ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

Dries Buytaert on DrupalCon San Francisco

DrupalCon San Francisco ended a few days ago, so once again I’m sitting here with post-DrupalCon blues, trying to wrap my head around what just happened, digging out my backlog of work, and rediscovering my usual rhythm. It happens to me every time, and it is a sign of having had a great time. In short, DrupalCon San Francisco was ‘fantastic’, a word I use sparingly. It is best expressed in numbers, like Matt Cheney of Chapter Three did in his closing session:

  • Roughly 3000 registered attendees at an average ticket price of $205 USD.
  • 357 days of preparatory planning, including 31 general meetings and 105 daily phone calls. Unlike in the old days, I only participated in one such phone call.
  • 408 proposed sessions of which 131 sessions were accepted and presented.
  • Rented 37 conference rooms covering 750,000 square feet of the Moscone center.
  • Organized a core developer summit with 150 attendees, 16 lightning talks, 11 breakout sessions and 1 Franciscan monk.
  • Trained 495 people on Drupal using 20 Drupal training classes.
  • 80 people sprinted on testing.
  • 21 people sprinted on documentation.
  • 120 people trained to be core contributors.
  • 120 BoF gatherings across 11 rooms.
  • 6000 people watched my keynote live, one big stage, and assisted by a backstage A/V team of 6 people.
  • 2 amazing keynotes; one from Tim O’Reilly and one from the Whitehouse, who is now an Open Source contributor.
  • Spent $25,000 USD on scholarship to sponsor 20 attendees.
  • Recorded 131 sessions on video with 24 hour turnaround.
  • Streamed 10 sessions live with up to 3000 simultaneous viewers thanks to Brightcove.
  • Had up to 2200 people use the internet simultaneous consuming a 92 megabit pipe. Whoever did the wifi at Moscone needs a raise.
  • 1100 t-shirts sold along with 320 Drupal umbrellas.
  • Raised more than $400,000 USD from 50 sponsors. Thanks to TrellonGravitekLabs,Chapter ThreeCommerce GuysAcquiaPhase2 TechnologyMicrosoft and Rackspace for being Platinum Sponsors.
  • 50 volunteers helping with registrations on the opening day of the conference.
  • One volcano and no volcano insurance.
  • Had a 24/7 coding lounge named after Chx along with free ice cream.
  • Free parties with open bar every evening.
  • 0 IE6 users on the DrupalCon website, 43% Apple users.
  • 60,000 unique visits and 30,000 unique visitors on the conference website during the conference.
  • 15000 e-mails, 7650 tweets, 35 press hits, 5 press releases and 1 television spot on ABC.
  • $691,677 USD estimated expenses, $1,004,470 USD estimated revenue, $312,793 estimated profit for the Drupal Association.
  • $72,000 spent on coffee.
  • A big thank you for Jennifer Lea Lampton, Stephanie Canon, Lauren Nicole Roth and Matt Cheney and hundreds of other people that helped.
  • Two new Drupal conferences announced; one in Copenhagen, one in Chicago.


I had to pass along these astounding stats that Dries posted on his blog yesterday about DrupalCon 2010 that I was fortunate enough to attend in San Francisco a little over a week ago. I’m familiar with the “post-DrupalCon blues” that Dries describes. I’m still trying to shake them! Frankly it was a mind-blowing few days. It’s thrilling to see how mainstream Drupal is becoming, how user-friendly, how diversified, how multi-media friendly… And 3k attendees?!?! It was totally overwhelming! In the good way. ;-)

And the White House keynote was inspiring. Open source. Open government. Open Democracy. Open world. The future is bright! And everyone’s invited! No silos. Just one big-@#$ circus tent… Come one, come all!

A huge thanks to Dries for dreaming up and sharing Drupal. It’s a major game-changer, not only for websites, not only for web developers and web designers. I think that we’re only just beginning to comprehend the scope and potential for Drupal. And your ongoing stewardship of this wild and woolly juggernaut is commendable too. Thank you.

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Certified Organic?

Certified organic? (Photo credit: Fotolia)

Certified organic? (Photo credit: Fotolia)

“There aren’t any regulations to stop companies from labeling a product that contains dozens of synthetic ingredients with misleading words like “nature” and “health.” But, there is one exception to this rule: A label reading “certified organic” can’t claim this status if it hasn’t been properly certified. Here’s what you need to know about certified organic food.” (

Hat tip to Guy Kawasaki for sharing this article forward on Twitter. Much helpful information to aid you in deciphering the increasingly tangled web around organic food production and retail. As for the question of reliability and enforcement, this article doesn’t offer too much assurance that we can 100% trust what we see in advertising or read on packaging. “Anyone who knowingly sells or labels a product “organic” that is not produced and handled in accordance with these regulationscan face a civil penalty of up to $10,000.” But is this a steep enough penalty to discourage fraud?

Read the full article at

[This post was originally published as “Is USDA certified organic food safer than regular food?” on the Emmet Carter green design blog.]

Google to Invest $90,000 in Drupal

Google Summer of Code 2010

Google just announced that they will sponsor 18 Drupal developer stipends in this year’s Summer of Code program(SoC). Google provides a stipend of 5,000 USD to each student developer, of which 4,500 USD goes to the student and 500 USD goes to Drupal Association (or to the mentors). With 18 accepted applications this adds up to a 90,000 USD investment over a three-month period, bringing the total investment made by Google in Drupal through SoC to over $450,000 USD.

Read Dries Buytaert’s announcement…

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Rogers Pass Ski Bliss

Rogers Pass, British Columbia (Photo by Pat Mulrooney)

I just discovered that “Ski Bliss in Avalanche Country“, a blog posting from a few years ago, is one of the top three most popular items on Hmmm… Does this mean that backcountry skiing in Rogers Pass is a less-well-kept-secret now that the Olympics brought the world to British Columbia?

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America’s Prettiest Towns: Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid, New York is rated one of America’s Prettiest Towns

101 Best Outdoor Towns co-authors Sarah Tuff Dunn and Melville both put the upstate New York town of Lake Placid on their (independently compiled) lists. Dunn says it’s the “classic Main Street, pine-speckled hills and pristine small lakes” that appeal to her, while Melville describes Lake Placid as “the closest you can get to living out West when you’re in the East. It’s got the jagged mountain backdrop surrounding an unpretentious ski village bordered by two crystal lakes.” (

It comes as no surprise that Lake Placid, tucked into the heart of the Adirondacks, is featured as one of America’s Prettiest Towns along with these notorious gems:

  • Annapolis, Maryland
  • Aspen, Colorado
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Dillon, Montana
  • Guttenberg, Iowa
  • Monterey, California
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Rockport, Maine

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, so the definition of “pretty towns” was left up to the experts: Alan Blakely (architectural photographer), Erin Anderson (residential designer), John Vander Stelt (painter), Bob Krist (photographer and host of PBS’ Restoration Stories), Sarah Tuff Dunn and Greg Melville (coauthors of 101 Best Outdoor Towns), Danno Glanz (designer at urban planning and architecture firm Calthorpe Associates), and Greg Ward (coauthor of The Rough Guide USA). The overarching criterion was that all locations balance man-made and natural beauty. Obviously Lake Placid was a shoe-in, but I suspect that there are probably many more that should have made the list. What do you consider to be America’s prettiest town?

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The Invention of Paris

The Invention of Paris

Eric Hazan's The Invention of Paris

Eric Hazan’s The Invention of Paris is a guide, quartier by quartier, to the “psychogeography” of the first great modern city. Hazan is a far-left radical editor now in his 70s, and has lived in Paris all his life. Not only does he know what a certain street smells like, but he can tell us about the geographical, social and political forces that put it there. A widening or a curve might conceal an entire history of oppression – or the moment Baudelaire admired a passing grisette.

Hazan reckons Baudelaire to be the first truly urban poet, a flâneur at the meeting-point between the nocturnal solitary and the individual lost in the crowd. The book proceeds in his urgent spirit, mingling personal knowledge and reminiscence with a Balzacian grasp of the whole. The ghost of Walter Benjamin, the leftwing thinker of a mystical bent who fled occupied Paris and committed suicide at the closed Spanish border, presides over this magnificent meditation on limits and boundaries.

Read the full review in The Guardian

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Protect Consumers by Ensuring Internet Freedom

“The Internet, arguably the fastest world-changing invention since the Gutenberg printing press, has become the core of our social and business lives. However, the openness and freedom that lie at the heart of the Internet’s success is under threat.”

“A recent federal court ruling determined that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not have the authority to regulate Internet service providers to prevent them from restricting access to the Internet. Put simply, service providers would have the power to control the pipes that deliver content to consumers and with it the ability to play favorites or discriminate against bits of data.” (Seattle Times)

Read the full article at Seattle Times

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Skinr for Drupal Theming

Skinr’s main purpose is to allow the theme to define a set of reusable and modular CSS styles, and to make those styles available in Drupal’s UI. Skinr was developed for themers to allow them to tap into the power of Drupal’s modularity and apply those same principles to theme development. It does not provide any styles of its own. These styles are defined in the .info file of the theme (or subtheme), by the themer and end up in various places in Drupal’s UI, such as:

  • Block Configuration
  • Node Type (and Comment) Configuration
  • Panel Panes
  • Views Displays

It also provides a CSS class field, where you can manually add custom classes.

Who should use this module?

Here are a few examples, though there are many more possibilities.

  • You are a themer looking to dramatically reduce the size and bloat of your CSS files.
  • You want to be able to apply the same CSS across blocks, panel panes, views, nodes and comments.
  • You are developing a theme for a client and want the client to have more flexibility and access to a multitude of existing styles, after you’ve completed the project and handed it off.
  • You are a contrib theme developer who wants to provide multiple styles and allow the site administrator to be able to choose where to apply them.
  • You are a rebel who wants to rip out CSS classes in every possible template file and use your own instead, but need a better way to add your own classes back to Drupal.

Module developers can take advantage of Skinr using its API. Detailed documentation on how to do this is included in docs.php.

Skinr information excerpted from

I attended a great presentation by Jacine Rodriguez this afternoon. I’m going to experiment with it when I get home. Is Skinr the panacea it appears to be?

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Semantic Web and Drupal Video

Semantic web and Drupal video via

This video was at Drupalcon 2010 in San Francisco yesterday by Dries Buytaert (@dries) to help introduce the future of RDF in Drupal 7.

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Open Source and Open Data in the Age of the Cloud

This is the slideshow from Tim O’Reilly’s keynote this afternoon at Drupalcon 2010 in San Francisco.

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