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Article Reference List

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Links to articles that reference Jim Spencer in some way;

 

After attending HostingCon in Boston I was interviewed for an article about Boston business and the conference. August, 2012.

http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/how-hostingcon-brought-the-hosting-business-to-local-startups-in-boston

 

 

New SSD Joy Hampered by QuickBooks Error 3371

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

My three-year old Dell Latitude is not keeping up like it used to. So, after a buddy suggested getting an SSD to extend the life of any computer, I bought one.

I used Acronis to clone the existing drive and make it bootable and then put the SSD into the laptop. I was so impressed when the system booted up and booted up fast.

My bloated Outlook came on the screen faster. I have also noticed that closing Chrome with my 20+ tabs open happens instantly instead of over a few minutes.

Two exceptions to my being overjoyed were RoboForm and QuickBooks, which seemed to have a similar issue.

RoboForm did not recognize a registered user. I simply clicked and logged on to my account and was back in action.

The Corsair 240GB SSS - photo by Jim Spencer

QuickBooks Support was not effective

I am using QuickBooks Pro 2009. When I clicked on the icon to launch the program it threw up some arcane error code.

Specifically the error was

Error 3371: Could not initialize license properties

I looked on the support forums and called QuickBooks three times.

I found an entry in the support area that exactly named this error. I followed all the suggestions;

1) Reinstall QuickBooks

2) Uninstall and then reinstall QuickBooks

3) Ensure that MSXMS is installed

4) Reinstall Microsoft .NET

5) Ensure that all Microsoft software is up to date

6) Download QuickBooks from http://UseQuickbooks.com/pro2009 instead of using the original disk. Internet Explorer, which they recommended just looped. Chrome allowed the download.

7) Use the QBInstaller.exe tool

The really iratating part was that on all three calls to Intuit I was told that I needed to buy the latest version of QuickBooks. That is not a software solution, that is sales. I needed to make whole the existing product, not brush by the issue by making another sale.

Besides the advice defied logic. I had already installed QuickBooks six ways to Sunday and it didn’t help. Why would a newer version be any different. I dare say that it would not be different.

A further complicating issue is that the software is near its “end of life”. The support guys helped a bit, but they wanted me to either buy support of buy the product. One the third call after I told him all the efforts that I had made, he sincerely wanted to help me.

After a few hours I was finally told about the “Entitlement” folder. That is the culprit. Deleting it and then installing QuickBooks was the solution.

I believe that this is the file path - C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data – I deleted the entire Entitlement directory.

A sad face at the MFA - photo by Jim Spencer

Solution

If you are trying to start QuickBooks and get the error

Error 3371: Could not initialize license properties

then go delete the Entitlements folder and its contents located here  C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data.

I am not really clear whether Acronis failed to copy the data completely or accurately or these software packages have something that prevents copy data and logging in.  The latter seems more likely.

I am grateful to the third support person for providing the answer despite his reluctance. That was the difference.  The new SSD is still wonderful and I will hold off replacing my “end of life” software until there is a genuine need.

Have you run into similar situations and found unexpected solutions?

How BuddyPress Evolved in 2011

Friday, January 27th, 2012

How BuddyPress evolved in 2011

While pretty much everyone who spends time on the web knows about WordPress, not many people I talk to have heard about its community-oriented companion: BuddyPress. For those of you who’ve never heard of such a thing, here’s a rundown of what BuddyPress is about:

  • BuddyPress is a plugin that turns your self-hosted WordPress site into a membership based private social network.
  • Your members can create a complete profile with information you specify (including a photo).
  • Members can post status updates, message each other publicly and privately, and friend each other. They can even each have their own WordPress blog.
  • BuddyPress allows you to set up forums where your members can discuss, collaborate, and debate.
  • BuddyPress automatically generates an activity stream for each user, letting your members see what posts people are  commenting on and which forums topics their friends are spending time on.
  • See live examples at the BuddyPress Showcase.

Sounds pretty great, so why haven’t you heard of it?

Earlier versions of BuddyPress were resource intensive, loading a lot of unnecessary JavaScript and CSS onto pages and slowing them down. BuddyPress was also not customizable unless you were willing to hack some serious code. Even earlier versions were more challenging to set up and configure properly. These factors slowed adoption and limited active use to “advanced” programmers.

Fortunately, times are changing! In the fall of 2011 BuddyPress 1.5 was released with a serious list of improvements and new features.

Performance

First and foremost, BuddyPress’s JavaScript and CSS files now only load when they are needed instead of loading everything everywhere. This can result in a huge performance gain on sites with a lot of traffic.  I know from personal experience that the new BuddyPress can handle communities with tens of thousands of active users.

New Theme

The default theme that comes with BuddyPress has been redesigned to be more beautiful, flexible, and usable. It now looks great on mobile devices, has four new widget areas, and allows for page-specific featured images. The profiles, activity streams, comments, and forums have all been redesigned for better readability as well.

The new BuddyPress 1.5 profile and activity stream

The new BuddyPress 1.5 profile and activity stream

Administration

BuddyPress has been extremely customizable since it was officially launched in 2009. Version 1.5 features a brand new administrative interface that lets you specify the URL of your profile pages and forums, create and reorder profile fields with a drag and drop interface, and upgrade BuddyPress with less hassle.

Extensibility

Last but not least, for the hacker within all of us, BuddyPress comes with a brand new BP_Component class which makes it easy for plugins to extend user profiles and more.

All in all, these enhancements make BuddyPress a very attractive out of the box social networking solution. If you’re interested adding BuddyPress to your WordPress site, feel free to send us a message and we’ll be happy to help.

For more information, check out:

Have you heard of BuddyPress? What is your experience with BuddyPress? Let us know in the comments please.

Mission Success on Empire Avenue

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

I just ran my first mission on Empire Avenue.  Here is what I learned.

What is a Mission?

Missions drive social engagement. I setup my Mission to ask people to visit http://www.jbspartners.com and click on the social sharing buttons on the left side of the page. You can click on the ones right here on this page if you like. :-)

Each mission provides an award of Empire Avenue currency, in this case 1,000 eaves. I arranged to have 30 missions available to whoever wanted to participate.

The 30 Missions cost me 60,000 eaves. I opted to mail all shareholders, which cost another $2,875 or so I think because I have 474 shareholders and this was my first Mission. I can see that sending Mail for a second Mission is more than twice as costly at 5,850 with the same award and number of Missions.

Before the Mission I had small numbers of social mentions;

  1. Likes – 26
  2. Tweets – 15
  3. Google+ – 11
  4. Stumble Upon – 2
  5. LinkedIn – was added during the Mission, started with 4

Mission Description and Text

Title: Provide Social Sharing

The Details…

 Likes 19

Mission: Please click on the social sharing buttons on the left side of http://www.jbspartners.com to Like, Tweet, G+ and/or Stumble please.

Thank you very much!

 

What you see is a very simple and brief title that is clear about what the mission is.  The Mission text makes it even clearer. I said “please” twice, at the beginning and end on purpose and followed-up with “thanks”.

 

Mission Results

The 30 Missions yielded the following new numbers;
  1. Likes – 41 (+15)
  2. Tweets – 63 (+48)
  3. Google+ – 28 (+17)
  4. Stumble Upon – 2 (+0)
  5. LinkedIn – 6 (+6)
For a total of 86 new mentions in all, (adding up the numbers above in the brackets).
That is nearly 90 actions from 30 Missions.
I also picked up maybe 20  new Twitter followers, some new shareholders and a friend on Flickr.

 

Mission Lessons

The sharing tools that I installed uses the page name instead of the meta title to share the page. So, on Twitter every link was described as “Home” instead of something much more meaningful and helpful.

So, I got a lot of tweets like this;

Home http://www.jbspartners.com/ via @fairminder

 

Instead of like this;

WordPress powered Websites, Blogs, and Marketing.http://www.jbspartners.com/ via @fairminder

 

To resolve this I need to add a custom navigation menu which will allow me to change the Home page title to anything I want while keeping the navigation text simply “Home”.

19 people “Liked” the mission on the mission page. This likely helped spread the word inviting others to do the Mission.

I also posted news of the Mission on the Team Zen Facebook page. I think the shareholder was the primary driver though.

The mission only took about two hours after being launched in the morning around 10am EST.

 

Reactions

It is interesting to translate virtual the social currency and “spend” it in a way that may bring value to the JBS Partners website and my business.

I will try this again for sure. I might try a lower Mission reward (500 eaves) and see if it works as well. I am only asking for a click after all.

This generated a lot of Tweets in one day, more than 50. So if you are a Klout watcher, this is sure to nudge your score up.

I would like to try specifically asking for Just Stumble Upon. It may be that folks don’t have accounts. However, I have seen a lot of traffic generated by Stumble Upon so it is worth going after with the right kind of content.

I am a satisfied Mission customer.

Have you tried an Empire Avenue Mission? What was your experience?

You can read more Empire Avenue success stories here.

Screen Shots for Setting up Outlook 2007 Email on cPanel Hosting

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Ready to set up Outlook 2007 email to connect with your mail server?

Here is what you will need to have in hand;

  1. A display name for the email recipient ( Jim Spencer )
  2. Email address ( jim@jbspartners.com )
  3. Email password
  4. Domain name ( jbspartners.com )
  5. Incoming mail server (mail.jbspartners.com) – if you host with JBS Partners, just replace with your domain name
  6. Outgoing mail server (mail.jbspartners.com)

Click on Tools and then Account Settings

 

 


Under the Email tab click on New

 

 


Choose Microsoft Exchange, POP3, IMAP or HTTP

 

 

 


Select the box at the bottom - Manually configure server settings or additional server types, and click Next

 

 


Choose Internet E-mail and click Next

 

 


Fill in all the information listed below;

  • Your name: How you would like your name displayed in your messages
  • E-mail Address: Your full E-mail address example; user@domain.com
  • Account Type: Choose either IMAP or POP3
  • Incoming mail server: mail.your-domain-name.com
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): mail.your-domain-name.com
  • User Name: Your full e-mail example; user@domain.com
  • Password: password for the account

When complete,  click the More Settings… button at the bottom right

 

 


Click on the Outgoing Server tab and

check off My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication and

choose Use same settings as my incoming mail server

Then click Next

 

 


Click on Next, and then Finish to complete your setup!

Congratulations!!!

 

 


 

No Graphics Instructions

1 – Click on Tools and then Account Settings

2 – Under the Email tab click on New

3 – Choose Microsoft Exchange, POP3, IMAP or HTTP

4 – Select the box at the bottom - Manually configure server settings or additional server types, and click Next

5 – Choose Internet E-mail and click Next

Fill in all the information listed below;

  • Your name: How you would like your name displayed in your messages
  • E-mail Address: Your full E-mail address example; user@domain.com
  • Account Type: Choose either IMAP or POP3
  • Incoming mail server: mail.your-domain-name.com
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): mail.your-domain-name.com
  • User Name: Your full e-mail example; user@domain.com
  • Password: password for the account

6 – When complete,  click the More Settings… button at the bottom right

7 – Click on the Outgoing Server tab and

8 – check off My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication and

9 – choose Use same settings as my incoming mail server

10 – Then click Next

11 – Click on Next, and then Finish to complete your setup!

Congratulations!!!

Let us know if this was helpful or how we might make it even easier for you.

Note: cPanel hosting accounts have a button to click that will configure your email client for you.

Empire Avenue for Content Promotion

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

I wrote a post on Slide Presentation Tips for Conference Speakers.

Promoting quality content effectively is all about leveraging influence. Using a network is an effective method.

Empire Avenue for Content Promotion

I joined Empire Avenue back in April and have enjoyed many benefits, including an entirely new network of positive and motivated people. I am making friends. Here is my account –  http://www.empireavenue.com/fairminder

I am a member of a couple of Empire Avenue (EA) groups that congregate on Facebook.  I posted the following on the Team Zen group;


Need someone to buy your shares? Tweet, Like, +1 or Stumble this post and I will buy your shares - http://www.jbspartners.com/spe?aking/presentation-tips-speake?rs Probably at least 100 shares if you leave a link to your acct. If you buy back I will too. Tomorrow.



Ad Structure

  1.  It starts with a subject near and dear to every shareholder’s heart – getting someone to buy their shares. This is important because it causes their share price to increase, which is good.
  2. The second sentence makes the request. I ask for some social media attention using the conveniently located buttons in the sidebar of the post.
  3. Then I clearly define what is it for them. I will buy 100 of their shares. I put in “probably” just in case I ran out of currency. Anything is possible right?
  4. Then I made a second offer to buy more of their shares if they purchased some of my shares, something called a “buy back’.
  5. Lastly, I let them know the buying would start the following day.

 

Team Zen Did What?

The offer was available for 21 hours beginning after midnight. The group has about 1,000 members from all around the world.

The Facebook posting received 6 Likes.

About 15 members of Team Zen visited my post and hit the button(s).

The sidebar social widget on the post shows the following now;
(see the image here on the right)

Like – 15
Tweet – 22
+1 – 9
SU – 133

Stumble Upon is under represented in this group. I think one person used Stumble Upon.

This group has an affinity with Twitter it seems, despite being in a Facebook group.

A handful of participants bought a few of my shares after I purchased their shares, usually less than 50.

A small number began to friend or follow me today.

Quite a few postings did not include a link to their account, so I ran into the challenges of using the EA search box. It failed me more than once.

More than one person commented that they were happy to help and did not want me to buy their shares. the general tone of all the comments were very supportive and encouraging. I appreciate that.

 

Key Benefits and Takeaways

I got to get to meet new people and made some good connections.  I don’t see the same opportunity for this to happen on EA, although EA it would not have happened without EA.

The post got almost 200 page views just during this 21 hour period.

There were about 30 visitors from Facebook, and handful from Twitter and the rest came from Stumble Upon.

The project earned a link from a blog to my speaker tips post. Thanks for that.

There is also an outstanding offer to cross-promote

A few more people are better equipped to present now. Yippee!!!

And I think a few more people know about JBS Partners now.

 

My Flawed Reward System

I spent around 100,000 eaves, which is a lot in my mind.

Offering a flat 100 shares is simple and clean, but flawed, here is why.

A couple of participants have a huge audience and influence while others are still growing them. Compare over 50,000 Twitter followers with 27, for example.

In addition, participant share prices varied from 25 to nearly 120 per share.  Spending between 2,500 and 12,000 to buy that 100 shares for the same action makes no sense.

Offering to spend a flat number of eaves, instead of shares,  makes more sense for next time.

For example. If I had offered to spend 5,000 eaves, this project would have cost only 75,000 eaves, instead of 100k.  I could have allowed five more participants.

 

What’s Next?

I would definitely like make this offer again, as long as it is ok with the community.

When I try this again it would be interesting to try it over on the X Bar Empire Avenue group on Facebook. They have about 700 members.

The offer will be  eaves instead of shares.

Two things would be great to figure out;

  1. Ways to  compensate for the variation in size of audience and influence
  2. To see if quality blog comments can also be encouraged.

 

What do you think?

 

 

Empire Avenue Resources

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

A continually growing list of off-site Empire Avenue resources around the web.


Empire Avenue Resources

The Official Resource Site

Empire Avenue’s list of blogs, videos and news – http://planet.empireavenue.com/


 

Video

Robert Scoble’s interview with Dupes, the founder of Empire Avenue – from Apr 14, 2011, 52 min YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dudRnM3RI&feature=player_embedded


 

Empire Avenue Chat on Twitter

 

What: @EAvChat Worldwide  Fun chat 4X a week about #EAv & Twitter
Days: Sun, Tues & Thurs
Time: 7pm ET
and Sun 7pm GMT
Hosts: with @Domino_Oracle & @mqtodd
Hashtag: #eavchat

 


 

Blogs – news, opinion, how to, guides

Blog posts about Empire Avenue with tips, new, discussion sand suggestions http://empirebuilding.net/

Blog posts with tutorials, videos and the newbie guide – http://empireavenuefans.com


 

Tools – rankings, ROI calculators, shareholder sorting

Great tool to check your stocks – http://setsocial.com/empireAvenue

Tool to help you track the best dividend earners – http://alethe.net/~k/eav/

Stock buying Recommendations from Team Zen http://teamzen.org/

Tool to find high dividend and high ROI stocks to buy – http://empireavenuetips.com/node/73519

Link that allows you to see account data about any stock. In the URL string just replace fairminder with the stock name you are interested in. Useful to see how many shares someone owns in you.  http://www.empireavenue.com/fairminder/portfolio/quickview?display=fb&mode=profile -

 


 

Facebook Pages / Groups

Empire Avenue Facebook Application - http://apps.facebook.com/empireavenue/

X Bar – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_215923051760153

Team Zen – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_160861073976561

 


Do you have a favorite resource for Empire Avenue? Share it here or leave a comment about the links above.  If you want to join Empire Avenue here is a link.

Empire Avenue – How to Setup Your Account

Monday, June 27th, 2011

I joined Empire Avenue two months ago on 4/25/11. It is kind of like Twitter over four years ago in that most people don’t seem to get it. It is an influence stock market.

Empire Avenue

 

When your Purpose and Motive in joining and participating are clear the experience is more worthwhile.

You can join EA to;

  1. Amass virtual wealth, called Eaves
  2. Develop a high dividend yield. Over 1% is popular with investors
  3. Connect with new people and nurture existing networks
  4. Get people you don’t even know to increase your follower counts on Facebook Twitter, Flicker, YouTube and Linkedin
  5. Sell products and service that you sell other places
  6. Learn about the mechanics of virtual investing, and thereby real investing
  7. Find someone to finally fix that computer problem

Once you join, you typically take part by buying and selling shares in other people who have also joined.  Their value is based on social activity or online influence on major social networks as well as social activity on Empire Avenue, including the buying and selling of shares with the virtual currency called eaves.

The customary gaming part in social sites is present with all kinds of achievements that give not only pretty medallions, but also more eaves.

You can also buy your way in with cold hard cash if you want to. You can buy eaves, the virtual currency, and you can buy upgrades, advertising and luxury items.

Once you decide why you want to join keep that focus in mind as you make decisions about buying and selling shares, participating in communities and so on.

How to Start

  1. Go to www.EmpireAvenue.com and register after you consider your ticker. Four letters is cool or use your typical online name – whatever you want to be known by.
  2. Fill in your profile completely.
  3. Upload a smiling photo of yourself.
  4. Write a full and complete BIO so people can get to know you.
  5. Fill in at least 50 interests. If you add 50 you earn some eaves. :-)
  6. Connect your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and Flickr accounts.  If you have large followings people will buy your shares right away.
  7. Connect RSS feeds. Keep in mind that Empire Avenue (EA) only tracks your top five accounts. So, just put in your top five blogs and then request that they be upgraded by clicking on that button.
  8. Join a few communities, again based on your motive, and engage with people.  Remember you earn eaves for your social activity on EA.
  9. Be sure to visit the Settings / Edit profile and fill in the requested information there to completely fill in your profile.
  10. Think about the kind of people you want to engage with. Whose attention do you want to get?
  11. Start buying shares. You may want to get the attention of people who;
  • are in your industry,
  • might become customers,
  • live in your area,
  • are influential,
  • offer really high dividends,
  • that might increase dramatically in share price, you get the idea.

You don’t have to buy back. Just because someone buys your stock, doesn’t mean you have to buy theirs. Some people believe you should. Make your own rules that fit with your purpose and motives.

That’s how I suggest you get started on Empire Avenue.  I will write a few more posts about Empire Avenue in the future.


Go to www.EmpireAvenue.com and create an account.  Leave a message below about your experience.

Drupal4Design Boston – Dries, Design, Drupal and WordPress

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

The 2011 Druapal 4 Design conference in Boston left me with a lot to consider. Walking into the MIT Stata Center was a great start.

drupal logo

The Drupal "Drop" logo

My Content Management System Background

After moving from a custom platform to Open Source development years ago, I felt it wise to choose one or two content management / development platforms to focus on. I didn’t want to specialize in “everything”.  I made two choices – WordPress and Drupal.

The business grew and WordPress was the platform of choice nearly every time. I explained to business owners the advantages of a CMS and that WordPress was designed for writers and that Drupal was designed for programmers.  Neither Drupal or WordPress fan boys would disagree.

Moving forward with Drupal was much harder. The terminology and admin navigation was not helpful in Drupal 5. The WordPress admin interface took some learning, but I never got completely lost or felt afraid I would do irrevocable damage.

I remember feeling bad for one client in particular because each time they wanted to change their Drupal website they couldn’t figure it out and had to hire me. The guy was a programmer, so he didn’t feel great about it either. Our of my commitment to Drupal one of my own sites www.WebPageAdvisor.com was built in Drupal, but eventually I reverted to WordPress so that I too wouldn’t have to pay someone to make changes on the site.

Today, nearly all of the work done at JBS Partners is on WordPress. In addition, in 2009 www.BlogWranglers.com was launched to provide site migration services.  Most move requests are to WordPress, well all of them so far are to WordPress.

In summary, I tried Drupal and WordPress. Drupal was hard. WordPress dominated incoming client requests and here we are. But, I didn’t forget about Drupal.

Drupal 4 Design Conference 2011 Boston

I volunteered at DrupalCon Boston in 2008 and this is the second Drupal4Design Boston that I have attended.

This year I learned the most at the lunch table, a presentation on user testing and the keynote by Dries Buytaert- the founder of Drupal. First, let me say it is was fascinating to be among the Drupal faithful as an “outsider”, a self-professed WordPress guy. I wasn’t quick to tell anyone that I work with WordPress and know little about Drupal.

Drupal User Testing

This presentation made me feel good. It was full of affirmations that I was not the only one who had trouble with Drupal, even later versions like Drupal 6 and Drupal 7. During 75 minutes of testing every subject needed to call the help desk to complete the assigned task, which I believe was to build a page following a wire frame.

Most test subject utterly failed. Many became frustrated. Some of the issues included terminology that was unfamiliar or unclear, groups of navigation links in the admin area with no indication of what they were for or whether they were required to complete a task, drop down with 19 choices and no previewing of changes made to a page.

drupal4design conference 2011

The main auditorium full of laptops and tablets

I thought this was fantastic. The Drupal people are being very open about a huge weakness and they are working very hard to make the changes to reduce frustration and make Drupal easier to use.

Who is Drupal for?

During the keynote question and answer period Jon Sachs asked Dries about the levels of Drupal users and which is being targeted in the user testing.  The three levels Jon described are the business owner / end user, the person or company that is hired to create the site and the deeply knowledgeable Drupal developers. I thought about this and piled on the different cultural and language factors to the mix. Not an easy question.

You don’t want to alienate the strong developer community. But, Drupal cannot remain difficult to use. I don’t remember that Dries provided a specific choice in his reply, but he clearly recognized and asked for help in improving the design of Drupal, the User Interface of the admin area.

The Keynote – Founder of Drupal

Dries is very humble, willing to accept his own perspective or even shortcomings and eager to welcome suggestions and contributions to make Drupal better.  He is the kind of guy you can have a conversation with, which I did. More on that later.

One of his slides clearly made the point that right now design is more important than engineering and then he added, “there, I said”. to an auditorium full of laughter. You see Dries is an engineer by training.

One of the really fascinating questions was from Jaye. He asked about WordPress, Drupal and Joomla all improving and whether Dries saw a convergence in 5+ years.  He asked what would separate the platforms.

The answer centered around Drupal being an enterprise level platform to build on.

Is there another major CMS that has a design focused Camp / Bar or Conference?

Lunchtime Conversations

I happened to sit at a lunch table that included very experienced Drupalers and conference speakers.  I took the opportunity to be a fly on the wall.  A few topics that interested me.

Large Shops – Drupal not WordPress

Large Drupal shops – the group offered that there are many large Drupal shops, whether they be design or custom solution focused. The interesting point to me was that they held the opinion that they no of no large WordPress shops.

Why would this be?

  1. If that is not a testament to how hard Drupal is to work with, I don’t know what is.
  2. You don’t need a big shop to build blogs and small websites on WordPress
  3. WordPress isn’t used in the enterprise providing complex solutions
  4. Maybe the work is being done in-house

I am not convinced that any of these answers offered at the table are fully accurate. Do you know of any WordPress shops with more than 15 or 20 people employed full time?

The inference here is that large multi-national is not likely to choose WordPress because there are not large WordPress shops to turn to for support, customization and special projects.

Shortage of Drupal talent

There is a shortage of talented Drupal developers, themers and programmers. This was confirmed multiple times before and after lunch.

Chat with Dries

I found myself drying my hands in the Men’s room with Dries. He asked me how the conference was going and we ended up having a nice conversation on the way out of the bathroom and into the concourse.

This conversation combined with the lunch conversation really left me with the thought that these folks see Drupal in the Enterprise and WordPress, well, not so much.

Dries Buytaert

Dries Buytaert - founder of Drupal

I asked Dries what the big differentiators are between WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.  He talked about editorial review and user permission, workflow and Drupal more as a platform than a solution.

We agreed that Joomla is not really worth speaking about and that many feel that way while there is WordPress and Drupal available.

We also discussed how hard Drupal has been to use and how expensive it is to hire quality talent to work on Drupal, especially when compared to the WordPress. He agreed that is the case and attributed this to simple supply and demand, which seems reasonable.

Conclusions

The Drupal core development group is aware that much user interface work is needed to make their platform user friendly. Hurray!!! The focus on user interface and design will have a huge benefit.

The Drupal community is cohesive and supportive. Definitely a male dominated, programmer-centric group at the conference. There were ladies in the crowd of 300, of course.  Quality folks, I must say as my misplaced iPhone was returned to the registration desk where I retrieved it within 10 minutes of discovering it was missing.

Need a job? Become a Drupal themer or developer

I want to learn more about WordPress in the enterprise and large WordPress shops. You can see some big names using WordPress listed on the WordPress showcase site.

No Convergence: WordPress and Drupal will continue to grow and improve.  Drupal will become prettier and easier to use (more like WordPress in that regard) and WordPress will become more of an extensible development platform and handle more complex requirements (more like Drupal).  I have to agree with Dries, there is room in the world for both. Complete convergence that wipes out the need for one or the other is not going to happen.

Will I start looking to take on more Drupal clients? Sure, why not. Especially after Drupal 8 has been out for six months.


Do you think Drupal needs usability testing and a focus on better admin area design?

Do you think WordPress is present in the Enterprise?

Are there any large WordPress shops out there?

Online Tools for Website Owners – Mon.itor.us

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Is your website or blog down and unavailable? If you don’t monitor you won’t know whether your site is up or down. You certainly don’t want to wait for your customers to tell you. http://mon.itor.us/ offers free and paid server monitoring. They offer a valuable service which I use to monitor the HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SMTP and POP3 server services.  This covers the web server, file transfer protocol and email. If any of these services does not respond to a ping I receive an email notification alert. A key point in making this service function is to use an email address that is not on the server that you are monitoring. For example, I am monitoring the server that handles all email for jbspartners.com.  Any service interruption alerts get sent to my GMail account, instead of a jbspartners email address. I configured my phone and computer to monitor this account so that I get immediate notification. Forwarding to your standard email, jbspartners.com in my case, would fail to deliver the notification if the server is down. With these emails in hand you can contact your host and ask specifically what went wrong with the failed service at the specific date and time in the email. This can lead to specific enhancing adjustments on the server or maybe a decision to switch hosts after seeing a pattern of failures that are not getting fixed. The Problem Alert email is easy to read and full of information.

PROBLEM Alert

Service: HTTP URL: http://72.29.66.95 Name: 72.29.66.95_http Tag: mY IP State: CRITICAL Date/Time: 3-21-2011 17:47:13 (GMT – 5) Additional Information: Connection refused. Failures From: EU, US and the recover comes in green

RECOVERY Alert

Service: HTTP URL: http://72.29.66.95 Name: 72.29.66.95_http Tag: mY IP State: OK Date/Time: 3-21-2011 18:12:03 (GMT – 5) Additional Information: HTTP response code: 200 Keeping your website up and available is easy with a service like Monitorus. If the reports and emails show that your server services are down you are half way to getting things fixed up and running smoothly again.

Open Source Monitoring

If you want to install and run your own Open Source monitoring service have a look https://www.icinga.org/download/ How are you monitoring your hosting server services?

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