Brazil, Ukraine, PDFs, More: Tuesday Buzz, September 1st, 2015

I don’t know why, but a bunch of people followed the ResearchBuzz blog yesterday. Two things: hello! And this is a regular (usually daily) digest; if you want individual entries tagged in an individual way, you want the ResearchBuzz Firehose at http://rbfirehose.com/ . Here’s an article on how to make the most of the Firehose: http://researchbuzz.me/2015/06/23/introducing-the-researchbuzz-firehose-how-to-use-it/ .

NEW RESOURCES

The Brazilian newspaper Diario de Pernambuco has been partially digitized. “The holdings of the newspaper that were digitized include November 1825 – September 1924 and these were contained on 276 reels of microfilm….The Diario de Pernambuco is acknowledged to be the oldest newspaper still in circulation in Latin America. The issues from 1825-1924 offer insights into early Brazilian commerce, social affairs, politics, family life, slavery, and other topics.”

The Open Knowledge Labs blog tipped me to a new service that allows you to upload PDFs and other files and get text in return. Click on Choose a file… and then once you’ve chosen a file choose Get Content. A list of supported file is available at http://tika.apache.org/1.10/formats.html . I threw a couple of marketing pieces I had in PDF format at it and it worked just fine… the second one took a couple minutes.

In development: an open database of historic cemeteries. “The MAP project’s interface will be an open-access website with a database of monumental records, a curated collection of research projects (connecting data to methods and interpretations), and an interactive means of contributing data and commenting on research. The primary interface will organise the user experience into two interactive schemes. On the landing page, a map will highlight areas where records exist, with pop-up summaries and links to the corresponding database (and project collections of methods/interpretations where possible). There will also be traditional drop-down menus and a search function to access databases, or collections, to view on the website or download for easy use of data. The range of options for use reflects the diversity of the audiences for whom this website will be of value and the orientation of their research.”

Ukraine is granting free access to its trademark applications database. “After much debate, the Ukrainian Institute of Intellectual Property granted free access to its online database of trademark applications on August 21, which is a step forward in developing IP rights protection in Ukraine. Even though the database only contains applications that passed the formal examination since August 20, trademark owners will be able to monitor new applications and daily updates, ensuring timely enforcement of their prior rights.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google is deprecating Web hosting support in Google Drive. “Beginning August 31, 2015, web hosting in Google Drive for users and developers will be deprecated. Google Apps customers can continue to use this feature for a period of one year until August 31, 2016, when serving content via googledrive.com/host/doc id will be discontinued.”

Newer Android Wear watches now work with iOS. “Once you’ve paired your watch with your iPhone (the app is compatible with the iPhone 5 and all newer iPhones as long as they run iOS 8.2 and up), the actual on-watch experience is pretty much the same as always. The app supports rich notifications from Gmail, Google Calendar and Apple Calendar, Google Now Cards, voice queries, Google Fit support, alarms, and everything else you’d expect (including support for the recently launched Translate app on Android Wear).”

Twitter is apparently testing new photo and video editing tools. “Lara Cohen, who is Twitter’s Director of Entertainment Talent, highlighted the new photos with tweets that implied (and seemingly confirmed) that the stars were roadtesting something new. It isn’t clear if this is a standalone app, or just an extension of the photo/videos features inside Twitter’s mobile apps. Photo functionality is limited to filters and cropping right now and Twitter only added native video capture on mobile this year. Nonetheless, it looks like you might soon be able to add stickers, your own doodles, text and more to photos and short video clips.”

USEFUL STUFF

From Hongkiat: 20 Cool Things Google Search Can Do. Most of these are tricks rather than serious search tools, but they’re fun.

Lifehacker has updated its roundup of the best browser extensions to protect your privacy. Unusually, the coments section on Lifehacker articles is usually worth reading. Some more thoughts there.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The National Archives of Thailand is in the process of digitizing its collections. “A huge task is digitising the microfilms that contain records of over 15 million written materials. The archives have only 131 staff and an annual budget of 80 million baht, so it will take time. So far, 45 microfilm rolls have been digitised and it is estimated that all of them will be ready for service next year. The equipment for this task is worth more than 2 million baht.” 80 million baht is a little over $2 million USD.

Brian Fanzo has a big writeup on an alternative to Google Hangouts called Blab. And he really, really likes it. “While we’ve only been using Blab.im for the last month or so, we have been so impressed that we’ve migrated our client-sponsored video Twitter Chatss off of Google Hangouts to Blab.im. There will undoubtedly still be some occasional use cases that will require our team to use Google Hangouts, including having more than four guests (which is never advisable) and the need for occasional private, off-air shows. However, when Google Hangouts were the only solution, it made sense to put up with its quirks and to try to ignore the fact that the team at Google didn’t care much about community. Now, when we have something like Blab.im to use that is the exact opposite, and brings a team wholly focused on creating a great user experience based on feedback from users—well, it’s a no brainer which we prefer.”

YouTube is apparently about to undergo some changes. “With the exception of a few video rentals, YouTube has always been a free, ad-supported service. But the company is about to get serious about subscription services, offering new ways for the users that create videos to make money. While two subscription offerings for the same service might seem odd to some — with one music industry source calling it ‘strange on top of strange’ — YouTube’s thinking was likened to that of a cable company offering different packages for sports and movies.” Here’s hoping YouTube cleans up its spam and gets some better search tools.

Marissa Mayer is expecting twins. “Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout. I’ve shared the news and my plans with Yahoo’s Board of Directors and my executive team, and they are incredibly supportive and happy for me. I want to thank them for all of their encouragement as well as their offers of help and continued support.”

Bing is doing predictions again this football season. “Bing Predicts’ machine learning and deep knowledge takes power rankings to a new level. Instead of settling for just knowing where your teams stand today, Bing Predicts will give you a glimpse into your team’s future. Every Tuesday at noon PT we will update our power rankings with predictions of which team Bing thinks will win their respective division, and who is on-pace to earn those elusive wild-card spots.”

Librarians, you know this: Web site preservation is an enormous fail. “If the internet is at its core is a system of record, then it is failing to complete that mission. Sometime in 2014, the internet surpassed a billion websites, while it has since fallen back a bit, it’s quite obviously an enormous repository. When websites disappear, all of the content is just gone as though it never existed, and that can have a much bigger impact than you imagine on researchers, scholars or any Joe or Josephine Schmo simply trying to follow a link.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google is being investigated in India for complaints about rigging search results. “Google is being investigated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) after the agency received complaints that the search giant abused its dominant market position and rigged search results, reports The Economic Times. If found guilty, Google could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its income; the company posted a net income of more than $14 billion in 2014.” 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!

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!