March 2008

Mollom brings enhanced content protection

MollomMollom moved from a private beta to public beta today. I've been fortunate enough to participate in the private beta and can say this stuff rocks. There are plenty of methods of protecting sites from spam and bad content, but this is by far the best so far. The problem with many systems is they treat legitimate users as the enemy. At least with traditional CAPTCHA systems is that they challenge the user for an answer before the user has provided any information to suggest they should be challenged. Users pay the penalty for the bad behavior of the spam bots. There are systems that work around this and some like Akismet have done pretty well on this site. The problem, however, with many of these services is that they can still be gamed to a greater extent. And, since the spambots don't recognize that their attempts to add content have been unsuccessful they merrily pound away on the server. The other methods also generally call for administrators to monitor things pretty closely. With all the great spam tools there would still be a couple of spam posts a week that would slip through on this site. During the transition to Mollom a bot was actually attempt to post. In the few seconds the site was unprotected a couple of posts slipped through. In the weeks since nary a errant post has been made (aside from one on an article which should not have been configured to accept comments but that wasn't spam).

Uncluttering with Fluid

A fellow Drupaler, earlmred, mentioned an application tonight in #drupal that I just had to try. Fluid is a handy application that creates single-site web-browsers. These single site browsers aren't technically limited to a single site but are designed to be small applicaitons that separate many of the web applications we use every day into separate applications. No more hunting for which tab is that Unfuddle account open on. Now I simply go to the "Unfuddle" application. Better yet, it works well with QuickSilver so now instead of opening a new tab it's easy to switch back to the active application where you left off. So it's only been a little while but I'm already digging Fluid.

Back on the horse

So I'm slowly getting back up to speed following the post-Drupalcon bug that so many seemed to be catching. Easter weekend brought about releases in a couple of new projects. The Forum Thread module got a beta release. A few bugs have already come to light as have a few feature requests that will get on the list. Many thanks to http://fixingtheplanet.com/ for supporting development of this module.

Another project that I didn't start but have recently started to lend a hand with is a great theme project that started as a part of Summer of Code 2007. The Light Fantastic theme is a great theme that we use on the business website. The initial release has some bugs that need to be worked out and I'll be rolling up the changes I made to get it into shape for a release soon. This is a theme that lucksy created as a part of summer of code. (Hint! Hint! Summer of Code rocks... Be sure to read more about Google Summer of Code.)

It sucks to have the bug but it's great to be getting back on the fast track. Lots of yummy Drupal in the future.

College student looking for an awesome summer job? Read on...

Are you a college student looking for a cool summer job? Would you like a job that will put Google on your resume? Or would you prefer a job where you can work in the comfort of your own home while sipping coffee and ordering pizza? How about a job where you can make a big impact in a short period of time? What about a job where you can do all of the above?

In passing... remembering Samantha

one fine dogWhen we are young we hold on to this belief that things get easier when you "grow up" or at least the more times you face them. Once we are grown up we come to understand that things don't get any easier when it comes to the passing of a beloved dog. We know our dogs have a good life and are well cared for. We know from the time we are young that we will throughout our lives face the passing of our beloved companions all too frequently. We know the pain of watching an aging dog reach the end of their days. Yet through all of this we know too that we must have these wonderful companions in our lives. And so it comes that in remembrance of Samantha I write here.

Uncluttering conference bags

Conference bags have long been a source of frustration. Since my early days in the publishing industry I've been collecting, culling and donating them. It seems such a waste to have such nice and pricey bags go to waste or be used only a week before being recycled. Certainly there is somebody who gets use from it eventually but it has long seemed there must be a better way. Thanks to Drupalcon we now know for sure.

Drupalcon's bag, pictured here, was made of the lightweight material that makes up many reusable grocery bags. As a mater of fact, now that the conference is over I have another grocery bag. It would be great if more conferences would go this route. We will know real progress has been made when the disposable bags on trade show floors are replaced with reusable versions. Actually it will be real progress when the last trade show dinosaur is gone. But that's a topic for another post.

Give a Drupaler a patch and you've fed them for a day

There's a rather well used Chinese proverb that says if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day but if you teach him to fish you feed him for a lifetime. I've recently been doing the Drupal version of this. It is one thing to help folks, especially those new to the community by providing patches to solve their itches. But it is entirely better if you teach them how to create patches and they post patches themselves. Perhaps with Drupalcon starting we should have a goal of creating at least 100 new patch submitters. Best of all it's very easy to teach because there's a very good handbook page on creating patches.

Boston bound...

Sitting in the late winter sun at Boise airport en route to Boston. A night of flying lies ahead and then an early morning arrival on the other coast and several jam-packed days of Drupal. Looking at the schedule I'm really excited. There are some great sessions on tap. I haven't decided yet how I'm going to solve all my double bookings but that will come in time.

Of course the alert just came through that the Boise to San Francisco flight is running 102 minutes late. Should still leave time for clam chowder at SFO. Between now and then I'll settle for watching the airplanes come and go on a blue-sky day. More time to work on modules and themes I'd hoped to get done before leaving.