Tinkering

This is the continuation of my journal on getting mapping to work for Global Youth Service Day in Drupal, which starts with an overview of maps and drupal, and continues with a discussion of modules, then talks about getting content into the map.

Remember back in Part II where I mentioned the Views and Panels module?

Views gives you very precise control over what shows up on new maps you can show up. Even better, use can create "arguments" that can be passed through the URL to further define what shows up. For example, I created a view whose base URL was /gysd/map/ -- if you go there, you get a listing of years to choose from (do you want to see events from GYSD 2008? GYSD 2009?) If you click on 2008, the url is now /gysd/map/2008 - and you see all the events for that year. I then created some other map options to list by country, state, and so on, so there's another path that goes like this: /gysd/map-by-location/2008/us/FL . If I cut that one off at 2008/, I'd see a listing of all the countries I had data for. If I cut it at us/ , I'd see all the regions (states) with data. You could also set a map up with zip codes, taxonomies, and so on. Drupal 6's Views2 is an order of magnitude more powerful that Views1, and alone it's a reason to upgrade to D6.

To create a map view, you have to first (after installing the views modules above, and creating a new view) select GMap View from the Page view set of options (under View Type). This enables the map functionality. I put information into the Header section to guide users in the navigation process.

Holiday Computer Shopping

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 12/09/2008 - 12:14

People always come to me for advice on computers and technology options over the giftmas season. To head this off somewhat at the pass, let me remind everyone that my advice from the end of last year's season still stands: get a Mac. Really.

Linux Audio Server amusement

Submitted by Jon on Mon, 10/20/2008 - 10:28

I'm currently using the laptop as the interim solution / testbed for the LAS idea. It's struggling to run amarok, but works nicely with qiv running a slideshow on top of it, usually.

A Linux Audio Server

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 10/14/2008 - 16:19

I admit it. I have a Windows laptop at home. For a very long time, it was my primary system.

For the past year or so, I've been using a Linux laptop as my daily system, reverting to the Windows system for reliable video and HD audio -- basically, it was my media system, which just happened to also have all my email, files, and whatnot.

eBay Market Data

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 07/08/2008 - 05:05

In thinking about eBay in my post on tricky ways to "Give Many" OLPC XO laptops, I was reminded about something that has bugged me for a very long time about eBay.

SpaceWarp

Submitted by Jon on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 16:32

Some kids had train sets. Actually, I did but it bored me to death. One xmas I got a SpaceWarp. Sure, I started out building the basic design they gave elaborate instructions for, but I got bored with that pretty fast. By the time it finally got dismantled (when my parents moved, natch), I'd rebuilt it at three times the designed height, had created elaborate track-jumping, triple and quadruple loops, and more.

Computer Choices FAQ

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:54

People often ask me, as a technology geek, what kind of computer they should get, so I'm putting this post together as a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to address the most common things people ask about when they're considering a new system:

Good thoughts on code bloat

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 12/20/2007 - 10:47

Steve Yegge writes on code bloat:

I recently had the opportunity to watch a self-professed Java programmer give a presentation in which one slide listed Problems (with his current Java system) and the next slide listed Requirements (for the wonderful new vaporware system). The #1 problem he listed was code size: his system has millions of lines of code. [...]

So I was really glad to see that this guy had listed code size as his #1 problem.

iPod shuffle, gtkpod, and winamp

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 12/19/2007 - 13:52

I just don't like doing things the right way, OK? The right way is boring. You don't learn anything. It's... it's just too easy. So I refuse to use iTunes with my new iPod shuffle (a Chronicka gift) (Chronicka is my new Christmas-Hanukkah Portmanteau). I also dislike iTunes' harsh treatment of my carefully named and organized files (I have a huge "electronica" directory -- in a perfect world, my music would all have quality idv3 tags and I wouldn't need that, but seriously).

So I'm using gtkpod on Linux and winamp on Windows. gtkpod works perfectly, but doesn't seem to automatically transcode my ogg files (not that winamp is doing that well, but I think once I get the LAME mp3 encoder working it should be better), and while it manages the Shuffle's playlist correctly, the interface is a bit kludgy for moving whole groups of songs around on the playlist. Even with multi-select, it only moves one song at a time.

So back to Winamp, both for my larger media collection (though that's transferable, at least temporarily, using my external HDD), as well as for a slightly less grumpy interface.

Winamp's built-in portable media plugin, however, is limited in what it can do. I mean, it's powerful, has an autofill based on playcounts/ratings, syncing, and so on .... but it can't create a customized playlist order -- everything goes in in alphabetical order by file name. Uh.... Not ideal at all.

Replacing the built-in iPod support with ml_ipod, an open source, higher-functionality version, basically just fixes this.

Firefox Addons

Submitted by Jon on Sat, 09/29/2007 - 09:48

You could probably guess that I love the Firefox web browser, right? I'm also naturally a big fan of the addons you can get to extend its power. I'm always hunting for my favorites each time I upgrade someone's computer, so I finally made one master list linking to the addons website for easier downloading: Firefox Addons

Blogreement

Submitted by Jon on Sat, 08/05/2006 - 15:43

Steven Johnson has a nice quick list of topics we can move beyond when discussing blogs:

1. Mainstream, top-down, professional journalism will continue to play a vital role in covering news events, and in shaping our interpretation of those events, as it should.
...
5. Blogs -- like all modes of contemporary media -- are not historically unique; they draw upon and resemble a number of past traditions and forms, depending on their focus.

I guess this helps me narrow down my paper topics :)

Death by synonym

Submitted by Jon on Sun, 04/16/2006 - 11:33

Sterling (who's iron is in this fire, preferring his own neologism, "spime"), has linked to a compiled list of all the synonyms for "blogjects" -- objects which collect data and spew it out into the Internet that this guy put together (I'm betting his vote is for "Designed Objects" myself).

Spimes and blogjects?

Submitted by Jon on Fri, 03/17/2006 - 07:39

Well, here it is, post SXSW and I've been nowhere near Austin.

Not that, as a native Austinite, I really get hyped up about SXSW. All these people invade the city and make me wait Really Long Times to go to my favorite restaurants, and all the bars charge exorbitant amounts of cover for live music, which'd be different if they didn't normally have live music year-round.

ICT on the homefront

Submitted by Jon on Sat, 03/04/2006 - 21:09

DC seeks city-wide wifi, and actually focuses on free access for the poor.

Web 2.0 + 10

Submitted by Jon on Mon, 01/30/2006 - 21:18

So, I have a problem with the hype surrounding "Web 2.0" [1], which is mainly that it's not as new as everyone claims. Definitely, it's a new ballpark from the first round of websites, which were (for the most part) static, clunky, and non-interactive.

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