“It [Jazz] is an art that thrives on what it can do, not so much on what it does.”
Ben Ratliff

Coltrane - The Story of a Sound

Drupal & WordPress


I’ve been using WordPress for about 7 or 8 years. After a couple of years into it I did some research into other publishing platforms (including Drupal & Joomla). I chose to go (stay) with WordPress. In the last 8 months I’ve had two encounters with Drupal (one only as a user and one with a glimpse into the insides) and I am glad I chose to stay with WordPress. I am not an active member of the WordPress community.

This morning I came across this post (via PostStatus) written by a professional Drupal developer about getting to know WordPress. This shimmered for me:

“The WP community is focused on the user. It’s one of the ways they make decisions. While Drupal developers tend to value technical excellence and architectural flexibility — “what can I do with this as a developer?” WordPress people seem to ask the same question with the content editor or website visitor in mind. That’s refreshing.”

This statement seems to be implying that there needs to be a choice between either technical excellence or user focus, as if WordPress, because it gives priority to user experience gives less priority to technical excellence. This statement is, while technically correct, misleading (ironically that is a typical consequence of engineering mentality). There is no doubt in my mind that Drupal is dominated by an engineering mentality (while giving much less priority to users and user experience) … it is evident everywhere I’ve looked.

To me what is more interesting is that focus on user experience will likely lead engineers to technical excellence but the opposite isn’t true. You can focus on technical excellence forever without ever meeting user experience.

User experience is, in my opinion, one of the most strategic weaknesses of open-source software (though in a few cases it seems to be getting better). WordPress out-performs Drupal on user experience and at the same time I believe user experience is also a weakness of WordPress.

Ironically, WordPress and Drupal (and most open source software) are actually both user-centric – the user being the developers of the platforms (developing software for themselves – the way they’d like it to be). With Drupal that is painfully obvious, with WordPress it is more subtle, but also very dominant.


Posted in AltEco, outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to add your comment

I was happy there


Shahar has revised his website and published some new materials.

This is a good way to taste Shahar:

I remember magical moments in studio exploration that seemed more evasive in performance. This is a beautiful example of what studio can birth:

I was happy there.


Posted in Enjoy, Expanding, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Savage Capitlism (is back)


From Savage capitalism is back – and it will not tame itself:

“Back in the 90s …  there was a series of assumptions everybody had to accept in order even to be allowed to enter serious public debate. They were presented like a series of self-evident equations. “The market” was equivalent to capitalism. Capitalism meant exorbitant wealth at the top, but it also meant rapid technological progress and economic growth. Growth meant increased prosperity and the rise of a middle class. The rise of a prosperous middle class, in turn, would always ultimately equal stable democratic governance. A generation later, we have learned that not one of these assumptions can any longer be assumed to be correct.

… Capitalism does not contain an inherent tendency to civilise itself. Left to its own devices, it can be expected to create rates of return on investment so much higher than overall rates of economic growth that the only possible result will be to transfer more and more wealth into the hands of a hereditary elite of investors, to the comparative impoverishment of everybody else.

… The period when capitalism seemed capable of providing broad and spreading prosperity was also, precisely, the period when capitalists felt they were not the only game in town … rather than high rates of growth allowing greater wealth for capitalists to spread around, the fact that capitalists felt the need to buy off at least some portion of the working classes placed more money in ordinary people’s hands, creating increasing consumer demand that was itself largely responsible for the remarkable rates of economic growth that marked capitalism’s “golden age”.

… The 1% are not about to expropriate themselves, even if asked nicely. And they have spent the past 30 years creating a lock on media and politics to ensure no one will do so through electoral means.”

Posted in Intake, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Fairphone: The gadget with a conscience


An inspiring read on the story of Fairphone. A promising glimpse into what future business may look like?

The company started life as an advocacy group, initially aiming to raise awareness among Dutch consumers and telcos about the issue of conflict minerals in mobile devices and then subsequently about the sustainability of mobile supply chains as a whole.

… In January last year, it became a social enterprise, a startup with a handful of staff and the ambition to build a fairer phone — a device that put the social aspects of mobile hardware front and centre, that opened up the mobile supply chain, and that would be funded purely by the public.

… Almost a year ago, Fairphone opened up its crowdfunding appeal … it reached 10,000. And that’s when the fear kicked in.

… Nevertheless, Fairphone found a Chinese contract manufacturer … Fairphone signed a memorandum of understanding with the factory, agreeing if Fairphone managed to raise the money, the project would go forward.

… It took van Abel a month to work up the courage to press that button and send the money onto GuoHong. Only when he did, he found that a single push was not enough … and then finding out you cannot transfer more than €250,000 in one go.

… Due to the size of Fairphone’s production batches, it had to rely on other mobile makers placing similar orders to get its own device made.

… The factory management were watching the orders rack up along with Fairphone’s execs … For them it was impossible that people had paid for something we still had to produce, and that we were were taking the risk on the one hand, and that people were taking the risk on something that wasn’t there yet on the other.

… From the the beginning, the company had wanted to make sure worker wages were reasonable … The idea of a worker’s welfare fund was hatched — a scheme whereby Fairphone would stump up an extra $2.50 per device made at the factory on top of the normal production costs, and the factory would do the same … The $5 extra raised on each device ($2.50 from Fairphone and $2.50 from the factory) is put into a fund — a separate legal entity to the factory — with the workers then able to vote on how the money should be spent.

… For most phone makers, mobile operators are the keys to the market — offering discounts on hardware when consumers sign up to long term contracts, getting their sales teams to push devices to corporate customers, and putting marketing collateral in retail shops have always been understood parts of how manufacturers sell their devices.

… Earlier in 2014, the company did a small deal with KPN — the biggest mobile operator in Fairphone’s home market of the Netherlands … It’s also in talks with Deutsche Telekom, the German mobile giant with operators across Europe, as well as UK carrier Vodafone …

… Fairphone, however, decided to stick with supplies from the country, working with the Conflict Free Tin Initiative and Solutions for Hope. It did so knowing that sourcing its tantalum and tin from the DRC could mean using mines with poor working conditions or child labour … we’re going to join initiatives that put economic perspectives into the region, otherwise people will join the militia because they don’t have any work any more … Further on down the line, it hopes to expand the the amount of conflict free and fairly traded minerals that are included in the phone …

… Fairphone hopes to eventually allow other operating systems to be ported to the phone, and has been in talks with the likes of Mozilla and Ubuntu on the subject.

So far, Fairphone has taken over €7m, shipped over 25,000 phones, and is planning a second manufacturing run in 2014 that will see it put 35,000 more devices in consumers’ hands … “

I am looking forward to seeing what Fairphone produce in 2015, especially the ability to use mobile Ubuntu … maybe 2015 will be the year I “go smartphone” :)

Posted in AltEco, Business, Intake, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to add your comment

Net Neutrality: How the Internet Works


In my reading about the current battle in the war on Internet freedom taking place in the USA I came across these two articles which provided interesting and well presented information on the engineering and business aspects of this wonderous machine we all take for granted – the Internet:

Comcast is destroying the principle that makes a competitive internet possible

Observations of an Internet Middleman

Posted in Business, Intake, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to add your comment