Economic Crisis related links for October 31st, 2009

LA Independent: A one-man street team: Once one of Hollywood’s homeless, Mark Horvath turns his knack for storytelling into a personalized video chronicle of a national tragedy.: Through his experiences, he has come to realize that the only way to truly stop homelessness is by getting people off streets, and into homes and jobs.

NYTimes: Foreclosures Force Ex-Homeowners to Turn to Shelters: “So, as lean times endure and paychecks disappear, homeless shelters are absorbing those who have run out of alternatives.”

Homeless Resource Center: Fonfield-Ayinla, Gladys : My Experience Parenting While Homeless: It was never a goal of mine to be homeless, but it happened.

NYTimes: Recession Drives Surge in Youth Runaways : oreclosures, layoffs, rising food and fuel prices and inadequate supplies of low-cost housing have stretched families to the extreme, and those pressures have trickled down to teenagers and preteens.

NYTimes: For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival: Nearly a third of the children who flee or are kicked out of their homes each year engage in sex for food, drugs or a place to stay, according to a variety of studies published in academic and public health journals.

Internet life links for October 31, 2009

Alex Hillman recently tweeted: “Twitter lists illustrate the most important shift in the internet: your bio is now written by others, and what they say about you.” He follows up with a longer piece on his blog.

Google Wave: we came, we saw, we played D&D: It’s easy to see why many people who use it for the first time wonder what the big deal is–as I said above, you really need to try to accomplish something with it as part of a group before you understand what it’s good for.

Rafe shares the frustration he has trying to correct the the misinformation friends and family are consuming off the Web and from cable news media.

I had my Twitter updates streaming to Facebook, but recently discontinued that. danah boyd shares some of the reasons in her blog post: Some thoughts on Twitter vs. Facebook Status Updates:

One way to really see this is when people on Twitter auto-update their Facebook (guilty as charged). The experiences and feedback on Twitter feel very different than the experiences and feedback on Facebook. On Twitter, I feel like I’m part of an ocean of people, catching certain waves and creating my own. Things whirl past and I add stuff to the mix. When I post the same messages to Facebook, I’m consistently shocked by the people who take the time to leave comments about them, to favorite them, to ask questions in response, to start a conversation. (Note: I’m terrible about using social media for conversation and so I’m a terrible respondent on Facebook.) Many of the people following me are the same, but the entire experience is different.

Seth Godin comments on the penalty you face exceeding the Dunbar Number

And finally, this is brilliant.

Will Bunch: “The day Philly stopped being a joke”

Will Bunch: “The day Philly stopped being a joke”:

Everyone said the real problem was that Philadelphia — the nation’s sixth largest city and fourth largest TV market, birthplace of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution — was a victim of a strange condition: low civic self-esteem. And what brought that on? A lot of things, some of them self-inflicted like our “corrupt and content” political culture — but there was also a severe case of sibling jealousy, the sibling being our colonial cousin of New York City.

Even at the start of the 19th Century, Philadelphia was still the center of the nation’s culture and higher learning — and then the Industrial Revolution hit. Philly plunged right in, manufacturing everything under the sun, from steam locomotives to Stetson hats. New York decided instead to manage — and occasionally gamble — the profits. You know how that worked out (when was the last time you wore a Stetson hat — or were transported by a steam locomotive?) Just 100 miles to the northeast, New York became a black-hole-like force, sucking the energy from Philadelphia, stealing everything from our talented college grads to foreign tourists who never even saw the nation’s founding city as they whizzed down the New Jersey Turnpike from the Statue of Liberty to the Washington Monument. New York got Broadway, the UN, the World’s Fair…and baseball. The Yankees won more World Series’ than any other team, while the Phillies lost more games than any other franchise in America — in any sport. Even the Mets, who didn’t exist until 1962, won a World Series before the Phillies finally did in 1980.

Bad behavior became the mask for a city’s collective anxiety. It wasn’t just the notorious 700 Level at the dank, concrete Veterans Stadium, where wearing an opponent’s jersey meant maybe sparing your life…maybe. Here at the Philadelphia Daily News, back when the Eagles became title contenders (but nothing more, of course) in the 2000s, we had a regular feature that inside the newsroom was officially known as “hater’s guides” to the cities that the Eagles were playing that week, even if the “city” was actually a Wisconsin Nice burg like Green Bay. You didn’t need Sigmund Freud to diagnose the pathology of Philly’s “haters guides.”

Then there was a day when everything seemed to change.

Read the whole thing. It’s fantastic.

Unit Testing Python Links Jason Diamond: Test-Driven Development in Python Jason Diamond: More Test-Driven Development in Python

AgileTesting: Python Unit Testing Part 1

AgileTesting: Python Unit Testing Part 2

StackOverflow: Python Doctest vs Unittest

Ian Bicking: Behavior Driven Programming moves to Drupal

Dries Buytaert: using Drupal

Tim O’Reilly: Thoughts on the switch to Drupal

PDF: Goes Drupal

Content Here: Is Drupal the right platform for

I think you can trace this way back to 2004 and Howard Dean’s run for the presidency. Their team chose Drupal as the framework to leverage for their web efforts and it paid off as part of what was the most Internet-savvy campaign by that time. Inspired by that campaign and their use of technology, I had relaunched Philly Future in fact.

Dries Buytaert says of the choice:

First of all, I think Drupal is a perfect match for President Barack Obama’s push for an open and transparent government — Drupal provides a great mix of traditional web content management features and social features that enable open communication and participation. This combination is what we refer to as social publishing and is why so many people use Drupal. Furthermore, I think Drupal is a great fit in terms of President Barack Obama’s desire to reduce cost and to act quickly. Drupal’s flexibility and modularity enables organizations to build sites quickly at lower cost than most other systems. In other words, Drupal is a great match for the U.S. government.

I can’t help but agree.

NPR’s Daniel Jacobson shares details on their CMS ecosystem

Programmable Web: COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere

Programmable Web: Content Modularity: More Than Just Data Normalization

What strikes me is the focus on data storage and the emphasis on normalizing it to a modular form that enables re-use.

I’ve seen CMSes over the years try and deny the value in this approach – they store content as blobs and force app developers to keep access knowledge and manipulation maintained in the app layer. The idea being that you can never know what content you will need to store down the line, so why attempt to build a normalized store where data is maintained and re-used long term?

In the end, many of these CMSes embrace the Anemic Domain Model anti-pattern that Martin Fowler wrote about. More and more behavior that is related to your domain is pushed in to your app-space or into a services layer. confirms my past experience – the investment in building a modular data store not only establishes a strong foundation – it is one that gains in value over time. It takes research – you need to dig deep into your business’s problem domain – you need to determine what is it that is the core product(s) of your business (note – I didn’t say CMS). For NPR it’s the Story. What is it for yours?

As Martin Fowler said, “In general, the more behavior you find in the services, the more likely you are to be robbing yourself of the benefits of a domain model. If all your logic is in services, you’ve robbed yourself blind.”

Invest the time.

BTW – this isn’t a NOSQL versus RDBMS issue – there are data management solutions among each that can satisfy this.

NPR’s development team has been sharing more regularly on their blog “Inside”.


CJR: NPR Builds a Brain Trust: Thought leaders convene for a digital “Think In”