Shared posts

27 Jul 18:00

Learn Which Towns Are a Match for Your Political Beliefs

by Dave Greenbaum

Learn Which Towns Are a Match for Your Political Beliefs

Picking where to move in a state can be a difficult decision. One thing you may consider is the political opinions of others in the area. Clarity Campaign Labs helps you decide.


25 Jul 21:30

Inateck MacBook Protect felt sleeves are classy, inexpensive

by Steven Sande
If you're looking for protection for a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, but don't want to spend a lot of money, you usually end up with some generic-looking bag from OfficeMaxStaplesDepot. Wouldn't it be nice to get protection that's classy-looking, yet...
27 Jul 15:23

U.S. Releases Pictures It Says Show Russia Shelled Ukraine From Across The Border

by Rosie Gray

And evidence that separatists are using weapons provided by Russia against the Ukrainian military.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government Sunday added weight to its allegations that Russia is deeply involved in the battles in Eastern Ukraine, releasing evidence on Sunday of Russia shelling eastern Ukraine from across the border and of separatists in the area using heavy weapons provided by Russia against the Ukrainian military.

The images from the Director of National Intelligence, released by the State Department on Sunday morning, further bolster the evidence that points to Russia's deep involvement in destabilizing eastern Ukraine and backing pro-Russian separatists who wish to break away from Ukraine.

Moscow has cast the rebellion as a local affair, and denied accusations that it is a product of the Russian security apparatus.

This image shows evidence that "multiple rocket launchers" in Russia fired towards Ukrainian military positions in Ukraine, according to DNI:

DNI/State Department

The second image provided by DNI shows evidence of more strikes from across the border into Ukraine, with "artillery only found in Russian military units," according to DNI.

DNI/State Department

View Entire List ›

27 Jul 09:08

Destroyed Paintings by Cesar Biojo

by Donnia

Cesar Biojo peint de très beaux portraits de femmes dont la particularité est qu’il détruit ses peintures d’un revers de pinceau, une fois qu’il a achevé son travail. Ses peintures à l’huile se situent entre création et destruction et sont à découvrir dans la suite.

Cesar Biojo’s portfolio. cesar_biojo-2bis CesarBiojo-12 CesarBiojo-11 CesarBiojo-10 CesarBiojo-9 CesarBiojo-8 CesarBiojo-7 CesarBiojo-6 CesarBiojo-5 CesarBiojo-4 CesarBiojo-3 CesarBiojo-2 CesarBiojo-1

26 Jul 09:51


by Mathew Lucas

Bit of a hiatus from personal work, and projects that I could share process shots etc.

All my current projects are coming to a close, so expect some more shots soon!

So it was about time to pop another gif on 89—A.

26 Jul 22:48

21 Stunning Photos Taken By A 15-Year-Old Instagram Photographer

by Caroline Moss

Ryan Parillo

Ryan Parrilla is regarded as a prodigy when it comes to his work behind the camera lens. 

The 15-year-old (yep, born in 1998) first picked up a camera at age 7, taking photos of random things around his house. He didn't have any technical skill, of course, but by trial and error he would figure out what worked and what didn't based on the outcome of his snapping.

A few years later, his parents surprised him with a Canon DSLR, but it was too overwhelming to learn. His parents told him that unless he took the camera seriously and really learned how to use it, he couldn't bring it out of the house. Discouraged, Parrilla's interest in photography began to fade.

Until the day his sister got an iPod Touch and with it, an app called Instagram.

He soon made an account for himself (@Novess on Instagram) and fell right back in love with photography again. He learned how to use the Canon, and joined a community of Instagrammers in New York, building his following as he posted his photos, some taken with his Canon and some taken on the app. 

Parrilla uses Instagram as a platform to promote his website, where he sells prints of his stunning photos, mostly of urban backdrops. 

You can visit his site and purchase his work here at NovessPhoto and see his awesome Instagram feed here.

Parrilla says ultimately, he'd like to study photography in college, and then build a consulting business where he works with brands to promote them on Instagram. 

Ryan Parrilla is only 15 years old.

But he has had an eye for what makes a good photo ...

... ever since he picked up a camera when he was 7 years old.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

25 Jul 07:23

Senator John Walsh plagiarism, color-coded

by Nathan Yau

John Walsh plagiarism

John Walsh, the U.S. Senator from Montana, is in the news lately for plagiarizing a large portion of his final paper towards his master's degree. The New York Times highlighted the portions that Walsh copied without attribution (red) and the portions he copied with improper attribution (yellow). About a third of the paper was just straight up lifted from others' works, including the final recommendations and conclusion, which is basically the grand finale.

See also: Visualizing Plagiarism by Gregor Aisch, which shows the plagiarized PhD thesis of Germany's former Minister of Defense.

18 Jul 12:31

chuck? [video]



08 Jul 15:08

Electric Objects Launches Kickstarter Campaign To Build Displays For Digital Art

by Anthony Ha
Electric Objects 05 Startup Electric Objects aims to build displays for Internet art, separate from devices like laptops and smartphones that it says are “designed for distraction.” Today it’s launching a Kickstarter campaign for its first wave of displays, dubbed the EO1. Founder and CEO Jake Levine, who was previously the general manager of Digg (at Betaworks), elaborated in the video… Read More
08 Jul 11:13

Google Ideas is Looking for an Interaction Designer in New York City

Work for Google Ideas!

Google Ideas is a team at Google that explores how technology can enable people to confront threats in the face of conflict, instability or repression. As an interaction designer you are at the forefront of every product they build. With a strong portfolio and a deep understanding of user motivations, you could be their new hire!

If you're perfect for this role, your job will be to envision how people experience Google products and bring that vision to life in a way that feels inspired, refined and even magical. In this role you'll tackle complex tasks and transform them into intuitive, accessible and easy-to-use designs for products that can empower people around the world--from the first-time user to the sophisticated expert. Check out the qualifications and responsibilities on the next page and Apply Now for this wonderful opportunity.

07 Jul 10:03

Adam Lupton

by Jeff


This Friday, July 11th, artist Adam Lupton is doing something here in Vancouver I’ve never really seen before; he’s having two solo painting shows open at two different galleries. Positive Negative will host his show “What’s In Store For Me In The Direction I Don’t Take?” and right around the corner Gam Gallery will host his other show “Not Everything That Goes Around Comes Back Around”.

Take a look at a selection of work from both shows below.

View the whole post: Adam Lupton over on BOOOOOOOM!.

06 Jul 16:52

Where have you met your closest friends here?

I'm 33, and moved to DC around 9 years ago. Most of my friends are now married with kids, and I'm finding myself really low on close friends (though I have a decent number ok acquiantences).

I didn't grow up here, so most of my grade school/high school/college friends slowly faded away over time as I've lived in DC.

The handful of close friends I've had here I basically never see anymore, and the remaining friends are either boring or just seem tough to get close to.

I've tried several meetups, but haven't really had much luck. It seems like most people my age already have their established "inner circle".

submitted by zerostyle
[link] [53 comments]
07 Jul 02:05

JSON Resume – a JSON-based open source standard for resumes

04 Jul 18:17

A Wonderfully Legible Redesign of a Parking Sign

by EDW Lynch

Redesigned Parking Sign by Nikki Sylianteng

New York City-based designer Nikki Sylianteng has come up with a simple redesign of quite possibly the most confusing type of street sign: The parking sign. Her simplified sign features a graphical representation of no-parking and free-parking hours, rather than the typical jumble of text, times, and exceptions. She’s testing prototypes of the sign as part of her design and urban intervention project, To Park or Not to Park.

Redesigned Parking Sign by Nikki Sylianteng

images by Nikki Sylianteng

via Hunter Walk

02 Jul 20:41

Airbnb CEO spells out the end game for the sharing economy, in 7 quotes

by Gregory Ferenstein
Airbnb CEO spells out the end game for the sharing economy, in 7 quotes
Image Credit: Ricky Savi, Aspen Ideas Festival

The CEO of the sharing economy’s newest multibillion-dollar company, Airbnb, recently made some very bold predictions about how he and his industry will reshape the global economy. In essence, Brian Chesky wants a world more like the villages of old: highly trusting and filled with micro-entrepreneurs who shared their assets to make a living.

“Cities used to be generally villages, and everyone was essentially kind of like an entrepreneur,” he told a packed room at the Atlantic Aspen Ideas Festival. “You were either a farmer, or you worked in the city as a blacksmith, or you had some kind of trade. And then the Industrial Revolution happened.”

Part-time freelance work, known as contingent work, is on the rise. In some cases, the sharing economy is leading the way in destroying entire industries, such as the taxi industry, forcing more and more people into contingent work.

Contingent work is less certain: it has less legally sanction protections for both workers and consumers, though it often far (far) more flexible. Ultimately, Chesky argues, the added efficiency of flexible contingent work, especially those jobs involved with sharing assets, will save folks struggling in the worst rungs of the economy.

Given Chesky’s influence on this new economy, his new predictions (and personal influence) are of interest to many people.

Efficiency will save us from the robots & recession

Chesky argues that the ability to profit from sharing assets is a business model both resistant to recession and to the coming robot work-apocalypse. “There are some things that are irreplaceable. In the service industry, there things that are deeply human that people want to participate in. So I think this is the beginning of a golden age,” he said, predicting that the industry will be able to create upwards of 100 million micro-entrepreneurs.

Already, he says, he gets emails from hosts saying, “because of you we were able to keep our home.”

In other words, as the economy forces rents up and long-time residents out of their homes, the sharing economy could save the least advantaged from the ravages of capitalism. Chesky has a nice vision, and certainly some people are making rent because of Airbnb. What are the tradeoffs?

Barely regulated people-as-businesses

“We used to live in a world were there people, private citizens, a world where there are businesses, and now we’re living in a world where people can become businesses in 60 seconds,” he argues.

While he welcomes regulation, this third category of micro-entrepreneur shouldn’t need a fire marshal and inspections if they want to rent out their home for a weekend.

This flies in the face of cities like New York who want much more stringent regulation of Airbnb renters, even if it creates friction for would-be renters. This requires a whole lot of trust and thus information about each person.

Choose: Live off the grid or have a reputation

“The more you broadcast your reputation, the more you’ll have access too. you can decide to live off the grid, not have a reputation, and that’s fine and go through life. But, fewer people will know you and you’ll have access to fewer things. I actually think that’s a fair proposition.”

So, people will have a choice whether to participate, but its a binary one. What gives him so much confidence in reputation?

When reputation fails, firm first and then government

Some people are really racist, especially when they buy things off the Internet. Chesky is optimistic that the more people stay in each others homes, the more they’ll begin to understand those who are different.

But, when their system flags hosts that are unusually bigoted or destructive to their community, the company has an obligation to remove them from the system.

“The community is the first recourse, the platform is the second recourse, and the government is third recourse, rather than the reverse.” Bad reputation may harm a guest’s appeal to customers, but if some hosts continue to refuse to host any black customers, then Airbnb may just kick them off the system.

Chesky seems more optimistic that Airbnb is a better system for creating an open world than the government.

Fewer big chains, less ownership

“Everything will be small; so you’re not going to have big chain restaurants. We’re starting to see you have farmer’s markets, and small restaurants, and food trucks. But, soon, restaurants will be in people’s living rooms.”

Chesky, of course, is directing this trend. Airbnb are secretly piloting a program to host restaurants in people’s homes. And, it doesn’t end there.

Meet mass private transit

Chesky predicts private car sharing companies taking over much of public transit.

“As big as Uber and Lyft are, there are going to be companies I predict that will be as big or bigger that will also disintermediate the public-bus system…Ever been on Virgin America? Imagine you have a shuttle that felt like Virgin America—it had Wi-Fi and baristas, and it costs less than a city bus.”

A bold, if contentious, future

For internet optimists, Chesky and other sharing economy CEOs are building a collectivist utopia, regulated by transparency and a benevolent corporation. For pessimists, it will strip society of the love of ownership and individualism. Whatever readers want to happen, some version of Chesky’s future seems inevitable.

Use a free or cheap marketing automation system? Tell us what's great about it (and not so great), and we'll share survey data from everyone else with you.

03 Jul 06:00

Full-size Watermelon Jell-O Shots

by Miss Cellania

Here’s something really impressive to try for the Independence Day party you’re throwing: Fill an entire watermelon with Jell-o and vodka! You’ll most likely want to slice this into manageable portions before serving, or else grandpa will have half of it eaten before he realizes it has booze in it. Meanwhile, the watermelon you scooped out of the rind can be chilled and served to the kids. The recipe calls for four cups of vodka, so you should add a designated driver in the list of needed equipment. The complete instructions are at Buzzfeed.

(Image credit: Macey Foronda/BuzzFeed)

03 Jul 20:28

An Extended Look at the Surreal Animatronic Sculpture of a Woman by Artist Jordan Wolfson

by Rollin Bishop

via VernissageTV

Artist Jordan Wolfson and creative effects studio Spectral Motion created “(Female Figure)”, a surreal animatronic sculpture of a woman that dances while covered in dirt marks and wearing a witch mask. Two new videos provide a better, extended look at the sculpture and Wolfson’s creation of it.

via MOCA

via The World’s Best Ever

02 Jul 16:26

Where to stand in solar system

by Jason Kottke

xkcd solid Solar System

From XKCD, an illustration of the solar system's solid surfaces stitched together. Best viewed large (if only to find the "all human skin" label). Randall Munroe is just the best, isn't he?

Tags: Randall Munroe   space
03 Jul 15:36

Lionel Messi is impossible

by Jason Kottke

An open-and-shut case from FiveThirtyEight: Lionel Messi is far and away the best player in football. Ronaldo is the only player who is close and he's not even all that close.

By now I've studied nearly every aspect of Messi's game, down to a touch-by-touch level: his shooting and scoring production; where he shoots from; how often he sets up his own shots; what kind of kicks he uses to make those shots; his ability to take on defenders; how accurate his passes are; the kind of passes he makes; how often he creates scoring chances; how often those chances lead to goals; even how his defensive playmaking compares to other high-volume shooters.

And that's just the stuff that made it into this article. I arrived at a conclusion that I wasn't really expecting or prepared for: Lionel Messi is impossible.

It's not possible to shoot more efficiently from outside the penalty area than many players shoot inside it. It's not possible to lead the world in weak-kick goals and long-range goals. It's not possible to score on unassisted plays as well as the best players in the world score on assisted ones. It's not possible to lead the world's forwards both in taking on defenders and in dishing the ball to others. And it's certainly not possible to do most of these things by insanely wide margins.

But Messi does all of this and more.

The piece is chock-full of evidential graphs of how much of an outlier Messi is among his talented peers:

Messi Thru Ball Graph

One of my favorite things that I've written about sports is how Lionel Messi rarely dives, which allows him to keep the advantage he has over the defense.

Tags: Lionel Messi   soccer   sports
03 Jul 15:07

Nimbes Audiovisual Project

by Donnia

« Nimbes » est un projet technologique et artistique réalisé grâce au fruit d’une belle collaboration : celle de Joanie Lemercier pour les visuels et de James Ginzburg pour la musique. Par le biais d’une expérience interactive, ils ont voulu explorer avec talent le lien entre l’univers, la nature et l’architecture par le biais de scanners (satellite, laser et de la 3D-reconstruction).

nimbes-9 nimbes-8 nimbes-7 nimbes-6 nimbes-5 nimbes-4 nimbes-3 nimbes-2 nimbes-1
03 Jul 13:00


by Kristin

My head has revolted. It has taken a stand against the rapid transition from winter to summer, from vacation to work, and it is threatening to explode, taking the rest of me with it.

At day two of headache, three of nausea and four with a sore throat, my hands, feet and tongue have gone numb. My arms and legs feel heavy. My back and neck ache. My nose keeps running.

After exposing myself to the top three triggers for a flare: Stress, Heat and Fatigue, it only makes sense that I've contracted the fourth: Infection. I am on immunosuppressants. I need to remember to take care of myself.

It is easy to forget that I am nearing 40 and suffering from an incurable, progressive and degenerative disorder. It's summer. I just want to chase fireflies, run through the sprinkler and eat ice cream for dinner.

Last night, I ate most of a bag of jelly beans for supper. I haven't had much time or energy for a full grocery run, which requires walking to the store (in 90-degree heat) since returning from my trip to Uruguay, but constant nausea has kept the desire for food mostly at bay.

I haven't had much time or energy for writing, either, so I leave you with this picture from Punta del Este, Uruguay. A little bit of post-sunset magic over the Atlantic Ocean. Just looking at it makes me feel better.

Tag: Health Home Sick
03 Jul 14:16

Beyond Earth: The solar system’s total available land

by BeyondDC Staff

Someday, unless humanity descends into a dark age, we’ll colonize space. Here’s how much land we’ve got to work with, within our solar system.

Image from xkcd.

This chart (it’s not really a map) is to scale for area but obviously not shape. Except Earth’s continents, the shape of the borders are fully the creative license of the illustrator. This simply shows how large each solid planet & moon in our solar system would be, if they were all combined into a single huge continent.

01 Jul 00:01

One Content Metric to Rule Them All

by Trevor-Klein

Posted by Trevor-Klein

Let's face it: Measuring, analyzing, and reporting the success of content marketing is hard.

Not only that, but we're all busy. In its latest report on B2B trends, the Content Marketing Institute quantified some of the greatest challenges faced by today's content marketers, and a whopping 69% of companies cited a lack of time. We spend enough of our time sourcing, editing, and publishing the content, and anyone who has ever managed an editorial calendar knows that fires are constantly in need of dousing. With so little extra time on our hands, the last thing content marketers want to do is sift through a heaping pile of data that looks something like this:

Sometimes we want to dig into granular data. If a post does exceptionally well on Twitter, but just so-so everywhere else, that's noteworthy. But when we look at individual metrics, it's far too easy to read into them in all the wrong ways.

Here at Moz, it's quite easy to think that a post isn't doing well when it doesn't have a bunch of thumbs up, or to think that we've made a horrible mistake when a post gets several thumbs down. The truth is, though, that we can't simply equate metrics like thumbs to success. In fact, our most thumbed-down post in the last two years was one in which Carson Ward essentially predicted the recent demise of spammy guest blogging.

We need a solution. We need something that's easy to track at a glance, but doesn't lose the forest for the trees. We need a way to quickly sift through the noise and figure out which pieces of content were really successful, and which didn't go over nearly as well. We need something that looks more like this:

This post walks through how we combined our content metrics for the Moz Blog into a single, easy-to-digest score, and better yet, almost completely automated it.

What it is not

It is not an absolute score. Creating an absolute score, while the math would be equally easy, simply wouldn't be worthwhile. Companies that are just beginning their content marketing efforts would consistently score in the single digits, and it isn't fair to compare a multi-million dollar push from a giant corporation to a best effort from a very small company. This metric isn't meant to compare one organization's efforts with any other; it's meant to be used inside of a single organization.

What it is and what it measures

The One Metric is a single score that tells you how successful a piece of content was by comparing it to the average performance of the content that came before it. We made it by combining several other metrics, or "ingredients," that fall into three equally weighted categories:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. On-page (in-house) metrics
  3. Social metrics

It would never do to simply smash all these metrics together, as the larger numbers would inherently carry more weight. In other words, we cannot simply take the average of 10,000 visits and 200 Facebook likes, as Facebook would be weighted far more heavily—moving from 200 to 201 likes would be an increase of 0.5%, and moving from 10,000 to 10,001 visits would be an increase of 0.01%. To ensure every one of the ingredients is weighted equally, we compare them to our expectations of them individually.

Let's take a simple example using only one ingredient. If we wanted to get a sense for how well a particular post did on Twitter, we could obviously look at the number of tweets that link to it. But what does that number actually mean? How successful is a post that earns 100 tweets? 500? 2,000? In order to make sense of it, we use past performance. We take everything we've posted over the last two months, and find the average number of tweets each of those posts got. (We chose two months; you can use more or less if that works better for you.) That's our benchmark—our expectation for how many tweets our future posts will get. Then, if our next post gets more than that expected number, we can safely say that it did well by our own standards. The actual number of tweets doesn't really matter in this sense—it's about moving up and to the right, striving to continually improve our work.

Here's a more visual representation of how that looks:

Knowing a post did better or worse than expectations is quite valuable, but how much better or worse did it actually do? Did it barely miss the mark, or did it completely tank? It's time to quantify.

It's that percentage of the average (92% and 73% in the examples above) that we use to seed our One Metric. For any given ingredient, if we have 200% of the average, we have a post that did twice as well as normal. If we have 50%, we have a post that did half as well.

From there, we do the exact same thing for all the other ingredients we'd like to use, and then combine them:

This gives us a single metric that offers a quick overview of a post's performance. In the above example, our overall performance came out to 113% of what we'd expect based on our average performance. We can say it outperformed expectations by 13%.

We don't stop there, though. This percent of the average is quite useful... but we wanted this metric to be useful outside of our own minds. We wanted it to make sense to just about anyone who looked at it, so we needed a different scale. To that end, we took it one step farther and applied that percentage to a logarithmic scale, giving us a single two-digit score much like you see for Domain Authority and Page Authority.

If you're curious, we used the following equation for our scale (though you should feel free to adjust that equation to create a scale more suitable for your needs):

Where y is the One Metric score, and x is the percent of a post's expected performance it actually received. Essentially, a post that exactly meets expectations receives a score of 50.

For the above example, an overall percentage of expectations that comes out to 113% translates as follows:

Of course, you won't need to calculate the value by hand; that'll be done automatically in a spreadsheet. Which is actually a great segue...

The whole goal here is to make things easy, so what we're going for is a spreadsheet where all you have to do is "fill down" for each new piece of content as it's created. About 10-15 seconds of work for each piece. Unfortunately, I can't simply give you a ready-to-go template, as I don't have access to your Google Analytics, and have no clue how your on-page metrics might be set up. 

As a result, this might look a little daunting at first.

Once you get things working once, though, all it takes is copying the formulas into new rows for new pieces of content; the metrics will be filled automatically. It's well worth the initial effort.

Ready? Start here:

Make a copy of that document so you can make edits (File > Make a Copy), then follow the steps below to adjust that spreadsheet based on your own preferences.

  1. You'll want to add or remove columns from that sheet to match the ingredients you'll be using. Do you not have any on-page metrics like thumbs or comments? No problem—just delete them. Do you want to add Pinterest repins as an ingredient? Toss it in there. It's your metric, so make it a combination of the things that matter to you.
  2. Get some content in there. Since the performance of each new piece of content is based on the performance of what came before it, you need to add the "what came before it." If you've got access to a database for your organization (or know someone who does), that might be easiest. You can also create a new tab in that spreadsheet, then use the =IMPORTFEED function to automatically pull a list of content from your RSS feed.
  3. Populate the first row. You'll use a variety of functionality within Google Spreadsheets to pull the data you need in from various places on the web, and I go through many of them below. This is the most time-consuming part of setting this up; don't give up!
  4. Got your data successfully imported for the first row? Fill down. Make sure it's importing the right data for the rest of your initial content.
  5. Calculate the percentage of expectations. Depending on how many ingredients you're using, this equation can look mighty intimidating, but that's really just a product of the spreadsheet smooshing it all onto one line. Here's a prettier version:
    All this is doing (remember Step 2 above, where we combined the ingredients) is comparing each individual metric to past performance, and then weighting them appropriately.

    And, here's what that looks like in plain text for our metric (yours may vary):

    Note that this equation goes from row 2 through row 47 because we had 46 pieces of content that served to create our "expectation."

  6. Convert it to the One Metric score. This is a piece of cake. You can certainly use our logarithmic equation (referenced above): y = 27*ln(x) +50, where x is the percent of expectations you just finished calculating. Or, if you feel comfortable adjusting that to suit your own needs, feel free to do that as well.
  7. You're all set! Add more content, fill down, and repeat!

Update: A word of caution
After some great discussion in the comments below, I thought it prudent to include a word of caution about how this metric is used. For one thing, be smart about what the numbers actually mean, and keep the following points in mind:

  1. Make sure you have a sufficiently ample benchmark. If you only have three posts with which to set the "expected" values, then your performance against that expectation isn't going to mean much. I'd recommend having at least 10-15 posts from which you calculate that expectation before you apply the One Metric score to any subsequent posts.
  2. Be smart about averages, and know that this doesn't mean you can discard all the rest of your metrics. By smooshing all of these metrics together, we effectively soften the impact of any outliers. Thanks to Pete Wailes for this XKCD reference; while you shouldn't lose the forest for the trees, sometimes individual trees are quite important.
  3. As with any metric, knowing what to do with the One Metric takes a keen awareness of why a certain piece of content performed the way it did, and checking any intended actions against your organization's goals. There's a reason marketers haven't been replaced by algorithms: It's up to you and your brain to turn these metrics into actual insights.


Here are more detailed instructions for pulling various types of data into the spreadsheet:

Adding new rows with IFTTT

If This Then That (IFTTT) makes it brilliantly easy to have your new posts automatically added to the spreadsheet where you track your One Metric. The one catch is that your posts need to have an RSS feed set up (more on that from FeedBurner). Sign up for a free IFTTT account if you don't already have one, and then set up a recipe that adds a row to a Google Spreadsheet for every new post in the RSS feed.

When creating that recipe, make sure you include "Entry URL" as one of the fields that's recorded in the spreadsheet; that'll be necessary for pulling in the rest of the metrics for each post.

Also, IFTTT shortens URLs by default, which you'll want to turn off, since the shortened URLs won't mean anything to the APIs we're using later. You can find that setting in your account preferences.

Pulling Google Analytics

One of the beautiful things about using a Google Spreadsheet for tracking this metric is the easy integration with Google Analytics. There's an add-on for Google Spreadsheets that makes pulling in just about any metric a simple process. The only downside is that even after setting things up correctly, you'll still need to manually refresh the data.

To get started,  install the add-on. You'll want to do so while using an account that has access to your Google Analytics.

Then, create a new report; you'll find the option under "Add-ons > Google Analytics:"

Select the GA account info that contains the metrics you want to see, and choose the metrics you'd like to track. Put "Page" in the field for "Dimensions;" that'll allow you to reference the resulting report by URL.

You can change the report's configuration later on, and if you'd like extra help figuring out how to fiddle with it, check out Google's documentation.

This will create (at least) two new tabs on your spreadsheet; one for Report Configuration, and one for each of the metrics you included when creating the report. On the Report Configuration tab, you'll want to be sure you set the date range appropriately (I'd recommend setting the end date fairly far in the future, so you don't have to go back and change it later). To make things run a bit quicker, I'd also recommend setting a filter for the section(s) of your site you'd like to evaluate. Last but not least, the default value for "Max Results" is 1,000, so if you have more pages than that, I'd change that, as well (the max value is 10,000).

Got it all set up? Run that puppy! Head to Add-ons > Google Analytics > Run Reports. Each time you return to this spreadsheet to update your info, you'll want to click "Run Reports" again, to get the most up-to-date stats.

There's one more step. Your data is now in a table on the wrong worksheet, so we need to pull it over using the VLOOKUP formula. Essentially, you're telling Excel, "See that URL over there? Find it in the table on that report tab, and tell me what the number is next to it." If you haven't used VLOOKUP before, it's well worth learning. There's a fantastic  explanation over at Search Engine Watch if you could use a primer (or a refresher).

One additional detail worth noting (thanks to rorynatkiel for pointing it out in the comments): You may need to use a =CONCAT to add the "http://" in while you're pulling from that report, as the GA report doesn't include it.

Pulling in social metrics with scripts

This is a little trickier, as Google Spreadsheets doesn't include a way to pull in social metrics, and that info ins't included in GA. The solution? We create our own functions for the spreadsheet to use.

Relax; it's not as hard as you'd think. =)

I'll go over Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus here, though the process would undoubtedly be similar for any other social network you'd like to measure.

We start in the script editor, which you'll find under the tools menu:

If you've been there before, you'll see a list of scripts you've already made; just click "Create a New Project." If you're new to Google Scripts, it'll plop you into a blank project—you can just dismiss the popup window that tries to get you started.

Google Scripts organizes what you create into "projects," and each project can contain multiple scripts. You'll only need one project here—just call it something like "Social Metrics Scripts"—and then create a new script within that project for each of the social networks you'd like to include as an ingredient in your One Metric.

Once you have a blank script ready for each network, go through one by one, and paste the respective code below into the large box in the script editor (make sure to replace the default "myFunction" code).

function fbshares(url) {
var jsondata = UrlFetchApp.fetch(""+url);
var object = Utilities.jsonParse(jsondata.getContentText());
return object[0].total_count;
function tweets(url) {
var jsondata = UrlFetchApp.fetch(""+url);
var object = Utilities.jsonParse(jsondata.getContentText());
return object.count;
function plusones(url) {
var options =
"method" : "post",
"contentType" : "application/json",
"payload" :
var response = UrlFetchApp.fetch("", options);
var results = JSON.parse(response.getContentText());
if (results.result != undefined)
return results.result.metadata.globalCounts.count;
return "Error";

Make sure you save these scripts—that isn't automatic like it is with most Google applications. Done? You've now got the following functions at your disposal in Google Spreadsheets:

  • =fbshares(url)
  • =tweets(url)
  • =plusones(url)

The (url) in each of those cases is where you'll point to the URL of the post you're trying to analyze, which should be pulled in automatically by IFTTT. Voila! Social metrics.

Pulling on-page metrics

You may also have metrics built into your site that you'd like to use. For example, Moz has thumbs up on each post, and we also frequently see great discussions in our comments section, so we use both of those as success metrics for our blog. Those can usually be pulled in through one of the following two methods.

But first, obligatory note: Both of these methods involve scraping a page for information, which is obviously fine if you're scraping your own site, but it's against the ToS for many services out there (such as Google's properties and Twitter), so be careful with how you use these.


While getting it set up correctly can be a little tricky, this is an incredibly handy function, as it allows you to scrape a piece of information from a page using an XPath. As long as your metric is displayed somewhere on the URL for your piece of content, you can use this function to pull it into your spreadsheet.

Here's how you format the function:

If you'd like a full tutorial on XPaths (they're quite useful), our friends at Distilled put together a really fantastic guide to using them for things just like this.  It's well worth a look. You can skip that for now, if you'd rather, as you can find the XPath for any given element pretty quickly with a tool built into Chrome.

Right-click on the metric you'd like to pull, and click on "Inspect element."

That'll pull up the developer tools console at the bottom of the window, and will highlight the line of code that corresponds to what you clicked. Right-click on that line of code, and you'll have the option to "Copy XPath." Have at it.

That'll copy the XPath to your clipboard, which you can then paste into the function in Google Spreadsheets.

Richard Baxter of BuiltVisible created a wonderful  guide to the IMPORTXML function a few years ago; it's worth a look if you'd like more info.

Combining =INDEX with =IMPORTHTML

If your ingredient is housed in a <table> or a list (ordered or unordered) on your pages, this method might work just as well.

=IMPORTHTML simply plucks the information from a list or table on a given URL, and =INDEX pulls the value from a cell you specify within that table. Combining them creates a function something like this:

Note that without the INDEX function, the IMPORTHTML function will pull in the entire piece of content it's given. So, if you have a 15-line table on your page and you import that using IMPORTHTML, you'll get the entire table in 15 rows in your spreadsheet. INDEX is what restricts it to a single cell in that table. For more on this function, check out this quick tutorial.

Taking it to the next level

I've got a few ideas in the works for how to make this metric even better. 

Automatically check for outlier ingredients and flag them

One of the downsides of smooshing all of these ingredients together is missing out on the insights that individual metrics can offer. If one post did fantastically well on Facebook, for example, but ended up with a non-remarkable One Metric score, you might still want to know that it did really well on Facebook.

In the next iteration of the metric, my plan is to have the spreadsheet automatically calculate not only the average performance of past content, but also the standard deviation. Then, whenever a single piece differs by more than a couple of standard deviations (in either direction), that ingredient will get called out as an outlier for further review.

Break out the categories of ingredients

In the graphic above that combines the ingredients into categories in order to calculate an overall average, it might help to monitor those individual categories, too. You might, then, have a spreadsheet that looked something like this:

Make the weight of each category adjustable based on current goals

As it stands, each of those three categories is given equal weight in coming up with our One Metric scores. If we broke the categories out, though, they could be weighted differently to reflect our company's changing goals. For example, if increased brand awareness was a goal, we could apply a heavier weight to social metrics. If retention became more important, on-page metrics from the existing community could be weighted more heavily. That weighting would adapt the metric to be a truer representation of the content's performance against current company goals.

I hope this comes in as handy for everyone else's analysis as it has for my own. If you have any questions and/or feedback, or any other interesting ways you think this metric could be used, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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01 Jul 13:00

Haze and a daze

by Kristin

"It's just so beautiful," I said as we walked. "I just want to keep taking pictures of it... It doesn't even change."

"Just remember this," he told me as I lifted the camera and shot.

And I would. I would remember the walk on the beach, the sun and the waves. The platform in the distance that seemed a bit of wreckage that turned out to be a whale-watching point.

The memory of the pain would fade, the crick in my neck that made moving hard and the left foot that cramped into a claw and made walking hard. They paled under the brilliance of the sun and the crashing waves. Miles of walking on a warm, winter day.

When I woke this morning to summer in DC, it already seemed more a dream than a memory. Was it really just Friday that we walked on the beach? That I woke early to watch the sun rise, read my book, talk to the Australian who said he'd seen whales just off the beach Thursday? That we decided to stay one more day, one more night?

When I woke this morning to summer in DC, I had already spent much of a day back in the office. I had talked to my landlord and met with a realtor so he could start the process of renting the house where I still lived. I had called my mom for her birthday and the bank and credit card to activate my new cards. I had switched the number on automatic accounts.

I started my laundry but found I only had enough detergent for one load and considered a run to the grocery store, which would have been run as I didn't drive. I considered packing, too, even as I unpacked from the trip and made a list of the things that I needed to buy, see and do.

Library books to read to kids
Library book to report as lost
Global entry card to report as stolen
Car inspection
Finding movers
Sorting through pictures
Sleep clinic
Blood work
More volunteering
More packing

The list stretched endlessly. My life kept moving forward.

I closed my eyes and thought of the beach, the sun and the waves. A warm, winter day.

"Just remember this."

Tag: Travel Uruguay Home
30 Jun 13:53

World War I in Photos

by Jason Kottke

Alan Taylor has concluded his 10-part series on WWI over at In Focus with a look at the present-day effects of the war. If you haven't been following along, it's worth starting at the beginning and working your way through.

WWI Poppies

Also worth a look is the NY Times' interactive package about the war.

Tags: Alan Taylor   photography   World War I
30 Jun 14:39

Supreme Court rules women can be discriminated against in health decisions

by (Joan McCarter)
Protesters hold signs at the steps of the Supreme Court as arguments begin today to challenge the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers provide coverage for contraception as part of an employee's health care, in Washington March 25, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court convened on Tuesday to consider whether business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare law requiring employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control. &nbsp; &nbsp; REUTERS/Larry Downing &nbsp; (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH BUSINESS RELIGION) - RTR3IJ5S
The U.S. Supreme Court has given corporations even more personhood by deciding that they can have religious beliefs in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. They ruled that closely held companies are exempt from the contraceptive coverage mandate for their employees' health insurance, and are exempt from that provision of the Affordable Care Act. The decision, 5-4 and the majority opinion written by Alito, is being described as "narrow." It is narrow, in that basically only applies to women.

The Court says:

This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to mean that all insurance mandates, that is for blood transfusions or vaccinations, necessarily fail if they conflict with an employer's religious beliefs.
Men could need blood transfusions or vaccinations, so of course they can't allow the exemption from Obamacare to extend to them. The Court then says that this ruling is preventing discrimination. That would be discrimination against who really matters to the majority of the Roberts Court—corporations.

The decision also only applies to "closely held" corporations, which the IRS defines as having more than 50 percent of its stock owned by 5 or fewer individuals. It says that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires that the "government provide closely-held corporate objectors the same accommodation it already provides nonprofit organization objectors."

So religious belief trumps medical science and women's ability to make their own health care decisions, and corporations get to dictate that, according to the majority of the Supreme Court.

28 Jun 21:56

deducecanoe: therothwoman: thearcalian: hetaliapirate: mariof...






I will never get over the hate that surrounds Ohio.

I live in Ohio and I can guarantee that this is 100% true.

What, the Skyline chili doesn’t count (asked the Pennsylvanian)?

Having visited Ohio for family reasons a bajillion times my whole life and having gone to college there, I can confirm that yes, the third picture is pretty accurate if you’re not in Columbus or Cincinnati.

Wow. Ohio. Poor Ohio.

but I’m from Pittsburgh so kinda not.

Born and bred Ohioan and: yes. pretty much this. I escaped immediately upon graduating and do not look back.

27 Jun 17:30


27 Jun 14:49

deerhoof: the future is here and it’s horrible


the future is here and it’s horrible

27 Jun 15:00