Grants, Facebook, Google, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, June 3, 2016

TWEAKS AND UPDATES will introduce Grant Forecasts. “On June 18-20, will launch Release 15.2. The biggest addition coming to the system with this release is the grant forecast. The grant forecast is a projection by the grant-making agency of a funding opportunity that is likely to come later in the year.”

Looks like Facebook is going to make Safety Check a bit more personal. “Starting this week, Facebook is testing a Safety Check invite tool that allows people in affected areas to ask friends and family members to check in and mark themselves as ‘safe.’ Before now, Facebook relied heavily on a team of on-call engineers to parse through real-time data about national disasters and incidents such as terrorist attacks coming in from third-party partners. Ultimately, these staffers would serve up manual Safety Check prompts encouraging people to use the feature. But the method was flawed; with hundreds of global issues happening in a short period of time, it was difficult for the tool to reach its full potential by relying solely on employees monitoring everything from afar.”

Google is apparently testing a feature that would allow it to give advice on which applications to remove to free up space on your phone.. “When a user tries to download an app they don’t have enough space for, a new screen will pop up suggesting apps they could uninstall to free up space. It also links to ‘Settings > Storage’ where you can delete unneeded media files. Unfortunately, it doesn’t suggest uploading files to the cloud – like via Google Drive or Google Photos, for example – as a means of freeing up space.” I like the idea but oh boy could this be abused.

Nice! Google is building Chromecast support into its Google Fiber boxes. “Once it’s up and running, Google Cast will work much like it does with a Chromecast dongle. Open a Chromecast-compatible app on your phone or tablet, tap the Cast button, and the content will resume on your big screen. Unfortunately, not all Cast-compatible apps will work at launch. Key apps that do not yet support Casting to a Fiber box include Hulu, WatchESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Watch ABC, Spotify, and HBO Now. HBO Go, however, will work.”


MakeUseOf: How to Create a Portable Windows To Go USB Drive. “Windows To Go is a version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise designed to run on a portable device such as a USB flash drive or external drive. You can install applications, and work with files stored on the drive, but you’ll have to sync any apps you may have purchased from the Windows Store manually.” I tried to set up something like this around 2007, but never managed it.


LA Times: Where Yahoo’s entertainment media play went wrong. “Yahoo’s comparably small expenditure differs from the strategy embraced by the companies that dominate streaming entertainment. But those familiar with the Sunnyvale, Calif., firm say it illustrates a recurring stumbling block. The firm has long struggled with its identity, flip-flopping between its roots as a technology company and its ambitions of becoming a media giant.”

On June 13, an Instagram campaign designed to spotlight charities will begin. “The initiative, tagged #CharitySpotlightFortnight, encourages charities to log in to their Instagram accounts and post a photo each day that’s related to the daily topic. Topics will be announced by BluebirdPR, the initiators of the scheme, and will include what motivates the charity, the support of volunteers and the work of fundraisers.”


Oh dear, this proposal from the US Copyright Office does not sound good. “We were very concerned to hear that the Copyright Office is strongly considering recommending changing the DMCA to mandate a ‘Notice and Staydown’ regime. This is the language that the Copyright Office uses to talk about censoring the web. The idea is that once a platform gets a notice regarding a specific copyrighted work, like a specific picture, song, book, or film, that platform would then be responsible for making sure that the work never appears on the platform ever again. Other users would have to be prevented, using filtering technology, from ever posting that specific content ever again. It would have to ‘Stay Down.'” Now of course I’m not in favor of violating intellectual property, but I can give you a thousand examples of the DMCA being horribly abused. This is only going to make it worse.


Perspective: The best way to beat ad blockers? Let them win. I have a severe, severe problem with one of these points from the business side, but it’s an interesting, thoughtful take. “That’s right. They are victorious. Shelve those lawsuits. It’s the only decision that makes sense, really. And if you’re expecting misdirection or a Swiftian modest proposal here, you will not find it. Ad blockers were engineered to solve what many perceived as a problem — lack of value in display ads relative to their nuisance and risk. And to be honest, digital publishers have only themselves to blame.”

Harvard Business Review: Why do so few women edit Wikipedia? “Two professors, Julia Bear of Stony Brook University’s College of Business and Benjamin Collier of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, decided to explore the issue from the perspective of women who had been behind the scenes. They analyzed a subset of the original 2008 survey data to see whether the experience of editing articles differs for women and men, and whether this influences how much they edit. They found clear differences. Women reported feeling less confident about their expertise, less comfortable with editing others’ work (a process which often involves conflict), and reacting more negatively to critical feedback than men. The results were published in the journal Sex Roles in January.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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