Author Archives: researchbuzz

MAUDE, Twitter, Pennsylvania, More: Afternoon Buzz, August 20th, 2014

Hey! Using Twitter to get unemployment data. “LSA Economics Professor Matthew Shapiro has found a new way to harvest employment information from tweets and hashtags faster and more accurately than the government’s official reports….There were times when Shapiro’s numbers matched the reports, and there were times when they didn’t. When they differed, Shapiro’s numbers were more accurate than the government’s.”

Twitter will now remove images of deceased individuals at the request of their family. BUT: “… the micro-messaging service said it will consider public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content while reviewing such media removal requests and may not be able to honor every request.”

Google System has some stupid Google Search tricks.

The state of Pennsylvania has launched Pennsylvania Learns on iTunes U (PRESS RELEASE). “Pennsylvania Learns on iTunes U brings state standards-aligned resources to the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content that helps educators create courses, including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabi, and offer them to millions of iOS users.”

Genealogists, there has been a major update to the 1861 Census of Canada Database. “Following the release of the 1861 Census of Canada database in 2013, a number of missing records and misplaced images were reported by Library and Archives Canada clients and staff. We corrected over 133,000 entries!”

The FDA has launched an API for accessing its database of medical device reports. “These products are used by millions of Americans, and they are essential, well-performing tools of modern healthcare, but occasionally they present a safety issue due to risks not identified in prior studies, a malfunction, a problem with manufacturing, or misuse. These incidents are collected in a publicly available FDA database called MAUDE – short for Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience. As part of the openFDA project, there is now an Application Programming Interface (API) for this dataset, which provides a way for software to interact directly with the data.” The reports number in the thousands and go back to the 1990s. 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!

IFTTT, Yearbooks, NHTSA, More: Morning Buzz, August 20th, 2014

WordPress 4.0 beta 4 is now available.

Get inspired: 9 Amazing Projects Made in Microsoft Excel.

Here’s a lovely browser-based tool for generating image thumbnails.

This is interesting: IFTTT is teaming up with ADT (ADT press release). “ADT and IFTTT are planning to test a beta version of an ADT Pulse® Channel on IFTTT, connecting a customer’s ADT Pulse-enabled home with more than 100 existing Channel partners. Whether it’s adjusting the thermostat to react to local weather conditions, or arming the security system based on users’ GPS data, an ADT Pulse® Channel on IFTTT could enable users to put many aspects of their home on auto-pilot.”

The Smithsonian is asking for help in transcribing its collections. “After about a year of testing with a small group of volunteers, the Smithsonian opened up their Transcription Center website to the public last month. Today, they issued a called [sic] for volunteers to help decipher everything from handwritten specimen tags to the personal letters of iconic artists to early U.S. currency.”

A new Web site wants to shame apps with lax security. “One high-profile example includes well-liked travel-information firm TripIt. TripIt allows users to bring together information on their tickets, flight times, and itinerary and then sync it with other devices and share the information with friends and co-workers. Information shared with calendar applications, however, is not encrypted, Webster says, leaving it open to eavesdropping on public networks. Among the details that could be plucked from the air by anyone on the same wireless network: a user’s full name, phone number, e-mail address, the last four digits of a credit card number, and emergency contact information. An attacker could even change or cancel the victim’s flight, he says.”

Entrepreneur: The Five Problems Google Will Face in the Next Ten Years. Only Five?

The UT Health Science Center Libraries have digitized a bunch of medical school yearbooks.

The NHTSA is finally launching its vehicle recall tracking tool.

The North Dakota State Historical Society now has an online archive.

The Royal Air Force Museum has launched the RAF Museum Storyvault. “The archive provides free access to recently digitized records, including a Muster Roll of NCO’s and men, an Air Force List of Officers, and a selection of Casualty Cards and other records for those who were wounded or killed in the air service.”

The Drug Industry Documents Archive (DIDA) has been expanded with additional documents on Zyprexa and clincal study reports related to neuraminidase inhibitors. 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!

Bugs, Stars, Craigslist, More: Afternoon Buzz, August 19th, 2014

The UC Riverside Veterinary Entomology Extension Laboratory has released an online database of pesticides registered in California for use against arthropod pests of animals. “Website visitors can search by animal commodity for which pest control is needed (e.g. poultry), by type of pest (e.g. poultry mite or house fly), and by application method and formulation.”

Now available: a new online database of stellar abundances. “The enormous collection, which Hinkel named the Hypatia Catalog, contains data for more than 3,000 stars within 500 light years of the sun, and will help scholars as well as the public learn more about the properties and history of stars in the Milky Way.”

The Folger Library has made all the images in their digital collections available via CC-BY-SA. That’s almost 80,000 images. One caveat, though: “Keep in mind that some Folger images reproduce works that are themselves under copyright protection, so you’ll still need to secure permission from the copyright holder before using them beyond ‘fair use.’ “

Tumblr is going to start analyzing public photos for brands. Blick.

A huge hack has stolen data on 4.5 million hospital patients. “The hackers got away with patient names, addresses, birthdates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of the 4.5 million people who were referred to or received services from doctors affiliated with the company in the last five years. The stolen data did not include patient credit card, medical or clinical information.”

PI Buzz has a few tips for searching Craigslist.

Twitter is apparently experimenting with showing favorited tweets of people you follow in your tweet stream. I wish they had a beta tester list so people could opt in to this kind of experimenting – if experimenting it truly is…

Social media giants are teaming up to provide social data to academics. Their name? DERP. Really. “Academic researchers will be granted unprecedented access to the data of major social networks including Imgur, Reddit, and Twitch as part of a joint initiative: The Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (Derp).”

Ever wonder how old you are in seconds? Google can help.

Want to turn a YouTube video into a GIF? There’s a very easy tool for that.

What it looks like when someone does a serious breakdown of the items in his Facebook feed.

I had no idea Siri could generate passwords. I normally don’t like to link to slideshows but set of things Siri can do is random and fun.

8 Wrong Predictions about Google. Of course Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were going to make stupid predictions about Google. But James Altucher? I thought he was more brilliant than that. (But looking back he’s admitted he blew that one.) 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, Twitter Bots, NASA, More: Morning Buzz, August 16th, 2014

Catching up… Yahoo has a new Finance app.

A small selection of the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine yearbooks are now available online. The yearbooks are from 1952-1967.

When does Amit Agarwal do an article that isn’t handy and useful? How to transfer files between mobile phones and computers.

You know that handle Google Package Tracking tool? You can opt-out if you like.

Sometimes you say “bots on Twitter” and people will reflexively think they’re bad, pointless, etc. But check out this collection of river gauges on Twitter which tweet their levels twice a day but can increase communications in times of flood or emergency. “Users can visit the website to search by geographical location, river name, catchment area or status (normal level, below average or risk of flooding) and are also able to follow on Twitter any gauges that will be of interest to them. The website map features all of the Environment Agency river level and tidal gauges, and a unique Twitter account has been created for each of them. Twice per day, each gauge tweets its current status. For example, Teddington Lock now has its own Twitter account:”

Related: Are 8.5% of Twitter’s active users bots?

The US Department of Energy is making its researchers’ papers free. “The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today unveiled its answer to a White House mandate to make the research papers it funds free for anyone to read: a Web portal that will link to full-text papers a year after they’re published. Once researchers are up to speed and submitting their manuscripts, that will mean 20,000 to 30,000 new free papers a year on energy research, physics, and other scientific topics.”

And in the same vein, NASA is giving away free ebooks.

Congratulations to Search Engine Land, which has a new look! 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!

Marvel, Oz, Twitter, More: Morning Buzz, August 15th, 2014

Back with a little stolen time! More catching up this weekend.

Hootsuite looks at an interesting question: when should you respond on Twitter?

UCR did a post-event breakdown of World Cup tweets. “Not surprisingly, Argentina, Brazil and Germany had the highest number of tweets during the recent World Cup, but Bosnia, Cameron and Ivory Coast saw the greatest surge in terms of percentage increase in tweets compared to a year earlier.” has added a whole bunch of words, including ones I like (“cray”), and ones I don’t (“adorbs,” which sounds like something you wear to deal with occasional incontinence.)

Another thousand Old Masters are going online. “Glasgow University is teaming up with National Museums Liverpool, Manchester Art Gallery, Leeds Museums and Galleries and York Art Gallery to make 1,000 Old Masters available on the internet. Experts will explore the origins, history and attribution of each work before cataloguing them in the online database.”

Illustrated London News has launched a new archive featuring material from 1914-1918. “The first-phase website includes the digitised pages from the Illustrated London News 1914-1918; a wealth of editorial features providing rich context for the source material; a timeline; a range of topical insights from “Animals and War” and “Trench Life” to “Sport and the War”; and a blog written by young historians appointed for the project.”

Marvel now has a fashion Instagram account. Because… oh, I don’t know.

1960s Australian counterculture magazine OZ now has a digital archive.

Catching up… Twitter has busted out a new transparency report. “There were 2,058 requests from Jan. 1 to June 30, marking a 46% increase over the second half of last year. The requests affect 48% more Twitter users than in the previous report.”

From Entrepreneur: 12 Things You Should Do on Your Personal Google+ Account Right Now. (No, not deactivate it. Sheesh.) 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!

Snapchat, Twitter, Google Barge, More: Afternoon Buzz, August 9th, 2014

Now available: over 700 hours of World War I film footage.

From Edudemic: 5 Unusual Ways to Use Google Presentations. I like the flash cards idea.

Interested in getting a Digital Dissemination of Archival Collections program grant? There’s a webinar for that.

From Mashable: Snapchat for beginners.

Wow: should Yahoo fire 10,000 people? “Even though the publicly reported headcount for Yahoo at the end of last quarter was 12,200, it’s been an open secret since Silver Lake was doing due diligence on the company back in 2011 that Yahoo — dating back to Carol Bartz and probably earlier than that — also employed 4,000 – 6,000 offshore contractors in the Philippines and elsewhere. Because they are on contract, they aren’t required to be reported as a full-time employee in the headcount number. This large contractor workforce likely still is on the books, making the true number of employees closer to the 18,000 number Andreessen quoted above.”

Twitter is testing “translated” hashtags. “The trial, spotted by The Wall Street Journal, provides a concise translation of trending hashtags. For example, #ointb is rendered “Orange Is the New Black” for the uninitiated…”

Sometimes it’s fun to feel old: 5 retro operating systems you can run on the Raspberry Pi.

Remember that mysterious Google Barge? It’s been sold for scrap.

Now available: an unlock key for the CryptoLocker malware. “Simply send the site one of the CryptoLocker-encrypted files on your PC, along with an email address. It’ll scan the file to figure out the encryption specifics, then send you a recovery program and master key that can be used to rescue your ransomed data.”

Wikipedia has updated its iOS app. “Wikipedia has today made a significant update to its iOS application, which most noticeably features a cleaner, “distraction-free” design, as well as the ability to edit Wikipedia articles from your smartphone or tablet device. Under the hood, the app received a number of other improvements as well, including speed increases, offline access, a reading history, and more.” 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!

Kelp, NASA, Classic TV, More: Morning Buzz, August 9th, 2014

Coming soon to New Zealand: a digital archive of World War II veterans.

You probably have seen a lot of news about the Russian gang which has allegedly stolen details on more than a billion e-mail accounts. Krebs has a Q&A breakdown of information. Explain again why Amazon doesn’t offer two-factor?

Zooniverse has a new project — Floating Forests! Help researchers look for kelp!

The Siri Wars continue: Google has acquired Emu. “Emu was at heart an IM client, but it differentiated itself from the crowded market with smart features that incorporated a virtual assistant not unlike Siri to automate tasks based on your conversations – meaning you could do things like schedule appointments to your calendar, set reminders and even make reservations at a restaurant directly from your conversations.”

Now available: a database of information about prisoners of war from World War I. “According to the ICRC, 90 percent of the 5 million cards on prisoners and 500,000 pages of records associated with these cards are now searchable on the Prisoners of the First World War website.”

Do you run WordPress or Drupal? Please upgrade your installation: there’s a pretty serious security vulnerability.

IFTTT now has a Space Channel, which is interesting because it’s not a device channel but a data channel. “The Space Channel is a native IFTTT Channel powered by NASA, Open Notify, Mars Atmospheric Aggregation System, and How Many People Are In Space Right Now.” I’m excited about this because as cool as it is now, IFTTT as an even more mutable push platform with even more custom data feeds would be brilliant.

Bob Poulsen has launched a new Web site that organizes the TV episodes available in the Internet Archives. It’s called RerunCentury and it’s available at . Currently it indexes over 1300 episodes of 160 shows. Shows with at least 40 episodes available include Dragnet, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Jack Benny Program, and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

The Library of Congress has launched an indigenous law portal. “The Indigenous Law Portal brings together collection materials from the Law Library of Congress as well as links to tribal websites and primary source materials found on the Web. The portal is based on the structure of the Library of Congress Classification schedule for Law (Class K), specifically the Law of the Indigenous Peoples in the Americas (Classes KIA-KIP: North America).”

Gmail now works with addresses containing non-Latin characters. And about time too. 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!


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