I have been looking into some static site generators as WP new editing approach with the block editor is just a pain. It is taking over control of the page layout and flexibility of the single page view that I would prefer. I am also finding it to be slower to initially load pages and content. Then there is also the increasingly frequent updates needed to keep things secure. I’m sure part of the problem is the code is becoming so much more complicated. I run no plugins at all on my site, because they open up too many doors.
At first I was looking for an alternative CMS built on PHP. However, looking at that landscape there are no real alternatives. I want something simple that keeps the number of DB tables small as why should there be 50 tables for a simple website. Yet, everything I looked at has been ridiculously complicated if not on the front end then also the back end. I’ve custom built PHP CMSs myself and have thought about doing it again, but honestly I am no longer interested in maintaining that either.
So now I am looking at Static Site generators and finding that, there too I feel there is just so much unnecessary complication. Most are targeted towards developers and involve running multiple underlying frameworks and libraries. I have spent some time playing around with various ones that use node and find it still to be overly complicated. Another problem I am realizing is that I will no longer be able to update my site from my tablet/phone as I am doing right now. At this point I am almost thinking about going with straight html and manually updating pages.
Yet, every time I start in on Xcode it is just a hodgepodge of UI and code. Sure there are starter bundles, code look-up, and contextual help, but there is nothing intuitive about building an app in Xcode. Compare this to visual studio from Microsoft and it is completely different. Sure Visual Studio (the full app not the VS Code) is also very complex, but I was surprised at how easy it was to add a button to the UI and then the write code for that button.
So I upgraded to Apple’s Mac OS Big Sur. I have to start out by saying that I feel Apple has been slipping in recent years with basic usability. The whole flat UI thing sucks not just in my opinion, but also in usability testing I have done with designs that were “flat”. Also I am not sure who started it, but between Apple, Google, and Microsoft all hiding scroll bars, it’s really a annoying trying to notice when there may be more on the screen. The first thing I look for now when updating OS is the option to force scroll bars to be visible.
Having said all that, I have to say that I generally like the look and feel of Big Sur and also liking some of the new features. The finder windows do feel cleaner and more refined. The new control center is interesting, but I have yet to really use it. There are new privacy and security measures which is good to know that they are improved. Overall though it seems just OK. I am not wowed by anything just yet, but also there have been no major glitches as well. I do really appreciate that Mac OS upgrades are free now. If there is anything else that pops out over the next week, I’ll be sure to make note here.
It’s been said before, the future is coming faster than we think. This is true now more than ever as the advent of “AI” and robotics automation is beginning to seriously take hold. I put AI in quotes because it is still far from true artificial intelligence. It is because of significant increases in computing power and networking that increasingly complex algorithms can be run. Which gives the appearance of “intelligence”, but the reality is this is not true intelligence yet. While a machine can learn, it still has to be cultivated and corrected and ultimately it is not really thinking.
Anyone who has engaged at length with Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa, or Apple’s Siri knows that there are plenty of limitations. As great as they are for somethings you very quickly run into problems for anything that is not yet factored in their algorithms and resources they pull information from. Having said that, they and other AI driven technologies are gaining traction in business. I know that there are many others predicting the same thing I am here…
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Spending some of my time off exploring microdata and html5 more in depth. If the semantic web is going to finally gain wide adoption microdata is going to be the catalyst. Unfortunately as easy as it is, it still involves a some effort to add microdata to your code. Still it is a million times easier than XML or other semantic formats.
Unfortunately, I think performance will still be an issue in actual implementations. Microdata is still fairly verbose and also referencing the scope/schema from a third party server may be a problem for some high traffic servers. Adding microdata to your mark-up can easily double or triple the size and there is always the latency issue of referencing a third party server.
These were the sources I was reviewing;
I signed up for the beta version of the Chrome OS notebook from google. I am not expecting that they will send it to me as I would be surprised if they have not already sent out all 60,000 beta models. Nonetheless, I would be very excited to get one as I think this is the future of computing and user experience. Between the google cr-48 and the Macbook Air the future of desktop/laptop experience is in these streamlined mobile/cloud based UIs. I think the one thing that google needs to port to the Chrome OS is the Android store. Just as Apple is releasing the App Store to the laptop/desktop, so should google allow users to run android apps in the Chrome OS. It is the perfect blend of an internet based experience and an app/platform focused experience.
I really love my iPad despite the numerous short comings and currently have a Macbook pro 15″ for work. However, I am really sold on the more portable computing functionality. Having transitioned from a desktop to a laptop to an ipad for most of my daily computing needs, it seems clear that the future will be more powerful yet more portable devices. The UI of these experiences will have to accommodate a variety of screen formats and sizes. If I don’t get a Cr-48 I will save my $ for a Macbook Air.