The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
. . . still studying and learning how to live

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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Technology ... Web Site/Blog ... Zen ...

I’ve been away lately from this obscure little corner of the “world wide web”, so I thought I’d check in tonight with a quick thought or two. [Correction upon posting: it’s gonna be more than two, and they won’t be all that quick after all – so I will split this essay and post it in three bits].

I’ve been involved in two projects over the past two weeks that have demanded most of my spare time. First, I promised my Zen group that I would set up a discussion forum for their web site. So I installed the phpBB machine on the host, and then started learning how it works and how to customize it for our particular needs. Turns out that phpBB is not as easy and cut-and-dried as they advertise. There are plenty of options, plenty of different features, and plenty of different ways to do things with it. I was surprised by just how complex the phpBB system is; on the plus side, it has a lot of capacity and functionality; on the con side, that makes it hard to set up and manage if you disagree in any way with the basic settings and design features. And it turns out that I have a lot of disagreements, based on what I know about the people who will be moderating and using this forum.

You might want to ask, so why didn’t you just use Facebook as a place for discussion and interaction? Well . . . to be honest, I have my problems with “the Book”. I’m an aging Baby Boomer, and I’m not sure that I like the way that site is set up and how it works. With Facebook, you don’t get as many design options as you do with phpBB; there are options available with FB, but in the end, you mostly adapt to a pre-established system. The phpBB option, although not as popular these days as it once was (especially with younger internet users), is more of a “blank slate”. I asked an unscientific sample of people in our group what they thought, and I was surprised that most of them supported my decision. Facebook, bah!

So, hopefully it will be onward with phpBB and we will continue to ignore Facebook . . . for now, anyway. My forum has not gotten final approval to go live yet, and things could still go awry. There could be a political uprising by a pro-Facebook faction that would cast me and my phpBB on-line forum aside. (Just because we are a Zen group doesn’t mean that we don’t have our hang-ups with power and ego; Zen won’t make you a saint any quicker than Christianity or Islam or any other spiritual tradition does.) Gotta be ready for anything and just take it in stride, as the true Zenmasters of old would no doubt advise. In the short term, however, it would be very frustrating if I put all these hours into an effort that ultimately fails due to politics.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:30 pm      

  1. Jim, Well, I hope that things turn out well for you in this project. I know nothing about phpBB…FaceBook a little more, but not much. Actually, I’ve never *heard* of phpBB. FaceBook I only know enuf to make a comment on here and there once in a while.

    Regardless of what I know or do not know about these things, I hope that all goes well with your plans for this project and that it will be of some real use to all concerned and all those who will use it. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — April 24, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

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