Chicago, Crop Cultivation, Indonesia, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, March 3, 2016


The city of Chicago is about to make its OpenGrid software very easy to use. “Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology released ‘OpenGrid’ in January to provide citizens with an open source, cloud-based tool to look up city data tailored by location, such as street closures or building permits for specific neighborhoods. Though the code for the tool is already available online, the city is nearly ready to post it to the Amazon Web Services Marketplace so that any other government using Amazon servers can instantly adopt the software.”

Researchers in Australia have created a database to track proteins in certain plant types. “The database catalogues information on the location of vital proteins in barley, wheat, rice and maize. Plant proteins are important in breeding new crop varieties because they dictate whether the crops can cope with things like drought, rising temperatures and saline soils.”

Indonesia has a new digital portal. “Dubbed Indonesia One Search, the portal currently provides up to 4.1 million records from 218 institutions, which include governments and universities.”

CNET has a writeup on a business search engine called Plonked. And the poor guy who wrote the article is having a terrible time getting past the name. “Plonked therefore wants to give searchers whose interest might be mergers and acquisitions, employment, or lead generation a much fuller picture of the interconnections between entities. It’s like your average Polish wedding — disclosure: I’m Polish — when you look around and realize you have 143 cousins. (By the end of the evening, a couple are often removed.)”


Fun Instagram tools: turn your most-liked pictures into a video. “30dayspics is a new site that takes up to 30 of your top — i.e. most ‘liked’ — Instagram photos of the last month and turns them into a seamless video for you to share or just watch yourself and relive all those forgotten brunch shots.”

Apple has launched a new official Twitter support account. “Apple today created an official Twitter support account to provide customers with tips, tricks, and customer service regarding the company’s product and services. One of the account’s first tweets shares step-by-step instructions on how to turn lists into checklists in the stock Notes app on iPhone.”


The US Government has launched its first “bug bounty” program. Sort of. “Not just anyone can hack into the network and call it research, however. Participants will have to register and submit to a background check before looking for bugs. Once they’re vetted, researchers will be given a predetermined department system and a set amount of time to access it. The program will launch in April and is part of the government’s massive cybersecurity plan announced last month.”

The UK will be taking a tougher stance on people who fake profiles on social media. “Offenders who set up fake online accounts to take revenge on other people are to face tougher action under new measures set out by prosecutors. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said people who create phoney profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter could face charges including harassment.” I hope the ones who do it to scam other people get a hiding, too.

Parent in France? Posting pictures of your kids? You could face claims of privacy infringement. “In an effort to protect children from sexual predators and other online dangers, France’s National Gendarmerie, or national police force, is urging parents to be more careful when posting pictures of their kids on Facebook and sharing them with the general public. And, under the country’s privacy laws, experts say parents could end up facing jail time, a hefty fine, or even being sued by their children in the future, if they are convicted of violating the laws.”

A pro-ISIS group promised to hack Google. But they got the wrong site. “Cyber Caliphate Army (CCA), a hacking group affiliated to ISIS, hit – registered by Gandani K for Indian tech firm Always Say, which offers search engine optimisation (SEO) services to local clients.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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