Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pika CMS 4.02 Released

Greetings Pika Community,

I am pleased to announce the immediate availability of Pika CMS 4.02
for general release. Those of you with Pika subscriptions can download the software from:

Here is a brief list of the new features added for this release (a
more complete listing is available in changelog.txt included in the release).
  • LSC Eligibility Update (Income Likely to Change)
  • Updated Megareport to correct IE8 compatibility issues
These updates were funded by the subscription dues paid by Pika clients. Thank you for your continued support!

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Program: East Bay Community Law Center

I'd like to send a quick "congrats" to the fine folks at the East Bay Community Law Center, who are now running a shiny new Pika CMS after a successful migration from their old system. It has been great to work with the EBCLC folks, and I'm glad to have them onboard.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Free Stuff 2009 Promotion

Who wants some free stuff? I'm excited to announce our "Free Stuff 2009" promotion. Between June 3rd, 2009 and September 30th, 2009, the Pika Software team will perform one free customization for each program with an active support subscription with us. The customization has to be one of the following options:

  • Add/remove/rearrange up to three fields on any screen
  • Add or modify a one-table report
  • Replace the top-left logo with a custom logo
  • Add a banner graphic to the top of the Home Page screen

We've never done a promotion like this before, and I thought it'd be something fun for Summer this year. I will be coordinating the submissions, so to sign up for this amazing promotion, please send me an email explaining the programming or graphics work you'd like us to do. I'll put you on the waiting list and let you know when we're ready to get started. First come, first served!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Conflict Checking Improvements

OK, here is my post about conflict checks. Things have been very busy here with Pika installs so Iʼm getting this posting out later than I wanted to.

Weʼre going to add Alien ID number to the conflict check. This will be pretty straightforward, itʼll work like the Social Security Number. Also, weʼre writing a new name searching algorithm to better handle individuals whose last name contains both a paternal and maternal family name.

Take the following (contrived) example. In 2007, your program successfully represented a client, Jane Williams, in her landlord-tenant case with her landlord, Brazilian oil magnate José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo. Now letʼs say Mr. Gabrielli calls up your program in 2009, looking for legal assistance. If provides his full name, José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, to your intake screen, the software will view this as a potential conflict of interest. However, if he simply identifies himself as “José Gabrielli”, the phonetic name search will not catch him because, to the computer, “Gabrielli” is not the same as “Gabrielli de Azevedo”. If you use the “Browse Names” feature on the intake screen, he will still show up, but ideally he really needs to show up using either method.

So weʼve narrowed our options with the change to two. The first option would be to give the staff person the option to enter an alias during data entry. So with the previous example, José would be entered into the system with a last name of “Gabrielli de Azevedo”, and would have one alias with a last name of “Gabrielli”. That way heʼd show up no matter which form of his last name was used as the search term. We would find a way to streamline the process somehow, maybe a box labeled maternal surname or maiden name that can be filled out, and would trigger the creation of an alias record in the background.

The other option weʼre looking at would be to give you a single Name Search box where you can enter any number of first and last names. If you search for “José Gabrielli”, or for “José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo”, it will bring up any José Gabriellis and any José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedos on one list. This method might bring up more false positives that the current method (“Arthur Scott” would come up as a possible match for “Scott Arthur”,) but Iʼm not sure how much this would be an issue in day-to-day use.

Please let me know if you have any comments or ideas on this topic.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm Back!

Hello everyone, I am now back from paternity leave and already getting back into the swing of things. Later this week I'll be posting about some conflict check additions we have in the works. In the meantime here's a photo of Thomas Worley, born February 19th, for those of you who enjoy baby pics.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thoughts on Google Chrome

I have been using the Google Chrome web browser beta for a couple months now. It's still in beta so I wouldn't recommend it for widespread rollout. But it seems to be fast, stable, and has some features that might be of interest to the Pika CMS community.

One nifty thing is its ability to set up Start Menu, Desktop, and Quick Launch shortcuts for a web application. It's a quick and simple, and I've written up a walkthrough over at Pika Docs. Another nice feature is it runs every open page in it's own "sandbox", so in theory if a video (for example) crashes the browser, your Pika CMS session in the other tab will not be affected.

Does anyone else have thoughts on Chrome?