Natural Language, Houston Herald, Firefox, More: Friday Buzz, July 22, 2016


Google has launched a new natural languages API. “Google today announced the public beta launch of its Cloud Natural Language API, a new service that gives developers access to Google-powered sentiment analysis, entity recognition, and syntax analysis.”

The Houston Herald has added a big new chunk to its digital archive. “More than 83,000 pages of past issues of the Houston Herald are available on the publication’s website this week, marking the completion of a project that started last fall….About 12 years ago, the Herald rolled out its archives from 1948 to the present. The latest content fills the gap from the 1880s to 1947.” This archive does not appear to be free.


Firefox has jumped on the Flash-blockin’ bandwagon. “Starting in August, Mozilla’s Firefox will block Flash content that ‘is not essential to the user experience,’ the organization announced today. With this move, Mozilla is following Google’s lead, which made a similar decision last year and now plans to almost completely block Flash content in its Chrome browser.”

Twitter is giving Periscope a push. “The social network on Thursday unveiled several new tools for Periscope, including the ability for you to rewind live-streaming highlights. Another new features is designed to make it easier for you to find and watch videos, and a third allows Periscopes to play in embedded tweets.”

Facebook will allow Live broadcasters to filter their audience. Well, not us joyless proles. “The audience restrictions option is only available only to people who post their Live streams to Facebook using the social network’s API (application programming interface), e.g., media companies, professional creators and brands using software to send the stream that’s shot using fancy cameras or game- and screen-casting tools, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed. ”


Don Schindler: How to host a virtual farm tour on your website or Facebook Page. Yes, this is about farming. But the way he breaks it down you could apply his thoughts to any institution or business. (Well, perhaps you wouldn’t mention cows quite so much.) If you’ve been thinking about virtual tours, this article might help you organize your thoughts.


If you’re a basketball fan you must be in a happy place right now. First we find out that Twitter signed a deal with the NBA, and now we learn that Facebook will be livestreaming the USA Basketball exhibition games. “A total of nine games played by the men’s and women’s basketball teams will be streamed on both the USA Basketball and NBA Facebook pages.” First game is TONIGHT!

Huh? China is going to ban ad blockers? “China is preparing itself towards banning ad-blocking programs from being installed on its citizens’ machines, as part of a new internet advertising rule which was implemented last week. This was recently discovered by Ben Williams, the head of operations behind the popular ad-blocking program AdBlock Plus.”


If you’re wondering why Apple quickly pushed out iOS an update without signaling it first, here you go. “Android’s Stagefright vulnerability has been one of the biggest security issues discovered in the operating system, with nearly a billion devices potentially at risk when first discovered and able to infect devices with a specially crafted text message. Well, it looks like iPhones had their own Stagefright-like bug and Apple has just issued an update to address it.”

LAME. Someone DDOS’d the Library of Congress. “On Sunday morning, July 17, the Library became the target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) network attack that resulted in the disruption of Library services and websites, including, the U.S. Copyright Office, the BARD service from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, our many databases, and both incoming and outgoing email.”

Investigating a murder case? Can’t unlock the victim’s phone? Well, hey, maybe you can just 3D print his fingers. “[Anil] Jain and his PhD student Sunpreet Arora couldn’t share details of the case with me, since it’s an ongoing investigation, but the gist is this: a man was murdered, and the police think there might be clues to who murdered him stored in his phone. But they can’t get access to the phone without his fingerprint or passcode. So instead of asking the company that made the phone to grant them access, they’re going another route: having the Jain lab create a 3D printed replica of the victim’s fingers. With them, they hope to unlock the phone.”


Now here’s a good smack in the head: Facebook as a painkiller. “Social networking sites (SNSs) are extremely popular for providing users with a convenient platform for acquiring social connections and thereby feeling relatedness. Plenty of literature has shown that mental representations of social support can reduce the perception of physical pain. The current study tested whether thinking about SNS would interfere with users’ perceptions of experimentally induced pain.” Can’t find a copy of the paper itself that isn’t behind a paywall in my quick look; let me know if you can. Good morning, Internet…

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1 reply »

  1. About Firefox and Flash – I really don’t want my browser deciding what I get to see and use. I have Flash set on “Ask to activate” in Firefox. Some sites I use use Flash. I’m a responsible adult and I prefer to make my own decisions. Big brother – butt out! I’ll decide what risks I want to take….

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