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 LT.info 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: 3 Dec 13: Mars Orbiter Mission; One of Our Probes is Missing; TeenTech
The mother of all slingshots propels India?s orbiter to Mars; What do you do when your probe to Mercury goes missing; TeenTech flags up the teenage coders of the future
On the face of it, Facebook's proposed sympathy button is a terrible idea that takes us one step closer to living in an idiocracy.
Never mind keyboards: in the future all we'll need is two buttons, one with a smiley face and one with a sad face. Jane had a baby! Happyface! Nelson Mandela died! Sadface!
But a sympathy button isn't necessarily a bad idea. Over at brainy chat forum Metafilter, sad news is often accompanied by a sea of full stops, commenters posting "." as shorthand for "I can't think of any way to express my sadness that wouldn't repeat what others have said or that wouldn't sound trite".
It can be a surprisingly moving thing, a kind of online equivalent of a minute's silence as the scrolling screen remains wordless.
Handled properly, a sympathy button might offer something similar.
It's the "handled properly" bit I find hard to imagine.
We care a lot
The Like button is a rather blunt instrument, and it can be misinterpreted: when someone Likes your post about bad news, are they saying they're happy that you're having a crappy time? And of course, it's often used as a substitute for proper conversation, people clicking Like when they would once have sent you a card or called you on the phone.
That isn't always a problem. If you've posted something funny, or linked to something good, a Like tells you that I found it funny or good too.
There's no need to explain it or expand on it. But responding to a heartfelt tale of sadness with a single click rather than kind words does rather say, "I care, but not very much."
There's another side to it too. We've all got glass-half-empty types in our networks, and until now we've been able to ignore their poor-me posts because it's inappropriate to click Like.
A sympathy button ruins that, enabling them to quantify exactly how much attention they're getting. Maybe it'll even encourage them to post more of the same, turning your News Feed into a Blues Feed.
It's a people problem rather than a technology problem, of course: the best people in your network won't merely click Sympathise when you're sharing devastating news any more than they think Like is an acceptable alternative to a congratulatory message.
But by encouraging us to connect with and to stay connected to everybody we've ever met in our entire lives, Facebook has ensured that our networks consist largely of people who care, but who don't care very much.
Is the internet bringing us together or keeping us apart?
Google, alongside Apple, Facebook and others, is supporting the Hour to Code campaign which teaches children around the World how to code.
Getting kids to learn how to code isn't a new concept, but it hasn't been done on this scale before and with this much high-profile support.
The non-profit organisation behind this campaign, Code.org, said that 35,000 schools across 167 countries have agreed to teach coding in school for one hour a week.
What's more impressive is that since the project kicked off, 1.3 million students have participated and created over 40 million lines of code - causing software engineers around the World to take a huge collective gulp.
The campaign has drawn support from Google, Apple, Yahoo, MSN, Ashton Kutcher, Shakira, Bing, Disney and even managed to unite Obama and Newt Gingrich in a rare moment of non-partisan support:
The campaign is also part of Computer Science Week, which starts today, and has managed to raise $10 million from the star-studded list.
In an endearingly humble blog post, Code.org explained that its goal was to get 10 million students on-board and hopefully get them to write 1 billion lines of code.
Just like turning up to a party in the same dress, Codeworks has launched an educational coding app called 'Hour to Code', which teaches iPhone users how to code in an hour. The app will be available this week and it aims to teach people how to code in a 'quick and fun' way.
Raspberry Jams: why Raspberry Pi is going back to school