MySpace vs. Facebook: Who Cares?

Danah Boyd published an article comparing the demographics of MySpace and Facebook. The conclusion? Geeks, jocks, and preps head to Facebook. Stoners, goths, and bangers head to MySpace.

So… Essentially all cliques are steadily moving into personal and social publishing spaces. And they’re finding where they feel most comfortable.

facebookers vs myspacers

I’m not seeing the problem. Do we really expect the various groups of kids to all flock to the same communities online? It sure doesn’t happen offline.

The key is that they’re reading and writing much more than they would have been without becoming active in online publishing. That’s fantastic, no matter where they do it. I’m quite sure there are large groups of kids who are most active in other online communities like Nexopia and the like. So what? The goal isn’t to collect them all into one big bin, but to let them find their voices, however they need to do that.

The take away message for me isn’t that there is some socioeconomic segregation of youth, but that we need to remember that not all youth hang out at the same place. This isn’t new. It’s been going on for decades (centuries)? but us “web 2.0″ types seem to forget that it’s a natural part of being a kid, and assume that everyone’s playing in the same sandbox. That just ain’t so, and it’s not necessarily a bad (or good) thing. It just is.

Photo attributions:

Drupal Pet Peeve: Loose InputFormat Control

I screwed up in a big way on one of our higher profile Drupal sites. I had configured the default inputformat to include PHP execution, because there are a whole bunch of pages on the site that need to be able to execute PHP, and that was the easiest way to get it done. I was lazy, and didn’t follow best practices. And it resulted in a pretty open security hole, where anyone could create an account and then execute their own PHP (to do stuff like promote their account to Admin, delete the database, send emails, launch ICBMs…). Not cool.

Why was I so sloppy? Basically, I forgot that I’d left user registration open. The site is supposed to be a closed ecosystem, but with user registration enabled, it ain’t.

What I should have done was create a separate “über-inputformat” that included PHP execution, and was only available to admin users on the site. I would then have a separate, more limited inputformat as the default, perhaps with html tag filtering, as well. But here’s where I got lazy – there is no way for me to say “I know that ‘n00b’ is the default format, but I only ever want to use ‘über-inputformat’ so don’t make me choose each and every time I create a node”. Having more than one inputformat available causes the display of a new “input format” control in the node authoring form, and users have to first understand wtf that means, and then they have to figure out why they’d want to choose any of the available options. And if you’re creating a whole bunch of nodes with PHP in them, you have to remember to change each and every one to the “über-inputformat” inputformat, or the code won’t execute. pita.

Which brings me to D’Arcy’s Drupal Pet Peeve #2: Loose inputformat control. You can say which is the default, and then EVERYONE gets to use that. Then, you can add on other additional and optional inputformats, and enable them only for specific roles. But you can’t say that “n00b” is the only available inputformat for anonymous and authenticated users, and that “basic” is the only available inputformat for “members” and that “über-inputformat” is the inputformat to be used by default by admins.

As a corollary to Pet Peeve #2: TinyMCE ignores inputformats. If I have an inputformat configured with PHP execution, TinyMCE is completely happy to try to provide an editor for that, obliviously clobbering the code within the node. You have to go to your account and (temporarily) disable TinyMCE rich text editing before editing any node with PHP in it. It’d be really nice if you could tell TinyMCE to NOT kick in on certain inputformats…

Canadian eLearning 2007 Video Party: The Movie

Here’s the presentation, with the clips and selections Brian and I used during the welcoming reception for the Canadian eLearning 2007 conference on Tuesday. I wound up not recording audio during the presentation, so you’ll just have to imagine witty and entertaining banter and intros for each video. Brian was responsible for both the witty and entertaining portions of the presentation.

The video selections came to 48 minutes. We were given a 45 minute slot after the welcome reception supper meal. You do the math…

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Drupal pet peeve: cron.php

I hate that I have to manually (or scriptedly) call cron.php for every Drupal site I run. Even for multiple Drupal sites on the same server in a multisite configuration. Yes, there are ways to automate it, but eventually they fail. I just manually called cron.php on one of our main sites, after realizing it had silently failed for the last 32 weeks. Hundreds of reminder emails are being sent out now, for events that were held months ago. Yes, there are modules to have cron.php called periodically (poor man’s cron…) but they’re flakey at best, and risky at worst (there is a chance of overlapping cron.php calls if the timing is just right).

Anyway, there endeth the rant. D’Arcy’s Drupal Pet Peeve #1: cron.php

Aperture Wishlist

I’ve been exclusively using Aperture for about 6 months now, and absolutely love it. The non-destructive edits are liberating. The RAW support is fantastic. The workflow stuff is great. Vaults? Great. Loupe on RAW images? Perfection.

But, of course, I’ve got some gripes.

  1. It’s hard to copy individual photos between computers. If I have Aperture on a desktop and a laptop, and I want to copy just a handful of photos and their metadata (stars, keywords, etc…) from the desktop to the laptop, I have 2 choices:
    1. create a new Project to contain these selected images, then export/import it. This would make me organize my photos according to which sets I want to move between computers, with no semantics retained.
    2. export the Masters for the selected photos from the desktop, copy them to the laptop (USB thumbdrive, sftp, whatever…) and import them as new photos. All non-EXIF metadata is lost, and has to be manually re-entered.
    But Aperture already has an “export metadata” option… Why not let me export just a selected set of photos (masters and versions) as well as their associated metadata, in a format that can be ingested into another Aperture without manual intervention or redundant/meaningless Projects used as interchange vectors?
  2. No keyword tag cloud. I’ve got a BUNCH of keywords, but the keyword viewer (i.e., searching) is kinda sucky for that. I want a nice tag cloud.
  3. Performance on my quad-G5 (with stock video card) is rather craptastic. If I disable the second display view, it’s marginally better, but it’s generally a dog on this box. It’s much faster on my MacBook Pro. I’d love it to run a bit better on the quad…
  4. Albums sometimes forget their designated sort order. I use a “general” project, and it’s got a couple thousand images in it by now. Half the time, it decides to ignore my “newest first” sort order and show photos in “oldest first”. It’s kind of nice, to be occasionally reminded of the first photos I shot using Aperture, but it’s not how I told the album to be sorted. One additional click of the sort triangle, followed by a 2 second wait as the 2000 photos are reordered…

Canadian eLearning 2007 Video Party Playlist

Here’s the playlist Brian and I used for our presentation during the Canadian eLearning 2007 conference welcome reception on Tuesday evening. I’ll try to compress a version of the presentation with our clip selections (we only showed short clips from many of the videos) but I won’t get a chance to do that until the weekend.


  1. who the hell are we, and what the hell are we doing there?
  2. Brief riff on new abundance of online video and DIY creativity in era of YouTube
  3. Intro clip of Guy Caballero, followed by SCTV’s Hinterland Who’s Who, followed by the Crack Spider version.
  4. Overview of Online video awards

changing nature of education

  1. Ken Robinson – TED Talks 2004
  2. Spare Me My Life! Cultural values implicit in instruction

web 2.0

  1. Doug Engelbart- The Demo
  2. Apple’s Knowledge Navigator Video
  3. Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us
  4. 2014 EPIC, by Google
  5. Le Grand Content – information visualization

Hallucinatory Interlude:

  1. Safe tripping

creative commons and open content

  1. Creative Commons – Wanna Work Together?
  2. A Fair(y) Use Tale
  3. The Future is Open


  1. Rick Noblenski- Blasting Caps Expert and Wiki Advocate – an edu. reuse of old content
  2. Winnie the Pooh meets Apocalypse Now
  3. The Shining Recut
  4. Monty Trek
  5. Instructional Video: Mash-up made from instructional videos

Live, from Edmonton, it’s Tuesday Night!

I had a total blast hanging out working with Brian for the Canadian eLearning 2007 conference welcome reception entertainment gig we got coerced invited to do. Here’s the clip we put together as the intro segment for our Online Video Party redux, based on being in the spiritual home of the most inspired group of video comedians ever assembled: SCTV!

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That was re-edited and audio dubbed in a cookie-cutter “pub” in “Bourbon Street” at West Edmonton Mall. We could tell we were in “Bourbon Street” because of the authentic Celine Dion and Bryan Adams soundtrack, and the always impressive New Orleans wide selection of only the finest alcohols – Coors, Coors Lite, Bud and Bud Lite.

Bourbon Street

We took the vast majority of the videos from the site we used for the NMC Online Conference presentation of similar name. It was interesting – many of the videos work really well when viewing them by yourself, but really flop on their faces when viewed in a crowd on a big screen. And there were a couple videos that went the other way, too. Hard to predict what will work. We did manage to get at least a handful of edtechers to participate in a shared group video-induced hallucination, so that was a bonus :-)

And, I got to play with Brian. That’s even worth spending a couple days in Deadmonchuck ;-) I’m still feeling the pain of letting Brian down. I forgot to bring The Hat, as I promised to do as part of my presentation garb. I tried to console him that it wasn’t an idle forgetting – The Hat was left at home, right beside Evan’s lifejacket that was to be used in the water park at West Edmonton Mall (we wound up renting a lifejacket for him, but I couldn’t find a Hat to rent in time…)

I’ll work on cleaning up the video playlist a bit and will share that somewhere. I might even compress down our edits and clip selections as shown to the conference folks. Unfortunately, I forgot to record the audio for the session, which may actually be a good thing…

Online Video Party @ Canadian eLearning 2007 Conference

I learned long ago, that when given the opportunity to do anything with Brian, I should jump on it. Doesn’t matter where, or what. Just do it. It’ll be interesting, or at least fun. Most likely, it’ll be both, in spades.

I was handed the chance to do something fun with Brian as part of the welcome reception for the Canadian eLearning 2007 Conference in Edmonton next week. It’s something new for the conference – entertainment as part of the welcome reception. What to do? People will be eating/drinking/talking, so a full-on presentation wouldn’t go over very well. What to do… What to do… How about an Online Video Party?

So, we’ve picked a selection of videos, and will be queuing them up with some intro and discussion blabbidyblah. But mostly, we’ll watch some cool videos, and try to see how many people get freaked out by the trippy safe trippin’ test video. The first 3 rows will get wet.

I’ll have our video selections playing in a nice Keynote presentation, and will convert that to a web-friendly version after the event. I’ll also try to record audio during the session, in case anything interesting happens.

Live, from Edmonton, it’s [Tuesday] night!

Drupal is the Official UCalgary Podcasting Solution

I was just in a meeting with some folks in our campus IT department, where we were trying to figure out what the official University of Calgary supported podcasting solution would be. We were basically trying to decide if we should jump onto iTunesU in a big way, or roll our own service.

iTunesU is a really strong choice, in that all of the infrastructure bits are handled. No drive space to worry about, no backups to remember. Everything just works.  But, it’s outside of our control, and is rather  strongly Apple-branded. Even though it’s not an exclusive arrangement, and the content can/should be in multiple formats, it’s hard to sell that combo to people who are either

  1. still thinking of locking content within Blackboard (i.e., iTunesU is too open)
  2. wanting to adopt Open Source (i.e., iTunesU isn’t open enough)

Which left us with our second option: roll our own service.

So, over the summer, we’ll be putting together an official campus podcasting solution, hosted using Drupal essentially out of the box (but we’ll eventually add modules like Audio.module, Views, CCK, etc…)

One thing that really impresses me about how our IT folks approach problems is that they don’t react with fear. When we were discussing authentication and restricting access, things that are offered by iTunesU, the response was “we’ll figure that out, and here are some ideas of how we could do that…”

We’ll be, er, inspired by the podcasts.*.edu/.ca websites that are already running. Despite what the press release says, UCalgary is not the first, nor the biggest, podcasting institution…