British Slaves, Windows 10, HP Printers, More: Monday Buzz, October 3, 2016


Recently (I think) launched: Legacies of British Slave-Ownership. “The Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership has been established at UCL with the generous support of the Hutchins Center at Harvard. The Centre will build on two earlier projects based at UCL tracing the impact of slave-ownership on the formation of modern Britain: the ESRC-funded Legacies of British Slave-ownership project (2009-2012), and the ESRC and AHRC-funded Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833 (2013-2015).”


Ruh-roh. Looks like There might be a problem with a recent Windows 10 update. “This week, Microsoft pushed out another cumulative update and reports of installation problems are widespread. While I don’t know how many users are impacted, based on comments sent to me, it’s certainly widespread enough that this is well beyond an isolated issue. The update that is causing the problem, KB3194496, is not installing correctly for users. The update, when it does fail, is causing some machines to restart, often multiple times, as Windows 10 attempts to remove the failed update. Worse, after a restart, the file will attempt to install again resulting in the loop of failed install, reboot, re-install and failure again.”

HP is rolling back its horrible ink cartridge firmware patch. “HP has backtracked on a software update that blocked some ink cartridges made by third parties. A controversial firmware change made earlier this month meant HP printer owners using unofficial, usually cheaper, cartridges discovered they would no longer work. A campaign calling on HP to reverse the move was launched, backed by rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).”

Pioneer livestreaming company Meerkat pivoted and now has a new product. “Meerkat, which sparked new interest in mobile broadcasting before sputtering amid competition from Facebook and Twitter, has returned with Houseparty. It’s an app for video chatting with friends that the company is calling a ‘synchronous social network’ — a place to be together even when you’re apart.”

Google Apps for Work is now G Suite. “G Suite is the new name for the group of applications that include Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. It’s a group of apps that the company is trying to push on organizations looking to make their employees more productive, with an emphasis on collaboration capabilities.”

Google has launched a new ride-sharing program. San Francisco only, and does not sound like it’s suitable for side gigs. “There are some appreciable differences between Waze Rider and its more established rivals, however. For starters, Google only allows drivers and riders to take two trips per day. Drivers only make $0.54 per mile, so they’re only getting reimbursed for the mileage rather than turning a profit. While both of those features keep the service limited to commuters for now, they also skirt the regulations that Lyft and Uber are now subject to.”


Genealogists, check this out. Rondina Muncy sent me a heads-up about her extensive (27 pages!) free ebook, Automatically Numbering Your Genealogy in Microsoft Word. This is a PDF file, I think, and can be downloaded.

From Make Tech Easier: Export and Retain Formatting from Google Docs. “Are you unable to retain formatting from Google Docs? Google Documents is one of Google’s most popular products and is the springboard from which they launched other Google office applications and Google Drive. Despite this, Docs has a history of being difficult about formatting. Let’s explore the issue a bit.” Three options here. A quick article, but I know Google Docs formatting can be maddening.


Ugh! From STAT News: How researchers lock up their study data with sharing fees. “Chris Ferguson, a psychology researcher at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., wanted to study how prolonged exposure to violent media affects kids and young adults. Not having access to his own long-term data on the subject, he turned to Brigham Young University, in Utah, where another group had recently published a similar study on the subject. The response: Sure, you can share our data — but you’ll have to pay for it. It would cost $450 for the 1.5 hours it would take the institution to prepare the file.”

From Variety: How Google Plans to Take Down Amazon’s Echo. “At its press event in San Francisco next week, Google is expected to not only unveil new flagship phones, but also officially launch Google Home, a Wifi-connected smart speaker that can be best described as Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo — but it’s just a first step in an ambitious plan to battle Amazon for dominance in the home. Google has already started to talk to consumer electronics manufacturers about building other devices that will work just like Google Home, Variety has learned.”

In case you were wondering: What to expect from Google’s October 4 event “So what will be so big that it will be reverberating almost a decade from now? A boatload of new Google hardware, and possibly some new software and services to pull it all together, if the rumors are to be believed. According to published reports, here’s everything Google may show on stage on Tuesday…”


MIT Technology Review: How Los Alamos Is Learning to Track Disease Outbreaks Around the World. “Epidemiologists have found to their cost that it is hard to track a disease if nobody agrees on how to describe its characteristics. Now that looks set to change thanks to the work of Ashlynn Daughton at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and few pals who have come up with a new method for describing disease that is designed to bring this disparate field together and gain international traction. Their new system of classification is called the Anthology of Biosurveillance Diseases, and they have set up an online database to support it.” Good morning, Internet…

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