NC WWI, Florida State University, Oxford University, More: Thursday Buzz, November 17, 2016


Genealogists! North Carolina’s World War I service cards are now available online. “Using data from cards maintained at the State Archives of North Carolina, the database, searchable by name, includes place and date of induction, residence, and place and date of birth for officers, enlisted men, nurses, medics and chaplains who served in an official military capacity during World War I. Branches of service include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The actual service card is viewable through the database and contains additional information such as rank, unit, overseas service date and date of discharge from active military service.”

Florida State University bulletins and announcements have been digitized and put online. “Starting in 1880, the Bulletins contain rules for students, department and course descriptions, schedule of classes, as well as war-time campus defense initiatives, illustrated guides to campus, and advice for incoming freshman. The Bulletins can be viewed on Diginole: FSU’s Digital Repository.”


Hey! Oxford University will offer a MOOC. “The highest ranked university in the world will soon join prestigious institutions like Berkeley, Harvard and MIT in offering free massive open online courses (MOOCs). Starting in February 2017, Oxford University will partner with nonprofit online learning platform edX to teach a freely available economics class titled, ‘From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development.'”

Pinterest has added an “explore” section. “Right now, you might consider Pinterest to be a go-to spot for recipes, clothing or DIY ideas. And, to be fair, that’s not far off — the company has collected 150 million monthly active users on the strength of the content it’s known best for. But Pinterest has increasingly tried to expand beyond that tried and true content that’s kept those users coming back over and over every day. The ability to explore additional topics that might help those users expand their overall scope of interest gives Pinterest a way to attract those users who’ll share content outside of what Pinterest is traditionally known for.”

Facebook wants to make it easier for businesses to communicate on its platforms. “The inbox in the app will now include a unified stream of all that commentary — including comments on their Facebook posts, posts on their Page, messages and comments on their Instagram and videos — as well as individual tabs for focusing on individual channels.” If Facebook really wants to help, why not allow institutional accounts so that businesses did not have to let employee personal accounts access their Pages. Every one you add to a page is another vector for possible security problems.

Google’s WiFi routers are now available for pre-order. “Similar to Eero’s multi-point mesh routers, the Wifi is designed to improve your wireless internet by using multiple routers scattered around an apartment or house. And like Google’s OnHub routers, the Wifi system is meant to automatically handle things like channel management and traffic routing to optimize speeds and efficiency.”

Snapchat and Foursquare are teaming up. “Snapchat advertisers now have access to Foursquare’s data points that map 90 million locations when running geofilter campaigns. (Geofilters are the colorful graphics that overlay photos and video.) While Snapchat started offering location data to geofilter advertisers a year ago, brands in theory will now be able to create more targeted and specific parameters for geofilters using Foursquare’s data.”


It’s always a good day when you hear from Amit Agarwal. His latest: Make a Bookmark to Quickly Restart Google Chrome. “How do you restart Chrome? Close the browser and double-click the application icon on the desktop to launch it again. That’s the usual way but Chrome also offers a special URL that makes it easy to restart Chrome from the address bar.”

Hey! Looks like there’s another browser extension for identifying fake news on Facebook. “Just how hard of a problem is it for an algorithm to determine real news from lies? Not that hard. During a hackathon at Princeton University, four college students created one in the form of a Chrome browser extension in just 36 hours. They named their project ‘FiB: Stop living a lie.'”


The government of Cameroon has launched a campaign against social media. “The government of Cameroon has launched a campaign against social media, which according to the government-controlled daily, Cameroon Tribune, is ‘fast becoming a threat to peace and a secret instrument of manipulation’ promoting ‘character destruction, destabilisation of public opinion and deformation of facts among others.'”


Ugh. Raspberry Pi Zeroes can be used for very scary things. “Today [Samy] Kamkar released the schematics and code for a proof-of-concept device he calls PoisonTap: a tiny USB dongle that, whether plugged into a locked or unlocked PC, installs a set of web-based backdoors that in many cases allow an attacker to gain access to the victim’s online accounts, corporate intranet sites, or even their router. Instead of exploiting any glaring security flaw in a single piece of software, PoisonTap pulls off its attack through a series of more subtle design issues that are present in virtually every operating system and web browser, making the attack that much harder to protect against.”

Mint: SC tells Google, Yahoo, Microsoft to block pre-natal sex determination ads. “The Supreme Court [of India] on Wednesday directed the central government to constitute a nodal agency to monitor pre-natal sex determination advertisements. A two-judge bench led by justice Dipak Misra also directed the companies like Google India, Yahoo India and Microsoft Corp. India Pvt. Ltd that operate search engines to remove advertisements for sex determination of foetus within 36 hours of receiving the complaint.” Good morning, Internet…

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