Star Trek Tech That Actually Exists?

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.

3. Replicators

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.

The Benefits of Providing a Quality Mobile Experience

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.

Welcoming a New Member to the Team…

Desktop support DaytonIt’s a bit of a tradition for us to shower gifts upon newborns in the office. When we heard the news that a baby was on the way, we scrambled to get some custom gear printed immediately!

Our go-to vendor for short-run custom printing is Zazzle. The people at Zazzle are equipped to customize nearly anything you can think of using their state-of-the art equipment and technology.

We added something special to this onesie and t-shirt combo since the father is one of our support techs. There’s nothing wrong with teaching them early!

A Beautiful Way to Manage Disk Usage in OSX

DaisyDiskDrive space and file management is one of the most difficult concepts to adopt for most computer users. It doesn’t take long to fill a hard drive these days. Even the most modest user has digital photos, HD videos and music files that all contribute. Clearing out or backing up files can be a daunting task.

Manually exploring the finder, looking at files and folders and trying to determine what is taking up all that space is time-consuming and frustrating. We found an app with a great UI that makes this process much easier.

DaisyDisk is an interactive disk space analysis tool that is simple to use and immensely helpful. Once you choose a drive to scan, DaisyDisk creates a graphical version of all your folders in a circular pattern or map. It separates the highest level folders into primary colors. Folders with the most data are shown as large wedges making the culprits easy to spot.

The full version of the app ($10.00) allows you to interact directly with the scanned files so that you may preview or delete them instantly. The trial version limits this capability though it does provide the file path so you may navigate quickly using the finder.

Import Car Repair Shop Gets a Tune-Up.

Dayton Website designerWe’ve known Dale at Euro Classics for years and finally convinced him of a much needed site overhaul. His shop was well known in the enthusiast community for their quality and craftsmanship. Our mission was to help him expand his reach to all import car owners regardless if it was a Volkswagen or a Ferrari.

The solution for Euro Classics was based off a Laravel PHP framework. Our custom blogging platform allows Euro Classics to easily maintain their shop news without the need to learn a full CMS. For our web development team, coding the pages directly in an IDE is considerably faster than the drag-n-drop or WYSIWYG interfaces associated with most platforms. This allowed our team to turn the site around much faster and with greater control over the appearance.

We look forward to seeing the site perform well as there is a fair amount of competition among Foreign car repair shops in the Dayton area.

A Fresh Look for Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties

OmniSpear, Inc. has a long history of working with non-profit organizations throughout Dayton, Ohio and the surrounding areas. One of the organizations we work with is Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties (HFHMSCO). Their charitable work goes beyond just building houses. We were tasked to help them convey that message and their mission.

Once Habitat international released new branding and messaging standards, the existing HFHMSCO site had become outdated and needed a full refresh. We worked closely with their staff to outline the elements and structure of the site in preparation for a new look. Together, we slimmed down the site helping them target their message to the appropriate audiences. Once the structural outline was complete, we moved on to their branding and messaging. The new site features strong graphical elements which reflect the new colors of Habitat for Humanity. We also direct visitors with clear calls to action and provide engagement through the use of a news feed and blog.

We are proud of our work in the community by assisting organizations like Habitat for Humanity. You may learn more about their mission by visiting their new site: https://hfhmco.org

Happy Halloween from Team OmniSpear!

Ohio web development The OmniSpear office tradition continues as we all get dressed up to celebrate Halloween. From superheroes to super Mario our web team always comes up with a creative selection of costumes to celebrate the sweetest holiday of the year. Wishing you a great fall season, try not to eat too much candy and have a spooktacular good time!

OmniSpear Develops Mobile App for Restaurant Franchise Owners

We are excited to announce that OmniSpear has completed development of the Intellicasting Andriod and iPhone mobile app, allowing restaurant franchise owners to efficiently schedule shifts and communicate with the entire staff via. e-mail, text and push notifications. Available for download from Google Play or the App Store.

High-level features include:

  • Allow employees to view their schedule
  • Request to pickup vacant shifts
  • Request time off
  • Pick up shifts from other employees
  • Communicate better with management and other employees
  • Receive email, text, and push notifications
  • Update your availability

Ability to Release a Shift

View the daily schedule for all employees or view the schedule for just your shifts.

Request to Pickup Vacant Shifts

Select the “+” icon from any vacant shift in orange to notify your management team that you would like to pickup the shift. Managers will review the request and can provide approval.

Request to Pickup Vacant Shifts

Select the “x” icon from any of your assigned shifts to release the shift to the shift pickup list. Releasing a shift does not mean that you are approved to take the shift off. It notifies management that you are requesting the shift off and allows for other employees to pick up the shift if they are available. Final approval must be confirmed by management.

Pick Up Shifts From Other Employees

You can view the Shift Pickup List to view manager requested shifts and employee requested shifts by selecting the “+” icon. Managers can broadcast vacant shifts that they are trying to get covered. You can also pickup shifts from other employees that they are trying to get covered.

Better Communication

The mobile app now makes it easier than ever to communicate with management and other employees. You can now:

  • Contact other employees via text, email, or phone directly through the mobile app
  • You can also set notification preferences and receive reminders via text, email, or push notifications
  • Update your fixed schedule availability



Justin Weyant Joins OmniSpear

justin-blogWe are growing yet again and happy to expand the OmniSpear team!  We would like to welcome our newest developer, Justin Weyant, who has just started with us today.  Justin has years of experience and will make a wonderful addition to the skill set here at OmniSpear.

 

Hot Head Burritos Is Live!

hot headOmniSpear just rolled out a fresh new look for Hot Head Burritos and we are excited to announce its official release today! We enjoyed working with the Hot Head team to make their vision come to life online.  As true burrito connoisseurs, we can definitely say we were passionate about this project.