Musical Instruments, Newark, Minecraft, More: Sunday Buzz, November 15th, 2015


In development: a database of historic musical instruments. That contrabass serpent looks awesome. “A new online database of historic instruments is to be created by the Royal College of Music (RCM) as part of its ongoing digitisation initiative. It will allow the public to find out about 40,000 individual instruments held in more than 100 musical instrument collections in the UK, including the world’s only octave contrabass serpent.”

In (further) development: a digital archive for the architecture of Newark, New Jersey. “NJIT’s Barbara and Leonard Littman Architecture and Design Library was awarded a $13,500 state grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) to further develop the Digital Archive of Newark Architecture.”

Historical sites of Scotland have been recreated in Minecraft. “Scotland’s ancient historical sites are now ‘virtually’ at player’s fingertips through a full-scale Minecraft world called Crafting the Past. After months of site visits, building and trialling, people from across the world are invited to download and uncover Roman forts, journey back to the Victorian era or excavate long-lost Pictish settlements as part of the immersive game.”


The American Archive of Public Broadcasting now has an experimental API. “With the most recent release, the AAPB now has a public API. It’s an experiment at this point, but documentation is available, and we’ve put up a few examples. For example, you can explore coverage of different topics over the years, or see how coverage changes in different parts of the country.”

Google Maps is expanding its Local Guides programs. “Local Guides is a global community that helps you explore the world while earning perks. Once you sign up, every place you contribute to in Google Maps earns you points towards unlocking something new—from early access to new products to exclusive contests and events, bonus Drive storage, and more.”

More Google: it will drop support for Chrome on older operating systems by April of next year. “Starting April 2016, users who still use Chrome on XP (and at this point, there’s really no excuse for running Chrome on XP) will no longer get updates and security fixes. Ending XP support is not a massive surprise, but as Google also announced today, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8. will also no longer be supported…”

Facebook is adding a notification feature to its live streams. “…Facebook got more serious about its ‘Live’ streaming feature and competing with Periscope by adding a Subscribe button to streams of public figures. Once you click the Subscribe button on a live stream or recorded replay of a stream, you’ll get a push notification whenever that celebrity, journalist, politician, or other bigwig starts a live stream.”


Overstock is blaming its recent poor performance on Google. “Overstock’s Q3 2015 financial report showed a significant earnings drop, leading to an 18-percent stock price decline this morning. Overstock has blamed the bad quarter in part on Google ranking changes that happened earlier this year.”

Instagram has a new marketing partner program. “Today Instagram announced its marketing Partner Program that highlights 40 companies in advertising, analytics, and community management that it recommends brands work with.”


Increased DM sizes in Twitter has an unexpected side effect: more space for botnets. “London security researcher Paul Amar has built a tool capable of exploiting Twitter’s extended direct messaging function for covert botnet command and control. Amar created Twittor which allows attackers of white or black hats to create a fleet of compromised machines that can communicate, receive instructions, and update over the social network.”

Google has has updated its Safe Browsing feature to protect against social engineering. “The threat landscape is constantly changing—bad actors on the web are using more and different types of deceptive behavior to trick you into performing actions that you didn’t intend or want, so we’ve expanded protection to include social engineering. Social engineering is a much broader category than traditional phishing and encompasses more types of deceptive web content.”


Interesting work from Fusion: analyzing the images of political campaigns. “The Political Image Machine is our attempt to capture and classify this visual pageantry as it unfolds across the internet. The machine methodically captures every image—almost 70,000 at this writing—posted by every Republican and Democratic presidential candidate on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.” Good morning, Internet…

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