Oklahoma, Mongolia, Patents, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, July 27th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Historic maps of Oklahoma are now available for viewing online. “The collection includes more than 15,000 maps from 1820 to the present, including the 1,900 now online. It features Oklahoma streets and highways, counties and towns, waterways, railways, American Indian populations, cemeteries, telecommunication lines, trails, borderlines and boundaries, including U.S. government agency maps, [Chad] Williams said.”

Google Street View went to Mongolia and oh, wow. “Last fall we strapped a Street View camera onto a four-wheel drive pickup truck to begin capturing 360-imagery from rugged Mongolian roads. Since then we’ve also gone off-road to capture images of the country’s most beautiful places with Ariuntuul, our Mongolian Trekker operator, who carried the 18-kg Street View Trekker into the wild expanses of Mongolia’s diverse countryside.”

Coming this summer: a nationwide map of school attendance zones. I guess I should have assumed that any collection of arbitrarily-drawn boundaries could be gerrymandered, but I never thought about it. “Understanding who goes to which area school and why may soon become a lot easier for education officials and community members alike. The U.S. Department of Education plans to release the first nationwide map of school attendance boundaries this summer. Starting in November, school districts will be able to use an online tool to draw or upload their own maps and download or tweak existing maps. In the process, districts will create the most detailed picture yet of how American schools define their communities.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

WordPress has gotten a new security update. “WordPress versions 4.2.2 and earlier are affected by a cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could allow users with the Contributor or Author role to compromise a site. This was initially reported by Jon Cave and fixed by Robert Chapin, both of the WordPress security team, and later reported by Jouko Pynnönen.”

Bing has set up a revenge porn removal form. “Detailing the move in a blog post yesterday, Microsoft’s chief online safety officer, Jacqueline Beauchere, said it will also be cutting off access to revenge porn when it is shared via its OneDrive cloud storage service or the Xbox Live games service, as well as searched for via Bing.”

Yahoo is going to start offering a daily streaming news program. “Starting today, the Yahoo News team – led by Yahoo’s Global News Anchor Katie Couric – will get you up to speed on the top headlines of the day and take you on a deep dive into the most talked about story of the day with live interviews, reporting and analysis. From the Iran nuclear deal to the latest on the 2016 campaign trail, Yahoo News Live will provide perspective on the stories that are trending around the nation, and often the world. Yahoo News Live will stream every weekday (M-F) at 1:00pm ET on Yahoo: yahoo.com/katiecouric.”

Google is continuing to back away from Google+, which is great. “…in the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google. YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change, and you can learn more on their blog. As always, your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles. And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Stephen Hawking is going to host a Reddit AMA.

Google wants to giave away patents to startups. “Back in April, Google launched a pop-up, temporary marketplace for companies to sell patents, with Google being the sole buyer. Today, the search and mobile giant is expanding that marketplace in the other direction: Google has started a program for startups to give away up to two non-organic patent families off Google, as well as potentially make offers to buy patents from it in the future. It’s tying up the offer with a requirement to join the LOT Network, a cross-company licensing push (others in the group include Dropbox, SAP and Canon) aimed at driving down the number of patent-trolling suits.”

Google is going to shut down “unverified” Google My Business listings tomorrow. And considering what an unholy mess Google Local business listings have been since they were brought under the aegis of Google+, I’m not looking forward to having to fix the problems that are no doubt going to crop up tomorrow. 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!

Typography, Twitter, Slack, More: Monday Morning Buzz, July 27th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

A new crowdfunded investigative journalism site is being launched in Scotland. “Called the Ferret, the web-based project said it plans to draw on successful investigative journalism collectives, including De Correspondent in the Netherlands and the Belfast-based outfit The Detail, to produce independent investigations and also stories it can sell on to mainstream outlets such as the Scottish and national press, Channel 4 News or the BBC.”

The Ogden Museum is gathering memories of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita for a digital archive. “From Aug. 1 through 31, people can record their memories at computer stations throughout the Circle Gallery in the museum at 925 Camp St. Those recollections will become part of the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, which is operating the program with the museum.”

New-to-Me: a Duggal blog post tipped me to a huge archive of Vernacular Typography. From the Web site: “One vanishing art that can still be studied in the interstices of the assault of global retail is vernacular typography. All over the world, there are cities and towns that retain their rich traditions of vernacular signage. Unfortunately, the fate of these typographic havens is being threatened by the uniformity of corporate advertising, which ignores and subverts local history and tradition. This website seeks to collect and document examples of these vanishing symbols of art and culture.”

I’m not sure why you’d want this, maybe to do some of the most offbeat text analysis ever, but almost every Reddit comment is available in a huge download. Just the compressed dataset is about 5GB. There are over 1.6 billion comments here.

Do you want to “Deep Dream,” or trippify your own photos? There’s an app for that.

The AP has put a million minutes of history on YouTube. “Associated Press, in company with British Movietone, has released a million minutes of historic world news on to two YouTube channels. The collection of more than 550,000 digitised video stories dates from 1895 to the present day and it is claimed to be the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform.” Entirely free to access as far as I can tell.

USEFUL STUFF

Fun stuff from Dylan Burns: Curating a Twitter Presence as a Library Student. “I have to admit that I didn’t ‘get’ ‘twitter’ ‘before’ I was in library school. I may not ‘get’ it. I had an account before I applied and it has maybe 2 followers, none of which were librarians. One of my first steps toward the library world was to get connected with the twitter librarians. This is how I did it, with Simpsons’ memes.”

Ever wondered exactly what subtweeting is? The Guardian snarksplains. (Well, not really; it’s a good article. But there are plenty of people who aren’t familiar with Twitter who weren’t born in 1880.) “Subtweeting: it’s the internet equivalent of talking about someone behind their back – or at least that’s how people usually explain it. But in truth, the art of subtweeting consists of many different strokes. It’s not something that can be so succinctly defined. Subtweeting can be brilliant, it can be cruel, it can be rude, it can be annoying as hell.”

What a great article from PC Magazine! How the NY Public Library Crowdsources Digital Innovation. It’s a quick read but inspiring.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Slack has integrated with Google Calendar. “After linking a Google account to Slack, you can choose any calendar and instruct it to post to certain Slack channels. For example, you could have events from your company’s development deadline calendar post reminders to the #dev channel two days before a product deadline.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

This article from The Next Web has the best URL ever, but that’s not why I’m linking to it. I’m linking to it because it it points out that movie studios are so lazy about vetting their takedown requests to Google that they’re asking Google to take down stuff from their own computers.

Google did a study comparing the security practices of security experts and non-expert users. “The study, based on the responses of 231 security experts and 294 non-experts, shows that there is a big discrepancy in the security practices each of these categories follow. For example, security experts have named software updates as the top online safety practice. In contrast, regular users don’t consider software updates a priority when it comes to online safety. Non-experts don’t clearly understand how effective updates are, and some users even believe they are risky because they could contain bugs or hide malicious software.”

Speaking of Google … from Mazin Ahmed: Bypassing Google Password Alert With One Line of Code. The blog post includes a demonstration video. Google Password Alert, if you don’t remember, is a Chrome extension to protect you from fake Google login sites.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

LinkedIn wants to make you wait to download your contacts list. “Previously, the social networking site provided a way for users to instantly export their contacts. It was a useful feature for people looking to manage their contacts elsewhere. Under a change made Thursday, users now must make a request to download their account data. In a page describing the new process, LinkedIn says users will receive an email within 72 hours with a link to download the archive when it is ready.” LAME.

Egyptians are using Facebook to highlight the sad state of public facilities. “Egyptian doctors posted hundreds of pictures on a Facebook page showing poor conditions at medical facilities around the country: bandaged patients sleeping in halls, animals traipsing through wards, splotches of blood left to coagulate on floors. Their effort inspired a series of similar pages illustrating the miserable state of other public facilities, including the nation’s universities, courts and government offices, as well as streets and slums.” 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!

Faulkner, Delicious, Video Games, More: Friday Buzz, June 24th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

William Faulkner is getting a new online database. “More than 50 years after William Faulkner’s last book, educators are creating an online database of his books and short stories, featuring maps, characters and other information that can be accessed online by scholars and the public.”

Want to explore video games? Two USC students made some cool tools. “In a UC-Santa Cruz research lab dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of computer games, two graduate students have combined linguistics and computational theory to create a new multidimensional library of 12,000 computer games. The web-based tools, GameNet and GameSage, offer novel ways to discover similar types of games.” And different types of games; if you use GameNet you can enter the name of a computer game and get the 50 most related games and the 50 most unrelated games. The 1991 game Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is apparently completely unrelated to Dance Dance Revolution. And then there’s GameSage. “GameSage is a tool that takes free-text input describing an idea for a videogame and lists the existing games that are most related to that idea. This tool utilizes the notion in LSA of folding in, whereby a new document that was not used during model training is fitted with a representation in the semantic space derived by the model. By treating the user’s input text (which specifies her game idea) as a corpus document (on par with the videogame Wikipedia articles we used to train our LSA model) and folding it in, we are able to derive an LSA vector for the idea.”

Now available: an online database of financial aid programs. “While a college education is more important than ever, students face unprecedented challenges in financing the cost. Policymakers across the country are working to design financial aid programs that foster postsecondary degree access and completion… Today, the Education Commission of the States announces the availability of a comprehensive 50-state database detailing 100 of the largest state financial aid programs across the country. This unique resource is intended to inform discussions surrounding current program design, innovative models already in practice in the states, and assist states in identifying peer programs from which to learn.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google has created a Drive plugin for Microsoft Office. “Google today launched a new plug-in for Microsoft Office that gives you access to all of your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in Google Drive right from Microsoft’s desktop apps. The plug-in also lets you save files directly to Google Drive, so you can then edit them in Google’s online apps, too.” This would have been great nine years ago. I’m pretty much a LibreOffice gal at this point…

Hey! Delicious has launched some new features, including Dmail, a very interesting Google addon. “Dmail, is a chrome extension available to all users, that allows you to send private, self destructing email from your Gmail account. Enhancing the old with something newer and better is what we’re all about. The idea for Dmail came from our own personal experience sending and trying to protect sensitive information via email. Our core belief is that the sender should own the content of their email, and more specifically, access to it. The recipient should currently be able to view the content of the email in the browser without having to install the chrome extension. The Dmail extension is only necessary if you want to send a Dmail.”

YouTube has a new mobile app. In addition to new browsing and nav features, apparently there are new video creation/editing tools (I haven’t tried it yet.)

Google has launched new transcription for Google Voice, thereby removing one of my main sources of workday entertainment. Nobody could be as weird on purpose as my Google Voice transcriptions. “…we asked users if they would kindly share some of their voicemails for research and system improvements. Thanks to those who participated, we are happy to announce an improved voicemail system in Google Voice and Project Fi that delivers more accurate transcriptions. Using a (deep breath) long short-term memory deep recurrent neural network (whew!), we cut our transcription errors by 49%.”

The JustWatch search engine now has a mobile app. “JustWatch, a startup that launched earlier this year offering a search engine that helps cord cutters figure out where to watch their favorite programs and movies, is now expanding to mobile. The company has released both iOS and Android applications that help you find where to watch movies and shows, as well as discover new and popular content across a variety of services, including Netflix, Amazon, HBO NOW, Showtime, Hulu, iTunes and many others.”

PRIVACY AND SECURITY ISSUES

Apparently Adobe Flash is on its last legs, which I think is great.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Creative Commons has launched a Kickstarter campaign. “Our plan is to spend the next year collaboratively researching and writing a book about business models that involve Creative Commons licensing. Even our funding strategy for this project is public-facing and collaborative. Last week we launched our first-ever Kickstarter to raise money for the project, and we hope you’ll become a part of it all by making a pledge at any amount. Crowdfunding this project is a way to kick off the project in an open and visible way, and to gather support and excitement for our work.” With 20 days to go at this writing, CC is halfway to its goal.

If you’re interested in Google Fiber, you may be interested in this: Testimony of Michael Slinger, Director of Google Fiber City Teams, Google Inc. Before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing on “Promoting Broadband Infrastructure Investment”. The testimony was on July 22, and the document is PDF (sorry).

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

From Smithsonian Science News: Digitized, Searchable Archives Help Revive ‘Sleeping’ Languages. “Like other kids at summer camp, a group of youngsters in the cities of Miami, Okla. and Fort Wayne, Ind. play games, work on crafts and spend lots of time outside. But for this particular collection of campers, there’s a twist: Much of their time is spent learning or speaking in Myaamia, the language of the Native American Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.” 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!

Advertising, Twitter, More: Thursday Evening Buzz, July 23rd, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The Internet Archive is going to have a 2016 political ad tracker. “We will be capturing all TV programming in select 2016 primary election locales, front-loaded to reflect early-state candidate winnowing. We hope to apply lessons learned during the primaries, to key general election battleground states in the fall. In addition to our regular TV news research library interface, we’ll be creating an online reference page for each unique-content political ad. These pages will present journalist fact-checking and other analysis. Accompanying these assessments will be information about ad sponsors, campaign financial transparency data as well as dynamically updated tracking on each ad’s plays, including frequency, locale, etc.”

More political ad stuff: UW-Madison Professor Young Mie Kim is developing a tool to track targeted political ads. “Kim, in partnership with the Office for Creative Research in New York City, is developing an online tool called Floodwatch Elections. The project was one of 22 chosen from more than 1,000 applicants in the Knight News Challenge. Floodwatch Elections is a Web tool that will track online political ads that are personally customized to an individual voter. Such advertising activity is called ‘microtargeting’ because it is specifically customized to a person based on personal data such as browsing history.”

Twitter’s getting a “safety center”.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google+ Photos is shutting down on August 1. I can’t say I’m sorry about this. Google+ Photos was a bit of a mess and I really missed Picasa. “The shutdown of Google+ Photos will start on August 1. According to Google, the Android version will go first; shortly thereafter, the web and iOS versions will go dark. Your photos hosted on Google+ will automatically migrate over to photos.google.com, their new home. Alternatively, you’ll also be able to grab all your photos via Google Takeout if you just want out all together.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

A bunch of MongoDB data has been exposed on the Internet. “A total of 595.2 terabytes (TB) of data is exposed on the internet via publicly accessible MongoDB instances that don’t require any form of authentication. That is the claim of blogger and Shodan developer John Matherly, following an investigation. Shodan is a search engine designed to expose online devices.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

And now for a bit of silly: What Google Autocomplete tells us about the 2016 presidential candidates. Or what people are searching for in reference to the candidates.

So apparently Twitter had a “frat party”?. Seriously? Is Bluto Blutarsky going to be the next CEO? Good grief.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Politico: Library of Congress’ Twitter archive is a huge #FAIL. “The archive’s fate is yet another example of the difficulty of safeguarding the historical records of an era when people communicate using easily deletable emails, websites that can be taken down in seconds and transient tweets, Vines and Snaps. But the library’s critics also see it as a cautionary tale from the 28-year tenure of retiring Librarian of Congress James Billington. During Billington’s time in office, say critics, the library has espoused grand technological ambitions but didn’t back them up with the planning, budget or nuts-and-bolts needed to turn them from buzzy news releases to tangible accomplishments.” Good evening, Internet…

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

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!

Kentucky, Wine, Meerkat, More: Thursday Buzz, July 23rd, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The state of Kentucky has launched a new database for lost and abandoned horses. “The state veterinarian’s office has launched a Stray and Abandoned Equine Database with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture where people can browse listings of horses that have been found.”

A collection of records for London synagogue seatholders (1920-1939) has gone online. “Revealing details of positions held by forebears, researchers will be able to track ancestors who became wardens, council members, or served on committees of their synagogue, as well as seatholders in synagogues from around the capital city. These fully indexed records allow family historians to search by name, keyword, synagogue and address and with one click see an image taken from the pages of Seatholders for Synagogues in London.”

The World of Fine Wine magazine has launched a digital archive. “The World of Fine Wine, and the publishers Progressive Media International, have worked with digital content specialists Exact Editions to digitise the archive, making the resource readily available to print and digital subscribers alike. The extensive archive makes for a valuable resource; available for universities, corporations and other organisations, who can take out a specialist network subscription utilising Exact Editions IP authentication technology, say the company.” It’s 48 issues over 11 years.

A new online directory intends to aggregate business and service information for transgender people. “…a non-profit advocacy group in Chicago has created an online database to help transgender people find businesses and service providers that are not just friendly, but understanding of their needs. Most of the online directory is comprised of healthcare services, and it includes a rate and review function, as well as the ability to search for businesses and providers by location.The directory, called RAD Remedy — RAD stands for Referral Aggregator Database — is online, but still in development mode.”

There is now a map of Meerkat streams. “The app, which is hosted on Github, takes advantage of Meerkat’s API, which the company released in May. It’s very similar to the Global List already available in Meerkat’s competitor, Periscope: it groups streams in aggregate, so you can see from a zoomed out view how many are streaming in that area. But Meerkat Map actually breaks down further when you zoom in, so you could narrow down to the city level where streams are coming from. Which is either neat or completely creepy, depending on how you look at it.”

USEFUL STUFF

From Hongkiat: 10 URLs to Find Out What Google Knows About You.

From Digital Trends: How to download a Vimeo video.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google Maps now has a timeline. “Have you ever wanted a way to easily remember all the places you’ve been — whether it’s a museum you visited during your last vacation or that fun bar you stumbled upon a few months ago? Well, starting today, Google Maps can help. We’re gradually rolling out Your Timeline, a useful way to remember and view the places you’ve been on a given day, month or year. Your Timeline allows you to visualize your real-world routines, easily see the trips you’ve taken and get a glimpse of the places where you spend your time. And if you use Google Photos, we’ll show the photos you took when viewing a specific day, to help resurface your memories.”

Instagram is now allowing more search functionality from the Web. “You can now look up anything from hashtags, locations and usernames right from the desktop. Tags and locations are getting their own pages too, so you can see the most popular related images.” I’ll work with it, but right now I really like Websta and Worldcam, though Worldcam has occasional API issues.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

A woman who was recruited by Google and rejected by Google four times has joined an age discrimination lawsuit. “According to the lawsuit, a Google recruiter contacted [Cheryl] Fillekes in 2007 for possible employment in either Google’s engineering and testing group or its software development group. There were a series of phone interviews and an in-person interview at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. In 2010, a different Google recruiter contacted her and said that from her previous interview scores, she was an ideal candidate. This happened again in 2011 and late 2013. In each case, a Google recruiter contacted her and there were a series of phone interviews, concluding with in-person interviews, but no job offer.” Sue them for wasting your time!

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

A rumor is running around that Google is going to sell custom e-mail addresses for a monthly fee. “As you can see in the screenshot above, the prices start at $2 a month which will give users their own custom Gmail address, letting them choose “you@youraddress.com”, subject to availability of course. However for $2, that’s all you will be getting and you won’t be getting additional storage. However if you want added storage, you can pay $5 a month which is more or less the same feature, but with 30GB of email storage, online support, and access to business tools.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From Stanford: Google Glass and the Elderly. “Glass will probably find its largest and most loyal customer base in communities dealing with old age. After all, there is a very large population of aging Baby Boomers set on a collision course with all the ills and predicaments that come with age. As Google Glass evolves, evaluation of its adoption to elder care service is vital for further program design and development. This study uses examples and surveys to evaluate the variables influencing the use of technology service programs by the elderly. A questionnaire survey was used to explore the technology acceptance of the elderly in a Google Glass based program. In addition, open-ended questions were used to elicit qualitative information regarding the experience of technology use. The results revealed elderly with higher social welfare statuses, better health conditions, and more frequent tech usage are usually more open to the idea of using Google Glass.” 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!