Maine, Linkrot, Illinois Theatres, More: Friday Buzz, January 29, 2016


The Old Canada Road Historical Society, in Maine, has launched an online database. “The society covers the towns and plantations on both sides of the Kennebec from Bingham to Parlin Pond, including Moscow, Caratunk, The Forks, West Forks, Concord, Pleasant Ridge, Carrying Place and Bowtown.” It is still being developed/added to.

The Berkman Center at Harvard has released Amber, a tool for combating linkrot. It’s available as a WordPress plugin or a Drupal module. “Once the plugin is installed, copies of each linked page are stored on the host website’s server. But users can also choose to store them instead through donated space on Wayback Machine,, and Amazon Web Services.”

A new online catalog of theatre architecture of the 1920s-1940s is now available (PRESS RELEASE). “The CAPC collection focuses primarily on theatres in Illinois with additional negatives representing theatres in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. It includes photographic images taken by the firm for architects and builders. The collection includes approximately 1,000 negatives mostly from the 1920s to 1940s of approximately 250 theatres. Funding from the Donnelley Foundation allowed over 1,000 negatives from the Chicago Architectural Photographing Co. Collection to be scanned, creating high quality digital master files.”

Microsoft is the latest company to open source a tool for AI/Deep Learning. “Microsoft is making the tools that its own researchers use to speed up advances in artificial intelligence available to a broader group of developers by releasing its Computational Network Toolkit on GitHub.”


All Facebook iPhone users in the US are getting access to livestreaming. “After 5 months of tweaks and slow rollouts, today Facebook is opening its Live feature to all iPhone users in the U.S. When they go to share a status update, they’ll see the Live button beside ones for photos, stickers, and locations. Android is still on the way.” I did two Periscopes at the North Carolina State Fair back in October, and it was interesting. I almost did one during our ice storm last week, but I didn’t want to get creamed by an ice-covered tree and die, live on Periscope. I would like to do more if I could figure out it fits with ResearchBuzz. But I can’t see what I get from Facebook’s livestream that I don’t get from Periscope.

Google’s Chrome browser will soon give unencrypted sites a great big X. And I don’t mean a kiss. “Google wants everything on the web to be travelling over a secure channel. That’s why in the future your Chrome browser will flag unencrypted websites as insecure, displaying a red ‘x’ over a padlock in the URL bar.”


Street artist Banksy’s recent Les Misérables mural has been digitized and preserved by Google. “Banksy’s interactive Les Misérables mural has been added to Google’s digital archive moments before it was set to be removed from outside the French embassy in London.”


Google’s VirusTotal service now analyzes firmware. “Google’s VirusTotal service has added a new tool that analyzes firmware, the low-level code that bridges a computer’s hardware and operating system at startup. Advanced attackers, including the U.S. National Security Agency, have targeted firmware as a place to embed malware since it’s a great place to hide.”

Now it looks like Italy is going after Google for back taxes. “Italy believes Google (GOOGL.O) evaded 227 million euros ($247.5 million) in taxes between 2009 and 2013 and could hit the U.S. Internet giant with hefty punitive fines, investigative sources said on Thursday.” Meanwhile, the EU is considering investigating Google’s tax payment to the UK.


Dave Winer continues his role as self-appointed Cassandra (and I do not mean that in a pejorative way) with his essay Anywhere But Medium. “If Medium were more humble, or if they had competition, I would relax about it. But I remember how much RSS suffered for being dominated by Google. And Google was a huge company and could have afforded to run Google Reader forever at a loss. Medium is a startup, a well-funded one for sure, but they could easily pivot and leave all the stories poorly served, or not served at all. I’m sure their user license doesn’t require them to store your writing perpetually, or even until next week.”

Walt Mossberg in The Verge: Twitter is too hard to use. “To potential new users, it’s a real challenge to learn all of Twitter’s often arcane little features. And even for people who have been using the service multiple times daily for years, like me, it can be tricky to decide when to use which feature and in which situation.” In my Real Job, I do a lot of interviews, and we ask about social media use. Everybody uses Facebook. Almost nobody uses Twitter. We get more responses mentioning Instagram — and, increasingly, Snapchat — than we do Twitter. It’s become a running joke. We ask the interview if they use Twitter, they say no, and I look at the ceiling, sigh, and say sadly, “Nobody uses Twitter but me. And Snoop Dogg.” If Twitter hadn’t kicked so many developers to the curb there would be lots of ways to use Twitter, instead of the plain Web version and Tweetdeck, which is half-decent, and, we should remember, not originally developed by Twitter.

Not terribly surprised to read that social media use can cause sleep disturbance in young adults. “Participants in the study spent 61 hours on social media per week and 30 percent had ‘high levels of sleep disturbance’ meaning sleep reduced due to social media including swiping through Instagram and taking part in arguments on Facebook or Twitter. In some ways, this behavior may be a form of self medication. The team sampled 1,788 U.S. adults between ages 19 and 32.” Good morning, Internet…

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