Open Source

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.

Data Management / API


How Open APIs Can Change How Nonprofits Manage Data
See attached presentation.

Using Open APIs for a Virtual March
See attached presentation.

What is A Content Management System?


An OS content management system (CMS) allows you to manage website text and images through a database. This typically means:
Quicker website setup
Completely flexible graphic design
Tools to easily update pages and navigation
Support for rule-based content (like events or news)
Community support and plug-ins

Comparing Open Source Content Management Systems:
- Joomla

What I've been up to


I've been in California for a month and a half now and I love it! I found a place to live in Alameda which is just outside of Oakland where I work. Alameda is really nice and safe. I love my job and the people I work with are really cool!

I have been busy with a few projects at work. I developed an addition to their 3 hour Take Home Computer Class (THCP). This class provides Oakland students in grades 6-12 with basic computer training along with training on the Open Source software (OpenOffice, The Gimp, Audacity, typing tutors, anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc.) that we install on each computer. Once the students take the class, then they receive a free refurbished computer with free life time tech support.

Comment from Jessica McCoy on March 9, 2007 - 8:58pm

Hey Naomi,

I've been meaning to call you so we can find a time to get together. I'm thinking that next week I'll finally have the free time for a meeting. Let's talk on Monday and figure something out!


(VISTA at Center for Digital Storytelling)

Comment from Ben Sheldon on March 10, 2007 - 2:57am

Naomi--Thanks for bringing it to my attention that we don't have the upload file types allowed for ODF documents.

Now you should be able to upload extensions with .odt, .ods, .odp, and .odg. I'm happy to hear you're using them.

Also, for anyone on a Mac, NeoOffice is a great port of

Also, my favorite open source drawing app is Inkscape, a vector drawing program somewhat similar to illustrator, but easier to use.

Comment from Naomi Jimenez on March 12, 2007 - 6:07pm

Thanks Ben! I just uploaded the OpenOffice copy of my slide show.

I forgot to mention Inkscape in my blog. My organization also uses it in their digital storytelling workshops and I have been learing it as well.



Open Source Development and "Barrier to Entry"


Last week I had the opportunity to participate in my first "sprint". In a sprint, a bunch of people get together and work on an open source project for a few days. In my two days (and one night :p) of sprinting, I learned a lot, met some awesome people, and contributed to the start of a project. I highly recommend sprinting to anyone who gets a chance to do it.

However, one thing I noticed when sprinting was the difficulty of getting to a point where you can make progress on a project. For example, before you could work on my project, you had to download and install particular versions of six different tools. And then you had configure your system properly (set environment variables and run scripts and such).

What is CiviCRM?


CiviCRM is actually a suite of tools based on the Drupal content management system. A bit tricky to set up (at first), but once configured and running it is VERY powerful. It allows NPOs to coordinate their efforts quite well and collects has good set of tools for this. Some key things it attends to is:



  • Volunteer coordination
  • CTC VISTAs Can Share! - Digital Media Toolkit


    [From the blog of Danielle Martin, 10/13/2006]

    Morgan Sully, developed an open DIY Digital Media Toolkit/CD-ROM, with a simple HTML start page and links to resources and free software (usually distributed on CD) to bring to sessions he did in his work with The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender Community Center.

    CTC VISTA 2.0: The Evolution of the Project's Communications


    by Danielle Martin

    Last fall, then VISTA Leader Saul Baizman wrote a candid article on the latest evolution of the CTC VISTA Project communications scheme for the Fall edition of the Community Technology Review entitled “Build an Information and Communications Technology Infrastructure in 21 Days.” At the time when Saul first started tackling the problem, the Project’s site was mostly a static site with contact information and some examples of the Project work. In his tenure at the Project, Saul helped the site evolve from a confusing, multi-tool system to a more simplified contact directory complimented by a webblog system.

    Dancing with Samba


    Over the past two weeks, I've been putting together a server so that people across the street from us at UMass Lowell (we're on-campus also) can mount their website files, hosted with us, as a network drive under Windows. This can be done with FTP, but it's still a bit messy. Fortunately, there's software out there, called Samba, that lets you make a Linux/Unix computer act as a Windows server. Here's how we've used it.

    The first step is to set up a computer running Linux/Mac OSX/FreeBSD/NetBSD/Solaris... (any Unix flavor). This is a whole blog entry unto itself, but these days, it's not too hard, and it's getting easier and easier every day. Here at the CSL, we have a fairly well-established checklist for doing this, but there are always minor kinks in the process. Since our income is fairly small at this point (getting larger, thanks to some new grants and kind donors), our equipment is mostly hand-me-down. In this case, it meant learning about a new server we'd never spent much time on (memory on it must be installed in pairs!).