Gifts from Arabia – facts and biases

1280_Chess_World My recent post following yet another massacre of unarmed civilians belonging to a minority in Pakistan has drawn fire from a few folks in Middle Earth. 
Folks, our facts are informed by articles, based on research we rely on others to conduct because we do not have the time, resources or expertise to do so our selves, i.e. news papers and journals.
Though all news, views and editorials are biased the ones cited by me are likely to be less so than others (my main source is the Guardian not a Murdoch publication!), should you not agree with it then feel free to google and arrive at your own conclusion; my recommendation though is that you add the following publications to your list of must reads sources of news and views (links below are contextual to this post):
Let’s look at the facts, in a world of proxies the most well funded and dangerous ones emanate from Pakistan, brainwashed fodder from marginalised and uneducated communities that is used to oppress and slaughter minorities at home (destabilising the Pakistani state and making it possible for the patrons to nurture more of the same) and abroad to extend foreign policy matters that patron state(s) can not be seen to be involved in directly, essentially nurturing others to do their dirty work. Those of you who accuse me of bias, I ask you to follow a thread…ask a simple question; who is the single largest contributor/funder of schools (Madrassas) of hate and training camps for monsters in Pakistan? Don’t take my word for it, google it and draw your own conclusions.
 
No state is free of sin in the region or beyond, that is the nature of state craft; in context to this and the previous post; be it Saudi or Iran, whilst this exchange on g+ may read as a Brit and a Saudi having it off it is far from that.
 
The despots, tyrants, mullahs,  democratically elected self serving puppets and armed forces lead by generals of fortune have for too long kept the 99% divided, have pitched communities against communities, race against race so that they can maintain the status quo and continue their plunder, continue to take what rightfully belongs to the many and divvy it up amongst themselves and their cronies.
 
They play their games at the expense of the commoners – the 99%, the play is simple in Middle Earth, from Levant to Khorasan divide, rule and plunder; its about access to markets; routes for oil and gas pipelines; empire building. The choice however is ours, let them continue, side with them, be a silent witness or stand up and demand things change. It is in fact a moral duty to help the blinkered see how they are being used and abused, what it means to be a community and how theirs is being dismembered beyond recognition and driven into an abyss of sectarianism and hatred from which there will be no roads out for generations to come.
 
My rants will cause no harm and your defence of highly questionable policies of your government no benefit, what is needed is an awakening, one that can not be bought off by one of bonuses nor quashed by force. 
My own government is not free of blame either for those despots and tyrants are an extension of our self serving energy security policies too, the difference is, in my country (Great Britain) I can call a spade a spade without fear of consequences nor do I need to be seen to be defending the indefensible, whilst in Middle Earth the many can not critique without dire consequences. What comes of protestors in the Middle Earth from the Levant to Khorasan is well documented.
 
Make no mistake neither Iran nor Saudia will benefit from the fire that they are equally responsible for having started across the region nor will Turkey or others for fanning the flames, despite their delusions of grandeur they themselves are mere pawns in a greater game that has been at play in that region for 200+ years.
 
I have no solutions or silver bullets to share but I will keep calling a spade a spade be it a Saudi, Iranian or the self serving misguided adventures of my own government, and where it leads to oppression, persecution and genocide my voice will be louder still.

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

BadCampUK 2012 – Drupaling in Brighton and getting fired up at the Chilli Festival

Would have been great to stay for the BoF days on Sunday but had other commitments for Sunday…

So here a recap of BadCamp…. in a word it was the BOMB… in many it follows:

There were some pretty good sessions, and a few awesome sessions, personally I havent coded for 12+ years and since I mostly wear commercial and community hats I sat through the business and beginners track.

The day kicked off in a  typical Drupalistic unorthodox style.. Steve gave the floor to the audience for 10 secs each (OK some of us went over board) to

introduce ourselves and WHY we were all so into Drupal! to be there on what turned out to be an awesome sunny Saturday in Brighton, with the beach about a kilometer away, a chilli festival in ful swing and well in Brighton when its sunny!

 Richard Jones’s session on Commerce kickstart v2 was brilliant, the live demo went down a storm with all of us interested in Drupal Commerce but I would like to see a live head to head between   Drupal Commerce and Ubercart. There was a session on Ubercart later in the afternoon by Arnaud Lepron but would have been useful to have combined session or right after so the audience could really interrogate the  pros and cons with Richard and Arnaud.

Of super personal interest were two sessions, the first by Ben Wilding , Edward Crompton and Michael Lenahan – covering the importance of community engagement, and how to get the nerves to start contributing on D.O. With my own struggles to preach, convey, convince and sell the benefits engagement with the Drupal community to the Drupal Community in Pakistan… this session was great, and something that needs to be covered in Pakistan’s first ever DrupalCamp coming up on the 17th of November 2012 (after a failed start in June this year!). And the spirit of the community was not lost when I asked Ben and Edward to sign up as virtual speakers for DrupalCamp Pakistan to repeat their sessions on community building and contributing (thank you guys).

The other session I was curiously waiting for yesterday afternoon was Building a Tasty Backend by Jennifer Tehan on simplifying the administration or the business end of Drupal sites regardless of scale. Indeed less is more and the challenge is always giving the admin/editor users what they need and limiting access to what they dont, could be confused by or worse still use to break the site! Jenni has provided access to the sandbox for a tasty backend and  it comes with a caveat – read the documentation! her use of the context_admin, field_group, short_form and role_delegation modules in simplifying the backend is pretty ingenious  and  late in the afternoon this also happened to be the ‘woke me up’ session.

By no means is this a session review post (so am not covering each and every session here!)… the other session that I found really interesting was a pure site build session by the British Dutchman Stefan Van Hooft – Stefan demonstrated the power of Drupal for non-coders! and on his blog the use of location mapping using GPS tag captured by Smartphones/smart camera’s is pretty awesome! and more so the simplicity of ‘how i did it’ – thanks for a no nonsense session Stefan.

And needless to say the best part of the day was meeting new folks in the UK Drupal community from all over the island! and lastly the icing on the cake for a chilli geek like me was the Brighton Chilli Festival  and having tried most of the goods on offer the one that towered above the crowd was Kam’s Pepper sauces  their sauce and pickle were kick-ass and the secrets the no nonsense recipe… you can actually taste the different ingredients, it is     HOT but wont send you chasing honey, water, sour cream and celery all at the same time! (by the way.. they could do with a new online store!)

and thanks Steve for putting on an awesome Drupal Camp!

 

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

FunCon München – it wasn’t all about Drupal… well mostly it was

Drup-up!

While still digesting all the info from DrupalCon Munich and day dreaming about Drupal 8 one aspect of DC Munich not yet reflected on our blog is FUN! yup it was a blast! (no not that kind…)… with a contingent of 6 we had plenty of it and Munich was most hospitable! and its peeps warm  (the city lived up to its motto: München mag Dich) with the exception of the odd d*ckhead every major city has to live with.

So instead of a travel log… I give you the must eat places, the must drink places and the do not even bother places in Munich (strictly our experiences and if you are the proprietor of an establishment listed here and happen to chance upon this blog… well next time you better put your best foot forward!)

The absolute must eat at places:

Dehbaschi on Dachauerstraße  – for some really good Iranian food, a little over priced though

Orients Kebab House also on  Dachauerstraße (towards/closer to Hauptbahnhof Nord  – for some really good Iranian food, reasonably priced, a family run place with incredible service.

The personal favorite eatery we came across has to be  Deeba on Barerstrasse; an authentic Pakistani restaurant no mutton dressed as lamb here! the nearest station is Odeonsplatz and it is a 10 minute wok from the station and the food is finger licking good, the hospitality of Mr Malik is worth the trek, and it stays open till midnight, and the must try is lamb Karhaee (it is not on the menu, simply ask for it and it shall be prepared!).

Places to avoid:

Ali Baba – you know what I’m sayin!

Ali Baba on Schillerstrasse – never really ate here, there were two separate forays to this establishment, the first time they did not have anything advertised other than doner kebab that did not look appetising and the second time went deeper into the restaurant to find sticky tables and severe lack of hygiene,  the place needs a serious refurb and new management! and oh yes the dood behind the counter could do with lessons in hospitality and customer service (even though we never quite became customers to Ali Baba).

The italian on the corner of Schillerstrasse and Schwanthaierstrasse  – the only upside is that it stays open late but then so does McDonald’s and we should have gone to McDonald’s… I think that is enough said.

Watering holes… in München

…a hand… anybody!?

 

As for weißbier… The English garden with the Chinese tower were obviously great but for a more local vibe head down to the beer garden in Westpark (nearest station is Partnachplatz)… and who ever picked Kennedys for the Brit meetup… bless you! great staff and an almost Londonish atmosphere… heck they even had an imported  bouncer form London!

 

With DrupalCon, its pre and post events I don’t think any one of us from team

.. you need to get some protein in you Khoomy!

ikonami could do Munich’s tourist trail justice so the decision is to head back as soon as is possible with only chillaxing on the agenda… and planning a few extra days have to be set aside for DrupalCon Prague next year.

...and some of us had better ideas for R&R than others!

…and some of us had better ideas for R&R than others!

..this sums up Munich and DrupalCon for us

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

Addressing Drupal community challenges in the East – follow up from DrupalCon Munich

The silent communities of China and Pakistan found a voice at DrupalCon Munich, undeniably a game changer for the Drupal Communities in the neighbouring countries. Ironically the audio recording failed and what you can view from the session is a silent presentation! murphy’s law! let me assure those who were not there that neither Liang, myself nor the audience were silent; we had a healthy and focused discussion that you folks unfortunately can not be privy to unless someone builds a time machine!

Our AV nightmare would have continued and we would not have even had a silent presentation if not for Jons Slemmer from JoyGroup.nl as the AV equipment did not want to talk to my Mac and Liang’s Mac did not have Keynote! Jons got repaid by Karma as it was unanimously decided by team ikonami that the winner of our Android tab give away had to be Jons! (and team Joy Group got kicks from an Android tab called Pacpad! wonder if Kamra would get taken to court!?)

Jons Slemmer takes the Pacpad home!

Anyhow a quick recap of how the session went, in a word ‘awesome!’, and in many: way better than we expected! firstly there was the turn out, we never expected to pack the room but were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who showed up, validating our belief that the wider community is curious as to why two large swathes of the Drupal community are under represented on Drupal.org.

And the mix! it wasn’t an Asian affair! Drupal Watchdog was represented by Peta Hoyes, Drupal community in the UK by Ben Wilding, Marcus Oaten, Richard Moger, Belgian Drupal rockstar Dominique De Cooman, Kawai Man,  and a many more… well not exactly hundreds but we had a good turnout of about 18 odd people! from Hong Kong, Korea, Netherlands, China, Belgium, UK, Pakistan, USA and Germany to list a few… and apologies if you attended, were vocal and are not listed here (and  Kawai Man… dood I could not find you online… you like some Drupalistas in the East are off the grid!).

The discussion that followed the presentation was  beneficial for those of us working to develop and link communities, it was great to hear of the audiences perspective on reasons for the Chinese and Pakistani Drupal communities aloofness (lost for a better word to describe the state of affairs!) and the possible avenues for the active members of the Drupal communities in Pakistan and China to follow to change the status quo.

There are the usual suspects; Drupal Association and Acquia; how can the local communities engage with the DA and Acquia and draw them to support, sponsor and engage with the local community… to this end the Chinese community has taken advantage and received four scholarships to various DrupalCons, I am pretty certain no one from the Pakistani Drupal community would have even applied! (I would love to hear from anyone who has but been unsuccessful). For Acquia to put boots on the ground the potential of the local markets needs to be sold, particularly the Pakistani market, very few people outside of Pakistan know that the local web economy is worth US $1.2 billion and this is with none of the popular payment gateways operating in Pakistan, imagine the potential when the digital economy in Pakistan is truly liberated! it would be an ecommerce tsunami!

A lively audience 

Ben Wilding (organiser of Drupal Pub Meet in London) shared his experiences of developing a lively community and with much needed words of encouragement for the Pakistani contingent in attendance… keep at it even if no one turns up! (which happened in Pakistan with the very first Drupal meetup)! The other really useful tip was to concentrate on one city until a critical mass is reached, I know from the on-the ground Drupalistas in Islamabad who have been thinned out trying to reach every major urban area where Drupal shops exist…. and have had little to show for their efforts.

Other tips for the communities were the more obvious one that local organisers and farangi mentors have been too blinkered to see… Drupalcampkit.org! http://drupalcampkit.org/node/4  what an awesome resource! never knew it existed!

Clearly the state of the far flung communities bothers us all in the wider and more engaged communities, I got an email from one of the attendees; Alex Van Der Klij the week after DrupalCon with a another brilliant idea on getting the Pakistani Drupal community active… tap into the expats abroad to contribute to the community… and learn form the Wallaby and Kiwi experiences of community building!… thanks for that Alex.

The  most essential lesson for me was to engage with my own local Drupal community in London more often,   learn from their experiences and get help for my mission of trying to get a remote and silent community thousands of miles away active! tsk tsk! and a lesson learned… I attended my first Drupal Pub meetup and it was awesome! in fact since DrupalCon I have made it to more meetups than I did in the first half of the year!

 

 

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

DrupalCon Munich… looking back at last week

Team Ikonami - Drupal Trumps

Team Ikonami – Drupal Trumps

So DrupalCon Munich came to an end, the show is over in Europe for another year! and most of us are back in our respective timezones or on route!

… verdict? DrupalCon Munich was awesome it had its highs, highs and a low!

Being a Londoner I want to say DrupalCon London was better because yes it is a freaking pissing contest between our Awesome city and the other contenders to the throne! but I will say this… DrupalCon Munich was much better than DrupalCon Croydon.

Ikonami had a small contingent from our Drupal force attending including senior developers, our themeing lead and our Drupal Service line account manager. In a nut shell the team found the event very well organized (better than DC Croydon), the spread of sessions targeting beginners to experienced Drupalistas went down a storm with the developers a couple of whom were disappointed by DC Croydon’s not so advanced session mix… The community tracks went down a storm for our Islamabad team is struggling to bring local Drupalistas out of the woods and into the global community’s fold. Sessions covering new developments and structural changes in Drupal 8 were obviously the pick of the bunch by all our attendees! but Asghar hasn’t really stopped talking about them!

 

Khurram’s picks were sessions on The New Entity and Property API and Multi Region failover scenarios in the Cloud but the lows were Think like a hacker: Secure Drupal Code; it was declared as very basic but then Khurram’s expectations were too high for this session I think! ikonami has a tiny team of certified ethical hackers so our in-house security sessions are legendary and our guys seldom come across conference sessions that can beat Ali’s knowledge on breaking into digital residences!

Then the other let down for the developers was Dealing with Buggy Modules or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Issue Queue; it too was declared very basic and our guys already knew about the issues covered in the session.

The absolute high for the team was the core code sprints on Friday… it was the first opportunity they had to sit and work with the wider community and the team clocked two bugs too! (proud of the ikonami contingent!).

Meeting Dries Buytaert

Meeting Dries Buytaert

Personally for me the highs were plenty! meeting Dries has to be up there on top… then the mix of people at DC Munich was fabulous! in Croydon we had a few neighbours from the mainland but Munich it seemed brought them all out of the woods!

The CXO event

The CXO event was kick-ass, the format was great (it was straight out of how sessions are held at Cranfield SOM!) the mix of participants and the issues highlighted and discussed were pertinent to the community and the commercial challenges we all face. It was more than just a CXO networking event… it was a CXO brainstorming event and @BenFinklea‘s ideas and @gregster (Gregory)’s facilitation to keep things on track were spot on.

The only real low I had at DC Munich was learning that Liang and my session on Community building in China and Pakistan had no audio recorded! which given the fact that the AV guys had spent 15 minutes trying to fix it (and assure us it was working) was a real bummer and the only polite word for the alleged AV maestro that Liang and I agreed on was ‘incompetent’… and a Londoner too! tsk tsk…. it is ironic that the session where we spent more time talking to the audience (as opposed to talking at the audience) about why the Chinese and Pakistani Drupal communities are so silent had no audio recorded! divine intervention or sod’s law! can’t win them all I guess! I will be posting my notes from the session on the blog as soon as I have had some time to catch up with everything else I had to put on hold for the week in Munich….

with Megan Sanicki

 

Lastly there is always time to mention Drupal Association‘s team and my favorite DrupalMachen in the Drupalverse Megan Sanicki who put up an awesome show and were there every time we needed something, were lost in the Conferencesphere or just needed some assistance, thank you DA and thank you Megan.

And yes there will be a dedicated post on how AWESOME Munich was, the locals (had been told how cold they are before we landed) and their hospitality, the Muay Thai grandmaster (Col. Amnat Pooksrisuk) I found and trained with in Munich at Kru Stefan Feldmeier’s Gym, the strangers my team and I had pleasant run ins with and an awesome stranger who gave me a lift into the city when I found myself out in the middle of somewhere lost in Munich with a dead mobile phone, no map and little sense of direction.. thank you.

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.