New Jersey Newspapers, Mississippi Legal Advice, WordPress, More: Saturday Buzz, August 20, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

In development: a digital archive of newspapers from New Jersey. “The New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project is a collaboration of Rutgers University Libraries, the New Jersey State Archives and the New Jersey State Library that will make the history of New Jersey known to its citizens and the world. The plan, according to project director and Rutgers University digital archivist Caryn Radick, is to scan existing microfilm from the New Jersey State Archives and to make searchable digital files available through the Library of Congress website Chronicling America. Over a two-year period, the project will digitize and catalog at least 100,000 newspaper pages, originally published between 1836 and 1922 and not currently available in digital format.”

Low-income citizens in Mississippi are getting a new resource for legal advice. “The online service … will provide information about common legal problems, such as divorce, child custody, housing, landlord-tenant disputes, land issues, trust and estate matters, will and probate matters, wage and employment issues, bankruptcy, and consumer disputes, [Tiffany] Graves said.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

WordPress 4.6 is now available. “This version speeds up the management of both themes and plugins by allowing both to be added, updated or deleted from a single page — no need to click back and forth between the main Themes page and a separate ‘Add Theme’ page, for example.”

Neat: add images to questions and answers in Google Forms. “Google Forms makes it easy to create, distribute, and analyze surveys. Starting today, you can craft even more effective forms by inserting images into survey questions or adding images as multiple choice or checkbox options in Forms on the web.”

USEFUL STUFF

In case ya need it: how to find Government of Canada press releases. “Government of Canada press releases, also referred to as news releases, are issued for the media to announce the latest news of government departments. At Library and Archives Canada (LAC), we hold a number of press releases, some in hard copy format in our archival holdings, and some in our published collection. The LAC collection is a great starting point to search for older releases that are not currently online.”

Interesting: Try Exploring Wikipedia Visually Like a Spaceship in Space. “Wikiverse turns the Wikipedia experience into an outer space exploration. Zoom out and you’ll see constellations of related, and at times overlapping, topics or domains: Nature, Literature, and History make up one constellation, Culture, Religion, and History another.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

VentureBeat: Why chatbots are so disruptive. “Chatbots have been around for decades. There are 18,000 of them on Facebook Messenger alone, with over 1,000 chatting away on Kik in the past six months. Slack has deployed countless bots to help humans get work done in groups since 2013. We’ve seen a critical mass for the first time, but — as with any disruptive tech — there are stages. Here they are…”

Twitter is going after extremists. “Over the last year, Twitter has been suspending accounts for promoting terrorism. The social network had already made it public that 125,000 accounts were suspended between mid-2015 and early 2016. Today we learned that Twitter has added an additional 235,000 suspensions, bringing their two-year total to 360,000 accounts.”

Facebook’s efforts to make its workforce more diverse don’t appear to be working that well. “Two years ago, Facebook proposed a system to make its workforce less universally white or Asian and male. The plan was to incentivize its in-house recruiters to hire diverse candidates, literally giving them more points for Hispanic, black and/or female candidates that would build a score directly applying to their performance reviews and bonuses. Unfortunately, the gains for more female employees are marginal and the racial makeup of the company hasn’t changed, and the method can be deemed a failure.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

It looks like the NSA really was hacked. “A group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers is currently selling off cyber-spying tools, which it claims belong to the U.S. government, in an online auction. Now, analysis of software that the group made freely available to prove its legitimacy suggests that it’s authentic, and likely to belong to the National Security Agency.”

A bunch of tech companies are teaming up with the FCC to stop robocalls. We can only hope. “Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has asked wireless and wireline phone companies to offer call-blocking services to customers at no cost. The robocall strike force plans to report to the FCC by Oct. 19 on ‘concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,’ AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.”

Shocked not shocked: beating facial recognition logins with Facebook photos. “Earlier this month at the Usenix security conference, security and computer vision specialists from the University of North Carolina presented a system that uses digital 3-D facial models based on publicly available photos and displayed with mobile virtual reality technology to defeat facial recognition systems. A VR-style face, rendered in three dimensions, gives the motion and depth cues that a security system is generally checking for. The researchers used a VR system shown on a smartphone’s screen for its accessibility and portability.” Good morning, Internet…

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Commercial Fishing Trawlers, Horror Movies, Employment Tribunal Decisions, More: Friday Buzz, August 19, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

In development: a tool to track commercial fishing trawlers worldwide. “Oceana, an international conservation organisation, together with Google and SkyTruth, a nonprofit group that uses aerial and satellite images to track changes in the landscape, are due to launch the Global Fishing Tracker within weeks. The public, non-governmental organisations and local authorities will be able to use it to monitor coastlines and marine conservation areas, follow individual boats in near real-time and track what boats of a particular flag are doing.”

Do you love horror movies? Here ya go: a database of jump scares. “Where’s The Jump? does exactly what it says on the tin: consisting of a fairly cohesive catalogue of major horror movies and all the jump scares hiding within, including a listing of each individual moment and the time in the movie in which it occurs. Then, there’s an additional star rating to let people know the exact intensity and frequency of said jump scares.”

Coming soon: a database of decisions from the HM Courts and Tribunal Service. “It will include judgments from England, Wales and Scotland and will initially only cover new judgments.”

Al Jazeera now has an English Facebook bot. “The idea behind the bot is simple, in a nutshell, we deliver the right news at the right time by allowing users to choose the type of news they are interested in. Users can decide how often they want to receive breaking news articles, when to receive them, and when to stop receiving them. From the beginning we decided to integrate Facebook’s Instant Articles into the bot in order to keep it modular.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google Trends has gotten some updates. “Last week, Google Trends announced a refresh to its site, in addition to the launch of a new hub for Olympic trends. According to a Google spokesperson, the Google Trends refresh came with a few new tools, including the ability to compare search trends by geographic location and view historical data by day.”

Twitter continues to struggle with gaining users. “In its latest forecast of US Twitter usage, eMarketer has significantly downgraded its projections amid nearly stagnant growth reported by the company in Q2. By the end of this year, 52.2 million people in the US will access their Twitter accounts at least once a month. That’s a 2.0% increase over last year. ”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: Funny Ways to Automate Facebook Posts With IFTTT. Some creative thoughts here. “Have your Facebooks posts become so infrequent that your friends are wondering whether you’ve moved to Mars? Do you want to appear more active on the social network, without actually taking the time to write new posts?You’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered some of best IFTTT recipes that post to your Facebook account automatically. All of these are practical. Some can even become hysterical.”

Are you having trouble with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update? Microsoft has some more ideas for a fix.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Oracle is crying foul on its trial with Google. “Oracle attorney Annette Hurst said that the launch of Google Play on Chrome OS, which happened in the middle of the trial, showed that Google was trying to break into the market for Java SE on desktops. In her view, that move dramatically changes the amount of market harm that Oracle experienced, and the evidence should have been shared with the jury.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Clickbait is loathed everywhere, but some of its characteristics may be useful – like in the titles of academic papers. “According to a recent study, journal articles whose titles contain ‘clickbait-y’ characteristics are shared more widely. Analysing over 2000 titles from articles published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2013 and 2014, researcher Gwilym Lockwood from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, discovered that positive framing and more interesting phrasing lead to more attention online.”

Research: What are the health risks of having a different ‘Facebook self’? “People may express their true self more easily on Facebook than in person, and the more one’s ‘Facebook self’ differs from their true self, the greater their stress level and the less socially connected they tend to be, according to a new study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website.”

Medium: Bots are Better Without Conversation. “It has been four months since we launched the Kik Bot Shop and Facebook opened its bot platform for Messenger. It’s been about the same time since the hype around bots was at its peak, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella predicting that bots would be as big as apps. Since then, the hype has cooled, with some people now wondering why bots suck and politely asking not to be exposed to them. At Kik, we remain bullish on bots, but we’ve noticed the same thing everyone else has: so far, there has been no killer bot. ” Good morning, Internet…

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Fantasy Cartography, Emoji Image Search, Hepatitis C, More: Thursday Buzz, August 18, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Wow! A Twitter bot regularly generates fantasy maps. “Nimrathutkan is the result of an automated map generator that was inspired by those novels. The map bot, created by glaciologist Martin O’Leary of Swansea University in Wales, combines imaginary place names with fake terrain to produce fantasy worlds, tweeting a new one every hour…” read the description of how the terrain is generated – fascinating!

How cool is this? You can tweet an emoji to the New York Public Library and it’ll tweet back an image from its collection of public domain images.

A new database provides information about the Hepatitis C virus. “Although 150 to 200 million people around the world have HCV, the virus was only proven to exist in 1989. The authors say, ‘The data generated from thousands of experiments are spread across many journal articles, with no standardized reporting format.’ The database was constructed using information manually gathered, and is ‘arranged to reflect the availability of published information including HCV genotype, nucleotide changes, systems used to monitor translation efficiency, activity in translation assays, plasmid constructs and reporter genes used, clinical data and the original publication reference,’ say the researchers.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Search engine for nonprofit information GuideStar has revamped its search engine (PRESS RELEASE). “The new GuideStar Search also makes it easier to identify organizations working in specific fields, cause areas, or locations. Nonprofits can use these tools to inform their strategic planning and identify potential partners. Funders can see where a field is well served or under served. Donors can get crucial information on the range, capability, and impact of nonprofits working in a region or on a particular issue.”

Google has made some updates to Google Classroom. “While Classroom has traditionally focused on offering tools for teachers and students, this new version now also brings in parents and guardians. Parents can now automatically receive summaries of their kids’ work so they can know exactly how they are doing in any given class (helicopter parents will surely love this feature, though students may not be so happy about it). This feature is optional, and teachers can opt in parents to daily or weekly emails.”

USEFUL STUFF

Genealogists, you might like this one from MakeUseOf: How to Easily Restore an Old Family Photo Using Photoshop. “Everyone has old family photos lying around. If they’ve been sitting in a box for a few decades, though, they’ll be discolored, faded, and probably scratched or bent. With Photoshop, you can make them look as good as new. For this article, I’m going to assume you already have a basic understanding of Photoshop’s major tools and how to use them. I’m going to focus on strategies rather than the minutiae of the spot healing tool.”

21st century problems: How to include your digital assets in your estate plan. “Got email? These days, our email accounts are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of our online presence. From bank accounts to Facebook, PayPal and more, a good chunk of our personal and financial lives are online. If you fail to account for those digital assets in your estate plan, you risk burying your family or friends in red tape as they try to get access to and deal with your online accounts that may have sentimental, practical or monetary value.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Nature: Spiking genomic databases with misinformation could protect patient privacy. “Large genomic databases are indispensable for scientists looking for genetic variations associated with diseases. But they come with privacy risks for people who contribute their DNA. A 2013 study showed that hackers could use publicly available information on the Internet to identify people from their anonymized genomic data. To address those concerns, a system developed by Bonnie Berger and Sean Simmons, computer scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, uses an approach called differential privacy.”

Good question from BuzzFeed: Why Isn’t Twitter Taking Down Harassment As Fast As It Takes Down Olympics Content? “Many questioned why Twitter seemed to be reacting much faster to possible copyright infringement than it does to the abusive messages so many users experience on a daily basis – or why the company doesn’t consider some abusive material worthy of taking down at all.”

Everybody gets hacked. Everybody. Even the NSA, apparently. “A group of hackers called ‘The Shadow Brokers’ claim to have hacked the NSA, and are posting data to prove it. The data is source code from ‘The Equation Group,’ which is a sophisticated piece of malware exposed last year and attributed to the NSA…. Nicholas Weaver has analyzed the data and believes it real…”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From Mashable: stats about the presence and discussion of third party candidates on Facebook. “Between July 10 and Aug. 9, 4.3 million U.S. Facebook users who are 18 or older have garnered 27.6 million interactions — likes, comments, posts and shares — related to Johnson. About 2.8 million people generated 16.1 million interactions related to Stein. That’s a steep climb from the 15,247 and 15,812 people talking about Johnson and Stein, respectively, back on May 2.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

Are you an old-school computing nerd? Remember Conway’s Game of Life? Here it is in a Google Doc. Just wow. Good morning, Internet…

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Maine Newspapers, NC Newspapers, Zika Virus, More: Wednesday Buzz, August 17, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Coming soon: more Maine newspapers to digital archives. “The Maine State Library in Augusta has received a $275,000 federal grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize over 100,000 pages of historical Maine newspapers.”

Digital NC has added issues from two newspapers in Sylva, a town in the North Carolina mountains. “We’re pleased to welcome a new partner, Jackson County Public Library, from Sylva, N.C.! Thanks to the library, DigitalNC has recently made available issues of two area newspapers: the Jackson County Journal (Sylva, N.C.) and The Sylva Herald and Ruralite.” The Jackson County Journal spans 1923-1942 and The Sylva Herald and Ruralite spans 1943-1950.

In development: a global registry of women exposed to the Zika virus. “Swiss doctors have asked thousands of colleagues worldwide to provide data for the first global registry of women exposed to Zika, the team’s lead researcher said Tuesday. Such a database is urgently needed to better understand the deadly virus and how it is transmitted, said David Baud, a physician in the obstetrics research unit of the University Hospital in Lausanne.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The National Library of Wales is taking another step forward in digitizing its collections. “We’re now beginning to move to a new stage, starting the work that will lead to the digitisation of Welsh books or books published about Wales. This will be a huge endeavour, but also an exciting one which will create a fantastic searchable resource of Welsh and Welsh interest books for the Library’s users, making thousands of long out of print books available to the public again.”

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) has added a lot of records to WorldCat. “Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) has contributed 2.4 million records to WorldCat, the world’s most comprehensive network of data about library collections. The contribution, which includes 800,000 new records, will make BAnQ’s valuable collections more visible and accessible to researchers around the world.”

Google is providing more information on how to vote in the US. “As the U.S. prepares to head to the polls, we’re making it easier than ever for everyone to participate in the political process. Last month, we made it simpler for people to register to vote. Now, we’re taking this a step further and introducing a brand new, state-by-state guide for people looking for information on how to vote in November. We’re also sharing some search trends to track the engagement and interest of American voters around the party conventions.”

Google+ Hangouts on Air are shutting down and the functionality is moving to YouTube. “The web giant said Monday its Hangouts group video chat feature will be discontinued on September 12 in favor of its YouTube Live feature. Google said that video events scheduled to occur after that date should be moved to YouTube’s live-streaming feature.” Sensible, but worried about moving something to YouTube since it’s turned into kind of a search morass.

USEFUL STUFF

It’s election season, and I hope you don’t need this, but in case you do: How to Mute Social Media Friends Without Unfollowing Them. Covers Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Wow. It looks like Google’s ban on payday loan advertising has made the loans themselves more expensive – at least in Australia. “Google’s recent ban on payday loan ads has seen a shift in the way Australian short-term lenders are structuring their terms, making the loans more expensive. Announced in May, the ban pertained to ads for payday loans and some related products where repayment is due within 60 days of the date of issue.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google and Russia have not reached a settlement over Android. “Russia’s state anti-monopoly watchdog FAS said on Tuesday it and Alphabet Inc’s Google had failed to reach an out-of-court settlement in a case over Google’s Android operating system, Interfax news agency reported.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Fortune: How a Diverse Twitter Network Will Help You Get Ahead at Work. “Interesting research shows that all the time you’re spending on Twitter may not be a complete waste – but only if you’ve cultivated a truly diverse network of people to follow.”

Pew Research (pew pew pew pew pew!): Blacks more likely than whites to see – and post – race-related content on social media. “Social networking sites are often used to discuss social and cultural issues, and a substantial majority of social media users – white, black and Hispanic – report they encounter content on these platforms about race or race relations. But the amount of race-related content users report seeing on social media varies considerably across racial and ethnic groups, with blacks being especially likely to see content that pertains to race on these platforms.” Good morning, Internet…

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Miguel de Cervantes, Gigabit Internet, Bauhaus, More: Tuesday Buzz, August 16, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The Cervantes Institute has released a digital archive of materials related to Miguel de Cervantes. It’s free. The original article is in Spanish which I’m Google Translating – I apologize for butchering the quote. “This large file consists of five databases, texts, photographs, graphics and multimedia from different areas of the institution. Of the 10,000 documents, about half are texts and the rest is divided among other formats, explained to El Pais the head of Libraries and Documentation Cervantes, Yolanda of the Church, which highlights the momentum that has been given to these five collections were ready in 2016, the year the institution celebrates its 25th anniversary. It is a job ‘for 10 years, which began in 2006, and will continue in the future.'”

A new Web site tracks ultra-high Internet access launches around the world. “The new tracking service is based on publicly available data and excludes those service providers that market “up to 1 Gbps” speeds but do not explicitly advertise 1 Gbps services. According to the database, there are now at least 350 live gigabit deployments globally, with a further 164 announced or under construction, using wireline and wireless technologies including GPON, DOCSIS 3.1, G.fast, LTE-Advanced, 5G and 802.11ac.” I just tested my Internet access speed. You wanna guess the download speed? 2.8 MB. I’m not even kidding. I need a new Internet provider.

Harvard Art Museum has has released a new digital resource related to all things Bauhaus. “Conceived and edited by Robert Wiesenberger, the Stefan Engelhorn Curatorial Fellow at the Busch-Reisinger Museum, the Bauhaus Special Collection gives users direct access to records for the more than 32,000 Bauhaus-related objects in the museums’ collections and archives. These include photographs, textiles, paintings, periodicals, and more.”

New-to-me: A Web site at UVA wants to map the world of William Faulkner. “With interactive maps and timelines, the website will eventually include links to places, characters and events in Yoknapatawpha, the fictional setting of 14 of Faulkner’s novels and 54 of his short stories written between 1926 and 1960. About two-thirds of the data have already been entered, making even the prototype usable right now as a resource for scholars, teachers and students.”

Google has announced Duo. “Today, we’re releasing Google Duo — a simple 1-to-1 video calling app available for Android and iOS. Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are.” Does the world need another video calling app?

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Is Google Fiber stumbling? “This morning’s WSJ article, ‘Google’s High-Speed Web Plans Hit Snags’ chronicles how Google Fiber has fallen way short of expectations and has experienced ongoing technology/deployment issues since its initial rollout 4 years ago. None of this surprises me and loyal VideoNuze readers will recall I was deeply skeptical from day 1, when I wrote, back in July, 2012, ‘Google Fiber is Out of Synch With Realities of Typical Consumer Technology Adoption.'” One thing I will give Google Fiber credit for, at least in this market: it scared competing companies enough to up their game and offer better service at a better price.

Blab has shut down kind of abruptly. “Co-founder Shaan Puri announced the shutdown late Friday, saying that the website and app would be shut down immediately. He touted some impressive numbers from the service’s first year — 3.9 million users and an average time-on-site of 65 minutes per day.”

Whaaaaat? Is Snapchat gonna buy Vurb? “Founded in 2011, Vurb has sought to take data from several different smartphone apps and give users a single hub to plan where to dine and party and how to entertain themselves.For example, Vurb can help people save time when choosing a movie to watch because it places reviewer scores from aggregator services IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes side by side.”

USEFUL STUFF

PC Magazine: The Best Data Visualization Tools of 2016. “We’ve recently reviewed 10 of the best self-service BI products—with nine of them being capable of varying degrees of advanced data visualization. But customers looking to really exploit data visualization should look at these tools carefully and exclusively through that lens before making a buying decision. After all, sometimes the right tool to parse your data may not be the right tool to visualize it; you may need to invest in a combination of tools to find the most effective solution for your organization.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Wow, those food videos you see all over Facebook are insanely complicated. “Videos have become the Web’s central economy, and few genres win the Internet quite like food. It’s not just that pizza, cookies and ice cream are universal languages. Media giants increasingly see food as one of the Web’s most reliable star quantities: easily shared, eye-catching and designed to stand out in a distracting world. Tastemade’s attempts at virality appear easygoing, but the Web-video machine built to create and share them has never been more complex, as new-money start-ups and established media giants do battle over the Web’s dollars and attention spans.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Nice roundup article from The Guardian: How open data helps citizens to know the law.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

The Verge: I lost my favorite YouTube channel because I trusted the internet to keep track of it. Putting aside the fact that YouTube’s search engine is just awful and the site itself has unbelievable amounts of spam, Lizzie Plaugic makes some good points. “…what these sites don’t account for is the ease with which the things we love can be lost within them. In the past, we came in contact with so few things that they could be uncovered with research and patience. Now, while everything is technically more searchable than ever before, the things we love are more likely than ever to be ‘lost.'” Good morning, 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!