Dashboard, Dashboard, On The Panel

I’ve been using WordPress to write this blog for almost a year now.

It’s been great. Indeed, I think WordPress is one of the finest pieces of software I have ever used, and I’ve been using and writing software for well over four decades.

By the way, that is the acid test of a piece of software. You know it is very, very good when you say to yourself, “Damn! Why didn’t I think of that. It’s so obvious.”

Damn, why didn’t I — moi — think of WordPress. It’s so obvious. A clean web app in PHP that is simple to use and exploits the power of a browser interface down to the sub-character level. Sigh…

And I say that not just because WordPress is open-source and so is freely available, or because the kind folks at WordPress.com provide hosting services for free.

My guess is that the WordPress designers have provided something much more powerful than even they expected, because by coming up with a clean design, then implementing it, and further refining the design based on user experience, they have done something quite wondrous.

Not only have they given us a writing tool, they have also given us a tool that gives us insight into our own writing as we use it, and thus we gain insight about ourselves.

For example, I flog this blog day and night about open-source, education, Tom Friedman, The New York Mets, and a whole host of topics.

Indeed, I like WordPress so much that I have started several blogs, so I can address different topics in different voices, or to start sites that I want to enlist others as contributors while maintaining this, my main site, as my own.

As the Beach Boys used to sing, “Fun, Fun, Fun, now that WP gave me this blogging machine.” [1]

One of the nicer features of WordPress is that it is easy to switch from blog to blog in a single pulldown menu. For example, shall I be “daveshields” or “twit01,” or “chayproject,” or “fallensoldiers,” or “michaelpmurphy?” It’s all up to me. I have the blogging pedal to the WordPress metal.

It doesn’t matter … unless one of the options is not just another way to have fun, or my home blog, but is another blog that I have started, one that I know is important, but that I also know will take lots of hard work to move forward.

In my case that would be the Fallen Soldiers sites for SSgt. Kyu Hyuk Chay and Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

And that is how I have come to appreciate that WordPress can be a daily instructor in priorities, organization, and even ethics.

It can also be a reminder of what is really important.

For example, now every time I click on the WordPress Dashboard, I will see the name of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, as I have been seeing the name of SSgt, Chay for weeks.

Now that I’ve seen Lt. Murphy’s name a few times, I have realized that I had become quite skilled in ignoring SSgt. Chay’s name on the dashboard pulldown list.

I also just realized I have in the last couple of hours become quite skilled in typing Lt. Michael P. Murphy’s name.

I’m also proud that I have improved my skill in typing his name, because each and every time — and I hope there are a lot of them — I type that name for the rest of my life I will think of this wonderful soldier who gave his life in service to our country.

So I suggest you start another blog, something you care a lot about, but also something you know is hard to do, or hard to write about.

Because then you will have to make your own call every time you see the WordPress Dashboard: [2]

Dashboard, Dashboard, What’s the most important of all?


1. Woody Allen once remarked that California’s contribution to American culture was Right Turn On Red. Though it was indeed valuable, I went to college in LA-LA-Land in the 60’s and so give higher priority to Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, The Mamas And The Papas, and the El Monte Legion Auditorium — Be There Or Be Square!

That’s because I can actually remember driving down Sunset Boulevard on a sunny Monday morning hearing the radio blast out, “Monday, Monday …”

A much more significant contribution than Right Turn on Red is EZ-Pass, an innovation from this side of the country.

EZ-Pass is right up there with The Wheel, Fire, Linux, and the Sports Pages.

2. IBM ran a series of ads a few years ago with the theme, “You make the call.” Each began with a short video showing a controversial call from a sporting event, then went on to say something about IBM, and ended with the call that was made.

I don’t remember what was said in the middle, but I do remember that IBM ran those ads,

That was the point. It didn’t matter what was said in the middle. All IBM wanted was that you knew it was an IBM ad, as the real goal was to grow the brand. That’s also why it doesn’t matter what’s behind that damned Red Curtain, though one wonders why the curtain wasn’t Blue, Big Blue’s Blue.

One Comment

  1. Posted January 5, 2010 at 17:49 | Permalink | Reply

    The greatest tool ever for a beginner, but, whats most impressive is the accolades wordpress receives from very experienced seasoned programmers and other specialists, a “real acid test”.WP is in a class by itself, hell, it defines the class.

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