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Business

Our Dive Into Linux

By | Business, Technical

A lot of people have never actually heard of what Linux is so let me define it real quick. Linux is a operating system, like macOS built upon a base called Unix. It is free and open source for anybody to download, use, modify, and improve. We have decided to make all of the computers in our office run a variation of Linux; particularly the Linux Mint distribution on our work stations, which is free to download. Streamlining our web design process.

Over the course of several months the switch has been amazing in terms of system stability, speed, and security. Not only that but we now have access to a wide range of free open source tools that ease collaboration across web design projects. The switch also gave us full control and customization over the computers we have. While there were several awesome benefits that come from doing a full switch to Linux, there were a couple downsides.

Lack of Support From Vendors:

One of the biggest banes of Linux would be the lack of support from large vendors such as Adobe and Microsoft. For example, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator do not have Linux variations available for them. However, both of these have free open source alternatives such as Gimp and Inkscape. Skype on Linux is also severely outdated, and it seems that Microsoft had abandoned support for it all-together. Likely due to the lack of popularity of Linux on desktop environments. Although the market share of Linux on desktop environments is at an all-time high which we think is awesome, and we hope that growth like that helps in future software support.

Complexity for the Average Bear:

OK, so the Linux Mint community has done a great job for making the user experience for less tech savvy users significantly better than it was ages ago. Though its still not there yet. Most people are terrified to use a terminal to install software from a remote repository. Anything without a graphical user interface typically scares people away. While people like computer engineers and software developers love Linux because it is no where near as bloated as other operating systems; the average person would have trouble even installing it. However with a little bit of tech savvy it can be accomplished.

Why Its Awesome for Web Design & Development

While the Linux market share is low compared to Windows or macOS on desktop environments, Linux is holding its own in terms of server market share simply because its free and light weight and you can install it on just about anything. This helps us out a lot because our servers are running some sort of distribution of Linux. Not only that but we are developers who can utilize the very powerful Linux terminal. Even better, we can easily spin up personal development servers right off our laptops easier than you would on other operating systems. Another critical element here is the compatibility between all of the machines. To put it in very simple terms, all of the machines are speaking the same language. Making everything significantly easier and far more streamlined when we do web design projects.

“I’m Not A Web Designer, Should I Use It?”

I honestly encourage everyone to learn about Linux and try it for themselves. I would recommend the Ubuntu distribution for anyone first starting off. Especially if you’re coming from Windows. However if you’re coming from macOS, Elementary OS may be more your taste. Another thing to take into consideration if you want to make the switch is software compatibility for apps that you use everyday. You would want to find out if your vendors support Linux. If you’re just doing general computing, use web apps, you could go right ahead and install Linux. We encourage everyone to go open source and support the developers who contribute to open source projects, be it monetarily or by using the software. We see a big future ahead for Linux, and we love using the bleeding edge of technology.

Where to Get Free to Use Media

By | Business, Design, Marketing | No Comments

A challenge many businesses face is finding media that they can use for free. It’s good to understand that you can’t just grab images off of Google. The reason being is because copyright laws and Licensing can get in the way, along with possibly get you in trouble. So I’m going to be writing this article telling you where you can find free to use images that you don’t need a to attribute credit to (CC0). Even images that you’re allowed to use commercially, and if you wanted to you could modify the images as well. Not only will I tell you where to find images, but I’ll also tell you where you can find things like icons and videos that you can use on your website or other media like print and social.

Free to Use Images:

Pixabay:


Pixabay is my go-to website when it comes down to free to use images that I do not need to attribute for. They have a very large selection of images on the web that photographers around the world contribute to. Not only that but they also have several vector graphics on there as well help convey a message to your customers. You can freely use modify and distribute these images. The only stipulation is that if an identifiable person is placed in a bad light or in a way that people may find offensive you cannot do that unless they give their consent. Meaning you cannot use them for something pornographic, unlawful, or immoral. Pixabay is an amazing resource when it comes to free to use images. I encourage donating to the authors whose images that you download the most. You can do this by clicking the coffee button under the profile picture of the author when viewing an image.

Pexels:


Pexels is another great website that has free to use images that have optional attribution. Pexels of course also says that the pictures are free for personal and even commercial use. The restrictions again are similar to that of Pixabay where you cannot represent the person that may be identifiable in the image in a bad light. They even encourage you to contribute your own images if they are high quality. You also have the option to donate to them which supports free to use images on the web. The button is at the bottom of their about us page.

Unsplash:


Unsplash is another website that you can use to download even more free to use images. According to their Manifesto, the concept was born from the pain that they as the creators had in finding great usable imagery. Just from looking through their library I can tell you that a lot of the images that they offer are high-resolution meaning that they’re very good quality. And like Pixabay and Pexels they offer a Creative Commons Zero license.

What you can’t do with any of these images:

You cannot portray recognizable people in photos in a bad light without their permission. If there are any trademarks, logos, brands, or anything else related to a different company depicted in the images (Like a Coca-Cola sign), that does not mean you could suddenly go about using that company’s logo. You will first need to ask for permission from the company.

Videos:

Pexels Videos:


This is another awesome place for you to find videos that you might need for your website or blog. If you’re just stitching a video together and you need some sort of HD stock footage or you’re looking for something to be a buffer between your different scenes Pexels Videos might be the place for you. This is actually where we got the video background for our homepage. The videos have the same rules as the pictures stated above and are also under a CC0 license.

Pixabay Video Filter:

free to use video by pixabay
If you go to Pixabay’s website and you look at their search bar you’ll see that they have a video filter. You could use this video filter to find other free to use CC0 videos. Those of course, with the same rules that I mentioned above, do not require attribution. Also, like Pexels, Pixabay provides HD video that you can use for your projects.

Icon Fonts:

Icon fonts are typically used by web developers and designers to give websites and web apps a better user experience. Could you imagine a world without icons?

Font Awesome:

font awesome - free to use icon fonts

Font awesome is a massive icon pack along with a web designers best friend. We use them quite often for many of the websites that we design along with web applications that we develop. What an icon is able to do is provide a better user experience along with conveying a message better.

Fontello:

fontello - free to use icon fonts
Fontello has a huge collection of icons on their website that could be integrated into your site or a web app. They give you the ability to choose whichever one that you want along with download your selection. Fontello does not also require attribution.

Why does it matter if media is “free to use”?:

It is technically stealing if you go to Google images and download an image that you end up using for a commercial purpose. This is called piracy. The reason why it’s illegal is that the original artist who created the image did not give you permission to go and take it off of whatever resource you took it from. That’s because the author is the original copyright holder even if there is no copyright symbol on the image. When you visit these different websites that I talked about the media that they offer is free to use on your own site. With attribution being recommended but not required. Using these sites keeps you away from hefty copyright fines that can cripple most small businesses. Decreasing risk and liability significantly, that’s why it matters. You can learn more about the CC0 license here.

How do we use These Resources?:

As a web solution company, these resources offer savings that get passed down to the customers who would no longer have to purchase images or other forms of content. These sites are often used for our web design service and you can find many traces of us using these resources on our own site (Reverse image search). By using Google Images.

Google My Business

Getting your Business on Google

By | Business, Marketing

Everyone knows Google, everyone loves it. It’s the world’s favorite search engine. You can tell because I don’t even have to source that, because it’s common knowledge! And if there’s one thing that Google is good at, it’s business. People who search for your business are going to be searching for it on Google. So it’s up to you to make sure your information is readily available when they search.

Google: My Business

Google My Business offers a great way to offer your information to customers. With My Business, you can choose the information your potential customers see when they look up your business. Verifying your  information with Google makes you seem more trustworthy as a business. You can also set your hours and address so customers can find out where you are and choose just when to drop by. Using My Business also allows you to put other information out to potential customers, such as a phone number and your website. If a customer were to leave a reply or rating, you could respond to it any clear up any questions anyone may have. It is also possible to post pictures of your business, which also make potential customers much more likely to stop by. You can see the demographics, such as location, of the users searching for your site, and how they searched for it. Oh, and did I mention, it’s free.

Using Google My Business is sort of like free SEO. You’d have to be crazy not to take advantage of it. With this tool you can decide how your business is represented on the largest and most popular search engine. That really means something. As a business owner, any way to better promote your business and interact with your customers is beneficial. Make sure you’re taking advantage of anything that can get you a leg up.

Friendly and Happy Coworkers

Team Cohesion and Happy Employees

By | Business | No Comments

We can probably all agree that getting along with your employees and/or your coworkers is a good thing. Happy workers tend to be more productive, and more productive workers means more money for everyone. Having a staff that gets along is imperative for any business, but that’s only the beginning. A company should be welcoming and friendly, while remaining professional and productive.

We all like to have a bit of separation between our personal life and our work life. However, that doesn’t mean that they cant bleed a little bit into each other. It has been proven that employees who were more engaged with their coworkers were happier than their less engaged counterparts (Davis 2017). As an employer, it is important to provide positive feedback to your employees. Remember to socialize with them, so they see you as a leader, rather than someone they are in opposition against. Being able to feel comfortable around fellow coworkers is important to the well-being of any employee.

There is a limit to these interactions, however. As coworkers become friends, they begin to find common interests and share with one another more and more. This office “gossip” and “chit-chat” can be unproductive, and productivity is vital to any business. As an employer, setting specific times, such as lunch hour, can give your employees the time they need to socialize. Note that by forcing employees to completely cut off non-essential communication, their engagement with others is lowered and they can become unhappy and unsatisfied with their jobs. Everyone needs a break sometimes. As an employee, you can work to keep conversations with colleagues, during working hours, brief, possibly using them as a sort of reward for a completion of a task.

A social employee is a happy employee, and a happy employee is a productive employee. Remember to allow your employees to socialize and join in on the conversations. Talk to your coworkers and get to know them, you may have more in common than you think.

 

Sources:

Davis, Sadie “Increasing Happiness in the Workplace,” The Kabod 3. 3 (2017) Article 3. Liberty University Digital Commons. Web. [19 May 2017].