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This is a headshot of Christine Votruba.

It’s no secret that we love games and are very competitive at REM. Combine a passion for games with building comradery, rapport and trust and we got: an awesome company event!

 

REM's 1st 2020 team-building event

We played games at Pin Up Arcade Bar in Waterloo; a fun place with a cool vibe where one could hang out with friends and coworkers to play unlimited arcade games.

 

  Todd Hannigan playing an arcade game

 

Sean McParland playing a pinball machine  

It has a very nostalgic, retro feel that would appeal to casual players and hardcore gamers alike. It’s also in a perfect spot uptown in a plaza where university students could come in to take a break from studying. Check out their Facebook page here.

 

In the arcade is a nice assortment of games such as super-retro ones from the 70’s that’s completely mechanical and analogue to machines that have bright, flashy digital screens. Some are familiar classics such as Pac-man, Super Mario, Tetris and Street Fighter, while others are based on TV or movie franchises like Terminator, Guardians of the Galaxy or South Park.

 

Competitive streaks came out as each tried to best their colleague by getting the highest score or by winning in a one-on-one game. A few of us got particularly competitive while playing 3 games:

  1. International Shoot Out where a person controls a pair of paddles to shoot a ball into their opponent’s goal
  2. Another game where one had to throw basketballs into a moving hoop.
  3. And of course, at a few games of foosball on a table that lit up.

 

 

Below is a short video of Sean Legge getting “nothin’ but net!” Check out and follow us on Instagram for more videos and photos!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sean Legger going for the top score!!

A post shared by REMWebSolutions (@remwebsolutions) on

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Thanks to everyone that played Santa’s Workshop Showdown!

 

Thanks to everyone that played Santa’s Workshop Showdown!

 

We hope that everyone had a great holiday with friends and family. We also hope you enjoyed our game as much as we enjoyed making it! Congratulations to Christine D. for winning an XBOX One S! 

This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

I'd like to take a break from the regular type of posts that I put out and talk about a personal passion of mine:

MMO gaming!

Person's hands on a gaming keyboard

 

Since about as long as I can remember, I have always loved role-playing and adventure games. It can provide an escape from the mundane realities of daily life, and can give you a chance to be a hero, even if it is in an entirely seperate world. Of these types of games, the pinnicle would be the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). It takes all the best elements of gaming, and mashes them together. You have level-up systems, fighting, peaceful gathering, teamwork, loot systems, chat, groups, unique art styles, massive worlds, and great storyline in most cases.

 

While these games are generally the best quality and most immersive of any game genre, this often comes at a price. They are not only generally full-price games to start with, but often come with either a monthly cost to continue playing, or a microtransaction system which is nesseccary to utilize to stay competitive within the playerbase. That being said, most of the great MMOs out there will offer at least 2 methods to pay for this: in-game currency, or real money.

 

Of any of the MMORPG out there (and there are plenty!), there are 2 that I have consistently played and come back to throughout my life, and which I can forsee continuing to be powerhouses in the MMO genre. I will be releasing 2 seperate blogs talking about these at another time, however both games have been going for more than 15 years and still have very stong playerbase numbers. These two games are World of Warcraft and RuneScape.

 

Stay tuned for the next blog where I do a feature spot on RuneScape (RS) and get into some details on that!

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Thank you for supporting REM in the past year!

 

Don't forget to play our game: Santa's Workshop Showdown! Play and submit your score before Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. for a chance to win an XBOX One S 1TB Console - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order™ Bundle!

 

Play now!

 

Thanks to all the REM staff for their hard work remastering the game in time for the holiday season.

 

Most importantly, we wish you a Fantastic Holiday Season and a Bright & Energetic New Year!

 

Happy Holidays from REM Web Solutions!

 

As a friendly note: We will be closed on December 24, 25, 26 and January 1 to allow our team a chance to spend time with their team.  We look forward to working with you in 2020!

 

Sincerely,

REM Web Solutions

 

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This is a headshot of Christine Votruba.

Happy Halloween 2019! REM team wearing Napoleon Dynamite costumes

 

Happy Halloween - Napoleon Dynamite Style!

 

This year, three of us from the REM team decided to to dress up as our favourite characters from a 2004 movie called Napoleon Dynamite!

 

They are (from left to right):

  • Sean Sanderson as Napoleon: he put all the pizzaz and nerd-cool style in his costume by having an afro wig, a "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt, eyeglasses, a retro casette player and the coolest part: he drew on his notebook a sketch of a "Liger" (half lion, half tiger creature)
  • Brad Anderson as Kip: Brad's looking cool with his khaki shorts, blue polo shirt and glasses holding a "La Fawnduh" sign.
  • Christine Votruba as Pedro: vote for me: Pedro! Had a lot of cross-dressing fun by dressin' up in a short, black wig, eye-liner mustache, big blue dress-shirt, a bolo tie (made with a broch and shoe laces), belt buckle, "vote for pedro" pin and a "If you VOTE FOR PEDRO all your wishes will come true!" flyer. It was an easy DIY costume put together thanks to a few things from my house and Value Village!

 

We've had a lot of fun! We got into character for the photoshoot by having spaced-out, dorky looks on our faces.  If you haven't seen this movie yet, I highly recommend watching if you're up for a lot of laughs.

 

To end this blog post, watch this scene from the movie of Napoleon's infamous dance routine. Enjoy!

 

 

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This is a headshot of Ryan Covert.

 

It's 2019 at the time of this writing. Fortnite has taken the gaming world by storm over the past year or so. Every parent has been begged and pleaded with by their children to purchase a modern console gaming system so that they can become sweaty try hards.

 

Then it happens. Those same children are watching YouTube personalities and streamers alike who push PC hardware as the next-level in the Fortnite madness. The begging and pleading is revived. This time, those same parents don't know where to start and may not have the funds to dump into a high-level gaming PC.

 

Socket 775 To The Rescue

 

As of June 2019, I have successfully built four Fortnite-worthy gaming PCs using hardware dated as far back as 12 years old. It wasn't difficult, but finding DDR2 RAM for older PCs is tricky, and I will throw in some more "modern" suggestions at the end of this blog for those having the same problem.

 

The secret to my success has been in the procurement of used Socket 775 motherboards and CPUs that used to fetch top dollar when they were new. Socket 775 motherboards are now in the range of $30-$60 on eBay. A magnificent Core 2 Quad Q9650 CPU, which was considered the cream of the crop in 2008, can now be coupled with those motherboards for a meer $65 on eBay as well. You'll also want a minimum of 6 GB of RAM, but 8 GB of RAM is ideal. You can get by with 4 GB, but your OS will be starved for resources and you will experience in-game hitching or stuttering as your computer continuously fights to balance your operating system's memory requirements with those of the game.

 

Next, you need to find a GPU with enough horsepower to run modern PC games at a decent framerate. While I have managed to run Fortnite at 60 fps on a GeForce GTX 560 ti, I would suggest purchasing a GPU with at least support for the latest nVidia or AMD drivers. I suggest trying to find one of these cards within your budget on eBay, Kijiji, Craig's List, or similar:

 

  • GeForce GTX 760
  • GeForce GTX 960
  • GeForce GTX 1050 ti
  • AMD R9 290X
  • AMD R9 380
  • AMD RX 480
  • AMD RX 570

 

There are many different combinations of these cards, with varying amounts of video RAM typically listed as "GDDR". Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the better experience you will have. However, in my testing, the older GTX 760 with 2 GB of GDDR3 RAM provides plenty of speed to drive 60 fps gaming on Medium quality settings in Fortnite at resolutions up to 1920x1080. Considering this is running on a 12 year old PC, this is mind blowing.

 

For those interested in doing this themselves, here are some additional links to help you out:

 

  • CPU-Z
    Determine the exact motherboard make and model you're running, along with the type and configuration of RAM you have installed. This helps you determine what upgrades are available for your existing hardware.
     
  • Core i3 based PCs
    These machines are a great example of a complete system (lacking a dedicated graphics card / GPU) that have plenty of power to run modern PC games for thousands of hours of enjoyment. They typically use DDR3 RAM, which is much cheaper than the older DDR2 variant mentioned above due to supply and demand.

 

Feel free to drop your questions in the comments below if you'd like more information.

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This is a headshot of Sean Sanderson.

For me, I think of a design trend as a movement that has gained enough usage that it starts to become recognizable and used. A trend can start slow before gaining momentum or can be influenced and fueled by new technology.

 

For myself, as a designer, I make it a priority to keep current. For me, trends are meant to keep me inspired and thinking in a contemporary way. I don’t choose to completely ignore them but being aware of what they are is very important. I find myself longing to experiment with a new design and try a new trend even if it’s just for a personal project.

 

I believe we are currently in an interesting time with web design. We’ve seen many new web design styles push the boundaries of what we expect the modern web to be. As well as significant advancements in technology that are allowing users to not only ‘surf’ the website but leave with a feeling of an exciting experience. Accessibility is certainly not new but has been making a statement to ensure a more consistent and accessible environment for everybody who uses the web.

 

With so many developments, it’s important to slow it down and take a look at what trends have the ability to stay and what new things we can expect to see in 2019.

Below are 5 of the more notable styles that we can expect to wedge themselves into web design for 2019, and beyond.   

 

Flat Design

 

Starting as a trend, the flat design grew to become a standard. Preferred by many users from a user experience perspective flat design is a minimalist approach that features the use of wide-open white space, colors, and uncomplicated illustrations. Pairing clean fonts and minimal content seem to work very well with flat design.

 

Minimalism

 

Web design is always moving in a “less is more” mentality. The most time-honored web design trend, minimalism has always been my favorite style as hard as it can be to pull off properly. With fewer components on a website, the less the user has to process. Clients are more and more opting towards a simpler layout with greater amounts of white space. Using white space to separate the different sections on your pages helps improve readability and makes it easier for users to digest important information.

 

Animated GIFS

 

Can you remember a time when the dancing Ooga Chaka baby was a thing? Animated GIFs can definitely capture the limited attention span of most users. They are great at conveying ideas while being intriguing and captivating. Animated icons are becoming more and more popular and the use of animation/movement isn’t something that will be die off as long the rise of UX is still a thing.

 

Organic Shapes

 

Traditionally set up in grids, some websites have moved away from the cookie-cutter horizontal and vertical dividers and designers are turning towards natural shapes and smooth lines. Geometric shapes can give a feeling of accessibility and comfort. Organic shapes are irregular, uneven and imperfect. They can provide emphasis to make content stand out and give a personal touch.

 

Website Accessibility

 

Last but not least, accessibility. This is not a trend, its an evolution and progress of the web that can’t be ignored in 2019. Designing ( and building ) websites for people with disabilities and ensuring they can use them easily shouldn’t be something web designers and developers simply choose to do anymore. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are quickly becoming more enforced and it’s going to be increasingly important to make sure your website is up to par.

 

Everything or ( most things ) have been done in design at one point before. A lot of the new trends are merely recycled ideas from earlier movements in design. That being said they can be revisited and reinvented. From the look and feel, websites will move toward the clean style of flat and minimalistic design. From a UX side of things, companies will need to focus on making their sites engaging and accessible.

 

Ooga Chaka!

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This is a headshot of Matt Stern.

While thinking about my blog, one topic keeps coming to mind. Coaching youth sports. I have

always been very involved in coaching, as my son has played soccer, basketball and baseball.

However, coaching youth is something I have been a part of, for a long time, prior to having

children. I am often asked the question, why I chose to coach different sports. There are

several reasons why I enjoy coaching, some more obvious than others.

 

Firstly, I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in my son's activities. Coaching is like

teaching. Life lessons are always being taught. Learning how to win, how to lose, and how to

be a team player. We learn how to work together for the purpose of one goal. Sometimes I

coach for the love of the game, and the chance to share that love and appreciation with others.

 

An unexpected outcome is sometimes learning ourselves, as coaches. Coaching requires

adaptation, as it's very fluid and always changing. This may require communicating with players

and/or parents, or making adjustments to the way we play as a team, or with other coaches.

Communication is ongoing, whether with participants or parents. Learning to be a more effective

communicator may result. Finally, coaching encourages us to find lifelong friendships, between

teammates and coaches, which can only be seen as positive.

 

As you can see, there are various reasons to coach youth in sports. Learning life lessons,

teaching life lessons, finding lasting friendships but perhaps most importantly, we having the

opportunity to make a difference in our children's lives.

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This is a headshot of Sean Legge.

At Work

Role at REM:  

Junior Web Developer

 

Education:  

Web Design and Application Development - Fanshawe College

 

Work Experience:  

Mostly from my time in school.

 

Something That Makes Me Smile at Work:  

When I solve a difficult problem.

 

 

Favourite

Web site: 

https://www.reddit.com/

 

Books:  

The Illiad, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Poetic Edda, Spice and Wolf.

 

Food:  

Mince and Tatties

 

TV Show:  

Departures

 

Musical Artists:

Eluvetie, Korpiklaani, Protest The Hero

 

Time of Day:  

7:00 PM

 

Season:  

Fall

 

Places in the World:  

Jyväskylä, Finland

 

Recreational Activities/Hobbies:

Kendo, Reading, Writing

 

Sport:

Hockey

 

App:  

Audible

 

Least Favourite

Food:  

Cilantro


Activity: 

Running

 

Time of Day: 

7:00 AM


Season: 

Summer


Place:

The Hospital

 

More Info

Best Thing Someone Said to You: 

“You know too many random facts.”

 

Life Motto: 

Never stop learning. 

 

My Hero: 

My Dad

 

One of the Things I Find Fascinating:  

History

 

Most People Don’t Know This About Me:  

I played in a metal band for a couple years.

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Thank you for supporting REM in the past year!

 

We want you to have some fun.  Play our surprise game and we will donate to Sick Kids.

 

Click here to play our custom built game.  Thank you to all the REM staff for their hard work building the game in time for the holiday season.  For each person that plays, REM will donate $1 to Sick Kids Foundation.

 

Most importantly, we wish you a Fantastic Holiday Season and a Bright & Energetic New Year!

 

 

As a friendly note: We will be closed on December 24, 25, 26 and January 1 to allow our team a chance to spend time with their team.  We look forward to working with you in 2019.

 

Sincerely,

REM Web Solutions

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Contributors

Brad Anderson
152
March 26, 2020
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Rob Matlow
87
March 23, 2020
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Christine Votruba
26
January 17, 2020
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Ryan Covert
48
July 26, 2019
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Sean Sanderson
63
July 23, 2019
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Matt Stern
4
July 16, 2019
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Sean Legge
1
June 28, 2019
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Sean McParland
17
June 28, 2019
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Todd Hannigan
47
November 13, 2018
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