My first Drupal module to reach full project status

Today my EmbedIt.in Integrator module for Drupal 6 reached full project status. It is the first project that I have submitted to the Drupal community. I have already tagged version 1.0 for Drupal 6. I hope to soon have a version for Drupal 7 available. This is an exciting milestone for me.

My module helps you interface your Drupal site with the EmbedIt.in web service for your documents. It will automatically upload the files to your account and display them on your website.

You can find it here at: http://drupal.org/project/embeditin

If you are a Drupal user, please take the time to check out my module. Thanks!

Web Development,PHP,Frameworks,Portfolio,Code Samples


Diving into Drupal module development – My first public Drupal project

For several years now I have been developing custom modules for various projects. However, up until recently, I had never submitted any of those modules to the Drupal community. I have been working for VML since the beginning of January and I have developed multiple modules for various projects. However recently I had the opportunity to create a project that I could opening contribute back to the community. My boss even recommended that I do so.

The module that I have contributed back to the community is one that allows users to create a node for and manage documents through the Embedit.in service using their API interface. I have created the first publicly available PHP library for interfacing with their API service. It is completely independent from the module in its design so that it may be used separately.

If you would like to learn more about it, please visit my page dedicated to it at: http://www.patrickthurmond.com/my-code-projects/embedit-in-integrator-a-drupal-6-module/

You may also visit it in the Drupal community at: http://drupal.org/sandbox/pthurmond/1155976


PHP,CMSes,Frameworks,Portfolio,Code Samples


My First Open Cart contribution

Today I submitted a contribution to the open source e-commerce project called Open Cart. My contribution is an XML product feed generator script that is compatible with Google Base. It requires not modification of the Open Cart core and is a simple upload installation. This script automatically generates a Google Base compatible product feed and it can be modified very easily by any programmer.

If you would like to see my contribution just visit the Open Cart extensions site here:

Web Development,PHP,CMSes,Code Samples


We Are All Still Human

A few weeks ago I commented on a video posted on MoveOn.org and at the time I was feeling very frustrated with how people in the world have been acting. I was also feeling very human (I realize this sounds strange, but go with it) and compassionate at the time. I still am feeling like that, just not quit as intensely as on that day. And I stand by what I said that day. I feel like I touched a very deep spot in my own soul when I wrote it.

I am writing this post today at the request of one of the other commenters whom wished to share my thoughts with others. I have to say that I feel honored, not just by this request, but by the enormous response my comment has mustered. At the time of this writing my post it sitting at the top of the list of posts with 198 Facebook “likes” and 19 replies (some of which are my own). I know that there are a lot of good ideas in this world that just need to be shared. Including some of my own. So without further ado I give you my comment.

“The real solution here is to write a quick blanket rule that says everyone has the same rights regardless of age, gender, creed, race, sexual orientation, dancing styles, wardrobe choices, religious affiliation, musical talent, financial standing, nationality, choice of sunglasses, pet preference, marital status, fashion sense, lung capacity, skin tone, athleticism, body type, smoking status, hair color, perfume preference, or any other method of differentiation that might be identified.

Then our society should just be smacked on the back of the head and told “it doesn’t matter stupid, we are all still human beings, just don’t be dicks to each other and everything will be fine”. Our differences don’t matter, what matters is what we have in common and at our very base we are all still humans.

We are all still people. All of us have feelings, wants, needs, desires, and blood pumping through our veins. So stop acting like anything else even matters because it doesn’t. People matter, life matters, happiness matters. Differences don’t. Differences are just excuses to hate one another. Differences are just ways to dehumanize one another. To cause strife and anger.

Labels and differences, more than anything else, seem to be the biggest causes of hate, of wars and fights and anger and despair. I am tired of dehumanizing labels. We are all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and most of we are all people. Just remember that next time you interact with someone.”

There were a number of comments to this, some that didn’t seem to get the message I was trying to send. Others just happy to see the message delivered. In these comments I further expanded upon my thought processes here with this response…

“while I myself am not very religious I think we still need to respect the beliefs of others. No matter how crazy or strange or misguided we may think they are. Chastising someone over believing in God or a God or some kind of supernatural being (if that is how you look at it) will only incite more anger and frustration and is in and of itself a form of bigotry.

I agree that people should be encouraged to believe in themselves and find their own inner strength. But for those that chose a different path we still need to recognize their humanity.”

After this comment there were several other great ones including this excellent comment by Richard Douglas Hollobaugh:

“Christianity says that we should love all people…Period. There is no subcontext to that statement which is made in the Bible by which true Christians follow. A lot of people have chosen to hate others or label them as sinners and they use verses from the Bible, that they have chosen to twist and make them to their liking. All the while ignoring the statements that are pure and clear. Love your neighbors/Cast no judgement on others unless you too are free from sin. It also states that no man is free of sin. That’s pretty clear right? So the problem doesn’t lie in Christianity. It lies in man’s prejudices.”

Richard made an excellent point. Christianity is supposed to be a religion of love and peace and brotherhood. Not one of anger and bigotry. The spirit behind Christianity does seem very clear and our world could definitely use more love and understanding. I would like to further say that communication seems to be key from my point of view.

When you get frustrated or angry or feel mad at someone or at the world take a step back. Breathe and take a moment to consider the other side of things. Then ask questions with an open mind, things are often not as they appear to me. This is something that has certainly proven true in my life, especially when there is a misunderstanding between my girlfriend and I. I have found that I will think about something from one direction but then if I ask her not only does she have a completely different way of looking at it, but it is often not even in the realm of what I was thinking of. It is amazing to me how much can be gained from a little more open communication.

In the end I just want to ask everyone, please take the time to understand that while we all have our differences it is what we have in common that weaves us together. It binds us and makes us all part of our world and our universe. What we do, even the simplest things, can have profound effects on others. But at the end of the day what we all hold common we also all hold dear. That is our humanity, our life, our love, and our spirit. And that is what really matters.

Thank you!

For those that would like to see the original article in which my comment appears, please visit: http://front.moveon.org/old-dudes-talking-about-sluts-and-honest-rapes-have-our-best-interest-at-heart-said-no-one-ever-2/?rc=fb-comments&fb_comment_id=fbc_10151072276010250_24324481_10151080142535250#f3dede2e2c




Star Trek-like translation technology is one step closer to reality.

The BBC recently published an exciting new article about a new headset from NEC that among other things will allow for real-time translation of conversations to be given to users of the headset.

For those of you that remember the Star Trek movies and TV shows the concept of instantaneous translation of spoken languages is nothing new. The concept is amazing and would allow for two or more individuals of completely different cultures, speaking completely different languages, to communicate seamlessly without the aid of a human (or other living) interpreter standing on the sidelines repeating everything. But the technology is elusive. The challenges have been great. Problems, such as converting spoken language into something a computer can understand and use and then taking that and converting it again into a meaningful and accurate translation in another language that may be structured completely differently, are monumental to overcome. Such technology has long been a programming holy grail.

For decades linguists, computer scientists, mathematicians, and many others have looked to bring this dream to reality. Science fiction writers have sometimes integrated the concept into their entire story lines, coming up with all sorts of exotic solutions such as implantable chips or translating bacteria. Since the late 90’s multiple companies have struggled to make desktop software that can convert speech into text on a computer screen. Most early applications required extensive training sessions with the software, both for the user to adapt to it and for the software to “learn” how the user speaks. As time has gone on we have run into new implementations and applications of this.

Progress in the speech to text arena has been significant. Microsoft Office now has the feature as part of the package. Dragon naturally speaking is used by professionals all over the world. Call centers use multi-million dollar software and hardware packages to manage their phone lines, some of which work amazingly well and some of which fail epically. But while much progress has been made here, little has been announced for the meaningful translation aspect. Though in recent years there have been many valiant attempts.

Google, search engine leader and the innovation leaders that they are, recently (a few years ago) proved that the task of translation can be achieved quite well through brute force methods using massive numbers of computers in sync with each other, a task which many said was not possible. Since then the technology and methods have gained steam, evolved. Now it seems that NEC is confident enough to make it a selling point for their latest product, the Tele Scouter.

The Tele Scouter uses a recent development in image projection technology that allow a very small device direct an image directly onto your retina. This is then perceived as a normal-sized or large image because of the relative closeness to the eye. It maintains normal visibility and allows for the user to get addition information without switching focus. This screams sci-fi action movie and brings back memories of seeing through the terminator’s eyes as he hunts down John Connor. The intention of the device is to provide additional information in real-time to sales people but also offers the future potential for use as a translation device. A future that is set to arrive sometime in 2011.

So far there is no news as to how well the current generation of their translation software will work, nor how much it will cost. However, the article does mention that the headsets themselves will sell for around $84,000 dollars for a batch of 30. That price does not include any extra software or hardware needed for translation. If it works even reasonably well I think we can expect that governments and large companies will be chomping at the bit to test and deploy the technology for their international needs.

Original BBC Article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8343941.stm

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