WordPress for CMS

This blog has a lot of articles about WordPress, such as using it for the enterprise, converting from an HTML site to WordPress, and others, but I don’t have a specific blog post about using WordPress for a CMS. This use of WordPress is really at the heart of why I am big on WordPress.

So, let’s go over the basics. What is a CMS. CMS stands for Content Management System. For novice users, a CMS is used to write, edit, and control the text and html used in pages on a website. This is where we have to specifically separate the two concepts in WordPress, a page and a post. When we use the term CMS, we are referring to a page.

A post is simply a short or long article written about a particular matter, while a page is typically a standalone piece of content. This can be somewhat confusing in WordPress, since they are closely related. The big take away here is if you are going to use WordPress like a normal website, you need to understand the difference between a page and a post and in some cases turn off pages and in others turn off posts. Depends on what you want out of WordPress.

So, in the CMS world how does WordPress stand in terms of CMS. It is a difficult question, because on a scale of 1 to 10 as a CMS, I would say WordPress is a 6… Now, you would think that I would recommend something else! But, on the other hand the CMS aspect of WordPress is just one facet of other issues, in which WordPress is a 10 (Posting and SEO and plugins). The benefit of having a CMS with all these features is what makes the package so powerful.

So let’s go over the CMS basic features:

  • Ability to Create a web page.
  • Ability to Edit a web page.
  • Ability to Create Roles for specific users to create and edit pages.
  • Ability to stage a page, and publish on a specific date.
  • Ability to be able to access the system from a remote interface (The Web).
  • Ability to revert a change.
  • Ability to index, categorize, tag, what have you the content information.

Still, this is just the tip of the iceberg, because there are 100 decent paid (non open source) CMS systems on the market… And there’s more than that. There are probably 100 free CMS (open source) in addition to WordPress. There are probably another 2000 home grown CMS used by many a web consulting companies out there.

So, let’s get back to the question at hand… Why use WordPress for a CMS?

It’s straight forward. “It is not about WordPress today; It is about WordPress tomorrow.” The reason I say this, and you can quote me on this, is the system is being upgraded so very often and the plugins are increasingly so much filled with value add; You can’t find a softare movement like WordPress out there that compete’s with it. Here are the reasons:

  • Constant Improvements
  • Upgrades Are Relatively Easy
  • Thousands of Plugins (another name for addons or extensions, and easy to plugin in!)
  • Easy To Use
  • Easy To Setup
  • Easy To Move Around
  • Tons of Online Documentation

I am sure there are a lot more reasons… Anyway, that’s it, there is your reason why…

Evernote To The Rescue

I have been listening to Guy Kawasaki tweeting over and over again about Evernote. What is Evernote, at http://www.evernote.com? Evernote is simply the equivalent of 3M Sticky Pads, except virtual. As far as I know there probably has been many attempts since the Internet began to do something like this, from Yahoo calendar, to Google Docs, to login and reminder services, even eVite. And there probably is about a dozen competitors out there, that I don’t know about. Recently there has been a bunch of companies with Disk Space available, sometimes for free (for a period or size), but Evernote is different.

Why is Evernote different?

And just like Guy Kawasaki has been pointing out, they do it better, simpler, make it more available, and useable. And like many Internet products out there, there is a free version. The basic features rock! I will just throw them out without looking carefully. The fact that I can remember them is pretty cool. Meanwhile I bet you there are competitors with a thousand more features, but this company seems to put them together in a way that is comprehensible.

1. Access

You can access Evernote over the web or through a mobile device, such as the Iphone. Since I am an Iphone user, it is like the perfect app for the perfect device. So when I create a new note for myself on the Iphone, I can easily find it online.

2. Free

Did I mention this service, the basic service is free, up to something like 500 megabytes.

3. Types of Notes

Not just one type of note. You can create text, html, picture notes, voice notes, even a series of pictures. Wondering if they store video too. If they don’t they will.

4. Tagging

Not that this is too critical, but they allow tagging, which means you can easily annotate and find your notes, if you create a thousand of them.

5. Date, Time, Easy Create, Easy Save and Listing vs. Thumbnails.

These are the basics that you would expect from a great service. The UI is easy to navigate, easy to use and basically makes life easy to work with.

Lots of times with these free apps, I would give them a try and then quickly abandon them. Not Evernote. It seems to have staying power.

All this said, and I have been using it for several weeks and still finding new uses. Let me give you some of the uses I use for (just like the sticky pads on my desk, in fact I am using less sticky pads than ever before because of this). I reach for my ipod and create a note, not a postit… Beware 3M, your virtual equivalent is at the door… Some of the uses, tracking and notating information about my refi, keeping dates and notes like anniversaries and birthdays, tracking information like my insurance account numbers, things I mean to do, things I have to do, things I want to do, things I did and want to remember, even things I don’t!

Just go to http://www.evernote.com and start it up. I would recommend using the Iphone, though they are supporting other smartphones.

Corporate Execs: Adam Smith Vs. Benevolent Dictator

This post is about my observations of corporate executives. This is not in any way a fact, but rather my opinion; and it really only applies to specific corporations in specific instances. The basis for my thinking is there are several models used for running a business. Not sure if these models are created intentionally or by the situation. Some are created directly from the top gun personalities who run businesses. It some cases they just evolve in the corporate culture.

The particular model I am referring to here is what I call the Adam Smith business model. This would be the concept where corporate execs all do what is best for themselves and therefor theoretically, the company is better off. I have worked for a few businesses run like this, mostly in South Florida. This is like applying libertarian political thinking to a corporate culture. Problem is, this just does not work. The the more successful companies I have seen and worked are run more like a benevolent dictatorship.

The Adam Smith business model does not really work in the business world. Corporate execs can not make all their decisions based on what is best for themselves. Let me correct that. Corporate execs often do make decisions on what is best for themselves, and thus the company pays for their self indulgence. This is why the thinking that bonuses and stock options are tied to company performance has been somewhat debunked in the past couple of years. And even so, there are corporate execs who think they are doing what is best for a business, but are in fact making critical, if not devestating decisions for their business, despite tons of data to the contrary. Just the simple decision to walk around and ask employees what is going on would have helped understand what is happening. It is in this failed model that the execs often baracade themselves from the lower level employees and endup working in a groupthink session. These sessions produce very little in the end because mostly it is the same thinking over and over again.

That leads us to the benevolent dictator. The benevolent dictator is a strong corporate government, which knows what is happening and why and keeps their ears and eyes out listening to the world, because they want to manage and control that world, not run from it.

Now I am sure there are many variations of companies out there that are somewhere in between the Adam Smith model and the Benevolent Dictatorship. My experience is the benevolent dictator, the castroesque leader, the guy or gal who sets everybody in a direction, is what is often needed, especially to a business in transition.

All of this is pure speculation, since I am very often sitting on the sidelines watching these people make these decisions. It is easy for me to say these things from my vantage point. However, I have seen the models at work, and I really do know better at this point in my life, and like a business doctor I can see these issues with clarity I did not see 20 years ago.

Umbuntu Linux 9.01 On An Old PC

This article is probably one of the first I am going to write in several years on hardware. I have been totally on the sidelines for a while in this area, but it was time for me to try something with an old piece of hardware I had sitting around.

I have been hearing about Linux builds being put on this old PC and that old PC from my compadres and the potential of making an old slow, even brokedown PC run like a charm. And being an ex-IT professional, I really wanted to make this happen. I had tried once before with Centos, but failed, and finally this past weekend, I made it happen. I put Umbuntu 9.01 onto my old Dell Pentium III Windows 2001 for Professionals PC. Now, thanks to a dozen great websites out there, I accomplished getting this done…

What was this old PC?

This old PC was something I used to work on, until low and behold the main hard-drive crashed. So there was no working harddrive. The first time around I had gone out and purchased a new 500 gig HD and put it into the PC, and that is when I tried the CENTOS CD somebody had handed me, but I found out at that point that I needed a DVD drive.

What did I do?

My friends who gave me a Umbuntu DVD did not know my PC was so old, it was long before DVD drives. So, I had to go out and buy one at OfficeMax. With a DVD player, I got a write, rewrite, I would be able to load the Umbunto directly. If you already have a working PC, you can easily download the entire Umbunto 9.01 directly to your hard-drive. In my case I did not have a working PC.

The installation of the DVD drive required taking the DELL apart, and I had to take out one of the existing CD drives. There were 2 CD drives in the PC a read only and a read, writable Drive. I unscrewed the read only CD drive and removed it. I carefully remembered what the previous settings were for the CD drive, so I could set the DVD drive right where the last CD drive went. Then I tightened things up, removed some cobwebs and prayed.

The First Attempt at Umbuntu

I booted up the PC (after I found an old keyboard with the old PS2 plug) with the Umbuntu in the DVD drive and added a USB mouse (did not know if this would work). First thing is the startup screen. I initially choose the integrity of the hardware option, but that really did not do much. I then choose to install and that ended up not being the right place (you would think that it would be). I followed some instructions somewhere out there on the Internet which said to run the temporary version… I just chose all the default options. One in particular I noticed that seemed to be fine and that was the default partition everything as one drive… This would come back to haunt me. So I finished it up and rebooted.

The big error 18

Low and behold I got Error 18… Well this was not good. So I researched Error 18 on google and found a website that said that this Umbuntu error occurs when your bios is old and the hard-drive is too big for the /boot partition… I had put a 500 gigabyte drive, half a terabyte in there and I guess that is no good with the current Bios… What to do? I went back online and found a forum about this particular problem, at least it seemed to be a similar issue with the boot, and then I ran the entire install process again except this time I set things up like this (and trust me it was still confusing):

Partition 1 sda /boot 100 megs
Partition 2 sda /usr 8 gigs
Partition 3 sda swap 8 gigs
Partition 4 sda /var 580,000 gigs (or the rest of it).

This was just a guess. Also on file type I just choose the the first one on the dropdown, who knows what that means. Anyway, I continued and the thing actually worked. So the issue here is the /boot partition needs to be small enough for the bios to work with. I believe at the time, something like 10-25 gigs max could go here, and I just found that 100 meg number on that forum.

When I plugged an ethernet cable into my N router and ran Firefox, this thing was blazing. That’s on an old Pentium III with 512 megs of ram. This is great, and the thing came with openoffice.org (word, excel, ppt) and most anything I could use downloads automatically through synaptics loader.

Still researching a bit, but I am officially a local Linux user now…