New roles at NowPublic and the Drupal Association

The new year (this post is a little late!) has brought me new opportunities and some new roles;

NowPublic, Crowd Powered Media

New job at NowPublic

At NowPublic I work on front end theming and customizations for NowPublic.com and Scan — a realtime twitter and social media tracker for NowPublic.com, Examiner.com, WashingtonExaminer.com, SFexaminer.com and The Vancouver Sun.

Currently I am the skeleton dev team that maintains NowPublic.com, while the rest of the NowPublic dev team works on the Examiner.com migration to Drupal 7. Though I spend most of my dev time in the depths of the javascript and theme layer of Scan.

One of the most exciting things about this job is that I am able to work with an amazing team of developers including some other CivicActions alumni, whom I respect and seek to learn from. Such as chx, kkaefer, douggreen and Morbus Iff and many others.

Head On Vancouver

Vancouver

The new job at NowPublic saw me relocate to Vancouver for two and a half months, from just after DrupalSouth Wellington

at the end of January, until DrupalCon San Francisco, this week.

Vancouver has been astounding! Some highlights of my first trip ever to Canada and my stay in Vancouver include;

Returning to New Zealand

This Friday 16 April I depart Vancouver for San Francisco, where I will stay with the Clarity Digital Group developer team at Westin Hotel Market street for 8 days, for the Drupal core developer summit, DrupalCon SF, code sprints, meetings, social events, and a Drupal Association retreat.

Finally, on April 26 (after losing April 25 to the date line) I will arrive home to Christchurch NZ to stay indefinitely. It will be exactly 8 months since my wife and I departed Christchurch for DrupalCon Paris and a journey across 5 continents. I am looking forward to having a home (when we find and rent one!) and our bed back.

Drupal Association

Permanent Member of the Drupal Association General Assembly

Being elected onto the Drupal Association's General Assembly was largely unexpected and came as a surprise to me. I have been a core part of the DrupalCon Asia-Pacific Organisers (DCAPO) group on groups.drupal.org since it started in September 2009 and collaborated a little with Cary Gordon (Drupal Association Board, Director of Events) over that time. Cary asked me to join the Drupal Association to help centralise international DrupalCon coordination efforts (as per the events plan) and provide the association with a more internationalised perspective.

It is still early days at the association, but my goal (as per my application) at the Drupal Association is to empower a team to organise and run a DrupalCon somewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, hopefully around 2011. There are some ideas and projects at the association to do with scholarships and mini-conferences — but I will save that for another time, when it is ready.

jQuery for Designers & Themers at DrupalCon San Francisco

jQuery for Designers and Themers is a fun interactive session at DrupalCon San francisco on getting started with jQuery. It is targeted at designers and themers but is suitable for anyone with a decent understanding of HTML and CSS — no programming experience is necessary. It doesn't include any PHP, and only basic programming concepts are introduced.

The session is early on Tuesday 20 April in room 307 (Commerce guys) at DrupalCon SF at 8:30am.

The sample code is available at Drupal.org/Project/jQ4DaT and slides are available at TinyURL.com/jQuery-Designers (Google Docs).

Some other related or similar sessions include;

URGENT: Fight for your rights!

NZ government is negotiating a trade act that will impact your civil liberties. And they are doing it behind our backs — in secret!

"ACTA is a controversial international treaty that impacts digital rights and is being negotiated in secret meetings. ACTA is proposed as a plurilateral trade agreement for establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. It is being negotiated between the US, Canada, Japan, the European Union, South Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, the negotiations have extended beyond trade and physical counterfeiting to potentially cover non-commercial infringement of copyright material by ordinary citizens and issues of digital rights management." — PublicACTA.org.nz

As well as the violating our democratic principles, and the deceitful name of the treaty, ACTA aims to bring back the "draconian" (to quote prime minister John Keys) S92a laws we fought hard against last year with the NZ Internet Blackout.

PublicACTA Anti-Counterfeiting Trade AgreementThe PublicACTA event last Saturday produced "The Wellington Declaration". You can and should read the declaration and sign it by Tuesday morning NZ time.

Sign the Wellington Declaration Now!

DrupalSouth Wellington A Success

DrupalSouth attendees pointing at Angela 'webchick' Byron (Drupal 7 core committer) in the center

DrupalSouth Wellington 2010 was a booming success! And that would be an understatement. 100 Drupallers from NZ, Australia, North America and Europe came together for 2 Wellington-wet days in a brewery and couldn't stop talking about Drupal!

Here is DrupalSouth by the numbers;

  • 1: Code sprints
  • 2: Tracks (simultaneous sessions)
  • 2: Duration in days
  • 2: Lunches provided
  • 2: Organisers
  • 2: Attendees from parliament (Green party)
  • 3: Keynote speakers from North America (Liz Henry, Emma Jane Hogbin & Angela Byron)
  • 3: Platinum Sponsors
  • 3: DrupliBeanBags
  • 4: Attendees from the IRD
  • 5: Gold sponsors
  • 5: Percent of attendees from Hawkes bay
  • 5: Months to organise
  • 6: Companies involved in the wireless internet
  • 6: Wireless access points
  • 7: Value of each bar token in NZ dollars
  • 8: Silver Sponsors
  • 9: Varieties of beer brewed on-site
  • 10: Start time on Saturday
  • 11: Thousands of dollars turned over in event production
  • 15: Attendees from NZ government agencies (IRD, Greens, NZ Police, various ministries, etc.)
  • 16: Sponsors
  • 16: Percent of attendees from Australia
  • 16: Percent of attendees from Christchurch
  • 18: Age of youngest attendee
  • 20: MBs of synchronous bandwidth
  • 21: Percent of attendees from Auckland
  • 26: Speakers
  • 28: Attendees who also attended LCA the week before
  • 29: Sessions
  • 30: Percent of female attendees
  • 32: Percent of attendees from Wellington region
  • 36: A3 sheets of printed sponsor logos
  • 60: Registration cost
  • 64: Cost of food and snacks per attendee
  • 100: Registrations sold
  • 220: Bar tokens printed

Some of my personal highlights were;

Thank you to;

Read other's post-DrupalSouth write-ups at;

DrupalCon: jQuery for Designers & Themers

jQueryjQuery for Designers and Themers is a fun interactive session on getting started with jQuery. It is targeted at designers and themers but is suitable for anyone with a decent understanding of HTML and CSS — no programming experience is necessary. It doesn't include any PHP, and only basic programming concepts are introduced.

If you want to see this session at DrupalCon San Francisco you'll need to vote on it here it is at 8:30am on Tuesday 20 April in room 307 (Commerce guys) at DrupalCon SF.

I've presented sessions like this one twice before. The first time at DrupalCon Paris September 2009, and the second time at DrupalSouth Wellington January 2010, where it was successful and well received and both times.

Sample code is available at Drupal.org/Project/jQ4DaT and slides are available at TinyURL.com/jQuery-Designers (Google Docs). (They will be updated.)

Some other related or similar sessions include;

How Was DrupalSouth's Internet so Awesome!?

Crude network and sponsor diagram/map of DrupalSouth's Wifi and internet connectivity, showing each step of the internet connection chain and sponsor's logos.

DrupalSouth — a 100-person technical conference — had awesome internet. This is how we did it.

DrupalSouth might well be the first Drupal conference with internet that didn't suck. For the first time, I didn't hear anyone complain about connectivity or speed. Everyone had internet access! If I didn't hear about any issues you were having, or if you had any complaints or problems, please let us know in the comments.

  1. Egressive pulled most of this together. Egressive provides both Linux and Drupal services and know a lot of people in the industry. In particular, Rob Fraser's technical networking know-how and contacts at Effusion, IOPEN, Unleash and elsewhere are what made this possible.

    Thanks Rob, and thanks Egressive!

  2. IOPEN and members of the Effusion group built a robust scalable wireless network for Kiwi PyCon 2009, just a few months earlier. DrupalSouth's wireless requirements were very similar to PyCon's. DrupalSouth was a little smaller in number of attendees. One difference was that the network data analysis and the Wireless Weather Report (see below) generating were not done on-site but 400 km away in Christchurch using a small real-time data stream from DrupalSouth. Also, Brian Chatterton of IOPEN made a few minor configuration enhancements, renamed the the networks in honour of Drupal's founder and changed the passwords.

    Brian Chatterton really understands networking. Technical conferences have such demanding wifi and networking requirements that can not be tested under load ahead of time. And usually they fail. Brian's experience and knowledge has been twice-proven by Kiwi PyCon and DrupalSouth's great wifi.

    Thanks Brian!

  3. R2 installed the purple VSDL cable and connection from the DrupalSouth network hub, out the window, up to the roof of Mac's Brewery, across the roof, up the wall of the NZ Stock Exchange building, through a window of TradeMe's offices, and into a spare wall-mounted network port nearby; which was re-patched directly into Citylink's fibre network in TradeMe's server and patch room.

    Richard Naylor of R2 is very respected and well known in Wellington when it comes to internet connectivity. As a City Council employee in the 90s he founded the project that later became Citylink. He now runs a private consultancy with his son, specializing in video streaming, and live video recording and hosting online. R2 did the video recording and streaming for Linux.conf.au Wellington.

    Richard and his network of industry and business contacts made this possible; he provided a missing link between the wifi LAN and Citylink's high-speed fibre network, temporarily extending it to the venue.

    Thanks Richard!

  4. Citylink's high speed city fibre optic network in Wellington connects hundreds of businesses, buildings and data centres city-wide with fast low-latency network speeds. Karen Lindsay-Kerr at Citylink was kind enough to arrange a sponsored VLAN from TradeMe's data centre to Unleash's point of presence across town. That's fibre all the way!

    Thanks Karen and thanks Citylink!

  5. Unleash, the last point in the hardware chain, provided a high speed connection to the Internet. They generously sponsored 100Gb of data, a 20Mb symmetrical link, and a whole block of 256 IP addresses. (Unfortunately we couldn't assign the public IP addresses to devices due to time constraints.)

    Unleash is an ISP based in Christchurch with four data centres across New Zealand, and nationwide network coverage with fibre, wireless and ADSL2+. They provide virtual and dedicated hosting, co-location and high-speed Internet services.

    Thanks Unleash!

The last component is a software layer: IOPEN created a network traffic monitoring tool that collects data about the network and monitors load and resource usage. A "wireless weather report". This is useful to fix any issues if they arise (which they didn't!) and analyse network traffic to make improvements to network configuration for next time. They also made the data from tool available to users connected to the DrupalSouth network. Here is a screenshot:

Screenshot of the network weather report tool by IOPEN

Most of the companies and individuals mentioned here donated their time and services. You can see all of DrupalSouth sponsors on the sponsor page.

Thanks everyone!

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