Márquez, Qatar, Renewable Energy, More: Tuesday Buzz, January 5, 2016


The University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center has received a grant to digitize the Gabriel García Márquez archive. “Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the award will take effect June 2016 in the form of an 18-month project. During this time, manuscripts, notebooks, scrapbooks, photographs, and other relics from the Colombian writer’s archive, which dates from 1950 through 2013, will be scanned and published online.”

The Qatar National Library is planning a huge digitizing project. “The Qatar National Library (QNL)’s Qatar Digital Library (QDL) project aims to digitise 1,125,000 pages of rare, historical documents in a bid to contribute to current understanding of the Gulf’s regional history and the Arabic and Islamic World.”

A new online directory has the goal of connecting renewable energy suppliers to manufacturers. “In the run up to the COP21 climate talks last year, the World Bioenergy Association (WBA) launched a new initiative to connect renewable energy suppliers with manufacturers across the globe. The bioenergy equipment directory aims to provide a comprehensive list of companies manufacturing equipment for all parts of the biomass to bioenergy process.” This is a very new directory and has only 21 companies at the moment.

In development: an online archive of medieval wax seals. Oooh yes. “The unique research project, called Imprint, will examine fingerprints and palm prints left behind on the wax seals of documents dating from the 12th to the 14th centuries. These seals, attached to documents such as land transactions, business contracts, and financial exchanges were the medieval equivalents of modern-day signatures and credit cards…. The prints will be collated into an online archive alongside detailed information about the seal impressions and documents. This resource will be made available to researchers, archivists, and the general public.”


Yahoo Screen is shutting down. “Arunav Sinha, a Yahoo spokesman, said that Yahoo decided to relocate its video content within the company’s various digital magazines. So the Live Nation concerts are on Yahoo Music and ‘Community’ on Yahoo TV, albeit buried deep within menus on the mobile version of Yahoo. ” Buried is the word…

AOL’s search is now completely Bing-powered. “According to a new blog post aimed at advertisers, the entirety of AOL’s search needs are now being fulfilled by Bing, with Microsoft’s search engine covering web, mobile, tablet as well as paid and algorithmic queries.”


Footage of the UK’s Supreme Court at work has been an unexpected hit. “…the promise of high drama inside the UK’s highest court has made the on-demand service surprisingly popular among the public, according to the first set of viewing figures. In the six months since the Supreme Court opened its video archive, the footage has been accessed an average of 10,000 times a month.”

The Verge has a story about Facebook deliberately releasing crappy versions of its app to see if they could frustrate Android users into not using them. “Now comes the news that Facebook deceived users into thinking its Android app was broken, to see whether they would abandon the service or simply switch to using the inferior mobile website.” I can’t wrap my head around this.

AdWeek has an interview with Periscope’s CEO. “When Periscope launched to much buzz last March, the Twitter-owned app cemented 2015 as the year of livestreaming for digital marketers. Now boasting more than 10 million users watching 40 years’ worth of video every day, and faced with growing competition from Facebook, YouTube and Meerkat, Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour is ready to turn his company into a bigger media and marketing platform in 2016. He spoke with Adweek about new features for marketers, how livestreaming will plug into new gadgets and technology, and Periscope’s unique influence on this year’s presidential election.”

Slate has an enormous article on Facebook and the factors behind its ranking algorithm. “Facebook is not the only data-driven company to run up against the limits of algorithmic optimization in recent years. Netflix’s famous movie-recommendation engine has come to rely heavily on humans who are paid to watch movies all day and classify them by genre. To counterbalance the influence of Amazon’s automated A/B tests, CEO Jeff Bezos places outsize importance on the specific complaints of individual users and maintains a public email address for that very purpose. It would be premature to declare the age of the algorithm over before it really began, but there has been a change in velocity.”


Because life is not complicated enough: JavaScript ransomware. “Enter Ransom32, one of the newest ransomware for the New Year. The program is written in Javascript, running on the NW.js platform, and can infect systems running on the Windows platform. It can also have the capability of targeting Mac OS X or Linux computers, if repackaged with platform-specific runtimes. It is also dubbed as a ‘ransomware-as-a-service,’ a play from SaaS or ‘Software as a Service.'” The phrase “ransomware-as-a-service” makes me want to throw things.

Yahoo must face a class-action lawsuit over alleged spam text messages. “Yahoo Inc was ordered by a Chicago federal judge on Monday to face a class action lawsuit accusing the Internet company of sending unsolicited text messages to Sprint Corp cellphone users in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. U.S. District Judge Manish Shah said the users could sue as a group over messages sent in March 2013 because their claims had enough in common.”


Dave Winer on why tech insiders must be on Facebook, which is very Scoblesque of him. “If you want to be current with tech as it goes forward, you must be in the loop on what’s happening on Facebook, if only because every person you hope to sell technology to in the future is using it. They will judge everything in relation to what they have experienced on Facebook.” Good morning, Internet…

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