I am a big fan of language preservation, which is why I was so happy to read this article on a new site that will publish news in Lakota. There are only a couple thousand Lakota speakers left. “Other media outlets provide news of interest to the community, but in English. Woihanble.com’s local news content comes from two area weeklies that mostly focus on Native American issues. The site has an agreement with those weeklies to translate stories into Lakota, with links back to the original articles. And in recognition that many people who speak the language well do not read it easily, news stories include audio clips in Lakota.” I went to the site to hear an audio clip. If you go to http://www.woihanble.com/#!pipeline/f2l81 it seems like the audio clip might be the whole story… I didn’t listen to it all the way through, but I listened to half of it.
SWSX is wrapping up, but you can grab a bunch of music by torrent. “All the tracks released for the previous editions are also still available for those people who want to fill up their harddrives without having to invest thousands of dollars. The 2005 – 2016 archives now total more than 69 gigabytes.”
TWEAKS & UPDATES
Facebook is making it easier to add a frame to your profile picture. “The new picker lets you choose your photo, then provides a drop-down of all possible frames across the service for the first time.” It looks like most of them are sports, but they’re not complete even then. I don’t see a Chicago Cubs frame.
Facebook is going to get a Messenger Bot store? This could get really interesting. “In January, TechCrunch first reported rumors of Facebook’s secret Chat SDK for building Messenger bots. If and when Facebook announces a Bot Store, it will mark the ‘end of the beginning’ of a new era: messaging as a platform. Conversational user interfaces are about to change the way billions of users interact with the world around them.”
Looks like Microsoft wants Chrome extensions to work with its Edge browser. “According to [Microsoft’s Jacob] Rossi, ‘Lots of questions on this: yes we’re working on a porting tool to run Chrome extensions in Edge. Not yet finished and not all APIs supported.’ This is no doubt good news and something that we guess developers will be able to take advantage of. Granted creating a native extension for Edge would be ideal, but in the meantime developers trying to spread their extension can get it out first.”
A new tool is designed to make Amazon’s Echo very customizable. “Alexa, the voice-activated service that’s part of Amazon’s Echo interactive speaker, can order products, play music and wake you up in the morning. But can Alexa be taught to talk and control a wider range of smart devices with custom commands? A new tool from Unified Computer Intelligence makes that possible. The tool can also train Alexa to automate home tasks via custom voice commands.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Do Facebook and Twitter want to stream live TV? (It actually makes a fair amount of sense.) “Both companies, eager to ramp up their capacity to deliver compelling live streaming video, have approached programmers about a deal for such rights, several sources familiar with the situation said.”
If you’ve been around the Internet scene for a long time you probably remember the Opera browser. (It was my browser of choice for some years back in the early 00s until increasing Web compatibility issues pushed me to Firefox.) VentureBeat takes a look at Opera and why the company’s sale may not be a complete slam dunk.
Think you’re going to set self-driving cars zipping all over your neighborhood in a few years? Not so much. “Not only might it take much longer to arrive than the company has ever indicated—as long as 30 years, said [Chris] Urmson—but the early commercial versions might well be limited to certain geographies and weather conditions. Self-driving cars are much easier to engineer for sunny weather and wide-open roads, and Urmson suggested the cars might be sold for those markets first.”
Malaysian blog/news site/good read CILISOS rounds up the stories of Malaysians who have been booted off Facebook for various name-related reasons. Sorry, Fu Ken Ho, your name sounds suggestive in English so you’re out. (Facebook booted him even after he provided a number of identity documents, but later he was reinstated.) UiHua tried to report fake UiHua accounts and ended up getting suspended himself. The story also reports a user who had a very CogDog-ish experience.
RESEARCH AND OPINION
TechCrunch has a scary story about a video system that can make very convincing edits. “The short version: take a YouTube video of someone speaking like, say, George W. Bush. Use a standard RGB webcam to capture a video of someone else emoting and saying something entirely different. Throw both videos into the Face2Face system and, bam, you’ve now got a relatively believable video of George W. Bush’s face — now almost entirely synthesized — doing whatever the actor in the second video wanted the target’s face to do. It even tries to work out what the interior of their mouth should look like as they’re speaking.” Good morning, Internet…
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