Twitter, Flu, Google, More: Saturday Afternoon Buzz, April 19, 2014

Heartbleed got you a little more worried about your passwords? Here’s how to do two-factor auth on Twitter.

If you have a Facebook page and you’re as frustrated as I am: a guide to increasing your organic Facebook page reach.

Twitter has purchased Gnip. “Gnip is one of a handful of companies with full access to the stream of activity from Twitter, which has garnered it a lot of knowledge about how to deal with such immense data volumes and deliver it as a product to businesses.”

More Twitter: Scientists at Pennsylvania State University claim that can make a flu diagnosis based on Twitter data that’s availabe to the public. I assume that’s using an algorithim that looks for more than tweets saying “I have the flu.” It could get a little creepy, though: “The Penn State researches note that although they focused on remotely reconstructing a confidential diagnosis of influenza, this technique could be used to identify diseases associated with greater social stigma like HIV. Social media now clearly has a potential social cost.”

Now there’s a “Snapchat for e-mail”. “Similar to Snapchat, Pluto Mail allows you to choose when your email expires (although the options, of course, are far vaster). … Because while you can delete emails after you’ve sent them you can’t erase their subject lines from a recipient’s account.”

Google’s new terms of service make it clear: it is scanning your e-mail for the purpose of generating ads.

More Google: it has released a “Helpouts” app for iOS. “Helpouts for iOS works like Helpouts on the web, offering users the ability to connect to any of the free video chats made available on the Google-powered platform.”

Every wonder exactly what the heck you’re doing, hanging out on the Internet all day? Now you can take an Internet selfie. Good afternoon, Internet…

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Houses, DPLA, Piano Rolls, More: Saturday Morning Buzz, April 19, 2014

Danny Sullivan has been covering search for 18 years! Danny is a terrific guy and I’m so glad he’s still active in this space. The first edition of Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research was published in 1996 so I guess I’ve been covering search for 18 years, too!

Wow, this could be really useful. A new tool shows the renovation history of houses listed on “The Porch Home and Neighborhood Report, which is available on, typically includes home-improvement projects, costs, photos and the names of the contractors who worked on the house. The information is pulled from city permit departments, materials suppliers, professional associations, real-estate agents and homeowners.”

Yikes! According to research, one in three Android apps on third-party sites is in some way malicious. “[Opswat] downloaded almost 12,000 app files from various sources of Android apps other than the official Google Play store, and loaded them into their proprietary anti-malware system Metascan, which flagged 32% of the apps as suspicious.” I’d take that with a little salt because some of those marked as having malware actually had adware, which is annoying but not as bad as malware. But on the other hand… third party sites… ? Does that include, say, Amazon’s app store?

Facebook has released a new version of its Paper app. It looks interesting but I find Nuzzel much more useful (and it’s out of beta and open to anyone who wants to sign up!)

The Digital Public Library of America is celebrating its 1st anniversary by announcing six new partners: the California Digital Library, the Connecticut Digital Archive, the US Government Printing Office, Indiana Memory, the Montana Memory Project, and The J. Paul Getty Trust.

LinkedIn now has 300 million members.

Interesting: you can now subscribe to Google Trends. That is, get them delivered to your e-mail box. “You can now ‘Subscribe’ to any search topic, Hot Searches for any country, or any U.S. monthly Top Chart.”

And in the “is anybody really surprised” department, we have this: “…data from Megaupload’s database shared with TorrentFreak shows that employees of MPAA and RIAA member companies had hundreds of accounts at the file-storage site…. In total, there were 490 Megaupload accounts that were connected to MPAA and RIAA members, who sent 181 premium payments in total. Together, these users uploaded 16,455 files which are good for more than 2,097 gigabytes in storage.” Read the whole article here. Motes and eyes, anyone?

8 Digital Tools Every Journalist Should Try. I had not heard of most of these.

A little outside my purview, but SO COOL, and hey, it’s Saturday: Transcribing piano rolls with Python. Good morning, Internet…

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Instagram, InfoWorld, Indiana, More: Friday Evening Buzz, April 18, 2014

InfoWorld takes a look at Google’s growing credibility gap. “It’s time for Google to admit what it does and to act consistently on its policies (or withdraw policies it doesn’t intend to enforce). That honesty will help stem the loss of trust. People know that companies exist to make money, but they need to know the true relationship they’re entering and don’t end up feeling misled.”

I’m sure you knew about the Internet Movie Database, but did you know about the Internet Movie Cars Database? Yup: . I looked for Man of Tai Chi because it seems like Karen Mok spends the entire movie sitting around in her car waiting for something to happen, and it was there!

Going clutter and paper-free with Pocket and Evernote.

Amit Agarwal shows you how automatically save Gmail attachments to Google Drive.

Facebook has rolled out a new feature that lets you ask friends for recommendations.

Who’s that new guy on Instagram? Why, it’s Joe Biden!

WordPress 3.9 (“Smith”) is now available.

The Indiana State Library has revealed a new platform for its historic newspapers collection. “This collection contains 14,214 issues comprising 95,455 pages and is continually growing. Many of these titles are also available at the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website.” Good evening, Internet…

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Timelines, Water, Google, More: Fat Friday Morning Buzz, April 18, 2014

Could be useful: 7 simple ways to make your own GIFs. GIFs in this case being animated.

Brands can now turn Google+ posts into interactive display ads… if they have at least 1,000 followers.

Genealogists: Family Tree University is offering a free e-book of Ancestry search tips.

Google is launching a ‘try-it-on’ home program for Google Glass. The Glass doesn’t work. It’s just so you can see what they look/feel like. This seems kind of silly.

More Glass: Air Force researchers are testing Google Glass for battlefield use. “Still in beta-testing as part of Google’s Explorer program, the trials are conducted by the Battlefield Air Targeting, Man-Aided Knowledge, or BATMA(N) group, an advanced technology demonstration and research program commissioned by the Air Force Special Operations Command to develop, build and investigate advanced wearable technologies.”

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has released a new Produced Waters Geochemical Database. “Produced waters are those volumes of water that are typically recovered during oil and gas exploration, development, or production. This database is an update of the 2002 USGS Produced Waters Database, adding more than 100,000 new samples with greater spatial coverage and from both conventional and unconventional oil and gas development…. The USGS Produced Waters Geochemical Database has data on a comprehensive list of chemicals, including major elements, trace elements, isotopes, and time-series data.”

Useful? 30 simple tools for data visualization.

Facebook now has a nearby friends feature. “Similar to Apple’s Find My Friends app, Facebook’s Nearby Friends can notify users if people they’re connected to on the social network are close by. To address privacy concerns, the social network emphasizes that the feature is entirely optional and requires both parties to opt in.”

More Facebook: can Facebook profiles predict work performance?

Hmm: Wikipedia appears to be better than Google at tracking flu trends. “When compared to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the prevalence of flu-like illnesses in the US (which is released to the public with a two-week lag) the Wikipedia model was found to be more accurate than Google’s.”

Google has launched Chrome Remote Desktop for Android.

More Google, and a wow: Google’s Street View image recognition algorithm can beat most CAPTCHAS. “Google’s new algorithm for detecting street numbers can accurately detect and read difficult numbers in Street View 90 percent of the time, Google disclosed today.”

Very nice, Duke: Using Google Spreadsheets with Timeline.js. 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!

Newsreels, Heartbleed, Weeds, More: Thursday Morning Buzz, April 17, 2014

Wow! British Pathé has uploaded 85,000 films to YouTube. “Founded in Paris in 1896, Pathé launched in Britain 14 years later. It single-handedly invented the modern television news format but ceased recording in 1970.”

The UC San Diego Library has launched a digital archive of the United Farm Workers movement. “The archive contains thousands of items, including a timeline of the labor union’s milestones, oral histories and manuscripts, photographs and videos. All of the content can be accessed on the library’s website.”

Google has patented tiny cameras embedded in contact lenses. “Google has previously detailed a plan to build smart contacts that measure blood glucose levels in diabetics to provide non-invasive, constant feedback to both a wearer and potentially their doctor, too. This new system describes uses that could also benefit the medical community, like using input from the camera to spot obstacles and alert a wearer who has vision problems as to their whereabouts.”

More Google: there is now a Google Map of Westeros — along with a tool to prevent against spoilers.

For your protection: a couple of browser extensions that protect against Heartbleed.

The “dark Web” has a new search engine. “Grams, which launched last week and is patterned after Google, is accessible only through the Tor anonymizing browser … but fills a niche for anyone seeking quick access to sites selling drugs, guns, stolen credit card numbers, counterfeit cash and fake IDs — sites that previously only could be found by users who knew the exact URL for the site.” Based on the Grams logo, I suspect there are lawyers writing up C&Ds right this second…

Amit Agarwal keeps it going: How to embed tables and spreadsheet data in Web pages.

The publishers of Farm Industry News have developed a new smart phone app to identify weeds. 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!

NASA, Nightingale, Instagram, More: Sunday Buzz, April 13, 2014

NASA has released 1000 apps to the public. “Software makes up about a third of reported NASA inventions each year, and by publishing a software catalogue the agency hopes to increase the ability of others to make use of its software significantly, said Daniel Lockney, who manages NASA’s Technology Transfer Program.”

Interesting: Wellcome Library now has a SoundCloud account.

Google Translate now lets you edit translations.

I’m kind of surprised: apparently 44% of Twitter users have never tweeted.

A collection of Florence Nightingale letters are now online

Building the perfect portfolio – on Instagram? “In creative fields, having an impressive portfolio of work to show off at interviews or to HR managers is no longer necessarily the key to landing a job. Instagram and, in some fields, Pinterest, have become an important marker of taste and talent alike.”

From Lifehacker: the coolest things you can automatically add to Google Calendar. I like the stardates and the weather forecasts.

Genealogy search engine Mocavo has announced another new set of search features.

Did you have some trouble with Instagram over the weekend? You weren’t alone.

Dropbox has announced some new products. “Amidst the flurry of announcements, one thing became startlingly clear: Google Drive may have the cheapest consumer cloud prices around, but Dropbox wants to be more than just a simple storage locker.”

So who missed the Windows XP shutdown deadline? Why, the IRS. “According to the IRS, it has approximately 110,000 Windows-powered desktops and notebooks. Of those, 52,000, or about 47%, have been upgraded to Windows 7. The remainder continue to run the aged, now retired, XP.” (They’re getting custom support from Microsoft.) 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!

WordPress, YouTube, WWI, More: Saturday Buzz, April 12, 2014

Wow: YouTube live streaming is now available on Chromecast.

More YouTube – Coachella is streaming live!

The McDuffie Museum Collection has been added to the Digital Library of Georgia. “The collection includes digitized photographs, letters, newspapers, postcards, maps and government documents from the American Revolution through the early twentieth century. Though a small collection of fifty-three items, it is a highly curated group of high-interest pieces, including an 1864 map of Cobb County hand-drawn by a Union spy, a letter written by Abraham Lincoln while an attorney in Illinois, and an 1864 photograph of General Sherman and his troops gathered near Atlanta.”

Are you having trouble installing a recent Windows 8.1 update? You’re not alone.

WordPress 3.9 is coming next week!

More Twitter search options! You can now search for timelines and lists.

Google Chrome Beta 35 is now available.

Facebook has released more transparency report details. “Facebook revealed that it has allowed the Indian government to censor the content its inhabitants are allowed to see on the social network 4,765 times between July and December 2013. Why? Indian legislation outlaws criticizing a religion or the state, so when government officials call blasphemy, Facebook investigates and eradicates.”

Top secret MI5 files of WWI have gone online. “The files contain a wealth of material about organisations and individuals involved in espionage or under surveillance during the period of the First World War. They are part of the wider security service personal file series (file reference KV 2) held by The National Archives.”

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!


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