Are You Here Today?

A notification popped up on my Slack messenger at work; it was from Mary, our office administrator.

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Meg's First Camping Trip

This past weekend I took Baby Meg (3.5yrs old) on her first camping trip. And boy was it memorable. For starters check out our digs:

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Haystack Highlights

On April 10th and 11th OpenSource Connections held their first (annual I hope) Haystack search relevance conference. It was intended to be a small-and-casual, 50-person conference but ended up pulling in roughly 120 people requiring OSC to scramble to find more space. The end result was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. In general, conference speakers have to aim their content at the lowest common denominator so they that they don’t lose their audience. At this conference, the lowest common denominator was really high! So there was no need to over-explain the boring introductory topics. Instead the speakers were able to jump into interesting and deep content immediately.

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Will Acuff on Building Relationship and Improving Communities

Today I had a Penny Chat with Will Acuff discussing how organizations can form relationships with communities. Will should know, he and his wife Tiffany founded Corner toCorner a group that made huge inroads into helping underprivileged communities in Nashville. The reason that I want to learn about this is because my church, (New Garden Church), is making a concerted effort right now to better connect to our community. In some ways we are positioned perfectly to do this - our church services are in Dupont Tyler Middle School. However we have yet to make meaningful relationships with the people in our community outside of our congregation. So we’re looking for help!

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Better Click Tracking for Identifying Statistically High Performers - Part I

Click tracking is a way of boosting documents based upon the historical clickthrough rate that they received when surfaced in search results. Here’s how it works: Let’s say that we’re building click tracking for an online store and we want to boost the documents that are getting the most attention. First you set up logging so that you can count how times a particular item is clicked. Next you have a process that aggregates the clicks across, say, a week, and you store the value in a click_count field along side the documents that you are serving from search. Finally, when someone performs a search you boost the results according to the click_count so that items with high clickthrough rates start surfacing higher in search results. But if you think hard, there’s a pretty nasty problem with this approach.

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