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Video/Slides from Women in Open Source talk at Open Web Vancouver 09

Wed, 07/08/2009 - 16:26 -- webchick

With huge thanks to Sarah Cruise from dyke it, here's the video and slides for the Women in Open Source talk at Open Web Vancouver 2009 a month or so ago.

Women in Open Source

View Slides (16 MB PDF)
Download Video (195 MB FLV)

If you've seen the old version of that talk, the content is fairly similar, but some additional tweaking, so it might be worth checking out. Like always, there's a new horror story (and of course this debacle happened the very next day *sigh*), and at the end there is a new section called "Myth Busters" that's an attempt to shatter misconceptions that a lot of would-be open source contributors have that make them think they're not "good enough" to participate. (I know, because I was one of those myself for about a decade.) The discussion at the end is also pretty fun, esp. for the Drupal crowd. ;)

I wanted to sincerely thank the organizers of Open Web Vancouver (esp. Malcolm Van Deist and Jeff Griffiths) for having me. The conference was absolutely awesome: a wonderful mix of technology, important social and political issues, and genuinely interesting people to talk to.

It was also great to re-connect with old Drupal friends. Made me all nostalgic for my very first Drupalcon back in 2006 that completely changed my life. :') Aw!! Thanks too for all the great recommendations that have come in for "Operation: Show Marci How Awesome Vancouver Is." 18 days to go... DUN DUN DUNNNN... Keep those suggestions coming if you have them. :)

Contributor Spotlight: Arie Nagel

Fri, 02/06/2009 - 13:52 -- webchick

Arie Nagel (or ainigma32 on Drupal.org) is a relatively "new" face in the Drupal community (he has yet to reach his one-year anniversary on Drupal.org), but yet has already made a profound impact on our project for the better.

How? By answering the cries of fellow Drupalistas' requests for help!

Arie has done a laudable job farming the Drupal core issue queue for support requests, closing out old ones, asking for more info on unclear ones, and helping out on those that he can. His tracker page shows a nearly endless stream of helpful, courteous responses, and he shows genuine concern for making sure users find the answers they're looking for. This is a tremendous contribution to the Drupal project. Hats off to you, Arie! :D

Without spoiling the interview ahead of time, something that Arie alludes to that I can back up whole-heartedly is that helping other users with support requests is the single fastest way to skyrocket your way up the Drupal learning curve. If you don't know the answer to something, seeking out the answer for others will give you a chance to teach yourself in a very practical way (or learn from others who end up answering the person's question). And if you do know the answer, nothing cements a topic in your head more than explaining to others how to do it. Finally, even if you consider yourself a total "newbie", believe me, you still know more than someone else out there, and you are far better positioned to explain it to them in a way that makes sense.

Learn more about how to get involved in user support at the Getting Involved guide.

Here's Arie's interview where he discusses how he came to Drupal, what motivates him to help out, and some ideas for improving Drupal support in the future.

Contributor Spotlight: Daniel F. Kudwien

Thu, 01/08/2009 - 16:00 -- webchick

It's 2009, and Contributor Spotlight is back! This edition, we focus on Daniel F. Kudwien (sun on drupal.org and "tha_sun" in #drupal), CEO of Unleashed Mind.

Daniel is a rock-star Drupal coder who has contributed too many awesome modules to count. A few that you might be familiar with are Administration Menu, which makes the Drupal administrative interface a breeze to use, Upgrade Status, which gives you details on the porting status of your modules between major Drupal versions, and WYSIWYG API, a module with the goal to provide a single, centralized way to add any graphical editor you can imagine to Drupal.

Daniel has a real knack for staring down an extremely complicated problem, ruthlessly slapping away distractions, and coming up with an ingenious solution that not only solves the original problem, but does so with elegance.

Which brings us to the tale of node #8: Let users cancel their accounts.

node/8 is the oldest open Drupal core issue in existence, dating back to 2001. The deceptively simple title makes it seem like this would be a brain-dead problem to solve. Just provide a button for users to delete their own accounts. Duh! What's the problem?

The problem is, what happens when that button is clicked? Is the user account deleted from the database, or only blocked? Some organizations have legal requirements to retain data for 180 days, others have legal requirements to remove all traces of their users. But even trickier, what happens to the content that the user posted? Is it deleted as well? Scrubbed of contents? Attributed to the anonymous user? Simply unpublished? What about other users' content that might reference content posted by removed users, or might be direct replies? Do they get the axe, too?

If you read the issue comments, you will see people coming up with absolutely no shortage of opinions on all of the above, and multiple times, this has caused the issue to go completely off the rails. Most of us had lost hope, thinking node/8 would never get solved.

And then along came Daniel.

With swift precision, Daniel managed to distill the use cases down to the four most common, provide a hook so that other modules can cut in and do their business, and all the while rallying the troops in #drupal to contribute where they could, either by bouncing around ideas or providing language improvements or reviewing the code. And! I'm happy to report that node/8 was fixed at last earlier today, January 8... 8 days after Daniel began his journey. :) This was an inspiring process to watch and to be a part of, and showed that anything is possible if we all band together.

So, who is this mystery man? Is he tenacious, a little bit insane, or both? ;) Find out, in the following interview!

BlogHer Presentation: Open Source Participation: How to advance to the next level

Sat, 07/19/2008 - 17:58 -- webchick

Here's the presentation that Marianne Masculino and I did about how to contribute to both WordPress and Drupal:

Contributing to WordPressContributing to Drupal

It was really cool to see the overlap between how WordPress does stuff and how Drupal does stuff, and all the ways the communities are similar and how they're different in how they work. Also, Marianne was really awesome and nice. :)

Thanks to everyone who turned out to see it... It was great to meet you! :)

Also, I found a "live blogging" version of the session at http://www.sparkplugging.com/marketing/blogher-2008-open-source/.

Contributor spotlight: Keith Smith

Wed, 12/05/2007 - 17:47 -- webchick

This edition of Contributor spotlight highlights Keith Smith of Advantix, LLC.

Keith's mission for the past year or so has been to clean up user-facing text in Drupal core. People installing the next beta/RC of Drupal 6 should be pleasantly surprised by all of the improvements, which probably number in the hundreds by now.

Here's one example. In Drupal 5.x, the description for book pages is:

A book is a collaborative writing effort: users can collaborate writing the pages of the book, positioning the pages in the right order, and reviewing or modifying pages previously written. So when you have some information to share or when you read a page of the book and you didn't like it, or if you think a certain page could have been written better, you can do something about it.

Er. A book is an effort? :)

In Drupal 6.x, it's now:

A book page is a page of content, organized into a collection of related entries collectively known as a book. A book page automatically displays links to adjacent pages, providing a simple navigation system for organizing and reviewing structured content.

Simple, descriptive, and consistent with other type descriptions. This is why we love Keith.

These types of improvements are especially important to get hammered out now, because very soon (once Drupal 6 Release Candidate 1 hits) we'll be in "string freeze," which means that this type of text can't change anymore until Drupal 7, in order to allow translators to come in and do their thing. Since one of the killer features in Drupal 6 is the new internationalization stuff, this will be especially important this release. So don't delay; help with string fixes today! ;) If you're looking for a place to start, try the list of documentation issues in Drupal core.

I asked Keith some questions and here's what he had to say:

Drupal GHOP status report, and a call for help!

Mon, 12/03/2007 - 17:20 -- webchick

So I've been pretty busy the past few weeks coordinating efforts for Drupal's participation in the Google Highly Open Participation Contest (GHOP). This is a contest which gives pre-university students (age 13-18) tasks to work on from various open source projects, both to get them "real world" experience in the open source community, and to win prizes such as t-shirts, cash, or even a trip to Google Campus.

So far the contest has been going on for about a week, and it's been quite a blast hanging in #drupal-ghop and the GHOP group, getting to know some of the students.

Some of the highlights include...

Initial Drupal community experiences and getting past the "I suck" threshold

Mon, 11/26/2007 - 12:29 -- webchick

I did a recent interview that talked a bit about the upcoming Drupal O'Reilly book (code-named the "Lullabook"), how I got my start in the Drupal community, and how I went about surmounting the Drupal learning curve.

The short version is that, in my opinion, getting involved in the community is, hands down, the fastest way to ratchet up your Drupal knowledge. It was the only way I was able to make the leap from "total newbie" (who hadn't even installed Drupal at the time) to "contributing my first module" in 2 very short months (I started out my Drupal career as a Google Summer of Code student back in 2005).

It was a lot of fun to reflect back on my first couple months in the Drupal community, which included some of the following highlights. *cue the flashback wipe*

Contributor spotlight: catch

Sat, 11/03/2007 - 20:48 -- webchick

Note: This is something new I'm playing with, called the "Contributor spotlight." I spend a lot of time on the Drupal.org site (no, seriously. A LOT. ;)), and in doing so, often come across individuals who are doing an incredibly awesome job. I sometimes send off a little personal e-mail to thank them, but this is an attempt to be a little more public with the praise, and to help draw some more attention to these folks and their efforts. So, without further ado, meet catch.

catch is a web developer hailing from the United Kingdom, and has used Drupal since the 4.5.x era.

In order to help get familiar with some of the changes in 6.x, catch has taken it upon himself to go through the core issue queue and really help things clean up: marking duplicate and fixed issues as such, moving new features to the 7.x queue, and testing patches that need review, then marking things "ready to be committed" or "needs work" as appropriate. This is a tremendous contribution, as it helps the core development team to focus on the truly important issues, and his work will directly help Drupal 6 ship much sooner. And it's worth pointing out here that issue queue clean-up is an area that pretty much anyone with just a little spare time can help with.

I asked catch a few questions via e-mail, and this is what he had to say...

Video of my Women in Open Source talk at Ontario Linux Fest

Thu, 11/01/2007 - 09:48 -- webchick

Thanks to Khalid for the heads-up about a video out there of my Women in Open Source talk I gave last month at the Ontario Linux Fest. Check it out here: http://www.archive.org/details/onlinux_womeninopensource

The slides for this talk are also available at http://webchick.net/files/presentations/women-in-open-source-onlinux-200...

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