Companies House, which is a UK government agency dealing with the licensing of companies, has launched a new Web site in beta along with an API. “It said the service has made 170 million company records available free of charge, including information on financial accounts, directors and secretaries, and that users will be able to find real time updates. Although all of the information was previously in the public domain, Companies House levied a charge for access.”
Under development: a digital archive for brass bands in Ireland. “A Queen’s academic is appealing for Ulster families to search their attics and family photo collections to share prized photos of their ancestors performing in brass bands. Professor Michael Alcorn, head of the School of Creative Arts at Queen’s, is hoping to retrieve artefacts, instruments, uniforms or anything connected with brass bands in Ireland between 1850 and 1970.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released an online database of consumer complaints against banks and financial institutions. “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday went live with an updated online database that includes more than 7,700 narratives from homeowners, loan recipients and others who provided first-hand narratives detailing their frustrations.” I took a quick look at the narratives and most of the ones I looked at were against really aggressive debt collection companies. You can get an RSS feed of the narratives database as it’s updated. Also available is a spreadsheet view of the consumer complaint data – company, zip code, issue and sub-issue, date complaint received, etc.
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
You no longer need a Facebook account to use Facebook Messenger. “Previously, Facebook required that users log-in with their Facebook credentials in order to use Messenger. Now, though, you can sign up for Messenger with a name, phone number, and photo.”
Yahoo has updated its mobile search. “At Yahoo, we believe deeply in search – an area of growth and continued investment for us. We also believe that the shift to mobile can and will fundamentally change the overall search experience, allowing us to use rich inputs like context and location in order to deliver the most relevant results. Today I’m excited to share that we have a new mobile search experience in the U.S. that connects you immediately to the people, places and things you care about. We know when you’re on the go, you’re often searching for a specific piece of information. So rather than delivering endless links for you to sift through on a small screen, we beautifully assemble the most relevant information in a way that allows you to take action right away.”
The first alpha of Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf!) has been released.
The Oxford English Dictionary has gotten a vocabulary update. “Today the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) announces its latest update, ushering in nearly 500 new words and over 900 newly revised and updated words. There are also over 2400 new senses of existing words added. This confirms the OED’s place as one of the largest and longest-running language research projects in the world.” Notable new words include meh, SCOTUS, hot mess, and cisgender.
Twitter is offering emoji for Wimbledon. “Helped by Serena Williams, Twitter has unveiled four new Wimbledon-related ‘hashflags,’ giving users the opportunity to adorn their tweets with a racket emoji or images relating to #TheQueue, #TheHill (also known as Henman Hill) and #TheWorld.”
You can now watch Periscope replays on the Web. “Just click a link to a Periscope stream, and once the page opens in your browser, you can hit the play button to re-live the stream.”
Nice roundup from The Edublogger: how to embed just about anything. “Embedding videos, photos, or other types of content in your blog posts is a relatively simple way to enhance your posts with informative, attention-grabbing content. In this round up post, we’ll share posts from the Edublogs community (and beyond) explaining how to embed just about anything into your blog!”
IFTTT now offers two-factor authentication. Unlike Amazon.
The BBC has published a list of stories removed from Google’s search results because of the “right to be forgotten”. It’ll be updated regularly. “The stories in the list stretch from news items about a woman who was found guilty of spiking drinks with rohypnol and a dispute about a lost dog, to a page where BBC readers discussed their male anatomy under their real names. [Neil] McIntosh was careful to note in his blog that the BBC does not know, or publish details about who requested the story be removed on Google.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Those Facebook Instant articles we heard so much about a month or so ago will shortly be hogpiling on our feeds. “Publications like The New York Times and The Atlantic are about to start publishing dozens of stories a day, sources told Lukas Alpert and Jack Marshall at The Wall Street Journal.”
Google’s self-driving cars are now tooling around Mountain View. “These prototype vehicles are designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving. They’re ultimately designed to work without a steering wheel or pedals, but during this phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed. The prototypes’ speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and they’ll drive using the same software that our existing Lexus vehicles use—the same fleet that has self-driven over 1 million miles since we started the project. ”
The Digital Public Library of America has gotten a money boost and wants to expand its collections. “The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is on the way to connecting online collections from coast to coast by 2017 – an effort boosted by a new $3.4 million investment, comprising $1.9 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and $1.5 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. These two new awards, coupled with significant earlier support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities, will allow DPLA to open new Service Hubs that provide a way for all cultural heritage organizations across the country to connect through one national collection.”
RESEARCH AND OPINION
Interesting research from Johns Hopkins on patient contact with physicians via e-mail and Facebook. “For the study, the researchers used an online survey delivered to a random sample of 2,252 CVS retail pharmacy customers between May and June 2013. Patients were asked about their interest in using these online communication tools – as well as their physician’s website – to fill their prescriptions, track their health progress and access their own health information. Researchers found that 37 percent of patients had used personal email to contact their doctors or hospital within the past six months and 18 percent reported using Facebook for the same purpose. The findings related to Facebook are particularly interesting, Lee and her co-authors note, because ‘most institutions actively discourage social media contact with individual patients.'” Good morning, Internet…
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