UC-Davis University CMS Survey

UC-Davis just published results from a well-designed survey on university web content management system usage.

Over 60% of respondents were using a web CMS and homegrown/open source systems were more common than proprietary systems.  Plone/Zope combined was the most common, followed closely by Homegrown, and then Drupal.

Today, the Requirements and Evaluation committee of the UC Davis Web CMS initiative posted results from an online survey of campuses completed last month.

The survey was conducted to collect comprehensive data about the adoption and use of Web content management systems among institutions of higher education, and to make this information available to communicators, webmasters, technologists and other key campus personnel. Our goal was to learn about the experiences – both positive and negative – of other universities in the adoption of Web CMS, and to share this information with those who may currently be considering the same.

Read the summary, and view and discuss the survey results at:
http://pubcomm-29.ucdavis.edu/?p=35

The Insteadness You’ve Been Waiting For! Now Online!

The other day, my wife and I went to hear this writer, Jonathan Lethem, speak at the Portland Arts & Lectures series.

Mr Lethem gave a very interesting—and funny—talk about a variety of things. I think I’ll read some of his books. But what really happened was his talk made me start a new website: insteadness.com.

The most interesting thing to me in his talk was when he started explaining this word/concept he had made up: insteadness.

As I understand insteadness, it is the thing we focus on when we should maybe focus on something else. Jonathan told a longish—but funny—joke to explain it, but I don’t think it would be that funny to repeat here. It involved a conference of parapsychologists and a goat—you get the idea.

Suffice it to say that Jonathan’s idea of insteadness was pretty rich: you could see insteadnesses as bad (they distract us from what we should be paying attention to) and as good (maybe all art is really the creation of insteadnesses).

So I decided that maybe this whole idea of insteadness needs more work, and, for lack of a better idea, I set up a website at insteadness.com so we can get started.

I invited Jonathan to weigh in/help out at insteadness.com, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. He’s probably busy with something else instead.

I put up one insteadness already as an example, but we need more.

Educational Futures

I just attended the first meeting of a parent/teacher/student group at my daughter’s public, science/math/technology magnet school—Winterhaven. The group was formed to deal with a mandate from Portland Public Schools to grow the school’s student body, and then necessarily move, or renovate, because the school’s current building can only serve about 360 students.

Now that I have school-age kids, the whole question of public education is taking on a new relevance for me. My own educational background included being “home schooled” for grades 1-6 thanks to my parents’ realization that our local Colorado public schools were inadequate, and attending Open Living, a unique public alternative school in grades 7-12. Based on my own “alternative” experience, I’m a big believer in the necessity of quality, public education for all to support democracy and civil society.

A large part of the discussion started by PPS’s mandate to Winterhaven has been focused on that particular school, and/or what building it should be located in.

I find my thoughts moving away from these immediate concerns to what it will take to make public education in Portland (or elsewhere) sufficiently vibrant to continue to attract students like my daughters and at the same time serve the largest possible population.

So far, I find PPS’s focus on standardizing school profiles and sizes to be at odds with my knowledge that it is in fact options and alternatives that attract me to public education in Portland. I just don’t buy the idea that our desire for educational equity will be best served by making all schools the same. I believe that drive will lead all schools to the lowest common denominator, and soon drive the middle class away from public education even more dramatically than it already is.

Once the middle class gives up on public schools, I fear a downward spiral where fewer resources generate increasingly poor educational opportunities. I don’t think such a situation will be good for anyone, least of all the less advantaged in whose name school standardization is adopted.

A better path will be to support and celebrate diversity, not just in our public student body, but in the schools themselves. One school might make its mark as a vibrant neighborhood school; another might be an arts magnet. Each should have it’s own identity.

The job of  PPS Superintendent Phillips and the School Board should be to support school diversity, not standardize. If they don’t think there are enough resources to support school diversity now, wait until the middle class pulls out of public education entirely and see how many resources are left.

Given the worthy people around the table with me in this Winterhaven conversation, I have faith that we can produce good recommendations. And in an ideal world, PPS will have the vision and resources to make some of them happen.

What’s up with the pictures?

Update

Read my latest post on my image header for how I ended up carrying out this idea.

People have been asking what the deal is with the images in my site header.

I’ve been experimenting with loading random background images from my collection using Drupal’s integrated jQuery tools.

I’ve been thinking about trying to work on having the images feed from a flickr stream, perhaps using the Drupal flickr module, yet be automatically sized/cropped for the site header. More on that if I get to it.

Many of the pictures are of people in my family, or shots I’ve taken around our home or Portland.

Praying to a New God: Ninkasi, The Sumerian Goddes of Fermentation

My new favorite beer is made by Ninkasi, in Eugene, Oregon.

They make an IPA that is simultaneously deliciously bitter and has all kinds of floral flavors that make each sip a trip to the Sumerian equivalent of Nirvana (An?).

They apparently brew in the Steelhead facility and haven’t managed to build much of a web presence yet:
http://ninkasibrewing.com/

So far, I’ve only found Ninkasi on tap, and at these Portland, OR establishments. Add a comment with other locations if you’ve found Ninkasi somewhere else…

 

Now Blogging with PHP 5/MySQL 5

Thanks to quick work by my host Liquidweb (thanks Siena!), this site is now delivered by the three fives: Drupal 5, PHP 5 and MySQL 5. Still waiting for Linux 5 and Apache 5 ;)

One of my goals here is to demonstrate/evaluate how this technology will operate on a forward-looking platform. Ever since Rasmus Lerdorf himself suggested dropping PHP 4 for the good of all at OSCMS 2007, I figure we better get ready for the future.

Check my blog recipe for platform details.