DNS updates ahoy! If you see something unusual visit https://helpdesk.tendenci.com and submit a ticket or post on the forum. We love our clients. And we’ve been in business since 1997. For the backbone-crew of the company, you know, we’ve got a couple of years on us, and forgive us if we don’t remember every DNS entry for the last 17 years.
I am working to clean up years of cruft between the schipul and the tendenci aliases across all of our sites. It took me a while to figure out that the majority of sub-domain entries (like the “www” part of your domain) had long since been moved to production sites. So, forgive me, but I kinda went nuclear and just cleared out three or four hundred sets of entries from ten years ago.
HOWEVER, it is possible that you may have had a graphic or image using one of these old subdomains from 2005. Keep an eye out for that.
If this should cause a problem with your site it’s a great opportunity to clean things up. Which is why I did it on a Saturday night so it will replicate by Sunday and I’ll personally be monitoring the queue over the weekend (this is Ed typing.)
These changes literally go back to 2005 so my bet is nobody on your team will remember. But they CAN fix it with the template editor by fixing any old out of date links. You’ll score better in search engines as an added bonus and you don’t even need any help from us.
Or if you have the budget to prepay for mods, we can help. Of course we’d rather focus on building out the Tendenci platform. For free assistance visit https://community.tendenci.com but otherwise billable.
I thought I should give y’all a heads up about us clearing out the cobwebs from Halloween and encourage you to keep an eye out for anything that looks different. If you see it, please fix it. We can help, but that is billable obviously ( I wish my employees worked for free but they currently don’t. Nor do they donate money to the company. It’s a conundrum.)
Last week, Google launched a new feature for the Google+ social media platform call Google + Communities. I’ve been exploring the new Google+ Communities’ features and settings,and I thought Iâ€™d share what I discovered with you.
What Are Communities?
Think of Google+ Communities as forums or groups where people can discuss a common topic of interest. Anyone who is a member of the community can read and write new posts within the group.
+Communities have three user levels: Owners, Moderators, and Members. Owners and ModeratorsÂ manage theie community’s content and memberships and maintain the Community’s atmosphere by deleting spam, curating content, and ensuring the Community’s members stays on topic.
Why? Because +Communities Make it Easier to Read and Share Content that You’re Interested In
Google +CommunitiesÂ also let you more easily segment your +1 sharing so only people interested in the same things youâ€™re sharing will see them. You can share daily posts about new android app news in the Android +Community and share your favorite vegan recipe with the Vegan +Community without having to bore all the Android App Omnivores with your vegan recipes.
This offers marketers a way to segment our online content sharing using the interests of our online fans in new ways, and I’m excited to start testing in the new year! Be sure to look for follow-up posts from Schipul in 2013 once weâ€™ve had time to experiment more with Google +Communities and collect marketing campaign data.
How are +Communities Different from +Circles?
Google+ Circles give you tools to more easily segment the People and Brands that you follow on Google+. This is great because you can put a person in multiple circles based on their interests or how you know them and then send messages to circles that arenâ€™t sent to everyone on your list or posted publicly on your Google+ feed.
With +Circles, the people within your circles donâ€™t have any way to know theyâ€™re in certain circles and they donâ€™t get to opt-in or opt-out from circles youâ€™ve placed them in. This means if you add a client to a circle you use to share content related to a topic like Cancer awareness, and the person isnâ€™t interested in the topic, they have no way of removing themselves from seeing your cancer awareness news unless they stop following you altogether.
With +Communities however, people join a community around a topic theyâ€™re interested in and share content and stories related to that topic with the members of that community. The result is a much needed relief from the flood of social media content streaming across our feeds on topics from friends that we donâ€™t really have an interest in.
This is great for both individuals as well as Brands because it increases engagement online with content and people who share our interests.
Get Started with Your Own Google+ Community
Now Iâ€™m going to walk through the instructions for creating a new Google+ Community. You can expect to spend about 5-10 minutes setting up your new community before itâ€™s ready for you to invite others and start new conversations.
Youâ€™ll want to have the following items handy before you get started to save some time:
- A few sentences or a short paragraph that describes what your community is about
- The address of your communityâ€™s location if you want to list a physical address (for example – the Netsquared Houston +Community posted itâ€™s location for its monthly meet-ups.)
- A photo or image to use for your +Community profile (your image must be at least 250 pixels wide by 250 pixels height)
First Steps – Login to your Google Plus account
From your Google Plus profile, look on the left side list of navigation icons for the new Communities icon and click to go to the +Communities main page.Â On this page, you can see the communities youâ€™re a member of, discover new communities you might be interested in, and of course – Create a new Community.
- Look for the big red button that says â€œCreate a Communityâ€ and click:
- A new screen will pop-up asking if you want to make your community public or private. You can read more about the different privacy setting options included in the How to Create Google+ Communities help fileÂ from Google.
** Once youâ€™ve selected the privacy settings for your community, you cannot change them. **
You have 4 Community Privacy Options to choose from:
- Public / Open Membership – Content and members of your community are completely public and searchable / Anyone who wants to join your community can simply click to join without any moderator approval needed.
- Public / Moderated Membership – Content and members of your community are completely public and searchable / People can request to join and a moderator must approve the request.
- Private / Hidden – Your communityâ€™s content and members are completely hidden from search / The owner and moderators have to specifically invite people in order for them to find your community and become a member.
- Private / Searchable – Your communityâ€™s content and activity is completely hidden from search, but your community is searchable / People can search for your community and request to join, and a moderator must approve the request.
To set-up your Communityâ€™s privacy settings, click to select either â€œPublicâ€ or â€œPrivateâ€. Each option has additional settings that will display beneath your selected setting, including naming your Community*:
* Google Plus uses unique ID numbers for user profiles, Brand pages, and Communities. Â This means that you can name your Community anything you want, regardless of whether or not another community has the same name. Â You can even create multiple communities of your own, each with the same name… (if you can think of any reasons why we might want multiple communities with the same names, let me know in the comments below!)
- For Public Communities, you can select to allow anyone to join or require a moderator to approve new membership requests.
- Private Communities have the options to either remain completely hidden from searches or to allow people to search for and find the community to request to join (*private communities content and members are always hidden from search)
Second Steps: Set-Up Your +Community Profile
- Press “Create Community” and you’ll arrive at a page where you can set-up your Community’s profile. Â This is where you’ll need your photo and description.
- Add a tagline (optional) and image or photo for your +Community profile
- Click on the “Edit” links to add your Description and location
- You can click the “Save” button or the “Done editing” button – either of them work. Â If you click “skip” then you will still have your community, you just won’t have a custom photo or details about your community yet. Â This is always editable later on.
- Once you’ve customized your profile, you’ll be able to share your new Google Plus Community with others and invite people to join:
Congratulations – You are now a Google + Community Owner!Â
Managing Members, Moderators and Content
Now that you’ve set-up your community, here’s how to find and use the tools for managing your community to keep the members engaged and the content spam-free.
1) Use the +Community Search Bar to search inside a specific community:
2) Use the “Actions” button underneath your +Community’s profile photo to access the dropdown menu with settings for inviting new people, sharing your community, editing the community, and more options. This is where you’ll go to edit your community:
Owners and Moderators will have more options than Members, and the settings you’ll find here depend on the privacy settings for the +Community.
3) Create Post Categories to keep your +Community’s Content organized:
If you click on the “Edit community” link from the Actions dropdown menu, you’ll be able to create new post categories and use these categories to help community members find what they’re most interested in.
3) Create +Community Events to promote activities going on within your community to members:
Just like Google+ allows you to add and share events from your user profile, you can also add events to Communities. Â Just click on the “Events” menu option on your profile sidebar to create and manage events.
4) Click the “View All” link on the right side of your +Community Page to access the control settings for member permissions:Â
This link takes you to a list of all your members and you can view next to their names if they are a member, moderator, or the Owner:
5) Start a Hangout with members of your Community using the “Start a new hangout” button on the right side of the +Community page and connect instantly via your webcam and mic with other members of the community. Â Head to Google’s Hangouts page for more information about how to get started using Hangouts.
6) Control Email Notifications from Your +Communities with the notification setting on the +Community’s profile sidebar:
By default, the little bell icon next to the Actions dropdown menu is turned off. Â Switching it to “on” will allow the community to automatically send individual emails to your Google+ primary email address for each new activity or post within that community. Â This can be really annoying if you’re a member of a community with a thousand people all posting daily. Â I’m hoping Google will eventually provide better controls for receiving these notices, but in the meantime – you might want to turn this off for communities you aren’t moderating.
Create a Gmail Filter to Save Headaches
I’ve received over 200 emails from Google+ communities since I started exploring about 3 days ago. Â This is a giant spam headache, and to help me keep important emails at the top of my inbox instead of these individual +Community notifications,Â I created a filter in my Gmail for all emails that are sent from: “*@plus.google.com”. Â This filter sends these emails to another folder and skips my inbox.
Here’s a great article on Creating Gmail Filters by Mashable.com to check out if you aren’t using filters.
In addition to managing your community notifications, here are some additional fun things I’ve uncovered as I explored Google Plus Communities that you’ll find useful:
- Google+ Pages can create + Communities too! Make sure that youâ€™re logged in â€œas the pageâ€ and then click to go to your + Communities page.
- Use Gplus.to to create a vanity URL for your + Communities like www.gplus.to/NET2HoustonCommunityÂ so you can more easily share your +Community’s URL in print and when talking to people
- Keep Your Community Healthy by Banning Spammers and “Sales pitches” from your community. Owners and Moderators can ban members from a community who aren’t posting quality content that’s relevant to your Community’s topic:
Got a Google Plus Community Tip you’d like to share? Leave a Comment below because we’d love to hear it!
Google Plus Communities to Check Out
There’s another benefit to +Communities for Brands and individuals alike: participating in other communities besides the one you created! You can participate in other +Communities on topics that are of interest to you or related to your Brand to reach new prospects, find interesting content that you can share with your Â other social networks, and reach a larger audience online that’s interested in the same topics you are an expert in.
Here are a few +Communities that I’m a member of and recommend you check out:
Google Plus Community Moderators +CommunityÂ – the community to find answers and share tips for moderating communities
Â Netsquared Houston +CommunityÂ – the community where people come together to share ideas and find solutions that accelerate the impact of social benefits within the Houston Community
Share your Â favorite Google Plus Communities with us in our comments below and we’ll check out your recommendations!Â Â
The success of SXSWâ€™s March event each year has brought a year-round calendar of mind-expanding events like the 2nd annual SXSW Eco conferenceÂ a few weeks ago. SXSW Eco brings participants together to focus on areas of Sustainability. The popular SXSW format, panel discussions and meetings over the three days, allowed experts to share their ideas, successes and challenges with audience participants. I was able to attend a variety of sessions including one important to both Schipul and our clients who use technology to support their business or non-profit.
The Good, Green & Shocking Truths
Panel Summary: Many factors such as planned obsolescence, consumer trends, and updated technology contribute to e-waste becoming one of the largest societal waste segments. Exactly how recyclable are our electronics, and what are the most responsible methods of disposal?
Maia Corbitt – Executive Director atÂ State Of Texas Alliance For Recycling
The panelists discussed the history of electronics recycling in Texas and the ways their organizations, alongside our state’s legislature, have gradually increased the ease of recycling for businesses. Â The panel shared the different local electronics recycling programs and explained which programs were legitimatelyÂ using state approved certifications and processes so that Houston business owners could confidently select a certified recycling center.
History of Electronics Recycling in Houston
15 years ago in Texas, most waste was being shipped overseas, and low grade metals were one of the main waste products. Â Within the last ten years, we’ve seen this change as more businesses are seeing the value of sustainability programs. Â Granted, some of this was instigated by policy change. Â For example,Â Texas passed the 2008 Computer Take Back Law making computer manufacturers responsible for providing recycling to residents and small businesses.
In 2011, there was only one certified center in Houston and now there are 5 certified centers indicating a move towards easier and more responsible waste management. Â The increase in facilities comes fromÂ businesses who provide recycling services moving towards end of life asset management for businesses, including refurbishing andÂ re-useÂ as much as possible, and encouraging recycling when re-use is not possible. Â Combined with policy changes, taking out the hazardous materials and doing the right thing has become a profitable business focus. Recyclers also recover more value when possible for the business or consumer than they did in the past.
E-Waste Sustainability in Houston Today
Yesterday’s technology included much more solid metals waste and was larger (think old Desktops). Today’s recycling stream allows removal of metals and proper disposal. Current electronics are smaller and more efficient in their production. This already eliminates some of the bulk of recycling. Both of these are results of policy changes bringing a change in practices and new business opportunities.
Clive Hess, President of CompuCycle – Houston’s firstÂ R2 recycling center,Â brings success stories that share how CompuCycle has expanded their services to include data management and data sanitization, and provide better opportunities for Houston businesses to incorporate sustainability programs. Â At CompuCycle, many recyclers now securely erase, sanitize and provide warranties on products they resell. No products are sold as-is, but only with a warranty and if it canâ€™t be sold with a warranty, then it is recycled.
CompuCycle also participates in the unique recycling challenge called the WhatIf? campaignÂ where you can donate your eWaste and they will hire and train individuals to recycle the components. This creates jobs and training for a local non-profit organization. The plan is to continue beyond the campaign as a sustainable endeavor, but they ‘need your junk’ to be successful.
Seek Out R2 Certified Recyclers
Most companies are not quite educated yet on R2 certificationÂ and the panel shed some light on how to evaluate and find the right certification options for your business. There’s still a long way to go for the recycling industry to be a recognized standards bearer and the EPA encourages companies to find out if theÂ recycler you’re considering is certified by an accredited, independent certification auditor such as the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board.
The panelists agreed thatÂ EducationÂ will become key for Chief Sustainability Officers in companies and for your Chief recycler in your home. Â The people who fill these roles will want to seek updates and stay informed with both the changes within the recycling services corporate world as well as with Federal and State policy changes. Some rrecycling businesses are only registered and will include this as part of their marketing materials, but doesnâ€™t mean they are certified for recycling responsibly.
Our future should include policies that put pressure on electronic manufacturers to build upgradeable devices and longer life cycle products to reduce waste. But, this will require individuals to let their lawmakers know how to write these policies. Lawmakers listen to their constituency and particularly parents.
Want to Help Improve E-Waste?
Manufacturerâ€™s need collection goals and the public needs easy locations to drop-off.
- Require retailers to provide information about recycling to consumers.
- Require state agencies to recycle assets via certified vendors.
- Recommendations that state computer Take Back laws include ALL electronics including TVâ€™s and other waste.
- Find local R2 Certified Recycling facilities in your area.
Concerned about the future of materials in your landfills near your children? Let yourÂ State RepresentativeÂ know your concerns. Â The EPA’s website also has a list of Recycling Resources where you can go to stay up to date on changes in policies and find tools to help individuals and businesses develop and implement sustainability programs at home and in your office.
Silver Lining for Urban Mining – Urban mining and rare earth metals can be found locally instead of offshoring with other countries.Â Opportunities exist for job creation and has even been part of the lawmakers focus in Colorado for underserved markets. A de-manufacturing site provides jobs for disabled or underserved markets, and a refurbishing site can provide high-tech jobs for engineers. Recycling E-waste is a reverse supply chain position taking one part and producing many parts from the whole. The recycling industry is a consumer driven market. Imagine what happens if everyone started sending all electronics to recycling? It would be an influx of materials. A typical middle-income household has four or more devices per person in their home. Game consoles, cell phones, old iPods, CRT screens, printer, etc.
Business is good for current recycling facilities. What happens when there is no longer a market for glass or other low grade materials? There are electronic parts that have value such as copper, gold and metals, but it is getting harder to handle materials such as glass, lead and plastic. Panelists were quick to suggest as invention increases, there is opportunity with the challenges. Glass is now used in aggregates for road construction to help the roads last longer with addition of silica to increase life span. Reground ABS plastics lower the cost of many manufactured items. There will be a greater need to find opportunities like these for our increased e-waste.
Take Action Recycling your Electronics
Find a certified recycler near you, and find your representative. Have eWaste? Let us know and we can help you find the means to recycle responsibly!
In a time where we have elections that lead to a change in our laws and weather events that affect millions in unpredicted ways, we are again reminded of the importance of people. Without each other, we have nothing. With each other, though, we are capable of doing things that previous generations thought impossible.
I am thankful that we live in a world where we continue to push forward by developing new things.
â€œThingsâ€ here can have many definitions. Some things are tangible consumer devices that bring us joy. Things like iPad Minis and 50″ 3D televisions. Other tangible things include healthcare robotic devices used for advanced surgeries. Or they can include larger things like the Tesla S, Motor Trendâ€™s car of the year.
Things can also be new services. Khan Academy is changing the ways students learn. Uber is changing how people get private transportation in cities. Even simple things like booking a night in another city are made cheaper and better with services like Airbnb.
Things can also be ideas. Some ideas are new, like Rolling Jubileeâ€™s idea to abolish millions of $$$ of debt. Or an idea that currency can be decentralized with Bitcoin. Or even an older idea of One Laptop Per Child that aims to empower children through education.
Iâ€™m thankful that we have all these things. Iâ€™m very thankful that we didnâ€™t have many of them 10 years ago. Why? Because we have innovated.
The last 10 years have not been easy. We (as a country and a planet) have had economic challenges, fought in wars, and yet we have continued to innovate.
I am most thankful about the things I canâ€™t list here. The things that I donâ€™t know about, that only live in the labs or minds of people around the world. Things that will become a big part of my life or of the life of someone 10,000 miles from here.
I am thankful that we have continued to move forward, and we will continue to move forward.
While Silicon Valley and the Bay Area can at times be a whole world apart from Houston, there are still many things the two areas have in common – tech, geeks, startups, non-profits, and people passionate about changing the world through technology. If you’re in the Houston area, hopefully you’ve made it out to one of the Houston NetSquared meetings that Schipul hosts. They’re always fun and informative – a great way to bounce ideas of others working at the intersection of technology and do-gooding. Ed & Katie started the Houston group back in 2006, and have kept it going strong since.
I was excited to check out the San Francisco NetSquared group when I moved to this part of the world, but unfortunately couldn’t make the meeting that took place right after my move. And then summer hit, which those of us in the Bay Area know, is traditionally a quiet time for groups and activities. At the end of summer, the NetSquared community managers sent out word to group members that the previous organizer was no longer able to run the group, and asked if there was any interest in taking over those duties. Being a NetSquared fan girl, I threw my hat in the ring and offered to take the reins. I was lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic community that offered support, and fortunately two awesome folks – Regina Walton and Dave Theriault – stepped up to serve as co-organizers too. Together, the three of us are totally awesome. And no, I’m not biased at all!
I am super excited to get things kicked off with the November Meetup. Young Han from GoVoluntr will be speaking to the group about how he got started in the technology startup space, and what challenges non-profits have today and how technology can help solve them. Young is an amazing guy; I first met him at a Mountain View Chamber event hosted by our friends at Westminster Promotions. Bonus points went to me for immediately understanding what he was trying to go with GoVoluntr; we hit it off from there and have since had several great conversations surrounding do-gooding in technology. Young’s philosophy with GoVoluntr matched the Schipul Core Values so well; it was clear we’d be friends!
GoVoluntr has had an exciting fall, being asked to join the 500 Startups class. They’ve moved in to the group’s space in Mountain View (bonus to being just down the road from us in Sunnyvale – closer for coffee!) and Young and his team are getting their brains crammed with all sorts of amazing training and knowledge. Check out the recent post about their class from TechCrunch, and if you’re a Bay Area non-profit or do-gooder (yes, that’s totally a word) be sure to check out GoVoluntr!! Young and his team have built an amazing tool for connecting volunteers with those who need them, and giving volunteers a way to share and track their activity.
If you’re in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley area, we’d love to see you at a NetSquared event! If you can’t join us on November 8th, no worries – we’ve got speakers lined up for December and January, so join us then! And if you’d be interested in presenting to the group, or know someone who might be, please do let me know! We’re always on the look out for new ways to geek out over tech.
Nothing says ‘staying strong and moving on’ like discussing your 2011 challenges and failures over a glass of wine with some passionate Houstonians!
This month’s Houston Netsquared nonprofit technology meetup is dedicated to those projects that tanked, those ideas that hit a brick wall and other hard learned lessons.
Our frank round table discussion is a way to celebrate what we’ve learned, share our experiences to help others avoid some headache and to celebrate having made it through another busy and successful year.
Join us for ‘FailsGiving’ – we won’t be serving turkey or yams, but will enjoy our shared tasty tidbits all the same.
What: Â Houston Netsquared nonprofit and technology ‘lessons learned’ happy hour
When: Â Tuesday, November 8th from 7-9pm
Where: Â Stag’s Head Pub (2128 Portsmouth St. – look for us in the back ‘Oak Room’)
It’s always inspiring to see how the Web can make an impact on real world events and needs. Â The recent wildfires in Texas have hit very close to home for the (Houston headquartered) Schipul team. Â Thousands are now homeless with fires still raging across our dry state.
We live in a beautiful state with even more beautiful people – seeing the destruction and pain of our fellow Texans is difficult to say the least. Â Let’s continue our support to these great communities!
Help support Texas wildfire victims
Watching the wildfire support Tweets and reading about Facebook groups dedicated to helping folks on the fiery ground is only confirmation of what a great connective tool the Web can be.
Drop your wildfire relief items at the Schipul office!
The Schipul office is collecting items (clothing, food, household goods, toys, garbage bags, gloves, toiletries, gift cards) for families affected by the Central Texas wildfire – dropping them off on Wednesday, September 13th to Bastrop. Join event on Facebook.
Are you in the area? Â Swing by with your items at our office in West Houston on Monday (9/12) and Tuesday (9/13) from 8:30am – 5:30pm (11757 Katy Freeway, Suite 930 Houston, TX Â 77079).
Can’t make it here? Â Give us a call: Â (281) 497.6567 and we may be able to pick up your donation too, depending on where your office is.
Find your favorite charity to donate to!
There are MANY other groups and fabulous people doing the same on a larger scale:
- The Statesman ‘Help For Wildfire Victims’ page
- Neighbors in Need Wildfire Relief Drive at Austin-area Randall’s stores
- Boy Scouts of America
- Great list from KVUE news channel
- Montgomery County wildfire resources
Or donate money directly to these organizations:
Everyone here at Schipul loves hi-tech, geeky things like robots, iphones, and rockets. Â That’s why we are super excited and honored to be helping SpaceUp Houston with tonight’s Commercial Spaceflight Panel where I will be helping as a volunteer in my usual tasmanian devil fashion, (imagine the whirling dust devil everywhere at once).
SpaceUp HoustonÂ provides an engagement platform to nuture new and radical concepts, help develop partnerships, and wants to help you create a future worth living in.
Their next event is tonight, August 18th and features a Commercial Spaceflight Panel with representatives from several aerospace companies including Virgin Galactic, XCOR, Armadillo Aerospace, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and United Launce Alliance. Â These companies will be talking about their company’s objectives and where they currently stand timeline-wise for spaceflight projects, research and employment opportunities, commercial crew and their barriers to success, and other related topics.
The panel will be held from 7PM to 9PM tonight at the Lunar Planetary Institute in Clear Lake, TX near Johnson Space Center. Â Tickets for the commercial spaceflight panel are sold out and luckily, SpaceUp Houston has arranged to live stream the evening’s discussion.
After the panel, the audience will be invited to meet the panel members and mingle in the main lobby until 9:45pm.
Come join us tonight on SpaceUp Houston’s uStreamÂ and I’ll be the one behind the uStream chat so say Hi and let me know what questions to ask our panelists!