NYC City Directories, Manchester University Music, Windows 10, More: Monday Buzz, October 10, 2016


The New York Public Library has has digitized and is putting online a TROVE of city directories. “New York Public Library is digitizing its collection of New York City Directories, 1786 through 1922/3, serving them free through the NYPL Digital Collections portal. The first batch—1849/50 through 1923—have already been scanned, and the 1786–1848/9 directories are right now being scanned. The whole collection will be going online over the coming months. ”

Manchester University has started an online archive for musical performances at the school. “Items range from a 1964 newspaper article about formal dress rules being relaxed at the November ball – headlined by Lonnie Donegan – to video footage of McFly playing at the Academy earlier this year. Along the way the ticket stubs and flyers tells an illuminating history of British music. One ticket from 1993 promises Lancashire band The Milltown Brothers, supported by The Real People, and a band from Burnage… called Oasis.”


Microsoft has issued a fix for Windows 10 upgrade problems. “In an email statement, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the update, which tries to install and then rolls back repeatedly, affects PCs that previously ran a build delivered through the Windows Insider Program and were later switched to the public Current Branch release.”

Young people, us old people are coming: The Economist is on Snapchat. “If The Economist and Snapchat sounds like an odd pairing, that’s because it is. The magazine prides itself on in-depth coverage of complex subjects, which don’t exactly lend themselves well to short, disappearing videos. However, The Economist—like every magazine—needs as many revenue streams as possible, and so Snapchat it is.”

More Snapchat: it’s changing how it shows stories. “First, Snapchat is putting user Stories at the very top of the Stories page. That means you’ll likely see more of your friends’ Stories ‘above the fold.’ The new design creates an obvious group of losers: Snapchat’s Discover publishing partners, who used to occupy the top of that page and will now have their channels listed below all of your friends’ stories. Depending on how many friends you have on the app, that could mean lots of scrolling before you come across Discover content.” I suspect this because Snapchat learned from Instagram’s experience with changing its timeline to algorithmic and all the complaining that happened afterwards.


What a cool idea — an RSS feeder for local news. “Unlike other RSS apps, NewsTab offers a massive (and constantly growing) selection of local news sources for 130 regions. You can follow a range of publications from your country of choice.”


A new crowdsourcing initiative wants you to play a game and fight Alzheimer’s. “The game, called Stall Catchers, was developed by the Human Computation Institute, in collaboration with UC Berkeley and other institutions, as part of the EyesOnALZ citizen science project. Stall Catchers will allow participants to look at movies of real blood vessels in mouse brains and search for clogged capillaries, or stalls, where blood is no longer flowing, Previous research suggests that capillary stalls could be a key culprit in Alzheimer’s disease.”

The NFL has started what sounds like a crazy-strict social media policy. “According to two league memos obtained by ESPN, teams no longer can shoot video inside the stadium during the game and post it on social media, nor can they use Facebook Live, Periscope or any other app to stream anything live within the stadium.” It gets worse. I am betting this doesn’t end well.

Looks like Pinterest is hitting a bit of a revenue stumble. ” Pinterest generated roughly $100 million in revenue last year, according to the [WSJ] report. You may recall that last year TechCrunch reported, based on leaked documents we received, that the company was projecting around $169 million in revenue for 2015 (and $2.8 billion by 2018). We reported the story in October last year, and the information was used by Andreessen Horowitz to solicit limited partners to invest in a special investment fund for Pinterest earlier in the year. So, what’s going on with the discrepancy here?”


Naked Security: Users are suffering from “threat fatigue”. “Do your eyes glaze over after sites like LinkedIn or Yahoo get massively hacked and, like clockwork, the security wonks come wagging their fingers at you for reusing your passwords? Do you shrug and say ‘Hey, it’s not my job to keep those sites from getting turned upside down and shaken by their ankles until all the data tumbles out – it’s theirs!’ If any of that rings a bell, you’re not alone.”


The company which is currently facing a lawsuit about age-related discrimination in its hiring practices is working to keep AI safe from bias. “Garbage in, garbage out — that’s always been a rule of computing, and machine learning systems are no exception. These elementary AIs only know what we tell them, and if that data carries a bias of any kind, so too will the system trained on it. Google is looking to avoid such awkward and potentially serious situations systematically with a method it calls ‘Equality of Opportunity.'”

Google Operating System: Why Google Can’t Sell Expensive Products. “Google’s commitment issues, its high appetite for releasing beta products, its lack of planning and foresight – all of these problems alienate consumers and make them think twice before buying a Google product. Premium brands are all about image, trust, credibility, heritage.” Interesting discussion in the comments. Good morning, Internet…

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