Archive | February, 2007

Tip of the Week #9: Images, Part I

27 Feb

totw-banner.jpgJason Nguyen

Anybody who designs a website, be it a wiki or any other kind of site, will eventually come to realize that an all-text site is one of the most boring things ever, and although some of that is helped with some well-placed colors and styles, you’ll eventually need some images to spice things up.

PBwiki makes the image upload process very easy, and the basic layout options are simple. However, before we even begin the layout process, the first step to making optimum images begins well in advance. This week, we’ll take a look at how to prep your images before you upload them, and next week, we’ll discover some neat ways to present them in your wiki.

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Thanks for the fridge!

27 Feb

Remember the part about how our huge splurge after getting the financing money was to buy a larger, but very basic, fridge?

More than a week before it was scheduled to be delivered, I received several phone messages about someone wanting to deliver a fridge to us the following day. Needless to say, I was a bit baffled, since the vendor and delivery date were completely different than the fridge I had ordered.

Eventually I figured out that a very nice investor at MDV had actually bought a fridge for us as a surprise, to celebrate the close of the funding round, and, therefore, we could cancel our original order. More money for ramen!

What follows is documentation of the inside of the fridge, a group shot of the happy employees gathered ’round the fridge, and a happy employee (me) bear hugging the fridge.

InsideFridge

Group

EmilyFridgeReal

Our wisest PBwiki user

26 Feb

An email we got after announcing our new Point-and-Click editor.

Thank you. I am a 77-year-old woman with only mild computer skills, and you have just made my life significantly easier.
–Elizabeth D.

To make your own free wiki, visit http://www.pbworks.com

Case Study: jnthweb.pbworks.com

23 Feb

Joan from JNthWeb Consulting (jnthweb) was kind enough to spend the time to participate in our most recent PBwiki case study.

You can read her bio here (http://jnthweb.pbworks.com/MyBio).

PBwiki: Why’d you choose PBwiki?
Joan Vinall-Cox: I choose PBwiki because it was visually attractive. I saw a PBwiki being used by, I think it was, Chris Sessums, (who posts frequently on Elgg) and was impressed with how much cleaner and more attractive it looked than another, easier, wiki I was using. Its appearance impressed me so much, I was willing to go to the extra effort of learning some wiki write-up language – and even some HTML – to get the appearance I wanted. That point is moot now, because of PBwiki ‘s new [Point-and-Click] editor.

PBwiki: What’s JNthWeb Consulting about?
Joan Vinall-Cox: It’s my business website, showing my area of expertise and interest – Web2.0 and its uses for businesses and education. (I am interested in the social and communication possibilities of the computer and the web, and am limited in my technical knowledge. I’ve taught myself a little HTML and have created websites and put them online before, but using wikis allows me to avoid a lot of the onerous technical work, and still have an online presence.)

main450.jpg

PBwiki: How do you use your PBwiki?
Joan Vinall-Cox: It’s a collection of information that I can point people to. For example, I send my students to the AcademicPapers page and the AttractivePages page so they know what my expectations are and how to use the computer and Web2.0 to accomplish them. I also point clients and friends to pages focused on areas they are interested in.

PBwiki: How many people are active on your wiki?
Joan Vinall-Cox: Just me. I want to keep it as my website, not as a shared writing/editing space. Until the new [Point-and-Click] editor, I didn’t think the people who would be drawn to my wiki, largely technophobes and/or newbies, or my students, would be interested in trying to use the more complex wiki write-up language of the previous iteration.

PBwiki: Give us your insight on using the new Point-and-Click editor.
Joan Vinall-Cox: I love [Point-and-Click] editors because they allow me to set up more interesting and attractive web pages myself. More importantly (and why I think the time of the wiki has arrived), the [Point-and-Click] editor allows people who aren’t technologically skilled to add to wikis. This sharing can lead to the organic development of learning communities, which is great in education, and will become increasingly important in business. The [Point-and-Click] editor rocks!

PBwiki: What has been the biggest surprise for you in using PBwiki?
Joan Vinall-Cox: I really enjoyed figuring out how to create my title by using Word and taking a screenshot, and I was excited when I figured out how to use HTML code to change font colour and size. The greater flexibility of PBwiki surprised me.

PBwiki: Would you tell others about PBwiki?
Joan Vinall-Cox: Yes I would, especially now that there is a [Point-and-Click] editor, and more people are beginning to understand some of the possibilities of what can be done with a wiki. I think the time of the wiki is arriving.

PBwiki Raises $2m To Make Wikis Awesome

21 Feb

Folks,

You may have heard it through the grapevine, and it’s true! We’ve raised $2m from MDV to invest primarily in engineering to make PBwiki even friendlier and easier than it is today. We’re going to continue our principled frugality (like getting Hello Boss instead of Starbucks at a quarter the price), but hopefully we can bring some more bright minds on board. Say there, are you an elite Javascript hacker looking for a job? :)

-David Weekly, CEO

Point-and-Click editing is here!

20 Feb

Note: Scroll down for the video!

A lot of you have been asking for an easier way to edit your wiki – we’ve listened and we’ve acted – Our new Point-and-Click editor went live to all of PBwiki earlier this morning.

What is Point-and-Click?

Point-and-Click is our new editor that allows the collaborators of your wiki to edit pages in a familiar easy-to-use word processing interface.

pointnclick.jpg

One of our new features in our Point-and-Click editor is the ability to load various plug-ins such as Google Gadgets, YouTube videos, calendars, chat rooms and more.

plugininsert.jpg

Ramit Sethi, co-founder of PBwiki has a 90 second video on the new features of our Point-and-Click editor. Check it out here:

So what do you think? We’re really interested in hearing what you have to say.

Tip of the Week #8: Point-and-Click Editor, part 2

18 Feb

totw-banner.jpgJason Nguyen

In last week’s entry, I discussed some of the more basic aspects of the new Point-and-Click editor. This week, we continue exploring the editor, looking at the following aspects (click the links to go directly to that section):

  • Plugins are probably the most powerful of the new additions to PBwiki, and once used correctly are a simple way to integrate eye-catching and effective widgets into your wiki.
  • The formatting options of the P&C editor are more flexible than in the old editor, but for them to be effective, you should pick the right one for the job.
  • The SOURCE button allows users to see the underlying HTML of the wiki page being editing. You’ll find out below whether you need it.
  • Sometimes, you’ll need to insert code snippets. Look below for the most effective ways to use HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.

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Case Study: 7thwardbag.pbworks.com

16 Feb

We just finished our case study with Nils Gore from Rebuilding the Seventh (7thwardbag.pbworks.com).

It’s a wiki built that’s helping assist a collective of architectural schools and other collaborators in rebuilding the New Orleans 7th Ward.

7thward Wiki Image

PBwiki: Why’d you choose PBwiki?
Nils Gore: …we decided to use it because of its flat learning curve. We also have collaborators in New Orleans, and had no idea how web-savvy they were (in terms of web design). I had seen a blog link to PBwiki a few weeks before and had tried it out. So I knew how easy it was to make instant web pages, and that it would be feasible with a diverse group of people. I have attempted before to have classes of students do a group website, with each adding content, using Dreamweaver, and it was basically a disaster. I’ll never attempt it again.

PBwiki: What’s Rebuilding the Seventh wiki about?
Nils Gore: We started this collaborative project in January 2006 to bring architecture students to New Orleans and help with the re-building effort. We needed a place to quickly post stuff, as a way of 1) communicating with ourselves; and 2) communicating with others outside of our organization. We have collaborators in Kansas and in New Orleans.

Construction

PBwiki: How do you use your PBwiki?
Nils Gore: We use it as a way of documenting our completed work in New Orleans; as a way of making links to other web content about new Orleans (mostly for our own students education); as a way of sharing files with all of the collaborators; and as a way of allowing numerous people to add content without screwing up the page design (too badly).

PBwiki: Give us a project update! Is this particular project done?
Nils Gore: We could work there forever if we wanted to; no shortage of work to be done in New Orleans! We just do one or two projects at a time, on a semester-by-semester basis, paying for it as we go along.

commgardenfall06-020×280.jpg

PBwiki: Would you tell others about PBwiki?
Nils Gore: I have several times.

PBwiki: What has been the biggest surprise for you in using PBwiki?
Nils Gore: I have quite a bit of web design experience, and could be doing this myself. But I have to spend very little time fooling around with PBwiki; less than I would if I were building it from scratch. I’m also surprised that the students haven’t messed it up when adding their own work. It has an incredibly flat learning curve.

Never Fear….

15 Feb

…no Salmonella here!

Harkening back to David’s post about being glad we ship bits rather than physical stuff, boy, it’s also nice to know that we don’t ship anything that could harm people, either.

On a lighter note, I just bought a household-sized fridge for our office. The one we have now is a very small dorm-room style one. In fact, it was actually my fridge for the two years when I was in a college dorm. With the recent addition of employee #6, it’s bursting at the seams, though, so we’ve decided we need a bigger space for all that Red Bull, leftover Chinese food, and Little Lucca’s sandwiches.

I’ve decided this must mean we’ve arrived as a corporate entity. We need a real fridge. The entire company can’t legally fit in one regular passenger car anymore. Woot.

Tip of the Week #7: Point-and-Click Editor, part 1

13 Feb

totw-banner.jpgThe Point-and-Click editor has received mostly positive feedback since it was unveiled, but of course with all new things, there are some growing pains, both in terms of technical work (bugs) and users’ comfort with the new system. To aid in this cause, I’m offering a two part series on how to get the most out of the Point-and-Click Editor.

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