One of those days

I don’t usually get personal and sentimental on my blog, but today I’m feeling exceptionally poetic. Maybe it’s the rain or the holidays or the fact that I only slept four hours last night. Maybe it’s because the year is drawing to a close.

It’s one of those days that I want to freeze and put in a box to remember for the rest of my life.

I’m listening to Bing Crosby’s rendition of Silver Bells. Drinking coffee mixed with soy nog. The only light in my room comes from the three monitors on my desk and the gloomy pseudo-light leaking through the thick layer of clouds above. Continue reading

College Publisher to start charging and supporting WordPress

Well, folks. I didn’t think I’d see this day coming, although I probably should have: For $4,500/year, College Publisher will host and maintain a WordPress install for college publications.

This is good news and bad news.

But first, a little background. College Publisher is the platform that hundreds of college publications throughout the United States use to host their newsorg websites. Until recently, the only CMS option via College Publisher was CP5, a proprietary and absolutely hideous, antiquated system. I had a lot of beef with College Publisher and when I was involved with CoPress, we helped transition student newsorgs to open source software, primarily WordPress.

Now College Publisher will do the same for an affordable fee, but I still have a problem with their approach.

The good news

Finally, College Publisher is offering an open source solution for news orgs — this is definite progress. They claim to support WordPress, Drupal, and Django-based solutions.

College Publisher is also enabling student newsorgs to take back some ownership on their advertising space on their websites. This is a good thing too, since it will get student newsrooms thinking about how to make money online (a thought process that was hindered when College Publisher took sole ownership over most ad slots before).

But…

The bad news

A simple switch to a WordPress CMS isn’t going to help college publications in a drastically new way. The beauty of what CoPress offered was training and education — a sandbox for experimentation. If CMN is still maintaining these WordPress installs for students and restricting plugin usage to CMN-enabled plugins, what incentive is there for students to build their own plugins and tinker with the back end? If CMN is still essentially controlling the entire process, students don’t get to take advantage of the true beauty that is open source.

But, hey, it’s a start.

Visualize your email inbox

Today my friend Denya guessed that she must have sent and received 400 emails related to a project she manages for the annual SF Chronicle wine competition. “There has to be an app for that,” we thought. Sure enough, there’s a Google Chrome extension called Graph Your Inbox that lets you search for trends and visualize other data related to your inbox. It’s pretty nifty.

Graph Your Inbox Continue reading

Design trends in the Google Chrome app store

My latest 10,000 Words post outlines the latest news design trends in the Google Chrome app store, many of which I believe could be pointing at a future of news design.

Notably, I point to:

  • Grid layouts
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Full screen glory
  • Multi-column text display
  • Multi-paneled layouts
  • Big, beautiful video and imagery
  • In-browser notifications
  • Offline reading
  • Customizability Continue reading

Setting yourself apart 101

This weekend I received an email from an eager young lady, Elizabeth Krupka, at Cabrini College who asked me how I set myself apart in college. (I asked her to post her question on Kommons so I could publicly respond).

The phrasing of her question (“How did you set yourself apart from everyone while in college??”) was interesting to me. The harder you try to ensure that you’re not like everyone else, the worse off you’re going to be. How do you measure your success and growth and work toward tangible goals if your treshold is “being set apart from everyone else”? That’s the wrong approach.

So my answer is simple:

There was never a moment where I consciously told myself, “Hey, I think it’s about time I set myself apart from everyone in my major.” It wasn’t about that, and if you focus on that as your goal, you’re doing it wrong.

I had a passion, a thirst for knowledge and a burning curiosity. Those traits led me to do interesting things with my college newspaper, lead interesting discussions in my classes, etc. By nature, I became a leader, and other inspired and eager people followed.

So don’t worry so much about setting yourself apart. Just do what you love doing and always try to learn about how you can do that better. Then share that with everyone else.

Guess who has a Cr-48 Google Chrome OS Notebook?

You know those late nights of surfing the interwebs that land you at a random page with a random link and the next thing you know you’re filling up a form or signing up for an account? I did that last week and it actually paid off.

I absent-mindedly applied to join the Pilot Program for the Chrome OS Notebook, not thinking that I would actually get one. But when I opened the door this morning to find a UPS box with my name on it, I was giddy with joy.

This device is perfect for me. I live in the cloud. I have used Google Docs since I was a senior in high school. I usually have 20 tabs open at a time. Continue reading

Los Angeles is the next big tech hub

It’s no secret that the tech scene in Los Angeles is lacking. But know what that means for those of us in tech? An amazing opportunity to lead a wave of technology evangelism in the city of angels.

I have a personal theory –influenced partially by conversations with local entrepreneurs and people in media — that Los Angeles will become one of the next great tech hubs on the west coast. That’s one reason Publish2 is moving its headquarters here early next year.

Hollywood needs to be disrupted

Newspapers were the first to feel the pain. And it hit them hard. You see technologists flooding to Washington, D.C. to lead an uprising in journalistic innovation. The TV/Movie industry is on the brink of something similar. And with Hulu being based out of LA as well as Google’s YouTube offices (Santa Monica), we are already seeing the start of media innovation in LA. There’s more to come. Continue reading

The stuff I put on my face

After a personal IM conversation with my good friend Greg Linch, in which we were talking about keeping track of our personal data, I started thinking about what kinds of substances I’m putting into and on my body in my day-to-day routine. Then I realized that, just in putting on my face every morning, my routine creams and lotions are ridiculous. I shocked myself after listing them out. I put a lot of crap on my face every day. Continue reading

Shout out of the night: Nacin

This afternoon I did a terrible, terrible thing. I upgraded to WordPress 3.0.2 without backing up anything. There were two key things I did not realize. Which totally screwed me over:

  1. When editing your child themes in wp-admin (not via FTP, not locally), the directory on the right also lists files from the parent theme. When you edit those files (even if the child theme is selected in the dropdown), you’re really editing the parent theme files.
  2. When you upgrade to 3.0.2, the Twenty Ten theme reverts back to default settings.

What does this mean? I edited files from the parent theme, then deleted those changes when I upgraded. And because this was a project for work (not just leisurely fun), I panicked. Continue reading