Drupal 8 released – D6 support ending February 2016.

Content Management System (CMS) Drupal 8 was released today.   Several nice changes, like “Views” is now part of core. Learn what some some of those changes mean here: “What’s the (real) big deal about Drupal 8?” And, here are some tips on migrating from 7 to 8: “Simple Drupal 7 to 8 migration

Drupal8

I haven’t had the chance to test D8 migration with any sites yet.  Let me know in the comments what you thought.

Sites still on Drupal 6 core will get security updates until 3 months after today’s release.  The announcement explaining that decision can be found here.


Source: Drupal 8 is here. Build something amazing, for anyone. | Drupal.org

Handy iPhone Apps For Staying Connected

If you are like me, you’ve got to live in a mixed OS environment, at home is Mac and at work is Windows. And, you’ve got an iPhone or iPad which works great with Mac, but doesn’t play quite so nice in a corporate environment. Here are some great apps for your iPhone that will help you bridge the gap between those worlds.

DropBox: FREE — sync files — with this iPhone app, you have access to your files on the go. And since the storage is cloud-based, and dropbox works on both Mac/Win you can have your files synced effortlessly. See my previous Dropbox article about the software versions and how to download and install on both platforms with FREE 2GB + 250MB of storage.

Evernote: FREE — sync notes — while the iPhone app isn’t as robust as some other Note applications, it will sync with their incredibly handy Mac and Windows application. So, if you’ve made notes or clipped screenshots at home for your big presentation at work, you can edit it on the way with the app, and then have it synced and ready on your work PC. See my previous Evernote articles for more details.

LastPass: FREE (requires $12/year subscription) — sync passwords — there you are visiting a favorite website at home or on your iPhone, but you can’t remember what password you used. Not any more with LastPass. LastPass works as a browser add-on that will store and sync your login information. Plus, anywhere you travel, you can log into the LastPass.com site to find those passwords. Find out more about LastPass with my previous article on it.

Skype: FREE — cheap talk — sure iChat is great on the Mac, but it’s limited to the Mac. Skype works on both platforms and even on your iPhone. With Skype, if you subscribe to one of their unlimited talk plans (US = $3, Japan = $6), you can not only talk all you want at home, at work, and on your phone. (NOTE: Skype currently requires you to use WiFi to make calls on your iPhone. To get around this limitation, you can use the FREE Fring application, which allows you to make Skype Out calls over the 3G network.)

Pandora: FREE — cheap music — if you love music, this is one app you need to have. Set up “stations” of your favorite music and let Pandora stream that music to you via this iPhone app. Pandora.com works great in Firefox and Safari also, so you can listen to those stations at work or home too.

Toodledo: ($3) — sync to-do’s — with this iPhone app you can edit/add/delete your To-dos. Toodledo’s website offers links to sync your account with both Mac and Windows, so those changes you made will be reflected wherever you go.

Photo apps: — see your photos — there are several good apps to show and upload your photos to a photo site, including Shutterfly (FREE), Flickr (FREE), Eye-fi (FREE), and Picasafoto ($.99, for Picasa) . If you take a lot of photos and want to see them on the road, these apps will help you stay connected to those images.

Yelp: FREE — great tips — Yelp’s iPhone app can help you find local businesses quickly. The “bookmark” feature is really great for keeping your favorite places’ phone numbers handy. So, you can order your favorite Thai dish in advance for quick pickup. User reviews can also give you tips what to order or avoid.

MAC ONLY:

AirMouse: ($2) — control your Mac with your iPhone. This app will work with your local WiFi network to become a trackpad to control your Mac wirelessly. Much more robust than Apple’s free Remote app, and cheaper than a Magic Mouse.

Prowl: ($3) — get PUSH notification on your iPhone from any Growl messages on your Mac. If you have Growl installed to display notifications on your Mac, Prowl allows you to send those notifications to your iPhone. You can be notified of things like disk errors, completed downloads, or whatever you want.

Well, I hope that’s helped you with some cool apps for you iPhone.

[Note: originally published on HMAUS.org ]

WolframAlpha is more than search

If you’ve never visited WolframAlpha.com you are in for an interesting treat.   This site is called a “computational knowledge engine”.   It’s kind of like a mix of a scientific calculator, Wikipedia’s knowledge, and Bing.   There is a goodintroductory video to help explain all the various things this site can do for you.   Their site is also available as an iPhone app and Firefox plugin.

In this example photo, I compared the life expectancy in India (69.9 years) to that of Japan (82.1).  While it might take a little time to learn the syntax of asking questions on WolframAlpha, there are LOTS of examples to help you.

Got a question? Get it answered at: WolframAlpha.com.   (Just don’t ask if it’s an ALIEN!)

Looking for great, local training for Apple and Web 2.0 products? Become an HMAUS member!

It seems like every week there’s some new product or service that HMAUS is demonstrating. HMAUS (Hawaii Mac & Apple User Society) offers help to people looking to expand their world a bit with discussions and training on things like social networking, photography, iPad, and much more.

HMAUS

In fact this week there are two great sessions coming up:

1) Google Analytics – the Numbers Speak! 8/26/10 — learn how to get detailed statistics on your web site using Google’s free Analytics product,

and

2) Boot Camp #2 – Get on the Bus! 8/28/10 — get tips to iLife ’09, Apple’s suite of products for imaging and photography: iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD.

And be sure to become a member of HMAUS also to help keep great events like these coming!

Security Tip: Regularly Check Your Website Scripts For Updates

If you are a website owner, you might think that once you get your site up and running you no longer have to do much. But consider how easy it is for your website to be hacked. You WANT people to visit it and look around. You WANT to show off the cool functionality of your site.

Well, that same functionality can get outdated pretty quickly. Code that was written five or six years ago probably didn’t even check the validity of requests to pages. A simple example of an attack is a site that uses ID numbers, for example http://www.somedomain.com/index.php?id=12 — what happens when that isn’t a number, or that ID is missing? Did the programmer check for those possibilities?

There are some wonderful open source web applications out there, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, to name just a few. However, every week new vulnerabilities are discovered on those platforms — security hacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting, etc. Luckily many of those open source applications also have a robust community to write updates to protect against those attacks.

As a website owner, you should check for any updates to your website scripts regularly. This also includes to make sure your passwords are strong and safe. And, have regular backups of the site made that you can download to your computer for safe storage (as even hosting sites aren’t immune to attacks).

It’s a real pain to have your website hacked. You struggle to uncover how the attack was done. You work to get the site updated and back to where it was. You try to clear your name with any search engine that might say your site is “suspicious”. Meanwhile you lose visitors that might never come back.

If you don’t take care of your site yourself, then talk to the developers who built it and ask them to help you backup, upgrade, and lock down your site before you get hacked.

Security is an ongoing process, just like those updates on your computer…

Google Announces Ways to Opt-out of Analytics

analytics-trackingIn a move that will surely upset those obsessed with their web stats, and bring some joy to those concerned with online privacy, Google has announced that they are offering tools to opt-out of their very popular Analytics.

For site owners and stats jockeys, the ability for individuals to more easily hide visits to web sites using Analytics is a bad thing. They want to know as much as possible about everyone that visits. If more people don’t get “tracked”, they might feel that their efforts to create content to move people toward certain goals, funnels/calls-to-action, will be less effective.

For privacy nuts, they’ve probably already been blocking Analytics Javascript code using techniques like I’ve discussed in “How to Hide from Google“. But with Google publicly allowing people to opt-out of this tracking, and to make it as easy as a plugin to your browser, those less technically skilled will also be able to block Google’s tracking code.

My concern with Analytics is that while it is VERY useful for site owners (I use it myself on some sites), the fact that it is used by SO MANY sites all reporting back to GOOGLE, makes for some serious questions on privacy. I don’t mind that site owners do some SITE-LEVEL tracking — I mean, it’s built into the web server anyway — it’s just when all that information from all those different sites is sent to ONE entity — Google — it raises some serious flags.

So, I welcome whatever tools Google has that will allow users the option to opt-out of site tracking. Also included is the ability for site owners to anonymize IP address information sent to Google through Analytics — for site owners that love Analytics, but are concerned about the issues I’ve discussed above.

(Thanks Google! :))

Interesting recent stories

Here’s a selection of some interesting privacy stories:

Google Street View logs WiFi networks, Mac addresses

Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes You Have to Opt Out

Facebook May Not Be Skynet, but It Is Getting Smarter, and That’s Bad for Google: “Facebook has managed to succeed where Google has failed — turning your social behavior into actionable intelligence.”

Mac Software Deals On Now

There’s several deals on some great Mac software:

  • MacBuzzer is giving away a free copy of the archival app, Rucksack, for the price of one of your Twitter tweets. Click that MacBuzzer “Get It Now” button and tweet away.
  • Etude is giving away a license to their Mac music app, SimpleChord for one of your tweets. Learn more here.
MacUpdate Sofware Bundle
MacUpdate Sofware Bundle
  • MacUpdate has another great Bundle right now: 11 Mac Apps valued at over $425 for $49.99. Apps include Parallels 5 (run Windows while running Mac), MacScan (A/V), Hydra (HDR imaging), MacDVDRipper Pro, and Timeline 3D. First 10,000 buyers also get DVDRemaster Pro. Sale ends March 31st!
  • If you missed the excellent MacHeist Bundle that just ended, be sure to sign up to be an “agent” for their mailing list — you’ll get tips on discount bundles, new releases, and fun games to play for free Mac software.

Upcoming Geek Events: Unconferenz and HMAUS Springfest

Unconferenz has rescheduled to Saturday, March 20, 2010 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 AM at Kapiolani Community College. (This was postponed due to the Tsunami Warnings the day of the original event.) A wide variety of topics and a great chance to network. Sign up on their site now to get a t-shirt and lunch.

HMAUS (Hawaii Mac and Apple User Society) has scheduled their annual Springfest for May 1st at Kapiolani Community College. These day-long events typically feature a variety of FREE lectures and demos covering computer use, digital photography, and social media, and are open to the public. Details are still forthcoming, but pencil in the date now.

How To “Hide” From Google

Hiding from Google

First, you may be wondering, WHY hide from Google. The answer is that perhaps you don’t want one entity to know all about you, your friends, and your internet activities. But, there are many people that WANT to be found by their name and activities; they don’t mind that old relationships, strangers, or advertisers know about their personal lives. If you are one of those, this article isn’t for you — go back to Twittering about your MySpace page on your Android phone.

skynet_productGood, now that the Google fanboys are out of the room, let’s talk. Data; yours, mine, and everyone else’s, is slowly “moving to the clouds”. More and more companies are using cloud-based applications, like Google Docs, instead of their desktop version, Microsoft Windows. As Google Europe boss, John Herlihy, said: “In three years desktops will be irrelevant” . Even Steve Ballmer, head of Microsoft has said that cloud computing is a $3.3 trillion industry, something he’s betting his company on. Once your data is in the hands of someone else, how much real control do you have with it? As Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt has said in regards to Google and privacy concerns, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” .

It used to be easier to hide from Google. You could simply stop using their search engine.
Google Search Engine: everyone knows and loves this. AVOID. Try Scroogle.org for proxy searches, or use Bing or Yahoo.

Gizmodo has a good article on how to quit using Google products (such as Buzz, Gmail, Docs, etc.) — but that is only the start.

Google has invested in some very clever ways to make itself part of your everyday experience, even if you don’t realize it. This isn’t to say that Google is all evil or all good. What they do with the huge amounts of data they have isn’t entirely clear to those outside the company. They do, however, make a huge portion of their profits from targeted advertising. If you value your privacy and don’t want Google to have access to it, you’ll need to consider these other, more hidden, Google products:
Continue reading How To “Hide” From Google