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Project Stargate: "Always On" Skype video connection between remote offices

UPDATES:  Stargate is Live! | Also, see SimpleGeo's Implementation

We recently expanded PointAbout from its office in Washington DC, opening a new office for AppMakr in San Francisco (as an aside - interesting personal-interest story about the move here).

One problem with geographic separation is that the people in the other office are very abstract.  You might see work coming from them in the form of code, releases, email, etc., but it's very hard for the actual people between offices to make a connection.  And that inter-personal connection is very important to us as a company, so I set out to figure out a way to solve it.

My co-founder Sean aptly named this project "Project Stargate," after the science fiction Stargate movie in which shortcut paths to the Universe are opened up through a round, glowing portal (really wanna geek out?  More details on Stargate here), so the name has stuck.

I'll be adding to this blog as we figure things out, and I'd really like to have your thoughts in the comments section below, especially if you've done any work to solve this problem (any Y Combinator startups out there working on this vexing issue?).   Just to be clear, we all have AIM, or Gtalk, or Skype call & video chat abilities - that's not the problem.  The problem is that to initiate a call or IM chat requires effort.  And while it may be a very small, minimal amount of effort, nonetheless it's effort, which means that the magical moments where someone turns to another person and says "hey, I have an idea" or "can you look at this for me" are lost.  And that's really, really significant.  Since effort is required to establish a connection, the serendipitous connections are lost.  That's what I'm trying to bring back through "Project Stargate".

13 Shopping Cart Plugins for WordPress

On Zach Browne

WordPress Shopping Carts have become a very popular extension of WordPress for individuals and businesses who would like to start selling their products or services online. With a few mouse clicks and some products, a shopping cart can turn your WordPress website into an online store ready for business. There are many shopping cart plugins available and they all offer many strengths and weaknesses. Picking one really comes down to a few simple questions.

I have installed and configured a ton of shopping carts for WordPress and I've put together this list of shopping cart plugins that I've used at one time or another.  Some are free and some cost a few bucks but they are all used for building an online store with WordPress. I have to admit however that the PHPPurchase is probably my favorite for a number of reasons, primarily for their support, however I'm glad to work with any of the plugins below. I've included a video from PHPPurchase's website that goes over the features, it also does a pretty good job of explaining how shopping cart's for WordPress work all around. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, the best thing to do is a little research and make sure what ever product or service you are offering matches up with the feature set of the shopping cart plugin you end up using.

Here's the PHPPurchase video I was talking about. As you look over shopping cart solutions for WordPress, make sure to consider some of the following things.

What payment processors can it use? Here's a small list of some of the more popular ones:

I hope this helps you make a good decision on which shopping cart solution to go with. Good luck.

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