Node Announce

At the September Mid Hudson Drupal Meetup I talked a little about a drupal module idea I’d been kicking around. Most of my drupal websites are about groups that have meetings. So I’ve got content types with cck date fields. Experience has shown that people need reminders, like via email, otherwise they forget to show up. Drupal has a lot of modules that will send notifications to users of the website, but that doesn’t work in my situations, because what I really want is the email going to a mailing list. Seemed like a good idea to me. And when I brought it up with the group, two people immediately said “oh, that would be great.”

That, it turns out, was enough motivation for me to get off my butt and implement it. node_announce 1.0 was released today. I’ve had it live on my sites for about 2 weeks, though the UI was in flux enough that I held off for a full release until now.

You want this module if you’ve got an announcements mailing list, and you are using the Calendar module on a drupal site to display events. I’ve got a list of ways I could make the module better, but for now it does the basics quite nicely. If you want to give feedback, do so via the issue queue, and I’ll do my best to respond.

Steve Yegge and the Google Platform issue

Steve Yegge is one of the most insightful people on the internet. I was really bummed when he stopped blogging, because his posts were always well thought out, funny, and really got to the heart of some key issues in software development.

Last night he posted publicly, by accident, Google’s current biggest issue, a complete lack of a platform. He’s really dead on.

I hope Google internalizes that post and does something about it.

Etherpad-lite

Etherpad was a great idea, online simultaneous editing. After the team was acquired into Google Wave they dumped what they had in open source, and moved on. A few brave souls tried to improve it, but it was a beast, and seems to have died on the vine.

Fortunately a few new brave souls have decided to try to build a conceptual fork from the ashes of etherpad. The new version is written in node.js (all the hipness now), and called etherpad-lite. The install isn’t too bad, and I’ve gotten a couple instances up and running so far.

Etherpad has become a critical tool to me for coordinating distributed teams. We use etherpads as part of remote planning sessions. While it’s not quite the same as a whiteboard, it’s closer than you’d imagine, and the fact that everyone has a cursor makes it easy for anyone to speak up and make changes. The most important part of a plan is that everyone that’s part of it buys into it, and participation is one of the best ways to ensure that happens.

Small Wins

Really interesting post about Google Wave from the inside. My favorite passage is this:

And this is the essential broader point–as a programmer you must have a series of wins, every single day. It is the Deus Ex Machina of hacker success. It is what makes you eager for the next feature, and the next after that. And a large team is poison to small wins. The nature of large teams is such that even when you do have wins, they come after long, tiresome and disproportionately many hurdles. And this takes all the wind out of them.

That matches up quite well with my experience. A series of small wins keeps the team momentum running strong. Nothing breeds success like success.

 

In the future…

In the future, you will take a picture of a wedding announcement with your phone, which will automatically scan and transcribe the text, which you can click on to search for the location of the event, and then automatically be prompted to get directions from your current location to said location (including estimated drive time).

And by you, I mean me. And by the future, I mean this morning.