afternoonbuzz

Ukraine, Nigeria, Google: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, April 12, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Ukraine is working to put Soviet KGB materials online. “While the Czech Republic is about to publish an internet database of 300 thousand scanned communist-era security service documents, Ukraine is undergoing a revision of its KGB archives in order to create, like the Czech Republic, a single open-access archive – The National Memory Archive.”

Lagos, in Nigeria, has created a new Web site for publishing its laws. “The Lagos State Government says all the laws in operation in the state are now available on the Internet and can be accessed by lawyers, investors and members of the general public.” If you want to visit the site, take the www off the URL in the article, otherwise you’ll get an error.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Google wants you let you control your phone by voice. “Google has always loved its voice commands, but they’re no substitute for a touchscreen. Until now, anyway. Voice Access is a new accessibility option that allows users to control their phone entirely with their voice.”

This could be handy: Facebook Messenger is integrating with Dropbox. “Fans of Facebook Messenger and Dropbox will soon be able to connect the two services by being able to put files from your Dropbox account directly into conversations.”

A couple of Google Engineers have created an API for direct USB->Web access. “The API isn’t meant for USB flash drives, but other peripherals like keyboards or various Internet of Things … gadgets. The process isn’t meant for some sort of advanced file transfer, either; it’s to safely connect hardware to the Web without the need for a dedicated platform.”

USEFUL STUFF

Hey! How to get your nonprofit started on Snapchat.

On Bustle, Mehak Anwar walks through all the Instagram editing tools. (Not the filters, the actual editing tools.) Nice before/after GIFs so you can see the impact on images.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Back in February I mentioned a search engine called Kiddle and expressed some concerns about its origin, which despite initial news reports was absolutely NOT Google (it apparently used or uses Google’s Custom Search Engine feature, but is not part of Google.) Then later people began to realize that hey, Kiddle has some issues. As the Register notes, it’s even worse than that. “Because behind the cuddly front end and the claims that key search results were handpicked by editors lay a rather more awkward reality: that Kiddle also allowed access to a service that allows users to search the internet anonymously – and in the process, it certainly circumvented the Google safe search standard, much touted as the reason why Kiddle was safe for children in the first place.” I have never seen a full-text search engine for children that was safe unless each URL was individually reviewed and whitelisted.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

A new study finds that people are way too casual about plugging in USB drives they just randomly find. “Researchers from Google, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Michigan, spread 297 USB drives around the Urbana-Champaign campus. They found that 48 percent of the drives were picked up and plugged into a computer, some within minutes of being dropped.” Hey, I’d plug one in too — on a machine I’d booted from a LiveCD. Good afternoon, Internet…

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