Crowdsourced Archaeology, Belarusian State University, New York Times, More: Tuesday Buzz, January 31, 2017

Friends, I’m having some pretty severe anxiety problems at the moment. I’m not going anywhere but I might not be able to hit my regular 6am / 2pm post release times consistently. I do apologize.


A new Web site aims for crowdsourced archaeology. “You can now be an archaeologist from the comfort of your own home and help preserve the world’s hidden heritage sites in the process. Sarah Parcak has released her GlobalXplorer software, described as ‘Indiana Jones meets Google Earth’. Professor Parcak hopes it will be used by amateur archaeologists to help unearth vital sites using high-resolution satellite images.” The GPS / mapping data for each site is NOT disclosed; the idea is to getting more eyes to look at potential sites, while protecting those sites from nogoodniks.

The Belarusian State University has launched a digital archive of photographs. (The press release is in Russian but Google Translate does a decent job with it.) Also from the press release, also translated from Russian: “‘Today, in the digital photo archive of more than 20,000 photos, 700 collections. Most of the events in the photos recovered by the newspaper “Unіversіtet”, which is published at BSU since 1929. The pre-war BSU pictures and information about them is given the staff and the Faculty of History , BSU History Museum’- adds Pavel Solovyov.” Pavel Solovyov is head of BSU’s media center. A much briefer story, without a link to the archives, is available here. It’s in English. Big shoutout to Petravets Larisa at BSU for so quickly responding to my e-mail!

The New York Times is launching another daily news podcast. (I used to subscribe to their old one and missed it when it went away.) “The Daily, part of a broader Times podcast push that began last year with the creation of a new podcast team, contains a sense of urgency rather than a public radio–like calm and, of course, isn’t explicitly tied to a print product. Just as the Times’ daily meeting schedule has shifted from print-centric to something more digital, its audio strategy has shifted from literally echoing newsprint decisions to something more native to the medium.”


A recent Windows 10 update has messed up users’ ability to access GMail and a few other Google services. “Microsoft recently rolled out the Windows 10 build 15019, and it brings along a lot of notable issues, including a bug that makes it impossible for users to access few Google services, including Gmail. Although the bug only affects Microsoft Edge browser, it has still managed to cause inconvenience to many users. Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider program, says that the team is already aware of the bug and working on a fix as we speak.”

Deutsche Welle has more background on Turkey possibly getting its own search engine. “Turkey’s communications minister Ahmet Arslan recently announced in an interview with a local TV station that Turkey was ‘building a domestic search engine and email service compatible with national culture and values’. But he did not expand on what “national culture and values” he actually meant. However, he did provide information on certain technicalities: He said that user data would have to be stored within Turkey’s borders so that communications can be ‘fully analyzed.’ He also explained that the new search engine would be ‘integrated with the world’ but would use the Turkish alphabet – as if this was not already the case with Google.”

The SEM Post: Google Becoming More Aggressive With “People Also Search” in Local Results. “Site owners have become used to Google suggesting other businesses when viewing the local results for a business, but Google usually relegates that to the very bottom of the listing, after all the other details for the business such as reviews, ratings and other business info. But looks like they are testing a more aggressive approach that seems Google placing these alternative businesses WITHIN the local information for the business being viewed.” How friendly to local business. Not.


How-To Geek: How to Post to Instagram from Your Computer. “Instagram has never made it priority to help users upload images from their computers, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. We’ve got a clever and completely safe workaround that will have you uploading content from your computer in no time.” This is NOT another one of those “here are a list of third party services you can use” articles – HTG went in a whole different direction.

Preston Gralla: 3 services for managing all your cloud storage accounts. “If you’re like most people, you live part — or most — of your computing life in the cloud. And odds are that you use more than one cloud-based storage service, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and others. Do you find yourself tearing your hair out when you try to remember on which service you’ve stored what files? Do you wish you could easily move or copy those files between your cloud services, or between the services and your local storage?” Thank you Esther S for the tip.

Want to switch from Windows to Linux but you don’t like Zorin? You’ve got other options. “Enter ChaletOS 16. This operating system simplifies the foray into Linux. ChaletOS 16.04.2 provides the look and feel of Windows 7 with the power of a Linux endoskeleton. Learn why this distro is the easiest way to switch from Windows to Linux in this ChaletOS 16 review!” I love how light the system requirements are.


The American Museum of Natural History needs your help writing image descriptions. From the page: “We’re looking for volunteers to help us create descriptions for over 30,000 images on the Museum’s website so that all visitors can have the same access to information about the Museum’s world-famous collections, exhibitions, educational programs, research initiatives, and more.”

The Wire: Twitter Diplomacy: How Trump Is Using Social Media to Spur a Crisis with Mexico. “Trump’s push to force Mexico to pay for the wall has plunged the two neighbours into a tense and unusual diplomatic standoff. Mexico has long been a key partner and ally of the US and Enrique Peña Nieto’s government has keenly tried to avoid a standoff. Trump, on the other hand, has fueled one with his frantic social media activity. Welcome to the era of Twitter diplomacy.”


Facebook wants to be a resource for your online security. “Facebook will let users set up encrypted recovery tokens for sites like Github, and if a user ever loses access to her Github account, she will send the stored token from her Facebook profile back to Github, proving her identity and unlocking her account. Encryption of the token provides privacy — Facebook can’t read the information stored in the token, and it won’t share information about your identity with third-party websites.” I do not trust Facebook nearly enough to do this. Good morning, Internet…

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