Last weekend, at WordCamp Europe in Sofia, Siobhan McKeown gave an excellent talk about the fundamental principles that underpin WordPress. For me, the most essential one is freedom. Being an open source Content Management System, WordPress is both “free as in beer” and “free as in speech”. And while the former has probably been a big factor in WordPress’s amazing growth, it’s the latter that we should all really be thankful for.
More A fifth of the web now runs on Freedom
When I decided to no longer maintain my WP-Cumulus plugin a while ago, one of the reasons was that the project was in disarray. I wanted to improve so many things at once, that I ended up finishing none. One of the plugin’s parts however, the actual Flash movie, was 99% done. That’s why I’ve decided to put it on Github.
Note that this is “Cumulus”, without the “WP-“. It’s a new version of the movie, that uses a different, more generic XML format, and supports new things like unicode and device fonts. It’s not a WordPress plugin. If you’re looking to revive WP-Cumulus or incorporate the effect into other projects, it’s the ideal start. It’s the best incarnation of the effect, and I invite you to write stuff around it.
The previous two years, I’ve helped put together a WordPress meetup in Amersfoort. While this was fun to do, it didn’t really make sense, because I do not live in (or even really near) Amersfoort. As a result know very little about essential things like venues there. It looks like this year, local WordPress people will take over “their” meetup, and I’ve been thinking about setting up a brand new one in “my” 035 area of The Netherlands.
Ideally, I’d like to do something that’s a little more informal than the Amersfoort ones were, and probably also more frequent. If there’s anyone who’d like to help organize, speak at, or simply attend such a meetup, please let me know in the comments. Oh, and despite the little joke I pulled with the logo, I’m hoping to keep it as low-key and relaxed as possible. Suit and tie entirely optional, perhaps even frowned upon :).
People here in the Netherlands will often complain about poor 3G data speeds. Twitter is full of people complaining about T-Mobile. Some will suggest Vodafone for better reception, while others agree that KPN has the best network. I simply don’t know. And to my knowledge, no independent studies have been done recently. So maybe it’s time for a community app that measures network performance, and reports back to an independent database?
More Idea: A mobile network performance statistics app?
Converting video files from one format to another has always been a pain. You’re dealing with large files, tons of different formats and software that offers more settings than mere mortals can possibly comprehend. Programs like Handbrake work well and offer useful presets, but Miro Video Converter goes one step futher. It offers the simplest possible user interface, making transcoding as easy as it possible can.
More Miro Video Converter strips it down to the basics
Influential dutch technology website Webwereld recently posted an opinion piece in which the author outlines the VLC/Apple App Store situation. As you may know, a video player based on VLC popped up in Apple’s iOS app store a while ago, only to be removed a little while later. Unfortunately, the author of the the article, Job Spijker, had the whole thing backwards. He argued that people involved in open source software should “get with the program” and jump on the App Store bandwagon. Thankfully, this can never happen.
More Why VLC will never be in the iOS App Store
The great thing about WordPress is that there’s a huge, active and helpful community of users and developers. There have been WordCamps organized all of the world, as well as many smaller meetups. Last week, Kaj Rietberg and I put together just such a meetup in the Dutch city of Amersfoort.
The event was sponsored by open source development company 4WORX and hosted at the neighboring Dara restaurant (recommended!). Kaj and I were happy to welcome around 25 WordPress enthusiasts, a couple of whom had been tricked beforehand into preparing presentations. Kaj has written a more detailed account over at the WordCampNL website (in Dutch) which includes the slides from two speakers.
More WordPress meetup Amersfoort
There’s been a lot of controversy over Apple’s decision to ban Flash (and Java for that matter) from the iPhone since the day it was released. Now, with the iPad about to hit retail, there’s been more debate on whether this was a technical decision or not, and whether it’s a severe limitation for the devices, or a blessing. Being both a Flash developer, an iPhone OS user an open source advocate, I thought I’d weigh in on the conversation.
Before I get started though, let me point out that I’m not a fan of Flash. I think it’s a real shame that there’s no open, official standard that lets web designers do the things Flash can. Adobe has the web in an awkward stranglehold right now, and I’d love to see that change. But the reality is that Flash is an integral part of the web today.
More My thoughts on Flash and the iPad
There are three corporate giants that dominate tech news. All of them have recently made headlines with innovative new products, and all of them have a dedicated following among tech fans, and are hated intensely by just as many. Time to gather pros and cons for Google, Microsoft and Apple and decide who truly deserves your devotion. Please feel free to add yours in the comments.
More So, are you an Apple, Microsoft or Google fan?
It’s getting hard to keep track of all the projects that are based on my little WordPress plugin. The most recent two are ports to MediaWiki and ReloadCMS. The latter is documented (in Russian) on opensoft.110mb.com and maintained by Victor Nabatov. My Russian is pretty poor, but I can see Cumulus tumbling about on the sidebar, so I guess it works 🙂
The MediaWiki port is listed as being beta, but the demonstration works beautifully. If I understand correctly it displays the categories on your wiki using ‘my’ Flash movie. Now if only they’d install it on Wikipedia… that would be so cool ;).