My blog is now running PHP 7. Goodbye 5.6. This also means I am now closer to deploying a Drupal 8 version of my site. Happy New Year.
Homepage. Home page. Home Page. In every variant of the spelling it is a singular noun. If one must go to the homepage of a corporation or institution you visit the homepage. However, for those of us that work day to day with websites, we often say something along the lines of, “that content is on the homepage.” The thing is, we don’t mean that it is literally on the homepage. We mean it is within the site that has a front door at ***.com.
There must be a better phrase, but those I’ve tried don’t seem to have traction. Home site, the collection of pages and posts, the company site. I believe that homepage is an anachronism of the early web and a better term is needed.
Now, I realize this position is rather thin, especially for small websites. However, as sites grow more complex or there are sites within sites within sites, this becomes important. I work at a university and if a department has a website, they refer to their homepage. That gets confusing as the department site is usually within a college site and homepage which is within the university homepage.
This has certainly been kicking around in my head for several months. Surprisingly, even Wikipedia has a lightweight discussion around the term. I don’t know what the answer is, maybe I just need to accept that homepage can mean many things but I am grasping for a concrete word or phrase that captures the idea of a main web property that exists for a brand.
Grace Hopper and the invention of the information age. Kurt Beyer. The MIT Press. Cambridge Massachusetts. 2009.
Growing up around computers in the early 1990s I never heard of Grace Hopper. Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Bjorn Strossoup. I heard of those guys but the story of Grace Hopper is incredible and at least at the time was not talked about.
This book should be part of every computer science 101 course in colleges or high schools. At the same time the Eniac, arguably one of the most famous computers ever, was calculating ballistic firing tables Grace Hopper and her commander Howard Aiken with his machine the Mark I, during the war helped calculate solutions for the first atomic bomb. Beyond that they did many other tasks, all the Eniac could do was calculate firing tables. Not only is the story of Grace Hopper important for the history of computing, other females who kicked serious computing butt are highlighted throughout the book. Jean Bartik , Betty Snyder, and Kay McNulty. These women revolutionized programming.
- If/then blocks
- Problem oriented languages
Reading the book leaves one in awe of what was done in the early years of computers from the Eniac and Mark I being enormous in size and almost being entirely mechanical. The early technical feats of using magnetic tape storage, mercury delay lines as a type of memory, magnetic disk arrays, and the first RAM. The mental hurdle to go from paper punch cards to a system written on tape is hard to wrap your head around.
Beyer I believe does a really good job of looking not only at the technical accomplishments but the social innovations too. Grace Hopper he points out was not just brilliant as a mathematician but pushed new ways of distributed collaboration in the business world. She worked across industry and between companies bringing in new ideas from others, distributing that new version to others and iterating until a great product arrived. Her first compiler the A-0 was written by herself and then the A-1 by her team at Remmington-Rand. The A-1 then was built by the collective, it was open source before free software was a thing.
For one not familiar with the early programming and hardware evolution Kurt Beyer writes illustratively allowing the reader to place her/himself in the 40’s and 50’s while this all occurred.
Thank you Kurt for writing an awesome introduction to not only the career of Grace Hopper but the beginnings of a new dawn for computing.
I have had the pleasure of reading Milner’s latest book on education, Rac(e)ing to Class, Confronting poverty and race in schools and classrooms. It is not an intimidating looking book but it is packed with content. I first heard of the book on NPR and was able to get a copy from our local University library.
The best part of how Milner writes is that he is honest. He doesn’t have all of the answers but he had done his research and presents what he thinks is a pretty good answer. As a young teacher it is refreshing to hear that it is not always about the teacher, but that leadership needs to lead on issues of poverty and race.
“Shifting the ethos of a district to one that centers its care around those who are most vulnerable requires leaders to embrace principles that reverberate throughout the entire district, not only through what they say but also what they do and expect of others.” p. 31
Now, working at a university and not as a teacher it is with pleasure that I try to assist in those transformational shifts. These discussions can be uncomfortable but the more you talk about it, I find allows for a deeper unpacking of the complexity. Just a few pages after the quote above Milner quotes W.G. Secada on what is meant by equity.
“The essence of equity lies in our ability to acknowledge that even though our actions are in accord with a set of rules, the results of those actions may still be unjust. Equity goes beyond following the rules…equity gauges the results of actions directly against the standards of justice.” p. 34 (I added the emphasis).
I love how that chosen quote frames the book. We all try our best to do the right thing, throughout those efforts, check back in to see how it stacks up against the standards of justice. A thread of optimism weaves through the writing, everything is a challenge, but a challenge with opportunity. Milner writes for the first seventy or so pages about the systemic deficiencies of schools, districts, and instructional methods. I believe he does so accurately while recognizing the standards based testing drum decrescendo into a soft bass line. There are nice nuggets of insight in this first half, the second part is even better. The second part comprises the case studies and a dissection of teacher education programs.
The NPR story I link to above does a good job of hooking the listener on these case studies. I like the way Milner talks the reader through the situation and delivers an improved lesson for students and the school community in each one. It is masterful. Go borrow or buy the book. You won’t be disappointed.
Purchase directly from Harvard Education Press.
Milner IV, Richard. H. Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
DrupalCon Los Angeles kicks off in a few days. I am lucky to have an opportunity to partake. I’ll be sprinting Sunday and Friday. The higher-ed summit should be great and I am humbly leading a few table discussions at that.
Here are sessions I find intriguing, the ones with an asterix are where I’ll most likely be.
- DrupalCon Prenote: Snow Beauty and the 101 Mermaids of Notre DOM – a musical Drupalventure *
- Driesnote *
- You Are A Golden God: Automate Your Workflow for Fun and Profit
- The Symfony Framework: Your Free New Toolkit
- The Battle for the Body Field *
- The Wonderful World of (Web) Typography *
- Composer Tools and Frameworks for Drupal
- Personalization and Drupal: An Inside View to the World’s Biggest Brands
- State of The Panels Union – the Panels ecosystem on D7 and forwards to D8 *
- Kalabox 2: Your Workflow Companion, Your Workflow Solution
- Better tools for content creators: Paragraphs, Parallax, Skrollr and friends *
- Decoupled Drupal: When, Why, and How
- Constructive Conflict Resolution *
- How Pac-12 Networks Delivers Live TV with Drupal
- How Jenkins can work for the Whole Team
- Keynote by Whitney Hess *
- Style Guide Driven Development: All hail the robot overlords! *
- Creating a Culture of Performance
- Creating a Culture of Empowerment *
- Routes, controllers and responses: The Basic Lifecycle of a D8 Request
- The Great Consolidation: Entertainment Weekly Migration Case Study
- Using Grunt to Manage Drupal Build and Testing Tools *
- Issue Workspaces: A better way to collaborate in Drupal.org issue queues
- 5 Years in: Drupal Distributions Panel *
- The Flavors of SVG
- The Secret Life of Organic Groups *
- Test driven Drupal upgrades
- Keynote by Matt Asay *
- How Drupal secured the defense sector *
- What Panels can teach us about Web Components
- Ballin’ on a Budget: How to Create Great Design Without Breaking the Bank
- Double Header: RedHat.Com – An Architectural Case Study | Free Cloud Backups with Backup and Migrate
- Drupal 9 Components Library: The next theme system
- Drupal 8, Don’t Be Late (Enterprise Orgs, We’re Looking at You) *
- Q&A with Dries *
- Making Content Strategic before “Content Strategy” Happens
- Harmony – Forums & communities with Drupal
- Advanced layouts with Flexbox
- Closing Session *