A short summary of our current CMS situation

We had another workshop last night with the day laborers and it was a somewhat frustrating technology experience. We’ve been cobbling together workarounds for functionality that our CMS doesn’t have yet, for example using flickr for photos and a gizmo account for audio calls. However, after testing gizmo all week and having it work fine, of course it failed during the workshop.

To make a long story short, voice posting was not working at all, either via the gizmo number we’ve set up (itself a workaround while we are waiting to hear from the university about forwarding a local number to the asterisk server), or as audio attachments to MMS via mailhandler.

I believe (but need to confirm today) that the problem with the audio attachments was just that the phones were not set up with accounts yet and we still haven’t managed to enable anonymous phones to post, although we have set up mailhandler access rules that SHOULD have worked.

Anyway, here’s where everything stands:

1. asterisk integration: waiting on USC re: forwarding a local # to asterisk server

2. images: successful post of images to the site via sms/mms/email, however they currently appear only as attachments. waiting on thumbnail generation and inline images. Until then, we will continue to use flickr. And we will have to use flickr for the upcoming hunger strike action, since our CMS does not support the needed functionality.

3. audio clips: our current workaround to asterisk is a gizmo account, which was working last week (forwarding calls as wav attachments to the site, mailhandler posting them as attachments). This worked ok, but

a) lots of junk from gizmo in the emails,

b) audio does not appear playable inline but as link to attachment.

Yesterday, unfortunately, even this workaround broke and we are trying to figure out why gizmo stopped forwarding the audio as email attachments.

4. mms: it is currently possible to send mms with images and audio clips recorded on the phones to the site, where they appear as a list of links to attachments. However

a) a list of links to attachments is not a user friendly media interface, they need to be viewable inline in the posts,

b) there is junk in the email from the providers,

c) there is a privacy problem since most providers make the audio clip filename with the user phone number,

d) this can only be done from registered phones, we need to enable anonymous posts

So that’s where we are, we start a big hunger strike for immigrant rights action next week (see http://www.therisemovement.org/) and we have a group of day laborers who will be acting as community correspondents, as well as asking people to send in images of support, but our CMS isn’t ready so we will mostly be using flickr. Well, one step at a time…

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