Towards an ICT framework for Sustainable Tourism

March 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

While ICTs are driving globalization, tourism has been rising to become one of the largest industries worldwide. It can be argued that those deprived of access to ICTs, the world wide web in particular, are also deprived of the opportunity to participate in this global market. Hence, the poor remain poor because of this digital divide. The ICT4D movement (Information and Communication Technologies for Development – I like to say “ICT for socioeconomic Development”) aims to close this digital divide in various ways, such as providing the required tools and knowledge. » Read the rest of this entry «

SugarCRM for small business book review

January 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I have updated last year’s post about SugarCRM books with a new review (Implementing SugarCRM 5.x) so be sure to check it out!

Pink and Cloudy

July 23rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

PogoplugNo, this is not about me adoring pink or suffering from my chaotic brain (please warn me if I do show some weird symptoms). It’s about my new pink supergadget, providing me a personal storage space in the so-called computer cloud…

Three months ago, my private file server went dead after two years of continuous service. As I like to be mobile, while being able to access all my files remotely without all the router configuration hassle, and time nor interest to manage a real NAS, I chose to buy myself the little pink Pogoplug.

This little device makes it possible for me to easily access and manage my files remotely, without having to deal with any special network configuration, and even manage file sharing with my friends and colleagues. The files can be accessed using Pogoplug’s web interface, Windows Explorer (and the Linux [didn't get it to work actually...] and Mac equivalents) and using iPhone and BlackBerry clients (have not tried those yet).

Setting up the plug took me about 5 minutes – my fastest server install ever! Transferring my files to the Pogoplug was as simple as detaching the external hard drive from the dead server and plug it into one of the four Pogoplug USB sockets. In combination with a friend’s Pogoplug, we now even can automatically remotely backup each other’s files.

I will not go into more  technical details – you can read them at pogoplug.com. Five final remarks however:

  1. An open source project (ofcourse Linux based) is going on related to Pogoplug and similar devices. This may be of interest to the advanced users.
  2. If the Pogoplug company goes down for whatever reason, the device’s source code will be released to the public, using Escrow. This is somewhat of a guarantee your device will stay online without their service.
  3. The Pogoplug team is about to launch a new device, the Pogoplug Biz (just after I installed one in an office…), targeting the small businesses. For some reasons (using multiple e-mail addresses for file uploads for example), this one seems better to me for a whole family as well.
  4. If your Internet connection fails, you can still access the files using the Windows Explorer client – it only uses the local network. Remote access is ofcourse not possible, for obvious reasons

What SugarCRM books should you read?

January 2nd, 2010 § 12 comments § permalink

An extended SugarCRM knowledge base can be found online in the SugarCRM forums, in the SugarCRM online documentation (for users, developers and administrators) and very valuable pieces of information can be found scattered all over the World Wide Web. Finding the information you need can consume very much time, even more if you are new to the Open Source CRM solution SugarCRM. Not all books however are the right choice for all user types. Buying yourself a decent book may be an obvious time saver, but then, since you’re new to all this, what book should you buy?

So far, I’ve read four five books on SugarCRM:

  1. “SugarCRM for Dummies” by Karen S. Fredricks (November 2008)
  2. “Implementing SugarCRM: a Step by Step approach” by Michael J.R. Whitehead (February 2006)
  3. “SugarCRM Developer’s Manual: Customize and extend SugarCRM” by Dr. Mark Alexander Bain (June 2007)
  4. “Definitive Guide to SugarCRM: Better Business Applications” by John Mertic (November 2009)
  5. Implementing SugarCRM 5.x: A Practical Guide for Small Businesses ” by Angel Magaña and Michael J.R. Whitehead (September 2010) [added to this list January 2011]

Below you can find my advice on what books to read.

For SugarCRM newbies and end-users

If you are new to SugarCRM, I recommend reading “SugarCRM for Dummies”, it’s the most simple yet elegantly written introduction to using SugarCRM – a typical end user working with a not too much modified SugarCRM installation will find all he or she needs to know. For people working a while with SugarCRM it may be a convenient reference book. For SugarCRM administrators, some basic guidelines are included – don’t expect to much of it though. The book is from November 2008 and SugarCRM has not changed that much since, so it is reasonably up-to-date. » Read the rest of this entry «

Some thoughts about CRM and SugarCRM

December 11th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

As some of you might have noticed, I’ve been playing around with SugarCRM a bit the last months. I was all new to this, so it took me some time to get myself familiar with CRM practices in general. It seems to me as a very powerful web application, however SugarCRMI was a bit intimidated at first sight by all its functionalities, resulting in many modules, form fields, buttons and texts at the home screen (as are most first-time users as a matter of fact).

However it is (almost) fully customizable, most of this clutter is likely to remain. Why? Well, you are likely to use most of the functionality of the system, since it is very easy to configure, and intuitive to use – once you’ve get used to it, and that may take some time. Is it worth it? Well, I’d say it depends on how easy you learn, what this time is worth to you and the company, and what the benefits of using a CRM system and SugarCRM in particular are to the company. Yes, the guru’s tell us that the CRM systems are a valuable asset to almost all companies, ranging from small to huge(!) companies, but in my humble opinion not all CRM systems are fit for all companies, and not all companies benefit from a CRM system, or at least not in all growth stages. You might consider implementing costs, risks, time, maintenance, training and even vendor lock-in (I’ve chosen to use SugarCRM as it is Open Source, enabling me to migrate data with more ease if I ever decide to switch to another CRM system for whatever reason).

Once it has been properly implemented and aligned with your company processes, it however is unlikely to be a bad investment. Having all the latest intelligence available to all employees wherever they are, increased responsiveness to clients, comprehensive insights in your opportunities and business growth at a glance,  is a not to be underestimated asset for management decisions.

Updating Joomla… ouch!

November 28th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

The last days I’ve been updating several websites powered by the Joomla! CMS, a process I’ve been putting off way too long, mostly because this requires some modifications to the template (when updating from 1.0.x to 1.5.x and above), and may cause some installed third-party extensions to break. Why updating then? And what approach to take? » Read the rest of this entry «

I’m having a blast

October 15th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

A quick post to satisfy your hungry minds… I have been unable to maintain this blog lately, however I’m planning to post again more frequently. Let’s start with a quick-and-dirty update (I will fill you in with the specifics later on). Since my last post, I:

» Read the rest of this entry «

Opportunities and Complexities of ICT for Ethiopia’s Land Administration

August 5th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

As mentioned before, the past months I’ve been working on my Bachelor Thesis (Information Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands), and I can now proudly announce it’s accepted in its final version. To my supervisor Luca Consoli: Thank You!

» Read the rest of this entry «

Kilil, woreda and kebele: the administrative divisions of Ethiopia

May 20th, 2009 § 8 comments § permalink

I mentioned some terms like kebele and woreda in my latest posts, obviously neglecting the fact that most readers are not familiar with the administrative divisions of Ethiopia. In fact, in literature these words are used but in most cases left unexplained. So, let me introduce you to the concept of kilil, chartered city, zone, woreda and kebele. » Read the rest of this entry «

Nine benefits of Ethiopia’s Land use and Administration Committees (LACs)

May 19th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

The decentralized approach on land registration is regarded as the key to Ethiopia’s successful swift and cost-effective land registration. Ethiopia’s success seems to be a rare case though:

“In fact, hardly any of the [sub-Saharan] countries that introduced legal reforms with much fanfare have succeeded in developing, let alone rolling out, a low-cost system for land administration at a scale that is sufficiently large to provide an option for the majority of the poor. This made it difficult for many of the expected benefits from such legislation to materialize, implying that the poor often continue to be excluded from formal systems and vulnerable to land loss. More generally, failure to implement land legislation has raised doubts regarding the technical, institutional, and political feasibility of such reforms.” (Deininger, Ali, Holden, & Zevenbergen, 2008)

In my previous post I mentioned the Land use and Administration Committees (LACs). The LACs are playing a major role in the registration process, so I’ll explain a bit more about that. » Read the rest of this entry «