Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

March 13 2011

18:03

VoIP Drupal Kicks Off at Drupalcon

Last week I wrote about another project that's come to a boil at the Center for Future Civic Media: VoIP Drupal.

Here is a brief video of Leo Burd lecturing at DrupalCon 2011 on the release of Voip Drupal, a plugin that allow full interaction between Drupal CMS and phones.



VoIP Drupal is a project of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, with key contributions from Civic Actions.

17:55

VoIP Drupal Kicks Off at Drupalcon

Last week I wrote about another project that's come to a boil at the Center for Future Civic Media: VoIP Drupal.

Here is a brief video of Leo Burd lecturing at DrupalCon 2011 on the release of Voip Drupal, a plugin that allow full interaction between Drupal CMS and phones.



VoIP Drupal is a project of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, with key contributions from Civic Actions.

March 04 2011

19:22

Drupal Now Accessible Via Mobile Phone

voip_drupal.png

MIT's Center for Future Civic Media has done a variety of breakthrough civic systems with phones. Examples range from Leo Burd's What's Up platform to the Call4Action class and its cool student projects.

We at C4 love these projects, but working with phones has always been a bear. A lot of programming is necessary. In many cases, people start with the phone and end up building custom infrastructure that begin to represent an actual content management system. Projects like Ushahidi or our earlier txtMob are really just simple CMSs with a few custom features for texting inputs.

So Leo Burd has been working on making the Drupal CMS more friendly for the billions of people around the world who only have access to basic telephony rather than smart phones and the web. Leo is launching the first release of the voice over Internet protocol Drupal platform at DrupalCon next week.

Here's what Leo wrote about this exciting project:

VoIP Drupal is an innovative framework that brings the power of voice and Internet-telephony to Drupal sites.

VoIP Drupal can be used to build hybrid applications that combine regular touchtone phones, web, SMS, Twitter, IM and other communication tools in a variety of ways, including:

* Click-to-call functions
* Voice- and SMS-based Go Out to Vote campaigns
* 2-1-1 and 3-1-1 lines
* Phone-based community surveys
* PTA reminders
* Story recording / playback
* Group voicemail
* Geo-based callblasts aimed at specific streets or locations
* And much more!

In technical terms, the goal of VoIP Drupal is to provide a common API and scripting system that interoperate with popular Internet-telephony servers (Asterisk, FreeSwitch, Tropo, Twilio, etc) dramatically reducing the learning and development costs associated with the construction of communication systems that combine voice and text technologies together.

The following VoIP servers are currently supported:

* Tropo, through the voiptropo.module (available soon)
* Twilio, through the voiptwilio.module

This project is under continuous development. If you would like to get involved in the project or ask questions, discussion is taking place on the VoIP Drupal Group. You can find more information in the VoIP Drupal Handbook.

The VoIP Drupal platform has originally been conceived and implemented by C4, with major contributions from Civic Actions.

19:22

VoIP Drupal

voip_drupal.png

C4 has done a variety of breakthrough civic systems with phones, from Leo Burd's What's Up platform to the Call4Action class and its cool student projects.

We love these projects, but working with phones has always been a bear. A lot of custom programming is necessary, and in many cases people start with the phone and end up building custom systems that begin to represent a CMS. Projects like Ushahidi or our earlier txtMob are really just simple CMSs with a few custom features for texting inputs. So Leo Burd has been working on making Drupal more friendly for the billions of people around the world who only have access to basic telephony rather than smart phones and the web.

Leo is launching the first release of the VoIP Drupal platform at DrupalCon next week.

VoIP Drupal is an innovative framework that brings the power of voice and Internet-telephony to Drupal sites. It can be used to build hybrid applications combining regular touchtone phones, web, SMS, Twitter, IM and other communication tools in a variety of ways, including:

* Voice- and SMS-based Get Out The Vote campaigns
* 2-1-1 and 3-1-1 lines (information hotlines)
* Phone-based community surveys
* PTA or any meeting reminder calls
* Story recording / playback
* Group voicemail
* Geo-based call-blasts aimed at specific streets or locations
* And much more!

As Leo writes:

Technically speaking, the goal of VoIP Drupal is to provide a common API and scripting system that interoperate with popular Internet-telephony servers (Asterisk, FreeSwitch, Tropo, Twilio, etc) dramatically reducing the learning and development costs associated with the construction of communication systems that combine voice and text technologies together.

The following VoIP servers are currently supported:

* Tropo, through the voiptropo.module (available soon)
* Twilio, through the voiptwilio.module

This project is under continuous development. If you would like to get involved in the project or ask questions, discussion is taking place on the VoIP Drupal Group. You can find more information in the VoIP Drupal Handbook.

The VoIP Drupal platform has originally been conceived and implemented by the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, with major contributions from Civic Actions.

19:01

Voip Drupal

C4 has done a variety of breakthrough civic systems with phones, from Leo Burd's What's Up platform to the Call4Action class and its cool student projects.

We love these projects, but working with phones has always been a bear. A lot of custom programming is necessary, and in many cases people start with the phone and end up building custom systems that begin to represent a CMS. Projects like Ushahidi or our earlier txtMob are really just simple CMSs with a few custom features for texting inputs. So Leo Burd has been working on making Drupal more friendly for the billions of people around the world who only have access to basic telephony rather than smart phones and the web.

Leo is launching the first release of the VoIP Drupal platform at DrupalCon next week.

VoIP Drupal is an innovative framework that brings the power of voice and Internet-telephony to Drupal sites. It can be used to build hybrid applications combining regular touchtone phones, web, SMS, Twitter, IM and other communication tools in a variety of ways, including:

* Voice- and SMS-based Get Out The Vote campaigns
* 2-1-1 and 3-1-1 lines (information hotlines)
* Phone-based community surveys
* PTA or any meeting reminder calls
* Story recording / playback
* Group voicemail
* Geo-based call-blasts aimed at specific streets or locations
* And much more!

As Leo writes:

Technically speaking, the goal of VoIP Drupal is to provide a common API and scripting system that interoperate with popular Internet-telephony servers (Asterisk, FreeSwitch, Tropo, Twilio, etc) dramatically reducing the learning and development costs associated with the construction of communication systems that combine voice and text technologies together.

The following VoIP servers are currently supported:

* Tropo, through the voiptropo.module (available soon)
* Twilio, through the voiptwilio.module

This project is under continuous development. If you would like to get involved in the project, or ask questions discussion is taking place on the VoIP Drupal Group. You can find more information in the VoIP Drupal Handbook.

The VoIP Drupal platform has originally been conceived and implemented by the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, with major contributions from Civic Actions.

December 16 2010

10:14

WordPress vs Drupal: A great discussion on CMS is unfolding

Two days ago, I wrote a post on the ICT-KM blog on choosing an open source cms and the simple and practical way I went about evaluating different CMS solutions.

What has emerged is a discussion (and even a bit of debate) via the post comments from IT managers, information and knowledge managers.

Join the discussion on WordPress vs Drupal: Choosing an Open Source CMS!

December 08 2010

16:48

3 Reasons Every Local Blogger on Drupal Should Get Drupad

Last June, my company, NowSpots, won Knight News Challenge funding to build better local online advertising products for newspapers, alt-weeklies, and community newspapers. We've been building our product and working in closed beta with pilot publishers these last months.   We're seeing great results and are about to open up to new publishers. If your publication is interested in getting in early on a new flavor of online ad, one that local businesses, colleges, and political campaigns actually want to buy, drop us a line. In the meantime, we want to use these pieces on Idea Lab to focus some attention on topics of interest and use to community news publishers. You can follow NowSpots on Twitter here or follow me here.

A new Drupal module and iPhone app makes it easier for community news publishers to juggle the demands of managing and building an audience online and getting outside to cover the community. 

1actions.pngDrupad (currenty $4.99 in the iPhone app store), is an iPhone app that lets anyone running a Drupal 6 site read and moderate the latest comments, content, and user sign-ups from their iPhone.  The app, from French developer breek.fr, requires that you install a companion Drupal module on your site. I found it while browsing new contributed modules on Drupal.org, installed it a few days before Thanksgiving, and now use it multiple times a day to check up on the latest happenings on WindyCitizen.com, a Chicago-centric social news site I publish.

While Drupad is in not aimed specifically at community news publishers, I believe any publisher running a Drupal 6 site who installs it will immediately find it indispensable. If you're using Drupal and own an iPhone, get Drupad. It does three things incredibly well for community news publishers.

Two Places At Once

  1. Drupad solves the "two places at once" problem

As a community news publisher or local blogger, one of your biggest problems is what I call the "two places at once" problem. Someone needs to be "out there" attending events, snapping photos, interviewing people, and generally reporting on stuff. Meanwhile, someone needs to moderate comments on your site, post stuff on Twitter and Facebook, block spammers, and update stories on the front page. If you've read any of the interviews with AOL's Patch editors where they talk about their daily job, you get the picture. You've got be outside and inside at once.  It's tricky. The first iteration of Windy Citizen was a more traditional news magazine site that required me to be out reporting and inside running the site. It was a nightmare.

With Drupad, local bloggers running Drupal sites can check up on how things are going while on the bus, waiting at a meeting, or in between interviews from their phone. It puts a simple administration interface in your hand so you can stay on top of what's new on your site and moderate comments on the fly. Since I set up Drupad last week, I no longer need to worry about staying near a computer at all times to check up on Windy Citizen. With Drupad, local bloggers will be able to spend more time out in the field and less time strapped to their desk keeping watch over their sites. This is a big win.

Block Spammers

3user.png

2. Drupad makes it easier to block spammers

If your community news site or local blog has decent traffic or any semblance of a commenting community, you probably have issues with spammers posting nasty comments and content on your site. With Drupal's default admin UI, you usually wind up:

  1. Spotting the comment
  2. Clicking the "delete" link on the comment.
  3. Clicking "yes" on the next page to confirm you want to delete it.
  4. Going to your user list page in the admin interface.
  5. Clicking the checkbox next to the user who posted the offensive comment.
  6. Indicating that you want to block that user.
  7. Clicking the button to put the change in motion.

That's seven clicks to delete a spam comment and block a user. That sucks. If the user has posted comments all over your site or you have multiple spammers to deal with, it can be a real pain in the butt.

One of the things I've come to enjoy about having Drupad on my iPhone is that the iOS-ified UI it uses makes blocking users a much smoother experience. With Drupad, I can go to my user list, click on their profile, and just click a button. There's no waiting around for pages to load. It's a more pleasant experience all around. Anything that makes it easier or even more fun to fight spammers on your site is a win in my book.

It Works!

3. Drupad won't crash your site and actually works

The final reason every local blogger and community news publisher should install Drupad is because the thing actually works. Those of you who run Drupal sites are nodding your head at this point. Those of you who never have are scratching yours. Those of you who develop and release Drupal modules (thank you!) are clenching your fists and gritting your teeth. The truth about Drupal is that it's an incredibly powerful CMS that can be modified through community-created modules (similar to WordPress' plug-ins) to function as a PHP framework. So you can do a lot of things with a Drupal site. That's one of Drupal's biggest strengths.  

On the other hand, the community modules themselves can be a real grab bag. Some are great and mainstays that every Drupal site needs to survive (see Steve Yelvington's recent piece to read about some of them); but many of them are very much works in progress that promise a lot but will break your site and cost you a great deal of time unless you're a trained developer or have one on your team to supervise. Drupal's great, but it's for developers, not lay people.

I'm happy to say that Drupad is not one of these modules. I downloaded it and installed it on Windy Citizen. It did not crash our site or give us Drupal's dreaded "white screen of death." Then I bought the iPhone app and filled in the admin credentials for Windy Citizen. The app was able to connect immediately to our site and start showing me comments, content, and the latest users.  Drupad just works, and that's a huge selling point for any Drupal module.

You can download the Drupad module for Drupal 6 here and buy it from the iTunes app store here.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. I'd love to hear what other people make of it. It's clear from the roadmap posted on the developer's site that he wants to roll out more features. Even in its current simple state, I think it's worth the $5 for any and every local blogger who's ventured out into Drupal land.


October 23 2010

10:53

Kabissa wins the Netsquared FACT Social Justice Challenge!

Thank you everyone who voted for Kabissa Connections on Netsquared to get us into the final 15 and thank you judges who selected us to be among the 5 winning organizations to receive a $5,000 cash prize. I also would like to congratulate the other 4 winners, in particular Agricultural Marketing Information Services in Cameroon and Integrated Electonic Peace Building Project in Kenya which are both very innovative and powerful projects deserving of recognition and support. 

In a nutshell, Kabissa Connections will address trust concerns by providing a platform revealing the connections that organizations have with networks, international organizations, supporters and service providers. We will do this for organizations working in Africa while collaborating with others on open source tools, standards and approaches that can be replicated in other regions.

I am very excited to receive this recognition for an idea that has been brewing for years and which it appears we will now have the opportunity to implement. We will have more news soon over at kabissa.org on next steps and opportunities to get involved, so please be sure to join Kabissa and subscribe to our monthly member newsletter.

In the meantime, please help make it happen by making a donation to Kabissa. Thanks!  

Crossposted from http://kabissa.org/news/kabissa-wins-netsquared-fact-social-justice-challenge

read more

August 05 2010

14:04

Open Source CMS: A Net2Camb Event Wrap-up from Will Hall

Besides my role with NetSquared globally, I also organize a monthly NetSquared event locally, in Cambridge, UK. The July Net2Camb event was led by Will Hall, a PHP web developer and open source enthusiast. He discussed the options, benefits, and risks associated with using open source content management systems for SMEs, charities and NGOs.

Will has kindly written a wrap-up of the event to share with you, and included his presentation slides for your reference:

read more

June 30 2010

02:18

WordPress vs. Drupal: considerations?

Some colleagues are launching a Web site for a new Northwestern initiative. It's been suggested that we consider using Drupal rather than WordPress to power the site. In house, we have no real experience with Drupal, and some experience with WordPress. What considerations would be important in deciding between WordPress and Drupal?

May 04 2010

12:05

The Nation launches new site built on Drupal, emphasizing community

The Nation magazine launched a much-improved new website that is built on an open-source platform and features a more flexible and community-oriented design. The redesign features innovations like search-engine friendly “topic” pages, story-level twitter feeds and instantly-customizable homepage and section front designs. A new community section lets readers vote articles up or down and enables readers to participate in the editorial process with new crowd-sourcing initiatives. The new platform, built using the open-source software “Drupal,” enables Nation editors to respond more quickly to breaking news and gives the business staff flexibility to quickly configure customizable, innovative campaigns for advertisers and marketers.

“Its now far more likely you found us on Twitter than in a bookstore, and you might be following my blog from anywhere in the world. We’re not afraid of new platforms, and we’re going to embrace the many opportunities they present,” said Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher of The Nation, said in announcing the new site.

“What we’re trying to do on those platforms, however, is something a little different — and something I hope can chart a course forward for independent journalism in the digital age. We’re trying to adapt these new media tools to amplify our unique form of journalism: investigative reporting that speaks truth to power; informed opinion journalism; critical analysis of politics and news; and lively, intelligent coverage of books, culture and the arts. In short: whether its a 140-character tweet, a blog post on your iPhone or the cover story in the latest print edition, we’re committed to first-class, fact-checked, well-edited independent journalism.”

Some of The Nation’s content has been behind a paywall and will remain so, but the magazine is not increasing the amount behind that paywall right now. Vanden Heuvel says the focus for now is on developing special online benefits to spur subscriptions and add features that make using TheNation.com a richer experience.

The platform was developed by Phase Two technologies, which recently built a new system for The White House. The project was led by the strategic digital consultancy The Osder Group, whose recent projects include ProPublica.org, The Daily Beast and TakePart.com.

The Osder Group emphasized community and activism throughout The Nation’s redesign. The new community section aggregates content like reader comments, letters, polls and sharing tools.” This summer The Nation will introduce a feature where site users can initiate their own activism campaigns online.

The redesign also expands and highlights sharing tools to the growing number of online social networks, which now drive more than 30% of The Nation’s traffic. The magazine’s Twitter feed, @thenation, has more than 40,000 followers and has received critical acclaim, recently winning the “Shorty” Award in politics for short form journalism.

March 26 2010

16:52

A New Battle Cry: Release the Raw Data for Better Visualization

The most elegant, user-friendly data visualization program is useless without data to visualize; and, historically, those who possess data are reluctant to share it.

Massive data has been dominated by a thin layer of elites, and sophisticated data-visualization tools -- such as heat maps, motion charts, time maps, and tag maps -- generally have remained within the domain of those elites. This monopoly has allowed very few to decide which data were important to visualize. They've created some dazzling digital narratives, but it was a one-way street -- very high-tech, but also very news 1.0/web 1.0.

Data Visualization For All

Happily, a movement is rising to pry data from those who hoard it. Tim Berners-Lee gave an inspiring talk at TED in 2009, challenging viewers to join him in a public drive for "Raw Data Now." In 2010, Berners-Lee returned to TED with news of progress, while also egging the U.S. and U.K. into a competition for who could release more data, and recounting the inspiring case of global open source mapping for Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake earlier this year.

Equally exciting, some extremely powerful data-visualization tools now are available for anyone to create visualizations within a semi-controlled space: Data360, and IBM's Many Eyes are two of the best. We at the Jefferson Institute just released betas for a set of highly abstracted Drupal data-visualization modules -- including an importer -- which dramatically increase the range of possibilities for using data in visual storytelling. Our aim is for Drupal users to unleash the power of these tools in their own site.

Yet, for news sites big and small, experimenting with data visualization presents a large, uncomfortable challenge: allowing users the creative freedom to play with the data behind a carefully prepared visualization -- and even enable them to upload their own data, much as a reader might comment on a blog or news article. It takes courage and patience. Users might create visualizations that are ugly, misguided, or intentional misrepresentations. But you have to break some eggs to make an omelet, and this is a challenge news organizations must embrace. It will be a key component to their survival in a world of savvy consumers armed with vast quantities of data.

Sea of Data

Busting the professional monopoly on determining which data stories to tell is essential, and it becomes even more important when we consider the sea of data in which we swim today -- which is only growing larger. Soon, RFID tags will be on everything, swelling the tidal surge of data to levels we hardly can fathom.

Jack Knight called for media to inform and enlighten, so the people might determine their own true interests. As we come to understand his exhortation's new, evolving meaning, we must continually challenge ourselves to break down professional barriers in order to empower the infinite diversity of equally true interests. "Raw Data Now" should be our battle cry, and open-source data visualization modules our weaponry.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

December 01 2009

02:54

Looking for a Web Developer for Nonprofit Project

Meaningful Media is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the quality, visibility and impact of social issue media.

We are redesigning our website and need a nonprofit-friendly web developer to bring our vision to life.

Project Details:

read more

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl