World Map Navigation

For one of the web projects I am working in we have been throwing around the idea of having a world map as a navigation element. Each country would then be clickable. This kind of navigation has been done with hyperlinked bitmaps like the LL-Map project.

LL-Map Bitmap

LL-Map Bitmap

Or with flash like the Joshua project.
Joshua Project Front page with Map

Joshua Project Front page with World Map

I have not seen any implementations in HTML5 canvas or in SVG. It occurs to me that these technologies could be used. I am not deeply familiar with either technology. So I did some googling.
I found some interesting articles on the matter.

I am not sure that I have any answers but this is my thought towards the problem space.

There is one map of languages I have found which deserves to be mentioned. I am not sure of the technology used but it seems it would be either of these methods. It is the map of the Languages of California hosted at Berkeley.

California Languages Map

California Languages Map

Switching Themes after 8 years

Since 2005 I have used K2, a really nice minimalistic theme for WordPress. I especially liked the spacing and the fonts used. But alas I had two people tell me that it was hard to read posts on my blog. I set out to find a new theme which was more reader friendly (especially since I am having a few longer posts). I settled with Twenty Eleven.

The Journeyler moving from K2

So in a last adieu. Good bye K2. It has been good knowing you.

Too many terms of service

You might have heard about the recent change in the Google terms of service. I have, several times. I use several Google services. Logistically, this makes a lot of sense. They sent out an email quoted below saying that they were consolidating over 60 terms of service agreements. I have had two thoughts about this

  1. Why is there no blowback or negative PR for Google like there was for FaceBook?
  2. This is the sort of scenario I have been warning one of the companies I am working for about creating. We have 3-4 separate online communities currently with separate terms of service with two other major communities about to launch. This is part of the User Experience which should not be over looked.

BTW: I am grateful for the centralization at Google.

Google Terms of service

Google Terms of service

Dear Google Apps administrator for _________,

We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience for your users across Google products.

As always, Google will maintain your data in strict compliance with the confidentiality and security obligations provided to your domain.

If you permit your users to access optional additional Google services for your domain, your users may separately receive notifications communicating the new Privacy Policy. You can visit your Google Apps control panel at any time if you’d like to review the additional services accessible to your users.

We’re excited about the improvements we are making across our products and appreciate your support. You can view the new privacy policy at http://www.google.com/policies. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2012.

Please do not reply to this email. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered. Also, never enter your Google Account password after following a link in an email or chat to an untrusted site. Instead, go directly to the site, such as mail.google.com or www.google.com/accounts. Google will never email you to ask for your password or other sensitive information.

Drupal – The conversion….

I have been a WordPress fan since 2005. I have run several sites using WordPress simultaneously since then. Running WordPress is dead easy. I can wrap my head around it. This past January, a colleague was ecstatic about the release of Drupal 7. I was a bit less ecstatic. (More the I'm glad you are excited, kind of guy.) Then I saw the new admin interface and my interest piqued. So I downloaded a few modules and bam! I saw the power. Amazing. Totally a reckless learning curve but still something beautiful.
Drupal Learning Curve Text
My story was much the same as Kevin Dees. This fall I went to Drupal Camp Austin and was able to wrap my head around a few more things. (Mostly things which showed me there was still a lot to learn.) So from time to time you will see that I will post some things I am learning about Drupal.

Drush for WordPress

While I was at Austin I kept hearing about Drush. Then when I got back home I resized that I needed to download a lot of modules to work on a particular web site. I could do this several times or I could learn to use Drush with Drush Make. Drush is a command line shell and scripting interface for Drupal. Once I found the power of it I started looking for something similar in WordPress. I don't think there is anything exactly like Drush but there are two projects worth checking out check out:

  1. WP-CLI or WordPress Command Line
  2. WPshell

However it does not seem that there is a Drush Make for WordPress. Although there has been some thought about how to make Drush Make "cross-platform" and work with other CMSes like WordPress. Wouldn't it be nice if WordPress developers got handed a tool from the Drupal community....

Importing Facebook Status

I have a thing for wanting to know what I have said all in one place… But I would like to be able to see it by location of the comment. So I have thought about bringing my FaceBook comments into my WordPress install. The problem has been that if I bring them in as a post I have to not send them back to FaceBook (Like I do with all my other posts). So I now import them as a custom post type. But my current theme does not support custom post types out of the box. Too bad for K2 (It seems that as a theme K2 is not keeping up with WordPress.). To do this I looked FeedWordPress as recommended here.

Widget Area in WordPress Admin

I run a website, wycliffe.me, for redirecting traffic (URL redirector). But I need it to have a CRM sort of component to it. So I added some custom fields to the Posts using Just Custom Fields. (I am using Posts, but I could just as well use a custom post type Custom Post Type UI.) But now I want a summary of some of those fields in a special panel on the back-end. So I have collected some links to read and start hacking.
First I need to create an options page in the admin area: http://buildinternet.com/2010/01/create-custom-option-panels-with-wordpress-2-9/.
Next I need a way to collect the data. So I look for a plugin which can search my database and return fields…. sorta like views for Drupal. And wala there is such a plugin: Query Wrangler. (Query Posts might be another option, but I did not try it.) However, this plugin is not powerful enough. I can not search all the fields created by my other plugins, only my custom fields and content types. More power would be ideal.

Next I need to be able to see the widget in my admin area… so I need to widgetize my options panel. Here is where the Reading is a little fuzzy, ’cause I am not sure if many people do this. (Possibly indicating that there is a better way.)
http://wordpress.org/support/topic/how-to-create-new-widget-area?replies=5
http://www.webfroze.com/wordpress/creating-multiple-dynamic-widget-areas-in-wordpress/
http://www.themelab.com/2008/04/18/see-how-easy-it-is-to-widgetize-wordpress-themes/
http://wpengineer.com/307/add-wordpress-dashboard-widgets/
http://wpmu.org/how-to-widgetize-a-page-post-header-or-any-other-template-in-wordpress/

Comment on Open Source development at NASA

A comment on: http://open.nasa.gov/blog/2011/09/08/open-source-development-at-nasa/

I am all for OpenData and Open.NASA. But how does NASA being a government entity relate to how it “licenses” it’s data and software? What I mean is that, shouldn’t the things being “open sourced” be public domain, rather than licensed content? I agree that creating a license which is not widely recognized is not useful, that is the whole point behind Creative Commons. But are there cases where NASA is “over licensing” content that it shouldn’t because it is the content should be released into the public domain? Reference CC Salon in Jan 2011, Time segment 1:05:00 where Joi Ito talks about the issue. http://blip.tv/creative-commons/creative-commons-salon-mountain-view-what-does-it-mean-to-be-open-in-a-data-driven-world-4725230

What prevents, or what reasons are there for not putting NASA’s data and software, which it releases, in the public domain? Is that not more open?