Posts tagged Build
Google is constantly testing new ways to answer user queries. Columnist Eric Enge has been watching these experiments closely and shares what he’s observed.
The post How Google Is Using Dynamic Testing To Build Out The Knowledge Graph appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Developing an excellent online reputation means doing more than simply talking endlessly about how wonderful your company is. If you’re the only one doing the talking, and you have a vested interest in seeing your company succeed, chances are your words will be taken with more than just a grain of salt. In fact, your readers might be willing to get out the whole salt shaker, discrediting everything you have to say. That means prompting other people to talk should be a cornerstone of any company’s reputation management strategy. And, lucky for you, I’ve pulled together five tips to help you get […]
The post 5 Ways to Build Up Brand Evangelists by @jeanmariedion appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
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Professionals with ample cross-discipline expertise are as rare as unicorns with wings. It is more efficient and cost-effective to put a team in place with the skill sets needed to execute the process, in the correct sequence, from the beginning.
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When growing your business online you must have a plan. In Episode 3 of Marketing Nerds, Zac Johnson goes into how to build up your own personal brand online. When starting out to marketing yourself online you focus on what you’re awesome at. You have to define everything that you’re going after. Zac teaches us every step that he’s taken to become a six figure blogger online branding yourself and your business. Zac Johnson has been making six figures online through his blog for 8+ years and teaches other bloggers and marketing professionals how to get started with his site, ZacJohnson.com. […]
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You never know the true value of an app until it’s finished.
Twilio developer evangelist Matt Makai and I wanted to take advantage of Twilio’s latest feature, an API for sending picture messages. (See our API explainer if you don’t know what that means.) I pitched Cheer Up!, an uplifting image delivery service. It’d harness the Flickr API to deliver pictures of whatever you want on demand.
That all went out the window when we decided to use Flickr tags as the image retrieval system. People use tags for all sorts of reasons, and they don’t always make sense. As a result, the app only delivers the photo you want about 50% of the time.
We could work with that, though. Now we’re introducing Picture Roulette, an MMS application you can easily create for yourself. Type in a query of one or more words. Does the photo Flickr sends back look like your query? You win! If not, you take a drink. It’s a penalty game made possible by Flickr users’ tagging nonconformity.
It’s not what we expected to build, but it turned out to be a lot more fun. And at only two cents per picture message, it’s a very cheap thrill.
Here’s how to get Picture Roulette working on your own phone:
You’ll need a Twilio account, complete with a registered phone number and about $5 in funds. For very thorough instructions on signing up for Twilio, see my Twilio tutorial. You’ll need both your AccountSID and secret AuthToken for this project.
See also: My Fish Just Sent Me A Text Message
You’ll also need a Flickr API number. In the Flickr App Garden, choose to create a new app with a non-commercial license. Flickr will instantly deliver to you a key and a secret key. We don’t need the secret key for this project, but paste the key where you’ll remember it.
Finally, you’ll need a free-tier Heroku account. We’ll be using Heroku’s one-click-deploy button on GitHub, which makes it so you won’t actually have to do any hard coding. The button, which launched for GitHub last month, lets you create our GitHub app on your own Heroku account without cloning the repository.
On our Picture Roulette GitHub repository, click on the purple Heroku button on the Readme file. It should immediately launch Heroku.
Once on Heroku, the app will prompt you to input your Twilio AccountSID and secret AuthToken followed by your Flickr API key. Heroku can’t launch an app that isn’t fully functional, and the app as it sits on GitHub isn’t fully functional without input from you. That’s because we know better than to put our secret key in a public GitHub repository. Right?
Click “Deploy for Free” and wait for the app to build. Sometimes it can take quite a while. Once all the steps have green circles next to them, click “view it” at the bottom of the screen.
If the app deployed correctly, it shouldn’t look very exciting. As the screenshot indicates, it will simply let you know if the deployment worked. Now, do as it says and copy the browser URL for your Heroku app—i.e., the URL in your browser window right now. No two Heroku apps can have the same name since they’re all stored in the same stack, so it’ll have a funny nature inspired name like “boiling forest” or “blooming spring.”
Now, navigate to your Twilio account and go to the Numbers tab. Click on your Twilio number and paste the URL into the Messaging Request URL field. Press save.
Try texting a word to your Twilio number from your phone. Wait about 20 seconds, and Flickr should send you back a photo of that word! Maybe.
How It Works
If you look around the Picture Roulette repository, you’ll notice that no document contains more than 50 lines of code. That’s because this Python application lets the Twilio API and Flickr API do most of the heavy lifting. It also uses Flask, a Python microframework, to hold everything together.
The heart of the program lies in views.py. Here, you can see where Matt imported the Twilio and Flickr APIs and set up three functions:
- send_image is the function behind the Heroku app deployment. If your app launches correctly, this function makes a message display on the screen when you view it in your web browser.
- _get_flickr_image is what makes the game stay fresh, even if you play it day after day. This function calls the Flickr API and tells it to browse the 25 first results by their tag. One of those results will randomly be sent to you. So if you keep texting “pumpkin,” over and over, you’ll get a different image every time. As people continue to load new images into Flickr, the 25 first tagged results will change over time.
- _send_mms_twiml interacts with the Twilio MMS API. “TwiML,” stands for Twilio Markup Language, and is used as a set of instructions to tell Twilio what to do in response to a text to your Twilio number. In this case, the function tells it to return a photo message to the sender.
The bulk of the other files tell the Picture Roulette GitHub repository use the Flask framework to interact with Heroku so it can be easily deployed. You can also read about setting up any GitHub repository to deploy to Heroku in an earlier tutorial.
Here’s what it might look like in action. Maybe:
Let us know if you had fun with Picture Roulette. And if you’ve got suggestions for how we can make it better, you’re welcome to submit a pull request.
Screenshots by Lauren Orsini for ReadWrite
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This week Twitter took another step towards facilitating consumer purchases through tweets by introducing the #AmazonWishlist hashtag. The new hashtag is integrated with Amazon’s wishlist-making tool, allowing Twitter uses to add items to their list by including that hashtag in a tweet. In order to use the hashtag you must link your Amazon and Twitter accounts together. If you’re not sure how, Amazon will prompt you to do it after going to this link. Once your account are linked then you can start adding items to your wish list. To do that, just reply to tweets that include an Amazon […]
The post Use Twitter To Build Your Amazon Wishlist By Using This Hashtag by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
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If you’ve ever wondered how to engineer a flexible robot that can move like a flesh-and-blood creature, have we got some tools for you. Thanks, that is, to an open-source collaboration that has outlined exactly how to create and program such “soft” robots.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, released the Soft Robotics Toolkit that provides people with everything they need to know to build this squishy technology, including tutorials, example source code, descriptions of all the supplies required, links to suggested suppliers, and multimedia descriptions of how to build and control the robots.
Why Make Soft Robots?
The group defines soft robotics this way:
Soft robotics is a growing field that takes inspiration from biological systems to combine classical principles of robot design with the study of soft, flexible materials. Many animals and plants are composed primarily of soft, elastic structures which are capable of complex movement as well as adaptation to their environment. These natural systems have inspired the development of soft robotic systems, in which the careful design of component geometry allows complex motions to be “pre-programmed” into flexible and elastomeric materials…. The inherent compliance of soft robots makes them highly adaptable to a wide range of tasks and environments. In particular, they are ideally suited for interactions with humans, from assisting with daily activities to performing minimally invasive surgery.
Soft robots are made of elastomer, a type of polymer similar to rubber. They can be programmed to perform behaviors such as grasping a human hand or crawling across the ground. Eventually, researchers say that soft robots may be instrumental in things such as physical therapy, minimally invasive surgery, and search-and-rescue operations.
By using soft robotics, engineers have created projects like a pneumatic glove for rehabilitating hand movement, a cardiac simulator that mimics the precise movements of a human heart, and a device for thumb rehabilitation. All these case studies can be found on the site.
Pick Up Those Tools
The researchers designed the toolkit to be a learning resource for high-school and university students interested in building soft robots. Two cohorts of Harvard students have used the kit so far. To provide others with the same opportunity, the researchers are now making the kit available to the world.
“We intend to continue to develop the material on the website, and are inviting soft robotics researchers, educators, and students from other institutions to get involved in using and developing the resource,” Dónal Holland, visiting lecturer in engineering sciences at the Harvard SEAS, said in an email interview. “We hope for this to spread far beyond Harvard.”
They are now talking to educators in the U.S., Ireland and Brazil about how to use the toolkit, he said.
Of course, creating soft robots isn’t for everyone—some projects require equipment such as a vacuum chamber and centrifuge. Although the site provides explicit technical details, some hobbyists may lack the skills to model their own softbots.
But researchers are optimistic that students of all ages can use the toolkit to learn about soft robotics. It may also serve as a resource for the soft robotics research community at large, providing others with details and information that’s not easily available elsewhere.
“By pooling this information, we hope to advance research in the filed by allowing people to build upon each other’s work rather than reinventing the wheel,” Holland said.
Photo and video courtesy of Harvard SEAS
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