Archives for the month of: August, 2008

Here we are starting another school year, and the Montana Kaimin has again started printing. They wrote an article about the new design UM homepage and though i will admit much bias, the facts were presented in mediocre fashion.

The Good:

The Tabbed design.
We like every other school doing a redesign decided on a tabbed approach to organize our information by audience. We did however throw in a little something else. We are allowing folks to set (via cookie) their default homepage. So as a staff member i set my default to Faculty & Staff and every time i hit i do directly to that page, with content i actually care about, targeted stories, news, events, faces, etc…

The Bad

The headline: UM Web site getting $57,000 facelift, feedback sought
I of all people really have no room to comment on other’s grammar, but as a journalist you shouldn’t need pointers from the likes of me.
The face lift (two words) of the UM web (little w) site had nothing to do with the purchase of the content management system. yeah nothing. they were both part of a plan to improve the over look, feel and ease of use of the entire UM web presence. but in fact the UM home page complex was not developed using the CMS.

-Administration stories will show up when that tab is selected.
There is no administration tab. there is a ‘topic page’ but in fact stories do not show up on topic pages only on audience pages.

Domain controllers., originally uploaded by jakonavitch.

Wow. Yeah. Wow.

Cruisers are the coolest, originally uploaded by jakonavitch.

It seems this year there has been a bit of a cruiser boom. Maybe its just me… They are pretty sweet tho

Most recent addition to our yard, originally uploaded by jakonavitch.

I saw this while waiting for the bus this morning


This week marks an enormous milestone for me any the crew at wts (web technology services) on Monday we soft-launched the new University homepage (found at and at the same time started using out new Content Management System (cascade by hannon hill) to build and publish a new site for the Alumni Association.

first things first, a bit of history. nearly a year ago on the vice-presidents of our university came to a homepage meeting and declared “”The time is now!” for a new look and feel for the universities web presence. while talking with him we decided not only did we need a new look but a consistant one. so a new design and a new method of distributing it. and so our search for a CMS was born. after a painfully long and arduous journey, which i won’t force you to listen to, we came to the conclusion that Cascade Server by Hannon Hill (shameless plug) was the one for us. and so far, other than a few oddities, it has been good to work with. we had a trainer come out 2 weeks after we purchased it and she was very helpful refreshingly honest about capabilities, limitations, and bug fixes. Hannon Hill seems like a company i can trust to do the right thing rather than do what they determine to be best for the margins.

during the process of CMS selection we, in the tech group, were hard at work developing the new homepage in .NET, i know, i know, but the old site was built on it and given our time limitations we didn’t have time to rewrite every facet of the site, although all of the code got a good overhaul, rework, rethink and reasonable amount of head scratching went on, old code is always a bit mysterious. One thing one of our committee members brought up was a feedback mechanism on the site. something simple anonymous, and easy. so i built a little ajax box to relay feedback into a database, and set up an RSS feed so we could keep up with feelings of our constituents. let me tell ya google reader has really been quite the rollercoaster ride. lots of people hate it, and lots of people love it. in the first couple of days there were more negative comments than there were positive ones and i started to get worried, but now over all the lovers are winning, good thing too, i didn’t want to have to redo that damn thing again!

Our first site in the CMS is going pretty darn well, once we got all the “where are we gonna put all the common files” bologna down, we were good to go.

While in helena this weekend my dad let me bring home is camera, and all of the goodies that go with it! Its a minolta srT202 which from the reviews i read online was the camera to have in ’76. it is of course a film camera, and i’m going to see if i can find a Digital SLR that will use the same lenses although i’m sure my efforts are futile. worth a try though. My favorite part, the totally rockin’ $10 flash.

minolta srt 202minolta srt 202