Magento Beginner’s Guide, 2nd Edition

Magento Beginner's Guide, 2nd Ed. Cover

Magento Beginner’s Guide, 2nd Ed.

Packt Publishing asked me to review the second edition of their Magento Beginner’s Guide. I gave it a look, and it builds on a successful foundation from the first edition. It’s not for the engineering-types, and doesn’t dive into the API and writing extensions and modules and stuff, but it does give a great overview of setting up and operating a storefront.

Magento is complex software, with many pitfalls for newcomers. Even selecting a hosting provider is difficult, and best to find ones that specialize in Magento hosting. This guide will help you work through the harder parts and get up and running much more quickly than doing it on your own.


Creative Problem Solving Process

I had opportunity to do a presentation on the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process today at Synacor. After ten years attending the Creative Problem Solving Institute, it’s in my bones, and I use it intuitively without even being aware. Always nice to circle back around to the details, and explore the details that make this such a useful tool to facilitate awesome.

The boiled-down slides from the presentation are available on SlideShare. They may not make as much sense outside the full presentation, but enjoy them!


Make No Little Plans

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.

– Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)



That will be a reality soon, all over the net, unless you act now to stop it.

If you neglect to speak up, allowing apathy to stay your hand, I will tell you to shut the hell up when you start complaining about the repercussions of your inaction. Just sayin’.

If you haven’t been paying attention, you may have missed the national debate on the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act, H.R. 3261. This overly-broad bill will serve only to harm individuals, small businesses, and IT industry innovation, by attempting to legislate an artificial scarcity. Piracy will not be stopped by this method. The problems are far broader and require a deep understanding of the matters at hand. What we are faced with is an opportunity for new business models, new distribution methods, new ways of relating between producer and consumer.

The old ways are obsolete. Those that try to maintain them will become increasingly irrelevant, until they die off. I really wish the big media companies would realize this, and instead of holding on to the past would embrace the future. They have the financial wherewithal to do great things, but alas, they are proving to be fools, and will perish on the sword of innovation wielded by new players in the game.

Trust me, I care about piracy–I slave away to create music, films, and software. It’s hard work, often years of hard work. But I know that the approach in SOPA is dead wrong. Congress is clueless, because they don’t live in the tech world. It’s our responsibility to educate them, and demand they do the right thing.

Look a this Infographic! Everyone loves them.

Track your elected reps: SOPA Tracker

Read a good article

I would post some more links to relevant articles, but they are coming in so fast from every side it’d be futile. Get the freshest information, follow #SOPA on Twitter:!/search/%23SOPA

Educate yourself. Contact your congresscritters. It’s simple to do – do something, and do it now:


What’s with all the Sucralose?

Sucralose molecule

Sucralose - glucose with three evil green chlorine atoms!

Why does it seem that sucralose, an artificial sweetener made by chlorinating glucose, is appearing in more and more products where it doesn’t make sense? I don’t understand why beverages that are already full of sugars (typically, high-fructose corn syrup, nasty stuff that makes us fat) need to also include sucralose. These products are not marketed as low-calorie or low-carb. High-fructose corn syrup is already inexpensive and readily available, so I don’t see a cost benefit. What’s the deal? Is it some Giant Evil Conspiracyâ„¢ to poison people? Some economic benefit that I don’t know about? High-pressure marketing from the sucralose manufacturers?

I don’t want this crap in my food, drink, body, or environment. Stop putting it in everything! And, if anyone knows why this stuff is appearing with ever-increasing prevalence, please enlighten me!