Nov 07

I need to wikify my Drupal

Drupal is a popular and powerful Content Management System (CMS) - http://drupal.org
Drupal is a popular and powerful Content Management System (CMS) - http://drupal.org
This is a Drupal installation. And because of that, this site provides me with the platform to handle lots of functions. The trouble is that many of those functions are not installed yet. For example, there is no native rich text editor in the default package. So if I want to make something bold, I have to use markup, like < s t r o n g >; And that’s a hassle. If this site was a wiki, then lots of the basic markup that I would use (lists, indents, bullets, & links) would be much easier to manage. However, I would sacrifice more fundamental aspects of a good content management platform, such as user account management, comment threading, and some level of extensibility.

Photo by – Arsart

Nov 07

Google Announces OpenSocial, a Social Software Service

Google OpenSocial
Google Announces OpenSocial
Picked up on TechMeme, Google announced yesterday that it would provide OpenSocial, described as a set of open APIs for building social computing applications across the net.

Now that mini apps have already covered everything from recipes to books to friends of friends on places like Facebook, there is a strong need for a means through which the typical end user can get their “about you” from Facebook, to Linked-In, Xing, Friendster, Blogger, and yes, even to the old-fashioned personal website (even though it’s driven by a CMS like Drupal, WordPress, Mambo, Joomla, etc.) However, I don’t yet understand what this would be like in the hands of Google.

Relatively new to all this, it seems that Google is the grand master of mashable web services. I’m glad to see that they are rushing into the fray and providing a solution in this space. But does this mean that in order to use the service that one must have their content hosted by Google? Will the service be able to support the integration of content from other sites?

Today, if I want to grab the content from each application, I need to post a reader on one site and point it to content on another. If the content is available through syndication, then the connection can be made. Is that enough? What might the Google service introduce into that pattern?

Photo by – TonZ

Oct 07

Blog Sites With Tons of Stuff in the Margins

by kk+ on FlickR
Images of social networks don't make much sense when a whole population is jammed in. This is an image of a whole 'network' of Facebook 'friends' in San Fransisco.
So Much Noise – I spent the last couple of mornings tinkering around on Facebook and discovered that that thing is really packed full of stuff. The whole book is basically application upon application that includes all kinds of content. Photos… Friends… Comments… Books… Demographics… Visualizations… Lots and lots of flashy stuff.

And it was quite appealing. One of the base instincts we have is to orient ourselves to the world around us. When a vertebrate animal is exposed to a strong stimulus (e.g. a mouse exposed to a loud bang) they turn to face the noise and they orient all their senses on it. This is the orienting response. When faces with something new, the tendency is to focus on it. Fundamentally, this is how we gain reward and avoid harmful things. as a byproduct, we are able to take shortcuts when exposed repeatedly. We are able to predict outcomes. This is how we learn.

Online sites in which each person can create a wide variety of things provide lots of new stimulation. And when we know these people, the potency of the information is significant. Social software sites in which we have many people we know making lots of changes on a regular basis can result in us spending a LOT of time focusing on the site.

Facebook shows a nice tightly-integrated system in which data across multiple profiles are all shared and available to be used in multiple ways. In theory, if all the trinkets on everyone’s blog was available in a standard form, then the same outcome we get with Facebook could be achieved across the blogosphere.

I’m sure someone would say, “but it is!” I think I’m going to try it out. How easy could it be?

Photo by – kk+

Jul 07

Amazing – This Computer Outage

I’m using a backup laptop right now, copying data from drive to drive, making sure that my work is as uninterrupted as possible. This is the 4rth Fan Error on my primary machine. I guess I got a lemon. The graphics are decent. However, they keep causing the machine to overheat. The fan just can’t keep up. And then something melts. And then I have to send it off to the shop for repair.

I would get a replacement right away. However, it won’t be until this fall before I can get a machine assigned to me with the higher-end graphics I need. I do screen recording, video processing, and also a lot of 3D internet.

So, when I get interrupted, I’m sure I have a small price to pay for being able to recover myself even for the short term, while my machine is shipped for repair. However, it’s annoying to slow dows even one iota and loose a day of online project time to do this.

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