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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

On Vacation!

Well, no sooner do I manage to start blogging again then it's time to go traveling. So there will probably be no posts on this site until my return in Mid January. I'm sure when I get back I'll just be bursting with thought about software development, tools, problem solving, knowledge management... but while I'm gone, hopefully I'll fill my head with new sights and sounds... every now and then I'll post to the Travel blog Doria and I just set up at, so do give it a look. And check back in here after MLK day!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Energy Conversations

Imagine its the future, and somehow we've managed to avoid eco-catastrophe or the complete depletion of our planet's energy resources. If we've arrived here, it must mean that somehow "green" concerns at some point came in from the cold and the fringe and found a home among mainstream decision makers. How did that happen? How did the concern for these issues move beyond the community where they first emerged to become a concern of both major parties, of government, of the financial sector, of industry, and even of the military?

Maybe it started through efforts like Energy Conversations. Midwifed by Mitzi Wertheim at the CNA Corporation, a federally-funded non-profit research center in the located D.C. burbs, this project is bringing movers and shakers from the executive branch, the military, and the private sector together to think innovatively about energy issues. A monthly program features a diverse list of speakers tackling energy concerns from different perspectives; recent programs have been headed by policy pundit Jeremy Rifkin, green entrepreneur Brian Appel of Changing World Technologies, and free-market theoretician Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute.
Complementing these face-to-face events is the Drupal-based website, which hopefully will encourage ongoing conversation and collaboration among participants.

Indeed the entire project is based on the idea of social networking, on encouraging collaboration and discussion. It's no accident that the word Conversation is used in the title - because that is what is sought here, not high-pitched advocacy of one view or another.

We've been involved ever since Mitzi walked into our office one morning to talk about our events-management software, and there's no doubt its one of the more exciting things we're working on.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

More travel notes

Another thing that's kept me away from blogging: we've been travelling to Lansing to work with our newest user, United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan.
Project kickoffs are always exciting - and working with a human services organization that provides so much direct assistance to its community is especially gratifying. And it gives us yet another chance to stretch Members Only capabilities: we'll be building a module to track the delivery of these services, not just to assist in the work of the organization, but to meet the reporting requirements of the United Way and other funding sources. We'll also be building in some ways to track the outcome of each intervention - another area I've been wanting to tackle in our software. So stay tuned! We've known Linda Potter, the executive director, for years - but this is the first time we've had an opportunity to work directly with her.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Blogger Returns

Whoa! I've been absent from these pages a long time. There's so much going on my blogging has just gone by the wayside. Let's get back on track. What have I been up to?

Well, for one thing, planning a trip over the holidays to Morocco and Mali. I've never been to the African continent before, so you can imagine how excited I am. The Moroccan part of the trip is the briefer leg - we'll be there about a week, in Casablanca and Marrakesh. We'll be travelling in Morocco with some good friends. The Malian trip will be over two weeks long. We'll start in Bamako, where we will be staying with our niece Rebecca and her family -- Rebecca is there heading up a project of the Educational Development Center -- but then head up north to Segou, Djenne, pays Dogon, and Timbuctou. The up-country travel was organized by Karen Crabbs of Toguna Tours, a former New Yorker who has been based in Bamako for years. Rebecca's husband is from nearby Guinea, so we're counting on getting a good introduction to West African culture - especially music.

Needless to say - if any readers of this blog are anywhere along our itinerary, we'd love to get together. Maybe even talk about Information Technology and learn about the challenges facing NGO's in your part of the world.

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