Get Geeqee

Back at the beginning of the year, I took a different direction in my career. Until December, I’d been a career man — work for one company. Work your butt off, be the cog in the machine, and do the best you could to stay safe. It was what I knew, and it generally worked well. Or rather, worked me well. (I’m sure you know what I mean…)
Things changed, and I went the route of contracting, something I hadn’t really done since I left university. Initially, it was with my friends over at Evans Hunt Group. The result was VisitCalgary.com. Since then, I opted to take a vacation, and now it’s time for me to get my own little consultancy off and running.
It’s time for me to Get Geeqee.
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Visit Calgary: You're Very Welcome!

When we returned from Costa Rica, our plans had been pretty simple: take off the month of December to get settled, and then head back to work in January. Plans changed shortly after arriving back home, and suddenly I found myself without a job. Bills still had to be paid, food purchased, and because we live in a city that is far too unfriendly to public transit, we also had to buy a car.
A few years ago, this probably would have put me into a panic. And a few years ago, it would have been just me to worry about. Now I have a wife and two kids (well, one at the time, and one on the way) to support. Really, that should have put me off the deep end. Having lived through a significant amount of adversity over the last couple of years, though, I found myself not even concerned about the prospect of unemployment.
I attribute that to having kept contact with just the right people.
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Gala Banquet at Summit 2007

After the last batch of sessions this afternoon, we broke up for about two hours to wait for the gala event. Apparently, this is the big event of the Summit conference. Bad things tend to happen. (Jim, think of any given night of the San Jose SES. Along those lines. Just a bit tamer.)
That said, I’ve spent most of my time talking business. Mostly with the CHUM guys. Damn, they’re a wealth of information and experience. Also nostalgia. Being from Southern Ontario, they’re really donating a lot of background to my perceived history … and squashing a few preconceptions in the process. But I can live with that.
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Complementing and Enhancing Search Engine Optmization (SEO) Using RedDot CMS at Summit 2007

Presented by Shannon Ryan of Non-Linear Creations. We know a lot about SEO, so we’re gonna be picky.
A couple of slides on Non-Linear’s business models. But emphasis on Digital Marketing with emphasis on Email Marketing and SEM. Done 40 RedDot implementations.
“You’ll never outsmart Google.” I like this quote.
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Solve the Challenges of Social Computing with RedDot at Summit 2007

Just spent an hour talking with the presenter (Darren Guarnaccia) about RedDot software and partnership avenues. Anyhoo, on with the good stuff…
“This stuff is a little bit forward thinking.” It’s where they think we’ll be in the next year. The idea is to think ahead to when the CIO/CEO/CXO asks: “What are we doing about this?”
Quick discussion: “social computing” mean to refer to bi-directional communication.
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Content Object Modelling at Summit 2007

Seth Miller of Miller Systems. A highly recommended presentation. Young guy. Definitely a tinkerer gone pro.
Miller Systems is a UX-centric web dev firm. Been around 12 years. RedDot partner since 2002. Several implementations. Have also used Ektron and Percussion. Prefers RedDot.
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Case Study: Optimizing Content Management at the National Aquarium of Baltimore at Summit 2007

All content managed through RedDot, no external components. 10% of entire revenue stream done through RedDot (including onlike ticket sales).
http://www.aqua.org/
Went through a similar development process to what we did. But had to map old site to new site templates.
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Broadband Video News Powered by RedDot at Summit 2007

Talked to these guys last night. Heavy duty RedDot users. Don’t use the built-in publishing system — wrote an entire export using RQL. Publishes are down to 1 minute, and they’ve got at least 100 times the content (and pages) that we do. Automatic publishes (with cache clearing) to Akamai. Drag-and-drop components in SmartEdit — no Open Page red dots.
I got high hopes for this session…
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Another Day at Summit 2007

There was a “commonwealth” dinner last night. Originally meant to be just we Canucks (there’s quite a few of us), the Australian contingent was invited to come along as well. Apparently, Australia is becoming a booming market as well.
I had the pleasure of meeting Andre and Johnathan from ChumCity, who don’t use use RedDot — they’ve modded like nothing we could even imagine. Over the last two years, they’ve hacked the bejeezus out of their 6.5 installation. Full AJAX interface (they have no Open Page red dots) with drag-and-drop components for content.
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RedDot CMS and Live Server Upgrade to Streamline Info Architecture at Summit 2007

Mostly regarding the work done for the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Purple Monkey (agency doing presentation) seems to run similar to the way CM works with respect to helping clients figure out what they need.
Wanted single authoring environment, multiple authorization levels, pages could belong to multiple groups, and a search engine.
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Leveraging RedDot CMS to create UNICEF websites around the world at Summit 2007

A little late in starting. Presenter reminds me of Rosemary, for some reason.
Organizational structure (IT team separate from content entry) similar to how we want to work. RedDot responsible for publishing the sites.
RedDot chosen to allow for easy internal customization of interfaces. Fits internal plans of decentralization while allowing a centralized technical system.
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RedDot Keynote at Summit 2007

Okay, hard for me to avoid it now. We use RedDot. There, I’ve said it. Now let’s move on.
Met Detlef Kamps (RedDot President) last night. Nice guy. German, and speaks English very well. Looking forward to my breakfast meeting with him on Wednesday. Looked more comfortable last night. Must be the suit.
Going around the room, pointing out key RedDot people. Met most of them already. Handy to put faces to names.
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Keynote at Summit 2007

I have no idea who the guy is on the stage. He came out after a Harold Faltermeyer-esque opening movie (complete with Windows system click sound at the end) and started talking. No introduction whatsoever.
John Shackleton has now taken the stage. Older guy. I’m vaguely curious to know how long this guy has been with OpenText. Claims OpenText is now the largest independent ECM vendor.
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Je suis en Paris, Jour Trois!

No crepes for me this morning. As I’m beginning to discover, the French don’t consider crepes a breakfast thing. At least at the shops near the hotel. But hunger knows no bounds and I was forced to hunt out an alternative. The hotel clerk misdirected me to a boulangerie (that wasn’t there), but I managed to find a small grocery store on the way back to the hotel. A warm baguette and a chunk of a somewhat smelly cheese made for a pretty decent breakfast. The leftovers should cover me for tomorrow as well.
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Je suis en Paris!

I’m beginning to understand why people hate business trips. You can’t pack what you want (you have to pack for meetings with clients) and you don’t travel necessarily when you want. But at least the locations can be interesting…
The account I work on now is European. They’ve got a massive global presence and are very good to work with. They tend not to hesitate on monetary decisions (unlike most clients), perferring to get the image just right (and understandably so). So when they said that I needed to be present when they were trained with the new RedDot Content Management System, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when they said I had to fly to Paris.
Yes, that Paris. France.
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Going through Montreal

Under normal beginning-of-vacation circumstances, I would have risen without too much a care about work and prepared for my imminent departure to wherever it is that I’m going. However, things being what they are, I had to work. From home. The joys and detriments of having laptop, a wireless internet connection, and a phone line.
Fortunately, it wasn’t too much work. In fact, the work was a CMS presentation from Interwoven. All I really had to do was watch the LiveMeeting take place, interject with a few words here and there, and answer a few last emails before logging off and going on my merry little way.
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