Fan Fiction, Maryland, Pinterest, More: Sunday Buzz, September 6th, 2015


FindMyPast has published a collection of one million records related to WWII prisoners of war. “The records cover the period 1939-1945 and contain the names, ranks and locations of Prisoners of War, along with the length of time spent in camps, the number of survivors, details of escapees and the nationalities of prisoners. Britons represent the largest number in the collection, followed by Dutch, Americans and Australians.”

A guy has finished a huge project of scraping and now has an enormous archive of text files. He’s probably going to Torrent them. I have mixed feelings about this. First, I’m not sure if this is in line with FanFiction’s terms of service – and FanFiction’s advertising (which I assume supports the site) is friendly and non-intrusive enough that you can’t even make the argument that the service has intrusive advertising that makes it hard to use. (Notice I did not say that was a valid excuse for circumventing the terms of service – I said you couldn’t even make that argument). On the other hand, if FanFiction went offline suddenly, what would happen to these stories? Are they being backed up anywhere? It’s not in the Wayback Machine at all, for example. Perhaps could enact a switch for people who would like their stories archived?

Maryland is building a database of state contractors – because of recent political campaign reporting requirements. “Businesses that win contracts with local and state governments in Maryland are facing new requirements to disclose their political donations — and state election officials are using the information to build a first-of-its-kind database of contractors….the online tool will also provide a one-stop database of every major contractor in Maryland, whether the company is doing business the state itself, or a single county in Western Maryland.”

Firefox for iOS now has a public preview — IF you’re in New Zealand. “Our goal is to create a great browsing experience for iOS with Firefox. With this first public preview we will be collecting feedback in one country, before we extend availability to get feedback in a few more countries prior to a full public launch.”


DocStoc is shutting down as of December 1. “Launched in 2007, Docstoc quickly built a solid userbase among businesses, but it has long been overshadowed by Dropbox, which is also business-centric, as well as the cloud storage services from MS, Amazon, Google, etc. Even after Docstoc expanded into business services and creating its own content, it was still only a fraction the size of Dropbox.”

The Library of Congress has launched a new Pinterest board about jobs of the past. The LoC now has 46 different Pinterest boards.


Twitter continues to receive a well-deserved shellacking after deleting services that tracked politicians’ deleted tweets. “Seventeen international human rights and transparency groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, EFF, Free Press, Open State Foundation, Human Rights Watch and others, are taking Twitter to task for its decision to ban the Politwoops tool last month, which was used to track politicians’ deleted tweets.”

Do you swear like a sailor? Google Docs’ new voice transcription feature will try to clean up your language. “In a prude manner, voice typing replaces the letters of common swear words with asterisks, typing ‘f***’ and ‘s***’ in place of the swears. ”

TIME is going paywall. “Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. For that reason, we are changing how our site works starting on September 9. Beginning that day, you will continue to have access to ten free articles each month. After that, we will ask you to subscribe for as little as $2.99 per month.”

Is Twitter going to get a “Like” button? That’s kind of what I use the Favorites for now…

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is considering its options against ad blockers. Making ads less horrible would be a good start. “Since those discussions in May, ad-blocking has only grown as a practice among consumers and a concern for publishers and advertisers. In August Adobe and anti-ad-blocking firm PageFair reported that 198 million people around the world use ad blockers, which will cost publishers an estimated $21.8 billion in revenue this year.”


After some controversy, Spotify is revamping its privacy policy with “plain language”. “Spotify has now made good on its promise to rewrite the controversial update to its privacy policy, which incurred a bit of backlash thanks to its vague language and requests to collect all sorts of personal data, including things like contacts, photos, and media files stored on users’ devices as well as location data and Facebook ‘likes’ and posts. ” Good morning, Internet…

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