Saturday Buzz, January 31st, 2015

Wow: Google has paid out more than $4 million in bug bounties since 2010, and over $1.5 million last year alone. It’s expanding its bug hunter program: “Google is expanding the scope of its Vulnerability Reward Program. The company will now accept submissions, and thus pay bounties when it deems valid, for its Android and iOS mobile applications….At the same time, Google is also launching a new experimental program called Vulnerability Research Grants. The company says its own security work is making it harder for independent researchers to find bugs, so it wants to provide up-front awards before security researchers ever submit a bug.”

Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is on what the Times of India describes as a “digitization spree”. “Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is on a digitization spree to create an e-archive of its collections, which include documents dating back to the 19th century and specimens that are more than 200-years-old. The entire gamut of digitized documents will be displayed in a section of its website and it will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 1 to mark the centre’s centenary celebrations.”

You remember that new collection of UFO files I wrote about not too long ago? Apparently the site’s been taken down… because of “It is with great frustration to announce, that, and their subsidiary Fold3, has laid down a claim to copyright on the Project Blue Book material – which has long been labeled as “public domain” by the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA). is claiming ownership to the digital version of this material – despite me having records that Fold3 doesn’t even have in their archive and I received under the FOIA starting back in 1996. They simply claimed it was 100% theirs and I was forced to remove it.”

Laser pioneer Charles Townes’ papers have been made freely available in the SPIE Digital Library.

Now available: an archive of Chicago buildings. “Chicago isn’t short on notable architecture, and those familiar with the place know that the meat of the city’s historical building stock lives beyond its glistening lakefront core. That’s what makes a new project by local photographer and writer John Morris particularly interesting. For the past seven months, Morris and a small team have been using the 1995 Historical Resources Survey, city and county data, and a lot of legwork to build an up-to-date, comprehensive archive of Chicago’s buildings. So far, Chicago Architecture Data holds nearly 13,000 entries for structures built before 1940—from Merchandise Mart to the Division Street Russian and Turkish Baths to the rows of bungalows that extend north, south, and west from the city center—with more being added each week.”

A crowdfunding effort is underway to help librarians catalog medieval manuscripts from Timbuktu. “Social Purpose Corporation T160k recently launched ‘Cataloging the Timbuktu Libraries,’ a crowdfunding effort to help train local staff in Mali and help librarians in Timbuktu’s Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library catalog and preserve more than 400,000 ancient, fragile manuscripts. ”

What fun! Use a Raspberry Pi and an old monitor to make a Google calendar that attaches to your wall.

Tumblr has just done a big update. Interesting as I was just reading about Tumblr being used for fan fiction a few days ago. This will apparently make it an even better platform for that purpose.

LibreOffice 4.4 is now available. It’s a nice release and doesn’t feel funky or clunky. Through for serious spreadsheet work I have to stick with Gnumeric. Good morning, Internet…

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