July 30th, 2014
You have to give Google credit for thinking big. Some recent developments seem to indicate that they believe it’s time for Google Translate, which has been slowly getting better, to truly make an impact on the global language barriers to communication. Translate can currently handle 80 languages, and if it’s not yet accurate enough for the medical community, it seems to be good enough for government websites trying to engage the 10% of Americans with limited English proficiency. So what is the best way to accelerate improvement of Google Translate? Google’s answer: They have empowered Translate users to do the job.
- Translate Community: Help us improve Google Translate! (Google Translate blog | Sveta Kelman) “We’ve just launched a new Translate Community where language enthusiasts can help us improve translation quality for the 80 languages we support, as well as help us in launching new languages. In the new community, you’ll find options to help with a variety of things, including generating new translations and rating existing ones. Over time, you’ll find more ways to contribute, as well as get more visibility into the impact of your contributions and the activity across the community.”
- Google wants to improve its translations through crowdsourcing (TechCrunch | Frederic Lardinois) “For those who don’t want to join the community, Google also recently launched a new feature directly in Google Translate that allows you to contribute your own translation when you see a mistake. Google Translate always allowed you to rate translations as helpful, not helpful and offensive, but now you can actually provide the service with the actual correction.”
- Google Translate gets Translate Community to improve translation quality (TechOne3 | Jagmeet Singh) “Apart from making an authorised community, Google has recently added the ability to suggest an entirely new translation directly in Google Translate. To submit translations, users have to click the ‘Improve this translation’ pencil icon and click ‘Contribute’ to submit.”
- Five things to consider before using Google Translate for Bengali translation (Smartling blog | Rehana Parvin) “Every time Google Translate isn’t able to translate a word into Bengali, you can add the word in manually, save the change, and use it the next time. Taking the same example from above, the word, ‘বইয়ের’ is incorrect. The correct word would be ‘বইটি’. If you click on the word ‘বইয়ের,’ you’ll be able to click and choose the correct replacement.”
Articles from Ohio Web Library:
July 23rd, 2014
About four years have passed since Google announced that the company had decided to release a new image format called WebP. Back then, Google estimated that about 65% of Internet traffic was composed of images and photos, and WebP was designed to reduce the size of those image files and thus speed up loading time for web pages that used the WebP format. Lean image formats are back in the news lately because the Mozilla browser group has decided WebP is not the best solution to the problem of image bloat on the Internet, and has decided to release its own solution instead.
- The story of WebP: How Google wants to speed up the web, one image at a time (GigaOM | Janko Roettgers) “Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari don’t natively support WebP, and it’s unlikely that the makers of these browsers are going to change their mind anytime soon. That’s because like so often, everyone has their own vision of how the future is going to look like. Microsoft is pushing for its own format, dubbed JPEG XR, to replace traditional JPEGs, and Apple has long steered clear of Google’s media formats. The most logical ally for Google would be Mozilla, which has traditionally been a proponent of open media formats.”
- Mozilla’s new Mozjpeg 2.0 image encoder improves JPEG compression (Techspot | Himanshu Arora) “The JPEG format, which has been in use for more than 20 years, is one of the most widely used image formats on the Internet. It’s a lossy format, which means that you can remove some data to reduce the file size without significantly affecting the original image’s integrity. Google has been promoting the use of its WebP image format, a derivative of the video format VP8, but Mozilla has long resisted the call to adopt it.”
- We don’t need new image formats: Mozilla works to build a better JPEG (Ars Technica | Peter Bright) “Mozilla has also been looking at the issue, but the open source browser organization has come up with a different conclusion: we don’t need a new image format, we just need to make better JPEGs. To that end, the group has released its own JPEG compression library, mozjpeg 2.0, which reduces file sizes by around five percent compared to the widely used libjpeg-turbo. Facebook has announced that it will be testing mozjpeg 2.0 to reduce its bandwidth costs, similar to its WebP trial.”
- Mozilla releases mozjpeg 2.0 as Facebook tests and backs the JPEG encoder with $60,000 donation (The Next Web | Emil Protalinski) “Facebook could use the encoder on photos that users have already uploaded to the site, or it could apply it dynamically on images that are regularly accessed, such as profile pictures or link thumbnails. Whatever the case may be, the potential to reduce loading time is very high, given that Facebook is such an image-heavy service.”
Articles from Ohio Web Library:
July 16th, 2014
This weekend at the “Hackers on Planet Earth” conference, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) plans to demonstrate new open source firmware for wireless routers. While open source wireless firmware is nothing new, in this case, the firmware is designed specifically to support the Open Wireless Movement. This movement is promoting the widespread sharing of unencrypted wireless networks with no password protection, so anyone can easily access and use them. Libraries are big on sharing, of course, and also big providers of public wireless, but will they embrace Open Wireless?
- What is the Open Wireless Movement? (openwireless.org) “We are aiming to build technologies that would make it easy for Internet subscribers to portion off their wireless networks for guests and the public while maintaining security, protecting privacy, and preserving quality of access. We’re also teaching the world about the many benefits of open wireless in order to help society move away from closed networks and to a world in which openness is the default. Our efforts follow the opinion of nationally recognized computer security expert Bruce Schneier, who considers maintaining an open wireless node a matter of ‘basic politeness’.”
- New open-source router firmware opens your Wi-Fi network to strangers (Ars Technica | Joe Silver) “[OpenWireless.org’s] mission statement reads. ‘And we are working to debunk myths (and confront truths) about open wireless while creating technologies and legal precedent to ensure it is safe, private, and legal to open your network.’ One such technology, which EFF plans to unveil at the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference next month, is open-sourced router firmware called Open Wireless Router.”
- This tool boosts your privacy by opening your Wi-Fi to strangers (Wired | Andy Greenberg) “One goal of OpenWireless.org, says EFF staff attorney Nate Cardozo, is dispelling the legal notion that anything that happens on a network must have been done by the network’s owner. ‘Your IP address is not your identity, and your identity is not your IP address,’ Cardozo says. ‘Open wireless makes mass surveillance and correlation of person with IP more difficult, and that’s good for everyone.’”
- EFF wants you to open your Wi-Fi to IMPROVE privacy (The Register | Darren Pauli) “The EFF sees the proliferation of segmented open wireless networks as a key tactic that will foil intelligence agencies’ ability to track individuals. By opening home and business wireless to all, it became more difficult to tie people to their online activity.[…] Provided the software is sufficiently secure, the obvious outstanding threat would be to the open wireless users who could find themselves blamed for online crimes committed by anonymous users of their network.”
Articles from Ohio Web Library:
July 9th, 2014
Our apologies if you have already heard about this, but this news is important enough to bear repeating. This Friday (July 11), the Federal Communications Commission will meet and probably come to a decision about making some sweeping changes to the E-rate program. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would like to shift E-rate discounts away from supporting outdated technologies – such as pagers and (eventually) plain old telephone service – to more current technology needs, particularly internal Wi-Fi. Does he have support from the Commissioners to get approval for his proposals? We’ll find out on Friday.
- Modernizing E-rate: Providing 21st century Wi-Fi networks for schools and libraries across America (Federal Communications Commission) “Modernizing our rules to facilitate investment in Wi-Fi would result in a 75 percent increase in Wi-Fi funding for rural areas, which have been disproportionately shut out by the current system. Under existing rules rural schools on average receive 25 percent less Wi-Fi funding for every student, and 50 percent less funding for every school, compared to their non-rural peers, because the current rules often put them at the back of the line.”
- Washington’s Wi-Fi Friday: FCC, Senate push for more Wi-Fi in schools, more unlicensed airwaves (GigaOM | Kevin Fitchard) “Wheeler is calling for new rules to the government’s E-Rate program, which was established 18 years ago to bring internet connectivity to schools and libraries. The program largely accomplished its mission, delivering broadband access to 94 percent of U.S. classrooms and 98 percent of public libraries, according to the FCC. But when the rules were originally written, they didn’t anticipate the wireless connections most devices would need to make that final hop to the internet.”
- ALA encouraged by FCC Chairman’s commitment to a multi-stage E-rate reform (District Dispatch | Marijke Visser) “Mobile internet use in libraries is exploding, and this first step by the Chairman to address this need is important for the vast number of schools and libraries that have not received E-rate support for internal (e.g., Wi-Fi) connections for many years. But this is not enough to meet our national needs. The lack of access to affordable, high-capacity broadband to the building remains a major challenge for so many libraries and schools. Such access must be fully funded for eligible applicants, regardless of any new funding models for Wi-Fi services.”
- E-rate reform: A sustainable path forward for school and library connectivity (The Hill | Danielle Kehl and Sarah Morris) “Simply put, ubiquitous Wi-Fi cannot achieve its promise without a robust wired backbone that is scalable to meet future needs. That’s why a number of stakeholders have recommended that the FCC create a dedicated ‘upgrade fund’ to help schools and libraries cover high upfront costs associated with capital investments to bring fiber to the premises.”
As many of you know, OPLIN and the State Library have sponsored E-rate workshops for public libraries, one in the late fall and one in the winter, for a number of years now. This year, because of the anticipated changes, we are planning to do many more workshops in locations around the state and are also looking into improving online delivery of the workshops. Watch for details early this fall.
July 2nd, 2014
How many times have we told you guys that mobile computing is important? (Looks like about one out of every ten 4casts.) So, if you have a website – and every library does – what’s the best way to design a mobile version of your site? At the moment, there seems to be three leading contenders for the right answer to this question. The oldest way is to build a separate mobile website tailored for smartphones, usually with the letter “m” prefixed to the URL (e.g., m.oplin.org). These days you hear a lot about responsive web design, in which the website is designed to automatically respond to the mobile device by rearranging the elements of the website to best advantage. And sometimes you hear a third possibility mentioned, usually called “adaptive” or “dynamic,” in which the website server detects the device and serves up a ready-made page for the correct screen size. Which is best? Responsive design currently seems to have the edge, but the decision is not unanimous.
- How responsive design increases the results of your online marketing (Search Engine Watch | Kristi Hines) “Responsive design allows users on any device – desktop, smartphone, or tablet – to have the same experience. Some businesses choose to go with a mobile-only and desktop-only experience, but the trouble with this is the lack of consistency between the two. People who make a purchase on the desktop site will have a completely different purchasing experience on their mobile. And the most troublesome issue is generally how a mobile-only design will not include every page that a visitor will want to see.”
- Why responsive web design is the cornerstone to any mobile strategy (Business 2 Community | George Glover) “Google has advocated for responsive web design and recommends it for mobile configuration with its application (app). The company further states that responsive web design is in fact the industry best practice. So why does Google advocate so insistently for responsive web design? It’s because these types of sites have only one URL and the same HTML, neither of which change regardless of the device being used.”
- Report: Mobile “configuration” errors cause 68 pct. traffic loss (Search Engine Land | Greg Sterling) “By ‘mobile configuration’ the company means responsive design, dynamic serving or dedicated mobile sites (separate URLs). BrightEdge found no significant general ranking difference among the three approaches.… Yet improperly configured mobile sites showed a much worse outcome: ‘an incorrectly implemented site resulted in a drop in smartphone rank by almost two positions (1.82 on average).’ That lower position translated into a 68 percent decline in traffic. In terms of configuration errors, BrightEdge said responsive had none (which makes sense). Dynamic serving saw a 30 percent error rate. But separate URLs (dedicated mobile sites) saw a massive 72 percent configuration error rate.”
- Responsive design vs. mobile websites: And the winner is… (iMedia Connection | Brandt Dainow) “Responsive design rarely provides a best-of-breed solution for the mobile user, while mobile websites make sharing elements difficult. It seems to me the solution to this is to use ‘adaptive design.’ Under an adaptive design system, the server works out what type of device is connecting and serves a combination of shared and unique elements. For example, it might use the same content for all devices, but use different artwork for smaller screens.”
Articles from Ohio Web Library:
June 25th, 2014
Like just about everyone else, librarians know and love Flickr, Pinterest, and perhaps Instagram. Most of us have heard of Imgur, Snapchat, and Vine, and know that they are wildly popular. But we may be overlooking the significance of this interest in pictures and video on the Internet. The phenomenon of the ever-increasing amount of images that get sent every day over the Internet has (of course) been named: the visual Web. The problem for libraries is that librarians have a strong tendency to communicate online in text, and the same goes for library websites. But the visual Web illustrates that Internet users are much more likely to prefer websites that communicate through heavy use of images.
- Twitter has been too slow to catch up with the visual Web (ReadWrite | Lauren Orsini) “People have grown tired of text. And with faster network speeds, their devices can load images just as quickly as they once loaded simpler applications. From the days of cave painting, humans have always been visual creatures. As attention spans shorten and Internet speeds increase, it’s clear which we prefer.”
- The visual Web: How it’s connecting marketers to customers like never before (Business 2 Community | Olivia Cole) “The great thing about the Visual Web, says [VP of Marketing and Insights of comScore, Andrew] Lipsman, is that it enables brands to connect with their audiences on a different level than ever before. Lipsman gives Starbucks as an example. ‘It’s easy to feel like a cog in a machine in the long line at Starbucks every morning. But Starbucks’ Instagram account shines a different light on the experience, making it meaningful and extraordinary.’”
- The growth of the visual Web in 5 charts (Digiday | Matt Van Hoven) “Certainly, one needn’t upload an image or video to share it; all you need to do is find something you like online and share it. But in terms of new content, the numbers are staggering just the same. Snapchat boasts 276,000 snaps per minute. If that was miles per second, Snapchat would be faster than the speed of light (186,000 mps). Facebook comes in just behind with an average of 246,000 images and videos per second, which is roughly the population of Plano, Texas.”
- Journalists need to know how the rise of the mobile, social, visual Web impacts them (Forbes | Lewis DVorkin) “For me, statistics like these confirm the news business is on another collision course. A decade or more ago, journalism collided with the freedoms of digital publishing. Next came the collision with social media. Now, it’s colliding with mobile, social and the visual Web. Journalists should take note.”
Articles from Ohio Web Library:
June 18th, 2014
Companies and organizations that make predictions about the future often seem to focus on a five-year span. So in 2013, those organizations were developing their forecasts for 2018. It takes a few months, then, for those predictions to get published and disseminated in the media. Now that we’re a few months past 2013, we’ve seen a number of articles lately based on those predictions, telling us how things will be in 2018. Here are four of those articles, which may be of interest to library tech folks.
- E-books to outsell print by 2018 says new report (BBC News) “Tim Waterstone told the Oxford Literary Festival in March that ‘every indication – certainly from America – shows the [e-book] share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK.’ But Phil Stokes, an entertainment and media partner at PwC [Pricewaterhouse Coopers], said: ‘This growth is being driven by the internet and by consumers’ love of new technology, particularly mobile technology.’”
- After 2018, your PC won’t be the main way we get online (Huffington Post | Timothy Stenovec) “Last year, PCs accounted for 86.4 percent of all Internet traffic. By 2018, the PC share of Internet traffic will drop to just 50.5 percent, according to Cisco. Compare that to smartphones and tablets, which last year accounted for a measly 5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, of global Internet traffic. In 2018, smartphones will jump to 21 percent of traffic, while tablets will account for 18 percent, according to Cisco.”
- Cat videos, binge TV watching will account for 84 percent of Internet traffic, Cisco says (Re/code | Amy Schatz) “In the U.S., Internet traffic is expected to surge from 15 exabytes per month last year to 37 exabytes monthly in 2018. … Internet video is expected to account for about 84 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic in four years, up from its current 78 percent, Cisco says. That figure also includes IP VOD, which is basically pay-TV providers’ on-demand video services.”
- Reminder: Nobody has a clue how many wearable devices will sell in 2018 (Time | Harry McCracken) “Although I usually try to steer clear of making tech predictions myself, I am willing to make a bold one about the wearable market in 2018. I hereby declare that whatever it looks like then, the chances are zero that anybody will exclaim, ‘Gee, this was all so utterly predictable back in 2014.’”
Articles from Ohio Web Library:
June 11th, 2014
Last week, Nextgov reported that the Secret Service has released a request for software to analyze social media data with one of the requested capabilities being the “ability to detect sarcasm.” The reason for the sarcasm request is an attempt to avoid a computer-triggered, aggressive law enforcement reaction to a social media post expressing malicious intent, only to find that the post was sarcastic — but of course, the request unleashed a whole flurry of snarky articles on the interwebs. Actually, though, businesses worldwide have been intensely interested in such an improvement to “sentiment analysis” of social media for years. A bad opinion posted and repeated in social media can do a lot of damage to any organization if the organization is slow to react, but what if a “good” opinion is actually sarcasm?
- Sarcasm-detecting software doesn’t exist, would be helpful (nymag.com/Jesse Singal) “The problem is that this is a very tough thing for computers to do — partly because it’s a very tough thing for humans to do. In regular speech, humans can rely on subtle cues that someone is being sarcastic…. These cues obviously aren’t present in text, which explains why jokes often don’t translate over SMS or Twitter. So it’s no surprise that computer scientists haven’t yet been all that successful in training software programs to recognize sarcasm.”
- US Secret Service wants software to “detect sarcasm” on social media (Ars Technica/Joe Silver) “Sarcasm analysis in the realm of politics ‘requires some background knowledge, which computers are not good at,’ [computer scientist and author Bing Liu] said. Others argue that the work order shows the intelligence community’s fundamental lack of understanding of how the Internet works. For example, The Consumerist’s Mary Beth Quirk said, ‘Basically, the Secret Services would love it if someone would explain the Internet so it doesn’t go around arresting sarcastic people with itchy social media trigger fingers.’”
- Even Secret Service computers don’t get sarcasm (BloombergView/Leonid Bershidsky) “Though developers would have us think their linguistic tools are quite advanced, they should not be trusted to perform anything but the most rudimentary tasks. The generally accepted level of accuracy for sentiment analysis — a branch of computer linguistics that determines the positive or negative slant of a piece of text — is about 65 percent, though some developers claim higher rates.”
- Stanford algorithm analyzes sentence sentiment, advances machine learning (Stanford University Enginnering/Tom Abate) “As we increasingly share these opinions via social networks, one result is the creation of vast reservoirs of sentiment that could, if systematically analyzed, provide clues about our collective likes and dislikes with regard to products, personalities and issues. Against this backdrop, Stanford computer scientists have created a software system that analyzes sentences from movie reviews and gauges the sentiments they express on a five-point scale from strong like to strong dislike. The program, dubbed NaSent – short for Neural Analysis of Sentiment – is a new development in a field of computer science known as ‘Deep Learning’ that aims to give computers the ability to acquire new understandings in a more human-like way.”
Articles via Ohio Web Library:
June 4th, 2014
You’re probably not in the market for a new domain name for your library, and almost certainly haven’t considered a domain name that’s the same as the library’s telephone number – http://7285252.org, for example. But such a numeric domain name might be exactly what you would want if you were running a library in China. In the Western world, domain names are precisely that – names – and a numeric domain name would have less meaning than a domain name composed of words. In China, however, the opposite is true. And since short numeric domain names of six digits or less are preferred, and there are a limited number of such numeric combinations, many numeric domain names actually have a very high market value.
- Understanding numeric domain value in Chinese culture (Media Options/Tess Diaz) “The Chinese are a people of many languages, but no alphabet. Chinese businesses have historically used numbers or pinyin versions of Chinese characters to brand their websites. There are tens of thousands of Chinese characters, with every single word having its own associated visual character. In addition, there are numerous Chinese languages and strong numeric symbolism from Confucianism, Taoism, folk belief, and recent internet slang. This leaves numbers as the greatest commonly understood ‘language.’”
- The secret messages inside Chinese URLs (New Republic/Christopher Beam) “This kind of number-language has become an infinitely malleable shorthand among Chinese web users: 1 means ‘want,’ 2 means ‘love,’ 4 means ‘dead’ or ‘world’ or ‘is,’ 5 means ‘I,’ 7 means ‘wife’ or ‘eat,’ 8 means ‘get rich’ or ‘not,’ and 9 means ‘long time’ or ‘alcohol.’ The numbers 5201314, for example, mean 我爱你一生一世, or ‘I will love you forever’; 0748 means ‘go die’; and 687 means ‘I’m sorry.’”
- Numeric domains, Chinese culture and how you can profit from it (Domain Holdings blog/Giuseppe Graziano) “Numeric domains are sought after mostly by Chinese buyers – we can safely say that 80% of the players in this market come from China. The reason for this is because Chinese businesses have historically used numbers or pinyin versions of Chinese characters to brand their websites. English keyword domains are difficult to remember for native Chinese speakers, therefore most of the popular websites in China use numbers (eg 163.com) or pinyin (Baidu.com, Youku.com etc.). Add to this the limited supply of only 100 NN.com and 1000 NNN.com, then you can quickly understand the rising value.”
- Are numeric domains a good idea? (Vastus Domains blog/Mark Sittler) “In Asia and especially certain Asian countries like China, numeric domain names are huge. In such cultures, numbers in general come attached to great meaning. Specific combinations of numbers have even more meaning and the right combinations could be worth some serious money. In case you’re wondering just how serious the money attached to some of these domains can be, just consider the fact that 888888.com wound up selling for $245,000.”
More value facts:
DN Journal’s 2014 year-to-date sales chart for domain names includes 100.com selling for $950,000 and 37.com selling for just under $2 million.
May 28th, 2014
Ever heard of social WiFi? Well, we know that using any password to authenticate users of a WiFi network, even a simple one posted on signs around the library, is good practice because it automatically encrypts the WiFi traffic instead of sending it through the air in clear text. So what if you asked your library WiFi users to login with their social media credentials instead of yet-another-password. And then a library computer could look through their Facebook postings (for example) to look for the kinds of books they like to read and send them “ads” for similar books in your library. That kind of thing is called “social WiFi,” and it’s a significant trend in businesses that provide public WiFi.
- Purple WiFi and Wavelink join forces to offer social WiFi (Connect World/Purple WiFi press release) “The guests log into the secure hotspot system using social media authentication, via networks such as Facebook or Twitter. The venue providing the connection gains valuable demographic and engagement information from users through its Purple Portal, which allows the business to understand who is visiting and using their hotspot, how long they are online, as well as their age, gender and any other relevant information that they offer in their social networking profile. The portal also provides a powerful engagement tool to promote relevant offers, essentially rewarding guests for visiting the venue.”
- Social WiFi sign-in: Benefits with a dark side (Network COmputing/Lee Badman) “As strange as it seems, despite the wide-open nature of our social media personas, we still expect a modicum of control over how our information gets used. Social WiFi undercuts that odd, fragile handle we have on our social media data to monetize and upsell us in ways that don’t make me really comfortable. Once the data is mined and conclusions are drawn from it, we become new people in the eyes of the social WiFi provider, with no control over how the process presents us.”
- Too much information? Facebook, Google face backlash over logins (Wall Street Journal/Elizabeth Dwoskin) “Facebook recently said it would begin to offer anonymous logins and also allow users to choose which data they want to share, a response to privacy concerns. The head of Google+ recently stepped down amid signs the social network isn’t popular with users. ‘We’ve gotten feedback,’ said Eddie O’Neil, product manager for Facebook Login. ‘We first heard from people that they want more transparency, second, more control.’”
- Social Wi-Fi and privacy: Keeping balance in the force (AirTight Networks blog/Sean Blanton) “Remember that while mobility is fairly ubiquitous in our society, it very much skews to millennials who (like myself) are getting older and expanding our interactions beyond school and home. I’d argue that free Wi-Fi and a dessert coupon in exchange for my name, age and city is a pretty sweet deal, and I’d be excited to see what other places I frequent would provide me with a tailored experiences instead of generic, seemingly unhelpful ones.”
According to recent data collected by LoginRadius, people use a Facebook account most often for social logins (49%), followed by Google+ (29%), and Twitter (6%).