Monday, March 31, 2014

The Social Media Breakfast Club - Via The Comit Developers Blog

The Social Media Breakfast Club (Shanna Perkins via The Comit Developers Blog)
The Social Media Breakfast Club (Shanna Perkins via The Comit Developers Blog)

Shanna Perkins, SEO & Internet Marketing Specialist at Comit Developers, wrote a great post on the different strengths and weaknesses of the most popular social media platforms last week.

Given that I'm old enough to remember watching The Breakfast Club in the movie theaters, I was particularly fond of her use of the characters from the movie to describe the traits of each social media platform.  It's a great way to offer a perspective that everyone can relate to - even if you didn't watch the movie ;)

From the blog post:
As the social media landscape expands, it becomes difficult to know which ones to use and how to speak to so many different audiences. What often happens is that businesses stick to platforms they’re comfortable with. The problem with this is all social media networks are not created equal; each plays a different role in building your business and strengthening your brand. 
We’re going to take a look of some of the major social media platforms, the roles they play and how to best utilize them. Let’s pretend these social media outlets are the cast of “The Breakfast Club.”
Check out the full post now!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Birthday Wishes to Jennifer Kendrick & Joining the Comit Developers Team!

Jennifer Kendrick, do you really want to mess with her?
Are you talking to me?
So I've been contracting now at Comit Developers (and it's sister e-commerce company Ameda Direct / ACA Ventures) for almost a year, but I've recently decided to join the team as a full time employee.

I'm excited about the vision of our leadership team over at Comit Developers and I've been honored to have the opportunity to be a part of such an AMAZING group of individuals in the design, development, engineering, and internet marketing / SEO divisions within this keiretsu (i've always wanted to work that term into a blog post...).

One of the main reasons I decided to join the team at Comit Developers and Ameda Direct is their genuinely open culture and their commitment to assembling the best team possible from a diverse mix of people.  

It's that diversity and the distinct personalities and perspectives of all the members of our organization that allows us to attack problems from many different angles simultaneously and that same diversity helps us to develop truly innovative solutions to the challenges our customers face every day.

One of the other factors the influenced me greatly is their commitment to building a business with / on Open Source Technologies like MagentoWordpressLAMP, and others and using Open Technologies to address their Customer's needs.  Too often I've seen businesses attempt to lock customers into a proprietary technology stack with no real reason besides an attempt to lock in the most profits possible for themselves.  In my mind, that's not the way to build a truly mutually beneficial relationship with a customer and that mentality all too often infects even the interpersonal relationships within a company.

I've worked at a few big (and some giant) companies before, and they all seemed to have a corporate objective of at least professing to be as inclusive as possible. Sadly, I've noticed that delivering on that promise is not all that common at most of the technology-focused businesses I've encountered.

At Comit, we really strive to create an environment where everyone can participate in helping grow the business and we do everything possible to make sure that every team member knows that they're a valued member of the organization.

This post is dedicated to one of those amazing members of our organization - Jennifer Kendrick.

Jennifer Elizabeth Kendrick, gamergrll, l33t haxor, and all around teammate
Jennifer Kendrick - a teammate to die for (in game, of course)!
Today is her birthday and I thought this would be a nice way to show how much we appreciate everything she does for our team.

Time and time again Jennifer's proven herself to be a creative, innovative, and incredibly generous member of the Comit Developers team.

Jennifer is a ULL alumni (and also a former NOLA resident like me). After recently breaking her foot in a martial arts incident, she decided to learn how to play the violin and has been actively supporting the Acadian Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music in her spare time.  That's in addition to her time spent in the gaming community (she was rocking some Elder Scrolls as I pinged her for bio details the night before her birthday - Go get 'em GamerGrrl!!!!!).  She's obviously got a lot of things going on, but she always manages to develop great software for us and our customers while consistently helping our team to improve our processes and expand our knowledge.

Day in and day out she displays a dedication to perfecting her craft and broadening her perspective while engaging her teammates and having a bit of fun at the same time.  It's inspiring.  You can read more about what she's up to on her blog, and also her github, bitbucket, linkedin, google+, reddit and twitter profiles.

Jennifer Elizabeth Kendrick displaying her exquisite sense of humor and serious gamer cred via moustach + starcraft II tee shirt
No, I'm being SERIOUS!
She's helping us build an organization that attracts world-class talent to one of the best places in the world to live, my home town of Lafayette, LA

Jennifer also spends a good bit of her "free" time working with other members of our local tech community to share her knowledge and considerable experience to help develop some of the most innovative technology systems in the world.

As you can tell, I'm a fan.  Jennifer is one of many people working at Comit Developers that make me excited to be a part of this team.

Since this talented group of professionals has provided me with such an incredible opportunity over this last year, I've decided to make this sort of post a bit of a tradition while I'm working here....

I'm excited to learn more about everyone in our organization and when each of your birthdays comes around, I'll do a little write up here on the innovez blog about you and the specific awesomeness you bring to our team.

It's the least I can do for all of you who make working at Comit such an amazing experience. To Jennifer and everyone else on the Comit team - keep up the amazing work!

If you also happen to be Smart and Gets Things Done and are interested in joining this incredible organization, contact us.

As a special treat for all of you who have read all the way down to here, here's a video which, in my opinion, is AWESOME SAUCE and embodies all that I love about Jennifer and the rest of the Comit Developers Team (while not taking ourselves too seriously) : Felicia Day & The Guild in I'm the one that's cool

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Join me for a free webinar on making the most out of Git in your development workflow!

Git Open SourceDistributed Source Control System
UPDATE 1/23/2014: Since the webinar has already come and gone, I've got the entire session's YouTube video embedded below!

I've been using Mercurial for a few years now, but have only recently tackled a serious software project using Git as my primary distributed software source control system.

The transition was easier than I thought it might be, but even after using it day in and day out for the last few months, I find every now and again I get tripped up on a command or two (or find myself Googling for Stack Overflow tips when I get stuck ;)

Fortunately for all of us, Atlassian (makers of BitBucket and SourceTree, two tools I use every single day of my professional life) is hosting a free webinar on Git best practices. Best of all, it's going to use REAL CODE EXAMPLES!

That's right, you'll be learning as Nicola Paolucci Developer Advocate @ Atlassian works a real bug report - from branch creation to code review to final merge!

I've always found "diving in" and getting my hands dirty working a real problem to be the best way to learn and you'll get a chance to check out an expert at work for free during this webinar :)  Nicola will also be available to answer any questions you may come up with during the presentation, so it looks to be a great opportunity to expand your understanding of Git and help you integrate it into your daily development workflow.

You can register for the free webinar online - what are you waiting for?

Webinar Highlights:
  • How to kick off development in a feature branch.
  • What rebase is, and how and when to perform it as local cleanup.
  • How to have colleagues to review your work via a pull request.
  • How to work through feedback on a pull request.
  • When and how to merge your work back to the development main line.
  • Clean up considerations after the work is complete.
If you missed the live webinar, have no fear! Atlassian has posted the complete session on their YouTube Channel, and I've embedded the presentation below:

You can also check out the video of his last tutorial - Git Ready Workflows from YouTube below:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Follow Up to Paul Jay's Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) - Key to Great Service

Follow Up Q & A to Paul Jay's Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) as the Key to Great Service

A short while back I posted about the webinar hosted by the ICMI & Paul Jay on Knowledge Centered Support and it's role in delivering the best possible customer experience.  Whether you had a chance to participate in the live webinar or have watched the saved recording, you probably noticed that there were a TREMENDOUS number of really great questions posed by the participants.

Fortunately for all of us, Paul is a fantastic contributor to the KCS community and has taken time out of his busy schedule to respond to many of the questions that couldn't be covered during the initial webinar.

You can see the responses to the top 21 questions posed during the webinar over at the ICMI blog:

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Billy Joel Plays George Rodrigue's Blue Dog Steinway During New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Fundraiser

Billy Joel stops into the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) to play the Rodrigue Steinway for the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Fundraiser
Billy Joel stops into the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) to play the Rodrigue Steinway for the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Fundraiser Courtesy Musings of an Artist's Wife

Another inspiring post from Musings of an Artist's Wife - By Wendy Rodrigue, Wife of Artist George Rodrigue

This time of year is a wonderful time to be living in Cajun Country.  Not only is it Crawfish season, but for several weekends in a row we celebrate the amazing cultural heritage of our south Louisiana communities.

I'm particularly fond of the Festival International de Louisiane and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, having spent a substantial chunk of my childhood in both Lafayette and New Orleans.  In Wendy Rodrigue's latest blog post, she shares some of the ways music, art, and storytelling intersect through George Rodrigue's own past.

... AND Billy Joel stops by to jam on George Rodrigue's Blue Dog Steinway piano!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Watch the Best Video Introduction to Gamification & Explanation of its Pros & Cons from Penny Arcade

It's a funny and informative introduction to gamification and I guarantee you will laugh out loud at least once :)

This may actually be the first simple explanation I've ever seen of any of the potential positives AND pitfalls of using gamification as a strategy.  Clocking in at around 6 minutes, it's a great introduction to share with people who are interested in learning about the basics of gamification.

The fantastic work done on this particular episode deserves to be called out:

Written By: James Portnow
Scripted & Narrated By: Daniel Floyd
Art & Video By: Erin Siegel

Brought to us all by Penny Arcade.  If you're not already a fan, you're missing out.  Trust me.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Video Interview with Ev Williams on Medium - the next evolution in the way we write, share and consume content on the web

Video Interview with Ev Williams on Medium - the next evolution in the way we write, share and consume content on the web
Medium Team hard at work at Obvious HQ
I know 6 months seems like an eternity in Internet time, but it was only back on September 25, 2012 that Ev Williams, Biz Stone, and Jason Goldman (the original founders of Blogger, Twitter and many other web platforms) unveiled Medium, one of the latest creations from their startup incubator, Obvious.

Medium announced only a few weeks ago that they've acquired the long-form publishing startup Matter, and I have to agree with Matter's founder Jim Giles that the Medium / Matter acquisition seems like a natural fit:
"So the offer was a surprise, and we just had to think really hard about whether it was the right thing for the kind of journalism we want to produce. But actually, after spending a lot of time thinking about it, it really became clear it was. That’s partly a values thing that’s come out of our discussions with Ev over the last year or so. Medium is set up – although it’s a much bigger and more ambitious project than Matter – at heart it has very similar goals. 
Video Interview with Ev Williams on Medium - the next evolution in the way we write, share and consume content on the web
We both want to find a way of publishing and supporting really great writing and making that look really beautiful.
Then there’s the practicalities, which also made a lot of sense. We’re  a new publication. We have nicely growing subscribers but it’s still really tough for any new startup, and coming over to Medium means we can do a whole bunch of experiments that we probably would have struggled to do if we remained independent. We can start playing around with tweaks to our business model. We definitely have no plans to change it, but there’s lots of different ways that you can tweak the idea of selling individual articles."
Given that you are reading this post on one of the most popular blogging platforms on the planet and that you likely heard about it through Twitter (both of which were created by this team) I would imagine that you might agree with me in noting that the tools that this team builds tend to change the world.

So, like me, you may be a little curious about what all the fuss is about over Medium and want to try it out for yourself.  But of course, as is the case so often, there's a catch...

Read on for my initial thoughts and an informative YouTube fireside chat with Ev Williams...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Living Social Hacked: security breach leaves 50 million users compromised

Living Social Hacked: security breach leaves 50 million users compromised
Living Social Hacked: security breach leaves
50 million users compromised
I'm not sure how much we have in common, but I'm pretty sure neither of us would want to receive this email at 7:16 PM on a Friday evening.

But sadly, I did.  Right before I dropped some delicious BBQ onto the grill to celebrate the kick off of Festival International de Louisiane, I heard a little ding from my email client notifying me of an important message (you may have gotten one too).

It would seem I am one of the 50 million or so LivingSocial registered users whose account information was compromised in an cyber-attack on their computer systems in which attackers gained access to sensitive personal information about LivingSocial's customers (namely, me).

The breach appears to have been contained, though there are only scant details about the attack being released from LinkedIn at this time.

The information that was accessed includes (but note they do not say "is limited to," which means additional information may have been accessedCustomer Names, User email addresses, Birthdates (only for some users, not all 50 million, WHEW), and encrypted passwords.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

LinkedIn transforms Contacts section into super-powered personal assistant that integrates with EVERYTHING

LinkedIn transforms Contacts section into super-powered personal assistant that integrates with EVERYTHING
Image Courtesy of  TechChrunch
Today, LinkedIn released a few important new features for members that really turbo-charges their Connections section of the site.  In addition, they released a new mobile app called Contacts for Apple devices (with other platforms slated for future release dates).

If you're like me, you have probably already imported some of your Contacts into LinkedIn from your gMail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc accounts.  Which was great...except of course, that it was a one-time affair.  If you have added any contacts since your original import, those won't appear on your LinkedIn Connections because the import is a one-way process.

Well, go back and do it again, because now LinkedIn creates a permanent connection to your mail system's contacts and will keep your contacts synchronized between those systems (should you choose to permit it) and your LinkedIn profile.  Unbelievably, LinkedIn also now supports synching your mobile device's contact lists with your LinkedIn profile if you also install the mobile application.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Festival International de Louisiane - Best World Music Festival - Come Festival With Us in Lafayette, LA

Parc International for Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette Louisiana
It's that time of year again: time to come to Lafayette, Louisiana to experience the world's premiere exhibition of Francophone culture, art, music, food, and entertainment at Festival International de Louisiane.

From their "History & Mission" :
"Festival International de Louisiane is a community-based, non-profit arts organization formed in 1986 to produce an annual visual and performing arts festival celebrating the French cultural heritage of southern Louisiana - primarily a combination of French, African, Caribbean and Hispanic influences. The largest outdoor, FREE Francophone event in the U.S., the Festival places special emphasis on highlighting the connections between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Each year performing, and visual  artists from Europe, Africa, Canada, the Caribbean and the Americas are invited to share their talents with Louisiana artists, residents and visitors.
Since its creation, Festival International de Louisiane has become famous as a premier presenter of some of the most unique world musicians and performances in the United States. Popular Louisiana artists such as Aaron Neville, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Allan Toussaint, Zachary Richard, Sonny Landreth, Beausoleil, Buckwheat Zydeco, Boozoo Chavis, Amedee "Bois Sec" Ardoin, D.L. Menard, Terrance Simien, C.J. Chenier, Geno Delafose, Marc Broussard, Marcia Ball, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Canray Fontenot and Buddy Guy have all performed on our stages."
That's right - deep in the Heart of Cajun Country there's a global gathering of french-speaking people and cultures that converges on Lafayette, LA every year to celebrate our rich heritage, delicious cuisine,  and foot-stomping music and the best part?

It's 100% free & open to the public!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wendy Rodrigue & George Rodrigue Share California Adventures with Blue Dog

Image Courtesy - Wendy Rodrigue's Blog
I wrote recently about a fellow Blogger Wendy Rodrigue's post The Road: Wendy Rodrigue & George Rodrigue from Musings of an Artist's Wife.  I always love reading Wendy's blog - it's like listening to one of your favorite Artists and his Muse communicate openly through this channel that didn't exist when Picasso was around.

It's exciting :)

That post was a prelude as they began their trip across country for a sojourn out to their Carmel, California beach house.  Not only is the prose delightful (thank you Wendy), but the Candids they get of George in the zone are fantastic.

The first is the sequel to her previous post (a' la The Road Part 2): America, Unexpected.

The second post she shared

Friday, April 19, 2013

Free Event: Fiber for Breakfast :: Fueling Healthcare - See how Lafayette, LA is using innovative fiber-powered technologies to deliver new experiences in patient care.

Screen Capture - The Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) Center's Home Page

One of the reasons Sam and I were excited to move back to Lafayette from Austin, TX was the innovative things the community was doing around Fiber To The Home.

That's why I'm delighted to share this wonderful free event with you that is being held at the LITE Center in Lafayette, LA : Fiber for Breakfast: Fueling Healthcare.

During the event, there will be brief presentations from representatives from
  • Lafayette General Medical Center
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center
  • Acadian Companies
  • Schumacher Group
I can assure you this is not an event you are going to want to miss....Plus if you're one of the first 25 there, you get a free lunch.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Google adds Google+ comments to Blogger

Google adds Google+ comments to Blogger
Google adds Google+ comments to Blogger
It took me less time to enable it on this blog than it did to write and share this post.  You can see for yourself how the new comments look on my blog in the capture above from a post I made a while back.

Here are the instructions:
  1. Login to your blog and navigate to the blog in which you want to enable the new Google+ comments system.
  2. Click the Google+ link in the left hand menu.
  3. Click the "Use Google+ Comments on this blog" check box.

    Mine looks something like this:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Developing Zend Mobile Apps that utilize Cloud Web Services with Kent Mitchell

I recently wrote about the latest Zend Studio Release, version 10.0.1.  This video from Kent Mitchell covers using Zend Studio to develop apps that are connected to cloud web services.

Additional info at the Zend Developer Zone and the YouTube Page for the video below.

If you're a (free login) member of the site, you can also watch the higher-resolution flv version of the video at