software Archives

April 29, 2007

Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I/II

Joomla! Open Source Content Management System (CMS)Thinking of splitting-out site content pertaining to my experiences as a dad .. to a NEW site, such as (oops, that domain name already taken) .. or (uh, that one is also taken). One reader suggested dadified.

Anyway, I'll find some new domain that will work. (Costs a measly $10/yr, and I already have tons of content I could transfer.)

What do you think of or Those two are still available. Ideas? (Shorter the better.)

Now that I have lastest version of MovableType installed (v3.35), and knowing that Movable Type allows you to publish multiple (unlimited) blogs, including to domains outside the one in which MT resides, I could use MT 3.35 to publish to a new rad-dad site.

In the grand scheme of things, despite how much I love cool technology, there aren't many things more important than being a good dad.

Update 03.May.2007 - I got new domain name today ( as detailed in this post > New Domain Name: (Adventures in Fatherhood)

Continue reading "Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I/II" »

May 6, 2007

Comparing Drupal vs Joomla Content Management Systems - Part II

Drupal Open Source Content Management System (CMS)This entry is continued from Part I > Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems - Part I

You can actually TEST various CMS'es at > OpenSourceCMS, log in (as administrator) and take them for a test drive. Every two hours, the site wipes your changes and starts everything over from scratch. Pretty cool. You can also demo Joomla! here.


Joomla! books here and here. Drupal books here. Most popular (best?) Drupal book is this one, which seems marketed specifically to developers. Not sure how applicable it is for ordinary users (if there is such a thing). Best to buy from here, helps support Drupal.

If you need to get a good-looking site up in a hurry, so you can focus on generating *content*, then it seems Joomla is the best choice. There are more than 100 different CMS programs available, tho not are all open source or free. See CMS Matrix for more.

Style & Marketing

Joomla is the phonetic spelling of the Swahili word jumla, meaning "all together." I must admit, they win in the COOL category, over drab (but powerful, flexible) Drupal. And you know how I dig cool. I know it shouldn't matter, but their colorful black logo is almost enough to win me over.

Continue reading "Comparing Drupal vs Joomla Content Management Systems - Part II" »

May 7, 2007

Further Research of CMS Programs Suggests Drupal Better Option

WAMP5 Web server for Windows, including Apache, MySQL & PHPBeen learning more about Drupal, Joomla and Content Management Systems in general (CMS).

Also been updating the comparison I documented last week (as I continue to learn more) > Comparing Joomla vs Drupal Content Management Systems (CMS).

In fact, that entry has become big enough (more than 4K words) that I've considered busting it into two sections (e.g. Part I, Part II). Uh, update > done.

I seem to be coming full circle. Began research with notion Drupal represented best option. During initial research, I came to feel Joomla 1.5 would be a better choice (for me).

Now, after considerable research, and feeling comfortable that I understand the relative strengths & weaknesses of each platform, I'm again leaning toward Drupal. (Dizzy yet?)

The main thing that changed my mind was a subtle theme I kept noticing, which goes something like this:

Continue reading "Further Research of CMS Programs Suggests Drupal Better Option" »

May 8, 2007

Installing Drupal 5.1 Content Management System (CMS)

Drupal Open Source Content Management System v5.1Stayed up late ('til 1AM) and installed Drupal last night. (Eyes are burning.) The word installation is deceptive, cuz Drupal really installs itself.

Simply upload the files to your server, point your browser to the directory where you uploaded Drupal (in this case, to newly created subdomain >, and a screen pops up, asking for 3 bits of information:

  1. Name of your MySQL database
  2. User name for your MySQL database
  3. Password for the MySQL user

Enter the data Drupal wants, click the Install button and Drupal installs itself. Too cool. Downright elegant.

Gives you a screen that says > Drupal installation complete. I'm thinking, "You gotta be kidding. Can't be *that* easy."

Next screen looks like this > Welcome to your new Drupal website!

Continue reading "Installing Drupal 5.1 Content Management System (CMS)" »

May 14, 2007

Proficiency with Software & Setting Root Password for MySQL Database in phpMyAdmin under WAMP5

The coolest programs seem to have the steepest learning curves .. like Half Dome & El Capitan, which are both pretty steep

A big part of Indulging Your Technolust involves learning how to use cool software. Once your hardware is dialed in, and your system backed up (crucial step), it's time to become proficient with your favorite programs.

You've probably discovered (as I have) the coolest programs are often (not always) the most powerful. And the most powerful programs often involve the steepest learning curves.

Take Photoshop for example. Way cool. Way powerful. Lots to learn. Seems like I'm always calling Julie to ask how to do something in Photoshop.

This is cuz more power involves more features. More features come with more options, and more options lead to complexity. (You know the drill.)

Regulars will recall my recent forays into the (very cool) world of Content Management Systems, and how I've been playing with Drupal (one of the coolest). [My installation of Drupal 5.1 is > HERE.]

In fact, I moved the site recently (never much fun) to a new server in order to get MySQL 5.x, which is required for Drupal 6 (still in development). So I'm still on the steeper slopes of the content management curve, but starting to find traction.

Continue reading "Proficiency with Software & Setting Root Password for MySQL Database in phpMyAdmin under WAMP5" »

June 9, 2007

Six Apart Releases Version 4.0 (beta) of its Movable Type Blogging Software

Six Apart Releases version 4.0 of its MovableType Blogging Software Six Apart (6A) has released version 4.0 (beta) of its Movable Type blogging software, with a final Open Source version scheduled for release this summer. Sweet!

There will also be a separate commercial version (with tech support) released along with the eagerly-awaited open source version.

I installed (apparently) the final version of the 3.xx series (v3.35) on 16.April.2007. See here > First Post with Movable Type v3.35. I also installed a bunch of cool plug-ins, as detailed here > Dialing In Movable Type.

I very much like v3.35, finding it sophisticated, elegant & powerful, especially after "upgrading" from v2.63 (v3.35 was actually a new installation), which I installed back in May 2003.

Heard rumblings that 6A has invested considerable developmental resources into v4.0, so I'm looking forward to checking it out .. tho my days of being an "early adopter" are long gone.

I'll probably migrate to v4.x after the 1st or 2nd update (4.01, or 4.02). Actually, I'll probably do another new installation, like I did with v3.35.

Word on the street is that 6A neglected Movable Type while working on the Enterprise version & TypePad, and have now come back (with a vengeance) to focus on making MT the best blogging platform (on the planet).

Six Apart Releases version 4.0 of its MovableType Blogging Software6A will need a strong showing from MT4 if they hope to stave off the WordPress phenomena.

Under heading, "Why now" listed here (half-way down page), 6A says MT4 is the > "culmination of more person-years of development than any other release."

The very next paragraph characterizes MT4 thusly > "the biggest development investment we've made in any version in Movable Type's history." So expectations are high.

Continue reading "Six Apart Releases Version 4.0 (beta) of its Movable Type Blogging Software" »

September 24, 2007

5 Reasons Why You Should Back-up Your Hard Drive with a Cloning Program such as Norton Ghost

Hard Disk DriveBack in February, Google released a report titled » Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population (13-page PDF, 242-KB), which detailed their findings regarding the failure rates of hard disk drives they own.

Since Google uses so many hard drives (over 100,000 were used in this study), their findings were of great interest to those of us who've had trouble locating reliable data on the topic.

Moreover, their report was of special significance because it contradicted many commonly held beliefs, such as:

  1. cooled drives fail less
  2. the harder a drive works, the more likely it is to fail
  3. SMART monitoring is a reliable predictor of drive failure
  4. Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) is a meaningful spec

Personally, I think drive failure has a lot to do with how the drive was handled en route (by the shipper) » from the manufacturer to the reseller, and » from the reseller to the end user (you & me).

Hard drives aren't designed to be tossed around like fish at the market, or dropped like a hockey puck. And these are factors no one will ever know (except the carrier).

What the survey *did* confirm, however .. was something we already knew » hard drives fail more than we'd like.

The Google survey reported that ~2% of their drives failed during the first year of operation, and ~8% every year thereafter.

So how do you protect yourself against the devastating effects of hard drive failure? There are various ways, with each method offering a degree of protection. But the *best* way to protect your data and your operating system is with an imaging/cloning program .. such as Norton Ghost (distributed by Symantec).

Continue reading "5 Reasons Why You Should Back-up Your Hard Drive with a Cloning Program such as Norton Ghost" »

October 26, 2007

Started Reading New Book » Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual

Started reading a new book .. on Dreamweaver (compliments of Poncho) titled » Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual (released June, 2007).

Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing ManualWeighing in at 1,000 pages, this is the fattest book I've ever sat down with. So far, I'm very impressed. Even the first (introductory) chapters contain many insightful tips about real world usage (my favorite kind).

This might be the best tech-book I've ever read (uh, still reading) .. far as usable insights per page. Can't wait to get to the later chapters (26 total), which deal with the more-advanced stuff. (Wish I could read/comprehend faster.)

One reason why this book might be so polished is cuz this particular version is the author's 5th incarnation .. having begun with Dreamweaver 4 (back in 2001), then » Dreamweaver MX (in 2002), then » Dreamweaver MX 2004 (in 2003), then » Dreamweaver 8 (in 2005).

It's readily evident McFarland knows the program inside-out, and is therefore able to reveal its secrets with ease.

Continue reading "Started Reading New Book » Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual" »

November 14, 2007

Continuing to Enhance Web Master Skill Set (XHTML, CSS, Dreamweaver)

Learning lots about (X)HTML, CSS. & Dreamweaver. For example, I finished reading the Head First book (cover-to-cover, all 650 pages). Currently half-way thru the Essential training video for Dreamweaver CS3 (Creative Suite 3). Also reading the Missing Manual on Dreamweaver (~1,000 pages), which goes into more detail than the video. All great stuff.

Was surprised to read over at Coding Horror that the average programmer reads less than 1 (technical) book per year.

Given that tech books often contain ~1,000 pages, that doesn't mean Programmers aren't adding to their knowledge base. Yet I thought the number would be higher.

Note that it *is* possible to learn Dreamweaver (to create web pages) withOUT ever becoming familiar with the underlying technologies it uses (e.g. XHTML, CSS, etc.), but I feel better having spent the time to get a handle on those technologies before learning how to wield the tool (Dreamweaver).

My web skills are vasty improved over what they were a few months ago. I would feel comfortable designing and developing most any type of site .. except one that is primarily database-driven. (But that, too, is coming.)

I also now feel comfortable delving into more advanced treatments of CSS and Dreamweaver, such as (the book titled ») CSS Mastery, and (the training video titled ») Beyond the Basics for Dreamweaver. Plus I'd like to learn some scripting, such as PHP, JavaScript and AJAX .. along with XML. Cool stuff, especialy for the age in which we live.

Continue reading "Continuing to Enhance Web Master Skill Set (XHTML, CSS, Dreamweaver)" »

November 29, 2007

Warning: Excessive Server Usage

Rad Pirate FlagReceived a notice yesterday .. from my web host (Lunarpages), which begins »

Your account is using excessive resources, causing a significant degradation of services on the server.

This is a shared environment and we can not allow one user to utilize the majority of resources, as it affects all users adversely. Because of this, your site has been temporarily moved ...

Warning: Excessive Server Usage

So it appears we've been banished .. to an exile server .. reserved for bad-web-boys, and other rouge scoundrels who have trouble playing by the rules.

I'm actually flattered .. that the site is generating enough traffic to warrant such a warning. Could be worse. I mean, if the site were using NO server resources .. that certainly wouldn't be good.

Their notice continues by suggesting I upgrade to a VPS account (Virtual Private Server) or dedicated server. See here:

Your account is more suited for a VPS or dedicated server, not a shared situation.

I would *love* to host a VPS account (.. for the experience of administering our own server). Magoo says he has the savvy to administer a Linux account. See here:

"Funny how little they consider your fair share of that server. If it turns out your site is operating correctly and just outgrown a shared environment, I can definitely help with the VPS account. I am very comfortable with CentOS, Apache, and Perl. That's easy stuff."

Continue reading "Warning: Excessive Server Usage" »

December 2, 2007

EAOS anniversary, First Photoshop Layer & The Bug's First Root Beer Float

Space-Time ContinuumAdios November, hola December. Today is the anniversary of my getting out of the Navy.

The military calls it » EAOS [End of Active Obligated Service].

The six years that (seemed like they) would never end. Unfortunately, I didn't learn that counting days-remaining only slows time .. until I was already out.

EAOS Anniversary

I remember walking out of the Admin building (in Bangor, Washington) after signing my discharge papers [Form DD-214]. Tho I still had a few days remaining, the sky (literally) looked bluer (not a figure of speech) ..

.. the grass greener. Birds were chirping. My feet seemed to hover just above ground. Boundless energy at my command. A sense of satisfaction oozed from every pore. Funny how it was obviously late November, yet my recollection of that day seems more like mid-summer.

First Photoshop Layer

» In more-technical news, I created my first image using layers (in Photoshop) today. If you check out the previous entry, you'll see I put some radEyes in the skull pictured on the pirate flag there. Simple, but the technique is the same, no matter how sophisticated you wanna get.

Back when I first heard about Photoshop, a friend mentioned the program's real editing power was accessed by learning how to use layers. Of course, it's much easier to learn when you have somebody showing you how.

Continue reading "EAOS anniversary, First Photoshop Layer & The Bug's First Root Beer Float" »

December 23, 2007

Learning About Web Hex HTML Color Schemes on the Winter Solstice

Color scheme | atadecer mondroviaWinter solstice yesterday. Shortest day of the year (for those of us living in the northern hemisphere). The word solstice comes from a latin term » solstitium, meaning sun stoppage. Extra cool with a full moon tonight.

The exact time (when the sun reached its southern-most point and began heading back north was 1:08AM EST, which means winter actually began Friday night (10:08 PM) for those of us here on the Left coast.

To celebrate the event I rode my bike around the Back Bay, with Tom, his wife & daughter. My first bike-ride since getting thrown off & landing on my cranium. Nice day. Lots of sunshine.

No mountains, tho. I rode mostly with Tom's (7-yr-old) daughter, who's pace I found comfortable.

Good news » the library (Newport Beach) is gonna buy the books I recommended (both of them) » Bulletproof Web Design (2nd ed.), as recommended by Nate here » Best Book for Learning Cascading Style Sheets » CSS Mastery by Andy Budd, ..

.. and also Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual. (I only have the electronic version of this one, which is harder on the eyes than paper.)

I do my homework when researching which book is best for a particular topic (since a good book can make a big difference), so I shouldn't be surprised. (Tho I am.)

Continue reading "Learning About Web Hex HTML Color Schemes on the Winter Solstice" »

December 27, 2007

Text-to-Speech Programs Software + AT&T Natural Voices

Bad case of Rad Eye ..from reading too much Rad material. She needs a TTS program. Quiet Christmas here in Radland .. with the Bug gone for the holidays. I miss the little guy. Come to think of it, I've never yet seen him on Christmas. There's something I can look forward to. Maybe next year.

Spent my Christmas learning about new technology » TTS, or Text-to-Speech.

Specifically » TextAloud, a program which touts itself as the World's Most Popular Text to Speech Tool (not to be confused with Speech Recognition software, a completely different animal).

I learned that sound-fonts are the things that really make a TTS program sing. The best sound-fonts are reportedly made by AT&T, called AT&T Natural Voices, altho many others compete in this emerging market.

Unfortunately the demo version of TextAloud does not come with any premium sound fonts. And the sound-fonts cost more than the program.

The AT&T Natural Voices sound-fonts weigh in at ~600 MB each .. whereas the TextAloud program is barely 3 MB. Premium sound-fonts use 16-kHz frequency. (By comparison, CD audio is 44-kHz.) Older sound-fonts use 8-kHz (low-quality).

Continue reading "Text-to-Speech Programs Software + AT&T Natural Voices" »

January 10, 2008

Movable Type v4.1 vs Expression Engine v1.6

I've been looking into installing the latest version of MovableType (blogging software) .. which happens to be v4.1 .. which is currently in beta3, which was released 2 days ago.

The main reason I'm waiting for v4.1 is cuz (copy-n-paste from the "What's New in MT 4.1" page):

Valid, Well-formed XHTML Post Content

Movable Type's Rich Text Editor is now completely modular allowing a developer to create a plugin to swap in the rich text editor of their choice. A plugin for the popular FCK editor which outputs semantically valid XHTML has been created by Six Apart and is available in our plugin directory.

The biggest trouble I have with MT 3.35 (which I currently use) is with the editor. (I use TinyMCE.) It strips out code I want to use for Lightbox (among other things), causing much grief.

So the option to use a variety of editors, especially the FCK editor, which outputs well-formed XHTML (which I've been studying), will be very cool. (Wonder how they came up with that almost-profane name.)

MT4 now comes in three different versions:

  1. Commercial
  2. Open Source
  3. Personal.

People are grumbling (see comments) cuz *only* the Commercial version (which costs $235) will come with a feature called Custom Fields, a feature which moves MT in the direction of Content Management (like Drupal, for example), and away from pure blogging software.

I'm also interested in Expression Engine, (which supports Custom Fields natively). But EE is not free for personal use (like MT4). If they would comp me a license, I'd go that route (especially if they release a version with a WYSIWYG editor). Maybe I'll ask. Can't hurt, right?

For more real-world insight into this question of Movable Type v4.1 vs Expression Engine v1.6, see this thread titled > Six Apart Releases Movable Type Open Source! (v4.1) for why I feel MTOS is a better choice than EE (at least, right now).

Continue reading "Movable Type v4.1 vs Expression Engine v1.6" »

January 14, 2008

Preparing to Upgrade the Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.2

I'm preparing to upgrade the Rad Community Forums to YaBB 2.2, which was released November 8th (allowing time for them to correct any glitches discovered since the new release).

We currently use YaBB 2.1, which was released more than 2 years ago. So this should be a major upgrade.

I'm using the "safe" method of installing a new/clean copy of YaBB 2.2, leaving the current 2.1 forum up & running while I set-up the new 2.2 version (which takes a while).

After everything is hunky-dory (re-configured), I'll rename the currently-used directories to some other name, and rename the new 2.2 directories to those currently used by v2.1.

After editing one file ( to reflect these changes, we should be golden with a brand-spanking-new (upgraded) forum.

The forums contain more than 30,000 posts. People smarter than me frequent there. They deserve the new stuff.

I've already downloaded the new files and uploaded them to my server (physically located downtown Los Angeles), and chmod'ed everything (very tedious). Ready to "install" the new forum (by running "setup").

I also deleted many member-accounts (stayed up late last night). Anybody with 2 posts or less, and who hadn't visited the forums for 60 days was ax'ed. (They can always re-register.) You can glean more of the gory details » here. Upgrades suk. So many things can go wrong. Wish me luck.

Update - the new forum installed without a hitch. (Woohoo!) See » HERE. It still needs major tweaking, but we're over the biggest hurdle. Time to check out what cool mods are available.

Continue reading "Preparing to Upgrade the Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.2" »

January 22, 2008

Upgraded Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.2 (Sorta)

Finished upgrading the forums last night. Did not go as smoothly as I'd hoped. Seems we lost about half our members (1100 to start) and ~25K posts (33K to start).

This sux. Now you know why I dread upgrades. Yeah, I have a back-up. Made just before the "upgrade". Tired right now (midnight). Should probably get some rest. (A tired geek is a dangerous geek.) But too upset to sleep.

I may have to re-up files for posts & members from the back-up. The file transfer *did* complete pretty fast for 35K posts. So I think the server may've choked. I probably should've done the transfer in baby step .. instead of que'ing up all 35K at once. (Live-n-learn.)

Other than that (losing many posts and members), the new forum seems to be working okay.

Update1 » I was able to restore several thousand posts via the back-up, but it is incredibly tedious. You can't imagine how bad this suks. So long to restore only a small percentage. Too many files que'ed up choke the server.

So, there's good news. We didn't lose posts, as it appears we should be able to recover them all .. tho it will take a while.

Continue reading "Upgraded Rad Community Forums to YaBB v2.2 (Sorta)" »

January 25, 2008

Six Apart Releases Movable Type Open Source! (v4.1) Woohoo!

Movable Type 4.1Now that the forum-update (to YaBB 2.2) is complete (first things first), my attention turns to Ye Olde Rad Blog .. for which I've used Movable Type (since 2003), and been waiting patiently for the release of v4.1. (Cuz it has the cool features I want.)

As fate would have it, MT 4.1 was released yesterday. (Woohoo!) Actually, I really want to use the new Open Source version (MTOS), which was supposed to provide the first stable release (of MTOS) concurrent with the release of MT 4.1.

Oh, wait. Here it is! (Downloading now.) Have to admit, I've been looking forward to this release. (Download complete.)

Been watching the progress of MT4 since it was released last summer. And *this* version (4.1) is the one to get. (I officially recommend it.) It's where I've decided to jump in (at the first stable release of MTOS).

Note that this will be a new/clean install .. NOT an upgrade. Only bad thing is that the documentation for MT 4.1 isn't yet complete, especially for the things I wanna do/use, such as the FCKeditor.

I was looking hard at ExpressionEngine, but they're in the process trying to release EE 2.0, which breaks backward-compatibility (for the first time in their history), which makes the current EE 1.x a dead end. And all X.0 releases always need bug fixes. So that would involve a long wait (for EE 2.0x), while MTOS 4.x is here now. Plus it's FREE!, unlike EE.

I've also been learning lots about XHTML/CSS, so I'm very much looking forward to redesigning the site. Now that I have the skillz to do whatever I want (regarding site design), I'm looking forward to translating my ideas into design. This is what I'm *most* excited about, and where I've been focusing most of my geek-energy (learning).

I also been getting letters from folks, asking about a re-design of the Black Beast, updated for 2008. I love doing that, but it takes more time than you might imagine, so I'm still on the fence there.

Continue reading "Six Apart Releases Movable Type Open Source! (v4.1) Woohoo!" »

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