Saturday, November 04, 2006

Plantronics Voyager(tm) 510 Headset

I'm retiring my old Bodyglove headset. I've had it since the beginning of 2006 and it was getting long in the (blue)tooth.

Yesterday, my wife and I both purchased a Plantronics Voyager(tm) 510 Headset

This headset is extremely lightweight and can pair to TWO devices. I paired it to both my Treo 650 and with my macbook pro. It senses which device is trying to connect to and automatically links to that device.

It is a comfortable headset which comes with three different sized earbuds and a charger.

I think it was an excellent buy and would recommend it to anyone with a smart phone.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Drupal Modules -- First Installation Success

This evening I have continued working through my research on operating a Drupal site. I added a link called "service links" to the Dogstar site.

This module has set up links to the major social networking sites. It involved a download, decompressing a tar zip file, loading the contents into the right directory in Drupal.

We're moving beyond the average user's ability to mess around with this software. However, the ability to stretch the software farther and farther is pretty amazing.

I am seeing more and more ways that this will be able to be applied to arts organizations. The question is, will the non-profit and public agency land be willing to embrace this direction.

We edge closer to my leaving Blogger...

Nine Videos on Revver

Nine videos that I had on Revver were attracting way too many clicks. I suspect that someone or several someones may have syndicated my content and then went click crazy. Because it is the owner's account that is penalised, it seems like a great way for unsavoury, nasty, evil, scum to engage in fraud with impunity.

Anyway, they have been off line for about a week. I have re-uploaded them to the Revver system and we'll see what happens. Needless to say, I have become much more attentive to my click-per-view ratio. I watch like a hawk.

The one problem with this is that you have to monitor from Classic because the new version of Revver doesn't have the same kinds of tools to be able to monitor carefully. And woe betide those that don't keep an eye on the content they own.

This really brings up a question as to whether a service like Revver is right for a non-profit that relies on content being there within a mashup. The truth is, the larger the number of videos you have the more painful it is if you get into trouble.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What Have I Learned About Drupal So Far?

Drupal is an open-source Content Management System that is intensely customizable and scalable. You need to have a server that runs MySQL to run it, but once it is installed it is quite easy to use. There are some elements that are more complicated than others, but if you want all you want to use it for is as an easy blogging, wiki, site builder, and forum space then you won't have too much trouble.

Without any customization, the basic install of Drupal includes:

Static Page Builder

What else can Drupal Do? Check it out, what can't it do?

There are two main ways of publishing on Drupal. The first is to customize the sides, top, and bottom with links, widgets, etc. You use blocks for this. Blocks will take text, php code, html--pretty much any kind of Web publishing. Then you publish content through modules. The basic install comes with quite a few great modules, but you can extend the functionality by installing additional modules or writing your own.

How do I embed content from one Web 2.0 application to another?
Most Web 2.0 systems are open to third party developers. These developers have created little chunks of code called widgets. These widgets can be quickly pasted into pages on blogs, wikis, Web sites, and forums. You can also use APIs to pull content into Drupal. This is where things get a little more complex. When you publish this way it is called a Mashup. A Mashup is the practice of using multiple Web 2.0 systems and embedding content from them into one another. This gives us extremely rich content without having to build the framework ourselves.

You can change the look and feel in Drupal by using Themes and there are literally hundreds of them.

To watch the progression of my Mashup being created as a method to learn all this stuff, point your browser to

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Google Analytics and the Arts

Google Analytics is a great tool for tracking stats for small organizations. It is quite remarkable the depth and breadth of the tool.

Mostly I've been using it to just track traffic--which it displays as visitors and views--but it also tells you where the traffic is coming from the the six largest referers.

However, you can use it to track conversions (when people follow a few steps towards some kind of goal like paying for something).

One tiny hiccup for the small arts organization is that every page you want to track must have a script on each page which drives the data to Google for analysis. If you have a static site, this means you have to go through each page. If you are working in a dynamic system--like Blogger or Drupal--with footers, it is a very easy thing to achieve.


I think the days of using blogger are almost done. I have been playing with Drupal, an open source content management tool. It is an amazing little database that does everything blogger does and WAY more. There are hundreds of plugins that increase the utility of the application. It is a great tool. My experimentation is based on WESTAF's desire to make use of pre-existing tools and creating "mashups" of different Web 2.0 offerings. In the end it will provide our clients with greater levels of functionality and lower prices.

I think I will be transitioning my own online presence to this new tool soon. Not only is it a tool with more functionality, but I will be making greater use of the domain we have owned since the mid-1990s.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Our setup for tonight looks a little like this:

I used a jig saw this year to carve the pumpkins. Two pumpkins, 20 minutes.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Apple is releasing a new product that is code named iTV. I expect they will change the name given Elgato's trade mark...

Still, it looks to be a very interesting offering.

My Dream App

Back in August I had a short post on My Dream App. The idea was for people to propose an amazing new Apple application. The winners have been announced. I'll keep an eye on the goings on as they are developed. Pretty cool stuff.

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