Philosophy & Culture
When I saw the Title dropdown on the registration form, I should have known things would go poorly. Instead of just your regular old Mr., Mrs., Ms., there were dozens of options.. Esquire.. Captain, Admiral, Sir, Duke – and the oh so too tempting "Lord." I appreciate the creativity of a bored production programmer, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity of bringing a touch of royalty to my business trip. Wow, was I mistaken.
We're gonna go off topic a bit here, but it's my right to rant. This is the first day I have ever truly felt proud to be from the United States of America. When I was in high-school, forming my view of the world, we were in the first Iraq war – which I could see even then was an Oil rush, not a moral issue. If you've read much of the philosophical rants here, you know I've got no love for authority, so I really had nothing much positive to say about my country. When I saw the stars and stripes fluttering in the wind, all I really saw was hypocrisy and a new form of corporate colonial abuse around the world. Certainly the last 8 years have been beyond embarrassing.
While 9/11 was certainly a horrible event, to have the response be a declared war on a tactic and a general closing down of the communication process is inexcusable. To let it fester for a second term was beyond depressing. I find myself in Portland, Oregon frequently only surrounded by people with a similar world view – so to be part of a country that seemed to be so wholly missing the point was horrible. I wondered if our system was truly broken beyond repair. I wondered if our international reputation was broken beyond repair. I wondered if this was a place I wanted to raise my family.
Last night I became a new man. We had all heard the polls, we all had given our time and money to Barack, but still we all assumed McCain would win in some inexplicable evil way. Maybe Diebold would just hand him the vote, maybe there really were millions of closet racists as the media kept implying with the "Bradley Effect" – who knew, but the seldom voiced opinion of all of my friends was "snowball's chance in hell" that a man named Barack Hussein Obama would be our President. But.. Amazingly..
He DOMINATED.. 2:1 in the electoral college!! took ALL of the battle ground states – none of this waiting around for a week while the lawyers hash it out – we knew while still having an after dinner drink! It was a clear and total victory and I couldn't be prouder.
I feel like we just made a stronger move in the "war on terror" with that one vote than we did in the 8 years of that cowboy dicking around. I feel like if I were to be on an international tour, I'd be PROUD to have an American Flag on my backpack because we may not be perfect (my God that's clear) but we're able to do a 180 degree switch and elect a black man with the middle name of Hussein to the most powerful job in the world. "Give us your tired, your poor" because you TRULY can make something of yourself here. This country is NOT just a good-ol-boys network and we're NOT Rome falling to chaos – the best truly IS yet to come and it's going to make the WHOLE WORLD a better place.
Ya know I got truly excited about Barack almost 2 years ago now when I read a New Yorker article detailing his most enduring trait – the inherent ability to be a diplomat. Take two people with completely different views on something, accept that there is no "us and them" – no "good and evil", but rather help them find common ground and a new understanding about how we all can get along. Its about communication and I believe that through open communication we can solve everything and anything. Frankly, I wouldn't have chosen to give away c5 for nothing if I didn't deeply believe that. Freedom of expression is freedom.
I honestly believe Barack Obama IS empathy and communication incarnate. I don't think it's gonna be easy, and I'm sure he's gonna make us all work hard for it, but get ready for some actual thoughtful, deliberate, caring understanding and bridge building from your friends in the good old U, S of fuckin A.
PS: sorry about the last 8 years again.. uhh. mulligan?
PPS: I'd love to hear from our international friends as I know c5 is used as much out of the states as in em..
Ever since osCon08 we've been getting this question a lot. We even got it from the Drupal volunteers who essentially asked ‘with Drupal in the world, why would you even build another CMS?' I think the answer is pretty obvious from just watching the screencast or playing with the demo on concrete5.org, but here's some thoughts I've had with people via email recently:
We are thinking of using Drupal as a basis for a new portal/application server website and became aware of Concrete5.
I would be interested in a brief chat with someone regarding your views of the pros and cons of the two applications, and about some custom work and support for our projects if we decide to base it on Concrete5.
I think c5 is better than Drupal for any number of reasons:
1) It was a successful commercial product for years, so we were paid to throw bad ideas out. Most projects that are open source from the get go have to worry as much about politics as programming. We had the leisure of being paid to make mistakes and fix them for 5 years before giving the core framework away.
2) It actually does what you'd expect out of the box. Look we don't have thousands of developers working with it yet (I think?) but what's in c5 actually works well, it all looks and behaves as one, and it's going to let you solve 90% of the problems you're likely to run into building the average website. You don't have to be an expert in which module breaks which other modules in order to get a site built.
3) It's just as flexible and stable (arguably a good deal more so – but I'm not a Drupal expert and am obviously biased). I can say from my experiences and everything we've been hearing from the community it's a good deal easier and more enjoyable for the end site owner to use. That means a lot when you're waiting for a check – we know.
I'm sure there are a good many more reasons why so many people and shops are taking their Drupal powered sites and rebuilding them in c5, we'd love to hear them here. Is it just the UI, or is the development environment appealing as well? Is it the page types/themes architecture or just that permissions are bundled and you don't have to deal with thousands of competing modules? Is it our massively complete and impressive developer documentation?
We know a lot of people already prefer c5, reach out and tell us what we've done right and what we still need to work on. .. oh, and what you hate about Drupal, so we don't end up making the same mistakes as this grows.
I'm reading Ray Kurzweil who says the the Singularity is Near. While nay-sayers claim his science is questionable, I say he sounds pretty bright to me. The basic gist is because of exponential growth in technology (ie Moore's law) we're on the cusp of revolutionary changes in what it means to be human. We will transcend our bodies through technologies ranging from advanced medical DNA engineering to nano technology and the internet itself. We will become immortal within 20 years. (…says Ray)
I'm perusing an issue of Wired where they talk about Petaflops and the end of science as the process of discovery changes from "hypothesis -> proof" to "real model -> observation." By connecting billions of people with billions of computers and cell phones, you create a global network that is quite similar to the human brain but on a much more massive, and speedy scale. Computer processors got faster than human synapses in the late 90's. Your brain still has billions more neurons than your computer has switches in its processor, but if you start connecting everyone's computer through the internet you can imagine the computers beating us before long. The internet = huge brain.
The more self expression and meaning that can be digitized on various cross linked web sites, the more complex the system becomes. At some point you get complex enough to call it "conscious." Have a hard time believing that the only thing that makes us conscious is complexity? Is a flat worm conscious? Nope. How about a monkey? Well that's got personality. Both have neurons its simply a question of quantity and cross connections.
Well, on the internet cross connections are most easily expressed in HTML. For better or worse, hypertext as expressed through a combination of HTML, XML, and CSS is the best way we have for documenting the meaning and cross connections of the content that makes humanity interesting. Making web pages = good. Think of it as a kid with a tiny brain figuring out how things go together. Learning is work. Twittering, blogging, sprucing up your mySpace page – that's all worthy contributions to the group consciousness. One day we'll all be immortal thanks to your selfless labor and kewl cat pictures.
The only downer is blogs, twittering and social networking sites kinda suck. Building a website the way you want to and being able to edit the copy without learning complex tools is key. You can't expect a kid to learn, playing one game over and over again. In my eyes, blogs are nice because they're easy to use – but the price you pay is your creativity is very limited. What we need is a more flexible way for people to easily edit web sites that don't have to be blogs. ie, concrete5.
Ergo, use concrete5 – it's going to replace your brain one day.
No, not for us. We already have a new logo. No, the logo I'm talking about is for Wal-Mart:
It's interesting they ditched the hyphen – makes sense though, since I could never remember if Walmart was spelled with one or not. The iconic Walmart star is present, but they've moved it from the middle. Upon seeing this logo with the star at the end, the first thing I thought of was an asterisk, meant to denote some bit of trivia or impart a cautionary reminder about the company in question.
(* – May prove hazardous to liberals, leftists, protectionists and yuppies.)
(* – Prolonged exposure may lead to nerve damage.)
(* – Watch for falling prices…or reap the whirlwind.)
(* – Surgeon General Recommends a Lifestyle Free of Excessive Bargains.)
And so on… Any you want to add?
Okay, who the hell turns their speaker volume up so loud that you can hear "YOU'VE GOT MAIL!" from their AOL account through their floor (our ceiling)? Our upstairs neighbors have received four pieces of mail today. We need to figure out a way to strike back. I'm thinking ceiling-mounted speakers and Ahnold.
From the beginning, Concrete has been designed as a system that makes the creation of pages easy, with a flexible "block" system available for placing items of content within these pages. As Concrete has matured, new data types have been created for different types of tasks. In Concrete5, for example, we have all sorts of these: single pages, page types, themes, blocks, elements, user attributes, page attributes, email templates, and more.
I opened our fridge, and this is what I saw:
It occurred to me that this moment sums up exactly why Concrete is an excellent place to work. Let me put it out there for you:
Reason 1? An abundance of beer.
Reason 2? An abundance of humor. No, for the confused amongst us, we aren't PETA-hating, raw-animal-eating nutjobs. We are, however, irony-loving, hipster-leaning, Arrested-Development-watching nerds.
(Note: I did not open the bag.)