Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Common Good Vermont

See Common Good Vermont at its new home on

The other day we launched the first iteration of the Common Good Vermont website. From the about page:

Vermont (pop. 621,000) is a small, tightly knit rural state proud of its independent spirit and high levels of civic engagement. Vermont's independent sector (3000+ organizations, $4 billion annual revenue) plays a primary role in the delivery of human and cultural services and in the preservation of the state's cherished natural resources. Most social services—food, shelter, healthcare and education—are delivered within local and regional community settings.

Often separated by geography (mountains, rivers, lakes), Vermont's 251 towns and 14 counties are increasingly knit together by broadband "build-out". Common Good Vermont leverages these electronic networks to bridge the barriers of Vermont's geography and the "beaten paths" of its hyper-local networks. New human and electronic networking activities will support the delivery of information and innovation to the state's community builders: project volunteers and professionals who, by virtue of their civic and nonprofit roles and responsibilities, are the lifeblood of the "green mountain state". Common Good's place-based and community virtual events are designed to improve the capacity of so many "small networks" that, improve Vermont's unique "quality of life".

Common Good Vermont aggregates content for (and from) Vermont independents and nonprofits by pulling in RSS and Atom feeds including blogs, news sources, social bookmarks, and event calendars. The goal is to serve as an information hub encouraging knowledge sharing and increasing cross-organization communication. Content is currently organized by a combination of taxonomy (categories defined by Common Good Vermont staff) and folksonomy (tags from the feeds themselves). Our goal is to eventually remove the taxonomy layer and have all content organized completely by broad and, to a lesser extent, narrow folksonomy. However, the taxonomy layer is there for now to allow a certain amount of curation while we seek out, connect, and aggregate additional sources of information.

Common Good Vermont is built using Zend Framework and hosted on Rackspace Cloud Sites. Components from Zend Framework used include its MVC system, Zend_Application, Zend_Feed_Reader, Zend_Tag_Cloud, Zend_Search_Lucene, Zend_Paginator, Zend_Db, Zend_Date, Zend_Auth, Zend_Acl, and Zend_Form. Stay tuned for future iterations to the website!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Moving On

See Moving On at its new home on

Today is my last day at Vermont Oxford Network and I will now be working at Found Line full time. This was not a decision I took lightly. Vermont Oxford Network is a great place to work and they've got an excellent team. For the last four and half years I've been developing software that improves health care for newborn infants. I feel like I've made a contribution beyond just the work. However, it's time to move on to something different.

Jason and I started Found Line almost five years ago and I'm looking forward to helping him and Liz continue to grow the business. We've got some really great clients and I'm very happy to have more time to focus on their projects. I'm also excited about the opportunity to work with free/open source software and open standards full time. So, time to go catch up on some work!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

RedEye Universal Remote Control

See RedEye Universal Remote Control at its new home on

Today one of our clients, ThinkFlood, launched their RedEye Universal Remote Control for the iPhone and iPod touch. The device and application combination allows you to "use your iPhone or iPod touch to control your TV, stereo, cable box, DVD player, and many other devices that receive standard (infrared) signals." The product launch got some great press coverage including from CrunchGear, Gizmodo, Macworld, iPodNN, Engadget, TUAW, and Wired’s Gadget Lab. Our work with ThinkFlood has included developing their brand identity, packaging, and website.

The latest iteration of the website includes eCommerce functionality allowing ThinkFlood to sell their RedEye device directly to consumers. The eCommerce section includes a shopping cart and an easy-to-use two page checkout process. While the checkout process is simple for end users, there's quite a lot happening behind the scenes with the integration of multiple APIs. The website is built using Zend Framework and thanks to Rackspace Cloud Sites everything has remained running smoothly even with all of the press coverage and associated traffic.