Google Rolling Out Activity Stream Feature For Drive

Now Google is announcing an update to Drive, which brings new, and much needed functionality to its offering. The service allows for easy collaboration on projects, but until now, it was difficult to track the various changes being made. Google is adding an activity stream to solve that issue.

via Betanews: Google Drive update adds an activity stream.

This will be helpful for keeping track of who is working on what as we share Google Drive documents. Watch for the feature to appear over the course of the next week.

Suggestions on How Non-Programmers Can Contribute to Techie Projects

I get asked a lot by people who are interested in helping out open source projects, but have absolutely no programming skills. What can they do? Well, here’s a few ideas how non-programmers can contribute to open source projects.

It is worth noting that it is best to contribute to software that you actually use yourself. That way you feel the benefits.

via How non-programmers can contribute to open source projects |

There are many ways to contribute to an open source project that go well beyond being a crack programmer in the language of the day. Indeed many of the suggestions cover ground that many Teknoids are already familiar with in other contexts. We love documentation, for example. Here’s the list:

  • Use the product
  • Bug test
  • Write documentation
  • Translation
  • Evangelize
  • Donate
  • Be professional

It is possible to help out other projects and organizations, like CALI, using these suggestions. For example, you could help out CALI by using and recommending our resources, reporting bugs you find, or write some docs on how your law school community could use CALI resources. And let us know if you’re doing any of these, we appreciate all of the support we get.


OwnCloud 6 Beta Introduces ownCloud Documents, Collaborative Editing for ODF Docs

I’m talking about collaborative editing! This feature is implemented in an app called “ownCloud Documents” and will be part of ownCloud 6. People can view and edit their ODF text documents directly in the browser, inside your ownCloud. Another cool thing is that you can invite users from the same ownCloud to work collaboratively on the same document with you. Or you can send invitation links by email to  people outside your server to collaborate with you on the document.

via own clouds, social networks and free desktops: Welcome “ownCloud Documents”.

If the addition of collaborative editing features to ownCloud actually works, this is going to be a pretty big breakthrough in the the open source space. It will in effect create a system that will replicate the features of Dropbox plus Google Docs, all in space that is user controlled. It provides the potential for creating self-hosted private and secure collaborative and storage space for groups in a way that just can’t be easily accomplished now.

I’ll be trying the features of ownCloud 6 beta out and will let y’all know how it goes.

Why Email Is A Fail #768

One of the failings of email is the ease with which topics get stolen. The subject drift in email threads is often stunning. And it then clouds the original questions which don’t get answered.

I understand why this happens. A question or statement in a message triggers a thought that is somehow related to the topic so a reply is fired into the thread.

And boom!

Before you know it an email thread has gone from A to F without getting the discussion needed around A. Then someone needs to step up and redirect back to A. But what about C? That was a good topic too, but it’s lost now.

There must be a better solution. Maybe a threaded forum that made it easy to branch the topic to another discussion would help. Anything would be better than my email folders.

Unhangout From MIT Media Lab Seeks to Harness Google Hangouts For Large Live Events

Unhangout is an open source platform for running large scale online un-conference-style events using Google Hangoutsto create many simultaneous small sessions. Think of it like a classroom with infinitely many breakout rooms. We provide a text-based chat experience that can support hundreds of participants chatting or watching a live video stream together. When you want to create more opportunity for participation, you can break out into up-to-ten person Google Hangout sessions that create opportunities for peer learning instead of just top-down information transfer that is typical in large scale online education.

via Unhangout.

This is worth keeping an eye, especially if it manages to tame the wild world of Google APIs a bit to make Hangouts more useful for real events. Unhangout is written in Javascript and is powered by node.js and Redis. You can get the code for this open source project on GitHub at


Media Commons white paper examines future of transparency in peer review

The always-insightful Alex Reid has penned an essay “on the question of open peer review,” which examines a draft white paper posted to Media Commons last week. The paper—Open Review: A Study of Contexts and Practices—struggles, Reid argues, to address a critical question: “What is the problem with existing scholarly review procedures that the open review process seeks to solve?”

via New Media Commons white paper examines future of transparency in peer review |


Google adds collaboration tweaks to Docs

Google Docs has always had easier-to-use collaboration features than much of what Microsoft has to offer. Docs has been particularly useful for individuals and small businesses who need to throw together a document quickly with geographically scattered users, but the newest additions allow users to see each others’ edits on a per-character basis. This means you can watch what your coworker is typing into a document in almost realtime, and up to 50 users can be connected to a document at a time.

Ars Technica::Google turns up the heat on Office with collaboration tweaks.

Near real time collaborative editing is an excellent feature. The article points out that not all the new s is good. With the demise of Google Gears, Docs offline mode is coming to an end.

O’Reilly Takes The Plunge Into Collaborative Authoring With Open Feedback

Over the last few years, traditional publishing has been moving closer to the web and learning a lot of lessons from blogs and wikis, in particular. Today we’re happy to announce another small step in that direction: our first manuscript (Programming Scala) is now available for public reading and feedback as part of our Open Feedback Publishing System. The idea is simple: improve in-progress books by engaging the community in a collaborative dialog with the authors out in the open. To do this, we followed the model of the Django Book, Real World Haskell, and Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (among others) and built a system to regularly publish the whole manuscript online as HTML with a comment box under every paragraph, sidebar, figure, and table.After the impressive success of the Rough Cuts program from Safari Books Online, which we’ve long supported, and Real World Haskell, which used a similar system, we we’re extremely eager to try the idea out with more titles.

Collaborative Publishing Based on Community Feedback – O’Reilly Labs

Seems like a step in the right direction.  The ability to comment on a work at the paragraph level is a great idea.  I wonder if the OPFS engine for turning a book or manuscript into a commentable website will ne made available for others to use?

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