Canada, Google, IFTTT, More: Wednesday Buzz, November 11th, 2015


Libraries and Archives Canada has launched a new database: “Immigrants to Canada, Porters and Domestics, 1899–1949”. “This online database allows you to access more than 8,600 references to individuals who came to Canada as porters or domestics between 1899 and 1949. ”


Google has launched a new search results interface for tablets. “The new interface is very different from the old tablet design, which was a combination of mobile and desktop design in one. This tablet view uses a form of card-like results, with a skinnier top bar navigation and a lot of white space on the left and right of the search results.”

More Google: it is rolling out a new feature called “About Me”. The link goes to a good rundown from Venture Beat. “So far, About me looks like a decent start. Some information (like my last name) I definitely want other Google users to know, while other details (like my phone number) I would rather keep private. I can finally control these easily.”

More MORE Google: you may have known you could access a timer from Google’s search page. Now you can access a stopwatch too!


Possibly interesting: If you add a New York Times recipe to IFTTT, you can get a free 8-week digital subscription to the NYT. The small print: “Promotion is for November and for new NYTimes subscribers only. After adding any NYTimes Recipe you will be directed to The New York Times website where you may redeem a special code. All you have to do is enter your email address to claim a free trial subscription. Smartphone and tablet apps may not be supported on all devices. A few other restrictions apply.”


Wow: Facebook no longer counts 3rd party apps and yet still has over 1.5 billion users. “Some say Facebook inflates its monthly active user count by including people who shared from or used a Facebook-connected third-party app. But today Facebook quieted those critics with a 10-Q update to its SEC filing that says it now only counts people who used Facebook or Messenger directly. That means the 1.55 billion user count it gave yesterday on its earning report is real.”


The latest company to offer two-factor login? Why, it’s Twitch! Still can’t use it on Amazon, though. “Two-factor authentication (2FA) requires two different methods of verification to log in to your Twitch account: your password and your mobile phone. Each time you log in, you’ll enter your password and a unique code that we’ll send to your mobile phone. If your password is somehow compromised, your account will be inaccessible without the code we send your phone.”

Adobe Flash Player: still full of security issues, still a target for hackers. “Software maker Adobe issued an update on Nov. 10 to fix 17 critical vulnerabilities in its ubiquitous Flash player, the day after an analysis found that the program was the most popular target of exploit-kit developers.”

The state of North Carolina has upheld a ban prohibiting sex offenders from using Facebook. “The North Carolina Supreme Court has upheld a state law prohibiting registered sex offenders from using social networking sites such as Facebook that allow minors to join.”


Research indicates that positive emotions are more contagious than negative ones on Twitter. “[Emilio] Ferrara and [Zeyao] Yang used an algorithm that measures the emotional value of tweets, rating them as positive, negative or neutral. They compared the sentiment of a user’s tweet to the ratio of the sentiments of all of the tweets that appeared in that user’s feed during the hour before. Higher-than-average numbers of positive tweets in the feed were associated with the production of positive tweets, and higher-than-average numbers of negative tweets were associated with the production of negative tweets.”

Carnegie Mellon is developing a new tool to easily do visual analysis of large data sets. “Called Explorable Visual Analytics, or EVA, the tool uses a novel computer architecture that enables the analyst to explore raw data through dynamic visualizations with minimal time delay. It’s designed to help users make sense of ‘high-dimensional’ data — that is, data with lots of parameters.” And I mean big data sets: “To refine the design of EVA, the researchers have explored a multidimensional, 100-gigabyte database on the workforce from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program.”

This is terrific. The Social Media Collective Web site is aggregating a reading list on the topic of algorithms as a social concern. “This list is an attempt to collect and categorize a growing critical literature on algorithms as social concerns. The work included spans sociology, anthropology, science and technology studies, geography, communication, media studies, and legal studies, among others. Our interest in assembling this list was to catalog the emergence of ‘algorithms’ as objects of interest for disciplines beyond mathematics, computer science, and software engineering.” Good morning, Internet…

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