Meredith Willson, Reddit, Facebook, More: Wednesday Buzz, October 25, 2017


Playbill: Go Behind the Scenes of The Music Man’s Creation With New Online Exhibit. “The archives of conductor, composer, and author Meredith Willson have been digitized and made available online, thanks to a new project from The Great American Songbook Foundation….Items in the online collection include personal photos and musical scores dating back to the 1920s, character sketches and early drafts for The Music Man, and personal correspondence between Willson and several famous figures of his time, including former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower.”


There is a new subreddit for open source databases. Very small and not much here yet, but I subscribed in a blink.

Recode: Publishers might have to start paying Facebook if they want anyone to see their stories. “Facebook may make it harder for people to see publishers’ stories, unless those publishers pay to promote them. As part of a new test in six countries, Facebook is taking content from publishers and businesses out of its main feed. Instead, those posts will exist in a separate, hard-to-find feed that Facebook recently launched for discovering new stuff, called the ‘Explore Feed.'” Apparently when I wrote Please Don’t Like Us On Facebook (Because There’s No Damned Point) I was just a bit ahead of my time. I can’t afford to do post promotion so expect to see even less.

Engadget: ‘Pay With Google’ makes shopping on Android less of a hassle . “As promised, Google is streamlining online purchases made through Android devices by rolling out Pay with Google. The feature lets you use any of the credit or debit cards you’ve previously logged on the web titan’s products (like Chrome, Android Pay, YouTube, or Google Play) to checkout in just a few clicks — verifying your purchase with a security code or your Android device. ”


Digital Trends: Everything you need to know about Google Assistant. “Google Assistant is getting smarter than Google Now ever was. Not only does the service support more than one language, but it also will soon feature more robust third-party integration, meaning that it can help you control your entire digital life — not just your Google life.”

MakeUseOf: How to Capture Ideas to Evernote in 5 Seconds Using Siri Voice Commands . “Evernote is always improving with smart features and smarter uses. Thanks to the latest iOS 11 update, it now also incorporates Siri to help you add notes to your notebooks quicker. You simply have to activate it with your voice and create a new note, add to an existing note, or even add a reminder.”


Gizmodo: It Sounds Like Snap Spectacles Turned Into a Massive Boondoggle. “This is kind of a sad story. In November, Snap Inc blew everybody’s mind by releasing a surprisingly interesting piece of hardware. The camera-equipped sunglasses called Spectacles worked with Snapchat and looked cool. But a year later, the company reportedly has ‘hundreds of thousands’ of unsold Spectacles sitting in warehouses in China. It’s unclear if any of them will ever see the light of day.”

New York Times: Russia’s Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped.. “When the state-backed Russian news channel RT became the first news organization to surpass one billion views on YouTube in 2013, it marked the achievement with a retrospective of its most popular videos and a special guest — one of the Google-owned site’s senior executives.”

TIME: China Is Creating a Database of Its Citizens’ Voices to Boost its Surveillance Capability: Report. “The Chinese government has collected tens of thousands of ‘voice pattern’ samples from targeted citizens and is inputting them into a national voice biometric database, according to a Human Rights Watch report published Monday. The idea is that an automated system, thought to still be in development, will use the database to pick out individual voices in telephone and other conversations, boosting the government’s already expansive surveillance capabilities.”

Quartz: Israel arrested a Palestinian after Facebook translated ‘Good morning’ as ‘Attack them’. “Last week, a Palestinian man working at a construction site in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, posted on Facebook a photo of himself in front of a bulldozer, with the words ‘Good Morning’ in Arabic. The platform’s automatic translation mistook the words for ‘attack them’ in Hebrew, and ‘hurt them’ in English.”


The Guardian: Government called on to let data breach victims force compensation. “Consumer organisation Which? is calling on the government to create new rights for people who have been the victims of a corporate data breach. The group wants the data protection bill, currently being debated in Parliament, to be amended so that independent organisations, such as Which? itself, can fight for collective redress for corporate wrongs.”


TechCrunch: Facebook research automatically creates an avatar from a photo. “Creating avatars. Who’s got time for it?! Computers, that’s who. You’ll never have to waste another second selecting your hair style, skin tone or facial hair length if this research from Facebook finds its way into product form. In a paper (PDF) presented at the International Conference on Computer Vision, Lior Wolf et al. show how they created a machine learning system that creates the best possible match of your real face to one in a custom emoji generator.” Good morning, Internet…

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  1. Link Evernote to SIRI? What a great idea, what could POSSIBLY GO WRONG? Like, Siri reading something that I said in a stupid moment, or never remembered putting into Evernote almost 6 years ago (I can’t believe I have had the app that long, but I just checked: 890 notes since December 1, 2011). Now, if SIRI had a mute mode so that it didn’t do shout-outs, that might be a different thing… And I’m not so sure about sharing with Apple either. Thanks, but no thanks.

    I love reading Research Buzz and life would not be the same without it. Thank you, and keep up the great work.

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