Accessibility, Radio, Guinea, More: Monday Buzz, March 7, 2016


New-to-Me: Mashable has a writeup on a company trying to create a “Google Maps,” the writeup says, for disabilities. To me it more looks like a cool mapping platform for people with disabilities to identify friendly places. No Google-name-dropping required. “With Access Earth, [Matt] McCann and Ryan O’Neill, who covers the business development side of things, want to build a global user-generated platform for users to add and search for data on accessibility in hotels, restaurants, theaters, stadiums and other businesses. Users could plan out a trip in their city by checking if the store they’re going to has a ramp, or if a nearby café has a wide door for wheelchairs or an accessible bathroom.”

New-to-Me: Maps Mania has a writeup on a cool tool called Radiooooo. “To start listening to music on Radiooooo you just need to click on a country on the map. You can then select a decade using the buttons at the bottom of the map. You will then be able to sit back and listen a stream of music from the country & decade that you have chosen.”

Hyperallergic has a writeup on a new British Library sound archive which features music from Guinea’s first decades of independence. “When French colonial forces pulled out of Guinea following its declaration of independence in 1958, they notoriously even took the lightbulbs. Rebuilding was the first focus of the West African nation, and that included the strengthening of its cultural identity. Under the leadership of music lover President Ahmed Sékou Touré, the government was soon sending out guitars, saxophones, and brass instruments to 35 state-funded prefecture orchestras as part of a new authenticité policy. This directive encouraged a cultural revival that mixed traditional sounds with contemporary music, particularly Cuban and Latin rhythms.” 8000 of these tracks are now available at the British Library, but when I tried to browse through them they were using a Flash-based player and I couldn’t play anything. Sigh.


Mike Murphy’s got a walkthrough of how to install the Cloud OS app on your ancient laptop. “Neverware, an operating system developer from New York, has developed a program called CloudReady, that can turn hundreds of models of computers from the last decade into usable machines. Neverware developed a version of the operating system found on Google’s Chromebook laptops. The startup has been working with school districts in the US to revive old computers for classroom—for a fee—but is now offering a free version of its software for personal computers.”

Manuel at The Film Experience takes a look at the archives being built up at “They now have video and photo highlights for ALL of their ceremonies. I’m sure Nathaniel and many others will cringe at the fact that they refer to this most recent ceremony as the “2016 Oscars” which as you know can sometimes get tricky.”

Facebook has set up some guidelines for businesses using messaging on Facebook. Many of these are common sense but do highlight a few Facebook messaging tools you might not know about.


The British Library has an exciting digitizing project set for the summer. “Starting this summer the British Library will collaborate with another major research library on an exciting new project to enhance access to and promote 800 pre-1200 Latin manuscripts, half of which are held by the British Library.” And they’re hiring for it!

I’ll just file this under “unexpected uses for databases” – a guy named Saul Pwanson created a database of crossword puzzles, people started looking at it, and all of a sudden there’s a plagiarism scandal in crossword world. “A group of eagle-eyed puzzlers, using digital tools, has uncovered a pattern of copying in the professional crossword-puzzle world that has led to accusations of plagiarism and false identity. Since 1999, Timothy Parker, editor of one of the nation’s most widely syndicated crosswords, has edited more than 60 individual puzzles that copy elements from New York Times puzzles, often with pseudonyms for bylines, a new database has helped reveal. The puzzles in question repeated themes, answers, grids and clues from Times puzzles published years earlier. Hundreds more of the puzzles edited by Parker are nearly verbatim copies of previous puzzles that Parker also edited.”

Wow! Google has sold almost 5 million Cardboard units? “Google has sold close to five million Cardboard virtual reality (VR) devices since its launch in 2014 and apps on the Google Play Store that support the product have surpassed 2,000, with downloads reaching 25 million, according to Mike Jazayeri, Director Product Management, Google Cardboard (VR).”


From GeneaBloggers: Six Reasons Why a Human is Better than Google Translate for Genealogy Documents. “While it’s wonderful that everything is so easy nowadays, sometimes we need to be a little more careful. With the Google Translate tool in particular, you must ask yourself if it can really provide you with the information you need. Although the site is relatively decent at translating individual words, Google Translate is not recommended for anything more than that, especially in the field of genealogy. Why not? Check out these six reasons below.”

Number crunching from TorrentFreak: Google is asked to remove 100,000 “pirate links” every hour. “Data gathered by TorrentFreak from Google’s Transparency Report shows that the number of links reported in DMCA notices has more than doubled compared to last year, and quadrupled in comparison to the year before. March 2014 Google was asked to remove roughly six million links per week, growing to eight million in 2015 and a whopping 19 million last week.”

A little off-base but I thought it was interesting and it’s my blog: using emoji to rate school lunches. “The smiling, blissful and confused-looking emojis dotting the electronic landscape may hold the key to ferreting out grade-school children’s true feelings about foods, Kansas researchers say, and could help schools across the nation cut down on lunchroom food waste. Most school lunch programs in the U.S. already do taste tests, but their efforts pale in comparison to the scope of the research project at the Sensory and Consumer Research Center at Kansas State University Olathe, which is developing a scientific methodology to measure children’s face-emoji responses to food. So far, kids in Kansas and Ghana have been the guinea pigs.” Good morning, Internet…

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