Thoughts on technology, investing, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Future of WordPress and Movable Type

There’s a nice discussion on Jeremy Zawodny’s blog regarding the future of WordPress and Movable Type (via Weblog Tools Collection). I would agree that WordPress and MT are definitely the leaders, but I would have to argue the point that WordPress will come to be the de-facto choice in the world of self-hosted personal weblogs […]

The Drupal dilemma

I haven’t posted for the past week or so on this blog as I’ve been spending more time fighting with Drupal than actually writing. If I’m not mistaken, trying to get software to work for you is not very efficient. I want to use software tools to make my life easier not harder. Especially when there are numerous blog publishing tools out there that work great.

After giving up on Drupal (and yes I have finally given up), I decided to really give some other software a test drive. Specifically, I looked at Movable Type and WordPress. Both are excellent for publishing blogs, but after actually using both for a period of time on other blogs I maintain I found that WordPress is superior for my needs.

The entire experience I have with WordPress is summarized by one word: simplicity. Everything I need is where it should be without my having to think about it. It just works. Like the other tools, modules / plug-ins are available for the missing, non-core functionality so there’s no real difference there. WordPress also has a very active development community that is very helpful and is constantly creating new hacks, plug-ins, and themes. In addition, if you are planning on creating numerous blogs, Movable Type limits you to 3 (personal only) before having to purchase a license. For business use, a 5 user license starts at $199. Granted, the purchase of a license includes support.

WordPress, on the other hand, is open source and free with no limitations. Taking away the cost comparison, I found WordPress to be a superior product. The addition of the cost savings just adds to that evaluation.

Don’t get me wrong. Drupal is an outstanding package for content management. The problem I have with Drupal is that’s it is overkill for blogs. Drupal contains functionality to support not only blogs, but also community sites, portals, intranet, etc. The core system of Drupal can be customized and configured to meet a wide variety of uses. And therein lies the problem. Typically, a multi-function tool is not as useful as one that has been designed for a specific function. Drupal was not designed from day one as a blog publishing tool. These capabilities were added on as the need arose for blogs on users’ Drupal sites.

The best analogy I can give is that Drupal is like a Swiss army knife. Great tool, multiple functionality. You can certainly use a Swiss army knife to open a can of beans, but a standalone, motorized can opener does a better job, much faster. In the case of blogging, Drupal is the Swiss army knife. The motorized can opener from my research is WordPress.

Now with that realization in mind, what do I do next? Despite considerable research, there does not seem to be anyone who has posted about their moving from Drupal to something else. Everything I could find cited people moving from other tools to Drupal. So, unfortunately, this means there is going to be a lot of work involved in this effort. Since the posts are in MySQL, it should be easy enough to pull those out. Comments and trackbacks will be another story.

I don’t have a time frame for this yet, but it will be obvious when the final conversion is complete. The site will look different and you’ll see a heck of a lot more posting to this blog.

Engineers devise invisibility shield

Invisibility. How’s that for a headline? Nature reports that two engineers have devised a method to essentially cloak objects by reducing light scattering. This could have interesting applications.

Andrea Alù and Nader Engheta of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia say that a ‘plasmonic cover’ could render objects “nearly invisible to an observer”. Their idea remains just a proposal at this stage, but it doesn’t obviously violate any laws of physics.

The full text of their paper can be found here.

Business Blogs Keep Customers Coming Back

The Wall Street Journal has a nice article on business blogs. Nothing terribly insightful or new, but interesting to see mainstream picking up on what many of us are already aware of – how important blogs are becoming to the enterprise. The article discusses a few cases of companies successfully using blogs including GreenCine, Wark Communications, Red Line Performance & Restoration,, and Stoneyfield Farms.

Maybe I’m biased from reading too many blogs, but some of these companies blogs are much more appealing than their corporate sites. Not only do they have more useful information, often times the look and feel of the site is better.

Solace for NHL hockey fans

With the NHL hockey season officially lost, some fans are taking matters into their own hands. An article in today’s discusses how some fans are coming to grips without NHL. Taking fantasy sports one step further, allows users to simulate entire seasons using any combinations of past or present players. WhatIfSports says the participation in their hockey sports simulation games have increased 40-50%. With links from the site, their traffic has been spiking. Raised outside of Pittsburgh and being a Penguins fan, I desperately miss the NHL (ok, not as much as if it were the NFL). But this simulation stuff may be taking it a little bit to far…

Doctors playing video games

Doctors playing video games? That’s exactly what this New York Times article proposes. Apparently, research shoes that surgeons who play video games improve their skills.

Dr. Rosser…keeps an Xbox, along with PlayStation 2 and GameCube consoles, just a few strides from the operating room so he can warm up with a favorite, Super Monkey Ball, just before surgery.

Last year Dr. Rosser was a co-author of a study that concluded that surgeons who played video games for at least three hours a week were 27 percent faster and made 37 percent fewer mistakes than surgeons who did not play video games.

As many medical simulators are too expensive, researchers have been looking into PC and console games to improve their operating-room skills.