In Updates, Services, Smile By Nathan C. Castle - Director of Services on June 23rd 2014

Another week, another update. Here's what's happening in Services:

SG Sites Preview Launched

SG Sites, powered by wordpress multisite, is officially launched, and the first club has started using it. Check out RIT Asian Deaf Club's beautiful new website! It's really exciting to see that clubs are starting to benefit from this service.

When selecting clubs to invite to the service, there were quite a few organizations that had either no site, or a site that hadn't been updated in years. There is a very clear need for SG Sites, and I hope to see a successful rollout of the service going into fall semester.

Send a Smile Progress

I've continued working on Send a Smile throughout the week. I've set the target for the first "release" of the software for Monday June 23, and it looks like I'm on track to meet my deadline. The major goal for this week was to refactor (change) the structure of the application to support automated testing and a bunch of other good things. In non-technical terms, that means I've built a solid platform for quality. This supports our goal of engineering excellence.

In addition to the changes noted above, there have been additions and improvements to the UI.

  • Deletion pages with specific information for point, smile, frown, mail subscriptions.
  • Ability to subscribe to organizations and locations and receive an email every time a user smiles or frowns.
  • Improved login page that uses bootstrap themes
  • Improved app administration panel -> provision org user page to use bootstrap themed organization selection box


SG Ad Network

We're currently in the very, very early investigational process for an SG-created ad network. This would include online banners for advertising clubs and events, as well as possibly tapping into the digital signs on campus. Theoretically, on-campus organizations and departments could use our servers for easily managing content, in exchange for the occasional club related ad. An additional theoretical possibility is to build up a fleet of TV + Raspberry Pi signs on campus to display our fliers instead of using paper. There are lots of possibilities at this stage, but I see this as another opportunity to improve SG while contributing to a culture of technological excellence in the university.


Currently, the main SG site uses Google Analytics. While this service is very useful, we are considering a switch to self-hosted analytics through Piwik. Piwik is a free open-source tool that would integrate well with SG Sites and potentially offer performance improvements.


There are a bunch of things to consider as the fall semester rapidly approaches. Here are a few of the things on my mind as the week closes:
  • Maybe we should consider better ways to surface SG decisions, minutes, and agendas, as well as Institute policies.
  • The RIT Voting application needs to be improved. A service ticket has been submitted, but I'm waiting for ITS to decide if they will act on it.
  • I need to start thinking about workflows and how to improve the break bus.
  • Would it be possible to start video recording the SG meetings?