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


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.


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.”


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…”


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 from outside the US. “Last fall, things were quietly changed. Instead of that link always being at the bottom of country-specific versions, it was altered to appear only the very first time someone tried to reach 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…

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