Meet the computer scientist trying to digitize, analyze and visualize our past


We have written many times over the years about the potential benefits of easy access to data and computing, but we’ve probably never done it this well.

The guest on this week’s Structure Show podcast was Kalev Leetaru (pictured above), the Georgetown researcher behind the Global Database of Events, Language and Tones (GDELT), which we have covered before, and who also helped the Internet Archive with the book-digitization project it unveiled this week. Leetaru, who has spent time programming supercomputers, talks all about the amazing shifts currently underway in information technology that let people gather, store and analyze data with no physical gear and just a few lines (or a single line) of SQL code.

Turkey-1998-12-21-1999-02-19 One of Leetaru’s recent projects analyzed the 120 days surrounding the ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in order to find the most-similar 120-day periods globally over the past 35 years.

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Six alternative web browsers you should know about


Most people are only familiar with the “big five” web browsers — Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. But there are hundreds of other browsers out there.

Most alternative browsers are remade versions of [company]Google[/company] Chrome, [company]Mozilla[/company] Firefox or [company]Microsoft[/company] Internet Explorer. Chrome itself is built on Chromium, an open-source browser project; Firefox is also open-source. That means that any developer can take the code, add or remove some parts of it and release a completely new browser.

Why do that, though? The “big five” browsers are already highly customizable. Chrome and Firefox have particularly large libraries of extensions, but generally, you can tailor most browsers to your particular needs. Nevertheless, a large percentage of users may never have visited the Chrome Web Store or gone into Firefox’s Add-ons section.

Some alternative browsers can provide additional functionality for people who don’t want to bother with installing add-ons or don’t know how…

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Huawei exec: Tizen has no chance, Windows Phone success is difficult


If you’re Samsung or Microsoft, you won’t like to hear what Richard Yu has to say. Yu is in charge of Huawei’s consumer business group and has seen his company quickly become the no. 3 smartphone seller in the world. In a weekend interview with the Wall Street Journal, Yu dismissed Samsung’s internal software efforts and explained why Huawei has put Windows Phone on hold for now.

Huawei 4Afrika Windows Phone

China-based [company]Huawei[/company] used to build phones for carriers as a white-label brand: You wouldn’t see Huawei’s name on the phone, similar to how [company]HTC[/company] got its start. That changed, Yu told the Journal, when Huawei decided its phones were better than competing products and it figured to build its brand value. Based on the company’s growing sales, the strategy has worked, as only Samsung and Apple sold more smartphones than Huawei in 2013.

The company builds its handsets using [company]Google[/company] Android, much…

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