US Navy Muster Rolls, Google Voice, Minecraft Earth, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, July 15, 2019


National Archives: NARA Digitizes More than 500 Volumes of U.S. Navy Muster Rolls. “The National Archives partnered with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the University of Washington to digitize more than 500 volumes of U.S. Navy muster rolls, making them accessible to the public through the National Archives Catalog.”


9to5Google: Google Voice web app gains always-visible call panel, audio controls . “Following Voice for Android adopting a Material Theme account switcher, the Google Voice web app is gaining three usability updates. These changes are particularly catered towards enterprise G Suite customers.”

Engadget: The ‘Minecraft Earth’ beta begins its global takeover this month. “It’s been a couple of months since we first heard about Minecraft Earth, the augmented reality version of Mojang’s game that makes the real world a playscape full of your blocky creations. It promised a beta release of the game would arrive this summer and now, along with a new trailer, the company says it will launch on iOS within the next two weeks, with Android following ‘soon thereafter.'”

Google Open Source Blog: Announcing Docsy: A Website Theme for Technical Documentation. “Docsy builds on existing open source tools, like Hugo, and our experience with open source docs, providing a fast and easy way to stand up an OSS documentation website with features specifically designed to support technical documentation. Special features include everything from site navigation to multi-language support – with easy site deployment options provided by Hugo. We also created guidance on how to add additional pages, structure your documentation, and accept community contributions, all with the goal of letting you focus on creating great content.”


Genealogy’s Star: The Ultimate Digital Preservation Guide, Part Five — What is worth preserving?. “Digital preservation has two main challenges that are not shared with paper books: device obsolescence and file format obsolescence. Unlike a book sitting on a shelf, a file on a storage media such as a hard drive can become unreadable merely because of the passage of time. This occurs as the devices used to store the information become inaccessible (think floppy disks) or because the operating systems and programs change over very short periods of time (think of an old computer program you can no longer use on any present-day computer). To preserve the information in a digital file, it must be periodically migrated to newer hardware, programs, operating systems, and file formats as those change over time.”

Bellingcat: How To Tell Stories: A Beginner’s Guide For Open Source Researchers. “Open source research begins by pulling on a thread. As individual threads begin to unravel, keeping the narrative as clear, informative, and as readable as possible is the only way to make sure your work makes an impact. I’ll be using our latest investigation into the people responsible for the downing of Flight MH17 as a tool to help you understand this process better.”


Government Technology: Subscription Service Offers Government High-Res Aerial Pics. “At a time when short-range drones and satellite birds-eye views are commonplace, one Colorado-based company, Vexcel Imaging, is putting its proprietary cameras on airplanes to capture ultra-high-resolution data of the United States for sale by subscription to state and local governments.”

HoustonPress: Tracking Folk Punk’s New Wave With Its Archivist. “The folk punk genre has its share of skeptics. Type the words into your Google search engine and plenty of derisive tropes and snarky memes will populate. But, maybe now more than ever, you’ll also find a broad and acclaimed array of music from diverse artists whose blend of folk music’s activism and punk’s urgency is just right for the times.”

Muckrock: Social Security Death Master File. “We are interested in obtaining publishing the ‘open access’ Social Security Death Master File (aka Death Index) — i.e. the one not covering people who died w/in the last 3 years. It is extremely useful for genealogical and medical research, preventing fraud, etc.” This is a crowdfunding effort to pay for the Death Index; if it succeeds Muckrock will make the database publicly available for free. The effort is trying to raise just under $6000.


The Verge: Why you should really, really update your Logitech wireless dongle. “Earlier this week, security researcher Marcus Mengs revealed that Logitech’s wireless Unifying dongles are actually vulnerable to a variety of newly discovered hacks as well, primarily ones that are paired with presentation clickers, or during a brief window of opportunity when you’re pairing a new mouse or keyboard to the dongle….Something else in Meng’s report (and ZDNet’s coverage) caught my eye, however — an allegation that Logitech is still selling USB dongles vulnerable to the original MouseJack hack.”

WFTS: I-Team: Florida DMV sells your personal information to private companies, marketing firms. “A local woman is blaming the state government for an onslaught of robocalls and direct mail offers – accusations that come as the I-Team uncovered the DMV makes millions by selling Florida drivers personal information to outside companies, including marketing firms.”


The Verge: Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is an embarrassing joke. “Facebook’s stock went up after news of a record-breaking $5 billion FTC fine for various privacy violations broke today. That, as The New York Times’ Mike Isaac points out, is the real story here: the United States government spent months coming up with a punishment for Facebook’s long list of privacy-related bad behavior, and the best it could do was so weak that Facebook’s stock price went up.” Good morning, Internet…

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