Indian Missions, Eastern Bloc Architecture, India Higher Education, More: Sunday Buzz, August 21, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

India’s Ministry of External Affairs has launched a new app (on Facebook) for finding Indian missions around the world. “The app, developed in cooperation with social media giant Facebook, will help people connect with Indian missions abroad and the Ministry of External Affairs through a range of social media platforms without having to access individual websites.” In the US at least, the word “mission” often has a religious connotation. I don’t see that here; searching through the same info at mea.gov.in all the ones I found were embassy-type organizations.

In development: an online archive to preserve the architecture of the former Eastern Bloc. “Described as Socialist Modernist, the buildings captured were all constructed after the second world war within the former Eastern Bloc – the group of Central and Eastern European states that were under Soviet influence – and neighbouring Yugoslavia.” The images in this article are absolutely stunning.

More India: the University Grants Commission (UGC) is setting up a single digital library for the country’s higher education students. “The letter said that from single window of NDL, educational material, more than 40 types of learning resources, and 13 lakh items in more than 70 languages can be accessed. In order to making the most out of these resources, the UGC has asked the officials to advise students to register themselves on the NDL portal…” A lakh is 100,000.

Facebook has a new app that you can only use if you’re under 21 and have an iPhone. “Facebook has yet another piece of software to lure teenagers into thinking its products are more hip than Snapchat. The new iOS app, called Lifestage, is a kind of video diary where you answer biographical questions about yourself. Instead of filling in answers with text, you record a small video snippet that others can view on your profile. Every time someone updates their page, it shows up in a feed prompting others to check it out.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Microsoft has released PowerShell as open source. “Announcing the release, Microsoft’s Jeffrey Snover described the impetus for the move: customers liked the use of PowerShell for management, remote control, and configuration but didn’t like that it was Windows-only. To address this concern, Microsoft first had to bring .NET, and then PowerShell itself, to Linux and other platforms.”

More open source! Facebook has released fastText on GitHub. “Every day, billions of pieces of content are shared on Facebook. To keep up with the data, Facebook has been using a variety of tools to classify text. Traditional methods of classification, like deep neural networks are accurate, but have serious training requirements. In an effort to classify both accurately and easily, Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab developed fastText. Today, fastText is going open source so developers can implement its libraries anywhere.”

Google is killing off its Chrome apps. “Google today announced on the Chromium blog that it would be ending support for Chrome apps on Windows, macOS, and Linux. According to Google, the company launched Chrome apps three years ago to bridge the gap between what could be done on the web and what could be done with a native application. Since then, APIs have been developed that allow web apps to do more, such as use push notifications.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: 5 No-Installation Apps to Copy-Paste or Transfer Files Quickly. I gotta try that 9c.nu ….

From Loige: Extracting data from Wikipedia using curl, grep, cut and other shell commands. “In this article I am going to show you how I was able to extract and process some information from Wikipedia only using a combination of common bash utilities like curl and grep.” What I really like about this article is that its author, Luciano Mammino, extends it in response to comments and external articles, and the comments themselves are well-worth reading. So well done Mr. Mammino.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Ruh-roh. Looks like Windows 10 is breaking Web cams. (Hmm, maybe this is one of those “good news and bad news” things.) “If you have recently updated to the latest version of Windows 10 and you’re wondering why your USB webcam is acting a bit wonky, don’t worry, it isn’t your webcam’s problem. Instead it seems to be more of an issue with the latest update to Windows 10, and you can also rest assured that you’re not alone in this.”

Facebook is apparently building a Steam-type platform for casual games. Like Big Fish? “According to a post from Facebook announcing the partnership, Unity will integrate support for the Facebook platform and will streamline the process for exporting and publishing games to the social networking site so developers can more quickly get their games to potential players.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

University of Washington research: ‘I miss you so much’: How Twitter is broadening the conversation on death and mourning. “In a paper that will be presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), UW doctoral students Nina Cesare and Jennifer Branstad analyzed the feeds of deceased Twitter users and found that people use the site to acknowledge death in a blend of public and private behavior that differs from how it is addressed on other social media sites.” Good morning, Internet…

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