New Jersey Newspapers, Mississippi Legal Advice, WordPress, More: Saturday Buzz, August 20, 2016


In development: a digital archive of newspapers from New Jersey. “The New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project is a collaboration of Rutgers University Libraries, the New Jersey State Archives and the New Jersey State Library that will make the history of New Jersey known to its citizens and the world. The plan, according to project director and Rutgers University digital archivist Caryn Radick, is to scan existing microfilm from the New Jersey State Archives and to make searchable digital files available through the Library of Congress website Chronicling America. Over a two-year period, the project will digitize and catalog at least 100,000 newspaper pages, originally published between 1836 and 1922 and not currently available in digital format.”

Low-income citizens in Mississippi are getting a new resource for legal advice. “The online service … will provide information about common legal problems, such as divorce, child custody, housing, landlord-tenant disputes, land issues, trust and estate matters, will and probate matters, wage and employment issues, bankruptcy, and consumer disputes, [Tiffany] Graves said.”


WordPress 4.6 is now available. “This version speeds up the management of both themes and plugins by allowing both to be added, updated or deleted from a single page — no need to click back and forth between the main Themes page and a separate ‘Add Theme’ page, for example.”

Neat: add images to questions and answers in Google Forms. “Google Forms makes it easy to create, distribute, and analyze surveys. Starting today, you can craft even more effective forms by inserting images into survey questions or adding images as multiple choice or checkbox options in Forms on the web.”


In case ya need it: how to find Government of Canada press releases. “Government of Canada press releases, also referred to as news releases, are issued for the media to announce the latest news of government departments. At Library and Archives Canada (LAC), we hold a number of press releases, some in hard copy format in our archival holdings, and some in our published collection. The LAC collection is a great starting point to search for older releases that are not currently online.”

Interesting: Try Exploring Wikipedia Visually Like a Spaceship in Space. “Wikiverse turns the Wikipedia experience into an outer space exploration. Zoom out and you’ll see constellations of related, and at times overlapping, topics or domains: Nature, Literature, and History make up one constellation, Culture, Religion, and History another.”


VentureBeat: Why chatbots are so disruptive. “Chatbots have been around for decades. There are 18,000 of them on Facebook Messenger alone, with over 1,000 chatting away on Kik in the past six months. Slack has deployed countless bots to help humans get work done in groups since 2013. We’ve seen a critical mass for the first time, but — as with any disruptive tech — there are stages. Here they are…”

Twitter is going after extremists. “Over the last year, Twitter has been suspending accounts for promoting terrorism. The social network had already made it public that 125,000 accounts were suspended between mid-2015 and early 2016. Today we learned that Twitter has added an additional 235,000 suspensions, bringing their two-year total to 360,000 accounts.”

Facebook’s efforts to make its workforce more diverse don’t appear to be working that well. “Two years ago, Facebook proposed a system to make its workforce less universally white or Asian and male. The plan was to incentivize its in-house recruiters to hire diverse candidates, literally giving them more points for Hispanic, black and/or female candidates that would build a score directly applying to their performance reviews and bonuses. Unfortunately, the gains for more female employees are marginal and the racial makeup of the company hasn’t changed, and the method can be deemed a failure.”


It looks like the NSA really was hacked. “A group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers is currently selling off cyber-spying tools, which it claims belong to the U.S. government, in an online auction. Now, analysis of software that the group made freely available to prove its legitimacy suggests that it’s authentic, and likely to belong to the National Security Agency.”

A bunch of tech companies are teaming up with the FCC to stop robocalls. We can only hope. “Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has asked wireless and wireline phone companies to offer call-blocking services to customers at no cost. The robocall strike force plans to report to the FCC by Oct. 19 on ‘concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,’ AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.”

Shocked not shocked: beating facial recognition logins with Facebook photos. “Earlier this month at the Usenix security conference, security and computer vision specialists from the University of North Carolina presented a system that uses digital 3-D facial models based on publicly available photos and displayed with mobile virtual reality technology to defeat facial recognition systems. A VR-style face, rendered in three dimensions, gives the motion and depth cues that a security system is generally checking for. The researchers used a VR system shown on a smartphone’s screen for its accessibility and portability.” Good morning, Internet…

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