I Am Guilty of Blog-Neglect

Something I discovered at WordCamp San Francisco over the weekend shouldn’t come as a great shock: I’m not the only developer/designer who can’t / doesn’t keep an updated blog. Who’s got the time?

I made a sort of promise to myself the other day and that was to try to blog at least once a week. With all of the troubleshooting and tinkering that goes into any Web project, it shouldn’t be that difficult for me to outline the problem and solution right here on WerdsWords. So that’s the plan, we’ll see if I can follow through. Call me out though if you start to see weeds growing up between the cracks.

How to Make SiteLauncher Work With Firefox 5

Being a Web-worker, I rely on my browser to provide the tools I need to work quickly and efficiently. And since I’m an avid Firefox user, the last couple of months have been fraught with turmoil because I was torn between staying with the trends and updating Firefox (first from 3.6 to 4, then recently from 4 to 5) and waiting for the developers of all of my add-ons to keep up.

I waited and waited and waited to upgrade Firefox to version 5 because I was holding out for the developer of SiteLauncher, to be updated. SiteLauncher is integral to my workflow, because it allows me to open specific webpages using preset keyboard shortcuts.

Turns out, I didn’t need to wait.

Thanks to the folks over at The Heat Web, making SiteLauncher 2.1.0 compatible with Firefox 5 was as easy as changing a value in a file.

There are two ways to do this:

1) The Easy Way

» Download/install this (already modified) file sitelauncher2.1.0.xpi and restart Firefox

2) The Hard-er Way

» Visit the SiteLauncher Download Page, right-click the Add SiteLauncher to Firefox button and click Save As. Save sitelauncher2.1.0.xpi to your hard disk.

» Open the directory where you saved sitelauncher2.1.0.xpi and change the file extension to .zip (sitelauncher2.1.0.zip)

» Important: Open the .zip file in your archival software. DO NOT UNZIP THE DIRECTORY.

» Right click on install.rdf and open it in NotePad (or TextEdit on Mac)

» Locate the maxversion value and change it from 4.2alpre to something above 5. I changed mine to 5.9.9 to make it compatible all the way to Firefox 6.

» Save install.rdf and update the archive

» Back in the directory where you saved the original file, change the file extension back to .xpi from .zip

» All you have to do now, is drag the sitelauncher2.1.0.xpi file over to your Firefox window and it should prompt you to install the add-on.

» That’s it!

Update: Though this hack makes your SiteLauncher keyboard shortcuts work, you’re still unable to modify or add new shortcuts via the backend menus. Thanks Steven!

Oh the places you’ll go … on the Internet

Photo by Flickr/James Cridland. Used with permission under Creative Commons License.

Sometimes I just reflect on what access and ease the Internet has brought to people’s everyday lives.

Tonight alone, I ordered books on Amazon, opted-out of pre-screened credit card offers for 5 years, window shopped for Mother’s Day and applied for a Tax ID number. All from the comfort of my computer chair.

I’ve heard the argument that the Internet has made my generation lazy (see: Generation Y), but I think it actually makes us more productive. If you think about it, we’re able to accomplish quite a bit more with a few taps on the keyboard or clicks on a mouse than was ever possible in the past. Heck, now people are walking, driving, biking, running, exercising even camping while they’re hooked into the Internet. That screams of productivity (not to mention lunacy).

There’s never been a doubt that the Internet affords us with many new and ever-changing luxuries. But I sometimes think it’s fun to marvel at what life might’ve been like 50 years earlier. Would have it been slower? More productive? Would we have had more face-to-face interaction and less static clutter?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

A frustrating journey to Joomla and back

Photo by Flickr/gagilas. Used with permission under Creative Commons License.

I was recently named to the Denver Press Club Board of Directors and one of the duties I volunteered for was to take over website updates for the club.

Turns out they use Joomla, and while I dabbled with it some in the days before 1.0, I’d never really found it that intuitive. Unfortunately, not much has changed.

My first instinct upon login was to figure out how the structure worked. I guess it is only natural that with CMS systems like these that there’s and inherent lingo that goes along with them. With WordPress, I’m used to lingo like widgets, posts and pages. In Joomla, I’m dealing with articles (posts), components (?), modules (widgets?) and plugins.

At this point, I don’t have a lot of time to dive into the documentation to figure out what’s what, but I figured it can’t be that hard to figure out how this works, right? Boy was I wrong.

As far as I can tell, there’s almost no intuitive interfaces in this whole mess of menus and action buttons. I would kill to be able to juggle around modules and article blocks in a drag and drop interface. Or even have an opportunity to make sense of the source code. But it seems I’m relegated to reordering elements manually and attempting to decipher this smorgasbord of menus and submenus.

I thought the WordPress Media Library needed work, but Joomla Media Manager takes the cake. There’s no capability to select a group of images (or any other media) all at once. You CAN upload many at a time, but you have to add them to the queue one at a time. What a bore. Isn’t this supposed to be fun?

I could keep writing all day about the frustrations I had using Joomla but I won’t. I’ll just offer some advice to those folks, take a look at what Drupal and WordPress have been doing and take a lot of notes. Because your CMS needs a lot of work.