Spotting Fake Profiles on Facebook

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..

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

fake facebook profiles

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!

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.

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.

 

River Valley Website Redesign

River Valley WebsiteOmniSpear is proud to announce the launch of a new website for River Valley Credit Union today, rivervalleycu.org. Created with the user experience firmly in mind, the site has been designed using the latest technology so the site is compatible with today’s browsers and mobile devices. Our company takes great pride in offering pertinent website design and maintenance support. We understand that a successful website enhances your business and performance for clients and customers. OmniSpear trusts that River Valley Credit Union – already respected for checking, savings and all other business and account options it offers for diverse populations – will continue to prosper through the online services it provides to members!

Take a look at www.rivervalleycu.org!

OmniSpear Scene75 Office Party

LAN PartyWhat better way to celebrate successful project launches than to head out to Scene75 for a day of games, Go-Karts, bowling and bumper cars?  Our group had a great time enjoying some team building this past Friday.  A few competitive rounds of Go-Karts, game racing and mini-golf challenges really helped pump us up for upcoming projects!

 

The Importance of Responsive Design

CMH-mockup-480x480With the majority of internet searches now initiating from mobile devices, responsive design is more important than ever. Responsive design allows your site to self-adjust to adequately fit mobile devices and tablets. Sites appear differently to users depending on how they are accessed – whether by a mobile device, tablet or laptop.  Without responsive design, customers can experience trouble while navigating the web on handheld devices, and features of websites can even become distorted.  These issues can heavily impact users and deter customers from visiting you online.  At OmniSpear,  we pride ourselves on our focus on responsive design.  As a standard, our sites are all optimized for the best viewing capabilities on phones and tablets.  We make sure your site looks its best no matter how customers get there.

Mobile Application Development Frameworks

Here at OmniSpear, the development team is about to ramp up on creating a mobile application for the iOS and Android platform (Windows Phone support to follow). Evaluating the many frameworks out in the wild, we’ve become attracted to one specific contender. Our initial requirements out of the gate are as follows:

  1. Rapid development & deployment without steep learning curve.
  2. The ability to test the application on multiple physical devices without publishing the application to the market store (Google Play & Apple Store).
  3. Mobile application should have a native look and feel aspect to it.

Following options were assessed:

PhoneGap Build, Steroids, and Icenium all support the PhoneGap framework (or the open source version Cordova). Since Javascript is a common knowledge among our team, utilizing PhoneGap fits quite well in our development environment. All three has a solid build system allowing us to make changes and viewing the application on our own physical device with ease. However Icenium really shines when it comes to providing a rich user interface library, that’s where Kendo UI comes in (among other attractive integration features like MVVM).

Build, test, fix, test, and deploy. We could take the route of either creating or bringing in external open source work to create the bells and whistles and the lean underlying code that does the real work. However if the project schedule is too sensitive to bringing in some “cool” library from Github what naturally makes sense? In our case, a whole solution provider to keep development cycle tight and all integrated along with a dedicated customer support.

For those interested in the difference between the popular jQuery Mobile and Kendo UI: JQUERY MOBILE VS KENDO UI