Vintage Baseball, FOIA Requests, Archives .gov, More: Friday Buzz, July 15, 2016


New-to-Me: The Internet Archive has a collection of radio broadcasts for hundreds, I would guess, of vintage baseball games. And by vintage, I mean 1930s-1960s. (Some of the games are broken up into parts, which is why it’s hard to get a good count.)

This should be REALLY interesting! Muckrock is building a database of reasons given by the government for denying FOIA requests. “In the 2015 fiscal year, the U.S. federal government processed 769,903 Freedom of Information requests. The government fully fulfilled only 22.6 percent of those requests; 44.9 percent of federal FOIA requests were either partially or fully denied. Even though the government denied at least part of more than 345,000 requests, it only received 14,639 administrative appeals. In an attempt to make the FOIA appeals process easier and help reporters and others understand how and why their requests are being denied, MuckRock is on Thursday launching a project to catalog and explain the exceptions both the federal and state governments are using to deny requests.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES has launched a redesigned site for DocsTeach. “Aside from making the site mobile friendly, we made other improvements as well…. DocsTeach is now easier to use, more customizable, and provides a more complete experience for students.”

Twitter’s grabbed ANOTHER livestreaming sports deal – this time for the PAC-12. “Pac-12 Networks announced Thursday it has reached an agreement with Twitter Inc. to make the social media hub the leading partner for Pac-12 Plus, a broadband network that will will live stream events from UCLA, USC and the other 10 schools in the conference.”

Google has announced that you’re going to be getting more options in your emoji. “In May, we proposed a set of new emoji to the Unicode Technical Committee that represent a wider range of professions for women (as well as men), and reflect the pivotal roles that women play in the world. Since then, we’ve worked closely with members of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee to bring the proposal to life.
Today, the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee has agreed to add 11 new professional emoji, in both male and female options and with all the skin tones. That’s more than 100 new emoji to choose from!”

Google has acquired Kifi. “The mission at Kifi has always been to connect people with knowledge. We created a service that seamlessly enables organizing, sharing, discussing, and finding the content you and your team values, which has resulted in more flexible and intuitive collaboration across the internet. We also spent significant time creating a service that overlays context on your browsing and sharing experiences to increase usefulness and understanding.” Based on this Medium post it sounds like the standalone Kifi service is being shut down.

Google’s Nest is launching an outdoor camera. “Nest Labs is taking preorders on a weatherproof outdoor version of its Nest Cam home security camera that will reach store shelves in September. Nest will also release a new version of its camera app at that time, delivering some of the same new features to Nest Cam Indoor and Dropcam users. More on that later.”



NewsWhip: What We Learned From Analysing 30 Days of Facebook Live Videos. “Since getting a boost in the news feed earlier this year, you may have noticed more clips of reporters taking questions, livestreams of press conferences, public interviews and more in your feed. We wanted to gain a better understanding of how news broadcasters are using Facebook Live to connect with their audiences. Using NewsWhip’s social database, we looked at 30 days worth of videos posted to the main New York Times and BBC News Facebook pages. Well over 100 clips later, one thing was clear: serious resources are being put towards live video by both publishers.”

Despite being early in on the short video craze, Vine is not having a great time. “Nearly all of the top product and business leaders at Vine, Twitter’s three-year-old short-form video service, have left the company in the past four months — many of them in the past few weeks. And while Vine remains culturally interesting and an ‘important’ part of Twitter’s strategy, it seems to be struggling.”


Regulators in the EU are filing yet MORE charges against Google. “The new charge sheet accuses Google of having abused its dominant position by artificially preventing third-party websites from displaying search advertisements from its competitors. This relates to Google’s ‘AdSense for Search’ platform, in which Google acts as an intermediary for websites such as those of online retailers, telecoms operators or newspapers, with searches producing results that include search ads.”


Jordan Crook HATES the new Instagram algorithmic feed. And in this TechCrunch post she explains exactly why. I removed an f-bomb in the following quote. “Nobody loves change, especially when it hits our most beloved digital services like Gmail, Facebook, Spotify, or Instagram. The majority of the time we get over these changes and suddenly forget what these services were like before. It’s like seeing a friend’s new haircut — shocking at first, but eventually that haircut is the only one you’ve ever known. Remember Facebook before the Newsfeed? Instagram before the videos? I doubt it. I preamble down this road so that you understand the severity of my opinion when I say: I [starts with f, rhymes with “ducking”] hate Instagram’s new, algorithmic feed.”

Are you finding the new craze for chatbots kind of irritating? Do they just not work that well for you? That’s because they’re not that great yet in general. “The Winograd Schema Challenge asks computers to make sense of sentences that are ambiguous but usually simple for humans to parse. Disambiguating Winograd Schema sentences requires some common-sense understanding. In the sentence ‘The city councilmen refused the demonstrators a permit because they feared violence,’ it is logically unclear who the word ‘they’ refers to, although humans understand because of the broader context. The programs entered into the challenge were a little better than random at choosing the correct meaning of sentences.”


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