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5 Ways To Connect With Your Customers Via Social Media

Even though typing into a tiny electronic screen may not feel very warm and personal, it’s a fantastic way to make meaningful connections with your clients, future customers, and fans. While nothing can replace an in-person interaction, social media interactions are quickly becoming the most popular means of communication in the marketing world.

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5 Reasons To Use MailChimp For Your Business

In the frenetic world of online marketing, it can be challenging to stand out as a small business owner. You may be overwhelmed with all the options out there for promotion and find yourself confused on which avenues to invest in to bring in clients and sales. Luckily, as time goes on, more user-friendly and effective solutions are being brought to the market and with a little research and learning, you can grow your business with less effort and more style!

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3 Reasons To Bring Your Mom to DWC

If you or a loved one is struggling to master technology, there are classes at the Digital Workshop Center that can help. Ask your doctor if DWC is right for you.

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Web Development: No Better Substitute for Learning HTML

[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 8/31/12] When prospective students approach me about enrolling in some of my beginner web design classes, they often ask if they should learn HTML or purchase Adobe Dreamweaver to edit their website. Everyone’s needs are different, but I always give the same answer. HTML, or Hyper-Text Markup Language, is the fundamental language of the Internet, while Adobe Dreamweaver is a tool to help you write that language better. The analogy I typically use is that of a learning any foreign language. Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re interested in learning Russian. You could study books, talk to other people who speak the language, and purchase an electronic translator. When you use the translator, it will understand what you are trying to say in Russian the majority of the time. However, there will be times where the language just won’t be interpreted properly. You may ask it to teach you how to ask “where is the nearest Internet cafe?” When you say it to a native Russian speaker, you may get some strange looks because the phrase you’re given doesn’t exist. Now, use the same analogy for learning the language of the Internet. Today, HTML is a vast, evolving language with many twists and turns, depending on what you want to do with it. The large number of scripting languages that have branched off of HTML could be thought of as different dialects. When you use Adobe Dreamweaver or a similar HTML editor, it’s similar to using an electronic translator. Dreamweaver will get it right most of the time. But, when it translates wrong, you need to understand how to actually read the code and speak the language to fix it properly. The program can only interpret what you tell it to do, and, therefore, it will inevitably translate something wrong. Dreamweaver offers a design view, which is a what-you-see–is-what-you-get editor. This is fantastic for novice developers who need to make simple changes, like editing plain text or adding an image. However, when the page won’t format correctly and additional code is needed, there’s a code view that becomes a necessity. Each view has its advantages, but any coder would tell you that staying in code view becomes the only way to go to over time. Why? Because the program can’t translate what you want to say with your code properly. The top thing to remember when jumping into any web design is to not get discouraged, and be sure to add as many tools to your tool belt as possible. Only then will you know if Dreamweaver is right for you. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Reach him at (970) 980-8091 or...

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Reasons to Never Use Internet Explorer Again

[This article was originally published in The Coloradoan on 8/24/12] For years, I’ve avoided Internet Explorer at all costs. It’s a poorly written Internet browser application with numerous security flaws. The fact that these flaws are well documented has always been a point of confusion because I’d think that a mega-company like Microsoft would surely have the resources and brain power to fix them. But, alas, I’ve been saying that for a long time and Microsoft continues to fail on all accounts with Internet Explorer, or IE. Why is IE so bad? Let’s begin with the obvious. In today’s technological age, when a software becomes too big, there are malicious people who try to tear it down. As IE became the most widely used browser somewhere in the past decade, more hackers have been hard at work to breach its security. That’s a red flag in itself to stay away. Another huge flaw with IE is that Microsoft has always released fixes to known bugs on a timed schedule. While these often do fix some of the issues, software vulnerabilities don’t follow the same schedule. As one problem is fixed, many others may pop up. This leaves a window when issues aren’t addressed until the next scheduled security release. Next, there’s the release of Internet Explorer 9, which is supposed to rival top competitors like Safari and Firefox. However, there is a major problem with IE9: older Microsoft operating systems such as Windows XP don’t run IE9 properly. So, only those who have made the leap to Windows 7 are able to use the newer version. Not a very practical update for the masses who don’t yet have or want Windows 7. Last, there are many alternatives to IE, such as Firefox and Chrome, that don’t share the same problems. These alternatives are well-built browsers with better security features, better handling of add-ons and extensions, and more. And, the best part: they are all free. So, why waste your time or energy with IE when there are better options out there? Typically, when I ask people why they still use IE instead of an alternative browser, it’s lack of knowledge of their choices. You should consider all of your choices, and, once you adopt a new Internet browsing experience, I think you’ll enjoy it more. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center. Reach him at (970) 980-8091 or...

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