Archives

Next Steps

There will be a name change from Uber Motif to XWARETECH in the coming month. It has become necessary to change the name, primary focus, and business structure. Where the company had focused on design through most of its lifetime, it is now going to be for broader consulting: with a stated goal to help companies and individuals solve their problems through technology and practical insight. I will continue to support all our existing clients and the day-to-day operations should not perceptibly change. Please read on to learn more about it!

Background for the changes

This post is long overdue. The past two years I have reduced the number of web design projects the company takes on for a matter of reasons:

First, Andrew took on a full-time project that turned into an employment opportunity that would be crazy to refuse. This left me needing to fill the position of in-house designer. We both moved farther apart from each other and opened our own home offices. While he’s continued to assist part-time we haven’t really specced out a large project in some time. It’s tough when you aren’t in the same room together every day.

Second, Tristan, our salesman and friend passed away in an accident. I never really took the time to properly write about him on the company blog. It’s been two years now and I still think about his influence. Nothing I write here could properly convey my thoughts about it, but it marked a turning point where we moved to doing support and referral business, rather than the old way of reaching out to new potential clients.

Third, the name has proven to be a great liability. There’s not a lot to it, the team was brainstorming random names back in 2012 and somehow landed upon it. We hadn’t heard of Uber Technologies, branded as UberCab and later Uber, at the time. Initially, it just meant confusion on our phone line, because that Uber doesn’t provide phone support. Starting in 2017 we began to receive spurious unemployment and disability claims from people we never met. Because we structured as a S-Corporation for tax purposes, we pay into things like unemployment and disability insurance. Since the State of New Jersey doesn’t actually care to investigate unemployment fraud, those funds we paid into have been raided by fraudsters. My response last year after the state approved nearly $10k in fraudulent disbursements was to end payroll and convert the business to a sole proprietorship. This is costly, it’s not something I should have to do, and if you’re an attorney reading this that wants to discuss potential litigation against the ‘rideshare’ company, the state of NJ, and/or the fraudsters I’m down to chat.

Finally, at this point I now honestly don’t believe it is always in the best interest of small businesses to make a large investment into a website. I won’t sell something I don’t have complete faith in. I also don’t believe it is wise to rely on the whims of Amazon, Google, or Facebook for the success of a business since it comes at a great cost of control over data. I’ve been developing a product with the help of a programmer for some years now that I’ve begun to market out. I have also entered into a tentative agreement to provide my services to another startup. Each facet has provided me with more resources to network with, and more skills to solve problems far beyond what just website development can do.

Moving Forward

Uber Motif has served as a service to its clients and those who have worked with us over the years. I am immensely grateful for the experience and relationships it has provided me with. It is relatively easy to start something but incredibly hard to keep any organization going for 7 years.

XWARETECH will continue to provide new opportunities in the decade to come. I thank all of you that have supported me over the years and look forward to the future. This company will be a crossroads for other consultants in my network to provide services through. I will introduce them on the site and/or in blog posts as they help me solve for ‘X’, whatever that may be!

State of SSL Certificate Affairs

I’ve never posted publicly about my (and hence the company’s) position on SSL certificates and why we don’t charge for them. I’m hoping this post can serve as a reference not just for our customers, but for anyone who’s looking to build a website and gets confused over parts of the technology involved. This is not really a post meant to describe the technology of SSL in-depth. I focus on some basic how’s and why’s, as well as describe some of the current shady industry practices, and how things are changing for the better.

Read more →

Hostito Not Answering Support Requests

Hostito Not Answering Support Requests

A Customer Case Study After Their Hosting Company And Registrar Failed

I’d prefer to be writing happy, informative posts but interruptions come up. Last week we had one of those interruptions. I write this hoping it will help out other businesses caught in this situation. One of our clients that we currently only sell Google Apps email to reported an outage. It’s rare Google has an outage (think on the order of a couple minutes per year) so we went to the next usual culprit, expired domain. Sure enough the domain was expired. So we contacted him and he said he was billed by the company he used for the renewal, I checked back and indeed the registration was updated but the nameservers were set to a parking page leaving him with no working website or email for days! This client runs his entire business on email, and we realize how important these things are so we promptly went to helping him out, even though he’s not been a web hosting customer and we usually do not register domains on behalf of clients.
Read more →

Site Builder or Web Designer

Site Builder or Web Designer

We live in a time where it’s easier than ever to get your brand online. Pre-built website builders are commonplace, and you don’t need to be a master coder to get your message in front of millions of eyes. With options like Squarespace and Wix available, why should you still consider a professional website designer?
Read more →

JPG vs PNG – Which to use?

JPG vs PNG – Which to use?

In terms of content, images are king. Don’t get me wrong, text is great. Well written copy has the ability to engage readers and provoke meaningful discussions. However, for the more visual among us, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. This adds some unique problems for web content. Images are often the first impression that a potential viewer has to your content; it can be the difference between a conversion and a bounce. This can be especially important for mobile content where connections are generally slower and users are loathe to waste precious data.

Beyond style and composition, correct use of format in images is critical to reducing page load times and promoting site engagement. But with all of the file formats available, how do you choose which one to use in a given context? The goal here will be to give the best possible image quality in the least possible space. But how do you decide which format to use? Here are 2 of some of the most common image formats used in web and the best cases for each:
Read more →