See the Nerdery’s nonprofit website makeover before-and-afters

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By Jim Hammerand, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal

“More than 300 web professional volunteers spent 24 consecutive hours April 12 and 13 building websites for nonprofits at no charge through The Nerdery’s Overnight Website Challenge.

View a gallery of before-and-after comparisons of the nonprofit websites here.

The Bloomington-based software and app development firm says more than 114 nonprofits have received more than $4 million worth of free professional services since the first Overnight Website Challenge in 2008.”

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Know this Nerd? Meet James Shields

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shields_mugThank you to The Nerdery for underwriting the Know this Nerd? series.

James Shields is a freelance developer and systems admin/engineer/architect with ‘eternal optimism’ about the future of technology.

When and how did you originally become interested in technology?

My family got an Apple IIGS when I was eight years old, and I immediately fell in love. I mostly just played games on it for a couple years, but that became the foundation for my later interest in programming. When I was 16 I finally got my dream job — developing games for a local startup. They only paid me $6.50 per hour and I had no idea what I was doing most of the time, but we managed to get some functional games out the door and it was the most fun I’ve ever had at work.

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DIGI International CEO announces retirement

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Via News Release

“MINNEAPOLIS, April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Digi International Inc.  announced that Joseph T. Dunsmore, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, has informed the Board of Directors that he will retire from his positions effective December 31, 2014 or upon the earlier appointment of his successor.  The Board has engaged a global executive search firm, Spencer Stuart, to assist in finding a new President and Chief Executive Officer.”

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MN State Senate passes tougher cell phone tracking standards

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By Tim Pugmire, MPR News

“The Minnesota Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill requiring police to obtain a warrant in order to track a person’s location by their cell phone or other electronic devices.

The vote today was 56 -1. Under the bill, law enforcement must show probable cause of a crime. There’s also a requirement for notifying people when their tracking information is collected.”

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ShopJimmy’s Ness acquisition doesn’t pan out

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By Dirk DeYoung, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal

Ness Electronics, which was bought in early 2013 by ShopJimmy.com, is back under its previous owner.

Mike Ness, who sold his company to ShopJimmy last year and became a ShopJimmy employee, said he took the company back on Jan. 1 this year under circumstances he couldn’t discuss due to a non-disclosure agreement.”

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Logic PD partners up with M2M cloud enabler SeeControl

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Via News Release

“MINNEAPOLIS — Logic PD has partnered with SeeControl to provide a single source for accelerated Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Logic PD, a leading systems integrator, together with SeeControl, a leader in machine-to-machine cloud applications, brings a concept-to-application solution.”

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St. Thomas professors create a new way to keep track of course work

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By Todd Nelson, Star Tribune

“Jay Ebben and Alec Johnson, entrepreneurship professors at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business, are putting their business savvy to the test with CourseCal, a cloud-based time and workflow management platform for college educators and students.

Launched last fall, CourseCal allows educators to upload schedules and course materials, which students access online or through mobile devices.”

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When $100m just isn’t enough

by Jeff Pesek

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helpsys_logoThere’s a 30 year old sleeping giant in Eden Prairie.

HelpSystems, an enterprise IT management software provider, has been quietly growing through acquisition to north of $100m in revenue with 280 employees.  Veteran CEO Janet Dryer now has a new target: $150m by 2016. With goals that ambitious, we had to learn more:

What is the company’s history? 

HelpSystems was founded in 1982 by Richard Jacobson as part of Advanced Circuits (AC), a circuit board manufacturer in Minnetonka. He wanted to offset the computer costs for AC, thus creating HelpSystems, which was spun off in the late 80’s after AC was sold.

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