key.

Using a keyboard shortcut in iOS

One final shortcut tip: some people like to use a prefix like “sc” to make sure they don’t enter a shortcut by mistake when they type. Try “scemail” for your email, “scaddr” for your address, or “sclink” for a link to your website. What else do you think would be a good shortcut?

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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.

Responsive Design

September 16, 2014

Over the last two years we have talked much about “Responsive Design” in this blog. In this post, we aim to give you working knowledge on what exactly it is and when to employ it.

What is it ?

Responsive design is a technique that can be used while composing a website. It allows the author of the website to make the site behave differently based on the size of the window/device that the site is being viewed in. For example, the site can look and act one way for a normal size laptop/desktop, but the same site can adapt itself for presentation to a mobile phone.

The scope is broad, nearly everything about the site can be changed for different sizes. Generally speaking, responsive design has three break points. A break point is when a different style is present and is defined generally by screen width. Normally the break points are for normal desktop, tablet, and phone.

Example

Rather than continue to try to try to explain what responsive is, how about an example. Go to americanfolkfestival.com on a desktop/laptop. With the window big, you see the desktop design. Grab a corner and make that window smaller, about the size of your cell phone. The site will morph into a version that is optimized for a phone sized screen. And if you paid close attention, at the tablet size, you saw the navigation change to work with tablets.

For those that just want to see a screenshot. Here is the normal desktop.

desktop

And here is the same site on my phone:

Mobile SiteAs you can see, one site, two layouts.

Brief History

Responsive Web Design was first used on a developer blog in May of 2010. In 2012 the movement had gained quite a bit of traction and lots of developers where jumping on the band wagon. By 2013, more mainstream publications started taking note of it.

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Here are lots of posts from this blog.

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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.

There’s a New Watch in Town – But Nothing’s Changed

September 9, 2014

It finally happened. For those of us who keep an eye on new tech, the Apple Watch has been a long time coming (rumors have been around for almost two years). Geeks – and what seems like the entire world now – are ogling over new styles, specs, and news for Apple’s watch.

But for us, nothing’s changed.

Yes, we’re excited that we’ll soon be able to develop apps for companies that can use the new tech, just like we develop apps for phones and tablets now. And yes, we’re excited to see what other people do to push the new technology forward.

But we don’t look at pieces of technology first when we’re developing solutions for a company. We talk about the goals and desired outcomes of a project with every client, and we build what we agree will work best to reach them.

Mobile solutions are a great pre-watch example. We’ve had a number of companies come to us asking to have an app in the iOS App Store and Google Play. Yes, we can develop those apps – but they’re not always the best solution for a company. Maybe a mobile website works better based on their audience, goals, and budget. We want to build something that will be successful, not just trendy. (Wondering about the differences between a native app and a mobile-friendly website? We have you covered.)

You bet we’ll be developing apps for the Apple Watch soon. But ask yourself: what’s right for your needs? That’s what we’ve been helping companies decide for over a decade.

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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.