HICSS 2022

My colleagues and I recently published an interesting paper for HICSS 2022 titled, “Determining Link Relevancy in Tweets Related to Multiple Myeloma Using Natural Language Processing.” The paper focused on analyzing Twitter data for links to multiple myeloma. Below is the tag cloud, abstract, and full citation to the research.

Tag Cloud


Social m`edia platforms continue to play a leading role in the evolution of how people share and consume information. Information is no longer limited to updates from a user’s immediate social network but have expanded to an abstract network of feeds from across the global internet. Within the health domain, users rely on social media as a means for researching symptoms of illnesses and the myriad of therapies posted by others with similar implications. Whereas in the past, a single user may have received information from a limited number of local sources, now a user can subscribe to information feeds from around the globe and receive real-time updates on information important to their health. Yet how do users know that the information they are receiving is relevant or not? In this age of fake news and widespread disinformation the global domain of medical knowledge can be tough to navigate. Both legitimate and illegitimate practitioners leverage social media to spread information outside of their immediate network in order to reach, sway, and enlist a larger audience. In this research, we develop a system for determining the relevancy of linked webpages using a combination of web mining through Twitter hashtags and natural language processing (NLP).

S.V. Hoven, B. Thoms, N. Botts, “Determining Link Relevancy in Tweets Related to Multiple Myeloma Using Natural Language Processing,” Proceedings of Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 55), January 3-7, 2022.

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2021 IADIS Conference on Information Systems

My colleagues and I recently published and presented our article, “Developing a Mobile Social Learning Application for Interdisciplinary Technology Courses,” at the 2021 IADIS Conference on Information Systems. I published at IADIS back in 2007 and won Best Research Paper. My how time has flown. Below is the word cloud of the paper, abstract and citation.

IADIS 2021 Word Cloud

Smartphone adoption has grown steadily and now represents roughly 50% of all Internet traffic. Advances in mobile application development along with its widespread adoption offers unique opportunities within computing education to quickly offer knowledge and information directly into the hands of the learner. Adopting a mobile-first approach, this paper introduces the construction of a mobile social learning platform, built on top of existing social learning software and measures its adoption in interdisciplinary computing courses. The goal of the mobile app is to complement the browser-based system and provide access to course notifications, gradebook and discussion posts. Initial results found 50% of students adopting the smartphone app regularly, while most students preferred to use the browser-based system. Students adopting the mobile application indicated that they liked the ability to view course notifications, assignments, grades and instructor feedback from within the mobile app.

B. Thoms, E. Eryilmaz, “Developing a Mobile Social Learning Application for Interdisciplinary Technology Courses,” Proceedings of IADIS Conference on Information Systems, March 3-5, 2021.

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OneDrive for my one drive? Not likely.

I recently migrated the contents of my Dropbox to Microsoft OneDrive since I understand I was on borrowed time at my university, which plans to retire Dropbox in the near future. It has been 1-week now and many files are still not in sync with the cloud service. While the migration issues have been frustrating, what I am more concerned about is how new / recent files are synchronized. In fact, it’s just plain miserable.

Empty OneDrive Directory on Upload

Case in point 1, I use screenshots religiously to take snapshots of applications, which I can then embed into presentations. After uploading the presentation from my smartphone to OneDrive, I received an alert, stating that the file was uploaded. The following screenshot begs to differ. A day later, it’s still empty, although it’s showing on my desktop machine. I’m not even sure this is a syncing issue since it’s not showing on the device I uploaded it from. And why it shows on a different machine before the machine it’s uploaded from is baffling.

Desktop Screenshots

Case in point 2, I frequently use my desktop to construct recommendations for students, which I digitally sign on my smartphone using Adobe Sign. Today, I encountered a never-ending refresh icon on my desktop and only one of the updates is showing on my mobile device. Guess which one is not showing? Yes, of course, the file that requires the signature. Screenshots of this transaction are below.

OneDrive Desktop Changes
OneDrive Cloud Changes?

To say these issues are frustrating is moot. The issues make the technology unusable and I’ll be moving back to Dropbox before the end of the day since the technology is unreliable.

Not to be overly critical of Microsoft since I experienced the same issues using Google Drive many years ago. I guess this shows the impressive nature of Dropbox and how sophisticated their replication and indexing capabilities are. In my experience using Dropbox, I have never run into issues syncing files to the extent I am facing with OneDrive.

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Google Ad-targeting and Privacy Concerns

Last month I received the ad below:

Visit Avila Beach

On the surface, this ad seems harmless enough. After all, living in Los Angeles, I would love to take a drive through the central coast and spend a weekend in Avila Beach and maybe even go surfing in my new, very warm and cozy Body Glove Red Cell wetsuit. However, why this ad was targeted at me is cause for concern. I received this ad only after a few communications in MS Outlook with a student of mine, who has, let’s just say, a similar name.

For those who aren’t aware, FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and is a US federal law that governs the access to educational information and records by public entities such as potential employers, publicly funded educational institutions, and foreign governments. For me, I send a lot of communications through my Android device, which raises a few important questions such as, 1) Is Google scanning my Outlook communications?, 2) Is Google taking screenshots of my devices, and 3) Does any of this violate FERPA?

I’d love to hear some answers…

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Anything for a buck…

Google Opinion Rewards is an app launched by Google a few years ago as a rewards-based program that allows users to answer surveys and earn rewards. In short summary, users are notified when new surveys are available, which can range from sharing location data, sharing experiences on YouTube or sharing a shopping receipt, where users can receive up to $1.00 Google Play credit for completing it. Surveys can expire, so users have to be quick to answer them, although they usually hang around for a day or two.

Looking back on my Reward history, I have been participating since December 2013, where my first survey earned me a buck. Not bad. While the majority of my surveys earn me ten cents, I have amassed a total of $186.67 across 661 surveys, which I can use to purchase Google products and service. I’m sure there’s a way to get the cash as well.

As they say, anything for a buck!

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