Monthly Archives: September 2010 | Force 5
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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sep
20

Force 5 Adds New Vice President of Client Development

Posted on September 20, 2010 by dmorgan

William "Butch" WhitmireSouth Bend, Ind. – Force 5, South Bend, Ind., announces the addition of William "Butch" Whitmire as Vice President of Client Development. Whitmire’s responsibilities include building long-term relationships with, and developing and implementing marketing strategies for prospective clients.

Whitmire has over 22 years of sales, management, marketing and leadership experience in planning, communicating and executing marketing initiatives and creative projects. Since graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in marketing, he has worked with companies such as Stanz Foodservice, Gordon Food Service and Granger Community Church to help them develop and exceed strategic marketing objectives and realize organizational growth.

Located in South Bend, Force 5 is a next generation brand development and marketing communications firm. The company combines expert technology with creative and soulful ideas to drive client’s goals beyond expectations through insightful brand expression, brilliant ideas and award winning marketing programs. Force 5 works with clients as strategic partners to build communities and exceed the expected. For more information, visit www.DiscoverForce5.com.

Sep
20

There has been a lot of activity in the browser market over the past few months. The most recent step forward is Microsoft’s release of Internet Explorer (IE) 9. Microsoft is touting improvements with IEs handling of web standards, graphics, and JavaScript. JavaScript has become the de-facto standard for web designers of dynamic and highly interactive websites. Since so many websites use JavaScript, it is very important for browsers to be able to process it very quickly. In this entry I’m going to compare the JavaScript performance of Microsoft IE8, Microsoft IE9, Mozilla Firefox (v3.6), Google Chrome, and Opera using the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark available at: http://www2.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9/sunspider.html.

In order to provide the most equal environment for the tests, I ran the benchmarks on the same machine (Windows 7 Ultimate running within a VMWare virtual machine), with no other applications running, right after a fresh reboot. I then directly navigated to the benchmark site. For the purposes of this examination, I'll only discuss the total results of the benchmark, however, the site gives very fine grain details of the results of the test.

Here are the results of the examination:

Browswer:                     Time To Execute:
===================           =============================
IE 8 (v8.0.7600.16385)        4089.6ms +/-  2.4%
Firefox (v3.6.10)             1186.8ms +/-  7.8%
Opera (v10.62 b3500)          525.4ms +/- 21.9%
Chrome (v6.0.472.62)          370.4ms +/-  4.8%
IE 9 (v9.0.7930.16406)        647.6ms +/-  9.5%

From these results, we can see that Microsoft has greatly improved the performance of its JavaScript engine (they have cut the benchmark time in half). Though not as fast as Opera or Chrome, which are both highly optimized for JavaScript performance, IE9 has made significant inroads. The release of IE9 has raised the bar for the Mozilla community to continue to improve Firefox. Considering IE9 is still in a beta state, one can only imagine that the performance will only improve.

How did Microsoft improve its JavaScript Engine? According to Microsoft, they were able to make the improvements by using the following techniques:

JavaScript Background Compilation: Many script engines today start with an optimized interpreter, and compile individual sections or methods into machine code to run faster. Others always compile JavaScript into machine code before running it, often compiling each method as it is needed. Both these approaches have to trade off quality or quantity of compiled code against execution speed. Generating high-quality code for today’s applications requires time to optimize the compiled code.

IE9 includes a fast interpreter for running pages quickly on startup. For compilation, we have a background code generator that compiles script code, and we push compiled methods back into the application. Because the code generator runs in the background, it can take advantage of today’s advanced multi-core machines and generate higher-quality code, while not blocking initial execution of the application.

Type Optimizations: One of the most important aspects of enabling performance on JavaScript is to create an efficient type system. The IE9 script engine uses many of the techniques common in modern dynamic language implementations, including type representation, polymorphic inline caching (also called type evolution or hidden classes), and efficient implementation of machine types.

Fast Interpreter: For pages where immediate execution in the interpreter is important, IE9 includes a new interpreter which uses a register-based layout, efficient opcode, and use of type optimizations.

Library Optimizations: The performance of JavaScript pages and applications depends heavily on key aspects of the script runtime library: strings, arrays, objects, and regular expressions. We are investing in these areas for IE9. These libraries require careful tuning for the real Web - one example is the execution of regular expressions. Most script engines today use compilation and optimization techniques to run regular expressions faster, and IE9 includes an improved regular expression implementation. In analyzing real world Web sites, we find a set of patterns used frequently, but we also find unique cases – for example, a site that creates hundreds of regular expressions and uses very few of them – we will continue to use this data to tune our regular expression implementation and other library features for IE9.

Considering IE9's support for modern standards such as HTML5 and CSS3, and GPU support for graphics Microsoft has made a great step forward in the "Browser wars."

To learn how to take best advantage of the use of modern technology combined with inspired ideas to bring your business to the next level, contact us at Force 5. We'd be happy to help!

 

Sep
16

Hide IIS7 Response Headers

Posted on September 16, 2010 by force5

What are Response Headers?

Response headers is data that gets sent from the server to the browser. The data can include date & time, content type (ex: text/html, text/javascript), and server information (ex: Microsoft-IIS/7.0).

Why is it important to hide them?

Security. At the most basic level it will not broadcast what operating system the web server is and which version it is whether it is a Microsoft IIS web server or an Apache PHP web server. Here is an example of what information is passed back to the browser:

Notes: This was complete on a Windows 2008 web server with IIS 7. One prerequisite we noticed is that you may need to install the IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility tool.

Steps to hide Response Headers in IIS:

  1. Download & Install UrlScan
  2. Configure UrlScan.ini settings
    • Open UrlScan.ini with Notepad (run as administrator).
      • C:\%OS-Directory%\System32\inetsrv\urlscan\UrlScan.ini
    • Change RemoveServerHeader value
      • RemoveServerHeader=1

  1. Editing Machine.Config settings file
    • This next edit you will need to make on each ASP.NET Framework version that you currently run. For example, Force 5 has applications that run ASP.NET version 2.0 & 4.0.
    • You will need to add this configuration setting to each Machine.Config file inside the <system.web> section.
      <system.web>
           <httpRuntime enableVersionHeader="false" />
            .....
      </system.web>

    • An important note, if you do not access to the Machine.Config files you can make this same change to your Web.Config file inside your individual website. The only difference is that you will need to include this setting in each website. Whereas the Machine.Config file will make this change global across the web server.
    • You can find your .NET Framework versions and Machine.Config files in either of these two directories:
      • C:\%OS-Directory%\Microsoft.NET\Framework
      • C:\%OS-Directory%\Microsoft.NET\Framework64
  2. Editing php.ini configuration settings (skip this step if you do not have PHP installed)
    1. Locate and open up your php.ini file
    2. Scroll down until you locate "expose_php"
    3. Set expose_php = Off

  1. Restart IIS.
    • After restarting IIS and reviewing the changes you will notice all of the Server Response Headers no longer show.

Just a quick recap of what we just did:

  • Steps 1 & 2, only removes the "Server: Microsoft- IIS/{version}"  response header.
  • Steps 3 & 4, removes the actual ASP.NET & PHP version response header (example: X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727) from being displayed.

If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below or to contact us.

Sep
13

Two examples of great local Brand Ambassadors!

Posted on September 13, 2010 by ddefreeuw

As a Certified Brand Strategist here at Force 5, I am always on the look out for brand done well and brand that needs help. Both are easy to spot. I have found two examples of wonderful brand ambassadors locally and want to share them with you.

The first example of a great brand ambassador is one of my favorite people, Andrew Snyder, Vice President, Community Development and Marketing at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center. You can’t help but notice that Andrew is always impeccably dressed and has a quick wit. That alone does not make a brand ambassador.  It goes deeper than that. While meeting with Andrew, we traveled from the lobby through the hospital to get to a conference room. Andrew said hello to EVERY person he passed along the way. Not a polite hello, but a genuine “hello, how are you?” We passed a lot of people on our way and every time it was the same. It is a small thing, but just adds to his personal brand, and the brand of the hospital. That brand is “caring.”

Most times it is the small things that bring your brand up a notch from good to great. It is how people in your organization present themselves and reflect the company brand.

The second example I have of brand done well can be found at one of my favorite places, somewhere I have visited since I was a little girl, the South Bend Farmers Market. There is a booth there called “A Dedicated Life” owned by Cara Matheis. Cara’s booth specializes in organic, vegan and gluten free foods. The booth is attractive and easy to browse, but that does not make it exceptional. What makes it exceptional is Cara herself. I stopped by her booth and talked to her about her raw bars. She was very knowledgeable and friendly. The other thing that I have always noticed about Cara is how she presents herself. There were times in August when it was very hot and there is Cara with a stylish dress, headband and big smile. Not what you would necessarily expect of a vendor at a farmers market. Always put together and looking stylish – as well as approachable. It’s these qualities that make her brand exceptional.

It’s a good reminder on how everything, from how you answer the phone to the presentation of your product on the shelf, represents your brand. Both of these stories are great examples of internal branding.  The takeaway here is that your brand must be internalized before any external branding is undertaken.  We have all had bad customer service encounters where the experience didn’t match the brand.  Whatever your brand, make sure its internalized first—making your employees are ambassadors of your brand will always be your first step to success.

If you’d like to find ways to get your brand on track, Force 5 can help!

Sep
09

Force 5 Adds Another Left-Brain to the Team

Posted on September 9, 2010 by dmorgan

Christian MattixForce 5, South Bend, In., announces the addition of Christian Mattix as web application developer and network administrator. Mattix’s responsibilities include technical design and development of web applications, along with building, optimizing, maintaining and trouble shooting complex and secure databases, among other duties.

Mattix graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a minor in English. He interned with Microsoft and has worked with a variety of companies, including small start-ups, medical centers and Purdue University’s College of Education. Through his experience he has been instrumental in the development of an intranet search engine for arbitrary, unstructured data types and files; a retail and marketing management program for a mid-size grocery retailer; an artificial intelligence based expert system that handles process automation and information flow; and interfaces and applications that interact with electronic medical record systems.

Located in South Bend, Force 5 is a next generation brand development and marketing communications firm. The company combines expert technology with creative and soulful ideas to drive client’s goals beyond expectations through insightful brand expression, brilliant ideas and award winning marketing programs. Force 5 works with clients as strategic partners to build communities and exceed the expected. For more information, visit www.DiscoverForce5.com.