Showing posts from July, 2011

Enhanced Taxonomy Management

VisionLink has improved the Taxonomy Management module, particularly useful to information and referral and 2-1-1 operations.

As required by AIRS certification for 2-1-1 call centers, certain categories of the Taxonomy can be flagged as inactive so that services cannot be posted to these categories.

On the other hand, it is intentionally possible to post services to categories which are turned off day to day, so that such services might be prepared for future needs, or for a specific seasonal program, or as part of preparing for potential disasters.

As readers know, CommunityOS is a multi-purpose, multi-agency solution.  In this particular case, the Taxonomy management module supports the AIRS specification, while allowing proactive posting to inactive categories.  With a click, inactive categories can be activated and those posted services instantly become available to the staff, agency partners, and the public as appropriate.

Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.

Boulder Makes Worst Dressed List

Okay, Boulder had this one coming.

After being too pleased with itself for being America's brainiest city, the nation's second healthiest town, the winner of Tree City USA, Top Ten Winter Towns, America's Foodiest Town, Top Ten Best Cities for the Next Decade, The Best City to Raise an Outdoor Kid, and the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Winner, we have come to understand we are the 40th Worst Dressed City in America, compliments of GQ magazine:

Strolling through this charming university town, you are most likely to find three major categories of clothing: 1) anything made by North Face 2) anything made by Patagonia 3) fanny packs. The observant eye will also spot unmistakable seasonal trends, such as Adidas for Fall, Crocs for Spring, and Uggs for Summer (we have no explanation for this). These are often accompanied by Boulder's year-round go-to accessory, the wheatgrass shot (sometimes paired with an unidentifiable vegan "cookie"). Yet of Boulder's 100,000 people, about 30,000 are students, some 99.9% are blonde, and all of them in better shape than you. This town is always obnoxiously flaunting its "fittest-place-in-the-country" awards, and you will be hard-pressed to find one person here, including your 85-year-old grandmother, without a six-pack. It is, in fact, a worst-dressed city that looks best naked. So Boulderites, do your fellow citizens a favor: next time you reach for the biking-shorts-and-sneakers as eveningwear combo, just take it all off.

And no, VisionLink does not support that last line.

Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.

Sources in order:, 2010
Men's Health, 2010
National Geographic, 2010
Bon App├ętit magazine, 2010
Kiplinger's Personal Finance, 2010
Backpacker, 2009
GQ magazine, 2011

Independence Day, 2011

Stan Stahl writes thoughtful essays particularly able to call us towards our most promising aspirations.

These are community-honoring, and community-building essays every time.  You can find more of his writing at

Passing on his thoughts for this 4th of July.

Douglas Zimmerman
VisionLink, Inc.

Independence Day, 2011
Stan Stahl, Ph.D. 

You give the appearance of one widely traveled,
I'll bet you've seen things in your time.
So sit down beside me and tell me your story,
If you think you'll like yesterday's wine.
Willie Nelson

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 300,000,000 of us in the United States, 235 years after  John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, William Ellery, Lewis Morris, William Hooper, Samuel Chase, Abraham Clark and 47 other founders mutually pledged to each other "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

Three hundred million of us, each with our own story; the story of who we are and who we hope to be: our family background, our history, our culture, along with our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations and our prayers for our children and for the world.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Three hundred million Americans, each with our own story, each of us self-evidently endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
July 4, 1776 ... The birth of a new nation-our nation-conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

All of our stories intersect on that day, 235 years ago, on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the United States of America becomes the first and only nation in the world to profess this self-evident ideal, that all men are created equal.
Today, 235 years later, the world measures the morality of a nation by the extent to which its people are free to live their own story, the extent to which its government secures to its people life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Six and a half billion stories-the stories of our species' march towards freedom-intersect in Philadelphia on that July day in 1776.

America's story has served as a beacon to freedom-loving people everywhere. For most of us, our story, like my story, is the story of people who braved incredible hardships to come to America, to bring their family to America, because here they could be free to live their story, to pursue their own special brand of happiness, to partake of the Blessings of Liberty that is America.

My Grandfather Stahl smuggled himself out of Latvia, coming to America as a young man. My mom's parents brought her to America as a baby, escaping the holocaust that was to consume so many in their family. They came to America to be free to live their story, linking their story - my story - to the story of freedom and that day in July, 1776.

America's story is not just the story of freedom. It is, as well, the story of freedom's denial, too often demonstrating the sometimes very wide gulf between our ideals and our realities.

The founders didn't mean all men the way we mean it today. Many owned slaves. Most of them didn't have Native Americans or African Americans in mind when they wrote all men. Their failure to write all men and women was not an oversight; they meant men, most specifically men like them.

Much of America's story has been the story of our struggle to extend the self-evident truths of our creed to more of us: Our Civil War, Women's Suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement. In today's culture wars, the left and right argue whether our self-evident truths extend to the LGBT community or the developing fetus.

"We are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the world."
John Adams
July, 1776

The revolution lives on in today's culture wars, the story of Americans arguing with each other over whose story is to be the story of America. In today's 24x7 telecommunication bubble, ours has become the story  of everyone talking at once, all of us speaking ever-louder, trying to get our story to rise above the ever-loudening cacophony of everyone else's story.

In this cacophony are the stories of our people, our hearts, our dreams, our fears and joys, our hopes and wishes, our sense of right and wrong, of liberty and justice. This is the voice of America that we hear in the messy discordant atonal arrhythmic dissonance that is our culture wars. It's the voice of we the people, governing ourselves as best we can, like we've been doing for 235 years. Marvel at the cacophony, for it is the story of a free people. Rejoice in it. Celebrate it.

On this day of celebration, let us also remember that the story of America-the story of freedom- must be a story big enough and broad enough to encompass the stories of all who yearn to be free, for this is the meaning of our creed, our self evident truth that all of us are created equal. At the end of the day, this self-evident truth means weaving our stories together into one giant tapestry of freedom. Otherwise, our stories are not equal, our pursuit of freedom limited.

In his spirit of liberty speech at a rally in Central Park in May 1944, in the midst of World War II, Judge Learned Hand eloquently described the tapestry we weave with our stories:

"What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith.

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the mind of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned but never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.

And now in that spirit, that spirit of an America which has never been, and which may never be; nay, which never will be except as the conscience and courage of Americans create it; yet in the spirit of that America which lies hidden in some form in the aspirations of us all; in the spirit of that America for which our young men are at this moment fighting and dying; in that spirit of liberty and of America I ask you to rise and with me pledge our faith in the glorious destiny of our beloved country."

Let us have the conscience and the courage to listen to each other's stories.

Let Freedom Ring.

© Copyright 2011. Stan Stahl, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.