Award Winning Social Media Promotions

Blender was fortunate to be part of an amazing team that was recognized at the 2014 ICSC Shopping Centre Awards for two advertising campaigns.

Our campaign won gold for Spring Style Find at Westshore Town Centre. Blender, working with social media marketer Creating Excellence, designed a Facebook “interactive gaming experience.”  Our app was mobile friendly and existed in a social media context to encourage customers to connect with Westshore and share the contest with each other.

Spring Style Find – Westshore Town Centre

Westshore Town Centre launched Spring Style Find, an in-mall and online interactive gaming experience. This cross-platform concept meshed the iconic Price is Right with the idea of having customers guess the correct prices of products from the Centre. Spring Style Find was a real winner with a 6.95% increase in sales, an additional 25,000 shopping minutes and an estimated 8,900 store visits to search out correct prices and an average store visit per shopping trip that increased from 1.5 stores to 4.9!

(more…)

author:

Amazon Glacier cost calculator

Recently I suggested using the Amazon Glacier data storage service for creating an online backup of your important data.  I said the service was inexpensive costing me under $10 after 50 days.  Wong Liang Zan created a calculator through which you can figure out various costs you might incur if you use Amazon Glacier.

To use:

  • open the calculator
  • choose a data center (Oregon)
  • add a backup size in Gigabytes (200GB – this is pretty huge, or look how much of your hard drive is used)
  • enter a duration in days (365?)

You can also test some scenarios like a retrieval to see how much that would cost.  Using my sample numbers the cost for the year was $24, and the retrieval would be $30 for a 24hr transfer.

Glacier Cost Calculator

If you haven’t read them already you can learn more about Amazon Glacier in my blog posts off site backup with Amazon Glacier and 50 days with Amazon Glacier backup.

50 days with Amazon Glacier backup

Amazon Glacier and Arq 3 combined allow for off-site computer backup solution. In November I posted about my first impressions backing up with Amazon Glacier client Arq 3 .  Nearly 2 months in it seems like a good time for an update of my continuing thoughts on this off-site data backup solution.  You can read more about the service and my initial setup of the software in my previous post off-site backup with Amazon Glacier .

Glacier is just like it sounds: S-L-O-W.  The process of uploading my initial complete backup is still in process and has been for 50 days, almost continuously.  There are of course lots of factors including my household internet upload speed.  And it is a lot of data, 165GB to date according to Arq.  Although I could have simply pointed Arq at my hard drive to back it all up, I chose to pick and choose what I thought was most critical and incrementally add to my backup.  Based on the time it has taken I strongly recommend this approach – get the important data backed up first!

Testing your backup is critical.  I initiated a file restoration of a backed up 6MB file, which Arq reported I could expect the file to be delivered in 4 hrs.  The file arrived as promised within minutes of the 4 hours.

Glacier being slow cannot be fairly considered a criticism as it is advertised as exactly that: Glacier.  What Amazon is offering is low cost data storage.  To date I have spent less than $10 in fees, the majority being upload transfer charges. For instance for the month of December while populating my backup:

81.266 GB $0.81 ($0.010 per GB / month)
76,613 Requests $3.83 ($0.050 per 1,000 requests)

All-in-all I am very happy with the Arq 3 and Amazon Glacier redundant catastrophic backup solution.  I’ll continue to run Time Machine as a quick access local backup.

If you missed it I encourage you to read my first post, off-site backup with Amazon Glacier , where you will find my initial impressions during setup and the first few days with Arq 3 . (more…)

Blender welcomes Genssante

Blender is happy to welcome new client Genssante. Blender will be doing their ongoing maintenance and updates.  First task – update the website using php scripting to make maintaining it easier and cheaper.

Thanks to client Mark Rosengarten (markrosengartenmd.ca) for the referral.

another wordpress website

Wordpress based website built by Blender Design

Another assignment for Creating Excellence, small business marketing specialist.  Corner Equipment needed a website that visitors could navigate quickly, that was easy to maintain, and that search engines would pick up and list.  Because of the client’s experience with WordPress there was no question it would be our platform of choice.  Wordpress is the most straightforward CMS (Content Management System) available, and because it is enjoying recent popularity there is no shortage of extensions  and support.

Blender created a custom theme based on Creating Excellence’s design.  Careful attention was taken to ensure the website generated would be friendly to search engines.  An SEO strategy was part of the early design process.

One interesting feature of the Corner Equipment website is the processing of images attached to items in the inventory.  Pictures are uploaded by the site owner and automatically resized for different purposes, little or no outside preprocessing required.

Visit Corner Equipment

Preparing to Launch On Trac

Long time client Gary Mitchell of GEM Communications wanted his website re-branded and updated.  On the top of his list of requirements was a content management system and an SEO friendly design.  You can check out the progress at OnTracCoach.com.  Watch for a more in depth launch announcement here…

Massage Therapy on Dunbar ~ Website Launch

Blender recently launched Massage Therapy on Dunbar’s first website.  This brand new business just opened and need a website to help introduce themselves to the Dunbar neighbourhood.  Owner Vicki Bell was referred to Blender by long time client Shelley Hilliard of Hilliard Design – thanks Shelley!

Vicki was on a tight budget so we focused on simple straight forward functionality.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was a priority, as was cross-platform compatibility.  Featured technology was jQuery used in the transitions during page loads.

The Massage Therapy on Dunbar website is featured in my portfolio, and you can visit it online at massagetherapyondunbar.com.

Blender (we)blog Launched

Blender has expanded its website to include a (we)blog.  The blog will act a platform from which Blender will share news and information with visitors, to Facebook, and to Twitter.  Posts topics will include website launches and hi-lights, Blender Design news, and general web design industry news and information.

Built on the WordPress blogging and content management system (CMS),  Blender designed a custom template based on the blender website so that the blog would mesh seamlessly with our existing content.

The blog also serves as a technology demonstration to show clients how WordPress can be integrated into a website.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

For testing purposes I needed an external link.