Recent Blog Posts

By Mike Gifford on 10/10/2016

This article was initially posted on August 31st, 2016 in

A few years ago I was told by someone at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that they were looking for companies to do business with that were as big as they were, or slightly bigger. The CRA has about 40,000 employees.

It is well established that the Canadian government favours working with big businesses. The phrase, “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” is embedded in the thinking of most...

By Mike Gifford on 09/10/2016

Recently I was asked if there were any products or services that would give users equivalent or greater accessibility than WCAG 2.0 Level AA. This is part of the feedback process for a report on web accessibility for state and local governments.
In addressing this I wanted to make it clear that, at the root accessibility is about eliminating barriers to communications. Tim Berners-Lee saw the potential for the web being a great equalizer as it could allow people to communicate...

By Mike Gifford on 29/09/2016

I was happy to be asked to talk about Certified B Corporations as part of the 2016 Leveraging Our Strengths conference in Ottawa.

With the growing focus on innovation in Canada, it felt good to be surrounded by exploring ways to adopt Social Innovation strategies. It is so encouraging to think about different models which we can organize in order to improve our world.

Ottawa’s Impact Hub was one of the key organizers. I’ve always been impressed with the work of Hubbers and I...

By Mike Gifford on 11/07/2016
ThinkShout! Booth at DrupalCon

This article was initially posted on July 7, 2016 in the Green Ottawa: Gateway to a green, sustainable Ottawa.

Are you an entrepreneur who would like to run your business in a way that also benefits society and the environment? Or are you a consumer who would like to deal with some of the most ethical, sustainable firms? “B Corporations” may be what you’re seeking. There are now 155 “B Corps” in Canada, including 72 in Ontario.

My first experience with the concept...

By Mike Gifford on 06/07/2016
The White House's DJ Patil Presenting at the Open Data Conference

This article was initially posted on July 5, 2016 in the Ottawa Business Journal.

Justin Trudeau arrived at the White House in March for his first official visit as prime minister at the exact time as the White House announced its release of a draft policy for the U.S. federal government on reusable and open-source software.

A coincidence, sure, but in this information age, it highlights how far behind Canada is in adopting a forward thinking open-source...

By Mike Mallett on 07/03/2016
Close up of a compact disc

Backing up your data is a critical process for any business, and as computers become more ubiquitous in our daily lives it is critical for many of us in our personal lives as well. Quite often this has never occurred to a person, whether personally or professionally, and at first it may seem complicated; But it's not.

A reliable and robust backup system really has two extremely important aspects:

Your data must be replicated in a separate physical location, AND You must be able to...
By Mike Mallett on 10/02/2016
GlusterFS Logo
What is GlusterFS?

GlusterFS is a distributed network filesystem. It acts as a file system which can be attached to a server for storage like any other, but using network sockets it can be configured in a variety of ways to distribute the files across a number of disparate servers simultaneously and in a fashion which is transparent to users.

It can be deployed to replicate the same data across multiple servers (sort of like RAID mirroring), or bring together the free space of...

By Mike Gifford on 05/02/2016
Push button for accessibility.

Drupal 8 was released in December and it provides - by default - accessibility that is better than any other enterprise content framework. For the last 8 years we have been working on implementing defaults that are good for everyone, but this is only possible if you think about your website’s ecosystem.

Adapting To The Ever Changing Web

Web accessibility is a difficult challenge. When WCAG 2.0 came out in 2008, people hadn’t really starting thinking about how mobile devices would...

By Mike Gifford on 05/02/2016

Open standards, open-source, open data, open government and open dialog. These are just some of the great benefits of the open web and why you should consider getting involved in the Open Source Initiative. It represents a real shift toward transparency that allows citizens to become engaged and can empower civil servants in their everyday work.

The Open Source Community

In Canada, the biggest success for open thinking was the Web Experience Toolkit. This project engaged existing open...

By Mike Gifford on 03/02/2016

This article originally written for

Optimized websites are better for the environment. Why? They are significantly faster, more usable, with content that’s optimized for SEO and user experience. This means that both computers and users spend less time waiting for the page to load.

Back when I first was creating websites, back in 1995, the Internet was considerably simpler. People were using the web at that point, but it wasn't embedded in our lives...

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