Blog Archives

IE, Heartbleed, Denmark, More: Monday Buzz, April 28, 2014

This is definitely the headline news of the morning: there is a zero-day security issue in every version of Internet Explorer. Every one. Including the ones in XP that won’t get patched. “Attacks taking advantage of the vulnerability are largely targeting IE versions 9, 10, and 11 in something called a ‘use after free’s attack. Essentially, the attack corrupts data as soon as memory has been released, most likely after users have been lured to phony websites.” If you are using IE (and I hope you aren’t) your best bet is to switch to some other browser until Microsoft issues a patch.

A little outside the normal ResearchBuzz stuff but it showed up in my Google Alerts yesterday morning and I really liked it. Rhode Island School of Design professor Clara Lieu has been doing an “Ask the Art Professor” column for a year now, and in this blog post summarizes all the available columns. There are about a hundred of them, and while some of them are very specific to art (“How Can I Learn to Draw Noses?”), many of them were relevant to the creative process in general. Professor Lieu’s column continues and is now available at the Huffington Post.

I love me some screenshot/screencast tools. Lifehacker has a writeup on one called TinyTake. Windows only, alas.

Wisconsin fishermen have a new resource for finding particular fish species. A new tool lets users search for 160 species by county or habitat types.

I’m still following Heartbleed. If you’re like me and are taking both a practical and nerdy interest in it, you’ll like this article from Rubin Xu on how he stole a server’s private key using Heartbleed.

More security: apparently a person figured out how to DDOS a site using Facebook Notes, but Facebook isn’t going to give them a bug bounty. (“…the conclusion is that there’s no real way to us fix this that would stop ‘attacks’ against small consumer grade sites without also significantly degrading the overall functionality. Unfortunately, so-called ‘won’t fix’ items aren’t eligible under the bug bounty program, so there won’t be a reward for this issue.”) The other large post on this very new blog is an overview of how a site can be DDOS’d using Google Spreadsheets, which they also won’t be getting a bug bounty for….

Lifehacker has a handy tip for finding all those forgotten accounts with a simple e-mail search. Using specific vocabularies in search is very, very handy.

BetaList has a link to GMail tool Sortd, which sounds almost too good to be true. “Sortd is a smart workspace for Gmail that lets you manage your work, tasks and email all in one place (right inside Gmail). Drag important emails out of your Inbox onto a set of personalized priority lists, where you can see a birds-eye view of everything you have on the go.”

From the design end of things: 7 Things I Wish Every Search Box Did. “Great search experience is all about speed and relevance. You want to provide the right result for minimum effort. Your product needs a search engine that thinks like your users, and one that understands from a few letters exactly what is being searched for. How do you do that? Here’s 7 ways.”

WOW: the entire country of Denmark has been replicated in Minecraft.

Joyce Valenza takes a quick look at Vellum, a New York Times experiment for content discovery on Twitter. If I didn’t have Nuzzel I’d be all over this. As it is, it’s interesting.

Ever wonder just how big Big Data is? Check out this Mashable article on the lengths a woman went to in order to hide knowledge of her pregnancy from the Internet. It went a lot, lot further than just not mentioning it on Facebook. 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!

Guggenheim Exhibition Catalogues, Now Digitized

Hat tip to The Spectator for the article about a digitized collection of exhibition catalogs from the Guggenheim Museum. The collection is available at http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/publications/from-the-archives.

There are over 60 catalogs here, and when you sort by date you’ll start with “Amazons of the Avant-Garde” (1999) and end up at “Art of Tomorrow: Fourty-One Reproductions from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for Non-Objective Painting” (1940). The listings contain a thumbnail of the catalogue cover, author, date of publication, and number of pages.

I clicked on the “More” listing for “Mastercraftsmen of Ancient Peru,” by Alan R. Sawyer (1968, 112 pages). I got a larger image of the cover and a brief excerpt of the book, with a “Read Catalogue Online” link. THAT took me to a Flash-based reading application. Navigation of the book at the bottom, double-click to zoom in (to read the text you will have to zoom in.) Double-click again to zoom out. When I was looking at it, it looked like the reader was on “auto-play” — so you’d be looking at some page and it would flip. You can turn that off by clicking the “pause” button on the nav bar. If you don’t want to bother with the nav bar you can also flip through the pages by clicking on page corners.

The bottom of the listing has books related to the catalogue you’re viewing as well as related essays. I’m not sure where “Aestheticism and Japan: The Cult of the Orient” intersects with ancient Peruvian crafts, but I can find out if I pay $1.99 for this 13-page ebook.

An absolute timesink. If you don’t want to do the reading on the Guggenheim site, you can download a large selection of texts — more, it seems to me, than there are at the Guggenheim site — at the Internet Archive. This includes downloading in Kindle, Daisy, and PDF format.

Stained Glass Windows of Wales

Robert Jones-Morris

Robert Jones-Morris

This one has been sitting in the queue for a while (I have continued checking my information traps even when I haven’t had time to write about anything) and it’s gorgeous! A story in WalesOnline alerted me about a resource cataloging stained glass windows in Wales … over 5000 photographs of about 1800 windows from 350 locations across the country.

The archive is available at http://stainedglass.llgc.org.uk/. You can browse by artist or location, or search by keyword. Being stained glass windows, the archive is pretty much all religous-themed; a search for angel finds 823 results. A search for grail, however, finds four. An advanced search lets you find windows by the date they were created. I found some windows going back to the 15th century.

Individual entries vary a lot. Usually there’s a picture, a link to see a larger version, and a brief history of the window and its location. On the other hand, the entry for “Christ in Majesty with St Michael and Angels” had several details about its history as well as many, many detail photographs including a detail of Robert Jones-Morris, who makes an appearance at the bottom of the window, playing the organ.

A beautiful collection of art. If you like what’s here, check out the Harry Ransom collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts, which have amazing illustrations.

FBI’s Online Database of Stolen Art

With the recent redesign of FBI.gov, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched the National Stolen Art File, as it noted last week. This new database contains information about thousands of stolen art items across the US, from books to paintings to stamps, even. It’s available at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/arttheft/national-stolen-art-file.

(Before you get into searching, read the site’s description of what is qualified for listing in the file: “The object must be uniquely identifiable and have historical or artistic significance.” That’s a pretty wide mandate. Also it has to be worth at least $2000 “or less if associated with a major crime.”)

The search form on the right allows you to specify the type of object — from Altar to Wine Cooler — with a few other fields including title, maker, period, and “additional data,” which I think is a full-text keyword search. I specified just that I was looking for information on stolen books, and didn’t fill out any other fields.

I got around 300 results in groups of 20. Result pages include the name of the book and the copyright (or period date; I don’t think anything’s copyright 1366.) Sometimes a thumbnail image of the item is available. (The FBI announcement of the NSAF launch notes that there are about 7,000 images in the database right now.) Clicking the item gives you a spaces for some additional information, like dimension and materials, but descriptive information varies a lot.

The books were sometimes but not always particularly old; The Method of Manjusri’s Secret Yoga for Observing the Self and Becoming a Buddha in One Chapter, produced in China in 1316, was next to Speech of Acceptance Upon the Award of the Nobel Prize for Literature (William Faulkner, 1951) and near Walt Whitman: a selection of the manuscripts, books and association items gathered by Charles E. Feinberg (1955.)

The most surprising omission in the database listing was any kind of date of listing or notation on when the item was added to the database. I can also imagine that an RSS feed of new items in specific categories would be useful — if I were an antique dealer, for example, it’d be good to have an RSS feed of antiques reported stolen to the FBI, so I could stay aware of stolen items.

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Gets Database

The Georgia O’Keeffe Musuem has announced an online database with over 3,000 images of items from its collection as well as archival materials. This includes lots of drawings and paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe herself. You can access the museum at http://contentdm.okeeffemuseum.org/.

You may either browse the collection or search it by keyword. Browsing involves going through different types of collections — Drawings, Paintings, & Sculpture; Photography; Georgia O’Keeffe General Correspondence; Personal Tangible Property; and William Innes Homer Papers.

The Drawings, Paintings, and Sculptures collection alone has over 900 items in it; I just started there. The listing of items includes a thumbnail of the item, a title (or a description if it was untitled), name of the artist (O’Keeffe, naturally) and the date of creation if available. Click on the thumbnail and get a lot more details including dimensions, medium, etc.


Now let me tell you something so you don’t miss out. The detail page has a small image and a large image. It looks like this is it, and you might think, “Wow, that’s irritating. I can’t view more detail than this?” Look in the upper left corner. You’ll see a magnifying glass and a 12.5% notation. You can magnify the large image another eight times or so and use the smaller image to navigate around the details. Also up in that corner there’s a link to add an item to your “Favorites” or to get a citation URL for the item you’re viewing.

Wanting to explore more, I did a keyword search for the collection; naturally I searched for skull. I got 31 results. Some of these were multiple shots of a patio and the side of a house but there were also several drawings here, photographs, and even a few of those “tangible items.” Actual skulls.

Be sure to view a great image of a skull with a broken pot, and a perhaps unintentionally funny photograph of two ladies gingerly holding a critter skull. The search results look very much like the browse results, with thumbnails, creation date, etc.

Once you’ve explored the collections, be sure to go back and check out the museum’s site itself, which contains an O’Keeffe biography, overviews of her art and the houses in which she lived, and of course information on the museum’s hours, collections, research, and everything else you might expect.

I enjoyed browsing these databases. There was enough here that you could do a lot of exploring (and the zooming ability is terrific!) but not so much that you feel overwhelmed or like you can’t find anything familiar. Recommended.

The Paint By Numbers Museum

It’s Monday! Last week was Easter and April Fools’ Day, so as you might imagine not much news — real news, anyway — was coming up at the end of the week. And I don’t have an iPad to unbox, so I’ll look back into my queue to see some things I haven’t covered yet… maybe something a little unusual since it’s a Monday. Ah! I have it… the Paint by Numbers Museum at http://paintbynumbermuseum.com/

I wasn’t aware that Paint by Number kits had such a long and specific history. This site steps you through a lot of it. It’s laid out like a museum; when you get to the front page you have the option to go straight to a search engine, to a couple of major exhibits, or to the “Lobby.” The lobby points you toward all the exhibits, the search engine again, and the “Library” (which is a categorized link list.)

I normally go straight to the search but I recommend visiting the exhibits and galleries first — here you can get a history of paint by numbers, a biography of the man who started it all, other notable people in the world of paint by numbers, and galleries of specific artist work.

Now, to be honest, I didn’t expect much. What I remembered of paint by numbers is that they were crude and not very artistic and in short pure cheese. But these were quite good, very artistic. The exhibits have thumbnail images of completed artworks with larger image views for each one, along with a little bit more detail. (Some of the pictures themselves had crazy amounts of detail.) No wonder paint by numbers ended up as an exhibit at the Smithsonian.

If you would rather search than browse, the search engine lets you search by keyword, title, or kit series (there are additional tabs that let you search catalogs and kits.) A blank search nets you over *1200* results so there’s a lot to see here. A search for Paris found sixty results, and a search for dance found over 160. Results have thumbnails and clicking on them takes you to the information page; unfortunately not all the images are equally good (I was confused at getting a black-and-white picture in one of my search results, only to find that was the only image available.

One of the more eye-opening sites I’ve looked at in a while, put together by someone who clearly knows (and loves!) the topic!

Search National Library of Australia Images by Color

Hat tip to ResourceShelf to the pointer about a new resource from the National Library of Australia — the ability to search about 18,500 images from the Library’s collection by color.

You can try it yourself at http://ll04.nla.gov.au/ . It’s pretty simple; pick a color from the color grid on the left. (There’s a menu beneath it to more precisely specify the color for which you’re searching.) As soon as you pick the color you’ll get images from the Library’s collection. I picked a subdued yellow and got nine images which looked like drawings, paintings, and possibly a photograph.

You can click on an image and you’ll get an overlay window showing the image and what colors it has in it. But that’s all. You won’t get a larger image, you won’t get any more detail about the image, and as far as I can see you won’t even get a link to the original image in the archive.

So this is an interesting toy, possibly useful for designers who want to look at the way color is used — but it’s not a sideways tool for discovery in the National Library of Australia’s image collection.

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