User Generated Content

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.

SilverStripe and Mollom partner in the war against spam Bryan Ruby Wed, 04/29/2009 - 02:05

Lots of news this week regarding the open source SilverStripe CMS.  It is extremely unusual for CMS Report to post something on SilverStripe as well as something on comment spam twice in one week.  Yet, my two favorite companies, Silverstripe Ltd and Mollom, are going to have me do just that because of today's announcement that they've partnered together to help SilverStripe site owners block comment spam on their sites.

Two CMS Worlds on Twitter

Jon Marks, a technical analyst from the United Kingdom, posted an interesting article last week on his blog.  In the post, The CMS Word on the Tweet, he discusses the difficulty of finding "his world" on Twitter when seeking conversations centered around content management system.  Jon even uses CMSReport.com's CMS Focus as an example for showing what he observes as a large divide between open source Web content management systems and propriety enterprise software.  A divide that many of us may already recognize but haven't quite put into words like Jon has.

To the Big Wide World (which includes Twitter, and all the sites I’ve mentioned above), CMS means “Free Open Source CMS with Low Cost of Ownership”. The commercial Open Source CMS solutions don’t make the cut either. Four of the five Open Source CMS products reviewed by CMS Watch (Drupal, Joomla!, Plone CMS and TYPO3) live in both worlds. Open CMS doesn’t as my feeling is it is a bit too complex. Alfresco, DotNetNuke and ez Publish made one of the lists above, but don’t really feature in the Tweetosphere.

I inhabit a world populated by analysts, commercial vendors, systems integrators, large agencies and other such creatures. I don’t believe we pay much attention to the other world until a product jumps the gap. And it seems difficult for a product that isn’t Java or Microsoft based to make it in to My World.

Jon asked me via Twitter to let him know what I thought of his article.  I think Jon has done an excellent job of identifying the dichotomy found within CMS.  It does seem that the enterprise often takes an approach to content management that differs greatly from open source projects.  The approaches differ so much that the parties involved often end up defining what is a CMS in two different ways.  The only thing I would like to comment on is that I unfortunately live on a third, yet unidentified, world that the other two worlds don't fully understand.

Mailbag: MyBB

Alex S. wrote to us and and recommended that everyone take a look at MyBB, a Web forum application.

I noticed MyBB isn't on your CMS Focus list.  I would recommend you looking into it as it is an amazing system.  It even just went open source recently.

But, don't take my word for it KDE is now using it them selves.  It's new compared to SMF and phpBB but it's already competing with the best (including IPB and vB).

https://mybb.com/

Newton: How Web 2.0 will change the face of business

John Newton, Alfresco, posted a well written article on the business changes Web 2.0 will continue to the enterprise.  I not only liked what he had to say about the strength of social publishing tools for knowledge sharing within a company, but also Web 2.0's strength to blend required knowledge available both inside and outside the organization.

Mollom: Drupal's new weapon for fighting spam

Dries Buytaert, Drupal's project leader, has just unveiled his latest Drupal project...Mollom. Mollom's goal is to be an automated content monitoring system with one of its initial services geared toward providing a spam filter and CAPTCHA server for websites.

Dries Buytaert: Mollom, my content monitoring startup -

After several months of private beta testing, Benjamin Schrauwen and I are happy to unveil Mollom, your partner in automated content monitoring. Mollom's purpose is to dramatically reduce the effort of keeping your websites clean and the quality of their user-generated content high. Currently, Mollom is a spam-killing, one-two punch combination of a state-of-the-art spam filter and CAPTCHA server. We are experimenting with automated content quality assessments, but these are still in an early testing phase.

CMSReport.com is one in a number of Drupal sites that have been "secretly" testing Mollom over the past several months. Since installing Mollom, I've been able to sleep at night knowing that Mollom is watching over my site. The amount of time I spend on moderating anonymous comments for potential spam has been significantly reduced thanks to Mollom. This is good stuff from Dries Buytaert and Benjamin Schrauwen!

John Newton: A Manifesto for Social Computing in the Enterprise

John Newton has written a fantastic summary regarding social computing (or is it social networking or social content management) and its role in the enterprise. The post is titled, A Manifesto for Social Computing in the Enterprise.

I plan to talk about Newton's post and social networking at a later date. Howerver, there isn't any reason why you shouldn't be able to read Newton's post now. Consider it homework for a later visit here at CMSReport.com.

Choosing Drupal forum over vBulletin

Steven Peck, associated with the Drupal project, wrote about an article he came across regarding a comparison of the vBulletin forum and Drupal's forum. The article is titled, Goodbye vBulletin, Part 1: Reasons to Switch. The author of the article writes:

The aim of this article is not to poke holes, or say ‘vBulletin sucks’, but to provide constructive criticism of a successful product, proving that vBulletin is not always the best choice. In places the article compares vBulletin to Drupal, this is the platform The Webmaster Forums will be switching to and represents many of the things vBulletin should—in our humble opinion—aspire to.

Mr. Peck's reaction to the article (and my emphasis in bold):

Now this was a interesting. A well written article on why one site is switching over to use Drupal's built in forum rather then continue to use vbulletin.

In other words, Peck and many of us that pay attention to how the forum applications stack up against CMS native forums don't see too many articles like this. It is rare to see someone using a standard forum application such as vBulletin, SMF, or phpBB switch over to Drupal primarily for its forum functionality.

phpBB3 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) released

The official release of phpBB3 is almost near with the first release candidate now available. The following is a partial list of features that are new in this version phpBB that did not exist in 2.0.x.

  • Attachments - Attachments in posts and Personal Mail, Automatic image thumbnails,Display attachments inline
  • Unlimited Subforums - Create unlimited subforums, Display active topics of all subforums
  • Custom BBCodes - Create your own BBCodes, Add buttons to posting screen
  • Custom Profile Fields - Add new fields on user profiles, Display them at registration, Display them on the profile view