Critical Mass is an event which is held two times a year in Hungary (as well as sometimes more often and at varying times around the world), where bicyclists and other self-propelled commuters take to the streets en masse to demonstrate that biking is a good way to commute. Budapest's Critical Mass grows by each event in size, last fall attracting 70 thousand bikers, this past day having 80 thousand riders throughout the day.
Critical Mass 2008, Budapest (spring) photo by zsoolt
What's great about this event is that the Critical Mass Hungary community site runs all on Drupal for the past few years, and the community is happy about it. It is great to see all these activity helped by Drupal, especially that this fine system is used on many of the other local biker sites for bicycle trading, dispatch riders, bike camps and several bikers associations. Another good cause where Drupal helps build a better world!
Also special thanks for the biker community who brought in some money for our Drupal Conference Hungary 2006 and then bought a camera for the last Drupal Conference 2007 for the Drupal User Group to use. This allows us to post videotapes of the presentations we have at our user group events ever since.
This beautiful Monday morning, a few little presents arrived to the Drupalcon Szeged 2008 website. First entry to the Drupalcon Logo Contest from Ivan Raszl, who based his design on the floral patterns of traditional Hungarian embroidery, porcelain and furniture design. He even went ahead and created some renderings of the logo on several swag and even outdoor advertising. Not that we would be there already to do that for Drupalcons.
In other good news, people from as far as India and Australia are planning to come. Caitlin Johnstone is looking to discuss child care in her forum topic Anyone else looking for childcare? As she explains:
Are there any other Drupal families out there going to Hungary? We thought it would be a good one to bring the kids to since it'll be a bit more intimate than usual, but we need to organise some childcare on the conference days.
Bar bringing someone, I was wondering if we could hire a nanny over there, or perhaps even organise some kid-happy programs if there were enough other families planning to bring their little ones.
Let's see who else is interested in nannies, so that we can suggest and/or help you find suitable service. Reply in the forums.
If you look at the Drupalcon Szeged 2008 website's tracker, you'll see that most announcement posts are attributed to me. This is all too misleading, because in many cases, I am merely channelling information collected and discussed by various organizers to the public website.
This is the first Drupalcon for which the organizers have set up a management website, with the sole purpose to serve the organization team as good as possible, and while it is certainly not perfect, it works well so far. The "Do Drupaltown" website uses the core profile module, the organic groups and casetracker modules, as well as some small helpers like comment upload, upload preview, markdown with smartypants, diff and of course OpenID. Nothing earth-shatteringly special, just trying to work out easy ways to collaborate.
The two basic requirements were to have work groups for specific tasks, in the name of limiting scope and handing out responsibility. An event organized with a thousand attendees expected has so many aspects it is very hard to have a good overview of each aspect. So we have an organic groups setup with some top level groups and several focus groups for tasks like producing (valuable) materials for the registration packages, discussing and solving venue tasks, and so on. Because in numerous cases, we need responsibles to hand out tasks to, organic groups nicely fits with its concept of group ownership and memberships. It also supports mailing updates when new content is published, which is good to drive idle volunteers to the site when things are happening.
Since we are tracking tasks, these also need to have responsibles, an importance level, and a completion status. This allows us to have a running list of important tasks to complete, which helps us focus, know about the status of different jobs and get a distributed team to do that. Case tracker helps us there, it does integration with organic groups, so we can relate tasks to groups, email updates to tasks are mailed and severity and status flags are supported. We also have a patch pending for the views integration to be able to order by task priority, which was a trivial thing we needed to produce lists of tasks from most important down to less important.
Given how distributed our team is (only some people onsite in Szeged, lots of others are around the country elsewhere, while some volunteers from as far as Prague or Belgium), we need a way to reach any given member of the team when we are in a pressing need. We use the core profile module, which provides enough features for us to collect skype names, phone numbers, living locations, and so on, and it builds up a volunteer overview page, which gives us instant access to the contact information of anybody in our team. The only little glitch with profile module is that the number of volunteers grew above 20, so it does not fit on one page by default. Talk about sweet problems...
All-in all, our volunteers are happily working towards completing our goals, and we are marching on to come out with new exciting things for you regularly. Now that the public website of Drupalcon Szeged 2008 is building out, you will notice the volunteers themselves more there too, not just through my filtering.
Dries approached me a few months ago, whether I was satisfied with unsolicited content submission solutions I was using on my sites. Well, I was using captcha as anyone else, and the promise of an automated content analysis service which would get my site rid of captchas in most cases did sound very attractive, so I jumped on the train and installed Mollom on this blog. It was hard to not get the word out and always talk in secret-speak instead with people who I knew use or know about Mollom. Since yesterday, Mollom is in public beta, so people can try it for themselves. My spam/ham graph from the Mollom site shows how well does this service serve my site without me doing much about it (and the graph/site looks sexy too):
While Mollom started off with spam identification, it is already doing unsolicited user registration blocking and other content protection schemes are on the plan, including quality and offtopic content analysis. I am eager to see what comes out of this adventure of Dries.