Choosing Open-Source CMS

How to choose an open-source CMS
Seth Gottlieb, Special to ZDNet
My Synopsis:

  • Evaluate the software as well as the behind-the-scenes ‘human-ware’.
  • Look at quality and source of both questions and answers in support space.
  • Technically evaluate relevant project’s development strategy and documentation.
  • Check demo.
  • Check bug processing.

NB. Technolgy is just one of the factors determining success.

Take and give back.

Focus on the business challenge and let the chosen open source solution grow with you.

ImageManager 2.0 vs UploadManager*

ImageManager looks like a Great plugin for WordPress 2.0, installed flawlessly and worked when WP’s native upload wouldn’t.

Now what I would really like is being able to upload other types of documents, e.g. PDFs, any ideas? (I haven’t spotted any so far – any experienced or aspiring coders/developers interested?) – especially in CMS context so users & authors can get stuff up without an FTP client.

CMS Notes 001

CMS, or Content Management System, is essentially a dashboard that controls data acquisition, storage, and distribution.

Based on pre-determined user-access-rights (vertical and horizontal dimensions) The dashboard facilitates uploading, browsing, and annotation of documents.

For administrative purposes CMS may have a hierarchical structure:

  • Acounts : E.g. Philips, Aberdare Etc.
    • Users : Eg. Alex(FP), Belinda(FP), JohnDo(Philips)
      • Users are assigned roles defining their capabilities
    • Content Categories: Documents e.g. Logos, Advertisements, etc
      • Documents may consist of single Masters, which contain:
        • various file_type versions, e.g. (CMYK)PDF, (RGB)JPG,
        • each of which has one or more size instances e.g. (350dpi)Print[_Offline], (150dpi)Proof
  • Where it gets interesting is in the organisation of the content, its taxonomy. Taxonomy does dot necessarily mean hierarchical. Hierarchical is just one model of taxonomy. The Object Orientation Model is also a taxonomy, though a taxonomy that starts to lend itself to holarchical perspective. Folksonomy, enough being said about that. I’m curious to look into how relationships can be established via Meta-data, perhaps something like the Dubblin Core Metadata Initiative’s DCMI Abstract Model can be used to create manageable relational protocols flexible enough to allow for the radical demands of disparate situations and contextual complexity.

DCMES={ Title,Creator,Subject, Description, Publisher, Contributor, Date, Type, Format, Identifier, Source, Language, Relation, Coverage, Rights,}

The Art of Strategic Systems Study

My recently ordered books on Autopoiesis have arrived, ‘ Autopoiesis and Cognition : Realization of the Living’ (kind-of hardcore (bio)systems theory) and ‘The Tree of Knowledge : The Biological Roots of Human Understanding’ (a kind of an intro to the API of thought and perceptions hopefully)

I have decided to register for two third-year modules in Philosophy of Logic at UNISA this year (‘Contemporary Social Epistemology: a study of the social determinants of knowledge” and “Mind and Reality”), either of which successfully completed will help me do an Honours in Philosophy (probably take two years) which in turn will allow me to do a Masters, probably in Information Design at the University of Pretoria where I did my first degree. Who knows, by then I might just do the unthinkable and start on a doctorate. (Formal Logic, will have to stay on the back burner a while longer)

Volunteered in response to Matt’s request for WordPress Development contributors. (Always wanted to meet ‘rockstars’ ;- ), fact is, I have fallen in love with the WordPress thing.

Edited and added to the Wikipedia entry for Salutogenesis:

Inserted experience of well-being = SOC in 1st paragraph

Added SOC section, external links, created section for ‘areas of application’, and started looking at the narrative structure

by way of familiarisation- and engagement with WIKI which for interest sake has close semiotic ties with ‘Taxi’

Spend most of yesterday in a fascinating and exceptionally exciting dialogue with David Krut of David Krut Publishing, TaxiArt Books and David Krut Fine Art.

Investing a lot of thought and research into the potential offered by the collaborative dynamics offered by CMS, and as much as the technical gory details are very interesting and entertaining to me, it is the glimpses of spectral unfurling of the much bigger meta-future that has me for once sitting up and taking notice. A lot of notice. Thinking about Art, about State of the Art, the Art of Information, the Intelligence of Art.

Oh and my and Je’anna Levannah’s latest conception, ‘Vapour Vixen’ is waiting in the wings.

PCMI ‘Put your Cursor where your Mind Is’

Pointing my Mouse where my Mind is

My new acronym is:
PCMI ‘Put your Cursor where your Mind Is’

Of course this is based on a phenomenally in-depth study of ‘Self Actualisation’ style theory ranging from change and sustainability voices like Senge and Capra through geek tutors and design mentors like Molly Holschlag and a few creativity gurus, a scan of philosophy of mind, some philosophers, a splash of Ken Wilber, the fundamentals of usability and hopefully a glimmer of reliable experiential efficacy.

Try it.

Please.

Let me know what it does for you.

I suspect it plays well wit its inverse:
PMCI ‘Put your Mind where your Cursor Is’

Digital Think Tank, Digital Culture and uncreative Game Design

Digital Think Tank presents some interesting theory on Digital Culture including:

An interview of Charles Gere, Author of Digital Culture by Stephen Janis who teaches MP3 Culture and Digital Promotion: A cultural perspective at The Johns Hopkins University.

Charles seems to posit a very broad definition of digital. The difficulty of projecting/predicting the impact of new technology is highlighted even argued but not with the same drama as for example Vernor Vinge’s contention of a technological Singularity as a result of the development of entities with greater than human intelligence. This is not a new concept but perhaps one that is becoming more accessible and apparent to a larger segment of society.

Asked about texts that may suplement his book Gere listed:

My top five texts on digital culture
1. The Closed World by Paul N. Edwards
2. How We Became Posthuman by N. Katherine Hayles
3. Gramophone Film Typewriter by Friedrich Kittler
4. Technics and Time by Bernard Stiegler
5. Archive Fever by Jacques Derrida
Plus coming early next year my new book, Art, Time and Technology (Berg books)

In another post DTT considers ‘Moore’s Wall’, how according to Ralph Koster, Chief Creative Officer of Sonys Online Entertainment Division, technology curtails creativity. If I was his direct superior I’d think realy hard about firing him for a statement. He does point out that creativity is largely about finding solutions but I am not convinced of the conclusion that:

Its just human nature to do what we have done before, only to try to do it nicer. And that fundamentally is the limitation of advances in technology as regards game design.” but this rides largely on how one defines technology, human nature, or may explain why I don’t care much for digital gaming.

I suspect creativity is often too strongly associated with new-ness for the sake of new-ness, the novelty factor, sadly at the cost of relevancy. Something that is old-hat but applied in a way that increases relevancy and thus the quality of the solution is creative whether popular culture gets this or not. This is because creative doesn’t only mean ‘originality’ but also ‘imaginative’, ‘expressive’ and most importantly the capacity to ‘create’ or bring into existence. Which leads us straight back to Autopoeisis ” the process whereby an organization produces itself; literally, self-production” (Klaus Krippendorff’s Dictionary of Cybernetics). Perhaps what is limited is not creativity, but rather individuals’ experience of- or acces of creativity (especialy as seen from the perspective of the previously mentioned issue of the Singularity factor.

A Good Teacher

A good teacher should love the people she will be teaching – be they adults or children. She should have knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject she will be teaching. She should be lateral thinking, flexible, warm and able to guide without being intrusive. A good teacher should be encouraging to the more advanced student. Nurturing to the more needy. She should be passionate about what she is doing, be aware of all aspects of ‘learning’ and should also herself be eager to learn and glean more knowledge for the growth of self and pupil. ‘Light and Life’

A-MM – educator

A good teacher is an educator in the fullest sense of the word i.e. someone who cares for each and every child – academic, social and emotional. That person should never be intrusive but at the same time must act when necessary. As regards the academic side the good teacher must encourage those in his care to think out of the box-lateral skills are essential. You know all about it with your wide range of interests.

Frank Simmonds – educator – ex head St Andrew’s School

A person who is passionate about what they do and who has great enthusiasm for the task.  It goes without saying that a love of children or young people is a given as is a marked intellectual capacity for the discipline/subject that they are teaching.  I hold firm on the importance of subject specialists at Roedean.  I hope this helps.  If teachers are passionate and love what they do, they will deal with all the other challenges that they face in the current educational climate.

Mary Williams – Educator – Head of Rodean

one who shows people where to find a beam of light that illuminates them and waits around till he/she sees their eyes glow?

Dorian Haarhoff – English Lecturer – Author

As a teacher and a trainer of teachers, I have a deep commitment to accountability and to what I believe that we can realistically hold teachers accountable for. Included on this list are:

  • A classroom that provides the structure and discipline needed for effective learning
  • Teacher knowledge of the subject, for teaching effectively
  • A teacher’s personal commitment to work hard, to be caring, to be a learner, to be enthusiastic
  • Paying attention to each child and treating each child fairly
  • Working with students’ families to help children learn

The work of teaching and learning is more complex than we know. There is increasing discussion these days about "highly qualified teachers" as if that alone was going to solve all educational problems.  Evaluation and testing, much emphasized today, do not turn poor students into good ones. They are not teaching tools. At best, they check in on what is test-able, not necessarily on what’s been learned. While good tests serve diagnostic functions, just as X-rays and MRI’s at the doctor’s, most testing in school is still used for grading and sorting purposes. Many test results don’t even come back until the end of the school year…too late to do any good.

Education is about the transfer of knowledge and "lighting the fire." This occurs in an environment that supports it. One of the biggest lessons I have learned as a teacher is about the extraordinary value of encouragement. This is often seen by "macho" politicians and educators as a soft and weak concept. Quite the opposite, encouragement is a key to educational improvement for teachers as well as students. And it is vastly underused.

Dorothy Rich – American Educator

Additions to this list invited

LOCUS Principles and Elements

(‘Design’ refers to the modus operandi and ‘curriculum’of the LOCUS as much as to the physical spaces it will occupy.)

The final LOCUS design must take into account that :

(To save time and space please only agree silently. Submit comments of only debate, requests for clarification, suggestions for other items for inclusion on this list)

  • LOCUS is an acronym for Learner Oriented CampUS. In order to be truly learner-oriented and to foster a healthy internal locus of control for the children who attend, it is important that the LOCUS be designed in harmony with the latest and most complete understanding of children’s rights possible, including children’s right of participation. Thus, furthermore:
    • It is important that children are actively involved in the design of the LOCUS, even if all of them do not end up attending it. This active involvement should take the form of ethically meticulous ‘co-search’ with interested children, and no false hopes must be generated.
    • It is important that the children who do eventually attend the LOCUS are actively involved in the ongoing development and further evolution of the LOCUS.
  • It is important that different age-groups, as well as children with different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, as well as different arrays of ability can learn from each other vs being artificially segregated as is currently common in South African educational facilities.
    • In an environment that focuses on individual ‘next readiness’ rather than group aggregates, it should be viable to accommodate the so-called ‘differently abled’ child alongside their peers.
  • Peer mentoring is NB – opportunity for a child to really learn and integrate by helping another child understand as well as chance for other child to be facilitated in an age-suitable way vs only by an adult.
  • The importance of being actively part of the overall human and natural ecology vs being either an artificial ‘consumptariat – child factory’ or an isolated ‘freak farm’.
  • The need for different levels of access to the LOCUS – e.g. full-time, part time, occasional, casual ; as well as structured and unstructured, special activity, etc to accommodate both ‘home-schoolers’ and families with full-time working parents, as well as different desire in kids
  • Balance between voluntary self-chosen ‘curricula’ and facilitated navigation, boundaries, deadlines ‘completions’ etc. NB to ensure sufficient literacy, numeracy, and a degree of rounded spread; as well as solo and group; mind, soul, heart and body activity.
  • Total accountability of LOCUS for learner’s needs – not necessarily by direct supply, but by facilitation of research into options, etc.
  • Necessity of educating whole family in order to support child in LOCUS learning culture. e.g. issues around participatory communication, nutrition, TV, discipline, etc.
  • Importance of starting in womb, through baby-hood, all the way up.
  • Balance between LOCUS ‘recommendations’, bottom-lines, and accommodation of different choices.
  • Child-empowering facilitated learning resource-centre angle vs the dictatorial ‘school’.
  • Importance of rights and respect – that all adults and all children are all equals, just with differing needs and roles.
  • The importance of the inclusion of nature and animals as respected participants rather than as ‘objects’ of study.
  • Need to evaluate and/either translate or grade different methods e.g. de bono shades, so that they can be offered and used appropriately to age\developmental and next-readiness levels.
  • Need to create evaluation structures that leave children relatively free of external pressure and labelling while still allowing parents to monitor their child’s learning progress relative to children in other educational models.
  • Need to de-emphasise competition between children while fostering a culture of personal excellence and mutual supportiveness.

LOCUS Meeting Dates

  • February 22nd when we will brainstorm the best and worst of our own school experiences in order to inform what we do and dont want the LOCUS to be.
  • March 29th when the suggestion is that we have input from Lola on the Waldorf model and input from Nicky and Anne-Marie on the Montessori approach.
  • April 19th (TBC)
  • May 24th
  • June 21st