politics abroad

Text of President Obama's Mideast Speech projected on the Middle East

People peaceful right regions..

Hope: the text of President Obama's Mideast Speech mapped in a "tagcloud" on the middle east.

DrupalGovDays, Service connect, Shadow and everything

Yesterday and today there were some 350 people visiting the DrupalGovDays. Only 5 years ago a DrupalCon in Brussels was smaller then a vertical market conference like this one for the Governmental institutions. It shows the growth of the the CMS market, the maturity of OpenSource and the popularity of Drupal. So far, a great conference, not technical but great for networking, meeting old friends and finding new opportunities.

While not directly connected, one of the great opportunities for Drupal and Governments is the opendatachallenge. A competition with some price money behind it for the best ideas, apps, visualisation and datasets for making use of open data by governments. Something like the OpenSource modules behind itdashboard.gov would be great for making easy to understand visualisations of open governmental data.

This is also a good moment to announce two new modules build and maintained by my employer Dutch Open Projects and contributed by the manucipality of Breda:

  • Service connect a pluggable way of using OAUTH identity service providers. Currently Facebook, Twitter and a Dutch site "Hyves" are supported but your own plugins / code and feedback is welcome in the issue queue
  • Shadow, if you ever build a high volume site and have lots of slow queries caused by the complexity of views but want to keep the flexability of views, be sure to take a look at this module. The module optimizes SQL queries or views by using index tables which (partially) shadows the original query output. It is capable of automatically rewriting SQL queries to speed them up using the shadow tables.

A big thank to Breda for releasing this code and sharing / contributing to the Drupal community. And a very big thank you to the to the organisers of DrupalGovDays , Ivo Radulovski, Hanno Lans, Kristof Van Tomme, Bart Van Herreweghe, and Christine Copers and the sponsors Chancery of the Prime Minister of Belgium and the Federal ICT of the Belgian government and well as the Drupal Association!

Data.gov.uk running Drupal

Data.gov.uk running Drupal

Advised by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt and others, government are opening up data for reuse. This site seeks to give a way into the wealth of government data and is under constant development. We want to work with you to make it better.

Sir Berners-Lee -together with Al Gore- the inventor of the web (not Internet)- knows Drupal, his personal website runs Drupal. And he seems to know a bit about the "Semantic Web" as well ...

It is very good to see that the UK government is opening up its' data sources to the public. And for the Drupal community it is a big win to see that they have chosen the same Content Management System / Framework as Obama and many others did.

I really wished all governments would open up their back-end data like this and hope that the Dutch government will focus on Drupal as well. Note that there is a strong movement under the Dutch for this, combined under the "Hack the Government" mantra. See this older nice presentation / screencast I made about this in Dutch.

So great news for the British and great news as well for Drupal!

Whitehouse.gov turning blue


"Chocolate City"
Uh, what's happening CC?
They still call it the White House
But that's a temporary condition, too.
Can you dig it, CC?

(Chocolate City lyrics by Parliament, 1975 -pfunk at its best).

It turns out that CC became brown then blue. whitehouse.gov switched to Drupal. Anyone up for a photoshopped-mashup between Drulicon and the whitehouse? :-)

For the real deal, checkout Dries' site, that I found via

Twitter Identity Management, accident waiting to happen

I love twitter, sometimes I can not post as much as I would like to. But I am a long term heavy user and you can follow me if you can read Dutch and think I write sensible stuff every now and then. And I wil return by following you.

One of the great ways that twitter is used is in ways the twitter staff could not predict but only could facilitate by openening up the API's. Other sites can for example twet on behalf of you. For example, that you voted on Obama, put an RSS feed of your flickr account via a webservice to twitter to share it with your followers, etc.

The problem is that all these service need your userid and password to post on behalf of you of your twitter account. And here is the source of a big problem. Maybe the website you are using does not (need) to save your userid/password combination. Maybe they do. Maybe the service is safe and others will never be able to get your password via a hack. Maybe the owner of the site will never go bad and post on behalf of others. Maybe the service will not change its' Terms and Condidtions overnight so they can put adds in your tweets. And maybe you are using strong passwords for all your accounts that are not the same, so the webservice can not your gmail? Maybe.

But I am sure we will see an ugly accident in the near future, people are almost used to the fact that you should type in your userid and password in a popup box and as long as the password is not echo-ed on the screen but hidden with "****" it is safe to use that service.

Or so they think...

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