Omnity, Architectural Magazines, Podcasts, More: Wednesday Buzz, May 25, 2016


Over that the Washington Post, Hayley Tsukayama has a writeup on a new search engine called Omnity. “”Omnity stands out by offering results that best match for any given search term and also how those results relate to each other. So if you’re about to start a research project on a topic you know little about, you can quickly see who is getting cited the most, whose research is the most influential or which university is leading the pack on that subject. It draws from a number of data sets, including SEC filings, public news organization reports, scientific journals, financial reports and legal histories.” Reminds me of Clusty and all those other engines back when clustering search was hot for about nine minutes. This one isn’t free and does seem to have access to better/larger data sets.


A digital archive of architectural magazines is getting even bigger. “Once complete, ‘Colossus’ will be largest digital archive of modern architectural magazines available to the general public, with more than 1.3 million pages of content. The digital archive was originally launched in 2013 and currently includes the publications AIA North Carolina, House + Home, Architectural Forum, Metro Magazine, and others. Titles to be added to those include The Octagon: A Journal of the American Institute of Architects (1929-43), The Journal of the American Institute of Architects (1944-64), Architecture: The AIA Journal (1983-85), Architecture (1985-2006), and Progressive Architecture (1945-96).”

Interesting: the world of podcasts finally has show rankings. There’s no search engine worth a whiz that I know about, but you can check show rankings! “With more than a decade of experience in measuring podcasts, Podtrac is uniquely positioned to provide the podcast industry with the only ranking of the top publishers with our Podcast Industry Audience Ranking. We publish a new ranking every month using Podtrac’s proprietary and consistent measurement methodology for apples-to-apples audience sizing.”

Instagram is owned by Facebook, after all, so it won’t be a huge surprise if this happens – but I really do not want Instagram to start offering “pay to boost”. “The latest build of the Instagram app (version 8.1.0) was decompiled last night by Elliott Murray, the head of innovation at social media agency Social Chain — a company that you may remember from the BuzzFeed profile that examined both the service’s heavy influence over Twitter trends as well as its questionable tactics. It makes sense, given the agency’s management of a number of top accounts across social networks, including Instagram, that it would be especially interested in the service’s future plans and features.”


I have mentioned several time here that I love YouTube Red. And nobody pays me to say that and I don’t get it free. I just really like it. Anyway, if you’ve read my blithering and you want to try it too, a current promotion offers 3 months for 99 cents. And that’s not an affiliate link and nobody paid me to put it here! Get off my lawn!

Hmm, I’m not sure I want to know: How to track how much time you waste on social media. “Social media is an incredibly useful tool for keeping up with the news, finding inspiration, and for promoting a good cause. But it can also be a huge drain on your time, and on your mobile phone’s battery. So if you want to really get a handle on how much time you’re spending on social media sites, there’s a few ways you can do that regardless of your device of choice.”

From the IFTTT blog: 5 ways to turn Gmail into your personal assistant. “In a world saturated with amazing gadgets and services, it’s easy to overlook the humble email service. But when you connect it to IFTTT, there’s so much more it can do! These Recipes use simple connections to transform your Gmail account into a personal assistant.”


Google’s got its own roundup of what happened at Google I/O. “Last week thousands of developers joined us at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, at Google I/O, our annual developer conference, for three days of talks, sandboxes, and some festival fun. Here’s a look at I/O beyond the keynote…”


Whoa! Google’s Paris offices were raided! “French police have raided Google’s Paris offices as part of an investigation into ‘aggravated tax fraud’ and money laundering allegations, authorities said Tuesday.”


What kind of new moms post the most to Facebook? “The study looked at a specific group of moms – highly educated, mostly married Midwestern women who had full-time jobs – and found that those who felt societal pressure to be perfect moms and who identified most strongly with their motherhood role posted more frequently than others to Facebook. These same mothers who posted most frequently also reported stronger emotional reactions to comments on the photos they posted of their new baby – such as feeling bad if they didn’t get enough positive comments.”

There are some concerns around Google’s new app, Allo. “Text messages are among our last sacred spaces in the digital realm. Within them we speak freely, and let tiny textual idiosyncrasies signal our humanity through the screen. Do I really want Google hoovering up everything I say? Do I need it to put words in my mouth? Faced with Allo’s predictive powers, will I go out of my way to throw it off course? Say ‘OK’ one day and ‘okey-doke’ the next, just to prove to Google (or myself) that I’m more complex than its best guess? This relationship already sounds exhausting.” I can’t imagine how this would be any worse than the autocorrective silliness of the iPhone.


A little far afield, but that’s why I have this section: sorting geological specimens with machine intelligence. “Jller is part of an ongoing research project in the fields of industrial automation and historical geology. It is an apparatus, that sorts pebbles from a specific river by their geologic age. The stones were taken from the stream bed of the German river Jller, shortly before it merges with the Danube, close to the city of Ulm. The machine and its performance is the first manifestation of this research. A set of pebbles from the Jller are placed on the 2×4 meter platform of the machine, which automatically analyzes the stones in order to then sort them. The sorting process happens in two steps: Intermediate, pre-sorted patterns are formed first, to make space for the final, ordered alignment of stones, defined by type and age. Starting from an arbitrary set of stones, this process renders the inherent history of the river visible.” Good morning, Internet…

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