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The Georgia Straight Online Redesign

After working with the Georgia Straight for a little over a year, it's satisfying to finally see our web team's vision unleashed. We've launched a redesign that combines a new look with a new navigation scheme. In the previous version, content over a week old was only accessible through the "back issues" interface. In the new version access to content is more blog-like. Content flows in reverse chronological order for each topic and can be subscribed to via RSS.

3 Steps to Synching A Directory to S3 in Centos 4 Linux

If you want a simple way to publish images and other media to the web using S3, the Ruby-based utility S3Sync works well. To run it in Centos 4, follow the steps below.
  1. Get S3Sync Get a current version of S3sync, unpack it, and give the scripts a home on your server.
  2. Upgrade/install Ruby if need be

"Fabulous Is In the Details"

At the Georgia Straight, we've implemented our first contest based on user generated content and user content rating. In partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, we're offering a $1000 makeover to the highest rated contestants who submit their photos. By rating the submitted photos, our users get to decide who should get a makeover.

A Gmail Trick To Test Drupal Roles

When testing different user roles in Drupal, there is a handy trick that leverages Gmail's ability to pass information in via your email address. For example, if your Gmail email address is "" you can pass additional information by adding a plus sign before the "@" and the additional information after the plus sign. For example, "". When creating test users with different roles, the role can be specified in the email address using this technique.

Multiforms Presentation

The good folks at the Vancouver Drupal Users Group allowed me to make a presentation about my open-source contest and survey module for Drupal, Multiforms.

Oct. 2007 Presentation for Vancouver Drupal Users Group (PDF) viewable online here

Article in Georgia Straight Living Magazine

I got an article published in Georgia Straight Living magazine! Yay! The article is about high definition television... not necessarily something close to my heart, but it was fun to research.

Drupal Audio Module Weirdness

Update: This problem persists after an upgrade to Drupal 5. I just ran into a weird issue with a Drupal 4.7 installation on Centos 4 with PHP 4. In the Audio module I had to comment out the "ob_end_clean()" line in the audio_file_transfer function to get downloads and streaming to work. I tried this on two similarly configured servers and got the same issue on both. Odd.

Playing With Syllable As A Virtual Machine in Mac OS X

After hearing of the BeOS-like Syllable operating system, I wanted to check it out. I'd played with BeOS in the early 90s and appreciated its speed, simplicity, and rock solid multitasking.

Correcting "The" Sorting Problem in MySQL

Names that contain "The ", like "The Eagles", don't sort in a useful way. You can use MySQL string functions to rememdy this. Below is a quick trick to sort a table by a column containing names, ignoring names that begin with "The ".

  IF (
    LEFT(my_name_column, 4) = 'the ',
    CONCAT(RIGHT(my_name_column, LENGTH(my_name_column) - 4), ', The'),
  AS my_sortable_name_column
FROM my_table 
ORDER BY my_sortable_name_column ASC

Bookmarklet For Mining Media Using Google

I just saw a great screencast on mining media using Google. The screencast outlines how to use Google find to find open file directories filled with MP3s, MP4s, or whatever turns your crank. In order to be able to use this technique with one click, I've created a Javascript bookmarklet for the purpose. To use it yourself, simply drag the link below to your bookmark toolbar. Then, whenever you want to search for media, just click the bookmarklet, enter your search term, and press enter.

Media Search