Archive | August, 2008

David Weekly Speaks @ Tec de Monterrey

29 Aug

There are a lot of people, organizations, and governments that are interested in the innovative culture of Silicon Valley as well as PBwiki’s unique structure that focuses on hiring (and listening to) some of the brightest people in the world. We’ve hosted a delegation from the French government in our office, spoken to SwissCom, and most recently our founder, David Weekly, gave several talks in Mexico. Here’s the slides for the talk he gave this month at ITSEM, one of the most prestigious business schools in Mexico.

Watch a video of this talk (in three parts). You can also see David’s pictures on Flickr from his trip to Mexico City, which includes a tour of some of the major pyramids and rafting down the Filobobos River in Tlapacoyan.

You can also watch David’s July 14 talk at University of Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico. The talk resulted in a SuperHappyDevHouse being thrown in Hermosillo the next month; it was attended by PBwiki employee Joel Franusic and was the first in Latin America. (Video)

New free feature: Wiki color schemes

27 Aug

Starting today, color schemes on all 2.0 PBwikis are free!


Custom colors in PBwiki -- now a free feature 

Earlier, color schemes were a Premium feature. But since we’ve heard more and more of you asking to use colors to customize your wikis, we realized it makes sense to offer them to everyone.

With the release of the new settings panel, we’re giving away all 9 of the pro color schemes to all our wonderful users, free of charge! These include colors like Silver, Plum, and Blue.

To add a new color scheme to your wiki, click “Settings” in your 2.0 wiki.

Let us know what you think!

Update: Edited for clarity. The “Custom” color option which allows you to create your own color scheme is still a Premium feature.


Back To School Blitz: Free Upgrades and Gifts

20 Aug

We’ve just announced two new back to school programs for educators that will let them get free Gold upgrades and other gifts like LEGO sets and up to $1,000 for buying school supplies. Here are the details:

Program for Teachers and Librarians

PBwiki’s Back To School Challenge
( allows up to 100,000 individual
teachers and librarians to sign up and earn a free one-year Gold Upgrade
(regular price $250) by using, blogging about, and referring others to
PBwiki. In addition, top performers in the challenge will receive donations
such as a $1,000 gift certificate from PBwiki for purchasing school
supplies, educational products from LEGO(R) Education (The LEGO Group’s
educational division), autographed books from award-winning science author
Janice Van Cleave, and the bilingual board game GiftTRAP (named “Best Party
Game” by both Games Magazine and Creative Child Magazine). “With sales of
more than two million copies, and translations in fifteen languages, my
books are tools used by educators around the world to expand science
education beyond the textbook,” said Van Cleave, the author of popular
books such as Janice VanCleave’s Teaching the Fun of Science. “By enabling
collaboration, wikis can add binomial expansion to the educational value in
my books.” For a list of these donations, visit the PBwiki web site

Program for School Districts and Educational Organizations

PBwiki’s Partner Program for Education allows school districts and
organizations that standardize on PBwiki to offer free one-year Gold
Upgrades (regular price $250) as an exclusive membership benefit. Already,
organizations such as the Mathematical Association of America, and the
Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers have signed up to offer PBwiki to the
individual educators they serve. “We use PBwiki to help promote our annual
meetings, and as a collaborative tool for a variety of special projects,”
said Michael Pearson, Associate Executive Director of the Mathematical
Association of America. “There is growing interest in the use of wikis and
other interactive, web-based tools for the classroom. Providing a free
trial of PBwiki will allow our members to experiment and learn how to use
wikis to benefit their students.” School districts and organizations
interested in joining the program should visit the Partner Program page

The Back To School Challenge and Partner Program for Education run
through October 31, 2008.

But don’t take our word for how cool this is…here’s what CMSWire had to say:

“These applications and services will allow teachers and students to collaborate in ways that students have never imagined. The uses are virtually unlimited.

Most of us here at CMSWire probably can’t even count the ways we could have utilized such technologies back when we were in school.

The effects of this could inspire students and teachers to familiarize themselves with technology, Web 2.0, and collaboration. This won’t keep students out of the principal’s office for using their cell phone during class, but it is nice to see companies like PBwiki giving back to the educational system. More companies should have similar programs.”

Introducing the new Settings Panel on all 2.0 wikis

19 Aug

Yesterday, we rolled out a new settings panel for all PBwiki 2.0 wikis, making it easier to control the settings on your wiki.
New PBwiki Settings Panel

See details about the new settings panel.

(Note: Don’t miss out on new features! We’ll be releasing new features for 2.0 wikis, so if you haven’t converted to PBwiki 2.0 yet, please click the “Convert now” banner at the top of your wiki to update for free. If you don’t see the banner, please sit tight for a short time while we finish polishing a few features for your wiki. We’ll enable you to update to 2.0 as soon as possible.)

And let us know what you think!

New feature: Classroom accounts for students without email addresses

12 Aug

For the last several months, we’ve been researching and designing a new way to add users to wikis without email addresses — notably, K-8 students.

Today, we’re happy to announce a new feature, Classroom Accounts, which will let you add users without email addresses. In consultation with dozens of educators, we’ve created a system that makes it unbelievably easy to add your students to your 2.0 educational wiki.

First, I’ll show you a video of the feature. Then, we’ll go into detail using a short tour with screenshots.

Video overview of Classroom Accounts (0:43):
Classroom Accounts from PBwikiWebinars on Vimeo.

Now, let’s look closer at each of those screens to see how they work.

In your new PBwiki 2.0 settings panel, you’ll see a small graphic to invite users without email addresses.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #1_1218567260187

Enter in how many students need accounts and what permission level they should be assigned. Note that you should have a printer to complete setting up Classroom Accounts.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #2_1218567359036

Type in your students’ names and we’ll automatically create student-friendly passwords. Don’t have time to enter all your students’ names? Just click “Continue” and we’ll automatically create usernames for you.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #3_1218567137387

That’s it! Now click “Print” to print your usernames and passwords.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #4_1218567382694

Here’s a view of the handy PDF so you can hand it to your students. We paid special attention to the design of the PDF to make it easy to cut and distribute. We also email you a copy of your new Classroom Accounts.
Classroom accounts #5

Q: “I’m still on PBwiki 1.0. How do I switch to 2.0?”
A: If you haven’t converted to PBwiki 2.0 yet, please click the “Convert now” flag at the top of your wiki to update for free. If you don’t see it, please sit tight for a short time while we finish polishing a few features for your wiki. We’ll enable you to update to 2.0 as soon as possible.

Q: “I have PBwiki 2.0 but I don’t see this option. Where is it?”
A: This feature is enabled for educational wikis only. If you need to switch categories, please click “Help” at the top-right corner of your wiki and let our support team know. They’ll switch you over right away.

Q: “I have another question about Classroom Accounts.”
A: No problem. To get help, check out the PBwiki manual entry on Classroom Accounts.

Based on testing, we’ve heard some great feedback on this feature. If you’re an educator, give it a shot. And, as always, let us know what you think!

* * *
Note: Attention educators! Are you interested in getting a free Gold Premium wiki (value: $250) for your classroom this year? Sign up to get an early look at the PBwiki Back to School Challenge.

Other feedback? Please let us know!

New Feature: Improved Settings Panel

11 Aug

Right now the improved settings panel is being rolled out to all education wikis, all others will see this new setting next week (Aug 18, 2008).

Today wiki administrators will see an improved settings panel — with a new interface and easier navigation.

The new setting panel has three categories:

Use the ‘Basic Settings‘ features to customize your wiki – change the color or upload your logo.
Use the ‘Access Controls‘ to invite users, change your wiki’s security setting, or set request access.
Use the ‘Advanced Settings‘ if you want to add custom CSS or modify your wiki’s API.

We love feedback! Please let us know what you think.

New and improved RSS feeds for your 2.0 wiki

5 Aug

We’ve just rolled out improvements to PBwiki RSS feeds.

What are RSS feeds?

RSS feeds are a great way to stay up-to-date when you have lots of things you’re interested in. You can subscribe to a feed and have new information show up automatically as soon as it’s available. PBwiki has offered RSS feeds for quite some time now, but this week, we rolled out a great new version for 2.0 wikis that is much more powerful.

The improved PBwiki RSS feeds

  1. The Recent Changes feed. This includes all of the changes being made on your wiki that you have permission to see: page edits, comments, file uploads, you name it.
  2. Page-specific feeds. This includes all of the edits and comments made on whichever wiki page you’re currently looking at.
  3. Folder-specific feeds. These show up if you’re looking at the contents of a folder on your wiki.

Try them out today and you’ll be hooked. If you’re not familiar with RSS, don’t worry: most browsers come with RSS readers built in, so it’s easy to get started. Take a look in your browser’s address bar for the RSS icon (it usually looks like Firefox RSS icon or Safari RSS icon). When you click it, you’ll get a list of available RSS feeds:

List of available feeds

Click the one you’re interested in and subscribe. Be sure to let us know what you think!