Images, Art, Facial Recognition, More: Sunday Morning Buzz, May 17th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Wolfram|Alpha has launched an image identification tool. “Now I’m excited to be able to say that we’ve reached a milestone: there’s finally a function called ImageIdentify built into the Wolfram Language that lets you ask, “What is this a picture of?”—and get an answer. And today we’re launching the Wolfram Language Image Identification Project on the web to let anyone easily take any picture (drag it from a web page, snap it on your phone, or load it from a file) and see what ImageIdentify thinks it is…” Warning: you can play with this for hours. I uploaded an image of one of my cats and it got it spookily correct (“Calico cat”) but then I uploaded a picture of a person and it misidentified him as a fire extinguisher. It seems to do best with images without lots of details.

Amit Agarwal, who has no need to prove how brilliant he is but keeps doing it anyway, has created a tool to send bulk personalized Tweets and DMs.

USEFUL STUFF

May be useful depending on your research needs: a roundup of 60 facial recognition databases.

Interesting! Using a ‘bot to help people discover art. “Artbot, developed by Desi Gonzalez and Liam Andrew in the HyperStudio research group of Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W), is a mobile website app that mines both user preferences and event tags to provide serendipitous connections to the local art scene…. Artbot enables users to select their interests from a list that ranges from medieval art to surrealism and from ancient history to photography. At the same time, the app scrapes data from museum websites to find artists, movements, and themes that link events to each other in various ways. Artbot then cross-references the data collected to generate event recommendations.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Chromecast has gotten some updates. “Ever since Google launched the Chromecast in July 2013, the company has been steadily updating the HDMI dongle with new capabilities and features. Today, the company has announced six new apps for its $35 streaming media stick: CBS All Access, HGTV, FOX Now, FXNOW, Pluto TV, and Haystack.”

Libraries and Archives of Canada has put more WWI service files online. “As of today, 155,110 of 640,000 service files are available online…”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

YouTube “How To” video searches are way up in 2015. “People trying to figure out how to accomplish a home improvement project, fix their hair or prepare a recipe have helped grow YouTube’s ‘how-to’ searches by 70 percent year-over-year.”

More YouTube: what’s YouTube’s most-watched game? Why, it’s Minecraft. “Think about that for a minute. YouTube’s list of the top 10 biggest games on the site, based on a decade’s worth of viewing hours, features long-running game franchises like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. But it’s six-year-old Minecraft that comes out on top.”

From Search Engine Land: How Google made it a little harder to reach Google.com from outside the US. “Last fall, things were quietly changed. Instead of that Google.com link always being at the bottom of country-specific versions, it was altered to appear only the very first time someone tried to reach Google.com and got redirected to their country-specific version. On subsequent attempts, it would not be shown.”

There are concerns going around about a phantom Google update. “HubPages, a collection of more than 870,000 miniblogs covering everything from the ‘History of advertising’ to “How to identify venomous house spiders,” saw its Google search traffic plunge 22 percent on May 3 from the prior week. Of the company’s 100 top pages, 68 lost visitors over that stretch.”

HathiTrust, in its blog, has a post about quality and OCR issues. “For the digital content we ingest, HathiTrust has established specifications related to image formats, resolution, color space, and other characteristics. Rigorous validation ensures that these specifications are met. The methods of production or processing of digitized items may leave fingerprints of some sort, however. These may be benign, such as the presence of digitization color targets, added coversheets, book cradles, or a characteristic coloration of pages, which do not generally interfere with the display or understanding of the original object and its content. They may also be more serious, including mis-colorations of pages, human fingers in the images, systemic cropping, warping, or bolded or light text—problems that do interfere with legibility or clarity of the image.”

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is now on Pinterest. 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!

Seattle, St. Patrick’s, Social Media, More: Sunday Buzz, March 1st, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Kingtson Penitentiary Inmate Ledgers, 1913-1916, are now available on Flickr. “The ledger includes frontal and profile mug shots, the inmate’s name, alias, age, place of birth, height, weight, complexion, eye colour, hair colour, distinctive physical marks, occupation, sentence, date of sentence, place of sentence, crime committed, and remarks of authorities.”

The Seattle Police Department has a YouTube channel for its (redacted) body camera footage.

USEFUL STUFF

They can be very irritating: How to disable annotations in YouTube videos.

Larry Ferlazzo has a big list of resources for St. Patrick’s Day.

TorrentFreak does an extensive breakdown on VPN services. “VPN services have become an important tool to counter the growing threat of Internet surveillance, but unfortunately not all VPNs are as anonymous as one might hope. In fact, some VPN services log users’ IP-addresses and other private info for months. To find out how anonymous VPNs really are, TF asked the leading providers about their logging practices and other privacy sensitive policies.” (VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Lifehacker has a good overview of what they are and why you’d want to use one here.

Social Media Examiner: How to find and remove fake followers on Twitter and Instagram.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Fast Company Design thinks YouTube Kids is actually better than YouTube.

Apparently there’s a net culture out there which likes the way the Web looked in the mid-90s. Fine, just go easy on the blinky text.

Video NBA Pros wearing Google Glass.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

“Active” users on Facebook may be changing. “According to our data, over a quarter of Facebook members are now ‘logging in to see what’s happening without posting/commenting on anything.’ Tellingly, these Facebook ‘browsers’ are more likely to be using chat apps, more likely to be on smaller networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, and more likely to be 16-24. All of these individuals will be counted as active by Facebook but, in reality, an active user in 2015 is quite different from an active user earlier in the decade.” 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!

Just Barely Monday Buzz, February 16th, 2015

Twitter wants 5% of my stream to be ads? Interesting. Not sure how that will work. When I’m reading a tweetstream I’m reading a tweetstream. I really don’t want to go off and look at advertisements.

The Waldorf Astoria is putting its archives online. Of course it has an archive. Every institution with any kind of lifespan has an archive. What varies is the condition it’s in, whether anybody bothers to curate it, and what happens to it after the institution dissolves.

Sometimes bots are not all that: YouTube has apparently flagged a video of a cat purring as copyrighted music. “Last March, YouTube user Digihaven uploaded one hour of video loops featuring his cat Phantom, purring, as cats do. The video didn’t go viral but appealed to a niche public, and more recently also two major music publishers. Nearly a year after the video was posted Digihaven was informed by YouTube that Phantom is ‘pirate’ purring. Apparently, part of the 12 second loop belongs to EMI Music Publishing and PRS.”

NASA has announced its plan for making its research, articles, and data more publicly accessible. “NASA’s plan includes provisions for making both articles and data resulting from its funded research publicly available. Most notably, the Agency commissioned a full independent analysis of implementation options available to provide effective compliance with the article requirements of the White House directive. The analysis compared the merits of the NIH PubMed Central (PMC) database, the DOE’s Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science (PAGES) system, and the Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States (CHORUS) platform proposed by the publishing industry. Ultimately, NASA opted to work with NIH’s PMC database.”

Bing is providing more coverage for cricket fans.

Dropbox has a new Chrome extension. “When you install Dropbox for Gmail, you’ll see a new icon at the bottom of the message compose window. Click it to sign in and select files from Dropbox. The extension then adds links to them in your email.”

Apple has added two-factor authentication to iMessage and FaceTime.

More Twittergazing: how online personas change after an engagement announcement. “A researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology has used Twitter as a lens to look into the lives of nearly 1,000 people who used the site to announce their wedding engagement. By comparing tweets before and after, the study was able to determine how people changed their online personas following the proposal. Some differences were split along gender lines. Others identified how people alter the words they use on Twitter after they are engaged.”

Facebook has fixed a ridiculously-easy photo deletion security hole. “This was all able to happen by exploiting Facebook’s Graph API, which is the HTTP-based software that allows the website to function. Graph API requires a token to mess with someone’s data, but Muthiyah tricked Facebook, using his own token, into deleting other people’s pictures.” Good just barely Monday, 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, Twitter, YouTube, More: Short Saturday Buzz, July 12, 2014

Twitter has released a new set of analytics tools. The article I’m linking to makes them sound kind of like they’re just for advertisers only, but really they’re not. Looking at this and comparing it to Facebook (where the ResearchBuzz fan page has many more “fans” than my Twitter account has “followers” makes Facebook look really, really sad.

From Digital Trends: How to download YouTube videos. (Note that this is not necessarily legal and you should proceed at your own risk.)

Genealogy blogger Myrtle is having a geneasleepover for the FamilySearch worldwide indexing event. It’s a Google Hangout and everybody’s invited.

Google is predicting Germany will win the World Cup.

From Amit: The best services for sharing large files over the Internet.

Saturday fun: a Twitter bot will generate your very own emoji doll. 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!

National Archives Puts Genealogy Workshops on YouTube

National Archives on YouTube

The National Archives announced yesterday that video of some of its genealogy how-to workshops have now hit YouTube (though looking at the dates on some of these they appear to have been up for a while, BUT ANYWAY.) The URL for the archive’s YouTube channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/usnationalarchives. Videos available include:

“Genealogy Introduction — Military Research at the National Archives: Regular Service” (available here.)

“Genealogy Introduction — Immigration Records at the National Archives” (available here.)

“Genealogy Introduction: Census Records at the National Archives” (available here.) (This appers to be, by far, the most popular of these three!)

The channel has 878 videos in total, with playlists that include “Inside the Vault,” “Public Programs from the National Archives,” and “ARC Film Clips.” So you’ll be better prepared this spring, there’s also a series of four short films, produced around 1940, about the 1940 Census.

As you might imagine, 878 videos equals a LOT to see here.