What can Totem do for the Enterprise?

Totem is meltmedia’s solution for Continuous Deployment (CD). If you’d like to learn more about CD and how Totem handles that workflow, go get some background in this previous article. If you’re ready to dive into how Totem can work in an enterprise setting, read on!

Totem is more than an automated workflow that takes your code, builds it, and sends it to a server for execution. It eliminates all sorts of problems enterprise IT teams face every day and pulls people out of day-to-day administrative and support tasks. It provides a single source of truth for infrastructure, developer, quality assurance, database, product management, project management, and support teams. It reduces deployment and infrastructure costs, saves time, centralizes logging, and also makes waffle fries!

In a former life, I managed a team of application administrators at a company I’ll call, Very Large Enterprise Company. Our job was to deploy applications to all the various servers for a couple dozen internet-based products. We were the team that took down the application in the middle of a Friday or Saturday night, made changes on servers in various data centers and worked with database and system administrators as they made their changes, etc.

automation

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Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly? It Better Be!

Beginning April 21, 2015, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, its ranking on Google will suffer (<<< shock value). Frankly, I’m surprised it took Google this long to implement the algorithm change.

It was recently announced on the Google Webmaster Central blog that “mobile-friendliness” of sites will be expanded as a signal in their ranking algorithms. This means your phone or tablet will receive more relevant and higher quality search results.

Mobile-Friendly Search Rankings

Google also announced that they are now using information from indexed apps on your devices, for ranking when you’re signed into their services. Here’s a link to a step-by-step guide on how to get your app indexed: App Indexing for Google Search.

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Solving for Continuous Deployment: Totem

Heads up! It’s about to get deep in here, in a technical way. So if you’re into topics like Continuous Deployment, read on. If not, please share this article with your favorite geeks.

Despite our 60-ish team members and 15-year history, meltmedia faces a lot of the same problems as many other technology organizations. We have a distinct advantage though: We can move quickly to fix these problems with new tech and innovative ideas. Following is an example…

Totem: Continuous Deployment

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Geeking Out Over Why.AZ

In August 2013, we (some present and past meltmedians) launched a website called WhyAZ in an effort to attract and keep great tech/business/design talent in Arizona. The site went viral and we received tons of visitors and shares. The excitement around WhyAZ was great, but there was no reason to return to the site because content updates were few and far between. Additionally, WhyAZ employs use of fancy new stylesheet technology to draw all the images dynamically instead of a standard image file. This makes development and updates less trivial.

WhyAZ has more pages!

After the launch, we saw lots of success with the #whyaz hashtag on Twitter. We realized that the best way to capture this magic was to incorporate it directly into the site. I spoke with Jake Heun, one of our Senior Front End Developers, and asked for some detail around how and why the changes came about.

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Moozart App is now free, just in time for the Holidays!

Good news music fans! We’ve released a children’s music app, Moozart. Well, we released it in 2010 and thousands of people paid to download it, BUT, thanks to changes in iOS over the years, a few new bugs needed to be worked out.
For the holidays, we’ve released an update to Moozart that fixes audio issues on iOS 8, provides retina graphics, stops intermittent crashes some people have encountered, provides stereo audio, and has better music. And we are now offering it for free! Get it now in the App Store.

Moozart Splash Screen

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#iBeaconChat: Introducing Nearables

After a few years of evolving beacon technology, hardware providers are introducing a new generation of products into the marketplace. Estimote is doing this with Estimote Stickers, complementary to their standard beacons. Stickers contain an accelerometer, temperature sensors and an optimized ARM processor (with flash memory and a Bluetooth Smart controller). This is all inside a significantly smaller and thinner form factor. These stickers are designed to be placed on everyday objects, which brings us to the Estimote coined term, “nearable.”

By attaching a Sticker to an item, it turns into a nearable – a smart, connected object that broadcasts data about its location, motion and temperature. Estimote defines a nearable as an intelligent object linked by a smart beacon, with a rich SDK, to the cloud.

Join this week’s “Introducing Nearables” TweetChat, #iBeaconChat #nearables, with Estimote’s Roshan Prakash (Business Operations Manager) and Wojciech Borowicz (Community Evangelist) as we discuss why nearables matter and what they can do for you.

What?

To prepare yourself for the chat, review the questions here:

  1. What are nearables?
  2. What are Estimote Stickers?
  3. How do Stickers differ from enterprise grade Estimote Beacons?
  4. What are possible use cases for #nearables?
  5. How to create apps for #nearables?

When?

On Tuesday, October 7th at 8:30AM PDT / 11:30AM EDT

Where?

Join us on Tuesday at http://twubs.com/ibeaconchat for the live chat! To join please use the hashtags: #iBeaconChat and #nearables

The Question Nobody is Asking about Bluetooth Beacons

We’ve been talking to lots of people about beacons these past few months. There’s a ton of interest from local businesses of every size who have quickly recognized the power of connecting real-world users and environments with apps on smartphones and tablets. Our conversations often lead to impromptu brainstorming sessions as business owners think of ideas to incorporate beacons into their marketing mix.

But, there’s one question we always bring to the table, and sometimes it stops ideas in their tracks: “How is this idea good for your customers?”

melt_blog_beacons_question-1

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Tech Stuff: Automation

meltmedia is not a typical interactive marketing agency.

Nearly half the company’s employees are technical and actively develop code. We don’t outsource any of our technology needs because we have plenty of expertise in our Tempe, AZ offices. We don’t call ourselves a “Java shop” or a “.Net shop” because we know how to make use of the best technology for any solution regardless of what language or platform is popular at the time.

We are a company of passionate people. Over the past year, we’ve focused our passion on the practice of automation. The following quote is of great significance and inspiration to us:

Machines need to be productive. People need to be effective. – Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry, Personal Kanban

automation

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A Primer on Bluetooth Smart Beacons (and Apple iBeacons)

As you read this, Apple has already deployed iBeacons (referred to from here on as, “Beacons”) in its US stores. shopkick is testing its own Beacons in New York and San Francisco. A number of Beacon vendors are shipping their own versions of Beacon hardware to developers (we have several in-hand here at meltmedia). The buzz started when a slide at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference listed the term, “iBeacons” among a myriad of other technologies being introduced there. Once the industry figured out what the term meant, it went all giddy about Beacons and for good reason.

Bluetooth Beacon at meltmedia

A beacon in the wild at meltmedia West.

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Node Knockout

A few weeks ago I read about a hackathon called Node Knockout in issue #153 of JavaScript Weekly. A few hours later, I had a team ready to go. If you haven’t heard of Node Knockout, it’s a 48-hour competition to build the best application with Node.js. For us, Node is awesome for quickly prototyping a project and also has the speed and power for sustained app development. We couldn’t wait to get started.

Node Knockout

We met 5 times before the hackathon began to plan our app. When the Node Knockout finally came, we were ready. We broke up the 48 hours into shifts, and after a lot of beer, coffee, and sleepy status updates, we finished our app with an hour to spare.

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