Genealogy, Pizza, Bing, More: Sunday Afternoon Buzz, May 17th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

There’s a new genealogy search engine in town. “A new search engine that you’ll have to add to your genealogy research toolbox is the Top 100 Genealogy Sites Mega-Search located at Many Roads. The search engine will perform a keyword search across all of the top 100 genealogy websites for 2015 as noted by GenealogyInTime Magazine.”

USEFUL STUFF

Interesting: a PR Pro’s Guide to Reddit.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

I have so much going on I am always trying to find a good task manager. At the moment I’m using and pretty happy with Wunderlist. And now it has an API.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Fast Company takes a look at how Twitter deals with harassment. “The majority of people who reported harassment did so on behalf of someone else. About 57% of the reports that WAM received came from either bystanders who witnessed someone else being harassed and reported it, or from delegates like an attorney or family member who reported harassment on behalf of the person being harassed.”

Sunday Silly: Domino’s is planning to let you order a pizza by tweeting for it.

This should be interesting: Facebook has hired a former FCC chair. “Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman, has been named Facebook’s vice president for mobile and global access policy, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Martin chaired the FCC for four years, starting in 2005 under President George W. Bush, after serving another four years as a commissioner for the federal agency.”

Is Google going to add buy buttons to its mobile search results? Oh, ew. Ew ew ew. Ew. Also, ew. “According to the report, Google will display buy buttons only on mobile devices and when users search for products. They will be part of sponsored (paid) search results within a ‘Shop on Google’ page.”

More Google: a legal group is asking Google for its “Right to be Forgotten” criteria.

Bing is going to shift to mobile-friendly rankings too. “The changes follow a similar move by Google which last month rolled out a change to its ranking algorithm which penalized sites that aren’t easily usable from mobile devices.” (ResearchBuzz, according to Google’s assessment tool, is mobile-friendly, and I have noticed no change in traffic.)

Reddit has introduced an anti-harassment policy. “The company announced on Thursday that it was updating its site-wide policies to explicitly prohibit harassment against users, a move that the company said would promote free expression on Reddit without fear of retribution from a vocal minority.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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Images, Art, Facial Recognition, More: Sunday Morning Buzz, May 17th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Wolfram|Alpha has launched an image identification tool. “Now I’m excited to be able to say that we’ve reached a milestone: there’s finally a function called ImageIdentify built into the Wolfram Language that lets you ask, “What is this a picture of?”—and get an answer. And today we’re launching the Wolfram Language Image Identification Project on the web to let anyone easily take any picture (drag it from a web page, snap it on your phone, or load it from a file) and see what ImageIdentify thinks it is…” Warning: you can play with this for hours. I uploaded an image of one of my cats and it got it spookily correct (“Calico cat”) but then I uploaded a picture of a person and it misidentified him as a fire extinguisher. It seems to do best with images without lots of details.

Amit Agarwal, who has no need to prove how brilliant he is but keeps doing it anyway, has created a tool to send bulk personalized Tweets and DMs.

USEFUL STUFF

May be useful depending on your research needs: a roundup of 60 facial recognition databases.

Interesting! Using a ‘bot to help people discover art. “Artbot, developed by Desi Gonzalez and Liam Andrew in the HyperStudio research group of Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W), is a mobile website app that mines both user preferences and event tags to provide serendipitous connections to the local art scene…. Artbot enables users to select their interests from a list that ranges from medieval art to surrealism and from ancient history to photography. At the same time, the app scrapes data from museum websites to find artists, movements, and themes that link events to each other in various ways. Artbot then cross-references the data collected to generate event recommendations.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Chromecast has gotten some updates. “Ever since Google launched the Chromecast in July 2013, the company has been steadily updating the HDMI dongle with new capabilities and features. Today, the company has announced six new apps for its $35 streaming media stick: CBS All Access, HGTV, FOX Now, FXNOW, Pluto TV, and Haystack.”

Libraries and Archives of Canada has put more WWI service files online. “As of today, 155,110 of 640,000 service files are available online…”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

YouTube “How To” video searches are way up in 2015. “People trying to figure out how to accomplish a home improvement project, fix their hair or prepare a recipe have helped grow YouTube’s ‘how-to’ searches by 70 percent year-over-year.”

More YouTube: what’s YouTube’s most-watched game? Why, it’s Minecraft. “Think about that for a minute. YouTube’s list of the top 10 biggest games on the site, based on a decade’s worth of viewing hours, features long-running game franchises like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. But it’s six-year-old Minecraft that comes out on top.”

From Search Engine Land: How Google made it a little harder to reach Google.com from outside the US. “Last fall, things were quietly changed. Instead of that Google.com link always being at the bottom of country-specific versions, it was altered to appear only the very first time someone tried to reach Google.com and got redirected to their country-specific version. On subsequent attempts, it would not be shown.”

There are concerns going around about a phantom Google update. “HubPages, a collection of more than 870,000 miniblogs covering everything from the ‘History of advertising’ to “How to identify venomous house spiders,” saw its Google search traffic plunge 22 percent on May 3 from the prior week. Of the company’s 100 top pages, 68 lost visitors over that stretch.”

HathiTrust, in its blog, has a post about quality and OCR issues. “For the digital content we ingest, HathiTrust has established specifications related to image formats, resolution, color space, and other characteristics. Rigorous validation ensures that these specifications are met. The methods of production or processing of digitized items may leave fingerprints of some sort, however. These may be benign, such as the presence of digitization color targets, added coversheets, book cradles, or a characteristic coloration of pages, which do not generally interfere with the display or understanding of the original object and its content. They may also be more serious, including mis-colorations of pages, human fingers in the images, systemic cropping, warping, or bolded or light text—problems that do interfere with legibility or clarity of the image.”

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is now on Pinterest. 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!

Twitter, Census Bureau, Flickr, More: Saturday Afternoon Buzz, May 16th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a database aggregating the deaths of migrants who were attempting to reach southern European borders. “The Deaths at the Borders Database is the first collection of official, state-produced evidence on people who died while attempting to reach southern EU countries from the Balkans, the Middle East, and North & West Africa, and whose bodies were found in or brought to Europe.”

PetGroomer.com, an Web site for professional pet groomers (as you may have guessed) now has an online archive of its radio shows going back to 2005.

USEFUL STUFF

Useful for a given value of Saturday: Want to add animated GIFs to your e-mail? There’s a Chrome extension for that.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

TweetDeck has added a new feature to help prevent Twitter misfires. “It’s a social media pro’s worst nightmare: posting a personal tweet on a brand account. It can be embarrassing and potentially career-threatening. To guard against such errant tweets, TweetDeck added a safety net today, giving users the option to require a confirmation step before sending a tweet.”

TunnelBear’s VPN is now available as a Chrome extension.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The US Census Bureau is participating the National Civic Day of Hacking (PRESS RELEASE). “The U.S. Census Bureau is participating in this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking by launching the “City SDK Open Data Solutions Challenge.” This challenge encourages developers to use the Census Bureau’s new City Software Development Kit (SDK), a new tool that makes the bureau’s API (application programming interface) easier to use. As part of this national event, the Census Bureau will also participate in the 2015 Urban Sustainability Apps Competition, where developers have the opportunity to create apps using the City SDK.”

Guess what? Google Hangouts don’t actually have end-to-end encryption. “Following a Reddit AMA on government surveillance, Google has admitted that while it does encrypt Hangouts conversations, it does not use end-to-end encryption, meaning the company itself can tap into those sessions when it receives a government court order requiring it to do so.”

More critical security fixes from Adobe and Microsoft (what a surprise). “Microsoft today issued 13 patch bundles to fix roughly four dozen security vulnerabilities in Windows and associated software. Separately, Adobe pushed updates to fix a slew of critical flaws in its Flash Player and Adobe Air software, as well as patches to fix holes in Adobe Reader and Acrobat.”

Flickr users are not happy with the auto-tagging feature of the revamped service, and Flickr may let them opt out. “…for many Flickr users, tags are something they still feel strongly about, judging by the forum’s many comments. With over 1,370 replies to the official Flickr post (and growing), these users have been venting their frustration about the addition of auto-tagging. Many of those commenting have actually been fairly conscientious about their tags over the years, and don’t like that Flickr is now adding its own tags to their photos.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From Harvard Business School: a research paper on humblebragging. Spoiler: it doesn’t work. Good afternoon, Internet…

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Skype, Internet Archive, Rare Books, More: Saturday Morning Buzz, May 16th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The Harvard Graduate School of Education and Expeditionary Learning have teamed up to create a free online database of exemplary K-12 student work (PRESS RELEASE). “A collaborative project between faculty at HGSE and EL, the Center for Student Work aims to raise the bar on student achievement by helping teachers improve teaching and learning. Teachers can use the free resource – which includes videos, writing samples, and other tools – as a foundation to create their own projects, raise questions, provoke thinking, and inspire excellence in their classrooms.”

Past Rare Book School lectures are now available online. “We are very pleased to announce that audio recordings of more than 100 Book Arts Press/Rare Book School lectures from the past four decades are now available online at http://www.rarebookschool.org/lectures. Along with most lectures from the past several years, those now converted from the original cassette tapes include talks by Sue Allen, Nicolas Barker, and G. Thomas Tanselle…”

Could be useful. A new iPhone app lets you create disposable phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

USEFUL STUFF

Not a lot of annotation, but lots of resources: 60 Free Tools for Modern Storytellers.

From ReadWrite: Your options for music streaming.

The Skype Translator Preview is now open to everyone.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Another update from FamilySearch: “Notable collection updates include 643,899 images from the Peru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888–2005 collection; 608,881 images from the Peru, Junín, Civil Registration, 1881–2005 collection; and 531,346 images from the US, Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906–1994 collection. ”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

From Nooga.com: Conversation to action: Digitizing Chattanooga’s historical newspapers. I really, really hope I’m reading this wrong, but it seems like the librarians in Chattanooga Tennessee weren’t interested in taking action until Tom Tryniski offered to get involved.

Reminds me of the old days: different sites define video views in very different ways.

Do you have a digital music label? The Internet Archive wants you to participate in Netlabels day.

Twitter is making it a little harder to figure out how many inactive users it has. Gee what a surprise. “Twitter has stopped disclosing the percentage of its users who take ‘no discernable user action’ on the app, making it harder for observers to figure out whether Twitter’s core user base is growing or dying.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From The Guardian: Will Traditional Science Journals Disappear? “The Royal Society has been celebrating the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s first scientific journal, by holding a series of meetings on the future of scholarly scientific publishing. I followed the whole event on social media, and was able to attend in person for one day. One of the sessions followed a Dragon’s Den format, with speakers having 100 seconds to convince three dragons – Onora O’Neill, Ben Goldacre and Anita de Waard – of the fund-worthiness of a new idea for science communication. Most were light-hearted, and there was a general mood of merriment, but the session got me thinking about what kind of future I would like to see. What I came up with was radically different from our current publishing model.” 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!

U Texas, Cars, Lycos (!), More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, May 15th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The University of Texas system has launched a database of UT-related experts. “Influuent is a free online searchable database of researchers and resources that enable potential collaborators to easily identify faculty experts to conduct all levels of research (basic, applied and clinical), develop new technologies and processes and overcome technical challenges….Influuent’s search tool scans and analyzes every publication in Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature that’s updated weekly. That data is used to produce a fingerprint of each researcher’s expertise.”

Under development: a digital archive of South African oral and performance poetry.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

VERY specific: How to hack your smartphone to take good photographs of birds.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google’s self-driving cars are hitting the road this summer. “…we’re announcing the next step for our project: this summer, a few of the prototype vehicles we’ve created will leave the test track and hit the familiar roads of Mountain View, Calif., with our safety drivers aboard.”

More Google: apparently Google’s App Engine has come security problems. “Posted on Friday by Adam Gowdiak, Security Explorations’ analysis of security issues in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) product notes that approximately 30 security vulnerabilities were originally discovered by Security Explorations and later resolved by the tech giant. However, at least five vulnerabilities remain, and Google’s radio silence over the past three weeks has led the firm to publicly disclose details of the unpatched issues.”

Remember Lycos? It was one of the early search engines before the first bust around 2000. Now it’s back with A consumer products division (PRESS RELEASE). “Lycos will launch two products in June that will simplify the way people leverage the Internet for their daily use. While Lycos’ past endeavors have helped consumers learn and utilize the Internet, its new suite of hard goods will “learn” the user and allow people to live within the Internet.” Very few details in the press release.

As you’ve probably heard, Google has shut down the Map Maker tool after some embarrassing hacks. Because after being a search engine on the Internet since 1998, Google had no idea there were any such things as vandals. They’re shocked, I tell you, shocked.

The Public Takes a look at how Buffalo, New York has changed through Google Street View. The article compares shots from 2007 and 2015. It helps that the 2007 shots were taken on an overcast day, while the 2015 shots are under a bright blue sky, but even with that in mind the differences are impressive.

Like the Beatles? TidBITS takes you on Google’s Abbey Road tour.

MIT Technology Review does a quick interview with Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.

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!