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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Drip Drip

When uploading the previous post, my ISP’s server chocked on the many pictures. Again. You see, in this beautiful but retarded country of mine, the two main ISPs (*) still maintain strict limits on downloading, server space, scripts you can use (in my case: none) and so on. Some well meaning idiot tried to fight this policy by hacking the Belgacom servers and publishing a bunch of users’ logins and passwords. But he got caught, because even the police use computers these days. His trial starts next week.

I’m looking into less drastic alternatives to get around this ban. Of course I could move my weblog to Wordpress.com or – cough hack – Blogger – hack cough – but I like to keep things under control. And I don’t want to be entirely dependent on free services, that can change their policies any time. Such a thing happened to me recently with Gliffy.com, a free service to draw flow charts online. They changed their ‘free’ policy from an unlimited number to five charts per user. So now I have to throw 25 diagrams away or cough up $5 a month. I don’t want something like that to happen to my beloved Bartlog.

So I’ve been tinkering about with Drupal, a free content management system that allows you to create any kind of site: a webstore, a weblog, a forum, a photo collection, a simple one page website,… you name it! And that is precise its problem, because to create something like a blog you need to gnaw through tons of documentation. Drupal is developed and maintained by a dedicated community, and that is another one of its problems. Forget easy-to-follow step-by-step beginners manuals. You’ll be bombarded by so much information that it’s very difficult to keep focused. Oh, and then there is the panoply of extra modules that you need to install to get anything working. Want something exotic like images in your posts (imagine that, eh!), why you only need to install five extra modules for that. And then the real fun begins, because all those modules have settings that need to be changed and they are absolutely all over the damn place!

I guess you can say this thing has a steep learning curve. There is a simple explanation for its complexity: its made in Belgium (well, it started here, now it’s a worldwide community really). But on the plus side, you really can tinker about and tweak this thing to your geek heart’s desire. So if all goes well, expect a new, flashy and dynamic version of Bartlog any time soon. Like in 2020.

(*) Two, yes two as in 2. There are other ISPs, but there are only two separate networks, which means you can write off any free market principles. Internet is expensive here, service is lousy and their idea of internet security is blocking all customers from doing anything else but surfing and making old-school websites.

Posted by Bart at 9:07 PM
Categories: ICT - Inevitable Computer Troubles

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