Space Needle, Web Text, Wikipedia, More: Tuesday Buzz, April 12, 2016


Wow! Check out this cool digital archive of photos taken during the construction of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. There are 2,400 photos here, taken by the same person, George Gulacsik. The vast majority are of the Space Needle construction, though as you’re browsing you’ll come across other random things, like a group of kids hanging out in a field.


Lifehacker’s got a writeup on a tool called Quotationr. “Web/Chrome: Whether you’re saving inspirational quotes for later or doing some light research, Quotationr is a fast, free, and flexible way to grab bits of text from around the web and save them to your account for future reference. Mark them public or private, tag them to keep them organized, and come back later.” Sounds like a good tool if you want a way to organize snippets and don’t need something as heavy as Evernote or OneNote. There’s a free version and a premium version that’ll cost you a whopping $9 a year.

Tubefilter tipped me to a nifty YouTube series that focuses on odd articles in Wikipedia. “The latest channel diving into the Wikipedia rabbit hole is Wendover Productions, which has translated unusual articles into an education web series called That Wikipedia List. The database referenced in That Wikipedia List‘s title is this one, which catalogs hundreds of strange, unusual, and otherwise curious articles written by the site’s many editors. For each episode, Wendover selects a random article from the list and explores it in detail that goes far beyond what is written on Wikipedia. So far, in three episodes, viewers have learned about left-handed presidents, unclaimed Saharan territories, and, most recently, fake towns placed on maps in order to catch plagiarizing cartographers.”

From Digital Trends: How to Get the Most Out of Bing Image Search in Microsoft Office . “Bing Image Search is a feature in Microsoft Office documents that allows you to quickly search for online images and insert them directly into a document, without bouncing between browser and download windows. It’s a big time saver that many Office users aren’t even aware of – so let’s talk about how to use it!”


From Storybench: To scrape or not to scrape: technical and ethical challenges of collecting data off the web. The only thing I’d add to this is: make sure you even need to scrape in the first place. There may be an API that provides all the information you need, and you may find that you go to a lot of trouble to build a good scraping tool when it’s not actually necessary. Do not ask me how I know this.

Another company rumored to be interested in Yahoo: The Daily Mail(?) “The Wall Street Journal reports that if the Daily Mail actually submits a bid, it could take one of two forms: A private equity partner would acquire Yahoo’s core web business, with the Daily Mail taking over the news and media properties, or the private equity partner would acquire Yahoo’s core web business and merge the media and news properties into the Daily Mail’s online operations.”


Not good: a huge archive of Filipino voter records has been hacked. “The personal information of more than 50 million Filipinos has been exposed in a breach of the Philippine electoral commission. According to security researchers at Trend Micro, the hack contains a huge amount of very sensitive personal data, including the fingerprints of 15.8 million individuals and passport numbers and expiry dates of 1.3 million overseas voters.” Really, really not good.

Useful: Looks like someone has created a tool that generates a password for Petya ransomware. Using it is somewhat technical, however. First you need to extract the infected hard drive…

Microsoft is starting a Patch Tuesday just for Microsoft Office. (It’s going to be on the first Tuesday of the month. Windows’ patch Tuesday is the second Tuesday of the month.) “Note: This change applies only to the MSI version of Office. Office Click-To-Run patches will go out on the second Tuesday, as they have in the past.”

Looks like tech companies in Israel will be paying more taxes. “Now it’s final: foreign Internet companies that conduct substantial business activity in Israel will pay taxes in Israel under certain conditions. This represents a taxation revolution that will have a dramatic impact on the activity of giant companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, and in the end will probably make products they sell to Israeli consumers via the Internet dearer.”


Do you use emoji in your social media? Be careful: you might be misunderstood . That link is a PDF link. ” Both in terms of sentiment and semantics, we analyze the variance in interpretation of the emoji, quantifying which emoji are most (and least) likely to be misinterpreted. In cases in which participants rated the same emoji rendering, they disagreed on whether the sentiment was positive, neutral, or negative 25% of the time. When considering renderings across platforms, these disagreements only increase. Overall, we find significant potential for miscommunication, both for individual emoji renderings and for different emoji renderings across platforms.”

I’m continually boggled by the size of Google Earth: How big is the Google Earth database? “The total area of 3D imagery currently in Google Earth is approximately 524,000 sq km. We re-ran our tests for 3D imagery a number of times trying closer and closer views and every time we got closer, the figure got bigger. We eventually settled on an estimate of 2 GB to 1 sq km of 3D imagery although we believe it is an underestimate. This gives us a total of 1024 TB for 3D imagery.” Good morning, Internet…

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