Drupal related blog posts

Thinking about Google+

Well, everyone has written their initial impressions of Google+ based on the early invites they received, or perhaps on looks at the documentation Google has provided. From a technical side, I’m there isn’t much I can say that hasn’t been said. I did receive and invite late last night, but by the time I received it, I couldn’t login, so I’m still waiting on that.

At work, CHC is part of the Google for Nonprofits program. I asked there if there was anything coming with Google+ for Nonprofits; nothing yet. One friend at Google posted a link to where to sign up for Google for Developers. I signed up there and am waiting for information.

I loaded Google+ on my Android phone and set it up with my Gmail account. Unfortunately, the Android app doesn’t allow for multiple accounts and the invite I received was for my Orient Lodge email account. I tried uninstalling the app, hoping to re-install it and then set it up with my Orient Lodge account. However, it won’t uninstall.

So much for the technology side, let’s think about the how it might change things.

Circles are the most interesting to me. I have over two thousand friends on Facebook and over thirty four hundred followers on Twitter. Both systems, provide for things like lists or groups, but all of my connections were established before groups and lists, and neither have been all that easy to use or move to, so, to borrow from David Weinberger, all of my contacts are miscellaneous.

That said, I really like the ideas of circles, not so much for a privacy reason. If I post something on Facebook or Twitter, I’m assuming anyone will ultimately be able to read it, and it doesn’t matter which circle it goes to. On the other hand, I like the idea of being able to read what people in different circles are saying. Sometimes, I want to read the political stuff. Sometimes, I want to read the local stuff.

There are a lot of different ways I would like to look at circles. I’m interested in Venn or Euler diagrams of my different circles. Sometimes I want to read Politics. Sometimes I want to read Connecticut stuff. Sometimes I want to read the intersection of the two, Connecticut Politics. Likewise, some circles are subsets of other circles. For example, I would like to have a Woodbridge circle and a New Haven circle, maybe even a Bethany circle. Each of these circles would be a subset of a New Haven County circle, and a Third Congressional District circle, which in term would be a subset of a Connecticut circle and a New England circle.

Similar circles about QR Codes, Drupal developers, the old Wave developers group, Maemo developers, etc. would all fit into a technology circle. Progressives, moderates, independents, would all be part of a political circle and there would be some interesting overlaps between Republican and Democratic circles.

With that, I could also imagine doing some interesting intersections of circles like progressive drupal developers in New York.

Now, if other people have interesting circles, I could easily imagine looking at what my progressive friends are saying just to their progressive friends as opposed to what they are saying about the red carpet at the latest awards show. That said, sometimes, I may want to hear what my progressive friends are saying in entertainment circles.

All of this runs into the difficulty memorialized in a Saturday Night Live skit during the early days of digital watches, a watch so complicated it takes four hands to use.

The next issue is social and group dynamics aspects. How does this relate to small groups, large groups, subgroups, and other types of dynamics? This is a topic I really want to explore in more detail, but its time for dinner, so that will wait for another time.

So, what do you think about Google+? Oh, and I added Google’s +1 link to my blog posts as another thing to play with…

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Google Maps and Drupal Location

One of the things I’ve enjoyed working on recently, has been using Drupal modules for location and Google Maps to present information in a new ways. As an illustration, I’ve set up a page on the Adopt CT First website, to show where there are various shelters and adoption events in Connecticut.

Before I get into the geekiness of how I set this up, let me tell you a little bit about Adopt CT First. The goal of this new group is simple. It is to get people who live in Connecticut and are looking for a new pet to check their local shelters first. By getting more people aware of local shelters, we can hopefully get more dogs adopted, and less killed. We can get more people to make sure their pets are spayed or neutered so the population of the shelters doesn’t continue to grow, and we can encourage others to become more involved with helping at local shelters.

Subscribing to New Drupal Posts

I host a lot of Drupal based websites, and one of the things I like about Drupal is that there are half a dozen ways to do just about anything you can imagine with a Drupal based website. It is also one of the things that I dislike most, trying to figure out and configure the best way to do things in Drupal. As an illustration, yesterday, I tried to find the best way to add subscriptions to a Drupal based website that I run.

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Using Graphviz, Drupal and Google Analytics to Display Keyword Relationships

Recently, I started experimenting with the Google Analytics API. Using it, you can extract data from Google Analytics for whatever processing you might want to do. My first attempt was to access Google Analytics to see who is viewing the most pages on my site when the come from an EntreCard inbox. Yesterday, I went a bit further and used php and graphviz in Drupal to create a graph of the relationship of keywords used to access a site.

Here is a graph of the relationship of the most frequently used keywords for Orient Lodge over the past few days:

Graphviz Keywords, originally uploaded by Aldon.

For the geeky details, read on.

Playing with Drupal Themes and Video

I’ve been using Drupal since 2002 and building my own sites in Drupal since 2003. I find it a great environment to work in. Over the past few weeks I’ve spoken at a couple different Drupal gatherings in Connecticut, and this is a followup to some of those discussions. Earlier this month I spoke at the Connecticut Drupal Group. Mostly, I spoke about some of the history of Drupal, especially as it related to Ecademy, DeanSpace, and CivicSpace. It provided a good opportunity to talk about various aspects such as multisite configurations.

Later, I spoke at the Southern Connecticut Open Source Users Group about Drupal. It was a well attended group that I adjusted to the level of the participants, who were mostly well versed in computers but had not done much with Drupal.

Since then, I’ve had a few frustrating Drupal projects cancelled, but I’ve done some interesting things.

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