Spring brought to South Dakota plenty of rain. The lawns are green, the flowers are in full bloom, and it seems we can't go beyond a couple days without a rain shower or thunderstorm. While water is usually plenty for my city, we do things smart around here and restrict water usage for our lawns year round. It's not uncommon in my part of the country to see the weather pattern quickly change from wet to dry. What once was green can turn brown in a hurry.
If you want a green yard when summer is in full swing, you will do best to respect the water restrictions and program your sprinkler controller the smartest way possible. Here in my city, watering lawns is not allowed during the hours of 12 p.m to 5 PM. Homeowners with even-numbered addresses may water lawns on even-numbered calendar dates and users with odd-numbered addresses may water lawns on odd-numbered calendar dates. Last summer though, my traditional sprinkler controller decided this responsibility was too much of a burden. The failing controller couldn't even keep the time of day correctly yet alone maintain an ideal watering schedule. So this May, I replaced my failing controller with Blossom's Smart Watering Controller in hopes of a greener lawn and a better sprinkler system.
A new generation of sprinkler controllers
Haven't heard of Blossom before this article? Up to a few months ago, I hadn't before I watched Cali Lewis and David Foster at this year's CES interview Manrique Brenes. Blossom's water controller was so new at the time of purchase that it wasn't available for regular sales and I found myself for the first time committing to a product via a KickStarter investment.
Last week, we started a conversation on The ez Publish Show hosted by Netgen's Ivo Lukač. The we included Ivo, Digital Clarity's Marianne Kay and myself. The odd question that started the conversation: Did modern CMSs sacrifice good editor experience (EX) for improving customer experience?
I'm not sure how well we answered the question, but the show was an acknowledgement that while CXM may get a lot of attention these days in the CMS world, there is still plenty of room for improving the EX too. I'll let the video speak for itself, but if you prefer an overview, then you can checkout Ivo's re-cap.
My Blossom Sprinkler Controller has arrived! For home owners with a water sprinkler system, you no longer have to be stuck with the expensive but dumb irrigation controllers that was originally installed at your house. There is a new generation of "smart" sprinkler systems arriving on the scene, including those created by Rachio and Blossom. The Blossom controller self-programs based on real-time weather data and gives you control of your schedule right from your phone. Once the controller understands the vegetation, layout of your yard, and the weather it should do the thinking for you when deciding how much to water should be used. The company claims that because their controller is "smarter" than conventional controllers (and hopefully smarter than me), I can expect to save up to 30% on my water bill.
For the past couple years, the old controller for my home sprinkler system hasn't function well. Whether the sprinkler was bad to begin with or took a power hit, it couldn't remember it's programming well from day one when my wife and I bought the house. Then last January, Cali Lewis and David Foster at the CES interviewed Manrique Brenes of Blossom about his company's new product. The product was so new that it wasn't available for purchase and I found myself for the first time committing to a product via KickStarter.
In times of war, you may be asked what you can do for your country. In modern times, your country may be asking you to do your part by updating your WordPress plugins.
The United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), issued a public service announcement last week recommending website administrators to update their Wordpress sites. More specifically, the bureau wants you to update your third-party WordPress plugins.
Why is the FBI worried about your content management system? Apparently, continuous website defacements are being perpetrated by individuals sympathetic to the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) a.k.a. Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS). According to the FBI, the defacements have affected website operations and the communication platforms of:
- News organizations
- Commercial entities
- Religious institutions
- Federal/state/local governments
- Foreign governments,
- A variety of other domestic and international webites.
While one wouldn't expect WordPress to house national or company secrets, all this unwanted disruption translates to cost in terms of lost business revenue and expenditures on technical services to repair infected computer systems.
But why is the FBI focused on WordPress and not another CMS? In part, it's because Wordpress is popular and used by many. The more sites vulnerable to known and specific exploits, the easier it is for hackers to find their target. All victims of the defacements identified by the FBI shared common WordPress plug-in vulnerabilities easily exploited by commonly available hacking tools.
You've done it. With the help of developers and advisors you brought your website online and proved if you build it, they will come. But it's never that simple. You now face an unforeseen challenge after launching your new website. Once you customers visit your site, how do you keep them coming back for more? The answer to this question is exactly what the Now What? Conference 2015 is all about. The Now What? Conference is two days of smart talks and workshops from smart people, all focused on keeping your website up-to-date post-launch.
This is the third year for the Now What? Conference which is held in one of the fastest growing modern communities in the region, Sioux Falls, SD. If you're within a half day's drive from this great city, I encourage you to register for the conference. The conference and various workshops will be held on April 29 - 30, 2015. Created by Blend Interactive, the conference will be bringing together web and marketing professionals from across North America. Something that rarely happens in our region, you have an opportunity to hear from today’s content management leaders as they come together and cover post-launch web maintenance, web analytics, content strategy, and talk shop with colleagues and speakers.