The Myriad Blog

Our Online Journal

21
Feb
2011

How Social Media Sparked a Revolution

| Posted by Liza Fromkes on February 21st, 2011 at 12:00 pm

The statement "there's power in numbers" could not be more relevant when realizing the power of Social Media.  Unless you have been living under a rock, you are well aware that President Mubarak has now stepped down from office in Egypt.  Are you also aware that the entire event was sparked by the creation of Facebook groups and Tweets? When Egyptian cable could not broadcast President Mubarak’s resignation speech, how was it communicated to the rest of the world? YouTube! Social Media has had such a powerful impact on the world, that one father in Egypt even named his daughter "Facebook" to commemorate the event, as seen in the link below:

http://i.imgur.com/2wAsB.png

Now more than ever, Social Media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. It allows us to communicate our messages, triumphs, frustrations, likes and photographs to as many people as possible at once. It even allows us to organize and inform people in numbers to make history like never before. So get on board people, this revolutionary train has left the station!

Spending a nominal amount of time on Social Media today could mean huge gains for your business tomorrow.  However, for many, the term Social Media can seem very vague or appears too time consuming to utilize. If you want to learn how easy it is to increase your business' branding and bottom line with social media, please contact us.

01
Oct
2009

Want to dazzle your Marketing VP?

| Posted by on October 1st, 2009 at 03:38 pm

Sign your personal site up for a Woopra account and when it's up and running show your marketing big-wig the capabilities live and watch his or her face light up.

For those of you that work somewhere that relies on the interweb for its sales or primary source of income there are few things more important than analytics. The ability to measure your marketing efforts is unparallel in today's economy and a lot easier than you think.

If you are not tracking analytics or measuring the impact of your campaigns the first thing you need to do is read this article. Then you need to learn everything you can about analytics, then come back to this once you are sufficiently frothing at the mouth for the power of analytics.

Have you ever launched a campaign and were so eager to see the results that you lost sleep that night waiting for the results to start coming in the next day? Have you ever wanted to be able to make changes to your campaigns on the fly and see if they make an impact in real time?

Well, with Woopra, these are now a reality. In plain English Woopra is awesome because it takes the power of analytics and makes them real-time. You can literally watch what people are doing on your site, where they are going, what they are clicking on and where they came from, what OS and browser they are using, their screen resolution and many, many more things all as it's happening. It is truly an amazing tool for any marketer, or anyone with a website for that matter, because it's pretty fun to watch as well.

I highly recommend that you sign-up for an account and test it out for yourself. If you work in a marketing department, show it to your boss as soon as possible then sit back and bask in the warm glow of all the praise that will come your way.

What is Woopra?
Woopra is the world’s most comprehensive, information rich, easy to use, real-time Web tracking and analysis application. And it’s free!

Woopra delivers the richest library of visitor statistics in the industry, and does it within an unmatched user interface designed to be aesthetically pleasing as well as highly intuitive. But Woopra is more than simply statistics.

Our client application is built as a framework for expansion, complete with an open API, plugin capability, and a wide range of additional feature / functionality currently being readied for deployment.

I have been using woopra for about a year now since @ccalilewis mentioned it in her geek brief show and I instantly fell in love with it. Some of Woopra's features include:

Live Tracking and Web Statistics

Woopra’s revolutionary server architecture, combined with its intuitively designed client software, enables seamless tracking of visitors. Webmasters can track over 40 different statistical events and analytics. Never before has so much information been instantaneously available to Webmasters.

Most analytical and site statistics are updated once a day at the least, or several times during the day. With Woopra, you get live track of visitors coming and going and moving through your site. You get the stats now.

Rich User Interface

Woopra’s interface was designed to display information clearly and efficiently, without upsetting the balance between design and function. Links to data and various pageviews are easily recognized and accessed. As the program runs on your computer, there is no delays in the response time as comes with web-based programs.

Woopra’s interface is designed to be flexible, with plans for future development of various color schemes and themes. The information is at your finger tips to access a wealth of statistics and data about your site and visitors.

Real-Time Analytics

Woopra redefines Web Analytics by enabling instantaneous information transfer combined with the ability to immediately act on each action. Woopra changes website management discussions from “how should we change things in the future” to “what should we do right now?

Webmasters can respond faster to sudden influxes in traffic and help monitor trends in search and traffic patterns. Woopra helps web owners generate content based upon customer needs and trends now, not after the fact.

Manage Multiple Blogs and Websites

Woopra creates a one-stop service for monitoring all your blogs and websites. Through the quick site tabs at the top of the Woopra panel, you have one-click access to your registered blogs.

Deep Analytic and Search Capabilities

Woopra breaks the Web statistics mold by allowing lightning quick search functionality along any data point in the system. What information do you need to help you manage and develop your site? Specific user names, IP addresses, geographic locations, user browsing data, visitor history, visitor paths, arrival and departure points – what do you want to know?

The data is searchable. Using the Search panel, you can reach into the data to find specific information about your site’s visitors, learning more about your site’s demographics and loyal readers. Woopra simply digs deeper.

Click-to-Chat

Woopra enables websites with both “proactive” and “reactive” chat functionality. Webmasters can remotely initiate sessions with visitors, or embed “Click-to-Chat” buttons within a site to accept inbound requests. This breaks the virtual wall between visitor and webmaster. Customer service sites could offer personal service directly through the Woopra interface, with no installation of software by the visitor. Woopra breaks down the barriers of the static web.

We would love your feedback on your experience with Woopra or other analytics programs that you use.

01
Aug
2009

Learn More About Climate

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on August 1st, 2009 at 03:50 pm

Learn More About Climate

Climate change is one of the most serious issues facing contemporary society and is rapidly taking center stage as a global concern. CU-Boulder is a leader in energy and climate change research and environmental stewardship and is, thus, eniquely positioned to provide leadership in addressing this issue at a local level.

To address climate change in Colorado, CU-Boulder partnered with Landlocked Films and Sovereign Pictures to create a series of educational videos that would help demystify the science behind climate change. These videos will be broadcasted, one per week, in the fall of 2009.

Our job was to create a website to support this important initiative by delivering the videos, news and other resources in an accessible online format. To view our work (and to learn more about climate change) please visit: http://learnmoreaboutclimate.colorado.edu

07
May
2009

Conflict Between Apache URL Rewriting and Basic Authentication

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on May 7th, 2009 at 04:04 pm

The Apache module mod_rewrite provides a rule-based rewriting engine that is used by most MVC frameworks (i.e. CakePHP and Zend Framework) and content management solutions (i.e. Drupal and WordPress.)

The benefits of using a rewrite engine include:

  • Making website URLs more memorable to users
  • Making website URLs more relevant to search engines
  • Masking the inner workings of the site by hiding file extensions

I ran into an issue the other day where I needed to run a legacy application that was being protected by basic .htaccess authentication. The legacy application was located in a subdirectory.

Typically, you would just add the following line of code to your .htaccess file to instruct the rewrite engine to ignore the directory:

RewriteEngine off

Unfortunately, this won't work as expected. For basic authentication, the server writes a "401 Unauthorized" header and then looks for an error document based on a pre-defined path. Most of the time, the error document won't exist in the directory that you want to protect, so the request gets handled by the rewrite engine which throws a 404 error.

The solution to this problem is pretty straightforward. You need to add a single line of code to your .htaccess file instructing Apache to ignore the error document. When you're done, the code should look something like this:

ErrorDocument 401 "Unauthorized Access"

RewriteEngine off

AuthType Basic
AuthName "Administration"
require valid-user
AuthUserFile "/home/user/.htpasswds/public_html/admin/passwd"

Hopefully this will save somebody a bit of aggravation.

16
Mar
2009

Converting Measurements to Feet Using Google

| Posted by Nate Allen on March 16th, 2009 at 03:29 pm

Need to convert a centimeter (cm) or millimeter (mm) to feet (ft) or inches(in)? Thanks to Google this is an easy task. Enter the measurement you want to convert (i.e. 2610mm) in the Google search bar followed by what you want it to convert it to (i.e. ft, in, etc.) and hit "Search".

Google Measurement Search

24
Feb
2009

Fixing the IE7 Z-Index Bug

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on February 24th, 2009 at 09:15 am

Dynamic drop down menus have always been a headache for web developers, mostly due to quirky rendering behavior across different browsers. IE7 presents a unique challenge with the way it renders z-index stacking orders.

Even though I had all of my z-index values correct, drop down menus were being placed underneath a relatively positioned <div> that occured further down the page.

There is a very elegant solution to this problem that requires jQuery and a few lines of javascript code at the bottom of the page. The following code traverses through your <div> tags assigning the ones at the top of the page a higher value. Worked like a charm for me!

jQuery(function() {
    var intIndex = 1000;
    jQuery('div').each(function() {
        jQuery(this).css('zIndex', intIndex); intIndex -= 10;
    });
});

Special thanks to Vance Lucas for posting this function on his blog.

20
Feb
2009

PHP Coding Standards

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on February 20th, 2009 at 10:06 am

All Myriad contractors should follow the PHP coding standards used by the Zend Framework.
http://framework.zend.com/manual/en/coding-standard.html

19
Feb
2009

YouSendIt - A Better Way to Email Large Files

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on February 19th, 2009 at 03:59 pm

It's safe to say that email has become most people's default mode of communication these days. It's easy to use and usually faster then dialing a phone number. Unfortunately, email still falls short when it comes to sharing media.

The other day I received a series of photos from a client that totalled over 8MB. It took over 2 minutes to download the photos to my inbox and the network performance at the office was noticably slower during that time period.

For this reason, I recommend services like YouSendIt which let users send large files through their website. It's easy to use, just type in the recipient's email address (or multiple addresses) and upload your file. That's all there is too it, and nobody's email server has to suffer.

What's even better, YouSendIt offers a free Outlook plugin which makes it convenient to send large email attachments right from Outlook.

Other file sending services worth mentioning are Drop.io, GigaSize.com and SendSpace.com. I'm just partial to YouSendIt because of the handy Outlook plugin.

28
Jan
2009

Communication Between Two Flash Movies

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on January 28th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

We recently created banner advertisments for the Arizona Department of Transportation that involved a hot air ballon flying from a top banner to a side banner on rollover.

ADOT Banner Example

In order to acheive something like this, you need to open a Local Connection between the two movies and send a function call and (optional) argument over that connection. The following snippet of code would go in the sending movie and could be attached to a button:

on (rollOver) {
    obj_sending_lc = new LocalConnection();
    obj_sending_lc.send('_ConnA', 'traceMyName', 'Peter');
}

In order for this to work, we will need to add code to the receiving movie making it ready to receive this information. The following snippet of code would go in the receiving movie:

obj_receiving_lc = new LocalConnection();
obj_receiving_lc.connect('_ConnA');
obj_receiving_lc.traceMyName = function(str_argument) {
    trace(str_argument);
}

In this example, my name would be traced to the output window of the second movie. Obviously, you would want to make changes to the function name and what it does, but this will get you going quickly.

Before you try this out on your own, be forewarned that you can't run the webpage in multiple tabs (which can happen during development) as only the first one will work.

16
Jan
2009

Vector vs. Raster

| Posted by Nate Allen on January 16th, 2009 at 02:20 pm

When working with clients and on projects it important to be provided the best assets to deliver the best product. However, there is a language barrier between clients and developers and due to lack of experience and/or knowledge when it comes to file types. To help combat this and educate the client we have found that it is easier to show an example than try to explain the difference between Vector and Raster file types.


Raster Files:

A raster file type is an image or graphic composed of a grid of pixels or squares. Raster files are ideal for photographs, web and screen images. These files can be scaled down and look good, however when scaled up lose quality and end up looking like big colorful blocks.

Raster Image

Advantages:

  • Amazing gradient and shading display
  • Very common file types

Disadvantages:

  • Large File Sizes
  • Can be scaled down, but not up without losing quality
  • Some file types require special software to view/display

Common Raster File Types:

  • .bmp, .cdr, .ccx, .cdt, .cmx, .ico, .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .pdf, .png, .tga, .tif, .tiff,

Ideal Useage:

  • Photographs
  • Web Graphics
  • Screen Graphics (TV, DVD)

Vector Files:

A Vector file is an image or graphic composed of connecting points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based upon mathematical equations, to represent an images. Vector files are ideal for any design, illustratopn, icon, or logo that needs to be scaled and retain a crisp clean look.

Vector Image

Advantages:

  • Can be scaled up or down and retain quality
  • Small file sizes

Disadvantages:

  • Not as good at shading as raster (i.e photograph)
  • Some file types require special software to view/display

Common Vector File Types:

  • .ai, .cdr, .ccx, .cdt, .cmx, .eps, .pdf, .svg, .swf,

Ideal Useage:

  • Logo's
  • Print Materials (Usually a combination of vector type and raster images)
  • Illustrations
  • Typography
  • Flash 
  • Anything that will be scaled

For a detailed file type comparison chart: Wikipedia

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