California Images, Georgia Newspapers, FCC, More: Wednesday Buzz, April 6, 2016


Planet Labs is giving away satellite imagery of California for free. “A new project called Open California will publish new imagery of the entire state of California every two weeks under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA).”


The Digital Library of Georgia is expanding its historic newspapers collection again. “The West Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive now provides access to thirteen newspaper titles published in seven west Georgia cities (Butler, Carrollton, Dallas, Douglasville, Fayetteville, LaGrange, Newnan) from 1843 to 1942. Consisting of over 67,000 newspaper pages, the archive provides historical images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date.”

The FCC is launching “nutrition labels” for broadband. Okay, they’re not really nutrition labels to tell you if a certain product will give you your daily dose of vitamin i. But the layout is similar, as is the no-nonsense information: “The Federal Communications Commission today unveiled new broadband labels modeled after the nutrition labels commonly seen on food products. Home Internet service providers and mobile carriers are being urged to use the labels to give consumers details such as prices (including hidden fees tacked onto the base price), data caps, overage charges, speed, latency, packet loss, and so on.”

Google is now providing basic healthcare information in India. “The company, which operates India’s two most visited websites according to Alexa, will now serve users of Google’s main search engine (on all platforms) and its search apps for iOS and Android with data on over 400 health conditions in English and Hindi when they search for an illness or symptom.”


From MakeUseOf: 25 Weird & Wonderful Slack Integrations You Need To Try. “I am also a fan now because quite frankly I hate my email inbox. Slack claims to be an email killer, and so far it has managed to help me reduce my dependence on email quite a bit. I can keep track of clients and colleagues, and at the same time not be caught up with other email that will distract me for hours on end. Like those fantastic Viagra deals from Canada (not for me you understand, for a friend).” You know an article is good when you desperately want to dive into Slack for two hours. Must… resist….


UK’s transparency rules are taking aim at Google and other tech companies. “The United Kingdom’s tax authority will soon start requiring big companies to start publishing their tax strategies online for public scrutiny. The new rules would affect big international firms with local entities, like Google, which has been in the spotlight for generating billions in revenue from UK customers but paying just tens of millions in taxes.”

Speaking of governments giving Google side-eye, looks like not everyone is happy that the FTC closed its antitrust investigation on Google. “Google search results became a hot topic during a Senate antitrust hearing Tuesday afternoon, as Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) pressed witnesses to say the Federal Trade Commission should reopen an investigation into the tech giant.”


WordPress is pushing back against stupid DMCA claims. “Automattic does its best to comply with the DMCA but the company believes that more should be done to prevent this type of behavior in the future. The current regulations are not sufficient to deter the fraudulent and abusive, the company argues. Among other changes, the company suggests the addition of statutory damages for DMCA takedown abuse, so the worst offenders can be punished appropriately.” It’s not going to happen, but it’s not a bad idea.

Apple’s iOS 9.3 had some pretty bad bugs. Turns out 9.3.1 isn’t that great either. “JUST DAYS AFTER releasing iOS 9.3.1 to fix the link-crashing glitch plaguing iPhones and iPads, a bug has been spotted in the update that allows anyone to access photos and contacts on a locked device.”

Were you using the Better History Chrome extension? Google has taken it out of the Chrome Web store after it was sold and started behaving badly. “Google has intervened and banned the Better History Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store after users reported that it started taking over their browsing experience and redirecting them to pages showing ads.”

The WhatsApp messaging app has gone fully-encrypted. “Known as ‘end-to-end encryption,’ it will be applied to photos, videos and group text messages sent among people in more than 50 languages across the world, including India, Brazil and Europe. Previously, only one-to-one text messages were fully encrypted.”


I think we can file this under “not surprising”: an official word can stop viral rumors on social media. “…when faced with the new realities of online life, many organizations falter when it comes to addressing the problems cultivated through social media outlets. Ignoring the problem won’t get you anywhere, according to a new study by the University of Washington’s Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation (emCOMP) Laboratory, which found that a simple statement from an official can turn the tides on rumors gone viral.” Good morning, Internet…

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