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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.

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 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 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 Todd Hannigan.

Learning Better Pinball Skills:

 

We have a pinball machine at the office and it has become somewhat of a competitive monthly game to be in the top spot. We have a score board and we record the top three scores every month. You never know when you are going to get knocked out of the top three and it changes almost daily. The top player gets their name up on Pinball Wizard board for bragging rights for the month.

 

Brad is the Pinball Wizard for June

 

It is appropriate that we have a Pinball Wizard, because we make a content management system called WebWiz@rd, that makes adding content to your custom designed website extremely easy. If you want to be a web wizard as much as I want to be a pinball wizard, please send us an email at sales@remwebsolutions.com or check out our site at remwebsolutions.com and the great things we do here.

 

Back to pinball! It has become so much of a competition that I find myself wanting to learn more about the skills necessary to give myself the advantage over the other players in the office. So much so, that I decided to write a blog about it to let others know of a great site https://papa.org/, that you can learn all of the tricks you need to become the best pinball player you can be. The Professional and Amateur Pinball Association website has some great tips in their Learning Center under Player’s Guild. I especially like the videos on flipper skills, really makes the game more fun once you master a couple of new flipper skills. You really do have much more control of a game that most people think is random and very little control. Give them a watch and see just how much you game improves.

 

This is the machine in our office

 

Our office likes pinball so much that we are planning a night out to go to the Pin Up Arcade Bar in Waterloo (https://www.facebook.com/PinUpArcadeBar/). It is a great place to go and pay one low price of $5.00 and you can play as much as you want for the night. 

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This is a headshot of Christine Votruba.

October Quarterly 2018 group photo

 

For our October quarterly, we had fun, excitement and took our chances betting on live horse races in Flamboro Downs. REM commemorated the event by taking a group photo with Race #3’s winner: Domitian Hall.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

The results are in!

 

We had an overwhelmingly positive response to our Holiday Pixel Stocking 2017 event, and as a result we have donated over $1200.00 worth of toys to Toys for Tots charity, providing numerous children with much needed holiday cheer this year.

 

Every team member had designed a digital pixel stocking themed for the Holidays, and had a blast doing it! You had the chance to take a look, cast a vote, and if you liked, left a comment here on the blog about what you thought. We took $2.00 for every vote we received and used that towards purchasing the toys which we donated.

 

The winner (or staff member who ended up receiving the most votes) was Sean Sanderson with his Charlie Brown stocking, so congratulations to him on making the most popular pixel stocking!  Feel free to have another look.

 

 

REM Web Solutions would just like to thank everyone who voted in the contest this year, without your votes none of this would have been possible. Thanks for your continued support, and we look forward to the next holiday event.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Stay Ahead of Hackers - Why you Should Use an Up-To-Date Browser

 

 

Most organizations critically rely on their daily ability to use some form of technology, whether through applications, email or web browsing.  Those using technology have probably already noticed in recent years there are more and more hacking attacks that cause major disruptions to businesses.  There are a multitude of ways in which hackers can get access to a computer system and one of those ways is through a user's web browser.  If your employees are still using older browsers, then your organization is vulnerable for exploitation.  Listed below are some major browsers and how they stack up with regard to security.

 

Internet Explorer

 

With every passing month, Internet Explorer becomes more and more vulnerable for exploitation.  Although Microsoft does continue to update it with some security fixes, they have moved on to their Windows 10 OS and their newer Edge browser that takes greater advantage of some of the newer security techniques offered by machine learning and cloud-based intelligence.  

 

 

Microsoft Edge

 

Microsoft has recently announced some exciting new security features in their Fall Creators Update for Windows 10 enterprise users.  Within their Windows Defender Security Center is a new tool called "Application Guard".  This tool takes advantage of container sandboxing techniques that will prevent exploitation within their Edge browser.  By using virtual machine technology, the Edge browser cuts off rogue applications or web sites from going beyond the browser to hack into areas such as memory, local storage, other applications or even further into a corporate network.

 

 

Anyone who is using Internet Explorer and older versions of the Windows operating system, should give serious consideration to upgrading to Windows 10 and its default browser, Edge.

 

Google Chrome 

 

Chrome is a very popular browser, used by almost 2/3 of all internet users.  Considered the safest browser on the market, Google aims to keep that top position by providing the most frequent security updates of all the browsers.  Like Microsoft's Edge browser, Chrome uses virtualization techniques to create a quarantined space between a user's device and the internet.  One of the downsides to Google's Chrome browser is the lack of user privacy. Google essentially tracks, stores and analyzes every keystroke made through their Chrome browser.

 

 

Every organization needs to weigh the pros and cons of the various browsers, their need for privacy vs. security, and decide which browser is best for them.  Ideally, companies should never lag behind by using older versions of browsers, leaving their vital data open to hacking attempts. If you have questions about browser use or internet security, let us know and we will be happy to answer your questions.

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Contributors

Christine Votruba
26
January 17, 2020
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Brad Anderson
141
January 15, 2020
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Rob Matlow
85
December 20, 2019
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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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