Month 11: Final Workshops and Facility Recommendations


In May/June, I offered several training workshops, likely the last round of dedicated sessions as my year of VISTA service comes to a close. The remainder of my year will be devoted to compiling the training materials I've written, and writing the manuals I haven't had time to compose yet.

FLOSS Usability Sprint


Last weekend Aspiration co-hosted a Usuability Sprint at Google in Silicon Valley. The purpose of this sprint was to bring together designers of Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) software with "usability experts", with the hope that some good design work could be done to make the products more user-friendly. Google provided most of the usability experts, and the open source projects represented were Drupal, Sustainable Civil Society, SocialText, HyperScope, and of course, Social Source Commons (represented by Gunner and me).

Comment from cheryl jerozal on November 3, 2006 - 4:05pm

did you get one of the google pins that lights up with different colors? that was my favorite piece of swag from them.

Comment from gariet cowin on November 9, 2006 - 3:01pm

For those of you interested, which is probably nobody, I would like to point out that "shwag" and "swag" are not the same thing.

"Shwag" is free promotional crap given out by companies.

"Swag" is an Aussie term for a rolled bundle of belongings, carried by a foot traveler. It can also refer to "loot", such as that plundered by pirates.

The only exception to this is if you happen to be at a trade show for a pirate startup company, and you steal some of their promotional items. In that case, either word is acceptable.

Comment from lauren bratslavsky on November 14, 2006 - 11:22am

well garriet you'ld be surprised to know that this is relevant at our office. We have been talking about schwag and calling it pirate booty. Thanks to your clarification, I informed my coworkers and set the record straight, though there are still some rebels who say schwag is the pirate booty of conferences.

Comment from cheryl jerozal on November 16, 2006 - 12:54pm

swag and shwag are the same thing: , except that shwag has one additional meaning of low grade marijuana. i chose the spelling i did as an attempt at a joke (sometimes i feel like a pirate looting companies, especially at job fairs where they have things like pens that light up in multiple colors...hmm maybe i just like things with flashing colors)...but i guess that attempt failed.

Firefox 2.0 Add-ons


Firefox is currently the most popular ( tool in SSC, so it's pretty big news that Firefox 2.0 was released yesterday. I updated my version yesterday afternoon and so far it's been working great for me. More importantly, I haven't noticed any problems with SSC since I've been using it, although I will still be doing more testing.

Along with the launch of Firefox 2.0, there has been an increase in activity among blogs and bookmarking sites listing add-ons for Firefox, most of which I've encorporated in Firefox's Useful Links field (

Comment from cheryl jerozal on October 26, 2006 - 4:08pm

hmm, i wonder if my extension-thing (made from a greasemonkey script) still works. this is a good illustration of how people release open source software because they wanted something cool and so they made it but then they lose interest or get too busy to keep updating it. i wonder how many developers feel guilty about not keeping up with their software. i guess it is better to have had good software and have lost it than to never have had it at all. :p

Comment from Tony ORourke on October 26, 2006 - 9:46pm

I am really really sad that I can not use Firefox at work.  Our filters will not work on it...and I want to keep my job here.  I love the add-ons.  Particularly the weather one.  I always like peaking at the weather back home and seeing how much warmer it is out here. :)

Comment from danielle martin on October 27, 2006 - 4:20pm

I hate that our Drupal blog do tagging different than other sites, but you got to add commas between you tags or it ends up being one big ol tag. I fixed it for ya but for next time!


PS Thanks for sharing these great links! If your using Delicious, remember to tag your links with "ctcvista".


Comment from Mike Moore on April 6, 2007 - 2:24pm


"ScrapBook is a Firefox extension, which helps you to save Web pages and easily manage collections. Key features are lightness, speed, accuracy and multi-language support. Major features are:

* Save Web page
* Save snippet of Web page
* Save Web site
* Organize the collection in the same way as Bookmarks
* Full text search and quick filtering search of the collection
* Editing of the collected Web page
* Text/HTML edit feature resembling Opera's Notes

Works with:

* Firefox Firefox: 1.5 – 2.0.0.*"


I find I use it quite a bit to save how to, link and
tutorial pages. Especially useful when, so often, pages are
here today, gone tomorrow.

Towards that end, I would also direct you to the Wayback Machine (Internet Archive):

"Browse through 85 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available. The resulting pages point to other archived pages at as close a date as possible. Keyword searching is not currently supported."

Wayback Machine

Information about Samba


In our teleconference today, John mentioned that he was installing Samba on workstations for his position. I offered to find documentation to help him out if he needed it. This dovetails nicely with my responsibilities, as I was able to post the resources I found onto Samba's page on the Social Source commons website.

Click here


BTW, if anyone else is looking for documentation for tools, let me know and I'll see what I can find.

Free and or Open Source Software


Free and or Open Source Software: definition, explanation, resources...