We’ll be upgrading to MT4 in the near future. Apologies for any technical difficulties that result.
Category: About This Site
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…
On Saturday and Sunday, I took advantage of the Blizzard of ’06 to:
- implement a tag cloud for navigation
- tag all posts with subject metadata
- rebuild the somewhat creaky collection of stylesheets behind JL.com
- 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.
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…
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.
Comments Off | About This Site
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.
Comments Off | About This Site