What We've Been Up To:

October 13-15, 2008

Mobile Active 2008: Confabb Conference Site Launches!

We have finished development on the conference website and Confabb integration for this year's Mobile Active 2008 Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mobile Active is a resource for activists using mobile technology worldwide.

MobileActive.org is a community of people and organizations using mobile phones for social impact. We are committed to increasing the effectiveness of NGOs around the world who recognize that the 3.5 billion mobile phones provide unprecedented opportunities for organizing, communications, and service and information delivery.

The MobileActive.org community includes grassroots activists, NGO staff, intermediary organizations, content and service providers, and organizations who fund mobile technology projects.

August 14, 2008

North Quabbin Woods Project: Community Calendar Launches!

We have launched a new community calendar for the North Quabbin region as part of the North Quabbin Woods Project made possible by the New England Forestry Foundation. The calendar enables over 60 different area groups and organziations as well as the nine towns of the North Quabbin Massachussets region to post their events. The calendar is a heavily modified version of the Plans Calendar opensource project.

July 24, 2008

Social Actions: Open Source Project Begins!

We would like to announce that we have begun working with the good folks over at Social Actions on a Ruby on Rails open source project.

Social Actions helps individuals, nonprofits, and foundations use social media to plan, implement, and support peer-to-peer social change campaigns.

You can read their announcement about us and their main blog right here

June 25, 2008

California Center for Cooperative Development: Website Launches!

We would like to announce the launch of a new website for the California Center for Cooperative Development. This website was a collaboration between our collective and Design Action Collective. They provided the look and feel and initial html/css output and we converted it to CMS templates and integrated it with our Ministry of Information CMS.

The California Center for Cooperative Development (CCCD) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes cooperatives as a vibrant model to address the economic and social needs of California's communities. The Center supports the myriad of cooperatives in California (agricultural, arts and crafts, child care, energy, housing and worker-owned) with start-up, management, and other technical assistance.

June 23, 2008

Personal Democracy Forum 2008: Confabb Conference Site Launches!

We have finished development on the conference website and Confabb integration for this year's Personal Democracy Forum in New York City.

Technology and the Internet are changing democracy in America. Every year, the nation's leading technologists, campaign organizers, politicos, bloggers, activists and journalists come together in New York City for a high-level conversation about the new tools, sites and practices that are transforming elections and government.

March 17, 2008

Take Back America 2008: Confabb Conference Site Launches!

We have finished development on the conference website and Confabb integration for this year's Take Back America conference in Washington DC.

The conference was created by the group Campaign for America's Future. The Campaign for America's Future is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities - against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.

Dec 1, 2007

North Quabbin Woods: New Design Live!

We have finished a complete redesign of the North Quabbin Woods website. North Quabbin Woods is a project of the New England Forestry Foundation.

July 20, 2007

Eastern Conference on Workplace Democracy

We were very excited to be able to head down to Asheville North Carolina to The University of North Carolina at Asheville's campus for the 4th Biennial Eastern Conference on Workplace Democracy.

The purposes of the conference are to expose people to the concept of worker-owned businesses, to strengthen existing worker-owned businesses, to build relationships between democratically-owned businesses and with resource organizations, and to build the movement for workplace democracy. Members of worker cooperatives and other democratic employee-owned businesses, as well as support organizations and scholars, will gather for problem-solving and movement-building discussions. Organizations and individuals interested in creating good, locally-owned community-based jobs are especially encouraged to explore this promising strategy for economic and social development.

This conference is very inspiring and an awesome chance to connect with so many others in the workplace democracy and worker ownership movements.

July 16, 2007

Cooperative Fund of New England: Website Launches!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new website for the Cooperative Fund of New England. This website was a great collaboration between our collective and Design Action Collective. They provided the look and feel and initial html/css output and we converted it to CMS templates and integrated it with our Ministry of Information CMS.

The Cooperative Fund of New England is a community development financial institution (CDFI) that is a bridge between socially responsible investors and cooperatives, community oriented non-profits, and worker-owned businesses in New England.

June 18, 2007

Take Back America 2007: Confabb Conference Site Launches!

We are happy to announce that we have finished development on the conference website and Confabb integration for this year's Take Back America conference in Washington DC.

The conference was created by the group Campaign for America's Future. The Campaign for America's Future is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities - against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.

June 5, 2007

Fifth Annual Employee Ownership Conference

We were at the Fifth Annual Employee Ownership Conference in Burlington Vermont. This conference is a project of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center. They are a great organization that has helped us out with worker-coop questions and resources in the past like finding a worker-coop friendly lawyer and accountant! The conference was quite valuable for both education from the workshops and in being able to connect with other worker-owned businesses in Vermont as well as people looking to start new worker-owned ventures as well.

May 18, 2007

Personal Democracy Forum 2007: Confabb Conference Site Launches!

We are happy to announce that we have finished development on the conference website and Confabb integration for this year's Personal Democracy Forum in New York City.

Technology and the Internet are changing democracy in America. Every year, the nation's leading technologists, campaign organizers, politicos, bloggers, activists and journalists come together in New York City for a high-level conversation about the new tools, sites and practices that are transforming elections and government.

April 28, 2007

Welcome to Jason Mott!

We are happy to announce the addition of Jason Mott to our team here at the Brattleboro Tech Collective. Jason started last week and has been quickly getting up to speed with Ruby on Rails. We have been extremely busy this past year with a wide variety of great programming projects and we are thrilled to have his excellent skills and enthusiasm here at our office.

Jason comes to us from New York State, where he spent 10 years in various positions engineering large scale high availability web applications for clients such as Kodak, Paychex, Frontier Telephone, Agrilink Foods, and Element K.

His experience involved designing and implementing software using Perl, Java Server Pages, Enterprise Java Beans, as well as Oracle and MySQL databases.

He has also presented at tech conferences and has been published in C/C++ Users Journal, and The Linux Journal.

March 6, 2007

We're Hiring!

We are seeking a web application programmer to join our team working locally in Brattleboro Vermont as a potential worker-owner. Please see the hiring notice here for more information.

Note: This position has now been filled. If you are still interested in working with us and feel we should have your information for the next time we add to our team, feel welcome to submit a resume to us.

January 20, 2007

2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit

We are excited to announce that we have been invited to participate as one of the event partners in the upcoming Nonprofit Software Development Summit in Oakland, California.

The 2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit will be a first-of-its-kind convening to bring together the range of developers, technologists, managers, eRiders, integrators, users and other practitioners who self-identify under the umbrella of “nonprofit software development”. The event will provide an opportunity both to gather as a community and to take stock of the field, while building connections and capacity.

The Summit will be hosted in the San Francisco Bay Area from February 21st to 23rd, 2007. Additional code sprints and collaborations may be scheduled in the days following the event.

We will be presenting about using Ruby on Rails for affordable web application development for Nonprofits. The conference is being planned by Aspiration Tech, one of our nonprofit clients.

Aspiration’s mission is to connect nonprofit organizations with software solutions that help them better carry out their work. They want nonprofit organizations to be able to find and use the best software available, so that they maximize their effectiveness and impact and, in turn, change the world.

January 10, 2007

Edible Forest Gardens: Website Launches!

We are pleased to announce the launch of another Ministry of Information CMS powered website this month. Author Dave Jacke approached us in December to help migrate his static html site over into our content management system to enable him more flexibility and control in updating his own content.

Dave Jacke is the primary author of Edible Forest Gardens (a book published by another client of ours Chelsea Green Publishing) along with coauthor Eric Toensmeier. Edible Forest Gardens is a huge two volume resource about the ecology and design of home scale food forests and a great addition to any permaculturist's library.

January 2, 2007

Caroline Abels: Website Launches!

Caroline Abels contacted us in early December with a special request to quickly develop a simple, yet attractive website in time for her trip to India on January 8th.

We were up for the challenge and worked closely with her to design a custom look and feel that met her criteria and then used our Ministry of Information CMS to power the website.

She will be using a custom blog component of our CMS to chronicle her adventures over the next six weeks in India. You can read about her travels and experiences in her journal on her website.

Besides the journal, Caroline will also be using her website to share articles and essays that she writes for various newspapers and magazines.

Caroline Abels enjoys writing with a focus on nature, culture, and agriculture (topics we find very interesting and relevant today) and we are happy to have helped enable her to share her many talents with the world.

December 1, 2006

JE Import Performance: Website Launches!

JE Import Performance is a unique automotive shop based in Baltimore Maryland. While they offer high quality service and repair of all import automobiles, they particularly shine when it comes to high performance racing and street applications.

The cars they work on are often featured in top car performance magazines like Honda Tuning and Turbo Magazine. JE Import Performance has participated in many racing events over the years. With many top placing finishes in everything from road racing CRXs and Spec Miatas to drift competitions. These years of hands-on racing experience leads to their expert knowledge of how to get the most out of any automobile.

We were tasked to build a new website for them to replace their existing one. We completed a brand new design that matched their businesses look and style. The new website would be powered by our Ministry of Information CMS. The content management system install we provided for them features some of our most advanced components. An integrated and weighted search engine that indexes the entire site, an online store with AuthorizeNET integration and UPS and freight based shipping options, customer account system with order tracking and archives along with sales data, an events and news system, and easy management of their content through a unified and secure administration system.

It was a great project to work on and we are excited to see them working hard to finish filling out their content.

November 14, 2006

World Usability Day New England

The Usability Professionals' Association organized World Usability Day events worldwide with the goal of increasing awareness of the importance of usability and user-centered design. This year’s event lasted for 36 hours, with 206 events in 39 countries, on 6 continents all around the world.

Dartmouth College and Landmark College joined together again to organize this conference with the theme, "universal usability to enhance learning, effectiveness, and understanding for people of all abilities." World Usability Day New England offered two tracks: Universal Usability in Teaching and Learning, and Usability of Products and Systems.

Detailed information of the conference program that we attended in Putney, VT is available at the Landmark College World Usability Day website.

November 7, 2006

New England Adobe Users Group: Ruby on Rails Workshop

We were invited to present our Ruby on Rails workshop at the New England Adobe Users Group monthly meeting that took place at the Marlboro College Graduate Center. We continue to enjoy spreading our experience and knowledge developing in the Rails framework with other interested developers.

October 20, 2006

North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce: Website Launches!

The North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce website has gone live. The North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce is a non profit business that is governed by a Board of Directors. Its purpose is to serve the business community of the nine town North Quabbin area, and to help improve the business climate in the area.

We developed this website in collaboration with Lisa Hoag Designs. We provided an install of our Ministry of Information CMS along with custom development of two additional modules that were seamlessly integrated into the admin side of the CMS. One to support the membership directory and one to support a sponsored advertisement system. Lisa Hoag Designs provided the new look and feel of the site.

October 13, 14, & 15, 2006

Second Conference for Worker Ownership and Workplace Democracy

We will be attending the conference down in New York City for the next three days. It runs Friday through Sunday. This conference runs every two years. Sounds like they have an even better attendance this year than the last time, over 200 people!

We have been looking forward to this conference for many months now as it is a chance for those of us in the worker-cooperative and workplace democracy movement to really connect with other like-minded people and groups who support these ideas and are interested in working towards a more cooperative future.

Besides the formally scheduled workshops, it is such a great opportunity to share real world experiences with other worker cooperatives about what did or what didn't work for them. It's a place to gain new knowledge about decision making in a democratic workplace, how to manage and plan for growth in a worker cooperative, and many other valuable topics.

We will be helping to run a workshop on Saturday about the Data Commons Project. This is a project that we are helping develop in Ruby on Rails with a bunch of other collaborators. The workshop's focus will be to gain valuable support and feedback on the project.

Here is more information on the conference at the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives website. We had the opportunity to be one of the founding members of this exciting network of worker cooperatives.

Perhaps we'll see you at the conference!

October 7 & 10, 2006

Marlboro Tech Center: Ruby on Rails Workshop - Web Development That Doesn't Hurt

We just finished up another two successful Ruby on Rails workshops for the Marlboro College Grad Center this month.

It was a blast as usual to demonstrate some of the power and flexibility of the Rails framework live in front of people. We had time for a 30 minute question and answer session at the end of the workshops that really allowed the audience to have a chance to probe many aspects of Rails that they were curious about.

For the first part of the presentation, we introduced Ruby on Rails and its place in the evolution of sophisticated web applications. Next, we built a demo application from scratch. We were able to build a scaffolded application, customize its look, add some data validation, and integrate some AJAX for a more interactive UI. Once again, the workshops were a fantastic opportunity to connect with other people who are interested in developing web applications and to share some of our real world development experience with Rails.

For more information about Ruby on Rails, visit the Ruby on Rails website.

October 6, 2006

The Data Commons Project: Ruby on Rails Web Application - Building a Collaborative Directory of the Cooperative Economy in North America

We just finished up launching an informational website for the Data Commons Project ahead of the upcoming US Worker Cooperative Conference in New York City at which we will be helping to run a workshop on this project. The website is running our Ministry of Information Content Management System.

The Data Commons Project is a collaborative effort among a diverse array of organizations in the U.S. and Canada who share a mission of building and supporting the development of a cooperative economy. Our goal is to develop an accurate, comprehensive, public database of cooperative economic initiatives in North America.

The application is currently being developed in Ruby on Rails with mySQL for a backend database. We are excited about this project and are hopeful for the awareness we might build at the conference. There should be around 200 people attending from worker cooperatives and support organizations from around the country. We can't wait!

September 8, 2006

Marlboro College: Information Security CIS400

We are teaching an information security class this fall trimester for Marlboro College MIS students here in Vermont. It will be a completely online course using the First Class software.

Here is the course blurb from their catalogue: A survey of security issues encountered when dealing with information systems, focusing primarily on Internet technologies. Topics such as encryption technologies, firewall abilities, and security policies are discussed.

We will be using an excellent book by Bruce Schneier called Secrets & Lies as the primary course text. Bruce has also written two other must read books in this field called Practical Cryptography and Beyond Fear. There is a monthly security newsletter that Bruce publishes on the 15th of each month called The Crypto-Gram Newsletter that is a month long aggregation of security issues, events and technologies along with his commentary and analysis.

This class will run for three months and will hopefully allow us to cover all types of information security issues. The topic is just fascinating and one which will continue to become more and more prominent in our daily lives.

July 8, 2006

North Quabbin Woods: Website Launches!

North Quabbin Woods is a project of the New England Forestry Foundation. The goal of the project is to revitalize the North Quabbin nine-town economy based on the sustainable use of local forest resources. They are now running our Ministry of Information Content Management System. We developed a Wood Products and Vendors component for the CMS as well as a Directory Database system to catalog the hundreds of recreation and activities sites they provide detailed information for. We updated the look and feel of their site to work better in a dynamic context while also making specific info-architecture improvements to the way visitors access the various types of information they offer.

May 25, 2006

Pelham Auto Parts: Website Launches!

We're excited to announce that we just launced a new website for Pelham Auto Parts, one of Massachusetts' oldest worker-owned collectives. They've been in business since 1972. Their site is now powered by the Ministry of Information CMS, our in-house open source content management system. We set them up with the software, the intial design of the site's look and feel, and the training to use the system. They'll be building out their content further over the next few months.

May 24, 2006

Post Oil Solutions - Building Sustainable Community: Website Launches!

Southern Vermont's forward thinking community group Post Oil Solutions now has a website powered by the Ministry of Information CMS, our in-house open source content management system. We were thrilled to help spread the information and activities of this local Windham County community group.

May 22, 2006

BTC @ Net Squared Conference!

We'll be at the Net Squared Conference in San Francisco on May 30-31st next week. Net Squared is a project of Tech Soup. Tech Soup is an organization that helps connect non-profits with technology resources and providers. We will be there to check out the conference and to also help participate with Aspiration Tech, a client of ours we've been doing Ruby on Rails development for on their Social Source Commons project. We're looking forward to this conference to share the word on the SSC project and for the chance to connect with other like-minded non-profits looking for tech help on cool projects!

April 10, 2006

Ruby on Rails: Content Management System

The Brattleboro Tech Collective has begun development on our next generation open source Content Management System (CMS) using Ruby on Rails. We are currently developing the v0.1 alpha release scheduled for the end of June 2006. We expect v1.0 beta to be available in mid August 2006. We are excited to be working with the Ruby on Rails framework as it is such a joy to develop in. Look for more information coming in June!

March 17, 2006

Ministry of Information CMS: Version 3.0

We have finished development on version 3.0 of our in-house open source Ministry of Information Content Management System! We have been actively developing MOI for over three years now and it has gone through 2 previous major revisions. This latest version boasts extreme performance improvements with the ability to now run persistently under FastCGI, site-wide searching of all CMS data, events and news system, creative templates and wrappers providing a wide variety of look and feel, implementation of advanced plugin and supporting module system to make it easy to adapt the CMS for all those custom project requirements, and its now easier to install and configure then ever before. That is just a brief list of some of the features. During the next few months we will be rolling out quite a few client projects using this newly improved version.

February 18, 2006

Marlboro Tech Center: Ruby on Rails Presentation

The Brattleboro Tech Collective presented An Introduction to Ruby on Rails to students and community members at the Marlboro College Grad Center on February 18, 2006. For the first part of the presentation, we introduced Ruby on Rails and its place in the evolution of sophisticated web applications. Next, we built a demo application from scratch. We were able to build a scaffolded application, customize its look, add some data validation, and integrate some AJAX for a more interactive UI. The presentation was a fantastic opportunity to connect with other people who are interested in developing web applications and to share some of our experience with Rails.

For more information about Ruby on Rails, visit the Ruby on Rails website.

January 18, 2006

Post Oil Solutions

The Brattleboro Tech Collective has recently become involved with Post Oil Solutions. It is a local community group dedicated to strengthening our local community and counterbalancing some of the difficulties we may face as our society moves away from our dependence on oil. The group is young but already has an active schedule of meetings, workshops, and social activities. Our collective is in the process of creating a community site for Post Oil Solutions.

For more information about Peak Oil and issues related to the world's dependence on oil, visit peakoil.net or Post Oil Solutions.

November 30, 2005

VAWC

We helped found the newly-formed Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives, a group of collectively-owned businesses in Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont. Members of VAWC support each other and serve as real-life functioning examples of the worker cooperative business model. We have a buddy system to support people who are interested in learning more about cooperatives or organizing their businesses in a cooperative structure. Although VAWC focuses its efforts in our local community, it also has ties to the nationwide US Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

To read the mission statement for the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives, visit ValleyWorker.org.