Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Work by day, Drupal by night

Last night, I was up late doing some administrative work for my sites as well as writing some posts. This was my attempt to procrastinate working on an osCommerce site that I promised someone would be done by the start of October.

One of those posts I made was Drupal related and available via an RSS feed for Planet Drupal to ingest. Unfortunately, I found that TinyMCE (a WYSIWYG editor) had changed my absolute links to relative links in the post. This caused references to links and images back to my site to not display properly for anyone aggregating from the RSS feed I provide. This particular issue with TinyMCE and associated Drupal module is not so much of a bug as it is a configuration issue that can easily be corrected.

As I was troubleshooting the problem I was also monitoring new posts arriving at Planet Drupal. As midnight approached, three additional posts appeared from Planet Drupal. Those posters seen at Drupal late in the evening were from pingVision, Earl Miles, and Bryght. Prior to my post, Greg Knaddison has made a post in the early evening hours. Interestingly, there has not been a single post put on Planet Drupal during the day (relative to CDT). In fact, if updates are made on Planet Drupal during the day, many of those entries take place on the other side of the world and late into the night for them.

Proof spammers are no good

Screen shot of Akismet Filter in Wordpress 2.x

A few months ago, I posted that I use Akismet in both Drupal and Wordpress. Akismet is a spam filtering service that can be used in content management systems via plug-ins and modules. The Akismet plugin ships with Wordpress 2, but some setup is required.

While visiting my Wordpress site I noticed the specific number of comment spams the Akismet filter had caught so far and made sure I took a screenshot. The image below was taken by me and I assure you that no altering of the photo was done. I'll let you be the judge whether you agree that spam through site comments represent the evil the number shown implies.

I do use Akismet to filter out the spam that is posted through comments here at CMS Report. As most of you know by now, my content mangement system of choice for this site is Drupal. The Akismet module for Drupal is now at version 1.1.2 and available at phpMiX.org (Open Source experiments).

Headaches from security updates for Firefox and Thunderbird

Sigh...another round of security updates coming from the folks at Mozilla. It looks like version 1.5.0.7 will be at our doorsteps soon.  Now at home, updating Firefox and Thunderbird on the Windows PC is a snap since it is all automatic. However, updating in a secure enterprise environment is a different matter.

In most enterprises, most users don't have administrative privileges and without those rights Firefox and Thunderbird in most cases will not auto install the new version. What would really help is if Mozilla would provide their software in a MSI package. Until MSI packages are provided by Mozilla, it is difficult for me to accept Firefox and Thunderbird as "enterprise software". In a Windows Server 2003 environment, MSI packages are a must for easy deployment, management, and auditing.

Back in the IT world

As some of you may have noticed, I returned a few days ago from my low-tech week. It's taking me awhile to adjust being stuck at the computer so you'll have to bear with me. It's been tough enough to spend the PC time at work, so spending my "free time" on the PC is challenging. It's kind of like not eating fast food for a week and then suddently having to ingest it for every meal. Drupal addict and Yoga for Geeks guru, Sarah Pullman, mentioned a similar experience in one of her posts. To add insult to injury, I blew up three sites on my VPS and had to put the pieces back together.

So how did I spend my time last week? The family drove north to visit our Canadian neigbors and spend some time camping. We camped near Grand Beach at Lake Winnipeg. Lake Winnipeg is in the Canadian province of Manitoba. It wasn't completely without some technology as we had electricity available for the pop-up camper. Translation...lights, water pump, and even a furnace were available. Considering, I usually spend my time camping in the US national forests without electricity this was a camping luxury for the family.

Surprisingly, we were about the only US citizens in the campground which surprised me. If Texans and Californians can spend there time in Colorado...you would think some folks from the Dakotas and Minnesota could visit Manitoba more often. When I get a chance, I'll have to maybe add a picture or two of our time camping, swimming, or hiking. Translation...I still need to find where we put the digital camera.

FCKeditor in osCommerce

osCommerce LogoI'm working on an ecommerce site using osCommerce to enable the shopping cart functionality for my client's online store. This is the first time I've used osCommerce so I'm still working on improving my comfort level with the application. osCommerce is open source and released under the GNU General Public License. According to the osCommerce site:

osCommerce has attracted the largest community for an e-commerce solution that consists of over 106,100 store owners and developers worldwide with add-ons being contributed on a daily basis. To date there are over 3,500 add-ons available that have been created by the community to extend the features of an osCommerce online store.

Those numbers are impressive, but in my opinion the coding practices of the application are definitely showing its six year legacy of software development. While I have found osCommerce to work out-of-the-box, I must say that I'm surprised that most mods require hacking into the core application. I've been spoiled by working with more "modern" CMS applications with convenient API's and making changes through modules/plugins instead of modifying the core. However, I'm a newbie to osCommerce so maybe there is more to it than meets the eye.