One of the ways that Palantir gives back to the communities that support the open source tools we use is by helping to organize and sponsor local and regional events. One upcoming event that we’re very excited about is MidCamp, a three-day celebration of all things Drupal here in Chicago March 28-30.
MidCamp is a brand-new Drupal event designed to educate and engage Drupal users and evaluators throughout the Midwest. It will feature three days of training, curated sessions, and sprints for those looking to increase their Drupal knowledge and for the opportunity to rub shoulders with internationally-renowned Drupal experts.
One of those experts is our own Larry Garfield, who will be co-presenting MidCamp’s Saturday keynote along with Lullabot’s Jeff Eaton. They’ll be providing a tour of the upcoming Drupal 8, talking not just about its new features but also its new philosophy.
For those looking for a more in-depth look, Palantir will be offering two half-day training sessions on Friday for Drupal site builders and module developers who want to be able to hit the ground running with Drupal 8 once it’s released.
And with several Palantir team members having proposed sessions for MidCamp and planning to participate in Sunday’s sprints, you’ll be sure to see some of us around all three days of the conference.
Located at the University Center in downtown Chicago, MidCamp is situated within walking distance of many of the city’s tourist attractions, restaurants and nightlife.
But what sets MidCamp truly apart is that it is a community effort, organized and supported by volunteers and sponsors from a wide variety of companies and organizations throughout the region. Among those volunteers is our own Andrea Soper, who is leading the planning team. Other Palantir team members helping out with various aspects of the event include Nate Striedinger, Bec White, and myself. In addition, we’ve also thrown our financial support behind the event as one of its Gold-level sponsors.
Whether you’re an existing Drupal user, developer, designer, site builder, or are someone new to the community, you won’t want to miss out on MidCamp. Visit www.midcamp.org to learn more and purchase your tickets today.
We look forward to seeing you there!
1. So Peter, what's your role at Mediacurrent, both internally and client-related?
I am a "Drupal Developer", so I take care of site builds, writing custom modules, consulting on how to accomplish clients' goals, and a bit of theming here and there.
2. We're so glad to have you! Give us an idea of what professional path brought you here.
I got started with computer programming when I was in high school, then was exposed to Web development right after. With the exception of a few side-quests, this is what I've been doing ever since.
3. How did you first get involved with Drupal?
Here at Drupalize.Me everyone is contributing time to Drupal 8. For my part, I'm turning my attention back to the Drupal Ladder. I was heavily involved in this project when it started a few years ago, and it remains a great resource for bringing people up to speed on the technical aspects of contributing to Drupal Core. The Drupal Ladder is a collection of lessons—organized step-by-step like a ladder—that walk you through the basic tools and processes used by the Drupal community. If you want to contribute to Drupal 8, the Drupal Ladder is an easy place to start, and your first step should be the Drupal Core Ladder. (There are numerous ladders for different topics; stick with the Core ladder initially.) Here are two ways you can dive in:
We have been using Pantheon for several months now and I am ready to declare it a strong winner for us. If you haven't experienced it, Pantheon is a hosting platform that is optimized for Drupal.
Ryan Weaver is the single biggest contributor to the Symfony2 framework's documentation (which is excellent, check it out!), a self-described Symfony evangelist, and lead at KnpUniversity.com, makers of fantastic PHP tutorial screencasts like this one on using Composer to include PHP libraries in Drupal 7.
We are happy to announce that we were accepted to be a mentoring organisation for Google Summer of Code Google Summer of Code 2014 programme! This year, we applied as the syslog-ng project, independently from the company behind, and we put a lot of effort not just into the proposals, but on the organisation image as well, with a brand-new website, among other things. I would like to thank both openSUSE for their past help (in 2012, and in 2013, we participated on GSOC under the umbrella of the openSUSE) and for vouching for us this year, and Debian too, for supporting our application with their vouch as well.
This year, we have - as per usual - an interesting list of projects to choose from, with varied difficulties, touching a wide range of syslog-ng components. I am confident that any student interested in logging, or systems infrastracture in general, would find something interesting on our idea page. But if not, we are certainly open to accepting student proposals too.
Unlike in previous years, we have a much better infrastracture (in the form of The Incubator), more documentation, more mentors, and projects that are described in more detail, where we, as mentors, have a better idea of what we'd like to see. This is a very interesting opportunity for us too, not just for students, as for the first time in our history within the Google Summer of Code programme, we are on our own, without an umbrella organisation, and we have to prove our worth. And we certainly will do that. What our students built last year is the bare minimum this year: we're upping the goals, for we want to build even more awesome features.
Of course, building amazing things is just a side-effect, because the real purpose of the programme is to teach, and to get people involved in the free software community as a whole. Our mentors are all contributors to various free software projects, and we'd like our students to become such contributors too, to let them see that while the tasks may be challenging, the rewards are well worth it. Seeing your code used in production is a terrific feeling. Talking with the community, with the potential users is incredibly useful, and rewarding too. We'd like our students to be involved throughly and deeply, we will let them see the beauty the Free Software world has to offer.
They will also learn a ton about the internals of syslog-ng, a software used on millions on devices, from embedded devices to room-size cluster monsters. We'll touch multi threading, in-software communication, scalability, performance and data structure topics. We'll fight with ancient, legacy systems, and win! The road ahead is challenging, but full of adventure.
If you are a student, contact us, either on IRC, on Twitter, or the mailing list, we are happy to answer any questions you may have. If you are a user of syslog-ng, we would welcome feedback on our ideas, and new proposals too!
There are times when I consider launching my own company again, most often when it is late at night and the inpetitude of so many other companies gets me too worked up. Then I sit back and think about details and write it off.
I've worked for myself in the past a couple of times, and each time it was both more fun and more difficult than expected. Getting a couple of clients is usually easy, getting a ten more is common, but getting "many" is hard and getting "lots" is something I've never done - lots of users for free sites though, along with the associated support burdon!
So the though dies away once I sit down and work out the net profit I'd need to live. My expenses are low, so let us pretend I can easily live on £1000 a month. So the "company" has to make more than that, to cover costs, but perhaps not much.
Pretend you were offering DNS hosting you'd probably be able to implement that easily on, say 10, virtual machines, net of £150 a month. Imagine clients pay £5 for an unlimited number of domains that means you need to have 1000+150/5 = 230 clients. Not impossible, but also not easy.
Pretend instead you're offering backup space, and the numbers get bigger because disk is expensive. Again getting some users would be easy, but getting lots would be hard because your competition is dropbox, skydrive, etc, etc.
Once you start thinking of "ideas" they come easily, but the hard part is being realistic about what people would pay for. As always the idea is the easy part, the execution is the hardest part. Realistically if I were to be desperate to work for myself at short notic I'd do the obvious thing - I'd buy a pair of ladders, a bucket, and clean windows. Low overheads, reasonable demand, and I'd be both "fit" and "outdoors".
When it comes to paying for online services off the top of my head I personally pay for maybe two things, both of them niche (although profitable for their providers I'm sure), and I know many people who live on the internet but pay for nothing.
For example I'm a VIP member of an online modeling community, which in theory allows me a higher chance of persuading interesting people to pose for me.
In practice the turnover on those sites is immense. Lots of cute boys and girls hear constantly "You're so pretty, you should be a model", which is true in perhaps 1% of cases, and the net result is you have a few hard working people who do good things day in day out, and many flighty teenagers who'll pose for two-three people, and then never do it again because they realise it is neither glamourous nor easy money.
Two things I've semi-serously considered recently where hosted "status pages", and hosted "domain parking", but both have many competitors and both I can see a) some people would pay for but b) not very many.
I suspect there is no universal "I'd pay for this" online service hwich is both competition free and genuinely trivial to setup, but I'd be curious to see what people are missing, and even more curious to see what people do pay for.
I love learning about programming languages. But this one really took me by surprise.
I should really allocate a bit of spare time to write at least something in myself.
Last Saturday (February 22nd, 2014), thirty-one Drupalers joined together at Classic Graphics for the Charlotte Drupal Drive-in. The day was full of presentations, BOFs, and general chatting about Drupal and related web technologies.
The day-long, un-conference-style event was the brainchild of Thomas Lattimore. After CharDUG wasn't able to pull together the human resources to repeat the success of DrupalCamp Charlotte 2012, Thomas mentioned that he had an idea. Since he knew organizers had limited time to commit to planning, he wanted to host an un-conference-style event, allowing for simpler planning than a full-blown Drupal camp. You can learn more about his concept on the DruaplEasy Podcast.
The event started with breakfast goodies, a welcome to the event, a thank you to our sponsors, and session pitches. The list of pitched ideas quickly grew to enough items to easily fill the day with sessions in two rooms. The group decided to plan the morning sessions by splitting beginner and advanced topics in separate rooms. The organic nature of the event and Classic's space allowed for the beginner session to split into two rooms when it was clear the group had different needs and questions.
Morning session topics included, contributing to Drupal, beginning site building and theming, integrating Drupal and Meteor.js, and a combined talk about options for dev, staging, production workflows.
During lunch (sponsored by the Drupal Association, attendees enjoyed chatting about the previous sessions and meeting each other.
Next, we planned sessions for the afternoon. Most attendees stayed in our larger room where we had a number of great topics, including Aegir, Acquia Lift, the Demo Framework, and Features. In addition to the main sessions, a group started talking about Open Atrium 2 in small conference room.
The event ended with a wrap-up to talk about what we learned and any lingering questions. Everyone I heard from during the wrap-up and following the event had great things to say about the format. They really liked the organic nature of the event.
From my perspective, the event was a success. The format allowed for a relaxed atmosphere where beginner and seasoned Drupalers alike were able discuss their projects, ideas, and questions. While much of the group was from the Charlotte metro area, we also had attendees from the Atlanta metro area, Boone, NC, Tryon, NC, and High Point, NC.
Some kudos from attendees:
"I really liked the splinter rooms.. it was nice to even start a session in one room and split from there based on what." - Angel Cox
"Awesome. I liked that we built an agenda on the fly using feedback from the group, and that many of the sessions came from users who had pretty specific "how do I do X?" type questions. My favorite presentation ended up being a sort-of group lead discussion on how different people are doing dev-staging-prod release cycles within their organizations. Having a local Acquia employee give (the first!) presentation on Lift was amazing." - Jeremy Edgell
I would like to thank Classic Graphics, the Drupal Association, and Command Partners for supporting the Charlotte Drupal Drive-in. Also, thanks to all those who attended and led sessions. I see a repeat of Charlotte Drupal Drive-in in 2015 in our future!
Thanks to Josh Lockhart for the photos. See more here.Blog Category:
The Google Summer of Code is a program that allows post-secondary students aged 18 and older to earn a stipend writing code for Free and Open Source Software projects during the summer.
Debian has just been accepted as a mentoring organization for this year's program! We're looking for students and mentors to make this GSoC in Debian the best ever!
Eligible students, now is the time to take a look at our project ideas list, engage with the mentors for the projects you find interesting, and start working on your application! For more information, please read the FAQ and the Program Timeline on Google's website.
Mentors for prospective projects can still submit proposals on the project ideas list. You also need to send an email to the mailing list linked below to present your project in a few words. Feel also free to propose yourself as a co-mentor for one of the listed projects, more help is always welcome!
If you are interested, we encourage you to come and chat with us on irc (#debian-soc on irc.oftc.net), or to send an email to the SoC coordination mailing-list (subscribe). Most of the Debian-specific GSoC information can be found on our wiki pages, but don't be afraid to ask us directly on irc or via email.
We're looking forward to work with an amazing team of students and mentors again this summer!
We have just finished developing a loyalty program system for a Belgian coffee shop, so we thought we could summarize what we’ve learned to help Drupalists working on similar projects.
Loyalty programs are structured marketing efforts that reward and encourage loyal buying behavior. The owner of a loyalty card is identified as a member in the loyalty program who is entitled either a discount on the current purchase, or an allotment of points that can be used for future purchases.
Over the past few weeks, new distributions have been added on apt.postgresql.org: Ubuntu 13.10 codenamed "saucy" and the upcoming Ubuntu LTS release 14.04 codenamed "trusty".
Adding non-LTS releases for the benefit of developers using PostgreSQL on their notebooks and desktop machines has been a frequently requested item since we created the repository. I had some qualms about targeting a new Ubuntu release every 6 months, but with having automated more and more parts of the repository infrastructure, and the bootstrapping process now being painless, the distributions are now available for use. Technically, trusty started as empty, so it hasn't all packages yet, but of course all the PostgreSQL server packages are there, along with pgAdmin. Saucy started as a copy of precise (12.04) so it has all packages. Not all packages have been rebuilt for saucy, but the precise packages included (you can tell by the version number ending in .pgdg12.4+12 or .pgdg13.10+1) will work, unless apt complains about dependency problems. I have rebuilt the packages needing it I was aware about (most notably the postgresql-plperl packages) - if you spot problems, please let us know on the mailing list.
Needless to say, last week's PostgreSQL server updates are already included in the repository.
Bug #730000 was reported as of November 20th: 3 months and 4 days for 10,000 bugs. Nearly exactly same bug reporting rate than 720000-730000.
And, of course, we're still on our way to bug #800000 and bug #1000000.
I spent the weekend at SCALE 12x running the Debian booth. SCALE is one of the best conferences that I get to attend every year; it has a great mix of commercial exhibitors and community groups, and routinely gets great speakers. As I've done for quite some time, I organized a Debian booth there, and talked to lots of people about Debian.
If you're in the Southern California area, or have a chance to give a talk for SCALE 13x, you should do so! Thanks again to Matt Kraai and Paul Hardy for helping out in the Debian booth all weekend!
My right ankle has never been quite right ever since I sprained it in 2008. The ankle is always a bit enlarged, sometimes more so after running.
With all the running I've been doing back in Brisbane, I had this niggling concern in the back of my head that I might be doing myself some long term damage, so last year I packed myself off to see a physiotherapist that was within walking distance of home.
He declared that I had blown out two of the ligaments in my foot from the sprain, and that my calf was compensating for it a bit. The swelling was just scar tissue. He gave me a bunch of exercises to do, and I had some electrotherapy on my calf for a few weeks and I went on my way. I think I'm supposed to do the exercises every time before I run, but that hasn't happened. It's hard enough to make the time to run, without having to prepend a bunch of exercises as well.
One of my neighbours works for my FootDr, so I asked her if they did video run gait analysis, because I was interested in seeing if there was anything I could do to improve my running gait. They did, and so I finally got around to making an appointment for today.
The appointment wasn't as interesting as the one I had in the US, in that there was no fluoroscopy, just manual examination, but there was the video run gait analysis on the treadmill, which was not something I've had before.
I was pleased that my running shoes (New Balance 940's) were deemed correct for my situation. The guy at Sports Basement obviously did a good job of fitting them to me. I was advised to refresh the shoes, though, so I lashed out on a pair of 940 v2's today. My health insurance also paid pretty generously for orthotics, so I'm going to get a pair for them to add to the ankle stability.
The results of the run gait analysis were that, surprise surprise, I am rolling inwards a bit more on my right ankle than my left. Interestingly, my left calf was bigger than my right one, so I was advised to stick with the physiotherapy exercises (yay).
So with the orthotics, new shoes, and forcing myself to do my physiotherapy exercises, I'm pretty satisfied that my continued running isn't likely to do too much damage to my body. The podiatrist concurred that because I'm currently pain free, everything should be good. I just had to live with the fact that my right ankle is going to always be a bit swollen.
Today was yet another busy day.
Zoe seems to have taken to waking up at around 5:30am instead of her normal 6:00am (or a bit later when I'm really lucky). Not sure what that's all about. I did get her to go back to bed until about 6:55am, and then she was happy to just come and snuggle in bed with me for a bit instead of play games on her Nexus 7.
After that we had a leisurely start to day, making porridge with strawberries in the Thermomix, and then biked to Kindergarten. Somehow it still managed to be 8:45am by the time we got there. I was expecting it would be closer to 8:30am. Drop off looked like it was going to be clingy, but then she just waved me off, so that was nice.
I had an appointment at the podiatrist at 11:40am, and that was back near Kindergarten, but further away from home, so I had this grand plan of cycling over there, and then twiddling my thumbs for a bit before Kindergarten pickup. That left me with only a couple of hours at home to work on my taxes before I had to leave again. I managed to make those couple of hours productive though, so that was good.
I biked to the podiatrist, had my appointment, and then it was 1pm and I still needed lunch, so I decided to grab some at a cafe near the Kindergarten. I chilled out there for a while catching up on social media on my phone, and then headed over to the Kindergarten, but was still quite early, so I just hung out on one of the couches they have out by the front door, out of sight of the kids.
The Kindergarten has an A-frame whiteboard out the front that they use to broadcast messages to parents at drop off and pick up time. One of the teachers came out to write something on it while I was sitting out there, and another parent reacted rather negatively to it as it was being written, so I had to go see it for myself. Apparently a child had a suspected gastro bug (he'd thrown up a couple of times). It was interesting observing the reactions of a few mothers as they trickled in for pick up. It's been a while since a gastro bug has gone through the household, so I guess the news didn't evoke a particularly powerful reaction in me. I'm going with the "suspected" and that hopefully Zoe didn't come into contact with patient zero. I guess time will tell. I certainly hope she doesn't come down with anything between now and Sunday, with all the travel we're doing.
I had an accident report to sign today. Apparently a large wooden block hit Zoe in the head while they were packing up a tower they'd made. She had a bit of a lump on her head, but otherwise seemed fine.
Zoe had a nap today, of unknown length, but woke up naturally as I entered the room. She took a fair while to get going though, and was grumpy and uncooperative getting on the bike. I ended up having to do it the "hard way" and we had a fabulous ride back with her doing a tired cry all the way. All the way until we passed a playground, when she snapped out of it and declared she wanted to have a play.
I'd booked myself in for a haircut at 3pm, and a make up swim class at 4:45pm (to cover our absence this Saturday due to our Melbourne trip) so playing in the playground seemed like the perfect way to fill the gap. It was even on the way to swim class. So after I had my haircut, we popped home, grabbed her swim gear, and biked back to the playground for a bit.
Then we went to swim class. This was her third one at her new level, and her progress continues to go very well. It's really exciting watching her.
Zoe took her time leaving the pool, so we didn't get home until after 5:30pm and I hadn't started dinner yet. I whipped it up while Zoe watched some TV, and I managed to recoup all of the lost time after dinner and still get Zoe to bed at a reasonable hour.
Bedtime itself went nice and smoothly. I used the canned goodnight video I asked Sarah to make for the first time tonight, and it was well received and I think defused any potential issues. I'm hoping she'll sleep well tonight, as her mosquito bites don't seem to be actively giving her trouble any more.
Nir Eyal — Automatic customers: How to design user habits at WordCamp San Francisco 2012:
I came across this video by Nir Eyal about his model for analyzing and designing user engagement through habits.
Successful services, he says, develop habits through triggers, actions, rewards and investments.
A trigger is some kind of prompt that suggest an action promising a reward, these can be external (Twitter notification) or internal (boredom).
Promising because our brains are wired for the thrill of search, of promise, rather than results. That’s why we keep reloading the Twitter feed hoping for good tweets this time.
Then comes the investment. Asking users to devote effort (following friends) in exchange of further rewards (better content) loads the value and triggers that will get the user to come back: direct messages, replies, suggested content.
Or, simply put: the more you use Twitter, the more triggers and rewards you create, the more you hook yourself.
This is really interesting as it is not limited to technology, the science behind it is actually nothing new. I’m curious to see how this can be applied to Free Software and personal projects.
DrupalCon Austin News: project management, team management, communication and strategy sessions wanted
If you've ever been involved in a digital project of any complexity, you know that project success depends as much on the human factors like communication, accountability and organizational processes as it does good code. In fact, some have said that without good process, you cannot have good code.
I am trying to find a laptop with all-day battery life that’s fairly light. Perhaps I am dreaming too big here, but I thought I’d toss out my hopes and see if there are any recommendations.
I am hoping for:
- Battery life around 9 hours powered up
- Fairly light. 2 or 3 pounds would be good.
- Small. 10″ to 12″ screen is fine.
- CPU – needs to be something “real”. No ARM or Atom.
- Storage – size is less important than performance.
- Screen – resolution has to be better than 768 vertical lines.
- Ideally, capable of running Debian well.
The point is that I want to be able to do general web browsing with a real browser (Firefox), run Thunderbird for mail, hopefully even be able to run a VM or two under KVM or VirtualBox (with the understanding that this will kill battery life).
I have been using a Thinkpad T420s for a couple of years now. Its battery life wasn’t great even when it was new, and is worse now, of course. An Asus TF700t tablet has great battery life, but the storage system in it is so slow that I rather suspect that the browser cache is hurting, not helping, performance.
I am also rather disappointed with the Android system. I can’t really develop for it with my usual tools. Enough components are closed that, like Windows or MacOS X, I can’t feel like I can truly trust it with sensitive data. Although it has SSH clients available, the SSH server there wants you to pay to use public key auth, and the SSH clients don’t work all that well. Git can work, sort of. Battery life is great, and the keyboard is fine, but even flashing a different OS won’t fix that terrible performance.
I’ve had people recommend certain Asus laptops, a Microsoft Surface Pro, or a Macbook Air. Any thoughts?
It is no surprise that big projects like Debian and Fedora are all back again.
On the other hand, I am delighted to announce that the Ganglia project is participating this year. We have started publishing a list of project ideas and we are keen to start having discussion with potential students and anybody who would like to participate in our mentoring team. We have also invited the RRDtool community to be part of this big adventure because RRDtool is such a critical element of Ganglia's success.My Debian project ideas
I've also published a couple of project ideas on the Debian wiki before the organisations were confirmed:
- Recursively building Java dependencies from source (automatically)
- WebRTC portal for the Debian community
As I am part of the admin team for Ganglia, these Debian projects can only go ahead if there are some additional mentors willing to participate in them. Please contact me if either of these projects is interesting for you. You don't have to be a Debian Developer to be a mentor for Debian. Given the highly generic nature of these projects, particularly the Java one, they could also be mentored under the umbrella of another organisation. The Java project is particularly suitable for any Linux distribution or project relying on many JARs and all distributions and Java users are likely to extract some benefit from it.Deadlines approaching
GSoC works on a strict calendar, please see the dates here if you would like to participate as a mentor, co-mentor or student.