Bryan Ruby

Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Virtually impressed with Microsoft

I usually spend my weekends writing a few drafts for articles that I'm going to post for CMS Report. The idea is that I'm not competing with the hectic pace I usually find myself in during the weekdays.  Well, I found myself distracted from the usual writing endeavor for two reasons: 1) Microsoft's Virtual PC 2007 and 2) the snow finally melting leaving a nice warm weekend to be outside.  Needless to say, not much time was spent with the computer.  However, let's talk about Microsoft and something they finally did right.

A focus lately has been on the fact that you can run Windows inside of an Apple Mac through virtualization.  What the commercials don't talk about is that you can also run the same type of software, such as Parallels, to also run the Linux OS inside your Mac.  Since Microsoft Windows and Linux are the primary operating systems I use at work, the ability to run the two operating systems together is of interest to me.  In fact that interest is so great that for the first time in a decade I've been considering to buy a Mac at home.

During the past five years I've been dual-booting between Windows and Linux on my PCs both at home and work.  However, there are inconveniences with dual-booting due to the the constant need to reboot your machine to get to the other operating system.  This better method is virtualization and something Apple has been promoting the past year or so to lure in Windows users to their computers.  Now Microsoft's free Virtual PC has arrived and I think it is about to change my world.

The Myth of Online Ad Revenue

Did you hear the reports about all that money to be made from online advertisements?  In 2006 alone, Internet ad revenue was estimated at $16.8 billion USD.  You have also likely heard of bloggers making thousands of dollars in just a short amount of time through online ads. If you believe this is another post about making money from online ads or how to optimize your site for the search engines, you are going to be disappointed.  I'm not here to tell you how to make money online but when you shouldn't be making money from advertisement on your site.

When I originally placed ads on my site about a year and a half ago, I actually didn't do it for the money but to give free advice.  Over the years I've had friends, relatives, and even a few clients that asked whether it was worth placing ads on their site.  I honestly did not know the answer to that question and decided it was time to try things out for myself.  How much money could the typical site make through online ads?
In early 2006, I placed online ads from various "advertisement" services on two of my former sites, Like that Idea and the WebCMS Forum.  By the second half of the year I also placed advertisements here at CMS Report.  While my first two sites are low traffic sites, has gained popularity and according to Alexa is currently ranked in the top 100,000 Internet sites.  Nevertheless, none of these sites are a Yahoo! or YouTube but I think they could be considered as typical sites in terms of visitors and content for most bloggers and small businesses.

The Drupal Boys - A Drupal Song video

Dries Buytaert had mentioned that when the Drupal developers came together at the Open Source CMS Summit he hoped they could make a video using Jeff Robbin's catchy Drupal Song.  I'm not sure the status of that video by the developers, but as a fan of Drupal I decided to beat them to the punch.

My son and I have become addicted to The Drupal Song.  In fact, when the song is playing in my house we quickly become The Drupal Boys.

United States students continue to fall behind in IT education

All I can do is shake my head in the direction education has taken in the United States. I've written about this topic in the past, a little here and on another blog of mine. In one of those blog posts, I wrote the following.

American society as a whole seems to have less value for education, especially in the sciences and math, than when I was growing up. Maybe I’m more sensitive to these numbers since I am a scientist at heart…but isn’t anyone else disturbed by this trend? While I feel there should have been something done to help reverse this downward spiral sooner, I’m glad at least that it is finally getting some some well deserved attention by the Bush administration.

College students in the United States are not showing up in those university programs that are focused on physical science, computer science, math, and engineering. There are a number of politicians, parents, and students that will blame the public school education system for the current state of education in the United States. I have some serious doubts whether fingers should really be pointed in the direction of the teachers or even school system. I think in many ways, those fingers should be pointed right back to the parents and their children. Perhaps life in America is so good that by the time the student becomes a young adult, life hasn't prepared them to face the challenges and disappointments they need to do well in the sciences.

IT contributions to the economy

A recent eWeek article reported that a United States "policy think tank" found that in the past decade, information technology boosted the U.S. economy by $2 trillion dollars.

"For the United States alone, what we found was that because of the digital revolution, GDP is $2 trillion larger today than it would have been had growth in the post-1995 era proceeded at the 1974 to 1995 rate," said Robert D. Atkinson, Ph.D., president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

 "We need to recognize this phenomenon and adjust our thinking to make IT a centerpiece of our economic policy--from planning and forecasting to tax policies that incent future growth."

Two trillion dollars - that my friends is a lot of money.   Hopefully, those of us in information technology will not be so hesitant in the future to ask for that raise or time off we so deserve.  Of course, there is one problem for those of us who chose careers as IT professionals.  The problem is we make the IT job look so darn easy that those guys upstairs don't quite recognize difficult IT tasks when they see it.  IT professionals contribute so much more in the business than the business managers want to admit.  I say that it's time we work on our game plan...