Lanyrd, the Social Conference Directory

24 11 2010

I’m a blogger who usually needs quite some time to write blog posts. However, I just learned about a new tool that I need not describe in detail. Firstly, because Heidi Allen just described the tool in a blog post here. Secondly, because the tool is so intuitive and easy.

I’m talking about Lanyrd, a directory of geeky events, technical conferences and social meetings.

It is really so simple and effective. Please follow me.

You go to http://lanyrd.com/, connect via OAuth to Twitter and before you can count to 3, Lanyrd shows you the conferences your friends on Twitter are going to as a speaker (blue border) or an attendee. You can also see friends who keep track of the conference (vague).

Unfortunately purely scientific or medical conferences are not included, but who knows what Lanyrd is up to.

You can track the conferences by subscribing in iCal / Outlook. It is also easy to add conferences.

I might go to Medicine 2.0, but I didn’t make up my mind yet. If I click on the link I see the following page:

You can click on “Attend” or on “Track” if this applies. Furthermore you get an overview of the conference: the location, the link to the website, the Twitter account, the hashtag used in tweets (#med2) and of the speakers.

Oh …. there are none yet, so I added a few.

It is easy to do, people who have never logged into the site can also be added. However, if helps to know the exact twitter name, if many people on Twitter share the same name (else you have to check all the profiles generated with Twitter search).

Lanyrd is the baby of the recently married couple Simon Willison and Natalie Downe. And as it goes with babies, they grow up.

What can we expect the next few years?

Simon in the Guardian:

“We have lots of exciting plans for Lanyrd’s future. One of the things we’re very keen on is gathering information on past conferences – speaker slides, videos, audio recordings and write-ups. In five years’ time, we hope we’ll have the best collection of conference coverage possible.”

Credits to Heidi Allen (@dreamingspires) and Anne Marie Cunningham (@amcunningham) who discussed Lanyrd on Twitter. As said, Heidi wrote a post on Lanyrd, and Anne Marie wrote a short blogpost at Wishful Thinking in Medical Education on the need to find list of upcoming medical or health conferences- and the hashtags that would be used to cover them on twitter. The Solution as it appeared was Lanyrd (at least for some of the conferences).

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Packrati.us = Twitter + Delicious = Useful + Simple

18 03 2010

To me, Twitter is an essential source for information. It is an easy way to keep updated in my field, it is fast and it is an ideal networking site to build relationships. Without it I wouldn’t have ‘met’ so many excellent and interesting people. In fact those people are my living filter to the Twitter noise (see previous post): I only follow people with whom I share the same interest (at least in some respects). Twitter also is one of my inspirational sources for blogging, and vice versa it is an outlet for my blog posts.

Unfortunately, Twitter has one shortcoming: Tweets are volatile. Twitter is designed to catch conversations real time. Therefore it is not easy to “keep” Tweets or read them later. Usually your tweets get lost after 7 to 10 days and cease to be found by  Twitter Search. Some tweets can still be Googled, but that is not a secure way of keeping tweets.

At least I safeguard my favorited tweets by taking a RSS to my favs (yellow starred in Fig).

But this is just a way to conserve your favorite tweets for a (more) prolonged time.

What you also would like is to “archive” the URLs of the actual pages that seem interesting (the red http links in the tweets).

I used Google Notebook for that. That was near perfect: the free online Google application allowed saving and organizing clips of information (via a Firefox add-on) while online (see Wikipedia). The information was saved to “notebooks” that could be made “public” and automatically fed into Twitter to share with others. It was easy tracing articles back by searching or browsing.

But that is no more. Google decided to drop the development of Google Notebook. In addition, several of of my notebooks  were flagged as violating Program Policies?!

I tried Evernote as an alternative, but it could never win my heart. Too time-consuming, for one thing.

I may not have tried hard enough, but testing tools is not my job. I ‘m just looking for tools/ways that make my live in the web 2.0 world easy. The tools must be easy to understand and easy to use.

A new tool Packrati.us. (http://packrati.us/) seems to meet all my needs in this respect. A week ago, I read about it in a Tech Crunch paper entitled:  Packrati.us: A Dead Simple Way To Make Delicious Bookmark The Links You Tweet. Dead simple that was what I needed!

Packrati.us is a simple bookmarking service. Once you register, they follow your Twitter feed, and whenever one of your tweets contains URLs, they are added to your Delicious.com bookmarks.

So, for instance I retweeted @amcunningham and @jrbtrip, who link to an interesting article regarding bias in dissemination & publication of research. The link is a shortened URL.

When I visit My Delicious (http://delicious.com/) via an add-on in Firefox, I see that the link is automatically saved in Delicious.

The bookmark shows

  1. the link to the URL (title),
  2. the number of people bookmarking the link,
  3. the actual tweet mentioned in notes (more notes can be added),
  4. the extended url,
  5. an automatic tag (packrati.us) chosen to indicate that this bookmark is automatically imported from Twitter and other tags that I manually added to facilitate retrieval.

When you click on the link you go to the actual article. I can always find the bookmark when I search for tags like bias

The following links can be automatically loaded into Delicious:

  • Links in your tweets and retweets (tweets you resend)
  • Links in tweets directed to you (send by others)
  • Links in your favorited tweets (!) (quite new)

You can choose to:

  • Expand the URLs that have been shortened with an URL shortening service
  • Replace existing bookmarks (no duplication, old tags are kept.
  • Not convert hashtags from tweets to tags for the bookmarks (default = tagging hashtags)
  • Exclude tweets with specific tags (new)
  • Exlude tweets from a selection of sources
  • Add the sender of the tweet (other than yourself)

Packrati.us is under continuous development, some features have just been added. I love the new feature that favorited tweets can be kept (alas it doesn’t work retrospectively, so the above favs are not included).

In practice you can get a lot of bookmarks if you tweet/favorite a lot. It is good to exclude some tweets beforehand and imo necessary to prune the tweets afterwards and add tags. Otherwise it becomes a (disorderly) mess.

Although Packrati.us links only Twitter and Delicious, you can use each platform separately. I also use Delicious to manually add bookmarks of websites I like. Yes, thanks to Packrati.us I learned to love delicious again.





Kaleidoscope 2009 wk 47

19 11 2009

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Kaleidoscope is a new series, with a “kaleidoscope” of facts, findings, views and news gathered over the last 1-2 weeks.

Most items originate from Twitter, my Google Reader (RSS) and sometimes real articles (yeah!).

I read a lot, I bookmark a lot, but only some of those things end op in a post. Since tweets have a half-life of less than a week, I thought it would be nice to safeguard some of the tweets in a post. For me to keep, for you to read.

I don’t have the time and the discipline to post daily about health news and social media as Ves Dimov does. It looks more like the compilation at blogs of dr Shock’s (see example),  dr Bates shout-outs, Health Highlights of Highlight HEALTH and Rachel Walden’s Womens health News Round-ups, but less on one subject and less structured. It will just be a mix of old and new, Social Media and science, just a kaleidoscope. Or a potpourri  if you like.

I don’t know if this kaleidoscope will live a long live. I already wrote 2 3 4 5 6 editions, but didn’t have the time to finish them. Well, we will see, just enjoy this one.

Ooh and the beautiful kaleidoscope is made by RevBean and is called: Eyeballs divide like cells. Looks very much like the eyeball-bubblewrap of a previous post but that is thus coincidence. Here is the link (Flickr, CC)

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Medical Grand Rounds

Louise Norris at Colorado Health Insurance Insider is this week’s host of Grand Rounds.(see here). There are many interesting posts again. As a mother of two teens I especially liked the insight Nancy Brown of Teen Health 411 brings us into what teens want when it comes to their relationships with their parents and the “would you rather…?” story that Amy Tenderich of Diabetes Mine shares with us. The punch line is great. Her 9 year old melts my heart.

At InsureBlog’s Hank Stern brings us an article about a British hospital that will no longer admit expectant mothers with a BMI of more than 34, because the hospital’s labor and delivery unit is not equipped to handle complicated births. Hank concludes: “Fear not, though, portly preggies have to travel but 20 miles to the next closest facility. Assuming, of course, that they can make it that far when contractions are minutes apart.”

Dr Charles of the The Examining Room wrote an in depth article about a cheerleader who was supposedly stricken with dystonia following a seasonal flu vaccine in August. Dr Charles not only highlights why (specialists) think it is not dystonia, but gives also background information about the efficacy of vaccins.

Recent editions of the Grand Rounds were at CREGRL, flight nurse (link), NonClinicalJobs (link) and Codeblog, tales of a nurse (link). You can always find previous and upcoming hosts at the Grand Rounds Archive at Blogborygmi.

3621322354_4bc3bb115e Breast cancer screening

The update of the 2002 USPSTF recommendation statement on screening for breast cancer in the general population, published in the November issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine has led to heated discussions in the mainstream media (i.e. New York Times and MedPage Today). Based on current evidence, partly based on 2 other articles in the same journal (comparison screening schedules and an systematic review) the guidelines advise scaling back of the screening. The USPSTF recommends:

  • against routine screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years
  • against routine screening mammography of women 75 years or older.
  • biennial (instead of annual) screening mammography for women between the ages of 50 and 74 years.
  • against teaching breast self-examination (BSE).
  • against either digital mammography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) instead of film mammography as screening modalities.

The two articles published in Ann Intern Med add to the evidence that the propagation of breast cancer self exam doesn’t save lives (see Cochrane review discussed in a previous post) and that the benefits of routine mammography in the young (<50) or old (>75) do not outweigh the harm (also covered by a  Cochrane review before). Indeed, as put forward by Gary Schwitzer at Schwitzer health news blog this is NOT a new debate. He refers to Slate who republishes a five-year old piece of Amanda Schaffer that does a good job of explaining the potential harms of screening. However it is difficult for women (and some doctors) to understand that “When it comes to cancer screening, more isn’t always better.” Indeed -as Kevin Pho at Kevin MD states, the question is whether “patients will accept the new, evidence-based, breast cancer screening guidelines”.

In the Netherlands it is already practice to start biannual routine mammography at the age of 50. The official breast cancer screening site of the RIVM even states that the US is now going to follow the Dutch guidelines 😉 (one of assessed guidelines in one the Ann Intern Med papers is Dutch). But people still find the  long established guidelines difficult to accept: coincidentally I saw tweets today asking to sign a petition to advance the age of screening ‘because breast cancer is more and more frequently observed at young age…(??)’ Young, well educated, women are very willing to sign…

No time to read the full articles, but interested to know more, then listen to the podcast of this Ann Intern Med edition:

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Systematic Reviews, pharma sponsored trials and other publishing news

Cochrane reviews are regarded as scientifically rigorous, yet a review’s time to publication can be affected by factors such as the statistical significance of the findings. A study published in Open Medicine examined the factors associated with the time to publication of Cochrane reviews. A change in authors and updated reviews were predictive factors, but the favorability of the results was not.

Roy Poses of the Health Care Renewal Blog starts this blogpost as follows: “Woe to those of us who have been advocates for evidence-based medicine”. He mainly refers to a study published in the NEJM, that identified selective outcome reporting for trials of off-label use of gabapentin: for 8 of the 12 published trials, there was a disagreement between the definition of the primary outcome in the protocol and that in the published report. This seriously threatens the validity of evidence for the effectiveness of off-label interventions. Roy was surprised that the article didn’t generate much media attention. The reason may be that we have been overwhelmed by manipulation of data, ghostwriting and by the fact that pharma-sponsored trials rarely produce results that are unfavorable to the companies’ product (see previous posts about Ghostwriting (Merck/Elsevier, Conflict of Interest in Cancer Studies and David Tovey about Cochrane Reviews). At least two authors of the NEJM review (Bero and Dickersin) have repeatedly this to be the case [e.g. see here for an overview, and papers of Lisa Bero]. It is some relief that at least 3 of the 4 NEJM authors are also members of the Cochrane Collaboration. Indirectly better control of reporting, i.e. by clinical trials registries, can improve the reliability of pharma sponsored trials and thus systematic reviews summarizing them. As a matter of fact Cochrane authors always have to check these registries.

At Highlight Health Walter Jessen writes about Medical Journal Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Other Issues, which also discusses how money can taint objectivity in scientific publishing. Half of the post discusses the book The Trouble with Medical Journals, written in 2007 by Richard Smith, the former editor of the BMJ.
By the way, Walter just hosted MedLibs Round with the theme “Finding Credible Health Information Online”.

Good news in the Netherlands: right after international Open Access week and the launching of the Dutch Open Access website (www.openaccess.nl), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has announced that it is in favor of Open Access. (via PLOS-facebook).

The open access nature of PLOS itself gets out of hand: they even peer-review T-shirts (according to Bora Zivkovic of a Blog around the Clock, see here)

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Other Health & Science News:

Medline Plus summarizes an article in the Journal of Nutrition, that states that Selenium supplements, may pose a heart risk.

Even Folic Acid and vitamin B12, when taken in large doses, have been reported to Increase Cancer Risk (WebMD)

Luckily WebMD also reports that dark chocolate seems to help against stress, that is it reduced stress hormones in the blood. However @evidencematters and @NHSChoices cast doubt on that“Chocolate cuts stress, says newspaper. Does the study really say that? And who paid for the study?…”

Scientists made the unexpected discovery (published in Molecular Cell) that BRAF, which is linked to around 70 per cent of melanomas and seven per cent of all cancers, is in fact controlled by a gene from the same RAF family called CRAF – which has also been linked to the disease. For the first time it is shown “how two genes from the same ‘family’ can interact with each other to stop cancer in its tracks” (Source: Info Cancer Research UK)

For the first time, scientists have successfully used exome sequencing to quickly discover a previously unknown gene responsible for Miller syndrome, a rare disorder. The finding demonstrates the usefulness of exome sequencing in studying rare genetic disorders. The exome is enriched for coding (thus functional) DNA, it is only 1% of the total DNA, but contains 85% of the mutations (Published in , source: PhysOrg.com)

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Web 2.0
For information regarding the FDA hearings on internet and social media see #FDASM: http://www.fdasm.com.

Read Write Web summarizes the new numbers released by analytics firm Postrank that indicate that reader engagement with blogs has changed dramatically over the last three years, primarily because of the rise of online social networks.

Twitter has began to relaunch the new retweet feature, although not without controversy. What do you think about the newest feature?

The Next Web gives an overview of which Twitter application is hot and which is not.

And Finally: Top 100 tools for learning, compiled by Jane Hart from the contributions of 278 learning professionals worldwide. You can see the lists here (HT: http://blogs.netedu.info/?p=1005)

The web 2.0 part is relatively short, but it is time to conclude this edition. Till next time!

  • MEDLIB’s ROUND 1.6 (laikaspoetnik.wordpress.com)
  • Tool Talk: quick links re Facebook, GReader and GWave (socialfish.org)
  • Reblog this post [with Zemanta]




    QuoteURL: a new Twitter Tool to Quote, Save and Publish Tweets

    14 06 2009

    Ever tried to catch and publish a twitter conversation? Hard, isn’t it, especially at WordPress.com where the lay-out is often difficult to control, if you just copy and paste.
    Tweets also tend to disappear after approximately 3-4 weeks.  Thus if you want to capture them you should do it (relatively) soon after they have been tweeted.

    A month ago I gave a presentation where I showed medical students a real fancy twitter-application with tweets of  doctors, patients and nurses giving them advice on how to use web 2.0 tools in medicine. Now the tweets have all gone….14-6-2009 0-13-00 Qoute URL logo

    But the new Twitter Tool QuoteURL, developed by Fabricio Zuardi, offers a perfect solution.

    It is a very intuitive and easy tool that allows you to collect several tweets, for instance answers to a question. A maximum of 4 tweets per quote are allowed for unregistered tweeps and 10 after free registration. The 10-tweet limit is only meant to keep Twitter API quotas under control, but you can twitter @fczuardi or email fabricio at fabricio dot org to ask for an exception (source: comment of Fabricio at onlinejournalismblog.com)

    You can collect tweets in two ways:

    1. Enter the Twitter status URL or ID (click on the date or on “view tweet”, depending on the interface). For instance http://twitter.com/laikas/statuses/2115296397. You can easily gather the tweets in a text or word file, till you need them. This is for instance suitable for the series Top of the Tweets, where I collect funny tweets over time.

    14-6-2009 15-27-56 CECEM tweet 12

    Method 1: copy/paste permalink

    2. Drag or drop the tweet-URL’s from a split screen that shows pop-ups of  Twitter Home or Twitter Search in a separated window. Perform a search (figure) or go to your Twitter home page to drag permalinks into the text-field. Just drag the line that would show the url when you click on it.

    Method 2. Drag and drop from spilt window

    Method 2. Drag and drop from split window (click to enlarge)

    QuoteURL arranges tweets chronologically, so you can drag them in in any order.

    After you have collected the tweets you press the Save button and the permalink is created. To embed the Quote in your blogpost just copy the <!– QuoteURL styled embed start –> (lower right) in the HTML-view of your blog and the code appears)

    Summary.

    • Tweets can be collected by copy-pasting of the tweet URL’s or by dragging and dropping.
    • Tweets are ordered chronologically
    • The Quote can be saved as a permalink
    • You can mail the URL to someone or you can post it directly on your blog by copy-pasting of the embedded code
    • The individual tweet-URL’s can still be produced (click on dates).

    Below is an example of a Quote made with QuoteURL. I thought it would be nice to show a recent discussion with the maker of QuoteURL @fczuardi. The permalink is: http://www.quoteurl.com/by608
    WordPress.com shrinks the lay-out after saving. Other hosts may let the style intact. Still I find the result pretty awesome.

    1. laikas @fczuardi Hi, I like your Quoteurl – although the lay-out becomes less when saved on WordPress. Questions: can you add tweets (days) later??
    2. laikas @fczuardi Q2: do the quotes remain stable over time? (tweets normally disappear after 3-4 weeks) ; and the avatars?
    3. fczuardi @laikas regarding the layout on wordpress, you can get the unstyled version of the embed code and use your own CSS
    4. fczuardi @laikas the avatars breaking later is a known issue, the right thing to do would to cache those images, but the code does not do it yet

    this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

    The video gives more details about the whole procedure.

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    more about “QuoteURL“, posted with vodpod





    Visualization of Twitter Networks: Mailana

    26 03 2009

    Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time. It has become my major social networking and information tool.

    There are many Twitter Tools and API’s around. Many can be regarded as gadgets, nice to use, once, twice, thrice and ….then to forget. Some of the tools that I’ve bookmarked:

    Some of these tools are just for fun, others (the last 3 for instance) tell you something about somebody’s twitter network or tweets.
    In the last category a new tool has just been launched: Top Twitter Friends on http://twitter.mailana.com/. It is meant to answer the questions: Who do you talk to most often on Twitter? Who are your closest friends (BFF’s)? and What does your social network look like? But it gives also tips on who you should follow, how to find friends in your neighborhood (not successful in my hands) and to find a network of people talking about a certain topic.

    optionsI like this tool very much, because it visualizes the network of your relevant contacts and their contacts. My present network looks like this:

    laikas-network1

    I’m automatically in the center. The thicker the threads with people, the more conversations you had with them. DM’s (direct messages) are excluded. When you pass your mouse over a portrait all rays starting from there color red. Within your network, other networks may be visible. For instance, in my network you see a “Dutch community” (wowter, gbierens, essen2punt0 etc) and an Australian one (@dreamingspires, @sandnsurf, bitethedust). Some people are pivots themselves: like @mikehawker and @scanman.
    You can see anyone’s network by clicking a portrait or typing a name.

    A list of your 10 closest “friends” is also shown. My closest “friend” is symtym, runners up are the librarians @pudliszek and @shamsha. And there is a list of 10 suggestions as well.

    Finally you can make a map of conversations. The following map was created by searching for the hashtag #zorg20 (a dutch health 2.0 meeting). It will be no surprise that the organizer @zorg2.0 is almost in the center.

    zorg-20

    This tool looks really awesome.
    However, it makes you realize that all your tweets and follows are charted. Can this be used to pick up people’s conversation at certain topics? Can it be misused?
    I just wondered when I noticed that this system is driven by Mailana social network analysis system (see demo here). This system enables companies to find out valuable hidden information in company e-mails. As shown in the demo, you can search for a company name in Mailana and find which employees mail most about it. You even get a wordcloud on basis of which you can decide who gives you the most valuable information. It is easy to see how that can be used and misused in a company. Would you like your email to become searchable? I wouldn’t! Twitter is an open communication network, but still…..

    In this respect it is interesting that according Danielle of the Health Informaticist:

    ….while the ‘laypeople’ are chattering away (…) a company called Salesforce.com has launched a product to allow “companies to search, monitor and join conversations taking place on Twitter directly in the Service Cloud.”(for more details see post here).

    Gives me a bit uncomfortable feeling.

    HATTIP: @drval (