California Photography, Prison Writing, Thunderbird, More: Wednesday Buzz, December 20, 2017


The Tribune: From 1905-1938, they traveled California with a camera. Now, their photos are online . “A new collection of California State Archives photos offer a peek into the Central Coast’s past, including images of long-gone North County landmarks. The archives digitized nearly 3,000 photos of early 20th century California taken by William and Grace McCarthy, who traveled throughout the state when automobiles were a new form of transportation.”


Hamilton: 1,000th Essay Entered into American Prison Writing Archive . “Earlier this month, the Digital Humanities Initiative, better known as DHi, and Doran Larson, the Walcott-Bartlett Chair of Ethics and Christian Evidences, celebrated the entry of the 1,000th letter into the DHi’s American Prison Writing Archive (APWA). Initiated in 2009 when Larson put out a call for essays from incarcerated people and prison staff about what life was like inside, the archive has grown to more than 1,200 responses in paper form and more than 1,100 online.”

The Next Web: Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client isn’t dead yet . “Fans of Mozilla’s Thunderbird desktop email client will be happy to know that the nonprofit hasn’t yet killed the app off. Instead, it’s giving it a new lease of life. The organization noted that Thunderbird’s stable release, version 52, recently got a bunch of fixes and improvements. It also added four new staff members dedicated to the project over the past year, and recently launched pushed the second beta of version 58, which has a revamped visual design, better error handling, importing from Outlook, and improved performance. The bigger change that’s coming is the end of support for legacy add-ons.”

Los Angeles Times: Bloomberg and Twitter launch TicToc, a live-streaming video news channel. “Twitter users can now tune into TicToc, a live-streaming channel by Bloomberg Media, to catch up on the day’s news — and soon, the companies say, the channel will offer updates around the clock.” Because in 2017, the thing I want most in the world is TO HEAR MORE NEWS. Ugh.


Medium: All the Keywords That Activate Facebook’s Text Delight Animations. “‘Hope you had a rad one!’ I wrote. I hit Post, and my birthday greeting popped onto her wall. However, this post looked a little different. The word ‘rad’ was in a bright purple… and when I clicked on it, little thumb-up emojis popped up and flew across the screen, leaving colourful trails in their wake. What was going on?”

Slashgear: Facebook face recognition finds you in untagged photos: How to turn it off. “Facebook will use facial recognition to spot you in photos you haven’t already been tagged in, as the social network attempts to fend off concerns about user privacy being overlooked. However, to get in ahead of complaints about the new feature, there’s also a way to turn it all off.”


France24: Language of persecuted Rohingya poised to go digital. “For decades the Rohingya have been denied recognition in Myanmar but the persecuted minority is close to securing a crucial symbol of their identity — their own unique digital alphabet. The language of the stateless Muslim people has been included in the planned upgrade to the Unicode Standard, the global coding system that turns written script into digital characters and numbers.”

Radio NZ: Outdated tech trove keeps digital archives alive. “Government records have to be transferred to archives after 25 years, and while that is fine for paper documents, it can be a lot harder when the material was saved on computers from 1992. The items on Mr Crouch’s shelves include a Macintosh Classic 2, some 8″ floppy disks and a small – but remarkably heavy – disk drive to play them on, and even a classic bulky old Wang computer from about 30 years ago.”

CNET: Upvote this: Best of Reddit 2017 is peak internet. “Nine hundred million comments and 12 billion upvotes later, Reddit has posted its best-of lists for 2017. The fourth-most visited site on the internet says its most upvoted post was one called ‘The Senate. Upvote this so that people see it when they Google “The Senate”.’ The second-ranking post, ‘Private Internet Access, a VPN provider, takes out a full page ad in The New York Times calling out 50 senators,’ also blended internet activism and politics, and two more focused on net neutrality.”


The Register: WordPress captcha plugin on 300,000 sites had a sneaky backdoor. “The folk at WordFence are warning that the WordPress Captcha plugin, popular enough to get around 300,000 installations, should be replaced with the latest official WordPress version (4.4.5).”

RESEARCH & OPINION Inventing the ‘Google’ for predictive analytics. “Companies often employ number-crunching data scientists to gather insights such as which customers want certain services or where to open new stores and stock products. Analyzing the data to answer one or two of those queries, however, can take weeks or even months. Now MIT spinout Endor has developed a predictive-analytics platform that lets anyone, tech-savvy or not, upload raw data and input any business question into an interface—similar to using an online search engine—and receive accurate answers in just 15 minutes.” Good morning, Internet…

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