morningbuzz

Wisconsin Crime, Birds, Yahoo Mail, More: Friday Buzz, April 15, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has started a new Web site with crime stats from over 380 police departments. With one odd omission. “For now, one common window into police activities missing from the website is arrests by race. It’s impossible to see whether demographic arrest patterns vary across the state or for certain types of crimes, such as drug possession.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

The Internet Bird Collection (IBC) Web site is getting an update. “The Internet Bird Collection (IBC) is an important sister-project to HBW Alive and most of our HBW Alive subscribers probably already know it well. For the few who haven’t fully discovered it yet, it is the most globally comprehensive website of audiovisual recordings of the birds of the world.”

Yahoo’s mail app has added some more file support. “Now that you can manage multiple mailboxes from the Yahoo Mail app, we want to empower you to send compelling and creative emails from any of your email addresses. Thanks to new access to files from Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as GIFs from Tumblr, you can quickly send your spring break photos, that important presentation, or that GIF that so perfectly describes your excitement.” This feels about four years too late.

USEFUL STUFF

Lifehacker’s got a walkthrough of the new Vivaldi browser.

Want to sort-of try out Windows 10 without actually, like, installing it? here ya go. “First things first, the site uses the term ’emulator,’ but the demonstration is definitely not that. Instead, Microsoft’s portal uses a faux laptop and recorded demonstrations that show you around the Windows environment.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Looks like EU antitrust charges against Google might be on the horizon. “One person close to the commission said it was likely that Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, could publicly deliver a statement of objections — or formal charge sheet — as early as Wednesday next week, although the process could still take slightly longer.”

TechCrunch is not impressed with Facebook’s new chatbots. “Trying to use the bots for simple tasks — like finding out if it would rain or buying a black shirt — was frustrating, disappointing and ultimately far less efficient than simply visiting the company’s website itself.”

When it comes to its pending sale, Yahoo seems to be offering a lot of information, but not a lot of context. “A 90-slide presentation shown to potential Yahoo bidders is dense with figures, but even people familiar with the company’s operations have struggled to make sense of them. At the same time, Yahoo devoted just a couple of slides to important strategies, like its costly Hail Mary project to create an entirely new mobile search experience to leapfrog competitors like Google, Apple and Amazon.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Oh, yuck: it looks like shortened URL services could be a serious privacy risk. “FOR ANYONE WITH minimalist tastes or an inability to use copy-paste keyboard shortcuts, URL shorteners may seem like a perfectly helpful convenience. Unfortunately, the same tools that turn long web addresses into a few characters also offer the same conveniences to hackers—including any of them motivated enough to try millions of shortened URLs until they hit on the one you thought was private.”

The US government is recommended that users uninstall QuickTime after being alerted to a couple of security vulnerabilities. “Note that this only seems to apply to the Windows version of the app as the Mac version of QuickTime does not feature the same flaws, presumably because it is still being updated until today.” It appears that Apple will not be patching the security flaws, which is why uninstall is recommended.

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Computer scientists at Stanford have designed a tool to help create Wikipedia articles in a wider variety of languages. “…computer scientists at Stanford and the Wikimedia Foundation have created a recommendation tool that identifies the most important articles not yet available in a given language. Editors can use these recommendations and, if they are multilingual, find an article in a second language familiar to them and get other help in order to translate the article for local Wikipedia readers.”

I know you’ve heard about the Google “Deep Dream” AI which makes images and videos positively psychedelic – but can you imagine an AI that takes an existing image and expands it? “A British startup is using the unique abilities of convolutional neural networks to do a sort of scaled-up version of Adobe’s content-aware fill — but instead of filling in the gaps in a picture, it’s imagining a whole new picture, larger and more detailed than the original. Kind of hard to believe without seeing it, right? That’s why they call their company Magic Pony.” Good morning, Internet…

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