Twitter, IFTTT, GEDCOM, More: Sunday Buzz, November 9th, 2014

Twitter may be getting topic-based timelines.

Facebook has released new tools for fine-tuning your feed. I’m annoyed I have to do this.

More Facebook: did you miss Mark Zuckerberg’s Q&A last week? Here’s a roundup.

You remember that Google Barge that was there, then vanished? It was scrapped because of fire safety concerns.

Interesting tip on Lifehacker: how to resume a failed Chrome download with Firefox.

Apparently Verizon is asking customers for their account PINs in Twitter DMs. Which is a terrible idea and a bad precedent. But hey, this is Verizon, home of the injected perma-cookie, so I had already stopped thinking they cared about customer privacy and security.

DPFOC has an infographic guide to Google Helpouts.

I have stopped mentioning every time IFTTT adds a channel because it is adding so many all the time, but Digital Trends has a good article on how IFTTT is becoming a great tool for smart homes.

Remember that huge Home Depot hack? Apparently 53 million e-mail addresses were stolen. Watch out for phishing attempts.

More developments in Google’s Project Ara: a module that will track your blood oxygen level.

I know a lot of folks from non-profits read ResearchBuzz, and it’s an interesting article: 10 Pinterest Boards Your NPO Should Have. (DISCLAIMER: I still don’t get Pinterest.)

Genealogists, you should find this useful: a freeware tool that finds GEDCOM files on your computer. “It’s a nice little program that does just one thing: It finds and classifies all the GEDCOM files (or GEDCOM variants) on your computer. It is simple and only has one screen, allowing you to set the starting directory, filter the filename and include files that contain some desired text.”

Google has made a doodle commemorating the fall of the Berlin wall. Good morning, Internet…

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New Zealand, Twitter, Genomes, More: Saturday Buzz, November 8th, 2014

A book 100 years older than the Magna Carta has been digitized. “The Textus Roffensis, a 12th century legal encyclopaedia compiled by a single scribe at Rochester Cathedral, in Kent, in the 1120s has been digitised by the University’s Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care.”

The University of Otago Library has created an online archive relating to the first missions in New Zealand. “The precious journals, letters and documents, detailing life on the nation’s first missions, were brought back from London more than a century ago by the library’s founder, Thomas Hocken.”

OF COURSE there’s an online database of Loch Ness Monster sightings. Of course there is.

Analyzing when people are slacking off at work — using Twitter data. “Researchers analyzed more than 6 million geolocated tweets sent from the New York City metro area between August and December 2013. Their analysis showed high and low volumes of Twitter activity followed reoccurring hourly patterns.”

More Twitter: a new Twitter app, Hash, is trying to better organize tweets around events. “While over half a billion tweets are sent each day, Twitter is not easy for people who are hungry for news but might only want the handful of the most talked about tweets each day. To solve the issue, a former Twitter developer has launched ‘Hash,’ a pared down version of Twitter’s app limited to a list of the world’s biggest news events of the day combined with the most notable tweets mentioning those stories.”

More More Twitter: a new tool makes it easier to track Ebola news and discussion on Twitter.

Manuscripts and other items stored in Mount Athos will be digitized. “As part of the project ‘Digital ark’ the transformation of Mount Athos’ treasures into digital form will cost 8.5 million euros and its aim is to ensure their existence, even if the original prototypes ever get destroyed. The documents to be stored electronically include collections of handwritten ecclesiastic codes that are stored in the monasteries. Up until today, students and researchers interested in their study could only access the documents in person.”

The city of Greenville, Michigan now has a digital archive of its newspapers. Some of them go back to 1857.

More records from FamilySearch. “Notable collection updates include the 288,957 indexed records from the Argentina, Buenos Aires, Catholic Church Records, 1635-1981 collection; the 398,779 images from the Dominican Republic, Civil Registration, 1801-2010 collection; and the 356,698 indexed records from the US, Maine, Nathan Hale Cemetery Collection, ca. 1780-1980 collection.”

Now available: a piglet brain atlas. “Through a cooperative effort between researchers in animal sciences, bioengineering, and U of I’s Beckman Institute, Johnson and colleagues Ryan Dilger and Brad Sutton have developed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based brain atlas for the four-week old piglet that offers a three-dimensional averaged brain and anatomical regions of interest. This averaged brain atlas, created from images from multiple piglets, will serve as a template for future studies using advanced MRI techniques that can provide important information on brain macro- and microstructure during this critical period of development. The template, as well as tissue probability maps that were also created, are available online and are freely distributed.”

Apparently next week’s Patch Tuesday is going to be big.

Google is offering to store genomes in the cloud. For money, of course. 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!

Messaging, Google, Privacy, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, November 7th, 2014

How secure are messaging systems, anyway? “The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Secure Messaging Scorecard judged the security of over 30 e-mail, social media, voice and video calling apps across seven categories, including whether the provider can read your messages and whether your previous communications are secure if your passkeys are stolen.”

Have you changed the default user name and password for your router? Maybe you should.

Speaking of security, Google has some scary stats about account hijacking. “Most of us think we’re too smart to fall for phishing, but our research found some fake websites worked a whopping 45% of the time. On average, people visiting the fake pages submitted their info 14% of the time, and even the most obviously fake sites still managed to deceive 3% of people. Considering that an attacker can send out millions of messages, these success rates are nothing to sneeze at.”

Lifehacker has a cool article on beta features of Wikipedia.

From Entrepreneur: 4 Tips for Making Memorable Vine Videos.

Fortune asks: How can Yahoo compete for startups? Question I’d like to ask: How can Yahoo make the best of the considerable talent and properties it has now?

Carnegie Mellon is grading smartphone apps for privacy (PRESS RELEASE). “Smartphones wouldn’t be so smart without their apps, yet many free apps pinpoint a user’s location to deliver targeted ads or share contact lists with third parties without alerting the user. Which apps behave themselves and which don’t? A new Carnegie Mellon University project,, can help sort them out.”

The Economist is going to start a daily digital briefing. “The new weekday digital edition, called The Economist Espresso, is being positioned as an ‘espresso shot of global analysis’ that can be consumed quickly as part of a morning routine. It is being made available as an Apple or Android app or email briefing.”

It’s a great weekend for genealogy: Findmypast is Making records free this weekend for Veterans Day. 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!

Meetup, Good Docs, Microsoft, More: Friday Morning Buzz, November 7th, 2014

Yesterday was not a good #nanowrimo day. I am getting impatient because all kinds of stuff is happening that I didn’t plan and I want to know what happens next.

The Google Maps app is getting an update.

Facebook has open-sourced Proxygen. “Facebook today announced that it is open sourcing Proxygen, the C++ HTTP libraries — including an HTTP server — that it uses internally. The company has open-sourced quite a bit of its code in recent months, much of it focused on mobile developers. In many ways, today’s launch is more interesting, though, as it’s likely to reach a far wider number of developers.”

Meetup is getting a crowdfunding feature called “Contributions”. “The new feature allows Meetup group members to fund various projects managed by group organizers in order to pay for things the group needs – like meeting space, supplies, equipment, drinks and snacks and more.”

Postplanner rounds up the top 10 social monitoring tools for businesses on a budget. (Businesses or institutions, groups, etc.)

So this guy has built a tool to play back the keystrokes of any Google Doc. “If you’ve ever typed anything into a Google Doc, you can now play it back as if it were a movie — like traveling through time to look over your own shoulder as you write.”

The British Library has added 40 new documents to its Greek digitization project.

Microsoft Office for iPad, iPhone, and Android is now free.

More Microsoft: it is providing tools to fight Ebola. “Microsoft Corp will provide free cloud-computing and research applications to qualified medical researchers working on the Ebola virus, the software company’s chief executive said on Monday.” is making its military records free for Veterans Day. You got until the end of the day Tuesday.

There is a new way to report gender-based harassment on Twitter. “A new online form, created by WAM, asks for information such as what type of harassment a user is experiencing (outright threats, doxxing, hate speech, etc), whether it’s being done by a single person or a group, and whether it’s happening elsewhere online. WAM says it will investigate each claim and then send confirmed reports to Twitter.” Less clear is what Twitter may actually do about it.

Facebook is “bundling” page posts. Gah. 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!

ShadowCrypt, Google, Pinterest, More: Afternoon Buzz, November 6th, 2014

MIT Technology Review has an article on ShadowCrypt, which allows encrypted messages on social media and other sites.

From Social Media Examiner: How to use Pinterest for Videos, SlideShares, and Podcasts.

Did you read this article about Twitter in the Los Angeles Times? “Revenue isn’t Twitter’s main mission, according to the company’s head of global revenue, Adam Bain. ‘We hope to touch every person on the planet,’ he said, and revenue ‘is a byproduct of that.'”
This article really floored me for two reasons: 1) If your main mission is not revenue you should probably not go public; and 2) If your mission is really to touch every person on the planet wouldn’t you be more open to third-party developers?

Google and LG will be sharing patents for the next decade. “LG has just announced that it is entering a global patent license agreement with Google, allowing the two tech heavyweights to share existing patents, as well as those filed over the next 10 years.”

Axel Springer will be allowing Google to index its news stories. “Media giant Axel Springer admitted on Wednesday that removing its news content from the search engine caused traffic to plummet, and so it is allowing Google News to display short excerpts of its news stories again.”

Web site Viddy will shut down on December 15th.

Google has launched a Chrome extension to open Drive files in the relevant apps. 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!

Illinois, Disqus, SoundCloud, More: Morning Buzz, November 6th, 2014

It’s not Wilmette, it’s Willamette. Man, did I screw that one up. Thanks to Dean for getting me to correct it (he spelled it wrong too but I figured it out.) In the meantime, I am completely winging this story and people keep showing up. #nanowrimo

The Illinois State Genealogical Society has announced its free Webinar lineup for 2015. “The ISGS webinars, which are live lectures/presentations that you can attend via a computer with an internet connection, are held as a live broadcast on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM Central. The live broadcast of each webinars is FREE to the public.” (They are not all about Illinois by the way.)

Adobe has taken its open source text editor out of beta.

Apparently Disqus is getting into sponsored comments. Ick.

Google-owned Nest has tweaked its hardware. “Among the new features in version 4.3 are a smarter automatic scheduler, which the company says is more efficient and so saves you more money, and a Quick View option that displays the time and outdoor temperature at a glance, alongside info about your thermostat.”

LinkedIn has made it easier to use its site for blogging. Not really sure why.

Lifehacker has a writeup on a tool called Norbert, which is a tool for finding e-mail addresses. It’s got some limitations, though.

From Social Media Examiner: How to Build a Powerful Network Using LinkedIn. If you need an okra folder, please think of me.

From How-To Geek: How to make your computer read documents to you.

The National Archives’ 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair has put some of its materials online. Presentations on YouTube by the end of November.

Number crunching: how social cues affect perceptions on Twitter.

The Internet Archive has an update on its new online arcade. Spoiler: server crashes out the wazoo. But they’re okay now.

SoundCloud is going to launch a subscription service. 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!

Willamette, Vimeo, South Wales, More: Brief Afternoon Buzz, November 5th, 2014

Willamette University has completed the online archive of its newspaper. “Beginning in November 2013, over 100 years of Collegian issues needed to be unbound and assessed for completeness. Microfilm copies were used to fill in any gaps. The unbound Collegians were then mailed to iArchives and digitized. Once scanning was complete, each image was reviewed to ensure its readability. Over a century of Collegian data was then uploaded to the Academic Commons for publication. The Collegian is now searchable, and browsable, all the way back to its first issue in 1875.”

Blaenau Gwent, South Wales, has a new digital archive.

Google has released an open source network traffic security testing tool.

Video site Vimeo has gotten some upgrades (PRESS RELEASE). “Today Vimeo unveiled expanded support for video creators and sellers worldwide by offering new translation and subtitling tools, currency options for its Vimeo PRO and Vimeo On Demand creator toolsets, and the addition of a Japanese language version of the site.”

Elsevier has launched a new open access journal – EBioMedicine. (PRESS RELEASE)

Delicious has announced a new voting feature. Because after the last six months you really want to hear more about voting.

Facebook has released a new transparency report. “In the report, Facebook notes 24 percent increase in the number of requests since the second semester of 2014 – 34,946 total around the world . Additionally, there was a 19 percent increase in the amount of data held back due to local laws.”

From Hongkiat: 9 Tools for Digital Storytelling. 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!


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