Dorothy Firsching

I was recently appointed to the Foundation for Community Association Research's (FCAR) Research Committee for the 2014-2015 term, that is, July 1, 2014 through June 30,2015.

The FCAR Research Committee encourages and actively supports academic research for common interest communities by seeking out timely research projects, as well as developing sources for research in the common interest industry.

This appointment should be fascinating.  I am really looking forward to it.

Joomla! LogoJoomla! 3.2  was released November 6, 2013. Key new features include:

  • Version Control - Enables a Joomla administrator to revert to an older version of content on a website and compare side-by-side to see what changes have been made.
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD) - RAD simplifies the process for a developer to write their own Joomla extensions; apps that enhance a Joomla site like calendars, videos or polls
  • Extension Finder - This simplifies the process of searching for and installing Joomla extensions by allowing users to do all that directly from within their admin view with just a few clicks. The previous processes included separate steps to first search for and download extensions to a desktop, and then log in to the Joomla admin view and install those extensions.
  • Bcrypt - A strong encryption method that scrambles passwords stored in a Joomla website's database.
  • Two-factor Authentication - In order for a change to be made to a Joomla website, there can be an optional requirement for a user to fill out another form of authentication (other than a username/password). Two-factor authentication can be anything like entering an auto-generated code that is texted to a person's mobile phone.
  • User Interface Improvements - The new Joomla 3.2 administration interface is more streamlined and task-focused.
  • Iimproved template manager
  • Multi-lingual site installer,
  • Improved WYSIWYG editor
  • Micro-data semantics library
  • HTML form fields and attributes.

We will discuss Joomla! 3.2 at our November 20, 2013 Northern Virginia Joomla! Users Group Meeting. See the event on Meetup.

In addition to the press releases all around the web, here is Tim Plummer's briefing on the new features:

 

 

Talltree South, an award-winning condo community association, provides its owners and tenants handbook, including rules and regulations,in searchable form via its website. Newsletters, e-mail and e-mail-to-text notices, and a window to its Google calendar are also provided to enhance communication with owners and tenants.

Ursa Major constructed the site in Joomla! 1.5 and later upgraded it to 2.5 and then 3.x.  The content-rich site is very functional. Plans are to update its look in the coming year.

 

JMA Solutions, an award-winning government contractor, wanted a site that highlighted their corporate capabilities and awards, advertised their job openings, and provided internal forms and documents for employees.

Ursa Major provided quick turn-around on a conversion from the old website, trained the internal site administrators, and later upgraded the site.

More recently, Ursa Major led an internal Website Refresh group at JMA Solutions to refresh the site and provide a feature on the front page for current announcements.

 

The Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington DC, a professional membership organization, required a website that provided members with up-to-date tourist site status on mobile devices, and online event registration and payment.

The site incorporated the ability for Guild staff and other site users to manage a calendar and event registration, upload photos to the rotator, and maintain a directory of tour company affiliate members.  The public can request tour guides, who maintain their profiles including specialties and languages spoken. 

We  received many kudos for the Joomla! website. 

The Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS ® (NVAR) engaged Ursa Major Consulting to provide Joomla! expertise in supporting the transition to a new website.

A usability study and brand design was done by WM Design Group.

Ursa Major supported the high-traffic, high-content site in Joomla! for several years before its recent transition to integrate with a membership management soution.

 

The Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian, a law firm specializing in sexual abuse cases, required a website that was responsive to quickly post breaking news of new settlements and media coverage. It was difficult to make changes to their previous site.

We redeployed the website and added new capabilities, including embedded video and transcripts of press conferences, and improvements to search engine optimization (SEO).

We continue to support the Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian with site updates and improvements.

I recently completed and went live with the new website for the Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, DC, at www.washingtondctourguides.com.
 
Yesterday, Joe Steinbock of the Guild passed on the following compliment to me and Shirley Timashev of the Guild:
 
I join everyone in the Guild in thanking you for the new web site.  The following unsolicited compliment
came today from a professional designer I met at the Destination DC "speed networking" event.
Best wishes,
Joe Steinbock
 
Hi Joe!
Did you just redo your website?  It looks great! Whoever did it, did a really great job.
Hope you're having a great week.
Best,
Samantha Bruck
Top Shelf Design
define. create. deliver.
2626 N. Pershing Dr. #2
Arlington, VA 22201
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We recently had the opportunity to create a new Joomla! website for JMA Solutions.  Their prior website had been a Cold Fusion site (yes, I've done that in the past), but their hosting provider was pulling the plug on Cold Fusion.

Within two weeks, and over the Thanksgiving holiday, the new website was up and running. It incorporates both enhanced information on the company and the awards they've won, and an employee portal with internal policies, forms, calendar, and other features.

Everyone was very pleased with the new site, which is at www.jma-solutions.com.

We are pleased to announce that we are assisting Virginia Industries for the Blind (VIB) with their strategic planning effort.

VIB is is a division of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), and provides employment opportuniities for Virginians who are blind or visually impaired in two manufacturing plants, eleven base supply stores, and six service locations. They have diverse contracts with federal agencies through the AbilityOne Program (e.g., contract management and closeout services for the U. S. Army), contracts through State Agency agreements such as  the Virginia Court Debt Collection Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Virginia Employment Commission, and manufacture items as diverse as mattresses for the U. S. Navy and state colleges and universities and reflective vests for the Virginia Department of Trnsportation.

Given the improvements in assistive technology and more ambitious expectations of young people who are blind and people who lose their sight after gaining work experience, VIB is exploring ways to attract workers who are looking for more than traditional product manufacturing. In fact, some of VIB's experienced contract closeout employees have already been hired by the government, which is quite a successful outcome for those people.

We look forward to helping VIB plan the modernization of its business to meet the evolving needs of people who are blind or vision impaired.

 

 

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