….to prove it, I can spell BANANAS!
I thought I had polished off all my banana wine last night, but I’ve just discovered a bottle hiding away in the kitchen, trembling in trepidation. Never, fear, little bottle, you shall remain virginal – for the time being….
I’m now brewing a further two gallons – a big bucket of it is now bubbling away in the utility room behind me, smelling quite tempting already. But it won’t be drinkable until at least midsummer. So that bottle in the kitchen won’t last!

Ah well… since today is a normal day for us (apart from everything being shut), I’ve been getting on with some work. A walk would have been pleasant, but B is quite tired today – maybe tomorrow. Mostly, I’ve been tweaking the new Transit website, which is getting along very nicely; most of the work now will be adding and formatting content. It probably won’t be online until the end of February, but I’m so excited over it that I’m spending time now getting it right. It’s all good practice, anyway, as I intend to concentrate on WordPress-driven CMS sites, and I’ve been getting down and dirty with the coding.

Well, I caught the Wallace & Gromit film this afternoon, then the Doctor Who special. Now it’s almost time for the new Wallace & Gromit special! So toodle-ooh!

….meeping about web design and stuff.
Getting on with the design for the new online Transit, I’ve been looking at CMSs that are specifically for online magazine/newsletters. WordPress, once again seems to win hands down, with at least three themes that are suitable. I’ve looked at a standalone Drupal spin-off called Prosepoint, but its still in beta and lacks a lot of features; also it still has a Drupal backend, and I really couldn’t get to grips with Drupal when I was trying it out earlier this year. (Ironically, the Prosepoint site appears to have copied a popular WP layout.) Joomla probably has a magazine skin, but it’s an application that I’ve not taken to at all – the backend is needlessly complex and customising any part of it is grindingly slow. Plus, it has surprisingly few CSS-only W3C-compliant themes.
So I’m sticking with what I know – WordPress. Not that any of their magazine themes has proved all that easy to customise – it is still basically a blogging application, although great strides are being taken with turning it into a full-fledged CMS. The latest version comes with all sorts of bells and whistles that, while undoubtedly useful, are making it steadily more complicated.
I’ve been using WordPress since version 1.1 – you can see what that was like here; making your own custom theme then just meant playing around with the single stylesheet. Now WP themes themselves are getting far more complex and I’m seeing signs of WordPress ‘forks’ developing; for instance, one of the magazine skins I’m considering comes with it’s own structure theme that you have to install first. Not much of a step from there to a separate standalone application, ala Prosepoint.
In fact, I can see a real demand for these open-source online magazine and newspaper applications, now that print newspapers are in decline. People are getting used to reading their newspapers online – more and more people will want to put out online newsletters and magazines. And they won’t want just flat, online copies of print papers, they’ll demand interactive content – commenting on articles, plenty of links, video content and so on. It would be fun if the online Transit were like that – but, hmmm, would the greybeards want it that way?
But anyway, I’ll get on with pushing one part (at least) of the Astrological Association into the Web3.0-enabled 21st century. That’s if they’ll let me.

For me, the big event of the day was an exact astrological opposition between Uranus and Saturn. So I’ve avoided getting involved in any celestial pile-ups by spending my time at the pooter, struggling to get to grips with Joomla. My long-awaited Building Websites With Joomla 1.5 arrived last week, but I was too busy before to make a start on it.
It’s translated from the German, not altogether perfectly. So there are some awkwardnesses and strange phraseology – “barrier freedom” in particular puzzled me, until I worked out that it was what the Germans call Web Accessibility. But overall, it looks like a very good buy, and I’m now busy getting the Oakleaf Circle website converted to Joomla.

Oh, yes, and there’s some sort of election going on, I think…

Think I’ll have a listen to some Einstuerzende Neubauten – gloomy Germanic post-industrial rock seems to fit my mood a lot lately (I blame Saturn).

The drugs do work! Well, so far. I’m feeling cheerful and energetic, and generally much happier and healthier than I’ve been for bloody ages. I’ll have to tell Doc G about it – he’ll be pleased that something he’s prescribed for me is finally working.
So I’ve really been charging ahead with work – I’m setting up a CMS for a customer, using WordPress. Yes, it’s a blogging application – heck I’m using it right now – but it’s terrifically easy to turn it into a non-blog CMS. It’s PHP-based and open-source, so you can fiddle with the source code to your geeky little heart’s content if you’re so inclined. Even if you’re not much good with PHP, there are lots of useful plugins you can install to do the work for you. For instance, you can customise the entire admin section, with your client’s logo and whatever sections they need to use.

So, I’m cheerful again. Just hope it lasts……

I’ve spent the last three days doing almost nothing but test out various Open Source CMS packages.
Fot a long time, I’ve been thinking of using CMS for the WordPress. I’ve used WordPress for over five years for my blog; it’s very flexible, extremely customisable and it can be used as a CMS. However, getting it to work for a pure directory site requires more hacking and template rewriting than I’m prepared to do. So, with great reluctance, I’ve had to abandon WordPress for that particular project.
of the programs I’ve tried so far, only three stand out for me – Drupal, e107 and CMS Made Simple.
Both Drupal and e107 are in the running for the Oakleaf Circle site – they’re well-supported, have lots of modules and plugins and have fairly intuitive admin interfaces. e107 is the easiest to operate, but Drupal has completely customisable stylesheets (which is what a CSS maven like me demands), plus more themes. So I’ll be playing around with both of them for a bit longer.
I’m impressed with CMS Made Simple – it does what it says. Very much suited to small personal sites (although there are modules for blogs and forums), it’s easy to operate and highly customisable. I won’t be using it for Oakleaf, but it’s certainly what I’ll use for clients who ask for a CMS.