It begins, nearly

The Day of DH is tomorrow, but the irony is that my most productive time has been the weeks running up to it. Now that it is finally happening, it will either be the start of a massive catch-up or an extravagant exhale and relax(collapse). We’ll see.

Nevertheless, I’ve decided to write a post or two early, so as to catch some of tail of Day of DH organization. This year, I intend to post shorter, more frequent updates, and put off longer posts until later. Yet, I must repeat: we’ll see.

Day of DH Loose Ends at Thesisfest

This year, I’ve resurrected Stan Ruecker’s tradition of Thesisfest: an afternoon of silent work. We hit an attendence record tonight: 5 people!

The name is a bit of a misnomer: it’s not necessarily thesis work, but rather any research. Nevertheless, I came here intending to catch up on my thesis. Alas, Day of DH work trumps out.

Just fixed an issue where pages stopped appearing in the blog headers (i.e. “About” disappeared).

We asked participants to edit the default about page with information about themselves. Most have done so, but I realize that “About” is not as preferable as “About Me”, so I’m considering grep-ing it in their blog header. Aware that some have thoughtfully changed it to “About Me”, I’d have to be careful not to make it “About Me Me”, though. A hardcoded link would also work, provided they kept the slug the same (the ending of the page url) and don’t have any other pages that they’d like displayed in the top bar. Also, it wouldn’t add any latency like the regular expression engine might.

While I was writing that, I got an email with more important matters, making me realize how insignificant this is. I’ll worry about it later!

Crisis averted (perhaps)

First major crisis fixed, I think.

Turns out the aggregated front page was not updating (or doing so very slowly). It still looks the same, but is new behind the scenes.

Actually, I think it’s fixed, though I can’t be sure until the next post. I’ll go grab a coffee and check how it is when I return. Expect more panic soon. If you see this post on that page, then good news.

Update: It works now. the cache clears every 5 minutes. Let me know of any news to the contrary.

Midnight check; project OPML; tweaks

It’s nearly midnight here, so the official start for me. The West Europeans will be getting up soon, so one last glance to check that everything’s alright. Kamal Ranaweera, the engineer who does tech for us, is brilliant, so there’s nothing really to worry about.

I created an OPML for Day of DH, as an alternative to the combined RSS feed. You can import this file in an RSS reader and it will import each user’s blog feed individually, in a “Day of DH 2010″ folder.

Download it here: day-of-dh-2010-opml. I have another plan for this, beyond just my own convenience, but I’ll share that tomorrow.

Importing an OPML into Google Reader

How it looks


Also, a couple tweaks here and there. The aggregated page look pretty now, like a real blog. Lockdown now: no more tinkering unless there’s an emergency.

I notice TAToo has some invalid element, maybe I’ll glance at that tomorrow. Now, it’s off to unjustifiably anxious dreams.


The iPhone lets me roll over in bed and read posts. It makes laziness efficient.

I woke up with everything in check, though when I went to read my Google Reader, I realized the OPML I posted last night only goes to the Day of DH participants starting with “D”. It was choking on the apostrophe in Dan O’ Donnell (which a foolish find and replace made into a quotation mark). Nonetheless, I corrected it (day-of-dh-2010-opml.xml) and it works good now.

It’s snowing in Edmonton! It’s been near t-shirt weather for a week, and it doesn’t often snow when it’s cold either. Well, I would have shown you our beautiful city, but instead, you can see this:

Snowing in March?!

Currently I’m alternating between answering Day of DH emails and filling out cards. Woke up last night thinking about my thesis, so I want to get to a quiet spot at school as soon as I can to work on it.

Last night's thesisfest (earlier)

Last night's Thesisfest (later)

Day of DH Favourites

I wrote when I shared my OPML file that I had plans for it, beyond simply making following people easier. Here’s what I was talking about:

Day of DH Favourites: A page aggregating my favourite posts of the project, the ones too interesting or charming to miss. At the moment, there’s only two, but I’ll add to it throughout the week.


Incidentally, those that want more than the 20 newest posts but don’t want to use an aggregator can use this aggregated page. Me, I’ll stick with my beloved Google Reader.

Using Wordpress on Your iPhone

This has come up a few time: how do you post from your iPhone?

For those interested, I wrote a how-to for last year’s project. The short-form: in Wordpress, you need to go to Settings>Writing and check the XML-RPC option. Then, you can download the official app (“Wordpress”, aptly) and fill in your settings.

At school, working on thesis

For Stephen Ramsay, here’s my lunch:

They knew my order, which is... unfortunate

Pico Safari Meeting

Just finished a meeting with Lucio Gutierrez about Pico Safari, and alternate reality game that we made last term (along with fellow Day of DHers Garry Wong and Calen Henry).

Garry Wong is here too, contemplating what to post on his Day

In Pico Safari, digital creatures named picos exist in the real world. You go out with your Android phone or iPhone, see these creatures through your screen and catch them for points. In addition to playing with the concept of alternate reality, we are also toying with achievement-based gaming, a recent obsession of mine.

Lucio. This CS student is awesome. If you ever see him on the other side of a hiring desk, your search is over.

Lucio is modifying the game to use QR codes for an upcoming demo, and we met for me to describe my catching API.

A fun part of Pico Safari was drawing the Picos. Here’s a selection:

Chester Couchington. He's based on a doodle that Geoffrey Rockwell left in my thesis proposal, of a couch with eyes, lips, and neck hair. Seriously.



Happydrome Twins

Happydrome Twins


Thesis Work

Working on thesis, alternating between changes to an ethics application and annotating an article. That earlier coffee has me too jittery to focus on just one task.

My thesis is on the motivations of users in crowdsourcing. I decided on it the summer after my third year at McMaster (i.e. undergrad) and now 3.5 years later, I’ve surprisingly kept to it. The problem is that I decided to research it when there was little material directly about it; now, it’s impossible to cut off my lit review because of how many relevant materials keep popping up. Case in point: Crowdsourcing: How and Why Should Libraries Do It? in the new D-Lib. Since I’m jointly in Library and Information Studies (and pursuing a PhD in it — more on that later) this is great. My thesis is “how”, so the more external sources answering “why”, the less I need to worry about diluting my work.

I use Google Sites for managing all aspects of this project. It’s a quick-start wiki that, due to it’s ease, keeps me from toying around with the system and keeps the focus on the content.