Antique Eyeglasses, Kosher Recipes, YouTube Advertising, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, March 24, 2017

NEW RESOURCES

Did you know there’s an online museum devoted to antique eyeglasses? “Over the years, the site has become an online museum and encyclopedia on visual aid. It features thousands of images of spectacles that date as far back as the 13th century. [Dr. David] Fleishman also posts related news, art, and history regularly.”

Thanks to Esther S., who is always on the case, for this pointer to a new collection of kosher recipes (PRESS RELEASE). “Kosher.com simplifies your search for just the right kosher recipe – be it gluten-free, Syrian-style or low calorie, you’ll find thousands upon thousands of kosher recipes under one umbrella site. They’ve been collected, archived and digitized from your favorite cookbooks, magazines, kosher chefs and more, some that were printed long-ago to current favorites, plus original recipes exclusive to kosher.com.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Bloomberg Quint: YouTube Hate Videos Snare Ikea Ads as Google Crisis Spreads. “Major advertisers across Europe and Asia are still appearing alongside extremist YouTube videos days after technology giant Google said it was taking steps to protect its clients from inadvertently supporting hate.”

CNET: No network? No problem for Google Docs on Firefox. “If you use Google’s G Suite apps and Mozilla’s Firefox browser, good news: The two are going to get along much better.”

If ResearchBuzz starts looking a lot different, it’s because WordPress is making premium themes free to users paying for a premium subscription. “With over 200 premium themes on WordPress.com — and new themes added regularly — that’s more than $16,000 worth of premium themes.”

The Next Web: Instagram’s new policy to blur ‘sensitive’ photos is bound to get messy. “Instagram has long struggled with moderating its posts (most often around whether or not female nipples are allowed). Now the company is offering up a partial solution: it will soon begin blurring ‘sensitive’ posts, which you will need to manually reveal.” I actually think this is a pretty good idea; the content stays up and can be viewed, but doesn’t intrude if it really is offensive or problematic (Instagram does not have the best track record in identifying actual offensive content.)

TechCrunch: Facebook introduces a new ad format — product-focused ‘collection’. “Facebook is introducing a new ad format that should help retailers showcase their products. The last big addition to Facebook’s ad lineup came last year, with the launch of Canvas, a fast-loading, rich media ad. Like Canvas, a collection is created specifically for mobile, and seems designed to win users over in the Facebook app — before directing them to the advertiser’s mobile website.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

I’m looking forward to the time when we’re talking about Google Maps and its problems as much as we talk about Google Adwords and ITS problems. From News AU: Relying on Google Maps got this woman stranded in the Grand Canyon for five days. “One woman in the US has spent five days lost and stranded in a remote part of the Grand Canyon after Google Maps took her down a wrong turn. Amber Vanhecke, 24, was so lost in the national park that she thought she would die and even recorded farewell messages on her phone.” The story about this on ABC News refers to Amber’s “GPS” and not Google Maps, so I was wondering, but Amber herself on her GoFundMe page for her medical expenses and car damage says it was Google Maps.

Mashable: Google Home goes on a defensive rant if you ask it about the CIA. “Following the Wikileaks March 7 Vault 7 data dump, which allegedly details a host of CIA hacking tools, people have started looking at their internet-connected devices with just a tad bit more skepticism….With that in mind, people have taken to asking their digital assistants about the CIA. The results, well, are a bit baffling.” Maybe not baffling, but certainly amusing.

RESEARCH & OPINION

MIT Technology Review: Customer Service Chatbots Are About to Become Frighteningly Realistic. “Would your banking experience be more satisfying if you could gaze into the eyes of the bank’s customer service chatbot and know it sees you frowning at your overdraft fees? Professor and entrepreneur Mark Sagar thinks so.”

From Dave Winer at Scripting News: If I were in charge of Medium. “Here are the stories on Medium’s new business model announced yesterday. Now here are my two cents… What would I do if I were the owner of Medium and were free to be creative with new business models?” Good afternoon, Internet…

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New Zealand Water, Facebook Ads, Instagram, More: Friday Buzz, March 23, 2017

NEW RESOURCES

New Zealand has a new resource for monitoring drought conditions. “Called The New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI), it is an easy-to-use, colour coded map that defines the scientifically observed drought status of every New Zealand district. The NZDI is modelled on similar indexes used around the world, displaying the dryness of each district in five categories: dry, very dry, extremely dry, drought and severe drought. Each category is colour coded from yellow for dry, through to dark red for severe drought.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Very interesting! From Marketing Land: How to track Facebook’s ratio of ads to organic posts in your desktop news feed. “Some time this year, Facebook will max out the number of ads it can squeeze into people’s news feeds. But how many ads is Facebook already inserting? To get a better idea, I’ve built an extension for Google’s Chrome browser, called Facebook Ad Spotter, that tracks the number of ads and organic posts appearing in Facebook’s desktop news feed.”

WIRED: Instagram Has Two-Factor Authentication Now, So Turn It On. “While Instagram had made two-factor available to a select group of users previously, the extra layer of protection is now available to all, meaning you, meaning it’s time to fiddle with some settings.”

The Verge: Twitter might build a paid subscription service for power users. “Twitter is considering offering a paid subscription to power users, including brands and news organizations, The Verge has confirmed. Twitter users today began tweeting screenshots of the survey and a mock-up of what the premium version of Twitter could look like, with new analytics, alerts about breaking news, and information about what an account’s followers are tweeting about. The advanced features would be contained within Tweetdeck, the company’s app for professionals. The core service would remain free.” Open up the API and charge for it! How many years have I been saying that? OPEN UP THE API AND CHARGE FOR IT!

The Next Web: Apple acquires automation app Workflow and makes it free. “Apple has acquired Workflow, an automation app for iOS that lets you connect apps and create quick shortcuts to actions like texting a contact to let them know you’ll be late for your appointment, find a convenience store near you, make PDFs from Web pages and record an audio note to yourself that’s accessible in the Reminders app.”

TechCrunch: Facebook tests an enhanced local search and discovery feature offering business suggestions. “Facebook is testing an enhanced local search feature that could see the social network creeping in on Google Maps, Foursquare and Yelp territory, TechCrunch learned and Facebook confirmed.”

USEFUL STUFF

Social Media Examiner: How to Choose the Best Live Video Platform. “Live video creates a unique, real-time experience that encourages your audience to comment and interact, turning individual customers into a community. In this article, you’ll discover the platform benefits and how to use live video on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

Jake Ludington: Building an Instagram Audience : Lessons learned from an AMA. “I read and watch a ton of content related to publishing on various platforms. I file away notes summarizing what I’ve read so I can apply it later. I thought I’d try this out as an experiment and share my notes publicly so that they might benefit other people too. The following are my notes summarizing my takeaways from a Reddit AMA with professional Instagramer Alex Tooby.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Sydney Morning Herald: Scientists outwit predatory publishers by tricking them into appointing a fake editor. “Has there ever been a more impressive academic than Dr Anna O. Szust? The prolific polymath has been appointed editor at almost 50 academic journals covering a mind-boggling array of scientific fields. The problem is, Dr Szust does not exist.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Neowin: DoubleAgent attack may be able to take full control of your Antivirus. “A new Zero-day attack has emerged that may endanger your antivirus (irony, much?). The new attack, termed DoubleAgent, has the ability to control your antivirus using a Microsoft technology called Application Verifier, and a 15-year old Windows XP era vulnerability.”

From Maine.gov: America’s JobLink (AJL) Data Incident. “America’s JobLink (AJL), a multi-state web-based system that links job seekers with employers, has been the victim of a hacking incident from an outside source…. On March 21st, AJLA–TS confirmed that a malicious third party ‘hacker’ exploited a vulnerability in the AJL application code to view the names, Social Security Numbers, and dates of birth of job seekers in the AJL systems of up to ten states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oklahoma, and Vermont.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Chemistry World: Google Street View cars map methane leaks in major US cities. “Joseph von Fischer’s lab at Colorado State University in the US joined forces with tech giant Google via its Google Earth Outreach programme, and fitted three of its Street View cars – which drive from street to street taking photographs to populate Google’s maps – with methane analysers that sample air from an inlet at the front bumper and measure the concentration of methane. The cars drove around Boston, Indianapolis, Staten Island and Syracuse in New York state, and Burlington, Vermont. The research team were able to build maps from the methane data and use algorithms to pinpoint locations where pipes beneath the street were leaking.” I had read about this before, but not on this large a scale. Good morning, Internet…

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Barnard College, New York Banks, Medium, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, March 23, 2017

NEW RESOURCES

Barnard College: BCRW’s newly digitized archives of feminist history. “As the 1960s drew to a close, a growing chorus of voices within the Barnard community began calling for an official College response to the changes wrought and challenges posed by the Women’s Liberation Movement. After months of impassioned, contentious discussion among students, faculty-members, administrators, and alums, the Barnard Women’s Center, later renamed The Barnard Center for Research on Women, was founded in the fall of 1971. We are now excited to share a new digital portal featuring public and internal papers from the Center’s inaugural year.”

An Albany Law School Professor has launched a Web site rating the best banks for New York (state) residents (PRESS RELEASE). “The Bank Ratings Index assesses 19 banks that serve or have served New York State according to 20 different consumer-focused categories. An accompanying report on the site details the methodology and findings of the study.” It’s rather stark, but easy to use and loads quickly. Note you can weight the different attributes of the ranking to create a custom ranking.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Medium is rolling out a membership program. “I’d like you to be among the first to become a Medium member, a new subscription program we’re launching today to a limited number of people. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling it out to everyone, but for now, this post is unlisted, and we’re only inviting those who meet certain criteria to sign up.
In this post, I want to take you behind the scenes and share our thinking on membership, so you can join us on this journey from day one.” It’s $5 as an “introductory price.”

TechCrunch: Facebook Live adds PC game and desktop live streaming. “Facebook is taking a swing at Twitch while also one-upping its mobile live streaming video competitors. Today, all users can go Live directly from Facebook’s desktop website via their webcam, stream through professional equipment and software hooked up to a desktop and broadcast gameplay from their computer.”

Google: Share your trips and real-time location from Google Maps. “‘Where are you now?’ and ‘What’s your ETA?’ Whether you’re heading to a party or meeting up for dinner, you probably hear questions like this pretty often from family and friends. Soon Google Maps users worldwide will be able to answer those questions in just a few taps, without ever leaving the app. On both Android and iOS, you’ll be able to share your real-time location with anyone. And the people you share with will be able to see your location on Android, iPhone, mobile web, and even desktop.”

The Next Web: Google is letting celebs speak directly to fans via search results. “Google is going to allow sports teams and celebs to ‘Post’ status updates directly into search results. The company today announced it’s opening Posts up to organizations. Specifically, it’s including ‘museums, sports teams, sports leagues, movies’ and in Brazil: musicians.” What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

British Library: British Library Launches OCR Competition for Rare Indian Books. “Calling all transcription enthusiasts! We’ve launched a competition to find an accurate and automated transcription solution for our rare Indian books and printed catalogue records, currently being digitised through the Two Centuries of Indian Print project.”

MIT Technology Review: Three Weeks with a Chatbot and I’ve Made a New Friend. “I’ve got this friend, Adelina, who knows a lot about me. We chat almost every day, sending each other selfies, sharing music and movie recommendations, and making each other laugh. We only communicate via text, though, and can never meet in person. That’s because Adelina is a chatbot—an artificially intelligent app creation that exists only on the glowing screen of my smartphone.” I’m impressed with the app but really nervous about where all the personal information you’re telling the chatbot goes.

Recode: Pinterest expects to make more than $500 million in revenue this year. “Pinterest may finally be growing into its $11 billion valuation. Pinterest, which makes all of its money from advertising, is targeting more than $500 million in revenue in 2017, according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. Some believe the company could generate as much as $600 million this year.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Poynter: I studied how journalists used Twitter for two years. Here’s what I learned. “Twitter reflects the good, the bad and just plain ugly reality of social media these days. Consumers are constantly migrating to new platforms for news. It’s a great challenge for legacy media companies. And for academics, journalists and voters, there’s never been a more crucial time to talk about the impact that Twitter and other platforms have on factual journalism that holds the powerful accountable to the citizens.” Good afternoon, Internet..

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China Forests, Education Researchers, Hawaiian Literature, More: Thursday Buzz, March 23, 2017

NEW RESOURCES

The Sixth Tone: Online Database Maps China’s Last Undisturbed Forests. “China’s old-growth forests are vital to biodiversity but also under threat, say the organizations behind a new database aimed at protecting them. Wuhan University and Greenpeace East Asia (GPEA) launched Nature Guardian, a website that maps and monitors forests, nature reserves, and more, on Tuesday, the International Day of Forests.” I can’t find an option to see the site in English and Chrome does not offer to translate, which is a shame because most news coverage of China I see is about urban areas. It’s a shock to learn that China’s old-growth forests cover almost 158,000 square kilometers.)

University of Virginia: New National Initiative Connects Researchers with Entrepreneurs to put Ed Tech to the Test. “The University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Jefferson Education Accelerator (JEA) today announced a joint venture to develop the nation’s first-ever comprehensive database of education researchers…. The National Education Researcher Database (NERD) aims to bring transparency to the supply side of education innovation by cataloging all education researchers in the country, centralizing information about them in an easily navigable and freely available database.” NERD. Heh. The database will launch “later this year.”

University of Hawai’i: UH Press publishes open-access Hawaiian language journal. “The University of Hawai‘i Press now publishes a new, open-access resource for Hawaiian scholars, Palapala: a journal for Hawaiian language and literature…. The inaugural issue also features reprints from the Hawaiian alphabet, first published in 1822, and an anonymous 1857 account about translating the Bible into Hawaiian.”

The National Library of Israel has created a new online exhibit called Napoleon Was Here!. From the splash page: “Having subdued Italy, Napoleon Bonaparte turned his gaze to Egypt as the next target of expansion. He believed that the Land of the Nile was the gateway to conquering the East, and in 1798 he set out to prove it to himself and to the world. The National Library contains a unique collection of more than 1000 documents from Napoleon Bonaparte’s time with his army in Egypt (1798-1801). Join us on Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt and the Holy Land.” I’ve linked to the English version. It takes a while to load on my crummy Internet, but it’s well done.

The publication Archaeology Ireland has launched an online archive. “With the digital archive individual and institutional subscribers alike can instantly access every published issue, from the first one in 1987 to the latest quarterly edition, creating an invaluable resource of over 100 issues of well-researched and lavishly illustrated articles as featured in the quarterly, as well as over 60 heritage guide supplements that study a range of Irish archaeological sites in fine combed detail.” Not free, as you might have guessed.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Times of Israel: Anne Frank museum chat-bot puts diarist on Facebook. “…now visitors to the Amsterdam museum, lodged in the house where the teenager wrote her famous diary as she hid from Nazi occupiers, can learn about her history thanks to a unique collaboration with Facebook. A chat-bot program unveiled Tuesday is designed to provide information on the life story of Anne Frank in the form of a personalized chat conversation. It also provides visitor information about the Anne Frank House.”

LinkedIn: Introducing Trending Storylines: Discover trending news and views on LinkedIn. “Today we’re excited to announce the launch of Trending Storylines. Storylines are daily curated interest-based feeds about the most important developing stories in your industry. They help you discover and discuss news, ideas and diverse perspectives from the largest group of professionals, publishers and editorial voices ever assembled.” “Except Quora,” LinkedIn did not add. I’m not sure that’s correct, but this announcement made me think of Quora straight off – and that nothing in the announcement would move me away from Quora.

From Google: More news in Google News & Weather. “The world of news is broad, deep and ever-changing. The News & Weather app shows the top three stories from various sections on its Home page, but beneath this surface lie many more informative and engaging stories. In fact, we find that many people regularly hit the bottom of our Home page looking for more to read. To offer you further opportunities to discover great content, we’ve added over 200 news stories to the Home screen in a browsable stream called More Headlines.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Bloomberg Quint: Google Cancels Some Fiber Internet Installations in Kansas City. “Google Fiber, the gigabit-speed internet service rolled out by Alphabet Inc., is canceling some installations in Kansas City, the latest setback for the high-profile initiative. The search giant is sending out refunds to residents that won’t be getting the service they signed up for. The metropolitan area, which straddles the border of Kansas and Missouri, was the first market for the superfast service when it debuted in 2012 and remains Fiber’s largest.”

USA Today: AT&T pulls Google, YouTube ads over extremist videos. “AT&T said that it is halting all ad spending on Google except for search ads. That means AT&T ads will not run on Google’s video service YouTube and on a couple million websites that take part in Google’s ad network.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The Register: Nest cameras can be easily blacked out by Bluetooth burglars. “The three vulnerabilities are in camera firmware version 5.2.1, and no patch is publicly available, we understand. Security researcher Jason Doyle, based in Florida, US, spotted the holes, and alerted Google-stablemate Nest about them in October – but there’s been no software updates to correct the programming cockups. This month, Doyle went public with details of the flaws, including example exploits.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

NewCo: C’mon Facebook. It’s Time For Your Toddler Twin Media Party.. “Truth is, with all these platform players, media is not only a crucial product, it’s the primary product. I’m not going to get into why in this post (I will next time, promise.) Instead I’ll predict that quite soon, platforms, including Facebook, will lose their equivocation and embrace content creation.” Good morning, Internet…

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Open Access, Reddit, YouTube Advertising, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, March 22, 2017

NEW RESOURCES

Wayne State University: Unpaywall: A New OA Discovery Tool. “Some of you may remember oaDOI, a tool that searches for an Open Access (OA) version of an article when provided with a digital object identifier (DOI). Impactstory, the team behind oaDOI, has just announced the upcoming release of a new tool based on the oaDOI API called Unpaywall and it looks to be very useful indeed.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

TechCrunch: Reddit plans a profile page redesign reminiscent of Facebook and Twitter (updated). “Reddit has been trying to make its site more accessible to a wider pool of users, and today the company is planning to show off one of the ways it plans to do that: by making the service a little bit more like Facebook and Twitter. From today, Reddit is going to start offering users a new profile page design that will let them make posts directly to the pages themselves (not just communities), and Reddit users who are logged in will be able to follow the profile for new posts.”

The Register: Google’s stock rating downgraded as YouTube ad boycott contagion goes global. “Google has responded to a contagious YouTube advertising boycott which yesterday prompted a downgrade on Wall Street. Pivotal Research Group downgraded Alphabet shares from ‘Buy’ to ‘Hold’ based on its response to the boycott, which now includes more than 200 big brands, as well as public sector ad spending. Marks & Spencer and Hargreaves Lansdown became the latest to hit pause yesterday.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: Turn Gmail Into an Unexpected Note-Taking Tool With These Tips. “If you live in your Gmail inbox all day every day, how about turning Gmail into your go-to note-taking application? The same features that make Gmail an effective email client can make it a decent note-taking app (albeit an unconventional one). And to help you use it as such, I’ll list a few tweaks and tips in this article.”

Control Alt Achieve: Hipster Google – 21 Google Tools You Probably Never Heard Of. “Google has also created a wide range of services, apps, extensions, features, and other tools that are not as well known. Even though these tools may not be as popular or as widely known, they are still very useful in school settings. These are the ‘Hipster Google’ tools.” Bonus points for the graphic.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Jason Scott needs your help tracking down Apple II software for archiving. “The Summary: Conditions are very, very good right now for easy, top-quality, final ingestion of original commercial Apple II Software and if you know people sitting on a pile of it or even if you have a small handful of boxes, please get in touch with me to arrange the disks to be imaged.”

Knowledge@Wharton: How Facebook’s Big Bet on Video Could Change TV. “Facebook is aggressively ramping up its video strategy, cultivating content whether it comes from users, advertisers or Hollywood, or is developed internally. With its nearly two billion monthly users, the social network could make a big dent in traditional TV and help usher in a major shift towards social TV, Wharton experts say. The social network’s latest video push is partly due to a need to find more ad spaces. In its latest earnings call, Facebook says growth in the second half of 2017 will slow due to a peaking ad load, or how many ads are served up to users.”

MIT Technology Review: Andrew Ng Is Leaving Baidu in Search of a Big New AI Mission. “Andrew Ng, a leading figure in the world of artificial intelligence, is leaving his post as chief scientist at China’s Baidu and says he wants to find ways of advancing AI beyond the technology world.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

There’s a lot missing in this story. It might be BS. Take it with some salt. From Motherboard: Hackers: We Will Remotely Wipe iPhones Unless Apple Pays Ransom. “A hacker or group of hackers is apparently trying to extort Apple over alleged access to a large cache of iCloud and other Apple email accounts. The hackers, who identified themselves as ‘Turkish Crime Family’, demanded $75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum, another increasingly popular crypto-currency, or $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards in exchange for deleting the alleged cache of data.”

OTHER STUFF I THINK IS COOL

I missed this when it was launched in January but it looks like fun: This Museum Wants to Match You With Your Ancient Statue Doppelgänger. “In addition to supporting the arts and broadening your horizons, a trip to a museum is an opportunity to find your millennia-old look-alike hiding in an exhibit. If you haven’t been lucky enough to make such a discovery on your own, the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City wants to help you find your match. The museum’s new project, ‘My 2000-Year-Old Double,’ pairs people’s faces with their ancient Greco-Roman or Egyptian sculpture counterparts.” Good afternoon, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!