Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

January 2008 Posts

Orlando Geeks + Charity = My Suggestion

Thu, 01/31/2008 - 11:01 -- rprice

At BarCamp in September there was a food drive, and I think for what it was the project was considered a success. I like the idea, and I would gladly give food to local needy families.

Another way our event could have an impact on the world is by participating in the One Laptop Per Child Project. $200 is a lot of money for one geek to give on her own, but if a group of 200-500 geeks donated $10+ each, we could buy 10 to 25 laptops.

Simply Give

The XO laptop was designed by some folks from the MIT Media Lab (and I'm sure lots of collaborators) to stimulate kids' minds and get them thinking at a higher level. Take a look at the literature on the OLPC site. There is a definite desire to cross the barriers of language with this project. It's not just about Africa, but that is a part of the world where this project has focused lots of attention.

One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a low-cost, connected laptop for the world's children's education

That's my thought. I think it fits the mission of BarCamp to encourage the passion for technology. From the BarCamp Wiki: "BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment."

Updates:
The dialog is over on the BarCampOrlando Google Group, as of 2/1/08 there are 27 messages in the thread, several people have given positive or negative comments. Some folks explain why, others don't. There is also some inside baseball happening here, and for now I won't reveal it.

Needless to say, we are no longer planning a BarCamp, because there is nothing "ad-hoc" about it. Everything is getting discussed in committee, and we're planning the thing like 6 months in advance. This is not Agile Programming.

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iPhone Web Clip Favicon Fun!

Mon, 01/28/2008 - 00:52 -- rprice

UPDATE: the apple.com logo is now 152x152, they have scaled up some in the intervening years.

If you have a web page of any kind - blog, business, social network, whatever - take 3 minutes out of your day and hook this up.

Everyone has a fun little 16x16 favicon to sit in the bookmarks section, links bar, or tabs of their favorite browser (Flock, Songbird and Firefox come to mind). This has been a long-running tradition with webmasters and SEO companies to give you that last bit of branding: the favicon!

Now with mobile devices and desktop apps (rich internet applications, too?) getting into the mix, there is a need for favicons larger than squint. Enter, the apple-touch-icon and associated rel tag, which is even easier to implement than a favicon. No special file formats, no special programs needed. Instead of a screenshot of the web page, you now have a degree of control over a bookmarker's (webclipper's? that sounds nice) touchscreen.

All you have to do is name the thing apple-touch-icon.png and throw it in your document root. According to the primary vivid, it should be 57x57px, but that's actually the rendered size and not likely the size Apple uses internally. If you go to http://apple.com/apple-touch-icon.png, theirs is a nice round 129x129, which is roughly 2 1/4 times larger than 57x57. I figure Apple must know something we don't, so I'll play along.

And now, a handy diagram to show you what's up:

Favicon

Favicon
16x16

Apple Touch Icon

Apple-Touch-Icon
57x57

Apple's Official Icon

Apple
129x129

Once you get your image loaded, borrow the boss' iPhone and add the webclip to your home page. There is also a preview screen that lets you know instantly if your icon is working (not pictured).

Apple iPhone Logo

The iPhone even added a nice glossy, buttony finish to the experience. Ahhhhhh...! You'll also notice the edges of your icon may get trimmed (which caused the boss to make a face). This is, as far as I know, normal. If you don't want the boss to make a face, center the icon and leave some extra space around. Using the Apple example may be a helpful guide.

Last but not least, you may be wondering: "Why do I have to name my icon something so specific, and why do I have to use the document root?" Looks like you don't. Again our friends at vjarmy.com tell us that there is a rel-tag we can throw in the header if we want to place the icon elsewhere:

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/path/to/my-cool-icon.png" />

If you don't want to use a .PNG, you have smelly feet, but if you're OK with being known as the smelly foot man, by all means, don't use the best web picture format. I also had to dissuade my boss from experimenting with transparency in the .PNG, because I'm quite afraid of the results. Imagine a person with a naked woman on their iPhone desktop; now imagine your company's logo displayed distastefully close to (or on top of) an unmentionable portion of said woman's body - with a transparent background! Yikes. I would feel very sorry for Six Apart on that day...

I find the apple-touch-icon tag to be a scoche proprietary for my taste, but so are iTunes tags in podcast RSS feeds, so I guess we must needs put up with a little bullcrap every now and then.

I also heard someone recently complain about sites that have a default iPhone interface, and I mostly agree. They should put the interface on a subdomain so you can get at the regular functionality of the site, but I believe a truly useful service should be user-friendly through multiple interfaces, and traditional web apps are not always suited to touch screens.

If you have any questions (or if I forgot something) buy all means, let me know.

I am also hoping to make a small and fun Drupal module that encourages you to upload a 129x129 image to use as your site's official webclip instead of a screenshot, so be on the lookout for that. Would you like to see other iPhone-friendly features integrated, like style sheet includes, javascripts, etc? I'd love to know.

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Steve Jobs Never Finished College, Speaks at Graduation

Sun, 01/27/2008 - 11:05 -- rprice

via johl's ramen soup

Several of my teachers at UCF used to say "Fail early and often". Failing early and often requires you to stay hungry and foolish like the back of the Whole Earth Catalog said. Both statements belong someplace where you can see them, like in your cubicle or near the door to your house. Maybe that's a good use for the "Hello, Dolly" plugin that comes with every Wordpress install. Now you can share those quotes with yourself and your blog readers. Also check out @iheartquotes on twitter. I think I found that because of Alex's fun and useful Twitterholic.

Also about the video:
As always, Steve has prepared every moment of this presentation to the exact second when people will clap and he takes a sip from his water. I also really like how they show the graduates who have no respect for what they're wearing at all, because it's just gotten ridiculous to wear a gown to a party anymore, and they know it. The final message "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" is not how I would put it, but if you know what's behind it, then it works.

Johl (whose tumbalog I nabbed this from) is friends with Johannes from monochrom, and I'll believe those kids are all hungry and foolish, and they've certainly found what they love to do.

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Turning Over

Thu, 01/24/2008 - 23:49 -- rprice

I've now been working with Petentials (yes, it's live) for...

drumroll please...

375 DAYS!

I feel no need to say anything else about the matter, but this is the longest job I've ever had, and the longest contiguous amount of time working with a client. We are way past the "client" stage.

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Richard Dawkins - oh snap!

Wed, 01/23/2008 - 19:35 -- rprice

Richard Dawkins writes books about evolution and gods and stuff. This particular day, Mr. Dawkins was giving a talk at a women's college in America. Watch the events unfold...

Did she just get told or what? I have prepared a handy diagram to help us decide:
Did someone just get told?
Oh, snap!

P.S. I know a poem about Mr. Dawkins by Richard Tyrone Jones - it's the second half of "The Promise / Richard Dawkins". Go have a listen.

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Drupal Easy

Wed, 01/23/2008 - 16:23 -- rprice

A while ago, Charlie and I were talking about how we could share our love of Drupal with the rest of the world. Our natural desires to create original content and extend the reach Cervo Systems helped us develop the idea for a website, a podcast and a community around making Drupal accessible to people with no knowledge of programming.

Welcome Drupal Easy to our family.

Today, I answered the first question on the site, about pathauto aliases and XML Sitemaps. I hope we keep getting some mid-level questions like this, but also some much simpler questions.

I have a screencast planned for the near future that compares Drupal against industry standards for security. This will hopefully be the sort of thing PHP haters and team leads will be able to use to understand that Drupal is awesome.

One day in the future, I'd also like to come up with a coherent set of lessons we can sell in a video book format.

I also have a Facebook page which currently has 8 random fans attached, and that's actually how I got the first question.

I think this is going to be lots of fun, and maybe help us make a little cash once we get that part of it going. Who knows?

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I wouldn't Steal, but I download movies

Sat, 01/19/2008 - 20:27 -- rprice

Steal with a capital S. When we get DRM-free movie downloads (akin to all the DRM-free MP3s we've seen floating around), then there will be no need for videos like this.

In a highly unusual move for any political group today, the Greens EFA party of the European Parliament have publicly expressed their support for file sharing on the Net.

Via Mashable

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WPRK 91.5FM is not O-ROCK, but it's a cure for what ails ya

Thu, 01/17/2008 - 16:54 -- rprice

Alex Rudloff asks, Why Does Orlando Radio Suck?

I guess I just don't understand the business behind local radio. I'm sure margins are tight and everything is pre-planned and digital now. It just sucks, that's all.

Thank god for my iPod and my tape deck connector.... New school meets the old.

My response:

There IS an alternative - it's produced for exactly $0, so it's not like it promises to blow you away - it's Rollins' College Radio Station, 91.5 FM. Some talk, some classical, some of everything else. Every 12:00-1:00PM hour is talk, and there are varying degrees of shows in other parts of the day. It is never the same, unless you listen to too much of it, then a pattern emerges, but it takes a LOOOONG time (months) to get sick of anything on that station (if you didn't mind it to start). You can also call anytime (just about) 24/7 and have your request played - anything - and they have thousands of titles and genres available. Check them out.

WPRK 91.5 FM

And if you are inside or out of range, try WPRKDJ.org

They also have a cool thing called Audio Postings (open forum) at the top of every hour - supposedly anyone with a non-commercial message can get their audio clips played as a public service to the listeners. Very cool.

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