Scottish Genealogy, Internet Reference, Site Testing, More: Friday Buzz, June 3, 2016


Doing genealogy? Doing Scottish genealogy? You may find this new collection of family histories helpful. “On Friday, the NLS announced the latest additions to their digital library, this time of nearly 400 printed items relating to the histories of Scottish families – so right up our street! The individual books can be read online or downloaded to read offline. You can even search the text of the books for particular words.” There’s a big list of names on the post.

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society has launched the Net Data Directory. “The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is delighted to announce the launch of the Net Data Directory, a free, publicly available, searchable database of different sources of data about the Internet. The directory is intended to make finding useful quantitative data about a broad range of Internet-related topics—broadband, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and more—easier for researchers, policymakers, journalists, and the public….Records in the directory include the name of the data source, a short description of the available data, and a link. Data sources are tagged both by geographic coverage (including global, regional, and country-level tags) and by topic (such as broadband, cybersecurity, and social media).”

Google, apparently realizing that local businesses don’t have endless amounts of time to tweak their Web sites, has launched a simple site testing tool aimed at small businesses. “The new website testing tool … is simple for anyone to use – you don’t have to be technical. You just type in your website address, and then the tool will score your site. It will also offer a more detailed report that makes suggestions on things that you need to fix, which you could pass on to whomever runs your website, if not yourself.”


Now on Google Street View: Dublin Airport. “Dublin Airport has become the first airport in the world to provide a virtual tour of its runway and airfield. In partnership with Google, Dublin Airport is offering a 360 degree street level virtual tour of its runway system and airfield areas. Thousands of images were captured by Google’s Street View car which were compiled together to give a comprehensive 360o virtual tour of the runway and airfield at Dublin Airport.”

Facebook has developed AI to understand text-based posts. “The Deep Text engine can understand text with ‘near-human accuracy’, a Facebook blogpost explained. It said the AI system was developed to help people get more out of the site and to help catch spam and other unwanted messages.”

Well that wasn’t around long: Facebook is shutting down Notify. “Facebook is shutting down Notify, the 7-month-old app that let you subscribe to push notifications from your favorite publishers. More than 70 partners used the app to send users alerts about the day’s top stories, including CNN, Bloomberg, and Vox Media, which owns The Verge. Notify users were alerted that the app is shutting down today via a push notification.”

Oh my: Snapchat now has more daily users than Twitter? “Snapchat Inc. has 150 million people using the service each day, said people familiar with the matter. That makes the four-year-old messaging app more popular than Twitter Inc. by daily active users. Snapchat has been growing quickly, boosted by its popularity among young people. The app had 110 million daily users in December, said the people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak about the numbers.” I can’t even wrap my head around that.


MakeUseOf: 5 Free Tools to Master Your PDF Files. I love Foxit!


Federal officials in Texas are turning to Twitter to alert citizens about flooding conditions. “The feeds help first-responders and flood forecasters see river gauges in real time and help with decisions ranging from when to evauate to weekend forecasts. The initiative is a pilot program that could someday be rolled out on a national level, said Daniel Pearson, of the USGS Texas Water Science Center in Austin, who helped develop the application. USGS already uses Twitter to help confirm earthquakes, but these are the first fully-autonomous flood and rain related accounts.”

Computer Weekly has an interview with the CTO of the British Library. “The British Library is beginning a major technology transformation to enhance the ways in which it maintains, collects and preserves UK knowledge in digital and physical form, as well as how it makes that content available online and at its main London location.”


The social media/tech company pile-on continues: now in Ireland! “Paul Tweed told the Guardian his firm Johnsons had seen a ‘steady, if not dramatic, increase in claims against Facebook, Google and Twitter’ as well as other social networks. He said there were several new claims a week on issues including privacy, libel and harassment.”


Mapping happiness in physical spaces using Twitter data. “Patterns in what we share can offer insights into the local geography of happiness. For example, when researchers Yaneer Bar-Yam and Roozbeh Daneshvar – who generated the above map – considered hundreds of thousands of tweets at once, they found that public parks are fountains of happiness in New York City, and that sentiment generally deteriorates the further one travels from Times Square. So more greenery might help improve wellbeing.” Good morning, Internet…

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