For want of a better place, I thought it would be prude to outline our ".COM" business activities on the ".ORG" blog.
Please let me welcome Mike Kaply in Austin, Texas to our sales list. Since Patrick and I are based in Singapore(+8 UTC), we have honestly found supporting US (~-6 UTC) customers difficult due to the time differences. Mike has been helping out with the Webconverger Firefox addon and an amazing outside contributor to the Mozilla Enterprise list. Mike has advised a LOT of businesses on how to customize and roll out Firefox to their users and by being a part of Webconverger, I hope he helps people even further.
Ultimately our business activities make this body of free software better and help spread it. We do offer educational / non-profit discounts and recently we are working with Techsoup to help spread Webconverger for use in libraries. We are still under trial though we hope to ramp up our distribution in February.
Previously our "business communication" was solely done by our email newsletter (with no Web archive) subscribed upon at http://webconverger.com/. You can now think of the newsletter as an abbreviated edition of this blog in your inbox. So you don't have to employ a RSS feedreader, hawkishly watch our Twitter stream or visit this page all the time. We've written our own newsletter software to basically turn these blogs into email newsletters for your convenience.
So what's happening technically? We are upgrading the base of Webconverger to wheezy/baureo-backports based on work by Progress Linux. This should help us better support newer video hardware. We are also working on migrating our boot process to systemd. This should simplify our init process and make it faster. We also expect to employ a newer kernel shortly. Hopefully within a week from now we will be open for testing.
In parallel we are working on some Web signage demos and contributing to the W3C Web signage forum, advocating Web technologies. We have had several meetings with Media Owners, who are very keen to move to a networked signage solution though there are a few things stopping them. For example:
In Singapore it can cost as much as 100SGD a month to keep a single device connected to an Internet connection. That's roughly 3 times as much as we charge for our more expensive Neon Web signage software (Neon has monitoring over Webconverger).
There is a lot of embedded Android devices being advertised for signage use case. For basic things they do a good job on the face of it. However the Android solutions are typically not Web based and the typical Android hardware is not yet powerful enough to drive a large Web rendering. Explaining this subtle differences to "Media Owners" is surprisingly difficult. Our approach for the short term is to encourage Media Owners to become familiar with small Web signage deployments using our Neon software and "game changer" Intel NUC PC hardware, which is a much more affordable option than a year ago.
Many of our customers have asked for a "one off" payment, since they don't find the ongoing subscriptions attractive, which can be an administrative burden. We are about to introduce a new "one off subscription" price offering of double the annual fee, 200USD, which will give said PC unlimited upgrades for as long as this project survives. We hope you find that an appealing way to support our work. We will be implementing this payment option in the near future via Paypal and quoting accordingly.