This is Why I’m closing the doors on OpenAtrium for Good!

I think the title of this post is damn right to the point isn’t it? We were using OpenAtrium 1 at work a year ago, but due to so many issues of having too many errors, memory leaks, and being just overly bloated, I decided to stop using it.

Fast forward to 2014: I started looking for a collaboration and project management tool again and decided to check on the development on OpenAtrium 2. It is based on Drupal 7 core which I thought was amazing. I downloaded and installed OpenAtrium 2 and it had a colour packed home page which looked attractive, but one that I quickly got annoyed with.

The OpenAtrium website now has a responsive design and is mobile friendly, but at what cost?

Who is OpenAtrium really for?

OpenAtrium is targeted towards web developers and architects, end users probably won’t be that interested and even if they won’t understand it because the software is complex and multi-dimensional. As you can see in the screenshot of OpenAtrium.com below, this is supposed to tell the viewer what is inside OpenAtrium. There are images and short descriptions for each component, but that is it. There is no link to get into technical details. Data Security for e.g. says Granular access control side wide – an architect would need to know how this is accomplished! How are Events managed, what is the workflow like in order to determine whether this piece of software is suitable for their organization or not.

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 11.34.43 AM

 

Where is the Contact Page?

Wait! What? There is no Contact page. I’m forced to use twitter or Facebook? You’re kidding right?

Oh wait a minute, yes there is a link to the contact page on the FAQs page,oh…but it DOES NOT WORK! And mind you this is supposed to lead their customer’s  to a page where they can contact their sales team! AMAZING!

Phase2 can offer custom enterprise platform development services, specific to the solution set Open Atrium offers. For more information and to contact our sales team, go here.

 

Where is the Documentation?

There is NO direct link from OpenAtrium.com to documentation! That’s right! You get to see OpenAtrium Documentation AFTER you download the software and install it.  During Installation, I kept getting errors which were very crude MySQL errors which told me absolutely NOTHING. I finally figured it out by googling it.

Okay, seriously,… where is the Documentation?

A link on the Home Page(of the OpenAtrium installation) does take you to a page which kind of looks like a documentation page, but nah.. it really isn’t! It’s more like a prank! The Webinars are LONG and do not get to the point quickly! When you click the How To Guides, it’s empty! Phase2 probably need to read a “How To Guide” for writing “How To Guides”.

Oh but wait, they do have links to Spanish Documentation! You can’t even get the English version right! As the Linux philosophy goes:

Do One thing, do it right!

FAQs? – What are FAQs for?

The FAQs on the OpenAtrium site seem like sarcasm. The questions are ridiculously long and the answers are worse. For e.g.

Q. We’ve been trying to model what a Group, a Space, and a Team wold look like using existing metaphors and it’s been challenging to map from an OA 1.x perspective to an OA 2.x perspective. the access controls at the bottom of a node edit form are particularly confusing due to inconsistencies in terminology. The ones on the side bar look like they’ve been renamed appropriately. Could you provide some clarity?

Most of the questions seem like they might be coming from people working at Phase 2 (The company behind OpenAtrium).They should change the title of the page to “FAQs that our developers keep asking us”

Other Broken Things on OpenAtrium’s website:

  • Credit’s link at the bottom of the page takes you to an empty box that says “Credits”
  • Copyright details at the bottom of the page seems like it’s not updated.
  • No Contact page
  • No direct link to OpenAtrium Documentation

Finall conclusion: it almost seems like that Phase2 might actually have a good product, but they’ve made OpenAtrium.com and documentation very difficult to navigate and left chunks of it out which really just drives away the people that might actually be interested in using this product. UNLESS, that is their whole purpose, drive the developers away and target the endusers and managers that have little to no technical skills making it a really sneak sales technique and a kind of faking to be truly OpenSource. Or maybe they just have low standards!

I am angry, disappointed and feel deceived and betrayed by the people behind OpenAtrium.

Simpe CheckList for Choosing a Drupal Module

 

I have been working with the Drupal Content Management System for almost 2 years now. Here is a quick 5 minute small checklist of things that I look at before choosing a Drupal module for my Drupal Projects.

Here I'm assuming that you are a programmer or web developer who has some experience with Drupal. Ideally you have already decided which version of Drupal you will be working with. I usually prefer working with Drupal 7, unless client insists on working with Drupal 6. Drupal 5 and Drupal 8 is out of the question.

  1. Find out what the Client thinks they want!
  2. Then Find out what the Client REALLY wants! – This requires some skill and experience – more on that later
  3. Find out keywords
  4. Do a Keyword search on Drupal.org. (http://drupal.org/project/modules)
  5. Skim through the first 3 pages of the results.
  6. If you don't find the keywords that you have mind mind, go until the first 5 pages.
  7. Skim through the module pages and make a note of which ones might be useful. Prioritize if possible.
  8. The higher the number of Downloads and Reported installs, the better it is. I usually tend to ignore Downloads.
  9. Note the last update dates of the "Recommended releases". Anything more than 2 years old is something I tend to stay away from. I have noticed that some Development releases can still be used for production purposes(Just don't tell your clients that you're using Development releases.) Don't pick Development releases that are too recent. Use common sense.
  10. Always go for modules that have Maintenance status: "Actively maintained"
  11. Check out all dependencies and check for point 8 and 9 for each of the modules.
  12. MOST IMPORTANT: Once decided, test it out on development site. Do not EVER apply modules directly to production. Use common sense.
  13. Don't be afraid to change your mind and try something else.

This is of course a very rough guide. For any questions or comments, please comment below, or contact me via my contact page at Contact Kapil

or message me on twitter at Kapil's Twitter Page.

Number One Way To Celebrate OSCAR NIGHT!

Number one way to celebrate Oscar Night is to Blog about it! Everyone has favourites. Will there be surprises this year? Will there be upsets? You never know!!

The best way to celebrate Oscar Night is to BLOG ABOUT IT!!!

Okinara Consulting Services is giving you a chance to blog about your favourite moments. They have a special on Oscar Themed blogs and just blogs in general.



Ever Tried Googling Yourself?

Have you ever tried Googling yourself? Were you surprised? Was it a good surprise? Was it the worst thing you did all day when you first googled yourself? Or are you one of those who google themself all the time? Or is your name not even on google?

For me, showing up on google is 80% of my marketing whether it is for business reasons or personal. Today when I googled myself, I found that there were other Kapil Busaras who were sharing the first page on Google. I am the face of my company. Most of the time my business depends on my name. My clients have found their way to me to GIVE me business from googling me.

Why have I put so much emphasis on my name up until now? Because the world we live in is very dynamic and is ever changing. I started off as a software developer, then as  Performance Test Engineering, later I became a free lance  web develper, and when that was going well, I founded Okinara Consulting Services. Although when the company was formed it's core business was focused on web development, the name that was chosen did not indicate that it was strictly a web development company. I knew I wanted to expand into other areas. Today Okinara does so much more than web development, we design Logos, flyers, brochures, create strategic solutions to social media marketing, and we will soon be launching a new product.

Tomorrow I may wish to start another business or get into a different industry. If it is a brand new company, people may not know about it, however people who know me as Kapil Bulsara, will know me even if it is a new company, and building on my previous successes I can relatively easily transition into a new field of work or business.

Some of you may not have the luxury of owning a domain name that is your personal name because it might already be taken, and even if you do have that domain name, you may be plagued by having to share the Google spotlight with other people who have the same name as you, which I am currently facing.

For that reason it is important to expose yourself more with the use of social media sites. Everyone has a Facebook account, and If you don't, stop everything at once, including reading this article and create an account NOW!. Once you have a Facebook account, what you should do is create a facebook username which gives you a public facebook page, but don't worry your personal stuff like your wall and photos because it will not be visible to the public, unless you chose to. For e.g. this is mine: http://www.facebook.com/kapil.bulsara. It is not very professional you might think. It does not have to be. Everyone knows you have a life outside of work.

Another think you need to do is get a linkedin account. If you don't already know, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Here is my page http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/kapil-bulsara/31/4a8/821.

You also need to get a twitter account. Here is my twitter page http://twitter.com/kapilbulsara. The common thing I hear about twitter is that they don't like that it is all open to public. Well you don't need to post personal details on twitter. I use twitter to share some semi-personal stuff and also tweet about my business or just general information that will be useful for the average citizen of the Internet.

All this creates exposure and awareness of who you are. If you haven't noticed this is not new, this is the norm now. You absolutely MUST have an online presence. Traditional networking still exists and can't really be replaced, but you cannot neglect social networking. A lot of your success depends on who you know!

 

Project Management Tools – PHProjekt Vs SugarCRM Vs Dolibarr

Has anyone ever a difficult time organizing their meetings, leads, prospect clients, current customer issues, projects and TODOs. I know I have. I am pretty organized, but still I want and need a centralized system from where I can track everything, something that quickly gives me an overall picture. Currently I use text documents, spread sheets, gmail, google calendar and my memory to accomplish this.

I have thought about getting  a CRM system or a Project Management Software to help me with my getting more organized and efficient. Just yesterday I seriously started doing a lot of research and testing things out. I was looking for a LAMP based web application that handles project management and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Although I’m a proud owner of by business, I’m still pretty much regarded as a freelancer as opposed to an entrepreneur. I need something simple that gets the work done.

I narrowed it down to these 3:

  1. SugarCRM
  2. Dolibarr
  3. PHProjekt

Now I’m really confused as to which one I should use.

These are some of the things that I need.

  • Ability to have customer accounts related to projects
  • Add and schedule different tasks inside a project
  • Time tracking for each task and summary of time spent on each project
  • ability to calculate ROI (not a must but good to have)
  • Keep customer related info such as project history, internal notes as to what kind of sales strategy is working with this customer, project proposals, services they are currently using from me etc…
  • Keep track of work that I outsource
  • Controllable access to let contractors check and update their tasks, and have clients update and check project issues and progress

Any help in deciding what I should be using is very much welcomed. Please leave a comment or contact me from my contact page. Thanks

Intuition and Instinct are the New Tools of the Excessive Information Age

It has been quite some time since we’ve been living in the information age. We have already quite matured in the web 2.0 and online social network age. I’m sure you’ve heard so many times that we are just bombarded with information from everywhere. I call it the “excessive information age”. All of us are now more than ever so easily influenced by everything and everyone around us from all sorts of social media, and at the same time we are getting confused by all this noise.

It is almost inevitable that we will have to evolve. We are pushing limits of our social and logical cognition. If you really think about it, the situation almost requires quick judgement and adaptation. Stability almost seems nowhere to be seen, and for thousands of years in our evolution, stability is the one thing that we have experienced and adapted to. Our environment(by this I mean our day-to-day activities, by which I mean interaction online and interaction with computers in general) is changing at such a rapid pace that our minds are getting pushed to this quick form of adaptation. Cultures all around the world seem to be blending too. So what we learned while growing up might not necessarily be very useful when interacting when we start encountering people from different races and cultures around the globe. But we are learning and evolving now more or less a single unit.

What does all this mean. Well if you go to the theory of evolution and natural selection, this is what I think is bound to happen. Success in this time and age depends on quick, rapid yet correct action. You can either make it or break it in a few actions, sometimes in a matter of weeks, and crazily sometimes even in a matter of days.

What is needed in this age is not a 1000 hours of research to make a decision, as some people do when chosing a product, a service, a house, or a job. What is required in this age of excessive information is intuition and instinct to make a correct judgement and to be able to do it quick AND TAKE ACTION, at the same time being aware of  the risk of burning out too quickly. We are seeing instant successes – it no longer takes decades to reach a level that most people dream about, it takes a few years and sometimes just a few months, or in some extreme cases just a day, or well… just a single video of less than 5 minutes on this thing called ‘YouTube'(I’m sure you’ve heard of it)

I don’t see all of this as luck. I see all of this as evolution. People who might seem like they don’t have the slightest clue about what they are doing are becoming instant success. It is my belief (and please don’t sue me for this) that these people are instinctively driven to behave in a certain way, or to act a certain way.These individuals who posses this instincts to act in a quick and correct way will become successful, and to some ‘intelligent’ hard working people this may seem very scarey, because you no longer need to get a degree, or a Phd to get ahead in life(actually who am I kidding, that never was the case anyway).

What am I saying here? I’m saying, natural selection will take place because conditions have changed and the rules that applied in the past for success (and ultimately survival) don’t apply now. With these changes in the conditions in our ‘environment’ natural selection will pick out the new winners, who are instinctively driven by and towards quick correct actions.

 

#CIRA 2010

I attended the annual CIRA(Canadian Internet Registration Authority) annual general meeting. There were two brilliant keynote speakers Terry O’Reilly – radio host of CBC’s O’Reilly and The Age of Persuasion, Mitch Joel – Social Media expert and author of Six Pixels of Separation. There was a panel of “Architects of the Internet”, which had some of the most brilliant and pioneers in the field and they discussed the origins and the future of the Internet.

Paul Vixie – Internet Systems Consortium(ISC). He is the primary author of BINDv8, has been contributing to Internet protocols and UNIX systems since the 1980s. He has developed tools like, sends, rtty, cron etc…

John Demco – Webnames.ca. John is basically the God Father of “.ca”. He helped create the .CA domain in 1987 and was its initial registrar, and chairing the CA Domain Committee until 2000. He has also been responsible for chairing and managing a number of academic and research networks.

Chris O’Neil – Google Canada. Chris leads Google’s operations in Canada as Country Director for Google Canada. He is focused on building Google’s brand and driving innovation to help fuel growth for Canadian Business.

Byron Holland – President and CEO of CIRA.

Technology Overload

As much as I love technology and especially the internet, I think we are starting to push its threshold. The internet was supposed to make life easier, and for some time it did, but now it seems more and more things are popping up and we’ve begun to push limits.

Especially starting with Web 2.0 and the online social network craze,  it almost seems we are racing against time. Everything is super fast, super connected and super “oh my God, get me out of here”.

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Youtube, and what not. All these networks were meant to keep us connected and get us closer, but on one end it seems that we all are getting so close we’re overlapping onto each other and invading all kinds of spaces that we can think of. And on the other hand our ‘online’ world instead of making the world smaller is becoming so huge that we don’t know who’s who and what’s where anymore.

Google just launched Google Buzz – I thought it was going to be Google Wave that was going go to be the next big thing. Another online social networking feature but this time added to Gmail. This means more networks, more feeds, more updates, more people that I don’t know adding me and trying to be my friend so that they can send me mass pokes, and walls and updates about things that I don’t care about.

Again, as I said, don’t get me wrong I love technology and I love the Internet, but it’s just getting too much. EVERYONE is on Twitter or Facebook to say the least. People want to get ‘connected’ to everyone it seems. How can people have 500 friends? How can they tweet so much? I bet if you send a friend request to a 100 most random people on Facebook, 80 of them will add you the very same day; the other 20 might add you in the following days or if not, then they don’t use their facebook account anymore.

Even I started an online social networking site called kesario.com few months back. It’s not working as well as I thought it would. I wanted to come up with solutions, and the more I spend time studying the trends the more I’m realizing that something drastic is about to happen on the Internet.

What made me think was this. Yesterday I launched the site wordsthatmatter.net for Valentine’s Day. It was a crazy idea that I had and thought it would be very interesting. Anyway, to market this site, I decided to use all these social networks. There were so many people who just kept accepting my friend requests, and following me on twitter. I opened an account specially for that site so no one really knows me, yet everyone kept adding me as a friend and following my tweets.

People on facebook and twitter are already using it to do mass marketing, and now Google Buzz. There are SO MANY of these now. Yes I know, even my site kesario.com is one of them. Sooner or later we are going to reach a threshold and the weaker ones will get eliminated (yes I know, my site is also amongst the weaker ones).

I was thinking we need a new dimension to all this – a network to manage all these networks, and there are a few out there already, but today I realized that that is only patching up the problem we are about to face. This Web 2.0 and social media/network bubble has started to reach its threshold and I predict that sooner or later it will burst.

I will write another post to say what I mean by this Web 2.0 bubble bursting because this article is getting too long and it becomes difficult with the constraint of time we have in this super fast world that we live in.

#1 Unacceptable blunder of website deployment

The number 1 unacceptable blunder of website deployment is people not turning off the display of errors. I just came across one two minutes ago. People, when you put your website live make sure others dont see any kind of errors that no one but the programmer should be using during development. I’m not talking about I.E. crapping out on the user and I’m not even talking about 404 errors(no to say that is acceptable – I know I’m guilty of this one).

Why is it unacceptable? Number 1 reason is that you will lose credibility of your site. Second is you are exposing what’s under the hood – why this one is bad is a whole other story.

This mostly happens with sites running on php. Make sure “display_errors” is set to “OFF” in the php config file. What is even more surprising to me is that some of the sites that have errors, and I’m not just talking about php sites, are actually well reputed sites! I’m not going to mention any names here, but they are there and if you’ve ever used the Internet, I’m sure you’ve come across a few already.