Drush Body Mangler

This past week I launched a new site, and of course, it's built on Drupal. Yay!

Coming out of that project, I wanted to publish one particular story about a problem I solved along the way, to offer an explanation (and perhaps an apology) for the new d.o git sandbox project I ended up creating, currently titled "Drush Body Mangler".

No, it won't mangle any physical bodies (I hope), but it can most certainly mangle some content node body fields! Indeed, if you find yourself needing to wrangle, mangle, tangle or untangle the simple title/body fields of a Drupal 6 "node" object, and you have a hankering to do so in a scripted way, and with the help of Drush, then my hope is that this post and the code will prove a useful example for some other developers. Beyond that (as I'll get to), I hope it can be refined and improved to be even more useful to the community :)

DrupalCon Chicago 2011

I got back from Chicago a week away this past Monday, and am still reeling a bit. Both from the wealth of ideas and information I took in during my travels, as well as all that I missed while I was gone. Before I get too deep into the flood of everyday life, I thought I'd write something up to answer the main questions I've been answering and share some of the highlights of the trip.

How was Chicago?

I spent almost an entire week in Chicago, having built in an extra day to spend exploring the city before the conference(s) began. Chicago is a really interesting city, and I would love to go back and spend more time checking out all the galleries, museums and other cultural institutions it has to offer. I had heard the Chicago architecture was quite remarkable, but being unschooled in American history or the evolution of architectural schools, I didn't realize what an impact the Great Chicago fire had had on the city. It was amazing to see the great variety of different styles of buildings, and judging from the images on the wikipedia page linked above, I didn't even see the half of it. Slideshow of my photos from the trip after the break.

DrupalCamp Toronto 2010: Platypodes FTW!

DrupalCamp Toronto 2010 was all kinds of awesome, and I thought I'd write a quick wrap-up post to reflect on some highlights and "take-away" messages and learnings. Overall, the 2-day event was well-organized, well-run, and had lots of great presenters and discussions.

When it's difficult to choose which session to attend for most of the time slots at a conference, I think that's a good sign. DrupalCamp Toronto was certainly a great example of this! Fortunately, I understand there will be video of at least some of the sessions available, and most presenters are posting their slides or will in the coming days. I look forward to catching up on some of the sessions I missed.

I paused on my way home to make some notes on the ideas or issues that stood out for me over the last couple of days, and quickly ended up with a somewhat crowded page of inter-connected keywords surrounding a handful of themes. I'll try to tease out some of these themes in this post.

spidey's personal drush setup

This post is primarily a note to myself, so I can remember my way of setting drush up on a new workstation/server.

Recently, I've made this much easier on myself, by writing a quick little bash script called getdrush which lives in my ~/bin on github.

So all I need to do now, on a fresh setup is:

git clone git [at] github [dot] com:sensespidey/bin.git

Re-releasing net-silc code: double the fun?

In 2004 (6 years ago, or 2 eons of the internet age), I released some code that was almost useful to me a number of times, in hopes that someone else might pick it up and (if I got lucky) make it actually useful to both of us (or more!) at some point in the future. The code? Just a small perl utility, modeled after the excellent and well used Net::IRC, the basis for one of the most interesting, clean and modular IRC bots out there, mozbot. Except mozbot doesn't work in SILC, my preferred real-time chat protocol for many years.

At some point I realized that it would be feasible (and cool!) to replace the underlying API on which mozbot relied with a functional equivalent that spoke to a SILC server. I got very excited by the prospect of having a programmable utility automaton in my "virtual office" environment, without having to give up the secure and autonomous network community in which that office resided. This dream inspires me even today.

Alas, the "real world" of everyday life/work expectations and responsibilities crept in, and my office has become very much real and present. I spend very little time in any kind of chatroom these days, although I often feel it could still help a lot, even in a shared physical space. At any rate, the code languished here, on my tiny little corner of the web, until someone picked it up.

Small world, Big teaching: an unexpected T'ai Chi encounter

On my way to pick up my daughter after work this afternoon, I found myself with a few minutes to spare before her choir practice finished. Since I'd missed my T'ai Chi practice this morning, I decided to stop in Grange park to do some form work.

I've been studying regularly for a little over two years under the Rising Sun School's excellent instructors, but I recognize that I'm still very early on a lifelong path, and still feel a bit self-conscious when I practice in public. Nonetheless, I dropped my gear at a picnic table and began to roll through the third stage of the Yang style long form taught by my teacher.

I practiced for ten minutes or so; when I finished and began to pack up to go, I noticed a man who was out walking his dog heading my way. We exchanged greetings, and the fellow asked me who I studied T'ai Chi with.

Confessions of a Fixie n00b: Part 1

Lately as I ride my trusty 12-speed through the coldest part of the Toronto winter, I find myself daydreaming about my plan to build a fixed single gear (aka "fixie") bike to replace my current ride. Don't get me wrong, I love my bike- it was gifted to me in a moment of dire need and I'm grateful for it every time it allows me to avoid the TTC or worse, driving a car. Nonetheless, I'm captivated by the idea of riding a bike which I have put together entirely myself, and which connects me in a much more direct way to the earth that supports me. Why and wherefore? Read on.

Turning 34: reflecting and regrouping for another year of growing and learning

Today I turned 34, having lived on this beautiful planet for that many complete revolutions of the earth about the sun. I was fortunate to have taken the day off work, so that I could set myself up a relaxing, quiet, reflective day to celebrate my life.

I chose to move fairly slowly (on the inside, especially), and found many things falling nicely and calmly into place, without a lot of effort on my part. I am nonetheless quite tired at the end of the day, in part because I'm not used to proceeding in this way.

Linux-driven hyper-local weather reporting and tracking

Recently, while wandering my local department store, I stumbled across several inexpensive home weather stations mixed in among the thermometers and such. Intrigued, I read the packaging carefully, noted the features, prices, and manufacturer (of whom I'd never heard, of course) in my notebook, and forgot about it.

December 6, 2009: Remembering 2 decades of violence against women

Tonight I attended the 20th annual vigil held by Women Won't Forget at Philosopher's Walk on University of Toronto campus. The vigil remembers 14 women who were killed 20 years ago today, simply for being women, and calls attention to all those have suffered under all forms of female oppression & patriarchy.

20 years ago, one man took these women's lives, but he acted out an age old drama of patriarchal oppression, a violence based on sexual dichotomy and rendered "natural" by brute force (explicit or otherwise). It saddens me to realize that there is even more violence to remember today, and the need is as urgent as ever for feminist activists to speak up, act out, and organize to stop violence against women in our families & communities.