Blog posts tagged "groundspring"

O’Reilly Connection and Post Search

August 2nd, 2005

Not sure why O’Reilly is getting into the yet another social network site space, but having spent 10 minutes playing with O’Reilly Connection, a couple of quick comments.

Finally they’re going to do something with all that user generated content across the O’Reilly Network sites. For some reason they’ve never been able to catalyze decent user community around all that content, but at least having persistent profiles will help. (not that I’m in a position to criticize as I explicitly passed on the opportunity to help them make it better, when I went to Groundspring)

Tags, Not Just a Gimmick

The closest thing to innovation is the heavy use of tags. Interestingly spending a couple of minutes filling out my profile reminded me that Friendster had a similar impl. of tags back in the day, we just none of us knew thats what they were.

Everybody and their dog is adding tags to their apps these days, but its interesting to see it working on Connection. More then an amusing (or annoying) toy, tags on Connection really enhance the browsability/discoverability of the site, and as discovery is the primary (non-broken) activity of a social network site, this is key.

Post Search

Couple that with Flickr’s new “Explore” features, and I think we’re starting to see a push to towards non-search techniques for discovery, a realization that perhaps Google has been a false plateau.

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ActionStudio, eAdvocacy, and Open Source

June 21st, 2005

One of the many things to come from Jeff, Todd and myself leaving Groundspring was an option to release the the GS suite of tools as open source. This has been a slow process, and most of this code was never developed to be open source, but over time we’ll be packaging piece of it up (in the mean time Tactical Tech and CiviCRM are looking into using).

There is a Sourceforge project, an nearly empty wiki, and a mailing list. (what else could possibly been needed for a successful open source project!)

In the mean time, one of the exciting possibilities that releasing the code made possible is that Jeff has been able to resurrect the discontinued AdvocacyNow tool at the original domain. See Jon Stahl, and Jeff for more info.

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Changed Employment Status

April 12th, 2005

Hi all, realized I should clue people in to my changed status.

As may or may not be obvious from my recent posts I am not currently writing PHP for a living. You can read the press release for background, to which I can add that I’m understandably disappointed.

But also excited. Excited about the future open source incarnation of the Groundspring toolset. Excited to be keeping busy brainstorming new ways to make trouble with some of my favorite people (more on that soon), and contracting out as RoR slinger for an old friend.

And it’s finally Spring in Boston! Life is good. Thats the update.

(update: bah! after a week of 68 degree weather I had to tempt fate, and now it’s snowing)

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Losing Faith in Openness

February 10th, 2005

Or perhaps feeling as if I don’t entirely understand it. Two recent experiments one I participated in, and one observed in being open about things which are traditionally secret seem to be paying off poorly.

The first was the decision by Groundspring to post our design and spec documents for our “community relationship management” tool to the public as we were building them. The idea was that this would engage people in a discussion of which features were meaningful to the organization. In fact what it did was make it very simple for a me too project to slap together a very similar sounding spec followed by a mail blast to every relevant tech mailing list asking for feedback on their new spec.

The second is Robot Co-op’s decision to disclose their relationship with Amazon which rather then quieting down the conspiracy theorist seems to have brought them out of the wood work with demands for even more disclosure.

I’ve done some thinking about how a different space for dialogue might have been created for the first experiment, but I think largely we’re still dealing with a culture that isn’t really trained to engage in dialogue, and responds much better to being rebuffed, fed press releases, and kept in the dark.

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Moving (back) to Boston

November 23rd, 2004

Well I have good news and I have bad news.

The good news is I’m moving back to Boston. The bad news is I’m leaving Seattle. Seattle is a great city, and I’ve loved living here for the last 16 months. In some ways I don’t see myself as moving away as much as wrapping up an initial scouting foray. I really thought this move was going to stick, but maybe next time.

I’m going to continue working for Groundspring, which is great and should give me plenty of opportunities to be back on the West Coast for extended periods of time. (and in the fact that is plan, to come back on a regular basis and work face to face in order to overcome some of the challenges of being remote) So I’m planning to go on hanging out with all you folks out here.

In Boston

Jasmine and I are looking for an apartment in Jamaica Plain, preferably pond side (walking distance to Junebug would be nice), if you have any leads, please, pass them along!

Once we’ve got an apartment I’m going to be looking for an office, ideally a desk in a shared office with people doing interesting work. In an office with other people doing non-profit/activist tech work would be ideal. Again any leads would be great.

Once I’m back in Boston I’d love to get together with folks for coffee, catch up, meet new people, but unless I’m roping you into helping us move, it will probably be post holidays.

In Seattle

As I contemplate moving across the country it strikes me that my possession have once again expanded to the point they no longer fit in a backpack, alas. I’d like to be packed by Dec. 7th, so over the next few weeks I’ll be giving away, loaning, or selling (cheap) what I’ve got.

See my post to follow soon, “Redistributing the Wealth”, for notes on what I’ll be doing with my furniture, books, and other ephemera. (whom I kidding books and and a couple of pieces of furniture is pretty much all I got)

In short I’m looking to sell my future, and foster out at least one shelf of books.

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Time to Start Looking for an Alternative

September 18th, 2004
( 2004-09-17 10:27:57 – Project CVS Service ) As of 2004-09-17 there is a problem with the CVS host serving anonymous CVS, nightly tarballs and ViewCVS for projects that start with the letters m, n, p, q, t, y and z. We currently do not have an estimate on when they will be back up.

Interestingly projects beginning with m, n, p, q, t, y, and z account for over half of my Sourceforge projects.

Sourceforge is in a death spiral, anyone who lived through late 90s/early 2000s should recognize the symptoms: increasingly cluttered site design, outages, new money making schemes, and an increasing divorce from reality/constituents.

update: oh, and changing your name is another symptom, because you know OSTG is so much better then OSDN. But they’re doing something right to get funded by Omidyar (major Groundspring funder).

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Seeking Interface Designer for Open Source Web App

August 12th, 2004

At work we’re looking to hire a designer to help us with the user interface for our forthcoming1, open source2, web-based CRM tool. (where we define CRM as “Community Relationship Management”)

Ideally we’d like to hire someone (or someones) for the full process: a round of usability feedback on our current prototypes, graphic design help to smooth and polish the prototypes into something visually pleasing, and coding help to build pure CSS/XHTML, cross browser accessible templates.

However the budget is a bit tighter then that, so we tried to hone it down, laying out the key project objectives, focusing primarily on where we need the most help – graphic design.

If all goes well people are going to spend several hours a day living in this tool, sorting, editing, and managing tables and tables of data, not to mention a number of complex interactions. It needs to be fast (CSS, light on images), and it needs to be gentle on the eyes (aesthetic, good use of whitespace).

One way to put it is we’re looking for someone who can do the data-centric equivalent of UnDesign.

So please if you know someone how does this kind of design, and is interested in getting paid to do some short term work on an open source project serving non-profits, have them get in touch.

For more details see the official blog entry, and the RFP (it’s a .doc, but opens fine in OOo. For a rough sense of it, also available as text, quick and dirst conversion courtesy of antiword.)

1 Early Fall with any luck.


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Worlds Collide

September 25th, 2003

I’m pleased to announce work is now producing RSS feeds! Jeff added RSS generation to our newsletter feature, and mentioned he was struck “by how well all these technologies work together.” An example feed for ONE/NorthWest’s newsletter.

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Hired by Groundspring

July 29th, 2003

It’s official, I’m going to Seattle to join ActionStudio/Groundspring of Tides Foundation as a Software Engineer (and open source advocate). Groundspring is developing hosted open source tools to help non-profits utilize the web more effectively. At least, that what they tell me 😉

So thank you to everyone who listened to the hair pulling, teeth gnashing, angsty decision making process, sorry about that.

And finally there is something La Manchian about the work, a trait it shares with anti-globalization activism, after all what could be more quixotic in 2003 then to be learning Cold Fusion?

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