Hurricanes, Songs, Google, More: Sunday Buzz, August 30th, 2015

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google is making some improvements to its hurricane alerts. “As the U.S. enters hurricane season again, Katrina remains a stark reminder of the devastation a storm like that can cause. We want to be as prepared and as helpful as possible for the next one—no matter where it hits, or how big it is. So we’re always working to improve our Crisis Response efforts to help people stay safe and informed during these events.” Now when you do searches you may see safety tips, forecasted hurricane tracks, etc.

Google’s Inbox has gotten an update. ” Google has recently announced that they have made some changes to the service and it will now be able to offer up better text formatting options. This includes the ability to create numbered or bulleted lists, write text that is bold, underlined, or in italics, and they will also be able to create links.” I must say this does not make me want to drop everything and try Inbox.

USEFUL STUFF

Phil Bradley, who is lovely, has make a Google Custom Search for UK newspapers. There’s one for national newspapers and one for 384 local newspapers.

Useful from Ubergizmo: strategies for quickly finding a song. “There are online web based service and applications as well that will help you identify a song with the simplest clue. Most of these apps/services are free to use, but some may offer a premium paid version with extra features. In this tutorial, we are going to list down apps/services that will let you identify a song using different factors.”

Lifehacker looks at Balloon, which lets people add files to your Dropbox without having a Dropbox account. “Essentially, when you create a link in Balloon, it gives people access to a folder where they can drop in files, but can’t browse the rest of the contents. It’s handy when you’re collecting together a group of files from various people.”

Amit Agarwal, who is always on the case, has a writeup on Email Autoresponder, a Chrome add-on I’m pretty sure he put together. GMail has canned responses but they do have limitations. This new add-on is an attempt to address those limitations and make a more powerful tool. I’ll have to take a look – I’m constantly frustrated by GMail’s limitations after years and years of using Eudora.

From Ditch That Textbook: 12 ways to use Google Classroom’s newest features.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The UK Medical Heritage Libraries Project has reached 8 million pages digitized. Way to go y’all!
“Our goal is to reach 15 million pages in early 2016. Each of the 10 partner institutions has contributed books and pamphlets from a wide range of medical and health-related areas, but each has a slightly different emphasis – University College London contributed a large number of ophthalmology books and pamphlets, while the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine naturally focuses on public health and tropical diseases. Military medicine is a top subject from both the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the Royal College of Physicians of London, while cholera is well represented from Glasgow University Library and others.”

Twitter is turning into a Hollywood negotiation tool. “Twitter has long been part of the Hollywood swirl. Celebrities routinely use the messaging service as a marketing device. Then there are the VIPs who sometimes make news by tweeting out a random thought that proves offensive — Ashton Kutcher, we’re looking at you. But now Hollywood talent is finding an innovative new use for Twitter: as a tool in high-stakes negotiations. In particular, it can serve as a way for an aggrieved actor or director to take his or her case directly to the fans for the purpose of teasing out some more leverage in talks with a powerful studio.”

Google is shutting down autoplay video in Chrome (yay!) “In a post on Google+, Chromium evangelist François Beaufort laid out an upcoming change that should pop up in Chrome pretty soon: autoplay media will no longer autoplay unless you’re looking at the tab. If you open a new tab and there’s a video set to autoplay, it’ll load — it just won’t actually start playing until you focus on that tab.”

Google’s self-driving cars can be trolled by bikes. “The self-driving cars are notoriously careful, and tend to brake when anyone else is moving forward into the vehicle’s path. In a track stand, a rider on a fixed-gear bike may shift ever so slightly forward and back in an effort to maintain balance.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The British Library has declined to accept a Taliban-related digital collection because of terrorism laws. “Academics have criticised the British government for creating a ‘climate of fear’ after the national library declined to store the world’s biggest collection of Taliban-related documents over concerns it could be prosecuted under terrorism laws.” 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!

Ireland, New York City, Vine, More: Saturday Buzz, August 29th, 201

NEW RESOURCES

Two twentieth-century Irish newspapers have been digitized and put online. “For historians of the British and Irish communist movements, Irish republicanism, the Northern Ireland conflict, and those examining the Irish community in Britain generally, the digitisation and uploading online of the newspapers of the Connolly Association, Irish Freedom (1939-1944) and the Irish Democrat (1945-2000), by the group are an important development that will make research much easier. Wedding traditional Irish republicanism with socialism, the Connolly Association played a highly visible role in the Irish community in Britain after its establishment in 1938, having branches in most of the main cities to which Irish immigrants were attracted in the large-scale post-war migration across the Irish Sea.”

Cornell University is digitizing four of its collections, including a collection containingPalmyra pictures taken in 1885. The collections include “…the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, which includes more than 10,000 items of apparel, flat textiles and accessories dating from the late 18th century,” the aforementioned Palmyra pictures – “…the Sterrett Photographs collection, which documents major archaeological monuments in present-day Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria and Iraq…”, music: “Benjamin Piekut, associate professor of music, will lead a project to digitize the Lindsay Cooper Archive, currently housed in a London storage locker and inaccessible to researchers. The project is a partnership between Cornell and the University of the Arts London to make Cooper’s scores and archival recordings available….” and feminist publications: “The fourth project will digitize the full content of ‘On Our Backs,’ a historically important publication used by students and researchers in the visual, political, historical, and gender and sexuality fields…”

East View has launched a complete archive of The Japan Times. This is a subscription service. ‘The Japan Times publication was founded in 1897, with the intention to “give Japanese the opportunity to read news and current events in English and to help Japan to participate more fully in the international community.’ This new digital archive includes every newspaper published between 1897 and 2014 (nearly 500,000 pages), with annual updates.”

The city of New York has a new map of sidewalk cafes. This is of interest to me because there are over 1300 of them. “Applications can be rejected because business owners are unaware of zoning regulations. And community boards often complain of excessive noise or crowding. The city aims to address some of these concerns with a new interactive map of all 1,357 sidewalk cafés, allowing the public to track the status of each eatery’s application, license number, expiration date and health grade. It even shows the number of outdoor tables and chairs allowed for each dining spot.”

Ohio University has a new online history archive. “University College and University Libraries are proud to debut ‘An Introduction to Ohio University,’ a web-based, multi-media project that documents the University’s rich and distinct history – from its humble beginnings in the wilderness of the Ohio Country through its post-World War II rise to prominence.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Vine is adding music tools. “Vine is rolling out a new music-focused tool for video creators on its network called ‘Snap to Beat’. The option, Vine says, will make it a doddle to create looping six second videos that sync perfectly.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

This is fascinating: museums are using Instagram for a virtual collection swap. “Using the hashtag #museuminstaswap, each participating institution will share photos of its partner museum throughout the week, highlighting works that resonate with their own collections.” This has actually wound down but take a look at the tags.

What a bizarre milestone: this week one billion people used Facebook in a 24-hour period. Maybe it’s more appropriate to say “One billion accounts used Facebook in a 24-hour period.”

If you search for certain things on Google, you will apparently attract recruiting interest. “Turning to Google to find out more about the programming language he was using, he typed in the search bar: ‘python lambda function list comprehension.’ But as well as the regular search results, Rosett was then presented with a rather peculiar statement: ‘You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?'” Some commenters have denounced this as creepy but I don’t see it; apparently certain types of searches trigger this response. It’s no different from certain types of searches triggering instant answers or knowledge cards.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Flash ads will get a big freeze in Google Chrome. “The web giant has set September 1, 2015 as the date from which non-important Flash files will be click-to-play in the browser by default – effectively freezing out “many” Flash ads in the process. Netizens can right-click over the security-challenged plugin and select “Run this” if they want to unfreeze an ad. Otherwise, the Flash files will remain suspended in a grey box, unable to cause any harm nor any annoyance.”

Facebook is going to be cracking down more on video copyright violations. “Facebook has been under fire lately from top Web video creators who have called out the social networking giant for failing to prevent people from posting their videos without permission. Now, Facebook is trying to make it easier for some of these creators to protect their content, particularly when videos go viral.”

Google has rejected EU antitrust charges. “Google on Thursday rejected claims from the European Union’s top antitrust official that the company favored some of its own search results over those of rivals, saying there was significant competition in the region’s online search market and that the company’s services increased choice for local consumers.” 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!

Canada, Japan, Tomatoes, More: Friday Buzz, August 28th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Canada now has a digital archive for political parties. “Professor Ian Milligan at the University of Waterloo is charting the content of millions of archived political web pages spanning the last decade, allowing the public to compare what Canadian political leaders and pundits said in the past compared to now…. A search comparing depression against recession, for example, shows parties and groups such as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Green Party and the Council of Canadians tended to describe economic downturn as depression, whereas the New Democrats, the Liberals and the Conservatives more typically use the term recession.”

All the White House photos (over 350 of them) from John F. Kennedy’s funeral have been digitized and are available online. “The 350 funeral photos span a period of three days, from November 23 to November 25, 1963. Events include: President Kennedy’s body returning to the White House, lying in repose in the East Room of the White House and lying in state at the U.S. Capitol; processions to the Capitol Building and St. Matthew’s Cathedral; the requiem mass at St. Matthew’s; the burial of President Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery; a post-funeral reception at the White House; as well as photos of the newly-redecorated Oval Office with President Kennedy’s effects, the caparison of the riderless horse Black Jack, and a night view of the eternal flame near the late President’s gravesite.”

The US Department of State has announced another digitization release. “The Department of State today announces the release of newly digitized versions of eighteen volumes from the Foreign Relations of the United States series, the official documentary record of U.S. foreign relations. These volumes cover events that took place between 1914 and 1947 and were originally published in print between 1928 and 1973.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Instagram is going beyond its iconic square. “Today, we’re excited to announce that — in addition to square posts — you can now share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientation on Instagram. Square format has been and always will be part of who we are. That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to.”

Oxford Dictionary has added a bunch of new terms. Man, Grexit got in there pretty quick, didn’t it? “Among the lessons about who we are right now: The addition of Mx., a gender-neutral honorific for those who do not want to be referred to as Mr. or Mrs., reflects today’s more thoughtful conversations about gender identity, spurred on by the likes of Caitlyn Jenner. Grexit, a term for referring to the possible exit of Greece from the European Union, points to how global our economy is becoming. And the addition of barbacoa illustrates how much people like Chipotle.”

Google is digitizing more material from India cultural heritage sites. “These organisations include the Salar Jung museum in Hyderabad, Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata, Dastkari Haat Samiti, Devi Art Foundation, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, Kalakriti Archives, Heritage Transport Museum, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams and the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute.”

Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 1 is now available.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google Street View is apparently no match for tomatoes. “Google’s Street View team does an awesome job in getting just about everywhere these days, from the Great Barrier Reef to the top of Mount Fuji to inside the world’s largest passenger plane. However, a somewhat brave attempt to offer stay-at-home travelers an immersive view of one of the world’s most bizarre festivals ended in failure this week when the camera-equipped car ended up being overrun by revelers. Oh, and tomatoes, too.”

The government of Japan will create a digital archive of endangered languages. “The initiative is based on the outcome of a 2009 UNESCO study, which found that eight of the world’s roughly 2,500 endangered languages are from the Japanese archipelago. The most well known language featured on the list is that spoken by the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. The language is generally considered extremely close to complete extinction.”

Snapchat has added new channels to its Discover aspect.

Yahoo is teaming up with Girls Who Code. “Yahoo is partnering with Girls Who Code to develop new curriculum, based on the Tumblr and Flickr open-sourced APIs, that will roll out across 500 clubs this school year. Through these lessons, 6th-12th grade girls will learn to build queries to display the most popular content on Tumblr and Flickr – intermediate skills that build on students’ preliminary knowledge of website development.”

The Verge took a look at Google’s new router. 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!

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!