Welcome to WordPress

After nearly 16 years of writing and editing site pages on my Macs, uploading HTML files to a server, and doing most site updates manually, Low End Mac is moving to WordPress. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that is often used for blogging, but I want to make it clear that we are not changing Low End Mac from a full-fledged website into a blog.

What’s the Difference?

Wikipedia typifies a blog as something usually maintained by an individual with entries displayed in reverse chronological orders – that is, with newer posts listed above older ones. By that definition, Low End Mac could be called a blog. One person has maintained site entries since we launched in April 1997, and we have always listed new content in reverse chronological order.

But that doesn’t make this a blog, a term that didn’t even exist until two years after I launched Low End Mac. Although the first “weblogs” were begun in late 1997, what typified early blogs is that they were the work of a single person without a separate editor or proofreader, and while we have since seen the development of group blogs, Low End Mac is something different.

Low End Mac began as a personal website with hard facts, profiles of 20-some Macs introduced from early 1986 through early 1993. That was it. Just profiles of what I considered the most useful old Macs that weren’t receiving adequate coverage on the then-new World Wide Web.

My first article was an attempt to explain the two competing 56k modem protocols, published sometime in June 1997. The first editorial content on Low End Mac was published in mid-July 1997: Can You Plug All Types of People into One Type of Computer?, a critique of a Microsoft print ad, and Gil Amelio: Facts & Speculation, which examined the details surrounding Amelio’s departure from Apple.

Low End Mac remained a one-man project until January 1999, when Evan Kleiman came on board with a series of articles about Apple’s relatively new iMac line. Charles W. Moore and I had worked together at the MacTimes Network. After it fell apart, he joined Low End Mac in September 1999 starting with an article about the 13.3″ display issues plaguing the WallStreet PowerBook G3.

Since then, we’ve had many staff writers, and every article we publish has been proofread, edited, and tweaked to match house style. These are not steps you usually associate with blogs, which are often rife with misspellings, punctuation errors, and poor grammar. We think you, our readers, deserve better.

What’s Changing?

The biggest change to moving from individual HTML pages to a CMS is that every article will no longer have to be proofed, edited, and uploaded by me. Writers will be able to submit content online, proofreaders and editors will be able to do their work online, and writers will be able to update their own articles. If they want to post something when I’m at work, over the weekend, in the middle of the night, or when I’m on vacation, that will be possible.

We have plans beyond that. The first is to begin bringing our user forums, which began as email lists 15 years ago, to lowendmac.com and no longer use Google Groups for that. After that, we’ll be looking into adding comments to some of our new articles, and we hope to eventually add a classified ads section to replace LEM Swap. It’s possible that someday we’ll even have an eBay-like auction section. Time will tell.

A final advantage of using a publishing system is that it will be much easier to adapt our content to mobile devices, especially smartphones with their tiny displays, and if you’ve got an iPhone, Android smartphone, etc., you can see our WordPress content using a mobile design that we’ll tweak at a later date.

I’m very excited about the year ahead as we move from our old fashioned manual system to something significantly more automated.

15 thoughts on “Welcome to WordPress

    • Lance, we haven’t even begun to optimize the site for performance. The big advantage of WordPress is that our staff can write, edit, and submit articles online. I can then edit and approve them from home or from work (on my lunch break), which means more immediate content than the old system where I had to edit offline, then upload new content, and could only do so from home. We will improve performance, but one thing at att ime.

  1. I’ve only set up one WP site and it’s extremely low traffic, though i didn’t notice any performance issues vs. my other (static HTML, hand-tagged in BBEdit) site. Seems to me that WP may be like most other tools: able to be used or abused. There certainly are a lot of slow, bloated, tedious sites out there on WP, and on other CMSes, and maybe even a couple done by hand.

    My opinion?: i think anything that makes life easier for Dan and the rest of the writing/editing crew and which works on older Macs is good. Now that Google Groups is aggressively pushing people onto its new Ajax-laden interface which works like a lazy dog on my PB G4 1.67 GHz next-to-last 15″ OS 10.4.11 Safari 4.1.3 system (even scrolling a page is painfully slow!) and yelling at me that my browser is too old and that i need to upgrade to Chrome (ha ha ha ha… very funny, Google. Still waiting on the PPC version and a civilized software license agreement). I can hardly wait for LEM Swap to migrate off Google Groups, and an auction system would be awesome!

    …Of course as i set up an account here on the new WP system, WP yelled at me about my browser being too old. Hopefully Dan can get that message turned off once the vast array of more important setup changes are taken care of. Any system that in 2013 considers a higher-end 2005 system with a 2010 WWW browser as too old is not suitable for LEM, methinks.

  2. I can’t say I like this change, but I can definetly understand that a cms is needed to keep things alive

    I’ve been around since the original 040 list, and I’ll miss the email lists, as I find it so much easier to follow discussions this way, as opposed to having tosign in on a website and browse through fora

    I hope though that other old timers, like myself, will eventually migrate over – it would be so sad if these communities died out just because we’ll have to adjust to new ways

    hope to see you all later in a new way at an old place

    would be nice with a “how-to” forum though – I can’t figure out how to change my profile pic 🙂

    /tina

    • I’m working a full time job outside the house now and have little time to work on LEM, so its continued existence requires a CMS. These forums are new, and they may eventually completely replace Google Groups or not – we’ll see how things work out. So far we’ve only let a few groups know about the forums so we can figure everything out before it goes wide.

  3. Hi Dan
    I’ve been with you a long time, I don’t have or want a smart phone but I’ll give it a whirl. I have two questions at the moment how secure is this regarding passwords and log in details? and are you bringing all the low end mac mailing lists over to this?

    Have fun

    Glen

    • Smartphones are just as secure as computers. We will eventually create forums to replace most of the Google Groups, but some of the more esoteric topics may remain on Google.

  4. I am dual posting this to the LowEndMac/WordPress page and to the forum in Google Groups since the two presentations are not being merged.

    I took a quick look and decided not to register into WordPress. Then I logged in with my Google name/password via the URL given in the original announcement I received in the imaclist digest. That gave me the LEM homepage. With no joy trying to find the new forum via the top level buttons, I noticed the obscure mention of WordPress down the page.

    The WordPress page width takes up up two thirds of my 24 inch iMac screen, and from top to bottom I see a great deal of empty space. There is no e-mail, no digest, and, If i understand the plan, I would have to go individually to four or five or a half dozen fora via the browser to see if there is anything of interest.

    My mode of operation is to scan each LEM digest, archive to my hard drive any threads or bits of threads that I want which may otherwise disappear in the future as internet service allows to happen, and optionally go to the online forum if I want to join in the thread or to open a new topic. I am not about to archive web pages.

    I avoid the GoogleGroups presentation as much as possible, and WordPress is worse.

    Without the digest, I am unlikely to go chasing for things in Safari. Getting notified of follow-up replies via email won’t cut it. A goodby would be a shame.

    Hmm, I see that my LEM thread archive goes back to the powermacs group in year 2000.

    Al Poulin

    • We’re only starting up a few forums at first to get the hang of things, especially letting the moderators figure out the new environment. That’s why there’s not yet a link to the forums on lowendmac.com. That will change as we launch more forums.

      We may or may not discontinue Google Groups. A lot of people like the email and digest options. We’ll see how things go. There’s no reason we can’t have two parallel types of support forums.

      • When you say WordPress what exactly does that mean? I assume it at least means you are using the WordPress software from wordpress.org. Does it also mean you have moved lowendmac.com to a WordPress.com owned server?

        also I see articles and sites dedicated to merging Google groups with wordpress sites. So since you are continuing in Google groups I assume you have managed to do that somehow. I assume that means that forum content will crossoveras well as email.

        Therefore I am mystified by all of the angst expressed by LEMmers and all of the ship abandonment. If anything the improvements of the writing and editing tasks and interactions I expect will make LEM better and more rich in content than ever.

        • We are still on the same server, and we are not merging our Google Groups communities with our forums – they will run in parallel. No content will be lost, but we gain the ability for staff members to submit articles using WordPress and have them proofread and edited online by other staffers while I’m at my full-time job. Seems like a win-win to me.