Jazz, Istanbul, Asbury Park, More: Tuesday Buzz, February 16, 2016


One of the things I love about the Internet Archive is all the nooks and crannies that it has. Thanks to a blog post on Three Sources, I heard about David Niven’s jazz collection. Not the actor, the teacher — the teacher who amassed hundreds of tapes of jazz performances and provided background and commentary for the songs. This collection appears to have been up for at least a couple of years, but it’s new to me. Sometimes the audio quality of the commentary is not great and the vinyl-to-tape conversion is not perfect. But wow, what a jazz education this is. There’s a thousand hours of jazz and commentary here.

The city of Istanbul now has an online map of its soundscapes. If you’re looking at doing online soundscape design this one is quite elegant. Click on a dot (they’re color-coded by sound type) and you’ll get a popup player with the sound and an image from the area. Two issues: for me, the sounds loop, which can get irritating. Also, you can zoom in on the map of Istanbul but the dots denoting soundscapes are pretty small as you zoom. Still, a well-done soundscape, apparently still in development.

The newspaper Asbury Park Press has put its archives online. “Now, nearly every single page of the Asbury Park Press in its original format — news articles, birth and wedding announcements, obituaries, advertisements and classified ads — from 1905 to the present is available online …” Asbury Park is a town in New Jersey, and yes, it’s the town from that Bruce Springsteen album. It is a pay-to-access resource.

The Yellowknives Dene of Canada are creating a digital archive of traditional knowledge. Initially, at least, the archive will focus on Caribou. “The collection contains hundreds of maps and overlays sketched with elders’ land knowledge and more than a thousand hours of recordings sit haphazardly in boxes and bins. The oldest maps are cracked and yellow, dating back to 1970s, and were recorded for the Dene Mapping project.”


Wolfram|Alpha has taken Mathematica Online out of beta. “One of the benefits of developing software in the cloud is the ability to constantly make updates and improvements, and every couple of weeks we have been able to add updates to deliver increased speed, increased stability, and increased usability. Regular users have probably noticed and been pleasantly surprised, I hope, by all that we have been doing to upgrade the cloud, but for those of you who haven’t dropped by in a while, let me tell you a little more about some of those improvements.”

Google’s text to speech is getting male and female voices. “The update brings Google text-to-speech to version 3.8. Each language’s voice packs now have additional options apart from the default voice which is usually female. Now you get 3 male voice options and 3 female voice options. The voices sound like modulated variations of the original voice, but it’s unclear if they were digitally generated or really different recording sets.”


From Gizmodo: 10 Tricks to Master Google Hangouts. “Google Hangouts has been available for almost three years now, and while it still has a few minor issues, it’s still a slick and powerful messaging platform that works almost anywhere. Dig a little deeper into the Google Hangouts app, and you’ll find a bunch of features you might not yet have come across, from secret codes to floating chat heads….”

Nice one from Lifehacker: 13 Awesome Wolfram Alpha Tricks for the Average Person.


The CEO of China search engine Baidu says the success of his company is not because Google left mainland China. “Robin Li Yanhong, chairman and CEO of NASDAQ-listed domestic Internet giant -Baidu Inc, said in a CCTV document released Sunday that his company’s success has no direct connection with Google Inc’s withdrawal from the Chinese mainland market. In an interview in a documentary broadcast on State-run China Central Television (CCTV), Li said that notion is a misunderstanding, and he seeks to clarify it on every occasion because he ‘cares.'” Also it’s kind of insulting, isn’t it? “Oh you may be hot stuff, but if GOOGLE were here…”

One of Nigeria’s strategies to revive its economy is a Twitter campaign. “…prominent Nigerian lawmakers and government officials are looking to an unlikely source for a solution: social media with a Twitter hashtag, #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira. It calls on Nigerians to buy local products to save the Naira and boost the economy.”

Sounds like Nest is having some problems after its acquisition by Google. “The smart-home company has been touted as the model for the new Alphabet corporate structure, in which subsidiary companies operate autonomously with their own CEOs and processes. But the company’s track record since it was acquired by Google two years ago shows many reasons to wonder about the direction of what it sees as the next moonshot.”


Are you using multiple accounts on Instagram? There’s a bug you need to know about. “Here’s the situation. If two (or more) people are managing a single Instagram account in addition to their own personal account on a device, then each of the people who manage the shared account can receive notifications from everyone else’s personal (i.e. non-shared) accounts for a period of time.” Good morning, Internet…

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