1950 Census, Facebook Photos, Coursera, More: Monday Buzz, June 13, 2016


In advance (way advance – it’s taking place in 2022) of 1950 US Census Population Schedule release, is putting up 1950 census enumeration district maps — about 8000 of them. “Enumeration Districts– or ‘E.D.s’ as they are known among genealogists and other research communities– were established to help administer and control data collection. An enumeration district is generally the area a single enumerator, or census taker, could cover in one census period, approximately two to four weeks. Because the maps do not contain information protected under privacy restrictions, they have always been open and available for researchers to study.”


Do you have photos synced from your phone to Facebook? Check your e-mail. “Facebook is continuing its heavy-handed push to get users to install its private photo-sharing app Moments. The company’s latest move – warning people some of their photos will be deleted if the app isn’t installed – has managed to make Moments the number one app in the App Store. Users are being given a deadline of July 7th to move to Moments or download their Synced albums, Facebook warns. After that date, Facebook will delete the album containing their Synced Photos, it says.”

I haven’t seen this anywhere else – anyone who uses Coursera want to comment? Apparently Coursera is getting rid of courses on its old platform. “First, they did away with the free certs like everyone else. My reaction. Meh who cares until I can learn the cool stuff. Next, they follow it up with disabling free access to quizzes and assignments. My reaction – Why?? Everyone understands that quizzes and assignments are where a very large part of the learning happens. How am I supposed to master an algorithms course without submitting solutions to the problems? Still they were showing quizzes and just disabled submissions. I was unhappy but still I thought it can’t get any worse. Finally (??), They are now removing all the courses on the old platform. This is what finally broke my heart. There are tons of courses that are not on the new platform. The courses on the old platform have problem sets and quizzes and this is what seems to bother them. The loss of material in the public domain as of now both that on the forums and in the quizzes and assignments is tremendous.”


MakeUseOf: 6 Tools to Boost Snapchat for Beginners or Pros Interesting toolbox of resources.

From Ask Leo: How to share URLs correctly. “I see so many people sharing URLs that are much longer and more complex than they need to be. Even worse, I frequently see people sharing completely broken URLs. To be clear, by ‘share’, I mean publish or pass along in any way. The ramifications of overly complex URLs are minimal in social media, but when you print something on a business card, advertisement, or anywhere you expect people to remember and type it, the shorter, the cleaner, the better.”

From Longreads: The Magic of Archives: A Reading List. “I’m thrilled to present this week’s Reading List in collaboration with Samantha Abrams, an archivist and great friend. I’d planned to curate something about the importance and changing role of archiving—an oft-misunderstood or overlooked science—but I didn’t have enough in my longform arsenal. Cue Sam. I reached out to her via Twitter, asking her if she’d be willing to pass along pertinent articles, essays and interviews she’d encountered as she studied for her master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Library and Information Studies. Sam understood immediately what I was looking for: nothing overly technical, but not condescending or simplified, either.”


TechCrunch: What Pinterest learned in two years working on its search engine. “About two years ago, Pinterest launched a different flavor of search engine called Guided Search. Instead of relying on deep data on the user, it would create a network of related topics that users can dive deep into. The idea being that a search like ‘iPhone’ would net additional categories, like ‘design,’ ‘hardware’ and such. Now Guided Search is about two years old, and the company says it serves around 2 billion searches per month.”

Over on Quartz, an excellent summation of why I worry about social media and elections. It’s called Five subtle ways Facebook could influence the US presidential election this fall and as its subhead (or superhead? It’s above the headline) notes, “And it’s all perfectly legal”…

The high-speed WiFi that Google installed at railways stations in India is getting a good workout. “Whatever be the reason – poor quality of mobile data networks or the famous Indian love for freebies – rail commuters are bingeing on free data. The average user is consuming 10 times more data than he would consume on a 3G pack in a day, say Google officials. To put that in context, industry reports suggest that users consume about 25 MB of 3G data in a day. That would put average user consumption of data in stations at about a staggering 250 MB per day. That, despite being in ‘a transit environment’.”

Recode: Yahoo bidders can’t even agree on what they’re buying. “To begin, think about this a little like there is a house called Yahoo that a few people are looking to buy. Once a beauty, it’s become run-down and in a neighborhood that is no longer that nice, but it’s not a complete teardown either. Over time, each potential bidder gets a closer and closer look at the property and forms their own thoughts about what it’s worth. With a little paint and some renovation, some think its value could rise; others are worried about termites. Lots and lots of termites.”


You think having two-factor authentication on your account will completely protect you from hacking? You still have to be careful. “Earlier this week, Alex MacCaw, cofounder of data API company Clearbit, shared a screenshot of a text attempting to trick its way past two-factor authentication (2FA) on a Google account.”


Over at Ars Technica, Peter Bright rips a strip off Microsoft for the way it’s been handling the Windows 10 updates. “Reports continue to appear stating that the operating system installed itself unprompted and unwanted. Some of these reports have been hard to verify. Recent screenshots suggested that Microsoft had done away with any ability to cancel the upgrade at all, but Microsoft claims that those screens are only shown after users have accepted the upgrade and clicked through several other on-screen messages. These continued stories—along with claims that people have turned off Windows Update entirely to avoid being given Windows 10 when they don’t want it—show that the entire upgrade scheme has caused considerable ill will toward Redmond (plus a great loss of trust).” Good morning, Internet…

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