I admit I've been lurking in a very slackernly manner in all the discussions in the Sakai community about content authoring, 3akai, UX, K2, Sakai NG and other unpronounceables, so I'm sorry if all this is a day late and a dollar short. Feel free to ignore me if you're part of Sakai and are way too far gone for any more input. After all, these are just thought experiments ;) If you're not part of Sakai, you might learn something about Drupal at least, so it may well be worth your time.
I draw some lessons here from Twitter and Drupal not to suggest that Sakai duplicate them, but rather that we hold those models in mind as we move Sakai forward. Even without these experiments, some of these ideas may be in our thinking about Sakai, so if they are familiar, take it as a vote of confidence. But if not, I'd like us to have at least thought through why we would not take them as inspiration or why we would choose another path.
In the lessons I draw from Twitter and Drupal below, I may come off as a bit of a zealot. Frankly, I have a greater appreciation for Twitter and Drupal as tools that I have for Sakai as a tool—my greatest appreciation for Sakai has always been for its community. But I would like to appreciate Sakai-the-tool as much or more than Twitter and Drupal, and I think I could, given the directions I see Sakai heading now.
But why Twitter and Drupal? When I'm thinking about all this Sakai stuff, my first thought is to reach for existing models. And the models I reach for are the handy ones. Why? Because there must be some reason I keep certain tools handy. There are lots of good tools, but the ones that fit so comfortably in my hand are well-worn for a reason. I also know them well—keen edges and ugly nicks—and so can draw the best lessons from them.
When I first started this blog, I used Drupal's built in jQuery library to randomly show a picture in my header from a stockpile I put on my webserver. It worked great, but it was a manual process: selecting the pictures, sizing & cropping them, uploading them, etc. In the end, I rarely added any new pictures because it was a hassle.
I had long wanted to try something more automated and show a wider variety of more current pictures on my blog. The goal: automatically show selected pictures from my flickr stream with no extra steps other than posting to flickr and maybe adding a special tag.
Finally, the images you see in my header are randomly shown from a set provided automatically from my flickr stream and are automatically cropped and sized. All I have to do to add a new image to my site header rotation is add one extra tag to a picture when I upload it to flickr.
Here's the Drupal technology I used to make this possible. FYI: everything is done with stock Drupal core and contributed modules...absolutely no coding required!
I'm honored to have been chosen to be a part of Portland's Legion of Tech advisory committee, not only to be able to be a part of LoT's great works, but also to be among such great company with the LoT board and advisors.
In the last month I've had a couple of chances to finally get back to visit New York City for the first time since 1999. I first moved to NY in 1982 and lived there (mostly) through 1998. If I were to pick a place to call home-if home is that place that defines us-New York would be one of my primal homes. The other being that entirely opposite, strange, mostly unpopulated mesa country in Western Colorado where I did some of my growing up, for better or worse.
I'm pleased to report that the first ever PDX Powerball Venture Capital fund returned earnings worthy of a Wall Street investment fund. With a generous $155 in initial capital, #powerballVC returned a stunning $9 in winnings!
Experiencing three days of purposefully and accidentally thought-provoking speakers at Portland's recent Inverge and Cre8Con conferences leaves me feeling, well, thoughtful and provoked. Some of the presentations were predictable, some were compelling, but nearly all of them generated further reflection on what is and what will be.
Like most of what happens to me, I was accidentally in the right place at the right time to be interviewed by the Back Fence Babes Melissa Lion and Frayn Masters about "true colors," the theme of their then upcoming Back Fence event.
If you want to know more about me and my background, this story may help, if you believe any of it ;)
For anyone engaged in the creative practices that are generating the continuing convergence of interactive media, technology and culture, Portland, Oregon will come alive next week with the convergence of both the second annual Inverge 2008 Thu-Fri 4-5 Sep at the Gerding Theater and Cre8Con, Sat 6 Sep at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, not to mention the concurrent MusicFestNW, the Time-Based Art Festival and the only slightly more regular First Thursday.
A couple of days ago, Mozilla Labs released an alpha version of Ubiquity, a Firefox extension that puts crowd-sourced, powerful, mashup commands a keystroke away in your browser. My first thought was that it was like the Mac OS utility application, Quicksilver, but for the entire web rather than just the local operating system, an idea clearly shared by others.