University lecture on Drupal

Kieran Lal, Acquia, recently had the opportunity to give a presentation on Drupal in front of an information system's course at San Francisco State College. It's a good video for anyone that wants to learn everything they possibly can about Drupal and given only one hour to do so. I would have loved to seen more questions and answers on the video as Kieran is one of those people that responds very well when people present him with good questions and good ideas.

After the Deadline: Contextual Spell Checking

Logo for After the DeadlineRaphael Mudge sent us an email on his latest project, After the Deadline.

I'm a computer scientist working to fill a gap in current CMS feature sets.  It isn't a new social or wireless feature.  I'm working to bring spelling, style, and grammar checking to web applications.  The technology is available for WordPress and the Open Source TinyMCE editor.

After the Deadline is an exciting plugin that adds a much needed feature often missing in most CMS rich text editors. After the Deadline currently supports plugins for TinyMCE and Wordpress. Some additional bullet points behind the plugin include: 

  • Corrects spelling with 90% accuracy
  • Checks 1,500 words for misuse
  • Finds grammar errors
  • Improves writing style
  • All plugins are licensed under the LGPL

AAMC's MedEdPORTAL running on CoreMedia CMS

CoreMedia LogoCoreMedia announced today that the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has launched a sophisticated interactive content portal powered by CoreMedia’s CMS that harnesses the power of social media. The name of AAMC's new site is MedEdPortal.

“AAMC’s desire to create an interactive medical community that facilitates the exchange of educational content is a project that CoreMedia was excited about and well suited to enable,” said René Hermes, VP Marketing of CoreMedia. “The combination of our market leading CMS and extensible social software features made CoreMedia the obvious choice for AAMC.”

AAMC’s MedEdPORTAL is a free online peer-reviewed publication service provided in partnership with the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). MedEdPORTAL was designed to promote educational collaboration by facilitating the open exchange of peer-reviewed teaching resources such as tutorials, virtual patients, simulation cases, lab guides, videos, podcasts, and assessment tools. While MedEdPORTAL's primary audience includes medical professionals, health educators and learners around the globe, it is also freely accessible to the general public.

Working Knowledge: Microsoft vs. Open Source

I forgot who sent the tweet on Twitter but I was pointed to some very interesting research (2005) posted at the Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge site.

Microsoft vs. Open Source: Who Will Win?

Using formal economic modelling, professors Pankaj Ghemawat and Ramon Casadesus-Masanell consider the competitive dynamics of the software wars between Microsoft and open source.

Citizen Spies

I just finished reading an article from last Friday's Wall Street Journal, Gulags, Nukes and a Water Slide: Citizen Spies Lift North Korea's Veil. The article discusses how collaboration and tools on the Internet allows ordinary citizens to uncover secrets governments wish others not to see. In this case, using collaborated information and satellite images to uncover North Korea's infrastructure.

In the propaganda blitz that followed North Korea's missile launch last month, the country's state media released photos of leader Kim Jong Il visiting a hydroelectric dam and power station.

Images from the report showed two large pipes descending a hillside. That was enough to allow Curtis Melvin, a doctoral candidate at George Mason University in suburban Virginia, to pinpoint the installation on his online map of North Korea.

Mr. Melvin is at the center of a dozen or so citizen snoops who have spent the past two years filling in the blanks on the map of one of the world's most secretive countries. Seeking clues in photos, news reports and eyewitness accounts, they affix labels to North Korean structures and landscapes captured by Google Earth, an online service that stitches satellite pictures into a virtual globe. The result is an annotated North Korea of rocket-launch sites, prison camps and elite palaces on white-sand beaches.

This is a fascinating article from the WSJ and I'm sure this type of tech empowerment has both positive and negative consequences for our world. Having some background in remote sensing, I recall a conversation I had with a landsat specialist several years ago. During the conversation he mentioned the recent launch of some cheap satellites with 1 km resolution to be used for non-military geological surveys. I asked the question, "if a cheap satellite can produce 1 km resolution what resolutions can an expensive landsat satellite produce?". He replied such information was classified. As I said before, that conversation took place several years ago and I can only imagine how much the technology has changed since then.