Archive for December, 2009

All I Want for Next Year Is…to Meet All the Other PICnetters

As the newest PICnetter, I am so grateful to be finishing this year working at a company that helps promote non-profits through technology. I have truly enjoyed working with everyone thus far and seeing how our team work really paid off.

However, one of the things I’m most looking forward to next year is actually meeting the other PICnetters! Because we have two branches (one in DC and one in San Francisco) as well as employees in Rhode Island and Chicago, I  have spoken many times with my fellow co-workers and seen pictures of them, but I have yet to meet them in person.

Our annual retreat, to be held sometime next spring, should take care of this problem! Each year, our team gets together from our various cross-country destinations to discuss goals within PICnet, chat about life, and have some sightseeing fun in DC. I’m looking forward to helping plan and attend next year’s retreat to learn more about these PICnetters I’ve only heard via the phone or written via email. Perhaps that sounds dorky, but what can I say? I just love meeting people – especially people I feel I already know so well:)


Tis the season…to give back

So many of our clients give back to their communities year-round, which we love. And we’ve shared some stories with you this year of our PICnetters giving back through service over the last few months, so it’s only fitting to give a little update on how our team is spreading the holiday spirit.

  • Julie is continuing to mentor an 8th grade girl. For their December outing, they went to see The Fantasticks at the Lincoln Theatre. Julie’s mentee was really excited, especially because she recently got a part in her 8th grade musical.
  • Julie also purchased toys for Toys for Tots and clothing for a mom at Bethany House, a shelter for battered women and their children.
  • Over the break, Melanie is volunteering at her mom’s Bay Area nonprofit: Hoofprints on the Heart Adaptive Riding Center, helping to prepare for winter rainy season. She’ll also be starting a new pro-bono website project for the SAVE Travel Alliance (a nonprofit dedicated to Scientific Academic Volunteer and Educational travel).
  • Pradeep wanted to ensure that children whose parents were in prison still understood that there are people who can be physically present to care for them. Volunteers from Pradeep’s church, United Methodist Church on Capitol Hill, arranged for Christmas gifts to be shared with these children, including some of his own contributions – particularly a big red talking Elmo!

Although PICnet doesn’t have a direct role in giving back to the community, all of our employees feel a strong sense of sharing what we have with others who are less fortunate.


We’re hiring a Project Manager

At PICnet, we’re always looking for new talent, and right now we’re on a mission: adding another stellar Project Manager to our team to help deliver the high-quality service our non-profit, association, and congressional clients expect.

We’re specifically looking for fun individuals from our non-profit sector with experience in the Web development process (Joomla experience is a huge plus).

Our Non-Profit Soapbox platform is a Joomla-based content management system used by non-profits and socially responsible businesses to easily manage their Web communications. We’re looking to keep up with demand by adding the right project management talent to our team.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Read on… Read more »


Partner Shoutout: Free Range Studios

As neighbors and business partners, we are a little biased towards Free Range Studios – but they do awesome work! The nifty shop upstairs has recently just launched a new video, Story of Stuff: Cap & Trade, a follow-up to the wildly successful Story of Stuff that got press in major news outlets. Yeah Free Range!

Check out the video and stay tuned for more great “stuff” coming out of the Free Range folks!


Cool tool we love: PhotoSnack

We often recommend Flickr to clients as a robust photo management tool because it’s fast, easy to use, and offers nice-looking slideshows that can be easily embedded on webpages.

But no-profits looking for more sophisticated slideshow options might consider checking out a new tool we just found called PhotoSnack. While Flickr focuses on photo sharing and organization, PhotoSnack takes online photo album displays to another level. They have a variety of slick, professional-looking photo albums and slideshows that can be embedded on your site. See some examples here.

Free accounts are limited to 250mb and are branded with the PhotoSnack logo, but a premium account is available with 5GB storage and no branding for just $99.99/year.

If you know a site using this or have tested this out on your own, let us know how it goes!


Free Webinar: What Should a Website Cost?

Are you thinking about revamping your website but not sure where to start? Are you working with a web developer but wonder if you’re paying too much? With all the tools and strategies available, it’s hard to know where to start and what to expect.

Attend this free webinar on Thursday where Allen Gunn, Executive Director of Aspiration (one of our partners!), will share valuable information about:

  • The steps you should follow when framing and managing web projects to streamline the process and minimize cost.
  • What you can expect to pay for different types of websites, from basic “brochure-ware” to higher-end web applications.
  • The different types of website technologies.

This will be a basic-to-intermediate level overview of the website development process and ideal for decision makers, board members involved in the process, and accidental techies.

The webinar is this Thursday, the 17th, at 11am PST. You can join here.


Where in the world is Ryan? Mongolia

Conference dates: September 30-October 1 Where:  Joomla!Day, Ulan Bator, Mongolia

One of the most exciting trips I’ve been able to make this year was earlier this fall when I traveled around the world to Mongolia for their Joomla!Day. There was a great mix of attendees in addition to the usual Joomla! Enthusiasts; including B. Dolgor, the head of the cabinet secretariat for the Mongolian federal government; USAID Mongolia; Mr. T. Altansukh, leader of the Mongolian translation team; and university students.

I was pleased to give one of the keynotes again at this conference and emphasized the impressive achievement of the Joomla! community in Mongolia translating the entire project into Mongolian. I also celebrated the successful adoption of Joomla! across all federal agencies with B. Dolgor. After sharing information from the Joomla! leadership team on the future of project, we highlighted the community’s  potential to make an impact on the global Joomla! community now that they had overcome their biggest obstacle: language barriers.

Next steps for Mongolian Joomla! Community users is to help small businesses through this powerful open-source software, as well as to increase transparency in the federal government. Joomla! Can be an empowering tool that leads to a new way of life – and that’s something we can all be proud to be part of.

Read more about the conference here.

Check out a video interview of me in Mongolia!


Client quick fix: Increased user engagement

At PICnet, once we help a client launch a new site, we make sure we stick around and keep in touch to help with any follow up and enhancements after a few months of usage. We’re always here to help with little fixes, tweaks or updates, and that’s just what we did recently with the Latin America Working Group, whose Soapbox site we launched earlier this year.

Once the site was up and running, LAWG wanted to highlight their blog better and allow for commenting on posts from site visitors. Our team worked with them to craft a low-impact strategy by implementing the following low-hanging fruit:

1) creating a new image button on the right side of the homepage called “Read our Blog” with a direct link to the blog 2) turning on the commenting tool available in all Soapbox sites 3) created an RSS feed and sign up form through a 3rd party provider to email daily posts

Easy fixes, more success for the client = happy PICnet!

LAWG brings U.S. civil society groups and citizens together to influence U.S. policy to promote peace and justice in Latin America. Since 1983, we’ve been opening doors for Latin American human rights activists to speak truth to power in Washington, DC.

Learn more about LAWG at


Come hang out with us on Soapbox Tuesdays!

If your holiday calendar isn’t full yet, we’ve got something to fill it with – PICnet is reinstating Soapbox Tuesdays, a monthly forum held at our offices  for Joomla and Soapbox users. We’ll discuss the up and coming, answer your questions, brainstorm, and give feedback where needed.

We’re excited to create a space where people can bring their lunch and their questions to chat about how technology is changing the non-profit world. As the year wraps up, it’s time to gear up for last minute changes to your Non-Profit Soapbox and Joomla Web sites. What better way to do this than by sharing some lessons learned with your fellow Non-Profit Soapbox and Joomla! users at PICnet!

When: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 Time: 12:30 pm – 1:30pm ET Where: PICnet’s DC Office – 1605 Connecticut Ave. 3rd Floor, Washington, DC (across the street from the Dupont Circle Metro station’s north exit, next door to Subway)

We hope to see you there! Click here for more details.


Recipe for Success: The Joomla! Cookbook

joomlabook The holiday season is all about delicious foods and favorites, right? Well, this new recipe collection may not have your typical ingredients list and steps to preparing Grandma’s peach crumble, but the Joomla! 1.5 Development Cookbook by James Kennard is perfect for both beginner and more accomplished Joomla! “cooks.”

The cookbook is available via Packt Publishing.  Well-written and thorough, this reference book will not only help introduce new Joomla! developers to the Joomla! framework, but can also serve as a great reference for experienced developers needing to brush up on some best practices. Full disclosure: I was one of the technical reviewers of the book.

Check out the book online, and order it as a holiday gift for that Joomla! lover on your list, or for yourself!