July 2009 Archives

Twitter experiment ends

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Some of you have alerted me to the fact that my twitter account has been suspended. Actually, I learned of this last week. Apparently, the twitter admins erroneously labeled my account as a spam generator. It appears that all of my followers and subsequent content has been expunged.
The truth is that after I'd reached the 1,000 tweet milestone, I was ready to close the account anyway. I seem to get more value out of IRC than twitter. The sole purpose of the experiment was to engage with other like minded folks interested in F/OSS and also spread my personal brand. BKAEG..

Obviously, I'm annoyed but not surprised, as I am in essence leasing space on their servers. One of the biggest problems I have with these social networks is that you really don't own any of the content you generate. At any given time you can be victimized without probable cause.

So, I have submitted a complaint through the appropriate channels and I will have to wait. However, this experience has prompted me to open and indenti.ca account, which essentially is an "open" variant of twitter. I'll see how that goes.

More on this at a later date.

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links for 2009-07-29

links for 2009-07-26

Open and Shut Case?

Not much into pop culture, but I have to pause a minute and mention a few words about sad murder of Steve McNair. I remember watching McNair as a collegiate. In fact he was the first HBCU quarterback that was ever mentioned as a Heisman candidate. Actually, his chances of winning the coveted trophy were very remote, much like Jesse Jackson's '88 Presidential campaign. Nonetheless, it was fantastic for the Alcorn State athlete to get some shine on a national stage.
His Braves faced perennial Division I-AA powerhouse, Youngstown State Penguins coached by Jim Tressel and though they suffered a decisive defeat (63-20), McNair passed for roughly 500yds in the contest. I also seem to recall that he played through a great deal of pain (injured leg) and frigid temperatures. The YSU club plays in a stadium called the Ice Castle, my beloved Rattlers faced YSU in the same stadium and also suffered defeat, albeit a much closer contest.
Aside: I'm having a terrible time finding the stats from the YSU vs. Alcorn St. contest. If anyone can help me, I'd be very grateful.

When I fast forward to the shooting death of McNair, I'm left with many questions. How does a 20yr female get the courage to execute someone? 9mm handgun, fired at close range at both sides of Steve's head. There were two more shots to his chest from a slightly longer distance. This smells of execution style murder. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are some very grimy women in this world, but I have a very tough time believing that a female scorned at age 20 could display this sort of brutality. If the investigation showed that his genitalia mutilated then it would make more sense. Morbid indeed. Toxicology reports showed that McNair's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and the young woman had marijuana in her system. It would seem that some sort of amphetamine (ie cocaine, ecstasy, PCP) would give a very petite female the kind of courage it would take to splatter brains of someone all over an apartment. I just don't buy it. Conveniently, both are dead so the truth will only come from forensics.
More will be revealed over the next several months I am sure of it.

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Foray into Drupal


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As most of you know, I have a special affinity for MovableType. When I began blogging consistently it was MT 2.64 that pried me away from Blogger. Because I had some familiarity with Perl scripts, and the fact that MT provided well written codebase which rarely provided attack vectors for nasty script kiddy vulnerabilities (save the comment script server load debacle), I have used it exclusively since 03'. I've heard too many horror stories about WordPress installs being compromised, I have no desire to fool around WP.

So why the Drupal exploration? Partly curiosity and the fact that Drupal has a colossal user/developer community. You really cannot ignore it. Actually, I would venture to guess the Drupal install base has doubled in the past year. Likely in large part to the evangelism of Acquia, but also from community groups (ie Lullabot, showmedo, Mustard Seeds) which provide incredibly helpful instructional videos and netcasts. Clearly MovableType could benefit from the same type of how-to documentation. Don't get me wrong, much of things I have learned about MT came from stubbing my knuckles and a great deal of reading. Nonetheless, a video or podcast archive makes less mundane tasks much easier to accomplish. Anil if you're reading this please take notes.

Another powerful aspect of both of these modern blogging publishing engines are modules (Drupal) and plugins (MovableType). I really enjoyed the large variety and uniformity of installation that Drupal afforded me. For instance, the basic path for installation is the
../sites/all/modules.. Very simple to unpack tarball or zip archive and copy them to path. Very clean indeed.

One constant annoyance in installing MT plugins, is that the path structure seems to be random depending upon when the plugin was written. Some of the older plugins require that you copy the payload of the tarball to /tmpl /lib /cms /extlib very irritating. I would suspect that as plugins become more 'centrally' controlled that this sort of problem will disappear.

I have two current MT projects that hang around around like an unpaid bill. Action Streams and similar entries. Action Streams will help me reclaim my content that is strewn about the many social networks that I frequent. Similar entries will help readers easily move between earlier entries that are related to some of the current content. I understand that I can create similar entries by creating a mySQL query. Cool very cool, but the technique isn't very well documented. This sort of complexity could be minimized by a simple video. Hell, in the spirit of Open Source, once I get it done, I'll make a screencast and share it with Six-Apart. Once again, don't misunderstand me, one of the allures of MT is that it is the proverbial "thinking persons" publishing engine. It forces you to understand the powerful template tags to offer a much more customizable experience. I'm still learning
template tags and widgets (new to MT4.0).

Although, Drupal is built atop PHP I have not really needed to know much PHP. I did run into a bit of a snafu with installing it via c-panel. I simply dropped down into the commandline and resolved all difficulties. The Schema module even allowed me to interact directly with mySQL database schema, very slick. I'm sure there is probably some sort of mySQL plugin available for mySQL interface, but its use probably isn't captured in a video. I'd likely have to Brad Choate's or Bryne Byrne Reese's blog. I believe MT could really grab more of the install base if they could harness and really foster a community of open source thinking developers, which could help usher in the idea of extensibility and backwards compatibility. Accomplishing this would cement MT as the "people's champion".. Right now I think Drupal has control of this mythical title. Methinks MT has made tremendous strides to embrace community led evangelism. Anil is living proof of this point. 6A just needs to go that last mile.. I'll have more thoughts on this later.

Last thought.. Now that I've compared albeit briefly my experiences with Drupal and MT.
I thought it would be cool to share the unofficial theme music for MT and official Drupal theme music (by Jeff Robbins)..

I think Anil's re-mix is a bit less folksy and it incorporates snippets of Asterisk;-)

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Gets Late Awful Early Around Here

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Roughly 4 weeks ago, sports writers and fans alike were grumbling about the Bx Bombers inability to defeat the Bosox in head-to-head contests in 2009 campaign. There could be any number of reasons for this problem. To be certain the manager Joe Girardi should take some culpability in the most recent failure. In a critical 3-game set at Fenway, he pitched AJ Burnett on extra rest. He showcased a struggling Chien-Ming Wang and CC Sabathia.
Burnett and Wang's starts were abysmal. The Yanks had been playing quite well, winners of 19 of 26. After being swept by Boston, they stumbled into interleague play. They then promptly lost the next two series to the Marlins and lowly Nats. The bats were anemic in both series.

They went into that Boston series tied for the AL East lead. After the dust settled they were 2 back. Fast forward to 7/1, they are 2.5 back of division leading Bosox. What I have learned over the years is that the division is never decided by how the Yanks and Bosox play against each other. It is certainly how well they play against the other teams in the division and other AL ball clubs. However, it is true that no Yankee club every started 0-9 against Bosox in regular season. If there is a silver lining, they still have 10 games remaining against their bitter rivals.

500 Saves club member Mo Rivera has always lead by example. He has certainly been playoff battle tested, unlike all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman. I would venture to guess that Rivera has had more saves under duress than his peers (Papelbon, Hoffman, etc).

It is remarkable how Rivera has largely been healthy during his career. He never seems to be affected by a poor outing (not that he's had many of these). My hat is tipped to a great leader and sure first ballot Hall of Famer.

*Aside* - One day the statistician in me will construct a model that will illustrate Rivera's greatness when compared to his closest peers.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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