New features: email reports

November 18th, 2009 by Martin

In the last post, I wrote about the feeds that we now offer in ALOE. Bringing information to users in a convenient way is an important issue - but what about users that don’t like feeds, and what about information that is not publicly available, but only in closed groups? Well, you already know the answer: For these scenarios, we offer several email reports you can subscribe to!
Once you are member of a group, you can subscribe to daily or weekly group activity reports. This is offered on the respective group overview page, and you can also see all your subscriptions on the page My Preferences.
By the way - after several discussions with our early adopters, we decided not to send any information in daily reports when nothing happened in a group, and we also decided to aggregate the information of several reports into just one email. We hope that this feature is useful for you, and we’re of course open for any feedback and suggestions!

New features - feeds, feeds, feeds!

November 16th, 2009 by Martin

It’s always interesting to see what’s going on in your network. Especially, when this information comes to you in a convenient way. For a long time, we only offered feeds that contained information about new resources in an open group. Now, we offer a variety of feeds with information about a broad range of activities:

  • Feed for activities on your resources: This feed provides information about all activities on your resources. See who commented on stuff, see who added something to his/her portfolio, etc. You find the feed URL on the page My Resources or under your buddy icon on the page My Profile.
  • User resource feed: Do you like the contributions of certain users? You can get information about new public resources of a user by subscribing to this feed. You find the URL under the buddy icon of the respective user’s profile page.
  • Group activities feed: All public activities related to the group (e.g., ‘join’ or ‘unsubscribe’) and group resources (e.g., when someone commented on a group resource) will be show here. You can find the feed URL on the new overview page for the respective group.
  • Resource search feed: If your are interested in new resources matching a certain search criterion, you can simply subscribe to the respective feed! Simply do the search that you like, and you’ll find a little feed icon in the upper right corner (close to the Sort Criterion Selector).

The feeds are all valid Atom 1.0 feeds, and even Thunderbird can read them. But that’s a different story about specs and how some people ignore them ;-)
What is very important: Of course we respect your privacy! Nobody can see when a resource was viewed, and also rating information will always be anonymous. Only information that a user without login could also see will be provided. Thus, we also don’t offer any feeds for closed groups. But you can still follow what’s going on with our new email reports - these will be covered in the next post, stay tuned!

Introducing new features - Parallel bookmarking

November 12th, 2009 by Martin

A lot has happened in the recent months, I guess it’s also time to talk about some of the news! So in the coming posts, I’ll introduce some new ALOE features and write about diverse improvements. I’ll start with a feature that was essential for me: the parallel upload of bookmarks to other platforms.

I’m using social bookmarking systems (especially Diigo and Delicious) for a long time. First of all, because these tools are great and really helpful if I can access my bookmarks wherever I am and whatever computer I use. Secondly, because this offers the chance to exchange information with friends and colleagues that also use these platforms. So although I like ALOE a lot (hey, it’s my baby), I still don’t want to miss the other systems. So I’m happy when I can use ALOE, but simultaneously add the respective information to my other social bookmarking systems with no extra effort. This is extra nice when you use a closed version of ALOE that is not visible for everyone. E.g., here in the Knowledge Management Department of DFKI, our group uses an ALOE instance (we call it ALOE@KM) which is not accessible from outside DFKI. We use it to share a variety of stuff, sometimes about research, science, and technology, and sometimes (I guess even more often) about fun stuff (wait, of course research, science and technology can also be fun stuff!) When I want to share stuff that should not be visible to anyone else, this is fine. But when it’s a public content that I also want to share with my colleagues, I don’t want to contribute the stuff twice. So now I can simply click the bookmarklet and decide if I also want to upload it to other systems (including the public ALOE!).

Enough talking: If you want to use this feature, click on MyPreferences and enter your credentials for the services you also want to use:

Parallel Bookmarking in ALOE (Preferences page)

As you see, you can also decide to have an automatic status update in Twitter whenever you add a new bookmark!

Once you’ve chosen one ore more services, you’ll see some additional information whenever you add new bookmark to ALOE:


To have full control of what you do (e.g., when you want to distinguish between internal and external resources), you always can unselect chosen services when adding a bookmark. And of course you will be notified when something didn’t work - it would be nasty to find out later that all the stuff you thought would also be available on your selected bookmarking services didn’t arrive!

I hope you enjoy this functionality as much as I do! And if you want us to add other services (by the way, we already integrated BibSonomy in our KM instance of ALOE, but have to do some fine-tuning first) - simply send an email, we’ll check what we can do.

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