Musings of a Manchester Drupal guy

Drupal, Open Source, Analytics, Social Media.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Drupal iOS SDK - Drupal as a backend for iPhone / iPad Apps

Drupal as a back end for iPhone apps just got a whole lot easier with the release of Work Habit incs new Drupal iOS SDK by Kyle Browning.

Download it now from github.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Drupal desktop has never been easier - Introducing Dev Desktop by Acquia

WAMP and MAMP are no longer the best choices when approaching having a local installation of Drupal, Apache, MySQL.


Dev Desktop - From zero to Drupal in 2 minutes flat

The good people at Acquia have prepared a Drupal specific 'AMP' stack called Dev Desktop
which streamlines the installation process to a couple of minutes, after which you have all the servers and a Drupal site up and running. Stress free, non technical.

Download Dev Desktop


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Google+ now available on iTunes


Monday, July 18, 2011

Beautiful visualisation of the migration habits of 881 iPhones

Proving that data really can be beautiful, I guess you can also make some interesting assumptions too.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

The power of Circles in Google+ - segmentation means larger more loyal audiences

As the volume of messages posted on social networks explodes people are becoming more selective about who they connect with. It is important that your message reaches its intended audience and that you stick to subjects they are engaged with. I have several personas and talk about Social Media, Drupal, Open Source, Manchester digital, ecommerce - the audiences don't always cross over. This represents a challenge when using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. 

What's wrong with Twitter?

I am a massive Twitter user, one aspect I always wrestle with is segmenting my messages so I don't lose followers by hitting them with irrelevant messages. The best way I have to avoid this on Twitter is to have multiple accounts which act as personas. This is unsatisfactory since it requires time consuming sign ups and complex management issues.

Google+ Circles is the solution!


Google have taken the best of all social media and wrapped it up into Google+. Circles allows you to segment people you follow into interest groups. This provides two valuable features.

Filtering incoming messages by circle

By placing individuals in circles by interest or category you are able to view posts just within that circle. This is rather similar to Twitter lists. However there appears to be no limit to the number of circles you can generate which cannot be said of Twitter lists.

Share with specific circles

The ability to share a post just to certain circles is a killer feature. It provides the facility to achieve segmentation and relevance. You are more likely to grow and retain a larger following if you employ this tactic.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Drupal is not just for Developers -Tim Millwoods .Net Magazine tutorial


The August edition of .Net Magazine features a detailed tutorial by UK Drupal developer Tim Millwood who works with Acquia. Guiding a novice user through the process of installing Drupal and building a job listing website, the tutorial clearly establishes how easy to use and extensible Drupal 7.x is to new comers. Detailing the benefits of features module in migrating configuration changes from development to live servers is a helpful inclusion.

Having recently had the pleasure of chatting with Brian Teeman co-founder of Joomla, it became clear that many 'outsiders' consider Drupal to require development skills in order to build sites. Of course, those familiar with the platform are clear in the knowledge that with over 7000 contributes modules Drupal is a platform where user can achieve powerful web presences with little or no development skills.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Insider North West Social Media Breakfast event - 10 actionable tips for businesses

Todays hottest tickets were to Insider North Wests "Social networking for business". On the panel were

What became apparent was that most businesses understood that they should engage on social media and that ther was a huge opportunity, yet few knew how to effectively engage with the medium. "I've registered, now what?" was a common theme expressed.

Nearly the whole audience were on LinkedIn yet few used Twitter or Facebook in their professional lives. Few businesses permitted their staff to use social media, indeed most indicated policies were in place to prevent this.

There was a certain level of apprehension, it seemed one reason for not adopting social media was the fear it could do more harm than good.

Manchester does social media

Locally there are plenty of success stories. Manchester airport has a fabulous Twitter presence which is used as a customer care channel, crisis management (during the volcanic ash cloud). MOSI use Twitter to market, converse with the public and build their brand to great effect. Manchester Libraries Facebook page features a catalogue search, videos of the Central Library transformation, highly engaging and popular.

Actionable tips for your business

On all networks ensure your profile is complete, reflects your brand appropriately and contains links to your web presence.


Businesses should be more actively seeking to connect on LinkedIn with potential partners and prospects. They should be engaging with people on the LinkedIn groups and posting more regular updates to their profile.


As the UK's second most visited web site, every business should have an active presence on Facebook. Consider using the questions & answers tools, build a Facebook Page which can be used as an outbound marketing tool and relationship building exercise.


Use Twitter as an outbound marketing tool and start to engage with your audience more

  • Bring the conversation back to your website with a link
  • Thank people for retweeting
  • Answer questions
  • Ask questions for which the answer is on your web site as a blog post
  • Do use #FollowFriday to reach new followers
  • Reach out to people, humanise your business by speaking directly and publicy


Consider adding Facebook and LinkedIn advertising to the marketing mix. Since both Facebook and LinkedIn advertsing can be targetted using location and demographic information it offers opportunities which Google Adwords lacks.

Typically Facebook users are not in the buying cycle but you can approach people asking to be 'liked'. This opens up a marketing channel so you can drive traffic towards your web site or Facebook page.

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Warning - avoid Mini Sticky Splatter - damages everything it touches

I bought a Mini Sticky Splatter black spider from The Science Museum, London (Supplied by

My daughter was playing with it for a short while and became covered in nasty black tar like deposits which stuck to her clothes and hands.

Upon attempting to remove with soap and water the horrid material stuck to the sink like bitumen. Virtually impossible to remove. Only with harsh tearful hand washing were my duaghters hands and face cleansed. Subsequently I spent 1 hour cleaning the messy slick from sink with cif cream and a scouring pad. Her clothes are possibly ruined. How can a product like this possibly be safe for sale to children?

I have emailed the Science Museum and Tobar to inform them of the situation.

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