Wiki, Wiki, Wiki

The Web Worker Daily blog recently detailed fifteen ways to make use of a wiki.  I’m happy to report that we use our company wiki for at least eight of those.  As our company grew, it meant more people and more client information to keep track of.  Searching for information on a shared network drive became too time consuming and frustrating.  We had no effective way to compile, store, access and edit our most important information.  Client histories, guidelines on writing .php code, design preferences, employee handbooks, phone lists, ongoing projects and the like were just not as available as we needed them to be.

Enter the GWiki.

In early May of this year, our CIO Paul Kulp used Media Wiki, the same open-source software originally created for Wikipedia, to create ours.  The G in GWiki pays homage to the family name of our parent – the Gile Companies.  The main sections in our ever expanding database are:

  • Companies
  • People
  • Web Sites
  • How we do things
  • Clients
  • Must Read
  • Digital Suggestion Box

Within those categories lies a wide variety of data; it drills down pretty far.  We do our best to add content as we go along, locating information and either adding it to the wiki, or referencing where to find it.  Since new pages can be created and edited on the fly, it is an ideal tool for a fast-moving organization.

It can be a bit of a hurdle to change people’s thinking from post-it notes and network drives to saving data in the wiki, but over time it yields results.  For example, I no longer have a company phone list taped to the wall near my desk, just a toolbar bookmark that takes me to the company-wide phone list.  On this list is found phone extensions, emails, instant messenger handles, and links to each employee’s individual page.  There you will find a photo and whatever information that person wants you to know about themselves.

Even more useful are the descriptions of internal procedures, client histories, explanations of the specific preferences held by our Creative Director Danielle McMahon, a digital suggestion box, results of usability studies and on and on.

Google to Acquire Postini

Posted by Justin Cresswell, Director of Client Relations

We are apparently not alone in thinking that the communications security firm Postini offers high-quality products and services.  WSG has been converting our network support clients over to Postini’s spam filtering service with excellent results.

Google showered the California-based company with serious love today, announcing their plans to acquire Postini for $625 million in cash.  Postini joins YouTube and DoubleClick in Google’s portfolio of 2007 acquisitions, and will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the search-engine giant. The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of the third quarter 2007.

In addition to using soon-to-be Google property Postini’s spam filtering tool, WSG also employs Google Analytics to track our internal web site traffic as well as client sites, and I use many of Google’s free on-line applications.

I switched my personal email from Yahoo! to Gmail about a year ago, and have also been very happy with Google Calendar.  The ability to create multiple calendars, and color code them is very useful.  I have general entries, like client meetings and work obligations colored blue, personal items as orange, sales and marketing activities as green, and all US holidays as red.  The calendar allows users to check and uncheck which calendars appear at any given time.  It’s a very easy way to keep all of my events in one place, while also maintaining the necessary separation between roles and responsibilities.

We Have Some New People

WSG is pleased to welcome Wade Prather of Grafton, NY as a Systems Engineer, and Chris Clemente of Albany, NY as a Graphic Designer.

Wade comes to us from his post as a systems administrator with Computer Sciences Corporation.  He has twice earned Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer status, and boasts a broad range of support experience from small, local companies as well as large Fortune 500 corporate networks.  For the last 12 years Wade has been providing Windows networking support primarily in the manufacturing and financial sectors.

Wade has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which is where he first met WSG President Michael Gile, CIO Paul Kulp and Systems Engineer Kevin Ware.

Chris received a bachelor’s degree in Information Studies from the University at Albany.  He was most recently an IT Specialist at the New York State Education Department, a position he earned after a successful internship with the Department.  Chris has also worked as a freelance web and graphic designer, both in the Capital Region and in his native Long Island.

WSG Retained by Capital Bank and Trust

Posted by Justin Cresswell, Director of Client Relations

WSG announces that it has been retained by Capital Bank and Trust, one of the Capital Region’s leading commercial banks.  WSG.net will create and launch a new design for the bank’s website, CapitalBank.com.

The new design will bring the bank’s online presence more in-line with its continued growth, which includes a new branch in Stuyvesant Plaza.  WSG will also provide strategic research, analysis, and ongoing consultation to optimize the bank’s search engine positioning.

The Start of Something New

Posted by Justin Cresswell, Director of Client Relations

WSG is proud to launch this blog as part of our redesigned web site. The redesign effort, led by Danielle McMahon, our talented Creative Director, optimizes navigation while presenting a clean, fresh and modern style. If you haven’t already, check out the new look.  Over the coming weeks and months, we will be expanding and revising our portfolio, and fleshing out our service offerings in more detail.

We’ll be using this blog to share detail about a great many things: what’s happening at WSG and in the working world at large, how we’re working with our clients and partners, as well as the past, present and future of our parent organization, the Gile Companies.

On any given day, there are a tremendous number of different projects cranking along in our building, and WSG is lucky enough to be part of most of them.  Led by our founder and owner Richard J. Gile, we offer a wide range of products and services, all with a strong technological backbone.  Gile Office Supply is the region’s largest independent office supply and furniture dealer, and is celebrating its thirtieth year in 2007.  Gile Toys, growing rapidly, is an educational toy and school supply distributor.  We also have special projects in development, and you’ll be hearing more about them in the coming months.  In addition to a heavy slate of client work, WSG is charged with supporting and nurturing all of our sister companies.  It’s one of the things that makes us unique – we practice what we preach – for lack of a better term.  When we talk about e-commerce, network security, or improving internal communication, we speak from direct experience.  A quick look at only a few items on today’s production calendar bears this out.

  • Creation of an on-line admissions application for one of our valued clients.
  • Putting together the newest design for a client which changes the look of its site seasonally.
  • Search engine optimization and the creation of Transformers artwork for the toy site.
  • Internal work by our President Mike Gile to implement our own ERP using Sage’s Mas500, of which we are a certified reseller.
  • Vice President Jim Gile adding Spider Man action figures to the toy site’s inventory.
  • Updating and maintaining the security and capacity of our in-house data center.
  • Preparation for an out-of-state consulting trip by our CIO, Paul Kulp.

This is only a small sampling of the design and programming work from today.  Check back regularly to see what else we come up with.  I invite you to add comments and to suggest blog topics.

Thanks for reading,
Justin

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