California Road Trips, Transylvania (County) Architecture, Massachusetts Finance , More: Friday Buzz, September 9, 2016


The state of California has launched a new digital exhibit: California Road Trip. (Can you tell I’m trying to catch up with my Google Alerts?) “The exhibit traces the early history of California’s car culture, dating all the way back to the first state highway built in 1895…. The ‘California Road Trip’ exhibit includes rare photographs from the Department of Public Works, California Highway Association, and others to illustrate the challenges faced by California’s first motorists.”

DigitalNC has created a new archive for architecture in Transylvania county, a county in the North Carolina mountains. “The exhibit, Transylvania: The Architectural History of a Mountain County, features nearly 1,500 images taken during an architectural survey done of the county in the early 1990s. Architectural surveys are inventories of built, intact structures in a given area. These images document structures and communities in Brevard, Rosman, Lake Toxaway, Cedar Mountain, Pisgah Forest, and other areas. The County was founded in 1861 as an agricultural community, which is evident through the survey. Hundreds of images depict homes, barns, spring houses, smokehouses, chicken houses, silos, and many other structures that reflect the activities and roots of the rural community.”

The state of Massachusetts is about to get a new Web site with state payroll and spending information. “Massachusetts’ notoriously opaque state government is about to get more transparent, with the launch of a website detailing state payroll and spending data. Comptroller Thomas G. Shack III says his office’s site, dubbed ‘CTHRU’ and set to go live Sept. 14, will give the news media, public interest groups, and others an important tool to uncover waste and fraud.” As I live in North Carolina, where government is in the bathroom (literally), I cannot say anything about the government in other states. But this quote later in the story made me go wow: “Massachusetts is the only state, for instance, where the governor’s office, the Legislature, and the judiciary all claim to be exempt from public records law.”


WordPress 4.6.1 is now available. “WordPress versions 4.6 and earlier are affected by two security issues: a cross-site scripting vulnerability via image filename, reported by SumOfPwn researcher Cengiz Han Sahin; and a path traversal vulnerability in the upgrade package uploader, reported by Dominik Schilling from the WordPress security team.”

Facebook wants small businesses to do more international reach on its platform. “Facebook is trying to help small businesses become global businesses with some new tweaks to its advertising platforms. On Thursday, the company announced that it’s offering businesses with Facebook pages the chance to easily reach international audiences on the social network and will offer suggestions about which country to take their business to next.”

Snapchat is getting rid of local stories. Why is local news/anything on the Internet so awful? “With this move, it seems that Snapchat is opting for official deals for major events over localized content. Local stories were not as popular, an anonymous person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Indeed, their potential audience was limited to one city rather than Snapchat’s 150 million daily active users.” Ah, doesn’t scale, no big money.


A new app wants to help you block calls from telemarketers. “A new application, Callblock, coming to the iTunes App Store, claims to block phone calls from over 2 million telemarketers by type, including things like robocallers, debt collectors, political campaigners, scammers, and more. To identify which calls should be blocked, the app uses a combination of public and private records, ongoing research, and user reports, the company explains. As new entries are added to the database, the app will automatically update to include the changes.” It looks like the app will be a subscription service.


Whoa: is Baidu going to take on Google in Europe? “The CEO of China’s foremost search engine has suggested that his company could be well placed to take market share from Google in a European market in which consumers are ‘frustrated’ at a lack of choice. Speaking to US news outlet CNBC at last week’s G20 summit in Hangzhou, Baidu founder and boss Robin Li claimed that Google’s dominance of the internet space in Europe could allow his firm to gain traction with exasperated users.”

From the New York Times: Digital Troves, Providing Insights and Reuniting Antiquities. “While documenting material looted in recent decades, databases of Middle Eastern archaeological artifacts are also shedding light on the lives of ancient rulers and poets as well as the Europeans and Americans who dug at historic sites nearly a century ago.”

From The Michigan Daily: Disconnected: Navigating campus social life without Facebook. “[Will] Jermyn has cycled through several new email accounts in the nine years since then, but he still hasn’t found a reason to create a Facebook. As the popularity of the social network grew and more of his classmates used the site to organize events after school or created groups for clubs, he considered making one but found he was always fine without it. He said he has realized at times that his life would be easier with an account, but the extra work that came with not having one — like having to go out of his way to make sure he knew about events happening — didn’t outweigh his feeling that it wasn’t essential.”

WIRED: Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits. “Jigsaw, the Google-owned tech incubator and think tank—until recently known as Google Ideas—has been working over the past year to develop a new program it hopes can use a combination of Google’s search advertising algorithms and YouTube’s video platform to target aspiring ISIS recruits and ultimately dissuade them from joining the group’s cult of apocalyptic violence.”

Google is buying Apigee. “Google is to acquire Apigee, a provider of a platform that lets software programs interact with each other, in a deal worth about $625m. Goolge [sic], a subsidiary of Alphabet, will acquire the group for $17.40 a share in cash, giving it an equity value of about $521m, according to Bloomberg data.” Good morning, Internet…

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