California Real Estate Construction, Women at Yale, Instagram, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 11, 2021


PRNewswire: California Builder Services Launches DREPublicReports .com (PRESS RELEASE). “The site, maintained by California Builder Services, offers a simple search function to pull up 590,000 reports (and counting) archived over the past few decades. This includes subdivisions and developments in the state of California and developments completed by builders from California. Accessing the records is crucial when conducting research, whether its real estate brokers checking if disclosures are signed to builders researching regions or competitors.” The site is free to access.

Yale Alumni: Digital version of The 50th Anniversary Written History Project unveiled. “Almost two and a half years after it began, the Written History Project, initiated by the 50th Anniversary of Coeducation Committee, is now nearing completion. The book produced by the project, The First Women in Yale College: Reflections on Coeducation for the 50th Anniversary Celebration, is a collection of first-person essays that chronicles what it was like to be among the first women to attend and graduate from Yale College. Although early versions of the project have been released, including a book prepared for the cohort of women in the first three classes, a new digital edition of the essays, meant for general distribution, was finished this summer and is now available as a digital book.”


The Verge: Instagram is testing new ‘Favorites’ to bring order to your chaotic feed. “You’re on Instagram looking for your best friend’s daily dog update, but you have to scroll endlessly through a sea of posts you care little about, and probably forget what you’re looking for in the first place. After a few extra annoyed scrolls, you close the app in frustration. It seems Instagram is well aware of your plight, because it is quietly testing out a solution for your messy feed called ‘Favorites.'” Maybe they could test a solution called “turning down the volume on the recommendation algorithm and letting people decide what they want to see.”


Mashable: 7 Google Chrome extensions to spice up Netflix. “Whether you’re tired of mindlessly scrolling through the home screen to find a new comfort show now that The Office is gone, or if you’re over Googling reviews to make sure you won’t ruin a hook-up by watching something depressing, here are seven Chrome extensions that will elevate Netflix for you.”


Motherboard: Meet the Self-Hosters, Taking Back the Internet One Server at a Time. “Through a growing movement of dedicated hobbyists known as self-hosters, the dream of a decentralized internet lives on at a time when surveillance, censorship, and increasing scrutiny of Big Tech has created widespread mistrust in large internet platforms.”

GeekWire: Seattle startup Lalo is latest ‘death tech’ innovator, with an app to share and collect stories and more. “Currently operating as a small, private beta, Lalo is an app that facilitates the collection of digital content such as images, video, voice, text and more. Away from the noise and common pitfalls of traditional social media platforms, groups are intentionally kept small to foster increased trust and privacy. Imagine family members gathering to collect the best recipes in one space or share images that might have been lost to an unseen photo album.”


Open Secrets: Google on track to surpass 2020 lobbying following lawsuit pressure from Biden admin. “While pressure builds on Google to demonopolize, Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., is on its way to surpass its 2020 federal lobbying spending. In the first half of 2021, Alphabet spent nearly $1.8 million more on federal lobbying than it did at the same time period in 2020. That’s $5.9 million this year versus $4.1 million last year. The company’s spending this year is more on track with its spending in 2019, when the company spent around $12.8 million on federal lobbying efforts. While 2021’s number may match that, 2019’s total spend was considerably less than previous years when Alphabet routinely spent more than $15 million.”

The Scotsman: Scottish Government transparency: Ministers criticised for lack of back-up system for WhatsApp and text messages. “Scottish ministers may be deleting controversial text and WhatsApp messages from their phones permanently due to the failure of the Scottish Government to have an adequate back-up system in place.”


Wired: What Makes an Artist in the Age of Algorithms?. “BT, the Grammy-nominated composer of 2010’s These Hopeful Machines, has emerged as a world leader at the intersection of tech and music…. This past spring, BT released GENESIS.JSON, a piece of software that contains 24 hours of original music and visual art. It features 15,000 individually sequenced audio and video clips that he created from scratch, which span different rhythmic figures, field recordings of cicadas and crickets, a live orchestra, drum machines, and myriad other sounds that play continuously. And it lives on the blockchain. It is, to my knowledge, the first composition of its kind.”

VentureBeat: Open source can boost EU economy and digital autonomy, study finds. “A new report from the European Commission (EC) sheds light on the impact open source software (OSS) and open source hardware (OSH) could have on the European Union (EU) economy.” Good afternoon, Internet..

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