Dad. Assistant City Manager. Surviving.

Category: WordPress

Ten Year Anniversary

I’m pretty proud to say that this site has been around now for at least decade, in some form or fashion. The first post published on the site, the default WordPress Hello World post with some additions, was published on August 1, 2006. This was about the time I first started experimenting with self publishing online and web development, which lead to the formation of two awesome side businesses. Neither of those would have been possible if I hadn’t learned the framework of the internet, like servers, HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL, while teaching myself to develop WordPress websites. This experimentation has lead to countless opportunities, both professional and personal.

And while my posting has steadily diminished over the last few years (due to both professional reasons and family obligations, which I hope to detail in the near future in this space), I’m pretty proud of this accomplishment.

So, here’s to another ten years! I can’t wait to see what this space looks like then.

PS- Here’s what the site looked like back in 2007:

Backing Up Twitter with WordPress

Last week I found out about an updated WordPress plugin that let’s you archive your Twitter feed within WordPress. The plugin: Ozh’ Tweet Archiver.

I’ve already put it to use with my own Twitter archive here. I’m using the Hemingway theme for the moment, but Ozh already released a theme that looks like the new Twitter profile that I might utilize.

Ozh’s plugin only imports the most recent 3,200 tweets (thanks for that restriction, Twitter), and he just posted a way to use your Twitter archive to import your previous tweets. That wasn’t available last week, so I used the Advanced CSV Importer plugin to take the csv file from my Twitter archive and put those older tweets into the WordPress database.

This plugin is a really good way to maintain a usable archive of your tweets. Twitter might not always be around, plus, this is your writing, store it on your own website! Thanks, Ozh, for your hard work on this.

Links: Complaints via Twitter, Smartphones, Eagle Scouts

To follow up on my last post, here are some more random links that have recently come across my radar.

First, I am writing this in version 2.8 of WordPress.  WordPress 2.8 is an incremental improvement on 2.7, but it really rocks.  Here is the post announcing WordPress 2.8 (check out the video for the highlights) and here are some tips and tricks for using WordPress 2.8.

And because of the new WordPress release, I have fixed up a few things around here.  I disabled WP-Super-Cache (this takes a bit of load off the server by generating static HTML pages instead of querying the database ever page load) because it was messing with the Twitter bar on the right (really old tweets were showing up).  I will likely reenable this is traffic every picks up, but for now the site doesn’t need any caching.

I have also changed the byline of this site (again).  It began as Life in Athens, GA, then switched to Life in Lawrence, KS (when I moved to start grad school), then to Life in Jefferson County, CO (again, when I moved to Colorado).  These were all adequate descriptions of the site, but it needed something more.  WordPress includes that byline in the page title, so it shows up when you search on Google.  So I decided to use a more applicable byline for what I’ve been writing about.  Now the page title (and Google) read Chris M. Lindsey: Technology and Social Media in Public Administration.  I’m not completely sure about this, but hopefully it will last for a while.

Now for the links:

  • This article from the New York Times introduces the country to a 31-year-old Brian Deese, who is a major player in the automotive industry recovery.  Great article, and great job for Brian.  I hope more young people can make it into positions of influence, because I know we can bring a lot to the table.
  • The City of San Francisco is accepting complaints from citizens via Twitter.  I think this is the biggest of all the links, because it shows a city trying to connect with their citizens in the ways they communicate.  And you know what, this probably didn’t take very long or cost much (if any) money to implement.  Here is the Twitter user that is accepting the complaints.  More governments need to be doing this.
  • The New York Times says that smartphones are a necessity.  Especially if you are out of a job (sarcasm).  Seriously, why do jobless people need to be spending the money for a smartphone?
  • Ars Technica reviews the Palm Pre smartphone.  What I find interesting here is the discussion on the second page about having better contact integration.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be syncing (because who wants to have all of their Facebook friends or Gmail contact listings on their cell phone address book), but you should be able to access the contacts on these services.  And search all of them from one place.
  • Time has a great article on whether computer nerds can save old-fashioned journalism.
  • Gina Trapani linked to this great article in the New York Times that profiles Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great.  If you’ve read the book, read this profile.
  • Last but not least, the Athens-Banner Herald covers an Eagle Scout project.  Paul (a fellow Eagle Scout) sent me this link.  Jamie Jackson of Athens went above and beyond the call of Scouting and created a fish habitat from discarded Christmas trees.  The fish habitat is quite needed at Lake Chapman (in Sandy Creek Park, Athens) because of the way the lake was constructed (pretty much all lakes in Georgia were man-made), it cuts down on natural fish habitats.  Way to go, Jamie Jackson!

That’s it for today.  I hope to be writing more as I get into a more regular schedule with work.

Tracking Governments Use of Open Source CMS

I’ve created a new page on this site to list governments that use open source content management systems.

I look at quite a few government and related sites in the course of my day (for personal, work, and school related reasons).  I take notice as to what content management system (CMS) is being used on the site, and it is generally easy to determine which sites use open source CMSes (here is a list open source CMSes).  I recently started keeping a list of these sites, and I have decided to share this list.

I was trying to limit the list to only governments and agencies, but I have included some big names that use open source.  If the list expands, I will likely remove those in the efforts to keep this list to merely the administrative branches of government.

Hopefully someone somewhere will find this useful, whether for work or scholarly research.  I will continue to update this page on my own as I spot new government websites sporting open source.  If you notice any or know of any, contact me or leave a comment and I will add them to the list.

City Saves Using WordPress for Website

I had this link sitting in my RSS reader for a while, thinking about a follow up to my earlier post about good looking government websites.

The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota (more on Wikipedia), recently updated it’s website’s look and converted to using WordPress (open source software that runs this site and millions others) as a content management system.  Head over to their site, it looks great.  Staff at the City of Albert Lea estimated that they would have to spend $20,000 for a new website, but a city resident volunteered to do the work for just $720.

There is a really good article in the Albert Lea Tribune about the move to WordPress.  A good quote:

It is a Web-based content management system that allows officials in each department to change their pages without needing much knowledge of Internet language, said Teresa Kauffmann, the city’s public information coordinator.

And about the ease of updating the new website:

The old site was created in 2004. Hosted by Austin-based Southern Minnesota Internet Group, it left city officials several hoops to jump through for basic changes. Basically, SMIG had the keys. The new site’s host is an Internet company called 1&1 but because of the CMS nature of WordPress templates, Kauffmann and city officials have the keys. No more calling Austin. Now, they simply go to a special administration site that manages the main site.

And the most important part is that they aren’t finished yet:

She said she will head focus groups comprising Albert Lea citizens. She said she seeks members of all ages, backgrounds and computer skills. People interested in being on a focus group for the city Web site can contact Kauffmann at 377-4380 or tkauffmann@city.albertlea.org.

This is really great.  I’m going to keep a lookout for more local government websites using WordPress.

H/t to Ma.tt.

First ICMA Conference

Saturday morning (very early) I am heading with my MPA class to the International City/County Management Association’s Annual Conference. I’m really excited about meeting lots of fellow KUCIMATs and learning lots. This is my first professional conference of any kind, so this will be a new experience for me.

The Annual Conference is in Richmond, Virginia this year. You can follow the happenings on the ICMA 2008 Annual Conference blog (run on WordPress!).

UK Prime Minister’s Site Uses WordPress

Three days ago, the new website of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was unveiled.  The WordPress Publisher Blog spread the exciting news that the new site is powered by the open source software WordPress.

I’ve been drafting a post about open source software being used in big ways, in an effort to dispell the idea that utilizing open source is a security risk.  The PM’s site is a big addition to the list, and should show the detractors that if the PM’s office thinks WordPress is secure, you should too.

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