Category: About This Site


Upgrading to MT4

August 22nd, 2007 — 3:11pm

We’ll be upgrad­ing to MT4 in the near future. Apolo­gies for any tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties that result.

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Moving announcement, recent work, events...

August 6th, 2006 — 9:00pm

I’m pleased to announce an impend­ing plat­form change for JoeLamantia.com. No, this isn’t a switch in blog­ging pack­ages. It’s a move to New York (city!) that’s been in-progress for a while, and will take place at the end of the month (just a few weeks!). To make it seem a hard-won prize, I should note that we sur­vived sev­eral heat waves and tor­ren­tial down­pours, in addi­tion to fac­ing the cus­tom­ary inten­sity of the New York real estate mar­ket. Tales of brav­ery aside, all the adven­ture leaves us very much look­ing for­ward to unpack­ing and set­tling in soon. Look for an impromptu side­walk sale Brook­lyn while the truck is unloaded, as we real­ize exactly what will and will not fit into our new (smaller!) home in lovely Brook­lyn…
Beyond mov­ing, lots of good stuff is hap­pen­ing. Some of the things I’ll try to catch up on and post on in more detail when life set­tles down:

  • Recent work with topic maps
  • Recent work design­ing a faceted clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem and faceted brows­ing experience
  • Poten­tial ways to quickly refine and eval­u­ate a facet sys­tem by involv­ing users — includ­ing cus­tomers — in iter­a­tive facet design and prototyping
  • Plan­ning for the first stages of an enter­prise meta­data effort
  • A tag cloud related project that will (I hope, pend­ing my travel sched­ule…) launch soon. Call to action: I’ve recruited one brave soul to help with this effort already, but there are many oth­ers with very inter­est­ing things to say on the sub­ject of tag clouds — please drop me a line if you’d like to be involved.

There are some very inter­est­ing IA-related events com­ing up: Oz-IA, EURO IA, and IDEA 2006 (I’ll be at this one). Too many good events for my travel bud­get, but hav­ing many good choices is a much bet­ter dilemma than hav­ing none at all…

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JL.com Changes: Tag Cloud Nav, New Styles

February 14th, 2006 — 10:02pm

On Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, I took advan­tage of the Bliz­zard of ’06 to:

  1. imple­ment a tag cloud for navigation
  2. tag all posts with sub­ject metadata
  3. rebuild the some­what creaky col­lec­tion of stylesheets behind JL.com
  4. add a recent com­ments tile

(And peo­ple say I don’t know how to have a good time…?)
The tag cloud is pow­ered by the Move­able­Type plu­gin Tags.App. New stylesheets are loosely based on an Open­Source tem­plate from www.oswd.org called Phe­nom.
Between trips out­side to shovel, I for­got to upload one of the new .css files. Fol­low­ing that, some Notes apol­o­gists justly sent me to school for dis­play­ing my com­ments in crip­plingly small text font.
Thanks to the Notes faith­ful for the feed­back, and con­do­lences to any and all who con­tracted eye strain as a result.

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Technical Difficulties

August 28th, 2005 — 10:54pm

After months with­out com­ments — thanks to all the dili­gent spam­mers out there for car­ry­ing out their cor­ro­sive activ­i­ties with such thor­ough­ness, I’m open­ing the site up to feed­back again.
Of course, for the time being, Mov­able­Type just does not feel like coop­er­at­ing when it comes to comments…

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Technical Difficulties

May 1st, 2004 — 4:09pm

In busi­ness terms, I’d call the last sev­eral months of tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties with Unacom.net a bad ven­dor selec­tion and man­age­ment expe­ri­ence. From a more per­sonal per­spec­tive, it was frus­trat­ing, and a dis­ap­point­ment, since I’d wanted to add fresh con­tent to the site on a reg­u­lar basis after some trav­el­ling and start­ing a new full-time posi­tion before the win­ter hol­i­days.
Una­com charges lit­tle and deliv­ers less; for $80 per year, cus­tomers can count on receiv­ing badly con­fig­ured host­ing envi­ron­ments, poor sup­port and respon­sive­ness, and sub­stan­dard reli­a­bil­ity. I won’t cat­a­log their sins, but I will offer one exam­ple of the qual­ity of their offer­ing: sev­eral days ago their entire net­work went down — name­servers and all — for almost 24 hours, and a friend of mine who uses them to host his on-line order­ing and ful­fill­ment site had to do some ama­ture detec­tive work and call the owner’s *mother* in order to find out what was hap­pen­ing.
I sin­cerely hope my new host­ing ser­vice — APlus.net works out much bet­ter.
There are lots of lessons in this, but what struck me the most was the intan­gi­ble costs. I started look­ing at Una­com on the rec­om­men­da­tion of a friend who used them as a pre­ferred host for clients for some time, and is now severely embar­rassed when­ever the issue comes up.
I cer­tainly don’t hold him respons­bible for Unacom’s incom­pe­tence, but I know that he feels bad about the time and oppor­tu­nity wasted by the friends and clients who choose Una­com at least par­tially on the basis of his rec­om­men­da­tion. As a con­sul­tant, your liveli­hood depends on the cred­i­bilty of your rec­om­men­da­tions. And as a busi­ness, it depends on meet­ing the com­mitt­ments you make to cus­tomers — which Una­com doesn’t seem capa­ble of doing.

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"We have the technology. We can rebuild him."

March 23rd, 2004 — 9:33pm

After a few long evenings (and lots of chmod…), JoeLamantia.com is now pow­ered by Move­able­Type 2.6. This marks a much-needed upgrade, since the older ver­sion ran on MT 1.4: it’s akin to mov­ing from sail to steam.
I’d orig­i­nally intended to move from 1.4 to 2.6 as a first step, and then imme­di­ately put a gen­uine CMS behind it — most likely Dru­pal — once the new blog core was sta­ble. But after all the trou­ble with Una­com, I’ve decided to just post for a while.
As an exper­i­ment, I’m going to use MT to man­age all the pages on the site, mean­ing that sta­tic pages and nav­i­ga­tion will grad­u­ally dis­ap­pear as I fold those sec­tions into the blog-managed systme of entries and cat­e­gories.
In the mean­time, I’ve per­suaded friends who are much bet­ter at devel­op­ment to exper­i­ment with Dru­pal, and report back to me on the install and tem­plat­ing sys­tems.
I looked at using a wiki for this pur­pose, but again I’ve decided to wait and see how this approach works out for some oth­ers. With ref­er­ence to the over-worn tech­nol­ogy adop­tion cycle graph (which is sec­ond only to Maslow’s Hier­ar­chy of Needs as the most abused exam­ple of a trite the­o­ret­i­cal simpi­fi­ca­tion of the inor­di­nate chaos of the real world used by those with­out expe­ri­ence as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for spec­u­la­tive buseinss deci­sions), I sup­pose this strategem marks me as a “Insid­i­ous Vision­ary” more than an “Early Adopter”: I select a likely tool or solu­tion based on needs and trend analy­sis, and then con­vince oth­ers to actu­ally try it and see what hap­pens…
Unfor­tu­nately, the new lay­out looks like crap (again a tech­ni­cal term) in Opera and Mozilla for rea­sons unknown. There are no tables and posi­tion­ing as almost totally dri­ven by stylesheets. A deep and abid­ing resent­ment of the has­sles of deal­ing with browser incom­pa­biltity lead me to aban­don development-based roles in the mid­dle 90’s, so I’m going to just admit defeat on this point right now, and have done with it. Pend­ing the move to a new set of tem­plates in a new sys­tem, I’ll revisit the issue.

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