Georgia, Iowa, IFTTT, More: Wednesday Buzz, March 4th, 2015


IBM has released a tool to help app developers make sure their programs can used by people with disabilities. “The tool, which can be used while the app’s code is being written, automatically checks an app for features that like keyboard spacing, color contrast, and focusing of elements—the kind of design considerations that can make it easier for people with diminished sight to read it. It’s not just about visual elements, either. IBM’s tools also aids in integrating more speech recognition software into apps—it makes sure a user can navigate an app using only voice commands, for instance.”

The state of Iowa will get a public digital photo archive of its history at the end of the month. “FORTEPAN IOWA will launch in March 2015 with at least 2,000 photos in the archive. Many of these have been obtained with the assistance of students in UNI’s Interactive Digital Studies (link is external) program. The photos represent the broad span of the twentieth century, and contain images of everyday life from across Iowa: recreation, family gatherings, fairs and festivals, political events, agricultural activities, business and innovation (e.g., the archive has extraordinary photos of the earliest John Deere facilities), education, and much more.”

Now available: an app for highlighting and tweeting screenshots of text. “A pair of Twitter vets today launched a handy mobile application called OneShot that makes it easier to share screenshots of text to Twitter, along with your comment and a link to the page in question. The new app also optionally allows you to crop the image, highlight a selection of text, and even add a brightly colored background to make your screenshot stand out better when displayed in Twitter’s stream.”

The Digital Library of Georgia has launched an archive of north Georgia historical newspapers. “The North Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive provides online access to six newspaper titles published in three north Georgia cities (Dalton, Gainesville, and Rome) from 1850 to 1922. Consisting of over 33,000 newspaper pages, the archive provides historical images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date. The site is compatible with all current browsers and the newspaper page images can be viewed without the use of plug-ins or additional software downloads.”



Twitter has launched embeddable video. “YouTube has let publishers embed videos for years, but starting Monday, tweets on began sporting an embedded video market generator that publishers can copy and paste into their stories. The feature is under the ‘more’ prompt, which leads you to generate HTML code.”

Google has released a new version of Contacts. It’s not available for Google Apps customers yet, which seems to be standard for Google nowadays.


ISIS supporters are making threats against Twitter employees.

Are we going to see government channels on IFTTT? “New terms of use means that U.S. government agencies can create their own channels that demonstrate to end users and developers what can be achieved by using government APIs and open data. The process is interesting for any API or SaaS provider that hopes to work with any level of government in future.”

Over on Medium, Steven Levy has a huge article on Marissa Mayer and what’s happening at Yahoo.

YouTube now has an NCAA March Madness channel.

Another day, another horrible security problem. “Security experts have discovered a potentially catastrophic flaw that for more than a decade has made it possible for attackers to decrypt HTTPS-protected traffic passing between Android or Apple devices and hundreds of thousands or millions of websites, including,,, and” 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!

MREs, Hawaii, Australia, More: Tuesday Morning Buzz, March 3rd, 2015


The Department of Defense has launched a database of nutritional information for its MREs (that’s Meals Ready to Eat, for us civilians) “The Combat Rations Database, or ComRaD, was launched Monday by the Defense Department’s Human Performance Resource Center and Army researchers to give personnel more information on their field rations, from calorie counts and fat content to vitamin information, cholesterol stats and more.”

Yahoo has launched a new digital magazine – Yahoo TV. “Whether you’re looking to plan your weekly watch list or to decide the most binge-worthy shows to stream, our Yahoo TV writers will guide you to must-watch content through expert analysis, exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and more.”

Hawaii’s groundwater and geothermal data are now available in an online resource collection. “… the Geothermal Collection contains more than 1,000 geothermal-relevant documents… The Hawai‘i State Water Wells database shows data for the water wells in Hawai‘i (e.g. name, location, type, and depth) via an interactive map, with downloadable water well files.”

Google got on a zipline to put the Amazon on Street View. “Home to millions of plant, animal and insect species, the Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Undiscovered species thrive in the canopies of the primary forests, atop trees that have stood for centuries. Starting today, with the help of our partners at the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), you can begin to unlock some of the wonders of the forest, by traveling from the upper canopy to the forest floor with Google Maps’ first zipline Street View collection.”


A little outside of the ResearchBuzz remit, possibly, but what a fascinating topic: Using FOIA requests for a competitive edge. (From Entrepreneur, no less!)

From the continually-groovy Amit Agarwal – How to create YouTube playlists without logging in.


Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) beta 1 has been released.


Yahoo has been unable to sustain the rise in search share since its deal with Firefox. “Yahoo’s share of search in the United States has dropped for the first time since it signed a deal to be the default search engine in Firefox. The drop follows two months of impressive gains. The loss suggests that a ‘high water mark’ has been reached for gains the deal can produce for Yahoo and that ‘switchback’ by Google users may now slowly cause Yahoo to give back share.”

This should be interesting: Google is getting into mobile network operator services.

More Google: Google+ has started splitting up a bit.

More more Google: 14 Australian institutions have joined the Google Cultural Institute. “More than 2000 digitised Australian cultural items will join the Google Cultural Institute collection, among them Aboriginal bark paintings, military hardware, portraits of important Australians and contemporary sculpture. New 360-degree panoramic imagery, captured using Google’s Street View technology, will allow online virtual tours of selected sites and experiences.”

Social network Ello is reacting to recent crackdowns on pornographic material by declaring March NSFW month (PRESS RELEASE). “Those who believe in a censorship-free internet are invited to sign-up for Ello at They will receive an immediate invitation to join Ello, with a call to post content that symbolizes a stand against censorship on the Internet. Throughout the month Ello will highlight and promote posts by Ello users that represent the current fight for digital freedom of speech.” 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!

Short Monday Buzz, March 2nd, 2015


From How-To Geek: how to access region-restricted Web sites from anywhere on Earth.

Mashable rounds up a bucket of Tumblr shortcuts.

More useful from Mashable: Getting started with IFTTT’s Do camera app.


Did you know Facebook employees can access your account without your password? I kind of assumed it, to be honest…

If you thought that Snapchat was mostly for naughty pictures, check out this article at Business Insider, which looks at Snapchat Stories. It sounds interesting enough that I might try Snapchat. (Also, do the comments on this article seem a little over-the-top negative to anyone else?)

Bradley Horowitz is now running Google+. “Meanwhile, there seem to be some wider personnel changes as well. We’ve also heard — but have not been able to confirm with Google — that there’s been a lot of attrition at Google+ amid some low morale. At the time of Gundotra’s departure, there were between 1,000 and 1,200 people working on Google+. A source estimates that around half the team is gone, although there has also been some staffing up in Photos and Hangouts.”

Larry Ferlazzo wants to make a great list of downloadable student handouts, but he needs your help.

The New York Times has a backgrounder on Superfish. 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!

Seattle, St. Patrick’s, Social Media, More: Sunday Buzz, March 1st, 2015


Kingtson Penitentiary Inmate Ledgers, 1913-1916, are now available on Flickr. “The ledger includes frontal and profile mug shots, the inmate’s name, alias, age, place of birth, height, weight, complexion, eye colour, hair colour, distinctive physical marks, occupation, sentence, date of sentence, place of sentence, crime committed, and remarks of authorities.”

The Seattle Police Department has a YouTube channel for its (redacted) body camera footage.


They can be very irritating: How to disable annotations in YouTube videos.

Larry Ferlazzo has a big list of resources for St. Patrick’s Day.

TorrentFreak does an extensive breakdown on VPN services. “VPN services have become an important tool to counter the growing threat of Internet surveillance, but unfortunately not all VPNs are as anonymous as one might hope. In fact, some VPN services log users’ IP-addresses and other private info for months. To find out how anonymous VPNs really are, TF asked the leading providers about their logging practices and other privacy sensitive policies.” (VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Lifehacker has a good overview of what they are and why you’d want to use one here.

Social Media Examiner: How to find and remove fake followers on Twitter and Instagram.


Fast Company Design thinks YouTube Kids is actually better than YouTube.

Apparently there’s a net culture out there which likes the way the Web looked in the mid-90s. Fine, just go easy on the blinky text.

Video NBA Pros wearing Google Glass.


“Active” users on Facebook may be changing. “According to our data, over a quarter of Facebook members are now ‘logging in to see what’s happening without posting/commenting on anything.’ Tellingly, these Facebook ‘browsers’ are more likely to be using chat apps, more likely to be on smaller networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, and more likely to be 16-24. All of these individuals will be counted as active by Facebook but, in reality, an active user in 2015 is quite different from an active user earlier in the decade.” 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!

Ohio, Woodrow, Lenovo, More: Saturday Buzz, February 28th, 2015


The state of Ohio has published an online archive of annual treasurer’s reports. “As part of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s mission to create a more open and transparent government, the Ohio Treasurer’s office is pleased to announce a partnership with the State Library of Ohio to present an online compilation of Annual Reports published by the Treasurer’s office since the early 1800s.”

FamilySearch has added over 19 million records. “Notable collection updates include the 7,120,120 indexed records and 6,113,876 images from the United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980–2014 collection; the 4,835,296 indexed records from the Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805–2001 collection; and the 314,770 indexed records and 314,770 images from the US, BillionGraves Index collection.”

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library has announced a digitizing project. “The Papers of Woodrow Wilson Digital Edition will be accomplished in two phases. Phase One will focus on digitizing Arthur S. Link’s The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library plans to collaborate with the University of Virginia Press in outsourcing the digitization and transcription of the 69 volumes, having an employee of the University of Virginia Press supervise quality control of the finished product in consultation with the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library as needed. This phase is expected to take 18 months to complete. Phase Two would be directed by the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and include compiling the additional Woodrow Wilson papers that were not included in Link’s The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, digitizing them, and then publishing them in additional volumes through Rotunda and Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library’s digital library. This phase is expected to take between five and six years, and could be conducted concurrently with Phase One as funding permits. ”


Hmm. How to create GIFs of live events in seconds. This is mostly about an OS X tool called GIFGrabber, though there is a mention of a free Windows tool called Licecap.

From PC World (Warning! PC World!): How to automatically save GMail attachments to DropBox.


Lenovo has promised that upcoming computers will be free of extra software (which is often known as “bloatware” or “crapware”.) “We are starting immediately, and by the time we launch our Windows 10 products, our standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software required to make hardware work well (for example, when we include unique hardware in our devices, like a 3D camera), security software and Lenovo applications.” This is nice, but I don’t trust Lenovo any more and will not be buying any more Lenovo computers. (I’m actually typing this on a Lenovo computer right now. Fortunately the first thing I did after I purchased it was install Linux.)

Google has reversed its Blogger pornography ban. “After coming under fire over the introduction of a retroactive change that would ban sexually explicit images and video and also required owners to delete older content, the search giant has told users that it will crack down harder on the publishing of commercial porn instead.”


Yahoo is celebrating its 20th anniversary by ringing the Nasdaq opening bell on Monday.

Google has paid $25 million for the entire top-level .app domain. Apparently that’s the most paid in an ICANN auction so far.

Canada is getting a new open access policy. “The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today unveiled the new policy as part of a wide-ranging speech on the government’s updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy in a speech to the Economic Club in Toronto. The harmonized Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications requires all peer-reviewed journal publications funded by one of the three federal granting agencies to be freely available online within 12 months. Canada’s three federal granting agencies are: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The policy will require NSERC and SSHRC funded researchers to comply with the policy for all grants awarded May 1, 2015 and onward. The policy will not change current compliance requirements for CIHR funded researchers since a similar policy with the same requirements has been in effect since 2008. ”


How much is a tweet worth to a movie’s box office revenue? “At Networked Insights, we analyzed over 400 movies since 2012 to measure the dollar impact these tweets have on weekend box office revenue. In our models, we controlled for movie genre, competitors that weekend and number of theaters. We found that, on average, one tweet adds $560 to weekend box office revenue between one and five weeks prior to the release. The timing of a tweet is especially important to its value. The farther in advance of the movie release date a tweet is posted, the more revenue the post drives.”

MarketingProfs breaks down a recent study about what Twitter content Google is indexing. “The vast majority of tweets are still not making it into search results, with only 7.4% of the sample tweets getting indexed by Google, the analysis found. However, tweets from accounts with 1M+ followers have a much higher likelihood of getting indexed, with 21% of such messages appearing in search results. … As for tweet type, tweets with images are the most likely to be indexed (12% of the sample appeared in search results). Tweets that include hashtags are also more likely to be indexed.” 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!