Massachusetts Education, Political TV Ads, LinkedIn, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, September 9, 2016


The state of Massachusetts has launched a new portal for comparing costs of higher education programs at state colleges and universities. From the state’s announcement: “The new MassTransfer web portal will, for the first time, allow the Commonwealth’s high school and college students to identify and compare a wide range of degree programs, transfer options, and college costs at all twenty-eight public undergraduate campuses. They will be able to see what is required to transfer seamlessly between campuses, including course-by course ‘degree maps’ available for some majors.”

The Center for Responsive Politics has launched a new way to track political ad buys. “Users who visit the new page will see the most recent 100 political ad filings received that day, with links to download the documents themselves. The stations listed in those top 100 most recent filings each link to a summary page of the last 50 filings submitted by that station. At the top of the page, a box allows users to search using zip code or a two-letter state abbreviation.”


LinkedIn has a new blogging interface. “Its new interface focuses on the design, with a nice looking UI and more text formatting and font options. It has also removed a lot of extraneous junk from the page to give the reader a better reading view. Writing a post in the LinkedIn editor now means you have more of the screen to play with. Now banners and screens are displayed full width.”

Google Maps has added two ridesharing services. “Google Maps have announced the inclusion of ridesharing services Lyft and Gett on both iOS and Android. Maps will include estimated fares and wait times when searching in cities within the United States.”

Google and Box have teamed up. “Google has announced that it has teamed up with cloud storage provider Box which will see a tighter integration between their productivity offerings. It opens doors for Google Docs users to easily store documents in Box, which is a curious decision given Google already has its own online storage service. Meanwhile, Box will get access to Google Springboard, an AI assistant tool that helps users search for information they need and provides recommendations of what they might want to see. Read on for more details.”

Facebook is testing streaming videos to TV. “Facebook has started testing the ability for people to stream videos — including live ones — to their TVs that are connected to an Apple TV or Google Chromecast, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed on Monday.”


Gizmodo India: 4 Tricks to Work Faster in Google Docs. “If you use Google Docs, you probably work on a lot of documents with other people. However, there are some smaller and lesser-known options you might not know about that can take your productivity to the next level. Here are four easy tricks you can use to be more productive in Google Docs.”


PCMech really likes the Brave browser. “We’re familiar with the big name browsers out there. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and even Microsoft Edge are all names we relate to right now. This, of course, makes it difficult for new browsers to break into the fold. Many aren’t willing to venture out after finding something they like and use on a daily basis. However, if you don’t mind trying something new and want to see some neat technology, the Brave browser is the browser you should be using in 2016.”


VentureBeat: The first chatbot arrest, but what are the implications? “Imagine the police arresting a bot and releasing it after months of custody and investigation. This is not a scenario from a futurist’s blog — it actually happened in Switzerland last year. What were the charges against the globe-trotting Swiss bot and its owners? Its name gives you an idea: Random Darknet Shopper.”


Wow! Can you imagine how useful this could be to archivists? researchers are developing a way to read closed books. “MIT researchers and their colleagues are designing an imaging system that can read closed books. In the latest issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe a prototype of the system, which they tested on a stack of papers, each with one letter printed on it. The system was able to correctly identify the letters on the top nine sheets.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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