“Alt” Twitter Accounts, Supreme Court of Canada, Ohio National Guard, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, January 27, 2017

NEW RESOURCES

I spent some time a couple days ago trying to find a comprehensive list of “alt” Federal agency Twitter accounts and didn’t have any luck. I think my brain was simmering on it all day at work, because when I got home last night I tried a few things and put together a list of over 65 of them. It’s public and available here: https://twitter.com/ResearchBuzz/lists/altgov . If you know of any others or I need to make a correction, please use the contact form or DM me on Twitter (I’m @ResearchBuzz).

The Supreme Court of Canada has begun an archive of online sources cited by it. “…the Office of the Registrar of the SCC has located and archived the content of most online sources that had been cited by the Court between 1998 and 2016. These sources were captured with a content as close as possible to the original content cited.” From now on, sources will be captured and archived immediately.

The Ohio National Guard has created a digital magazine and create and online archive of the magazine’s old print version. “The Buckeye Guard, a venerable publication of the Adjutant General’s Department from 1976 to 2011, has been relaunched as a digital magazine.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Financial Post: Google parent Alphabet Inc shares fall as profit misses estimates. “Google parent Alphabet Inc posted fourth-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates on Thursday, sending its shares down more than 2.7 per cent in extended trading. The company, however, posted a stronger-than-expected 22.2 per cent increase in quarterly revenue as advertisers spent more to reach an expanding user base that spends ever more time on smartphones and on YouTube.”

Twitter has launched a new “Explore” tab. “Like the Explore section on, say, Instagram, it’s meant to help you find interesting posts beyond the people you follow, and the feature actually first showed up in tests back in October. It claims the space previously occupied by the Moments tab and replaces it with a broader collection of live video, trends, search and Moments.”

USEFUL STUFF

Internet Archive: If You See Something, Save Something – 6 Ways to Save Pages In the Wayback Machine. “In recent days many people have shown interest in making sure the Wayback Machine has copies of the web pages they care about most. These saved pages can be cited, shared, linked to – and they will continue to exist even after the original page changes or is removed from the web. There are several ways to save pages and whole sites so that they appear in the Wayback Machine. Here are 6 of them.”

From Ditch that Textbook: NEW Google Sites: 10 things teachers must know. “There are lots of Google Sites tutorials all over the web, but honestly … I don’t know that you’ll need much in the way of a tutorial. The new Google Sites is pretty user friendly. Instead of telling you how to use it, I’d like to tell you 10 things that I think teachers need to know about the new Google Sites before using it (or once they’ve started using it)…”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Guardian: Rising numbers of criminals are using Facebook to document their crimes. “Facebook Live allows anyone to broadcast a video directly from their smartphone to the social network. Despite a wide-reaching advertising campaign urging people to use the feature to share heartwarming life moments, it’s gained a reputation for much grittier subject matter…”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Facebook is adding a “security key” option for login. “Facebook users can now use a security key to authenticate their identity during the login process. If you use a security key, hackers won’t be able to get into your Facebook account, even if they have your username and password.Security keys are form of two-factor authentication — an optional extra layer of security that helps you prove your identity when you log in.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

The Conversation: Far beyond crime-ridden depravity, darknets are key strongholds of freedom of expression online. “Portraying the darknet as primarily, or even solely, for criminals ignores the societal forces that push people toward these anonymous networks. Our research into the content and activity of one major darknet, called Freenet, indicates that darknets should be understood not as a crime-ridden ‘Wild West,’ but rather as ‘wilderness, spaces that by design are meant to remain unsullied by the civilizing institutions – law enforcement, governments and corporations – that have come to dominate the internet. There is definitely illegal activity on the darknet, as there is on the open internet. However, many of the people using the darknet have a diverse range of motives and activities, linked by a common desire to reclaim what they see as major benefits of technology: privacy and free speech.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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French Colonialism, Google Keep, Instagram, More: Tuesday Buzz, December 20, 2016

Sorry about the lack of ResearchBuzz yesterday. Long day.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

France is using crowdsourcing to add African perspectives to French colonial West Africa. “France’s National Archives have invited people in some 100 cities nationwide to donate memorabilia – such as letters, photos and notebooks – linked to France’s role in West Africa in the 19th and 20th century. The operation, known as La Grande Collecte, aims to enrich the memory of the colonial period, adding the personal touch that’s currently lacking.” This is the third iteration of La Grande Collecte.

You can now doodle in Google Keep for Chrome. “Using the Keep app’s new drawing feature is fairly easy. From Keep’s Create note menu at the top, tap or click the pen icon to start a note with the drawing feature. At the top of the new note you’ll see a variety of drawing options including a pen, marker, and highlighter with various colors. There’s also an eraser and a selection tool.”

USEFUL STUFF

Quartz: The expert guide to creating a professional Instagram brand. Ignore the hype-y headline, it’s more of a best practices guide.

I have YouTube Red, and I watch that more than I watch regular TV, Netflix, etc. (Though to be fair that’s not a heck of a lot; I’m not good at watching TV.) YouTube’s watch suggestions are awful, and search is a joke. So I spend a lot of time looking for interesting channels to follow. MakeUseOf has a quick hint I didn’t know about.

It’s almost 2017, and that means all the social media networks are going to make apparently-arbitrary size changes and drive us all crazy. Happily Make a Website has you covered.

From Social Media Today: A Comparison of Snapchat and Instagram Stories [Infographic]. “Since the launch of Instagram Stories back in August, much of the discussion has been around whether the new feature will kill off Snapchat – after all, Instagram has a lot more active users and the functionality is largely identical. Or is it?”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Looks like we’re going to see self-driving Alphabet cars on the road sooner rather than later. “Alphabet’s newest subsidiary, Waymo—the former self-driving car program within Alphabet’s X research lab—said today that it will be rolling out 100 of its new autonomous minivans onto US roads in 2017. The chunky cars were developed through a partnership between Google and Fiat Chrysler engineers, and their design is based on the automaker’s new Pacifica minivans.”

The AP: Politicians turn to social media to control message. “To deliver his first extensive remarks on the contentious Dakota Access oil pipeline, all the new North Dakota governor needed was a camera and a Facebook account. The simplicity of the setup spared Republican Gov. Doug Burgum from having to answer questions from reporters on Thursday and allowed him to convey his thoughts unfiltered and unchallenged by the press.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Washington Post: Google facing FTC scrutiny over privacy — yet again. “Consumer advocates have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that Google violated user privacy through a policy change that gives the company more leeway to build profiles of people as they browse the Web and use Google services.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Google found not to have defamed man over online images. “He’s beaten Google before, but not this time. A man who won $425,000 as a result of defamation cases against Google and Yahoo after searches brought up his photo among images of gangland figures has lost his bid for a second bite of the pie.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Poynter: Google is becoming less of a traffic powerhouse, new report suggests. “No surprise: Facebook remains dominant, sending 37 percent of all referral traffic across the 700-website network. That’s down a few percentage points from a year ago, when it drove 41.4 percent of referrers. But the story is different for search engines, most notably Google.”

OTHER STUFF I THINK IS COOL

Completely useless, but really nifty. From Alphr: Explore Google Earth one squiggle at a time . “This fun code experiment transforms aimless doodles into satellite imagery pulled from Google Earth. Created by artist and researcher Zach Lieberman, Land Lines invites you to draw a simple gesture, then watch it automatically pull up an analogous stretch of coastline, or hedgerow, or motorway.” You have to draw a LINE. No zigzags, no circles. Still fun. Good morning, Internet…

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South Korea Money, North Carolina Parks, Google Drive, More: Sunday Buzz, December 18, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Citizens of South Korea have a new tool to find dormant bank accounts. “Just four days after its launch on Dec. 9, nearly one million people had visited the site. A total of 900,000 dormant accounts were terminated and nearly 5.7 billion won ($4.81 million) was collected by users. Excluding the 200,000 dormant accounts with zero balances, each account had an average balance of 6,500 won.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The North Carolina State Parks Collection has gotten a lot of new material. “In honor of the centennial anniversary of North Carolina’s State Parks in 2016, hundreds of folders of historical documents from the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation records collection at the State Archives have been digitized and added to the North Carolina State Parks digital collection at North Carolina Digital Collections.”

Google Drive wants to make it easier for you to switch from iPhone to Android. “Getting people to leave behind their iPhones and move to Android is something Google has focused on more heavily in recent months. For example, its new Pixel smartphones ship with a ‘Quick Switch’ adapter that let you easily transfer data between your iPhone and your new Pixel phone. For everyone else, Google has just released a tool that turns Google Drive into a useful utility for backing up data to Google’s cloud before switching devices.”

Google Home has added a bunch of partners. “Other new Google Home partners include Netflix for movie streaming, WebMD for medical information, Tender for mixed-drink advice, Chill for Netflix movie recommendations and the Food Network for recipes. And starting in early 2017, Mercedes-Benz car owners will be able to use Google Home to send navigation destinations to their cars, pick the right cabin temperature, check fuel and electric charge levels, find out if the its doors are locked and lock them remotely.”

TechCrunch: Kickstarter is open sourcing the code for its Android and iOS apps. “Kickstarter is pulling back the curtain on its app development process. This morning, the crowdfunding platform is taking to its engineering blog to announce that it will be open sourcing the code for its native Android and iOS apps, in keeping with the company’s goal of giving startups a bit of a leg up.”

Google is apparently going to revamp and relaunch Google Contributor. “Google Contributor, the subscription service that allowed users to see fewer advertisements on publisher sites for a fee, will close in January and reopen in early 2017 with a new version. The service allowed site visitors to pay fractions of pennies to see fewer Google-served display advertisements when visiting publisher Web sites, but insiders said getting users to pay for a subscription was slow going.” I never did understand how that would work – why pay Google money when you could just use an ad blocker? (I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do, I’m just saying that’s one argument against it.)

Twitch has launched a new IRL category. “IRL is an acronym that stands for ‘in real life’, and it’ll show exactly that. Twitch’s constituency of streamers will broadcast their everyday happenings, allowing them to engage with their audience without it being centered around video games.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

From Creative Commons: Reviving archives through remix: How a Dutch archival project is reinvigorating electronic music. “What does it mean to listen to the past through a truly modern lens? This is the question the Dutch project re:vive seeks to answer. Working with renowned electronic and experimental musicians such as Lakker, Roly Porter, and Bas Mooy, the project from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision draws on global archives and museums to encourage legal, creative reuse of historic sounds.”

Search Engine Roundtable: Google Warns: Automated Queries On Google Is Against The Terms Of Service. And if you put in queries too fast even as a searching human, it will slow you down by making you enter a CAPTCHA. Do not ask me how I know this. “Everyone knows that tools that scrap and do automated queries are against Google’s terms of service. In fact, Google has blocked tools in the past from doing them. But many many tools continue to do it. Why? Well, Google ditched their search API years ago and they have really no other safe way to automate the process.”

In case you’ve forgotten about Yahoo’s traditional revolving door for CEOs, NBC News has a debriefing. “The job of Yahoo CEO might as well be cursed. Marissa Mayer tried, but overall had a tough time revitalizing the internet company during her four-year tenure. But Mayer isn’t the first CEO to have difficulty steering the ship. Before she was appointed in 2012, the company went through a grand total of five CEOs in as many years.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The EFF has updated Privacy Badger. “Third-party tracking—that is, when advertisers and websites track your browsing activity across the web without your knowledge, control, or consent—is an alarmingly widespread practice in online advertising. Privacy Badger spots and then blocks third-party domains that seem to be tracking your browsing habits (e.g. by setting cookies that could be used for tracking, or by fingerprinting your browser). If the same third-party domain appears to be tracking you on three or more different websites, Privacy Badger will conclude that the third party domain is a tracker and block future connections to it.”

The government of India is asking Yahoo and other tech companies to up their security game. “The government information and technology department has asked email service providers Google and Yahoo, and social networking platforms Facebook and Twitter to strengthen security systems to safeguard Indian users in wake of the recent incidents of cyber-hacking.” Good morning, Internet…

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Alabama Photojournalism, Childhood Cancer, Facial Recognition, More: Saturday Buzz, December 17, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Wow. The Alabama Department of Archives and History is getting a huge gift of photojournalism. “Alabama Media Group is donating its massive collection of historical photographic negatives chronicling the people, places and events of the 20th century to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, where the images will be preserved, catalogued, digitized and made available online to the public. Containing more than 3 million images from The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and Mobile’s Press-Register, the collection is the largest gift of historical content received by the state archives in its 115-year history.”

Baylor College of Medicine has launched a new site in an effort to promote global education on childhood cancer. “Through the SIOP – Paediatric Oncology in Developing Countries Education/Training Working Group, [Dr. Jeremy] Slone and colleagues developed a website called Paediatric Oncology International Network for Training and Education, or POINTE, with a goal of promoting global childhood cancer education. The website was launched at the SIOP Annual Congress in Dublin last month. The online database lists more than 70 unique training opportunities in the field of hematology/oncology for healthcare workers in resource-limited settings. Because many healthcare professionals in resource-limited settings lack an adequate internet connection, it‘s also available as a printable spreadsheet. It lists opportunity type, intended audience, location, duration of training, application deadline and other important information.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Buzzfeed: A Russian Program Just Launched To Help You Find Anyone’s Face On Twitter. “Ever wondered just how many Beyoncé avatars there are on Twitter? On Wednesday a Russian company will make it possible to find the answer with the launch of its newest FindFace program. The facial recognition software will allow users to scan Twitter’s database of more than 300 million accounts to find a single face in less than a second.”

Wired: Facebook Finally Gets Real About Fighting Fake News. “Facebook’s strategy combines crowdsourcing similar to how Facebook polices mature content, reliance on third-party fact checkers, and financial disincentives for fake news hucksters. Each aspect of the rollout has its strengths, but also invites a few questions.” Don’t see anything here about fighting obviously fake, scammy ads on Facebook.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Yahoo / Verizon deal is in danger. “Verizon Communications Inc. is exploring a price cut or possible exit from its $4.83 billion pending acquisition of Yahoo! Inc., after the company reported a second major e-mail hack affecting as many as 1 billion user accounts, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

I was kind of wondering that myself: Where is Marissa Mayer? “This would be a busy week for any tech CEO: One billion user accounts hacked, and a $4.83 billion deal on the line. Yet we haven’t heard a peep from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.”

USEFUL STUFF

Language wonks, you will love this but it’s a heck of a time sink: a Twitter word mapper. “At the beginning of 2016, Jack Grieve shared the first iteration of the Word Mapper app he had developed with Andrea Nini and Diansheng Guo, which let users map the relative frequencies of the 10,000 most common words in a big Twitter-based corpus covering the contiguous United States.” The upgraded version includes over 97,000 words.

More assistance on getting the heck off Yahoo: How to replace 5 major Yahoo services and delete your Yahoo account. “I don’t know about you, but I’m done. I wasn’t much of a Yahoo user to begin with but the uses I do have for the company are over. I know that’s easy for me to say. I have a single account that I only use to play fantasy football. But what about those of you who are more fully invested in Yahoo? Here’s a guide to replacing Yahoo’s major services with alternative options, then deleting your Yahoo account.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

From WIRED: 150 Filmmakers Ask Nikon and Canon to Sell Encrypted Cameras. “In the summer of of 2013, when documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was shooting a still-secret NSA leaker named Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room, she took security seriously. She’d periodically transfer her footage to encrypted hard drives, and would later go so far as to destroy the SD cards onto which her camera recorded. But as she watched Snowden through her lens, she was haunted by the possibility that security agents might barge through the door at any moment to seize her camera. And the memory card inside of it remained dangerously unencrypted, full of unedited confessions of a whistleblower who hadn’t yet gotten his secrets out to the world.”

The Texas Tribune is crowdfunding the position of community reporter at its publication. “No matter if you’re elated or dejected by the election results, one thing is clear: Voices not previously heard by the political establishment are being heard now. It’s a good time for the press to hone its listening skills too. This is and always has been — or should have been — a two-way conversation. That’s why we’re crowdfunding the Trib’s first-ever community reporter position, and we need your help.” The goal is $25,000.

A little far afield, but I find it fascinating so there. From Smithsonian Magazine: How the Cell Phone Is Forever Changing Human Communication. “Sure — it may sound ridiculous that Snapchat, an application through which friends send pictures that can only be viewed for a few seconds before deletion, has the ability to destroy relationships, but cell phones have started a new type of conversation, one that has catalyzed the restructuring of our social environment. Every picture, every snapchat, every punctuation mark is part of a new form of language brought about by a new tool of communication.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

The New York Times Magazine: The Great AI Awakening. (Put aside some time for this one – it’s a long article.) “Late one Friday night in early November, Jun Rekimoto, a distinguished professor of human-computer interaction at the University of Tokyo, was online preparing for a lecture when he began to notice some peculiar posts rolling in on social media. Apparently Google Translate, the company’s popular machine-translation service, had suddenly and almost immeasurably improved. Rekimoto visited Translate himself and began to experiment with it. He was astonished. He had to go to sleep, but Translate refused to relax its grip on his imagination.” Good morning, Internet…

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South Korean Real Estate, Consumer Trends, Instagram, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, December 16, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The South Korean government has launched a new Web site to track commercial building prices. “There are 940,000 commercial buildings listed on the site, along with the value of every transaction made since January 2006, when the government first began mandating sales be reported.”

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has launched a new credit trends tool. “The beta version of the tool covers the mortgage, credit card, auto loan, and student loan markets. The first Consumer Credit Trends release shows a sharp uptick in mortgage originations from August to October compared to last year, growth in credit card lending to lower-income consumers, fewer auto loans to borrowers with lower credit scores, and a slight slowdown of new student loans.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Instagram will now let you bookmark posts. “Starting today, users will see a new bookmark icon underneath the posts in their feed. They just need to tap on that icon to save the post to a new tab on their profile that’s private. Nobody will be able to see the posts they have bookmarked.”

Did you miss the Dorsey / Snowden interview? It’s now available online (the article gives a summary as well as a link to the interview.

You can now livestream on Twitter without Periscope, which I think means that’s about it for Periscope. “‘Live’ will now appear as an option alongside photo and video from your camera roll when you post a new tweet. Selecting live will begin a new Periscope stream just as it does in the app. And streams started on Twitter will be visible within the Periscope app as usual. ”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Wow, I didn’t know Facebook was banning Snapchat QR codes from profile pictures. “Using Snapchat code, which allows users to scan to add them as a friend on the app, violates Facebook’s ‘branded content’ policy. Facebook does not allow publishers to promote ‘third parties’ like Snapchat.”

Medium has released its first year in review. “Overall, the number of posts nearly quadrupled from 1.9 million in 2015 to 7.5 million this year. More than 2 billion words were posted to the site. People spent more than 3.6 millennia reading on Medium.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Sophos has a good explanation of why Yahoo’s MD5 password hashing was such a terrible idea. (Or why hashing but not salting passwords was such a terrible idea.)

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Nieman Lab: API or Die. “If you don’t use APIs in 2017, your media business will die. Now that the over-dramatic opening is out the way, here’s what I think is going to be a significant shift in the use of platforms in 2017: the opening up of APIs, everywhere.” 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!