Chicago, Twitter Translations, NC Archives, More: Saturday Buzz, June 4, 2016


The city of Chicago has released a boatload of information about police shootings and other law enforcement incidents under investigation. “The city has been wrestling for weeks with myriad issues surrounding the release of so much information. The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates alleged abuses by police, designed a user-friendly website for the public, making information searchable by incident date, location or category as well as by entering the name of a complainant.” I think this is a really big deal, and as is noted in the article, a watershed moment. Other municipal police departments will have a much more difficult time justifying not releasing similar data after this action by Chicago.

Wow: Stepes has announced a live translation service for Twitter (PRESS RELEASE). This is human translation, not machine, and as you might imagine it is not free. “The new Twitter API allows Stepes users to link up their Twitter accounts and automatically have their Tweets translated live by human translators and reposted on their official accounts. Users can specify which accounts they want to be translated and set daily limits on spending. Each user will receive a regular report on their social media translation for tracking purposes.”


The Audio Visual Materials Unit at the State Archives of North Carolina now has an Instagram account. Only four pictures so far, but if everything they post is of the quality of the first four images, we are in for a treat. Don’t miss Ava Gardner taking a selfie in 1947.

LinkedIn has released some new business intelligence tools — but they’re available only to premium members. “Premium insights include data around hiring and job openings, total employee count and employee roles, as well as ‘notable alumni’ — where senior employees go after they leave a company. Beginning today, premium users of the service can take a look at this information for any company that has 30 or more employees with LinkedIn profiles.”

Oh Boy. Instagram’s algorithmic timeline has gone live. Bleh. “If you’re looking at your Instagram today, you might notice something has changed: older posts from friends and other accounts you care about are now appearing above those that were shared more recently. Yes, the new Instagram algorithm that rearranges the order of posts to show you the ‘best’ posts first is now live for all.”

Nice: Twitter has added support for 360-degree video. “As with other implementations, you can just click and drag to look around the videos, and they work on both desktop and mobile. It works kind of similarly to the rewindable ScratchReels from last year.”


Over on Akshat Blog, Akshat Verma rounds up a big list of reverse image search resources. Nice list.

Lifehacker has a writeup on an interesting app called Sherbit. “Do I spend more money on gas or on Lyft rides? How much time do I spend working compared to fooling around on social media? Are my Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter posts getting more likes on average? These are the sorts of questions Sherbit can answer by taking data from various services you use and visualizing that data to create a comparison.”


Are Yahoo and Twitter thinking about a merger? Oh dear oh dear oh dear. “Jack Dorsey’s struggling social network met with Yahoo’s management, led by Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, several weeks ago to discuss a possible merger of the companies, sources told The Post.” I just don’t think either of these companies have enough traction to make it work. At this point I think either Google, Snapchat, or Amazon should buy Twitter.

Snapchat has acquired Seene. “Seene lets you capture 3D models from your phone with a simple smartphone camera. Snapchat could use Seene’s format for a brand new category of selfie lenses, a new 3D photo format, and potentially for future virtual reality projects. According to our sources, Snapchat was interested in Seene’s computer vision technology and its engineering team more than for its consumer product. ”


Dave Carroll calls out Facebook for playing silly buggers with its settings. “I discovered that Facebook had opted me back into behavioral (interest-based) advertising despite the fact that I had already taken the time and care to opt-out of as many ad settings as offered by the company. I checked because I research this industry as part of my academic practice and found write-ups on their new off-site ad network on the Verge and Mediapost.”


If you spend any time at all on the Web you know this but here’s data: ad tech is crapping up the Web. “Ad technology is ruining the web as dubious websites game traffic to take advantage of the algorithms the ad tech companies use to place ads, according to a paper out from Kalkis Research, a French research firm. News organizations, desperate for traffic, feed into the system by using systems such as Taboola and Outbrain which often link to these shell sites, the report says.” Good morning, Internet…

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