Journalism, Microsoft, Facebook, Donkeys: Afternoon Buzz, January 16, 2013

Congratulations to newspaper Raleigh Public Record for its foray into open source software. “In about six weeks the Record will release a new open-source program to help journalists turn PDF files into structured data. The new software will enable reporters to take an image containing data — say a scanned campaign finance return — and turn that into a spreadsheet.”

Microsoft has released a critical Internet Explorer patch.

You may have heard about Facebook’s new search engine. I don’t have access yet; except a writeup as soon as I do.

The state of Montana has a new Geographic Information Web site.

SUNY Oswego has put its yearbook collection online. The collection covers 1922-2005.

Facebook statuses are more memorable? “In ‘Major Memory for Microblogs,’ the researchers report that Facebook status updates were about one and a half times more memorable than sentences from books and almost two and a half times more memorable than faces. And these were not the status updates of the study participants’ friends but rather 200 anonymous posts (gathered by undergraduate assistants blind to the hypothesis). The tests were self-paced recognition tests.”

I missed last week’s note that the GAO had launched a searchable database of reports. “The GAO “Key Issues” website contains more than 50 specific issue areas ranging from food safety and medical-product oversight to disaster management and reforming the U.S. financial system.”

Israel has a new digital archive of election material.

Did Google hit a donkey with a Street View car? There’s some street view imagery that some think shows a dead donkey in the road. I have a problem with this. If a Street View car hit a donkey hard enough to kill it, the car would probably sustain some damage. I have seen plenty of cars that have hit deer (it’s a hazard where I live) and the deer don’t just bounce off, not even a smaller doe. So say the Google Street View car, going 25 MPH, hits a 500-pound donkey. And the camera mounted on the car remains perfectly stationary, with no change to its angle at all? This seems unlikely. Of course I am not in Botswana and I am not Google so I can’t tell you what really happens — until Google stops being so secretive about the footage it’ll have to remain Schrogoogle’s Donkey. Good afternoon, Internet…

About Tara Calishain

Covering the world of search engines, databases, and other online information collections since 1996.

Posted on January 16, 2013, in morningbuzz. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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