RAINBOWS rain blog

Companies can share your private information with U.S. Government now, preempting all other privacy laws

Before I left for vacation I posted a shower thought on my facebook page. I wondered aloud, can I “tunnel” my internet connection so that I’m under EU privacy protection? I was half kidding. Today, I saw this post from the ACLU:

Companies will face no liability for sharing your personal information with DHS — even if there are negative consequences.

This is outrageous. What’s worse is that you’ll have no way to know if a company you are working with (logging in, paying, reading articles, etc) is sharing your information. Their privacy policy….. have you ever read a privacy policy?

These are some pretty serious questions not only for consumers but also for a clients. What kind of information should they collect? What should they retain? Once collected how long and how should it be retained?

 

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4 Tips To Keep Your Mobile Users Happy

A User’s time is valuable, doubly so on mobile. While your user is on your mobile site, it’s important that you make their experience as smooth and informative as possible. Otherwise, your user may quickly get aggravated and disrupted. Here are 3 tips to make sure that every visit to your site is a good one.

1. Don’t ask for unnecessary information.

Many times, users want to gather information to make decisions on purchases and buying. Unless your user has asked for something that requires location data, there’s no reason to ask for it early on in their buyer’s journey.  What’s especially bad is when it’s asked on every page of your mobile site. Only ask for what you need in order to serve your customers best. Use cookies or other solutions to prevent asking over and over again!

2. Don’t repeat yourself.

It’s annoying enough when extraneous information is asked of you when you’re still contemplating a purchase. What’s worse is when the same information is repeatedly asked on every page your mobile site. Send a follow up email for data collection or advanced registration. This ensures that your user will have a productive experience and likely visit your site again

3. Limit Pop Ups.

Native advertising isn’t going anywhere, and it’s common that most pages contain a pop up when users initially visit sites. One pop up is understandable, though a pop that’s difficult to close is less than ideal. Once they locate the x on your non-responsive site and successfully close the box, there shouldn’t be another one for the duration of the user’s visit. While Moviefone may fall under the category of incessantly asking for user location, thereby annoying many users, their pop up placement is fairly unobtrusive. Users can access desired information without struggling to close a box that’s mostly transparent and not blocking anything substantial.

4. Don’t Ask Me To Use Your App.

Your services may best be viewed in your app, but that is entirely up to your user’s discretion. Instead of constantly asking a user to get your app, you can detect whether it’s already installed on their device with Smart Banners. For Android, using this will encourage seamless app use and preserve the search history of your user. It can be disruptive if someone finally gives into a pop up and switches to app use from mobile browsing, only to have to start from scratch.

Remember

Minimize every request and distraction as much as possible. Connect to your users over time. Imagine trying to buy your product in a brick and mortar store…. Wait, fill out this 10 question survey first 😉

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Fine Tune Your Login Flow

Registration and sign in is crucial to your business. The moment a user is confronted with this step, there are numerous variables that may disrupt their flow and make them lose interest. You can tune their experience so that it is smooth and they come back time and again.

Some context to consider – Did the user come from mobile? Desktop? Tablet? These subtle differences can directly impact your registration and login flow. Consumers utilize mobile devices to browse and research purchases, but most conversions still occur on desktop.

Evaluate what’s more important for your business and at what stage. Sales are not made as frequently as they could be on mobile because of restrictive registration processes that many online retailers still enforce. As a business, if it’s more important for you to sell now and capture user information later, allow a Guest Checkout. Your users can complete registration in their own time, on a device of their choosing, at a time that’s right for them.

Make registration and sign in as painless as possible. Provide easy ways to login via their mobile device, such as a Facebook or Google login options, in addition to registering on desktop.

Security is always important and you should make sure that your user is protected, especially if your site stores information relevant to your customer. Guide them to create a password that’s strong, without making them suffer from complicated rules which can deter them for good. If a password manager is supported by your site, this is the best option for everyone. If not, find a good balance of strong password formula without burdening them with too many restrictions.

There is no singular way to successfully ensure that your users complete their tasks when they visit your site, though there are ways of tuning what is really important for everyone involved. That’s why we developed User Kit – the simplest, most secure login and registration solution for your users. It offers a way for you to implement best practices on your site and provide information for you to make educated decisions. We report what causes user fall off and abandons. You will know how secure your site is in terms of registration and password.  Industry comparable data is provided regularly, as monitoring multiple variables is the key improving the ways your users can login.

We make tools that generate automated intelligence so you can continue doing what you do best. If users come to you via a mobile device, the information collected with User Kit can help you develop the best possible login flow for you. It also allows staged registration so that your users can complete a transaction, get access to some things on your site, while still limiting access until registration is complete.

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3 Steps For Small Business Data Security

How do you protect your data? Online shopping is booming and your customers want to purchase your goods and services on their own time. You must make sure that every part of your website is a safe place to shop, browse, and interact with your audience. Here are 3 tips to ensure your success.

1. Secure Connection

Image Caplinked

Image via Caplinked

Every part of your website that collects data needs to be under a secure connection. When the connection is secure, a little lock icon is visible in the browser window. Not all websites secure the first page on which customers input data. If not secure, any information submitted can be compromised by attacks. Here’s a further explanation from Stack Overflow. Businesses want to make sure that they have security from the beginning to the end of their customer’s experience.

2. Password Managers

To protect your information, you should never use the same password or password formula on multiple sites. This best practices makes it impossible to have a memorable password for all the services you use. Instead, use a password manager.

Many online services don’t offer account delegation, so businesses share accounts for platforms like QuickBooks Online, GoDaddy, or Google Apps. Password managers are imperative for keeping all of your accounts safe. Dashlane and Apple’s Keychain are accessible and useful apps that generate a different password for every single website they access. Using the same password for multiple accounts is still one of the biggest security issues for businesses. Don’t do it! If hackers get ahold of that one password, they can try it at every single website and access all of your information – and the information you’ve collected from your customers.

Passwords are often shared with employees, which can be problematic if someone separates from the company. A good password manager can change all the passwords easily, preventing the business owner from spending hours dealing with fallout and manually switching passwords. Additionally, utilizing a password app can allow you to update your important passwords regularly.

3. Save Only What You Need

Why are you collecting data? Unused data is not an asset, it’s a liability. Unless you truly need the information, refrain from asking your customers for their addresses and dates of birth. Consumers are asked security questions more and more. Understand why you require the information you do, at every step. Collect as little data as possible. The less you gather, the better security for you and your users, who hate filling out long forms anyway! Extra questions could be costing you customers.

If you have loyalty programs or monthly memberships, the more off-the-shelf software that is being updated by a medium to large firm with a security policy, the better. For example, there are a lot of start-up apps for loyalty programs. Before using one of these, a small business should investigate and see how these apps secure data. What is their security policy? Have they acknowledged that security is an issue anywhere? If all of the answers to these questions are satisfactory, you can be confident in knowing your data, and your customers’ data, are safe.

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The Smartphone is the digital hub, The PC one of many spokes

We have seen it coming for some time, but with the advent of wearables (wearableTech) and the smart home as well as other “Internet of Things” (I hate that term) and enchanted objects. The true digital hub is your smartphone, not your PC. In fact your PC for all but developers is really just one of the devices attached to your smartphone and your cloud.

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We’re Hiring Again! Senior Android Developer

**UPDATED 9/30** now you can join our referral program. Join here to get the details and get $1000.00 upon a successful referall.

We can’t stop making awesome things. But we need your help!

See the full description below

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Beacon and Lively Demo Day

I went along with the Beacon & Lively team to do one of our first demos of the working prototypes. People seemed to love the “Putting technology in it’s place” tagline.

Dave talks more about it here:

http://www.beaconandlively.com/updates/2014/7/25/our-first-demo-day

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Open Python Position at Rain Everywhere

We’re looking for a Python Developer for our apps. One of which has over 7 million active users. It’s going to be fun.  Email resumes to python-developer@raineverywhere.com

Lead Python Developer

Responsibilities

Design & Development of custom applications, platforms, and services that power our applications.

Maintain existing Python /  AppEngine application with over 7 million active users.

Build reusable APIs and Libraries for our applications

Requirements

Bachelors of Science in Computer Science, Information Systems or Engineering  OR Relevant professional experience with widely deployed consumer facing applications.

6 years of professional software development experience.

3 years of Python experience.

2 years of NoSQL experience.

 

Demonstrable experience building a scalable web application.

 

Strong understanding of Encryption and data security.

Strong understanding of service-oriented architectures.

Technical Skills

Python,  NO-SQL (MongoDB or similar), REST APIs, SQL, Git,  Google App Engine, Design Patterns

Compensation:

Market Rate.

Perks : Work from everywhere, Free work hours (work what times you want to)

 

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Philly Tech Week and Entrepreneur Expo

Phil Ives
RAIN Everywhere

Beacon-and-Lively-Entrepreneur-Expo-opt2

I showed up to the Entrepreneur Expo on the Wednesday during Tech week to show support for our client, Beacon&Lively. Beacon&Lively is a Philadelphia based company that makes smart, wearable fashion jewelry for people who don’t want a giant, ‘smart’ device with lots of text and buttons on their hand…or on their face (Google Glass for example).

The object of the device is that it looks good but it also has some utility. It can keep you away from your phone during important events. We had the privilege of building the software for Beacon&Lively. More about that here.

Our software works on the iPhone. Later versions will work with Android to set up your contacts and your notifications and your settings and configure the Beacon, which is the name of the first piece of jewelry coming out.

The Expo event was great. A lot of people showed up. Mayor Nutter was there as well as a lot of the Philadelphia Startup Leaders’ leadership and members. What I noticed throughout the night was that the booth at Beacon&Lively always had a swell of people.

I think that’s for a number of reasons. One, I think Beacon&Lively is relatively early to this game of fashion jewelry and smart wearable tech as opposed to more of an engineer/computer person’s smart-watch or a fitness watch or Google Glass. People were intrigued by seeing something with really good design at the show.

Also, they have an advantage over a lot of the software companies at the show just in terms of people looking at the device because, one, it’s beautiful but, two, it’s something that people can pick up and hold as opposed to a website or a video game or another mobile app where people can look at it and maybe use it a little bit but you don’t get this visceral feeling. You can only stare at a web demo so long at the expo.

We were really happy with the comments that came back both about the jewelry itself and our design on the software and our concepts. I think people are really excited that this kind of company can happen in Philadelphia.

Ourselves, at Rain Everywhere, we are working on a number of wearable tech/embeddable tech/Internet of Things software projects. We see this as a huge growth area for us and something we’re becoming experts in, both in Bluetooth, LE, near field communications, and Arduino Software and of course all the Design, UX, and software issues that come along with it.

IMG_3395We’re excited to have clients like Beacon&Lively as well as some work we’re doing with Bluecadet and NextFab Studio, some collaborations and also the fun we’ve had this winter when we rode along

with with the beat farm guys trying out the Jalapeño. We have some other projects in the works of our own. We’re having a really good time.

IMG_3296

I’ve attached some pictures of myself and the booth at Beacon. You should definitely check out the website for Beacon&Lively. We’ll keep you posted.

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B&L + .r = :)

Tim Kin
RAIN Everywhere

If you are a fan of interactive technology like us, you have already embraced the idea that wearable tech is here to stay. In fact, it was one of the most talked about topics at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin. From multi-colored LED bands to motorcycle helmets with rear view cameras to fashion items with embedded solar panels that charge your mobile devices – wearable tech is rapidly becoming real deal that affects a myriad of industries.

That’s why here, at RAIN, we were very excited when Philly-native company Beacon&Lively approached us to help design a prototype for their first fashion bracelet! The prototype had to be stylish yet functional, with customizable features and minimalistic UI. We achieved that by combining bright colors with darker brushed metal backgrounds reminiscent of the actual product exterior. The most customizable part of the prototype is a color wheel that allows owner to select different color for every behavior of the device.

We are glad to report that Beacon&Lively is now a very happy client, and our prototype was featured at the recent Entrepreneur Expo and drew a lot of attention.

Check out their Facebook page to get the latest news and find out when you can order one. We know we will.

 

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