Open Source

By Mike Gifford on 31/05/2007
Worth noting that there is now an interesting install profile for conferences available for Drupal.
I started writing this post shortly after DrupalCamp Toronto, but didn't have a good time to finish it off. James Walker provided a good example of how to reproduce a conference registration site in his workshop "Building an event site in an hour". This functionality is useful for all sorts of organizations including the Drupal community, this recipe has been used for the Open Source CMS Summit at the Yahoo Campus and also at Toronto's Drupal Camp and will be rolled up to be used for the next...
By Mike Gifford on 24/05/2007
Email is becoming an increasingly complex and unreliable medium. We expect email to be instantaneous and all pervasive. We depend on it arriving moments after it is sent because it almost always does.

Last fall we switched to using Google's Apps domain hosting service to see if we couldn't test out this product before recommending it to our clients. Email hosting is a difficult thankless task because it has become such a critical form of communications. In general we've been very happy with the services provided by Google - particularly with spam reduction. But even with all of the...
By Mike Gifford on 17/05/2007
Being based in Ottawa, it is hard to ignore the opportunities available in providing services to the government. With federal, provincial & municipal governments all with offices in the city there is a huge opportunity for innovation and cooperation between different departments. Most Canadians don't realize this, but our country's largest single software producer is our public service sector and yet the experience, tools and intellectual property developed by government workers is rarely shared with other divisions let alone with the citizens who paid for its development.
I have received...
By Mike Gifford on 25/04/2007
I want to start out by saying that this isn't just something that is an issue with unions and locals, but is also a challenge with any organization with member groups that end up needing to have a website. This could be riding associations for political parties like the NDP or local chapters of the Sierra Club. There are a number of reasons why national or regional organizations like these need to be investing in the net on behalf of their members.
The easiest way to do this is to offer sub-domains to member organizations so that they can set up a website without having to keep track of the...
By Mike Gifford on 24/04/2007
Note: We've discontinued this process and are using Drupal's boost module as it now fairly effortlessly allows us to produce cached versions of all pages for anonymous users.
Some day there will be a Drupal module that effortlessly allows users to build static caches of their entire site so that plain old HTML can be delivered to 95% of your visitors and you can choose the refresh rate that is appropriate for you. Most sites have old content on it that won't change but every few months and regardless of how many times it has been crawled it seems that search engines are keen to load the page...
By Mike Gifford on 03/04/2007
I'm often on the lookout for good podcasts with content on social justice issues. There is only so much time to keep on top of events in the world, it is important to be listening to the right sources. So far the ones I like are:
The Rabble Podcast Network - especially I read the News Today (oh boy!)
CBC's Podcasts - especially Dispatches and Ideas
Public Radio International's Radio Open Source has been very reliable
As has a more technology oriented Open Source Conversations
What are some other ones out there that have been beneficial and have at least weekly updates? TVO's The Agenda has...
By Mike Gifford on 10/03/2007
Last week some of us at OpenConcept were fortunate enough to play with a prototype from the One Laptop Per Child Project at an after hours gathering. Like many other people who have had a chance to look at it, there are pictures tagged with olpc that we've posted to Flickr. We couldn't help but check out how future compatible our new standards compliant design is, and indeed it looks great in a cutting edge browser, even in portrait mode.
Andrew Clunis, one of our developers, volunteers with the OLPC project and has been a keen advocate for many of the principals being advanced by this...
By Mike Gifford on 10/03/2007
Ever since hearing about Bullfrog Power I've had these visions of thousands of frogs jumping around within little hamster wheels generating power. However, no need to call the SPCA, the electrons aren't being driven by our amphibian friends. Rather, OpenConcept has signed up with an innovative company which is gathering individuals and organizations willing to pay a premium for clean energy.
If you live in Ontario, which most of our team does, you can buy 100% green electricity from this new company which buys it's power "exclusively from wind and low-impact...
By Mike Gifford on 29/10/2006
I'm not always the first to jump onto a bandwagon and although I've been looking at and subscribing to podcasts and video casts for over a year I haven't owned an iPod or mp3 player. I was downloading interesting documentaries and news sources, but more often than not didn't have time to listen to them.
I finally bought an iPod earlier this week and had to say how much more I am enjoying the rabble podcast network (rpn) shows I've listened to. I've been reading's articles since the beginning as we were hired to help set up/customize an open source application (APC-AA) for them....
By Mike Gifford on 17/06/2006
Russell McOrmond & I attended the Social Change and Community Technology Roundtable yesterday, June 16th. This was organized by Martin Itzkow and supported by the JW McConnell Family Foundation and the PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship.
It is always nice to meet with people like this and share our excitment about Open Source as a tool to build more collaboration between progressive organizations.