Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Website redesign: a peek into mental

I have used Joomla for the past 4 years for work and for hobby.  I first started with Joomla 1.0.12 and was hooked on the ease of use of the system.  I could, with relative ease, create a custom template and with a few keystrokes be able to change the entire website design.
Not long after I started using Joomla, version 1.5 was released and because I was addicted to using extension, I had to wait for some of my key extension to be updated for version 1.5, although, there was some backward compatibility, it wasn't as smooth as I wanted it in some cases.  It was Joomla 1.5.2 when I was finally able to release my district website for public consumption.
The webpage now currently sits on version 1.5.23 and I have been pleased with it 100%.  Right after the community of great developers release 1.5 they immediately began working on version 1.6.  I read updates, followed developer blogs, listened to community feedback and from what I was reading I was very excited to begin working with 1.6.  I didn't jump on the beta release, which I should have to help with development.
Finally version 1.6 was released.  I downloaded and installed on to a test server.  Installation was easy and painless, just like any installation of Joomla has been for me.  Then, nothing, I did absolutely nothing with for nearly a month while I was busy with work, home, and hobbies I had completely lost all time to work with the new version.
Now here I am 3 months removed from 1 month hiatus and I have been working slowly on developing the template for the new webpage and I have been tediously working on transferring old files and folders that will need to be uploaded on the new website.

So now that I have sat down and been able to work with Joomla 1.6. (currently 1.6.3), what do I think?  I am really happy with the design and the way it works.  It is fast and flexible.  Extension use has gotten more solid, although some developed extensions can leave a lot to be desired, but I am still happy and thankful for those developers who make the extensions.
I would recommend installing the latest version of PHP and MySql when installing, but supported versions should still work ok.

So far I am very happy, I am trying to get it ready for a June 1st debut, but I am already thinking that isn't  going to happen.  I think the actual day of release will be closer to July, but at least that will be before the start of the next school year.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Internet Privacy Act? wait the web is private?

Once again our elected officials are up to their best act about caring what is best for this country.  This time its an Internet Security Act.  Bill sponsors, John Kerry (D-Mass) and John McCain (R-Ariz) are leading the charge to force business to tell people how they collect information about them.

On top this sounds like a great idea, companies have to divulge how they track your movements online.  But what will this bill truly do?  In my mind little except open the door for more government control and regulation of the internet.  No where in the bill does it state that the government will have to follow these guidelines, nor does it do anything to face the real problem, the identity thieves and false front businesses that would not follow the rules anyway.

Nor does it do anything to address threats from overseas.  Instead it is going to put a blanket on that doesn't cover your feet, while you are snuggly warm up top, the cold is still creeping in down below.  The evils of the web will always exist and their is no way we can get rid of them.

All I see this bill really doing is opening up the doors to allow the governments to come in and legally track what we are doing in the name of national security.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Testing on Old Equipment

One of the most stressful times of year for me personally is MAP Testing.  Not because of the usual high stakes testing our kids reason, but because of the fact I have the Map Database existing on the same file server that we use for our authentication, AD, basically everything that the network does.

First shame shame shame on me for allowing the network to be this way, I know, its a very poor job by me on planning and maintaining.  However, in my defense, up until this past year, it was on the newest/best(?) server in my farm.  Not the case anymore and that will be changing this summer as I either put it on my xserve or my server08 box.

What is stressful is that no matter the amount of planning, setting up, going over notes from previous years (I actually have done that for MAP Testing) I woke up this morning with a sense of overall dread and despair that something fatal is going to happen to my server this week.

I arrived at school early this morning to be greeted with, "internet is down."  A palpitation, but nothing to major, its just internet, could be the firewall, ISP, switches,  power or lack there of.  I get to the server, and yep, server is froze up in restart mode.

To quote the great Eugene Levy, "What a week I am having!"

Monday, April 4, 2011

In our backyard

Just one hour from our school there is a nested family of bald eagles.  I first got a hold of this link about a week ago when there was 3 eggs.  I came into work today, and checked the nest and 2 of the eggs have hatched and the last one, according to the website, will hatch in the next day.  So take 5 minutes to watch the amazing looking birds.

Decorah Eagles