Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from InfoPathways!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Microsoft Word Compatibility : USE MICROSOFT 2007 / 2010 WITH THOSE STILL USING MICROSOFT 2003

Imagine that you have an important letter to send out, and you need someone to proof read it first. Instead of wasting paper, you email it to an associate. Unfortunately the associate cannot open it because they are still working with Microsoft 2003 software while you have upgraded to Microsoft 2007 or 2010. To avoid printing, you have three options to solve this problem.

Option #1 Save your Microsoft 2007 document as a Word 97‐2003 Document:

Step 1: Click “File”
Step 2: Move curser over the Save As button, but do not click
Step 3: Click “Word 97‐2003 Document” option
Step 4: Name your file and click “Save”

OR

Step 1: Click “File”
Step 2: Click “Save As”
Step 3: Click on the drop down menu “Save as type” and select “Word 97‐2003 Document”
Step 4: Name your file and click “Save”

Option #2 Have the associate download the Compatibility Software:

Step 1: Click on this link:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?familyid=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466&displaylang=en

Step 2: Click “Download”. If the file does not start to download, click on “Start download”
Step 3: Click “Save File”
Step 4: Run the installation

Option #3 Save the file as a PDF Document:

Step 1: Click “File”
Step 2: Move curser over the Save As button, but do not click
Step 3: Click “PDF or XPS” option
Step 4: Name your file and click “Save”

OR

Step 1: Click “File”
Step 2: Click “Save As”
Step 3: Click on the drop down menu “Save as type” and select “PDF”
Step 4: Name your file and click “Save”


Do your clients and colleagues have this problem?
Share these directions with them!

Download and share the PDF version of this article from InfoPathways! Click Here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Claim Your Google Business

Your website is up to date and you’ve had some search engine optimization (SEO) work done, but you still aren’t receiving a ton of hits on your website. Maybe you are receiving tons of hits, but hey, why not do something to get more? Maybe you don’t have a website at all (you probably should) and you would like some sort of web presence.

One suggestion we give businesses is to claim their business on Google. If your business has been around, Google has probably already figured out your address and business name, so why bother to claim your business? Because there are several bits of information you can add to your Google Business Profile that Google can’t identify. Adding information will help people find you and chose you to do business with. You also have the option of using great features like posting coupons and discounts as well as viewing their Analytics Report (do not confuse this with Google Analytics).

What’s listed in a Google Business Profile?

• Business Name
• Mailing Address
• Website Address
• Phone Number
• Category (types of services/products you provide)
• Hours of Operation
• a Comment area
• Email Address
• Languages Spoken
• Parking Availability
• Payment Accepted
• Up to 10 Photos/Images
• Up to 5 Videos linked from YouTube
• the option to add more detailed categories
• the option to post coupons and discounts
• followed by reviews posted by the community

How to Fill Out Your Business Profile

1. Type your full business address into the Google Maps section (http://maps.google.com/) and click “Search”. You can also type “your business name, city, state” and sometimes just your business name, if it is unique enough, and Google will provide a list of results.

2. Hopefully you will see your business name listed on the left-hand side in the results. Click it. (If you do not see your business listed, experiment with other searches… in rare instances, addresses cannot be found and you may not be able to lay claim to an account yet.)

3. Instantly a little talk bubble shaped window will pop up on the map with your general business information. Click the link that says “more info »” and it will take you to your business profile page.

4. Across the top there is a light blue bar - towards the right, click the link that reads “Edit this place”

5. Edit and add any information that you think is relevant to your business - the more information you can provide in this profile, the better.

6. Once you have completed filling in the new information you will submit it to Google and you will have to confirm it by awaiting a computer generated call to the number you listed and you will punch in a 4-5 digit number that was previously emailed to you. This ensures that a phony entry is not published in place of your real information.

Download the PDF version of "Claim Your Google Business", compliments of InfoPathways, Inc.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Facebook Fan Page Vanity URL

Have you started a fan page for you company but it's a long, ugly URL?

You can pretty it up with a Vanity URL. All you have to do is log in to the personal account the fan page is linked to and go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ and find an available name for your facebook page.

The only requirement is that you have 25 or more fans/likes/followers.

If you already have incoming links to your old URL, do not worry, they should stil work.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

County Tourism Manager; and Workforce Development Award

Economic Development chose the following categories and award winners:
  • Agriculture Award- Galloping Goose Vineyards and Lambco, LLC.; Posthumous Agricultural
  • Legacy Award - Tommy Dell; Business Expansion Award - Ridge Engineering, Inc.
  • Redevelopment Award - Bruce and Suzanne Reamer and Classic American Homes for Salernos
  • Restaurant & Catering; Small Business Award - Simply Stone; Tourism Industry Award -
  • Kevin Atticks, Maryland Wineries Association and Barbara Beverungen, former Carroll
  • County Tourism Manager; and Workforce Development Award - InfoPathways, Inc.
Click here to read more of the Press Release!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beginning Your Website Project

Need a new website design and don't have the slightest idea where to start the process? We can help! Below are a few things to think about before we dive in. The suggestions below may make you feel like you're doing our work for us – but that is not the case. Utilizing the suggestions below provides us with a solid starting point so we get it right the first time. In the end, we can save you time, money and get your website launched on schedule. The biggest benefit of this approach is that the resulting website will reflect your organization’s personality.

1. Tell us what you like. Do some web research. Look at different websites including your competitors, websites related to your industry, and possibly websites that have nothing to do with your products and services. Tell us what design elements you like in regards to design, navigation, function, colors and style. For example:
  • Do you like the navigation menus across the top or down the side?
  • What colors are you attracted to and/or what are your company colors?
  • Did you run across particular layouts you liked more than others?
  • Was there a background pattern/texture/gradient that you liked most?
  • What font families/styling/coloring stood out to you the most?
2. Tell us what you don't like. If you already have a website and we’re talking about an update or total redesign, tell us what you don't like about it and what's currently not working for your company and/or clients. While researching ideas related to #1 above, if you find a website with blatantly awful design/content/structure, note it so we also have examples of design elements you dislike.

3. Write your website content. Have at least a rough outline of the content you want on your website. Think about your current customers and the customers you want to attract – how will your website help them? First you may need to consider what pages will be in your website. InfoPathways will provide you with a suggested Site Map; the skeleton of the site structure. Write (or if you already have it, copy and paste) your content in a word editor like Microsoft Word or Note Pad and email it to our development team. We’ll format the text to improve its visual appeal and readability. As the website nears completion, you can send us content revisions, if needed.

4. Collect your imagery. Send us your logo and any other graphics or photographs you need included or want considered during the design process. However, keep in mind that first impressions can make or break you.
  • Graphics: Old logos and graphics may need freshening up.
  • Photographs: It is not likely that images taken by your staff with point and shoot cameras will be of high enough quality to produce a professional website. But do share these with us anyway. You can also purchase photographs form stock companies. And lucky for you, InfoPathways staffs a professional photographer, should you have the need.
  • Other: In branding yourself, you want to have a consistent look and feel including but not limited to your logo, website, advertisements, brochures, handouts, business cards, post cards, etc. If you have any additional designed material that should be considered in your website design, please share them with us. All of your material helps us conceptualize the design.
5. Function over design. After reviewing our suggested Site Map, consider the navigation of your website. You may want to make changes based on the needs of your potential/current clients. It needs to be easy to use so your website visitors can find what they are looking for within a few clicks. If a visitor cannot find what they need quickly, they will go elsewhere.

6. CMS. Will you need a Content Management System for your website where you can update targeted website content on your own? A CMS can add to the cost of the project, but if you need to make updates often, you will likely recoup your costs in a reasonable timeframe. However, some updates should be filtered through your website company not just because the cost makes more sense, but your time is more valuable when applied to your specialty. Let us know what you want to take charge of and what you want us to handle. We’ll talk to you about your options.

7. Incorporating other elements. Other elements could be as simple as a graphic image that needs to be incorporated, logos of partnership companies that should be noted, or any minor detail related item. It could also be a bit more complicated, like Facebook and Twitter apps to connect your social media or setting up a Blog. Another thought would be incorporating email marketing such as Constant Contact and a ‘Join Our Email List’ sign-up box or and setting up visitor tracking with a solution like Google Analytics. Many of these elements affect design. Some affect cost. Let’s try and figure out everything upfront so there are no surprises.

8. Involving your team. Asking for input from your team with consideration of what the website should provide and look like can be very beneficial. However, these types of discussions should be completed before starting your website development. Not only do we (InfoPathways) need firm decisions to base your design on, but involving too many people will lead to delays. During the development of your website, one person at your company should be the lead contact for the website. They need to be available and have the authority to make decisions and provide imagery and/or content in a timely manner.

9. Domain and hosting details. Launching a website can be quick and simple. However, it can also be a nightmare.
If you do not have a website yet, we need to decide on your domain name and where you would like to host the website. Think of your domain as your address and the hosting as the monthly rent. A domain can be purchased for one or more years. There are multiple hosting providers to select from. You can host with InfoPathways, which we prefer, to keep everything in one place.

If you already have a website, you need to at least know where your site is hosted and how to access the account (your login and password). If you are not in control of this account, it is likely your current/previous web team is. If this is the case, ask them kindly for the information (the account and FTP information). Some web developers do not let go easily and this is where the nightmare can begin.
Having your information upfront will help us stay on track with your target launch date.

10. Launch goal. Choosing a reasonable launch date is crucial and it is important that this date can be flexible. In ideal situations, websites can be completed by the initial launch date goal, but keep in mind that your part and our part may encounter unexpected hurdles as well as additions and changes to the project. Time management is also a big hurdle that we see a lot of clients struggle with. Make sure you have time to complete your part; writing and editing content, collecting photos and responding to our web designers and developers with feedback. Our experience tells us that launch dates are missed more often due to the time it takes the customer to write and assemble the content. We’ll do our part to keep your project moving.


Give us a call at InfoPathways – together we can brainstorm great ideas and solve your website challenges with the help of these basic stepping stones!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Microsoft Outlook 2010 : SHARING EVENTS WITH CLIENTS & COLLEAGUES

Microsoft Outlook is the email client included with the Microsoft Office Suite. It is designed to operate as an independent personal information manager, as an Internet mail client, or in conjunction with the Microsoft Exchange Server for group scheduling, email, and task management. It manages email, calendars, contacts, tasks, to-do lists, and documents or files on the hard drive. Outlook helps you communicate through email, phone support, and group scheduling capabilities. Outlook also helps you share information by means of public folders, forms, and Internet connectivity. Outlook 2010 includes new features and capabilities to help you stay connected with people and better manage your time and information.

1: Add Events to Outlook Calendars
Click New Appointment to start or double click on the date you wish to schedule the events. An untitled event window pops up allowing you to enter a title/subject, location, date (a range, if needed) times, and notes. You can invite others (required, optional and resources), change the default reminder (15 minutes prior to events), change time-zone, apply categories, mark as high or low importance, and much more. Invite the appropriate parties to your events, whether they are business colleagues, clients or friends. When you are finished, click Save & Close. The calendar event will be posted to their calendar and should you make any updates to the event item, they will be informed of the changes. It’s a great way to keep everyone on the same page.

2: View Other Calendars
Outlook 2010’s calendar view lets you add the calendars of your team members, as well as your home and work calendars. Click Calendar to get started and then click Schedule View in the arrange group of the home tab. Next, click Add a Calendar at the bottom of the calendar view area. If you enter someone’s name in the text box and press Enter, Outlook will search your contacts for that person’s information and add the calendar entry in the “My Calendars” list.

3: Create a Calendar Group
If you often need to view the calendars of everyone on your team at the same time, you can create a calendar group. Begin by clicking Calendar. Then, in the “Manage Calendars” group of the home tab, click Calendar Groups. Choose create new calendar group, enter a name for the group, and click ok. Select the names of the contacts you want to add to the group, click group members, and click ok.
At InfoPathways, we have a company calendar which we use to mark business and social events that everyone may be interested in, as well as to let others know where different team members will be (at meetings, business expos, class, on vacation, etc.). Having one central calendar for the main business/company events will reduced the number of calendars you need to view at once. You can view multiple calendars at once by using the check boxes in the “My Calendars” list, but if you want any level of detail, you’ll need to limit the number of calendars you view at any one time.

4: Open & Use a Shared Calendar
Before connecting to someone else’s calendar, they need to give permissions to share it in order to give you and others access. To do this, you need an invitation to share (Share Calendar) and they need to change their permissions (Calendar Permissions). You can open a shared calendar by clicking Open Calendar in the “Manage Calendars” group and clicking Open Shared Calendar. In the open a shared calendar dialog box, click Name to select the person from your contact list. Click ok, and the shared calendar will open in your calendar window.

5: Archive Old Calendar Entries
Depending on how busy you are, you may have lots of old appointment information taking up space for no good reason. You can archive the appointments you no longer need by changing your calendar properties and setting up auto-archive. To do this, right-click your calendar in the “My Calendars” list and click the Auto-Archive tab of the properties dialog box. Click Default Archive Settings to use the default settings for archiving your calendar entries. Or click the Archive this folder using these settings and enter the settings you want Outlook to use. Click Apply and then click ok to save your changes.

6: Sync Outlook 2010 & Google Calendar
Making sure that your calendar is available to you whenever and wherever you need it is important. That's why Google Calendar works with a number of desktop applications and mobile devices. Google Calendar sync now supports Outlook 2010. Outlook 2010 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and currently only 32-bit is supported. (To find out if you have 32-bit or 64-bit, go to File-Help and you should see information to the right about your version of Outlook.) To start syncing your calendar with Outlook 2010, download Google Calendar sync version 0.9.3.6. Once you install it, a settings window will appear. Enter your account’s email address and password, choose your sync option and sync frequency, and you’re done! (Note: if you’re already using Google Calendar sync, you’ll still need to download and install this new version in order to be able to sync with Outlook 2010. If you need help, take a look at Google’s getting started guide.)

7: Add Holidays with a Few Clicks
Adding national/religious holidays manually for a whole year in Outlook calendar is a time consuming job. By using “Calendar Options”, you can promptly import all holidays into Outlook calendar. It contains a huge list of countries, each with different holidays which can be imported instantly.
  1. To begin with, launch Outlook 2010 and on the file menu, click Options.
  2. You will reach Outlook option dialog. From the left sidebar, select Calendar and from the main window, select Add Holidays.
  3. A new dialog will appear showing the list of countries. Scroll through the list to find the desired country to add respective holidays. Click ok and close Outlook options dialog.
  4. Now click Calendar from the left side bar of Outlook main window.
  5. To check the added holidays move to the month having holidays. You will see holidays of specified countries in the calendar.
  6. Click the imported holiday event to add more details to schedule meetings, appointments, events and invitations.

We hope these Microsoft Outlook tips were useful to you. Please contact us if you would find it useful for us to provide a Tailgate Training session on ways to use your Microsoft Outlook.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Erin James Music Website Launched

We launched http://www.erinjamesmusic.com/ last week. Featured on the site is music, several photography, videos and more of Erin James and her amazing singing, songwriting and instrumental skills. She is an artist in Nasville TN but was raised in Carroll County Maryland! Check out her site!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cell Phone Photos : INTERNET SAFETY & SECURITY FOR KIDS & FAMILIES

The example everyone is gabbing about is MythBusters Adam Savage, who posted an image of his new Toyota (in front of his home) to his Twitter page. Not only did he let users know that he bought a new Toyota Land Cruiser, but he provided a geotag (the exact latitude and longitude) of his home and proceeded to let users know he was off to work. In other words, all his twitter followers know where his home is and that it would be unoccupied. This is how you could easily become the victim of a burglar… or worse.

The Danger

Unknowingly, smartphone users are posting videos and photographs online that include location (GPS) information that should remain private, for the sake of security and safety. Showing images of your kids, your new car, your flat screen TV easily allows anyone to find out where you live, what kind of things you have in your home. On top of that, people often mention when they are at work, on vacation, or waiting in the slow line at Starbucks.

These GPS applications can be powerful tools, allowing parents to track the whereabouts of their kids, for example – but could also be used by someone who has bad intentions. In addition to this frightening thought, consider all the information your kids are posting online… “finally, my parents are out, I have the place to myself”. That is a blatant invitation to predators. You need to talk to your kids about what is ok to post online and what is not ok to post online.

This isn’t just about you and your family, unfortunately. You need to educate the people around you not just for their safety, but for yours as well. Your friends or family may be posting photos and videos of you, your home, possessions, and family when they visit. Raise awareness about inadvertent location-sharing.

Disable Geotagging

Disabling the geotag function generally involves going through several layers of menus until you find the “location” setting, then selecting “off” or “don’t allow.” But doing this can sometimes turn off all GPS capabilities, including mapping, so it can get complicated. The Web site ICanStalkU.com provides step-by-step instructions for disabling the photo geotagging function on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm devices.

More About Geotagging

Excerpt from icanstaku.com: The storage of location based data, in the form of Latitude and Longitude inside of images is called Geotagging; essentially tagging your photograph with the geographic location. This data is stored inside if the metadata of JPEG images and is useful for tying the photograph to a location. Want to remember exactly where you took those photographs while on vacation? This information is for you. However, most modern digital cameras do not automatically add geolocation (Latitude and Longitude) metadata to pictures. The process for adding the geolocation data either requires specialized add on hardware, or post processing with software on the desktop after the pictures are taken.

There is a large exception to this rule: Smartphones. With the proliferation of smart phones that contain GPS locator technology inside, the cameras in these devices are already equipped with the specialized hardware to automatically add geolocation information to the pictures at the time they are taken.

Most people don't realize that the action of automatic geotagging takes place on their smartphones, either because it is enabled by default, not exposed the user as an option, or was asked and then forgotten. As a result, individuals often share too much information about their location, right down to the exact Latitude and Longitude when snapping photos with their smartphone and posting them online.

Please Work and Play Safely

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Balancing Network Reliability with Cost : The Never Ending Struggle

Intro - The Cost of Handling Network Problems

Some might say that the number one problem in Network Reliability is cost. When your equipment fails, you have to be ready to pay for the solution to keep your productivity on track. What is that cost going to be? $200 or $5,000? Are you ready to shell out that kind of cash if your computer, server or printer blows up

Trusting Your Provider

The number two problem in Network Reliability is trust in your service provider. Many business owners are learning more about their technology needs and how technology works, leading to the all familiar discovery: that their technology support company is not doing what they are being paid to do. Find a reliable company that will provide reliable support … now that's a tough task all on its own. Your service provider should talk with you about how best to find the right balance.

Finding a Balance

How do you find that delicate balance between network reliability and cost? As a business owner, you must find a trusted company to provide the services you need within or under your allotted technology budget. Your word is the final word. Your technology support company can give you all the advice on the planet, but it is your decision whether or not to move forward.

Do you follow your gut instinct, or their advice? You have two options. The first is to ride the waves of uncertainty to try and save a buck, but you may accept this option at enormous risk. The second is to pay a reasonable (depending on the company), consistent fee, so you can stay educated of your future costs. More often than not, the second option is what will save you money, but it is difficult to see beyond the thought of “unnecessary” maintenance bills. Regular maintenance will help prevent major problems.

Why Regular Network Maintenance? What Needs Regular Attention?

Monitoring of your email system to ensure it continues to handle your organization's email management needs as near to 24/7/365 as possible and verification that your malware filter is performing correctly.
  1. Monitoring of system updates (operating system and other software updates).
  2. Monitoring of protection software (anti-virus and anti-malware).
  3. Monitoring of and addressing system alerts (errors, crashes, restarts, and space issues).
  4. Monitoring or regular checks of your system backup. Is it happening when scheduled? Is it completing? Can it be used to recover data when it is needed (backup validation)?
So help us help you. With regular maintenance, you will experience less network down-time. That alone reduces stress and increases productivity. With regular maintenance, your technology support company can also keep you aware of upcoming technology purchases that may be necessary to keep your network running efficiently. That equals budget awareness.

When to Call?

Though it will happen less often, you will need technology services in-between regular maintenance sessions. Knowing when to contact your technology support company is vital. (This part is especially important for those of you who are unsure about investing in regular maintenance.) So when should you pick up the phone?
  1. When there’s smoke or the smell of smoke spewing out of your machine.
  2. After you’ve restarted your computer and verified that the problem is still present.
  3. If you suspect your system has been compromised.
  4. When your antivirus software is not staying up-to-date.
Calling us will save you time and reduce problems. If you do not know what you are doing, attempting to fix the problem on your own may make things worse. That means it will take us more time to resolve the issue and that means your bill will be bigger. Sorry, but time is money. You’re a business person, you know how it is.

If you are experiencing minor issues, such as slowed response time or other odd behavior, here are some simple steps you can take to try and solve the problem:
  1. Save your open files, restart your computer and try it again.
  2. Verified your boot drive (usually your C:/ Drive) has plenty of free space. If full, work on removing unwanted files.
  3. Clear your Internet browser’s cache.
If you’ve tried these without success, please call your technology support company for assistance.

Conclusion

In all, network reliability is a never ending struggle for any of us. You must find balance with professional help. Going it alone may to cost you, because pinching your penny may, in reality, be costing you a penny… or two. Give some thought to what part of your IT infrastructure you can handle on your own, balanced with which parts you may need help. Give us a call. We’d like to discuss this with you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Benefits of Leveraging Remote Help

A variety of Remote Help tools are available with great functionality, providing remote trouble-shooting of operational problems. These tools also provide an ideal way to demonstrate features, concepts and solutions to a person or group that may not be geographically convenient. Remote Help, like remote access, is when someone (in this case a technician) remotely connects to your computer system from another location in order to solve your problems. Neither party is required to travel.

Achieving Quicker Response Time

You don’t have to wait hours, days or weeks for your computer to be returned to you; everything can be done online, and resolved immediately without an office visit. Remote Help is meant to provide timely services around the clock. You receive support from experts with advanced systems, network monitoring and management tools to resolve the problem at hand in a shorter time frame.

Reducing Costs

Travel costs are eliminated and the troubleshooting and repair process will take less time. There are no bulky, pricey programs to buy or download. If we can reduce our cost, we can reduce your cost for support. Remote Help is a low cost service when you consider the time savings at both ends of the transaction. Note, however, that not all problems can be resolved via remote help.

Easy for You

Remote Help allows manipulation of your computer by a remote technician. You can demonstrate your problem to a technician visually with little or no verbal communication. The technician can see your computer and identify what is wrong with it. There is no need for you to understand how to fix the problem because a trained technician is ready to help. Plus you can watch the process! Furthermore, you can use a remote help tool to present a marketing pitch to potential clients, review project status with your team, or review and discuss the budget with your staff.

Giving You Control

• You initiate the session following the instruction provided to you by the technician.
• The technician requires your permission to control and/or view the computer.
• You can see and monitor what the technician is doing.
• You can end the session at anytime.
• You can stay in touch with the technician throughout the support session.
• Remote control is temporary; when the session is ended, all access rights for the technician are revoked.

Scalability

Remote Help tools can provide support to a sole proprietor or any number of employees anywhere in the world. These tools can also enable you to demonstrate operational processes, software or website features and host team meetings, even when the participants are at geographically diverse locations.

Please note that you must have an Internet connection to use Remote Help.
 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Transitions Healthcare of Sykesville MD Website Launched!

InfoPathways just launched the new website for Transitions Healthcare of Sykesville, MD. They are a 118 bed facility with a 34 bed Sub-Acute unit located in beautiful downtown Sykesville, a southern Carroll County, Maryland community.

Transitions Healthcare is devoted to helping individuals who have suffered from a medical event, transition to their highest level of physical and mental functioning in a comfortable and customer service oriented environment.


Monday, August 16, 2010

1, 2, 3 : Marketing, Websites & Social Media

  1. MARKETING: When you send email from work, are you using a consistent email signature? Outlook and most other email tools will allow you to do this so you do not have to retype it. A signature is that block that says something like:

    "Sincerely,
    Kelly M. Heck
    InfoPathways - Web Design & Photography
    (410) 751-9929 x105
    http://www.infopathways.com/"

    ... it should include your name, where you work, what you do and your contact information. And ALWAYS include your website address as a working link. It will get you more traffic and makes visiting your website more convenient to your clients and potential clients receiving your emails.

    Another thing, it's really annoying when I need to call someone and the only signature they have is their name. LAME! CONVENIENCE!!! Make it easy and customers are more likely to work with you.
  2. WEBSITES: Looking for more, unique traffic? It takes time to build, so be patient. But if you aren't getting the traffic you desire (are you making sure by using Google Analytics? Talk to us about it - we have an inexpensive, one-time set-up fee), consider adding useful information to your website. Make it a place for people to get something other than your contact information. Announcements/Events/Helpful Links/Monthly Articles/etc. Is your site the one-stop-shop for something that your potential clients and/or locals need? An educational item, a reference, etc.
  3. SOCIAL MEDIA: Once you have built up enough followers on your Facebook Fan (now "like") page, set-up a vanity URL that uses your company name. If your company name is not available, maybe use your website domain name or something related to your company and what you provide: http://www.facebook.com/InfoPathways

Thursday, August 12, 2010

LinkedIn for Business

LinkedIn (definition):
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking website designed for professionals, allowing you to share work-related information and maintain an online list of professional contacts. A LinkedIn profile highlights one’s education and work experience, somewhat like a resume, and additional information that helps each (regular) user stand out in their industry. By the end of June 2010, LinkedIn had over 70 million registered users spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. LinkedIn ranks high with other main social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

7 Ways to Utilize LinkedIn Professionally
  1. Fill out your profile completely to gain trust.
  2. Post information and status updates that are professional business oriented only. Link back to your company website, latest blog post, recent work, etc. Save your personal information for the other social networking websites.
  3. Link your status updates with your other social media accounts and use widgets to integrate other tools that allow you to import your blog entries or Twitter stream into your profile.
  4. Use the search feature to find people by name, company, industry or city that you can add to your network.
  5. Post or link to useful articles and resources that will benefit your customers and colleagues.
  6. Do not turn off your contacts.
  7. Receive LinkedIn messages in your email inbox so you can respond right away.
5 Business Benefits of LinkedIn
  1. Give honest and valuable recommendations to your connections. If you have recently done business wtih some one, write them a recommendation on the quality of their service/product and their customer service. Often you will receive one in return. You can also request recommendations.
  2. Post job openings that will reach hundreds, maybe thousands of eyes. It is also a great place to look for a new career.
  3. Join groups related to your field and skills and get involved in their conversations. Sharing your opinions and knowledge in a way that displays your abilities positively without a hint of self-promotion will improve your business. If someone finds your post of interest, they will often look at your profile, maybe even your website.
  4. Looking for new customers? Before cold-calling or mailing marketing materials, check them out to see if you have an acquaintance that could introduce you. It also gives you the opportunity to learn more about the person you are trying to speak with and their business.
  5. You can use Outlook Social Connector to connect your LinkedIn account (and in the future, Facebook, MySpace and others) to your Microsoft Outlook 2010, 2007 and 2003! CLICK HERE FOR MORE about Outlook Social Connector.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

1, 2, 3 : Marketing, Websites & Social Media


  1. MARKETING: Create a slogan! Your slogan should be short and unique, therefore memorable! I'll be honest and say that even our slogan "We make your technology work for you" is a little on the long side, but clearly states that we will make YOUR technology work, not hassle you with new shiny toys and unnecessary bills. Consider what makes you stand out...
  2. WEBSITES: Keywords/Keyphrases - good or bad? Neither - it's CRUCIAL! Come up with twenty to thirty keyphrases, two to four words each, that are unique to your company. What product or service do you provide? Who do you provide to (target audience should also include the location/s you serve)? You need to incorporate these phrases in your  < meta >  and  < title >  tags which can be accessed in your code, headings, sub-headings, links,  < alt >  and  < title >  tags on images and links. All search engines have different rules - the more closely you follow them, the safer you are. Keywords/Keyphrases' use is getting tighter and tighter meaning it needs closer attention to work well. When done right, boy does it make a big difference!
  3. SOCIAL MEDIA: Set up your Outlook with Social Media Connector, it's so cool! It works with Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010. Click here for a PDF to learn more and to help you in the set-up process!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Does My Business Need A Server?

Server (definition):

A computer that is set aside for group use or networking tasks. It “serves” or shares with the other computers connected to it.

What functionality does a server provide in a typical business environment?

1. A server provides a single storage location for a business's important information, easily shared with everyone in the organization, and backed up by a single scheduled backup routine. Manual backups are better than none at all, but they are problematic. Use a server and a backup program with a schedule to safeguard your business’ information assets.

2. A well-configured server employs a RAID configuration to reduce loss of data, even if one disk drive fails.

3. Files stored on a properly configured server are more secure. Keep those preying eyes out of your data.

4. A domain server can also serve as your email server. Why is this beneficial? A domain server that also manages your organization's email keeps all correspondence between your staff private. It never leaves your network.

5. A business server, properly configured, is a better tool for accessing your business data remotely when you are working on the road or from home.

6. What is InfoPathways' preferred small business server operating system? Microsoft's Small Business Server. This operating system provides for operation of a proper domain, sharing data as well as protecting data, email management with Microsoft Exchange, relational database management with Microsoft SQL Server and automated scheduled backups of all your critical data. All in one package.

7. Optionally, printer sharing can be made more functional via a server, rather than overloading a user‘s work station.

How do I know I need a server?

1. Are you using two or more computers in your business? If so, then it may be time for a server. By storing and organizing data in a core location, you can access and share files easily and manage business information more efficiently.

2. Do you have a mobile workforce? Businesses with a mobile workforce (employees who work from home or frequently travel) definitely need a server so that employees can remotely connect to the company network and access information and resources, no matter where they are.

3. Do your employees share documents between multiple computers? If so, there is a significant risk of losing important files and of having multiple versions of vital documents. A server will help keep files managed and provide a centralized location to store and organize important documents, assuring constant access to what you need, when you need it.

4. Can valuable files and data be replaced? A server will protect files from loss and corruption. You can easily back up information and restore files that are accidentally deleted or misplaced, and you'll never have to worry about a crashed hard drive wiping out your system again.

5. Does on (or more) of your work stations seem to be overloaded with shared files, folders and printers? Please talk to us about whether you need a server or how to leverage an existing server more effectively!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Client Appreciation - Night Blooming Primroses


Photography by Kelly Heck - Primrose Time Lapse
On Friday night, InfoPathways hosted their 2nd Annual Client Appreciation event at Doug and Susie Heck's home.

We had a great turnout, enjoying good food and drink as we sat around the Night Blooming Flower Gardens. Susie gave an interesting lecture on Night Blooming Flowers and nightlife as the sun set, ending just in time for the first Primroses to open. The image to the right is of a Primrose in it's first stages of opening, provided by Kelly Heck. Below is the flower totally open - from closed to open, this process can take 3 seconds to four minutes.

Photography by Kelly HeckHoney bees, sphinx and hawk moths joined us as the fragrance of the blooms spread over the gardens. Each group left with their very own primrose to take home and plant in their gardens.

Below are more photos from the evening. Enjoy and hope to see many of you next year!


Photography by Kelly Heck
Photography by Kelly Heck
Photography by Kelly Heck

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Optimize Your Hard Drive


These days we’re all demanding faster service from everything around us. Technology has to move move MOVE and we want the same from our computers. With computers, however, the problem so often is that the hard drive is cluttered with old, unorganized files, unnecessary programs and in most cases, spyware. Below are some helpful methods to clean up and make space on your packed-to-the-max hard drive.

Steps to Organize
Be consistent about where you save your files and how you name them. This will aid your review and clean-up efforts. As you save files, use folders with unique naming strategies to organize your documents. Your file should also be named uniquely. I often use dates at the beginning of certain documents, like contracts, estimates and invoices, to keep track of when it was made. This makes locating and cleaning up so much more efficient.

Steps to Optimize
  • Get Rid of Unnecessary Files (application data for uninstalled software, temporary internet files, cookies, and recent document lists).
  • Run an anti-spyware program like Malware to locate and delete spyware that is taking up space and slowing you down.
  • Run/Automate Windows Updates.
  • Run Compression (compression frees up space but beware that those files will take longer to open and resave).
  • Defragment your Drive(s).
  • Check for Disk Errors (whenever a program crashes or you experience a power outage, your computer may create error and recovery files on the hard disk which over time can slow down your computer).

Hands-On Optimization
  • Back Up Your Files to CDs, DVDs, External Hard Drives, etc.
  • Periodically review files one by one and discard unnecessary documents, images and programs.
  • Clean out your recycle bin (when you delete files, rather than being erased from your hard drive, they relocate to your recycle bin - deleting your files from your recycle bin PERMANENTLY erases the files from your hard drive and finally clears that space). Consider reducing the size of your Recycle Bin - it is automatically 12% of your hard drive (you can do this from the Recycle Bin Properties window).
  • Restart your computer routinely, especially after large projects, to free up un-released memory and work space on your hard drive.
  • Reduce your webpage history to a week or less.
  • Don’t save encrypted webpages (usernames and passwords).

Do NOT...
  • Do NOT delete operating system files.
  • Do NOT delete program files. Rather, use the program’s uninstall option to uninstall and un-register the program.
If you want your computer to run healthy, then do your best to keep it healthy!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Kelly Heck Photography

The Kelly Heck Photography website was launched July of 2010. This site was designed and developed with the portfolio in mind, keeping the images the main focal point of the site. The features of the gallery include javascript and behaviors for user friendly viewing with right-click disabled for better protection of the portfolio. The scrolling thumnails menu, a javascript feature, is a fun bit of motion to play with, you should check it out. Go to http://www.kellyheckphotography.com/ to view this website.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Website Design for Family Foot Care

Kelly Heck of InfoPathways teamed up with Peter Borreggine of WebParity.net to design and develop the new site for Joseph Borreggine of Family Foot Care located in (two locations) Charleston and Effingham Illinois. InfoPathways created the design and template and WebParity.net will complete the final development and launching of the website... WebParity.net will also take care of future support of the site. Below is a JPG mock-up of the design. It was a pleasure working with you WebParity.net!!!


We have several exciting web projects in the mix! Stay tuned for future site launches.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

InfoPathways Participates in the 2010 IT CarreerPaths with Carroll Community College

InfoPathways Participates in the 2010 IT CarreerPaths with Carroll Community College

2009 IT CareerPaths Student HIRED by InfoPathways

WESTMINSTER, MD. June, 2010. On Monday, June 21st, the Carroll Community College IT CareerPaths participants concluded the first day of the program with a network troubleshooting exercise at InfoPathways. IT CareerPaths is an intensive, four day continuing education program for high school students interested in an Information Technology Career. InfoPathways set up over half a dozen computers with identical problems for the 17 students to solve. Thom Bethune (co‐owner of InfoPathways), Jovan Nikolovski (network engineer) and Wes Combs (2009 IT CareerPaths graduate) guided students through the process, giving tips and advice along the way. The students were divided into 6 teams to compete against each other. Each team was provided with a laptop experiencing identical problems, challenged by a series of common configurations errors and missconfigurations. They were given the task to solve the problem (no connectivity) rather than the symptom (no internet connection).

Wesley Combs, 2009 graduate of the IT CareerPaths program, joined the InfoPathways Team Monday the 21st as well. Wesley is currently studying Computer Science at Carroll Community College. “In 2009, IT CareerPaths toured multiple companies. The students, including myself, learned so many things. This valuable experience showed us how various businesses incorporate technology into their work. IT CareerPaths chose interesting companies for us to interact with, all focusing on different areas of technology which allowed us to grow. Fate had it that I applied and was hired by one of the organizations we toured at IT CareerPaths. ”

To learn more about Carroll Community College’s IT CareerPaths Program, call (410) 386‐8100 or go to www.carrollcc.edu/ITCareerPaths. For more information about the activity at InfoPathways or on their new employee, contact Thom Bethune at (410) 751‐9929.





Thursday, June 17, 2010

Outlook Social Connector

The latest exciting feature from Microsoft Outlook 2010 is the Outlook Social Connector. It allows Microsoft Outlook to pull feeds/updates from your LinkedIn account. Soon it will also pull info from MySpace, Facebook and Windows Live. And it gathers all this information in the bottom right-window when you are in preview-pane mode (my favorite).

Why is this awesome? Assuming the people who email you have accounts on these social media sites, you will see their latest updates (status updates) and profile photo. This will seriously help professionals develop business relationships with clients by keeping everyone in-touch and up-to-date with important happenings. It’s just one more way (a really convenient way) to keep up with the hustle and bustle of life.

As if that wasn’t great enough, the feature keeps a history of emails in your Inbox from the related contact and you can filter to see just attachments or just calendar events related to the contact… Pretty sweet, huh? You can also add colleagues to your contacts list with one click. This is a big time saver and a great way to build your network. Below is a snapshot of the Social Connector in Outlook between Kelly and Valerie Heck.


Are you feeling bummed because this looks so cool but you are using Outlook 2003 or 2007? Turn that frown upside down because it will work for you too!!! As long as your computer is set up with the 32-bit operating systems (XP, Vista or 7), you can currently download the software to get this running (64-bit is on its way).

Once you have downloaded the software, you have to also download the social media sites with which you would like to connect. Right now, LinkedIn for Outlook is available.

After you have completed your downloads and installations, restart your computer. When you open Outlook you will be prompted to login to your LinkedIn account. As the other social media accounts become available, download them and always restart your computer afterwards. Doing so not only prompts the login, but it will help give your computer a freshening-up so that everything runs smoother.

*This article will also be availalbe at http://www.artsyshark.com/.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Erin James Performs at St. John's Carnival, 2010






... and sponsored by none other than InfoPathways! Our sponsorship support went towards Erin's performing costs. Erin James is a native of Carroll County and traveld all the way from Nashville TN to perform Monday night at the St. John Carnival in Westminster MD!

Kelly also took some creative shots which will be included in her website portfolio, soon to launch!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blogging - Tech Tips

You can now view InfoPathways Tech Tips on our website, current and past!

Blogging for Business

The two most popular blog sites today are Blogger (Google purchased Blogger in 2003) and WordPress. They are free web-based tools people can use to publish on the web instantly (monthly, weekly, daily or hourly) without writing code or installing software. Hobbyists, families, celebrities, writers, politicians, as well as businesses and publications use blogs to communicate their thoughts, relay their experiences and make connections. Today many people use Blogger in place of the traditional website or home page.

Anyone Can Blog

Anyone with a computer and internet access can have a blog; really, it’s free. And blogs can focus on nearly any topic whether it’s personal or business. Ideally, however, a Blogger should be an expert on a topic.

Bloggers can Write about Anything

Before you start your blog, you should consider a few things if you are looking to profit from your time. Profit and success can mean many things, like building a following, driving people to your website and business, making money and so on. Success could be as minor as affecting one reader. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
  • What do you want to gain from blogging?
  • What is your topic going to focus on?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do you want your audience to gain from following your blog?
Once you’ve settled on your answers, make sure you never preach about how great your products and/or services are - it will turn your customers away in a snap. Instead, write posts that improve your reputation, give you credibility and prove you are an expert in your field. Post relevant and timely information to keep visitors interested enough to post comments and come back to read future articles - this will build you a following of loyal readers! The goal is to post content that invites participation and interaction which, in turn, builds your relationships and increases SEO (search engine optimization).

A couple last notes: Often bloggers find great posts and comments from other socialites and want to re-post them. It is perfectly ok to repost or link to them, but etiquette dictates that you MUST give credit where it is due.

Also take the time to format your posts in easy-to-read articles with paragraphs and headings and styles. Spruce it up with images and links too. Images will draw more attention.

Connecting with Others

The reason we use these various active medias is to increase our ability to network. That means meeting people, finding leads and staying in touch. Of course the number one way to connect with people is to interact with them. Blogs provide a hub for social networking; follow others and eventually they will follow you... comment on other blogs and eventually they will comment on yours. Post helpful or interesting comments on other blogs that relate to your industry and interests. Encourage contribution (constructive comments) rather than the general “cool article”. Blogs should be personality driven - stick with your voice and style; show your readers the person behind the posts.

It’s time to link up and connect. Include a link to your blog on your website… and on top of that, include links to your other social networks on your website and in your emails (when appropriate, of course)! Finally, make sure your topics are consistent and of interest to the audience you wish to reach, whether they are educational or entertaining.

Use the blog to improve customer service by carefully reading what customers and potential customers are commenting. Though blog comments can be controlled, take the opportunity to be honest and straightforward.

Do not only publish and respond to positive comments. Read, listen and understand the negative comments as well. Respond in a respectful manner with facts and substance to support your response. Sometimes the best referrals occur when you go out of your way to fix a customer’s negative experience.
Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

SEO - What are Spiders?

If you're unsure about what it means when people describe SEO (search engine optimization) as "Spiders crawling the Internet", you should check out the article "How Internet Search Engines Work" post by Curt Franklin. It's very down to earth and will help you understand the methods behind SEO rankings.

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Affects of Spyware, Removal & Prevention

Spyware (definition):
The Anti-Spyware Coalition (a group of companies that include EarthLink, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard) have recently published a document that defines spyware as such: “Spyware impairs users’ control over material changes that affect their user experience, privacy or system security; use of their system resources, including what programs are installed on their computers; or collection, use and distribution of their personal or otherwise sensitive information”

How does Spyware get on your computer?
The user is the #1 cause of spyware! Some examples are downloading programs for emoticons and cursor affects, most of which are free, include attached or embedded spyware, pop-ups that claim to be software updates or needed to view the page and website visits.

SECURITY RISK : What will Spyware do to my computer and information?
Spyware programs are unstable. They cause your computer to run slower, certain programs stop working, and on occasion, you see the dreaded “blue screen of death”. Consider the time Spyware eats up, taking you away from other important issues – it kills productivity in the office and at home!
  • Record keystrokes (usernames, passwords, email, phone number, physical address, name, credit card number, etc.)
  • Read your files
  • Watch your word processing program
  • Change your internet home page
  • Add and delete files and toolbars
  • Read your cookies
  • Crash your browser
  • Barrage of Pop-Up Advertisements (on and off the web) with adult content, scams and links to questionable sites
  • Random Error Messages
  • They can update themselves leading to more and worse malware!
To learn more about spyware, like how to get rid of it and to prevent it, click to download our article!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Carroll County 4H & FFA Fair

We just launched the Carroll County 4H & FFA Fair website sometime between last night and this morning. Their site features lots of photographs displaying the many happenings at the fair. Their fair manager and a select group of hard-working volunteers have access to update and edit the Calendars, Documents listing and Announcements. Check it out, attend the fair, and support agriculture!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Google Analytics

If you don't know about Google Analytics yet and you have a business or blog, well TISK TISK on you. Just joking - but really, if you don't know, you need to look into it. InfoPathways, can of course help you set it up if it's not something you want to tackle. But it's fairly simple and Google Analytics is a free service!

Here is an excerpt from the Google Analytics webpage:
"Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you're more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites."

Today we finally added Google Analytics to our Blog! It's is also very easy to do. Click to customize your blog and you can go to the html code view and you just paste the Google Analytics code (which they generate) between < /body > the < /html > and tags.

Try it and email us if you need help. kelly@infopathways.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photography Tips - Taking the Shot to Digital Enhancement with Photoshop & Other Image Editing Softwares

Using poorly shot photography within your web and print layouts may be worse that no photo imagery. Interesting images and design is what will hook your audience initially. You have to hook a viewer (with good views) before you can expect to hook them as a reader. If you want visitors to read your content, they have to like the look.

This paper is for those who are not professional photographers but who wish to take their own photos or use photos from their current collection. These tips will help you enhance and optimize your photographic imagery.

TAKING THE SHOT

Lighting is the most important part of your photo shoot. If your shots are located outside, morning and late afternoon/evening light is best. Harsh, noon sunlight is very difficult to work with, as well as spotted sunlight (under trees, for example). However, noon on an overcast day, produces soft and diffused lighting which is very nice to work with. If you are working indoors, overhead light is best - remember that if you are using artificial light, you want to try and manipulate it to act as the sun would.

Remove the clutter because less is more. Your subjects are the most important part of your photos, so do not distract the viewer with clutter and poorly planned sets. If unrelated items in the foreground or background do not enhance the shot, find a way to avoid or hide them.

EDITING YOUR PHOTOS

When hosting a photo shoot, you usually take multiple shots of each composition. You want to capture various angles, looks and emotions. This means you have a lot of photos to go through. This process is called editing. Editing is selecting the final photos that you want to use. This is often confused with retouching or enhancing, the next stage.

RETOUCHING & ENHANCING PHOTOGRAPHS

Before delving in, remember that the better your photo is to begin with, the more you will get out of it. Put effort into creating a well shot photograph and do not rely on photo editing programs to fix your mistakes. Photo editing programs like Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Paint.NET are great for adding an extra kick to your images. Here are some features you should know about:

Levels (right) adjusts your exposure. This chart is commonly called a histogram. It allows you to read your image’s exposure. Your exposure should have a little pure black and a little pure white, which is indicated by the Input Levels touching the left and right sides of the histogram. There are two ways to adjust the Levels. First, slide the pointers/arrows along the histogram. Second, select one of the three eye droppers on the bottom right corner and click within your image; the grey eye dropper works like a digital grey card - select an area in your image that should be pure grey with no hue and your image will color balance! It’s really cool; play with it as well as the black and white droppers (which will make the selected area pure black or pure white and you will get all sorts of dramatic results.

Color Balance (right) adjusts your overall hue to look natural. The human eye automatically adjusts for hue changes when moving into different lighting like tungsten, fluorescent, candle-light and sunlight, but the camera can’t. If you find the Levels Grey Eyedropper (discussed in Levels) difficult to use, this is an alternative. Use the sliders to adjust an image’s hue. If it is too cyan, move the Cyan-Red slider towards Red to level out the hue. You can also pinpoint areas of your image by selecting Shadows, Midtones or Highlights.

The Healing and Stamp Tools are invaluable tools that you will love. Are there spots in your images from dust on your camera lens? Was there a piece of trash in the background that you didn’t notice? Does your subject have blemishes or acne? These tools will come to your rescue!

The Healing Brush (left, left) resembles a band aid. It is handy when you want to remove a blemish from your image and need to copy the surrounding pixel pattern to make the area of interest fit in smoothly. You select an area by holding down the Alt key and clicking the area of the image you would like to mimic. Release the Alt key and click with the mouse over the blemished area you would like to remove. The Healing Brush not only copies the pixel pattern, but it adjusts the pattern to fit the colors!

See the tree trunk sample to the (left, top); I have selected the tree trunk pattern and painted it over the softly focused backdrop where you now see a green-hued trunk texture. The Stamp Tool (left, right), on the other hand, copies an area exactly as it looks. The blemished skin sample below is a good example. These tools also allow you to adjust their hardness/softness, allowing for a gradated edge or a very sharp edge.

This blemished example is what you can achieve with the Healing Brush and Stamp Tool. In a matter of seconds, I removed all serious blemishes from this patch of skin. Play with these and adjust the transparency too. You can use this to dull wrinkles and lines under the eyes, reduce glare on the “T” area of the face and much more.

CROPPING vs. RESIZING

Cropping your images is not the same as resizing. Cropping an image cuts out part of the image for a more
flattering composition. Resizing an image adjusts the size of the image both in height/width and file size. Print and Web graphics require different pixel ratios, so images need to be resized based on their intended use. DPI or Dots Per Inch is referenced when printing. Images in prints should be between 240 and 300 DPI. When you are resizing an image, you need to set the PPI or Pixels Per Inch somewhere between 240 and 300 PPI.

PPI or Pixels Per Inch is referenced when used in web or digital presentations. Computer monitors display at a resolution of 72 PPI. This is especially important to remember when placing images and photographs in your website. You should always make it a habit of resizing your images to 72 DPI at the exact height and width you need them when applied to digital media. For example, adjusting the width and height in web-code produces a visually smaller image, but it does not actually reduce your image size. If you don’t resize your images for web, your site will load super slow and nobody will stick around to see what your website is all about.

Good luck and have a great time
with your digital photography!

Friday, April 16, 2010

InfoPathways Intern Helps to Upgrade Network at Taneytown Police Station

WESTMINSTER, MD. April, 2010. InfoPathways intern Emily Thompson assisted in the installation and set-up of several new computers and a new server at the Taneytown Police Station, Taneytown, MD. Thompson, a senior at Francis Scott Key High School, has been interning with InfoPathways since February 2010 and will complete her internship this June. As a member of the network team, Thompson is gaining experience in proper network design and providing support to a variety of clients both in person and remotely. She often joins network experts Thom Bethune and Jovan Nikolovski in the set up of new computers and servers and participates in onsite network support. "When dealing with technology, you have to expect the unexpected, and I have gained a greater appreciation of the flexibility this career demands. I have already learned a lot about the networking field and myself and I cannot wait to see what else I am able to learn over the next two months of my internship”, Thompson shared.

Taneytown’s Police Station benefited immediately from their technology updates; it all winds down to greater productivity. InfoPathways is thankful to the station and city for their willingness to give Thompson, and hopefully future interns, the opportunity to experience such a project. Chief Bill Tyler arrived just as the team began the upgrade; “InfoPathways once again shows how community oriented they are. By teaming up with the local high school, they are giving students the opportunity to explore technology from some of the finest experts in the field.”

Taneytown Police Chief Tyler, Emily Thompson (Intern, InfoPathways), Jovan Nikolovski (Network Engineer, InfoPathways), Jennifer Adcock (Career Connections Coordinator, FSK High School)

Jennifer Adcock, the career counselor at FSK High, helped Thompson arrange her internship with InfoPathways. "The Career Connections Program is a win-win partnership for the students and employers involved. The students get a chance to 'test drive' their career while attending high school. In addition to being a cost effective recruitment strategy, the employer gets an opportunity to work with young talent and help develop their skills in a particular career field. We are very thankful for the support of our business partnerships, like with InfoPathways. Their time and efforts benefit the workforce of the future." Hopefully more businesses will continue to open doors and share their knowledge with future aspiring students.

For more information about Francis Scott Key High School’s Internship Program, contact Jennifer Adcock at 410-386-4589 or JLADCOC@k12.carr.org. To contact the Taneytown Police Station, call 410-751-1150. To contact InfoPathways, call (410) 751-9929.

PEEPshow at the Carroll County Arts Council

Here is the InfoPathways entry for the 2010 CCAC PEEPshow. We decided to give a twist to the old master's paintings. All four images were created digitally and printed on canvas and stretched to try and keep the painterly presentation. The new PEEP titles and original artist and date are listed with each piece...

The Last PEEPs
Leonardo da Vinci, 1495-1498

 
The Persistence of PEEPs
Salvador Dali, 1931

PEEP Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
Rembrandt, 1632

Sunday with PEEP on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Georges Seurat, 1884

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Carroll County Arts Council - Website Redesign Launched!

We recently launched the redesigned Carroll County Arts Council website. It features a fresh design with lots of imagery to portray the variety or arts and programs they bring to the community. It also features a large number of database backend features which allow them to publish updates on the fly, many of which are integrated with PayPal features! Check out their new site and support the arts.


Monday, April 05, 2010

Keywords & Keyphrases - Are they still worthwhile????

Yes Yes Yes!

Many “experts” are saying this element of your site development is a waste of time and that search engines aren’t paying attention to them anymore. Google is the only search engine as of today that ignores < meta > tag keywords/phrases. All the other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo, still use keyword/phrase < meta > tags to learn about your website which leads to better indexing. It is true that they are not as affective as they used to be, but when added correctly, keywords/phrases can only help your website. Stick to 20-30 strong words or phrases that incorporate what you do and where or who you serve and you will be on your way!

Besides, you need to come up with these words and phrases anyway because you want to use them in your content, < alt > and and < title > tags. Rich, descriptive content and tags are very important elements of SEO.

*SEO rules are always changing. Stay educated to learn the latest and greatest!