Conferences come in many shapes and sizes, and can be very stressful to organize. While small and large, local and farther-reaching conferences have different needs, there are some organizing guidelines that work for most. When planning a conference, you will need to identify the location, space, timing, content and form. This is no joke because your conference might yield the wrong results if not organized properly. The conference needs to inform its intended audience of its existence, and convince that audience – or enough of them – to attend. But whether you are organizing an event for 50, hundreds or thousands of people, you will need to consider the security essentials for conference attendees. The safety and security of your participants is one of the most important things to plan about especially if the location of the conference is far from the city or is in another country that not all participants have been to. “Always be prepared” should be the motto of every event organizer as you might not be sure of what could happen during the conference especially to the participants.
Event planners plan every detail of the conference and this means that having plans A, B, C, etc. to account for the unpredictability that inevitably will occur despite the best laid plans. You can anticipate the common mishaps like having a late speaker, having technical issues or serving the food late and you can easily find solutions to these events. However, you should also assist the attendees in being better prepared in case the unpredictable becomes a reality.
The hotel or other conference site will usually employ on-site security and people with emergency medical training. The conference staff should have a first-aid kit with essentials: band-aids, aspirin, aspirin substitute, antacids, etc. At the start of every conference, remind you speakers and participants where they can ask for help if they encounter any emergencies. You could also do some plug-ins about the safety and security reminders during break times when everyone is having their snacks. It is also necessary to have an EMT, nurse, or other medical professional or paraprofessional available in the venue during cases of emergency.
Aside from securing the venue, you will need to keep your attendees informed and prepared with emergency contact information. During the registration time, encourage all attendees to submit an emergency contact name and phone number to be printed on the back of their badge so the contact information is easily found. Also make sure to get the important details like mobile number so that the attendees can be reached or receive text status updates in case of emergency.
During the registration process, pay special attention to attendees that need extra assistance like if they are hearing impaired, visually impaired or other disabilities. Although the participants would expect nothing bad to happen, the security essentials for conference attendees should not be taken for granted. Ensuring professional and prepared response in a worst case scenario is one quality that makes a good event. So be prepared to deal with anything and expect the unexpected.
Being a big Open Source advocate, I have been looking to use Linux in the finance side of my life. There are literally hundreds of financial software packages available now that will run on Linux. And with the release of Adobe Air, I can now run newer Adobe Air software using the Air platform. It’s really cool and really opens up the possibilities!
Personal Finance – You Need A Budget (YNAB)
You Need A Budget is not a free software, but it is a great program and has great support. It was written by Jesse Meechem who is a frugality expert and has added much more than a checkbook and account manager. YNAB also sports a neat budgeting interface for those who want to follows Jesse’s teachings to the letter, which is pay yourself first and live within your means. His budgeting system takes a lot of guesswork out of doing the math yourself in Excel or Google docs and the program doesn’t require updates every year like Quicken. For $60, I like it and have used it for the last 5 years. There is a free trial and I think the software costs around $60.
Personal Finance – AceMoney
AceMoney is a made for Linux application and can track your accounts, perform budgeting and do eCommerce transactions. It has a lot of reports and supports different file formats for upload, a nice feature. It also supports currencies and automatically downloads exchange rates using the Internet. AceMoney costs $30, but you can use a free 30 day trial to check it out.
Personal Finance –PLCash
PLCash by Paula Lutus is a free personal finance software written for Linux. It provides support for tracking your investments, general banking (but no online banking support) and will do reconciliations. It’s a good, free general purpose money manager software. Did I mention that it is free?
Personal Finance –GNUCash
GNUCash is a fully Open Source personal finance software. Since it is released under the GNU, you can run it on just about any flavor of Linux. It used double entry accounting method, and could be used for a small business as well as personal finance. It does multiple accounts, investments, and has a number of reports. It also can import and export multiple file formats, and has a very intuitive interface. It supports QIF, OFX and HBCI imports and TXF exports for import into a tax program.
Personal Finance –MoneyDance
MoneyDance is very full-featured software, though it is proprietary and costs $40. It does run on Linux, as well as Windows. It supports all the normal finance stuff, plus it can do online banking and bill payment. Another feature I like is the scheduled/recurring payments, which I use a lot with YNAB. One downside, MoneyDance does require Java. However, it’s not a hassle, because you can get a version with Java already packaged with the install. Just have to deal with the daily updates. (I hate that)
So there you have it, 5 ready to rock personal finance packages. Try one out, I’m sure you will like them.
Having an online presence can make or break your business. The clientele can be drawn to your website or might look at it as a piece of junk. Having an informative and presentable website is crucial especially when your target customers are critical about what they see online. You might see your website as something good and attractive, but your customers might see it in a different way. Clients have different points of view and you must meet their satisfaction for them to be able to actually value your website. Content management software is an application that could help a business in frequently changing or updating documentation or, information on their website. This computer application when used properly could manage the work flow required to effectively produce, edit, research, search, publish, and archive various kinds of media and text, usually required in organizations that have to publish large volumes of documents and other contents; such as images and other multimedia resources.
Content Management Software is a system used for content management, which includes audio files, computer files, electronic documents, image media and web content. The purpose of content management software is that of making inter-office files available even while being online. Using CMS will help you to easily cut down on the time to manage your web content. Your site will not function effectively and efficiently when there is no one to run and watch out for the content. Managing a site can be quite time consuming with opening files, making changes and then uploading the new content. A CMS has proven to be a time saver since it leads to faster and more efficient content management. Changes to your website can be done anytime and anywhere as long as you have a computer or laptop and an internet connection. With just one click to the link, you can adjust the content of your website and save the changes immediately. Sound very easy, right? Well, it surely is for as long as you know how to navigate the website, you can easily make changes and modifications to your website’s content.
The development of Content Management Software represent the modern approach to building websites, offering a host of advantages over the traditional method. Even without any technical knowledge, you can use the CMS and do need to beg for time from your web designer. Hiring professionals come with a fee and sometimes you need to fit in to their time. Why wait when you can make the updates yourself?
There are a many CMS available to today’s web builder that are freely available as part of the Open Source project. You only need to choose one that will suit your purpose. It is fairly important to have content management software that you can control and use on your own. Go for an interface that is simple and easy to understand and one that uses familiar terminology. Do not go for something complicated because you might end up messing up your website than actually making it appealing to your customers.
Most people have basic needs for web hosting that can be fulfilled by basic or free web hosting companies. But as an open source software developer, I find that my needs are somewhat different than the average person’s need to just setup WordPress. Particularly, if your application is going to be a web application and be supported by a database, it’s important to have some features that don’t always come with the basic web host packages.
There are three or four approaches to take when setting up your development environment. First, it is important to consider the use of a two-tiered environment. For most projects, a two tiered (Development & Production) environment will be fine. For larger projects that may require extensive testing, it may be necessary to go to a three-tiered environment (Development, Test, Production).
In the old days, I would just run a LAMP enabled server at home (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) to be my development system. This worked out pretty well for me as the sole developer. Today, if you are running your own project, there are several virtualization software packages that can make it easy for you to manage several software releases on your own system. Then you can just keep a production system on the internet.
The second way to maintain a multiple tier development platform is to have a single hosting platform, but maintain different environments in different sub-directories. This is a low-cost and easy way to manage versions. It’s just important to keep a map somewhere on the site where you can let team members know what’s going on. And you can leverage an Open Source Project Management Host to do just that.
One of the challenges that you will probably face at some point is the access and flexibility of the hosting company. Many times you will have a requirement for root level access to your server. This may be difficult or impossible with an inexpensive or free host. They tend to be pretty closed to that type of access, so you may have an issue there. Also, you may be working with modules that require certain versions of code libraries, which may present a challenge with most normal web hosts. Lastly, if you need to protect certain parts of your code, some obfuscation software packages require specific software to be installed which may be out of your web hosting providers comfort zone. That’s when it may become a good idea to have your own Virtual Private Server (VPS).
There are different levels of VPS. Web host providers usually break up an actual server into sections that they can individually rent out, and so the cost to host on a VPS is usually dependent on the amount of memory provided for your use. This needs to be matched up with the size of your development team. So the number of CPUs and memory will vary and the cost is usually proportional to the size offered. If you are running a small project, a ¼ share of a server may be fine and the least expensive to use. And you will have all of the flexibility that you need to manage your applications.
The last level of flexibility is to use unmanaged versus managed hosting. Managed hosting is what we just talked about. The hosting provider provisions the server for your use and will provide the setup of the server and will provide support for the installation, like automatic backups, etc. Unmanaged hosting gives you absolute control over you system. But at the same time, it is your responsibility to manage the server yourself. This is OK if you have system administration experience, but many developers want to focus on development, not administration.
Enterprise resource planning are complex software programs that connect all departments of a business both internally and externally, from finance to production to warehouse. An alternative to commercial ERP’S are the less expensive open-source ERP’s.
The average cost for a business to have an ERP was $15 million. There are many businesses, small businesses in particular, cannot afford to purchase and implement a commercial ERP. In situations like these, they can avail or make use of one of the many available open-source ERPs as an option. (more…)
“Open source” means software whose code is publicly released by independent companies and small volunteer groups. Its advantage is that the software is developed by many experts, frequently tested for flaws, and free. One disadvantage is that this software tends to need more sophisticated technical equipment and know-how to use.
The term ‘open source’ originated in the worlds of intelligence and journalism, and credited to a source of information that is publicly available. Open source is sometimes confused with open content or free content. Open content refers to content that can be edited, changed and added to by any reader. Wikipedia is an example of an online open content encyclopedia. Open source is used today in various contexts which take it far beyond its application in software.
Many users of the Internet aren’t exactly sure of what open-source software is, but it is becoming more and more popular on the Internet these days. Basically, open-source software is software that has less restrictions on how it can be used. Developers are attracted to open-source software because the users are given the rights to use it freely.
The code is readily available for modification and improvement in open-source software. This kind of software is popular because the user is allowed to modify the coding, which allows the software to evolve and improve. Since the code is readily available, the users can change the format of the software so that it can work on multiple platforms.
Open-source software that is edited can be readily distributed on the web. The right to change and edit the code is why open-source software is so important. The right to redistribute the edited code is also popular. It allows many different users to work on a single project, polishing and editing the original copy and the users are allowed to redistribute the improved software that they have tinkered with around the web.
Programmers and users alike are attracted to open source software since it can be used in any way possible. The last, and probably the most important, reason that web developers are so attracted to open-source software is because they have the right to use it as they please. Programmers are allowed to practice on and customize open source software, attracting more users and making the software more popular.