Using SMS to Communicate with Students

I had a brief conversation with Pablo and Alma last week and it got me thinking about how we could prototype a method of pushing information via SMS to students. If I understand the use case, we're talking about a small population that primarily relies upon their phone for communication and is missing important campus communications sent via email, flyer, portal or US Mail. Our objective would be to push information using SMS as a supplementary protocol.

Developing the Next Generation Campus Maps with Drupal

I've been prototyping some new ideas to get us thinking about the roadmap for the campus map. A working demo is at http://maps-dev.ucsc.edu. The notes link below talks about the technology stack; Drupal, Gmap and Location modules were evaluated in the first round and later eliminated. I've landed on the OpenLayers and Geo modules for the type of requirements we need to meet.

UCSC Online Grocery

I'm working with John Rocchio on the prototyping of a shopping cart to assist Dining Services. See the demo at, http://asg-dev2.ucsc.edu

Problem/Opportunity

The problem/opportunity can be defined as a process improvement. Dining Services has been using a PDF based form to allow students to order and take advantage of campus purchasing power. Essentially, an on-campus student may order a box of cereal and pick it up. A financial transaction takes place at the time of delivery. 

Article Ideas

Here's a few article ideas to pursue as we get the students moved in this Fall.

Update the "how we're using Aegir" article with enough info for LITS to take over. 

Continue documenting our Drupal dev and prod environments for LITS management. This could be part of the updated Aegir article. The basic idea is that I can't continue to manage all aspects of the Aegir->Drupal based service for the sites (20) that we're managing. Show some of the systems and config documentation we've placed in our Open Atrium instance.

Drupal Training Materials

I've been collecting resources on my own over the past year or so as I've taken a deep dive into Drupal. I'm now in the process of training some of my staff and lead contacts in Drupal. In several cases, we'll need to buy some duplicate copies of books and thought this might be a nice place to provide a list and some of my thoughts on their usefulness in my work.

Use Case for Cloud Computing

Background

The UC Santa Cruz http://emergency.ucsc.edu web site is used as a primary information source for near real time information in the case of a campus or regional incident.

The emergency site is based on the Drupal platform and runs under Aegir on an Ubuntu operating system. The hardware running the site is nearly five years old. It has several other Drupal sites running on the same hardware. We manage this server using a combination of shell and Webmin.

vCard Implementation for EOC

I worked with Chief Trapp and Emergency Planner Gaylord to finalize our requirements around managing the contact information for Emergency Operations Center (EOC) members. The EOC is a functional approach to managing operations associated with emergencies that range from large protests to earthquakes. I've previously written on the subject of EOC Contact Management.

Project and Proposal - Modify Case Tracker?

Background

[see http://peterm.ucsc.edu/drupal/content/how-were-using-open-atrium]

We need a method to handle work intake using as much of the ITS project management methodology as possible. Basically, this involves getting the appropriate details and initial scoping information into a one page form. One of the benefits of following the methodology is that we can aggregate and start to look at priorities against capacity for our group.

Upgrading Aegir to 0.4 a5

I wanted to upgrade the aegir tools on the -dev and -prod sites. I ran into some problems running the upgrade steps; which are probably due to some mistake I had made in managing the changes made since the original install. During the upgrade process, I was getting a variety of database error messages. I'm assuming that part of the problem was that I had originally installed 0.2, then upgraded to 0.3 and somewhere along the line, upgraded drush. Another symptom I was seeing was that my crontab for aegir was gone, so I could not process tasks.

Removing Trailing Commas with TextMate

 I finally got bugged by not having enough automation in text processing for the TPP project. In TextMate, I edited the Text bundle duplicating the remove Trailing Spaces and creating a remove Trailing Commas. It's a simple perl expression, perl -pe 's/[\,, ]+$//g'.

Huge time savings. One click vs scanning through the file for commas. More to follow on TextMate modifications.

TPP update - more on using node_import

 I came back to work on the TPP project over the past few days. A couple of problems needed resolving. First, I'd used the CCK float type instead of using Decimal type to hold salary data. While it worked for hourly and monthly salaries, annual salaries were longer than the column could allow. So, I started my test by deleting the 37 float fields and recreating them as decimal 10,2.

Steve McQueen is a Cat

 Yup, we've got a cat. Four months ago, Alison found a cat and Lynda brought it home. It was found in a parking lot over at UNEX. He's healthy and very rambunctious. Lynda named him. I was going for Demon or Badkitty, but Steve has hung on. 

Here's a few shots of our cat Steve McQueen. He's fast and does all his own stunts. In this shot, he's been ripping through his tunnel and I'm chasing him with a camera. Cute?

Managing News as a EOC Tool

Updated – 02-17-2010

The new beta of Managing News has some changes to channel tagging. In order to summarize the most relevant data across a number of feeds, a "tag" can be applied that allows for grouping of like items based on the tag. For any particular incident, we'd be able to develop a set of keywords for searching out sources (Google, local news, Twitter, etc.) and tags for organizing content in near real-time.

Project Idea