Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Thoughts

Beware of Burning Bridges via Social Media

Bridge with the setting sun

I wrote something similar to this on my Facebook page today.

I think I've only posted about half a dozen political posts these past two years. Admittedly, for reasons I care not to discuss here, I didn't invest a lot of emotion into this election cycle. What has disappointed me most about this election isn't the election results despite my opposition to Trump but the behavior of friends, peers, and acquaintances. I've seen friends, relatives, and in-laws burn bridges on long-term relationships for nothing more than the sake to showing their anger against another one's viewpoint via social media. I can survive four years of Trump, but witnessing the lack of respect people are showing one another is a much more difficult hurdle for me to go through emotionally and spiritually.

I wrote in comment on another friends post that I think a lot of the discussion of late is the results of both sides demonizing the other side and refusing to acknowledge the human side of the equation. Neither Trump or Clinton are evil people yet many have come to believe such is true about the opposing candidate. When you take this approach it ultimately backfires on you and as a whole on our nation. Anger can be a good tool for motivation, but when we display hatred toward others we really have gone too far.

GOP declares victory to soon in VP Presidential debate
Pulled from GOP.com
Bryan Ruby Tue, 10/04/2016 - 18:50

Why hiring someone qualified to run your content management system is important. The GOP accidentally posted this article declaring victory in this evening's VP Presidential Debate...hours BEFORE the debate is to begin. Yes, there is a difference between save and publish.

 

 

Recovering from Blogging Burnout

Getting burned by the fire

I don't think I want to do this anymore...

After three or four decades of being immersed in the digital lifestyle and blogging on a continual basis for 15 years, I found myself puking at the idea of spending more time in front of the computer outside of work. It's not that I don't still like technology and content management, but I didn't recognize until it was too late that the lack of topic diversity would eventually lead me to digital burnout. To fix this, I seriously tried not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In the end that's exactly what I did.

Having walked away from CMS Report earlier this year, it's taken me months to recognize that the problem wasn't being bored with content management systems. The problem is I didn't do it in moderation.  Between my day job working in information technology and the evenings spent blogging and running personal websites, there were days I spent close to 16 hours in front of a computer screen. For someone like me that can be over enthusiastic in pursuing my interests and activities, I never considered my computer time as work. As odd as it sounds, it became a great shock to me that my body both physically and mentally still perceived it as work.

I know there are others that have dealt with job burnout, but this wasn't just my job it was my hobby. Until recently, writing blog posts always brought me great joy and satisfaction. Steven D’souza in a recent article published at Harvard Business Review wrote about going through something similar. In the article he discusses the dangers of not recognizing work we love as still being work.

The Most Important Feature To Require In Your Next CMS

Agility CMS with Import and Export

When it comes to content management systems, these two questions are the ones that I get asked the most:

  • What is the best CMS out there?
  • What features do I need to have in my CMS?

Over the years, I've tried answering that question in various forums. But inevitably my initial answers to the first question are almost always:

  • It depends on what you want to do.
  • It depend on who you're willing to work with.

This leaves us with the second question. What features do you need to have in a CMS? The honest answer is I won't know until I better understand your business goals and current workflow. But I can tell you with a straight face what is the most important feature your new CMS needs to have:

  • The ability to export your content easily out of your "new" CMS.

Too often, people worry only about importing their content into a new CMS from their old CMS. But what if in a year or two you find your new CMS fails to meet your needs? Before adopting a new CMS, you should have a clear exit stategy for the day your new CMS becomes your old CMS.

With some CMSs, the process to leave from one platform to another is an easy one. We just did an Agility CMS to Drupal migration where Agility's software provided easy access to their export functionality. This didn't surprise me because three years ago I researched Agility well and confirmed they had export functionality readily available. Unfortunately, too many CMSs are not like Agility. CMS vendors don't always provide an easy method to leave their CMS and sometimes this is intentional (it's called vendor lock). Website migrations even in the best of circumstances are already difficult and you definitely don't want a CMS where exporting content is made difficult by design.

Ambulance Chasing: A Social Media Success Story

When it comes to posting online about my own personal misfortune, I have one simple rule. Don't talk about it until you can tell the story with a sense of humor. When it comes to a visible personal injury the first question you inevitably have to answer is, "What happened to you"? Three weeks ago, I was in a bicycle accident where I landed on my shoulder and broke my clavicle (collar bone). I'm better now but I'm still wearing an arm sling. My first attempt of bringing humor to the situation was on Twitter.

In the past, I've joked with my wife that every time I've had a physical injury it when I'm doing some type of physical exercise. My accident happened during a 26 mile bike ride on the bike trail when a skateboarder accidentally or on purpose (I want to believe it was the former and not the latter) put his skateboard in front of my bicycle wheel. I flipped over on the bike, landed on my shoulder, and by the next day found that I had broke my collar bone. The doctor said to expect my arm to be in a arm sling for two to six weeks. It took me almost a week to admit the specifics of my injury online. This time with a little less humor on Twitter.

Wearables: Even Apple Doesn't Get It Bryan Ruby Sun, 03/01/2015 - 12:11

My number one priority for a smart watch is not to replace my car keys and wallet, although these are the type of things I do expect any wearable I purchase to be capable of doing. No, the highest priority of a smart watch should be to replace my need of carrying around my phone everywhere I go. Second highest priority needs to be the ability go and do things with your watch without having to worry if you need to the your charger along too. In other words, I'm not convinced smart watches will be for the masses (one the novelty wears off) until the wearable is independent of a second device and can go for days without charging.

Social Media Killed the Family Website

Image of Bryansplace.com from around 2003

For the first time in 15 years, my family doesn't have a website to call their own. In January 2000, I registered the domain Bryansplace.com. This was the first website I ever built outside of work and it became a sandbox for me to express my interests as well as a way to seek personal growth. From handwritten HTML pages into Frontpage to a number of CMSs, the software and content at Bryansplace evolved as my life evolved.

Bryansplace.com was the website where my girlfriend and I announced our marriage to the world. As a married couple, we eventually publicly announced the birth of our son via the site. This domain was the site where I talked about camping, computers, and my latest beer recipes. It wasn't all about me either. My wife showcased her photography for the first time online via Bryansplace. This was also the website my son learned how to navigate the Drupal content management system and talk about his gaming skills. Bryansplace.com was synonymous with "family news". Despite how much I valued the domain, last week I unceremoniously killed the website.

Red Stool

Red Stool

I wonder where that old red stool from my childhood went?

This little stool is mine
I use it all the time
to reach the things I couldn't
and lots of things I shouldn't.

 

 

The great ENIAC

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Glen Beck (background) and Betty Snyder (foreground) program the ENIAC in BRL building 328

After spending most of my years years in grade school working hard on experimental science fair projects and not receiving a ribbon, I finally gave up and wrote a "non-experimental" paper on the history of computers in the eighth grade. Despite the paper being weak even for eighth grade standards, I finally won a ribbon (third place) in the school science fair. Remember, this was the early 1980's and everyone was still fascinated with the then new concept of computers entering "everyday" life. Why am I going down memory lane? Well I came across an article on the 60th anniversary of ENIAC  [via news.com, broken link] the "first" computer built which of course was mentioned in that paper of mine some 25 years ago.

Though, only to find out after reading the article, ENIAC wasn't the first computer and it really didn't do a whole lot. They just had a good public relations department that explained well to the American audience what role the computer would play in the future. If you read the article you'll find (not included in my excerpt) that the PR people went so far to include the placing of flashing light bulbs on the computer console so that people had something to look at besides vacuum tubes and switches. Still, you have to admit it was an amazing engineering achievement despite needing a good marketing campaign to go along with it.

Is the end near for large professional organizations?

Last month, the Board of Directors for the Content Management Professionals announced the ending of CM Pros. The decision to close down the organization was evidently made by the Board in Summer 2014.

A couple years ago I joined CM Pros, paid for membership, never got billed, and never heard back from the organization. Knowing that some good people were involved in the organization told me that they were facing an uphill battle. The battle for an organization to have identity and play a role in the industry they wish to advocate.

The creation of CM Pros dated to the early 2000s. The organization was originally designed to unite professionals in all facets of the content management world.

In the years since, that world fractured and subdivided considerably, and other organizations emerged to serve the needs of the resulting sub-audiences. In particular, the emergence of the "content strategy" segment of the industry subsumed a large portion of the audience that CM Pros was originally intended to represent.

Given that the audience had become broad and fractured, the concept of a "content management professional" became too vague to effectively support. Thus, the Board determined that the organization had run its course and come to a natural end.

The LinkedIn group is still available, though it no longer represents any formal organization. It is unmoderated and open for unrestricted membership.

Although the CMS Pros didn't play a significant part in my content management endeavors, I'm nevertheless a little saddened by their departure. I understand the difficulties of advocating the technical side of content management when the more glitzy marketing side of the house is talking content strategy. But this isn't the cause of my sadness, it's my nostalgia for the days professional organizations had real value to people like you and me.