morningbuzz

Ancient Coins, FOIA Requests, Ransomware, More: Wednesday Buzz, March 30, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

A new Web site wants to help track the ownership history of ancient coins. “Jonas Flueck, a young scholar with some experience in the coin auction business, according to the firm, founded Ex-Numis, which uses an image recognition program to compare images fed into the system to almost a million images of ancient coins from auctions dating back to the 19th century. The archive is constantly expanded and continues to 2000.” It is a pay service but a free trial is available.

A new tool is designed to help you understand what you can get via FOIA. “FOIA Mapper works by offering a way for people to see what information exists, which agencies have it, what format they have it in and how to request it in a way that makes that request the most likely to be filled. You can also search the FOIA log to see what other people and news organizations are requesting.”

Bitdefender has release an anti-ransomware tool for free. “BDAntiRansomware requires installation, but by default displays no interface, and doesn’t appear to consume any significant system resources. We had no difficulties with false positives or anything else, but if you do run into problems, protection can be temporarily disabled.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

A video archive of the California Legislature has some new features. “The Digital Democracy online platform, backed by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former State Sen. Sam Blakeslee, has added video of floor sessions, custom video storage and organization profiles, and user email alerts.”

Sounds like Instagram is testing an icky new search bar. “Instagram is testing a new search bar that’ll let you search a specific person’s followers, as well as who they’re following. The search bars appear under the ‘Followers’ and ‘Following’ section within the app.”

Google is planning an interface overhaul for AdWords. “There isn’t really any functionality changes happening to the core campaign and ad system. But the user interfaces are going to drastically change to be focused more around the campaigns you are running.”

More Google: Google is going to offer Fiber phone service. “The new Fiber Phone service will be made available to a few US markets and later expanded to other cities where Google offers high-speed Internet. The new service adds a few high-tech features to the landline, such as transcribing voice mails and delivering them as written messages, and connecting with mobile phones when consumers are away.”

USEFUL STUFF

Did you upgrade to iOS 9.3? Did it blow up in your face? You’ve got options, but you have to hurry. “You really are limited in terms of timing on this one: Apple devices will only install software that’s been ‘signed off’ by Apple, and once there’s a new version of iOS, older ones get marked as invalid within a few days (or weeks if you’re lucky). The process of jumping back must be done while the older version is still authorized.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Microsoft’s bonkers AI chatbot, Tay, returned to Twitter briefly and – well – went bonkers, before getting set to a private account. “Near a week after being silenced because the internet taught her to be racist, Microsoft’s artificial intelligence bot ‘Tay’ briefly returned to Twitter today, whereon she went on a spam tirade and then quickly fell silent again.”

Yow! Periscope has hit 200 million video broadcasts. Double-yow: “According to an announcement by the Periscope team on Medium, more than 110 years of live video is watched daily iOS and Android devices.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Oracle wants Google to pay for its use of Java in Android. How much? 9.3 billion smackeroos. “Oracle sued Google six years ago, claiming the search giant needs a license to use parts of the Java platform in Google’s market-leading mobile OS. The companies went to trial over the matter in 2012 but the jury was split on the crucial question of whether Google’s use of Java was protected by ‘fair use,’ which permits copying under limited circumstances.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Okay, then: Turning tweets into literal twittering. “Scientists in Brazil are using a genetic algorithm to create a realistic soundscape of birdsong that can be triggered by updates from the micro-blogging service, Twitter, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Details of the computer model which mimics the behavior of a bird’s songbox, its ‘syrinx’, to create realistic sounds are published this month in the International Journal of Arts and Technology.” Good morning, Internet…

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