IT Surveys are not the answer

I don't care who you are. I don't care how much education or how little education you have. If your profession is in information technology (IT), you and I share the same exact thoughts, questions, and even dread toward this particular topic. The topic is user surveys.

What am I talking about, you ask? Ok, picture yourself arriving to work and finding "it" in your inbox at the entrance of your cubicle. Let's go even further, you're the one that placed the survey in everyone's inbox and now the time has arrived to collect the paperwork, tally the results, and draw conclusions for the project that you are working on. At this moment, reflect on your thoughts and frame of mind while you hold those surveys in your hands. We all have that same creepy voice in our heads asking us the question, "Do these user surveys hold any real value?" The voice demands an answer.

Tags: 

Earl Miles: Another Attempt at Administrative Bliss

So Earl Miles, tell us what you really think about Drupal's administrative menus:

Drupal’s actual administrative pages suck ass. It’s not just the organization that’s wrong, as I had actually thought going into this. Unfortunately, no, it’s worse than that. While there are some pages that are (by dint of their brevity) relatively good, there are other pages that are nearly unworkable. block administration, menu administration, module administration, access control administration are all headache-inducing pages.

While I personally don't mind Drupal's administrative menus, Mr. Miles makes some good points in his posts about what could be improved in Drupal on the administrative side. You can read more at his Angry Donuts site by clicking here. He also has a mention about user surveys and their worth. Something I would like to touch on later in the day.

2bits: Google Adsense module gets new features

The Google Adsense module for Drupal has been updated by 2bits. Since we use it here at CMS Report, we thought we would also talk about it here. Some of the new features include:

  • Five pre-defined blocks that are easily configurable by the site admin without the need to use any PHP code.
  • A new "test mode" that ensures Adsense is working correctly specially when setting up revenue sharing.
  • The Adsense client ID is now stored in a profile field, both for site owner as well as other users.
  • Increased number of ad groups (type, color, ..e.tc.) from 3 to 5.
  • Increased the number of channels from 3 to 7.
  • Updated the online help and instructions, and made it collapsible/collapsed by default, so it is not in the way.
You can read more by clicking here.

Local Sioux Falls company does Feed Rinse

The local newspaper for Sioux Falls, SD contains an article about an online service called Feed Rinse. The service "can rinse your feeds by keyword, author, tag, etc, or filter profanity and more." According to the article, the service is making national headlines on their Feed Rinse product. I've never used the service, so I can't really give it thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Some excerpts from the Argus Leader:

Blogger Marshall Kirkpatrick said of FeedRinse: "A very nice feature that we don't have to hack and work around to make happen anymore."

The Associated Press dispatched a favorable review this week. Technology writer Brian Bergstein said, "I can see where the site could be a little simpler to use, but for the most part, it was clean, easy to figure out and worked as advertised."

That review appeared on dozens of prominent Web sites, including washingtonpost.com and ABC.com.

SMF has a server outage

Those looking for SMF, a forum-based CMS, could not reach SMF's host server the past few days at Simple Machines. SMF's server was down for an extended period of time from July 22nd and 23rd. Thantos, one of the SMF developers, posted a message that only gave vague reasons for why there was a server outage:

The cause of the outage was the result of a non-technical issue involving our service provider. Failings happened on our both our part and their part. We have resolved the issue and are taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.

What I find interesting is that he also acknowledged and addressed user's fears of other reasons for the server to be down:

We would like to take a moment to let you know that we were not hacked, bought out, quit, or any other such rumour.

New Version of Akismet module for Drupal released

Markus sent us a comment that he has a new version of the Akismet module for Drupal 4.7. Since I have yet to put up a "latest comments" block on my site, I've reposted his comments here:

Hi! Just wanted to mention that I have just released version 1.1.0 of the Akismet module for Drupal 4.7. It's been just 8 days from 1.0.0, but it was then when I realized that the moderator queue had to be improved to allow operations against multiple items. It also includes an experimental set of options to prevent DoS situations caused by certain spambots. That's it, happy blogging!

I took a look at his site, phpMiX.org, and found that he also made a few minor changes since his posted comments. As of this writing, he has released Akismet module for Drupal 4.7, version 1.1.2 . More information including a changelog can be found at his site.

 

Quoting IT: We are the VA

Most of us in IT are aware of the recent data thefts of personal information within the United States government. Over the past couple weeks the VA admitted that files containing personal data for more than 50,000 active duty and more than 26 million veterans was stolen. In related news it was also reported that the "Energy Department disclosed to Congress on Friday that it suffered a security breach from a hacker in September that compromised 1,500 personnel records".

With the above stories fresh in our minds, we have chosen an opinion piece by Frank Hayes as this week's IT Quote of the Week:

Too many of our business processes are just as messy as the VA's. For years, we've collected data via the Web or by using customer relationship management systems, much of it data that we don't need, don't keep proper track of and haven't properly secured...As we watch the VA's fiasco continue to unfold, we're in no position to feel superior or complacent. That could be us.

Akismet Anti-Spam Modules for Drupal and phpBB

For our Wordpress 2.0 sites, we have been using the Akismet plugin to fight off the spam thrown at us through our comment pages. We've been impressed with the results with over 550 spam filled comments blocked since early 2006 and only two spam comments slipping by Akismet's filters. With these impressive results, we have been hoping to see an Akismet Drupal module also developed. Now both Drupal and phpBB users have access to an Akismet module for their CMS.

Markus Petrux from phpmix.org announced at Drupal.org:

After several days of work and tests at phpMiX.org, I'm proud to announce the immediate availability of about 2000 lines of code compiled into Akismet module v1.0.0 for Drupal 4.7.

Tags: 

Pages

Subscribe to CMS Report RSS