India Artists,, Google Hardware, More: Tuesday Buzz, April 5, 2016


The Jammu region of India is creating an online database of artists in the area. “Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is going to create a database of all the artists, writers, poets, scholars and performers of Jammu region. Giving details, the Regional Director of ICCR Jammu, Balwant Thakur told media persons that through this major initiative the information regarding our artists, writers, poets, scholars and performers will now be available globally and thus they will not only be recognised world over but public will also have the facility to know the who is who of the entire intellectual fraternity of this region.” Have I mentioned how much I hate the fashion of putting light gray text on a white background? >squintsquintsquint<<.

TWEAKS & UPDATES has gotten a few tweaks. “Over the last several months, we have added a variety of enhancements to It began with the Communications in October, the Congressional Record Index in December, and the XML Bulk Data via GPO in February. Today’s update focuses on expanding Quick Search on”

Yes, I know, Google shutting down Google Reader happened literally years ago. I’m still bitter. But you know what? Even as upsetting as that shutdown was, it’s better than if Google decided to shut down some hardware I’d purchased. Just bricked it. Game over. “On May 15th a critical Nest product will go dark. I’m shocked this isn’t bigger news. I don’t mean that the Nest product will reach end-of-life for support and updates. No, I mean that on May 15th they will actually turn off the device and disable your ability to use the hardware that you paid for.”
Nest is owned by Google/Alphabet.

Facebook’s AI is now automatically writing photo captions for visually-impaired users. ” Using deep neural networks, the system can identify particular objects in a photo, from cars and boats to ice cream and pizza. It can pick out particular characteristics of the people in the photo, including smiles and beards and eyeglasses. And it can analyze a photo in a more general sense, determining that a photo depicts sun or ocean waves or snow. The text-to speech engine will then ‘read’ these things aloud.” Don’t get me wrong – I think this is amazing and I’m glad it exists. But I’m wondering why Facebook’s AI can do all this but can’t stop Alan Levine’s pictures from being repeatedly used for catfishing.

The Great Google+ Unhooking Continues: users no longer require a Google+ account to leave reviews on Google Local.


Ooo: How to create custom functions in Google Sheets. “Google Sheets already has a lot of great features to handle numerical calculations, look-ups, and string manipulation, to name a few. However, you might find yourself needing to build lengthy or complex formulas that are difficult or impossible with the built-in options. If this is you, then you should consider taking the next step and building your own custom functions. This article will demonstrate how to accomplish this using a simple Google Script.”


Brooklyn’s Green-Wood cemetery is beginning the process of creating a digital archive, which is explored in this great article at CityLab. “The records also hold a wealth of information for anyone interested in demographics. Oversized books, referred to as the chronological burial registry, note nativity, age, and cause of death in meticulous script. A handful of entries from July 1863 list cause of death as “shot in a riot,” suggesting that they were slain in the Civil War draft riots in Manhattan, says Alpert. These records also have an application for public health, tracking disease outbreaks. Plus, looking at names and places of birth can shed light on immigration patterns throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.”

Vanity Fair looks at the clunky death march being taken by Yahoo’s media properties. “Many point to Mayer’s own failed leadership as the main reason that the conflict between Yahoo’s media and technology talent has not been adequately resolved. (Through a spokesperson, Mayer declined to comment for this story.) Now, amid renewed investor pressure and a likely sale of Yahoo’s core business, the product side seems to be winning. The home-page editing staff has been cut way back from its peak, and the reliance on human intervention declines as the engineers, who have undergone their own staff reductions, insist that the algorithm is improving all the time and serving up what users actually want—not what the New York media types think they should read.”

Hoo boy: Yelp and the Food Network are teaming up for a TV show. What could POSSIBLY go wrong? “Forbes says [the show] will use Yelp reviews to ‘help restaurants discover and fix their problems’ and will focus on one restaurant per episode.”

The AlphaGo AI challenge has apparently caused a surge of interest in the board game Go. “Go Game Guru, a website dedicated to promoting and selling the game of Go, said there is a worldwide shortage of Go equipment after the recent match between DeepMind’s AlphaGo AI and Go world champion Lee Sedol, which AlphaGo won 4-1.”


How bad is the problem of ransomware? It’s so bad that Canada and the US have jointly issued a security warning. “The advisory warns that ‘individuals or organizations are discouraged from paying the ransom, as this does not guarantee files will be released’. However, it does recognise that ‘the authors of ransomware instill fear and panic into their victims, causing them to click on a link or pay a ransom’. But this is said to be a bad idea as it could lead to additional malware infection, and could result in the theft of bank details and other data.”


Researchers at Columbia University estimate that 28% of Google takedown requests might be invalid. Only 28%? “Using data Google gives to Lumen database – an independent, third-party research project created to analyze DMCA requests and other complaints around online content – the researchers reviewed more than 108 million takedown requests and found that 28.4 percent, ‘…had characteristics that raised clear questions about their validity.'”


A guy after my own heart upfitted an old CRT television with Chromecast. “Dr. Moddnstine found a way to make a “portable” TV from 1978 accept Chromecast, turn on automatically when streaming to it, and found a way to fit all the additional parts inside the original chassis.” Gizmodo also noted that goofing around in old televisions is a good way to zap yourself if you’re not careful. Good morning, Internet…

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1 reply »

  1. Have I mentioned how much I hate the fashion of putting light gray text on a white background?

    Sub the word stupidity for fashion and tell it like it is.

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