Welcome to the Byte Blog where we share our thoughts on design, technology, and occasionally, cats.

Content Strategy Skills to Connect With Your Patrons

by Michael Diedrick on Sep 2, 2019

Library navigations are important to get right because of the wide range of people visiting a site, and the range of needs those people have. We often hear librarians consider their website an online branch, which requires the care and thought an offline branch would take. So, how do you start thinking about a content strategy for a new branch? Read more!

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Tags: Design, Process

West Bend Community Memorial Library Puts New Website Live

by Michael Diedrick on Jan 4, 2019

Libraries are of course a major focus here at Byte, and working with librarians is a great pleasure because they’re highly organized, they understand how content works and they’re strongly patron and community focused. We especially loved working with the good people at the West Bend Community Memorial Library (WBCML) because they’re highly inclusive and strive to communicate effectively

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Tags: Business, Design, Byte Clients

AlphaGo at the Milwaukee Film Festival

by Michael Diedrick on Sep 20, 2017

Byte is in its third year as community partner for the 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival showing of the film AlphaGo, a documentary that covers the subjects of artificial intelligence and “deep learning”. If you like to see explorations of how artificial intelligence (AI) teaches us humans about us, this will be a fun documentary.

The chinese game of Go is considered to be the most difficult game in the world, and ...

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Tags: New Technology, MKE Film Festival

You case-insensitive bastard

by Michael Diedrick on Aug 12, 2014

JQuery is an immensely useful framework in Javascript, and even better, when it misses something, like how the ':contains' selector only finds things that are the same case, it's surprisingly easy to extend.  

$.extend($.expr[":"], {
"containsNoCase": function(elem, i, match, array) {
return (elem.textContent || elem.innerText || "").toLowerCase().indexOf((match[3] || "").toLowerCase()) >= 0;

Then change your :contains selector to :containsNoCase, like $("body:containsNoCase").each(....  And voila, you’ll shed a tear for both the little and big letters in no time.

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by Michael Diedrick on May 27, 2014

Long before the 1945 ideas of Vannevar Bush, known to be the seeds of the modern internet, there was a Belgian bibliographer and entrepreneur named Paul Otlet. In 1895, Otlet envisioned "Universal Libraries" as a way to give access from afar to a vast number of books.

A new piece in The Atlantic by Alex Wright, Secret History of Hypertext, describes how 40 years later Otlet refined the idea to "electric telescopes" which could deliver books, pictures, audio recordings and movies. In 1935, Otlet wrote "From a distance, everyone will be able to read text, enlarged and limited to the desired subject, projected on an individual screen. In this way, everyone from his armchair will be able to contemplate the whole of creation, in whole or in certain parts."

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Tags: Inspiration, Leading Indicators

Heartbleed Vulnerability

by Michael Diedrick on Apr 9, 2014

It’s another day, so there’s another worry in the world of web development (and servers in general) -- the Heartbleed vulnerability for OpenSSL  It’s a tiny ‘glitch in the mainframe’ that allows someone to read 64 kb of a server’s memory and un-encrypt things that are sent through what we all understood to be secure, like your credit card numbers or your secure email.  And while every minor bug gets security analysts and the press running around like a bunch of frantic muppets, this one will be a real problem if not addressed. Why?  Because it’s not a single piece of software, it’s part of the foundation of secure communication, OpenSSL, the system that keeps the most secret of the secrets.

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Tags: General News, Security

What We Aren’t Talking About With’s “Debacle”

by Michael Diedrick on Oct 29, 2013

To us as web developers, it’s fun when a website makes news.  More so when the President of the United States has a press conference about a bad website launch.  Even more so when a website plays a part in a great national debate.  But it’s downright fascinating to see how website part the debate itself is just plain wrong.  Read more past the break.

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Tags: Business, Leading Indicators

Google and the World Brain at Milwaukee Film Festival

by Michael Diedrick on Sep 23, 2013

Byte is co-presenting a film at the Milwaukee Film Festival 2013, Google and the World Brain. The film seems to be positing that there’s evil lurking below Google’s “don’t be evil” unofficial motto.  The trailer ends with a quote, “google could basically hold the whole world hostage,” pushing the idea that their seeming monopoly could limit access to the world’s knowledge.  Really? Follow on in and let's discuss.

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Tags: Business, General News

Stylish Hydroponic Planter Kickerstarter

by Michael Diedrick on Apr 12, 2013

Modern Sprout is a side project of one of our favorite clients.  They've created a windowsill planter box that’s "simple, self-sustaining, and naturally stylish."  It's a micro-hydroponics system that automatically waters and nourishes the plants, and you just need to give it water and nutrients once every few weeks or so.  The hydroponics system is hidden inside the box, and requires no dirt, only water and nutrients and electricity, and they have a solar cell that solves the need to plug in.  Very smart!  Nice work Sarah.

Check out their kickstarter page!


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Tags: Design, General News, Byte Clients

Using NFC to make life a little safer and more awesomated

by Michael Diedrick on Feb 8, 2013

If you’ve purchased an Android phone in the last year, you probably have a featured called NFC that’s never used unless you’re using Google Wallet, with despite how convenient it is, it’s a seeming west coast and Japan phenomenon.  But you don’t have to fly west to use NFC, it’s also a rather versatile way to make your life a little easier and maybe even safer.  Read more after the break.

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Tags: Leading Indicators, Security

New site: AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin

by Michael Diedrick on Jan 8, 2013

We’re proud to present the new AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) site.  ARCW is a statewide AIDS service organization with nine offices throughout the state, and is among the largest and most comprehensive AIDS service agencies in the country.

Take a look!  Thanks to Mike and Bill for shepherding all the content into the new site -- that was quite a large task!

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Tags: General News, Recent Work, Byte Clients

SpeechTails an even better investment

by Michael Diedrick on Jul 2, 2012

Byte alumni SpeechTails is in the news again, specifically they they're certified as a 'qualified new business venture' by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.  That means that new investors of SpeechTails will be eligible for a 25% tax credit on the amount they invest. Congrats Todd & Amy!

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New site completion tool

by Michael Diedrick on Jun 19, 2012

In the business of being a client, you get the advantage of working with professionals, so all the really hard things are done for you.  Except one: Content.  Even we sometimes forget how hard it is to get the content right.  Any time we forget how hard it is, we always remember when we upgrade our own website.  It's like a powered microphone on a well-lit stage.  

But the biggest, most painful part of this process is simply now knowing how far you are, how much of the content is done and how much has yet to be written.  This last time we updated our site, we created a tool that we're offering to our new clients: a simple progress tracker that shows how close we were from completion, and what had to be done yet.

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Tags: Business

Eponymous Laws: Schneier's law

by Michael Diedrick on May 15, 2012

Each month, we're taking a look at an eponymous law, a 'law' that's named after someone, usually the author.

Today we're looking at Schneier's law - "Any person can invent a security system so clever that she or he can't think of how to break it."  More, my new hacker friend, after the break.

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Tags: Eponymous Laws, Security

Easy Answers for Email Providers

by Michael Diedrick on May 15, 2012

Who do you recommend to host email?  Here’s an easy answer: Google. Now 10gb of space, excellent spam control, a tool designed for productivity, support for accessing your email via smartphones, mail clients and, of course, Google’s web interface.  All this adds up to the most professional system we’ve seen, the system that any competitor will have to beat.  Learn more after the break.

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Tags: Business, Email, Security