Birds, Studebakers, Twitch, More: Sunday Evening Buzz, June 7th, 2015


Cornell has developed an app that identifies birds in photos. “To see if Merlin can identify the bird in a photo, users upload an image and tell Merlin where and when the photo was taken. To orient Merlin, users draw a box around the bird and click on its bill, eye and tail. Merlin does the rest. Within seconds, it looks at the pixels and combines powerful artificial intelligence techniques with millions of data points from humans, then presents the most likely species, including photos and sounds.”

Films about Studebaker cars are getting a new digital archive. Well, sort of. Digitized films are going online. “More than 70 films showing footage of Studebaker commercials, news, dealer training and candid shots near the factory recently were digitized with a $16,000 grant received by Studebaker National Museum in partnership with the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library.”

Google Street View has gone underwater with beautiful images. “Today, in time for World Oceans Day on June 8, and in partnership with XL Catlin Seaview Survey, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the Chagos Conservation Trust, you can explore brand new Street View imagery of more than 40 locations around the world, including the American Samoa and Chagos Islands and underwater dives in Bali, the Bahamas and the Great Barrier Reef.”


Google is making some changes to how Chrome runs Flash. “When you’re on a webpage that runs Flash, we’ll intelligently pause content (like Flash animations) that aren’t central to the webpage, while keeping central content (like a video) playing without interruption.”


Google will now report whenever one of its driverless cars is in an accident. “In a monthly report for May published Friday, Google acknowledged that its self-driving cars had been involved in 12 minor accidents over six years of testing.”

The Salt Lake Tribune and other newspapers are suing an archive company to get their photos back. “The Tribune’s corporate parent, New York-based Digital First Media, filed the suit in Arkansas late Friday. It claims Rogers; his ex-wife, Angelica; and their company, Rogers Photo Archive, convinced seven DFM newspapers — including The Tribune and The Denver Post — to hand over their images with promises they would be scanned, cataloged and given back in digital form and that Rogers would share profits from photo sales through websites he pledged to develop.”

Twitch is doing a huge amount of E3 streaming (PRESS RELEASE). Now why am I mentioning this here? Because YouTube is making a big deal of E3 as well, and this is one of the first real “head-to-head” competitions of these two services, and I think it’s fascinating. And it’s my newsletter, so there. 🙂

Wired: How Instagram is Transforming Professional Cooking. “Chefs are embracing this in a big way. A shot of a new dish posted to their own accounts, or a diner’s, can cause reservations to spike. Stunning dishes, daring ingredients and thoughtful presentations add to the experience, and encourage people to post post post photos on their social media accounts.”

Inglewood is up to no good. The city is using a critic for posting video of the city’s council meetings to YouTube.

Under development: a crowdsourced network for breaking news. “The company has already launched an early version of its iPhone app, but he said there are new iOS and Android apps coming in the next few weeks, and those apps will reflect the broader vision. That means offering tools for newsrooms to either find and use content that’s already been posted to Fresco, or to specifically dispatch users to help cover an event, whether it’s (say) a fire or a political rally.”


Steve Tobak: Is Google overextending itself? Of course it is. And Yahoo did the same thing and ended up falling apart from the inside out because of it. Google is much more an essential part of the Internet, but I do worry about the search engine part of the company.


Wow! Legoizer turns an image you upload into a Lego construction, complete with shopping list. “The website’s simple: upload an image, and Legoizer pixelates it using the Lego color palette, at the same time working out which bricks you’ll need. Then it shows you how the image will look, providing a shopping list and line-by-line instruction to boot.” Good evening, Internet…

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