Kenya Photojournalism, Wikipedia, Patents, More: Wednesday Buzz, December 14, 2016


The Kenya News Agency and the ICT Authority (that’s Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and Technology) have teamed up to create a digital library of multimedia. “More than one million historical images and nearly 5,000 hours of videos dating back to the 1940s are now in digital format. Broadcast and telecommunication Principal secretary Sammy Itemere said government is committed to digitise all records and provide rich and interactive content online for public access.”

A new site lets you surface possible geographic bias in Wikipedia. “A new website lets you uncover geographical biases in Wikipedia articles by tracking down where editors of different languages source their information. Insert the URL of any Wikipedia page into Wikiwhere and the site’s algorithm trawls the web to find out where the references cited in the entry originate from. Martin Körner at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, and his colleagues made the tool to compare how Wikipedia articles about the same topic but in a different language might be influenced by different sources.”

Fortune has a writeup on a new patent search called Trea. “A review of Google’s patent applications over the past year shows the search giant filed 189 applications in the acoustics field—more than it did in any other…. It’s also important to note how I found this patent information in the first place. I got it from a start up called Trea whose 20-something founder, Max Yuan, pulled off the remarkable feat of scraping the U.S. Patent Office’s entire database in order to build a website that’s easy to use and search.” The site is in public beta and apparently will require registration to use.

Singer FKA Twigs has launched a digital archive of her work. I was not familiar with Ms. Twigs, but I rather enjoyed her music when her Web site finally loaded (I have lame Internet and this is a very resource-intense site.) Hint: when you’re listening to the audio the play icon will pulse. When you pause it, it stops; it won’t turn into a pause icon. Just click it to play again. Many of the visuals I saw were surreal and intense; I’d review it more thoroughly before letting kids explore it.

Wolfram|Alpha has launched Open Code. “Every day, millions of students around the world use Wolfram|Alpha to compute answers. With Wolfram|Alpha Open Code they’ll now not just be able to get answers, but also be able to get code that lets them explore further and immediately apply computational thinking. It takes a lot of sophisticated technology to make this possible. But to the user, it’s simple. Do a computation with Wolfram|Alpha. Now in almost every section of the output you’ll see an ‘Open Code’ link. Click it and Wolfram|Alpha will generate code for you, then open it in a fully runnable and editable notebook that you can immediately use in the Wolfram Open Cloud… ”


Amit Agarwal has updated his Google Forms add-on to include push notifications for mobile. I use this add-on at work as it makes it easy to send form content to multiple people in an easy-to-read format. DISCLAIMER: Amit knows me, but this recommendation is not paid, he’s never given me a dime, etc etc.

Skype’s real-time translation now works for mobile and landline calls as well. “The translation will work just like it does with regular Skype calls. You bring up the dialer, toggle the switch marked ‘Translate,’ and then select the languages. When the person on the other side picks up, they’ll be played a message telling them the call is being recorded and translated. The rest of the call will take place with short delays waiting for the conversation to be translated.”

Facebook has added 360-degree Live videos. “The new video format is simply called ‘Live 360’ and launches on Tuesday. For its debut, Facebook’s teaming up with National Geographic for a special live 360-degree experience from the Mars Desert Research facility in Utah.”

Google is spinning off its self-driving car project into its own company. “For nearly eight years, we’ve been working towards a future without the tired, drunk or distracted driving that contributes to 1.2 million lives lost on roads every year. Since 2009, our prototypes have spent the equivalent of 300 years of driving time on the road and we’ve led the industry from a place where self-driving cars seem like science fiction to one where city planners all over the world are designing for a self-driven future. Today, we’re taking our next big step by becoming Waymo, a new Alphabet business. Waymo stands for a new way forward in mobility.”


From Hannah Hethmon, very thorough and uses a historical society for examples: How to Set Up Facebook Ads for Your Small Museum (On a Small Budget). “Along with Google Adwords, Facebook Ads are one of the more efficient, flexible ways to promote your museum and engage local audiences who may or may not have known about you or cared about you before. In this tutorial, I am going to show you the basics of using Facebook Ads.”

A couple days ago I came across a blog post from a student containing an exhaustive analysis of how her Twitter followers expanded and how she used Twitter during a certain class at Syracuse. It was interesting, I thought, but not informative enough for me to include. Yesterday I got a few more similar posts in my Google Alerts and now there’s enough there to just point to the entire blog. There are several extensive posts here detailing how students grew their Twitter followers, what posts worked and didn’t, how they used hashtags, and so forth. If you’re looking for a “bird’s eye” view of Twitter and some thoughtful reflections on posted content without hype and froth, do yourself a favor and browse these posts.


Poynter: Meet the researchers saving radio news from oblivion. “How many historical radio broadcasts have been lost to history? Josh Shepperd, an assistant professor of media studies at Catholic University in Washington D.C., estimates that up to 90 percent of all radio broadcasts that aired between the mid-1920s and the mid-1980s were not saved.” Good morning, Internet…

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