Handwriting Transcription, Predatory Journals, Firefox, More: Friday Buzz, June 2, 2017


From the READ Project at Transkribus: Coming soon! Teach yourself to read historical handwriting with our e-learning app. “At the READ project, we are dedicated to using new technologies to make historical documents more accessible. Our latest forthcoming tool is an important part of this mission. Our free e-learning app will allow users to train themselves to decipher any sort of historical handwriting. It will be particularly useful for students who are just beginning to work with historical material but could be beneficial to anyone who wants to get to grips with a certain script.”

Nature: Pay-to-view blacklist of predatory journals set to launch. “The blacklist is dead; long live the blacklist. Five months after a widely read blog listing possible ‘predatory’ scholarly journals and publishers was shut down, another index of untrustworthy titles is appearing — although this version will be available only to paying subscribers.”


Mozilla Blog: Mozilla Brings Virtual Reality to all Firefox Users. “We are delighted to announce that WebVR will ship on by default for all Windows users with an HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift headset in Firefox 55 (currently scheduled for August 8th). WebVR transforms Virtual Reality (VR) into a first-class experience on the web, giving it the infinite possibilities found in the openness and interoperability of the Web Platform.”

The Next Web: Facebook is letting Groups create online learning courses – what could possibly go wrong?. “Facebook, a brand with an untarnished reputation and a pedigree for reliability, is getting into the e-learning game. The social media behemoth is quietly testing a feature that would let anyone running a group to create their own online classes, which would include units and discussions. I have no idea how this could possibly backfire in any way.” Believe it or not the article gets even snarkier.

TechCrunch: Oculus adds Chromecast streaming support for the Gear VR. “Oculus is still trying to show people what virtual reality is like when they aren’t the ones wearing the headsets. In March, the company introduced Facebook live-streaming to the platform, and today, the company is making it even easier for you to locally share your experiences inside the Gear VR with those around you thanks to added support for Google Chromecast.”


MakeUseOf has an extensive article on how to use Amazon’s advanced search. “Amazon is a vast mall filled with all your favorite things… and lots of dross too. That’s the problem! How do you sort the wheat from the chaff? Sometimes, an ordinary search just isn’t enough. Fortunately, that’s where Amazon’s Advanced Search comes in. It might just save you some extra money too!”


New York Times: How Twitter Is Being Gamed to Feed Misinformation. “…the biggest problem with Twitter’s place in the news is its role in the production and dissemination of propaganda and misinformation. It keeps pushing conspiracy theories — and because lots of people in the media, not to mention many news consumers, don’t quite understand how it works, the precise mechanism is worth digging into.”

AllAfrica: Uganda: Abuse of Social Media Forcing Govt to Filter Content, Says ICT Minister. “The minister for Information and Communications Technology and National Guidance, Mr Frank Tumwebaze has said the increasing public abuse of social media is forcing the hands of government to regulate the use of the platforms.”


Wired: Inside Google’s Global Campaign to Shut Down Phishing. “Google works to make it as easy as possible for users to make safe choices and avoid scams, but the company’s focus is on tech solutions that are meant to work seamlessly with minimal user buy-in. Some phishing specialists believe that emphasizing user training is the real key to stopping phishing, but as Aaron Higbee, the CTO of the user-training firm PhishMe, puts it, ‘We need technology to do as much as it can. For Google they have to pursue that.’ Focusing on technological solutions plays to Google’s strengths.”


PR Newswire: Twitter is the Prime Social Media Network for World Leaders (PRESS RELEASE). “Twitter is the prime social network used by 276 heads of state and government, and foreign ministers, in 178 countries, representing 92 percent of all United Nations (UN) member states. Facebook is the second-most used social platform by world leaders, with 169 governments having established official pages. However, world leaders have, on average, twice as many followers on their Facebook pages as followers on Twitter.”

GlobeNewswire: New Report Finds that Social Media Habits of Fortune 500 CEOs are Sputtering; Only 40% Have a Social Media Presence (PRESS RELEASE). “Today, Domo and released their fifth annual study on the social media habits of Fortune 500 CEOs. The 2016 Social CEO Report shows that while the social media habits of Fortune 500 CEOs have moderately improved over the past five years, they sputtered in 2016. The report also shows that despite 75 chief executive changes occurring in this group in 2016, these new Fortune 500 leaders had no significant impact on the group’s total social media report card.”

IEEE: Human-Level AI Is Right Around the Corner—or Hundreds of Years Away. “Artificial intelligence is progressing rapidly, and its impact on our daily lives will only increase. Today, there are still many things humans can do that computers can’t. But will it always be that way? Should we worry about a future in which the capabilities of machines rival those of humans across the board? For IEEE Spectrum’s June 2017 special issue, we asked a range of technologists and visionaries to weigh in on what the future holds for AI and brainlike computing.” Good morning, Internet….

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