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At the 2017 JoomlaDay Chicago event during the welcome address, I shared with the attendees a bit about the interns we’ve had the pleasure of working with. I also mentioned that I would like to do more, perhaps at the community college level. I wanted to help others understand the power of a CMS, especially one like Joomla.
Well, since then an amazing opportunity fell into my lap, the chance to be an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University in the Chicago Loop. The subject is Content Management Systems. While all the students will walk away with a strong sense of how much I love working with Joomla, they will also walk away (hopefully) with knowledge of how to evaluate and select the right tool for the right job - in this case the right CMS for the content that will be presented.
You may have heard that on December 15th, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to repeal Net Neutrality. If you are unclear what Net Neutrality and what it means to you, this Fortune Magazine article, Net Neutrality Explained: What It Means (and Why It Matters) is a great place to start.
As someone who depends on the internet for my livelihood, I'm watching these events very closely. Having been was once affected by throttling, prior to the 2015 changes, I worry that I will be affected once again, probably worse than before.
This International Day of Charity, we'd like to encourage you to take time to give back through a charity of your choice either through the giving of your time, through donation or participating in an event. Public 501(c)(3) organizations do extraordinary work often on tight budgets with dedicated staff and volunteers.
Not sure how to help? Hear are a few organizations to consider.
September 6th is Read a Book Day.
One well-known thing about me is my love of reading. I read anything I can get my hands on. I get that from my parents who are voracious readers themselves. Reading is a great way to keep on top of trends or changes in the industry as well as escaping for a couple of hours. I’m currently in the middle of reading two books, Joomla 3 Explained and Beach Lawyer. You may recognize the first title. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a contest to win the book with the winner being pulled from those who registered for JoomlaDay Chicago. The contest came from my reading the book and finding it helpful as it reminded me of the power that core Joomla!, without a lot a of extensions or plugins, can be. It is also great prep for the certification exam.
At least twice a week I'm posed the question "Why use Joomla!?" Ok, really that's the follow up question to "Do you develop WordPress sites?" While the correct answer is that I use the technology most appropriate to the task, it is true that more times than not, I use Joomla!.
You've hired a graphic designer to create the new look-and-feel of your website. They've come back with a great design that you absolutely love. You give it to your web developer and they tell you the fonts the designer has chosen are not in Google Fonts or other means but can be purchased for a somewhat high fee.
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The saying is New Year, New You. What about New Year, New Joomla! Site? Dec 31st not only marked the end of 2014 but also marked the end of support for Joomla! 2.5. For those keeping up with updates, there was a reminder in the administrator panel so you would not forget. While unpleasant flashbacks of the experience migrating from 1.5 to 2.5 gripped some. Others were in denial and disbelieve that a migration is needed. I, however, looked at it with cautious optimism. While my experience from 1.5 to 2.5 was far from a piece of cake, I’d been following the development and thought perhaps things would be different for the migration to 3.x and you know what? I was right.
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This year, I had the privilege of working with the volunteers for the JoomlaDay Chicago event held August 9th at the Microsoft Technology Center in the AON Center building in downtown Chicago. It was also my first time attending. Going into the event I didn’t know what to expect and I have to admit I was a little awestruck. I have been using Joomla for many years and a lot of the speakers and guests were names I’ve seen over and over on whitepapers, articles, extensions, etc. To see them in-person was a little surreal.
© Image is not the official 2015 logo but an homage to it
Today’s time is money tip comes from Perry Marshall’s article The 80/20 Rule of Time Management: Stop Wasting Time on Entrepreneur.com. In his article, he reminds entrepreneurs of the need to follow the 80/20 Rule, not only when it comes to sales but also in how we work. Remembering that our time is valuable and spending it on higher revenue activities makes sense. Of the five tips in the article:Hire a maidGet rid of your $10 an hour stuffHire a personal assistantDon’t feel guilty about relaxingFocus on your most productive time slot
#5 I think is one that is often forget especially if that time slot falls outside of the typical 9-to-5. As a morning person, I prefer 6 am to 9 am. My family laughs at me because some days I’m so productive that by lunch time, I’m ready for a cat nap. The point is that if you stop fighting your natural rhythm, you will reap the benefits.
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Fun Fact Friday - Joomla! is the only non-corporate backed community driven CMS
Yup, it’s true! Joomla! is the only non-corporate backed community driven content management system (CMS). This and other fun facts about the popular CMS were shared at this month’s JoomlaChicago North User Group meeting held at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine, IL on Wednesday, July 9th. This group of Joomla! enthusiasts, newbies, users, and experts meets on the second Wednesday of each month to share and connect with all things in and around Joomla! The topics vary by month and are listed on the JoomlaChicago website. Sign-up is available to join the nearly 600 subscribers who receive meeting information not only for the JoomlaChicago North group but the sister group in the Loop as well in the email newsletter. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them, as I have recently undertaken the privilege of coordinating the monthly meetings for the JoomlaChicago North User Group, with lunch generously sponsored by Aluent Group.
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What does it say about me that I’m anxious for the weekend to start so that I can … read a book? I know, the weather has been sunny and pleasant, and instead of thinking of outdoor activities, I’m thinking of homework. I could make the excuse that rain is predicted both days anyway, or even say I will be reading it on a deck or beach somewhere. But that would not be true.
Does telling you that the book is The Will to Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding by Robert Herjavec from ABC’s Shark Tank second book make it any better? For some, maybe. I’m looking forward to reading this book, because I’m curious about this race car driving shark. I received this book after attending a webinar hosted by PNC where Mr. Herjavec spoke about driving business. His talk was entertaining and informational. I came away from the 40 minute session with added inspiration. I nearly missed the announcement about the contest to receive his book and assumed, wrongfully, that I’d responded too late.
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So in The Art of Check-in, I touched on tech at events and promised to get back to it in another post. Well, that is has turned into two. A discussion of the Hybrid Approach and Full Tech Approach.
With all the different ways tech is apart of my everyday life some think I would be gung-Ho for a fully computerized event. But I'm not.
Take for instance the event that Danico provided registration and check-out services for on March 15. The event was for The Bridge Youth and Family Services, it was their annual gala. For this event the Hybrid Approach was used for the the guest check-in, donation entry, auction tracking, and guest check-out. The evening was structured in a way where except of a few guests who needed or wanted to leave before check-out officially opened, that by the time things wrapped up from a program perspective and moved to more entertainment, everything was entered and ready for the guests.
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So, let’s talk about event check-in. I know it’s not a “sexy” topic but it is one that needs a discussion. And no, I’m not talking about checking in with Foursquare, Facebook or any of those social media things. I’m talking about the “Welcome, to our event. May I have your name please” kind of check-in. (I will discuss the pros and cons of using technology during your event in future posts).
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A little known fact about me, I used to be a Girl Scout. It was only for a few months but it was long enough to appreciate their mission ("Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”) and develop my love of their Thin Mints, Trefolis and … well their cookies. In past years, I’ve relied on office co-workers to come around with their order sheets for my yearly fix. However, with the transition to Danico full-time, I’ve missed out. Sure, I would come across a stand or two at shops in my neighborhood, but usually after they’ve sold out of my favorites. Not this year!
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These last few cold days have inspired a lot of "house cleaning". Anything that prevents me from bundling up like a zombie in order to prevent frost bite is what I've been up to. This time is not reflective time where I ponder the meaning of life or Danico for that matter, but time to clear the decks of the pet projects. Those should have been done a long time ago projects and jus' cuz stuff that goes onto a "someday" list somewhere.
We all have them. Those things we think of that don't really have an immediate application but are fun to work on. If you are like me you have your client work, your volunteer work, your family work, and your personal work. With all of that work, sometimes it is hard to find time for the fun-jus'-cuz stuff.
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How timely was it that the article by Jane Porter, How To Turn Your Insomnia Into A Productivity Tool in Fast Company's Business + Innovation section appeared in my Twitter feed? Recently I've been having trouble sleeping. I'm not quite sure why but so far this week it not been unusual to find me roaming my home at some odd hour. I don't sleep much as it is, I wake up automatically after 6 hours regardless of what time I go to bed. I also tend to wake early if it is bright sunny day even with light blocking curtains covering the windows. I just sense that the sun is up and that I should be up as well.The past week or so, I get into bed and.....nothing. Can't drift off. This is odd for me, I tend to fall asleep soon as I burrow down under the covers. On the rare occasion that automatic sleep eludes me, I play a few rounds of one of the games on my smartphone, sometimes falling the sleep in the middle of a turn. However, these last few days that has not been working. I don’t know the exact cause, but there are some many exciting things happening all at once here at Danico. Between work on new service offerings being considered for launch soon, new website design and meeting so many new people (some of whom I'm happy to say are now clients), I’m finding it hard to sleep. I shut down all devices, do some stretches and crawl into bed. Just as my eyes close - wham! A few ideas flit through my brain, I grab my tablet or notebook, which ever happens to be next to the bed to hurriedly jot down my thoughts. With that out of the way, I try for sleep again. Nope, not coming. A couple of times recently, thoughts were so strong I was compelled to get out of bed, return to my office and work. The session was short, but only then was I able to sleep. Lucky for me my office is just down the hall. Not sure if I would have been compelled to drive to an office or just be awake all night. I don't want to find out. In the article, Michael Perlis, associate professor of psychology and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania, posed the the question, "What is insomnia, but the gift of more time?” For the freelancer/small business owners/dreamer, there never seems to be enough time get all the things that need to be done and all the things you want to do. So, maybe Professor Perlis has a point. The moments where I give in and work at some odd hour, which seems for me to be 4:30 am, solutions/designs/code snippets, that have eluded me, flow freely. I race to grab them all fearful that they will vanish. I won't say that they are all brilliant but they definitely move me down the path of the right answer for that client or situation. This temporary insomnia is causing an internal war. The analyst in me wants to launch a study of the frequency, triggers and length of the episodes. The problem solver wants to just get it solved and get to sleep. The designer/developer in me wants to roll with, excited by the thoughts that spring forth, ready to harvest them and share with the world. So, who’s winning? I’ll give you a hint, is not the analyst (*wink*). Seriously though, I’ve learned to treat this temporary insomnia like “thinking out of the box” moments. Sometimes you just have to turn things on their head to find the right solution. Maybe, just maybe, sometimes that means doing the same with your sleep cycle. Hey, isn't there a saying about finding inspiration at the oddest moments? I thought there was or maybe I was just dreaming. Maybe those oddest moments are your sleepless periods. Why not run with them and see what greatness comes of it.
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Reading Work From Home? A Phone Call May Be a Rare Thing by Teddy Wane, it got me thinking about my own transition out of a traditional 9-to-5 corporate job. I had a similar issue. My non-talking stretches were not quite as long as described in the article but I get the point. As I began writing more, I started to read out loud while editing. I found that the action of reading aloud not only improved my writing but also exercised my talking muscles. This change in my routine, I found it easier to converse the next time the phone rang or I was out with others, my mouth didn't have to try to remember how to move. The post brings up a good point about oversharing. I can't say that I don't overshare when I speak to a friend or loved after a quiet period but I haven't subjected a random person - yet. Since I've never really been all that into texting, I do tend to call after the second round of text conversation or if I need my hands available to multitask. Mr. Wane references the upcoming movie, Her, with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson and how they become "closer" through a series of long phone calls (am I the only one that thinks Her is reminiscent of the 2002 movie S1m0ne with Al Pacino?). It is rare that calls last longer that a few minutes in most cases. I do have a couple of exceptions in my life. How many times have you or someone you know jokes about the last time their cellphone is used as well - a phone?
Somewhat embarrassingly I admit that until recently, I didn't recognize my ring tone. My excuse is that there were so many gaps between calls. That has changed now with my days including more conference calls, online meetings and -ugh, spam calls. I think for a normally quiet person working from home could mean lapsing into a more hermit-like state of contentment. Scheduling time out to meet up with others, getting a change of scenery or starting a new hobby keeps those talking muscles working, lessens the friend/family dumping and yields a greater appreciation for the quieter moments.
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It's a new year and many are making resolutions, plans and priorities. Getting organized, being productive often is at the top of the list, of work priorities that is. Admittedly, I think about it too at the turn of the year. I like the sense of accomplishment that comes from a clear inbox and an empty to-do list. The little sense of victory as I eagerly check the box next to each item and see that list dwindle to nothing. However, sometimes it so dang hard to get there. It seems like that list just gets longer and longer. The mixture of fun, must-do and not-so-fun tasks all screaming for attention. There are so many suggestions, processes and theories around to tackle, conquer and tame the list. I've even attempted to share/inspire you to success with a suggestion or two of my own.Today, as I read Kathleen Davis' article "11 Expert Tips to Help You Be More Productive in 2014" on FastCompany.com, it got me to thinking about what has worked, or didn't work for me over the past year - both personally and professionally. For my best results, I have to work within my personal productivity times. I'm a morning person, that is the best time for me to write and plan. It's the time when my creative juices run strong. I need to harness it all before 11 am. That's not a problem for me as I rise early. My father used to tease me about the number of things I get done between 6 am and 11 am vs. the rest of the day. However, there is one thing that I don't seem to do well at the beginning of the day - code. I mean the totally-geeky-its-so-cool type of coding. That seems to work best after hours when there is no sun tempting me to come out and play, little-to-no chance of client calls to happily distract me and no meetings to dream/discuss the future. Coding, especially after dinner is my personal productive coding sweet spot. I don't know why, but I'm not knocking it. At the end of the day, it is important to know yourself and what works best for you. Experts, and non-experts, can give you advice but you have to piece together what fits your world - life, work, passion, situation. There is one thing that is clear, multi-tasking doesn't cut it. Chunk up your time, assign a task to that time and run with it. You'd be surprised how much you can get done. There's a saying about not pleasing everyone all the time, well you can't do everything all the time either. That was a hard one for me to swallow and there are still some days when I try to do it all - all at the same time. I've got to run, the "write blog" time chunk has ended.
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For this week's Weekend Wednesday post, I am excited to tell you about The Bridge's big Bridge the Gap 5k Walk/Run this Saturday, September 28th to provide programs and services to kids and their families is the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The Bridge Youth and Family Services is a fantastic 501(3)c non-profit organization that I am proud to say I have volunteered with for over 10 years. It is not too late to join us to walk or to support a participant (*hint*). The event steps off at 8:30 am at Community Consolidated District 15 in Palatine, IL. The weather is predicted to be warm, maybe our last 'good' one before fall fully sets in. Have a great weekend!
Did you know that August 3rd is National Watermelon Day? Here are a few recipes to celebrate the day http://lat.ms/1cyG3GK
One of my dad's favorite phrases is "Tell me something good". It is the second thing he says right after "hello". Clients feel the same way. They want to know that the time/effort/money spent on their website/event/print materials was worth it. They want to know there are no issues and everything is running smoothly. They want to know that all they need to do is sit back and do nothing - all is taken care of.
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portent.com | Portent Inc | Company Blog | Ian Laurie | June 6, 2013 | You Are Not StupidWhy I Like It:So, you may have heard the saying that goes along the lines of "smart people do stupid things". I am fairly smart. I have a few degrees to my name and someone street smart, yet I, feel like I do stupid stuff everyday. I agree with the author that stupid is the wrong word for what is really going on. Experimenting? Some of the time. Forgetful? Some of the time. For me, I think it is more of a case of lack of cross-referencing. I am good at compartmentalizing and some time too good. Often the doh! moment is one an idea or thought jumps the wall and I got aha! I have to think of a new word for my "stupid" moments. What word do you use? timberry.bplans.com | Tim Berry Business Plans | Planning Startups Stories | May 30, 2013 | Do You Underestimate Time for Tasks You Like? Why I Like It:The other day was talking to a friend and telling her how I feel like I am behind. She nicely (kinda) asked why, since I am usually really good at time management. The reason I was behind was because I'd started working on a fun project. Now, all of my projects are fun but this one involved tasks I don't get to do it every day, only once every few months. Like I do with all projects I outline my tasks and milestones before setting out to work. Unfortunately for projects like this, I always underestimate how much time I actually spend. With deadlines looming, I am forced to take a realistic view and time box my fun - that's no fun at all! However, I'd rather time box it then not be able to do it because I am behind on my work. Back to the grind. entrepreneur.com | Richard Branson | Run & Grow | May 27, 2013 | Richard Branson on the Secret of Success: Failure Why I Like It:Growing up there was a fear of failure - admittedly even into adulthood. Learning to fail was a very had lesson but necessary to step out and be my own boss. Not only does he shares the importance of failing - and picking yourself up but a reminder that you should enjoy what you do. Nothing is fun all of the time but if every day you dread the work, it is time to change. What are some of your greatest failures?
The other day I called on a prospective client to open discussions on creating their web presence. As we sat down to talk about their goals, I noticed the odd look I received when I pulled out paper and a pen. You see, I start with paper - always. It may be blank or simple lined paper but most of the time it is storyboard paper (think the handout view in PowerPoint or Keynote). It may sound a bit strange but there is a reason. Don't get me wrong with all of the computers and other electronic devices I own or have access to, I could never touch a piece of paper, ever.
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projecteve.com | Project Eve | Susan Young | May 16, 2013 | 12 insights on the emotional marketing revolution from Seth GodinWhy I like it:
I love reading Seth Godin. The powerful simplicity of the message in the entertaining package. I've read a number of Godin books savoring each word. My favorite still today is The Purple Cow. I've read many others but I still come back to that one. I am sorry that I missed the webinar but thankful for the recap.
Today, there is no shortage of ways to create a website, it's almost like getting fries with your sandwich at your favorite restaurant it just comes on the plate. Everywhere you look there is a free website attached. The problem with that is, what you do with it once you get it. A client said to me once that they built their own site but was stuck on the content. Looking around the web I've seen where a site is made up of several social media widgets with very little original content.
It's like the site owner knew they needed a web presence but didn't know what to do with it or underestimated the time it takes to maintain it. Having a web presence is great but having a good web presence is even better.
Event season is nearly upon us. One of the many tasks is a site visit. Every planner does it and you should too. There are many checklists on the web, in books etc. but none of them will speak exactly to your situation. Over the years I can say I have never used the exact same checklist twice and I've been working events for a decade. Each time some addition/subtractions are necessary.
Flipping channels, I paused the remote long enough to see an initial interview with a sales guy and a new client on some reality show. The sales rep kept saying something to the effect that there are a lot of options - over and over and over. Followed by repeatedly asking the client if they liked any of the options set before them. I sat there thinking, "You need to give them something to react to".
OMG, Dec 31st is almost here! I can't thank you enough for hanging out with us! As we wrap up this year's deliverables and squeeze in client meetings before the holidays, we look forward to spending some time with friends and family. This year was a good year and 2013 is shaping up to be even better. We've said it before, and we can't say it enough, THANK YOU to our clients, past, present and future (*wink*). THANK YOU to our great advisors (we know how shy you are so I won't name names). THANK YOU to our friends and family who put up with us, we could not have done it without your love and support.Before we get too sappy here, reminding you, if you have not already done so, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest on us and our clients. Oh and before I forget...keep the feedback coming! Take care, Happy Holidays and see you in 2013!
In a few short days, 2012 will come to a close. Amid the holiday cheer and madness, maybe do a little reflecting. While it is not always fun it is crucial for success. Throughout the year, review of individual objectives is done but at the end of the year is when a long hard and honest look at things is needed. This reflection sets the tone for the new and successful new year.
With that, here are 5 things to do before the New Year.
The other day I had the opportunity to speak with Brian Pirkle from Cvent, an Online Event Registration & Event Management Software company. Like other event planners in the area I'd received invites to come to a seminar to hear about their product. Since I started in technology and moved into event planning, I wanted to know more about a tech driven event planning company.