OpenRoad is pleased to announce the acquisition of creative agency Mod7. Read the letter from our President.

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Amy Leyte

As ThoughtFarmer Client Services Manager, Amy is the first point of contact for all our intranet customers. She also oversees the ThoughtFarmer support and documentation teams. Amy brings over 13 years of customer service experience. She is very passionate about implementing technology that makes work better and life easier.

When Amy’s not busy solving intranet problems, she travels around the globe to compete in triathlons and Iron-man competitions, including twice representing Team Canada in the ITU World Championships. Amy holds a Bachelor of Science from Laurentian University.

Amy Leyte's Full Profile

Your Own Private Cloud (PaaS) – Part II: Converting an existing Django App to run on Stackato

Note: If you haven’t read it already, see Part I: Understanding PaaS for some background on private PaaS solutions.

What is Stackato?

As mentioned in Part I, Stackato is based off the Open Source project CloudFoundry.org. Stackato provides free images for VirtualBox, VMWare, AWS and KVM.  I have heard they may be making a Vagrant box as well but until then it shouldn’t be too hard to convert the VirtualBox image into your own Vagrant box.  Along side the VM image Stackato provides a command line tool called kato in order to interact with your environment and deploy your apps.

Stackato

Deploying Django to Stackato

How easy is it to take an existing Django application that was not architected for a PaaS environment, and port it to run on Stackato?  Thankfully, it is actually pretty easy. This post details the required steps.

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Mod7 Wins in 17th Annual Videographer Awards

This post originally appeared on Mod7.com. Mod7 is now a part of OpenRoad Communications. Please see the official press release for more information about the acquisition.

videoawards

​We’re excited to announce that—close on the heels of our newly-redesigned corporate site—Mod7′s ”We Love What We Do. Here’s Why.” video has been recognized in three categories in this year’s Videographer Awards.

  • Award of Excellence: Video Production-Corporate Image
  • Award of Excellence: Web Based Production-Corporate Image
  • Award of Distinction: Web based Production-Company Overview

Watch the video on YouTube.

State of the Prototyping Union – A Review of the Top 5 Mobile Prototyping Tools

One of the most difficult concepts to communicate effectively when designing for mobile is a touch-based interaction. Describing interactions with wireframe annotations (check out this blog from Wireframes magazine), and teaching gestures through reference guides (check out this great one from Luke Wroblewski) only go so far in communicating what that experience will actually be like. Many times those descriptions can result in some hand-waving and statements like “pretend the menu slides in from the left and you see this” during presentations. This is where an interactive prototype can really shine.

As part of the OpenRoad UX team, we were faced with a project where we knew that an interactive prototype would be convey the interaction design that we were proposing to a new client. As part of the team, I conducted a “state of the union” review of the current landscape of prototyping tools and was impressed at how far they have come. With support for rich user interactions, mobile gestures, and even responsive prototyping, there’s a tool out there that’ll meet your needs.

I evaluated quite a few tools but I narrowed down my list to these five options for review. Some of the tools that didn’t make the list were in various stages of beta, or did the same thing that one of the featured tools already did very well. I felt these specific tools offered something unique to the market:

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Dominik Szopa

As a Project Manager at OpenRoad, Dominik is responsible for ensuring projects stay on time and budget, while keeping our customers engaged and informed during the process. He believes that transparency and dialog during development are the keys to creating successful final outcomes.

Before joining OpenRoad, Dominik spent 12 years at Pointstreak Sports Technologies where he managed the technology team for customers such as NHL Central Scouting, The Sports Network, Little League Baseball and the German Ice Hockey League. He has experience managing projects and products using SCRUM Agile methodology, which provides frequent, review-able releases to the client throughout development.

Dominik has a Bachelors of Computing Science from Simon Fraser University. This enables him to translate customer needs into sound technology solutions.

In his free time, Dominik will probably be either swimming, biking or running, most likely in that order. He prefers his transportation to be two-wheeled, either with an engine or without.

Dominik Szopa's Full Profile

James Byun

As OpenRoad’s interface designer, James leads the visual and interface design efforts of web-based projects. James works closely with the user experience design team to perfectly blend design and functionality into beautiful and easy-to-use web spaces. He also occasionally jumps in on front-end development work. Prior to joining OpenRoad, he designed a variety of projects for large British Columbia clients, such as BC Dairy Association, Electronic Arts and Law Society of British Columbia.

James’ educational background covers a breadth of knowledge of all things design. After completing Capilano University’s 3D Animation and Visual FX program, James graduated from Langara College’s Electronic Media Design program, where he honed his design skills.

When he’s away from work, you can find James playing ice hockey, snowboarding, travelling or eating at “that new place that just opened up”.

James Byun's Full Profile

Web Video for the Rest of Us

This post originally appeared on Mod7.com. Mod7 is now a part of OpenRoad Communications. Please see the official press release for more information about the acquisition.

cat-video

A drastic shift in web video poses new challenges. How does it affect you?

Video is a large part of the internet, and it’s not all cat videos. Organizations use video to extend their brand and engage their audience. The rise of video on the web has traditionally relied on Adobe’s proprietary Flash™ technology; however, with the shift to mobile devices, video has very quickly moved away from Flash™ and towards HTML5. (more…)

Pioneering the Digital Narrative

This post originally appeared on Mod7.com. Mod7 is now a part of OpenRoad Communications. Please see the official press release for more information about the acquisition.

Tools-of-the-Trade (1)

Stories are as old as we are

​People have always told stories. It’s how we learned to survive.

“Joe crossed that stream last week to pet a cute lion. And now we know that you shouldn’t pet lions.”

The narrator’s motive of this story? That they care enough about you to tell you—with examples—that it’s a good idea to stay away from lions. (more…)

Your Own Private Cloud – Part I: Understanding PaaS (Platform as a Service)

Note: This is part 1 of a two part series on deploying to private cloud environments. Also see “Part II – Deploying Django applications on Stackato” .

“Cloud Computing” is a term that is frequently used but seldom explained. While it seems that the solution to nearly every problem these days is “in the cloud”, some organizations have been rethinking their cloud plans given the recent news of PRISM and other data gathering technologies. However, tools are quickly being developed that allow organizations to target environments that mimic the best features of large scale cloud providers, and yet can be hosted anywhere.

This post discusses the options for the so-called “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) cloud offerings, as opposed to “Infrastructure as a Service” or “Software as a Service” cloud offerings. The below diagram (taken from a Microsoft Azure talk) does a good job at simplifying the differences between the three types of Cloud services.

saas-paas-iaas+diagram

Software as a Service has been around for many years, and was previously known as Application Service Provider (ASP) or simply “Hosted software”. Infrastructure as a Service is a fancy way of saying “hosted virtual machine”. More recently, Platform as a Service (PaaS) has become popular, which primarily targets developers. PaaS takes care of the configuration, deployment, security and scaling infrastructure for a web application so developers can easily deploy their code without the need of an systems administrator.

Up until recently, nearly all Paas offerings have been managed by third parties. However, there are new options emerging that will run in any environment (including on top of IaaS providers). The remainder of this post discusses the various PaaS offerings.

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Congratulations to the TReO.ca team for winning a BCTIA Award!

We are incredibly honoured to announce that OpenRoad, in partnership with the Transportation Investment Corp. have been selected as the winners of the 2013 BCTIA Adoption of Technology Award. This award recognizes the installation of a product or solution that has significantly improved the productivity, competitiveness, or profitability of the customers company. As a technology consulting firm, we take pride in the success of our clients’, and we are very proud to receive this level of recognition for the success of TReO.ca.

Award_Acceptance_2_blog

Winners were announced last night at the BCTIA awards gala with over 1000 members of the BC’s technology community in attendance. In their 20th year, the awards celebrate the companies, peoples, innovation, and achievements that are driving the BC technology industry forward. Winners include Layer 7 for Company of the Year, Global Relay for Community Engagement, QuickMobile for Emerging Company of the Year, and several others (see the entire list from the Vancouver Sun).

BCTIA_Team_Photo_blog2

Most importantly, we want to thank our amazing team members who worked for over two years to make the TReO project an outstanding success. An enormous thank you to the team here at OpenRoad. We also want to recognize TI Corp for being great partners to work with and for believing in customer-centric design and pursuing innovation in the public sector. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists and a big thank you to the BCTIA!

Learn more about the project and see the full photo album.