Astronauts and Emergency Repair Missions...

Really, this news story covers the stuff my sci-fi dreams have been made of for years. I'm a total space fanatic, and the thought that somewhere high above us an astronaut is conducting an emergency repair mission on the International Space Station just blows my mind. These are the latest pioneers and adventurers, and I wish I had the opportunity to do some of the same work!

Check it out:

(Planning on setting up the first web development company and Bible study on the moon!)

EDIT: Found a cool image of the repair in action on Time's website.

Orange Jello is Mighty Nice

My wife made me some orange Jello with chopped up bananas and oranges in it. I posted before about how much I love pudding cups, and I still do. Let it also be known that I love Jello. A few interesting facts about eating Jello for your bedtime snack...

  • You might knock a cup of water over when you get Jello out of the refrigerator and try to set it on the kitchen table in the dark.
  • You might only find forks in the silverware drawer.
  • It's hard to eat Jello, especially the small pieces at the end, with a fork.
  • It's even harder to finish off a cup of Jello with a fork quietly so as to not wake your loving wife who made you the treat.
  • Jello should be eaten in a bowl, because a cup (once again) just isn't big enough!

Checking if a Drupal User has a Role

UPDATE: Over five years later, this post is still one of the most highly trafficked on my blog. Since then I've learned a lot and shared many other tips and modules. This past year I was honored to be a contributor to The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7, which includes many other great tips like this. I highly recommend it if you want to get the latest and greatest information on developing for Drupal.

I'm a little curious why a simple function to check if a user has a role doesn't exist in Drupal yet. Such curiosity that makes me wonder if I've just managed to miss it as long as I've been working with Drupal, so someone feel free to enlighten me. If anyone is looking for the same, please read on...

A fairly common task for me when adding PHP to CCK fields, Views arguments, content templates, etc. is to check whether the current user has been assigned a certain role. Generally in module development you're dealing with permissions and use user_access(), but when you're just customizing a site you often need such role based logic. (Drupal core has some, like the access settings for blocks.)

Use the following simple snippet to check if a user (in this example, it's the logged in user since I'm getting the global $user) has been assigned a certain role on your site:

global $user;

// Check to see if $user has the administrator role.
if (in_array('administrator', array_values($user->roles))) {
// Do something.

Replace 'administrator' with whatever role it is you're trying to check against. Alternatively, if you keep a helper module for use on your projects, go ahead and drop this function in it:

 * Check to see if a user has been assigned a certain role.
 * @param $role
 *   The name of the role you're trying to find.
 * @param $user
 *   The user object for the user you're checking; defaults to the current user.
 * @return
 *   TRUE if the user object has the role, FALSE if it does not.
function user_has_role($role, $user = NULL) {
  if (
$user == NULL) {

  if (
is_array($user->roles) && in_array($role, array_values($user->roles))) {


Please let me know if I put a typo up here or you know of an existing or easier way to do this!

Alan Johnston's Captivity

You don't have to agree with all his politics to be moved by Alan Johnston's recounting of his captivity and release in Gaza. He faced unbelievable challenges apparently with much dignity, and God protected his life in the middle of a very dangerous situation through groups we would even consider to be enemies.

Check it out here: