Category: Pursuits

Unbottle It!


Maude Barlow and the Council of Canadians brought their 19 city tour of Ontario to Sault Ste. Marie tonight. Maude is one of those legendary people you just have to meet when the opportunity comes, so I managed to catch part of her speech between other personal activities. I even got to chat with her for a few moments before she was whisked away at the start. I was impressed by her passion, commitment and determination to establishing water as a human right.

Below is the live blog transcript of the first hour of the event, possibly the first ever event blogged live in Sault Ste. Marie. Now you know another useless piece of trivia.

CBC Radio interview – ChangeCamp: a new kind of camp

Obama-mania has arrived in Canada, with the arrival of the President to Ottawa. This morning I was interviewed on CBC Radio Sudbury’s Morning North show to talk about ChangeCamp, an unconference-style event geared to re-thinking the relationship between citizens and government.

We touched on what ChangeCamp is, the inspirations for the event, namely the City of Toronto’s Web 2.0 Summit, other unconferences known as Barcamps and the new open, engagement style of President Barack Obama.

My goal is to help organize a ChangeCamp event in Sault Ste. Marie later this year, but I’ll need lots of help. I’ve created a ChangeCamp Sault page and a discussion group to get things started. If you live in northern Ontario, I encourage you to join the conversation. Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa are busy getting their ChangeCamp plans in motion.

ChangeCamp is an inclusive event, bringing together techno types, policy wonks, bureaucrats, politicians, and other inspired citizens to spark this conversation around how citizens and government engage each other. Imagine how the power of online communication can encourage more transparency, openness and engagement around shaping policy. We’re seeing how businesses, organizations and individuals can benefit, now is the time for government as well.

Due to a technical glitch, the recording got cut off near the end.

Listen to the interview on CBC radio – ChangeCamp

Obama-style change, in Canada


This weekend I’ll be at ChangeCamp which in the words of chief organizer Mark Kuznicki

is designed to create connections, knowledge, tools and policies that drive transparency, civic engagement and democratic empowerment. We want to start a new conversation about citizenship and government that understands and employs both the tools of the web and participant-led face-to-face meetings like this event. The hope is to begin a national movement by creating tools that people in their communities can take and use to help start that conversation in a way that is relevant to them.

I’m going for 3 reasons:

  • Connect. I’ve met through Twitter a number of the people going – young, talented people motivated for social change. It’ll be great to meet many of them face-to-face for the first time to build on those budding relationships, including people connected to thmvmnt. There will be a diverse crowd: citizens, technologists, designers, academics, policy wonks, political players, change-makers and government employees there to answer one question: How do we re-imagine government and governance in the age of participation?
  • Participate. This will be a chance to be at the start of a new movement, one I am passionate about. Looking forward to getting my hands (and head) dirty, excited about the ideas that will come forth from the day.
  • Learn. I’ve never been to an unconference like ChangeCamp before, where the content of the day is created by the participants and anyone who wants to lead a conversation about something that they’re passionate about will have an opportunity to do so. I’d like to help organize events like this back in Sault Ste. Marie, including a local ChangeCamp.

Registrations going fast

Not many spots left at the conference, so act quickly if you want to go. I’ll be driving down Friday from Sault Ste. Marie and have room in my car for anyone living along the way. We could make it a ChangeCamp caravan. 🙂

Meet your new Planet Plone zoo keeper

Great response to my invitation for someone to step in as the new Planet Plone zoo keeper. Thanks to Lukasz Lakomy, Ian Hood, David Little and Rob Porter for responding. Plone community, here is your chance to find something small and needed for these willing volunteers. 🙂

I’ll now introduce to you your new contact for getting your blog on Planet Plone, a guy whose voice is destined for radio (or a Plone podcast?), John DeRosa!

John Derosa, new Planet Plone zoo keeper
John Derosa, new Planet Plone zoo keeper

John is Director of Web Development for Fisher Communications, where he’s working on new technology initiatives, and doing some Phone theming and customization in an open-source environment. He’s a coder at heart, and enjoys Python quite a bit. Before Fisher, he worked in a number of start-ups, the most successful of which was Singingfish. He lives in Seattle. You can find more details about him on his blog or on LinkedIn.

John looks forward to connecting with Plone people and helping out in this simple but important job.

Planet Plone is the blogging voice of the Plone community. Not following Planet Plone? Add the feed to your favourite feed reader. Want your Plone blog posts on Planet? Submit your name, blog url and feed url to the issue tracker. I’m sure John will take good care of you.

The perfect first job for helping out the Plone community

Plone has been good to you. You’re earning a living thanks to the efforts of many, and perhaps your sanity has been saved on a few occasions by the kind folks in the #plone chat room. You’ve been thinking for a while about some way to help out, but can’t take on anything too big, and your Plone coding fu is in its infancy.

Well, have I got the perfect job for you!

Become the Planet Plone zoo keeper

Planet Plone is the blogging voice of the Plone community. There are now 115+ blogs registered with Planet Plone. People share all kinds of tips, ideas, rants and news on upcoming events through the Planet. A big thanks to Wichert and others who have done most of the leg work to make Planet Plone what it is today.

Not following Planet Plone? Add the feed to your favourite newsreader.

The Planet needs someone to process requests for blogs to be added or changes made to existing ones.

Maintaining Planet Plone is super simple. Each month, there are at most 2-3 requests to add or change a blog. Trac is used to manage blog submissions. You receive an email notification whenever a ticket is submitted.

All changes are made in one config file. Each entry looks like this:

name = Gerry J Kirk
link =

The first line is the content feed, the second is the name of the author, and lastly a link to the author’s web site.

If you are still with me, then congratulations, you are qualified.

But wait, there’s more

For the more technically inclined (that’s not me), you can if you wish maintain the software that runs Planet Plone. Right now, Alex Clark (aclark on IRC) and Lennart Regebro (regebro on IRC) leap to action whenever there are small fires to put out.

How do I sign up?

Those interested can contact me directly. I’m the current zoo keeper, looking to move into other Plone jobs, marketing in particular. It’s been a fun ride, but now its time to move on to something more substantial.

How can I add my blog to Planet Plone?

Right now you have to go to the Trac ticketing system, register an account, then create a new ticket. Include the following information:

  • Your first and last name
  • Web site address
  • Feed address to Plone community-related content. If you also blog about other topics not related to the Plone community, then please provide a filtered feed, like all posts with a Plone tag or category.
  • Select Planet Plone from the Component list

I have some ideas on how to improve the process, we’ll see what is possible. Stay tuned!

Today is World Plone Day – Join the Celebration

The first World Plone Day event is now finished. New Zealand WPD organizer Tim Knapp was pleased with the results:

Just so you all know, we just had our first WPD Plone Day event (in the world) in Wellington, New Zealand and about 31 people turned out, we had 6 presenters and a grand old time.

What you can do to join in the efforts to showcase Plone:

  1. Digg this article TODAY: and post it to Facebook.
  2. Vote up this Slashdot article TODAY:
  3. Write a blog post sharing what you love about Plone and the Plone community. Tag it with worldploneday2008.

Don’t forget to catch the LIVE coverage – video, IRC, live blogging, Twitter posts and Flickr pics –

10 Reasons To Choose Plone CMS for your Web Solution

Digg this post Plone is an open source CMS (Content Management System), recently awarded the Best Other (non-php) Open Source CMS award.

Plone, together with an array of add-on components is used for a variety of needs:

World Plone Day 2008

As part of World Plone Day, Friday, November 7, here are 10 compelling reasons for choosing Plone as a web site solution:

  1. Stable future. Plone is owned, supported and protected by the Plone Foundation, similar to the Apache Foundation. Growth of Plone in code and community has risen at a steady pace since inception in 2000.
  2. Avoids vendor lock-in. Plone uses the same open source license as Linux. This avoids vendor lock-in, expensive licenses, and gives you a predictable future — and the freedom to innovate.
  3. Easy to use. Plone’s focus on usability makes it easy for users to manage content. Watch a video to see for yourself.
  4. Secure. Security is considered one of Plone’s key strengths. Fine-grained role-based security model secures your content. Plone’s sandbox architecture ensures that intruders will not have access to your server or your network.
  5. Standards compliant. Optimized for search engines, works in all major browsers, supports Open ID, support for web services and relational data storage.
  6. International. Translated into over 35 languages, including Chinese and right-to-left languages like Russian and Arabic.
  7. Solid documentation. Hundreds of how-tos and tutorials. Screencasts on Seven books published on Plone, including an end user manual. A new book on how to get the most out of Plone without touching code on its way. No other Open Source CMS has an end user manual.  You can buy the hard copy or download the PDF for free.
  8. MS Desktop integration. No other Open Source CMS has a Microsoft Windows Desktop integration for free. Enfold Desktop enables everyone to have a first class Windows desktop experience.
  9. Nestle Plone inside an MS shop. Enfold Proxy enables people to deploy Plone in a possibly hostile to linux IT department. How many Microsoft organizations want to run Apache? Enfold Proxy is *not* free.  It costs money.  But you get support.
  10. Separate content management and delivery. Use *any* software to deliver the content from the Plone CMS. Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby. Whatever presentation-tier technologies the customer is most comfortable with can be used.
    Static publishing
    . Look at and
    Dynamic delivery.  Look at and for examples of Entransit.  Using very very simple and fast technologies to serve Plone content dynamically.

Want to know more? See if there is a World Plone Day event happening near you, or visit online:

  • – is the main site to read more information, download copies, access documentation and products (add-on functionality)
  • – find a provider that supports Plone, read case studies and press releases, browse the directory of Plone based sites.
  • –  a diverse collection of training and interview videos about Plone
  • – a collaborative software ecosystem where government organizations, NGOs and private enterprises work together to share the cost of enhanced capabilities.

Plone Conference 2008: My Session Picks

Ok, time to start figuring out what sessions I want to go to at the Plone conference. I work mainly as a project manager / scrum master, so I tend to avoid the techy stuff. Here is my preliminary list:


  • The 10% manifesto and further — Methods for organized contribution to strategic development of Plone. I need to get better at this, interested in approaches to “building in” time to contribute back to Plone.
  • Usability Testing: From High End to the Dirt Poor. An area I don’t have formal knowledge in, always interested in how to better capture what users need.
  • Real world intranets. It’s Joel Burton. ‘Nuff said.


  • Hybrid Vigor: Plone + Salesforce Integration. We (ifPeople) have done a couple of Salesforce + Plone projects, thanks to Andrew and ONE/NW’s fantastic contributions. Interested in doing more of these projects.
  • What Makes a Great Development Team? I’ve heard great things about Michael, who works with Martin Aspeli. I’m passionate about Agile, so interested to hear his talk, which I expect will have an Agile flavour to it.
  • The Future of Plone’s User Experience. Being Alexander Limi, I expect something entertaining and visionary.
  • Simplifying Plone. Some bleeding edge thought and real examples from Martin Aspeli and those attending.
  • Using Deliverance to Theme a Website. Ok, finally getting my geek on here. I’ve been wanting to understand Deliverance better, never got my head wrapped around it. There is your challenge, Mr. Bicking, one really smart cookie.


  • Repoze.bfg – a Zope explosion. Geek fix #2. Probably won’t ever code with it, but want to understand when it is a good solution.
  • Documentation Team Panel. Interested in how the panel wants to make documentation on rock even harder. Hope to contribute some thoughts.
  • High performing teams: What’s the secret sauce? Good idea to attend my own presentation in case no one else does.

So that’s my list. What interests you? Let’s get some discussion going.

Of course, the discussions that happen outside of sessions are valuable also. I’m looking forward to seeing *so* many people, this being my first Plone conference after 5 years of being in the Plone community. Lunch anyone?

Plone Conf 2008: The unofficial social calendar

Plone plays frisbee too
Plone plays frisbee too

Part of what makes conferences like Plone Conf 2008 so great is the chance to meet and hang out with many of the people we only “see” online from a distance. This is especially true for me. I’ve been involved with Plone since 2002 but have yet to attend any conference / sprint. Thankfully, that will soon change!

My organizational personality twitch wants me to make it easier for people to meet and do stuff, so I created a page for people to suggest and sign up for activities to do, things like ultimate frisbee (maybe we can design a Plone disc – yeah!).

Maybe you want to visit the Smithsonian, tour the national monuments, or go for a walk up Mt. Vernon after sitting on your butt all day in sessions.

To add something to the page, request access to the project.

Alive and kicking

Wow, it’s been a millennium in blogging terms since I last posted here. That’s not to say I haven’t been blogging. I’ve just found my interests have been elsewhere.

I’ve been working on a few initiatives, now that family life is a little less demanding. Now that the twins have passed the one year mark, we’ve managed to catch our breath a little more often.

Blogging on parish life after losing pastor

In April, a few days before Palm Sunday, my pastor was granted leave by the bishop. My response to this shocker was to set up a blog to try and keep people informed as to what is going on and also to spark conversation. I see blogging as a voice for the people in the pews, who sadly often don’t have much say or influence over the affairs of their own parish. So far, the responses have been mostly positive, it’s affecting what happens in the parish in a good way (I think) but most people are afraid to post comments. I’m hopeful that fear will fade over time.

Building local sustainable living network

One of my passions is the environment and sustainable living. My inner fabric pushes me to make healthy, positive choices in all that I say and do, choices that benefit me, those around me and creation. Here in the Sault, the envrionmental movement is small and not welll connected, especially for individuals. I want to help build a network that can support and encourage people, business and local government to make sustainable choices. I’ve started a local mailing list called Rocks and Trees (lots of that around here) to connect people, and we get together on a monthly basis for good eats and conversation. Each month more people are signing up, which is encouraging. On Earth Day I launched a blog at It’s a pitiful start to a bigger project I’ve wanted to do for a while, but hey, it’s a start.

Organizing the home-based remote worker scene

Working from home is great, but I do miss the personal interactions from an office environment. In January I started yet another mailing list for people working from home, in particular people working remotely for an employer. We also do the monthly lunch thing as we’re all happy to escape from our tower or dungeon every once in a while. There has even been some talk of sharing some office space for a social working experience every now and again. I think it will happen eventually.

So there you have it. I do need to get back to this blog, and there are plenty of blog posts waiting to emerge. I’ll have to set aside some work time I guess.