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Dec 05 2013
Dec 05

November was huge for the Open Source community in Middle Earth, Those who attended Drupal Camp Karachi on 2nd November and Dubai on the 30th of November 2013 made history. I shall get to Karachi later, this post is about Dubai Camp, challenges of organising it and the outcome of the journey that started in June 2013.



As organisers our focus was both quality and quantity of course; share best practises, tools and knowledge with as many as possible! though we did not get the quantity, 80+ were invited 55 were expected and the campers peaked at lunch with a turn out of 45… and for the last session and closing we had 20.

Organising Dubai camp was a challenge for the organising committee… though committee sounds grand! there was me, Ahmed Koshok and Massoud Al-Shareef, with two regionals on board you might expect things to be easier but with no boots on the ground mobilisation of the community, securing the venue, putting the logistics in place was always going to be a challenge! but planning for it made it that tad bit easier.



At first there was just me (and making very slow progress), then Ahmed came on board and both of us dragged the vision of Dubai camp a fair distance but nowhere close to the starting line… then in Massoud we found a regional champion and a reliable network on the ground to go through the red tape… that was Hani Hejazi; and securing the venue was Hani’s feat. From start to finish organising Dubai camp took 6 months!



DC Dubai had a strong contingent of local/regional Drupal rockstars in attendance and that was the magic sauce in Dubai camp, from a total of 16 speakers/trainers we had 9 local/regional speakers/trainers and that was a coup for any first camp I have attended or been a part of in Middle Earth.

At Dubai camp there were many firsts! the faculty was not just curious but participatory and super supportive, Professor Jassim Jirjees the program director for MLIS was in attendance and his staff ensured everything ran like clockwork!

To top it all Professor Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq the president of AUE announced a full scholarship for anyone applying from within the Drupal community… we shall get the details for application, prerequisites etc and post them on our Facebook page.

A super supportive and involved institution, local rockstars in attendance, informed and engaging speakers, an awesome regional community to network with and a tasty lunch… made it epic.

From Ahmed Koshok, Massoud Al-Shareef and me a huge thank you shoutout to:

And I would not have been able to co-organise Dubai Camp had it not been for Ahmed Koshok, Massoud Al-Shareef, Jihan Al-Shareef, Hani Hijazi  and Marwa Ezzat – we made an awesome team folks! thank you and lets get going for the next one!

For session slides please follow the DrupalCamp Dubai twitter account and we shall be releasing the slides as and when we receive them from the speakers, a few are already up on Twitter.

Looking forward to hearing about meet-ups in KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and beyond!

Oct 27 2013
Oct 27



There were four drupal camps  for 2013 on my radar… three firsts in Lahore, Karachi, Dubai and Islamabad’s second camp, and as with most plans.. things got skewed after Lahore!

Back in March at Drupal Camp Lahore we had the unpleasant experience of an individual announce himself as a contender for  ‘douche of the community’ award!  spewing out bigoted, racist opinions about fellow community members  from Bangalore whilst we had the Bangalore community with us over Skype…  you can read the details here. Unfortunately that was not the last we heard from the ‘Douche’, instead of apologising and seeing the errors of his ways the ‘Douche’ having been taken to task by several members of the local community announced his own camps in Karachi and Dubai soon after, with dates to coincide to those organised by ourselves. So we called it a day in the summer and postponed Drupal Camp Karachi to November and Dubai thereafter. Yes… I am venting, am a little annoyed for there has been malice at work from the very start to sabotage the efforts to nurture a single cohesive community in Middle Earth.

Being the first in Karachi or Dubai was not the objective, doing it right was and remains! now on to the upside! Having my summer schedule blown wide open was great! I spent August in the high Atlas in Maroc, summited Tizi Agouri and M’Goun and came back rested and with fire in’me belly for the fall camps! 



September was Drupal Camp Belgium in Leuven and then of course the highlight of all things OS for the year DrupalCon Prague and catching up with friends from all over the rock and making some awesome new ones!

October has been a month of careful planning and absolute frenzy! all good though.



For Drupal Camp Karachi  the local organising committee and I roped in [email protected] and together they have worked tirelessly to ensure Karachi camp would be worthy of  Karachi’s Drupal Community and the awesome city Karachi is (the economic hub of Pakistan and the third most populated city proper on the rock). The venue is the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), folks at IBA jumped on board with epic enthusiasm from the get go! Karachi camp has a little under 400 delegates registered, 13 speakers from 11 different countries! Karachiites have been awesome! and the credit goes to [email protected] and the local organising committee. I have no doubt Karachi Camp will be epic in proper Karachi style.. on the 2nd of November 2013.

With Karachi sorted, well almost sorted it was time to turn my attention to Dubai, and little surprise the Douche was all over D.O with a Drupal camp in Dubai and had it been properly executed I would have conceded that my job has been done and any further efforts to that end redundant, but that was hardly the case. So Ahmed from Acquia and I ignored the meetup dressed up as a camp and ploughed ahead with Drupal Camp Dubai.



Once again the credit goes to local community members Massoud Al-Shareef, Hani Hejazi, Marwa Ezzat from KnowledgeWARE Technologies who have been epic! with neither Ahmed or me on the ground in Dubai the team from  KnowledgeWARE came to our aid and stepped in where we physically could not! thank you for making it happen! Drupal Camp Dubai is scheduled for the 9th of November at the American University in the Emirates with a strong contingent of local Drupal rockstars and international speakers!

Stay tuned…

Oct 03 2013
Oct 03



Coming up to a week  since DrupalCon Prague, caught up with my girls, emails, calls, follow ups and all else… time to reflect.

I stand by my verdict of the 26th of Sept: @drupalcon #Prague No #Munich but No #Croydon either but an informative fun week. That is to some annoyance of a few fellow community members and possibly some folks at DA… folks there was and is no offence intended, someone has to lay it out as it is and I did share the feedback in person with DA and not just tweeted it on my way to the airport HA!

The host city was awesome, the venue was well their congress centre (the best they had to offer I suppose) but the connectivity there sucked! the food though not that important could have been much better, the sessions that I have been catching up on line were good though more diversity is key for the future… representation across the continents please! BoFs were super useful no doubt and some of the SWAG was nice, some just awesome – Acquia and Deeson win the SWAG award!

DrupalCon_Prague_201325 11.51.49

DrupalCon_Prague_201325 11.51.49

Having said all of that the most awesome thing about DrupalCon Prague was the connectedness! on that note Prague won hands down! out did Munich too!

I am going to be at DrupalCon Austin which will be my first DrupalCon across the pond and knowing how conferences go over the Atlantic am sure it will be mind blowing and if not you will hear about it in person. As for DrupalCon Amsterdam… it can be nothing short of epic! but then most peeps who have been to the Netherlands would say that!

It was great seeing old friends and making new ones and looking forward to the next Cons and upcoming Camps across the third rock.

Mar 31 2013
Mar 31

Am back in Islamabad after two very long and tiring days to Lahore and a full on Camp!  details to follow, this is abridged version for the experience!

Drupal Cam Pakistan in Lahore was a strange affair, all in all a great experience, met all my objectives of promoting Drupal and the power of OS in creating jobs, opportunities and prosperity… introduced Drupal to a small army of students,  but could not quite understand the industry representatives in Lahore! of the 60 odd registered from Industry only 20 odd showed up… total count on the day was about 70+ of which the majority were students – which was great but would have been better for the industry to turn up to network and guide the local student population!

Stranger still was discovering that a perfectly normal Drupaler I know in the community in Pakistan turned out to be a bigoted, racist ignoramus! not so nice known ya fella’

We linked up with the Drupal Community in Bangalore and this guy went off on a nationalistic ignorant rant with them on Skype! of course I used my 6’3 110kg mass to push him aside and apologised for giving the podium to a bigot!

Any hoo… the Camp was great, we trained 41 newbies in Hello Drupal and expect the vast majority to keep at it… we linked up with the Faculty lead on relations with industry and convinced Bilal Arshad from UCP to introduce Drupal in their end of year projects for students.

The next camping trip for Drupal Camp Pakistan is in August to Karachi and then I am off Camping in Dubai to build links with the community in the GCC region…

As for right now… am off to host the inaugural 9others meal in Islamabad… more on that later.

Mar 29 2013
Mar 29

An evangelist’s log: Star date – 28th March

Drupal Camp

0730 –  landed in Islamabad, 30 minutes in the immigration queue, walked to the carousel and my luggage is right there! out by 0815 – has to be a new record flying coach! Straight to the Crane’s nest, up since 0700 the day before, Bialetti on the stove, quadruple espresso and the world starts making sense again!

0930 am informed by one of our crane also a trainer for DrupalCamp that there has been a slight oversight on his part for the 30th March camp… it also happens to be the day his sister-in-law is getting married! in all the excitement of the Camp it slipped his mind that his attendance at the wedding is not optional! a key crane has to be excused, but an ex-crane steps in to save the session!

0940ish Asif our network ninja informs me that the net speed in Pakistan is not running at its best because of a damaged submarine cable! but the powers that be are working around the clock (somewhere under the Suez canal) on fixing it asap! I get online, start streaming off Vimeo and yes the speed sucks!

1000ish Fida our organiser supremo informs me that Campus at University of Central Punjab has a fantastic mega fat pipe line… the submarine cable damages comes to mind!

1200ish Atta sends me an article from the Guardian – Cyberbunker is kicking Spamhaus’s behind and the end users are paying for it with reduced speed! the Rock’s largest DNS attack is in play! and the net speed in Blighty is suffering! a three word expression come to mind!

But it would be no other way, the camp is going to Lahore home to the not so famous Lollywood, where the action movies would send Action Jackson cowering; featuring horses and Drupal Campriders who can cover great distances in a flash… from Times Square NYC to Lahore Central in less time than it takes for a villain to pull off the distressed damsels veil, XXXL heroines doing Shakira numbers and heroes who would scare the pants of Jet Lee, guns that never need reloading, heroes who can spill more Red than the Red sea and still manage dialogues and live to fight another few dozen baddies in the next 30 seconds, actors with phenomenal stamina to shout out dialogues over 2+ hours!… and directors who evidently compete on how absurd a movie they can make!

There has to be drama involved! this is LAHORE not Sparta!

#Drupal #DrupalCamp #EmergingTechnologies

Mar 04 2013
Mar 04

I recently had the pleasure of traveling to London to attend DrupalCamp London. There, Joe Shindelar and I taught a one-day Introduction to Drupal workshop. The class was great and the attendees actively participated, as they were very interested in what Drupal has to offer. This was my first experience teaching with Joe in person, and even though I work with him regularly on our videos here at Drupalize.Me, all I can say is he is a fantastic presenter and teacher. If you are ever at a camp, con, or meetup, I recommend that you take some time to sit in and listen to Joe speak.

After that we, and some other Lullabots, took the camp by storm, presenting and attending sessions the next couple of days. Sally Young and Blake Hall did a session together, Going Mobile, about building Drupal-based mobile apps, and separating the backend from the frontend on a site. Although this was way over my head, those that attended were very curious and excited about what they were saying. Addison Berry also took some time teaching a session on the Drupal Ladder. I love seeing people get excited about working on core. The session had a fair number of people attend and plenty of questions were asked. It is also very cool seeing Addison still get excited to teach about the community. Finally, Joe "performed" a session on Fun with the Form API. The session was fairly packed and everyone had fun (non pun intended) listening to Joe show the importance of learning the Form API.

The rest of the camp was packed full of sessions and an overall excitement of people learning Drupal. I could go on and on about the camp, but I also want to talk about life as a simple American in London. Especially a life of a person that sits behind a computer most of his days.

My day usually begins with a couple cups of coffee and gathering my thougths while organizing email. For me, a couple cups of coffee are easily made with a coffee maker. This is where I began to notice I wasn't home anymore. A cup of coffee in London is not just a drip of water over coffee beans. No, it is a ritual — single serving, and what appeared to me, a project. Let's just say, I had less coffee than I normally do.

My next foray was a very unexpected trip on the "tube." Now I have traveled to Europe a few other times, but never had to use the tube during rush hour. At one point it was so packed I swear there is no way more people will fit on this thing. They did anyway. I'm sure New Yorkers are very familiar with this, but as a non-city person, it was a bit overwhelming. I made it out alive though.

Kyle Hofmeyer

Unfortunatly most of what I saw of London was either going from tube to tube, or walking from the tube to a place to eat. That leads me to my next favorite part of London: the food. Sally was our tour guide and certainly knows where to take people to eat. I had some "awesome" food during my five-day visit and have learned to eat with a fork in my left hand and my knife in the other (thanks Sally).

Besides the food I did get to see Old Ben from a car window, and the Tower Bridge (apparently the London Bridge is not all that). We also took a moment to jump over the Prime Meridian, and I played the role of a tourist with Oscar-like potential, as you can clearly see in the picture here.

I am now siting in the airport waiting to travel back home to the States. You may be asking yourself what this post has to do with anything. I guess it is really about how being part of the Drupal community offers the ability to step outside our normal boundaries and experience the world around us. One of the greatest aspects of Drupal is it has no worldy boundries and events are everywhere. From Portland to Copenhagen, Denver to Sydney — Drupal can take you anywhere, and I am better for it.

Oct 01 2010
Oct 01

2 weeks ago was Drupal Camp Asheville in BEAUTIFUL North Carolina. It was my 10th camp this year and was by far the AWESOMEST town I've visited! The Camp took place at the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in downtown Asheville, NC. The facility was PERFECT. 

Organizer Matthew Dale Connerton and crew asked me to come out and do a whole day of beginner sessions. So I DID! The room was nicely sized but we still had people standing in the back and bringing in chairs from other rooms. I was so happy to see so many people taking the plunge to start their Drupal knowledge quest.

This is EXACTLY what I see needed at every camp. I have been to camps where a couple people [usually me] propose a few beginner sessions, and often time these sessions do get selected. But what I find is that maybe one or two hours tops is targeted DIRECTLY at the people who do not know what a node or block or region is.

Who are these people and where do they come from?

We have to admit that Drupal is attracting ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE and doing so at a rate that is so mind bogglingly big that NO ONE could have seen this coming. People WANT BASIC-BEGINNER Drupal training and they are showing up at camps to get it. Are they getting the training at the camps? Sometimes yes sometimes no.

I am not judging organizers or presenters or anyone at all. I'm merely pointing out that we, as the Drupal training community, need to make a conscious effort to reach these people where they are. These people don't know how a Camp works. They don't understand that if they don't vote for the beginner sessions, the session won't be there when they show up. They don't understand why the presenter of  session labeld as "BEGINNER" is assuming that they know what a module is or a CMS is or why the URL paths of a node do not suggest that there are actual directories in the file-system by that name. Yes, I received that very question in my beginner session at DoItWithDrupal2009.

What to do about it?

Well... I don't suspect there is a single best solution. All I know is that I am committed to getting to as many camps, LinuxFests, CmsExpos, OpenCamps, UniForums, WebContentConferences, etc.  as I can and feed the people that are desperate to learn this stuff but need a hand-up to scale the tall walls that Drupal's robustness presents at times.

How do I sustain a model where I have already hit 10 camps and leave for one more in Atlanta in 2 hours from right now?

Earlier in the year I had Duo Consulting contributing to the community by sending me to many camps and other events. This year has seen a TREMENDOUS increase in the number of OpenSource events and DrupalCamps have absolutely EXPLODED! I'm even having one in my own town of Indianaplis this year! http://DrupalCampIndy.org Understandably, DUO couldn't send me every where.


My 1st six camps were covered by Duo Consulting.
Wisconsin was the 7th. the Camp covered the HOTEL and I drove to Chicago and carpooled with a buddy.
DrupalCamp LA was #8 and http://WebEnabled.com covered that one since I was giving a presentation on their Web Development Platform which I happen to be in love with. I was making videos about it long before we ever did business together.
#9 DrupalCamp Dallas [ AKA http://OpenCa.mp ] The OpenCamp organizers invited me to come present and took care of arrangements.
#10 Drupal Camp Asheville [the reason I started this blog post] The Camp organizers used sponsorship funds to bring me out and pay me for presenting. Matthew has been very transparent about this.
#11 Atlanta. Camp organizer, Dave Terry, asked me to come and present some beginner sessions but I wasn't sure I would be able to make it. I wasn't looking around for sponsors but http://prometsource.com contacted me and offered to cover my arrangements and pay me to present. In exchange they received sponsorship status to the event. It was a win-win-win for us all and I can't wait to see who is showing up hungry to figure out what this whole Drupal thing is all about.
#12 will be in my own home town but again PrometSource will be sponsoring the camp via my 3 Beginner Sessions.

So there you have it. Just what the Drupal community is into. Full transperency is how we organize and run our events. Coming up is DrupalCamp Phoenix, Toronto, Austin, BadCamp. And surely 2012 will see even MORE 1st time camps.
Will I be there? Will the camps truly meet the beginners where they are? We'll see how it plays out!

Right now I need to pack and get out to Atlanta!

Sep 10 2010
Sep 10

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Jul 08 2010
Jul 08

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Jun 20 2010
Jun 20

On the Road again!

I've done 3 Drupal events this month and I have 3 left

Why Do It?

The ecosystem of Drupal feeds off of the efforts of the community. These efforts include blogging, screencasting videos, speaking at events, writing books, etc. Each of us have benefited [and continue to benefit] from the efforts of others and many of us choose to benefit others in the same way.

Jun 14 2010
Jun 14

Serving up Drupal, Southern Style!

150+ Attendees
 11 Awesome Drupal Speakers
   2 Tracks
 14 Engaging Drupal Sessions

When the SouthEast LinuxFest organizers asked me to put on a DrupalCamp event at their 2nd annual LinuxFest. I accepted. I figured we could get a few dozen people to come listen about another highly successful OpenSource project. What I didn't know was that so much Drupal talent would step up and present such amazing sessions. I also didn't know that so many Drupal zealots would travel from so far to be there. Lastly, I didn't anticipate so many of the LinuxFest attendees to join us. Needless to say, I was ecstatically surprised! THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE IT HAPPEN!

The Drupal booth [pictured above] was a makeshift arrangement of Drupal Swag and literature. that I arranged on the fly. Here are the contents of the booth: [links open in new page]

  • Druplipet The Acquia Drupal Gardens mascot that GROWS!
  • Acquia Drupal Gardens T-shirts & Beta Cards. Go from design to online in 15 minutes with this Drupal7 hosted solution that you can export at any time!
  • ACQUIA stickers. Commercially supported Drupal, remote serving of Apache Solr Search, HA-Hosting, and more.
  • Trifold pamphlets from CMSQuickStart.com. Beautifully themed, highly pre-configured Drupal installs with slide shows, tabs, WYSIWYG and more. Just add content!

The Story: I ran into the SouthEast LinuxFest organizers at last September's Ohio LinuxFest. They saw my Drupal presentation and spoke with me at the Drupal booth. A few months later they asked if I would put on a DrupalCamp event ONTOP of their LinuxFest. I agreed and the rest is history.

MADNESS:  We've agreed to do it again NEXT YEAR! :-)

May 08 2010
May 08

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Apr 14 2010
Apr 14

The new year (this post is a little late!) has brought me new opportunities and some new roles;

NowPublic, Crowd Powered Media

New job at NowPublic

At NowPublic I work on front end theming and customizations for NowPublic.com and Scan — a realtime twitter and social media tracker for NowPublic.com, Examiner.com, WashingtonExaminer.com, SFexaminer.com and The Vancouver Sun.

Currently I am the skeleton dev team that maintains NowPublic.com, while the rest of the NowPublic dev team works on the Examiner.com migration to Drupal 7. Though I spend most of my dev time in the depths of the javascript and theme layer of Scan.

One of the most exciting things about this job is that I am able to work with an amazing team of developers including some other CivicActions alumni, whom I respect and seek to learn from. Such as chx, kkaefer, douggreen and Morbus Iff and many others.

Head On Vancouver


The new job at NowPublic saw me relocate to Vancouver for two and a half months, from just after DrupalSouth Wellington

at the end of January, until DrupalCon San Francisco, this week.

Vancouver has been astounding! Some highlights of my first trip ever to Canada and my stay in Vancouver include;

Returning to New Zealand

This Friday 16 April I depart Vancouver for San Francisco, where I will stay with the Clarity Digital Group developer team at Westin Hotel Market street for 8 days, for the Drupal core developer summit, DrupalCon SF, code sprints, meetings, social events, and a Drupal Association retreat.

Finally, on April 26 (after losing April 25 to the date line) I will arrive home to Christchurch NZ to stay indefinitely. It will be exactly 8 months since my wife and I departed Christchurch for DrupalCon Paris and a journey across 5 continents. I am looking forward to having a home (when we find and rent one!) and our bed back.

Drupal Association

Permanent Member of the Drupal Association General Assembly

Being elected onto the Drupal Association's General Assembly was largely unexpected and came as a surprise to me. I have been a core part of the DrupalCon Asia-Pacific Organisers (DCAPO) group on groups.drupal.org since it started in September 2009 and collaborated a little with Cary Gordon (Drupal Association Board, Director of Events) over that time. Cary asked me to join the Drupal Association to help centralise international DrupalCon coordination efforts (as per the events plan) and provide the association with a more internationalised perspective.

It is still early days at the association, but my goal (as per my application) at the Drupal Association is to empower a team to organise and run a DrupalCon somewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, hopefully around 2011. There are some ideas and projects at the association to do with scholarships and mini-conferences — but I will save that for another time, when it is ready.

Sep 07 2009
Sep 07
This was the garden outside of DrupalCon Paris Montparnasse DrupalCon main room DrupalCon before Dries' presentation DrupalCon Paris 2009 Gathering for the DrupalCon Paris photo

Having just returned from DrupalCon Paris 2009 with mixed feelings as to how I forged my own experience there, I thought I'd put down some thoughts on conference attendance and participation — what (not) to do.

  1. Don't minimize the jet lag factor.

    I had an 8-hour shift in going to Paris, and my first day there after touching down around 7am was pretty much lost in the fog. The second day was really my first day, and that would have been better spent having to myself to just settle in, check out my hotel neighborhood, find decent food, orient myself as to where the conference venue was, etc. As it was, I had to run off to the conference for my first day of meetings and such. I should have arrived a day earlier.
  2. Don't stay at a hotel beyond walking distance of the venue, if possible.

    My hotel was about 2 miles from the conference venue, which turned out to be a manageable walking distance. I'm not sure I would want to have more than a 40 minute walk every day, so I peg the limit at 2 miles. But walking is great!! What did I gain from walking? I got to see and experience Paris during my "commute" to and from the conference. I had no tourism time, so this turned out to be a daily pleasure, even when it was raining. And on the 2 or 3 occasions where I needed to cab it for time, it was a short jaunt. (On the other hand, when I stayed in Barcelona, I was 40 minutes away by train, and that was a royal pain. It worked out because I had plenty of food and drink in my hotel area, and the conference was in a rather barrenly industrial part of town.)
  3. Don't upgrade critical laptop software the day before leaving.

    I upgraded to Snow Leopard the day before, and I thought I was all set. Testing revealed no apparent problems that were critical. However, once in Paris I discovered that the slideshow I created in Keynote for looping on the pingVision sponsor's monitor at the venue would not export properly to Quicktime. (See related post, linked below.) I spent an entire day struggling with this. A day lost. Big #fail on my part. Never again.
  4. Don't eat the hotel food.

    Look, do you eat at any hotel restaurants where you live? Enough said.
  5. Don't bring the 17" laptop, no matter how much you love it.

    My back is killing me from carrying not one full-sized MacBoo Pro, but two — one to play the looping slideshow. Today I'm practically paralyzed with back pain. Next time, it's a netbook (or the rumored Apple touchpad) or just a smartphone.
  6. Don't figure you'll be able to meet up with someone later.

    When you see someone you want to talk to, stop and talk. Right then. Don't wait. Of the half dozen or so people I ran into when I was intending to do something else and we promised to talk later, I talked with none of them later. The event may be a week long, but that is over quite suddenly. Talk to your friends, acquaintances, colleagues and other people you want to meet up with whenever you can. Be spontaneous!
  7. Don't blow off the parties, no matter how tired you are.

    Some of the best conversations I had last week were at the "brown bag" party that just kind of happened on the Left Bank. The restaurant designated for meeting was too expensive, but that didn't prevent a fun party in the plaza right there. You couldn't know that in advance, either. In the past, I've been one to choose rest or work over socializing in the evenings of conferences, but that's been my loss. I don't particularly like loud bars and despise crowded meet markets, but there's nothing like conversation over coffees or beers or wine or a fabulous meal!
  8. Don't forget about global data roaming.

    I bought a 50MB plan that more than covered my email and Twitter needs for the week on my iPhone. However, I noticed that when you sync your iPhone to iTunes, your global data gets turned on, even if you had it turned off. And if you had not planned ahead with a global data plan for the month, you could find yourself in for some surprising and onerous charges.
  9. Don't get too wrapped up in your own shit.

    I don't know about you, but there's always stuff going on that demands my attention. Scores of "real" emails every day. Text messages. Phone messages. Project management issues. I let myself spend too much office-style time on those things, which prevented me from seeing far too many sessions. This is the biggest #fail on my part. You're there at the conference to meet up with people, connect with friends, learn what they're up to and discover new things. Your own stuff will be there after the session. Go to the effing session already!
  10. Don't leave too early.

    Some may consider leaving early to be fashionable, like leaving a party. Some may consider leaving early to be expedient, figuring there's little of interest at the end of a conference. I left too early because I got my dates mixed up. I ended up missing the code sprint on the last day. If you've never been to a Drupal sprint, then you're missing out. At DrupalCon DC, it was my favorite day where I finally got to interact with others and even work on some templating code. Missing out on all that in Paris was a major bummer for me.
  11. Don't neglect learning which is your airline's terminal.

    United's website did not tell me which terminal their flights departed from. United's reminder emails did not tell me either. So when I got to Charles De Gaulle Airport, I did not know where to go. The taxi driver either did not know or took my ignorance as an opportunity to inconvenience another foreigner, and dropped me at Terminal 2. Apparently the managers of that airport did not feel that identifying airlines on their maps was necessary. That airport is pretty confusing when you don't know what you're looking for. A helpful person at an information counter explained to me that my taxi driver had dropped me at the opposite end of the airport from where I needed to be. 30 minutes later I finally got to the check-in counter. Next time, I will not be so complacent.
  12. Don't forget about the post-con blues.

    It happens to me every time. I get down after the event, after riding a week on all that energy and excitement. And when I get down, I run through my regrets -- the people I didn't meet, the dumb things I said, the food I shouldn't have eaten.... The blues are blue enough without all that extra baggage. Which is why I'm writing this blog post. I want to savor the joys, and not get distracted by regrets. Therefore: these notes, mostly to myself, for next time.

I'm glad I didn't manage to fail on all these counts this past week, but I really need to work on my conference attendance planning and not just my conference presentation planning. I will do better at DrupalCon San Francisco!

Do you have any other conference attendance suggestions?

Mar 18 2009
Mar 18

The blog is dead, but the Jakob lives on! Find me in Toronto, singing tenor parts, learning Mandarin, playing Ultimate, watching Netflix in my roundopartment, and of course developing software for a living. Making the world my oyster, one vertebrae at a time.

Mar 05 2009
Mar 05

I'm currently at the biannual Drupal worldwide conference, Drupalcon, in Washington, DC. I hope to write more later about the amazing people and innovative technologies that I'm seeing here this week, but for now I just wanted to post an entry for folks arriving here looking for information about the talk I gave yesterday: Beyond The Web: Drupal Meets The Desktop (And Mobile).

I will be posting more information later on the resources & projects mentioned in the talk, but for now, watch this page for that info as I'm able to post it. I covered a number of technologies that can connect Drupal websites to desktop and mobile applications, be they in Cocoa (for the Mac & iPhone) or any other language that you might want to integrate with a PHP-based Drupal site.

Hope to see you at Drupalcon!


Oct 21 2008
Oct 21

I'm happy to help announce that the next Drupalcon will be March 4-7, 2009, in Washington, DC! As a former member of the awesomely rocking Washington, DC Drupalers, it will be a real thrill to get back to the city as part of our biannual pilgrimage to the hub of all things Drupal.

Expect this to be the biggest Drupalcon ever -- the first 100 tickets sold out in ten minutes, but others are still available. I've attended Drupalcon Barcelona and Drupalcon Boston in the past, but I'm looking forward to this one especially as DC is where Code Sorcery Workshop got started. Plus, we'll have a new president and the whole town will be abuzz.

In addition, I'm proposing a session entitled Beyond The Web: Drupal Meets The Desktop (And Mobile). If you're interested in seeing this session, please head over to the Drupalcon DC site and vote for it. Here's the abstract:

We all know that Drupal is a robust self-contained system for running a social website, but what about when you want to hook it up with the desktop or mobile devices? This session will take a look at the capabilities built into Drupal core, as well as contributed modules, for combining Drupal with desktop and mobile clients. The presenter is a Mac & iPhone developer and the co-maintainer of the DAV API, File Server, Boost, and Trace modules, and inadvertently had code in Drupal core in 2001.

Whether you are a Drupal veteran, a web developer who's been meaning to try it out, or a newbie (technical or not) who's wondering what all the talk is about, Drupalcon is a great (and relatively affordable) way to tap into the vibrant Drupal community. There's no better place to be if you are, or want to be, involved with Drupal in any way.

Hope to see you there!


Aug 28 2008
Aug 28

Hello and greetings from DrupalCon 2008 in Szeged, Hungary!

We (Thierry Manfé, Scott Mattoon and myself) are having a great time manning our booth and talking about Drupal, MySQL and Open [email protected] with the nice crowd of Drupal Users and Developers here. Sun is a gold sponsor of the event and we're giving a number of sessions as well.

Today I gave my first presentation about MySQL Backup and Security - Best practices - unfortunately I ran a tad bit out of time at the end... The slides have already been attached to the session page, so you can read up on the last few things I was going to talk about. Feel free to contact me, if you have further questions!

Tomorrow I'll be talking about High availability solutions for MySQL: An Overview and practical demo, which will also include a practical demonstration of a two-Node Linux Cluster, performed by Jakub Suchy. In the afternoon, I will also hold a BoF about bzr - The Bazaar source revision control system

I've also uploaded some pictures from the event (and some impressions from the city) on my gallery (more will follow later). Enjoy!

Mar 01 2008
Mar 01

I arrived in Boston yesterday afternoon, absolutely exhausted after Usability testing at UMN -- which was amazing. See the report at 9am on Monday to hear why. It was snowing heavily here this morning. Today I need to prepare for my presentation on Scalable Theming and my parts of the Usability presentation, and try open another US bank account.

Here's my photoblog to date:

A few NEW cultural oddities I've noticed in the US since my last visit 5 years ago:

  • Airport pager: "The security threat level... is orange" -- talk about
    fear-mongering. No need for foreign terrorism in the US -- the local authorities are terrorizing plenty enough here!
  • Control-culture doesn't seem to be so severe this trip but is still grating. I think that's more to do with the people and places I'm mingling with though.
  • You can't seem to fill up a bottle with water anywhere. They seem to be getting the idea of 'being green' with recycle bins and signs to conserve hand-drying paper in the toilets and not leave the tap dripping, yet it's difficult NOT to go through several styrofoam, paper or plastic cups, bottles, plates and fast-food trays per day. I wonder how effective the recycling actually is here? Given the amount of extremely cheap "recyclable" materials consumed, and the fact that these materials usually aren't economically worth recycling, I suspect very little of it is actually recycled. Even where recycle bins are present. Meaning all the recycle bins do is make you feel less guilty about being a polluting consumer.
    • Most annoyingly of all for me, I can't fill up a bottle with tap water anywhere except a public bathroom, which 'feels' unhygenic, although probably isn't.

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