NASA streams spacewalks over the internet!

I just found out today that NASA streams spacewalk footage and commentary through their website. How cool is that?!? Cool

I'm listening while I work to a spacewalk that's working on setting up the new Columbus module. They're floating over the Northern Atlantic (just heard them "oohing" and "aahing" at the English Channel) and doing some prep work to get components out of the cargo hold.

If you care to watch/listen, here's a direct link:

Ubercart 1.0 Beta Nearing a Close

Well, I'm happy to announce that Ubercart has reached Beta 5 as of this evening. That wasn't necessarily a benchmark we were aiming for, but it's special because it marks the eradication of known issues and bugs from our beta-do list that were keeping us from moving on to the release candidate phase. The software has matured a lot, and all known hurdles have been jumped to push Ubercart on toward 1.0. We'll let it stew in beta 5 for a few days and solve any issues that pop up, but then it's off to the races with an official 1.0 release and no small amount of fanfare and hooplah. Wink

The beta 5 release includes a host of bug fixes and feature enhancements, and it also marks the inclusion of the recurring payments framework in core, updates to finally be PostgreSQL compatible (thanks japerry!), a new icon set to get those CC Share Alike Tango icons off of, and much more. For more information and a release haiku, check out the news post on

Many thanks to the super active and helpful community members in the forums. We couldn't do this without you! Greets to torgosPizza, TR, cYu, zmove, japerry, greenSkin, rak, kulvik and others who have been offering forum support and patches like the true Uber-heroes they are.

AOL Using Ubercart for Digital Products

Well, it was cool to see AOL Corporate pop up on Dries' blog as yet another company using Drupal (yacud, anyone?). What I didn't notice at the time was that AOL has also chosen to use Ubercart to "sell" digital goods, presumably for press related use. Fortunately, I found this out through a thread on d.o and quickly hopped over to test it out.

I quoted "sell" because AOL isn't actually charging a price for the materials, but they're making creative use of Ubercart to track who is requesting materials and what items they get from the site. They have a simple setup where links through the Media Gallery section of the site lead to various product nodes created by Ubercart.

They're taking advantage of the file download product feature to associate different .zip files containing the media and license information with the format you select (see an example). This is a cool feature in Ubercart that lets you do things like use the same product node to sell files of different formats or even to let the customer choose between a physical/digital version of the product (like a CD vs. mp3 download).

Checkout is a simple trimmed down affair that just requires an e-mail address. They're using our anonymous checkout system so that Ubercart creates a new user account upon completion and then associates the files "purchased" with that account. The files are then available through the user's account page or through a secure link sent out in an e-mail. Shawn coded in some nice restrictions for downloads like limitations based on IP, time, and number of downloads which are essential when actually selling downloads.

Pretty cool stuff, and I'm glad to see it's getting around!

Ubercart Translation Community Effort

I'm excited about the latest happening on the internationalization front for Ubercart, namely the opening of a translation server for Ubercart by community member rak. Since the project's inception, we've been trying to play catch-up with the internationalization features of Drupal and issues pertaining to multilingual sites. Grokking the pot extractor was even the key topic of an informal half hour training session between Gabor and myself in Barcelona, which was and still is very much appreciated.

It's great to see how community support is now blooming to augment our weaknesses! Those interested in using, testing, or contributing to a translation can use the link above to lend a hand in the task. (After all, it's no easy job to wade through 3,000+ strings!) Those interested in getting their language added to the server can contact rak through his thread in the Ubercart forums. Gotta love developing software in community!