Joe's blog

CCTV Holiday Party 2013

Check out Joe and his son Arlo, the most recent open source enthusiast, at the CCTV Holiday Party. Go to 6 minutes 50 seconds in to the clip to see Joe and Arlo. Hear us expound on the virtues of Open Source and Community Media!

Best of luck to CCTV in their endeavors in 2014 and congratulations on the Knight Grant on the Civic Cloud platform. Go CCTV!

As the news media consolidates look to Community Media outlets for unique insightful reporting. Locally see CCTV, LCATV, RETN and VCAM.

Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals

Congratulations to the VFNHP for the recent relaunch of! We've enjoyed switching them over to Drupal and guiding them through the website building process.

A union's website should be built on a solid platform (Drupal!) and present crucial information, such as contracts, cleanly and clearly. To make this site a success VFNHP staff worked hard and

  • Did some great writing and editing
  • Came up with compelling images
  • Updated all their documents and details
  • Organized their information and navigation structures

Recent Projects and Hot Drupal Love

We've been pretty busy with a couple of big projects. One spins off websites for a local provider of branded sites for clients throughout the US. Another is involved with Drupal theme integration and infrastructure architecture for a large design firm in a nearby state. (An agreement won't let us divulge too much online on this last one. Drop a line if you'd like more detail.)

Also, just wanted to send out some love to our favorite Drupal Host: Hot Drupal. Check out this email they recently sent out about their green hosting. We love their service and philosophy. Also, they compare quite well to some of the bigger boys who host Drupal for some of the larger projects we're working on. Keep up the great work Steve and Brian.

Holistic Solutions, Inc.
Dear Customers,

It's been a while since we have sent out any e-mails with news and updates. We wanted to send out a quick note on two items.

First it's been almost a year since we moved into our new offices in downtown Asheville. We're happy to say with three months left on our lease we are looking into options for a larger office space elsewhere in downtown Asheville! This is very exciting for us. Things are going well.

Second, for the last six months or so in place of buying carbon offsets we are now purchasing renewable energy offsets for the power we use for our servers. It's mildly more expensive than carbon offsets but we think renewable power is a better option than carbon offsets and presents less problems. The company we use avoids large hydro-electric due to the controversies surrounding it.

That is all.

As always, Thank You!

Holistic Solutions // HotDrupal

Main Nav Therapy

I recently had an intense meeting with a new client. I told them setting up your main navigation items can be like a therapy session. There's a bunch of things to consider ranging from marketing to information architecture to semantics and wordsmithing.

  • Who is your audience?
  • What are the top five things people are looking for when they come to your site?
  • Who are you and what is your mission or goal?
  • How can we organize your content in a coherent well organized fashion that makes sense to your audience.
  • Do you have a clear understanding of your organization and its pieces, parts and people?
  • What image are you trying to put out there (and do you have any images)?

These are some of the questions we ask and work through with clients when building a site. We enjoy working through this process with motivated clients who are excited about getting it together and communicating clearly online. This process can be difficult, but it can really help a client be more organized and represent themselves cleanly.

Oppose SOPA and PIPA

Speak out for the free and open internet!

Take action to keep the internet free and open. Google and Wikipedia among many others who pride themselves on providing free and open content are against the SOPA and PIPA legislation in their present form. Did you catch Wikipedia and Google blacked out?

See more details on SOPA at (which is not blacked out) and on PIPA at See the inside conversation in the Drupal world at We urge you to contact your representatives and make your opposition to this legislation known. Making your view known to Patrick Leahy might be helpful as he's one of the lead sponsors of PIPA.

I spoke to one of Leahy's staffers today and he told me that he didn't know why Google and Wikipedia were blacked out. He said PIPA would only effect overseas companies. After looking at the PIPA bill more closely and research on Wikipeida it appears he's wrong:

Search engines—such as Google—would be ordered to "(i) remove or disable access to the Internet site associated with the domain name set forth in the [court] order; or (ii) not serve a hypertext link to such Internet site."

See the detail in the bill at, etc. Think of how much work it would be for Google or any hosting service (GoDaddy, HotDrupal, 1and1, your_host_here) to pore through all their content and remove links to "rogue sites."

Also see for PIPA supporters and the lowdown from the Huffington Post.

Koha Install for The Pringle Herbarium

Just put in place a server with a Linux Debian base system with a Koha library system installed for the Pringle Herbarium at UVM. This work is part of the Tryon Library at the herbarium.

On the right, see the Tryon's in this great shot from the 1950s with their cat Boriwog at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

I was happy to work with Dr. Michael Sundue on this project. He will be maintaining and configuring the library system and populating the library with all the great unique publications that the herbarium has to offer.

This is a great example of Open Source in action:

  • Solid Debian Linux base system
  • Robust Koha Integrated Library System
  • Cooperation between Academia and Unix/Linux
  • Sharing Academic resources through the Tryon Library

This solution gives the Library a solid base to build on and expand and it keeps their costs low. It allows them to handle things themselves and they can always call for support if they need it. Libraries are some of the oldest Open Source institutions out there and we're happy to be a small part of this project. Go Pteridophytes!

Farmers, Horses, Water and Websites

You can lead a horse to water ...

With Google Analytics, you can see if the horse got to the water. You can't see if they drank ;-) I recently was looking over an Analytics report for a client who runs a farm with a CSA (community supported agriculture program). They're trying to get people to sign up for their CSA for this season. I helped them with a few formatting details as they fine tuned the page describing their CSA offering for this season. They've been busy this winter updating their website with all the cool and unique things they're doing at their farm.

Check out their traffic spike day after the Farmer's Market:

The details will remain confidential, but the relative spike is clear. What does this mean? It means they got a big jump in visitors on the Sunday after the Farmer's Market. They were handing out flyers with their website URL at the market. Analytics also shows they got lots of traffic to the page describing their CSA offering. This is the horse coming to the water.

The website can't sell a CSA share, but it can definitely give potential customers more information and tell them what differentiates you from the other guy. In Face to Face Burlington, it's the Farmer that will sell the share (or not).

The website can help the horse appreciate how cool and refreshing the water is, but it can't make him drink.

DrupalCon Chicago

I'm at DrupalCon Chicago with about 3000 other Drupaleros. Had to drive through the big storm on Monday to get to Albany first! It was quite an adventure. The Chicago architecture is awesome: cutting edge design from the 1920s that still is stunning.

Great party last night at the Field Museum. Check out the Drupal crowd hanging out with Sue the Trex.

Drupal is alive and well. More DrupalCon attendees, more sponsors, more exhibitors, more growth. There's lots of excitement about Drupal in mobile devices, HTML 5, Drupal 7 and much more.

I saw my old friend Ryan, who is now helping run Commerce Guys: I remeber meeting Ryan some years ago when he was building an ecommerce system part time for his boss, a refridgerator salesman. This system went on to become He's come a long way since then. He now jets back and forth to Paris to meet with investors! You gotta love the power of Drupal and Ryan's hard work and big smile.

Montreal Drupal Camp Day 1

I got a great walk up Mount Royal in early this morning. Saw the sun rise over Montreal as jogger sand bikers jogged and rode by. It was a good way to start the day with some fresh air before a lot of hacking and sitting and listening to presentations.

Great keynote by Walkah on the open web. There are about 300 people in attendance.

Drupal is alive and well and the community is strong. See all the details on Montreal DrupalCamp at

The data migration to Drupal

The Economist is now using Drupal 6 to serve the vast majority of content pages to its flagship web site, The homepage is Drupal powered, along with all articles, channels, comments, and more. The Economist evaluated several open source CMS and proprietary solutions aimed at media publishers. In the end, The Economist chose Drupal for its vibrant community, and the ecosystem of modules that it produces.

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