IoT, Facebook, Twitter, More: Saturday Buzz, December 12th, 2015


Launched in October: Censys is a search engine for the “Internet of Things. The Internet of INSECURE things. “Censys collects data on hosts and websites through daily scans of the IPv4 address space – the internet protocol that routes most internet traffic today, despite the ongoing deployment of a successor protocol, IPv6. The search engine uses two companion tools: an open-source network scanner, known as ZMap, that probes every computer online in mere minutes, and the application layer scanner ZGrab.”


Facebook is adding some tools for Page administrators. “To help businesses stay on top of those customer messages, Facebook says it’s also redesigning its inbox to allow Page owners to add internal notes about users and add tags to categorize conversations. In addition, it’s adding a new tool for monitoring Page comments.” Of course Facebook still doesn’t allow institutional Facebook accounts, so every person you add as a page admin is still an additional vector of security risk, but HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Apparently Twitter is testing non-chronological timelines. Because there’s nothing we users like more than information presented to us in a completely arbitrary way with zero transparency or explanation. WE DIG IT! “I reached out to Twitter, and a spokesperson confirmed via email that this is ‘an experiment. We’re continuing to explore ways to surface the best content for people using Twitter.’ Presumably, Twitter is working with algorithms similar to the ones Facebook uses to order items on your News Feed.” I hate it when Facebook does this and I’ll hate it worse when Twitter does it.

News aggregator Trove is shutting down.

Microsoft is open-sourcing its Live Writer blogging tool. “Windows Live Writer was a desktop program you can use to write blog posts offline, preview how they’ll look on your site, then publish to a wide range of content management systems including WordPress and Blogger. It’s been a tool of choice for bloggers since its release way back in 2006, but never found a massive audience outside that niche. No updates for the software have been offered since 2012, and features have been slowly breaking ever since.”

Google has released a new tablet called the Pixel C. “This is the first tablet designed with Android 6.0, Marshmallow in mind. You get added security benefits, smarter and longer battery life (10+ hours) and Now on Tap at your fingertips. To ensure the Pixel C gets even better over time, it will receive regular security and feature updates directly from Google. But what makes a tablet great is the amount of things you can do with it—and you’ve got plenty to choose from with s’more than 1 million apps on Google Play.”

More Google: it has launched a family plan for YouTube Red. Disclaimer: I am paying for a YouTube Red account and it makes YouTube 1000x better. “By subscribing to the Google Play Music family plan, six people can share YouTube Red accounts as well, meaning you’re getting a nifty combination of streaming music and video.”


Ever wanted to be able to easily pull a quote from a podcast? Here ya go. “The service, launching today, allows you to click a ‘Clammr’ button whenever you come across a particularly interesting or sharable moment while listening to streaming audio. It then grabs a 24-second clip (starting a few seconds before you press the button to ensure you get the good parts) that can then be easily shared on Facebook, Twitter, etc. For Twitter, Clammr is actually only the second service to be granted access to a special embedded audio Twitter card (with SoundCloud being the other).”

Are you sad because Dropbox is shutting down MailBox? AllTopStartups has 12 alternatives.


Three popular security software packages have — well, had — a major security flaw. Kaspersky, McAfee, and AVG have all fixed the problem, but there’s a checker available to see if your software might still be vulnerable.


Hmm: Using Google search data to find disease trends. “The company behind the Web’s leading search engine has quietly begun giving researchers access to its data troves to develop analytical models for tracking infectious diseases in real time or close to it. UIC is one of at least four academic institutions that have received access so far, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Google said.”

More fascinating stuff from the Atlantic: The linguistics of the YouTube stars. “So the other day, I was watching this YouTube video from the PBS Idea Channel about whether Ron Weasley from Harry Potter is really a time-traveling Dumbledore (as you do), and I realized—the guy talking sounds exactly like the Vlogbrothers. The Vlogbrothers are John and Hank Green, and their combined YouTube channel, on which they post videos of themselves musing on and explaining everything from world politics to farts, has more than 2 million subscribers.” My favorite YouTube personality is probably Jack Septic Eye, and this article is going to make me listen to him extra-carefully… Good morning, Internet…

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