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Archive for the ‘Cognotes’ Category


Using Screengrab to fix Cogmap printing problems

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Drumroll please!

Oakland A's Org Chart

One of the most common emails we get here at Cogmap Intergalactice Headquarters is that printing huge charts is bad, putting charts in a powerpoint is bad, and doing anything other than playing with them inside Cogmap is bad.

While nothing is better than playing with them inside Cogmap, we have found some solutions! The printing problem, interestingly, is not actually a Cogmap problem. We actually have a fairly nice print.css that renders charts nicely for printers. Unfortunately, web browsers do a terrible, terrible job of printing web pages that are very, very, very wide and they all basically explode trying to print things like Cogmap charts.

Here is what we have found works pretty well:

  1. Install Screengrab in your firefox browser:
  2. Go to the chart you want to print or put in a powerpoint
  3. Zoom to large (this makes the chart show titles)
  4. Press the Esc key (this makes the chart go full-screen in your browser)
  5. Use Screengrab to capture the complete page

Now you have a giant image of the entire org chart.  You can compress this into a powerpoint slide or use how you see fit.  Good luck!

Feel free to post more printing tricks in the comments below.

Watch Brent tear IgniteBaltimore apart!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Brent at IgniteBaltimore
Energy?  Check.  Spazz?  Check.  Make everyone laugh?  Check.

My mission as one of the co-organizers of IgniteBaltimore was to make everyone laugh during an informative, educational presentation where the slides are auto-advancing every 15 seconds.

I figured most of the other presentations would be people being serious.  I thought, “I can be serious and funny FTW!”  So I brought it like crazy.  I may live to regret, but here is the youtube:

Become a fan of Cogmap at Facebook!

Monday, October 27th, 2008

We made a facebook page!  Come be a fan!

DMNews loves Cogmap!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Great article in DMNews on Cogmap:  Sara Holoubek writes a nice couple of paragraphs and is an official friend to the Cogmappers.  I owed her lunch before, now I guess we are going someplace nice!

New map type: “restricted editing” charts

Monday, October 13th, 2008

We are pleased to announce a great new innovation in public organization charting: “restricted editing” charts (or “read-only” charts). These combine the best (and worst) of our public and private mapping options. Like our public maps, they can be seen by anyone. Like our private maps, editing is controlled via access control lists. So once you create a restricted editing map, only you and people you designate will be able to edit and update the map (although anyone can leave comments).

The best use case for a chart of this nature would be companies that want to publish their organization charts to do so without fear of the chart being tampered with.

I do want to temper my enthusiasm and indicate that, despite the fact that this was an oft-requested feature, I am not a huge fan of this map type. We have very, very little malicious map editing here at Cogmap and many good contributions to maps every day. Maintaining access control lists can be burdensome and we do worry that charts will become stale.

With that in mind, we are reserving the right to consider implementing a rule like, “If a map is unedited for more than a year, we will convert it from restricted editing to public”. It would have to be a pretty small company to not have any changes in a year. If you think you are that small, then I can tell you there is almost no chance that your map would be maliciously edited if it were public.

We are also thinking about allowing people to edit these maps but make it easy for an administrator to roll back edits.  That would allow charts that have been abandoned by an administrator to remain living charts and evolve appropriately.

This release was coded somewhat haphazardly (it just suddenly seemed pretty easy to do, so we just whipped it out), so if you encounter any weirdness, don’t hesitate to dash off an email to us. I am sure a few things slipped through our fingers since a change like this impacts many different parts of the code base. As always, we figured you would enjoy having it now rather than waiting a few weeks for us to feel really, really good about the release.

Also, we need a better name for these charts. Would love your feedback on this via either email or in the comments. If you give us a name we use, we will hook you up with some schwag!

1,000 Private Charts!

Friday, September 26th, 2008

We launched private charts less than 200 days ago and have seen more than 1,000 private charts created.

Go Cogmunity!

(I frequently wonder if that word should have one or two “m”‘s.)

Watching the growth of private maps made me wonder: Is it growing faster than public maps when we launched Cogmap?

To answer that question, we cranked out a graph:

chart of growth

We can see a couple of interesting conclusions.  You can see the powerful growth in public charts thanks to the fantastic press that Cogmap launched with.  You can also see that our efforts to generate press around our free private maps was a dud.  Bleh.  You can also see a bump where we hit the home page of Delicious for no apparent reason other than the fact that Cogmap is cool!

Even given these phenomenal traffic bumps, private charts have kept pace!

I Heart Behavioral Targeting

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Always appreciate it when someone takes me up on an offer and the result was that I had a super fun dinner last night with Greg (one of my favorite bloggers), Emmy, and Azeem.

Greg let me rant and rave most of the night about behavioral targeting and I came out of it thinking, “that was only helpful to Greg if he wanted to feel like that was never going to work.”  I spent some time after that, as Emmy would have said, “trying to think about something nice”, and I had a few realizations:

  • It is very hard to understand the value of behaviors, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value.  Personally (i.e. my gut instinct), I would rather show ads to someone that I know visits finance sites every day, regardless of where they are at that moment, than someone that is on a finance site right now.  So a behavior that shows consistent interest + random current inventory > expensive inventory without a guarantee of true interest in a subject.
  • Great optimization, the best thing an advertiser could possibly have online, can theoretically happen two ways: Awesome algorithms; or OK algorithms combines with awesome data.  This is well-known.  So advertisers want what behavioral data exchanges are selling.  That has to be good!

Greg can also now testify to the awesomeness of Cogschwag, so enter my contests and win some prizes already.

Cogmap is looking for a few good testimonials (Awesome prizes!)

Friday, September 12th, 2008

I have been thinking it would be great if I went back and pulled some of our enthusiastic emails, but then I thought, “Why not make it a blog post! There have been too few of late!” So lo, there was a blog and a post was posted upon it. Prizes were found!

We are looking for some sweet testimonials to help prop up our guerilla marketing activities. In the comments below, give me your best stuff.

Here is what we need:

  • A good two sentences praising or despising the product, however you are feeling.
  • Your name/Company
  • A URL if you want us to link to it

Remember how success stories sound: “Before we had a terrible problem, but then we used Cogmap and now we are happy.” Keep it lively and active, keep it fun, and details make it better. Facts & Figures > *.

The most awesome testimonial will get a “Cogmug” and some stickers in the mail!

Thanks for the support!

Welcome to A New World of CSV Uploading

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Great release of Cogmap tonight. We now show a list of people that subscribe to maps.

More importantly, you can now upload CSV files to maps. These people are then added to the unmapped section of a map and you can begin moving them around.

This is a feature people have been asking for since we launched, so I am pleased to see it get out the door. If you have any problems, don’t hesitate to email us (please attach the file you are uploading) and we will take a look.

Update: Of course, we broke a bunch of stuff in the process.  I think it is all fixed now.

Chris Messina forces shipment of Cogmap 2.1.4

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

A boring update long-overdue gets pushed live prompted by Chris Messina finding bugs in our OpenID implementation.

On the one hand, I tout our OpenID stuff as being interesting because we do a lot more handling pops and being Ajax-y than other implementations I have seen.  On the other, the result is a lot more edge cases and code.

The highlight of this update is the new changelog page where I will attempt to document all of the things that get broken.

After talking with Chris at the Graphing Social Patterns East conference, I am reconsidering another run at better and more interesting data dumps.  Chris was advocating introducing some custom rel tags.  I have avoided getting into the “creating standards” business, but, as a guy that seems to crank out a new standard every day, Chris was much more optimistic about the pending widespread adoption of the Cogstandard for modeling organizations.

He also thought I needed to incorporate uid stuff into my hcards and generally take advantage of the microformat marketing engine.  Not that many places make 50,000 hcards of data available to people!

As a guy that confessed on the panel he sat on that his internet consumption starts with ego-surfing, I am sure Chris will comment shortly with even more standards-based ideas.  He’s already debugging my other stuff, so that can’t be beat!