February 2008

Installing Subversion on CENTOS

A bit ago I needed to install Subversion on CENTOS. With the particular provider setup it didn't quite work as expected. The simple yum -y install subversion didn't work because it needed a newer perl(URI) version. More annoyingly cPanel didn't report that the installation failed or that the problem was. Luckily Google had the answer in this wiki page which provided step by step directions to installation. Though it still doesn't make cPanel any more enjoyable at least this tie it didn't get in the way too much.

Drupalcon Boston - Bigger and better than ever

Reading through RSS this morning I'd been meaning to post that Drupalcon is close to filling up. Well I missed the window. Drupalcon 08 is sold out with 800 attendees. It will be my first Drupalcon so I won't have the past conferences to compare to but I'm sure it will be wonderful.

Komodo's 4.3 Drupal Goodness and Wishlist

Andre posts about Drupal specific snippets coming with the next version of Active State's Komodo IDE. I started using Komodo after the 50 tips and tricks podcast and haven't looked back. Sure I still fire up BBedit for the odd job here and there, but for coding everything from PHP to HTML and CSS Komodo is my tool of choice these days.

With that said there is one Eclipse feature that I'm particularly jealous of. The patch handling features of Eclipse are outstanding. While the snippets will likely be handy there are already pretty simple ways of doing this using things like the module builder module or creating one's own templates in Komodo today. Perhaps some uber-patching features will be included in Komodo 4.4. Unfortunately it looks like that would be another year in the making if the past release schedule is an indication. Nevertheless Komodo will continue to be a tool that runs continuously on my computer.

Views from the virtual office

View from the officeOne of the best things about the home office is getting to spend quality time with the little one. Here for example is the way I wrote code this afternoon after a 90-minute call with a potential client.

Migrate a WordPress site to Drupal

Recently I've been helping a few folks convert websites from WordPress to Drupal. Presently this works for migrating to Drupal 5 so if you want a Drupal 6 site first migrate to Drupal 5 and then upgrade the site to Drupal 6.

There are a couple of different ways of approaching this task. In the distant past I've worked with wp2drupal. Those experiences are a distant enough memory that I can't speak to it one way or another. It does seem that it has been a while since that module was upgraded. On the other hand Wordpress Import is undergoing active development. One user I worked with in IRC was struggling with wp2drupal and found Wordpress Import to be very simple. Also a note that the Wordpress Import module has been updated since I've used it so some of the steps may not be necessary.

The process really couldn't be simpler. Start with an WordPress export of an extendedRSS file. With this in hand you'll need a Drupal site setup. The site can either be new or an existing site but these hints apply to using a new site. The import process is very simple you select the extendedRSS file and tell Drupal which WordPress users map to which Drupal users. With that done the data now resides in the Drupal database. Things are pretty good but there are a few tweaks that make things better. The creation time for the items has been set to the creation time from WordPress. However, the updated time is set to the time of the import. This really matters most if you have search enabled on your site. Search results show the time changed in the display.

How to tell who left you a comment

From time to time folks ask if they can tell who left them a comment on a particular blog post. It is a maybe answer at best and there are many ways to fake things so nothing suggested here should be taken as definitive proof of anything. If you want proof you'll need all kinds of logs from internet service providers, computers and a boatload of money to spend on attorneys to get it. The next best thing is understanding what might be true.

Email addresses are a common way of tracking who leaves comments. The first step to deciding whether to trust an email address is understanding if the user was required to prove they owned the email address before they used it on your blog. In many cases there is no authentication that they indeed own the email address. Shocking as this may be people use fake email addresses all the time. However it is also not uncommon for them to use the same email addresses over and over. So, with the presumably fake email address in hand head over to Google and search for it to see if anything interesting turns up.

Drupal 6.0 makes content management better than ever

The Drupal project today released Drupal 6.0. This latest release of the leading content management system makes managing web content easier and more powerful than ever before. Drupal 6.0 includes many great new features that improve usability, security, setup, themeing, user interfaces and just about every part of the system. Thousands of hours of testing have gone into this new release. The inclusion of many new JavaScript tools and the jQuery libraries makes administering a Drupal site easier than ever.

I've used many of the beta and release candidate versions and this is by far the most exciting release of Drupal yet. For administrators things like managing menus are so easy and beautiful that it is tempting to spend hours just moving menus around because it is so much fun. The Theme Developer module makes writing Drupal themes easier than it has ever been.

The small firm conundrum

Small firms face particular challenges when it comes to deciding what business to take or leave. For example I recently received and offer to do some work for an amount that was much lower than prevailing rates. Of course a chunk of money can be enticing but doing the right thing is also important for small businesses.

In another instance a solo attorney I'm familiar with was faced with a similar conundrum. A large company with lots of cash came to this firm to clean up the web and remove references to the questionable activities of one of the company's beneficiaries. The character who they wanted to help had a record a yard long with endeavors including felony convictions for armed robbery and twisted tails of conning hard-earned money from honest people. On one hand if the proprietor of a small firm took a step back and looked at the situation as a third party that taking a to clean up the reputation of some one who has repeatedly abused the public trust is unethical. Worse yet doing so for a pile of money, no matter the size, means that one's ethics are for sale. However tempting some extra cash might be firms, especially small firms that depend on their reputations, are wise to steer clear of such compromises.

AdSense module gets awesome API

The wonderful Drupal AsSense module received a great new update tonight. Ironically one of the notes I made on the plane was to look into whether a universal patch for hiding the currently selected AdSense ID from the user profile made sense. It probably wouldn't have made much sense. Instead I came home to find out that the AdSense module now has a great API and modules can do all sorts of things. In addition there are a plethora of options for integrating with UserPoints, setting ID's by content type or taxonomy terms. All and all an outstanding piece of work.

According to the post the download will be here. Upgrading is pretty straight forward. Remove your old AsSense module and install the new one. A visit to the admin/build/modules page will reveal that you need to enable one of the two included modules, either basic or revenue-sharing.

I've been working recently on a presentation about open source software. This great upgrade will be included as a prime example of where open source and the community behind projects like Drupal make software better than many a closed-source shop.

Check iPhone minutes using only SMS messages

While I love my iPhone it has been frustrating that there wasn't a quick way to check minutes from SMS. The phone tells you there are two ways to check minutes (which amount to the same thing). One method is to navigate to the phone preferences, then AT&T and finally to the button to check your minutes which actually sends the *646# code to get the SMS message. So there is obviously the option of adding a "View minutes" user to the contact list and bringing it up that way. For me the annoyance has always been that I wanted to send an SMS to get this information.

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