GN newsletter

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Dear GreenNet members, since this is the last newsletter you are getting from us this year. It's been rather succesfull year for GreenNet. We went smothly through two important technical transitions, settled in the new premisses, and completed several larger scale web projects. We hope you also had a good year and were satisfied with the services provided by GreenNet. We are looking forward to the 2006, for which we have planned several challenging improvements and expansions into new areas and we hope you will stay with us. We want to wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year, and bye-bye-wave.

GN Newsletter: December 2005


Free Wiki

Wiki (meaning 'Quick' in Hawaiian) is a simple tool for web publishing. Now increasingly popular, Wikis allow people to create web pages collaboratively, without any knowledge of HTML or the need for any special software. Unlike other web management systems, they keep a history of all changes made to pages, so you can roll back to previous versions at any time. This allows for the pages to be editable by anybody, and if something goes wrong, you can always revert to an earlier version. The largest online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been built and kept up to date using this tool. Projects like SourceWatch show the usefulness of Wikis in sharing information among campaigns.

Over the last couple of years, we've worked with Wikis for various collborative editing projects - workshop preparation and sessions, project development spaces, simple and functional intranets, collaborative documentation, and so on. It's been such a useful tool for our work that we'd like to pilot an idea of installing wikis as standard for all our web clients. If you are interested in getting a free wiki installation during this pilot phase, please write to

Server co-location

In summer 2005 we moved all our server equipment from TeleCity Manchester to Telehouse North (the best Data Centre in Europe) in Docklands, where we have our own independent rack space, resilient 2 x 100MBps connectivity and the latest security and environmental control systems. If you are interested in using our co-location facility, we now offer:

  • Unlimited data transfers (*)
  • Remote powercycle facility
  • 24/7 monitoring of your crucial services
  • Hardware rental
  • IP addreses
  • Daily backup (system and data)
  • Managed and unmanaged servers

If you are interested in co-location with GreenNet, please contact

*We may limit your speed to 4Mbs if your data transfers exceed this more than 5% of the time

2005 - A Dynamic year for GreenNet WebSites

After 3 years developing tools for dynamic web site construction, it's great to see the results in the content-rich sites we have online now. Increasing numbers of GN members are choosing easy forms-based dynamic web publishing to get their news and resources online. New features this year have included online petitions, multi-lingual (including multi-script) pages, quick campaign mini-sites, and content sharing across sites, servers and continents. From small organisations to big international projects - our users are keeping their sites up to date and interactive. For more detail on the individual sites, see below.

The range of sevices from GN Web Projects now includes: site planning consultancy, stylish and accessible graphic design, database management, content management system customisation, advanced search functionality, archiving, RSS news feeding, blogs, wikis, interactive calendars, discussion boards and petitions, multi-lingual functionality, and much more.

If you have an idea for an online campaign or web site, and need help refining the project, or shaping it up for a funding proposal, we can help draft the plans, recommend technical approaches, and write the technical specs for your funders.

Get in touch with Anna on 020 7065 0940 or

Maxi membership

Maxi is a new membership deal for organisations with very complex or large websites. We've designed it in direct response to the needs of our bigger web clients. Maxi Membership includes a MySQL database and up to 1gb of web space. It is flexible so that it allows you to choose between having, for example, either 20 email (pop) accounts, or 3 mailing lists included in the bundle, depending on your requirements. If you are interested in finding out more about this new membership deal, see the Services section] of the GN website or email

Increased Web space

The web space allowance in all our other services has been increased to 100Mb. This applies to Organisational and Home/Activist membership and Domain Options 2 and 3. (Note that our entry level subdomain service still provides 20Mb). Anyone who want to check that they are paying the correct amount for their webspace should email billing at


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Support News

Support forums

The GreenNet Support Forums are a place for users to participate in GreenNet's online community, help other users, get help from other users and from GreenNet Support. If you have not visited them yet they are well worth a look, if only to see previous answers to users who may have previously had the same problem as you. There are also links to useful software to download and other resources. The forums can be found at:

Password protection on log files

Due to the increasing amount of so-called "referrer spam" incidents we have decided to put password protection on the web statistics (/logs) of GreenNet websites. We hope this doesn't cause too much inconvenience. The user name and password is the same for all sites (username:gnstats, password:webstats), and can be obtained easily at any time by logging in to your site using FTP and reading the README.txt file, or contacting GreenNet support. Referrer Spam is a when a spammer fakes a large number of "hits" or visits to your website in order to have their web address appear in your website logs or statistics page. This is done in an attempt to increase traffic to their website, as many sites now display automated links to the most frequent or recent website taken from these statistics. Also it can increase their site's ranking in some search engines, because they measure the number of times a site is linked to from other sites. For more detailed information see the following link:

New phone number for Dial-up connectivity

We now have a new, more reliable number for making dial-up connections. The old number will not be withdrawn immediately, so either number can be used for the time being. Look out for announcements in the new year with news of when the old number will be switched off. There will be no change to usernames or passwords as they will all work with both numbers.

The new number is: 0845 055 4030

To change over you need only change the number in your Dial up settings. For Windows users this means editing the properties of your Dial-up Networking connection (via right-clicking on the connection icon and choosing "properties"). If you are using another operating system (e.g. MacOS or Linux), and are unsure how to change the numbe, please ring or email

Projects and new sites

Catia 1a

In 2004, GreenNet was commissioned by the 'Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa' project (component 1a), to design a technical solution for a telecoms licensing OneStopShop - everything you ever wanted to know about telecommunications regulations and licenses across Africa under one roof. 1 year on, we now have a distributed database built on ActionApps, which compromises 64 independent nodes. It streamlines the process of gathering up-to-date information from each national regulator, and publishing it for satellite service providers and researchers in a single location. So far we have handed over about 30 installations to individual regulators and taught them how to use the system in a series of workshops in Western and Southern Africa. The data gathered in each region can be viewed on the West and Southern regional sites.

Catia 1c

From Free and Open Source software to Intellectual Property Rights, to Liberalising Community Radio Licensing, the 6 CATIA (1c) ICT policy 'Animators' are working to engage local civil society organisations in their local ICT issues. The Animators, based in Ethiopia, Nigeria, DR Congo, Uganda, Senegal and Kenya, all required accessible, affordable, functional campaign sites. And they needed them fast! We started by building a generic prototype site, which then worked as a site generator, allowing us to spin off new sites as they were needed. Each Animator has access to a simple control panel that they can use to adjust the look, feel and campaign message of the site. Adding new content is as easy as posting an online form. The sites also have interactive calendars and public spaces for supporters to send in their comments.


The Institute of War and Peace Reporting maintains a vast multi-lingual website of conflict monitoring publications, updated by authors around the world. This comission gave GreenNet the opportunity to develop bleeding edge language tools for the ActionApps open source content management system project. The whole site is now dynamically driven by a database backend, and can support a range of right-left and top-down non-western scripts. There are simple and obvious routes to different language versions of the same content, and management of the site has been transformed by the move to forms-based publishing.


Global Transparency Initiative The Global Transparency Initiative (GTI) is a network of civil society organisations promoting openness in the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as the World Bank, the IMF, the European Investment Bank and Regional Development Banks. The GTI brings together two communities of activists and experts from around the world - one, those groups campaigning for full accountability in the use of public power vested in the IFIs; the other, groups that have been campaigning for the right to access to infromation at the nation-state level. The website has just been launched and has a calendar, database of resources and organisations, using dynamic content and content sharing technology.


The Global Call for Action Against Poverty is the international coalition which supports national White Band anti-povery campaigns such as the UK's 'Make Povery History'. The GCAP website project was the result of a collaboration between GreenNet and our sister networks - Choike in Uruguay and Laneta in Mexico. The site features daily news updates in 4 languages, e-campaigning tools, poverty stats mapping, and a photo gallery. We're also pleased to announce that GCAP has been the recipient of the 2005 International Achievement Award for Excellence in Communication given by Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency.


Welcome Ian

We would like to welcome our newest staff member Ian Macdonald who has started working in our Support team. Ian previously worked with Laneta, another APC member based in Mexico and so brings a range of technical skills and also experience working in another community of NGOs.

New designer

Shall we mention him ?

Coming in 2006

New website

The current GreenNet website is undergoing a total overhaul. The renovations involve a complete graphic re-design, lots more more dynamic content and interactivity, including a brand new community space where GN users can get involved, and take their campaigning work online. The new-look site will be unveiled early in 2006. Look out for the new spaces to publish news of your campaigns, events, job announcements and opinions.


We continue to offer "Web design using Dreamweaver" if enough people are interested (we need a minimum of 3 to run the course). If you would like to join a group for the training, please contact (copying and let us know when suits you best.

Other bespoke training courses are available on demand. GreenNet trainers have extensive experience in running workshops on website content mapping, technology planning with Open Source software, using internet tools, using content management systems, and much more.. If you are interested in ICT skills development work for your organisation, give us a ring or email

Service & Billing Control panel

In 2006 we will be upgrading to a new improved billing system. It will let you easily check the status of your account online, pay online with a credit card, apply for new services and manage your subscription. If you have any comments or suggestions for features you think the system should have or which you feel are missing at the moment, do let us know. Your feedback will be much appreciated! Please send your wish list to


GreenNet is looking to take its long-standing passion for OpenSource Software out of the office and onto all of you! We'd love to hear from any users that are interested in learning more about kicking the Microsoft habit, and moving over to Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). Whether you are up for a total migration - switching to use a Linux operating system, or just looking to make more use of open source programs on your Windows computer (like Open Office or Firefox), we can offer advice and training. Look out for resources, services and tips on the new website. Do please get in touch if you would like to know more.