RIP Windows XP

Windows XP was released by Microsoft in 2001 and has been going strong for the last 13 years. That reign came to an end on April 8, 2014 because XP is no longer being supported by Microsoft for everything from updates to customer service.

Computers running XP are continuing to work but Microsoft cautions people to use it at their own risk, saying, “Users are now 5x more vulnerable to viruses and security risks now that support has ended.”

At thirdstream our policy is to support the most modern software (including operating systems) as possible to ensure the security of your system as well as the personal information of your members.

Our UX Director Jeff Coomber says, ‘Even before April 8th, Microsoft had told users that XP was 7x more likely to be hacked than Windows 7 which isn’t even the latest version of Windows. This is why we recommend that our clients’ solutions be designed for at least Internet Explorer 8. As technology changes and hackers evolve their attacks, the need for up to date modern software to combat the potential threats is much more important.’

Actually, it looks like it’s also the beginning of the end for Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) as well. IE 8 will continue to be supported on Windows Vista but many developers, including Microsoft (for Office 365), are no longer supporting IE 8 due to it’s lack of modern functionality and security.

This is one of the reasons thirdstream has decided to support only modern browsers for its member facing software and web properties.

If you’d like to learn more about Windows XP’s end of life, check out these Microsoft support links:

Microsoft website
Microsoft support video

remote deposit capture

thirdstreams labs is very excited to announce the addition of Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) to cumulus™. This functionality will significantly decrease the completion time of an application and greatly improve the user experience.

At the end of the current process, the user is required to send a cheque to the credit union via Canada Post (snail mail). The new process will enable the user to submit their cheque digitally. The credit union will receive these funds almost instantly. What used to take days (10 on average) can now be done in a matter of minutes.

In terms of user experience, users are now able to complete the entire process from their digital devices. They will no longer be required to find an envelope, stamp and mailbox to send the cheque.

The way we see it, every hurdle we can remove from the user experience will substantially increase the conversion rate and make the process that much more enjoyable.

With the addition of RDC, cumulus™ has become an even more powerful virtual account opening and member onboarding system.

our two cents

Every day, each member of our team sits down in front of his or her computer screen with the goal of accomplishing something for our company, themselves or our clients. Usually, it is all three. Given the quirky personalities on our team, we were kind of curious about what those ‘somethings’ could be. So we asked. Some of the answers were very altruistic. Some were downright goofy.

Get some insight into how our crazy little team ticks by reading a few of their answers.

The question:
What are two things you most look forward to about the work you do at thirdstream every day?

Let’s start with Donedin, our administrator extraordinaire. She greets each of us (and our clients) with a friendly smile every day and generally makes life a little brighter for everyone. When we asked her for her ‘two things’, she said:

  1. Being able to make a difference.
  2. The sense of accomplishment I get at the end of a day.

Awww. That is so sweet. Other teammates echoed her with similar sentiments.

Isaac – our QA strategist and junior editor shares:

  1. As a copy editor, I like seeking out issues and rectifying them before we send out our documents. It makes me feel like I am an intricate part of the process (which he most certainly is).
  2. I like QA for a lot of the same reasons I posted for #1. I enjoy the challenge of seeking out issues and contributing to the project at large. Essentially, I like the feeling of contributing my skills towards a larger goal.

Mike – our lead designer (and man of few words) enjoys:

  1. The people.
  2. Learning and playing with new technologies. 

Mihir – our business analyst likes:

  1. To take on a project and see it through to success.
  2. Giving the clients an end-product that meets their needs and makes them happy.

Rachel, our VP of Business Development say she most enjoys:

  1. Working with the team and watching great ideas come to life.
  2. Solving problems for our clients.

Other answers blend whimsy with altruism.

Kristy, our social marketing director says:

  1. Learning. I literally learn something new EVERY day.
  2. The laughter. There’s always lots of that…when we take the time to look up from our screens.

Paul, our lead programmer likes to ask himself:

  1. What challenge am I going to overcome with an amazing solution today?
  2.  How will I ‘tag-team-the-heck out of it’ with my co-workers?

Raul, another of our talented programmers looks forward to:

  1. The challenge of building our applications.
  2. Seeing how many Dr. Pepper cans I can stack on my desk. (The answer is 8, because that’s when Jeff comes in and knocks them off).

Jeff, our (dry-witted) Director of User Experience asked to have three things on his list:

  1. Talking to Kathy.
  2. Talking to Kathy.
  3. Working on new software/functionality.

Speaking of Kathy, our Creative/Copy Director loves brainstorming and connecting with clients. She says:

  1. I look forward to the brain drain that occurs after a really awesome idea is articulated. And the thrill we all get when that idea comes to life.
  2. I really enjoy talking with our clients about what they love most – their credit unions and their members.  Each story is so unique. I feel incredibly lucky when our creative team gets to help them find a way to tell it.

We’re an unusual collection of big thinkers, oddballs, artists and everything in between. We love the work that we do and it’s fair to say we love that we do it together.

meet our vp of business development

If you’ve done any work with thirdstream, there’s a good chance that Rachel Milan was the first person you talked to. If you have, you’ll know that being in a conversation with Rachel makes you feel you’re chatting with a friend and ally. She’s funny, smart and really gets to the heart of what our credit union clients need.

As our Vice President of Business Development, Rachel works closely with clients and our creative and technology teams to deliver results. Whether you’re looking for a unique one-off campaign, a whole year of marketing, a website or banking software, Rachel will understand what you need and will guide our team in providing it for you. Forging new relationships and looking for the opportunity to work on win-win projects is at the core of what Rachel does for thirdstream everyday.

Among the highlights of her career (so far) was the chance to participant in the World Council of Credit Unions’ Young Leaders Program (WYCUP), Rachel had the opportunity to engage with the international credit union community, an experience she calls invaluable.  Outside of the office, Rachel’s interests are family, blogging and kickboxing. She’s also big on LinkedIn. You can find her here.

Here are some other cool Rachel facts.

When did you join the thirdstream team?
September 2010.

What is your role with thirdstream?
My role is to help each client feel like they are the only one we have. As someone who has worked in the credit union system, I try to bring that understanding and knowledge to both our team and our work so that the true voice of the credit union is at the heart of all we create.

What appeals to you the most about the work you do with thirdstream?
Being part of a team that delivers significant results and innovations for credit unions is inspiring. I know that everything we create for our clients will help them grow their business. I also love moving a client’s challenge to an opportunity and being part of the team that sees that transformation. We are a fun and whacky bunch!

In 1-2 sentences, what do you appreciate the most about being part of this team?
I appreciate most that we can all be ourselves and not worry about keeping up appearances.  This team knows me better than some of my family and they still want to work with me!

We are a very real team, raw with talent, emotion, passion and respect for one another (and this awesome company that asked “What if we just serve credit unions?”)

Anything else?
I was very fortunate to represent Canadian Credit Unions in Hong Kong and Barcelona through the World Council of Credit Unions’ Young Leaders Program (WYCUP). I value the connections that I have made throughout my time in the co-operative system. As a family, we try to support co-operatives wherever we can, right down to the butter on our table

Now for the fun stuff

July 24. It’s my birthday 24-7!

In Hammertown – Hamilton. Oskee Wee Wee!

Grew up in which decade
The 80s, like totally.

Biggest musical (or other) influence when you were growing up
U2, Madonna, Paul Simon (yep), The Cosby Show.

Favourite tune/band on your ipod right now
Anything that encourages dance moves for no reason at all.

Family you’d like to mention? (kids, spouse, etc.)
My hubby and I just celebrated our 15 year anniversary by having a baby 11 years after our last. Two dapper boys are helping to take care of their little Pisces sister who will be one in March.

You’re happiest when
There is a thunder storm.

Other Hobbies/Interests
I’ve become a blogger recently, I love to write. I’m also into kickboxing and volleyball.

Favourite Beverage
Anything without an umbrella.

Greatest inspiration
My daughter. If she found her way into this world, anything is possible.

Greatest achievement (so far)
Kicking breast cancer’s a$# with a newborn in tow.