Campaign Music, WordPress, Jazz, More: Saturday Buzz, February 13, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

There’s a whole Web site devoted to presidential campaign music. “During the months leading up to the presidential election in November 2016, essays, educational materials, database entries and resources for scholars will continue to be added to the site.”

Bluehost has created a script to update WordPress and released it as open source (PRESS RELEASE). “After determining that a significant number of customers were running outdated versions of WordPress, Bluehost’s development team created a unique Perl script utilizing WP-CLI (WordPress-Command Line Interface) and custom code to update WordPress sites going back to version 1.0.2. Bluehost completed exhaustive tests and reviews to ensure the script resulted in minimal disruptions or site downtime. In this impressive undertaking, 99% of WordPress sites on Bluehost’s platform were upgraded successfully with fewer than 0.007% of customers reporting any issues.”

To celebrate its 50 years, the Montreux Jazz Festival has a new video archive. “Montreux Jazz Live is the culmination of an eight-year project to digitise the festival’s video archive, which goes back to 1967. Currently featuring over 800 videos, Montreux Jazz Live presents a wide range of festival footage in one place, with detailed information about each artist and show, intuitive links and playlists.”

A Web site devoted to documents of the late leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has been launched. “The website features approximately seven thousand documents, including written works, speeches and statements by the founder of the Bolivarian Revolution. Private correspondence that was made public at one point or another is also included.” Currently the documents are available in Spanish only, but translations are planned.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Google Forms has gotten several updates. “Google Forms, the company’s tool for creating and analyzing surveys, is getting a major update today. Google is adding a slew of new features to the service that range from support for templates to new options for analyzing surveys.”

Facebook has added new features to video ads. “But soon, advertisers will be able to choose to have captions added automatically. A new tool generates captions for video ads and delivers them to the advertiser within the ad creation tool to review. Advertisers can edit the auto-generated captions and save them to their video ads.”

USEFUL STUFF

Sorry to not cover this until February 13th, but you’ve got over half the month left! From WebJunction: 55+ Free February Webinars for Library Staff.

From School Library Journal: 24 Tools for Digital Art and Music Creation | Mix It Up “These new tools have adjusted the way in which we are able to play with, explore, and ‘practice’ our creative impulses, offering unique avenues for original compositions and dynamic, collaborative remixes. We hope you’ll embrace and utilize these tools with vigor in your libraries and classrooms. As you and your students explore, a handy playlist available via Spotify may help encourage some of your own creativity to begin flowing.”

A Library of Congress blog post has an overview of the new GPO site, GovInfo.gov. “FDsys, and now govinfo, provide free public access to hundreds of thousands of official publications from all three branches of government. govinfo is a modern, mobile-friendly website, with a focus on soliciting feedback from users and improving overall search and access to content. Read our Q&A below to learn more.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Hooray! King Arthur has been restored to Facebook.

Michael Best has launched a Kickstarter to make declassified CIA documents more easily available online. “His plan is to head into the archives, print out millions of pages of information, digitize them and upload them to the Internet Archive, a free online digital library. Best claims to have uploaded a full one percent of the content in the Internet Archive, an impressive feat considering the digital repository contains almost 9 million books and millions of audio and video clips.” Considering what he’s going to have to do — print out millions of pages, scan them, and reupload them — this sounds like a logistical nightmare…

Is Wikipedia putting together its own search engine? “Wikipedia developers have sketched out designs for a Wikipedia Search Engine, which would give users a one-click replacement for Google search. The search engine could also be embedded in devices such as the Kindle, or smartphones…. The concepts were revealed after much sleuthing by Andreas Kolbe, board member of Wikipedia’s Signpost and occasional Reg contributor.” 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!

WiFi, Picasa, Elections, More: Friday Evening Buzz, February 12, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Avast has launched a new app that uses crowdsourcing data to find the best local WiFi. “With Avast Wi-Fi Finder — available for Android and iOS — users can see what Wi-Fi hotspots are near, and which ones are most secure and recommended by other users. You can also compare networks for speed and look at the security ratings, as verified by Avast users.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

This is my unhappy face: Google is killing off Picasa. “Google announced this morning that it will no longer support the Picasa desktop application as of March 16, 2016. In addition, it will be archiving Picasa Web Albums data at a later date while encouraging those users to convert to Google Photos instead.” I like Picasa. I like it better than Google Photos. Sigh.

USEFUL STUFF

If you’re into politics you’ll appreciate this article from DigitalTrends: How to Follow Every Dem. and Rep. Presidential Primary and Caucus Online.

MakeUseOf: How to streamline the way you share screenshots on Twitter. Roundup of tools.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Well, that’s not right. King Arthur has been kicked off Facebook because Facebook doesn’t believe it’s his real name. “This week, Facebook did what the Saxons and English Heritage could not do, and made King Arthur a ‘non-person’, unceremoniously deleting his account. They asked – as many a policeman, judge, bailiff and High Sheriff have done before – for proof that he is indeed called King Arthur Uther Pendragon. He duly supplied his driving licence and passport, which clearly show his identity – and posted them online too.”

Professor Donnell King has a hilarious blog post about using Periscope in his classroom and having students – who were physically present in the classroom – log into Periscope and interact via the app. “I’m not certain, but I think that five students out of the 19 present hopped onto the scope, and people around each of them leaned over and watched and guided comments. At one point, I commented to Darlene (who is the Periscope guru) that all of my students were smiling.” (Professor King was testing Periscope for an event at Pellissippi State Community College next week.)

YouTube has a roundup on how the Super Bowl impacted viewing and searching. “During the game, people spent 300K hours watching the Big Game ads1 and teaser videos on YouTube and overall we’ve seen nearly 4 million hours of Big Game ads and teasers watched so far. Big Game ads and teasers have been watched over 330 million times, with 60 percent of that coming from mobile devices — the most we’ve ever seen. And that game ain’t over yet.”

Google/Alphabet has indicated it will not participate in this year’s US airwaves auction. “Alphabet Inc’s Google will not participate in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming auction of broadcast airwaves for wireless industry use, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Do you have a Windows computer? Kick off your weekend with a patch fest. “Microsoft Windows users and those with Adobe Flash Player or Java installed, it’s time to update again! Microsoft released 13 updates to address some three dozen unique security vulnerabilities. Adobe issued security fixes for its Flash Player software that plugs at least 22 security holes in the widely-used browser component. Meanwhile, Oracle issued an unscheduled security fix for Java, its second security update for Java in as many weeks.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Interesting: using crowdsourced photos to analyze air pollution. “At the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, a research group is using crowdsourced photos to create a low-cost alternative to air-pollution sensors. Called AirTick, the smartphone app they’ve designed will collect photos from users and analyze how hazy the environment looks. It’ll then check each image against official air quality data, and through machine-learning the app will eventually be able to predict pollution levels based on an image alone.” 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!

Transgender Issues, Railroad Laborers, National Park Service, More: Friday Buzz, February 12, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a digital archive on transgender issues. “The DTA is designed to increase the accessibility of transgender history by providing an online hub for digitized historical materials, born-digital materials, and information on archival holdings throughout the world….The collection is built by more than 20 different archives and organizations from around the world. Eight are universities including, Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library, Cornell University, Duke University, the University of Victoria, and the University of Michigan.”

The Pullman Porter Museum has created an online registry of African-American railroad laborers. “Once the registry launches, visitors to the museum’s website will be able to type a person’s last name into a search query to view entries from thousands of submissions spanning from California to Georgia.” The registry will launch this week. Please note the story I’m linking to is behind the Chicago Tribune paywall. If you have a subscription, there you go. If you don’t, you can get to the Pullman Porter Museum at http://www.pullmanportermuseum.com/.

The National Park Service is joining the Google Cultural Institute. “Visitors to the National Park Service ‘channel’ will be able to view more than 3,800 works of art, artifacts and records, as well as a Centennial Virtual Exhibit, which features a significant museum object from over 350 national park sites. Users can also build their own collections to share or take virtual, panoramic tours of eminent Americans’ homes.”

EBSCO has created an online archive of Architectural Digest Magazine (PRESS RELEASE). “The Architectural Digest Magazine Archive™ includes cover-to-cover access to issues of the iconic and influential design magazine from the 1920s to 2011. Each issue in the Architectural Digest Magazine Archive is presented in its entirety, including the front and back covers and its high-quality photo spreads. All articles and advertisements have been indexed with subject terms to allow users to find relevant results quickly, as well as research and analyze trends in topics and advertising materials.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Google is now warning users about unencrypted email. “Gmail on the web will alert users when they are sending email to a recipient whose account is not encrypted with a little open lock in the top-right corner. That same lock will appear if you receive an email from an account that is not encrypted.”

The Lost Communities of Kansas archive, which I mentioned almost a year ago, looks like it’s gotten some updates. Lost Communities is a Web site chronicling towns in Kansas that used to exist but now do not.

Google is ditching Flash as an ad format. yay! “On June 30, 2016, Google will no longer accept new Flash ads. Older Flash ads can continue to run until January 2, 2017. After that date, Google Display Network and DoubleClick Digital Marketing will be fully HTML5.”

USEFUL STUFF

Want to save your iPhone’s battery life? Uninstall the Facebook app! “Using an iPhone 6S Plus for a week without the main Facebook app installed, I recorded the battery life at 10.30pm each day for a week comparing it to a daily average taken from a week with the app…. On average I had 15% more battery left by 10.30pm each day.” The article appears to indicate that the same is true for Android. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Facebook app, but to access Facebook I use an app called Friendly I like it a lot. This is not a paid endorsement; they don’t know me from Adam’s off-ox.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Looks like Google’s auto auto project is getting even bigger. “Thirty-six jobs related to the Google X car project were listed including engineers working on motion control, displays, robotics and sensors as well as managers charged with operations, materials and marketing. Google, which declined to comment, has denied in the past that it had any interest in making cars.”

Speaking of vehicles, Google recently got a patent related to delivery from self-driving trucks. “Google’s patent outlines what it calls an ‘autonomous delivery platform’ for delivery trucks. The trucks would be fitted with a series of lockers that could potentially be unlocked with a PIN code sent to the person waiting for the delivery before the truck arrives at their location.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Microsoft has officially stopped supporting older versions of Internet Explorer. “All Windows users still running IE7 or IE8, and those running IE9 on any other edition of Windows but Vista, as well as those using IE10 on anything but Windows Server 2012, did not receive the patches Microsoft distributed Tuesday to systems equipped with the newer IE11 or Edge browsers.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Bloomberg: How Google Searches Pretty Much Nailed the New Hampshire Primary. “Searches of presidential candidates conducted by Google users in New Hampshire on Feb. 9 corresponded closely with the voting results of the state’s primary. The top-searched Democratic candidate was Bernie Sanders, who won with 60 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, according to the Associated Press. He got 72 percent of the searches, according to Google, while Hillary Clinton got 28 percent of the queries and 38 percent of the vote.” 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!

Politwoops, Windows 3.1, California Politics, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, February 11, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Less “New” and more “Back from the Dead,” it’s Politwoops! WOOT! “You’ll notice a few changes to the tool that we’re excited to share. For starters, we’ll be showing you every deleted tweet — not just the ones we think are important — made by elected officials and candidates for office. Right now that includes Senate, House and presidential candidates, as well as governors and the D.C. mayor. In the future we hope to expand that to executive branch officials and state legislators. We’re also planning to implement a filtering system to more easily weed out simple errors and typos.” This is just the announcement for the US version. Hopefully the other ones are on the way.

Oh my goodness. The Internet Archive has created a Windows 3.1 emulator that runs in JavaScript, AND made over 1500 software programs available. “Now, Scott and his crew have done it again with the Windows 3.X Showcase—made up of a whopping 1,523 downloads (and counting), all running in a surprisingly robust, browser-based JavaScript emulation of Windows 3.1. You’ll recognize offerings like WinRisk and SkiFree, but the vast majority of the collection sticks to a particularly wild world of Windows shareware history, one in which burgeoning developers seemed to throw everything imaginable against 3.1’s GUI wall and see what stuck.” The “Scott” in this quote is Jason Scott. Could I have any more of a nerdcrush on this guy?

California residents have a new tool for tracking independent expenditures in political campaigns. “Power Search now enables users to quickly and easily browse all independent expenditures affecting state-level candidates and ballot measures from 2001 through the present. The tool uses the California Secretary of State’s CAL-ACCESS raw bulk data and examines the independent expenditures reported in Form 465 (Supplemental Independent Expenditure Report) and Form 496 (24-hour Independent Expenditure Report). The data is refreshed daily.

TechCrunch takes a look at Gjirafa, a new search engine for Albania. “[Mergim] Cahani and his team are literally going out and capturing a plethora of information that exists solely offline and moving it online. To begin with, that’s meant digitising fragmented and disparate bus timetables, but Gjirafa’s longer term and more ambitious plan is to digitise the whole country, including creating a Yelp-style database of local businesses and venues — the majority of which currently have zero presence online.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Twitter has launched a new advertising tool called First View. “First View helps marketers achieve significant audience reach with exclusive ownership of Twitter’s most valuable advertising real estate for a 24-hour period. When users first visit the Twitter app or log in to twitter.com, the top ad slot in the timelines will be a Promoted Video from that brand. Now, marketers can tell a powerful visual story across the Twitter audience.” Powerfully expensive, I’ll bet…

In an effort to protect against click fraud, Google is filtering traffic from 3 botnets. “Vast networks of malware-infected computers, known as botnets, generate vast sums of revenue for perpetrators while depleting advertiser budgets on fake traffic by mimicking ad traffic patterns that look nearly identical to usual user behavior.”

USEFUL STUFF

Ants Magazine has a roundup of 40+ free fonts. I like Ants’ roundups because the fonts are not all decorative things that you’d maybe use once. These are every day fonts. And they pick good ones. Sunday, PH, and oh wow, Gagalin.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

UNICEF has announced an innovation fund to invest in open source technologies for kids. “To qualify for funding, projects must be open source and have a working prototype. They can involve developing a new technology, or expanding or improving an already existing one. UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, which has raised $9 million so far, offers innovators in developing countries a pooled funding mechanism to help them take their tested projects to the next stage.”

Yahoo has announced its first round of layoffs.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Over on TechCrunch, Josh Constine rants (his word) about why Twitter is nearly unfixable. He has several good points but doesn’t mention developers. The comments (at this writing) bring up developers and bring up other points. Good afternoon, 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!

National Park Service, Google, LibreOffice, More: Thursday Buzz, February 11, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The National Park Service and Google are … teaming up for something, according to this announcement advisory, but not too many details yet. (The announcement is today.) “On Thursday, February 11, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will host an event at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama to announce a public-private partnership between the National Park Service and Google to share the diverse history and culture of America with a global audience. Google’s Senior Counsel on Civil and Human Rights Malika Saada Sar will join Secretary Jewell for the announcement.” So some kind of expansion of the Google Cultural Institute?

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Google is phasing out its Google Search Appliance product. If you’re not interested in enterprise search you probably never heard of this. “The tech giant told its reseller and consulting partners the news via email on Thursday [last Thursday], noting that they can continue to sell one-year license renewals for existing hardware customers through 2017, but that they will be unable to sell new hardware. Renewals will end in 2018, according to a copy of the email viewed by Fortune.”

Open source office suite LibreOffice has just had its 5.1 release. “On tap are reorganized menus, integrated support for remote servers like Microsoft SharePoint and Google Drive, improved compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, and too many smaller improvements to count.” I love LibreOffice. I have to use Gnumeric for my spreadsheet stuff because I make goony-huge spreadsheets, but it’s great for everything else.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The University of Virginia has put out an update about its APTrust digital preservation initiative. “APTrust – more formally, the Academic Preservation Trust – is a massive, UVA-led initiative meant to remove that threat [of technological obsolescence.]…To date, APTrust has already preserved more than 16 terabytes of data from all its partner institutions. Due to its rapidly growing storage-space demands, the group currently uses Amazon Web Services to store and safeguard all of its contents. Every piece of data is protected through multiple levels of redundancy. Once a new file is properly packaged and labeled at depositing institutions such as UVA, it’s saved at two separate Amazon data centers, one in Virginia and one in Oregon. Inside each center, a copy of the data is stored inside three separate ‘availability zones.’ These zones have independent power supplies, environmental controls and network connections, so if one is disrupted, the others will remain unharmed.”

Wired did a roundup on how much Twitter’s executives actually use the service. Some great, some — um, not.

Rumors are flying: is Verizon going to buy Yahoo? “Verizon Communications Inc. has given Tim Armstrong, chief executive officer of its AOL unit, a leading role in exploring a possible bid for Yahoo! Inc. assets, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”

The US government has decided that, in the case of some of Google’s auto autos, computers equal drivers. “In a significant precedent for Google and other companies developing autonomous car technology, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ruled that the software behind some automated cars should be considered the driver.”

More US government: it teamed up with Facebook to do a voter registration drive. Now it has published a blog post with preliminary results. The one comment on the post asks a good question: is the government paying for this partnership or is this a goodwill thing?

Interesting. Viacom is going to sell ads for Snapchat. “Under the deal, Viacom will have exclusive third-party rights to directly sell advertising surrounding Snapchat’s owned and operated content. That includes pop-up ‘Live Stories’ that cull together posts from users in specific geographic locations or during a holiday.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The IRS has been hacked again. This time e-filing PINs were stolen. “Based on our review, we identified unauthorized attempts involving approximately 464,000 unique SSNs, of which 101,000 SSNs were used to successfully access an E-file PIN.”

After a push by EU governments, Google will start more scrubbing of search results in EU countries. “That means that if a German resident asks Google to de-list a link popping up under searches for his or her name, the link will not be visible on any version of Google’s website, including Google.com, when the search engine is accessed from Germany.”

Facebook is paying out less in bug bounties – and it’s receiving fewer bug submissions as well. “One figure that did remain fairly constant over the past year was the average payout, which was $1,780 in 2015 and $1,788 in 2014 — though that’s also down from the $2,204 average per reward in 2013. Researchers in India were again the top recipients of payouts this year, while participants from Egypt, Trinidad, and Tobago pipped last year’s runners-up, the UK and US.” 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!