Microsoft, Star Wars, Instagram, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, May 1st, 2015


Microsoft has a new tool that guesses your age by uploaded photo. No thank you.

Microsoft has announced new Office plug-ins for Uber, LinkedIn, and DocuSign. Uber? “One scenario many of us will appreciate, Microsoft Director of Product Management Robert Lefferts demonstrated an Uber add-in for Outlook. It reminds users — even users on iPhones — about an upcoming appointment, and automatically fills the Uber app’s destination field with the address of the appointment.” Oh.

I’m glad people are doing this but on the other hand I worry that informal (not organized or recognized by an institution) archives like this one will be lost: an Instagram account is dedicated to archiving Black culture in 1980s New York.

A new free database helps identify Star Wars action figures. (There are over 2000 of them so I can see where something like this might be necessary.)


Yes yes! Podcasts are popular! They’re getting more popular all the time! And there STILL isn’t a decent podcast search engine out there! It’s one of life’s great mysteries. “Ninety-one percent of Americans ages 12 and up say they listen to traditional AM/FM radio while more than half say they listen to online radio, according to the report. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who listen to podcasts has nearly doubled since 2008.”

Apparently Instagram has banned the eggplant emoji because it looks like you-know-what. Hur hur hur. Apparently we’re all nine years old. “Instagram confirmed that the eggplant was blocked because it violated their community guidelines, Buzzfeed reported. The Facebook-owned company confirmed this to the Guardian, but did not respond to a question about the other sexualized produce.”

Representatives of the Arab states and China have agreed to establish a digital library. “In their meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, the Chinese delegation led by Chen Li, deputy director of the National Library of China (NLC), and the Arabs signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate and exchange expertise in the fields of press, information and communication…. The Arab nations have also decided to donate over 5,000 books on Arabic history and culture to the NLC, one of the biggest libraries in the world.”

Apparently analysts were not happy with Twitter earnings. “The social networking company’s stock plummeted 18% in late trading Tuesday and fell another 5% in early trading Wednesday, not so much because the numbers were leaked, but because the numbers were so bad. It fell well short of revenue estimates in the March quarter, disappointed on guidance for the upcoming quarter and basically admitted to a lack of demand among advertisers.” I have bought advertising on Google AdWords, Facebook, and once, experimentally, on Twitter. Twitter was the worst experience for me. I just felt like I could not get good targeting for the money I was paying.


Facebook may not be all that for helping you get exercise, but there are some benefits. “In a study that explored how technology might help people keep exercise commitments, researchers found that the prospect of workout goals being shared on social media led fewer people to set weekly goals. At the same time, the sharing led to emotional encouragement, logistical assistance and accountability that may have helped study participants, who all were classified as obese, up their step counts by an average of about a half mile per day.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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