David Herron's blog

Interesting conversation on the future of publishing in by Mark Glaser, MediaShift on 5across

Printed books have been with us since the time of the Pharoah's, and our friend Gutenberg made it practical to publish printed books in large quantity.  Despite the coming of electrification of "media" printed books are still widely sold and used, and there are bookstore chains around the world still selling printed books.  But will this always be the case?

Two ways to find Drupal taxonomy terms that have zero nodes (empty terms)

Over the course of time you might add nodes that you later delete, and end up with taxonomy terms that have no nodes. These empty terms add overhead to your site, and add empty taxonomy listing pages. It's best to remove the empty terms.

I said "Overhead".. I don't know all the instances but have seen a couple places where all terms are loaded into memory. If your vocabulary includes empty terms (no nodes for the term) each empty vocabulary term makes for a bigger array that is loaded into memory.

The following are for Drupal 6.. haven't looked at how to do this with Drupal 7.

Generating Apache style .htaccess redirects from Drupal's Path Redirect module

The "Path Redirect" module for Drupal 6 (http://drupal.org/project/path_redirect) is an excellent way to set up redirects from one URL to another. This module can be used for any purpose where you want the HTTP request for URL's on a Drupal website to automatically redirect to another URL. For example :-

  • you might want to have a nice URL to promote for some excellent product (example.com/excellent-camera) that lands on a merchant website while hiding the complexity of the merchant URL (making sure to include the affiliate link).

Is Drupal's complexity turning people off? Hurm...

Ben Buckman asked a question that struck deep into a dissatisfaction that's been growing in me about Drupal. He spoke it from the perspective of someone who's spending a lot of time inside the code, but I have a different perspective and take on it because I prefer to stay at the admin screens. He talked about the API complexity, stuff that isn't working that used to work, modules not conforming to long-standing practices, modules not using core Drupal features when arguably they should, and so forth.

The potentially never-ending cost of email attachments

What's the cost of sending an attachment through e-mail? The cost to you is essentially free except that it's amortized into the cost of your internet access arrangement. But what's the real cost? And what's the cost of all attachments sent every day? This may seem like a trivial question, but as we move towards "cloud computing" and storing everything, including our e-mail, in the cloud it's worth thinking about what it means and the various effects of storing our email or pictures or videos or social history in the cloud.

Spamazon? Spammers filling electronic book marketplaces with junk?

A recent article by a Salon.com co-founder Laura Miller about the proliferation of cheap junky books in the Kindle marketplace. She's blaming spammers doing algorithmic manipulation of texts to spin off low quality books and in some individuals have posted thousands of books on Kindle. The fear is that the Kindle marketplace will be so full of junkyness that Kindle customers will be unable to find useful books and be turned off by the whole idea of purchasing electronic books instantly delivered wirelessly to a portable device.

What to do when you're screaming "SOMEONE ON BLOGSPOT HAS STOLEN MY ARTICLE!"

Say you've written an article that's getting a lot of attention. Say that someone running a blog on blogspot.com has copied the content of your article, word for word, posting it on their blog. It's a case of outright theft of your work. Maybe you spent the weekend traveling and staying in a hotel to get the information for that article, and they're directly stealing your hard work. It's a case of copyright infringement and obviously going to violate the terms of service for blogspot.com Who do you call?

Pandoc: a universal document converter, ePub creator, etc

Pandoc is called "a universal document converter". It "can read markdown and (subsets of) reStructuredText, textile, HTML, and LaTeX" and it "can write plain text, markdown, reStructuredText, HTML, LaTeX, ConTeXt, PDF, RTF, DocBook XML, OpenDocument XML, ODT, GNU Texinfo, MediaWiki markup, textile, groff man pages, Emacs org-mode, EPUB ebooks, and S5 and Slidy HTML slide shows". This makes it feasible as a universal document restructurer that could feasibly serve as a key segment in publishing electronic books.

Potential and fix for Drupal xmlsitemap module to not index nodes

I want to share the solution for a problem I (and it seems others) have had with the Drupal xmlsitemap module. The problem results in zero nodes being indexed in the sitemap which, of course, is an undesired result because the purpose of xmlsitemap is to reliably inform search engines of the nodes on your site so they can more easily index your site. Telling the search engine "I have no nodes" is a kiss of death in terms of getting traffic, that is until the search engine spiders your site and finds everything that way. But they don't spider sites every day.

Make your own tiny URL service in Drupal with Shorten or ShURLy modules

Short (or tiny) URL's are great for sharing links on various social media services. Twitter's 140 character limit places a premium on bytes better used for words than URL's, e-mail clients get hinky with long URL's, and so on. It's possible to use services like tinyurl.com or bit.ly to create your short links, but as Drupal users we have a powerful platform at our fingertips. Maybe it can do the short URL natively or maybe it can be programmed to automatically retrieve short URL's from the existing services.

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