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By Tom Geller | Monday, August 11, 2014

Does Bitcoin Matter?

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I love creating courses for lynda.com because I get to introduce the site’s curious and intelligent members to subjects I’m passionate about. The content editors at lynda work hard to make sure every course is relevant and useful to its members.

So when I proposed my course, Up and Running with Bitcoin, they had questions. Does Bitcoin matter enough now? Will it matter a year from now?

I struggled with these questions myself when I first learned about Bitcoin, probably around mid-2011. At that time I was unimpressed, and I’d seen plenty of other “online money” projects come and go. But Bitcoin eventually changed my mind by proving itself a worthy competitor to other financial systems, and by opening up entirely new ways to pay and get paid.

If you heard about Bitcoin during its troubled first few years, or only know of it through old news reports, here’s why Bitcoin matters now:

By Cynthia Scott | Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Drupal training released on the same day as Drupal 7

Drupal 7 is scheduled to release today—and in a happy coincidence, lynda.com’s first release of 2011, Drupal Gardens Essential Training, with Tom Geller, was also released today.

Kirk Werner was the training producer for this course. The day we talked about creating this course he went out to test Drupal Gardens for himself. When I asked him about the software, he told me that he found Drupal Gardens to be an amazing CMS solution, giving people the ability to make a great looking, custom site in less than 30 minutes.

In this course, author Tom Geller demonstrates how to create and publish a complete web site with the powerful tools in Acquia’s hosted service, Drupal Gardens. The course covers how to leverage its pre-built page layouts and add custom styling without having to learn CSS, using the Theme Builder tool, integrate rich site features, such as forms, surveys, and media galleries, and how to push content to Twitter and Facebook. The course also shows how to transition a Drupal Gardens site to a self-hosted Drupal site.

I caught up with Tom to ask him about his course.

How is Drupal Gardens related to Drupal 7?

It’s real Drupal, only without the server maintenance hassles of traditional, self-hosted Drupal. Think of it this way: What the WordPress.com blogging site is to WordPress, Drupal Gardens is to Drupal.

Drupal Gardens also differs from the “core” Drupal by including a lot of extra pieces. I think Acquia did a good job picking which modules to add: They really give you features you want, but that aren’t in core Drupal. On the down side, you can’t add modules (as you can with self-hosted Drupal). On the other hand, you can always export your Drupal Gardens site if you outgrow its functionality.

What skills will people need to use Drupal Gardens?

Not nearly as many as for Drupal! If you’ve ever used a publishing platform — WordPress, Blogger, MediaWiki, or even services like Facebook or LiveJournal — you’ll feel comfortable publishing in Drupal Gardens right away. Now, you’ll only use five percent of its power at first: It’s really that much deeper than those other programs. But that just speaks to how far you can go with it.

In your opinion, what’s the most interesting feature in Drupal Gardens?

One feature? I’d say it’s the Theme Builder, which gives you incredible freedom to change your site’s appearance. You get pixel-level control over the theme’s Cascading Style Sheets without having to learn CSS — although knowing a bit about its structure sure helps. I give a brief background about it before showing how the Theme Builder works.

But what most impresses me about Drupal Gardens is the whole package. It feels solid; there are no loose ends. Given Drupal’s flexibility, that’s saying a lot.

Are there any key features that have been added since you recorded your course?

Yes! In late December, when the course was in post-production, Acquia added a neat data-collection feature called webforms. Drupal Gardens already had something similar — the Poll module that comes in core Drupal. But webforms takes that concept much, much further. As with the Theme Builder, they improved webforms by giving it a more click-and-drag interface than you usually see in Drupal.

Since we’re planning to update this course on a regular basis, I’ll be able to update the Drupal Gardens course to include webforms the next time I’m at lynda.com.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Just that Drupal Gardens really owes its life to two parties: Acquia, the commercial company that released it, and the Drupal community as a whole. It’s an excellent example of a community-built open-source project that’s been commercialized with intelligence and sensitivity. It sure helps that the same person created both Acquia and the original Drupal software.

By Megan O. Read | Friday, April 16, 2010

lynda.com author Tom Geller at DrupalCon San Francisco

DrupalCon

DrupalCon SF starts next week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. Keynote speakers include a White House representative discussing the migration of whitehouse.gov to Drupal, as well as Drupal founder Dave Buytaert discussing the future of Drupal.

lynda.com author Tom Geller will be a featured speaker in the Many Flavors of Drupal Training panel on Monday, at 9:45am. This year’s DrupalCon is projected to be the biggest yet, with 3,000 expected attendees, and 8-12 simultaneous sessions at any given time. Tickets are still available for this event.

By Megan O. Read | Friday, March 19, 2010

Author exhibitions at MoMA, new books, and upcoming events

Currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is the work of lynda.com author and interactive designer Brendan Dawes. The Cinema Redux project is part of the Action! Design over Time exhibition. This is Brendan’s second time exhibiting at MoMA. In 2008, Cinema Redux was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Design and the Elastic Mind at MoMA. Two Cinema Redux pieces have since been acquired for the MoMA collection. A limited edition print from Cinema Redux is available from Coudal.

Cinema Redux of Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock), by Brendan Dawes.

An excerpt from the new book from James Ball and Matt Gottshalk, and lynda.com authors Robbie CarmanandRichard Harrington, From Still to Motion is available for a sneak peek. lynda.com author Ian Robinson and his wife Lisa shot most of the photography for this fascinating book on creating video with your Digital SLR. This book is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Drupal instructor Tom Geller is giving an online, all-day Drupal workshop on March 29th from 9am-5PM (CT). For more information, check out Tom’s blog, or sign up here—lynda.com blog readers get 10% off!

Join Anne Marie Concepcion for her InDesignSecrets seminar on Thursday March 25th in Secaucus, NJ at 9am (EST). If you can’t make the New Jersey date, check out the rest of the North American tour dates.

The CMS Expo in Chicago is coming up on May 3-5, and Joomla! Expert Jen Kramer is a featured speaker, and Core CMS Track Leader at the 2010 CMS Expo. Details and registration information available here.

By Megan O. Read | Friday, July 24, 2009

The latest lynda.com author news: Congrats, Chad! and Go, Tom!

megannews Hi friends,

Our fantastic lynda.com authors are at it again! Here’s the latest:

lynda.com author Chad Perkins has recently won the Seattle’s 48 Hour Film Festival award for sound design and composition. Big congrats to Chad! Here’s the winning video with awesome sound: http://vimeo.com/5546474

Tom Geller‘s brand new Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data training video was recently highlighted on drupal.org. Way to go Tom! You’ve been all over the Drupal world.

By Tom Geller | Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Making data dance: A peek into the new Drupal course

Tom GellerTom Geller here, author of lynda.com’s Drupal Essential Training, which I posted about in my blog. The success of that course suggested that we bring out another—but on what subject? We decided to try a new direction, and the result is Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data.

“Presentation of data… isn’t that what Drupal does already?” some might ask. “Doesn’t that describe every Web site?”

Well… yes and no. Every page, blog post and comment is, technically speaking, data. But beyond such narrative text is a world of other applications that enliven both business and personal Web sites—and that Drupal does exceptionally well. Consider collections of data such as membership lists, photo galleries, catalogs, and maps.

Each of these applications is a collection of entries (called “nodes” in Drupalese): people, images, products, and locations, respectively. Each node contains multiple fields: For example, a point on a map might contain not only its latitude and longitude, but also its street address, name, image, and description of why it’s important.

In Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data, I’ll be showing how to assemble these “atomic” pieces of data into useful, engaging, and attractive forms. Mostly this was done through two add-on modules for Drupal, called Content Construction Kit (CCK) and Views. But I also get a chance to show off how to plan such applications from the beginning, and some advanced techniques for creating calendars and charts.

As with Drupal Essential Training, it was a blast to work with lynda.com producer Kirk Werner and everybody at the lynda.com office. I look forward to its release later this summer, and to creating the next one!

By Lynda Weinman | Thursday, May 07, 2009

What are we missing in our various CMS courses?

My last post about Joomla! triggered some buzz in the twittersphere and prompted more discussion. Jen Kramer wrote to me that Maria Langer (lynda.com WordPress 2.7 Essential Training author) contacted her:

Maria Langer contacted me by Twitter and said she’d love it if you asked the same question about a WordPress course. Now I’m wondering if we couldn’t make this a more generic series of movies, suitable for Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla. They all have the same starting place for their customized templates/themes — a static HTML web page.

Tom Geller (lynda.com Drupal Essential Training author) has been coordinating a CMS Overview course that would explain the strengths and weaknesses of the different systems and help newcomers navigate which choice to make.

So, open question to you all – what are we missing in our various CMS courses?

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