Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersPUBLIC VOICE Lab

Welcome at PUBLIC VOICE Lab. Here is a collection of answers to frequently asked questions, when collaborating or working with us.

General Questions and Answers

Q: What is PUBLIC VOICE Lab good for?
Providing research and services to our members and to the general public in the fields of: In particular, PUBLIC VOICE Lab develops and manages innovative research and software projects for communication needs which are not yet satisfied, realizing new means for the information flow within communities.

Q: Which licensing models do you apply for software?
Open source promotes software reliability and quality by supporting independent peer review and rapid evolution of source code. In our experience, building solutions with open source modules permits fast deployment, better maintainability, and gives security to our users and customers about quality and extensibility. Hence we seek collaboration and support the work of open source development teams, such as Most of our softwares are published under the GNU/GPL license agreement.

Q: Where does PUBLIC VOICE Lab get money from?
Despite the fact that PUBLIC VOICE Lab does high profile research we do not get any socket-subsidiaries from anybody. We usually manage the co-financing of our research work with consulting services or from revenues from spin-out companies or partner organisations, such as webforus or Team Teichenberg.

Q: Why is PUBLIC VOICE Lab a NPO (non-profit organisation)?
Being a non-profit organisation forces us to focus on work, which is of relevance for the greater public. It combines the flexibility of an association with the right of every member, to participate in the decision-making process. As such, it keeps the lab vital without being dependend on shareholders' wish to generate profit for them, as the earnings cannot be taken out. Being non-profit as a research lab also means, that we have easier access to some funding sources for doing research. Still, we are able to make investments and form startegic alliances.

We have shown in a number of commercial projects, that PUBLIC VOICE Lab performs like any other for-profit organisation. Even better: without the pressure to generate profits for investors, we did not have to fear being striked by an IT-depression.

Q: What relation does PUBLIC VOICE Lab have to the PUBLIC VOICE books?
In 1994, both a PUBLIC VOICE limited company and a research lab have been founded. The one was successful with producing books (a business which has been outsourced in 1998 to PUBLIC VOICE Report VerlagsgmbH & CoKG), the other with doing research and software development. Both organisations are independent from each other, and there is no special personal or financial relation from the publishers to the lab or vice versa, except that we share the name for historical reasons and sometimes do projects together e.g. the Senior Online handbook and package.

Questions and Answers for external members

Q: Which kind of services does PUBLIC VOICE Lab provide to external members?
We offer a broad range of services for individuals, small and big cultural and political organisation with two service levels (with / without live human support). For details see the table at our membership section.

Q: How can I become an external member of PUBLIC VOICE Lab?
Read more about membership and fill out the form. You will get an account and a password to access our extended services.
Q: Iwant to have my own domain, how does that work?
We can host name services for all top-level domains (unless a national domain registrar has specific rules about the geographical location of nameservers). You can register your domain with any registrar, giving the following nameservers:
You will need to set up the domain using our Self Admin. After entering that information in Self Admin, your domain is live as soon as the registrar updates their database.

Q: I want to move my domain from another provider to you. What do I have to do?
This is a little tricky, because the rules are different with each registrar. If you want to move a .com, .org or .net domain, you will in most cases simply need to fill a webform with the new nameservers. With .at domains you need to fill and fax the transfer form to Without those faxes we cannot do anything. So the steps are:
  1. Set up your domain in Self Admin.
  2. Fill out transfer forms or data change forms at your registrar.
  3. In case of .at domains fax the relevant forms to
Important: All domain changes can take up to a week to propagate through the internet. All over the internet, other nameservers cache the data for requested domains. These caches may hold outdated data for quite a while. If you can work with your old provier, ask him to reduce the expiry values for your domain data. This way most caches will update more quickly.

Q: How do I configure my computer to dial in to the Internet via PUBLIC VOICE?
Use PUBLIC VOICE Lab's configuration data together with the dial-in FAQ from our backbone provider. Here are special tips for Windows and Macintosh users. Tips for configuring a proxy service can be found here.

Q: Whom do I contact at PUBLIC VOICE Lab for:
Please note, that we charge any additional human service that we provide to you, which is not covered by your service package (except fixing a problem which is caused by malfunction of our infrastructure).

Q: Which additional rights do I have as an external member of PUBLIC VOICE Lab?
You have the right to participate at all our events, including the general assembly for which you can make suggestions to the agenda.
Q: I am really annoyed about the SPAM in my mailbox, what may i do...?
You can get rid of unsolicited email by configuring a SPAM-filter for your email-client

Questions and Answers for staff members

Q: Which contract do I have and do I have to pay social security and taxes?
In Austria, you can have six different types of work relations, and for each the rules are different: For all work relations, we use as a basis for calculations the total employee costs per year.

Q: What are the office hours?
Monday to Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (= 8 hours)

Q: To whom do I have to report when being late, abroad working in a remote office or when planning my holidays?
Please put all known days in advance on the table on our blackboard, it really makes life easier for those working in the office to see at a glance who will show up during the day. Or send an e-mail to or call our office manager at 9:30 the latest, if your plans for the day change. Reporting where and when to be reachable is also required for staff working at a remote office. When you plan to have some days off or your world-round-trip, tell it at one of the staff meetings or notify us on the staff mailing list. As a pragmatic rule, we report our absence at least twice the period of absent days in advance.

Q: How many hours do I have to work and do I have to record them?
If you are not ill and there is no holiday, 40 hours per week for a full-time contract. The basis for our project calculations is that you work 8 hours per full working day for 210 days a year, which sums up to 1680 hours per year. If we simply say, that personal and national holidays and festivities (including Easter and the time between X-mas and New Year) sum up to 7 weeks of total holidays, you are obliged to report an average of about 37 hours per week, so that you reach the 1680 hours at the end of the year. Time sheets are required for most of our projects and you will need to fill into Excel sheets (template is on file server) the hours worked per day and what you have been working on.

Q: Why is Roland leaving at 12:30 and sometimes again in the afternoon?
He shares responsibilty for child caring with his wife, who is also working in a management position. He loves his children, so he often cooks for them for lunch and may organise an afternoon program for them and their Au-Pair. However, you may have noted, that he also sends e-mails early in the morning or late in the evening ...

Q: How do we maintain our external contacts data?
We use FileMaker (get your copy from It is not perfect, cannot sync to Outlook, but works, also from abroad. It is very important, that we all use the same database. When launching the program, just open the host, select kunden.fm3 and enter the password. Use the "Kunden" file for looking up organisations and people, you can get more data on people on the "Personen" file, or enter any important contact detail to "Kontakte". You can also very easily write standard (1-2 pages) letters or an agreement, when adding a subject at the bottom and clicking on "Korrespondenz".

Q: Where do we store our software code?
We have our own sourceforge based code management system running at It supports release management, bug-fixing, task planning, and has a built in cvs gateway.

Q: How do we co-ordinate the schedule for meetings?
We agree on meeting dates at meetings or by e-mail. Everybody has to take responsibility to put the dates into his/her personal calendar. There is no additional notification, and it is not good for the team atmosphere, if somebody does not whow up. Probably we will have a groupware calender in the future, if we once agree on clients to be supported and "social rules" to be followed (e.g. the issue, if everybody will be forced to open the personal diary, etc).

Q: Where do I find a list of the phone extensions of the staff members and hints for using the PBX?
Another promising source for staff members' phone numbers is our FileMaker database.
To call outside, dial 0 first.
To make a phone call outside of Vienna, dial 01003 first.

Q: Where do I find corporate design guidelines and logos?
Letterhead is on the file server or get it (600kB) here with / without Logo (and use the pre-printed letterhead).