afternoonbuzz

PA Horse Racing, Code.gov, SketchUp, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, November 7, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The state of Pennsylvania has launched a new database of rulings given with regard to horse racing activities. “Results of official rulings issued against licensees by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission now will be available online as part of the commission’s continuing commitment to transparency and modernizing its oversight of the state’s racing industry. Historically, access to the database of rulings was limited to racing regulators. Today, any decision, matter or action taken by racing judges, stewards, or the commission, relating to racing activities now will be publically accessible and searchable…”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The White House has officially launched Code.gov. “The move follows the announcement by the White House in August of a Federal Source Code policy that would promote reuse of new custom source code developed by government agencies across the federal government to prevent replication of work and expense. The agencies are also required to make some of the software available to the public under an open-source license.”

Holy cow! Remember SketchUp? Google used to own it but it was sold to Trimble Navigation in 2012. One of the things I didn’t like about it was its reliance on Windows, but now there’s apparently a Web version. “You might not have known that the folks at Trimble’s SketchUp division have released (earlier this month) an open beta for their new SketchUp in the Cloud version named, my.sketchup. Senior associate editor, Pete Evans, AIA, first became aware of this and brought it to my attention. If you didn’t know either, you are hardly alone. Trimble and the folks at SketchUp have been pretty darn quiet about this release. And it’s not always easy to find news on Trimble’s press release page either.”

Russian search engine Yandex has a new algorithm. “The new algorithm is named Palekh, which is the name of a world-famous Russian city that has a firebird on its coat of arms. The firebird has a long tail, and Yandex, the largest Russian search engine, used that as code name for long-tail queries. Long-tail queries are several words entered into the search box, more often seen in voice queries these days. Yandex says about 100 million queries per day fall under the ‘long-tail’ classification within their search engine.”

Google really, really wants you to get out and vote. “…The web giant on Sunday launched what is apparently the first in a series of doodles intended to remind you that Election Day is almost at hand. While cute, the doodle also links to information about the measures and candidates on your specific ballot, where you can vote and even how to vote in English and Spanish. When the polls close on Tuesday, Google will integrate real-time US election results into your Google search results in more than 30 languages.”

An update to Google’s Transparency Report shows the increased adoption of HTTPS. “Today, we’re adding a new section to the HTTPS Report Card in our Transparency Report that includes data about how HTTPS usage has been increasing over time. More than half of pages loaded and two-thirds of total time spent by Chrome desktop users occur via HTTPS, and we expect these metrics to continue their strong upward trajectory.”

USEFUL STUFF

Fold3 is making access to its Native American Collection free through November 15th. Materials available include photos, treaties, and census rolls.

In case an earworm is driving you bonkers: Top 7 Websites To Find Song Lyrics Online. “Can’t keep up the pace with Eminem’s rap? Or having trouble understanding what Beyoncé is singing? Or are you getting ready for karaoke? In these cases or another, song lyrics become essential for everyone: be it native listener or non-native. Indian listeners with a taste of English music use song lyrics sites to understand the core meaning of the song that they failed to grasp at the very first moment. Not even this, native English speakers widely use lyrics websites for sating their curiosity of the new words uttered by Eminem or Beyoncé.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Fake apps are showing up in Apple’s App Store just in time for the holidays. “Hundreds of fake retail and product apps have popped up in Apple’s App Store in recent weeks — just in time to deceive holiday shoppers. The counterfeiters have masqueraded as retail chains like Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, big department stores like Dillard’s and Nordstrom, online product bazaars like Zappos.com and Polyvore, and luxury-goods makers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.”

France is planning to collect data on all its citizens. “France’s government last week announced the creation of a highly controversial new database that will collect and store personal information on nearly everyone living in the country who holds a French identity card or passport.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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