It’s So Random Today: Saturday Buzz, May 23rd, 2015


I have mixed feelings about this: There’s a tool available that lets you search the salaries of foreign-born tech workers (H1-B workers, specifically). “The tool searches government records for Labor Condition Applications (LCA), a piece of paperwork that prospective employers must file on behalf of workers hoping to get H1-B visas. These applications are publicly available, and include the names of workers’ labor lawyers, as well as their salaries and the companies hoping to hire them.”

USEFUL STUFF is offering free access to military records through Monday.

Free Technology for Teachers had a writeup about Sketch Toy, which I didn’t know about. “What makes Sketch Toy different from other tools is the ability to not only draw, but also automatically convert your drawings into step-by-step animations that can be shared with a link.” That could be useful.

Video: Using Facebook as a Tool for Student Engagement.”In this online Faculty Showcase video, Dr. Lauren B. Allsopp, from the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, explains how she was able to engage students by using Facebook in her course on Historical Preservation, specifically on the topic of architectural nomenclature.” It’s about 18 minutes; use the full screen so you can see her screen shots.


Twitter’s new search interface has rolled out to everybody. “The updated interface is one of the larger updates Twitter’s search engine has seen in recent months, and it’s meant to make the search interface itself easier to use in terms of switching between tweets, accounts, photos and videos.”


A science fiction author’s view: What happens when Google’s in your brain? I don’t want Google in my brain. I’ll keep trying to fix already-correct spelling and I’ll randomly blurt out ads.

From Buffer: should you be on the “fringe” social networks?. I want to do more with Tumblr.

Happy birthday TechCrunch, you young whippersnappers.

Mmmkay. Facebook and FOX News are teaming up to host the first Republican presidential primary debate in August (PRESS RELEASE). “Moderated by Special Report anchor Bret Baier, The Kelly File anchor Megyn Kelly and FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace, the debate will feature Facebook data illustrating how the issues of the day are resonating with people on today’s largest platform for political conversation. FOX News viewers and Facebook users will also be able to share images and video questions via Facebook, some of which will be used to help formulate questions for the candidates and broadcast during the debate.”

Google has obtained a weirdass patent for anthropomorphic devices. “The patent describes how the toys would include microphones, speakers, cameras and motors as well as a wireless connection to the internet It states that a trigger word would cause them to wake up and turn their gaze towards the person addressing them, and would be able to check if the person talking was making eye contact.”

More Google: it apparently likes big phones because they’re good for ad sales. At least they’re honest.

More More Google: What if it offered an “all you can eat” news subscription service? “With a similar Google News All Access service, perhaps subscribers might pay $8-$10 per month. In return, they have access to news content from participating publishers that they discover either in their searches on Google or when browsing headlines through Google News. It might be an unlimited model or perhaps there’s a generous amount of articles that can be read before a cap kicks in.” The only problem with this is that Google News has been degrading steadily for a while. I’m starting to get more and more use out of Bing News.

Ew ew ew ew: Google’s Fiber service is forwarding pirating notices/pay demands. “These include regular takedown notices but also the more controversial settlement demands sent by companies such as Rightscorp and CEG TEK. Instead of merely alerting subscribers that their connections have been used to share copyright infringing material, these notices serve as automated fines, offering subscribers settlements ranging from $20 to $300.” I’m not in favor of piracy, but there are so many stories of false accusations and takedown requests that are just incorrect. 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!

Hong Kong, Australia, Celtic Music, More: Short Friday Buzz, May 22nd, 2015


Google has put Hong Kong museums and heritage sites online. “The West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Hong Kong Medical Science Museum and St James’ Settlement were added to the online exhibition platform on Wednesday, joining the King of Kowloon street art exhibit launched in March.”

Western Australia has a new music archive. “The Western Australian New Music Archive (WANMA) is an evolving, permanent and fully online archive: the project seeks to collect, digitise and disseminate music recordings, video documentation and scores – in digital format and by pointing to other collections, not as hard copies. It draws material from the State Library of Western Australia catalogue, the National Library’s Trove and ABC Classic FM’s collection, as well as attracting contributions from the West Australian new music community.”

The US National Archives has a new collection of “unofficial” World War I photographs. “This series contains photographs obtained from the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Federal and State government agencies, as well as private sources, such as the American Red Cross and the Central News and Photo Service.”

Under development: a digital archive of Celtic music. “Through this project, the Beaton’s archival resources relating to the Celtic music traditions in Cape Breton Island will be identified and described, and readily available through”;

Now available: a database of early Missouri prison inmates. “The site offers access to 62,758 inmate records, spanning the time from the prison’s opening in 1836 to 1931. The register identifies the names and ages of the prisoners, their crimes and sentences and the years they entered and were released from the prison.”


The US Library of Congress has a roundup article about new Web archive content available. “This is our first big release since we launched the first iteration of collections into this new interface, back in June 2013. The earlier approach to presenting archived web sites turned out to be a challenge to allow us to increase the amount of content available, so in a ‘one step back, two steps forward’ move, the interface has been simplified, and should be more familiar to those working with Web Archives at other institutions – item records point to archived web sites displaying in an open-source version of the Wayback Machine.”

Do you keep fifty zillion browser tabs open at one time? Do you find all your computer’s memory being eaten? Check out this Chrome extension to put browser tabs to sleep. “The Great Suspender lets you manage when tabs should be put ‘to sleep’ — anywhere from 20 seconds to three days. This means you can keep your email and 30 other tabs open in the background without slowing down your system, and then access those tabs again at any point.”



What happens when an alt-news weekly goes dark? Do its back issues get a digital archive? Maybe. Maybe not.

Is Google going to create its own OS for the Internet of Things?


Researchers claim that 500 million phones do not fully wipe data on factory reset. ” Researchers Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon also discovered they could find Google credentials on all devices with a flawed factory reset to access data from certain apps. And even when full disk encryption was turned on, there was enough data left that it was possible to recover the encryption key and unlock the phone.” 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!

Yahoo, AOL, Snapchat, More: Thursday Morning Buzz, May 21st, 2015


Peg Fitzpatrick on good ideas for Instagram posts. Still working on this; not good at Instagram yet.

From Hongkiat: 25 Chrome Extensions for Awesome New Tabs. “In this post, I’ve pull together 25 Chrome tab extensions that can help you be more organized, be more relaxed, learn more things and even a few that will give you a laugh or two. Say goodbye to empty newly opened tabs and say hello to better days with more useful and effective replacements.”

Filing this for later: A four-part system for naming digital photo files.

This one too: an app for quickly generating lots of color palettes.


Google Webmaster Tools has become Google Search Console. “It turns out that the traditional idea of the ‘webmaster’ reflects only some of you. We have all kinds of Webmaster Tools fans: hobbyists, small business owners, SEO experts, marketers, programmers, designers, app developers, and, of course, webmasters as well. What you all share is a desire to make your work available online, and to make it findable through Google Search. So, to make sure that our product includes everyone who cares about Search, we’ve decided to rebrand Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console.”


A man is collecting AOL CDs and other detritus from early days of the Internet for digital archiving. “Scott has been ripping and scanning and archiving various CD-ROMs for years. But now it’s time to get serious. In addition to AOL discs, he’s calling for all Walnut Creek CD-ROMs. ‘I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era,’ he writes. ‘I want every shareware floppy, while we’re talking. I want it all.’ We’re reaching the end of this era, he says, and we must preserve its history while we still can.”

More rumors: is Google getting ready to launch a new photo sharing service?

Ukrainian users are not happy with Facebook. “Earlier this week, numerous users in Ukraine complained of their posts and accounts being taken down or blocked without any discernible violations of Facebook’s community guidelines. They claimed these takedowns were politically motivated and the posts were being reported for violations by masses of ‘Kremlin supporters.’ A mass appeal to Zuckerberg even garnered the support of Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, who publicly joined the calls for a Ukrainian Facebook office.”

Taking a look at Snapchat and the 2016 election. “What is new, however, is the potential conundrum that an app like Snapchat uniquely presents. One of the key features that has made it popular with young people is the fact that its messages disappear within seconds — unless the user receiving the Snapchat takes a screenshot. For its part, the Federal Election Commission sounds quite unsure how and if it would attempt to regulate not just Snapchat, but any app.”

Interesting! What Google Earth is doing for archaeology. “Increasingly, amateur archaeologists are using imaging technology like Google Earth to help them find indications of ancient sites – such as eroded agricultural furrows, defensive berms and burial mounds – that might go unnoticed at ground level.”


Research from Yahoo: How photo filters affect online engagement. “Looking at 7.6 million public Flickr app photos modeled in a negative binomial regression, we found that filters boost engagement on the site. Filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on. However, not all filters affect engagement equally. Filters that increase contrast and correct exposure can help a photo’s engagement, and filters that create a warmer color temperature are more engaging than those with cooler color effects.” 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!

Yahoo, Mississippi, Belgium, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, May 20th, 2015


I can’t believe I’m linking to BuzzFeed twice in a week, but this is a good list of 25 YouTube tips.

How-To Geek: How to work with PDF files in Windows.


Yahoo is expanding its video captioning (PRESS RELEASE). “Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) is advancing digital accessibility by captioning thousands of videos every month, which can be viewed on the company’s websites and through the Yahoo Screen mobile app for iOS and Android. Yahoo now offers captions on videos from a variety of partners, including: The New York Times, the Associated Press on Yahoo News, Reuters, CNBC and many others. Yahoo also provides captioned movie trailers, a service long-desired by deaf and hard-of-hearing moviegoers.”

The state of Mississippi has updated its Web site (PRESS RELEASE). “Furthering engagement and customization on is the addition of MyMS, a new service for Mississippi citizens. MyMS encourages users to set and receive reminders and alerts for services important to them, opening communication channels between the state and its citizens. Along with important personalized reminders, MyMS gives users the ability to elect to receive alerts, including amber, silver, and important weather alerts.”


Apparently Barack Obama’s Twitter account set a new world record. “President Barack Obama shattered the actor’s world record for fastest time to 1 million followers after launching his account Monday afternoon.” He broke the previous record held by Robert Downey Jr. I still love you, Robert.

Speaking of that, have you thought about tweeting Mr. Obama? Watch your keyboard, all the tweets to that account are being immediately archived. I can’t quote from the article because of all the nasty. It includes a lot of tweets that are way beyond the pale. The cat has fainted and I’m scraping my eyebrows off the ceiling. Follow the link at your own risk.

Belgium’s privacy watchdog tore Facebook a new one recently. “Belgium’s privacy watchdog ripped into Facebook Inc. for treating the personal data of Internet users ‘with contempt’ and failing to cooperate with its inquiries, stoking a dispute between the company and European regulators that could result in heavy fines and orders to change its business practices.”

Interesting: a story about a town which uses Twitter for communication between residents and government. “Jun, home to 3,500 people, is believed to be the first town worldwide to adopt Twitter as the dominant method of communication between local government and residents. For the past four years, it has acted as the town’s community noticeboard: sharing obituaries, news, school-dinner menus. Residents use the social-networking site to report crime, problems with civic services and to book doctors’ appointments.”


A study of political Facebook unfriending. “After being politely told by a Facebook research department still reeling from the emotional contagion experiment fallout that, no, they wouldn’t be able to collaborate with me on this (at least that’s my explanation), I realized I would have to collect the data myself. And so, one week after the final ceasefire, I surveyed 1,013 Jewish-Israeli Facebook users and asked them whether they had unfriended or unfollowed anyone during the period of fighting for reasons that were to do with the fighting and the politics around it.” 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!

Illustrations, Frank Miller, Medium, More: Wednesday Morning Buzz, May 20th, 2015


Thomson Reuters has launched a new tool to track Russian sanctions. “The new tool will provide financial institutions, trading companies and investors with information on Russian companies that have come under the sanctions, their subsidiaries and associates. The service will track any corporate actions related to sanctioned entities and the issuance of new debt and equity that are restricted as a result of the sanctions via the Thomson Reuters DataScope Select platform.”

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is getting an online archive. “The digital archive portal project will provide broad, online access to media heritage and archival resources that are in line with the technological expectations of a 21st century audience, including a fully searchable performance history directory with recordings, oral history interviews and ephemeral records from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s 119-year history.”

This actually launched over a month ago, but I just now found it in my traps: The Illustration Archive has launched. “The archive contains over a million book illustrations from the British Library’s collections, taken from around 68,000 works of literature, history, geography and philosophy​. The images span the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century, covering a variety of reproductive techniques (including etching, wood engraving, lithography and photography).”

Five years after being an exhibit at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, this Frank Miller exhibit is now an online archive.


From Wordtracker: Experts give tips on how to tweet live events.

Some fun hacking using the Amazon Echo and IFTTT.


Oh nice: you can now follow tags on Medium. “On every tag page, you can follow that tag directly from the top right of the page. Here’s a few suggestions to get started: you might be interested in stories about travel, climate change, entrepreneurship, or cats.”

A horrible racist attack has hit Google Maps. Since Google Maps shut down its map editor, how did this happen?


Facebook apparently wants to tie its games into Facebook Messenger. Because timeline-based notifications weren’t annoying enough?

So these exist: dishes designed solely to make your food look really good on Instagram.

Ever dreamed of doing to Google Doodles? There’s a job opening.


The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has released its annual snapshot of Internet crimes. “The report mentions two new trends that took shape during 2014: criminals increasingly taking advantage of personal data found on social media to start relationships with victims and scam them out of their money; and the emerging popularity of virtual currency, which has attracted perpetrators who capitalize on the vulnerabilities of the developing digital currency system.”

I know everyone’s talking about Barack Obama being on Twitter. But hey, let’s look at India’s tweeting Prime Minister. “With 12.3 million followers on Twitter, Modi is the world’s No. 2 most popular politician in the Twittersphere after Barack Obama. The way the Indian leader uses Twitter and his shifting social strategy was the focus of a new study by Joyojeet Pal, assistant professor at University of Michigan’s School of Information.”

Study: using Twitter to determine the health needs of transgender people. “[Sean] Young and co-author Evan Krueger collected 1,135 tweets with 13 relevant hashtags, including terms like #trans or #girlslikeus. The tweets discussed issues such as violence, discrimination, suicide and sexual risk.” 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!