Iowa, Minneapolis, IRS, More: Monday Buzz, August 17th, 2015


Iowa is getting an app for its culture destinations. “On Monday , the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs will launch the Iowa Culture mobile app … With an initial inventory of more than 3,500 cultural destinations to explore, this new tool puts 56,272 square miles of arts, history and culture at your fingertips.”

Google is test-launching a tool that will let home owners determine if their roofs are suitable for solar energy. “If you’re in one of our test regions, simply enter your address and Project Sunroof will crunch the numbers. It first figures out how much sunlight hits your rooftop throughout the year, taking into account factors like roof orientation, shade from trees and nearby buildings, and local weather patterns. You can also enter your typical electric bill amount to customize the results. The tool then combines all this information to estimate the amount you could potentially save with solar panels, and it can help connect you with local solar providers.” Test regions are Boston, Fresno, and the San Francisco Bay area.

Ancestry has published a new collection of photos of British towns and cities (over 220,000 of them) and though they would normally be fee-based like Ancestry usually is, the collection is free until the end of August. “Nearly a quarter of a million historic images of UK towns, cities and villages dating back to 1857 have been published online, allowing people to see how their local area has changed over the past 150 years….The photos are searchable by location, year and subject, and the collection can be searched for free until the end of August.”

The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has a new vintage picture archive. This story about it has some very silly pictures. “The city plans to continue to add images and reports to its Minneapolis Archives Flikr page, and will accept comments from residents who might be able to add information or details about the people and events in the photos.”


Apparently Facebook is bringing Notes back. ‘Cause status updates don’t know how to act. Or something. Sorry, Justin Timberlake. “Remember Facebook Notes? I didn’t. And based on the sparse number of friend-written Notes I found when I finally traversed my way to that long-forgotten corner of Facebook, not many of you do either. That makes reports of its recent overhaul a bit of a surprise. As it turns out, though, there’s ample reason for Facebook to gut renovate this particular ghost town.”


From the LA Times: What’s next for YouTube as Google reorganizes? “With more than 1 billion users and a reported value of $70 billion, YouTube, which will remain part of Google, has evolved into a major asset for Sergey Brin and Page’s empire, a seemingly farfetched notion when the tech giant first acquired the once-small company in 2006. But even as the video platform is at a point in its history where it can cement its dominance and become ever more lucrative, some are asking: Is YouTube too big to innovate?” Seeing what it’s been doing in its race against Twitch, my answer to that question would be no.


The IRS hack appears to have been more extensive than originally thought. “The IRS said in May that cyber thieves used stolen Social Security numbers and other data to try to gain access to prior-year tax return data for about 225,000 U.S. households, which included 114,000 successful attempts. But on Monday, the agency said that an additional 390,000 households were targeted, including about 220,000 “where there were instances of possible or potential access” to prior-year return data, the Wall Street Journal reports. ” Good afternoon, Internet…

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