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Portfolio Update: Perfect Image Studio

We have updated our portfolio and added Perfect Image Studio. Perfect Image allowed REM to demonstrate and showcase our exceptional creativity and attention to detail. Additionally by using REM’s White Glove service to create stunning content throughout each page, Perfect Image stands out among their competitors as a leading Tattoo/Piercing Shop.


Each shop is uniquely designed with a modern style featuring original art in an upscale and open concept. At Perfect Image their goal is to provide outstanding customer service and they strive to set the standard in a growing industry. All of their staff are knowledgeable and offer a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. They are a family oriented business and open their doors to everyone. Perfect Image is also home to some of the most incredible talent the industry has to offer. With award winning artists and remarkable service and staff, Perfect Image prides itself on being the best and is always setting the standard higher.


We encourage you to check out Perfect Images new website and get in touch with REM today for your web design and content management needs.

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It's Squeaky Shoe Time

REM is a hard working crew made up of some pretty great people. We work hard and we play hard, but we sometimes need breaks, too.  Since I'm writing this blog post on a Friday following the release of a customer's major site overhaul / redesign / upgrade, I thought it befitting to simply share a funny video that put a big smile on my face this morning.


Who wouldn't want a pair of squeaky shoes?  Seriously!


Happy Friday!  Or Monday, or Tuesday, or....


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Having an Effective Tag Line

Having an effective tag line within your logo can make it easier for people to identify with your company.  You can use it as a way to help explain what you are about or how you are different compared to your competitors.


For our first 14 years, our tag line was based around our technology.  When we started 15 years ago, the idea of having a content management system (WebWiz@rd) that allowed customers to manage their website easily without the need for technical skills was a unique concept.  Our tag line helped explain with "Take Control of your Website".  It was an effective tag line for many years as we were one of the only ones to offer a solution like that and especially one that was so easy to use.  


Fast forward many years later and many companies now offer a solution to manage their website.  I still feel that we offer one of the best solutions but the overall concept is no longer as unique as it was when we started.


Approximately one year ago, we decided to update our logo and tag line to "BETTER SUPPORT, BETTER TOOLS, BETTER RESULTS".  We felt it more accurately described where were are as a company after 15 years.  


The one unique aspect of our company is the fact that we have always tried to be there for our customers during and after a completed project.  It is part of our 7 Guiding Principles, "Customer Success Comes First".  


Talking about "better support" as the number one item in our tag line was important to us as we feel it is the aspect of our business that is most unique.  We have always been proud of how we treat our customers. 


We  feel that we offer fantastic solutions using WebWiz@rd, hence the, "BETTER TOOLS" part of the tag line.


Finally, websites need to do more then just look pretty.  Working with our web design team to come up with an attractive and effective design is very important.  We spend a lot of time working with our customers to come with sites that don't just look pretty but engage your target audience.  That would explain the last part of our tag line, "BETTER RESULTS".

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I Like Where I Work

How many people can honestly say, "I like where I work" or "I like my job"?  Probably not as many as I hope.


I am extremely fortunate that I genuinly like my job.  There are aspects that I tolerate in order to keep moving, and there are certain days that I can't wait for the day to be over, but those moments and days are very few and far between.


Why do I like my job so much?


I work with a fantastic group of people.  

My co-workers are hard working, responsible and helpful.  These positive attributes make the work flow here at REM accurate and predictable.  Everyone takes ownership of their work and never assumes that someone else is going to complete their tasks or fix their mistakes.  


My co-workers are friendly, kind, funny and respectful.  Some of us are a bit more outgoing, some of us are more reserved and some of us are somewhere in between.  This mix of personalities makes for a very comfortable work environment.


I am able to schedule my own day.

I am incrediably grateful to have the trust of my manager and boss.  I am able to co-ordinate my day/week to my liking and I am accountable for making sure that nothing is missed.  I appreciate that I do not have someone micro managing me or continually second guessing my decisions.  At the same time, I am fortunate that I have a manager and boss that I can approach when I need help or have questions. It is a fantastic balance.


I am proud of what I do.

I have a variety of responsibilities and although there is always room for improvement, I know that I am good at my job.  (Please understand that I am complimenting myself in the most humble way possible.)  I am proud of being part of a team that wants the best for our customers.  I agree with our processes and I stand behind our tools.


I can take holidays without feeling guilty.

I am on holidays next week!  Perhaps my holiday will be the subject of my next blog post.


We have really great customers.

Honestly. We do.


I have been working at REM for 4 years and one month.  Here's hoping that the next 4 years will be just as fulfilling.  (There's no need for hope.  Everything will be A.O.K.)


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Martian Landscape - The Mojave Desert Escape

Mojave Desert - Red Rock Mountains

I had the pleasure of heading out to the Mojave desert to blow off some steam trail riding, downhill riding and hiking in the mountains for 3 days last week.


What made this trip interesting was that for 2 of the days I adventured as a solo trekker with some supplies, a trail map and desire to leave technology behind. I have to confess that I did have an electronic trail GPS to make sure I wasn't completely without guidance.


The landscape in the Mojave is a lot more vibrant than I expected and I tried to snap a few representative photos when I stopped to take my ritual swig of water every few KM.


Fun Fact: I traveled more than 200 KM on bike and about 30KM on foot across three days.



I came across more lizards than people on most of my journey, although I don't have photos to prove that either existed.  


One thing that I found nerve testing was that most trails in the desert / mountain ranges of the Mojave have very little guidance or direction markers.  On the other hand, the sense of accomplishment was greater for me knowing that every solution in this excursion was the result of my own ingenuity and determination.


This last photo is atop one of the mountain peaks I ascended.  My photographic vantage point doesn't give a sense of scale, but I'm about 1000' above the desert floor at this point. The higher I climbed, the fewer foot prints of previous climbers were visible.  Nothing screams out "You are more equipped to navigate HTML than REDROCK" like a lack of evidence that people kept going forward on this blurry trail up-wards.  However, I made it up a little shaken but still alive.


Getting down took even longer than going up, because slinking up to each cliff to determine it's suitability for descent took soooooo much more time.


Alas, my journey was without major incident and completely refreshing.  I have a renewed energy to pump out technology related solutions that rely on brain power while I let my muscle power recuperate.

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Halloween 2015 at REM

It was a great day of Halloween fun at REM! On Friday, October 30th, we had halloween candy treats and people dressed up in their costumes. Sean S. dressed up at the Windy Guy (inspired by a costume from a show called Cougartown), and I dressed up as a Housewife Zombie (complete with a bloody apron and blonde wig).


Of course it was a great opportunity for a photoshoot. We took some photos together using a selfie stick then went outside for some cool shots. We made Sean look like he was getting swept away by the wind.


Sean had a great idea of taking pics inside the building. There's a really cool, old elevator we used to take scary, zombie photos. I took the opportunity to use my Photoshop skills to make my eyes white and make a grungy, dark effect.


Here are a few of the photos we took:


Halloween 2015 at REM


Happy Halloween 

blown away

As you can see, Sean was blown away!


Happy Halloween!


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Halloween Time

It’s one of my favorite times of year again, Halloween. The office seems to get in the spirit by bringing in Halloween treats, dressing up and conjuring up Halloween inspired doodles on whiteboards.

Christine and I have the artistic itch and have been known to occasionally put good use towards our office whiteboard. About half way through October we started to doodle Halloween inspired drawings and added something new every day. The board has a come along way in the past few weeks and now looks too cool to erase. I figured I would take a picture and make a fun blog post about it.


Stay tuned for more whiteboard drawings.


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A Seasonal Purpose for Cloning a Website Page

Our WebWiz@rd Page Content editor allows you to create "clones" of your website pages.


The most common purpose for creating a clone is to give you the ability to edit your website pages, at your own leisure, without affecting the live pages of your website.  Once the clone is edited to your satisfaction, you can make the clone the active (live) version.


If you are in an industry that has a change of services with the change of seasons, consider creating two different versions of your "services" page, (by creating a clone), and activate which ever version is most appropriate based on the time of year.  


Perhaps during the spring, summer and fall you provide lawn and landscaping services; grass cutting, seeding, airation, garden maintanence, etc.  Create a version of your services page that highlights these services.  At the bottom of the page remind your visitors that you also offer snow removal services.  Make this version of your services page active between March and October.


Create a clone of your services page but then update it to highlight your winter services; plowing, shovelling, etc.  At the bottom of the page don't forget to mention that you also provide lawn and landscaping services.  Make this version of your services page active between November and February.


This approach will save you time since you won't have to recreate a new services page multiple times a year.  By having two (or more) versions of your page available within WebWiz@rd, it allows you to make quick changes to each version of your services page, (such as pricing updates for example,) and make the most relavent page live at the right time of year.  


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Empowered Computing: Leverage Legacy Applications Using Cloud Storage

In my previous blog post I talked about storing Microsoft Outlook data files outside of the default location by utilizing NTFS symbollic links.  As promised, this is the follow-up to that post that will provide you with a simple method for leveraging your existing cloud storage for use with legacy applications.


While this is a somewhat advanced topic, it really isn't all that difficult and it may provide you with some peace of mind regarding your data that can now safely be stored in the cloud.


NOTE: For this to work you need an existing subscription to a cloud storage provider. Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive are all great examples of reliable and affordable cloud storage. Setting up any of these services is outside the scope of this blog post, but there are many resources online that will help you achieve this with a quick search on Google.


Practically any application can utilize cloud storage. Some modern applications have been offering support for cloud storage for quite some time, and some even come with their own, built-in solution. Valve Software's "Steam" service is a great example of a popular application that utilizes its own cloud storage to store save game files and settings on the Valve servers so that players can pick up and play on any of their devices at any time. You can't get back time spent grinding through your favourite game, so having your save game files backed up is a definite win.


Steam is a wonderful example in this case, and we'll use it for comparison with our own, custom solution here. Let's start by looking at another PC game distribution service named GOG, which can be found at www.gog.com. GOG, like Steam, allows players to download digital versions of PC video games to their computers.  One major drawback to using GOG at the time of this writing is that it does not automatically store save game files on its servers so that you can stop playing on one machine and pickup where you left off on another machine. Steam does this and it does it very well.


I happen to own a copy of the game called "Alan Wake: American Nightmare" that I purchased through GOG some time ago. I was really dismayed when I realized that GOG does not store the Alan Wake save game files to the cloud, so I decided to employ the following strategy to leverage my Dropbox account for keeping my save game files safely backed up and available on multiple machines.


Let's get started! First, find the location on your hard drive where your application stores the data you want to share across multiple machines. In this case, GOG stores the Alan Wake save game files in a folder under my Documents folder, here:


Here's a screenshot showing the exact location on the drive as well:


Now that we know where the files are, let's move them! "Cut" (don't "Copy"!) the entire folder you want to backup from its current location and "Paste" it into your Dropbox folder. Here is where I pasted the "AmericanNightmare_GOG_Version" folder in my Dropbox:

G:\Documents\Dropbox\Game Saves\


Again, another screenshot that shows exactly where I pasted the folder:



Now, the fun part happens. Remember how we created NTFS symbolic links in my previous blog post? Go back and have a read through that post if you have not yet done so as it will help explain this next step.  We're going to create a symbolic directory link in the original location of the Alan Wake save game files that points at the folder that is now residing under the Dropbox cloud storage folder.


To do this, we need to open an elevated command prompt and key in the following commands.


  1. C:
  2. CD C:\Users\Ryan\Documents\Remedy
  3. mklink /D AmericanNightmare_GOG_Version G:\Documents\Dropbox\AmericanNightmare_GOG_Version


That's it! The PC game Alan Wake will now operate  just as it did before, but its save game files are now safely and conveniently backed up to my Dropbox account and are available to be setup on another computer I own in a similar fashion, allowing me to save my game on one computer and pick up where I left off on the other.  Here's a final screen shot depicting the Alan Wake game and its related save game file available for loading as if it had never moved.  Fun times!



Got any other tips for fans of cloud storage? Leave them in the comments below.


Until next time, Happy Computing! Also, if you're a fan of deep story telling in video games, check out the original "Alan Wake" game. It's a surreal experience not worth missing.

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REM Staff Bio - Christine Alon

At Work

Role at REM: 

Graphic Designer



OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University): Bachelor of Design, majored in Illustration

Centennial College: Web Design Certificate


Previous Lines of Work: 

My first job as a Graphic Designer was a combo of Receptionist and Graphic Designer (didn't like the receptionist part), Imaging Technician for Toronto Star (I colour-corrected images for the newspaper), Production Aritist for a local Toronto newspaper. Then a Graphic Designer for two ad agencies and a B2B company in Toronto...did I forget anything?? Oh yeah, and REM: it's awesome working here!


Something That Makes Me Smile at Work: 

When my clients tell me how much they love the design I've done for their website.


One of the Things I Find Fascinating: 

Mother nature and animals (because I was watching nature documentaries recently). There's some strange, amazing creatures and things on our planet.



Web site:

Abduzeedo: Design, illustration, art, fonts, tutorials, etc. I like browsing through this site to feel inspired and motivated to do unique things in my own designs.

Lolcats: I go to this site when I want to relax and smile because I love cats!

Fashionably Geek: because I like geek chic!



Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien

That's My Type by Simon Garfield

Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Art books from video games and movies
Over the years lots of other fantasy/sci-fi books


Food:  Coffee, chocolate, sushi, eggs, rice

TV Show: 

Big Bang Theory, Chopped, Game of Thrones, American Ninja Warrior, Star Trek (TNG, Voyager), How I Met Your Mother, just got into watching Heroes: Reborn

Video Games:

Little Big Planet, Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Halo, Call of Duty, Final Fantasy series, Bioshock, Skyrim


Musical Artists:

I like listening to all sorts of things that are all over the spectrum such as: euro-metal (Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, Edguy) 80s rock (Led Zepplin, Bon Jovi, Europe, Boston, Chicago, Kiss, Journey), Japanese and Korean rock/pop, country (Keith Urban, Sugarland), classical music (Bach, Chopin, Pachabel)

Time of Day: 

9:00 - 10:00pm (when I'm winding down and relaxing to get ready for sleep)


Summer, later days of Spring and early days of Fall

Places in the World: 

Places where it's quiet with a natural setting like a beautiful beach, lake, trees, and/or mountain.

Recreational Activities/Hobbies: Playing piano, singing, drawing, travelling, camping


The only thing I get "sporty" about is Fooseball.


Lately I've been having fun using SnapChat


Least Favourite


Eel, licorice, fried/baked fish that has lots of bones in it (there might be other things, but I'm not picky about food).


Shopping for shoes. It's hard to find good ones that are comfy.

Time of Day: 

In the morning before I've had coffee


The coldest time in winter (around January/February)


Crowded TTC subway platforms during rush hour in Toronto


More Info

Best Thing Someone Said to You: 

"Thanks for saving my life."


Life Motto:

Treat others like you yourself would like to be treated.


My Hero(es): 

My mother: I admire her kindness.

My dad: I admire his devotion to his family.

My brother. I admire his toughness.


Most People Don’t Know This About Me:  I can't whistle. I've tried and tried but I can't do it.

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Sean Sanderson
November 23, 2015
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Ryan Covert
November 18, 2015
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Rob Matlow
November 16, 2015
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Jillian McBurney
November 11, 2015
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Jamie McBurney
November 9, 2015
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Christine Alon
November 4, 2015
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Sean McParland
October 9, 2015
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Shauna Ramsaroop
September 21, 2015
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