Polaroids, Pocket, Nairobi, More: Thursday Buzz, August 27th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Zun Lee is starting a new digital archive of found Polaroids. “Photographer Zun Lee is dedicated to countering stereotypical, often negative views of the African-American family. While he was working on Father Figure, his book about African-American fathers, he stumbled on some old Polaroids that appeared to have fallen from a family photo album. He was intrigued to see how the Polaroids —’the Instagrams of their day,’ he calls them — reflected ‘the way black people saw themselves in private spaces and in ways not intended to be seen, or judged, by others.’ By searching yard sales and e-Bay, Lee has amassed 3,000 of these now ‘orphaned’ mementoes and recently began posting them on a Tumbler and an Instagram feed named ‘Fade Resistance.’ ”

Hmm. There’s a new video discovery app in town, and it sounds quite good. “To sift through the heaps of crappy video content for us, Hyper has employed a team of journalists and filmmakers who hand-select anywhere from six to a dozen videos each day and package them into a visually appealing digital magazine of sorts. The videos range from one to twenty minutes in duration and span a broad variety of topics, from artsy foodie videos to emotionally draining war-zone documentaries.”

YouTube has offically launched YouTube Gaming. “As promised, and after some excellent road-testing by thousands of dedicated gaming fans (thanks, folks!), YouTube Gaming is now available. Blending gaming videos and live streams, YouTube Gaming brings you closer to the games, gamers, and culture that matter to you.”

Facebook is testing a new virtual assistant. “TODAY, A FEW hundred Bay Area Facebook users will open their Messenger apps to discover M, a new virtual assistant. Facebook will prompt them to test it with examples of what M can do: Make restaurant reservations. Find a birthday gift for your spouse. Suggest—and then book—weekend getaways.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The NOLA Hip Hop and Bounce archive is expanding with twenty more video interviews which will be added to the archive later this year.

Pocket is now recommending things for you to read based on what you’ve saved. Pocket. I ALREADY HAVE ENOUGH TO READ!

Bing has an easter egg in its search results. Snake game!

Facebook wants to create videos based on your “moments”. “Facebook added a video feature that takes photos and turns them into customizable movies (or slideshows, rather).” It reminds me a bit of Animoto.

USEFUL STUFF

Sometimes on social media you might see a video that’s — well, that you wish you might not have seen. This article by TheNextWeb explains how to turn off video auto-play in social media.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

This is fascinating! How Nairobi Got Its Ad-Hoc Bus System on Google Maps. “In a collaboration called Digital Matatus, researchers from MIT, Columbia University, and the University of Nairobi along with the design firm Groupshot released a map of the entire matatu system last year—a first for a non-formal transit system. And on Wednesday, it became the first informal network to be launched on Google Maps. Just as New York commuters can plot their subway routes on the service, residents of Nairobi can now jack into the matatu system on their smartphones.”

Google’s Government Innovation Lab has created its first prototypes. “In California’s Central Valley, Kern County has announced two prototypes envisioned as remedies for a number of civic challenges. The first prototype is what officials call a Virtual Resource Library (VRL), an online hub that once finished, will act as a crowdsourced resource for county services and collaboration. The second prototype is an enterprise app designed to pluck data from departments for countywide analytics.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Very fun, but very mathy: when will Google index a googol Web pages? I’m not going to spoil the answer for you, except to say: not tomorrow. Remember when Google had just indexed a billion pages and we were all super impressed? Wasn’t that long ago… Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Fridges, Potholes, Pennsylvania, More: Wednesday Buzz, August 26th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Mount Holyoke College has a new digital archive. “Mount Holyoke College, the highly rated liberal arts educational institution for women in South Hadley, Massachusetts, has debuted a new online digital archive of about 2,000 rare photographs documenting life at the college from 1899 to 1939.”

Are you nostalgic for the “old” Web — Geocities, Angelfire, etc? Here ya go. “‘Cameron’s World,’ built by Berlin-based designer Cameron Askin, is a frenetic web-collage created as ‘a love letter to the internet of old.’ Divided into thematic rows of over 700 images Askin sourced from archived pages, the website is a well-organized gallery exploding with decades-old browser detritus composed of blinking texts, animated pictorial cursors, MIDI files, and cheesy GIFs.” I’d rather a MIDI file than an auto-playing video ad with audio any day of the week…

The state of Pennsylvania has launched a new tool to show road projects through 2026. “The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has launched a new website and mapping tool to keep drivers updated on current projects and those scheduled for the next 11 years.”

Jason Scott, he of the manual-saving effort, has launched a new site to help everyone in their digital archiving efforts. It’s a wiki called Digitize the Planet. “The overall goal is to be a one-stop shop for information on best practices to convert as much of the non-digital world into digital, preferably without the destruction of the original containers. By links, essays and explanations, this wiki will hopefully grow to allow anyone with items trapped in a non-digital format to give them a shot at immortality.”

YouTube is apparently launching its Twitch competitor today.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

LinkedIn has launched a new tool for SlideShare. “The tool, called ‘Clipping,’ is free and lets users more easily organize slides for themselves, for example, when doing research, and makes it simpler to share individual slides or whole decks through LinkedIn, social media sites or email. ‘Influencers’ on LinkedIn can also use the tool to highlight their most popular or shareable slides, which can help build their identity as an expert.”

Google wants to auto-populate your Google Calendar. “Google announced today that it’s starting to roll out features that will place ticket, flight, hotel and restaurant info onto Google Calendar. Automatically. For example, if you buy a flight, rent a car, book a hotel and set reservations for the day you get into town for business, all of those items will be added to your Calendar if the exact time for those events are available. ”

Reuters TV is now free. “Reuters TV is aimed at mobile consumers who don’t have time or interest in traditional appointment viewing, will cover general interest stories targeted at a U.S. and British audience. The content is produced specifically for Reuters TV.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google Map Maker is baaaaack….. “Map Maker came back first in Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, the Philippines and Ukraine with a new moderation structure that substantially relies on regional lead moderators. Today Google is saying that Map Maker is again live in 45 new countries. It doesn’t list the countries specifically but the US is among them. You can search to determine if your country of interest is back online.”

Google is so cray cray. It wants to map everything. Even potholes. “Last week, Google filed a patent to help solve pothole problems, describing a system that uses the GPS from cars’ navigation systems in conjunction with another bump sensor that detects vertical movement to map out potholes. Then, the system uploads the data to the cloud.”

Duke University takes a look at its year in digital projects. Lots of good stuff here.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

I know I’m in the 21st century because I have to worry about my fridge leaking my password. “While Samsung’s shiny new refrigerators connect to the Internet, can display your Google Calendar and implement SSL, hackers during a challenge at the recent DEFCON found the refrigerators fail to validate those SSL certificates. That opens the door to all kinds of man-in-the-middle attacks, potentially allowing your neighbor to steal your Gmail login information while sitting on his couch next door….” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Newspapers, Shipwrecks, Ello, More: Tuesday Buzz, August 25th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

In development: an archive for Emmett Till. “The brutal death of Emmett Till — an African-American teenager — in Mississippi in August of 1955, and the subsequent acquittal of his white murderers by an all-white jury, was a pivotal moment in the surge for civil rights in America….Now, 60 years after the tragedy, Florida State University is creating an Emmett Till Archive. The university plans to make the announcement soon.”

Now available: a database of shipwrecks in Rhode Island waters — over 3000 of them! “Users can search most of the 38 fields of information, including names of ships, dates of incidents and cargo being carried. The database documents cases where ships sank and what’s left of them still lies on the bottom, as well as other incidents, such as groundings and collisions, which the ship survived.”

Ancestry is teaming up with Gannett for a huge newspaper digitization project (PRESS RELEASE). “Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genetics, today announced its collaboration with Gannett Co., Inc., the largest local-to-national media company, to digitize more than 80 daily newspapers across the nation. Newspapers.com, an Ancestry business unit, and Gannett will provide a historical newspaper viewing experience complete with full text search, clipping and sharing features. Together, they expect to deliver more than 100 million full-page images of historical newspapers in a simple, easy-to-use online archive.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Feeling a little retro? Mail your storage data to Google. “Using this service, developers will be able to send their physical media, including hard disk drives, tapes and USB flash drives to its partners — and those partners will then import it into a pre-selected Cloud Storage class (that’s Standard, DRA and Nearline, Google’s new low-cost, high-latency storage service). The previous version only supported hard drives.”

Google Classroom has gotten some updates.

Foodie photos on Google Maps? It’s being tested. “Though services dedicated to photos of food – like Foodspotting or Forkly, for example – have exited the scene (as well as consumers’ collective consciousness) over the years, snapping photos of your delicious dinner still remains a popular activity. Now Google is looking to capitalize on this ongoing trend with a new feature in Google Maps that encourages users to share their ‘foodie pics’ with others by posting the photo to Google Maps itself.”

Facebook has added a “Donate Now” button. “Today, Facebook for Business announced in a post that it has added ‘Donate Now’ as a call-to-action button available for Brand Pages. These buttons can now appear right on a Facebook Brand Page, or directly within an ad on the site.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Tech Times has an update on the social network Ello. “It’s been a strange year-and-a-half for Ello. In Spring of last year, the site kicked off an invite-only launch after a year or so of private beta testing, its simple homepage greeting users with a plain language manifesto – a shot across the bow against the social network status quo.”

The British Library wants help identifying the zillions of images in its collection. It also wants the process to be fun. Therefore it is hosting a game jam. “An ideal game draws a random image from our 1-million-strong collection and through gameplay the player tells us something about the content of the image. You might choose from our limited set of tags (flora, fauna, mineral, human portrait, landscape, manmade – eg. machine, buildings, ship, abstract, artistic, music, map), or opt to be more creative. If we like what we see, we’ve set aside up to £500 (courtesy of the Andrew Mellon Foundation) to work with someone to polish their game and release it as part of our ‘Mechanical Curator Arcade Game’, a 1980s-style arcade console that we’re planning to install in the British Library this autumn.”

A security researcher who hacked a moving Jeep is leaving Twitter. “Charlie Miller, a former National Security Agency hacker who is the one of the world’s best-known security experts, declined to comment on his departure or say what he would do next.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

A recently-patched IE exploit is being used in the wild. Make sure your patches are up to date! “When it released the emergency patch for the memory corruption flaw (CVE-2015-2502) on August 18, Microsoft warned that the weakness had been exploited in the wild. One day after the remote code execution vulnerability was addressed, security firms Heimdal Security and Symantec reported seeing watering hole attacks in which malicious actors leveraged the bug to deliver the PlugX remote access Trojan (RAT), also known as Korplug.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

North Carolina, Climate, LYCOS, More: Monday Buzz, August 23rd, 2015

Please note my schedule is going to be weird for the next eight days. Post times may be random.

NEW RESOURCES

The state archives of North Carolina has created a STEM collection. “The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Digital Collection, part of North Carolina Digital Collections, is an attempt to highlight a representative sample of the holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina related to the STEM fields….To create this digital collection, we have drawn material from over 50 records series and collections held by the State Archives of North Carolina including: State Agency Records, Private Collections, Photograph Collections, Organization Records, General Assembly Records, and Map Collections.”

Now available: a database of multiple-model climate data. “Studies in biogeography and macroecology have been increasing massively since climate and biodiversity databases became easily accessible. Climate simulations for past, present, and future have enabled macroecologists and biogeographers to combine data on species’ occurrences with detailed information on climatic conditions through time to predict biological responses across large spatial and temporal scales. Here we present and describe ecoClimate, a free and open data repository developed to serve useful climate data to macroecologists and biogeographers.”

New to me: did you know there was a digital archive of Route 66 postcards? I had no idea.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Michael L. Mauldin has returned to LYCOS (PRESS RELEASE). “LYCOS, (NSE & BSE: ‘LYCOS’ or the company), one of the most widely known Internet brands and one of the first search engines on the web is delighted to welcome back the creator of LYCOS, Michael L. Mauldin, to serve as an Independent Director on its Board. The appointment is effective on August 24, 2015. Mauldin, the founder of LYCOS in 1994 also served as the Chief Scientist of the Lycos Internet search engine company. Mauldin developed the Lycos Search Engine while working on the Informedia Digital Library project at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also former director of Conversive, Inc., an Artificial Intelligence Software company based in Malibu, California.”

A year ago, the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, made tens of thousands of its images available for reuse. A year later and it looks back at the results. “The paper is divided into three parts. Part One details the reasons why Te Papa developed an open access program, describing what we hoped might happen if we made our collection images available for reuse; and exploring the international, New Zealand and organisational context within which the decision to support an open access program was made. Part Two explains Te Papa’s open access program in more depth, documenting what we put in place to deliver downloadable images and describing the initial response we received after launch. The final part of the paper, Part Three, explores the results of the program one year on, describing the extent – and ways – to which Te Papa’s collection images have been used; and compares this activity with similar open access programs internationally.”

The Atlantic has a fascinating article on preserving movies in VHS format. “VHS is a maligned medium. Libraries are rapidly culling it from their collections, a project in Ontario, Canada, wants to recycle the province’s 2.26 billion tapes, and the rise of digital streaming has made it mostly irrelevant to the general public. It’s often described as obsolete, even by those charged with preserving America’s cultural heritage. One reason Yale bought this video collection was to preserve rare titles—it’s been estimated that about 40 to 45 percent of content distributed on VHS never made its way into any subsequent digital format. But the primary focus of this collection effort was the physical nature of the medium and the cultures it changed and created.”

Twitter’s stock is having a terrible time. “In the post-IPO market, Twitter is sucking air. At least it isn’t alone. Alibaba also set a record low today. After repeated quarterly reports detailing slowing, anemic user growth, shares in Twitter today reached a new nadir: the firm’s IPO price.”

More Twitter: it has completely killed Politwhoops. “The Open State Foundation (OSF) knew this was coming. The US account was shut down by Twitter in May. Now the hammer has come down on the rest of the group’s Politwoops accounts – each of which was dedicated to monitoring deletions by elected officials in a specific country.” Twitter is saying this is because privacy. But why? These are public statements made to the public by an elected official in their capacity as an elected official. Grr Twitter.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

First Microsoft stopped giving the heads-up on Windows patch releases. Now it’s not talking as much about what’s in the patches. “Microsoft has now released three cumulative updates for Windows 10. These updates combine security fixes with non-security bug fixes, and so far, Microsoft hasn’t done a very good job of describing the contents of these cumulative updates. While the security content is quite fully described, explanations of the non-security fixes have been lacking.”

We’ve been warned ten thousand times about common passwords. But what about common Android Lock Patterns (ALPs)? “The Tic-Tac-Toe-style patterns, it turns out, frequently adhere to their own sets of predictable rules and often possess only a fraction of the complexity they’re capable of. The research is in its infancy since Android lock Patterns (ALPs) are so new and the number of collected real-world-patterns is comparatively miniscule. Still, the predictability suggests the patterns could one day be subject to the same sorts of intensive attacks that regularly visit passwords.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

Jason Scott and a bevy of valiant volunteers have have saved a huge collection of technical manuals. “A few of us tried to do a very rough, very hand-wavy job of determining what the total number of manuals was, because it sure as hell wasn’t 25,000. At the end we decided that it is definitely over 50,000 and it is probably as high as 75,000. So we rescued twice as many items as I was told the room contained. That’s fantastic.” So wonderful. What a great job. Good evening, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

New York, India, Australia, More: Saturday Buzz, August 22nd, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a new digital archive of Australian musical artists. “A new online music archive has been created at the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) for emerging Perth composers, with a select few also being chosen to break the library’s silence.”

Pyramids, foods, balanced diets? The National Agricultural Library at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a digital library of nutrition guidance. “This collection allows users to browse and search the full text of over 900 historical and contemporary federal dietary guidance publications.” I did a couple of text searches. The oldest item I came across was from 1923, and was provided in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB formats.

The city of New York has launched an online database of public notices. “Updated daily, the City Record Online (CROL) is a fully searchable, machine-readable online database of all such notices, including schedules for more than 750 public hearings, land sales and contract awards for the $1.2 billion of goods and services that are acquired by the city each year.”

Either the government of India is getting a lot more efficient at creating databases of country resources, or Google News is getting a lot more efficient at indexing Indian news sources so I’m finding out about them. I’m not sure which one. Anyway, the government of India has created an online database of temples and temple properties in Tamil Nadu. There are almost 4500 temples in the database. “The Hindu religious and charitable endowments (HR&CE) department, acting on a Madras high court order, coordinated with the revenue department to create the database with extensive details of all temples in the state, the land they own, their tenants and encroachments on the properties.”

Oh I LOVE stuff like this. Anybody can look at the super-popular videos on YouTube, but what about the ones which have very few views? There’s an app for that. “…Zero Views for iOS is letting people explore the unseen videos lurking behind all the cute cat clips. Of course, this isn’t an entirely new concept, there are similar websites and apps out there but what I like about Zero Views is the endless stream. It kind of feels like Tinder… If Tinder was filled with badly-lit home movies shot on phones.”

Victorian female prisoner registries have gone online. (Please note that this is “Victorian” as in “area in Australia,” not as in “era in history.”) “The prison records of more than 7,000 Victorian women incarcerated between 1855 and 1934 are available to view online for the first time, thanks to the State Archives. The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) cleaned and digitised the records, which were then indexed by volunteers over an 18-month period.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google is finally bringing Tweets to desktop search results (again).

If I never post to ResearchBuzz again, it’s because IFTTT has a Maker channel. “With the Maker Channel, you’re basically building web hooks that trigger other events. For instance, if you press a button on something connected to a Raspberry Pi, that can trigger any of IFTTT’s other actions, for example, press a button and send an email.”

USEFUL STUFF

From Poynter: GitHub tutorials and resources for journalists. “Last year, Clay Shirky used GitHub as a way to report on Occupy Hong Kong. The platform allowed others on the scene to collaborate with Shirky as he reported his piece. What I admire about this approach is that it gave anyone the ability to clone and then modify Shirky’s document — but Shirky had final approval over whether to integrate those changes into the master document.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google Express is shutting down its two Mountain View and SF delivery hubs. “The move is part of a broader push within Google to revamp the service, which launched in March 2013, after it failed to make a serious dent in a market crowded with Amazon and a myriad of on-demand startups.”

I have never used Spotify, and after reading about this new insane privacy policy, I don’t think I want to. “The streaming service wants access to the sensor information on your phone, which it says would be used for things like knowing whether you are walking, running, or standing still….What is less easy to understand is why Spotify is seeking permission to access your photos, contacts, and ‘media files.'”

Congratulations, UK! According to Google you’re searching for revenge porn. “Large digital billboards around London, paid for by Google, have been spotted by the public – with a surprising revelation displayed for all to see. The brightly coloured boards – which show popular search terms being used – declared boldly that the UK ‘is searching for revenge porn sites’.” If Google feels the need to have a brand awareness campaign in the UK, how about something a bit more useful? Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!