Arrogance Among Dancers

I’ve redesigned my main site and upgraded from Mambo to Joomla. In reality Joomla 1.0.1 is Mambo 4.5.3 or .4, so it wasn’t very involved (on the upgrade side, anyways). Unlike the last iteration, I actually made an effort towards making it work in recent versions of IE, mainly because people bitched at me for it looking like crap in IE — in truth, it looked like crap period, but in IE it was particularly broken crap. I’ll probably add crap as I think of it to the design, but the basic look-n-feel is done, at least.

The secondary reason for redesigning my site is because I’m setting up a Joomla/Mambo installation for work, and have to get their old site redesigned to fit Joomla. Behind the scenes, their old site is custom ColdFusion+MS Access-based ugliness. Up front, it’s essentially a works-only-in-IE JavaScript-driven product list DHTML menu. Apparently, the authors of this beast intended to call it a full-on CMS at some point, and then resell it to everyone (presumably at something less than the $8k the first customer paid to create it). The “team” responsible was all fired, and while I was hacking some PHP to migrate the data into Joomla (or more properly, hunting a bug in Joomla 1.0.1 where if the publish_up date and the creation date are the same, the item is never shown), my response was “good.” In retrospect, however, it’s really not fair to blame them. They had horrible teachers who thought CF and Access was a good idea (e.g. the CS department at my former school was cramming COBOL and S/390 asm down everyone’s throats in exchange for a pair of mainframes that IBM donated), and a boss who didn’t know shit, but knew enough to charge a lot for it.

Their ex-boss was the only one not to get fired, and is now a sales-bastard, one who does not get F/OSS at all. Even the well-honed hustling instinct was unable to conceal his absolute shock and disbelief that someone would give away their software when I noted that Joomla was free. “Why would someone give that away!?” He seemed mollified by the idea of zero maintanence costs at the price of zero profit on peripheral business, but totally didn’t understand the concept of productive labor for the love of it.

Unfortunately, his all-for-self attitude appears to be common enough to admit openly, at least among the web developer crowd — a group I’m now peripherally part of again, I guess. The rest of that article is, essentially, a defense of product placement in your blog posts, but I have to question what kind of rank arrogance presumes that at a table with a producer, consumer, and marketer, the marketer is the most important. Industrial society got along for 100 years before the invention of propaganda, and it’s subsequent harnessing by business as “advertising.”

I’ve also noticed that type of attitude gnawing at me the longer I work where I’m at. Perhaps greed is simply endemic among small-office workers (I’ve worked odd jobs for small businesses before, but always out somewhere, not once have I spent an entire day in a small, for-profit office), and it seeps through the walls. Perhaps it’s just that society spends so much time telling everyone that people who appear to have any aptitude at anything, are somehow different from everyone else. I think this occurs primarily positively, in the kindergarten “you’re a talented X, unlike these doomed fools” sense. However, after a certain point, the “doomed fools” tend to get pissed of at being referred to as “doomed fools” and shortchanged on their education and interests — a societal issue that talk-radio manages to blast through with railings against the stupid pansy elitists, totally evading the underlying “dude, why the fuck are you still afraid of what some old authority figure told you” issue.

So yeah, that was kind of all over the map, but go check out my site anyways, it’s purty and such.