Barrett Olafson's Blog

Project Management Chronicles: Being a Better Listener

Listening is one of those skills that many take for granted. It's one thing to listen to what is being said, and it's a much more involved exercise to comprehend what is being expressed. After all, a speaker is much more likely to be responsive to feedback if they trust that the listener truly understands the point(s) that they are trying to convey via the conversation.

Conversations are a cultural exchange of thoughts, ideas and emotions. In any wholly successful exchange, all parties walk away feeling personally satisfied with the outcome. Therefore, it behooves listeners greatly, to their own end, to ensure that the speakers are being clearly understood; scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
August 14, 2012

Project Management Chronicles: Be the Expo

Imagine this scenario at your favorite popular and busy eatery:

A diner informs the server that their order has been undercooked and that their side is not what they ordered; the overachieving, overburdened and busy server returns to the kitchen with the dish and requests a re-fire of the dish to more than one of a number of cooks in the kitchen; all of which are told or hear different interpretations of the diner’s original wishes.

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
December 27, 2011

NTP out of sync?

Is your unix-based system time out of sync? If it is out of sync by more that 1000 seconds, you will need to manually force it back into sync. Try:

# ntpd -q

to force a re-sync with the ntp time servers specified in your NTP configuration file.

Two issues that may arise:

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
January 11, 2010

Trouble with Drupal, MySQL and non UTF-8 formats

I just figured out a fix for an annoyingly circuitous, tortuous, and baffling MySQL problem. I am not yet an expert of back-end system configuration, but I can tool around a bit (i.e. I know where the my.cnf, php.ini, etc. files live and when (mostly) to edit them). With that...

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
August 21, 2009

Drupal 6 Theme Test-driver

Reading through the Weekly Drupal feed, I found a linked site that is pretty rad.

Being primarily a developer, I am always interested in exploring the way the designer's side of Drupal. Besides helping me understand Drupal more fully and write more easily extensible code, its fun/cool to make sites look fun/cool.

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
July 30, 2009

A Drupal version of chicken vs. egg: external API content fetching and cron failures

Recently we had an interesting issue with one of our multi-site Drupal hosting deployments; the cron was not running regularly. Sifting through the logs showed that the cron seemed to be running extraordinarily long. After cron has been running for over an hour, Drupal would kill the 'cron_semaphore' variable, clear the cache and attempt to re-run cron. Cron would hang-up again, and the process would repeat itself into futile perpetuity.

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
June 22, 2009

Drupal/AJAX: Exercise caution when using special foreign characters

I was recently working on a Brazilian Drupal 6.x site that uses CCK forms and needed some functionality to map a dropdown select list of states to another dropdown of cities in the chosen state, which I accomplished using a combination of the drupal_json function, as well as jQuery and AJAX, hooked into the drupal menu system.

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
May 8, 2009

Using PHP/MySQL w/Drupal to update missing Google Geocode data

We recently needed to fill missing geocode values in a project's database. Using some PHP magic and taking advantage of hook_cron() this is how we filled the missing values:

 * Implementation of hook_cron()
 * When the cron runs, try to resolve any locations that have a lat or lon = 0
function overmap_cron() {
By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
March 4, 2009

Autocomplete, clearing form values and Drupal form fields

Some browsers like to be helpful and help by remembering certain form fields. I was having a problem with Firefox auto-populating my some of my form fields (specifically field type 'password' and 'password_confirm') in a custom module I wrote.

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
February 20, 2009

Validating multiple drupal form fields and only outputting one erro

I've run into this problem twice. So it was time to figure out a solution...

Check out my solution on the drupal support boards @

By Barrett Olafson, Senior Project Manager
February 17, 2009

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