Technology Break 2009 Begins

Every year, I like to slow down my technology usage for a few weeks. I don't think as human beings we were meant to be immersed in the huge quantity of digital information that we are today. From the moment I am awake to the moment I go to bed, my body is being loaded information. The email, cell phone, and the Internet seem to have a never ending presence in the lives of us IT folks. I don't have much control with removing technology from my work day, but I do have options in my personal life. It's time for me to unplug and officially begin my annual Technology Break.

Reviewing Barrie North's Joomla! 1.5 book and video

Barrie North has a problem. He can't stop talking about his favorite content management system, Joomla!. So last year, he decided to write his own Joomla book titled appropriately, Joomla! 1.5: A User's Guide. The problem is that people like North are never willing to let that be enough. As Joomla! 1.5 continues to evolve since its initial release so too has North's offerings. Two weeks ago North's publisher, Prentice Hall, sent me a second edition of Joomla! 1.5 as well a new video from their LiveLessons series, Fundamentals of Joomla!. Unlike last year, I decided to actually review the book as well as watch the video.

Let me first say, I'm a reluctant book reviewer. There is nothing that weighs on a person's busy day than having publishers send me a steady stream of content management related books for review. Eventually, those technical books begin stacking up on my desk and secretly I know half of those books aren't worth my time or your money. Luckily for all of us, North's Joomla 1.5 book and Fundamentals of Joomla! video are well worth the purchase. I can't help but give two thumbs up to both North's updated Joomla! 1.5 book and new video.

ocPortal and Bitnami team together for easy CMS installation

Two providers of integrated solutions: ocPortal, an open-source Content Management System, and Bitnami, which makes "stacks" for easy installation of web applications, have partnered to release a "stack" for ocPortal 4.1.10. Jointly developed/tested by both companies, users of almost any background can now easily download and run ocPortal on the "big three" operating systems, Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Cool App: Wordpress for BlackBerry

Although I'm not a big BlackBerry fan, I can't help but think having the Open Source Wordpress for BlackBerry application on the device would be pretty cool. This application for writing, managing, and editing your blog works whether your blog is found at or self-hosted.

BlackBerry operating system OS requirements are OS 4.2.1 or newer. In other words, Wordpress for BlackBerry should work on any of the newer BlackBerry smartphones including the 8700, Pearl, Curve, Bold, and Storm.

The ECM landscape improves with Alfresco Community Edition 3.2

There is a real fear out there. A fear involving companies commercially supporting open source software and neglecting the "free" community version of their software. Fortunately for us, when looking for proof of this fear Alfresco is in the wrong direction to look. Alfresco Community Edition 3.2 brings so many new capabilities and improvements to the table that you can almost see the enterprise content management landscape brighten up.

Theme development and the GPL

Some of the most intense debates I've seen in the open source community have been discussions covering what is or what isn't required by the popular open source license, the GNU GPL. For example, it is common practice in the open source CMS market to distribute themes that include the templates (the code) under the GPL and the artwork (including CSS) under a different license. Under the GPL, is this practice legal or not?

Acquia Search becomes publicly available

A couple days ago, Acquia moved Acquia Search out of beta and made it available commercially available through their Acquia Network service. Acquia Search is a hosted search service based on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. The technology supporting Acquia Search is based on the the Open Source Lucene and Solr distributions from the Apache project.  While a free search module is already available in Drupal, as well as Acquia Drupal, Acquia Search is significantly different and geared toward the enterprise. Smaller but high traffic websites would also benefit from Acquia Search.

Acquia LogoCMS Report has been beta testing Acquia Search for the past four months and we've had nothing but a positive experience with the service. In fact I feel as a beta tester I somehow didn't do my job since I didn't have any issues to report to Acquia. However, Acquia did acquire various usage statistics, email exchanges, and surveys from us that they still benefited from's participation in the beta program. Since I know only enough about Drupal to be dangerous, if I can't break it then Acquia must be on the right track with this product.