Archive for September, 2008

Creating a Web Site – Matt’s advice

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

A few of asked, so here’s my answer to the question: “What should I use to create a web site that myself and others can edit?” Here’s my answers to a few particular situations.

Desktop editing: Contribute

If you want a static site that can be modified from someone’s desktop I’d recommend Adobe’s Dreamweaver and Contribute combination. You make the site with Dreamweaver and setup some access rules with Dreamweaver’s template system and (after testing) others can edit the web site with their own copy of Contribute (as described by Adobe). This is really designed for static web sites, not dynamic ones. The good thing about static sites is even though they’re less interactive they handle a high level of load and many developers who want a lot of control over the site but don’t quite get the basics of database-driven sites this can be a good option.

A news site with only a few static pages and lots of updates maintained via the web: WordPress

I’d recommend WordPress. WordPress is blog software and is very purposefully designed for adding content via the web from one or more authors. As a blogging tool it focuses on a flow of content reverse chronologically flowing from the front page on and as a blogging tool it facilitates things like comments and syndication. WordPress requires a MySQL database (and an account and password for that database) and a web server that can run PHP. The best part, it’s completely free.

Some WordPress sites:

Wordpress supports custom themes, some of which can be found at places like (and then extended etc.)

Spread the net

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Rick Mercer was recently at Brock University to help spread the word on the Spread the Net campaign. The goal of the campaign is to have Canadians buy simple Mosquito nets at $10 each that will be given to children in Liberia and Rwanda to give them a place to sleep protected from mosquitos and the threat of Malaria.

Everyone at Brock University would love it if you could make a donation at: my.e2rm.com/TeamPage.aspx?EventID=15008&LangPref=en-CA&TeamID=84330

Its simple way to make a big impact and save lives.

Spread the Net - www.spreadthenet.org

A500

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

My first computer, as in the first one that I had providence over, was an Amiga 500. It took me back down memory lane to see one at pcmuseum.ca, www.pcmuseum.ca/details.asp?id=149. This pack-rat/archivist even has the external hard drive that I had.

The A500 was a particular source of joy for me because of 1) it brought spell-check into my life 2) all of the pirated games my family had acquired (statue of limitations) and 3) because it could use our Sega Genesis controls for games!

Way to go Apple

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Amidst all the Apple announcements today this one may get lost in the shuffle, but it’s worth drawing attention to. This is part of an E-Mail I received today as an iTunesU administrator.

Using iTunes 8 with a screen reader such as VoiceOver on Mac OS X, or GW Micro WIndow-Eyes 7 on Windows XP and Windows Vista, blind and visually impaired students, faculty, and staff can browse, search, buy, download and play content from iTunes U and many areas of the iTunes Store. In addition, the new iPod nano (4th generation) features spoken menus, so it can be used to navigate and play tracks downloaded from the iTunes Store and iTunes U just by listening.

Way to go Apple!

Love Letter to TSN2

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Thank you TSN2 for broadcasting tape-delayed F1 races in high-definition at a reasonable mid-morning start. I always feel a little miffed when the F1 commentators talk about a nice-afternoon while I’m trying to blink away blurry eyes at 8:00AM EST!

Now I no longer need to rely on my home-made Tivo (MythTV) and make the choice between picture clarity and precious weekend sleep.

All that said, this weekend I woke up early to enjoy a great Belgian Grand Prix that was bookended with amazing racing drama!