Brass Bands, Yahoo, Wikipedia, More: Wednesday Buzz, February 10, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Pennine Music has launched a new search engine for finding brass band music. “This new ‘Google’ of Brass Band Music visits every publisher across the globe and catalogues their titles of brass band music with the aim of helping bands quickly and easily find out if a piece of music has been published and is available to buy.” Pennine did not have any brass arrangements for Eurythmics in its own inventory, for example, but their search engine linked to an another music publisher which had a brass arrangement of Sweet Dreams Are Made of This. And now I’m giggling myself silly imagining that song arranged for tuba and French horn.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Yahoo is shutting down Yahoo BOSS. “BOSS allowed both non-developers and developers to build a simple search service through their search tools. There were APIs and developer tools, as well as simple-to-use web interfaces to construct your own search service.” Will the last person to leave Yahoo please trigger the IFTTT recipe to turn off the lights.

USEFUL STUFF

From MakeUseOf: 4 Easy Ways to Export Wikipedia for Offline Use. I admit this one is for me; I occasionally need to grab something from Wikipedia but can’t remember my options.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google wants its cars to be driverless. And… wireless? “What’s the point of having a self-driving car if you still have to get out to plug it in? That’s a good question, says Alphabet, Google’s parent company. With that in mind, it is testing wireless charging systems for its electric self-driving cars. Documents filed at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suggest that Google is working toward cutting its robocars’ charger cables and beaming power to them instead.”

Kohl’s will use Periscope to stream the Oscars. “Employing the Periscope app, Kohl’s will livestream during the Academy Awards’ red-carpet ceremony and the show’s commercial breaks. Thanks to the app’s new Twitter integration, people will be able to watch Kohl’s livestream on the microblogging platform and have the option of viewing it on Perisope. They’ll also be able to peek in on Bayer’s Oscars house party during the Feb. 28 Hollywood gala.”

Apparently this year’s Super Bowl wasn’t all that on social media. “On Facebook, the level of activity worldwide for Super Bowl 50 dropped 25 percent compared with last year, according to the social giant. Twitter posts among U.S. viewers was down 49 percent, according to Nielsen figures, after record-breaking Super Bowl action on social networks last year.”

Wow, Kickstarter has funded 100,000 projects! “Lucky number 100,000 was from Argentinian photographer Adriana Groisman, who raised over $50,000 to document the stories of veterans of the Falklands/Malvinas conflict of 1982.”

The Air Force is warning airmen to watch what they say on social media when it comes to politics. “Things like campaigning for a candidate, soliciting donations to a particular campaign and even wearing a military uniform to a partisan political event have long been outlawed by the military, [Holly] Roberts-Davis says in the video. But 21st century ways of communicating have extended those same concepts to the online world. Roberts-Davis says active-duty military members are generally allowed to express political views on social media platforms, but there are several important caveats.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The Center for Auto Safety is suing the Department of Transportation (DOT) for failing to create a database of automobile safety defects. “While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists recalls, it requires consumers to use their vehicle identification number to find details about their car, and it does not provide information on service bulletins — issues that do not require a recall.”

The Register has a roundup of Windows’ latest patches. And I really hope you’re not using the Windows browser. “Microsoft has patched 41 CVE-listed security vulnerabilities in its software this month. The second … monthly update of the year brings with it fixes for security flaws in both Internet Explorer and Edge that could allow remote-code-execution attacks simply by visiting a webpage.”

Speaking of patching, guess who just issued an emergency, out-of-cycle patch? Why, it’s Oracle! And it’s a Java patch! Of course. “An Oracler called Eric Maurice is the giver of the bad news, depending on how you approach security updates, saying that application of the patch will prevent vulnerabilities with Java 6, 7 and 8 on the Windows platform.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

On Academia.edu from Brandon C. Bouchillon and Melissa R. Gotlieb: Making Them Count: Facebook Sociability for Optimizing the Accumulation of Social Capital. “In light of waning interpersonal contact in America, scholars have turned their attention to social network sites and the opportunities these provide for building and maintaining social relationships.The present study adds to this research, using national survey data from U.S. adults to examine how motivated use of Facebook for expanding and diversifying personal networks might revitalize real-world efforts of sociability for users, and returns to social capital that come by way of them. Results support our overall model relating weak-tie interactions to generalized trust.” I do not have the sociology chops to appreciate the fine details of the experiments, but the before and after discussion is well worth reading, and frankly it’s refreshing to see some optimism about social networks and social capital. 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!

Computer Books, Labor Migration, New York Times, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, February 9, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

UK publisher Usborne has put a bunch of its old computer programming books online. “UK publishing house Usborne is giving out its iconic 1980s programming books as free downloads. The books, which are available for free as PDF files, include Usborne’s introductions to programming series, adventure games, computer games listings and first computer series.” The article lists 15 books available as free downloads.

Tilburg University has launched a database about labor migration. “At the moment the labor migration database contains around one hundred scientific publications and policy and advisory reports on cross-border labor migration over the last twenty years or so. Over the next few years significant efforts will be made to expand the database. All publications contain keywords and a short summary with the most important insights.” Tilburg University is in the southern Netherlands and the database appears to be EU-focused.

The New York Times has launched a Spanish-language Web site. It didn’t have one before? “The New York Times en Español features content produced by a dedicated editorial team based in Mexico City, as well as the work of NYT correspondents across Latin America and areas with Spanish-speaking populations, including Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Miami, with additional coverage and oversight from the newspaper’s headquarters in New York City.”

The University of Manchester in the UK has begun a project to digitize Iranian newspapers, specifically around the time of the 1953 coup d’état and the 1979 revolution. “Nashriyah: Digital Iranian History, which was funded by The University of Manchester Library, forms the first steps in building a comprehensive digital archive chronicling these periods of modern Iranian history, events that have shaped Iran’s turbulent relations with the West and continue to resonate to this day.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Google is making flood alerts available through its public alerts in India. “Users can browse all active alerts at google.org/public alerts, and relevant alerts will also appear on normal Google Maps searches depending on the query.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Twitter has launched The Twitter Trust & Safety Council. “…we are announcing the formation of the Twitter Trust & Safety Council, a new and foundational part of our strategy to ensure that people feel safe expressing themselves on Twitter. As we develop products, policies, and programs, our Trust & Safety Council will help us tap into the expertise and input of organizations at the intersection of these issues more efficiently and quickly.”

Oooh, this could get interesting. Is India going to step into the Google taxes fray? The Delhi High Court is asking Google if YouTube has made money from Indian government content. “[K N] Govindacharya’s lawyer, Virag Gupta, claimed in the court that YouTube generated revenue from contents uploaded by the government, prompting the court to raise the query. Gupta also said that since the entity allegedly earned revenue from government content, it should pay taxes.”

France is ordering Facebook to make chances to the way it collects data about French citizens. “The CNIL [Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés] has ordered Facebook to, among other things, inform people who don’t have Facebook accounts that their Internet surfing is being tracked via like buttons across the Web, and to seek explicit consent for collecting information about users’ religious beliefs, sexual orientation and other sensitive information.” 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!

Alaska, Netherlands, Instagram, More: Tuesday Buzz, February 9, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Alaska residents have a new tool to see if they’re eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits – instead of filling out a 28-page application, they answer questions via text message. “At the end, the free service tells you if you are likely eligible or not and connects you to local resources, like the Department of Public Assistance or local food pantries. You can even request help applying if you qualify.”

The Dutch royal family has started an online archive of historical items. “The site displays more than 300 unusual or remarkable items – including oil paintings, illuminated manuscripts, valuable artworks, old photos and precious objects.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Instagram’s app now supports account switching. “Up to five accounts can be added and switching between them will not require logout, however you will need to be using version 7.15 of the app (iOS and Android).”

USEFUL STUFF

Last year I tried to get into Snapchat and I failed. Couldn’t wrap my head around it. Terry White has done a 30-minute video on YouTube that walks you through it, so I’m going to try again.

From Geektime: 10 languages Google Translate lacks and where to find them. Languages listed here include Cantonese, Pashto, and Mayan. “Traditional Chinese script is still used in Mandarin-speaking Taiwan, so don’t trust the traditional Chinese translation on Google to get you through a conversation in Hong Kong.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, seems to be embracing Facebook in a big way as a tool for government/citizen communication. “Prime Minister Hun Sen has fast developed a penchant for conducting political business via Facebook since he formally joined the social networking site in September. Now he is making that official, issuing a new directive on Monday in­structing every government minister to form a working group for tracking citizens’ grievances and re­quests that they post to his Facebook page.”

Meanwhile, the government of India has blocked Facebook’s Free Basics program over net neutrality concerns. “To be clear, the announcement and the wider report that lay out the conclusion in greater detail do not single out Facebook or FreeBasics by name, but it was the emergence of this program that caused outcry and prompted the investigation by the regulator.” Not a surprise at all, and in my opinion a good decision by the government of India.

Marketing Land has a roundup of Super Bowl 50 Twitter brand — um, kerfuffles? Arguments? Slams? Playground fights?. If Snickers and Doritos can’t get along, what hope is there for the rest of us in this cruel world?

Twitter is now, according to the stock market, worth a little over $10 billion. Meanwhile Pinterest and Snapchat both have higher private market values.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google will give you 2GB of free Google Drive space if you complete your account security checkup. Google did this last year for “Internet Safety Day,” but it’s not clear how long the offer will last this time.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From Harvard Business School: The Civic Benefits of Google Street View and Yelp. “In a new working paper, Big Data and Big Cities: The Promises and Limitations of Improved Measures of Urban Life, [Michael] Luca and three collaborators argue that cities have never been better positioned to take advantage of the vast amounts of data being generated in the world. The key is figuring out how to use it. In the paper, Luca, Edward L. Glaeser and Scott Duke Kominers (PhDBE 2011) of Harvard University, and PhD student Nikhil Naik of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, cite three trends that make cities particularly poised to exploit big data.” Read the bit about using Yelp to identify restaurants for inspection. 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!

Dungeon Crawlers, Bangladesh Rivers, Department of Labor, More: Monday Buzz, February 8, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Boing Boing has a quick writeup on an online database for dungeon crawlers — the graphic ones, not the ASCII ones like Nethack. I took a quick look at it and got a bad case of nostalgia. So many games, so many I recognize. Ah, Wizardry…

The country of Bangladesh is developing a database of its rivers. “A country of countless rivers, Bangladesh is set to build a database of all the rivers across the country by June-July this year in an effort to identify the rivers facing serious problems and thus save those.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

The Department of Labor has adopted a CC BY policy. “…we are pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has adopted a department-wide Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license requirement on intellectual property developed under a competitive Federal award process.”

USEFUL STUFF

Alan Levine is on some kind of retro roll. In a recent blog post he talks about bookmarklets!

Roundup from Hongkiat: 20 sites to listen to music for free. (And it doesn’t even include YouTube!)

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Edelman: 5 Reasons You Should Pay Attention to Snapchat. Agreed. I’m seeing more and more Snapchat chatter, and less and less Twitter chatter.

Wow, Hadoop is ten years old! Time flies. “When it comes to scale, Yahoo still boasts one of the largest Hadoop deployments in the world. From a footprint standpoint, we maintain over 35,000 Hadoop servers as a central hosted platform running across 16 clusters with a combined 600 petabytes in storage capacity (HDFS), allowing us to execute 34 million monthly compute jobs on the platform.”

Rumors are flying about Google developing a VR device. “In addition to a new plastic casing, it’s said that the headset will support a far wider range of smartphones than the Gear VR. Sources also tell the paper that it will feature ‘better sensors’ and ‘lenses,’ suggesting that it won’t be wholly reliant on the equipment built into your smartphone. The report mentions that “most of its processing power” would come from the smartphone. Google Cardboard, which has been around for over a year and a half, provides two plastic lenses and just holds your smartphone in the right position to function as a VR device.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Oh, yuck. It looks like there’s a really nasty WordPress hack going around. “In the past four days, researchers from three separate security firms have reported that a large number of legitimate WordPress sites have been hacked to silently redirect visitors to a series of malicious sites. The attack sites host code from the Nuclear exploit kit that’s available for sale in black markets across the Internet. People who visit the WordPress sites using out-of-date versions of Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Silverlight, or Internet Explorer can then find their computers infected with the Teslacrypt ransomware package, which encrypts user files and demands a hefty ransom for the decryption key needed to restore them.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Not too long ago I mentioned a study that seems to indicate that social media use leads to sleep disruption. Now there’s a study which seems to indicate that lack of sleep can cause increased social media use. There’a a spiral you don’t want to be caught in. “The study, which took place in 2014, equipped student’s mobile devices with software to track usage, and incorporated sleep surveys as well as periodic ‘mood checks’ and questions regarding the perceived difficulty of tasks at hand and participant’s level of engagement with their work.”

Interesting article from the Cornell Chronicle on research being done to make search engines more responsive. “[Wenlei] Xie and colleagues have refined the algorithm (the underlying design of the computer program) to make it faster so search engines can become interactive, responding to your interests in real time. The new method is, they say, ‘breaking a decade-old performance barrier.’ The techniques could be applied in social media and private and commercial databases as well as in Web searches and recommendation systems.” 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!

Hawaiian, Virtual Reality, Chile, More: Sunday Buzz, February 7, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is preparing an online database of Ka Leo Hawaiʻi to launch at the end of the month. Please note this announcement is in both Hawaiian and English, alternating paragraphs. So don’t be surprised when you hit the link and the first words are “Ma ke komo pū ʻana i loko o ka Māhina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi ʻo Pepeluali … “Ka Leo Hawaiʻi was a Hawaiian-language radio program that first aired on February 22, 1972 on KCCN on O`ahu and spanned 16 years and 417 programs during its initial run. Conducted in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and hosted by Kauanoe Larry Kimura, the program featured live in-studio interviews with mānaleo, most who were kūpuna and among Hawaiʻi’s last native speakers of Hawaiian….The soft launch will include the first 12 programs and their corresponding transcripts, followed soon by all 417 episodes of Ka Leo Hawaiʻi’s initial run.”

In private beta: a network for VR content. “Transport, which is in private beta, is an online virtual reality content network where creators will be able to publish their work and users will be able to experience them. An assortment of free and paid content will be available through the Transport app, which will be accessible to owners of any headset, including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and Sony’s PlayStation VR.”

The government of Chile will create a database of phones reported stolen. But the database goes way beyond Chile: “Chile’s Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel), mobile operators and the GSMA have signed an agreement to provide users with a platform to check if a phone has been reported stolen in more than 200 countries and 800 mobile operators worldwide.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Chatter everywhere that Twitter will introduce an algorithmic timeline next week. In other words, instead of seeing tweets as people will post them, Twitter will decide on your behalf what posts to see in what order. And if that’s the only option that I’m given, Twitter will lose 99% of its functionality for me. Between this, the “love” button, and the rumored “GIF” button, it looks like Twitter is trying to copy Facebook. Guess what, Twitter, you’re not going to get out of the hole you’re in by becoming a crappy version of Facebook. There’s already a crappy version of Facebook. It’s called FACEBOOK!

USEFUL STUFF

FindMyPast is making a collection of US marriage records free until February 15th. “n 2016/17, Findmypast will be releasing the largest online collection of US marriage records, spanning centuries of American history and over 100 million ‘I do’s’. As part of this project, Findmypast has launched the first 33 million records of this collection and is offering them to the public for FREE from now until 15 February.”

Want to know how to search better? Google wants to help. “To help you sharpen those search skills, we’re re-opening the Power Searching with Google online course starting February 8th. Through this free two-week course, we’ll show you new ways to be a great power searcher and share techniques that will sharpen your research skills. We’ll cover a wide variety of topics, from the advanced search operators (such as filetype: and site:), to the proper use of quote marks, to how to assess a web site’s credibility.” The course will be rerun several times, if you’re reading this a bit late.

Interesting. A new Google Cardboard app is designed to help you get over stage fright. “The app features a 360-degree view from the virtual stage. The audience is active throughout your speech and if you put earphones on, sound distractions like ambient noise try to get you as close to the real deal.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

A Twitter employee has apparently learned about the problem of abuse on Twitter firsthand. “Late last night, Brandon Carpenter wrote a number of tweets in response to nasty replies he received demanding that Twitter not make changes to its social network. Carpenter, according to his LinkedIn profile, is a senior software engineer at Twitter — he works on the iOS app. The abuse appeared to come in response to news that the social network will soon show tweets out of order.” One of his tweets was “Wow people on Twitter are mean”. Dude, you just noticed that?

Bing is doing some more predicting: this time it’s the Grammys and BAFTAs.

YouTube has some stats on the commercials for that football game everybody’s talking about today.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google is taking a stand against deceptive download buttons. “You may have encountered social engineering in a deceptive download button, or an image ad that falsely claims your system is out of date. Today, we’re expanding Safe Browsing protection to protect you from such deceptive embedded content, like social engineering ads.”

Jessica Dolcourt at CNET writes about a recent issue she’s been having with what appears to be “mailbot” attacks. “If you’ve ever sent an automated out-of-office message from your account when you went on vacation, you’ve already encountered a mailbot, so you know that these software agents aren’t necessarily nefarious on their own…. But the same kind of automation that’s used for convenience can also orchestrate a scam that cycles through variations of email permutations until it latches onto a valid address. Then, it signs up that address for newsletters and websites, likely as a way of lifting your account credentials to use in further mailbot attacks.” 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!