Archive for the ‘open source’ Category

The Washington Post partners with PICnet on Snowmageddon Web site

After our launch of the Snowmageddon Clean Up Web site on late Tuesday night, we’ve been picking up a lot of great reaction from the community.  Our biggest hit so far:  the Washington Post has partnered with PICnet to heavily extend the exposure of our efforts.

Check out our site embedded on the Washington Post!

Snowmageddon Cleanup Header

Wow.  Thursday was a whirlwind.  We worked closely with the Washington Post’s digital media team to make editorial and graphical changes to the site in order to prep for the wave of traffic from their online circulation.  Additionally, the great logo that Christopher Doorley made for the site needed to have a little update: announcing the partnership between the Washington Post and PICnet.  Thanks to Ross Nover for his stellar design skills to help update the site’s header and additional illustrations.

It’s been wonderful working alongside the Washington Post team to help spread the word far and wide.  We’re excited to see the continued efforts of the Greater DC community to help each other out of this snow mess.


PICnet builds crowdsourcing site to help DC dig out of Snowmageddon

What started out as a test site for an open source software package I was playing around with at PICnet has now become a rallying point for DC residents to help each other dig out of Snowmageddon 2010.  Call it the crowdsourcing of shovels.

Snowmageddon Clean-Up

Since the site, was flipped live on Tuesday night, more than 7,000 visitors have come to learn how they can lend a hand in the DC clean up process. Now, with a Facebook fan page and the 72 Hour Snowmageddon Clean Up Challenge, the site has begun to pick up a lot of traction.

The site’s goal is simple: connect those in need with those that have resources.  Got a car that needs to be dug out?  Post it. Got a pair of strong arms that needs a workout after three days of sitting on the couch (most of DC was closed)?  Post it.

Powered by Ushahidi, we’re excited to see how this site, launched with two hours of work, can be used as a model for other emergency or crisis situations that can be utilized by government agencies and NGOs.

While we don’t have enough hands at PICnet DC to clean up the city ourselves, a little bit of crowdsourcing, applied in the right way, just might help us dig out of this mess faster…because snow is only fun when it doesn’t get in the way of trying to get food.


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!


Open-source devving it up in Oakland

Non-Profit Software Developer Summit 2009A few weeks ago I previewed Dev Summit here on the blog, extending an invite for you to go west and learn from some of the best of the best.

There are few events where I get such a great opportunity to meet key individuals in the community, and learn as much hands-on information, and this year’s Dev Summit came through once again. The event was held in Oakland, Calif. from Nov. 18-20, attended by non-profit software developers, evangelists, and technology users.

I was fortunate to speak with Nate Aune from Jazkarta and share stories about building successful businesses around open-source software and the non-profit sector.  I  also had a chance to engage in discussions with Michelle Murrain of OpenIssues, who shared her thoughts on the open-source CMS landscape for the non-profit sector. Ron Severdia, a member of the Joomla! leadership team, also spoke to the group about  design principles and the upcoming Joomla 1.6 user interface.

There were so many more great folks there that I want to give shout outs to, but there is so little time to say thanks to all of them! Aside from hearing from some of these great people, I spoke on a number of key topics, including open-source CMSs, utilizing cloud services, the Joomla! project, and open-source business models that could support our sector. I was most impressed by the terrific feedback and engagement in the open-source business models session, where participants helped share lessons learned and best practices in achieving success while also building sound business models.

You can visit the event wiki to see all the great notes taken during the sessions.


Sharing lessons learned at Brazil’s Intercon 2009

The Brazilian technology community is bubbling with amazing energy, and I had a great opportunity to see it first-hand this past weekend.  On Saturday, I was asked to speak at Intercon 2009, an annual gathering of Web technologists in Brazil.  I’m excited to report back that the Brazilian community (especially those in the Joomla world) are heavily engaged in our open source technology ecology.

My presentation focused on open source content management systems (CMS) with two perspectives:  that of a company looking to invest in CMS software, and that of a business looking to build a solid business model based on providing services around open source CMS software.  I provided a little snapshot of PICnet’s history, moving from a pure consulting firm to one providing our flagship Non-Profit Soapbox product, while sharing some lessons learned and paths to success.

Ryan speaking at InterCon 2009

Many thanks go to our friends at iMasters, who put on this great conference, and who were gracious hosts during my stay in Sao Paulo.  I’m looking forward to next year’s event!


PICnet Volunteer Series: Kevin debugs Joomla for you

Jamie Ozimek contributed to this blog post.

Today marks the first dedicated National Day of Service and Remembrance, on the 8th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. We though it fitting to start our PICnet Volunteer Series today. Every few weeks, we’ll be featuring another PICnet Team Member and his or her service efforts. To read more President Obama’s call for service and the introduction to this series, click here.

workgroups_bugsquadWho: Developer Kevin Devine How he serves: Joomla Bug Squad, maintains release series

When he’s not helping to develop websites for PICnet clients, Kevin takes even more hours out of his day (and night) to volunteer with the Joomla project, as a member of their Development Team. Currently, he is on their Joomla Bug Squad as the co-maintainer of the current release series. To break it down for you, Kevin tests for bugs reported by the community, writes patches, and reviews and commits patches added to the releases. He also serves as a member of the Joomla Security Team, for which he tests for security vulnerabilities in new releases of the open-source CMS and adds the appropriate patches.

Read more »


Serve is the word

Jamie Ozimek co-authored this blog post.

United We Serve is President Obama’s nationwide service initiative to promote Americans to volunteer in their communities. It is based upon the idea that if all Americans help out, even just a little bit, it will improve their communities and attend to the social needs that have arisen as a result of the economic downturn. Though it began as a pilot program over the summer, it is now expanding into an ongoing program in an effort to make volunteerism a way of life for Americans. provides all of the information about United We Serve, and is a great site to check out for those interested in finding a volunteer organization in their area or setting up their own service project. The site provides toolkits for a variety of service ideas in areas such as education, health, and energy and the environment. These toolkits provide information on every step of each project’s development, including how to establish a team and set goals. The site also allows you to register your service project and recruit volunteers. Better yet, it is a service built on an open source volunteer opportunity aggregator called All for Good.

So what does all of this mean for non-profit organizations? It means that now is an excellent time for organizations to promote their causes and demonstrate the value they provide to the American public.  An increase in volunteer efforts at organizations will give experiences to community members that the philanthropic community will support. And then – participants who share their testimonials may receive further visibility.

To celebrate the remaining weeks of the pilot program’s term, we thought it appropriate to highlight some of the great work that PICnetters do in their free time. The passion we have working with nonprofit clients to ensure their web presence is a successful tool is just an extension of the value we find in reaching out and helping our communities. That’s the intrinsic reward of working at PICnet.  We hope you enjoy getting to know our team a little better over the next couple of months as we feature a different employee and their volunteer efforts every few weeks. PICnet is proud to be a part of President Obama’s national call to service.


A Very Merry Unconference: Community Leadership Summit

In my last post, I pointed out how crazy summertime can get with all the events to attend in the nonprofit technology field. To continue that chapter, I wanted to share my experiences from the Community Leadership Summit 2009, also held in San Jose, Cali., in mid-July.

The goals of this “unconference” as they call themselves on their website, are to Advance, Build and Connect. It was the first conference that brought together open source community managers to discuss the success and challenges of managing open source projects.  The audience was mostly community managers, and attendees ran the gamut from OpenID and Sun Microsystems to Gnome and Stanford University.

Leaders from most of the biggest open source projects, including Joomla, Mozilla, Linux, Drupal, and others were present.  I was there as a Open Source Matters board of directors member and leader in the Joomla community, accompanied by Elin Waring, President of Open Source Matters, whom I would work with again at OSCON a week later.

Below is a video someone captured of me speaking about the unconference, lessons learned in organizational management and leadership, and my thoughts on some of the stories and ideas participants were sharing.


Taking it all in at OSCON 2009

The summer is abound with conferences and conventions in the nonprofit technology field. There are the big names like NTEN, Netroots Nation, and South by Southwest, and then there are some of the more technical-focused ones that we PICnetters attend.

In May, I wrote about the CMS Brasil Conference, which was a great opportunity to spread the word about Joomla. This past week, I attended the Open Source Convention in San Jose, Calif., where anyone and everyone in open source software (more than 3,000 developers, designers, consultants, etc.) get together to share the latest and greatest. The sessions and discussions were designed to inspire, urge us to explore the future of open source, and to think creatively about how to use it effectively and efficiently for our clients in these tough economic times.

I had the honor to co-lead the Joomla! Birds of a Feather group on Wednesday, with the President of Open Source Matters, Elin Waring, in addition to hanging out at the Joomla! booth at the expo – which gave me a chance to talk to a lot of people from different backgrounds. It’s always neat to see so many people come together and share ideas, best practices and provide expert advice.

It’s also great to run into friends of the non-profit tech sector, including Leslie Hawthorn and Chris DiBona from Google, as well as Mark Surman from the Mozilla Foundation – both friends of PICnet that I just saw a few weeks ago in Brazil of all places.  Finally, the Joomla booth wouldn’t have been such a success if it weren’t for Bay Area Joomla User Group, including Ron Severdia, Nathan Mallamace, Deborah Susan, Steve Reichgut, and Karl!

For more on OSCON, check out their website for a full program and details on the conference. Or, you can search on Twitter for the hashtag #OSCON to see what attendees were tweeting about it.

Thanks to OSCON for the invite – we hope to be back next year!


Non-profit software developers to unite in Oakland, November 17

Back in 2003, a small group of non-profit and advocacy developers met in San Francisco for a three day event to share ideas and build energy in the budding non-profit technology world. The result was an amazing success of knowledge sharing and the building of new technology for the sector.

Fast forward to 2008. Our friends at Aspiration will be hosting the Non-Profit Software Developers Summit on November 17-19 at Oakland’s Preservation Park. This is a must-attend event (register now).

Non-Profit Developers Summit 2007

I have been lucky enough to attend every Non-Profit Software Developers Summit, and I’m always amazed by the powerful take-aways I retain from each event. Many conferences are about 50 people sitting in a room and watching someone lecture. Aspiration’s Dev Summits require participation from all attendees, allowing for a powerful connections to be made between attendees.

So if you’re looking to share code, discuss the state of our non-profit tech world, and build a better technology future for the non-profit community, you should be at the Dev Summit on November 17.

Here’s a short video of the 2007 Dev Summit, to help you get a feel for the event.