Thursday, February 26, 2009

The most technically savvy use of PHP in government award goes to...

A MP3 drum roll plays in the background, digital camera lights flashing all over, YouTube video camera rolling, and as the twitter volume starts to explode… for what is the first ELE award in government to ever be awarded (ELE stands for Enterprising Leverage of elePHPant technology, aka "super-powered by PHP" — the award is pronounced “elly!”) – and the excitement is simply electrifying here. It is award season after all and from the Oscars to the Golden Globes shows, the crowd has only just been warmed up for this online one. As the email envelope is struggled to be opened… the presenter continues chatting on Skype... "And the winner is?" … pause … then a longer pause … and then an even longer pause for that extra percentage of traffic on twitter and advertising revenue:

And the winner of the 2009 ELE is … President Barack Obama and his team at political social network sites on FACEBOOK and MY.BARACKOBAMA.COM for the most technically savvy use of open source and PHP in government ever!

Obama’s presidential campaign was praised for being one of the most technically savvy and what most people don't realize, was that a lot of their technology was powered by PHP:

  • On, Obama's own social network powered by PHP, 2 million profiles were created

  • In addition, 200,000 offline events were planned

  • About 400,000 blog posts were written

  • And more than 35,000 volunteer groups were created - at least 1,000 of them on Feb. 10, 2007, the day Obama announced his candidacy

  • Obama has gained 5 million supporters in third party social networks.

  • On Facebook (a PHP powered site also), where about 3.2 million (during the campaign) signed up as his supporters, a group called Students for Barack Obama was created in July 2007.

  • It was so effective at energizing college-age voters that senior aides made it an official part of the campaign the following spring.

  • And Facebook users did vote: On Facebook's Election 2008 page, which listed an 800 number to call for voting problems, more than 5.4 million users clicked on an "I Voted" button to let their Facebook friends know that they made it to the polls.

"It doesn't matter if you're a Republican or a Democrat, if you care about how technology has changed campaigning, you watched what they were doing," said Mindy Finn, who worked on President Bush's eCampaign team in 2004 and supervised Mitt Romney's online strategy.

There is a presentation being offered at the Boston PHP User Group in April called "Lessons from" presented by the creators at Blue State Digital. Both Josh King and Chuck Hagenbuch will share their experiences building and scaling some of the tools which powered and the millions of phone calls and over a billion emails that helped make history this year. I plan to attend this meeting on April 1st and deliver the ELE award in person to both Josh and Chuck. Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Hughes from Facebook will be contacted by our HQ in Zend’s California office for his award. If anyone from the Obama organization would contact me and let me know how I can deliver Pres. Obama's award in person, I would be honored to meet the most technically savvy president in history. Send email to

In one of his first official acts as president, Obama ordered more government openness and transparency. In an excerpt from his memo:

"Information maintained by the federal government is a national asset. My administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public."

From another Obama speech in 02/2007: "Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let's set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let's recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.”

And already in the first 100 days there is a US stimulus bill that pushes e-health records for all medical records online, read more. So congratulations to the entire Obama campaign team for your win and using PHP to make so much impact in politics via web technology. After all it is the people that use tools like the hammer and nail that will rebuild america, and you used PHP to implement your creative digital ideas on the information highway. You needed your ideas built fast, low cost but built well and that's why you picked PHP (it can be the nail gun when you're rebuilding on the information highway)

He's not the only one in government making big changes with open source and PHP, here's a great audio podcast from 2006 of someone I admire in government Tim Vaverchak (Director of Open Source Strategy) at the Commonwealth of MASS IT (ITD) when he began to use LAMP a bit over 2yrs ago. Contact me if you know of other great PHP examples in government, I am always eager to learn more and as I live near the North East Corridor Amtrak line in Princeton, NJ, I am close to Washington DC. My email will accept all invitations from the oval office as well as your office :-)

My Research Articles:

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As you read this article, click here for audio of a band I first saw in a small club in NYC in late 90's

Wine with your meal? from the MP3 container

You ever go to a nice restaurant that matches the meal with a specific wine (or BREW)? Yea I have seen that a lot and depending on the place and chef I will order it together, and I have discovered some interesting vineyards I would never have tasted. The idea is to enhance the meal with a beverage that complements it, the recommendation is usually by the chef. Its the combo of both together that makes for a unique and sometimes surprising result, like when I tried a glass of sweet German Gew├╝rztraminer offered by the proprietor at our favorite sushi place in Princeton NJ. Why do I bring this up?, well at the end of my longer articles you will see a musical selection, because music inspires me as I write the article. So just like a menu at a fine restaurant or brew pub that offers suggestions from the chef about the beverage, I too will offer a musical selection of what I had blasting in my room as I write the article to share the audio portion of it, hope you like the matching of content + MP3. For this short one I was just curious if there was a band called WINE (and Yes there is, I dont like them) They sounded like a band I do enjoy "The Smiths" and lead singer went soloist "Morrissey"

A good chef will pour his heart into the dish and most, like me, will want feedback. Let me know what you think of the content here, please feel free to add your own comments and feedback even about the music if you want. (And for those that are curious, in these economic times I cant afford to go to a place that employs a Sommelier, and rarely had the opportunity to go in the past. :-)

Btw I do love to cook also as a hobby, and the real reason I blare music is that English was not my first language and music helps me drown out the noise and distractions so I can focus on my topic and writing. Hopefully you enjoyed my dish of content online but even if you didnt this chef wants to hear from you.
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AUDIO: For this dish the chef recommends a wonderful blue indie MP3 from London, its a great vintage 1985 from the house of the "Smiths" called "How soon is Now on Meat is Murder album"

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'll be at NYPHP User Group Feb 24th in IBM facility on Madison Ave

New York PHP Community Member
Zend Framework Circa 2009 at NYPHP Feb 24th 6:30pm

I'll be at the NYPHP User Group meeting Tuesday 24th of Feb, ask me about the new Zend Server and quick demo. I'm hoping to get onto next months calendar to do a demo for the group. See you there.

NYPHP TOPIC = The Zend Framework is known for its flexibility, corporate-friendly licensing, and compatibility with diverse platforms and database systems...

When: Tuesday, February 24th at 6:30pm sharp

Where: IBM 590 Madison Avenue, Room 1219 (12th Floor) [ map ]

RSVP: RSVP Online by 3:00EST

All attendees MUST RSVP within 30 days of this particular meeting and no later than 3:00pm the day before the meeting.

And dont forget about the Zend Webinar "Unveiling Zend Server" Feb 24th 12:00EST
bruary 24, 2009 - February 24, 2009: 9:00 AM PST - Your computer via Webex

Zend Server is Zend's next generation PHP Web Application Server - a complete solution for running and managing PHP applications that require a high level of reliability, performance and security.

During this webinar you will learn how to deploy a complete PHP stack in minutes, pin-point, diagnose and resolve application problems quickly, and achieve significant performance gains for you PHP applications.

Join this webinar - see a live Zend Server demo!
Click here to register

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