General Business

A few notes about The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights site

Submitted by Sam Moore on Thu, 03/27/2014 - 14:14

CGSHR Homepage

The new site for
The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights
had its "soft-launch" yesterday. The site is live and usable, but the owners still have a few things they'd like to tweak.
Little do they know, web sites are never really finished - so for all intents and purposes, this is the real thing.

Probably the most interesting part of the project from my point of view was the heavy customization of Apache Solr search results, and the whole search experience. This was mostly accomplished via templates in the site's theme. I'll share a few details in case anyone's interested.

To begin with, this is a Drupal site - specifically D7. The owners had an initial design and a sort of prototype site built by a previous developer in D7, which they handed off to me. That work was done cleanly and competently, but it was clear the client wanted to go so much further than the original builder was prepared to go. I'm not sure what transpired, though I did have a friendly chat with them, but in any case they were out of the picture by the time I got involved.

When I received the site, the first thing I did was to stage it on my Drupion server. Drupion are like family to me, and I've trusted them to help me grow my Drupal business, so it was an easy pick. When the client agreed to host with me for production, that made the decision that much more rational.

Drupion got Solr and Tika set up right away. Solr is a much more powerful search tool than the built-in Drupal search, capable of handling a very large number of indexable items. More info on that here. It runs as a separate server process, and needs about half a Gig of RAM. Tika is an add-on to Solr, which allows searching inside documents such as Word, PDF and other files that are not normally presentable on the web. The client has quite a number of academic research papers and other documents in these formats, so the ability to search inside them was essential.

Once Solr was running and had started indexing the site's content, we looked at what Facets to use for searches. Facets are basically filters - they allow you to limit searches to, say, one content type, or a particular taxonomy term.

Solr_Search

Above, you can see the some of the facets for the overall site search Here we've searched for "Gender" - a term guaranteed to return lots of results on this site.

On the left are check boxes that allow the user to narrow down the search to a particular Country, Region, etc. There's also a facet for Content type. On this site, content types mostly correspond to the type of document or media being shown - Citations, Research, Films, etc.
But you can restrict your search to one content type equally well by using the tabs along the top of the main content area - Films, Lectures, etc.
Clicking one of these will retain the same search terms, but narrow your results down to a single content type (if you want to search 2 content types, you'll have to use the checkboxes on the "All" tab).

In order to get these individual tabs implemented, I set up a separate search environment for each of the key content types. This allowed me to set facets and Bias for each (which we may want to leverage later).

Screen Shot 2014 03 27 at 2 07 15 PM

Next, I made pages for each content type. Each Page has its own title, and most of them (except "All") are limited to a particular Bundle (bundles are essentially content types, at the machine level. Check out D7's Entity system for more info). Because they all have paths that look like /search/--bundle--, they're showing up as tabs on the /search page. Neat :-)

Screen Shot 2014 03 27 at 2 09 53 PM

In my next post I'll show how Facet blocks are set up, and talk about theming the search results. Finally, I'll show some of the Views on the site, which offer more of a browsing experience, which I think complements the Search pages nicely.


Link

Dangerous Minds | FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK

Submitted by Sam Moore on Thu, 10/25/2012 - 00:43
Zuck background22
Over a Dangerous Minds, a trenchant critique of Facebook's gonad-crushing "Sponsored Stories" strategy:
The worse the platform performs, the more advertisers need to use Sponsored Stories. In a way, it means that Facebook is broken, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users. In the case of Sponsored Stories, it has meant raking in nearly $1M a day.
This will hit small publishers, mom-and-pop businesses, and non-profits like Kitten Associates hardest.
At Dangerous Minds, we post anywhere from 10 to 16 items per day, fewer on the weekends. To reach 100% of of our 50k+ Facebook fans they’d charge us $200 per post. That would cost us between $2000 and $3200 per day—but let’s go with the lower, easier to multiply number. We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month… a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year—wouldn’t you know it—right around the time of their badly managed IPO.

Full Story

In U.S. Smartphone Market, Android is Top Operating System, Apple is Top Manufacturer | Nielsen Wire

Submitted by Sam Moore on Sat, 07/30/2011 - 11:30

June 2011 smartphone share

Here's a chart summarizing Nielsen's recent findings on OS and device share in the US market.

So how does this compare to the worldwide scene? We're not sure yet, but (again according to Nielsen) apparently we're to look for a massive growth in smartphone use in Asia, Real Soon Now.

Nielsen Post

General Electric's Tumblr - actually worth visiting

Submitted by Sam Moore on Fri, 06/03/2011 - 13:24

GE has this very intriguing Tumblr blog, with pix of various cool stuff from their labs. I have to admit just spending twenty minutes on this site totally changed my attitude about GE. Maybe they do have something going on after all...

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In the early 1900s, electric cars outsold gas cars. We found this electric car charger in our archives - it was used in both parking and home garages.

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A pulse-detonation actuator from our Energy & Propulsion lab. It produces high-pressure, pulsating supersonic jets, which help with airflow control in high-speed travel. Active airflow control reduces the drag, noise, and fuel consumption of an aircraft, making for smoother and more efficient flight.
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An X-ray control panel from 1921. It was built by Victor, which was owned by GE and became GE Medical Systems.
Tumblr llggfmgjoF1qk4ealo1 500This was one of our very early solar demonstrations - light would shine on a single photovoltaic cell, supplying enough electricity to power a motor. In 1939, GE went on to unveil the “Sun Motor” at The World’s Fair, a slightly larger version of the demo, that signaled GE’s vision for solar as a viable energy source.

Wireless Power Lightens Up Cereal Boxes | Advertising Lab

Submitted by Sam Moore on Sat, 02/26/2011 - 14:49

Adlabman 50x70

From AdLab comes this news about eCoupled's wirelessly-powered on-package lightup graphics.

Fromshelftohome

"eCoupled intelligent wireless power is so flexible it can actually be printed directly onto packaging. A low-cost enhancement to product packaging, printed coils allow real-time communication from the package to the store shelf, and then to the store’s inventory management system. Product quantities can be identified and tracked, expiration dates monitored, and new stock automatically ordered when supplies are low to help reduce lost sales."

Wait - weren't RFID tags supposed to make that problem go away?

via AdLab

Gizmodo post

eCoupled