OmniSpear has worked with James Investment Research for over 10 years proving everything from developing complex stock web applications to routine IT support. Recently the OmniSpear team gave their corporate website a facelift making it more mobile friendly, providing account login access as well as dynamic updates / integration to mutual fund data.
The benefits of having a system customized to your business workflow are often motivating factors in deciding to hire a custom development team to reorganize your business workflow and improve operations. We often find that one of the biggest challenges of hiring a custom software development shop to build your application is ensuring the development team understands your business’s needs and how the application will be used by your team.
To help bring each of the teams together to reach an end goal of developing a custom application that is functional and efficient, we recommend working with a good in-house business analyst or hiring a development shop that provides that service as a part of their process. A business analyst will capture your business requirements, clarify needs and expectations, and write practical use cases that represent the way your team will use the software. After your team agrees to the requirements and use cases, the business analyst will work collaboratively with the lead developer on your project to design the system architecture, database and technology stack that best serves your needs.
Without this critical step of translating the application design into terms familiar to the entire team, along with clear direction and team synergy the final application may not be exactly what your team was hoping for. Whether the project is fixed-bid or hourly, any good development team is committed to efficiently coding the application and without thoroughly defined use cases, their commitment to code-efficiency could motivate developers to streamline the application, often resulting in the loss of critical workflow features. While technically meeting functionality requirements, the overall usefulness of the application to your business is lost.
When scoping projects and putting together your next RFP it is critical to outline clear needs for your application, put together thorough use cases and be upfront with needs and expectations with your development team. Our development team has 100+ years of combined experience over 35 projects. We’d be happy to work with your team and are committed to supporting our clients through each phase of the development process.
Have a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for answers from the OmniSpear team.
When your website is hacked or taken offline by a hacker, getting it cleaned up and running again can cost you time, money and your customers’ trust. We understand how painful the experience can be, and have helped many clients both prevent hacks and complete repairs when hackers get through.
As hackers get more sophisticated, it’s critical our defenses continue to evolve and stay ahead of them. Working with multiple clients in maintaining and developing open-sourced content management system websites on platforms like WordPress and Drupal led us to develop our own content management system: OmniCMS.
Open-source CMS platforms are so popular because they are often user friendly, intuitive and offer flexibility and easy-to-use design applications at little-to-no cost, offering an inexpensive way to boost functionality and user experience. However, users should beware that these cheap plug-ins can be poorly maintained or written and pose the biggest security risk to websites built on open-source CMS platforms. To help best protect our clients and bring security in house, while still offering fully customizable and user experienced focused websites we developed OmniCMS.
When we build client websites on OmniCMS, we develop with security in mind:
- Any changes to code are code reviewed at the highest standards.
- All code is closed-source.
- We alert clients when security issues are found and work quickly and diligently to implement security updates to resolve the matter.
- Each revision of the content management system and its modules are tested rigorously by our team to identify and mitigate security flaws.
- OmniCMS includes personalized, expert care 24/7.
Unsure about your website’s security? Let’s talk about potential weaknesses and how to solve them.
We’re reaching another round of ending software lifecycles from Microsoft. Here is a brief summary of the following products that will no longer be supported in 2020.
January 14, 2010
– Windows 7
– Windows Server 2008 & 2008 R2
– Hyper-V Server 2008 & 2008 R2
– Exchange Server 2010 (all editions)
October 13, 2020
– Office 2010 (all versions)
– Office 2016 for Mac (all versions)
What does this mean?
When Microsoft ends support on products, they no longer give free or paid technical support but more importantly you no longer receive any updates from Microsoft. This includes further security updates as well, leaving you vulnerable to any security flaws that are discovered and exploited.
I already have a working Windows 7 computer, why can’t I upgrade to Windows 10?
The short answer is, you can. But newer operating systems require more system resources and your system may slow down dramatically to the point where it us unusable and problems usually occur with programs when you do an upgrade install from one version of Windows to another. This is why we recommend purchasing updated hardware.
I am still running on Office 2010, what do I need to do?
If you’re running on Windows 7, see above. If you’re running Windows 8 or 8.1, you can upgrade to Office 2013 or 2016 but Office 2019 is not supported on Windows 8 / 8.1 either. We recommend upgrading your computer to Windows 10 to support Office 2019 and later versions.
I’m running on Windows Server 2008/2008R2, what should I do?
You’ll need to purchase updated server hardware with a software license to Server 2012 R2, 2016 or 2019. We would recommend 2019 since it’s the latest version. Afterwards you’ll need to migrate from the old server to the new one.
My environment still uses Exchange 2010, what will it take to get us updated?
Unfortunately there is no way to jump straight to Exchange 2019 as it’s not supported. You would have to migrate to Exchange 2013 or 2016 first, then make the jump to 2019. You will most likely need new hardware for 2019 as well. The main reason being is Exchange 2019 can only be installed on Windows Server 2019 and requires a minimum of 128GB of RAM.
Along with this however, there are other environmental requirements:
– All domain controllers need to be running at least Server 2012 R2, 2016 or 2019.
– The AD functional level should be Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher.
How do we fix this?
For all instances, we recommend you upgrading your hardware and software to support all the latest technology standards, but you don’t have to do it alone. OmniSpear is here to help you with all your migration needs from a single computer to a multi-server, enterprise environment, we have the technical knowledge and experience to prepare you for the next generation of technology.
Give us a call today at (937) 643-4037 or (513) 834-8654 or contact us here.
Basecamp CEO Jason Fried talks about taking an “intentionally small” approach to building a business for the long-term on a recent episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher.
In the interview, Fried talks with Swisher about being intentionally small and the risk of growing too big, too fast. Losing money for years to fuel fast growth is accepted, even expected. Fried’s warning: “By the time you finally need to actually make money, you don’t have any skills. You don’t know how to make money because all you know how to do is spend it.”
Listen to the whole podcast or skip to minute 35:30 to hear the discussion about being intentionally small and focusing on intentional growth.
Whether you’re launching a new business or growing a small one, you’ll be spending money on infrastructure. In today’s world, some or most of that will be invested in custom software — even if you’re not a technology company. How you schedule that investment can make a difference.
OmniSpear has experience growing profitably since 2001. And we’re open to talking about scaling that giant custom software project into a series of smaller projects to fit within your intentional growth budget. Listen. Develop. Deliver.
Contact OmniSpear for your custom software development needs.
You’ve decided to invest in technology to take your company to the next level. Now what? OmniSpear shares its perspective about outsourcing custom software and mobile app development.
Eighteen years of custom software development experience provides perspective. The growth of cloud computing, the power of bandwidth and advancements in programming languages have increased the complexity of software development and created pressure for companies to invest in technology to remain accessible to their customers. A website is no longer enough. Both consumers and business-to-business customers are enticed by customized online and mobile connections tailored to their specific needs and interests.
Creating customized connections requires more than a CMS with a shopping cart plugin. Many small and medium-sized businesses are investing in custom software solutions and mobile applications to create unique experiences for their customers. And some have the opportunity monetize the connection through the creation of subscription-based services known as SaaS.
Embarking on a custom software development project is a very different endeavor than designing a website. Website mechanics are pretty well set and the key to success is good graphic design and marketing content. A well resourced marketing department and website development partner can successfully launch a new website for a company.
With custom software, mobile apps and SaaS offerings, the development project will draw upon operational and technical experts within the company as well as marketing. A successful development partner carefully listens to the needs of all company stakeholders and coordinates the differing perspectives as they relate to the project goals.
Across eighteen years, OmniSpear has been in the trenches with hundreds of clients. Won some. Lost some. And through these experiences, OmniSpear knows what it takes to succeed. Listen. Develop. Deliver.
Contact OmniSpear for your custom software development needs.
Facebook’s social network now consists of over 2 billion users. Not all of them are real people and not all of them have your best interest in mind. Facebook attempts to weed them out automatically using advanced algorithms. Many fake accounts still get through. In the first three months of 2018, Facebook cleared out 583 million fake accounts.
Why is it important to spot fake accounts and what is the motivation for them? Generally speaking, fake accounts are attempting to either gather your personal information, to direct you to sites full of clickbait, or to sell you other services. So how do you spot them and what should you do about it?
Spotting fake accounts is getting more difficult as the perpetrators’ techniques become more advanced. Some accounts are quite convincing, but there are a few tell-tale signs you can look out for..
- Profile Photos – Many fake accounts have only one or two profile photos available. Often times there will be a caption with an external website link – this is a dead giveaway. Take a look at when they uploaded the pictures and if it was within a few days of the request, chances are the account is not real. Also look to see if there are any likes or comments on the pictures. It’s very rare that a user will upload a profile picture and not have any friends respond to it.
- Friends – Most fake profiles only exist for a short time before they are reported. Therefore, it’s rare for those profiles to gather many friends – especially ‘Mutual Friends’. If an account has only one or two mutual friends, proceed with caution and dig a bit deeper into the publicly visible information. When in doubt, ask your mutual friends to see if they know the profile personally.
- Profile Activity – Even the most locked-down private profiles will have some activity visible to someone who has been sent a friend request. Take a look at their timeline. If it goes from their automatically generated birthday post directly to the post showing their profile pic, chances are very high that you are looking at a fake account.
This is a good example of a fake account profile. Notice that Ms. Smith was born in 1956. In all that time, there is no public activity on her timeline. Also, she is extremely young looking for someone supposedly 60+ years old!
Fake accounts are rampant throughout social media and most are used for unethical marketing purposes. When one crosses your path, do everyone a favor and report the profile using the tools provided within Facebook. Look for the three dots on the profile picture and select the ‘Report’ option. Follow the instructions and help clean up the network for all of us real users!
As of June 8, 2018 the fastest supercomputer in the world is now active at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Developed by IBM, the OLCF-4 or Summit supercomputer has been clocked at 200 petaflops. That’s 200 quadrillion operations per second! The Summit is 8 times more powerful than the previous system called Titan. This advanced computing technology is currently being used by the ORNL and also the US Department of Veterans Affairs for clinical research.
The Summit’s advanced architecture is helping them understand the genetic factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease and more. Along with medical research, the Summit will also assist in our understanding of the universe, bolster US economic competitiveness and contribute to a better future.
ORNL has created a great infographic that helps illustrate the scale of this machine!
As members of the tech community, we are always on the look out for the newest gadget or emerging technology. We are also fans of the science fiction genre, so occasionally our worlds collide and fiction starts to become reality. One of our favorite franchises is Star Trek and many of the items in that series have begun to appear in real life. Here’s a short list of some of our favorites:
1. Tablet Computers
The PADD or Personal Access Display Device is a hand-held computer interface used throughout the space-faring organizations within the Star Trek universe. PADDs are often used for a variety of functions including crew manifests, duty rosters, diagnostics, personal logs and more. In 2010, the PADD became a reality with the introduction of Apple’s iPad. This lightweight and powerful computing tool has worked its way into our daily lives with its ability to take photos, video, play music and support countless applications and games. As of March 2016 the App Store hosted over one million apps for the device.
2. Personal Communicators
Throughout the Star Trek series, whenever a crew member was away from the ship, they had the ability to phone home using their communicators. These handheld devices would flip open revealing an antenna, controls, a speaker and microphone. In later series this device was scaled down to fit as a badge worn on the uniforms of the crew members. In 1996 Motorola introduced the StarTAC, a clamshell design often referred to as the first ever flip phone. This device was almost identical in looks and functionality to the original series communicator, but of course, was not able to call any starships as that would require additional satellite technology. Bluetooth technology, however, has advanced to provide us similar interfaces for our mobile phones that work similar to the com-badges found in the later Trek series.
One of the almost magical devices found in the Trek universe is the replicator. It has the ability to reproduce nearly anything from just a digital blueprint. Today, we have 3D printers which may not be at the same level as their fictional counterparts, but still offer a surprising amount of practical functionality. The cost of 3D printing has dropped dramatically in recent years making them commonly useful for printing replacement parts or prototype models.
Star Trek may not have inspired the development of all these devices but the show certainly popularized the concepts. Many scientists have certainly been inspired by the adventures of Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise. We look forward to seeing other Trek inspired technology develop into the real world.
Mobile web traffic surpassed desktops back in late 2015. Since that time, mobile device usage has skyrocketed with 57% of all web traffic now mobile. More than ever before, people have a higher expectation of their mobile experience with brands on their phone. Every experience matters and with users primarily interacting on their phones, it’s more important than ever to get it right.
We have a few observations and tips that you should focus on to help your users have a quality mobile experience. One of the biggest complaints from mobile users is that they have a ‘slow experience’. Google provides a testing tool to address this and will report how well your site performs in a mobile environment.
Finding the information that a user is looking for is also critical for having a successful mobile presence. Simplifying the site navigation on mobile devices is part of the solution. Incorporating a ‘hamburger’ menu with direct links to important information is something we incorporate into all our responsive web sites.
Interrupting the mobile experience should be done with great caution. Pop-ups and full-screen ads that block people from seeing your content contribute to a negative mobile experience. On a desktop it may be easy to just ‘click off’ an ad but on mobile is may completely lock the viewer out of seeing any relevant information. The Coalition for Better Ads provides some good insight into the least preferred ad experiences for desktop and mobile web.
With rapid advances in technology and users spending more and more time on their smartphones, providing a quality mobile experience is key to your online success.