National Park Service, Google, LibreOffice, More: Thursday Buzz, February 11, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The National Park Service and Google are … teaming up for something, according to this announcement advisory, but not too many details yet. (The announcement is today.) “On Thursday, February 11, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will host an event at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama to announce a public-private partnership between the National Park Service and Google to share the diverse history and culture of America with a global audience. Google’s Senior Counsel on Civil and Human Rights Malika Saada Sar will join Secretary Jewell for the announcement.” So some kind of expansion of the Google Cultural Institute?

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Google is phasing out its Google Search Appliance product. If you’re not interested in enterprise search you probably never heard of this. “The tech giant told its reseller and consulting partners the news via email on Thursday [last Thursday], noting that they can continue to sell one-year license renewals for existing hardware customers through 2017, but that they will be unable to sell new hardware. Renewals will end in 2018, according to a copy of the email viewed by Fortune.”

Open source office suite LibreOffice has just had its 5.1 release. “On tap are reorganized menus, integrated support for remote servers like Microsoft SharePoint and Google Drive, improved compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, and too many smaller improvements to count.” I love LibreOffice. I have to use Gnumeric for my spreadsheet stuff because I make goony-huge spreadsheets, but it’s great for everything else.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The University of Virginia has put out an update about its APTrust digital preservation initiative. “APTrust – more formally, the Academic Preservation Trust – is a massive, UVA-led initiative meant to remove that threat [of technological obsolescence.]…To date, APTrust has already preserved more than 16 terabytes of data from all its partner institutions. Due to its rapidly growing storage-space demands, the group currently uses Amazon Web Services to store and safeguard all of its contents. Every piece of data is protected through multiple levels of redundancy. Once a new file is properly packaged and labeled at depositing institutions such as UVA, it’s saved at two separate Amazon data centers, one in Virginia and one in Oregon. Inside each center, a copy of the data is stored inside three separate ‘availability zones.’ These zones have independent power supplies, environmental controls and network connections, so if one is disrupted, the others will remain unharmed.”

Wired did a roundup on how much Twitter’s executives actually use the service. Some great, some — um, not.

Rumors are flying: is Verizon going to buy Yahoo? “Verizon Communications Inc. has given Tim Armstrong, chief executive officer of its AOL unit, a leading role in exploring a possible bid for Yahoo! Inc. assets, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”

The US government has decided that, in the case of some of Google’s auto autos, computers equal drivers. “In a significant precedent for Google and other companies developing autonomous car technology, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ruled that the software behind some automated cars should be considered the driver.”

More US government: it teamed up with Facebook to do a voter registration drive. Now it has published a blog post with preliminary results. The one comment on the post asks a good question: is the government paying for this partnership or is this a goodwill thing?

Interesting. Viacom is going to sell ads for Snapchat. “Under the deal, Viacom will have exclusive third-party rights to directly sell advertising surrounding Snapchat’s owned and operated content. That includes pop-up ‘Live Stories’ that cull together posts from users in specific geographic locations or during a holiday.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

The IRS has been hacked again. This time e-filing PINs were stolen. “Based on our review, we identified unauthorized attempts involving approximately 464,000 unique SSNs, of which 101,000 SSNs were used to successfully access an E-file PIN.”

After a push by EU governments, Google will start more scrubbing of search results in EU countries. “That means that if a German resident asks Google to de-list a link popping up under searches for his or her name, the link will not be visible on any version of Google’s website, including Google.com, when the search engine is accessed from Germany.”

Facebook is paying out less in bug bounties – and it’s receiving fewer bug submissions as well. “One figure that did remain fairly constant over the past year was the average payout, which was $1,780 in 2015 and $1,788 in 2014 — though that’s also down from the $2,204 average per reward in 2013. Researchers in India were again the top recipients of payouts this year, while participants from Egypt, Trinidad, and Tobago pipped last year’s runners-up, the UK and US.” Good morning, Internet…

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