Newsletters

September 30, 2014

The cloud is all the rage these days, for good reason. And yet we keep having incidents that remind us there are big problems with putting everything in the cloud. Such as the recent celebrity nude photo scandals, ongoing privacy breach revelations, big companies getting hacked, mass credit card number thefts, and more.

As an open source advocate and user, I keep finding myself wondering why so many people trust software services so blindly, rarely stopping to look for alternatives. If it starts with "free service" people can't wait to start putting all sorts of crazy things there.

That's been a fantastically successful strategy for a bunch of online software as a service companies: get people hooked on a free service, and either upsell them to a paid account or sell them to advertisers. But is this good for you, as a technology dependent business or an individual who cares at all about privacy? Not necessarily.

What are the alternatives?

If you dig deeper, past the advertising and the hype of Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) companies, you'll find a really amazing array of completely free, open source alternatives you can run and own yourself. At Freelock, we support our business almost entirely on open source -- not only is our key offering, Drupal, an open source platform, but most of the tools we use for business are as well.

May 7, 2014

Heartbleed. The end of XP. Zero-day Internet Explorer attacks. April was a tough month for security on the Internet -- are the days of safe browsing over?

Probably not. But it is time to make sure you have good password management processes -- or learn how to do it if not.

Years ago I wrote about Smarter Password Management, and how to more easily create secure passwords. It's time for a brief update, as the environment has changed a bit.

December 19, 2013

In a few short years, dot-com will be a quaint throwback referring to a couple of economic booms, and not something to indicate a web site. Like the Great War -- everybody now calls it World War 1, since we've had another great war... Why? Because the floodgates are about to open on domain names, and so we're about to see the rise of dot bike, dot plumbing, dot gifts, and even dot dentist.

August 15, 2013

What are the guiding principles you use to make decisions? Over the past few months, as the Freelock team has grown, I've been spending more time on strategy, while delegating more and more of the day-to-day work to my team. To get us all working more effectively together, I needed to answer that question.

The more I dig into the decision-making process, the more I spend time on planning, the more I have found four key principles emerging that underly most of our business decisions.

July 9, 2013

If you learned how to make decisions before the fall of the Berlin Wall, you might get overwhelmed by decision making today. We used to live in a fairly black-and-white world -- East versus West, Pepsi or Coke, Miller or Bud, Democrat or Republican, ABC, NBC, or CBS.

How do you decide? If you're like a great many people in my generation, one tactic might be to create a list of pros and cons for each of the alternatives, and then compare these lists side-by-side. Ok, great! Let's use that to select a content management system. Let's see, what are our alternatives?

April 4, 2013

Chances are, whenever you do anything on any website in the world, Google knows about it. That's because half of the top million sites use Google Analytics to track everywhere you go. Nearly 2/3rds of the top 10,000 sites use Google Analytics. And out of all 186 million active web sites in the world, including a huge number of spam or parked domains, nearly 16 million of them use Google Analytics.

November 27, 2012

In the software industry, the definition of "success" isn't necessarily the same as it is for the rest of the world. The customer asks for a complex system composed of many parts, with a specified budget, and a timeline. A software project is usually considered successful if any part of the system is developed, at any cost, at some time. Not necessarily the functionality requested, the budget, or the deadline.

So claimed Steve McConnell at a recent talk about the business value of software processes Timon and I attended.

Surprising? Shocking, even? Not if you've ever been involved in creating a moderately complex web site, or software project. All too often, people charge in and build something, never taking a moment to plan, never stopping to look at the big picture.

And, I'm embarrassed to say, I have been guilty of this too.

Here is what we're doing to make sure we don't do it again.

April 25, 2012

I learned an important lesson last year. Ok, three important lessons. You would think they would be obvious to a smart guy like me, but I can be stubborn sometimes.

The big one? Pricing some services below my cost.

July 27, 2011

How would losing your web site affect your business?

That might seem like a silly question, but a surprising number of small organizations don't think it can happen to them. Think again -- web sites get lost all the time, through a variety of means. The server hosting your site might have a hardware failure. Your site might get hacked. Your web developer might accidentally delete something critical. Your host might go out of business, leaving you stranded. If you're in the tech world, you hear about these incidents all the time.

February 2, 2010

Did you notice? The world's a different place. Rules for doing business have changed—there's new ways of getting hired, finding employees, reaching new customers, and (shudder) for them to reach you. Economies of scale have flipped—it's getting more expensive to do things on a huge scale, and far cheaper to do them at a micro scale. Mass market items have lost their appeal, and people yearn for authentic, individual connections in a world of franchise same-ness.

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  1. I had the privilege of working with John and Freelock in launching a new Little League website. The process was flawless and the end product was magnificent exceeding our expectations. John knows his stuff! He had a wonderful ability to bring the perfect solution to our community based organization. Being volunteer run, we needed some special considerations in the way our website works, John understood this and delivered solutions that were perfect for us. We now have a cool website that also has the ability to grow with us into the future. I highly recommend John Locke and Freelock Computing.

    Brian Boone
    Pacific Little League

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