Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Musings on the Internets and the Intranets

SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29:  Seventieth anniver...

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First is something I’m wondering about Facebook. I joined it a while back, but I wasn’t really active on it. I joined it because I needed to log in to get some particular links and such to post on a band’s website, so I used the e-mail address from the band’s domain. I get that in my gmail account, with my regular e-mail. A month or so ago I got a couple of Facebook friend requests from people I know and it turns out that just about everyone I ever knew is on it. So, I’ve been more active on Facebook recently. And now I’m getting a whole bunch of spam, all of which is being sent to the e-mail address I used to sign up on Facebook. I’m not saying there’s a connection. I’m just saying the timing is, shall we say, suspect.

Another thing I’m mulling over is intranets. Some people at work want one. The thing is, getting one done seems to be expensive. I suggested that we could consider using Google Apps. As a non-profit we could even qualify for the free version. With funding getting cut in every direction, that seems like a good price. There are concerns about security with Google Apps, though. I’m not sure that the concerns are valid, but we need to maintain a very high standard of confidentiality with our data, so I’m not about to go to the mat with that.

The problem is that no one at work is proficient with intranet technology and due to previous funding cuts, our MIS person also has had to take other, unrelated duties as well as keeping our network, everyone’s computer and all other office machinery functional. Her plate is more than full.  Besides configuring and maintaining a web server there’s also the prospect of keeping the apps that make it useful up and running. Databases, scripts, all that. It’s a lot to do. So, is it worth a bunch of money to have an intranet, when money is tight? Or is it worth overburdening someone who already has more than one job to do? We’re an organization of only 70 – 75 people, located in three offices covering two counties. What exactly could having an intranet do for us? Any thoughts, anyone?

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  1. you could try a web based platform like HyperOffice. these are basically "do it yourself" platforms, meaning you dont need any expertise, apart from a basic knowledge of the internet. but at the same time, theyre business oriented and give you a lot of power to build and customize an exciting intranet - intranet homepage, intranet workspaces with custom content, announcements and productivity tools like document libraries, shared calendars, task management, polls, contact lists, wikis, discussion forums etc.

  2. Hmm.. I don't know enough about it to really say anything... but will be interesting to watch as it grows and hope you keep us

  3. Re: Facebook. I created a new gmail account to use for that and after 18 months or so, I don't remember ever getting spam on it. I've used it for maybe one other thing, which I found on Facebook. No one else has that email addy and it's not published anywhere, other than on Facebook and only friends on FB can see my full profile there. So, I'd say that email addy of yours got compromised by something else around that time, or it has to do with how your security is set re: who can see the email on your profile page.

  4. pankajunk - thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out and offer it as one possibility when we meet about this next month. I think that the cost is still not justified for our organization. I'm not usually such a Luddite about things, but I can't see how it'll help us do our job enough so that it will either save us money or expand our ability to serve clients and while I can imagine we might get a one time grant for a few thousand for it, ongoing grants for this are not likely to be very much if anything at all.

    Shelly, you certainly could be right. I don't even know how I've got my profile set. I usually don't have my e-mail address public on things like that, but I'll check.