New York, India, Australia, More: Saturday Buzz, August 22nd, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a new digital archive of Australian musical artists. “A new online music archive has been created at the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) for emerging Perth composers, with a select few also being chosen to break the library’s silence.”

Pyramids, foods, balanced diets? The National Agricultural Library at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a digital library of nutrition guidance. “This collection allows users to browse and search the full text of over 900 historical and contemporary federal dietary guidance publications.” I did a couple of text searches. The oldest item I came across was from 1923, and was provided in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB formats.

The city of New York has launched an online database of public notices. “Updated daily, the City Record Online (CROL) is a fully searchable, machine-readable online database of all such notices, including schedules for more than 750 public hearings, land sales and contract awards for the $1.2 billion of goods and services that are acquired by the city each year.”

Either the government of India is getting a lot more efficient at creating databases of country resources, or Google News is getting a lot more efficient at indexing Indian news sources so I’m finding out about them. I’m not sure which one. Anyway, the government of India has created an online database of temples and temple properties in Tamil Nadu. There are almost 4500 temples in the database. “The Hindu religious and charitable endowments (HR&CE) department, acting on a Madras high court order, coordinated with the revenue department to create the database with extensive details of all temples in the state, the land they own, their tenants and encroachments on the properties.”

Oh I LOVE stuff like this. Anybody can look at the super-popular videos on YouTube, but what about the ones which have very few views? There’s an app for that. “…Zero Views for iOS is letting people explore the unseen videos lurking behind all the cute cat clips. Of course, this isn’t an entirely new concept, there are similar websites and apps out there but what I like about Zero Views is the endless stream. It kind of feels like Tinder… If Tinder was filled with badly-lit home movies shot on phones.”

Victorian female prisoner registries have gone online. (Please note that this is “Victorian” as in “area in Australia,” not as in “era in history.”) “The prison records of more than 7,000 Victorian women incarcerated between 1855 and 1934 are available to view online for the first time, thanks to the State Archives. The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) cleaned and digitised the records, which were then indexed by volunteers over an 18-month period.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google is finally bringing Tweets to desktop search results (again).

If I never post to ResearchBuzz again, it’s because IFTTT has a Maker channel. “With the Maker Channel, you’re basically building web hooks that trigger other events. For instance, if you press a button on something connected to a Raspberry Pi, that can trigger any of IFTTT’s other actions, for example, press a button and send an email.”

USEFUL STUFF

From Poynter: GitHub tutorials and resources for journalists. “Last year, Clay Shirky used GitHub as a way to report on Occupy Hong Kong. The platform allowed others on the scene to collaborate with Shirky as he reported his piece. What I admire about this approach is that it gave anyone the ability to clone and then modify Shirky’s document — but Shirky had final approval over whether to integrate those changes into the master document.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google Express is shutting down its two Mountain View and SF delivery hubs. “The move is part of a broader push within Google to revamp the service, which launched in March 2013, after it failed to make a serious dent in a market crowded with Amazon and a myriad of on-demand startups.”

I have never used Spotify, and after reading about this new insane privacy policy, I don’t think I want to. “The streaming service wants access to the sensor information on your phone, which it says would be used for things like knowing whether you are walking, running, or standing still….What is less easy to understand is why Spotify is seeking permission to access your photos, contacts, and ‘media files.'”

Congratulations, UK! According to Google you’re searching for revenge porn. “Large digital billboards around London, paid for by Google, have been spotted by the public – with a surprising revelation displayed for all to see. The brightly coloured boards – which show popular search terms being used – declared boldly that the UK ‘is searching for revenge porn sites’.” If Google feels the need to have a brand awareness campaign in the UK, how about something a bit more useful? 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!

World Bank, Google, Golf Carts, More: Friday Buzz, August 21st, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: The World Bank Group Archives. “In April 2015, as part of its commitment to transparency and openness, the World Bank Group launched its Archives Holdings website. This is a state-of-the-art platform, which maximizes the public’s online access to a vast amount of original primary source material in the custody of the Archives.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Yahoo is getting into weather alerts. “Today we’re introducing new weather alerts around the world – you’ll never be stuck outside, unprepared again. Yahoo Weather, our beautiful and intuitive weather app, will alert you 15 minutes before rain or snow is expected, so you can grab your jacket, rain boots or umbrella!”

Google Translate, now on Android Wear watches. “Translate is built into the latest Android Wear software update, so you can have bilingual conversations even if you don’t have Google Translate on your phone, or if you’re away from your phone but connected via Wi-Fi. And it’s easy to use – just speak into your watch to see your conversation translated into any of 44 languages. Flip your wrist to show the translation to a friend. When they respond in their own language, flip your wrist back, and you’ll see in your language what they’ve just said.” My my my, I believe we have full jetpack.

Dropbox is now saving and syncing URLs. “The cloud service now saves URLs you drag and drop into the desktop app or the website itself — once they’re synced, just click ’em when you need ’em. You can keep all the URLs you need for a project or a research paper in one folder, for instance, so you can access them on any computer.”

Google has announced an update to the Flu Trends site. “Instead of maintaining our own website going forward, we’re now going to empower institutions who specialize in infectious disease research to use the data to build their own models. Starting this season, we’ll provide Flu and Dengue signal data directly to partners including Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health (to update their dashboard), Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Influenza Division. We will also continue to make historical Flu and Dengue estimate data available for anyone to see and analyze.”

Google Photos is letting you throwback every day. “Google wants to help you take a stroll down memory lane. The company is today introducing a feature that allows you to resurface photos and videos from the current calendar date in previous years. The feature is thankfully opt-in, so you won’t have to be reminded of your embarrassing behavior at parties or that old terrible haircut. ”

USEFUL STUFF

Need some help with Google, but you want to use Twitter? There’s a hashtag for that. “Need help with Google search? Maybe with Gmail? Google Photos? Or any Google product? Now you can just head over to Twitter and ask your question and add on #gHelp to the question. Someone from the Google Top Contributor team should find it and respond.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Danny Sullivan’s got a wish list for Instagram. “This year marked a return for me to Instagram, where my account had largely been dormant. I’ve greatly enjoyed my time on the service, but I find several things maddening. Here’s what I see wrong with Instagram, despite its great success.”

Happens to the best of us: Google lost some data in a lightning strike. “Google says data has been wiped from discs at one of its data centres in Belgium – after it was struck by lightning four times. Some people have permanently lost access to their files as a result. A number of disks damaged following the lightning strikes did, however, later became accessible.”

Is Facebook testing new profile pages for mobile users? “The Facebook app on your phone may soon look a lot different. It seems the company is A/B testing a new profile layout, incorporating some visual changes.”

SEO Roundtable found Google Answers getting a bit up itself.

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

Self-driving cars, SHMELF-DRIVING CARS. It’s all about the self-driving golf carts. “Auro’s current prototypes are golf carts modified with laser scanners, radar, cameras, GPS, computers, and other components needed to steer themselves. One is already being tested on the grounds of Santa Clara University. [Nalin] Gupta says he has signed agreements to begin similar tests at other universities, as well as a retirement community and a resort in the Bay Area later in the year.” 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!

Australia, Physicians, Holocaust, More: Thursday Buzz, August 20th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a tool to get information on Australian property values. From the screenshots in the article it looks a bit like Zillow for Australia. OF course, there may already be a Zillow for Australia… “With the launch of Home Price Guide on Aug. 20, everyone will have access to estimates of property values — whether or not the home is on the market — instantly. The site, available for free on iOS and Android apps, plus desktop and mobile sites, allows people to search more than 13 million properties across Australia. Buyers or curious locals can find out the estimated value of the property to buy or rent, go through the full sale and rental history, check out surrounding properties and view the estimated rental yield.”

There’s a new search engine out there, and it’s looking for Kickstarter funding. “Dr. Philip Kovacs’ company, Vastly Inc., is seeking $250,000 through Kickstarter for its Complexity Engine educational Internet search engine, the patent-pending technologies for which are licensed from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).” 250K? Yow. “Complexity Engine uses a sophisticated algorithm to search websites for content and delivers free, customized and age-appropriate reading materials to a user’s computer. In an educational setting, it promises to give teachers, parents and students an efficient, affordable way to promote reading. Teachers and administrators can set parameters for the search results, and the reading experience can be either student self-directed or guided by the teacher.” Now, it’s 2am as I write this so it’s entirely possible that I missed it, but I can’t find the actual link to the Kickstarter campaign in this article. It is: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/760937316/vastly .

I have seen state medical boards that allow users to search on disciplinary action for a doctor/medical professional, but never one that lets you search every active licensed physician in the US. Until I read about new resource Docinfo. “The Docinfo physician search tool (www.docinfo.org) draws data from the FSMB’s Physician Data Center, the nation’s most comprehensive database of physician licensure and disciplinary information. The Data Center is regularly updated with information provided to the FSMB by its membership of 70 state medical and osteopathic boards, which license all U.S. physicians, and discipline several thousand physicians each year for unprofessional conduct, incompetence and other issues. The tool also includes data on thousands of physician assistants regulated by state medical boards.” Note this search tool is limited, apparently, it active physicians. If you’re looking for someone who has had their license suspended and whose license is expired, you will (in my experience) have more luck searching a state-based board tool.

The Art Gallery of Ontario has launched a digital archive of Holocaust images. “The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves and with contributions from the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, has developed a digital archive of more than 4,000 rarely seen images from its Henryk Ross Collection of Lodz Ghetto Photographs. Created for educators, students, scholars and others interested in the history of the Lodz Ghetto, the website, http://www.agolodzghetto.com, features searchable, digital renderings of Henryk Ross’s original nitrate-based negatives. The launch of the digital archive, made possible by several generous supporters, marks the 70th anniversary of Ross’s physical unearthing of the original negatives in 1945.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Bing is making some changes to its news exploration for mobile. “If you’re like many folks (the Bing team included!) who read news on your smartphone, you may not have the time to read full articles on the go. In fact, our research has found that reading headlines is the most common way to browse news on smartphones, with about two-thirds of users doing so (compared to just 41% who read a full article). Now, we’re offering a way to quickly understand how individual news articles relate to a bigger picture just by skimming headlines across different news topics.”

USEFUL STUFF

NICE. How to build a Google Spreadsheet that auto-tweets your archives. “Set it and forget it. That’s what we wanted from a program that would reduce our social media workload and surface the Storybench archives. Much like the “scheduling tweets” function from Twitter programs like Hootsuite, we wanted a simple-to-use script that would auto-tweet stories from our backlog. We found a solution created by Zach Whalen, a professor of digital media at the University of Mary Washington. ”

Trustify has created a tool for users to check to see if their e-mail address was compromised in the Ashley Madison hack. Just enter an e-mail address and it tells you yes or no. Bear in mind that the e-mail address being listed doesn’t necessarily mean anything (especially if it’s not yours.) I got a hit on president@whitehouse.gov and I’m absolutely certain Barack Obama has far better things to do with his time than hang out on Ashley Madison.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Soon you may be able to review your local government agency on Yelp. “Yelp, the popular Web and mobile service that helps people find local businesses by ratings and is best known for restaurant reviews, is now open for official government use. GSA is opening the door to agencies to launch new Yelp pages to listen and respond to comments from the public, then use the data to drive improvements to services.”

Wow, Google went public 11 years ago this week. Get off my lawn!

REI has open-sourced its GovDashboard tool (PRESS RELEASE). “REI built GovDashboard to incorporate the strongest features of public sector transparency dashboards commissioned by the U.S. Federal Government such as Performance.gov and ITDashboard.gov. Popular features include a user-friendly interface, a dozen standard ways to visualize data, dashboard building, and customization tools that can incorporate data tables and visualizations, text, photos, and other objects, with content updated as frequently as data sources change.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

The Knight Foundation did some research into how Americans use Twitter for news. “In order to better understand how Americans are engaging with news on Twitter, we built a small but representative sample of 176 Twitter users from an earlier national survey of 3,212 Americans conducted by Pew Research Center in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We then analyzed the Twitter activity of these users, with their explicit permission.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

Do you want to send your name to Mars? Here ya go. “Mars enthusiasts around the world can participate in NASA’s journey to Mars by adding their names to a silicon microchip headed to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s InSight Mars lander, scheduled to launch next year.” 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!

North Carolina, Kenya, Illinois, More: Wednesday Buzz, August 19th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The State Library of North Carolina has added several digital collections. Highlights include the papers of various governors, and the Uniform Crime Reports from 1973-2006.

The state of Illinois has a new database of teaching resources. “The Vision 20/20 21st Century Learning Center is a free online database of digital lesson plans and resources aligned to the state’s new set of learning standards. The material will be available for free on the iTunes U app — home to the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content, according to Apple.” Too bad about the iTunes part.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Kenya Open Data Portal has been updated. “Today, the website has grown to provide more than 680 datasets from an initial of 200, in 2011 and hosts a variety of government data that include expenditure and resource allocations, education, health, energy, tourism, demographics studies and County Government specific data.”

WordPress 4.3 is now available. Looking forward to those formatting shortcuts.

USEFUL STUFF

From Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Tools Students Can Use to Keep Track of Assignments This Year. Dayboard looks rather interesting.

Google has build a standalone hangouts site. “Google has built Hangouts its own website, but it’s not spinning it out of Gmail completely like the company did with several properties to form its new parent corporation. It’s just one of the (many, many) ways to access the messaging service, in case you’d rather not keep Gmail open or your default browser is Firefox/MS Edge and, hence, can’t install the Chrome extension. The website’s photo background changes every few minutes like Chromecast’s, and it has quick links to video calling, voice calling and messaging.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Smithsonian has announced a public access plan for its research. “The Smithsonian has released its Plan for Increased Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research, based on the principles outlined by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Through the new plan, all applicable publications and supporting data resulting from federally funded research will be available through the Smithsonian Research Online (SRO) website or CHORUS, a nonprofit membership organization that helps federal entities increase public access to research. The plan will take effect Oct. 1 and apply to articles submitted to publishers on or after that date.”

Google is launching a wireless router. “…the company is launching a new device called the OnHub, in partnership with router-maker TP-Link. There’s another, Asus-made device in the works. For $199, it promises to make your Wi-Fi faster and more reliable, and to give you the ability to update and fix your connection. (You know, for the rare times unplugging it and plugging it back in just won’t do.) Presales start today, and devices will ship in the coming weeks.” It looks like a shorter, beefier Echo.

Music videos on UK YouTube are about to get ratings. “Several record labels, including Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music, have said they’ll send any videos they think might only be acceptable for viewers aged 12 or over to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the organisation responsible for rating films.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Are you using Internet Explorer? You need to patch ASAP. “Microsoft today released an emergency software update to plug a critical security flaw in all supported versions of its Internet Explorer browser, from IE7 to IE 11 (this flaw does not appear to be present in Microsoft Edge, the new browser from Redmond and intended to replace IE). According to the advisory that accompanies the patch, this a browse-and-get-owned vulnerability, meaning IE users can infect their systems merely by browsing to a hacked or malicious Web site. ”

Hackers have apparently released the data from the Ashley Madison hack. “The data dump reportedly includes the login details of about 32 million users — all seeking extramarital or illicit affairs — and also provides a staggering amount of information such as their names, email and street addresses, how much they have spent on the site and even what they are looking for in a potential cheating partner.” 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!

Finland, Qatar, Instagram, More: Saturday Buzz, August 15th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Online materials for Finnish parliamentary elections have been collected into an online archive. “For social media, the collection covered the profile pages of candidates and parties on Twitter and Facebook as well as tweets with election-related hashtags, such as #vaalit2015 and #eduskuntavaalit. Election videos were collected on YouTube and election galleries. For websites, the collection focused on the online contents published by candidates, parties, organisations, political decision-makers, support groups and news media.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The White House blog has gotten an overhaul. “Whether you’re visiting WhiteHouse.gov looking for a specific piece of content, following a link from another site back to our platform, or you’re simply browsing — we want you to have a great experience that both gives you what you were looking for and introduces something you didn’t know was there. That’s how interacting with your government should be.”

USEFUL STUFF

Interesting roundup article from Amateur Photographer – How photographers back up their digital photographs. “Earlier this year, Amateur Photographer (AP) published an online article highlighting the dangers of photographers sleepwalking towards a photographic Armageddon, threatening access to today’s imagery in years to come. AP has since contacted several photographers, asking them to share their experiences and tips as they strive to ensure photos are not permanently consigned to the digital dustbin.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

A Harvard student has lost his Facebook intership after pointing out Facebook privacy flaws. “Within three days, Facebook asked Khanna to disable the app. The company also deactivated location sharing from desktops, which meant Khanna’s app wouldn’t work even if he hadn’t taken it down. And the company that Mark Zuckerberg famously launched from his Harvard dorm room withdrew its internship offer from this Harvard student, who apparently made the mistake of…launching an app from his dorm room.” LAME.

Not too long ago I linked to an article on Instagram and art collection. Now check this article on Instagram and public art. “Gatherings like [Hank Willis] Thomas’s are called “Instameets,” and they are designed to give Instagram enthusiasts with large followings a chance to creatively capture and share photos, in an effort to drum up visibility for art exhibitions. It is a method that has spread throughout the art world. The Guggenheim Museum regularly holds #EmptyGuggenheim Instagram previews, along with traditional openings. ”

Apparently Apple is building a self-driving car. Of course, when the hardware problems pop up, Steve Jobs will appear to all of us in a dream and tell us we’re riding in it wrong. “In May, engineers from Apple’s secretive Special Project group met with officials from GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco that is being turned into a high-security testing ground for autonomous vehicles.”

Comcast is about to launch its own video platform. “Comcast is partnering with major digital publishers like Comcast-backed Vox and Buzzfeed, lifestyle, and comedy sites like AwesomenessTV, Refinery29, and The Onion, news sites like Mic and Vice, as well as legacy brands like NBC Sports to come up with a widespread digital-video platform that will rival YouTube and Facebook’s online video efforts. It will also rival the rumored video platform Verizon is preparing to unveil.”

The National Museum of Qatar needs some help with its visual identity. You have to be Qatari, though. “The National Museum of Qatar is taking suggestions for its new logo and branding as part of a nationwide competition encouraging public involvement in design. All Qatari nationals over the age of 18 will be able to enter and suggest designs for the new museum’s graphic identity.”

Google has given an update on Project Ara. “For those who are unfamiliar, Project Ara is a smartphone concept that the folks at Google are trying to make a reality. The idea is that a smartphone is pieced together using different modules, and in turn it allows users to swap out the modules as they need, like adding more storage, bumping camera megapixels, and more.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Remember Android’s Stagefright security flaw? Apparently Google’s patch has its own issues. “On August 5, Google started releasing over-the-air (OTA) security updates for Nexus 4,5,6,7,9,10 and Nexus Player devices to address most of these flaws. However, shortly after the search giant started distributing the patches, researchers at Exodus Intel confirmed their suspicion that the fix for an integer overflow triggered in libstagefright during MPEG4 tx3g data processing (CVE-2015-3824) was flawed.”

Even with all its settings tweaked, Windows 10 seems to have some privacy issues. “Windows 10 will periodically send data to a Microsoft server named ssw.live.com. This server seems to be used for OneDrive and some other Microsoft services. Windows 10 seems to transmit information to the server even when OneDrive is disabled and logins are using a local account that isn’t connected to a Microsoft Account. The exact nature of the information being sent isn’t clear—it appears to be referencing telemetry settings—and again, it’s not clear why any data is being sent at all. We disabled telemetry on our test machine using group policies.”

Firefox is getting more private browsing options. “Mozilla is testing a new private browsing mode in Firefox that doesn’t just keep no trace of your… browsing habits on your machine but that also blocks online services that could track you while you’re surfing the web. That’s not unlike what plug-ins like Ghostery and the EFF’s Privacy Badger can do for you, but Firefox now combines that with its own incognito mode.” 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!