As of mid-January 2017, we have relocated to Lumberton, NJ. We look forward to serving our select, loyal customers! Our services continue to be focused on specialized clients who warrant our special understanding of their needs.
We continue to explore and implement the capabilities of YourMembership.com, an online Software As Service that allows integration of large membership databases with website services.
We worked closely with the new editor of a major online toy train magazine as she undertook her duties. The previous editor had held the post for over a decade, and we assisted the new editor in learning the processes required for developing successful content for web deployment, as well as the site's underlying organization. In doing so, we made modifications to the site's menu system and classification of articles. This is a typical assignment, in which we combine both technical web skills with an understanding of the client's wishes.
Fall 2014 - Spring 2015
We have concluded the integration of several existing websites with the YourMembership.com SAS membership database system. This required use of different site design methodologies and coordination of several other consultants. The objective was to facilitate improved records and management analysis of member information, as well as providing an easier and more economical user experience. This required major project planning, implementation and transition planning. Additional client benefits are anticipated as the new system becomes integrated into the client's normal workflow and members take greater advantage of it. Further work continues through Summer and Fall 2015.
In addition, we have worked with several clients to promote increased security in the face of recent flash-drive vulnerabilities, in one case having drafted formal IT rules for employees.
Spring/Summer 2014 Activities
We have been focusing on several IT efforts for two clients. For one, we are overseeing a series of upgrades to allow a network to meet PCI Compliance standards. This involves replacing computer workstations and upgrading existing operating systems, and related matters. For another, we are planning and managing a grant-supported program to replace two active servers and to upgrade an online database search system to a customized open-source system. These efforts heavily involve financial planning, staging, and coordinating specialist contractors with staff and volunteers.
We brought the site used by the Train Collectors Association to serve the needs of its nearly 25,000 members up to date, with a new look, and enhanced functionality. With this client increasingly relying on technology to reduce traditional expenses for printing and mailing, this was an important step for them. Members may now utilize five subject centers to receive information and services. July 2013.WIFI Installation Management
We managed a process of engaging contractors to plan and install a public WIFI system for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. In conjunction with this, we placed a series of special videos on the museum web site that could be accessed in the museum by scanning QR codes which we created. This allows visitors to see otherwise inaccessible parts of train exhibits. December 2012.
We were asked to update this site, which we had originally created in 2005, to add content and bring current. This is part of a rebuilding process of the several sites we maintain for this client. November 2012.
Jim Receives Innovation Award
Jim received the first Spirit of Innovation award from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This was in recognition of several decades of leadership in technology, including creation and management of their large web site, building a major local area network, initiating a library and archives catalog and outreach system, and a broad range of other efforts aimed at promoting understanding of railroad history. September 2012.
We analyzed client's old site, wrote new text, took work photos, worked with business owner to develop effective presentation of services to emphasize project design excellence as well as actual construction. Site utilizes portfolio photo galleries. August 2012.
We recently updated a site with some 20,000 files, 430 articles and thousands of pictures, providing a new look, enhanced organization, and new features. The site's sheer magnitude and the varying techniques that had been applied by previous webmasters over a ten year period presented a major challenge. Further, it had to be rebuilt in a manner consistent with forthcoming revisions to client's other sites. The site now meets the latest standards and has been well received by the client and its members. It may be seen here.
Two major announcements:
Evan is here!
We're proud that our daughter Laurie and son-in-law Phil are the parents of Evan Alexander Ray. He's a fine young gentleman for a grandson, and we're thrilled that he is part of our lives!
Evan resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents hold leadership roles in the university library and information technology systems.
Our new web site is here!
Most of our time is devoted to working on others' web sites, leaving little time to keep our own abreast of changing technologies. However, we finally got what you're looking at now done.
Several earlier iterations are above. Over the years, we transitioned from Front Page to Dreamweaver, from inline styles to external stylesheets, from tables to CSS layouts, from static displays to script-driven ones, from site-centric expectations to coping with the impact of Google.
While each version was appropriate for its time the field changes steadily and is becoming significantly more complex.
An overview of previously designed web sites is available here. As we undertake new jobs, we'll mention them here.
Development of Mobile web site. Recognizing the rapid growth of smartphone use, Jim initiated a new site especially aimed at attracting on-the-road visitors to a major museum. This required acquiring new skills in a rapidly changing field, and relating them to the user habits and expectations of mobile device users. Information here.
Developing new strategy for hosting digitized images of historic railway industry photos and other industry records for long-term storage and web access. Jim continues his lead role at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania's program for cataloging of images of unique historical holdings, and making the catalogs available for web research. This complex effort involves planning for the funding and roles of several agencies including the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the North American Railway Foundation, PALINET (a leading library and digitization consortium serving northeastern state library and research institutions), and most recently the Norfolk Southern Foundation. "Pulling it all together" is a key characteristic of these efforts. The online result of this may be seen here.
New Mental Health Advocacy site. We completed a full rebuild of the content and structure of NAMI Mercer, Inc.'s site. This local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness explains services and advocacy for residents of Mercer County, NJ. Substantial improvement were made in the information provided, ease of finding it, appearance, and other improvements, including instituting a new email newsletter system.
Property Management Firm Contract Award. Jim has guided a successful effort to seek proposals from condominium property management firms for Society Hill at Lawrenceville. The current firm performing this function has been in place for over a dozen years. An RFP was issued, pre-proposal meetings held, and detailed proposals analyzed. The result was a new three-year contract with improved provisions and controlled costs.
Creation of Searchable Archive of 50 Years of Member Magazines. Volunteers at the Train Collectors Association had painstakingly scanned over fifty years of their forty page quarterly magazine, and desired to place them on the web where only members could view them. We ran over 200 PDF files through Optical Character Recognition and created a special search engine just for that part of their web site. These were then protected by a member password system already in place for other purposes. Members were thrilled!
Jim (l), with fellow speaker William Withuhn (r), Curator of Transportation, Smithsonian Institution. Jim speaks on early New Jersey Inventor. Jim made a presentation on the life of Colonel John Stevens, a patriot of the American Revolution who was an early advocate of the development of railroads. The day-long symposium, in Bordentown, NJ on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the first run of the John Bull locomotive (America's first steam locomotive) and in conjunction with the 325th anniversary of the founding of the City of Bordentown.
Jim has previously researched and written about this industrial leader's history. Stevens Institute of Technology is named for the Stevens family.