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


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.


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


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!

Microsoft, Social Media, Coldplay, More: Friday Morning Buzz, May 15th, 2015


This is one of those new-to-me. It’s a guy who is using WordPress as a CMS to archive his grandfather’s and his own photographs. Yesterday he put up a set of prints from Cypress Gardens in the 30s. If you like vintage/archival photography, don’t miss it. He’s got a Flickr collection, too.

The FTC has launched a new resource to help victims of identity theft. “The new website provides an interactive checklist that walks people through the recovery process and helps them understand which recovery steps should be taken upon learning their identity has been stolen. It also provides sample letters and other helpful resources.”

An online archive of British conscientious objectors of World War I are now online. “There are heartbreaking stories in the archive, including William Harrison, a teetotal vegetarian and Christian pacifist, who was arrested in 1917, sentenced to hard labour in Wormwood Scrubs and Newcastle, and not freed until six months after the war ended, in April 1919. Joseph Alfred Pearson from New Brighton, who abandoned his beliefs after brutal treatment while he was held at Birkenhead barracks, was sent to France and died near Ypres: his mother refused to accept his death-in-service memorial scroll and plaque.”

The band Coldplay has launched a new online archive. “Perhaps the most exciting part of this treasure trove for fans is the ‘first official Coldplaygigography,’ which lists every show that the band has played (more than 900) and allows users to upload their own photos from the concerts.”

A new app lets you lets you read news based on how much time you have.

Now available: a database of brain cell types.

Microsoft has released a new tool for making time lapse videos. “On Thursday, Microsoft released Microsoft Hyperlapse, a new set of products that create smooth, stabilized time lapses from first-person videos. For consumers, Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile offers the chance to turn any long video – from a bumpy bicycle ride to a family stroll in the park — into a short, distilled version that you can easily share with friends and family.” Windows Phone and “some” Android phones.

A Professor at the University of Utah has launched the Social Media Alternatives Project (S-MAP). “The S-MAP is a growing collection of alternative social media site interfaces, privacy policies and terms of service. In addition, the S-MAP hosts interviews with alternative site makers, as well as commentary on the state of alternative social media. The site is freely available to public.”


Amit Agarwal has created a tool to let you see who said what first on Twitter. Probably not surprisingly, I was the first one to use “ResearchBuzz,” on June 20, 2007.

From Practical eCommerce: 17 Tools to Schedule and Analyze Social Media Content.

Wow: from TNW, The 18 Best Blogging and Publishing Platforms on the Internet. I didn’t even know there were 18.


Facebook is teaming up with a group of publishers to allow them to publish straight to Facebook. “The social network will partner with BuzzFeed, The New York Times, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, National Geographic, Spiegel and Bild, helping them to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook, with stories loading more than 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles.” Whether or not you actually see them is another story.

Google has updated its transparency report. “…the report shows that we’ve received 30,138 requests from around the world seeking information about more than 50,585 users/accounts; we provided information in response to 63 percent of those requests. We saw slight increases in the number of requests from governments in Europe (2 percent) and Asia/Pacific (7 percent), and a 22 percent increase in requests from governments in Latin America.”

At least one court has indicated that Facebook photos can be used as evidence. “A survivor of a robbery identified the Toledo man who shot him and killed another by the shooter’s Facebook profile page. An Ohio appeals court affirmed the shooter’s life sentence, finding that despite claims social media posts can be faked, posts can be used as evidence.” 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!

Biodiversity, Thomas Hardy, Instagram, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, May 13th, 2015


ProQuest is going to create a digital archive of Harper’s Bazaar.

A new tool lets you create photo timelines that vanish in a day. “To capture and share a photo, you swipe up on the camera viewfinder – in fact, Rewind has filed a patent on this particular, unique interaction. You can only post photos you take within the app, too, so you won’t be tempted to edit photos from your Camera Roll prior to sharing.” I love the idea of using this for a business for unique events or happenings, like Record Store Day.

Want to know more about the natural world around you? Check out this new app, Map of Life. “Instead of sifting through hundreds of pages in a printed field guide, naturalists get a digital guide that is already tailored to their location. With a novel modeling and mapping platform covering tens of thousands of species — everything from mammals and birds to plants, amphibians, reptiles, arthropod groups, and fish — Map of Life presents localized species information via maps, photographs, and detailed information. The National Science Foundation and NASA provided initial support for the Map of Life. Google and Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung also have supported the project.”

A new online exhibit looks at fashion in the writings of Thomas Hardy. “The ‘Thomas Hardy and Clothing’ project will highlight the importance of fashion in Hardy’s writing by providing references to clothing in his fiction, poetry, letters and biographies. It will also provide a greater understanding of the historical, social and political context in which Hardy wrote and lived.”


IFTTT has a new channel for the iOS Reading List.

Google has launched its first Apple Watch app.


Yahoo is suing an ex-staffer, claiming she shared secrets with a writer.
“Yahoo claims that Cecile Lal, a former senior director of product management, broke a confidentiality agreement when she leaked proprietary information to the journalist that she learned during ‘FYI’ meetings with Mayer, according to a complaint filed in state court in San Jose, California.”

Instagram and Getty are teaming up for a photography grant program. “The first Getty Images Instagram Grant is designed to support photographers using Instagram to showcase ‘underrepresented communities’ worldwide. Images can be captured on any type of camera, and are not restricted to mobile devices.”

From The Harvard Gazette: saving the digital record. “Now, collections might come in with digital material that is already on the brink of decline. Digital degradation doesn’t follow a steady curve like books. Items can be fine for decades, and then quickly decline from perfectly accessible to completely useless. For some formats, experts don’t know what that plateau and drop-off might be, and it can even vary among individual items kept in the same condition. The situation poses problems for preservation, access, and collection development.”

A Google employee has an article on Medium about Google’s self-driving car program and how goony some people drive. “If you spend enough time on the road, accidents will happen whether you’re in a car or a self-driving car. Over the 6 years since we started the project, we’ve been involved in 11 minor accidents (light damage, no injuries) during those 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving with our safety drivers behind the wheel, and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident.” 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!

Opera, Biology, CAD, More: Wednesday Morning Buzz, May 13th, 2015


Now available: a new multimedia tool for teaching about World War I. “ABMC, a government agency that administers America’s overseas Armed Forces cemeteries, established a partnership with LEARN NC, the outreach arm of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Virginia Tech to create a guide to help educators teach about World War I. The initiative matched curriculum-development experts from the two universities with middle and high school teachers from North Carolina and Virginia to study an American WWI cemetery in France and to develop a multimedia teaching guide from what they learned.”

A group of ex-Skypers have launched a virtual whiteboard. “The Deekit app offers all of the whiteboard features you’d expect, such as drawing tools and the ability to add text. In addition, you can pin notes on the side, and the whole app is collaborative: anybody can contribute no matter where they are and in realtime. Boards can also be shared and archived for future reference.”

There’s a new place to watch opera online. And it’s free! “Launched today, The Opera Platform is a new website which will broadcast and archive (for 30 days) full opera productions from some of Europe’s leading opera companies, including Welsh National Opera, The Royal Opera and Teatro Real Madrid.”

The Chicago Academy of Sciences is putting its biological collections data online. “As of mid-April, we have data from 4,643 mammal specimens and 9,075 bird eggs and nests published on VertNet, as well as on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and iDigBio (two other projects that bring together natural history specimen data). On the VertNet homepage, you can search for specimens with our collection prefix (CHAS) by going to “Search Options” and entering CHAS in the “InstitutionCode” box. See if you can find the oldest specimen, or the specimen collected farthest away, or your favorite mammal or bird species!”


Oh my. A Web-based CAD tool? Yes please.

Journalism.co.uk takes a look at using Twitter Curator.

Craig Newmark tips you to 4 Twitter tools that are the “real deal”.


Guess what? You no longer need a Twitter account to use Periscope. “Other improvements were the result of requests, including the ability change profile pictures from Periscope’s default image, making it easier to reply to chat messages while broadcasting and clearly marking when a user has been blocked.”

Flickr has done a big revamp and added new tools. “Today, we’re happy to announce Flickr Camera Roll and Uploadr, two powerful tools that will revolutionize the way you upload, organize, and share every photo you’ve ever taken. With these tools, you can now maximize the potential of all of that free space and finally take control of the photos in your life.” Had a bad experience with Flickr and not particularly interested in going back. Looking for a new place for my photos to live.

Google wants you to be able to order food directly from search results.


From Digiday: Yahoo fails to impress with digital magazines.

The Chicago Tribune’s Instagram account for its archive photography has been an unexpected hit. “Daughtridge and photo editor Marianne Mather post up to eight photos a day, little black-and-white flashbacks from the massive archives of the Tribune Tower. Recent photos show morning commuters on an express bus in 1981, two women at North Avenue Beach in 1960, and a late-career Babe Ruth in his Boston Braves uniform, sitting in the Wrigley Field dugout in 1935.” 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!

Google, Facebook, Yelp, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, May 12th, 2015


Make Google Maps Legotastic with Brick Street View. “There are two ways to explore it. You can move around a bird’s-eye-view map to see blocks of bumpy baseplates, shiny trees, and national landmarks like the Empire State Building and Eiffel Tower. Or you can drag and drop your denim-clad guide to obtain street-level views, which introduce various Lego artifacts like police cars, dead-eyed figurines, and fried egg-looking flowers.”


Oh, I love the idea behind Peruse: a natural language search for your cloud documents. “Peruse’s natural language file search works for business documents of any file type, albeit the NLP tech only currently works for the English language. The service is also initially limited to documents stored in either Box or Dropbox cloud storage repositories — but it intends to expand to integrate with more such services.”

Maybe not so useful: Play with old versions of Windows in your browser. I’m afraid I’ll have flashbacks of trying to get Trumpet Winsock to work.


Google Drive’s OCR capabilities have been expanded. “Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology aims to turn pictures of text into computer text that can be indexed, searched, and edited. For some time, Google Drive has provided OCR capabilities. Recently, we expanded this state-of-the-art technology to support all of the world’s major languages – that’s over 200 languages in more than 25 writing systems.”

More new stuff from FamilySearch. “Notable collection updates include 2,983,594 indexed records from the Croatia, Church Books, 1516–1994 collection; 57,446 indexed records and 1,785,969 images from the Jamaica, Civil Registration, 1880–1999 collection; and 1,087,758 indexed records from the Costa Rica Civil Registration, 1860–1975 collection.”

Google has launched a Chrome extension to gather feedback about its browser. “The new Chrome User Experience Surveys extension will occasionally pop up brief surveys about the user’s experience when something unusual happens in the browser. That could be a notification or a malware warning, for example, and Google says it will take the user feedback to improve Chrome.”


Pllbbt. Google is going to stop showing emojis in its search results.

Facebook beating you over the head with birthday notifications? That was a bug.

This is what happens when you ‘bot everything: Google Answers linking to a dead RadioShack page.

Is Yelp seeking a buyer? “While Internet users have increasingly searched for restaurants and points of interest in their cities and neighborhoods, Yelp and others have had difficulty turning the small businesses that populate the local economy into paying advertisers, said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at investment bank B. Riley & Co. in San Francisco.” I find this funny because the company for which I work has been advertising on Yelp for over a year. We want to advertise in a couple of other markets but we’re repeatedly told “There’s not enough inventory available.” I can’t even buy what they have; it’s a package or nothing. 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!