Categories
Software

Best Open Source Content Management System

In keeping with the “best of” theme of this site, this entry is about the Open Source Content Management System that I believe to be the best all-around. WebGUI.

WebGUI is almost 100% template driven. When you go to a WebGUI site, you won’t know it right away because it looks just like every other WebGUI site. It is easy to make the site look how you want without breaking the content engine or tweaking source code. There are other solutions available that are also template driven, but I have yet to find one that maintains the ease of use and customizability of WebGUI.

Categories
Arts

The Vice of Reading

I just had the chance to read “The Vice of Reading,” by Edith Wharton. It’s an essay in which she takes the position that there are certain types of readers, which she calls “Mechanical Readers” that basically should not read and are harmful to literature in general. She contends that real readers, like musicians or other talented people, are born, not made. Mechanical readers are those for whom reading is a task–people who consciously make it a habit to read and who keep track of how much they have read. She explains four reasons that these types of people are harmful, the gravest of which is “the crime of luring creative talent into the ranks of mechanical production.”

It’s an interesting point of view. I don’t think I agree with her opinion that a good reader can’t be made–I think that with enough exposure and the right circumstances most people could become good readers. The essay has something of a condescending tone to it, but that does not mean that most of what she says is not true. What type of reader am I? I’m not really sure–which may in and of itself place me squarely in the mechanical side of things.

If you’d like to read this essay, you can find it here: The Vice of Reading, by Edith Wharton.

Categories
Entertainment

Defining Moments in TV

You have to love Spike TV… “The first TV network for Men.” Tonight they’re playing the Star Trek Episode that first introduced the Borg. Over Christmas and Thanksgiving they had Bond marathons and pretty much everything they show is spot on–aimed at the male audience. It’s great. I read the other day that Star Trek will probably be cancelled this season. It’s a shame that it’s going to happen, but with the direction they’ve taken the last couple seasons, I’m not really surprised. It’s gone downhill for sure. On Slashdot, there was a comment that pretty much defined the recent formula of Star Trek as:

:06 – Mystery discovered
:26 – Solving mystery becomes critical to survival
:48 – Mystery is solved/enemy defeated
:58 – Moral lesson learned and crew rejoices in victory.

Something like that anyway, and it’s basically true. The good thing is that there are so many old episodes to see and re-run it’s bound to be on TV for a long time to come.

Categories
Money

Mortgage Smortgage

Finding a mortgage STINKS. After talking to several lenders, visiting lendingtree dot com and finding out if I really win when banks compete, I’m pretty much burnt out on looking for a home loan. I actually enjoy doing the research when it’s for other people, but when it’s my own money I’m dealing with… it stinks!

Categories
Family

Homeowning

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Yay! Our contract was accepted it looks like we’ll be first time homeowners the 29th of this month (pending inspections, home loans etc.) What a way to bring in the New Year! For pictures of the home, click here.

Categories
Family

Biggest Cruise Ship in the World…

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We spent the last 7 days and 7 nights on the Mariner of the Seas touring the Caribbean and getting some sun (burn) on the islands of the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Marteen. My favorite island of the three was St. Thomas–it was the most tropical and I liked the fact that it was American–I felt more at home there than in Nassau or St. Marteen which is French and Dutch.

Jenny got a 10gb iPod for Christmas, making a grand total of 1,300,001 iPods sold this Christmas. I’m very curious to see what the new, smaller iPods that are supposed to be released in a couple weeks will look like…. I can’t wait for an Apple handheld either.

Categories
Software

Best OS for Web Design and Development

In this article, I’m taking Linux (Debian and others), Macintosh OS X (Panther) and Windows XP and comparing them to find the ideal operating system for web design and development. After using Windows, Macintosh OS X and Linux (in various incarnations) each for extended periods of time over the last 4 1/2 years, here is what I’ve found.

Linux
Advantages: The obvious advantage to developing on Linux is that you’re working on the OS that you’ll probably be running your site on. It’s nice to be able to save locally and view your content on a local webserver. This is also possible in Windows and OS X so it’s not necessarily a major advantage but it’s nice.

Other advantages of Linux are that it has great text editors (Quanta, Kate, gEdit to name a few) and there is no lack of FTP tools. In my mind, that’s about it as far as advantages go.

Read on for disadvantages of Linux and my insights on OS X and Windows.

Categories
Software

Kung-Log

If you use Movable Type, Nucleus or Blogger for your weblog and you work on a Mac, check out Kung-Log. It’s a desktop application that will retrieve past posts as well as enabling you to post new entries to your weblog. I’m using it now and if you’re reading this… it worked :). This is another feature – it lets you insert the song you’re listening to in iTunes. I’m listening to: To Protect The Family Name from the album “Winners Never Quit” by Pedro The Lion

Categories
Software

Best Tool for the Blog

From last night:
Installing MovableType… starting at 10:45…. finishing at exactly 11:45. Wow. That took longer than I expected, but alas it’s done. I probably would have been find sticking with Blogger, but in my never ending quest to have the latest and greatest software, MovableType was a necessity.

Now I have this itching wonder in the back of my head why I can’t upgrade MCPAN. That will have to wait for another day…

Categories
Software

Mind Mapping

Both my father and father-in-law have spent time extolling the virtues of Mind Mapping–basically brainstorming on paper. I have come to realize the benefits of doing it, but for me, doing something on actual paper is just too reminicent of high school or filling out a form at the DMV or something horrible like that. I prefer to do things the digital way.

The other day, I discovered Nova Mind for Mac OS X which is a way of doing it digitally. I was pretty impressed with the functionality, but due to the fact that I don’t have a Mac at home (yet) it’s not much use. Plus it costs $59 dollars, which I suppose isn’t bad, but it’s more than I’m willing to pay. I also found Concept Draw but their MindMapping software is $149 and not quite as elegant as Nova Mind, though probably more functional.

Tonight I discovered a couple Windows products–both freeware/open source that look like they will do the trick. The first is appropriately titled Freemind. It’s very functional, decent looking and you can do pretty much whatever you need to do with it right from the keyboard so there’s no interrupting your train of thought by reaching over and missing the mouse. In addition to it being great on the desktop, there’s a feature that lets you publish fully functional mindMaps to the web in without even having to export them. Here’s an example.

The next one I found was called KeyNote (not to be confused with Keynote. It’s more of a tool for outlining and creating hierarichal documents (like this blog for example). So far, I’ve been impressed with it. It’s seems about as fully featured as any Office XP application, including Macro capabilites. Hmm. maybe I should write a macro to enable publishing to this Blog. Then it would be some serious competion to MacJournal.

I’m happy. If you’re interested, I’d say check them both out. You can’t go wrong with free 🙂