I took a second look at the Textpattern licensing and general development progress after noticing the release of Wordpress 1.2. I installed it on my laptop (later on my testing site) and was impressed ... the progress has been significant since the last version, and the license fits my personal preference. The development group is active and open, it represents more freedom, and a better tool. It's funny too, as a developer I have another freedom that others may not: I can code my data out of a tool that I no longer want to use. This is one of the reasons I've been teaching programming to a group of friends (Freedom for free beer).
For anyone who hasn't used Wordpress, it has a few really impressive features:
- The editing window is large, and resizes with the browser window. You can also configure the height of it (as a text-area can't be scaled automatically in that direction). This is a killer feature, IMO.
- The templates are real Php files. Most weblog tools have their own simple template language, which is almost always limited. Wordpress exposes a Php API that you can use from fully-functional Php pages.
- The plugin system (new to 1.2) provides multiple hook points, and can be activated/deactivated from the web interface. I've been frustrated by other tools that didn't provde hooks for munging article data.
- The install is trivial, the interface is sensible, and it performs reasonably well.
Forensics - We picked up a small contract at work to find some data for legal proceedings. I'm impressed by the Free tools available for Gnu/Linux, especially Sleuthkit/Autopsy (and both are available from DAG's Yum repositories). I have several drives to analyse, and the UNIX way is well-suited to this sort of analysis. I was able to image the drives over the network, to an array of SCSI drives with a few simple tools (netcat, dd), and from there can analyse the vfat and ntfs filesystems easily. The same activity on Windows require a few more steps, and more licenses. I wasn't able to get around the reboots (for swaping drives), as we didn't have any unused hot-swappable bays (that would have been nice).
Visualization - We've also been investigating visualization toolkits for another potential project. We looked at Coin3d, which is a full implementation of SGI's OpenInventor API (way ahead of its time). Our other Architect has some amazing stories about the history of SGI and OpenInventor, making this job so worth the cut in pay. I'm finding that working with incredible people, and living closer to family means more than money (should be obvious eh).
We're also looking at Java3d, as the client has a general preference for Java. We could wrap something like Coin3d, but we'd prefer to skip the complexity if possible, as usability is generally a function of available time. Java3d performs reasonably too, and our group is quite productive in Java. Java has certainly come a long way in the last few years.
Unixisms - I've also been managing IT at the new job. It was a bit of a stretch for me, or so I thought. It actually ended up quite a lot of fun, and I'm learning things I needed to know.
This company has churned through a few IT managers in the last 10 years, eaching bringing their own direction (Windows, Linux, Windows, Linux), so the IT grunts are obviously disgruntled. One of the first things I've done is to set a long-term direction, and put the decision to change in the hands of the team; this is more of a defacto policy change, but the IT guys believe it, and the CEO prefers it too (it costs a lot to change so often). I've also been working on training these guys, who have a windows background (and some *nix traing courses). They've showed some fear of the existing setup, so they now have a test lab to play with, and to build/test new servers. It's working well.
I've also been training myself on sendmail, ldap, imapd, and other bits. I've used most of these tools for years, but not at the enterprise scale, which is really very different. Spam is much more of a problem too, and the dynamics of the solution change fairly quickly. We were drowning in joe-jobs (bounce spam), which I'd never heard of before (quite a clever/evil approach too). The tools are good, and their actively developed, so at least we have a chance of keeping things running smoothly without drowning in license fees.
Netbore - Slashdot is getting really annoying again, and I think I might have outgrown it. While there is the odd nugget in the comments, most of it is unbalanced and damned predictable (whine, bitch, and complain). On the other side, I've been reading some MS blogs, where there seems to be a lot of a similar imbalance. Somewhere in the middle, there is truth (but where?). Imbalance seems to be how sites get noticed these days.
Speaking of imbalance, Eric Idle has a new song that fingers the FCC. I don't usually talk politics, but man Freedoms are fleeting down south. I fear it will happen in time here too.