US Elections, Movietone, Google News, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, September 27, 2016


There’s another social media dashboard for the debates / elections out there. This one’s from MIT. “The Twitter dashboard Electome project at MIT, which charts Twitter in unique detail for journalists, announced its collaboration with the Commission on Presidential Debates. Electome will give journalists covering the debates near real-time feedback about the sentiments of people in the Twitter-sphere. It is a feedback loop for journalists to measure public sentiment to balance the attention given to subjects that sometimes receive copy-cat coverage of a lead story by a major news outlet in which the public has little interest.”


The Associated Press has purchased the Movietone film archive. “Most of the archive has been digitized and is available for licensing, but about 15 percent of the library has never been seen by the public. This footage includes material that failed to make it into news bulletins or was barred by censors during World War II. The Associated Press hopes to digitize and release the material over time.”

Google News now has a “lite” mode. “In the full (normal) mode of Google News, as seen below, we aggregate headlines, images and related content, making it fast and easy for people to find articles they care about. In the new Lite mode things look a little different — we keep the headlines and trim the rest of the components down to their essentials so that the app loads more quickly (and uses less than one-third of the data). When people read an article in Lite mode, they’ll also benefit from Google’s previously announced faster and lighter mobile web pages. By default Lite mode triggers automatically when a slower network is detected (users can also choose to control Lite mode directly).”

Twitter wants to help you register to vote. “Starting today, when a Twitter user sends a Direct Message to the official @Gov account with their five-digit zip code, they’ll receive an automated response with their state’s voter registration deadline and a personalized link to register.”

Google has announced a bevy of products for India. “At the second ‘Google For India’ event in New Delhi, held on the day of its 18 anniversary, the company announced its Public Wi-Fi platform called Google Station, named to highlight its origins at Indian railway stations. It also announced that Google Assistant will be available in Hindi by the end of the year through the new smart messaging app Allo.”


MakeUseOf: Goodbye, Trello! 5 Alternative Free Kanban Board Tools “Trello’s interface can feel off-putting and old-fashioned. And the features are limited. You can get Trello Gold for free for a limited time, which gives you advanced features, but you’ll eventually have to pay for those. Of course, using Trello means that your data is being stored on yet another server. Safety of data aside, it means you have to connect it to other services that you or your team uses, to access your files and images.”

Sensible advise from the WSJ: It’s Time to Cancel Your Forgotten Internet Accounts. “No good comes from leaving details of your identity—alternate email addresses, date of birth and, yes, passwords—floating around the backwaters of the internet. Hackers who find their way into one account, dormant or still in use, can exploit details such as PINs or security-question answers to get into other accounts. That’s right, your old AOL Instant Messenger account could compromise your Facebook account.” The article includes a list of also-ran Internet services, but it needs to be longer.


A social site for teenagers is leaking information about its users, including passwords. In plain text. “Operators of i-Dressup didn’t respond to messages sent by Ars informing them that a hacker has already downloaded more than 2.2 million of the improperly stored account credentials. The hacker said it took him about three weeks to obtain the cache and that there’s nothing stopping him or others from downloading the entire database of slightly more than 5.5 million entries. The hacker said he acquired the e-mail addresses and passwords by using a SQL injection attack that exploited vulnerabilities in the i-Dressup website.” It’s 2016 and storing passwords in plain text is absolutely inexcusable.

Facebook has been ordered to stop collecting information on WhatsApp users in Germany. “The city of Hamburg’s data protection commissioner ordered Facebook on Tuesday to stop collecting and storing data on WhatsApp users in Germany, the first time a privacy watchdog has waded into the debate. The regulator also called on the social network to delete all information already forwarded from WhatsApp on roughly 35 million German users.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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