yeah 2011


Field Report Image
Field Report Image
Field Report Image

Things got a little busier over November and December. Expectedly I had an increase in phone calls/e-mails during the "Storming Phase" but nothing too out of control. I've been lucky that major issues with different VISTAs have not overlapped so I haven't had to juggle too many concerns at the same time.

Comment from Devon Smolca on February 9, 2011 - 12:24pm

I like those happy tools! Did you create them?

Comment from Bill Brown on February 9, 2011 - 12:29pm

yep yep



I have something to show for my time with the Transmission Project so far. Today I published an article on past Corps members' experiences working with Salesforce databases. I would like to thank Billy especially for creating the graphics and prepping the document for PDF format.

Comment from David Beaton on August 24, 2010 - 8:06pm

What is the link to the article?

Comment from Howard Fisher on August 25, 2010 - 10:22am

Sorry about that, Dave. I've added the document as an attachment for your convenience.

Comment from Philip Dahl on August 25, 2010 - 6:56pm

Woot! that's the same reason I like the field reports. So i can learn things that other people learn through their real life experiences. Nice post Ward, keep em coming! You still have to post the old ads for DAS Corps! :-P

How To Set Up a Google 'Federated Search' For Membership/Association-based NPOs


For fun, I created a 'federated search' for personal use at my org.

My Beta:

It was easy as pie to set up in under 5 minutes:



  • Get csv/xls spreadsheet of URLs you want to search (in my case a list of NAMAC's Member Orgs)
  • Constituent Management Databases


    from the Tech Soup Newsletter: Tracking Constituents in Small and Mid-Sized Organizations

    Before you consider what actual database tool is right for you, it's important to think through what's important for your organization.

    Projects, Daytrips and Life in General


    There has been a lot going on in my neck of the woods (San Diego, CA).

    For one thing, my company, the Pangea Foundation, was just granted a contract to develop databasing software to be used in the Home Again Mississippi project (I think that is the project; If not, you get to see a cool webpage with stories). It is really such an honor that a company as small as ours was chosen to do such an enormous project. Unfortunately, though, we only have until March 30th to finish (people need homes!) and we just found out we got the job yesterday! Craziness! The gist is that there was some sort of insurance/state relief decision made where select people are each being given $100,000 to rebuild/repair their homes. However, the state of Mississippi has no way to track who needs it, at what stage they're at or any of the other details that go along with it. So along comes Pangea to the rescue! They saw some of our other systems and have heard about our great tech support and training assistance (ya baby) and felt we were the company for them. It's so exciting! Our software will hopefully expedite the process of all of the people getting the funds they need to rebuild their homes. Woot!

    Comment from Carl Seifert on March 6, 2007 - 1:59pm

    Thats pretty sweet about the new contract for Pangaea. I think you guys are giving them the support they need to grow, even if sometimes it seems like you aren't doing much. I take it that that contract is the reason you were in meetings all yesterday...which again, is a good thing.

    Awesome on the html, dreamweaver and photoshop is an excellent price indeed. I also am finally learning the basics of HTML after fooling around with Dreamweaver a couple of years ago, i've made webpages, but didnt know the nitty-gritty html stuff, so i'm learning the code basics. Also you heard about my training in Macromedia Flash here in old town alexandria, which is so sweet. If only we could actually purchase the software....[looks into the distance dreamily].

    I also understand your existential and career contemplation, but i think you already have more of a plan than you give yourself credit. Go crazy, be adventurous and use that americorps resume and networking for your benefit. Heck...move out to DC, its a great area and lots of fun stuff to do. And lots of jobs that are interested in supply/demand graphs.

    See ya in April.

    Carl Seifert
    Computer C.O.R.E.
    Alexandria, VA

    Commercial databases


    In our conference call I agreed to provide information about what commercial database my organization decided to go with. Although, I'm not sure exactly who asked for it. So whoever you it is.

    Social Solutions is the name of the company. They specialize in social service organizations big and small. They have clients that are 5 employees and hundreds, from Girl Scouts of America to Computer CORE (5 employees). The database software is called ETO (Efforts to Outcomes) and is built around the idea of tracking successes and clients.

    Comment from Erin Taylor on February 8, 2007 - 3:04pm


    Thanks for the info. I'm scouting out a lot of options, and this certainly helps. Hope all is well in DC -- looking forward to seeing everyone at the conference!

    Tools of my trade


    At present my work is focused mainly on a small software development project for which I write code in php.  I have to write code to interact with a database and generate forms and reports.

      Among the tools I am using for this project, Pear::DB and Smarty are more significant. PEAR is allowing me to write code which is database neutral. That is I do not have to write database functions addressed to a specific database. I need to do it only once in a single statement when I connect to a database of my choice. This is a cool concept that allows portability. For example same code can be used to connect to MySQL or SQLite or PostgresSQL data bases with changes only to configuration parameters. 

    Another tool that I am using is “Smarty templates” for report layout. With Smarty I can   write code separating presentation details from the processing logic. Additionally Smarty allows me to use conditional logic and looping within the template, thus allowing me to separate not only the template but also the logic, this ability to use some level of logic, instead  of just plugging in the variables, gives me more control over the display