Blog - thoughts and ramblings...

Drupal Licensing Made Simple(r)

The folks on the Drupal board just released a new FAQ that answers many of the Drupal licensing questions that are out there. It's actually a pretty good primer into licensing for open source in general.

One interesting note is that if you use CIVICRM (which several of our sites do), the entire site falls under the Affero General Public License (AGPL) version 3 which requires that visitors to the website be given a copy of the server-side if they request it.

Another note, if a module or theme is created and distributed and it contains a Flash SWF file, it MUST include the FLA file when given to the customer. This is interesting because of the way some designers try to retain the source files of their work so that customers have to come back to them for different implementations of the same original graphic assets, e.g. "we want a different size of the ad you did for us." (BTW, we've always felt that if you paid us to create a some original code or artwork, you should have the assets. We retain intellectual property in terms of being able to re-apply the code to other projects but we give our clients full reign to do what they want with the code short of selling it. (That would fall under a different type of agreement).

Drupal Gets Some Love From Forrester...

Forrester Research just released a report discussing the open source CMS software market and identifying two that they should pay attention to: Alfresco and Drupal. Drupal is getting a tremendous amount of love these days and it's not surprising.

The formation of Acquia (think what RedHat is to Linux, Acquia is to Drupal) has given a tremendous amount of credibility and a promise of direction within the platform. Companies like Acquia put a little fear in the open source community that control is being taken away from the community but Acquia has taken the right approach and been smart about its place in the community.

Jing - Killer app for screen capture...

While I was at TODCON a couple of weeks ago, one of the presenters introduced me to the Jing Project from TechSmith. Wow! What a gem that find was. There are several really very good screen capture programs for Windows (Captivate, Camtasia, etc.) and a couple for Mac (I use iShowU). However, they've always had one problem, publishing is hard.

Alright, not crazy hard but sort of like when camcorders were still used tapes instead of DVD's or other digital media. Technically you could record something and then convert it to show on a computer but it was a pain. You had to hook up your capture device to your machine and record at the right time. It was all so 1990's. :-)

Converting screen captures into something shareable is the same way with these tools. I mean Captivate, in particular, has some AMAZING tools for converting screen captures into simulations but all I really want to do is record something and share it. The Jing Project takes care of that.

With Jing turned on, I can just point to the upper right of my screen, select to record video, set the screen dimensions and away we go. It records audio too and, best of all, when I'm done, it will upload to a website automatically and give me the private url to share it with a friend. As an example, I've recorded how to us publish this article using the ScribeFire plug-in for Firefox.

Here's the sample capture. (I know it's blowing out the screen size but I didn't have time to do other stuff with it).

Big Addition to the Team - Mike Hoefer

Did you ever meet someone who was just naturally a cultural match for you and your company? Someone who "got it" not because they could mold themselves for an interview, but, rather, someone who was just naturally that way? I've been talking with someone about joining Lucidus for two years and the timing finally worked out, Mike Hoefer. My great news is that Mike will be coming on board starting Monday.

To start, Mike brings with him a ton of talent and experience in the web world. He has a Masters Degree in Internet Strategy Management and has been essentially Director of Online "Stuff" for both Markem and The Hanover Group Insurance Company. He's got a ton of background in all of the consultant things we do (site mapping, storyboarding, wireframing, web marketing analysis, etc.)

What's more, he fits culturally in terms of wanting to make a difference both internal and external. Mike was the Camp Director for Camp Takodah, helping improve the lives of kids. He was heavily involved in Rotary in Keene prior to taking the job with The Hanover Group. More recently, he's been blogging for bluehampshire.com and was actually invited by the DNC to blog at the convention this summer.

While we are not a political organization as a company, we do encourage our employees to get involved with two things: 1. stuff they're passionate about and 2. stuff that will make a difference in our communities. Mike is a tremendous boost for our company.

I also want to thank Kristen Goodenough for connecting us once again with Mike. Unfortunately, Kristen will be leaving us on Friday to return to working for Markem. It's a tremendous opportunity for Kristen with a company that she has loved for many years. For those that don't know Keene, Markem is a landmark that's been around for many, many years and was named Best Place to Work in New Hampshire a few years back. They were recently acquired and merged with another company. Their new name is Markem-Imaje.

Kristen has been instrumental in our rise and has been my right hand person on the business development side. She's been invaluable to our customers and has been a bright light internally for staff. (Unfortunately for us,) her passion is in tactical marketing and that's an opportunity Markem offers that we can't. We're sad to lose her.

We wish her all the luck (and know that someday she'll return to the Lucidus family). :-)

New Firefox Coming Today...

The next version of Firefox, Firefox 3 is due to be released at 1pm Eastern. We've been trying to keep an eye on this release and, thankfully, Firefox upgrades normally go well for our sites.

It's all about sharing - Jing...

I sat through a great presentation this weekend at Todcon on Web 2.0 tools and listened a bit about what defines them. Although we've been using (and creating them for a couple of years now), I'm always fascinated by the many different ways they're defined. The truth is that, to a degree, it's all marketing speak.

For me Web 2.0 tools are defined by the word synergy. Not synergy like the corporate sales speak of "we create synergies in an effort to a develop a value-added paradigm" crap. I mean synergy like it was originally defined before consultants got involved, i.e. "The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects."

For example, look at Amazon.com. There are many things that make that service successful, e if you're just looking at books. For me, the best value of Amazon is the collective intelligence it possesses. I can't get the reviews and ratings of thousands of people seeking the same kind of book at my local Borders. I can't see what thousands of people who bought my book also bought. It's amazing to consider that they've captured emergence at such a grand scale.

Google Docs is an example in micro. We have the option to create and, more importantly collaborate, on documents without the barriers of which version is where. We are finally, really leveraging the interconnectedness of the web to its fullest potential. (ok, it has more potential but it's still pretty cool).

I ran into jingproject.com from TechSmith this weekend. It is AMAZING. Basically, you install the Jing software on your pc or mac, start it up and then move on with your day. When there comes a time that you'd like to share something on your machine (e.g. capture a bad thing that happened for technical support or show someone how to do something) with others, you do a quick keystroke and you can record your screen. Now, I know there has been screen capture available for years. TechSmith is one of the pioneers in that area. However, this system takes the video and connects it seamlessly to their hosted platform and gives you a private link.

What really sets it apart is that it take down all of the barriers. Capturing what you want to capture is dead simple and sharing it is even simpler. Very cool stuff.

It could be something like Google Docs (which I think is going to displace MS Office in the the 3 years) which allows for collaborative intelligence, Amazon.com (think sharing of comments and information about the products on the site) or

Marketing Your Services

Here is my presentation from the Marketing Your Services session. TODCON has been a great deal of fun (although my asthma has been bugging me a bit).

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Marketing Your Services.pdf3.6 MB

Drupal CMS for Web Designers

Here is my CMS for Web Designers presentation from TODCON. I discussed why a designer would want to use a CMS (particularly Drupal), how to install it and some theming basics.

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CMS for Web Designers.pdf9.37 MB

Neil & Danielle Are Going to Disneyworld...ok, probably just TODCON

In case people were wondering about the conference where Danielle and I are presenting late next week, it's TODCON (originally titled The Other Dreamweaver Conference before it grew to be so many more things). The conference is June 6th-8th in Orlando. Danielle and I basically own Track 3 on the second day of the conference. We present the following five sessions:

The Answer Is Not the Mega-Site

I'm pleased to connect with a lot of different groups both regionally and nationally. It seems that when talking about how to solve getting people in the public connected, the answer always comes to "We should build THE website where people will come to for x." Inevitably, there are any number of sites that already serve the niche but just don't get exposure.

What occurs to me is "why will we be visible and, hence, successful where others have not?" The answer always comes back "We'll build it better!" That may be but my suggestion would be that building a better mousetrap (er, website) does not inevitably equal success. It really is a matter of getting our site more visible than others in an endless wave of information.

How do we solve that problem? We can't; we need another way. The answer really is to share content. Here's an example:

In the Monadnock Region, we have no less than ten calendars for regional events. The Chamber, the City of Keene, the local newspaper, etc. None of them are comprehensive. People post events to the particular site they know about and no one knows to post (or has the time to post) to all of them. They all have the grand idea of being the uber calendar so that the world will come to them for the calendar of Keene.

So here's a thought (from Jon Udell who actually has prototyped the concept) - why can't they all share and, therefore, all have all of the events? Imagine if you could go to any website that publishes a calendar for Keene and get a full list of events. Moreover, if you post an event to the calendar of your choice, it just shows up on all of the calendars around the area.

All of the websites benefit and all of the visitors benefit. Wow!

What's required? For websites that publish their own calendars also publish ical feeds. Jon has done a good bit of the plumbing to display the complete list on his site, http://elmcity.info.

At the end of the day, we need to look to connect sites to share content and help all community based sites' tide rise rather than competing.

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