Taiwan Government, Nuclear Weapons Testing, Arizona Fires, More: Saturday Buzz, May 14, 2016


Now available: a digital archive for the Executive Yuan. (The Executive Yuan, as I understand it, is the executive branch of the Republic of China, which is more commonly known around here as Taiwan.) “The Executive Yuan set up the website to revitalize its precious audiovisual historical materials. Citizens are welcome to provide suggestions and error corrections to help enrich the website and make it more comprehensive. Executive Yuan Spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun pointed out that the digital archive primarily contains [Republic of China] premiers’ audiovisual records—including their schedules, event activities and press conferences—which are major assets for the public. The materials go back to the 1970s and stand witness to important historical moments of successive premiers, while recording the footsteps of Taiwan’s progress.” The site is in Chinese only; Chrome translated the site okay but, of course, could not do anything with the embedded 30-second YouTube Video which was mostly scrolling Chinese characters.

Now available: A site tracking and timelining the effects that the nuclear weapons testing of the 1950s had on the people living “downwind” in Utah. Strangely some of the things presented on the site’s timeline are only available via University of Utah resources (an article available through ProQuest, for example.) There are enough “open” resources, however, to make the site worth a visit.

The state of Arizona has a new wildfire information tool. “After signing up for the online tool, a user can choose multiple areas of interest and can monitor fires as far as 20 miles away. When a user follows a fire, they can view information like the GIS coordinates of the fire start, cause, acreage and status — new, emerging, contained or controlled. Even more information becomes available if a fire gets larger, [Ben] Butler said.”


Evernote is integrating with Google Drive. ” Evernote is a popular tool for capturing ideas and, starting today, you can easily drop any file from Google Drive into Evernote notes to add context. Instead of pasting links to files, Drive content added to Evernote will now include thumbnail previews and a rich viewing experience. You can also search Drive from Evernote and any changes to files in Drive will sync automatically with your notes. ”

Wow, look at Opera, keeping it up with the innovation! Now it’s got a low-power mode. “Grab the latest developer version of Opera and you’ll have an option to scale back energy use by tweaking page redraw behavior, background tab activity and video playback. In Opera’s tests, that gets you about 3 hours of extra surfing on a Windows 10 laptop (a Lenovo ThinkPad X250 with a Core i7 and 16GB of RAM, if you’re curious) when compared to both earlier versions of Opera and Google Chrome.”

Google has open sourced a neural network framework designed to parse human language. It has also released an English language parser which it has named, to my delight, Parsey McParseface.


From MakeUseOf: 12 Productive Ideas for a Shared Google Calendar. “Google Calendar is a phenomenal productivity tool, whether you use it for yourself or to collaborate with a larger group. You might think that a calendar app is best for simply giving you reminders of what you’re supposed to be doing, but Google’s mega-useful app can do so much more than that!”


Sure seems like Facebook has a lot of human control over what “trends” on its site. “Leaked documents show how Facebook, now the biggest news distributor on the planet, relies on old-fashioned news values on top of its algorithms to determine what the hottest stories will be for the 1 billion people who visit the social network every day.”

Fascinating article from The Atlantic on digitizing a Web site for the long haul: “, a website that allows its users to post ‘moments’ with a photo and annotation, plans a similar trip to the distant future. The operators, Craig Mod (who has also previously written for The Atlantic) and Chris Palmieri, announced today that the site will freeze service in September 2016. However, all posts present in the site’s database at that time will be microprinted onto a two-by-two-inch nickel plate. The entire site—2,000,000 words and 14,000 photos—should fit on a single disk. Several copies will be made and distributed across the globe; the Library of Congress has already been secured as a repository. The plates have a lifespan as long as 10,000 years, and they may be viewed with a 1,000-power optical microscope.”

Like Google, Bing has recently banned an entire class of ads. In Bing’s case, it’s ads for third-party tech support services. Apparently this is a quality issue thing.

If some of Google Street View’s latest additions, Google is all about the indoor mapping. But .. 3D indoor mapping? “Google already maps the world, but the Internet giant has bigger plans for its next location-based technology. The Alphabet unit wants to digitally map the interiors of buildings in 3D down to a resolution of a few inches, and make money in virtual reality along the way, through a project named Tango.”


At least it isn’t Flash or Java? File archiver 7-Zip has security issues. “Even if users hurry to download the newest 16.0 version of 7-Zip, in which the vulnerabilities are reportedly fixed, that doesn’t take care of many products that have used the old 7-Zip libraries and are still vulnerable. Unless vendors do some work, they are vulnerable and users of their products are as well.” Good morning, Internet…

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