Blekko, Glass, Magna Carta, More: Saturday Morning Buzz, March 28th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The British Library has launched its Magna Charta archive.

Yahoo has launched a new digital magazine: Yahoo Politics.

Georgia State University has launched new online exhibits. “The current exhibit topics include the history of radio broadcasting in Georgia, history of Atlanta women’s organizations, and grass roots activism. Additional exhibits will be added periodically in the future.”

Pixar has made its rendering engine, Renderman free (as in beer). “To download Renderman, Pixar requires you to register for a forum account and provide a valid e-mail address. Once that’s done, you are given an installation package which in turn downloads the actual Renderman components appropriate for your operating system and 3D package.” Note this is for non-commercial use only. Do you wanna render a snowman?

There’s a new pay-to-view video service in town: Vessel. “The videomakers who plan to debut content on Vessel include GloZell Green, MinutePhysics, FailArmy, Brittani Louise Taylor, Shane Dawson and dozens more. Vessel also has exclusive content, such as a reality show about romantic relationships starring Alec Baldwin.”

USEFUL STUFF

From PC World (Warning! PC World!): 5 Google Drive Tricks. I would like a trick to get the Google Drive index page the way it used to be. The new one is awful.

Want to know if your GMail is being tracked (by marketing companies and so forth)? There’s a Chrome extension for that. “Ugly Email is a free Chrome browser extension that works on the Gmail website, and it serves one purpose: To let you know when an email is being tracked before you open it.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Hey! More records from FamilySearch. “Notable collection updates include 2,435,483 indexed records from the Canada Census, 1911 collection; 2,069,202 indexed records from the Australia, Queensland Cemetery Records, 1802–1990 collection; and 310,900 images from the Russia, Tula Poll Tax Census (Revision Lists), 1758–1895 collection.”

Wandering down memory lane? Facebook has a new ‘on this day’ feature.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The University of Rochester Libraries have joined HathiTrust.

Search engine Blekko, about which I have written a few times has been either fully or partially acquired by IBM. In any case, it’s no longer available.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

While I was checking my traps, I stumbled across a paper by James Gips, Muhan Zhang, and Deirdre Anderson of Boston College: Towards a Google Glass Based Head Control Communication System for People with Disabilities (PDF file, free). It’s a relatively short paper that outlines two Glass-based systems that allow people to communicate via head movement. If you, like me, are interested in the medical/industrial capabilities of Glass, it’s well worth a read. 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!

Short Friday Morning Buzz, March 27th, 2015

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Oklahoma Historical Society has updated its online Oklahoma encyclopedia of history and culture. “Nearly 1,000 of 2,466 original encyclopedia articles have been updated, and several hundred more will be prepared and added in the future, [Bob] Blackburn said. ”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google has hired a new CFO – Ruth Porat.

The Wall Street Journal has an eye-widening article about how much money and time Google spends on Washington. “Last year, Google spent $16.8 million on lobbyists, more than any other company except for Comcast, according to lobbying disclosures. The 2014 total by Google is more than triple the company’s lobbying spending in 2010, the year before the FTC antitrust probe began, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Google has about 100 individual lobbyists at 20 lobbying firms.”

More Google: it is warning about unauthorized TLS certificates. “The bogus transport layer security certificates are trusted by all major operating systems and browsers, although a fall-back mechanism known as public key pinning prevented the Chrome and Firefox browsers from accepting those that vouched for the authenticity of Google properties, Google security engineer Adam Langley wrote in a blog post published Monday. The certificates were issued by Egypt-based MCS Holdings, an intermediate certificate authority that operates under the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). The Chinese domain registrar and certificate authority, in turn, is included in root stores for virtually all OSes and browsers.”

Yahoo is asking Firefox users to switch back to its search engine. “Yahoo is touting the message that Firefox switched from Google to Yahoo has their default search partner in November so all Firefox users should also consider making the switch as well.”

Harvard, Ohio State, the University of British Columbia, and 10 University of California institutions are getting involved in a project to develop a financial model for open access. “‘Pay It Forward: Investigating a Sustainable Model of Open Access Article Processing Charges for Large North American Research Institutions’ is a yearlong effort to study the implications of new funding models for scholarly communications, particularly the use of article processing charges, and determine their sustainability for research universities in the United States and Canada. The project partnership includes three major research libraries (Harvard University, Ohio State University and the University of British Columbia) as well as the 10 University of California campuses. The project will create a detailed, flexible, and publicly available financial model to help university administrators and librarians develop open access policies and strategies.”

Artifacts destroyed in Mosul will be rebuilt in 3-D. “Two weeks after the sacking of the 300 year-old Mosul Museum by a group of ISIS extremists went viral on Youtube, researchers from the ITN-DCH, IAPP and 4D-CH-WORLD projects launched Project MOSUL to virtually restore damaged artefacts and make them accessible from virtual museums…. To reach this objective, the team is planning to use 4D-CH-WORLD’s technology to reconstruct and model Mosul artefacts virtually from crowd-sourced images available online. 4D-CH-World has spent the past two years designing what it calls the ‘first worldwide fully automated 4D reconstruction system capable of handling large image galleries in the wild.'”

Harvard Working Knowledge has an article on the Tate Museums and its digitial marketing/social media strategy. The article is interesting enough by itself, but if you want the whole 26-page HBS case study, it’ll run you $8.95.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Pew Research: local news is hard to find on Twitter. (Pew pew pew pew pew!) 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!

India, Scotland, Princeton, More: Morning Buzz, March 25th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Twitter and the government of India have teamed up.

Algerie Telecom has launched Nooonbooks (yes, three o’s), a new digital library of 30,000 books in Arabic. “The digital library “Nooonbooks” comprises over 30,000 books on exact sciences, management, social sciences, law, personal development and general knowledge. Nooonbooks is available by annual subscription priced at DZD 2,400 via one-year licence cards.” (I believe that’s about $25 a year USD.)

Dumfries and Galloway’s Library and Archive Service has launched an online image archive. “Collection highlights include a postcard of the German air ship the Hindenberg over Drummore, the Lusitania off the coast of Galloway, the Queen Mother at Park Farm in Dumfries, JM Barrie with the cast of the Duke of Christmas Daisies and the Burns Statue inauguration in Dumfries in 1882.” Looks like about 3400 items at the moment, with more being added regularly.

New York Police Department crime scene photos will be digitized and put online. “The trove includes well-known scenes, like the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan shortly after Malcolm X was assassinated there in 1965, and exploded lockers at Pennsylvania Station from one of the many attacks in the 16-year rampage in the 1940s and 1950s of George P. Metesky, the so-called Mad Bomber.”

USEFUL STUFF

Heh: How to enjoy Twitter without working yourself into a frothing rage. (Why would you follow someone you don’t like?)

From Educational Technology and Mobile Learning: 22 Chrome Apps Every Teacher Should Know About.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Twitter is testing an offensive tweet filter. “Revealed in a tweet posted Monday by ThinkUp CEO and blogger Anil Dash, the feature known as ‘quality filtering’ is intended to ‘remove all Tweets from your notifications timeline that contain threats, offensive or abusive language, duplicate content, or are sent from suspicious accounts.’ The feature appears as an option on the iOS app’s Notifications screen, where you can turn it on or off.” This new feature is being tested with some of Twitter’s verified users, and not joyless proles like you or me. Well, me anyway.

Twitter is also testing a new suggestion feature. “Spotted today by Marketing Land editor in chief Matt McGee, the ‘You may also like’ feature shows up in the right-rail on some individual tweet pages. It shows several tweets, some related to the content of the main tweet, some not. With the small sample-size — we saw the display on four of 10 tweets we checked — it wasn’t possible to see a pattern.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

MIT Technology Review has an interesting article on fake media accounts in the social media world. If you’ve spent any time on Twitter you’ve probably seen them.

Interesting: How one university archive (Princeton) uses Tumblr. “The design of our Tumblr page reflects what I wanted to convey: Yes, we’re a special collections library with a lot of old stuff, but it’s cool old stuff. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re not always going to try to teach you about the storied history of Princeton—although you will get a sense of that if you keep reading for a while. Instead, like the Comedy Central show, Drunk History, we show you the things that make those of us who work in the archives laugh. Along the way, we also tell the story of Princeton in bits and pieces in a format we hope is entertaining and visually appealing.”

Bing may remove navigation to additional pages of search results past the first. “Bing may drop their paginated search results for some search queries where they are confident that page one of the search results are ‘the most relevant results’ for the query.” One of the commenters to the story said Bing has been doing this for years, but I’d never seen it before – maybe I’ve never searched for something obscure enough? This is a really terrible idea.

Facebook is apparently in talks with news sites to host their content. Unfortunately I don’t have enough adjectives to express what an insufferably stupid idea I think this is. 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!

Instagram, Twitch, More: Short Monday Evening Buzz, March 23rd, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Instagram has launched a new app that lets you combine multiple photos into one image. “When you open Layout, we automatically show you previews of custom layouts as you choose photos from your camera roll. To make it easier to find the photos you want, we’ve also added a Faces option that shows you all the photos in your camera roll that feature people. From there, you have complete artistic control. Drag and drop photos to rearrange them, pinch to zoom or pull the sides of each photo to adjust its size and get your layout just right. Then flip and rotate your photos to create cool arrangements and mirror effects.”

More Instagram: The US Census Bureau has launched an Instagram account (PRESS RELEASE). “The account will provide an outlet for the public to view the story behind the numbers, starting with the 2015 Census Test in the Savannah, Ga., area. Follow the Census Bureau on Instagram at @u.s.censusbureau.”

First Google, now Yahoo has a mortgage calculator.

USEFUL STUFF

Possibly useful? 5 Tools to Help You Audit Your Web Content. From Entreprenur.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google’s Trekker Loan Program means lots of new imagery on Google Street View.

Twitter is partnering with FourSquare to let you tag locations in tweets. Long overdue and a marvelous idea. “Tags for location can be general, or can be a specific business, landmark, or other point of interest. Mobile Twitter users will still have tweets labelled with their precise location in addition to any label selected.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

This is interesting and a bit weird and a kick in the pants for YouTube: Twitch is livestreaming a music festival (PRESS RELEASE). “Twitch, the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers, continues its foray into music as an official broadcasting partner of Ultra Music Festival, the world’s premier electronic music festival. This year’s live stream will be powered by 7UP®, the exclusive sponsor of the stream for the 2015 music festival. Scheduled for March 27-29 during Miami Music Week, the entire festival will be broadcast live on Twitch at twitch.tv/ultra.”

Yikes! More Twitch news, this time bad: looks like it got hacked. (You can use Twitch without having an account, though.)

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!

SpaceX, Qatar, Easter Eggs, More: Monday Morning Buzz, March 23rd, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

SpaceX photos are now available under a Creative Commons license. “Wednesday night, the company created an official Flickr account with all of the photos released under what’s known as a Creative Commons license, which gives the public the chance to reuse and share the photos in many cases.”

USEFUL STUFF

James Losey is keeping a list of what companies publish transparency reports.

From Free Technology for Teachers: 10 Good Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms Add-ons for Teachers

Want to make your own version of Google Cardboard? You’ve got several options.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

YouTube’s autoplay is now enabled by default. Incredibly disconcerting when you’re not expecting that next video.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

According to an FTC report, Google purposely demoted competing sites in its search engine listings. There’s a lot of “Yeah but,” and “We were only…” in the updates to this article, but it is very disheartening. There’s another story at Search Engine Land that makes me even sadder. “An ‘inadvertently disclosed’ report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) labels Google a monopoly and appears to directly contradict the decision not to pursue legal action against the company. In early 2013 the FTC formally decided to close its antitrust investigation against Google demanding only modest changes in the company’s business practices. It turns out a vocal contingent inside the FTC wanted stronger action. The existence of the critical 160 page report was discussed in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article today. The WSJ says the report was mistakenly disclosed in response to a FOIA request.” I want to see the whole report….

More Google: it has created a tablet that can be used by health workers treating ebola patients. “During the testing phase, the server ran off a motorcycle battery, but now it includes its own lithium ion batteries, much like those in your cell phone, which can charge via a portable generator. Then, inside the high-risk zone, [Jay] Archar can not only wirelessly send data over the fence, but also readily access information he didn’t have before, including a patient’s latest blood test results. Plus, after dipping the thing in chlorine for ten minutes, he can take it outside the zone and continue working with it after removing his moon suit.”

Intel, Google, and TAG Heuer have announced a Swiss smart watch.

NPR has a piece on the Qatar Digital Library – with several embedded SoundCloud songs. (The QDL has a lot of material available via SoundCloud.)

Interesting article in The New Yorker (yes, The New Yorker) about the language of Twitter and how it can predict mortality rates in regions, not people. “The psychologist Johannes Eichstaedt and his colleagues analyzed eight hundred and twenty-six million tweets across fourteen hundred American counties. (The counties contained close to ninety per cent of the U.S. population.) Then, using lists of words—some developed by Pennebaker, others by Eichstaedt’s team—that can be reliably associated with anger, anxiety, social engagement, and positive and negative emotions, they gave each county an emotional profile. Finally, they asked a simple question: Could those profiles help determine which counties were likely to have more deaths from heart disease? The answer, it turned out, was yes. Counties where residents’ tweets included words related to hostility, aggression, hate, and, fatigue … had significantly higher rates of death from atherosclerotic heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Conversely, where people’s tweets reflected more positive emotions and engagement, heart disease was less common. The tweet-based model even had more predictive power than other models based on traditional demographic, socioeconomic, and health-risk factors.” I removed the example words because one of them would trip an obscenity filter. Fascinating article; there’s a link to a tool to analyze the language of your tweets, as well.

If you’re a big social media users, The White House wants you to come to its Easter egg roll. You have to have a kid aged 5-13, though.

Nifty: Making art using Twitter conversations. 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!