Music, Drugs, Phone Numbers, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, November 26th, 2015


My friend Julie Anixter put up an article about a new music tool called LoopLabs. It looks like a lot of fun. “Designed for this new generation of creators, Looplabs’ intuitive interface automatically snaps more than 25,000 freely available royalty-free sounds into the same tempo and musical key, removing the complexities of musical theory and allowing anyone with internet access to easily create music for their YouTube, Instagram or Vine videos, drop in their next DJ set, remix artists, write songs and record vocals or simply have fun with their friends.”

I was going through my RSS feeds and I found a reference to a database that catalogs incidents of adverse reactions caused by combinations of drugs. The article did not note the location of the database, so I e-mailed Dr. Nicholas Tatonetti and asked him about it. He kindly responded, and the database is available here. Actually there are two databases. “The Offsides database is a resource of 438,801 off-label — those effects not listed on the FDA’s official drug label — side effects for 1332 drugs and 10,097 adverse events. The average drug label lists 69 ‘on-label’ adverse events…. The Twosides databases is a resource of polypharmacy side effects for pairs of drugs. This database contains 868,221 significant associations between 59,220 pairs of drugs and 1301 adverse events.”


Interesting. Burner, of all things, is now connected to IFTTT. (Burner, if you didn’t know about it, is an app that lets you generate and use temporary phone numbers.) “For instance, a development team for a smart home gadget may use Burner’s Web hook to let you turn on lights via text. The information is only outbound, though; your connected bulbs won’t be able to tell you what color they’re currently lighting up.”

Vine wants you to swipe left. “We’ve got a new way to discover Vines in our iPhone app: you can now swipe left on any post to see more Vines.”

Facebook’s is now available all over India. “, Facebook’s initiative to provide free Internet services in developing countries, is now available to all Indians through the Free Basics app on Reliance Communication’s network. The project is meant to give people in emerging economies easy access to the Internet, but has been hit by a slew of criticism.”


Good stuff from Joyce Valenza: teaching (and writing) with Wikipedia. “The Wikimedia Foundation, which serves as a bridge between academia and Wikipedia, offers Wikiedu, a variety of tools for promoting new literacies while for using Wikipedia as a teaching tool. While designed for the university to help fill learning gaps in underrepresented areas, there is much here to support upper level high school learning across the curriculum.”

From How-to Geek: How to Save an Offline Copy of a Web Page on an iPhone or Android Smartphone.

Star Wars fan? Worried the movie is going to be ruined by online spoilers? There’s an extension for that. “What the extension basically does is quickly scan the page that’s loading in Chrome to locate any mentions to Star Wars, be it the name of the franchise itself or terms related to the movies, and if does discover that it immediately shields the user from it.” I wonder if it would shield this page?


Google said that a recent push of its search offerings to the top of mobile search result is just a bug. Uh-huh. “Over the weekend, executives from public Internet companies Yelp and TripAdvisor noted a disturbing trend: Google searches on smartphones for their businesses had suddenly buried their results beneath Google’s own. It looked like a flagrant reversal of Google’s stated position on search, and a move to edge out rivals. Nope, it’s a bug, claims Google.” I’m not a huge Yelp fan, but really?

From Search Engine Land: 3 Google Patents You Should Know About in 2016. “Now, while there may not be any way to become fully future-proof against Google changes (after all, they perform 500–600 minor changes a year, on top of their big updates), there are ways you can stay ahead of the game. One of those ways is to understand the patents that Google is applying for and how they might impact search in the future.”

More industrial/medical use of Google Glass — This time at Volkswagen. “The Glass hardware is running custom software by German company Ubimax, which specializes in wearables for industrial use. According to the firm, VW’s particular implementation – which is also using Vuzix M100 headsets – runs Ubimax xPick, though it also offers maintenance and inspection platforms, quality assurance systems, two-way remote expert assistance, and software for medics.” Insert joke about Glass, Volkswagen, and diesel fraud here. Good afternoon, Internet…

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