morningbuzz

South Carolina, UK Trails, Facebook Messenger, More: Sunday Buzz, March 6, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

H-Net has an announcement of the South Carolina Electronic Records Archive (SCERA). “The new electronic records archive currently houses 450 GB of records that are now available to the public… The online archive includes material drawn from across the holdings of SCDAH and it will continue to grow in size and scope. The project is ongoing and SCDAH will be adding electronic records to the archive as quickly as possible.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

The National Trails of England and Wales are coming to Google Street View. “Trail rangers and volunteers will eventually cover every mile – more than 2,500 of them – of the national trails with the futuristic Google Trekker camera, an off-road version of the Street View equipment. You will, for example, be able to plot your way along the Pennine Way, more than 260 miles, from your living room chair.” Someone hook this up to a VR headset so I can walk it on my treadmill.

There’s chatter going around that Facebook will open Messenger to publishers next month. “Facebook Messenger will soon let publishers distribute their content automatically through the social network’s messaging service, according to three people familiar with the company’s plans. Facebook plans to announce the move with a number of participating publishers in April at its annual developer conference, F8, the people said.”

USEFUL STUFF

Good stuff from Interhacktives: How to use Snapchat as a journalist. “…if you want to brand yourself as an innovator in the newsroom you should consider suggesting how Snapchat stories might be used. Stories is the part of the app where anyone can create an account and use it. This could help reach a younger readership, something desperately needed by newspapers with an ever aging audience. If the newspaper creates a Snapchat account, each journalist can produce short Snapchats to support the stories they are writing.”

Alok Rana at Loud Techie has a roundup of reverse image search engines.

Andrew Hubbard has created a very thorough guide to Facebook image sizes, available as an infographic or PDF. This isn’t just for advertisers. It’s for anyone who wants to post photos without having them crop to the timeline in embarrassing ways.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google is letting animals take selfies. Better them than us! “The cameras work with sensors, so when an animal gets within 18 inches, it takes a picture.”

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Snapchat Day. (With apologies to Chevrolet.) It’s March 11th and will bring Major League Baseball to your phone. “Professional athletes are no strangers to social media but MLB’s policies normally forbid its use during the regular and postseason. Not this year though – Snapchat Day will see players and teams broadcast Spring Training on the app for everyone to see. Players are also now permitted, even encouraged, to use the app during live games.” There’s also a thing called a selfie bat, but I’m not going there.

Google has gotten two patents for AR-enhanced books. “The sensors would launch visual assets via augmented reality whenever the reader activates them, say, by turning a page. The user wouldn’t need actual AR glasses; instead a small device seated on the book’s spine would project the visuals onto the pages. An embedded speaker would further enhance the onpage action.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

WordPress users are being warned to uninstall a popular WordPress plugin. “One popular plugin, Custom Content Type Manager (CCTM), has just been pulled from the WordPress Plugin Directory after a backdoor was discovered. The plugin has been installed on thousands of websites, and a recent update — automatically installed for many users — included a worrying payload. In the hands of a new developer, Custom Content Type Manager made changes to core WordPress files, ultimately making it possible to steal admin passwords and transmit them in plaintext to a remote server.”

Look out for crap on SourceForge. Though the new owners of the site are making some efforts to clean it up and restore its reputation, I’m finding some shenanigans. A recent Google Alert pointed me toward a digital archive on SourceForge, and though the snippet made it fairly clear it was spam, I clicked on it anyway to see the SF page itself looked like. It kicked me straight to an essay-writing site, and I did not linger. The start of the SourceForge url was “soonpun.sourceforge,” and searching for that in Google found over 33,000 results. So be careful out there!

RESEARCH AND OPINION

A Reddit user asked a fascinating question: are there any torrents of newspaper archives?. The ones they were asking about were things like the New York Times, Washington Post – making torrents of those would not be legal, of course. But there’s plenty of newspaper/text periodical content that’s out of copyright – why not make it available as a torrent, as a large, analyzable chunk of text? Now I know what I’m going to be thinking about all day. Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

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