On-Demand Plugin Creation

At a recent conference we were asked if we merely customized existing plugins or if we created our own. It’s a fair question. The potential client was trying to judge our level of expertise; not everyone has the experience to create secure plugins specific to a customer’s needs.

During this conversation the phrase “On-Demand Plugin Creation” was coined and it fits what we do very well. If you have an idea that’s never been tried, or want to create a solution to a problem never before solved, you will likely need custom code to do it and with 20 years of programming experience, eHermits, Inc. can make that happen.

If you’d like to see how our plugins and custom software solutions have enabled customers to bring their ideas to life, visit our case studies page.

Everyone Needs an eHermit

Who is your tech guru? You know, the person you can reach out to at any time, because they will just know the answer to your question. Do you have someone that has both the experience to simply make something happen, when that is what you need, and the patience to teach you the details that will empower you to be in control of your own site?

If you have such a person in your life, that person is what is known as an eHermit – someone living life by the pale glow of a monitor so that you don’t have to. If you don’t have someone like that in your life, in today’s on-line world, shouldn’t you?

Our team of eHermits has expertise in WebSite Design, custom theme development, server maintenance, on-demand plugin creation, PHP development, database management, security techniques, graphic design, WordPress, eCommerce, vBulletin, BackPress and many other technologies. In short, we know what we are doing.

Please excuse our dust

We have recently a added the iThemes All-Access package to our tool set and as a result, the eHermits, Inc. Home page is in the midst of a redesign. This was begun on Friday, October 22nd and all changes should be complete by Monday, October 25th. The site already looks so much better, that we’ve decided to bring you along for the ride.

There may be links to pages that have not yet been published and initial text with out graphics or content that is subject to change. Feel free to leave any comments along the way but please be aware that until Monday is here, there’s likely to be missing information and broken links.

You can still order services and seek support through http://support.ehermitsinc.com or contact us at any time on twitter: http://twitter.com/ehermits or send an email to info@ehermitsinc.com.

OpenVBX is what you use when you want to work with your phone system, not fight it.

It’s great that you have a website.  You work from home.  No commute.  No traffic.  But your business is lacking that personal touch.  You know the one where a real human being picks up the phone and actually talks to the customer?  You may even have a friend you would like to hire part-time and work from their home to deal with calls relating to your business.  You now have a technical issue.

How do you route calls relating to your home business to a part-time employee who also works from home?

This is just one of the solutions we have an answer for and it’s user-friendly to use too.  It uses the powerful and affordable Twilio service to assign phone numbers.

OpenVBX is a web-based open source phone system for business.

It can route calls, handle sms messages to groups & individuals, be an all-in-one web-based voice-mail system and do your laundry all at the same time.  Well, maybe not laundry.

I want to take you on a brief tour of OpenVBX on the ehermitsinc.com servers and show you what you can do with openVBX working for you.

Please note.  The process below takes about 5 minutes to complete.  If you have other pressing engagements, they can wait till you have your phone system set up.  It’s easy.  So easy in fact, you may just want to create more things to do with your system such as routing calls to relatives who have hearing problems, or sending cryptic sms text messages to callers who are on cell phones.  Please refrain from doing so.  This is your warning before you begin.

Step 1.

When you first log into www.phone.ehermitsinc.com you will be greeted with this screen.  Feel free to add your phone and verify it on this screen.

Step 2.

Now, lets get you a business phone number.

Step 3.

Put in your local area code for your new phone number or choose a toll free number.  For my example, I am using a number in Franklin, KY because I am getting ready to move there.

Step 4.

You now have a phone number and can start giving it to people or putting it on business cards, but before we go further lets create a “flow”.  A flow is how the call made to this new number gets routed.  How it (being the call) flows.  Feel free to use this word “flow” in other daily conversations (ie.  “I will flow’ down to the grocery store to pick up some milk.” or “Where have my keys ‘flowed’ off to?’, or the always popular “You interrupted my ‘thought flow’!”

Step 4.

Yes, step 4.  The last one was too simple, so I thought I’d keep them the same step.  Let’s keep this “flowing”.

Click the “setup flow” button and you get this screen.  This is the screen where all the magic happens.  I found out the hard way though that this screen is not iPad compatible because drag and drop doesn’t work on an iPad touchscreen for some reason.  Silly iPad.  From here you can just drag and drop applet elements from the right sidebar into the flow to make it handle a call exactly how you want it to be handled.

Step 5.

For our example I want my weekends off and people can leave a voice-mail then as I won’t be anywhere near where I can help them if I have my way.  So I am going to route all my messages during business hours to a menu where they can talk to Brian or myself and route all calls during off hours to a voice-mail system.

Step 6.

I dragged a voicemail applet over to the bottom of the Scheduling screen.  Now to drag a menu applet over to… well, it looks like you saw that twitter applet and decided you wanted it to read your last twitter message before sending the caller to voicemail.  Way to stay on top of things and provide your business caller with the most up to date twitter message about your cat eating your cell phone.

Step 7.

Now lets route that call to a menu and make it call some people.  Here you can also upload an mp3 or just use a robot voice.  I kinda like the robot voice though so that’s what I used here.  If one is pressed, it dials Brian.  For 2, it dials me.

Step 8.

But, if you have the system dial me, I am going to mess with your head by texting messages back to your cell phone… well, because I can.

There, now you have it.  You’re done.  Go get that coffee now.

Finishing Up This Week: Land or Homes

Real Estate sites for individual Realtors always present a unique set of boundaries that you have to work within.  There are things that can be challenging like displaying content from the company website that the Real Estate Agents work for (within an iframe which happens to be the only legal way to do so in this particular case), then there are the legal ramifications like how big do we have to make the logos so that the agent doesn’t get in legal trouble with the company they work for.

Land or Homes is the team website of Realtors Chris Davisson and Larry Forth in the Central Ohio Area.


Planned Network Maintenance Thursday, June 24th, 11:00 pm – 1am CST

This is a network maintenance notification.

Summary of Maintenance: The purpose of this work is to update and streamline
the routing policies in the data center. This is to ensure
maximum performance and connectivity to all clients. Best practice and
procedures will be employed throughout the maintenance and we would like to
ensure that our clients are aware of the activity. During this maintenance a
number of network engineers will be on site.

Customer Impact:
During this maintenance window, there may be one or more brief interruptions
while network traffic is rerouted across our providers. We expect overall client impact to be minimal.

If you have any questions or concerns about this maintenance notification,
please send an email to hosting@ehermitsinc.com

Revamped Site

Welcome to the revamped eHermits, Inc. site.

As you can see, the site has undergone a significant redesign.  This structure is cleaner, and closer to where it will land in the end.  However this is not the final theme that will be used.

So please excuse the dust as it settles.  If you do notice any typos or missspellings, do let me know and they will be immediately corrected.  Some of the content is probably more “stream of consciousness” quality than final. Things like resolving vacillations between “I” and “we” should be completed over the next few days.

Above all let me know your thoughts, I’d be glad to hear them.