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Is your website mobile friendly

Making your website mobile friendly is more important then ever.  This is why REM includes making your website responsive mobile friendly in all our projects.  This is something you have likely already heard.  However, I want to take a moment to clarify a few things about what they really means.  


I hear from clients all the time about phone calls and emails that they get from companies all over the world telling them why they need to have a mobile friendly website.  Often the information is wrong or exaggerated.


The biggest confusion is the change that Google announced recently.  As of April 21, 2015, having a mobile friendly website is now a "factor" in your "mobile search rankings".  The part that most people have wrong are the two things I put in quotes.  It is one of many factors.  


Not having a mobile friendly website is not going to remove you from Google but it will help you get better rankings.  The other important words I put in quotes is "mobile search rankings".  Not having a mobile website, will not effect your desktop search ranking in google, only your mobile search rankings.


Now that I have cleared up the actual position Google is taking over this, and helped you ignore the fear mongering that has been going on, I will tell you it is still very important.


Mobile now exceeds PC Internet usage.  Many people I talk to often forget to put themselves in their customers/target audience's shoes instead of their own.  Just because you don't use your phone to search and look up website very much doesn't mean that the statistics saying otherwise are wrong.  You are missing out on an entire segment of people who want to have a proper experience when visiting your website on their phone.


By making sure your website is mobile friendly, YOU WILL, see an increase in the time people are spending on your website and the bounce rate.  An entire audience that would  have likely left very quickly when visiting your site on a phone will now likely stay to find out all about you.


Give me a shout and we can talk more about how it can help you.  You can reach me at 519-884-4111 x 111.

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White Glove Services - Coming Soon

REM has always provided our customers with a higher degree of attention than our competition.  It is our number one value proposition put towards the "Customer Success Comes First" guiding principle.


Our existing customers already enjoy 150+ hours each month of free access to our live humans, located in Kitchener, Ontario, to solve business challenges, improve website aesthetics, and rank higher in Google searches.


They already trust our account facing team leaders, Laura and Jillian,  to help take great business ideas and make them successful digital strategies, and REM has been working hard to extend that concept to our other leaders!


If the title of the post wasn't a clear enough spoiler, REM is quickly creating our next fantastic customer success centred offering:


REM White Glove Services


The idea has been matured enough to finally give this teaser post and I can share some of the initial details to get you thinking about reaching the next plateau of excellence with REM.


Start Thinking:

  • Direct access to accomplished graphic designers - You Bet

  • Direct access to SEO strategists - No Problem

  • Bigger cloud storage repositories - Bingo

Come back in a few weeks to get the complete picture.  You'll enjoy the new opportunities to advance beyond your competitors!


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Microsoft Surface And Reading Comics

Ever since I was a young boy - let's say 7 or 8 years old - I have been a fan of comic books.  I enjoyed collecting them, reading them, and even attempting to emulate the art style of some of my favourite comic artists.  Flash forward nearly 30 years later and I still enjoy reading (or even just looking at) the odd comic.  I wouldn't consider myself an avid comic reader or collector by any means, but I do still read them if I have a moment to myself (those moments are fleeting now that I have two children of my own whom I hope enjoy comics themselves one day).


This brings me to the topic of this blog post: reading comics on a Microsoft Surface tablet PC. Specifically, reading archived, digital comics in the form of "CBZ" or "CBR" (zip or RAR compressed comic archives).  Many, many people have moved to reading comics in digital form now and it's only natural to want your device of choice to also be able to do this.


The latest iteration of the Surface line of devices: the Microsoft Surface 3.


Image courtesy: Microsoft.


I recently made the jump to using a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as my main travel device. I could not be happier.  It is an all-around great device for work, play, and general PC usage. It turns out that, while certainly a bit heavier than a regular tablet, it's also great for reading comics!  So without further ado, I'd like to present my top picks for comic reading apps that work best on the Surface line of devices.


NOTE: Prices listed here are not guaranteed and are likely to change over time.


#1. Cover

Link: Windows App Store
Price: Free for the first 25 comics. $3.49 for access to your entire library.

Why I Picked It: Cover has proven to be the most streamlined and easy to use app of the bunch. I tried out a dozen or so "modern" Windows apps from the store and this one happens to be my favourite.  I like its intuitive ability to simply point the app at any folder your PC has access to (including support for OneDrive and DropBox) to act as its library location.  It creates beautiful previews of your comics (based on the first image found in the archive file) and keeps track of which page you left off for each read comic.
Caveats: Nowhere is it mentioned on the app store that this app comes with a 25-comic limit up front before hitting a pay wall.  It's worth the $3.49 price to unlock the full access to your library of comics, but it would still be nice if the upgrade cost were mentioned before downloading the app.  In my case, I don't really need more than 25 comics stored on my device at any given time anyway.  I keep them all safely stored on a home computer and just copy them over whenever I need to.


Image copyright: French Fry, S.A.S.


#2. Comics Jolt!

Link: Windows App Store
Price: Free Trial available, as well as a "Lite" version. $2.29 for the full version.

Why I Picked It: Like the previous selection, Cover, comics Jolt! has a similar interface for adding your personal library of comics for reading and makes it very easy to find what you're looking for. It also keeps tabs on where you last left off in your favourite reads.
Caveats: As much as comics Jolt!'s interface attempts to be smart, it ends up putting the "jolt" in this jolting experience.  There are some odd behaviours in how scrolling through a comic doesn't feel as natural as it does in Cover and that was enough for me to choose Cover over this one.  Albeit, it was still a close race.


Image copyright: Lindybeat Technologies.


#3. POW! Comic Book Reader

Link: Windows App Store
Price: Free.

Why I Picked It: It's free! It also defaults to auto-fitting a single page of the comic you are reading into its own, white-background frame.  This frames the page nicely in comparison to how the other two apps place the image edge to edge in portrait mode and still require a slight bit of vertical scrolling to view the entire image.  Given the high resolution display on the Surface devices, scaling the image down slightly in POW! doesn't present any noticeable degradation in the image quality.
Caveats: You can only add one comic to your library at a time.  This ends up requiring you to maintain your library at a granular level which is very silly for a modern day application to expect of its users.  I believe I also found the swiping motion to be unintuitive in this app, as though it was a custom gesture written by the POW! developers rather than it using the built-in gestures provided by Windows touch screen devices.  I could be mistaken, however, as I promptly deleted this app after only a couple of minutes of tinkering with it.  It's good, but it's not great.  I need a great comic reader that takes all of the thinking out of the job and lets me just enjoy reading my comics.


Image copyright: Bart Wullems


That's it for now!  For the sake of completeness, I should mention that I still employ the use of an old desktop application named CDisplayEx for viewing my comics on my regular desktop computers.  Since it does not have smart touch screen interface or even a library function it could not make the cut here for the review.  However, it is a great application.


Until next time, enjoy reading comics in a comfortable fashion from your Microsoft Surface device!

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How to make a work space that inspires creativity and productivity.

Put artwork and personal things in the work space. Post and disperse them around the room so that whenever you take a break from your work, you’ll have something cool, pretty, calming and/or motivating to look at. Like a painting of a llama with a party horn.

Put fun things in your work space. No one can be creative and productive in a bland, boring environment. Put fun things like action figures, puzzles, or random knick-knacks like a cool, vintage radio-clock.

Organize your physical and digital workspace. It’s hard to concentrate on tasks if your desk is a clutter. Keep that clutter in check. Make sure your files are named and filed properly in the correct location in your desktop, server or Documents folder.

Properly set up your physical and digital workspace. Make sure that your keyboard and mouse are at the proper angle that won’t make your arms sore in the long run. Check that your programs are set with your preferred shortcuts and settings.


Here are some great cool, inspiring photos of creative work spaces:

Creative Work Spaces


How you feel where you work greatly impacts the kind of things you create. Set up your work or personal office space to what you feel comfortable with so you can be as creative and productive as possible!

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Summer is in the Air!

It's definitely summer out there! I am so excited to be able to sit on patios, or even have the screen door open in my house.


Even my cats are excited for summer!



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First Aid Training

I recently took part in Standard First Aid CPR training through the Canadian Red Cross. 

REM offered me the opportunity to take the course and I eagerly jumped on the chance to attend and learn some rudimentary, yet extremely important first aid responses.  


The course took two days to complete.  My instructor was very well educated, patient and encouraging.  The class was very interactive and incorporated some hands-on training which was helpful when learning CPR.


I am thankful to have had this opportunity and encourage others to take this course as well.

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Droning In the Park

This week at the REM office we took some down time after lunch to get outdoors and get some fresh air. A few of us have RC helicopters/Drones and have been known to annoyingly fly them around the office. With the weather starting to finally cooperate we had our chance to set them free. Luckily, only a few footsteps away from our office there is an open area perfect for some aerobatic maneuvers.


After getting the hang of the controls and a couple close calls we were flipping, rolling, and soaring high!

Make sure to look up next time you’re in our area as we may be practicing our aviator achievements.


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We are hiring a Junior Web Developer

We are excited to start looking for the newest memeber of the REM team. 


REM is looking for a junior web developer that is ready to prove their skills in the technical aspects of web design and development.  The successful candidate will be instrumental in launching numerous new websites every year and will have their name attached to every project!  


If you prefer to work as part of a high performing Web Design team that puts bold ideas in front of hundreds of customers each year then REM wants to talk to you.  We blend all the excitement and flexibility of a fast moving industry innovator with the stability andbenefits of a company that has been thriving for more than 14 years in this community!


If you want to find out more click here!

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Even easier content management than before

Ok, now I can talk about our new version of WebWiz@rd (version 4) since it officially released as of this week to all of our customers.  You may not be aware of this but clients receive free updates to new versions of WebWiz@rd to ensure that they always have the latest and greatest tools available.


Just when I thought things couldn't get any easier, our team did it.  They did a fantastic job adding more tools for our clients that make it faster and easier than before.  Congratulations to Jamie and Ryan for their hard work.  The system is cleaner and even more fun to use.


Here are just some of the newest features:


  • WebWiz@rd now has built in tools to make it mobile responsive.  This means all new websites from REM will be mobile friendly.  The best part is we still give our clients so much control over it.

  • A fantastic new help system.  Thanks to Laura, we have an extensive built in help system now populated to answer questions our clients are asking.

  • We now have a Form Builder for sale.  This thing is AWESOME.  It easily allows our clients to create their own online forms to collect information from users.  It's great for Request for Quotes, Surveys, General Contact Forms and so much more.  Clients can have the data saved to a spreadsheet and / or emailed to them.

  • The content editor has been updated with new features such as the ability to easily drop in video.


If you are interested in seeing what WebWiz@rd 4 can do, just give me a shout.  I love showing it.  It's my job!  Give me a shout at 519-884-4111 x 111.

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So.... What do you think of the new site?

Our new site has been happily humming along since we launched it a month or so ago.


This site launch was in conjunction with the launch of WebWiz@rd 4.0 and we couldn't be happier with the results!


We've added some great new sections to the site that are really interesting reads if you want to go deeper into collaborative psyche.


The star of the show is still WebWiz@rd.  Everything on our site is powered by the fantastic tool set found in our content management system



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Rob Matlow
July 2, 2015
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Jamie McBurney
June 19, 2015
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Ryan Covert
June 16, 2015
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Christine Alon
June 11, 2015
show Christine's posts
Laura Renner
June 8, 2015
show Laura's posts
Jillian McBurney
June 3, 2015
show Jillian's posts
Sean Sanderson
June 1, 2015
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