Software and online tools
I have lots of clients who have great ideas, wonderful vision, and yet have a lot of trouble understanding why I keep asking them for more and more specificity before I sit down and write some HTML or code. I’m afraid they sometimes think I’m a dolt because I keep asking for more detail about exactly what they want me to do. They find it hard to understand why I can’t just take an idea and run with it. Why do I need a detailed specification?
I ran into this passage a week ago, written over 10 years ago (but timeless), and the clarity and insight was so right on that I laughed out loud:
“The programmer, who needs clarity, who must talk all day to a machine that demands declarations, hunkers down into a low-grade annoyance. It is here that the stereotype of the programmer, sitting in a dim room, growling from behind Coke cans, has its origins. The disorder of the desk, the floor; the yellow Post-it notes everywhere; the whiteboards covered with scrawl: all this is the outward manifestation of the messiness of human thought. The messiness cannot go into the program; it piles up around the programmer.
Ullman, Ellen (2012-02-28). Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents (Kindle Locations 352-356). Picador. Kindle Edition.
So when the client says, “Make that headline a little more greenish,” I now have something I can point them at so they’ll understand the difficulty of that seemingly simple task. I love it!
The predominant “web server software” used for WordPress sites are Apache and nginx. 1 Generally on smaller servers nginx will be more efficient because it doesn’t gobble memory like Apache does. The question of which web server software to use hinges primarily on the CPU power and memory resources that are required on the server side to make your site run properly. (continue reading…)
Digital nomads, you can finally and really be the system administrator for your cloud (and other) servers from your iPad. Since December, each time I’ve left town, I have intentionally left my MacBook Pro at home in favor of my iPad. I found that just having a few specific apps allowed me to fully administer my cloud servers from the pad. Please note that a bluetooth (or other) keyboard is required for some of these apps to function fully. But generally I can do everything I need to when I’m on the road. (continue reading…)
When the web was new, the goal was to get as many “eyeballs” as possible looking at your site content—to aggregate readership with your site being the aggregation point. This pretty much followed the old rules of advertising and promotion—you needed people to see your advertising in order to succeed financially1. The phrases “visit us often” or “bookmark this site” or “come back frequently” were the conventional wisdom, and web surfers used bookmarks to remember what sites they wanted to go back to and read later. But they mostly never did except for the big news or entertainment portals.
RSS feeds and news readers began to change that. (Thanks Dave2.) I use NetNewsWire’s standalone software on my Mac, and online services like Google Reader let you integrate feeds into your iGoogle home page. You can also sync your Google Reader settings across multiple programs and devices. But in the last couple of months, the scene is greatly changing is subtle ways I think people haven’t spotted yet… (continue reading…)