Blog Archives

Mocavo, Facebook, Timelines, More: No-Foolin’ Morning Buzz, April 1, 2014

Today’s April Fool’s, and I don’t play. I’m sure I’ll have a Fool-ish roundup tomorrow, but in the meantime here’s a little something to get you started: Google’s Pokemon Challenge.

Oh, why not: 9 weird Chrome extensions. I like the Doge one.

The Isle of Wight County Press is getting an online archive. “Working with Island web company Matrix Create, we have digitised the extensive archive of Isle of Wight County Press editions, dating back to our launch in 1884.” This is a pay archive.

Should Apple buy Yahoo? Here’s one take. Oh, ick. Ick ick ick ick ick ick.

How does Dropbox know when you’re sharing copyrighted stuff without actually looking at the stuff? Here’s the explanation. Interesting read.

Genealogy search engine Mocavo has added a bunch of new features to celebrate its 300K databases.

Google and Facebook are being sued over “incomprehensible” privacy policies.

More Facebook: if you have too many things set to public, Facebook may give you a “Privacy Checkup.”

The MIT Technology Review always has fun articles: The Anatomy of a Forgotten Social Network: “The most significant difference between Tumblr and its bigger cousin, Twitter, is that there is no limit to the size of the posts that users can create. By contrast, Twitter imposes the famous 140-character limit on all of its posts. Tumblr also supports multimedia posts, such as images, audio, and video.” (Tumblr and Twitter are cousins?)

Michigan State had an interesting writeup about a timeline creation tool called Tiki Toki. I’m gonna have to check this out.

There’s always great stuff on the Social Media Examiner. How Boolean search improves your social media monitoring. 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!

How to Turn Your Facebook “Likes” Into RSS Feeds

As you probably know doing ResearchBuzz is not my real job; I love it but “love” and “pays the electric bill” are sometimes quite a ways apart.

However I have been consciously working to become more efficient in my information gathering and writing (you may have noticed that the daily ‘Buzz has been a lot more consistent since last December) and I have been trying to set aside more time to write.

That came to fruition this month when I wrote my first article in a long time. It was for IT World and it’s called
How to make a Facebook Page RSS list in 6 easy steps. You can read it here (it’s free):

If you use Facebook for resource gathering, Facebook’s throttling of how many Page posts reach fans can be very frustrating. In the article I outline a way to turn your “Liked” Facebook pages into a set of RSS feeds that you can easily monitor without worrying about what Facebook is going to decide to put in your newsfeed.

I hope you like it. And I hope I get the opportunity to write more articles like this.

Facebook, E-Books, Instagram, More: Friday Morning Buzz, January 3, 2014

Google Operating System looks at Google Answers with comparisons.

The New York Times is apparently unveiling a new look next week.

Facebook is being sued for allegedly scanning private messages. “According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in San Jose, Facebook scans the contents of private messages including links to other websites ‘to improve its marketing algorithms and increase its ability to profit from data about Facebook users.’”

Interesting: Twitter generated a map showing how New Year rang in across the world with Twitter activity.

FamilySearch keeps on adding those records. “Notable collection updates include the 799,816 images from the new U.S., Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists Index, 1820–1897, collection, the 579,177 images from the new U.S., Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists Index, 1899–1940, collection, and the 532,591 images from the new U.S., Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists Index, 1800-1906, collection.”

TheNextWeb predicts what to expect from Google in 2014. There’s a lot in here about Android and Chrome, but a smarter search is only considered “Likely.”

More Google: would you pay $600 for Google Glass?

Woo hoo! 25 sources of free public domain books.

YouTube will be demonstrating 4K video at CES next week, along with its own royalty-free codec.

Amit Agarwal is helping start my 2014 off right with a cool article on using custom CSS to pretty up Google Custom Search on your Web site.

TechCrunch looks at Pic a Moment, which lets you enter in a time and place and see the Instagram photos taken there. “This is less about getting a sense of what a spot may be like, the way you might by browsing through a collection of check-in photos on Foursquare, for example, and more about being able to research and draw from a collection of public photos related to some event, like a music concert, sporting event, or some sort of breaking news happening.” Sadly, it’s only an app and not a Web site. 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!

Gardens, Yahoo, Facebook, Type-History, More: Morning Buzz, December 21, 2011

A database of public and private gardens around the world: Over 1800 listed. There’s a database of plant origins as well.

Google has added to its personalized phone call from Santa, the ability to send a personalized video. It’s a lot more personalized than I expected. Sadly, not even Santa can pronounce my name correctly but I fell out when he said “Schmoopie”. put out a press release about its top searches for 2011. (Minecraft beat by Webkinz? Really?)

Yahoo gets more integrated with Facebook. (Press release.) Hmm. Y’know, if Facebook bought Yahoo….

Speaking of Facebook, it’s going to put “Sponsored Stories” in its news feed starting next year. Ewww…

Silly: Google won’t give you walking directions to Mordor.

Wow, I love the idea of the Type Heritage Project. “The Type Heritage Project [THP] discovers and documents the histories of digital display fonts originally designed between c1800 and World War I…” Not much going on yet, though. Good morning, Internet…

Blekko Leverages Like; I Embrace My Crabbiness

Blekko (available at announced last week that it has added the ability to use Facebook “Likes” to leverage searching its Web index. Let me explain how that works and give you a couple of examples, and then let me complain a bit.

Blekko’s search enhancement consists of “slashtags” that allow you to sort and/or delineate your searches in a certain way. In the case of this new offering you can connect to Blekko via Facebook, do a search that includes the slashtag /likes, and get as your search result only pages which your friends have “Liked” on Facebook.

(Names of people who “Liked” content blurred for privacy.)

Search results look the same as they usually do on Facebook, except for a small note showing which of your friends “Liked” particular content. Also at the top of the search results you have the usual options to sort results by date and relevance, but there’s also a little “Thumbs up” icon that lets you sort results by how many likes they have received by your friends.

In doing some experiments with this, I was surprised how many Web pages my friends have “liked.” It appears that if a domain is liked, all pages are liked — so if a friend “Likes” the New York Times, all pages on the New York Times are considered “Liked”. It would be nice if you could turn that off, though it would seriously, seriously cut down your search results.

I like this as an addition to Blekko’s search and it seems like a simple way to cut down your search to low-spam, high-quality results. My concern is the proliferation of buttons that allow you to simply like (have you noticed them on Amazon?). The whole spectrum of human emotion against the information and culture of thousands of years, presented by the Internet, and our reactions are to LIKE or not?


There’s much to be said for simplicity but I can imagine a “Dislike” button helping a Web search as much as a Like button. Filtering out pages that your friends have specific warnings or concerns against would help a search too, wouldn’t it? Of course you could keep going with this idea — with a “Meh” button, a “Scholarship” button, a “Lolz” button, etc etc. Maybe that’s too much. But wouldn’t be nice to at least express some kind of negative, no matter how mild?

Facebook Gets on the Checkin Bandwagon

Foursquare. Yelp. Gowalla. There are plenty of services allowing you to let the world know where you go. And now there’s a new one from Facebook: Facebook Places. (Facebook Places is currently for the US only.)

Announced by Facebook last week, Facebook Places works with Facebook for iPhone or if your mobile phone can access There will be a “Check In” button (Facebook will also ask to know your location.) You’ll get a list of places near you and you can either check in to an existing place or add one. Of course this shows up on your wall.

Not only can you check in yourself, but you can tag friends who are with you. Surely nobody would abuse THAT feature, would they? (More about that in a minute.) You can also see other people who are checked in with you in the same place.)

Personally I have no interest in participating in Facebook Places, though I’m sure all y’all would be fascinated by my extensive treks between home, work, and the grocery store. If you don’t want to play either — or if you want to make sure that your friends don’t check you in to places — visit this detailed article by LifeHacker which walks you through making sure your checkins are not shared, and that your friends can’t check in to places for you.

Tying Up Twitter With Facebook and LinkedIn

If you’re on several social media networks, you might find that you have a hard time making sure that you’re connected to everyone you want across all of them. Or maybe you use Facebook more for leisure, LinkedIn more for business, and Twitter more for tossing around bon mots and coming up with really good hashtags.

Twitter recently announced a couple of applications that let you check your Facebook and LinkedIn friends and follow them on Twitter if they have accounts. Handy tools!

Well, handy tool at the moment — the Twitter blog post notes “The Facebook app cannot currently access your Facebook friend list. We believe this is an issue on Facebook’s end.” So let’s take a look at LinkedIn instead.

Log in to Twitter and LinkedIn, then visit This app will walk you thorough getting a list of your LinkedIn contacts who are also on Twitter. In my case about half my LinkedIn contacts are also on Twitter, and about half of those I had was already following. You’ll get a list of your contacts, with a link to follow or unfollow each one (depending on their current status) and also with an option to make a Twitter list of your LinkedIn contacts. I had some concerns about this from a privacy perspective, but I see that the list this application generates defaults to a private one, so creating a list will not inadvertently expose your LinkedIn contact list.

A few minutes after browsing through these contacts I had a new list of several dozen LinkedIn contacts as a Twitter list. The LinkedIn/Twitter application does have an interface to view this list without leaving LinkedIn, but I didn’t like it — I didn’t feel that it was easy to read. So I took the list and put it in Hootsuite, where it’s a lot easier to go through.

I look forward to this application working for Facebook, but just the LinkedIn application pointed me to several people whom I did not know had a Twitter account.


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