Populi Inc. releases idiotic press release


February 24, 2012

Populi Inc. of Moscow, Idaho, announced this morning that users have successfully sent over 181 emails to their email dropboxes, a new record for the company. Populi, makers of the industry-leading Populi College Management System©®™, released the award-winning email dropboxing feature on February 20th to wide acclaim in today's competitive environment.

"We're incredibly pleased at the response of our users to the new email dropboxing feature in the Populi College Management System©®™," said James Hill, Chief Technical Officer of the award-winning Populi company that makes robust, computer-y software solutions for today's leading-edge colleges. "In just four or five short days, they have sent 182 emails to their email dropboxes, allowing them to post emails to any person's Activity Feed©®™ using any email client including such popular programs and/or internet websites like Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Juno, MapQuest, and many others. And these numbers have nowhere to go but up."

"We're pleased as a pig in punch in a poke at how our customers have responded to this new feature," added Hill, who then also added, "Really, growth like this is unprecedented. Really, really unprecedented and robust."

Populi CEO Isaac Grauke said, "The amazingly incredible thing is that Populi included this brand-new email dropboxing feature at no extra cost to current customers of the Populi College Management System©®™. Even better, it's easy for future customers to take advantage of the completely popular feature—all they need to do is sign up for Populi. It's a powerfully robust, industry-leading, best-of-breed, fruit-forward, tailor-made solution to the challenges today's colleges in the sub-1000-student market segment are facing. The future's the limit here."

Populi Inc. is the world's most-beloved maker of web-based solutions for higher education college management in the sub-1000-student market segment with its Populi College Management System©®™. Founded in Fall of 2007, Populi Inc. is dedicated to helping colleges in the sub-1000-student market segment more fully leverage their implementations and maximize industry-leading synergies.

This press release contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this press release. Please notify the sender immediately by press release if you have received this press release by mistake and delete this press release from your system.

Press release transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender therefore does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this press release, which arise as a result of press release transmission. If verification is required please request a hard-copy version from Populi, Inc. 1336 Alturas Drive, Moscow, ID 83843.

No employee or agent is authorized to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of Populi Inc. with another party by press release without express written confirmation by the Executive Director. Populi Inc. accepts no liability for the content of this press release, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. It may also be privileged or otherwise protected by work product immunity or other legal rules. Please note that any views or opinions presented in this press release are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.

New release: Contact organizations and a few other things

The Populi crew took the evening of President's Day to release a bunch of new features. Here's a look at what we did...

New stuff in organizations

Organizations now have an Activity Feed; a Members tab to track members, employees, and students with that contact Org; custom info fields, and images.


Email dropboxing is a new feature that lets you post email to a person's Activity Feed from any email client. Check out the video to learn more about how it works.

We also now provide bounce/spam reports for email addresses on Profiles.

Personal settings

New personal settings let you select your local timezone, hide your profile from non-staff users, keep your birthday off the News Feed, as well as let you choose a default Activity Feed visibility setting and generate your email dropbox. We also moved your email signature here.


Library got some new reports and workflows, including:

  • Resource batches and Inventory in the Catalog
  • Circulation reporting by loan, resource, resource type, home library, and home location
  • Browse resources is now exportable

A few new financial items:

  • You can now bulk-add tuition schedules from the Data Slicer
  • Invoice and transaction numbers are now generated sequentially (previously they were generated every-other-number to avoid potential conflicts)
  • You can now print financial aid award letters
  • We loosened the financial aid workflow: you no longer need to package aid before invoicing charges to have the aid auto-apply to those charges
  • Overaward alerts now exclude declined financial aid
  • More detailed totals under Profile > Financial Aid > Summary > Total Aid
  • A new setting lets you select the Term you wish to begin automatically generating pending charges—this will be really helpful for schools that want to back-enter financial and billing data

A few things we're working on...

The Populi development team is plugging away at our next release. Here's a glance at some of it:

Personal settings for all users

Depending on your user roles, you'll have different options—Timezone, birthday announcement opt-out, Activity Feed visibility, plus a few other things.

Organization profiles

Organization Profiles are getting the look and functionality of regular Profiles. In addition to an Activity Feed, there'll also be a Members tab that lets you keep track of people in your system who are associated with that organization.

Associating people with Organizations will be easier—add new Orgs right from a person's Info tab. You can also specify the relationship (Employment, Member, and for College type orgs, Student) and the timeframe of the person's involvement with the Org.

Also: custom info fields for Organizations!

New reports and workflows in Library

We'll be releasing a Circulation report with multiple perspectives on your active loans. In addition, there will be Inventory and Resource Batching tools in the Library Catalog.

Email dropboxing

The other marquee feature is email dropboxing. Dropboxing works by giving you a secret email address. When you copy or forward to that secret address, Populi will figure out the recipients and post your email to their Activity Feeds. The best part is, you can do this from any email client—Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, iOS Mail app, etc.—not just Populi. This will make your communications easier than ever to record, and will make the Activity Feed a more complete record of your correspondence with prospects, students, and other contacts.

An automotive metaphor

Say your small college is a family of five, you're shopping for a car, and you're wondering what's out there. Here's are some of your options:

On the low-cost end you find:
  • The Word and Excel approach. This is like tying two bicycles together and calling it a car. It's cheap, it rolls, and you're gonna lose your groceries if you try pedaling home on that thing.
  • The roll-your-own Access-based system. This is a bicycle tied to a wheelbarrow, or perhaps a Flintstones-style, foot-powered car: either way, there's lots of hard work involved to make it go anywhere.
  • The K-12 program wedged into a higher education context. This is a riding lawn mower used as family transportation.
  • The fly-by-night company that barfs out something software-ish. This is the shifty used-car salesman pushing a beater '85 Plymouth with no muffler and the stuffing pulled out of the back seats. Also, it's on fire.
Then there are the big guys:
  • The giant hosted database with no interface. This is a 48' shipping container. I guess your family could just watch it sit there.
  • The LMS with all the bells and whistles. This is the luxury tour bus with the helipad and built-in swimming pool that gets two miles a gallon on the highway because it's too expensive to give it an oil change.
  • The open-source LMS. This is a school bus built out of parts from other vehicles and painted up to look like the luxury tour bus. Slightly better gas mileage on downhill slopes, though.
  • The huge, endlessly-customizable SIS with a three-year implementation period. This looks like you've ordered a custom-built Ferrari but by the time all the parts get bolted together you've ended up with a surplus U.S. Army transport.

Further, you'll need a team of mechanics to make sure your fleet of vehicles fits together. You'll also need a warehouse full of spare parts and some long-term maintenance contracts. Oh, and for some reason the window glass on the bus is all blacked-out—so you'll need to hire a third-party automotive glazier to design you a clear windshield.

Is that it?

Is that all that's available to a small college? Of course not. This is the Populi blog, and so now we're gonna liken Populi to the perfect family car... ready? Here goes:

Then there's Populi. This is the Toyota minivan, which seats five to seven, has a lifetime parts-and-labor warranty, and even has a built-in DVD player (if that's your thing) and magazine rack. Sure, it's nothing flashy, but it's good, dependable transportation just right for a wide variety of families.

Arrivederci IE7: March 19, 2012

On March 19th, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 turns three. On that same day, Populi will drop support for Internet Explorer 7, which will be 5½ years old at that time.

Why are we dropping IE7?

A number of tightly-intertwined reasons:

  • It's an old browser that doesn't comply with modern web standards
  • It's old and slow and buggy, not to mention full of horrifying security vulnerabilities
  • Very few people use it any more—it accounts for about 2.3% of Populi logins (see the above chart)
  • Its worldwide usage is dropping*, and it's unlikely that future customers will be using it
  • Continued support of IE7 diverts resources away from more worthwhile long-term projects
What should you do?

If you're using Internet Explorer 7, it's time to stop! IE7 doesn't just have problems with Populi—it doesn't play nice with a good part of the internet, and it's only going to get worse. The solution is easy: download one of these free web browsers (links below). It'll take just a few minutes and make for a much better online experience overall.




And if you're running Windows Vista or 7, you can also try IE9...

*In this article, Microsoft itself says that it is "pleased IE6 and IE7 usage share continues to drop (by 0.85% in October); it’s an indication that customers recognize the benefits they can realize when using a modern browser."

Looking back on 2011

Three weeks and change into 2012, here's a look back at what Populi did in 2011...

We started the New Year with a rewrite of Academics to include Programs, as well as new account management features and better navigation in Admissions.

In April we released Populi Library.

In June we overhauled Financial Aid to include aid applications, batch disbursements, ISIRs imports, and a lot more.

In September we overhauled Courses with new navigation, lots of improvements to online learning, and embeddable streaming media hosted on Populi's new file storage system.

Along the way...

In February we improved search, degree audits, relationships, and statements.

In March we improved the presentation and organization student financial info (statements, balances, and the like...).

In April we added online application notifications so your Admissions staff can hear about new inquiries as soon as they click Submit.

After releasing Library, we followed up with new features (Library Links) and some other updates.

October saw some behind-the-scenes stability and performance improvements.

And in December (right before shuffling off to the Christmas party), we released further improvements to email and the Populi background job-manager, and gave tables a new look.

We have a lot planned for 2012—and we're working on some of it even as this post is being written. We're looking forward to the work we'll get to do, and to seeing how our schools put the fruits of our labors to use.