Tag Archives: Social

(Social Bookmarks + Social Share Counts) / Read It Later

In Research we have the chance evaluate our projects in multiple dimensions including science, image, product, open source, and service impact among others. I have participated in this process in various roles over the past few years, and have learned a lot of interesting things first as the outside reviewer of some of these projects and lately have been preparing the evaluations of my team projects.

Science Impact: Last year I was looking into the science impact of some of our projects, and it seemed rather archaic to go through some of our papers, and add them title by title and citation by citation to a spreadsheet or doc, which has been kind of the common practice and would look like something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.05.35 PM

It was relatively easy and painless to create a dynamic and online version of this with Google Scholar. I simply created a pseudo GMail user, and then searched and colected relevant references from different contributors of the project. It is a somewhat non-standard use of Scholar, because unlike my personal Scholar page that has ALL citations that ALL include ME, this was hand picked subset of papers from multiple authors. So there was some customization involved. The end result of this looked much better, and most importantly it is dynamic as it continues to update itself:

Scholar Page for DCEM ProjectI did not have much to do with this page since its creation, and it is pretty great to see how our has been evolving (or devolving?) over time. There is still some hands-on work needed, to add new contributions and contributors manually, to remove duplicates, etc. So it is not perfectly hands off.

But it could be… Here are some potential features I would have loved to have, or if they exist, I am unaware of:

  • Define Groups for Authors: It would be great to define groups for people. I am sure faculty would love this feature to track their group publications. With this feature, we could have simply created a group and have each project member join the group from their scholar pages (maybe even have a time range, but that is kind of flaky, because of the lag in publication times).
  • Define Project Tags for Papers: It would also be awesome to have tags for papers, so we could match them with projects, groups, etc. With both options, we could have simply created a group+project profile by specifying which group and what tags, and the intersection would autofill.

It does not escape me that this requires some curation, and i could always extend with the same manual steps I did above, but with some incentive I could see this working. I am also sure Google would be smart enough to auto-add/propose tags/groups for us.

Image/Social Impact: My main intentions for this was not to write about science impact and Scholar—that was an obvious, straightforward solution. At least the details above segways to what’s next. This year I was looking into three projects and their image/social impact. Just as above, I had no intentions of making a static spreadsheet. And it seems fairly obvious that I was looking into a something like a Scholar for web content, like blogs, press releases. I was hoping a read-it-later service like Pocket—one of my favorite tools—would take care of business here, or some social bookmarking would work. To my surprise, I cannot seem to find the right tool that fits the purpose here. I ended up using Google Sheets for this and some custom Apps Scripts, based on what I learned from these two folks:

I started with s spreadsheet from the first blog, and changed some queries based on the second one. With a few trials and errors I had a simple solution that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.46.09 PMYou simply paste a URL and almost everything is autogenerated from there on, except for one thing: The title (Well, in reality when & where as well, but those are not really critical for me). It did not occur to me, but title/excerpt is one piece that is not trivial, based on different contents. Ideally, I think it would be very nice to have something like Pocket’s view, and at some point I might revisit this for such an experiment (enjoy the shameless plug on the selected 1st and 3rd example titles;)):

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.53.57 PMAbove spreadsheet solved my problem, but is far from effortless, and far from pretty. I am surprized to see i cannot find a good solution that combines social share counting and read it later/social bookmarks. I know great add-ons like Social Share Counter and various web services exist for counting, but none that seems to have above collection, categorization, aggregation features.

I would like to pose this as a feature request for Pocket: Please consider adding social share counts for bookmarks, and aggregations for tags/lists. Please also feel free to set me straight with any existing potential candidates for this.


Selenoid Blog

It turns out I somehow end up working on image management whether at work or at home. At work, VM image management, and at home, JPEG image management… I recently created another blog called Selenoid for the home part here:

SelenoidWelcomePageAs it says on the landing page, the goal was to create a camera roll for our pictures, and it is only fair to call is “Selenoid” since 99% of our pictures feature Selen.  The main motivation was somewhat more than just a place to put our pictures. What instigated this was, a couple of activities with bunch of other friends, and a whole bunch of 10MB emails flying back and forth with group pictures. Instead of emailing each other a bunch of pics, it seemed a good idea to have a single sink point where everyone can send or upload theirs, and can see other pics. All the prettying and gallerying automatically done for you, and you can bulk download all. After playing with a few album tools, I ended with this blog platform.

The requirements were pretty simple at first (later on, it turned out to be more, but we’ll come to that):

  • Simple to upload
  • Easy to download
  • Nice enough to view online
  • Commenting/captioning enabled
  • Private

For simple, since everyone was already emailing things around, it seemed straightforward to just use the same flow using post via email from Jetpack. Easy to download is fairly easy with the media library, the blog format is reasonably easy on the eye, and it is natural to include comments. For private, I used the “Private Only” plugin, which works nicely. Now anything besides the landing page brought up the login page:

SelenoidLoginPosting pictures required no access, as long as you had the special email address, but viewing needed login. It seemed all was good under the hood at this point, and experimentation started. After a few iterations two new requirements became obvious:

  • Categorization
  • Multitenancy

The first one is obvious, and fairly straightforwad. The landing page describes the details of how to push categories during post-via-email. Multitenancy is a tough one and needs explaining. Once you start pulling in posts and categories from multiple events, you want to isolate which tenants see which content. There are a bunch of plugins that provide this and CRM like frameworks. I have used “Role Scoper” which is reasonably fine grain, and works well. It was, however, not fun to deal with setting roles with each individual user and thinking how this scales out. Setting roles, also somehow started to break post via email, so eventually, we ran out of playtime here. It is quite amusing multitenancy gives me grief both at work and at home. Right now, we have roles scoped, but disabled by default. So I defer strong isolation for simplicity. Here is an example Roll from a few pushes via email. Reasonable end result (captured as WYSIWYG via FireShot) i think with minimal effort:

SelenoidPageExThis was a fun experience, and I learned quite a bit from the experimentation. Here is a list of all the packages I ended up using for the final version:

– Akismet
– Confirm User Registration
– Jetpack
– Private Only
– Private Only, Disable Feed
– Role Scoper [Disabled]

We dont use this service much nowadays as shared iCloud Streams make it so easy, but still, not everyone has iOS devices, and there has been quite a few instances where email-to-Selenoid proved to be quite useful. I hope to revisit multitenancy at a later time and update this with a proper service with multi-user isolation.