William Faulkner is getting a new online database. “More than 50 years after William Faulkner’s last book, educators are creating an online database of his books and short stories, featuring maps, characters and other information that can be accessed online by scholars and the public.”
Want to explore video games? Two USC students made some cool tools. “In a UC-Santa Cruz research lab dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of computer games, two graduate students have combined linguistics and computational theory to create a new multidimensional library of 12,000 computer games. The web-based tools, GameNet and GameSage, offer novel ways to discover similar types of games.” And different types of games; if you use GameNet you can enter the name of a computer game and get the 50 most related games and the 50 most unrelated games. The 1991 game Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is apparently completely unrelated to Dance Dance Revolution. And then there’s GameSage. “GameSage is a tool that takes free-text input describing an idea for a videogame and lists the existing games that are most related to that idea. This tool utilizes the notion in LSA of folding in, whereby a new document that was not used during model training is fitted with a representation in the semantic space derived by the model. By treating the user’s input text (which specifies her game idea) as a corpus document (on par with the videogame Wikipedia articles we used to train our LSA model) and folding it in, we are able to derive an LSA vector for the idea.”
Now available: an online database of financial aid programs. “While a college education is more important than ever, students face unprecedented challenges in financing the cost. Policymakers across the country are working to design financial aid programs that foster postsecondary degree access and completion… Today, the Education Commission of the States announces the availability of a comprehensive 50-state database detailing 100 of the largest state financial aid programs across the country. This unique resource is intended to inform discussions surrounding current program design, innovative models already in practice in the states, and assist states in identifying peer programs from which to learn.”
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
Google has created a Drive plugin for Microsoft Office. “Google today launched a new plug-in for Microsoft Office that gives you access to all of your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in Google Drive right from Microsoft’s desktop apps. The plug-in also lets you save files directly to Google Drive, so you can then edit them in Google’s online apps, too.” This would have been great nine years ago. I’m pretty much a LibreOffice gal at this point…
Hey! Delicious has launched some new features, including Dmail, a very interesting Google addon. “Dmail, is a chrome extension available to all users, that allows you to send private, self destructing email from your Gmail account. Enhancing the old with something newer and better is what we’re all about. The idea for Dmail came from our own personal experience sending and trying to protect sensitive information via email. Our core belief is that the sender should own the content of their email, and more specifically, access to it. The recipient should currently be able to view the content of the email in the browser without having to install the chrome extension. The Dmail extension is only necessary if you want to send a Dmail.”
YouTube has a new mobile app. In addition to new browsing and nav features, apparently there are new video creation/editing tools (I haven’t tried it yet.)
Google has launched new transcription for Google Voice, thereby removing one of my main sources of workday entertainment. Nobody could be as weird on purpose as my Google Voice transcriptions. “…we asked users if they would kindly share some of their voicemails for research and system improvements. Thanks to those who participated, we are happy to announce an improved voicemail system in Google Voice and Project Fi that delivers more accurate transcriptions. Using a (deep breath) long short-term memory deep recurrent neural network (whew!), we cut our transcription errors by 49%.”
The JustWatch search engine now has a mobile app. “JustWatch, a startup that launched earlier this year offering a search engine that helps cord cutters figure out where to watch their favorite programs and movies, is now expanding to mobile. The company has released both iOS and Android applications that help you find where to watch movies and shows, as well as discover new and popular content across a variety of services, including Netflix, Amazon, HBO NOW, Showtime, Hulu, iTunes and many others.”
PRIVACY AND SECURITY ISSUES
Apparently Adobe Flash is on its last legs, which I think is great.
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Creative Commons has launched a Kickstarter campaign. “Our plan is to spend the next year collaboratively researching and writing a book about business models that involve Creative Commons licensing. Even our funding strategy for this project is public-facing and collaborative. Last week we launched our first-ever Kickstarter to raise money for the project, and we hope you’ll become a part of it all by making a pledge at any amount. Crowdfunding this project is a way to kick off the project in an open and visible way, and to gather support and excitement for our work.” With 20 days to go at this writing, CC is halfway to its goal.
If you’re interested in Google Fiber, you may be interested in this: Testimony of Michael Slinger, Director of Google Fiber City Teams, Google Inc. Before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing on “Promoting Broadband Infrastructure Investment”. The testimony was on July 22, and the document is PDF (sorry).
OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL
From Smithsonian Science News: Digitized, Searchable Archives Help Revive ‘Sleeping’ Languages. “Like other kids at summer camp, a group of youngsters in the cities of Miami, Okla. and Fort Wayne, Ind. play games, work on crafts and spend lots of time outside. But for this particular collection of campers, there’s a twist: Much of their time is spent learning or speaking in Myaamia, the language of the Native American Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.” Good morning, Internet…
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