morningbuzz

OMDb API, WhatsApp, Google Street View, More: Saturday Buzz, February 11, 2017

There’s a Web site called the OMDb API, at http://www.omdbapi.com/ , and it’s run by a guy called Brian Fritz. His Web site is an invaluable way to easily get information on movies and import it into Google Spreadsheets or manipulate it some other way. He’s a small operation and recently has been having problems keeping his server up. If you want to help a small operation, please consider supporting him on his Patreon page. His goal is modest; $450 a month keeps his servers going. If there’s any interest I can write an article about how to use his site’s API with Google Spreadsheets. Thank you.
DISCLAIMER: Mr. Fritz doesn’t know me. He didn’t ask for this. I’m a long-time fan of his site.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

WhatsApp now has two-factor. “After announcing the feature last fall, WhatsApp is ready to drop the beta tag and release two-step verification to each of its 1.2 billion users on iOS, Android, and Windows devices.”

Areas in Africa are newly-available in Google Street View. “We’re excited to announce that starting today, you can take virtual tours of some of the most iconic landmarks and monuments in Ghana, Senegal and Uganda. With this launch, Street View now covers 81 countries from across the world, and 7 in Africa.”

Instapaper has had a bit of an outage bump. “After spending multiple hours on the phone with our cloud service provider, it appears we hit a system limit for our hosted database that’s preventing new articles from being saved. At this time, our only option is to export all data from our old database and import it into a new one. We expect the service to be fully recovered today, February 9.”

Gizmodo: Report: Facebook Agrees to Independent Audit After Admitting It Screwed Up Its Metrics. “Facebook has agreed to an audit by the Media Rating Council after a string of admissions by the company that some of the metrics it provided to advertisers weren’t accurate, the Wall Street Journal reports.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: Use This Tool to Make 2D Pixel Sprites Online for Free . “Video game sprites are a special kind of art. Once the only way to represent game characters in retro titles due to hardware limitations, pixel graphics have made a huge comeback thanks to the indie gaming scene.”

What a great roundup! From WPTV: 7 museums that offer virtual tours. “If you don’t have the time or money to travel, have we got news: You can take a free, virtual tour of many of the best museums around the world, from Europe to Washington, D.C. All you need is your computer (and maybe a book about art history) to get started.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

TechCrunch: Snapchat pushes original, unscripted Shows with new A+E Networks deal. “Snapchat announced a new content partnership with A+E Networks, to develop what will be the very first unscripted (reality TV) drama series for Snapchat Shows. ‘Second Chance’ — as the show will be called — sounds like pure melodrama. ” So instead of soap operas we’re getting Snap operas?

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google had a big ad screwup. From ZDNet: Google let scammers post a perfectly spoofed Amazon ad in its search results. “Anyone who used Google search to look for Amazon, the internet retail giant, on Wednesday was likely served a malicious ad — and didn’t even realize it. The good news is that unlike other rogue ads, your machine wasn’t infected or served malware in any way. But anyone who clicked on it would not have been sent to Amazon.com as they would have hoped, but instead, they were pointed to a fake Windows support scam posing as Microsoft.” Remember when Yahoo was the top search engine, then it started looking at other things, then its search engine and directory experience went to junk, then….

TorrentFreak: Search Engines & Copyright Holders Ready Voluntary Anti-Piracy Code. “Google and other search companies are close to striking a voluntary agreement with entertainment companies to tackle the appearance of infringing content links in search results. Following roundtable discussions chaired by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, all parties have agreed that the code should take effect by June 1, 2017.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Neowin: Microsoft aims to expand trial that found OneNote can improve learning for dyslexic students. “The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) carried out a limited, small-scale trial at Knowl Hill School in Surrey, England to explore the use of OneNote in assisting students with different learning abilities. The 11-week trial program found that OneNote’s Immersive Reader, which can read out text shown on screen – including the student’s own writing – had a significant and positive effect on the learning experience.”

TNW: Study: No one really likes to look at your selfies. “Two researchers in Munich have found evidence to suggest that, ironically, no one actually wants to look at your ironic selfie. Sarah Diefenback and Lara Christoforakos of Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich published a paper in Frontiers in Psychology in January, titled ‘The Selfie Paradox: Nobody Seems to Like Them Yet Everyone Has Reasons to Take Them.'” Good morning, Internet…

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