Slack, Mormons, African-Americans, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, February 5, 2016


I’ve been interested in Slack but I haven’t done anything with it because I’m just one person, and it didn’t seem like it would be useful. An article on TechCrunch pointed me toward Hamster Pad, which is an online directory of Slack chats/communities. Now I have a Slack account, though I’m still not sure why it’s asking me to register and provide a password for every chat/community – and I can’t find a help page. Yes, I am a total SlackNoob.

Now available: a database of early Mormon missionaries. “The database…features the names of 41,000 men and women who served full-time proselytizing missions for the church in 36 countries worldwide from 1830 through 1930, with links to thousands of sources in the Church History Library.”

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has launched a new resource portal for African-Americans. “To commemorate Black History Month in February, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has assembled a wealth of information in a single portal on its data rich website, offering important resources to the researcher of African American ancestry. The portal … features a NEHGS webinar and study guide about African American genealogy, and hints concerning researching African American and other minorities in online databases, as well as beautifully illustrated articles on several important African American historical figures, culled from the vast manuscript collection at NEHGS.”


It looks like Google is making an effort to improve Google Hangouts with peer-to-peer connections. “However as pointed out by 9to5Google, by using a peer-to-peer connection, it will reveal the IP addresses of both parties, although there isn’t a way to reveal said IP via the Hangouts UI. If you are using voice calls to make calls to friends or family, we suppose this might not necessarily be a big deal, but if you are making calls to strangers then you might want to be wary.”

You remember that Facebook chat encryption extension I mentioned a few days, ago? Crypter? Facebook has crippled it. “Chat encryption app, Crypter, that seemed to offer a secure way to communicate with your Facebook friends has effectively depreciated in functionality after Facebook made changes to its platform to prevent the app from working.”


Huh. Did you know you can play chess via Facebook Messenger?. (Obviously it won’t be encrypted chess….) “Unfortunately, the board is not drag-and-drop; instead, you need to send text commands to move your pieces across the board, with the board refreshing as a new static image after each move. ”

If you’ve been on the Web for 20+ years you’ll enjoy this: Alan Levine falls down a Gopher hole.


Google has announced its Doodle 4 Google state winners. “This time around, we added a little twist: for the first time in eight years of Doodle 4 Google, there were no restrictions on the medium or materials kids could use to create a doodle. Kids took us up on the challenge. A quarter of all finalists used some non-traditional media—from clay and wood to origami, photographs and sheets of music—in their submission.”

Google’s Go-playing AI is set to take on another champion. “Google’s French Go-champion-beating AlphaGo artificial intelligence will take on the Go world No 1 in a live broadcast from Seoul, South Korea. The contest will begin on 9 March and offers a $1m prize.”



How much traffic is going to pass through the Internet this year? We’ll be catching a z. “f you thought the 2GB monthly data cap on your phone was low, well, you’re right. And, in comparison to the world’s overall Internet traffic figures, it appears to be even more microscopic as we’re slated to approach the one zettabyte mark later this year. This news comes from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, a survey predicting Internet traffic trends all the way up to 2019.” A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes. This Wikipedia article on zettabytes notes that after the zettabyte is the yottabyte. Good afternoon, Internet…

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