CMS Hunting

Oh how I love CMS (or for the layman- Content Management Systems) hunting.

Back in the day- you only had a few CMS systems to choose from. Early attempts at making a site a few years ago had me going absolutely crazy for the Mambo CMS engine. Soon after, Joomla was my pick for a few sites I designed for others, for not only being based on the Mambo framework, but it’s flexibility.

At one point, back in the days I used to help with the Cornstalker Webcomics Collective, an entire site based in Joomla was being designed for the group. I had to ditch the website, along with its commerce systems, because some of the artists did not want to learn another login for it.

Augh. Bad memories, whatever. It was a great learning experience doing that group.

Anyways, today, there is a lot more to choose from. And the dynamic nature of some of them has me really tempted to toy around with them for my upcoming site.

Webhook has been the one CMS project that I’ve been wanting to really play around with- especially considering its design to keep data as crazy as I want it to be. I’ll be holding off on it, however, until it’s reached some maturity in it

Now, the main choice nowadays for websites is, of course, WordPress.

It’s one of the most (and prevalent) CMS systems out there. It’s what this blog is on, and what my future project is going to use. Why?

  • Support for it is unparalleled- even if you’re running it on your own server.
  • Themes are easy to come by- I’m actually really impressed by how good some of the pro themes look like. I’m considering buying one and remixing it to my uses rather than spending extra time getting the site to look similar to what I want.
  • Plugins are plentiful, and can add an extra level of functionality you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

The time I would spend researching and trying to develop with the new CMS would take forever for me nowadays. Now, I need something that will work and will work well.

WordPress it is.

The two phones

Every day when I leave the house, I walk out with two gadgets- an original model iPhone and a Blackberry curve. I use two phones on a daily basis, and while it can be quite cumbersome, it’s a system I’m quite happy with. the two phonesThe iPhone is a hand me down- much of the gadgets or phones I’ve used for most of my life have been hand me downs from either my mother or my aunt. Both loooove gadgets, but most of the time, they have no clue how to use them half of the time, or what to do when things go wrong (and that’s when they call me). I used a Handspring Platinum back in high school- that, combined with a fold out keyboard, gave me the ability to write my webcomic reviews (or ongoing serial stories) all the easier. I’d pop out the keyboard, plug in the pda, and write in Word to Go. (it was just showing how nerdy I really was to my classmates- pulling out a PDA with a foldout keyboard does automatically label you as a nerd, especially in high school) In college, I’d toy around with an SNES emulator I found for a Palm Zire 72 Special edition, playing Yoshi’s Island in the back of geography class. Both of these PDAs were hand me downs- from my mother and my aunt respectively. When my aunt switched to an iPhone 3GS, she gave me her first generation iPhone. After a complicated jailbreaking (i say complicated because i was cursing most of the time). I turned the contract required iPhone into an iPod touch with a camera built in. Almost anywhere I go often has a wifi point, so keeping the phone on airplane mode (to remove the power to the now useless phone) and turn on the wifi whenever possible to use the internet hotspots. The phone has been the best little present I’ve been given in years. With every paycheck, I allocate ten bucks or so for the apps on the phone (I have never been tempted to “pirate” applications on the iPhone. Paying for them is still completely worth it, and knowing that I can support part of the mac community with my purchase is worth it). And I love it. I’ll bust out the iPhone most of the time, to answer emails, check twitter, or write down a idea I had. It’s a sweet little thing, and I love it dearly. The integration with my mac helps a bit as well. Certain little applications have made it all the better- Hipstamatic, Evernote, and Gas Cubby have made it useful on the go (I can list quite a number of apps i use on a regular basis, perhaps I’ll have to make a top ten list post sometime). The blackberry, on the other hand, is a different story. I came to using the blackberry a year ago, and I really did love it. It was the first phone that I actually bought for myself, and with it, gave me some great appreciation of the phone. I quickly loved all of the features- Powerful email, nice keyboard and a great contextual menu (click the blackberry button and send your image to a certain program! click the blackberry button over a phone number and send a text to that number. All sorts of things can be done with that menu that you don’t see on the iPhone.). The honeymoon period though, lasted only so long. The amount of decent applications for the blackberry is minimal at best. An app store was created for the blackberry system, but the sluggish nature (and annoying paypal tied paying system) keeps me away from the more premium apps. Most of the apps are either really incredibly slow or don’t really work on my Blackberry- a curve 8330. The phone itself is incredibly slow- running even one application in the background forces me to stare into the blackberry’s version of the Beachball of Doom- a simplified hourglass that taunts me with every passing minute. So much of the operating system on the blackberry feels like a relic from the time it still competed with the original Palm OS. Nothing on that phone feels fresh anymore- yeah, if i had more friends using blackberries, things like Blackberry Messenger would actually make sense- but i don’t. Everyone just uses iPhones these days. Now, the blackberry is just a glorified phone- I’ll check it from time to time whenever I don’t have wifi available for the iPhone. I’ll send text messages from both gadgets (the beauty of having a jailbroken iPhone- Google Voice running on both!). My real wish is to one day seeing the iPhone on my network of choice- Verizon. While that may be a far-flung hope (and ridicule from one friend- I’m looking at you, Ross), I still have some ill conceived hope on the subject. To have the iPhone as my only gadget would be a godsend. I don’t mind the virtual keyboard so many seem to loathe- the auto-correct feature (something phones with physical keyboards should have) usually saves my hide from my terrible spelling track record. For now, I’ll be walking around with an iPhone and a Blackberry in my pockets, confusing people who see me with my two phones.

Thoughts on Google Chrome OS

This is a post that’s been waiting in my drafts folder for quite some time now, and I figure this is a good time as any to get it out. I’ve been thinking about Google Chrome and what it exactly means, at least to my observations. I was one of many dorks who watched the livestream of the conference, who watched with a slightly underwhelming view of the announcements. No installed applications! It’s all in the cloud, baby! It was all so very new and such a weird take that I had to wait to think and process the information that flowed forth about the OS and what my take on it would be. But in all honesty, I agree with so many critics- it’s a small step. It’s a small step between a full fledged OS and something you’d find on a cell phone (a smartphone, that is). And for the applications that can run on it so far, that would be just fine for certain uses. I could probably see myself running the Google Chrome OS on a netbook someday- something that can boot quickly, to check the plethora of GMail accounts I have running (last time i counted, it’s about five so far, but that may grow with passing time), Twitter, Facebook, etc. The Google Suite has been a major part of my workflow the last six months, so the use of Chrome OS would be a welcome addition to my workflow. The ease of which I could check emails, type out some writing I had in mind into Google Documents, so on and so forth, would be a snap on the Chrome OS. Hell, I’ve used GDocs to bounce out scripts to later convert and move over to Celtx for formatting. To have the Google OS as a stopgap to between my random ideas and rough drafts to the finalized versions on my computer would be a tremendous help. Hell, this was written in Google Documents before I moved the document over to MarsEdit for editing and posting. I could have foreseeably used the OS in the process of writing this. As John Gruber stated, “The idea of a computer that does a lot less — leaving out even things you consider essential, because you can still do those things on your other, primary computer — is liberating.” To have a small netbook running chrome with my usual menagerie of permanent tabs (gmail and twitter, mostly) off on another computer while I save the system resources for Final Cut Pro or some other resource hogging application. It’s just a small resource that would complement the entire computer experience. It is my belief that the strength of the whole project can be seen in the fact that the OS itself is open source. Everything I’ve seen so far with the OS has been offshoots people have cooked up for the public to play with, and in time, I can see major companies doing the same. Imagine, what if Asus built a motherboard that had a small flash drive onboard just for chrome OS? Sure, you can take your time and boot into Windows, but you can just hold down a key when booting up and Chrome OS kicks in from that onboard flash drive and lets you check email or show that funny cat video you wanted to show to your significant other before you leave for work. A fully customizable instant on OS. Imagine the offshoots some valiant coder (or company!) could pull off with the operating system. With the code being open sourced, there could be a plethora of flavors of the Chrome OS that could come out for different uses. Perhaps one version could be created to be run on MacBooks and Macbook Pros, for quick bootups. Another version to be run on tablet PCs. What could be seen as a slow tablet could run quite briskly with its own flavor of the Chrome OS. Hell, aging computers could be given a quick update with a 10 dollar ethernet card and given a new lifecycle with this OS- something simple to allow a family member to check their email or annoy the entire household with a terrible youtube clip (if you don’t, more power to you). One offshoot could benefit my current place of work- the library. Imagine a flavor of the Chrome OS that would be designed for library use. Patrons to the library could keep their bookmarks, their settings, hell, even their own background as they come in to use the computers, as they move from terminal to terminal. The OS could be limited to have parental controls and time limits for children and for adults alike. Instead of suffering from the constant upkeep regular windows computers have to face, a simple Chrome OS system that’s self updating, and much more secure would lower the frustration and the costs of said upkeep with public use computers, such as the ones at the library. A similar system could be put into place at a cyber cafe, with little to no overhead compared to its windows counterparts. Of course, like with the actual OS, such an idea would come in the pipeline- nothing that Google makes right away is all that good to begin with. Anyone care to recall how… simplistic Gmail was back in the day? Or how much the Google documents system (remember when it was still Writely?) couldn’t do basic exportability to word documents? Everything is a work in progress at google, and I would expect Chrome to be no different. What we see now would probably be remarkably different even months down the line, even six months after the fact. It will grow, it will evolve, and in what ways, it may turn to be interesting. For what it stands now, a small step, it’s quite small. But the magic lies in the potential to where it may grow and flourish. The initial steps may be underwhelming, but where it can go is promising.

skitch (yet another mac app)

Oh yeah, I’m talking about yet another mac app. I don’t know what it is, but i think the OS X system as a whole has generated so many small, yet great applications for people to use. I’m having fun just trying to figure out how to utilize all the small cool apps that are out there, but there is one in particular I must recommend to those using OS X 10.4- Skitch, especially those artistically inclined folks . Skitch is a simple sketching program. It doesn’t have all of the crazy details a full featured drawing programs has, but what it does makes it one of my must have mac apps. It’s quick to open, can capture images from your webcam or something on your desktop. then write, draw, type to your heart’s content. Best off, its free. Works rather well with Evernote, which i mentioned briefly before (handwriting recognition in Evernote is getting better and better now.) Here’s a good tutorial that explains a bit more of the site. I’m easily found at the Skitch.com site, and a couple of pictures of examples I’m working on, including my eyeOS install i have going (I’m probably going to blab about that later, but i won’t bore you with the details. Here’s a picture of the install:

webOSexample Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch! (Thanks to M. Derenge of “Pointless” for the kickass wallpaper. I got it a while back from him, and at one point, it was my PS3 wallpaper in order to scare my family.) Guess this is another program that’ll be added to my ever so growing list of recommended apps.

Evernote

I’m currently in the process of playing around with the Evernote site, currently in Beta. Does anyone else want an invite? (I have 19 left atm…) Leave your email in the comments, or a good way to get rid of commie infestations.

twitter

i have slowly started to use Twitter more and more now. Follow me now, on the twitterz. Anyone else here have it? Midterms still going on. I’m still going insane.

evil, evil forum bots

So I made a test forums in order to test the modified code that i did for the Cornstalker Collective Site (it works wonderfully now, thankfully!), but it wasn’t soon enough before… the bots invaded the test forums. This picture is sliiightly old. by maybe a week or so. The good news… new users need mod approval before they can activate their account and post. The bad news… the new users need mod approval before they can activate their account and post, notifying the admins via email. I have 125 emails so far notfying me of new users. 11 so far today. Man, bots are getting agressive.

quick tidbits

Got the strangest spam subject ever. “If your girl cannot be satisfied with your weewee, you have to turn it into a schlong!” … this is the first time i actually laughed at a piece of spam, outside of those annoying Nigerian prince bullshit that i get once in a blue moon. So yeah, I just passed my midterms. Or actually, finished all of them exempt for one. That one will be done on Thursday. With that, I can focus on my… final project for english. From one stressful annoyance to another. I am working on a script for my screenwriting class, a romantic comedy, if you can believe it. It was an idea that kept swimming around in my head, and i finally decided to bang it out and get it out of my head sooner or later. I’m working on a couple of sites. Not sure when they’re done, but I’m banging out content so they’re not bare when they launch. Having troubles sleeping now and then. Can’t get to bed until say, 12-1 am in the morning. It’s hell waking up in five hours or so. Family is visiting from Chicago- some I’ve never met before. I get to be my usual wonderful self. With this whole family thing, I’m interested in my geneology. The little tastes I’ve gotten have turned out to be pretty awesome. Download Saul William’s The Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! Then buy it. I know i am. The album is a spectacular mix of industrial rock and rap. its wonderful. It hit me- my 2.4 ghz Pentium 4 machine can no longer be supported by the new games coming out. I’m definitely going back to consoles now. Rented Manhunt 2 for the Wii. meh. just… MEH. Meh should be in a dictionary. I need to beat Phoenix Wright to get the new game coming out. I bought Ratchet and Clank. It’s wonderful.

Banananana

Well, I finally got down to it, and the Cornstalker website was released thirty minutes before it was officially supposed to. Everything’s gone off without a hitch, save for two bugs that were discovered after the launch – looks like there’s some CSS positioning troubles in Safari and maybe a preloading script issue (even though there is a preloading script in place, it’s not working properly, because there’s been a suggestion to put one IN). The blog is working fine, so I can finally put that Cornstalker project to rest and move on to new ones. Website design related, my next big site will be my own portfolio site. Each Team Mayhem member has their own subdomain for a portfolio-Primo already has his, and that’s working out just fine. I’m the next one due, as i need something to put my own personal shit on. It’ll act as my own mini hub connecting all of my accounts all over the place (deviantArt, this LJ, twitter, etc.) as well as to post my site design, and finally, a list of webcomics cameos i’ve had. I’ve been meaning to post all this time. All my cameos from the first Darken cameo to the Reckless Youth one (I’ve been fond of that one, i dunno why) to my Legostar Galactica appearance (as a 70’s lego, which again, was pure awesome). Roofing on my house starts tomorrow. Before I go to bed tonight, I’ll be moving my computer out of my room and into my living room ,as my part of the house… well, won’t have a roof at all, by the looks of it. My part of the house was added on later on, and as such, has no insulation… and a thin roof. This part of the roof will probably be torn off, and I’ll be out of a room and perhaps a computer for a while, unless i plug it in my living room, which actually sounds like a good idea to me. As for the blog title… well, it just came to me off the top of my head. Don’t mind me.