House Histories, Thailand Tourism, Merriam-Webster, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, March 7, 2018


Columbus Underground: Owners Tracking the History of their Homes with Housestry. “Odds are your house had a life before you. Or maybe you wonder who now inhabits your childhood home? Instead of an awkward knock on the front door, Housestry is building a digital yearbook of sorts for properties across Columbus and the world. While there are a number of sites out there to keep tabs on an address, Housestry Founder Wayne Henry says the social component has been missing – the ability for a homeowner to share their personal stories, post pictures and connect with previous owners.”

Phuket News: Tourism directory offers real-time data. “The Tourism & Sports Ministry has launched an official online “Thailand Tourism Directory” to help visitors surf real-time travel data for all 77 provinces…. Tourism & Sports Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Svetarundra said it took two months – November and December last year – to collect information on tourist attractions and services across the country, now documented in the new platform.”


Merriam-Webster: The Dictionary Just Got a Whole Lot Bigger. “The language doesn’t take a vacation, and neither does the dictionary. The words we use are constantly changing in big ways and small, and we’re here to record those changes. Each word has taken its own path in its own time to become part of our language—to be used frequently enough by some in order to be placed in a reference for all. If you’re likely to encounter a word in the wild, whether in the news, a restaurant menu, a tech update, or a Twitter meme, that word belongs in the dictionary. A big batch of new words and new definitions for existing words has just been added to our dictionary at 850 terms that come from a cross-section of our linguistic culture.”


MakeUseOf: How to Send Text Messages Using Email. “There are quite a few messaging apps that you can use from the comfort of your computer, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to send text messages without whipping out your phone, most US carriers make that pretty easy too.”


New York Times: New Foils for the Right: Google and Facebook. “Conservatives are zeroing in on a new enemy in the political culture wars: Big Tech. Arguing that Silicon Valley is stifling their speech and suppressing right-wing content, publishers and provocateurs on the right are eyeing a public-relations battle against online giants like Google and Facebook, the same platforms they once relied on to build a national movement.”

An effort is underway to digitize the works of Terence McKenna. Boing Boing describes him as “an ethnobotanist, psychedelic pioneer, philosopher, and shamanic scholar who boldly explored the mysteries of consciousness and the fringes of reason with rigor, wit, and generosity.” I would have just called him a psychonaut, but okay. Check out the GoFundMe campaign linked in this article for full details on the initiative.

Wired: The Decentralized Internet Is Here, With Some Glitches. “Proponents as varied as privacy activists and marquee venture capitalists talk about the decentralized internet as a kind of digital Garden of Eden that can restore the freedom and good will of the internet’s early days. The argument goes that big tech companies have locked up our data and minds inside stockholder-serving platforms that crush competition and privacy. Ultra-private, socially conscious decentralized apps, sometimes dubbed DApps, will give us back control of our data, and let startups slay giants once more.”

Reuters: France may probe Google and Facebook over online ad dominance. “France’s competition authority may open investigations into Facebook and Google ‘in the next few months’ after an in-depth examination concluded the pair dominate the French online advertising market.”


Mashable: Tech keeps hitting the FCC over net neutrality. “The internet isn’t letting net neutrality disappear without a fight. Several big tech companies, including Etsy, Expa, Kickstarter, Automattic, Foursquare, and Shutterstock, filed a petition on Monday with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit against the Federal Communication Commission’s decision to end net neutrality.”


The Atlantic: Retweets Are Trash. “A couple of months ago, I made a small tweak to my Twitter account that has changed my experience of the platform. It’s calmer. It’s slower. It’s less repetitive, and a little less filled with outrage. All of these improvements came about because I no longer see retweets.” If you want to do this and you use Tweetdeck, you can set a column to exclude retweets.


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