ProPublica, Jelly, Google, More: Monday Buzz, January 11, 2015


ProPublica is now available on the Dark Web. “The move, ProPublica says, is designed to offer the best possible privacy protections for its visitors seeking to read the site’s news with their anonymity fully intact. Unlike mere SSL encryption, which hides the content of the site a web visitor is accessing, the Tor hidden service would ensure that even the fact that the reader visited ProPublica’s website would be hidden from an eavesdropper or Internet service provider.”

Biz Stone is bringing Jelly back. Those other networks don’t know how to act. Sorry. “This time around there is a good bit more information around the project and the new goals. The new project will allow users to ask questions (not tied to a personal identity) and be matched up to users who can most likely answer that question well. No inclination to answer? No need for a username!”

Uh-oh: is Google tweaking its algos again? “There has been this steady chatter for the past few days around webmasters and SEOs seeing ranking changes and fluctuations in the search results. It’s been ever since what I thought were false reports of a Google update earlier this week.”


Handy: Ars Technica has a big roundup of what Google’s working on in 2016.

Mashable: 10 Hidden Tricks to Get the Most Out of Facebook Messenger.


A talk from Ryan Cordell: ‘Q i-jtb the Raven’: Taking Dirty OCR Seriously. “I would assert that the digitized edition of the November 28, 1849 Lewisburg Chronicle, and the West Branch Farmer comprises at least six parts: an archival TIFF, a JPG, a PDF, an OCR-derived text file, an XML file, and the web interface. The image files might be classed as a species of facsimile edition, while the OCR-derived text and XML files are a new editions; all of these come together in a kind of digital variorum. Bibliographic clues are scattered among the artifact’s parts, not all of which are available through CA’s public interface. The details gleaned from these files, however, are only one part of a full bibliographic account, which should also concern itself with the institutional, financial, social, and governmental structures that lead one historical textual object to be digitized, while another is not.” I will be thinking about this article for days. Professor Cordell goes past the mechanics of digitizing to the whole context around a digitized collection, and then past that to consider the assessment/creation of the digitized collections in the first place.

Wharton Business School: is it too late to reinvent Yahoo? “Laura Huang, Wharton professor of management, says it’s not too late for a reinvention of Yahoo. ‘It’s difficult, but it has been done before, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility,’ she notes. ‘It’s hard because as a company grows, it physically must start to divide into silos to maintain operational efficiency. This, in turn, leads to fragmentation in the organizational culture, and people start to work in more isolated ways, rather than collaboratively, which is key for innovation.'”

Interesting: Amazon is going to stream President Obama’s State of the Union speech. “Basically the idea here is to reach as many people as possible, especially those who might have recently decided to cut the cord on more traditional means of watching TV (such as by subscribing to on-demand services like Netflix or Hulu), as confirmed by a post on the White House’s website by the White House’s Chief Digital Officer, Jason Goldman.” How about y’all stream all the presidential candidate debates as well?

I had no idea Twitter could unverify people. “Twitter’s removal of journalist and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’s verification badge for unspecified rules violations has pushed the company — in the midst of a crackdown on harassment — deeper into the politicized battle over online speech. Though Yiannopoulos is still on the platform, the self-described supervillain is widely impersonated and the loss of the verification badge could well make it difficult for him to distribute his message on Twitter.”

Business Insider has a look at Pinterest, which I still don’t get. “…for all the negativity leveled at it, Pinterest isn’t a company on the wane. Far from it. Tim Kendall, Pinterest’s general manager for monetization, told Business Insider the company’s revenue in 2015 was more than five times as high as it was in 2014 — an enviable position for any company — and that most of that was repeat business.”

Is Yahoo going to sell instead of spin off? “Just last month, Yahoo executives put forward a plan to spin off its main Internet business, the latest of several strategies they’ve proposed over the past year to deal with slowing revenue. Now, that idea may be abandoned in favor of a sale, people familiar with the matter said. The company may need a new plan in the face of an expected proxy fight by an activist investor, said the people, who asked not to identified because a final decision hasn’t been made.”

Did you know 800 million people a month use Facebook Messenger? “The Messenger team’s mission is to make Messenger the best place to communicate with all the people and businesses in the world. I’m happy to report that we’ve made a good step in that direction, and toward the end of 2015, we crossed the milestone of 800 million people using Messenger each month.” Good morning, Internet…

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