Today marks the beginning of an end.
This morning I turned in my final undergrad college assignment. As I handed in the Spanish assignment and my professor and I exchanged relieved gracias‘s to one another, I began to reorder my thoughts.
I have a lot to be thankful for. The friends and family that have encouraged (and put up with) me during this journey will be present at (and even some are traveling for) my graduation this Friday. They have supported me financially, filled the role of editor, taken care of me when my body gave in to the stress and got sick, nudged my perspective back on track and kept me sane with interspersed times of much-needed laughter.
To all of you, thank you. I am sliding into home base a little worn out, exhausted, burned out and tired, but I am excited to see what will happen next.
Just as my life as an undergrad is coming to a close, so is this series!
The final installment, as previously mentioned, is about Movable Type (MT). MT is much like WordPress’s wordpress.org option. You download it from MT’s Web site, and then upload it to your server. Then, hopefully within minutes, you’re ready to start designing or writing in your blog through a Web browser on your personal computer.
Today’s honorary guest, as promised, is Dr. David Kamerer. He runs two blogs, Spoonful, a social media blog, and PR Needed Here, a public relations blog. He is a visiting professor at Wichita State University and has played a large role in shaping my social media impression. It was, after his in-class suggestion, that I began this blog last semester. Here’s what he has to say about MT:
1. Why did you choose Movable Type?
I started hosting a web site at davidkamerer.com almost 10 years ago, but never really did much with it, other than stash some client files, student assignments and perhaps a dressed up home page. I had big dreams, but life keeps me busy, and I never did anything meaningful with it, even though I was creating web sites and web content for clients.
Eventually, I realized that I occupy a limited place in the information spectrum. I’m a writer, and can shoot decent photos and create audio and video content. Basically, I’m a content producer, not a web designer. So that’s what pushed me into blogging. I love the structure of it; the approach and design encourage me to create content, and I waste less time pushing pixels around.
When I started looking for a blog platform, I knew I wanted to host my blog myself. I’m an advocate of “buying” rather than “renting.” You don’t know where a web site or blog will go, but I did know that I wanted to have a permanent home for my work. I had narrowed the choices to WordPress and Movable Type based upon reviews, and then my host – pair networks – offered an easy install of Movable Type, so I jumped in. It costs $2.95 a month, and is well worth it.
2. Have you used other platforms before? If yes, what was it and how does your experience compare?
I have played around with other platforms, but don’t have too much expertise. In my view, they’re all pretty amazing. You can’t go too far wrong with most commercial tools, and you can’t beat the price (most are free).
3. What are some pros and cons of Movable Type, from your time using it?
Movable Type is rock-solid and has performed flawlessly for me. There’s a pretty good support community for MT, but they’re more tweako than the WordPress supporters. As a result, I don’t mess with the “inner game” of MT too much. I did some hard coding on my template, and had to get some help with that. The software uses a combination of HTML, CSS and proprietary MT tags to do its work. That’s what makes it powerful, but under the hood there are a lot of little pieces to keep track of. I see a lot of wonderful websites built on MT, but have no idea how they’re implemented. Mine is very much off-the-rack. Having said that, I’m pleased with the tool and plan to stay with it.
Movable Type has launched a new addition, a social network add-on called Motion. One review said it’s similar to adding FriendFeed to your blog (http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/movable_type_launches_motion.php) I’m hoping to explore that with my students starting this fall. To see a Motion page in action, visit http://www.bikehugger.com/latest. This is a cycling blog that has rolled up the web activity of its core members from Bikehugger, Flickr, Twitter, Delicious and other sites, all on one page.
The biggest downside of Movable Type is that there are far fewer themes available than there are for WordPress. There are only two standard websites, plus about 30 built-in themes. If you’re a creative person, want a lot of visual control and don’t want to become a programmer, WordPress would be a better choice.
Here are some websites that are built on the MT platform:
4. In 75 words or less, describe how to set up a Movable Type Web site:
This was ridiculously easy. I have a hosting plan from Pair Networks (http://pair.com). While Pair isn’t the cheapest, over the past 10 years they’ve offered me consistently excellent service. I logged into my Pair Networks control panel, ticked the “Add Movable Type” box, and specified where to install the blog. Rather than my home page, I chose an interior page (http://davidkamerer.com/spoonful). That leaves my home page as a business card. The blog was installed in a couple of hours, then I skinned it and started adding content. I was blogging right away, and haven’t looked back. I can add as many blogs as I like and still pay only $2.95 a month. I currently run the Spoonful blog and a public relations blog, PRNeededHere.com.
Here are some supporting websites:
Movable Type community (support site):
Elise Bauer’s Learning Movable Type site:
Elise also offers a good list of MT links
Below are some screenshots provided by Dr. Kamerer. Directly below is the editing view of his own article about CMSs (also published in the Wichita Eagle business section on March 12, 2009).