Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dev team member Raymond Hoh promoted to BuddyPress core team

Today it was announced that Raymond Hoh, a member of the CUNY Academic Commons and Commons In A Box dev teams, was promoted to the BuddyPress core team. This means that he joins a small group of people primarily responsible for maintaning and building BuddyPress, the social networking plugin for WordPress that powers the Commons and thousands of other community sites around the web.

Congratulations to Ray on a well-deserved honor!

Round Up!

cc photo "untitled" by flickr user KevinGessner

cc photo “untitled” by flickr user KevinGessner

Earlier last week Matt Gold and I were having a conversation about Branch, an outfit that bills itself as a “new way to talk to each other” on the web.  The team over at Branch is on to something.  Communicating around the web has many perils; meandering discussions, trolls, lack of engagement…  Branch looks to solve these problems by allowing you to tailor your audience.  I think.  From what I gather it’s like Pinterest for dialogue.  You grab something off of Twitter or a blog and move it to a new environment to talk about it.  About the time I learned about Branch, Twitter released Medium.  Medium isn’t immediately obvious in its purpose.  Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams describe it as a new way of communicating with the “burden” of becoming a blogger.  From what I can make of it, it’s like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest kind of mixed up.  The Awl wrote a great piece about this change in direction for online communicating platforms and was wise to mention that they have as much to do with rethinking ad revenue as they do with “reinventing” communication.  It strikes me that two moves are happening here: We seem to be looking for a way to tailor the web precisely to our interests and we want to do it eloquently.  Corina Chocano handled the first part of this move nicely and I have little to say otherwise so I’ll simply point you towards her article in the Times.  Eloquence deserves a little more thought.

Twitter’s 140 cap headlines took everybody’s favorite part of Facebook and made it a “thing.”  It’s like that Seinfeld episode where they just sell the muffin tops.  Tumblr took it a step further;  easy to use, beautifully designed themes, it’s  social media that frequently transcends language in favor of a visual dialogue as prophesied by John Berger in the BBC’s 1972 series “Ways of Seeing.”  Even the idea of the Commons, or BuddyPress at large, relates here.  People want the best of the web without the hoi polloi.  Why use the group and blogging features of places like Facebook or Google and sift through the advertising wasteland (to say nothing of privacy issues) when you can create your own private, beautiful environment.

Why rent when you can buy?

Meanwhile on the Commons…

Frank Wang over at CUNYMath had a great post this week about math and music.  He explores the human preference for music with predictability and symmetry, and it’s mathematical roots.  There’s an interesting conversation about aesthetics and math waiting to happen there.  In the comments Mari Watanabe-Rose found a great quote about rhythm in Murakami’s latest.  It’d be interesting to get a collection going of great literature on great math.

Roberto Duncan had a ton of posts up this week over at Transformative Games about his work this summer with high school students.  As Roberto’s summer with his students winds down, each of the projects have an epilogue looking back at how the games and learning went.  Thank you for bringing this work to the Commons community!

Jessica Yood stopped in after some late summer reflection.  As always, this blog is a treasure to read.  Be sure to check it out and prepare to add the word crodje to your vocabulary.  You grok?

Speaking of the end of summer, the Welcome New Students blog posted some important info for the GC’s incoming class.  While many of us are past our new student days you should check out this gem from the post: Thinking Like a Creator.

Till next week.


Commons 1.4 — Reply By Email!

The marquee feature of Commons 1.4 is the awesome BuddyPress functionality developed by the Commons Dev Team that lets members respond to email notifications directly from their inboxes.

If you wanted to respond to a discussion forum post before Commons 1.4, you’d need to click on the hyperlink in an email notification, log into the Commons, and post your response directly to the thread through the website.

No more!

Now, you can simply click Reply in your email client; Reply By Email takes care of the rest!

 A Few “Reply By Email” Notes

  • When you receive a Commons email notification, you’ll notice the phrase  “— Reply ABOVE THIS LINE to add a comment —” (circled in red, above).  Anything you type above this line will be part of the message posted to the forum, while everything below this line will be ignored  But it is vital that the line itself be present in the reply.  Reply By Email uses this info to route your reply back to the Commons.  (Depending on your email client, when you hit reply, you might see additional address information added.  Don’t worry – this will not be part of your response.)
  •  You must reply using the same email address at which you received the notification – Reply By Email uses this as a way of matching you up with your Commons username. (Not an issue for most people, but it may affect those who have set up their email client with multiple email addresses.)
  • You can use Reply by Email to reply to discussion threads on group forums, to personal messages and @mentions, and to group announcements.
  • You cannot use Reply by Email to reply to notification “digests,” Docs notifications (new docs, edited docs, new comments), group file uploads, group invites, or friendship requests.

The Reply by Email plugin was developed for the Commons, and made available to the entire BuddyPress community. See here for technical details.

The Muggy Round Up


Hello  Commons,

The week opened with Curiosity landing on Mars and quickly streaming images of the red planet back home to Earth.  An optimistic wave of interest in the program took over the news cycle and in the dust of the story’s impact a few interesting and unexpected  bits surfaced.  My favorite of the tertiary stories was the unearthing of a prepared speech President Nixon would have given if Armstrong and Aldrin had been stranded on the moon.  The speech is painfully eloquent and though we are all grateful that there was no occasion for it’s use, it’s impossible to not try and imagine Nixon’s delivery.   On a lighter note, its been amazing to watch the Mohawk sporting NASA scientist and flight controller Bobak Ferdowsi stymie the efforts of parents across the world.

As it turns out, everyone was having a pretty big week.  The Commons team (it’s weird to write in the third person) announced our feature packed Commons 1.4 release.  Commons 1.4 is the result of some serious work from the Development Team and you can check the development blog to stay up to date on bug fixes and the like.   In the days ahead keep an eye out for posts explaining some of the new features.  To get everyone started Scott Voth kicks things off by talking out the new Google Docs Embed Plug-In.

Also having a good week was Footenotes’ favorite Zines at Brooklyn College.  Alycia Sellie posted to share a feature article in The Wall Street Journal.  Congratulations to everyone involved!  I’m still kicking myself for missing the party.

Tony Picciano gave us some follow up on the shooting last weekend.  Tony was also the first on the Commons to share the news about Romney picking Paul Ryan as VP.  I’m beginning to think that the contemporary Republican party is a kind of long running Actionist performance art piece.  I don’t mean this disparagingly, as there’s plenty one can say about the Democratic party, but there’s a kind of internal logic at work so byzantine that I have surrendered to the effect of the piece and can only stand in naked awe of it, bereft of linear comprehension.  I feel like only,like, Werner Herzog really understands what is happening.

Finally this week William Ashton posted a bit from BBC news about MCA’s will.  The deceased Yauch made clear that nothing from his artistic legacy was to be used for advertising.  I hope it sticks because it’d break my little heart to hear the Beastie Boys being used to sell tickets on a cruise.

Till next week.



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