Corporate cliches, like any cliche, should never be used. But you know what’s worse about corporate cliches, you have to hear them all the time, at a loud volume, from your manager that you don’t even like. Let’s call your manager Mike. Mike takes his job way too seriously, he always calls you out in front of your CEO when you don’t do something perfectly, and he has never taken one day of vacation in ten years. Mike shows up to every company gathering early, and complains that the pasta salad you brought isn’t chilled enough. You don’t even know who likes cold pasta anyway since you sure as hell didn’t make it yourself, and you’re just praying that Mike doesn’t say too much to your new boyfriend, if you even have a boyfriend by the end of the event. Well you know what’s the worst thing about Mike? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not his food preferences of lack of social skills … it’s his cliche sayings, his “corporate cliches” if you will.
Mike starts every call with a client by saying, “well at a high level..” he responds to every important question you have with, “let’s circle back” or “I’ll loop you in.” No, Mike, don’t do anything with me and round shapes. You are SO not hip. When mike disapproves of the work that he specifically requested from, he sends you “back to the drawing board” or “square one.” You want to know where you don’t want to go, Mike, there. But don’t worry, when you’re on ridiculous deadlines, he doesn’t tell you to go places, rather, he suggests you “hammer it out” or “move the needle.” Thank you for the encouragement, Mike… what makes these expressions so bad is that some of them really don’t make sense from a literal standpoint. Besides that, they are so overused. Just because your grandmother said them in her day, and hasn’t updated her jargon at the ripe age of 91, does not mean that it’s okay to take this terminology to the office place.
So, to help save what is left to be cultivated in the corporate world, we have made a game, Corporate Cliche Bingo. Every time someone says one one of these awful phrases, everyone else gets to fill in that square, until someone fills in 5 squares in a row, AKA BINGO. Maybe up the ante, a few drinks never hurt anyone. When Mike finally closes his mouth, or runs his wallet dry, you’ll have us to thank.
Posted In: General
One of Setfive’s New Years Resolutions is to prioritize our internal marketing. In establishing online presence, an initial project included refreshing the @setfive Twitter following list. To do so, we built a list of target accounts that we wanted to follow and then started searching for tools to automate the following. After some research, it appeared the only existing tools were paid with weird, and “sketchy,” pricing models. So, we decided to look at using the Twitter API to implement this list ourselves.
As we started looking at the API, we learned you need to be approved by Twitter to use the API. In addition, you need to implement OAuth to get tokens for write actions on behalf of a user, like following an account. We were only planning to use this tool internally once, so we decided to avoid the API and just automate browser actions via Puppeteer. For the uninitiated, Puppeteer is a library that allows developers to programmatically control Google Chromium, which is Chrome’s open source cousin.
Puppeteer ships as a npm package, so getting started is really just a “npm install,” and you’re off to the races. The Puppeteer docs provide multiple examples, so, I was able to whip up what we needed in a handful of lines of code (see below). Overall, the experience was positive and I’d be happy to use Puppeteer again.
So why would Puppeteer be interesting to your business?
In 2019 APIs are popular, many business provide access to data and actions through programatic means. However, not all of them do and that’s where Puppeteer provides an advantage. For example, many legacy insurance companies only provide quotes after you fill out a web form, which normally, you’d have to complete manually. If you automated that process with Puppeteer, you’d be able to process quotes at a much faster rate. 24 hours a day, and give yourself a competitive advantage against your competition.
Posted In: General
Posted In: General
Okay, so it’s your first time making a website and you are not sure which CMS to use, you may not even know what “CMS” means. Don’t worry, you are not alone, because it’s my first time creating a website too! With zero previous website development, nor design experience, I found that looking up different systems and softwares can be overwhelming and confusing. I came across numerous compare-contrast charts and pro-con lists, but these responses meant virtually nothing to me since I did not know which functions and services I would need.
More specifically, after finding lists of which features were included on each CMS, I did not understand each features function nor its relative importance. So, I have constructed a little breakdown of my research, in attempts to assist those of you who are looking into making a website for the first time. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be able to better understand how to start thinking about creating a website, which factors differentiate each CSM, and what those differences will mean for you as a website creator.
So what is a “CMS?” CMS is an abbreviation for “Content Management System,” and a CMS does exactly that, it manages the creation of digital content. The two specific CMS’s I will be discussing are: WordPress and Squarespace. I selected these softwares because a majority of the research I found published these CMS’s as two of the most “universal” website creation platforms ie. can be used to create pretty much any type of website. Also, according to five different sources, Squarespace and WordPress are listed as two of the top three most frequently used website creation platforms. (builtWith.com, W3tech.com, SimilarTech, Google Trends, and websitesetup.org.) As the most popular CMS in the world, WordPress powers almost ⅓ of the world’s websites. With over 22 million active sites, WordPress has over 12.5 times more active sites than the next most popular CSM. Ranking a close third, is Squarespace. While considered universal- in the type of websites these softwares can make- WordPress and Squarespace act as systems that service solely for website creation.
With identical purposes, many of the functions on WordPress and Squarespace are uniform. Some of the major functions that are looked for in website creation include: content import/export, drag & drop, landing pages/web forms, online booking tools, online store builder, pre-built templates, SEO Management. Both WordPress and Squarespace (as well as many other CSM’s) possess the functions previously listed. In addition, WordPress has Auto Update and Survey Builder, where Squarespace does not. However, one feature on Squarespace that WordPress does not include is real time editing. On Squarespace you also have the ability for social media sharing, where on wordpress you can upload the links to social media sites, but you cannot upload the social media channel itself. Unless you are looking for one of those four differentiating functions between these two CMS’s, the bigger distinguishing factors between WordPress and Squarespace are the ease of initial use and the customization abilities.
The difficulty of learning how to use Squarespace can be understood through the analogy of learning how to read. There is a learning curve at first, but once you start to sound out letters and can read at a moderate level, that is pretty much it. Essentially, reading can be tricky at first, but once you are proficient in the skill, there is not more to learn or develop. You have the ability, and you can use it, just like you are right now. Reading is similar to Squarespace because, like piecing together letters, learning all the aspects and tools of the Squarespace software can be a bit tricky at first. The tools are broken into sections, and it is not clear how to start building. Before using Squarespace, it is recommending to watch some tutorials on how to use the platform.
However, a majority of Squarespace’s users state that it only takes a few days fully comprehend, and learn, the full layout. On the contrary, WordPress can be understood with the analogy of learning math. WordPress has straightforward tools and it is very basic and simple to start. Any beginner can instantly start a site build, however, it is nearly impossible to master all of the features and capabilities of WordPress. Specialists in building websites on WordPress claimed that they still do not know all the functions of this CMS even after using it for years. So, whether it be reading or math, Squarespace or WordPress, the initial phases of site building, and learning how to use the CMS, each vary by platform.
Whether you are creating a website for something visually appealing, like photography, or something more textual, like a law firm, my guess is that you want your website to look good. The ascetics of website are often considered the highest importance, and can often be a major fact in drawing clients towards your business. Somewhat obviously, the first thing that happens when we look at a website is that we see it. So visuals and layout are important.
With a high emphasis on the physical appearance on the sight, Squarespace can be tough to beat. Squarespace has- what are almost unanimously considered- the most aesthetically pleasing templates. The designs on Squarespace are also uniform and great quality. What this means is that if you switch templates within Squarespace, you can use the same designs and their quality will not change. WordPress, on the contrary, doesn’t ship with the most visually appealing templates. Despite the ascetics of the templates, the customizability between the two CSM’s is very different, which is where WordPress gains a lot of it’s users.
While the Squarespace templates may look nicer, there is a lot less that you can do to individualize your template. With these templates, what you see is what you get. Apart from adjusting font size and color, another website that uses the same Squarespace template will look almost exactly the same. Squarespace also does have the ability to cross share templates, so you cannot pick and choose which designs you like the most on each template. On the other hand, WordPress has the widest range of customizability. On WordPress you can customize every single feature and design, which allows you to create an entirely unique sight.
With WordPress you can build everything from scratch, where Squarespace templates are already formatted and pre-made. One visual feature that WordPress offers that some people prefer is the ability to upload a background. Again, another feature that can make your website more unique looking. Due to the major differences between ascetics and customization, Squarespace is a good fit for people that want to take a more simplistic approach to building their website. Since Squarespace requires no backend or coding experience, it is great for non-technical people. In opposition, those that are more tech-savvy, and interested in creating a complex site, may benefit more from WordPress.
The customization abilities of these sites not only differentiates them aesthetically and functionally, but also financially. With Squarespace offering minimal customization, the price is a relatively fixed rate. The initial rate is higher than WordPress because you are paying for not only a premade template, but also for Squarespace to host your website. There are many advantages to not hosting your own website. Squarespace is acknowledged for having a very responsive and supportive customer service team. Their team can be contacted via e-mail and Twitter 24/7 and via their site chat during standard working hours. Squarespace does not provide customer support through phone calls, but with an active team they are responsive and secure, and have great reviews.
If there is a bug or flaw with your site, the host is automatically responsible to fix the error. If you host your own site, you are responsible to repair any damages or issues with your site. Typically, this becomes expensive because you often need to hire someone directly to fix this. Contrarily, if you have backend coding experience, this can be a great way to save money, since you may be able solve the problem yourself. That being said, if there are any changes made to Squarespace ie. updates, changes, pricing, etc.. that is not something that a user can prevent since they are not hosting their own site. Without a support team, individuals hosting their own site also facilitate more security issues.
With your own hosting and customization options on WordPress, you also have more control over your pricing. WordPress itself is free, but hosting the site costs a small fee. This fee is less than the monthly fee for Squarespace. However, the more features and designs you add to your WordPress site, the more you pay. Thus, with increased customization options comes an increase in payment. The maximum that you can pay on Squarespace is lower than the maximum you could pay on WordPress, but, since you have to outsource your site to use Squarespace, you have no control over the rates the software changes its pricing. Squarespace’s current fees are listed below:
On Squarespace, your domain is only free for the first year. On wordpress, a domain name typically costs $14.99 / year, and web hosting normally costs $7.99 / month. Depending on your needs, your cost to start a WordPress website can range from $100 to even as high as $30,000 or more. I hope this article was helpful trying to understand some fundamental differences between Squarespace and WordPress. Another site with helpful insight one CSM’s is Capterra.
My conclusion is that Squarespace may be more suitable for entrepreneurs, small size businesses, startups or anyone who is less experienced in website building, or wants a more simplified site creation that they can outsource. Due to the ascetics of the Squarespace templates, this CSM can be extremely beneficial for visual people (photographers, artists, etc..) and ideal for portfolios and blogging. WordPress may be more fitting for freelancer, non-profit organization, even bloggers looking to craft a detailed and customized website for little to no initial costs associated. Specifically WordPress can be a great selection for this with technical or design experience that know how to host their own website. Happy choosing, and happy website creation!
Posted In: General
If I went back in time 5 years and told myself that I would eventually work toward a bachelor’s degree in math, I never would have believed it. All throughout high school and even my freshman year of college, I had the same thought in every math class I took: “When would I ever use this in real life?” It was not until my first course in differential equations that I realized how useful and applicable mathematics can be to solve real life problems. However, these problems mainly involved physics and finance, neither of which are of interest to me. I enjoyed all my computer science classes but with a BS in computer science I was not going to graduate on time after transferring my freshman year. Choosing a concentration in computing allowed me to take a class on scientific computing — a class teaching you how to utilize computer science to write efficient programs that solve complicated systems of linear equations as well as estimate differential equations that cannot be solved exactly by any known methods.
A system of linear equations is a set of two or more multivariable equations, involving the same variables. For example: 2x + 2y = 4, 3x – y = 2, where x represents the same value in both equations as does y. A system of two linear equations, both involving only two variables can be solved simply by solving one for y, and plugging that y value into the other equation:
2x + 2y = 4 → 2y = 4 - 2x → y = (2 - x) …. 3x - y = 2 → 3x - (2 - x) = 2 → 3x - 2 + x = 2 → 4x = 4 → x = 1 …. y = 2 - x → y = 2- (1) = 1 ….
The solution is therefore x=1, y=1.
When you have many more equations as well as more variables than 2, solving by hand becomes less practical and can be virtually impossible in a system of 200 equations involve 200 variables.
To combat this, you can use represent the system of equations in a matrix, and solve through a process called Gaussian elimination. In Gaussian elimination, you can manipulate and reduce a matrix to a form where only the diagonal and everything above consist of numbers while everything below is 0. From there, the system is easy to solve. This can be simple for 3 x 3 matrices, but when you increase the dimensions it becomes impractical. The solution is to implement Gaussian elimination in a coding language. The course I took on scientific computing utilized MATLAB because MATLAB is built for numerical computations through matrices. As a challenge, I worked on implementing Gaussian elimination in Typescript. Using the math.js library to create and manipulate matrices as well as some help from Martin Thoma’s website at https://martin-thoma.com/solving-linear-equations-with-gaussian-elimination/, I was able to create a working program that can solve a system of equations of the form:
1x - 3y + 1z = 4 2x - 8y + 8z = -2 -6x + 3y -15z = 9
The above gives the exact solution x = 3, y = -1, and z = -2.
Implementing this in typescript was challenging at first, as matrix manipulation through the math.js library is much more complex than my experience in MATLAB. However, it was interesting to apply something I learned in a university course to a real world work situation. Since I am looking toward a career somewhere in the computer science field, a lot of the math courses I take are not fully relevant to what I will do later in life — though they really help when it comes to problem solving and thinking outside the box. Utilizing topics I have learned in class to make programs such as these makes the difficulty of majoring in mathematics well worth it!
Check out the code at https://github.com/Setfive/ts-base/blob/master/src/GaussElim.ts and a live demo below!