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Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

The Intangibles of a Web Designer

Written by Sam Bishop | December 21st, 2011 | Business, Clients, Tech | Comments

Stick figure at computer with a cape
Sometimes it is the things that come along with hiring a web designer, outside of the actual web design, that end up helping clients the most.  Since I started CWS 5 years ago we have learned a few tricks that have saved us time and money.  This could be anything from a couple of hours of time to  hundreds of dollars a month.  These little tips have been passed to our clients and their businesses.

Aviary Phoenix logoPhotoshop Alternatives One simple example was providing a few alternatives to Photoshop for a client.  The client was under the impression that they needed Photoshop to resize and crop images to use in their CMS.  After pointing them along to Picnik, Aviary, and Gimp (if they wanted a stand-alone application), they were able to save a quick few hundred dollars.  This was not the first, nor the last, free service that we found …


Using Frameworks for Web Apps

Written by Sam Bishop | October 28th, 2010 | Products, Tech, Web Development | Comments

After building applications (on and off the web) for the last 10 years, I’ve come to respect frameworks and learned how to harness their power.  I am a firm believer of understanding the underlying language but it seems these framework creators are making their frameworks easier and easier to use.

For our latest app, LeadSHIFT,  we researched quite a few frameworks before choosing one for the backend and plan on porting the app to another to become familiar with its features.  I’ll give a brief overview of the ones we used below.

PHP Frameworks

After spending some time seeing which PHP framework I wanted to use, I finally decided on CakePHP.  I liked the fact that it had been around for quite a while with frequent updates and a strong community behind it.  When choosing a framework, a strong community is incredibly helpful when you run into trouble.  …


Take Advantage of Free Services

Written by Sam Bishop | October 3rd, 2010 | Business, Tech | Comments

This post is about how you can save yourself (or your company) money by using free services.  When you think about the cost of all the services/software you currently pay for and the free alternatives you can easily save hundreds of dollars a year.


Gmail happens to be my personal email account of choice.  By using filters to automatically tag emails from certain people or to auto-star emails from clients, it provides a ton of flexibility if you are willing to learn its basics.  They provide more space than you would probably ever need and they don’t have a pesky attachment maximum size of a couple megabytes.  Savings = $60.00+


Google Calendar is a great full featured FREE calendar that can sync to just about any phone wirelessly (so if you make an appointment on the road, it’s automatically in your calendar when you get home).  Not only …


Our New Status Board

Written by Sam Bishop | April 11th, 2010 | Business, Tech, Web Design | 2 Comments »

CWS Status BoardAfter seeing Panic’s status board, I couldn’t help myself.  This was such a fantastic idea that I had to create one for CWS headquarters.  I knew that we probably wouldn’t have enough data to do anything nearly as informative as Panic’s but I still had a handful of things that would make my life a ton easier to see on 1 window.  This resides on a 24″ Acer LCD above my dual monitor setup.

Using the amazing project management platform, 5PM, I was able to pull all sorts of information necessary to create our project management status board pieces.  I love seeing when my people add a new progress note or if the “Other CWS Tasks” list gets cut in half.  I know stuff is being accomplished.

CWS Status Board Items

  • Tasks assigned to me (via 5PM)
  • Tasks assigned to others (via 5pm)
  • Progress bars for tasks


Finding Inspiration – Twitter, blogs, conferences (without attendance fees!)

Written by Sam Bishop | May 27th, 2009 | Business, Tech | Comments

Finding InspirationAs always this post is long overdue but it would be quite relevant to a lot of people out there in need of inspiration in this tough time.  I have been fortunate enough to attend a few conferences and listen to a LOT of great speakers.   From designers to developers and freelancers to entrepreneurs I have picked up a wealth of knowledge just listening to them speak for an hour or so.

A couple weeks ago Gary Vaynerchuk (Host of Wine Library TV and super inspirational young speaker, @garyvee on Twitter) posted a link to his talk at the Big Omaha conference on his Twitter stream.  It was about an hour and the majority of it Q&A but after listening to it during my lunch break I felt refreshed and that I could take on any project and was itching to get back to work.  This is not the first …