Virtual Genealogy, 1920s Scotland, Yiddish Theater, More: Wednesday Buzz, October 26, 2016

Hey! The National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair starts today! “Viewers have the opportunity to participate with the presenters and other family historians during the live event on YouTube. All of the session videos and handouts will be available from this web page free of charge. You can watch the sessions and download the materials at your convenience. The videos and materials will remain available after the event. Registration is not required.”


Now available: an online archive of photos showing 1920s Leith (a district to the north of Edinburgh, Scotland). “A series of images giving the public a rare glimpse into 1920s Leith and its people has been made available online. When local historian Fraser Parkinson was entrusted with a set of photographs showing Leith slums in the inter-war era, he knew they deserved to be shared with a wider audience.”

A new Web site hopes to aggregate information on Yiddish theater. “The website is a research consortium and collaboration of the leading scholars of Yiddish theater. The website is a place to share and discuss findings with other scholars and the public. [Joel] Berkowitz and [Debra] Caplan came up with the idea of creating the site during a lengthy conversation at a conference.”

A new free-to-use photo site focuses more on the abstract side of things. From the about page: “The photographs on our site are primarily, but not exclusively of textures, patterns and forms, rather than of particular subjects though we couldn’t resist including some landscapes, animals and flowers for use as backgrounds and elements. We envisage these images being used by creative professionals such as graphic artists and web designers, students and other professionals working in the creative industries.” Not the largest collection ever, but good photos. Abstractly soothing.


World War I researchers, Library and Archives Canada has some good news for you. “We are pleased to announce an updated version of our ‘Service Files of the First World War, 1914-1918 – CEF’ database. The new database, now called ‘Personnel Records of the First World War’, provides access to the service files of members of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) along with records for other First World War personnel.”

A new version of Opera is available – and it’s all about the tabs. “Many web browser creators like to boast about performance in ideal conditions, where there’s only one tab and the app is already open. But that’s not how it works in real life — many people launch their browsers with numerous tabs left over from their last session, and that can be glacially slow if you don’t have speedy storage or loads of memory. Opera thinks it can do better.”

Google Express has expanded to several states, including North Carolina… “In addition to North Carolina, Google Express is expanding service to South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky. Other states added are: Utah, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and Washington. An annual membership is $95.”

The Google Cast app has been rebranded. “As expected, Google has today begun rolling out an update to its Google Cast app, appropriately renamed simply “Home”. The update includes a minor visual refresh and reorganization, and quietly adds the backbone for enabling Chromecast Ultra, the actual Google Home hardware, and support for controlling all of these Cast devices via Google Assistant…”

Google has purchased Eyefluence. “Eyefluence wants to change the way we interact with VR and AR headsets. It uses eye scanning and tracking technology to let you use your eyes as a control method, rather than a control pad or similar. It’s the type of technology that lets you buy things on Amazon with a flick of the iris.”


AllAfrica: Zimbabwe: Social Media Becomes Mugabe’s Nightmare. “In a country that reportedly suppresses the traditional media, Zimbabweans have found another way to communicate their frustrations towards the government. Social media platforms as well as texting services such as WhatsApp have become steadily more popular as means to criticise, but also address [President Robert] Mugabe, who appears to not be easily accessible to ordinary citizens.”


PsychCentral: Social Media Posts Provide Fodder for Vaccination Debate. “In January 2016, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo of himself holding his baby daughter with the caption ‘Doctor’s visit – time for vaccines!’ With his undeniable reach and the ability of anyone to comment, the post represented a unique opportunity to analyze the language used to express pro- vaccination and anti-vaccination viewpoints.”

I nodded my head the whole time I read this article: Many ‘Worn Out’ By Campaign, Survey Of Social Media Users Shows. “In case you needed more evidence of the toll this divisive campaign is taking on America, a new survey says more than a third of social media users are ‘worn out’ by the amount of political content they encounter. That’s nearly twice as many who say they welcome the political content they find on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.” Good morning, Internet…

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