Introducing “”

I am a Dad.

I became a father about three and a half years ago by adopting a little girl in my immediate community that needed a mom and a dad. My wife and I had looked at adopting internationally but ultimately decided that there was so much need in our own backyard that we would grow our family through social services. My wife and I started out as foster parents and ultimately segued into finalising.

Being engaged in the that community and gaining so much from it, my wife and I began to think it would be a good idea to give back to it. There are few online resources that are dedicated to supporting parents of children who were in the foster system. About a week ago we acquired, com, and net with the intent of cobbling together a site rather quickly. In comes Drupal.

Using Drupal core, contributed modules, and a contributed theme, my wife and I (in the evenings) put the site together in about a week. One of our goals was to get the site ready for November 1 because November is National Adoption Awareness Month in the United States.

The site is a simple concept. It provides:

  1. Forums for discussion on Adoption Issues relating to adopting older kids
  2. Listings of books that are helpful in raising kids who were adopted at an older age
  3. Listings of resources that might be helpful
  4. Blogs
  5. And ultimately there will be a listing of adoption services

The goal of the site is simple–A Virtual Support Group for parents to share a common experience in dealing with the adoption of traumatized kids.

If you are the parent of a child adopted a little later in life. If you are the parent of a kid who you adopted from social services. If your kid was traumatized before he or she came into your life, If you are a parent looking for other parents with similar may provide you with sounding board and a support system.

Over next weeks and months we will continue to work on the site improving its functionality and usability. My hope is that it becomes a dynamic and vibrant community.

Written by: Creech

Out with the Old and In with the New

You’ve probably noticed a change to the Commons’ Web site.

  • It has a bit of a new look
  • Site elements have moved some.
  • The site has been upgraded from Drupal 5.x to 6.x
  • You’ll see that URLs are now human friendly
  • An XML sitemap has been added for URL spiders
  • Meta-tags can be added to each post

As you look around, if you see anything that is out of place or not working correctly–please let me know!

Creech Antwerp (Matthew Saunders)

Written by: Creech

An Open Source Grant Making System

Grant-making isn’t a cheap venture. Even if you are a re-granting agency (you are given money to give away), the overhead involved in running a grants program is significant. I want to help that change.

Six or so years ago, I was central in developing an online grants system and later managing a grants program using that online grants system. During that time, I worked with roughly 20 large and small organizations that gave grants ranging from city, to county, to state, to federal agencies.

Many grants programs are paper-based. Applications are filled out with pen on paper or with a typewriter. In some instances the application is available as a fillable PDF, but ultimately the process becomes analog-paper being passed from administrator to panels and from agency to applicant. It is expensive in human resources–people having to manage the process often, with the help of, excel or other spreadsheet applications.

Other grants programs use specialised software which–by and large–is expensive to set up and expensive to license each year.

The more money used to administer grants programs, the less money there is to distribute. Less Money to distribute=Less Good in the target community.

At pingVision, we have assembled a Knight Drupal Initiative Proposal that addresses the need for an open-source solution for grant-makers. This application seeks:

  1. To create an easy-to-use, state of the art, open-source grant-making system using the Drupal Content Management system.
  2. To allow for custom development of application forms.
  3. To allow for custom theme development.
  4. To provide management tools for grant applicants, grantees, panelists, and Grant-makers

Interested in helping? We can use constructive comments and votes! Help make this project happen.

You do need to register to vote and comment. If you do vote, please leave a comment of some kind.

Creech (Matthew)

Written by: Creech

Mollom Spam Filter — An Update

Mollom has been doing its job pretty well. In the last month it has caught over 1100 potential spam comments on the site! Where I had been engaged in daily cleanup of of anywhere from 20-50 spam comments, I have only had to “pick off’ a handful manually.

I guess the question is, have the members of this community found it easier or harder to use the site? Have you noticed any change?

Let me know.

Creech (Matthew)

Written by: Creech

Who Can Use the Calendar?

The event calendar belongs to this community! However, if you’d like to add events to the calendar, you need to have special permissions. You can ask Glitteratica, Penguin, or me to set you up! After you have “the keys”, pop on over to the EVENT PAGE. There is a tutorial if you’d need some HELP.

Written by: Creech

Mollom Spam Filter

The NPC site was getting a fair bit of spam–mostly dealing with World of Warcraft gold–so we’ve decided to install Mollom to the site. Mollom is a spam catching service that will try and determine if your comment is a) spam, b) could be spam, or c) is spam and it takes appropriate action ranging from nothing, to a captcha challenge, to blocking the content.

Let me know at matthew [at] dogstar [dot] org if you see anything strange. Otherwise, happy posting!

If you are interested in how to install Mollom on a Drupal website, I have put together a short tutorial on my Nonprofits and Web 2.0 Site.

Creech Antwerp / Matthew Saunders

Written by: Creech

Using the Event Calendar

As you may have noticed, there has been a little event calendar on the site for the last few weeks. We’ve been ironing out some issues and there are still other elements that we may add in the future, but it is ready for folks to start making use of.

  1. To post to the calendar you must be registered as a blogger on the site. We are limiting who can post to the calendar to prevent spam from ending up on the calendar.
  2. If you want to post to the calendar, please ask Glit, Penguin, or Creech (me!) to set you up.
  3. If you want to book space in one of the sims, please see Penguin or Glit and ask one of them to make the arrangements.
  4. This goes without saying, but please be sensible about what events you post.

Alright, how do you go about posting an event? It is pretty simple.

  1. Log into the NPC site.
  2. Click on "Create Content" in your right hand menu
  3. Click on "Event"
  4. Choose a start and end date along with times. Please note that the time zone is Pacific/SL.
  5. Type in a Title
  6. Add body–you can use some HTML. If you want to see what the filter will accept and what options you have–click on "Input Format"
  7. You may include a file attachment if you have something like a flyer
  8. Click "Preview" if you’d like to look at your event before you post it
  9. Click "Submit" when you are ready for it to be posted to the site.

It is that easy. Happy event posting!

Creech Antwerp/Matthew Saunders

Written by: Creech

Event Calendar

You may have noticed that there is now an event calendar on the site.  There is a tab at the top of the site that will lead you to the calendar.  The idea is to provide a place where we can all see what events are happening in the sims and when.  With any luck, it will help the NPC managers book events in an intelligent way.
If you want to make use of one of the public spaces or are going to have an event in your own space–please contact Penguin (Megan) to make arrangements for booking/listing.
Thanks!Creech (Matthew)

Written by: Creech

New Tech Grant Program–Knight Drupal Initiative

The Knight Drupal Initiative is a grant program designed to foster development in the Drupal project.

Knight Foundation is a Miami-based non-profit grant making organization. Since 1950, the foundation has invested more than $300 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression worldwide.

read more…

Written by: Creech

Site Outage Today

At approximately 9:30am MT our Web host’s entire communications network (Internet, cell and phone) was taken off-line by a massive fiber cut that affected much of much of Taos. This is the largest communication outage Brownrice has seen in six years. Brownrice Internet utilizes triple-redundant internet connections to ensure reliabilty in the event that an upstream provider fails. However, these connections share one local fiber optic cable — which was cut this morning. To ensure that this type of outage does not happen again we have already begun the process of creating an additional physical connection to the Internet which will keep us online should something like this happen again.

Written by: Creech