UMSI Fun Size

The world of information - in Fun Size!

UMSI's Fun Size digest features tiny, delicious news tidbits relating to information and library topics. Reach us at

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1/7/2020: Tech flops of the 2010s
The biggest tech flops of the decade, why the world didn't end with Y2K, lots of free data sources, a robot that writes horror stories and the hottest day of the year for online dating. 

12/6/19: Dirty tricks of fake reviewers 
Tech tips for travelers, Russian cows in VR glasses, inaccessible library design, memes for people with visual impairments.

11/1/19: Twitter nixes political ads
Milk won’t scan, Google finishes your sentences, library fines get shelved, Twitter takes the high ground, a digital reporter shares favorite travel tools.

10/2/19: This issue rocks asdfasdfasdf! 
Alexa can explain, AI generates cartoon captions, a library tries universal lending, elders befriend their Home assistants.

9/4/19: What your mobile number reveals about you
Tricks for better searches, AI/VR Mandarin classrooms, an interactive map of celebrity hometowns. 

8/13/19: Poker bot knows when to hold 'em
Live-streaming funerals, decision-making apps, a stingy publisher and your so-called "anonymous" data.

7/3/19: Mona Lisa moves her lips 
Fake news gets harder to detect, a futuristic library, getting Alexa to erase the day’s recording, great sources for free photos and how to TikTok.

6/4/19: Librarian KO's Jeopardy! Champ
James Holzhauer's reign ends, weird things found in library books, gender stereotypes in voice assistants, Facebook’s uneven privacy settings, and using housing to predict car accidents.

5/6/19: Jeopardy! champion’s secret weapon
Let an algorithm plan your diet, Denmark’s all-night libraries, IG memers get feisty, and just how did the Jeopardy! Juggernaut get so smart?

4/3/19: Six scary things about AI
A $60 million facelift for the Library of Congress, a map that shows the world’s religions, McDonald’s gobbles up Big Data, and the internet might just save some dying languages.

3/6/19: Walk the mean streets of 14th century London
The secret history of women in coding, neural network Valentines, a medieval murder map of London.

2/4/19: Ding dong, doorbell snooping
Nazi-stolen books returned, Alexa’s eavesdropping, robot dog learns new tricks.

1/10/19: Job skills most in demand in 2019
Hong Kong kids nix esports, print books are coming back, ways to discreetly ditch chatty friends on social, and thousands of new (old) books now in the public domain.

12/5/18: Indie booksellers boycott Amazon
Video game mimics dementia, AI paints a pricey portrait, NYC book sorters flex their muscles, and a bookselling behemoth is brought to heel.

11/9/18: The origin of Ctrl+Alt+Del
Check your city’s rising temperature, virtual border guards, Silicon Valley kids go screenless.

10/17/18: Is Banned Book Week obsolete?
Google turns 20 and shares a timeline, Chrome wants URLS to disappear, a ghost librarian is the newest Avenger, and why “Log in with Facebook” isn’t such a good idea.

9/13/18: Salty librarian spouts off
Why you shouldn't reshelve books, ways to keep Amazon from tracking every darned thing about you, and a Facebook fake-spotting quiz.

8/1/18: What if Google paid you?
Unicorns at birth, protecting your car keyfob code from thieves, the value of your personal data to advertisers and more gorgeous library pinups.

7/9/18: Is your SmartTV watching you?
Get more from Gmail, discover which of your tech gadgets is most likely to be hacked, digital wellness, best education for future tech jobs, and a self-appointed censor stalks the stacks.

6/8/18: Tweet M for Murder
Cracking the Vatican code, the non-view from 30,000 feet, baby’s first word, and reclaiming your privacy.

5/9/18: Coders are cool - really!
Free money, top-paying tech fields, what Apple knows about you, mmm - bacon!

4/6/18: This rare book can kill you
Librarian wardrobes, career-boosting MOOCs, IoT for toddlers, Google ponies up millions for teen digital literacy but drops

3/1/18: 5 things AI is good for
Librarians on horseback, K-12 digital education, a stunning collection of photos depicting the lives of families around the world by income, and can Apple make a less addictive iPhone?

2/1/18: Best email opening lines
Educating future librarians, an anglerfish emoji, cooking shows for millennials, Amazon's new pay-as-you-go store and how to get people to respond to your emails.

1/9/2018: Three secrets to getting hired at Facebook
Why your phone makes you feel better, what we Googled in 2017, popular GIFs for emotion tags, and the sinister past of Melvil Dewey. 

12/12/2017: Time's top 25 tech inventions of 2017
Seattle's most mysterious library, two pranksters explain how they tricked the internet, Japanese schoolkids will choose the next Olympic mascots, and why you need an $80 coffee mug.

11/22/2017: Librarian is super-hero action figure
Introducing the newest action figure for librarian Nancy Pearl, Amazon wants the key to your front door, Google rolls out new job-search features, and apparently robin redbreast is a dirty bird.

10/26/2017: Tech firms snapping up academics
Tech firms are offering huge salaries to lure PhDs, a UMSI grad develops an app to help the homeless, Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis crashes Cambridge's server, and Evil Week at Lifehacker.

10/12/2017: Step-by-step guide to Snapchat
A complete beginner's guide to Snapchat, old technology that's still useful, social media giants hauled before Congress to 'splain, and the new Star Wars trailer previews the next cute new thing. 

9/27/2017: QR codes are back!
A handy app that alerts you when your credit card might be skimmed, designing suicide-proof library atria, a tricky "terms and conditions" contract, and the easiest programming languages to learn. HTML? Really?

7/18/2017: Can you spot fake news?
Librarians as EMTs, all the fun things you can ask Google Home to do, why some people can't live without their smartphones and the second most beautiful bookstore in the world.

6/14/2017: 90 seconds to safer passwords
What Snapchat would look like in the 1950s, how to preserve digital art for the future, how to protect your passwords, the best free online programming classes, and Facebook sponsors free social media marketing microcredentials for Michiganians. 

5/16/2017: Obama goes bookless
The first all-digital Presidential Library, letter grades for school cafeterias, a young man's quest for chicken nuggets leads to breaking the re-Tweet record, and why emojis could be your next password.

4/19/2017: LOC goes disco
Books that smell like rotten socks, dads with man buns, upside-down maps, and disco balls at the Library of Congress. Read on for more arresting tidbits. Flared white suits optional. 

3/7/2017: VR, better than Novocain?
Data ninjas in our midst, a nostalgic look at bookmobiles, the different flavors of UX designers and skipping sedatives while donning the VR headset on the surgeon's table. Are you brave enough? 

2/13/2017: Chicago seeking cheeky signs
A world tour entirely made of Google Map screen shots, Google gets its own Danish ambassador, the Newberry Library seeks Women's March ephemera, and MIT made a transparent robot that can catch a goldfish.

1/24/2017: Building the Library of Alexandria, 2.0
Backing up the Internet, beautiful libraries, baggage tags and the U of M Bicentennial. It's all here in the first bite size for the new year. 

12/28/2016: How librarians are saving history
Frighteningly fast facial recognition software, heroic librarians racing to archive federal web pages, all the image sizes you need to know for your social media profiles, and how cellphone use is affecting personal relationships.

11/30/2016: Harry Potter and the sorcerer's phone
Prisoners who code, librarians facing adversity, the steep price of a new iPhone, outsourcing bedtime reading, and the joys of today's digital age — it's probably self-serving, but we'll include this publication as one of our digital delights.

10/21/2016: Facebook spikes voter registration
Librarians as digital overlords, this Internet thing is here to stay, programming a wi-fi tea kettle, and how to find anyone's email address — and, yes, that probably means yours is searchable, too.

9/21/2016: The most powerful editor in the world
A penny-pinching librarian leaves a windfall to his employer, how to predict a best-seller, stunning academic libraries, and Facebook's editorial policy under fire.

8/9/2016: Don't read the comments
A tool to facilitate civil discourse online, Scottish accents baffle voice recognition software, a new presidential library, and who's using your digital images online.

6/23/2016: Word's hidden depths
How to create hack-proof passwords, social media's slowing popularity, perceived racism and sexism in Google's algorithms, and forgotten features in Microsoft Word.

6/3/2016: Mmmm, you smell like a first edition
The coolest laptop stickers ever, celebrities you didn't know were geeks, how your "smart home" may be vulnerable, and commuter patterns for every US metro area.

5/12/2016: The TA was a robot
Smartphone users' preferred reading, Australian librarians' musical parody, the dangers of relying on Google maps, and how a law degree can help you in the tech world.

4/5/2016: Your webcam could be spyware
Restaurant warnings through natural language processing, libraries that lend much more than books, and why you might want to wait to invest in VR.

3/14/2016: Cross words over crosswords
Broadband subsidies, virtual sled rides and safaris, a musical history of the world, and how scientists figured out that blue is the newest color.

2/24/2016: Millennials socially stunted?
Amazon goes brick-and-mortar, how to use Snapchat like a teen, Sweden's text-and-walk warning signs, and tracing the index card's long and lasting legacy.

2/2/2016: The most profound videogame ever
A fresh infusion of cuteness on Instagram, good news for the old-fashioned book, helping computers learn sarcasm, and the app that got a lot of action during January's big winter storm.

1/14/2016: Millennials don't use desks?
The eight programming languages employers desire most, insanely gorgeous data centers, why self-driving cars get into more accidents, and a library on two wheels.

12/11/2015: Ten tricks to sharpen your Chrome skills
Movies that change to reflect your taste, Twitter posts that make winter driving safer, a well-meaning ad that back-fired, and clever ways to keep your old electronics out of landfills.

8/25/2015: Who still reads books in print?
Online courses to <span> your coding knowledge, digital band-aids for IE users, universities flunking Twitter and the persistence of the printed book.

7/29/2015: Ten things Google knows about you
The world's first hack attack, hidden tools Google uses to keep track of your preferences, the fading appeal of Flash and a new interim dean for UMSI.

7/1/2015: Feisty librarians protect freedom to read
Seeking your look-alike online, the disappearing Icelandic language, the departure of the longtime head of the Library of Congress and librarians vs. the Patriot Act.

6/5/2015: AOL still alive? Who knew?
A geek goes heretical, the British Library scrambles to preserve the media that plays old sound recordings, the New York Public Library needs help transcribing its menu collection, and AOL courts Millenials (aka Snake People) with a new design.

4/23/2015: Someone's in the kitchen with Watson
Outsourcing all your pesky domestic chores, a tasty map of the London underground, an app that turns images into prose and IBM's supercomputer, Watson, turns chef.

4/9/2015: Amazon's got your goat is branching out into home services that will let you book electricians, plumbers, and even goats to mow your lawn, Fareed Zakaria suggests America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous and makes the case for the well-rounded liberal education, and get some tips on how to start your own little library.

3/26/2015: Digital ducking stool
The Internet is ushering in a renaissance of public shaming, data geniuses have computed the ultimate American road trip, cybercriminals are hacking domain names, and UMSI’s Christian Sandvig explains how algorithms subtly control what we read, hear, watch, and think. 

3/13/2015: World's worst password
Popular Science lets you know if it might be time to update your password, WIRED explains why we can’t agree on the color of “the dress,” answers to your questions on net neutrality (plus a dissenting opinion from a skeptical techie), and do libraries have healing powers?

2/25/2015: Secrets of a great UX designer
UMSI alum Emily Luke shares five tips on becoming a great UX designer, Google is piloting driverless cars and perhaps developing a wearable to help you smell your best, why millennials prefer print copies to digital copies of books, and will all our images and documents be lost to future generations as technology advances?

2/11/2015: Top 20 Tweeters of 2014
Find out which celebs are the most active Twitter users, take a quiz to test your digital privacy IQ, watch a video on the U-M Library’s Espresso Book Machine (it can print a 300-page book in 7 minutes), see what the future holds for the Internet, and find out what’s hot this year in creative design.

1/27/2015: #How to ruin a date
How to quickly end a date with an academic, China’s growing maker culture, the future of social media in Snapchat Stories, the First Lady’s approach to digital parenting, and why you might want to change your homepage. 

1/7/2015: Who's hogging the hot water?
Smart meters in the home, what the world looks like as 100 people, and a quiz to discover what sort of library user you are. Plus, the first UMSI delegation to visit China.

7/31/2014: What happens in an Internet minute?
204 million emails are sent every 60 seconds, the Museum of Modern Art grows a trend recognizing digital artifacts as fine art, kids struggle to use old computers, and will libraries become the Netflix for books?

5/14/2014: Fat tolls ahead for Internet fast lanes?
Why ISP fees could make Internet worse than TV, a new app tracks how much time you waste online, 11 of the world’s most beautiful libraries are identified, the White House issues a report on Big Data, and is technology making life too easy for us? 

3/13/2014: Is Amazon anti-book?
The New Yorker examines the morality of buying books online, library e-loans are reined in, SXSW is printing candy, James Patterson is bailing out bookstores, and are typewriters the wave of the future for private communication? 

1/28/2014: Phone calls -- they're not dead yet!
Tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Mark Suster makes the case for talking on a phone, School Library Journal examines the library's role in providing resources and tutorials on a 24/7 basis, Scoop.It! is helping us to curate information on topics of interest, and will STEM one day become STEAM?

12/19/2013: Best tech quotes of 2013
The New Yorker unveils its list of the year's top tech quotes, The Atlantic says that libraries are more popular in America than apple pie and baseball, the tables are being turned on cyber-bullies, and Edward Snowden may not be Time's Man of the Year, but he's being lauded elsewhere.

11/20/2013: Women shouldn't do... what?
Societal sexism is revealed in collective search habits, author Neil Gaiman makes the case for libraries, MIT says we're still living in a data desert, and the future of the Internet of Things.

10/2/2013: Va-va-va Yahoo?
Yahoo!'s CEO is featured in Vogue, J.K. Rowling is teaming up with Warner Bros., Twitter goes public, and 15 TED talks to inspire freshmen. Plus, is encrypted data safe from the hands of the NSA? 

8/29/2013: Sorry, webmasters, your title's outdated
Librarians in stage and song, a look at modern web job titles, and a range of reactions to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's decision to buy the Washington Post. Plus a video on Ann Arbor in summertime.

8/5/2013: Pull the plug on public libraries?
A conservative commentator raises hackles by suggesting public libraries are obsolete, a young librarian questions her career choice, and a data scientist warns that data shouldn't be trusted blindly.

7/9/2013: You heard the French are liberal? Mais non!
Learn how the Pew Foundation is mapping acceptance of marriage equality, discover new strategies for ecommunity management, get the latest on digital media creation's connection to social activism, and more.

6/19/2013: What your phone is telling the Feds

Learn what information your mobile devices reveal, see a cool map that shows meteor hits and near misses, and find out where venture capitalists are handing out the bucks. Also, a new community partnership with the city of Jackson, MI.

6/5/2013: Wearing your tech on your sleeve

This issue features trends in wearable technology, a daring rescue of rare manuscripts, a new report on teenage internet use, and the endangered profession of photojournalism. 

5/22/2013: Psst! Want to send a press tip anonymously?

This jam-packed issue includes how social media addresses racism, old media's attentional capture, journalistic privacy in the era of DoJ wiretaps, op-eds on libraries, professional networking skills, publicly-shared diaries, and more.


5/8/2013: Looking for work? Try updating your browser.

This issue includes micro-libraries, how technology is changing journalism, and news of a new eponymous student honor.  


4/23/2013: Apps, maps, and Warren Spector raps.

This issue includes a video about why apps are important, details on a generous gift that will help students develop startups, and Warren Spector asks where are gaming's grown-ups?

4/3/2013: Voicemail is so 90s. Just text me.

Epic tweets, digital etiquette, a Pew report on the State of the News Media, and a damp day in North Quad.


3/27/2013: Superbowl Ads Sexist? You don't say.

This issue features infographics on mass-market ads and Twitter made simple, how people in the Netherlands reacted to library closings, and news of our presence at SXSW.


2/22/2013: Librarian insults publisher, gets sued

This issue contains a link to National Geo maps of social media use around the world, a story of a librarian who criticized a publisher and got sued two years later, and some nifty new voice-controlled photo editing software being developed for Adobe by UMSI faculty and students.

2/4/2013: Privacy? How quaint.

This issue includes an infographic on the death of privacy, why taking a break from Facebook might be good for you, and information about the passing of UMSI Professor Emeritus Michael Cohen.


1/22/2013: PCs are dead

This issue includes an infographic on the death of the PC, politicians with the worst online presence, highlights from CES and a UMSI student making international headlines.


1/7/2013: No boss, you can't have my password

This issue includes a new Michigan law banning employers from asking for passwords, violent video games research, and who uses social media to discuss politics and religion (hint: it's not the U.S.).


12/13/2012: 2013's top tech trends

This issue includes top tech trends for 2013, most used search terms and micro-content sharing.

11/15/2012: App gifts

This issue includes the gift of apps, a free game to help library visitors learn digital search techniques and libel charges aimed at Twitter users.

10/25/2012: So long, Newsweek-on-paper

This issue includes the end of Newsweek's print edition, the power of "dark social" networks and Makerspaces in libraries.

10/11/2012: A new $13 e-reader

This issue includes a new $13 e-reader, Hathi Trust news that makes Dean Jeff say "Yowza!" and the emergence of celebrity-branded news