Technical Website Issues and Web News

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Prof. Glenn Fulcher

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This website uses dymaic web slicing on some pages that are updated on a daily (or sometimes an hourly) basis. A page contains a web slice if you see this icon in the toolbar. This feature was introduced with IE 8, which allows users to subscribe to content and receive notification of updates on the browser tool bar. This was implemented for the employment page in January, 2010 and the Article Alert service in March 2010. The video link is an introduction to the use of web slicing. Further details about web slicing and how it works can be found here.


RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. It has become the standard method to send news and information from websites directly to the user who wishes to keep up to date.

Extensive use is made of RSS feeds on this website. The most obvious is Bulletin, which you can subscribe to by clicking on the RSS symbol . Whenever I make a major addition or change to the site it will be announced on this feed. I sometimes also use it to notify subscribers of more general language testing news.

Many pages also contain information that is generated by RSS feeds, but filtered using software that selects content using keywords and strings, before aggregating the information on the page. Examples of this are the article aggregation, and article alert services, which scan journals for language testing content and updates this page whenever new articles are published. This makes keeping up to date extremely easy, especially in the latter case where it is combined with web slicing. Developing the filters for some pages has taken over a year, such as on the employment page. However, some 'rogue' jobs still get through, particularly from the fields of computing, health care, and engineering. I continually update the filters to reduce such instances, but cannot eradicate them completely.

If you would like to know more about how aggregation works, there is a useful Wikipedia entry that you can consult.

DigitalP: 19 Aug 14: Ebola Goes Viral; SmartCane; Filming at Speed of Light; ...
Tolu Ogunlesi reports on how social networks help and hinder the fight against Ebola; Rohan Paul demonstrates a smart cane for people with visual impairment; Jonathan Leach discusses the development of a camera that can see around corners; A report on how Wikipedia aims to help preserve minority languages

UK's 'most generous town' revealed
20 August, 2014
Data gathered by donation site JustGiving has revealed what it says is the UK's most generous town, based on donations to its website.

This is the virtual reality interface Netflix made for Oculus Rift
20 August, 2014

Hack Days are great for discovering the weird and wonderful, and such a recent day at Netflix yielded over 50 "hacks" of the popular video streaming service.

For our money the standout of the group is Oculix, "a 3D room version of Netflix UI for Oculus Rift, complete with gesture support."

The video below shows the Rift wearer moving his hand up and to scroll through titles while he's immersed in a 3D world of floating content cards. Descriptions hover as he lands on specific shows and movies, and the virtual view follows where he moves his head.

Once he selects a show, he looks to be taken into a virtual viewing room where House of Card's Frank Underwood rambles down a stoop.

Netflix said that while all the hacks are "very cool and fun," there's no guarantee they'll ever become an actual product, part of its internal infrastructure or ever be seen again outside of Hack Day. That said, Oculix has the feeling of product itching to be flushed out.

YouTube :

See the other neat stuff Netflix hackers cooked up with here.

Will there ever be Netflix for Google Glass?

Oracle enhances Social Relationship Manager with a customizable analytics int...
20 August, 2014

Oracle has added a feature to its Social Relationship Manager platform that enables users to better analyze and share social data across the enterprise. The product, Social Station, can be customized and personalized to provide each user with the social media-based data necessary to their respective business functions, according to an Oracle statement.

The tool?s analytics module is composed of 120 metrics with thousands of customizable reporting options, all of which are available with real-time updates. Users are able to share analysis with others as graphs, text, broken down by date, via one-click functionality. Oracle says it plans to continue to build out Social Station to include more modules and metrics.

Oracle launched Social Relationship Manager in 2013. The product was one of Oracle?s first integrations with recent acquisition Eloqua, which it acquired for $810 million. At the time, the product combined Oracle RightNow Cloud Service, Oracle Fusion CRM, Oracle Applications, and Oracle CRM via a cloud-based platform.

Oracle's cloud challenge

Oracle continues to grow out its $8.9 billion cloud business, including a 4% year-over-year increase in cloud revenue during the previous fiscal year. However, revenue from SaaS and PaaS made up only $327 million (or 4%) of its overall cloud revenue.

Larry Ellison, Oracle?s CEO, believes SaaS and PaaS will help the company rebound from a rough fiscal year, in which the company saw profits decrease 4% to $3.6 billion, despite an overall revenue increase of 3% to $11.3 billion.

Top 10 CRM systems for SMBs

Twitter fills your timeline with annoying, unwanted favorites
20 August, 2014

A few days ago we learned Twitter was experimenting with treating favorites as retweets. Now the test has gone from experiment to an official policy change.

Twitter silently updated its help page noting it would "identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that's popular or relevant" and add it to users' timelines.

This means users will start seeing more heavily shared tweets in their news feed even if they don't follow the account themselves.

For example, you might follow one person that favorite a tweet about the recent ISIS execution news that's also been starred by 1,000 other users, and this will show up on your main timeline as if it were retweeted.

"We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it," the social media company explained on its website. "Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting."

Whether you like it or not

It's obvious Twitter wants more interaction amongst its users and apparently the company has no qualms with filling up users feeds. In just the last few months Twitter has introduced new advertisements to promote mobile apps that threatened to spam timelines.

The one good thing about the new favorites surfacing feature will give greater focus to news worthy or cultural moments like the Ferguson protests. On the flipside, users could just as easily start seeing pointless content they have absolutely no interest clog their Twitter timelines.

Ultimately the real problem for many users is they aren't being given any choice in the matter either way.

The lines between Facebook and Twitter blurring

Snapchat reportedly plans to make news, ads part of vanishing act
20 August, 2014

As the old saying goes, nothing in life is truly free - and roughly 27 million Snapchat users may soon this lesson learn the hard way as their favorite disappearing message app starts getting cluttered up with revenue-generating content.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that messaging service Snapchat appears to be enlisting new partnerships with advertisers and content providers in the hopes of monetizing the popular mobile app.

Rumored to debut in November, the new Snapchat Discovery service would provide users with non-messaging content including news and advertisements from a dozen or more media companies, including magazines and television networks.

According to unnamed sources, one of the first content providers tapped for Snapchat Discovery is MailOnline, the web presence for British newspaper The Daily Mail, who would presumably lend their brand of news coverage to the service.

Mo' money

Since tossing a $3 billion (about UKú1.8B, AU$2.23B) acquisition offer from Facebook in the trash last year, Snapchat has accelerated fundraising efforts, but has yet to produce any meaningful income to show investors.

With a captive audience of young, tech-savvy users, Snapchat Discovery could be the first baby steps toward such revenue, thanks to a combination of mobile ads and entertainment content.

Discovery reportedly works much like photos and messages do today: User will be able to read daily news content or watch clips of movies and TV shows by holding a finger on the smartphone display, and afterwards the content would vanish into thin air.

Snapchat is no stranger to promotional gimmicks, but Discovery would likely provide far more lucrative income from companies whose deep pockets are finding new ways to get the eyes of millions of upwardly mobile users viewing such paid content.

Go hands on with our review of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini!