So many thoughts. So little time.

Category Archives: Thought-Bubble

3 Things ExpressionEngine can do that WordPress simply cannot

I’m a programmer who uses the ExpressionEngine CMS to run some pretty data-intensive websites.

Data intensive!

WordPress is a great platform, don’t get me wrong. (This page and most of my other personal pages are all WordPress sites.)

But if you’ve got data, you want something like ExpressionEngine. Here’s why.

If/Then statements.

Anywhere on any template for any page that I want to assign that template to, I can have conditionals that decide how things are going to work depending upon conditions in the data retrieved.

Say a field is empty.

I can simply say

{if fieldname ==””}do this{/if}


{if fieldname != “”}do that{/if}   (…Or even more simply, {if fieldname}do that{/if}!)

(WordPress has one major field that you write inside of. You can add custom fields. What happens to the page when those have content (or do not) is not easily controlled.)

URL Segments

I can test segments of the URL and insert their data into paths or anywhere I want, like for instance, as part of an if/then statement!

Just today I had the situation where I used that where nothing else would have been easy. Most of my pages have a “Go to top” link. I had a search result page with a long special URL generated by the built-in search engine.

I was able to construct that link I needed in EE with:

<a href=”{path=template_group/template_name}{segment_3}#top”> – Ta Da!

That would have been a bit of work in WordPress.

Embedding Code

In EE, I can easily embed an entire code routine to insert its contents anywhere on a page I like. I can send that code routine variable data so it is customized – even as far as which database table it pulls from, or which category or field it pulls its data from. This is so powerful it is crazy. And is super convenient for universal, across-the-site things like headers and footers. WordPress can do such things up to a point with functions (relying on the “hooks” that are made available by the theme), but it is not as easy to automate nor to send modifying data calls into.

Maybe I’m just so used to ExpressionEngine and not savvy enough at PHP and function writing so as to be comfortable with child themes and such to write similar capabilities into WordPress, but to get such power on a page-template by page-template basis, I need ExpressionEngine to make it all approachable!

That’s all for now on this, but those are my three biggies!

Holiday Showcase of New G+ Hangouts on Air Shows #HangoutProducers

Enjoy the show!

I’ll be announcing a new hangout series I’m starting aimed at educators of all kinds and taking one’s education into entrepreneurial activities.

You can find more information and follow the project at or on Google+!

Continue Reading

64 Google+ Content Strategies [with Infographic]

Great list of things to do with Google+, folks!

Read the full article here:

64 Google+ Content Strategies [Infographic]

Like this infographic? Grab a proven framework for content marketing that works from Copyblogger.

My first tape recorders

I got into recording at a very early age – 10 years old, to be exact! My mom bought my brother and I a “shared” present from the Sears catalog – a reel-to-reel tape deck! Here is a picture of the catalog entry from the 1962 Sears Christmas Catalog of that item, the “Electronic Tape Recorder” which sold for $29.66 – what an odd price point!

Click the image to get a better view of it!

1960s SEARS reel to reel tape recorder huge

Thanks Mom!

This thing used its removable speaker as a microphone when you switched to record mode (the only time I’ve ever seen that except on an intercom system!) It used a permanent magnet as an erase head that you’d swing into position to brush against the tape to erase it as you were recording. It was naturally not a capstan drive, but was a take-up reel drive, making the tapes un-playable on a capstan system (steady speed) since the tape moved faster as the take-up reel filled up with tape. So, the playback would get slower and slower played on a capstan-drive deck… pretty funny for the first time, but then it sank in how without such a machine to play back your tapes you’d never hear them right again!

I then moved up at age 13 to a Miny (hear it!) (also branded as the Star-Lite Pacer). That thing was a blast! Bought with paper-route money, of course.

I finally afforded an Emerson/Telectro MS 223 Stereo Playback/Sound-on-Sound Recording “real” tape machine at age 14. (I actually ended up working there at Telectro in Jamaica, Queens, NY in my early thirties as a shipping clerk for a few months, circa 1981!) This machine had a removable spindle that let you switch between 3-3/4 and 7-1/2 inches per second (ips) speed. I had to take it completely apart twice to replace a riveted cam pin in the mechanism, screwing in the idler piece with a sheet metal screw… lucky I still had small hands! Both the Miny and the Telectro were purchased at the Grand Way Superstore – a Grand Union project in the sixties – using paper route money, of course! (I had a 15-mile long paper route I delivered to 6 days a week rain or shine. So, I bought things I wanted!)

Gadzooks! Have we come a long way! Digital recording into my Acer Chromebook running Linux and Audacity blows away anything I ever put onto tape, sound-quality-wise!

In case you didn’t know this about me, I am an electronic and conceptual-art music guy since forever (age 10!) and mostly play now with synths, though I am messing with more “Musique concrète” again. I’m returning to my ‘experimental’ music roots lately, but have been all over the place with that. I own two Korg Wavestations (orig. keyboard and rack), an Emu Procussion, two TX81Z Yamaha FM synth rack modules, and a Kawai K5000 additive synth. I am also considered a formidable flute player, though I continuously have my doubts about that.

I rotate tunes through my Soundcloud account, and have most everything I’ve ever done that’s been transferred to digital over at my Soundcloud site. Here’s a sample embeded from SoundCloud. (Download for full fidelity.)

Windows 7 Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) not working with Linux or Mac machine? Bridging is the solution!

I struggled for several hours trying every combination of settings under the sun trying to get my wireless connection to be shared with my Linux box through a wired connection. Windows 7 ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) was simply not working. Even though I could ping the wireless router from the Linux machine, websites simply would not pass through!

I finally tried bridging the connections instead, and that worked great! At last!

Keep in mind you will still require a cross-over cable to connect the computers or a router in-between the internet machine and your other machines. A plain patch-cable that does not cross-over the transmit and receive wires will not work in most cases – you must use a cross-over cable. However, most routers have auto-detecting that performs this function even with a normal patch cable.

First, if you have your wireless connection already set to ICS, go back to the Sharing tab and un-check that box to stop sharing it.

Now, click the bars in the tray and bring up “Open Network and Sharing Center” at the bottom.

Now on the far left, click “Change Adapter Settings”.

First, take a look at the details for the wireless connection from double-clicking on it. It will show you the DNS settings being used. That is important for what follows, so keep that window up or jot the two addresses down. Also note what the default gateway is being used, as you’ll need both of these pieces of information in the Bridge settings and on your Linux box in its manual config settings.

Click once on your “Local Area Connection” icon and then, while holding the CTRL key down, click on your active “Wireless Network Connection”. With the two of them now selected, right-click on either and select “Add to Bridge”.

Once this is done, right-click on the Network Bridge icon and select properties, followed by double-clicking on the IPv4 settings to bring them up. Double check that you are allowing it to obtain its IP address and DNS numbers automatically here. If this doesn’t work right off, come back here and enter the two DNS Server numbers manually – that usually fixes it.

Hit OK and OK and you are done with that part.

Now on your Linux machine, edit your wired connection, and enter an IP different from the other – say (or if your gateway is Then fill in the same subnet mask, gateway and DNS servers that you jotted down earlier, (on some installations the DNS servers are listed separated by a comma). Restart the wired connection (usually by clicking the words “Wired Connection” again in your network choices or by disabling it an re-enabling it), and start your browser.

You should see your pages load now!

S.I.M.P.L.E.R. – Success Is Marketing, Planning, Leveraging, Economy and Resources

Recently, a friend in Elizabeth City, NC and I had several conversations surrounding what could be done to help people struggling to either get a business started or people already in business who were encountering hard times. I was fiddling around with finding an acronym for a “S.C.O.R.E. On Steroids”* kind of organization (my acronym for that is, naturally, S.O.S. – though of course, we’d never use that one!) and Betty suggested S.I.M.P.L.E. as one to try on. Her original idea was “Success Is Marketing plus Essentials, ” then she thought of “Success Is Marketing Plus Long-range Effects” and challenged me to come up with another one. The title of this article is what I came up with, and here is why I thought these were the needed elements.

*(S.C.O.R.E. is the acronym for the Service Corp. Of Retired Executives, a volunteer organization that is an arm of the Small Business Administration.)

Here is a breakdown of my acronym. [Update: Resources just added!)

Success – well, that needs to be defined carefully. What will success mean to you, the business owner? It is important that you answer the question, “How will I know when I have achieved success?”

Is – meaning something that exists, and furthermore implies an intention to continue existing.

Marketing – this is number one. One isn’t in the widget business; rather, one is in the widget marketing business. Identifying and satisfying customer’s needs is the primary focus here. Also, using market-testing before jumping in and spending money on an idea is cheaper than ever, using AdWords and Facebook advertising to test what is being searched for and check on demographic interest levels now being possible quite inexpensively.

Planning – the business plan, the testing of the plan (via marketing), the tentative 5-year growth plan, the organization of your company, the banking and taxes, and all that sort of stuff that is essential.

Leveraging – taking what you already have that is successful and pumping that back into the organization to help it grow. Taking what is already working well and amplifying that.

Economy – not just the financials and being frugal, though that is important, but also narrowing one’s focus of operations so that it solves one client’s problem extremely well before moving on to solve another problem. “Niching it down” is a common phrase describing this process, or “Narrowing ones niche.”  Economy of scale and economy of execution is also what is referred to here. This brings the acronym back around – SIMPLE is better.

Resources – Not just informational ones, but spaces, money resources, venues, transportation and technical help. Also tools. Google’s AdWords, and Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing advertising are all tools for market research, for instance. Free 800 informational phone calls are another. Resources make “simple” simpler.

This may or may not become the name of the new organization we’re putting together to help local businesses with their marketing, but its ideas definitely express where we are going with this!

More to come as I flesh-out the mind-map for this idea!


P.S. – To explain the update: While editing, I thought of one more item that would make this simple idea simpler. That being Resources, of course! So, I suppose S.I.M.P.L.E.R. is a better acronym still!

Excellent Webcast from Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins

I really enjoyed this webcast – well, truthfully, because they have validated most of the things I’ve been telling my own clients for about a year now! Please watch this and let me know how you liked the content and ideas! Be sure to view this full screen – the “Full Screen” button is the tiny icon in the lower left corner.

Links mentioned in the webinar: – get their free report if you do NOTHING else! – great article by Chet Holmes

The Color Rhyme

With Lewis Carroll being in my mind, as well as Dr. Seuss, several years ago in 2003, I wrote my little “Color Rhyme” below hoping to assist my students. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to share it! (This is the latest version.)

Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are the three primary colors of pigments, used in printing everything in color, just about. Red, Green and Blue are the primary colors of light that your RGB computer monitor and TV set use to create all the colors you see there.

How pigments work with “white” light to produce color is what this rhyme is about!

The Color Rhyme
(Starring Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Red, Green and Blue!)

By Terry Leigh Britton

Red light is all right
And Green light can be bright
And Blue light sure is Blue
But what’s that mean to you?

Well, if covered with ink
It just might make you think
About Red Green and Blue
And what’s got onto you!

I mean C-M-Y-K
In the light of the day
Reflects Red, Green or Blue
But they soaks in some, too!

That is, talk of Cyan:
Soaks as much as it can
Of Red light but yo-ho
Green and Blue light must go!

Green and Blue light will mix
And among their “cool” tricks:
Work together they can
So that we see Cyan!

Green and Blue strike the eye
And the rods and cones try
To explain to the brain
“That’s Cyan, ain’t that plain?!”

Yellow ink, it eats Blue,
Then reflected to you
Is pure light red and green
And so that’s what you’d seen!

Red and Green light makes Yellow!
Green and Blue light, we see, Oh!
That they make Cyan,
Just as well as they can!

And Magenta, it too
Will eat Green, but not Blue
And not Red, so those two
Are reflected to you.

So Magenta, you see,
Blue and Red light will be
Via eye and the brain
(Though that sounds quite insane!)

Now let’s talk about Green
Which we all here have seen:
How’d that get here alone
To excite rod and cone?

Well, some Yellow ink took
All Blue light like a crook
And sent out Green and Red…
But it slept in a bed

With Cyan, now you see –
As it happened to be,
Which ate up all the Red.
They’ve reflected instead

What was left, which was Green
Which is what you had seen:
Red and Blue both were et!
And so green’s what you get.

Ma-genta with Cyan
Soaks as much as they can
Of both Red light and Green
And Blue light is what’s seen.

And Magenta with Yellow
Will eat up every fellow
Except Red light, you see.
That’s reflected to thee.

“So the Blue and the Red
Made Magenta!” I’d said,
Though ‘twas in the mind’s eye
In the brain, by and by
Where these colors occurred –
But of this be assured:

– With light you see a lot
Yet in darkness, you’re not!
(… Definitely not!)