The ENGINE Blog

The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding Unveils New Drupal Site... by ENGINE!

We’re super proud to introduce the new web home of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, a literally world-renowned nonprofit. Tanenbaum brings together people of different faiths by guiding schools, workplaces, and medical institutions and honoring peacemakers of wartorn regions.

The list of religious and political dignitaries*, corporations**, universities***, and charities**** who support Tanenbaum — via financial support, accolades, or contributions — is completely ridiculous. I offer you mere samples of each:

*: Billy Graham, Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Kofi Annan, Madeline Albright, Joe Lieberman
**: Walt Disney Company, Conde Nast, Verizon, Kraft, Prudential, Shell, Viacom
***: Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, George Mason, Fordham, Columbia
****: Carnegie Corporation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Merril Lynch & Co. Foundation

And many many more. Somewhere in there, there’s little old us.

Tanenbaum’s old site was static (AKA hard to update, inflexible, and hard to expand) and didn’t present the clearest picture of exactly what they do.

They wanted to distinguish their programs from each other in an obvious visual way, instead of having only one look for the entire site. Being able to update their own content at the drop of a hat was also on the shopping list.

Looking over their content management system options, they narrowed it down to Drupal, WordPress, Ruby on Rails, and Moveable Type.

Already leaning towards going open source, Tanenbaum was impressed by Drupal’s flexibility.

So (PRESTO) we created a custom Drupal build for Tanenbaum, as we’re known to do from time to time. We developed:

  • a complete E-commerce solution allowing sales, donations, and gifts
  • Google Maps and social media integration
  • different sections for each program
  • a promo ad management system
  • forums
  • a couple dozen distinct content types
  • Views/CCK-based automagical content displays
  • easy-to-create photo galleries
  • and a roped-off section offering premium content for paying members.

Pulling over and restructuring all their content followed, plus some proofing along the way. Tanenbaum’s old blog was hosted at wordpress.com, so we brought that on over into the new Drupal site too, consolidating their web presence and brand into one much-improved location.

So YEP we’re happy Tanenbaum’s new Drupal site is live and firing, and now we’re on to the on on to the next one.

Wow That Was One Nerdy Week [Three Best Things 2/8/10 - 2/14/10]

Maybe now that football’s over, the internet’s jock/nerd balance has swung the unsportsy way. For whatever reason, this week’s 3BT is by far the nerdiest yet. If I knew any Star Trek quotes, I’d drop one here; you couldn’t even stop me.

Your socially awkward links:

Also, marvel at Reddit’s ridiculous list of the most useful websites. [Lost quote]. No, I promise you’ll be amazed.

Nerd Creates Herd of Himself

This nerd conducting a live screencast clicks to watch himself conducting his live screencast, and hell follows after. At the :31-second mark, the Nerd Hall of Mirrors soars into the Nerd Hall of Fame, [Monty Python quote].

What Happens If You Pay Zero Rupees to Register as a South Carolinan Terrorist? [Three Best Things 2/1/10 - 2/7/10]


Via 5th Pillar

  • Indian government workers demand bribes from people all the time. Solution: hand those crooks some worthless currency made especially for bribing. They say it’s working; corrupt bureaucrats are falling back at the sight of people sticking up for themselves.
  • If you want to overthrow the government of South Carolina, first you have to pay a $5 registration fee. Even if this article was a joke, it might still qualify as a Best Thing: Comedy Edition entry, considering South Carolina’s especially overthrow-y history. But it’s for realsies — some legislators in South Carolina think Al Qaeda is going to stop by and fill out some paperwork. This is a real law! A real law. You’d think. Um. It’s. Wait, does. Mind broken. Real law. Only just. Really? I. (Let’s move on.)
  • Not mindhacking your zen is cluttery/unrefreshing. Truly ground-breaking zen: 43 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life. Sample zenhacks:
  1. Remove your doors
  2. Eat half of each pet
  3. Sit on a big, thick book
  4. Something something keyring holder
  5. Paint clocks cheery pink

But wait

Spider-Man by Wes Anderson.

ENGINE's Official Super Bowl XLIV Guide for Casual Sports Fans

You’re going to a Super Bowl party Sunday night, but you have no idea which of these two teams Eli Manning plays for. Don’t worry; we’ve got your entire Super Bowl fan pack right here.

What snack should I bring?

Buffalo chicken dip, a dip made of buffalo chicken. Next question.

I’m not from Louisiana or Indiana. I’m from somewhere like Canada, Pakistan, or Nigeria. Who should I root for/against?

America is rooting for the Saints, but thinks the Colts will win. But you’d like a little more than that before you make a choice this critical.

You should root against the Colts because Peyton Manning is obnoxious. Also, the NFL says you can’t root for the Saints. Screw the NFL! You’re rooting for the Saints!

You should root against the Saints because head coach Sean Payton is obnoxious. Also, a Louisiana high school principal says you can’t root for the Colts. Screw that Louisiana high school principal! You’re rooting for the Colts!

Tough, tough call.

OK, blah blah blah. Which team is the fun team?

Saints celebrations look like this:

While Colts celebrations look like this:


Via USA Today

I hear The Who is playing the halftime show.

Here are the four best Super Bowl halftime shows ever. All of them are much better than The Who will be:

  1. Diana Ross, 1996: A medley of 534 #1 hits, plus exit stage helicopter, in ten minutes? Why not!
  2. Michael Jackson, 1993: Remember — as MJ stood still for what felt like minutes, worldwide TV ratings were going up. And then the show started.
  3. Prince, 2007: “Purple Rain,” performed in rain that is purple.
  4. U2, 2002: Perfect. U2 fulfilled their obligations as a band with this show, but sadly decided to stick around anyway.


Via NJ.com

What about the commercials?

We agree; it’s sad that so many people care about Super Bowl commercials.


Via the New York Times

Who’s gonna win?

First, decide which you trust the most… Math, machines, or middle-aged men?

  • Math: Football Outsiders, the nerdiest of all football stat sites, have crunched one million pounds of equations to determine… it’s a toss-up.
  • Machines: Madden 2010 likes the Saints — and, believe it or not, Madden is almost always right when it comes to predicting Super Bowls.
  • Middle-aged men: Almost all the self-declared experts are picking the Colts to win.

Also, predictions by Colts fans and Saints fans. (May not be objective.)

No really, what about the commercials?

Here’s a Google search for best super bowl commercials ever.

Wholehearted Super Bowl rap songs made by white fans?

Colts:

 Saints:

Give me some trivia to try out.

And if you really want to impress, tear into the NFL’s gigantic new Hulu presence, featuring videos of like everything ever.

Will the announcers talk about anything besides the dumb game?

Oh good lord yes.

  • As you may have heard, the Saints are from New Orleans. Also, Colts receiver Pierre Garcon is from Haiti.
  • Colts quarterback Peyton Manning’s dad, Archie, played for the Saints, and the Manning family is from Louisiana.
  • Saints running back Reggie Bush is dating famous celebrity Kim Kardashian.
  • Is Peyton Manning the best quarterback ever?
  • Some more about New Orleans.
  • Some players are hurt, but will play anyway.


Via the Evansville Courier-Press

Give me something to complain about that nobody else will be complaining about.

When players list their alma maters during introductions, many of them haven’t actually graduated. GET OFF MY LAWN.

What happens after the game ends?

Regular-season basketball.


Via Stiletto Sports

A Phony's History of the iPad [Three Best Things 1/25/10 - /1/31/10]

J. D. Salinger

In 1965, author J. D. Salinger retired with the world heavyweight book-writin’ title belt. By the early ’80s, his Catcher in the Rye was simultaneously the most-banned and second-most-taught book in American schools. He died this week at 91.

Holden Caulfield says: “Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.”

The iPad

To paraphrase Dee Dee Warwick and Mike Tyson, iPad’s gonna make you love iPad. Need one good reason to convince yourself that you’ll never fall for it? How about twelve?

There’s this: “If the first personal computers required permission from the manufacturer for each new program or new feature, the history of computing would be as dismally totalitarian as the milieu in Apple’s famous Super Bowl ad.” And this: The thing that bothers me most about the iPad is this: if I had an iPad rather than a real computer as a kid, I’d never be a programmer today.” But the iPad isn’t meant for computer geniuses. It’s meant for their moms.

The iPad is crap futurism whose lack of Flash compatibility might give us a future without Flash. That would be fantastic. The future also promises nine tablet computers that might wind up being as good, better, or cheaper than the iPad. (As with MP3 players and smart phones, Apple wasn’t the first or necessarily the best; they were the loudest biggest and shiniest most magical.)

Holden Caulfield says: “It’s funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them to.”

Also relevant:

Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn, who also died this week, shoehorned all history into a single narrative and avoided citing his claims — which you can get away with if you’re writing a history text like this, but not if you’re writing one like this. He didn’t exactly become a historian’s historian. But he achieved a harder thing; he made young people see history for what it is: an evolving story with unreliable narrators, usually written by the winners.

(IS THERE A LINK-OF-THE-WEEK IN HERE SOMEWHERE?)

One of Zinn’s last interviews, with PBS in December 2009.

Holden Caulfield says: “People always think something’s all true.”

A word:

Has anyone checked on Matt Damon this week? Good Will Hunting was basically Catcher in the Rye: Math Version, and Damon’s character is a big Zinn fan. In fact, Damon was Zinn’s real-life neighbor growing up, and was one of the first people to read a draft of A People’s History.

Status update: ENGINE is sad for Matt Damon.