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I was forwarded the links to these videos a few weeks ago. For those who don’t know, ISI was the Institute for Scientific Information. That company is part of Thomson Reuters, where I started as an IT consultant in September 2008. Thomson Reuters continues the work of ISI on a much grander scale.

The videos were produced by Dr. Eugene Garfield, the founder of ISI back in 1961. He stays on as a consultant at Thomson Reuters. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Dr. Garfield in the office for quite some time…

ISI Presents:Putting Scientific Information to Work – Part 1

ISI Presents:Putting Scientific Information to Work – Part 2

ISI Presents:Putting Scientific Information to Work – Part 3

 

I have to give a plug for a long running independent movie project that I have been following for more than two years now: Project London. This project is run by Ian Hubert and the McCoy brothers. The sci-fi movie uses extensive special effects, based largely on the open source Blender software, to move the live action along. The movie was recently completed with the efforts of 250 artists.

When the time came to help them them get the movie printed to DVD, I signed up as a Kickstart backer. I received the movie DVD and sound track CD. Having it watched it last week, I can say that I am impressed.

I won’t spoil the plot, but I can say I found nothing that I did not like. Considering this was an independent film created by a team of highly creative individuals, I say, “Job well done!”

Also check out Ian Hubert’s videos on youtube.com. His work in impressive. I could not do what he does to save my life…honestly.

I first encountered KBPublisher in 2006 when I was looking for a program that would allow me to store computer-related technical notes, articles, tips and tid-bits that I had been collecting for many years. Being a network administrator it was important that I had a place to store various articles, links to other support knowledgebases, how-to articles complete with screen shots. Most of the other free or inexpensive programs out there at the time were either not what I was looking for or were orphaned open source projects. The original KBPublisher proved to be exactly the program I needed to organize my technical notes and it worked well. Although multi-user features are a strong point of this program, most of them were not relevant at the time, so my usage is primarily that of a personal technical repository. In this I have found it to be excellent.

For whatever reason the developers moved away from maintaining the open-source version of KBPublisher and created a newer, more advanced program starting with the 3.0 version. Not willing to be left with an orphaned open-source project, I took the plunge and purchased the 3.0 version in early 2009. I was not disappointed.

KBPublisher-Public-640x403

KBPublisher 3.0 was a great advance over 2.0. The same basic program structure and interfaced remained, but there were many improvements in both the public and admin areas. An improved FCKEditor was first featured in the 3.0 version. Drop boxes for fonts made it easier to control the look and feel of the an article. I found that I needed to look at the HTML source code less, and it less necessary to modify the underlying code to get the appearance that I wanted.

Being able to create categories of articles has allowed me to segregate articles into a several distinct areas. For example I have two groups of categories, one for configuration and the other for issues. Most of the time I am either documenting how to do something or troubleshooting something. Within each I have such categories for Microsoft, Novell, Linux, Applications, Virtualization and Hardware.

The KBPublisher’s search function is vital for wading through thousands of articles and it has the ability to search through everything in the database. Locating an article rapidly when I am having an a technical issue with something is most important.

The installation and/or upgrade process is a little difficult. I spent over an hour trying to get the 3.0 version installed and it was only moderately easier with the 3.5 version. Most of the problem come with installing PHP and MySQL. It is important to have MySQL 5.x and PHP 5.x fully functional in either Apache or IIS. To make life easier in this area I heartily recommend a package like XAMPP or WAMP for Windows systems. LAMP packages are available for Linux. For the purpose of my evaluation, I chose to install PHP 5.x and MySQL 5.1 the manual way. I was able to successfully import my 3.0 database and convert it to the new 3.5 format without too much trouble. After that getting the database to work right is a matter of making the necessary adjustments to CONFIG.INC.PHP.

In short I would recommend KBPublisher 3.5.x as a great product to implement a modest sized technical knowledgebase. My personal knowledgebase has nearly 1000 articles and continues to grow. As a network administrator for a large company keeping notes on any and everything is extremely important! My job would not be nearly as easy if I did not have a place to store technical and troubleshooting knowledge.

Due to a hard drive failure in my XenServer that took out one of my virtual servers, the Darkscape software was disabled and removed. We are not hosting Darkscape until further notice.

Updated January 30, 2010.

ForgottenPlaces

Two unique sub-sites present my photo display and commentary on the ever widening list of locations I have visited in New Jersey’s vast Wharton Tract. For those who think the pinelands are just trees and sugar sand roads, think again. The entire area is a motherload of steadily vanishing history. Hidden off the narrow sand roads are cellar holes and foundations of lost towns from the bog-iron and cranberry industries spanning back to the early 1700s. The remains of numerous saw mills lie in often difficult to reach places, while once active cranberry bogs are now reverting to the wilds. There is much to see and discover in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens.

Friendship, NJ is a long abandoned company cranberry town. Other nearby ruins include the Alloway Homestead and Sandy Ridge.

Hampton Furnace, NJ was the site of a former bog iron furnace that closed in the 1860s. Nothing is left of the furnace today, except an iron slag pile. The property was acquired in the 1880s and became a cranberry business. Nearby sites include Deep Run Bog, Rider’s Switch and Springer’s Brook.