Make Meetings Matter

Whenever you pull together a team for a meeting, the cost of that meeting can be substantial. Eight people in a conference room for an hour is a whole day worth of potentially lost productivity. You need to take steps to ensure that the investment made is worth it.

Vita Rara Changes Its Name To Enable Labs

Vita Rara, my current employer, and the creators of MORI, has changed its name to Enable Labs. The new name reflects the company's focus on enabling the success of our clients.

As Enable Labs, we have renewed our focus on consulting for a broad base of potential customers.

While member management remains a central focus of Enable Labs's work, we also have clients for other types of software including: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

As Enable Labs grows, we expect to bring a broader range of tools and skill sets into play as we continue to serve fraternal communities for years to come.

Enable Labs specializes in Ruby on Rails development.

Friends on FriendFeed

As the social networking march goes on, so goes the need to expand to new sites with more profiles. This week is Friend Feed. Friend Feed is kind of like Twitter or in that you can post content that is for Friend Feed only. However, you can take it a step further and incorporate your content from as many as 50 other sites.

Here are some links to some friends who have profiles set up on Friend Feed:

Profiles of Friends on the New Google Profiles

Google recently introduced common profiles for their many applications. If someone has a profile and it matches, exactly, a search, Google displays the profile at the bottom of the first page of search results. It is unclear to me whether Google plans to introduce and Twitter like functionality. I don't even know if their spiders even crawl their own pages.

Anywhere, here are some links to people and businesses that I know that have profiles set up on Google:

  • John Fitzpatrick - that's me.
  • Vita Rara - my employer.
  • MORI- a membership management application that I've been working on.
  • Modal Tracker - software to track intermodal shipping containers.
  • Quadran - an ERP system for importers/distributors
  • Modal Labs - Vita Rara's division for software to serve the intermodal shipping industry (like Modal Tracker).
  • Kase Manager - software for help desks to track client issues and trouble tickets.
  • Vitaly Babiy - a co-worker of mine.

Friends On

Spent some time setting up profiles for a number of friends and business contacts on over the past couple of days. For those who aren't aware, is a competitor to Twitter that has about 1/500th the user base. Here's a list of the accounts:

Mark Menard, John Fitzpatrick, VitaRara, and Quadran

Vita Rara (VitaRara) is my employer. Mark Menard is the owner. Quadran is VitaRara's ERP system for importers and distributors of bulk commodities.

Our first client for Quadran is a company called Stein Fibers. Before working at VitaRara, Mark Menard and John Fitzpatrick worked together at a company called 5Points. In 1999, Stein Fibers contracted with 5points to write an ERP system to replace their patchwork of various tools. In June 2007, Stein Fibers asked VitaRara to replace the system written by 5points. That new system is called Quadran.

Over the next few years, we expect to deliver Quadran to several new clients. The application is geared toward organizations that handle commoditized products in bulk quantities, particularly ones who import the materials from overseas.

Want more information? Here's some links to the people and organizations discussed in this article:

Mark Menard, John Fitzpatrick, VitaRara, and MORI

Vita Rara (VitaRara) is my employer. Mark Menard is the owner. MORI, which is short for Masonic Online Registry Interface, is the nearly singularly focused obsession of the past five years of my professional life.

Mark Menard is a mason. After starting VitaRara in 2004, he hired me to work on a web-based membership tracking system that both lodge secretaries and Grand Lodge users could use together to manage a given state's Masonic membership. In January of 2005, we delivered MORI to the Grand Lodge of New York. Since that time, John Fitzpatrick (that's me) and Mark Menard have delivered MORI to five other Masonic organizations: The Order of the Eastern Star in New York, the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, the Grand Lodge of Ohio and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

More state bodies and other related bodies will be setup in MORI in the future, though I cannot say which ones yet. Several states have expressed strong interest, but this is a time of year when decisions of this nature are hard to come to.

Want more information? Here's some links to the people and organizations discussed in this article:

A New Purpose

With the change in government, the drive to push this blog as a means of drawing people's attention to issues I felt were being ignored, or worse perpetrated, by a republican administration has waned.

For the moment, I will simply be blogging issues and topics of a personal nature until I have the time to remake the site into something entirely new. Please stay tuned. This could get interesting.

Same-Sex Marriage Block On Way To California Ballot

The victory of Gay-Rights advocates in the California Supreme Court decision might be short lived. A ballot measure to amend that California State Constitution has gathered over 1 million signatures and will surely be on the November ballot.

Republicans Seek Cancer Research and, uh, alter the electoral college

As part of a signature drive by Republicans seeking to fund cancer research, they are also collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to alter California's electoral votes in their favor. People are being asked to sign a petition for cancer research and are being handed the petition for the electoral scheme.

How Far Should Water Recycling Go?

In much of the western U.S., water demand vastly outstrips supply. Some municipalities are moving toward a greater use of recycled waste water as a means to stretch supply. It sounds good in theory, but how far should it go?

Understanding The Writers Strike

Unless you live under a rock, you already know that the Writers Guild of America is on strike -- a move aimed at crippling the Motion Picture and Television industries. Since many major news outlets are controlled by the same organizations the writers are striking against, it is not surprising that people are not hearing the pittance for which the writers are asking. What follows is a selection of videos to explain the issue.

Afghanistan Falling Into Taliban Control

As the U.S. remains distracted by the conflict it started in Iraq, the mission in Afghanistan gets further and further away from being "accomplished".

Rockefeller Taking Telco Money As He Pushes For Their Immunity

Think Telco execs don't think they did anything wrong complying with the government's warrantless wiretap requests, well take a look at to whom they're donating their money.

Saddam Offered To Leave Without A Fight

One month before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein offered to go into exile in exchange of $1 Billion. Contrast that with the Bush Administration's current request for another $195 Billion to continue the war.