"From an IT executive’s perspective, social networking isn’t about giving the millenials a place to play, rather it’s about how to improve the flow of information throughout an organization, using collective knowledge to solve problems, respond to customer needs, or exploit new business opportunities faster than ever before."
-Irwin Lazar, "The Rise and Fall of the Millenials?", Enterprise 2.0 Blog, January 29, 2009
Although Firefox is my choice for Internet browsers, I do use Microsoft's Internet Explorer from time to time. Yesterday, I installed the release candidate of Internet Explorer 8.
I can't say I'm a big fan of their "Web slice" approach as it feels like I'm ramming Google Desktop via RSS feeds down the browser's favorites bar. Who know though, perhaps the slice approach will grow on me. However, I am a big fan of Microsoft creating a more compliant and less buggy browser and IE8 seems to fit the bill. If IE7 was a good step in the right direction then IE8 gets Microsoft's users pretty close to the destination.
Meanwhile, my rant to all the IE6 users. I can't believe that about a third of Microsoft Windows users are still using IE6. Shame on you if you are still using that insecure, buggy, and non-compliant browser. Microsoft doesn't even want you to use that browser...and yet you're still stuck in the stone ages. I have a theory that IE6 is symbolic of the problems of complacency at Microsoft and those companies/users that are still on that browser. IE8 arriving on a modern Windows desktop near you and you're still on IE6? Give me a break!
Mary Jander of Internet Evolution takes a hard look at at what IT must do to survive the next few years of economic woes. She has some sobering things to say, and while we might not like it, she is probably right. For example, in her first step to IT surviving she says:
Staff levels must go down. Job cuts are now a fact of IT life. Recent announcements portend 5,000 layoffs at Microsoft; a projected 6,000 at Intel; up to 10,000 at IBM. Cuts like these could decimate an already-pressed IT staff, unless measures are taken to automate and virtualize more functions.
The idea of reducing costs in hardware and human resources through virtualization has been suggested before (many times). Now is the time to finally give it a try.
She also takes a look at at telecommuting, going green, Web 2.0, data management, and more. Be sure to read her post.
I have never had good luck hosting my Drupal sites on shared hosting plans. My last venture into budget hosting was a disaster with the hosting company locking me out of my own account due to too many requests to the remote database. The truth is that I've only been happy with running my personal Drupal sites on virtual private servers (VPS). However, I'm having a difficult time justifying my yearly costs of using a VPS to host my sites.
The problem is that I'm finally realizing one of the goals I set for 2007, a resolution to reduce my workload outside of work. Specifically, I've spent the last year getting rid of most of my freelance work not related to my day job or CMS Report. So now that I have less sites to host it has become less cost effective to run my remaining Drupal sites on the VPS. With my yearly VPS contract up this month, I decided to give cheaper shared hosting another chance.
This is a really cool story on how local governments can improve their presence on the Internet and save money using open source software. The City of Albert Lea needed to improve their website but the small Minnesota city was facing project costs of $10,000 to $30,000. In walks Wordpress being utilized as a full content management system. As reported by the Albert Lea Tribune:
Some cities pay a consultant $10,000, $20,000, even $50,000 for a Web-based content-management site that looks professional and is consistent through and through. Fairbault is one instance.
Albert Lea, however, paid $720 to local resident Jeshua Erickson last December, she said. Kauffmann was in charge of the site’s revision, and last October she put together a committee of city
officials to advise her.
She said the committee decided to shoot for a site using a content management system — or CMS — but it was outside of her Internet skills. The city began seeking estimates from Web design companies. When the estimates returned, they realized the city couldn’t afford it.
“We just didn’t feel we could justify spending $20,000-plus on a Web site,” Kauffmann said. “I happened to run into Jeshua Erickson on the Pelican Breeze one day, and we talked about Web sites and how he was developing them using WordPress.”
I'll have to say that even though Wordpress is open source and "free", this city got a steal with getting a website for under $1000. While Albert Lea is a small city, developing government sites can become big projects with lots of complications. Either the city was kind to the developer and his hours or he felt some civil duty to give the city's taxpayers a good deal. An example of this developer doing such a good job, Albert Lea's website is currently running Wordpress 2.7 which is the latest available version of Wordpress. Very well done Mr. Erickson.
Royal Pingdom completed a survey looking at the top blog platforms of the top 100 blogs. This survey mirrors other studies that I've read showing that Wordpress is king of the blog platform.
We found that Wordpress is the most-used platform among self-hosted blogs, which perhaps isn’t a huge surprise. It has more than twice as many blogs in the top 100 as Movable Type, the blog platform that came in second place.
Wordpress is used by 27 blogs in the top 100.
Movable Type is used by 12 blogs in the top 100.
Only 8 of the top 100 blogs use a custom-made blog platform.
Drupal is the only general-purpose CMS with any presence worth mentioning, with 4 blogs in the top 100.
Not long ago, I expressed doubts whether osCommerce has a future. While osCommerce is widely used by thousands of sites, and incidentally the only shopping cart I've ever put into production, its development cycle has been painfully slow for many of its open source contributors and users. As I've said before, when the 3.0 version of osCommerce is released I find it unlikely that the new osCommerce will have many of the Web 2.0 features that the new breed of
shopping carts currently have now. I have personal doubts that osCommerce's future is as bright as its past has been.
Harald Ponce de Leon recently wrote at osCommerce.com an article that would counter my opinion and the opinions of naysayers such as me.
The osCommerce community were extremely busy throughout 2008 with over 700 new add-ons and features being made available for osCommerce Online Merchant v2.2. That includes over 2,500 updates made by over 1,200 community members in 2008 alone!
There are so many great websites out there, but so little time to discover them. I came across a great site that discusses eCommerce and shopping platforms called Practical eCommerce.
Real folks are behind this company. We are a small business ourselves, and we take seriously the notion of helping other businesses decipher the complexities of migrating online or improving their online operations.
In fact, it was those complexities that gave rise to Practical eCommerce to begin with. Back in 2003, the Murdocks launched an ecommerce site. The process was confusing, expensive and frustrating. But, it did give rise to the idea of helping others in the same predicament. So here we are.
Since I've been busy transferring my sites to new servers this would be a good day for you to check them out.
I seem to collect a number of books each year. A few of the books I receive from publishers with intent to review or as appreciation for my involvement with events related to content management systems. Other books just peak my interest so I can't help but buy them for my personal library. The following are five books I plan to read in 2009 and are available in CMS Report's Amazon Store.