Restored and redrawn!

As promised, I took the server crash of two weeks ago to be an oppurtunity. Previously, I had subconsciously stopped updating my “civ” Drupal extension modules as I was several revs behind. So this site was getting dull to read and navigate.

We’re now running Drupal 5.7, on PHP 4.4.8, on MySQL 5.0, and SuSE Linux 10.3 (Dries Buytaert ran a 2006 test which demonstrated that the then-latest Drupal version, 4.7, ran faster on PHP4 than PHP5). We have a UPS Backup which promises 80 minutes of uptime in case of a power loss (yet to be fully tested). We also have the Vista server on with the sync’ed database in case Linux fails.

I also have ditched the temporary horrid weblog layout for the neater webzine format once again by updating my custom webzine module for 5.7.

I also got around to adding some key features to the webzine module (which I originally wrote in 2005). First, it now effectively shows the archives; it lists chronologically (grouped by year/month). You’ll also the icons by the sections

There are still some kinks in the styles, and the comments extension ViewPoints needs to be updated to 5.7 as well.  I’m also finding that the MySQL restoration included some out-of-place characters. So this is an excuse to review the content.

I’ve also come up with a new motto (#3) for the site. I never could easily explain “media structures research” — in that what we think of as “media” in fact isn’t wholly about the transmission medium, but about the structures which shape it, and thus, someone needs to research it. Ugh.

I think “information architecture” captures that concept better, even though the term is not well appreciated outside the discipline. And the goal I seek with regards to it is transparency. Hence, the new motto, transparent information architecture. It’s a phrase that, if I were a full-time consultant, I could actually use in a sentence (one that begins with “What you need is a…”) And the phrase nicely complements the visual logo of the transparent “bricks” up top.

We’ve come a long way (me & you, imaginary reader). Four years ago, I wrote 23 posts each in January and February. The last time I wrote more than 12 in a month was May 2006, and the time before that was March 2005. I’ve sacrificed quantity for what I hope is quality. So now the archives help us go down memory lane to see where quality was then. Four years ago I wrote about how I had little idea of how to find out what was being talked about “on the blogs.”. And that Sunday, I had people over the Super Bowl. Lacking any Tivo to check if we saw what we thought we saw at the halftime show, I suggested to my less-tech-hip friends that I was going to use the computer in the living room to “check on the blogs.” I knew the name Oliver Willis from a Globe article. That night I wrote my longest screed to date, 1300 words on the silliness of the crass commercialization of the big game. Part of transparency is acknowledging your old crap.

In the last year, I’d needed a new domain registry. Most of them due a terrible job of marketing — oh except for the one with the spokesbabes danging around. I didn’t choose precisely for that reason. I chose them because they were cheapest, and because they are the market leader  a position they achieved a few months after they first advertised in the 2005 Super Bowl.

Well, another year, another Patriots Super Bowl — and more quality content to come.