afternoonbuzz

StartPage, NCBI, Ubuntu, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, October 18, 2016

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

StartPage is dumping Yahoo. “StartPage.com, the world’s most private search engine, informed Yahoo today that it will drop Yahoo search results from its metasearch platform Ixquick.eu by the end of the month. CEO Robert Beens predicts that while his company is the first to part ways with Yahoo, others will likely follow.”

The National Center for Biotechnology Information is shifting to https. “To improve security and privacy, and by Federal government mandate, NCBI is moving all of its Web sites and services, including Web APIs, to HTTPS only by September 30, 2016. If you use NCBI only through a Web browser (like Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, etc.), this document is not of interest to you. …
If you maintain software that uses NCBI APIs or accesses NCBI servers through the Web, you should understand and act before the deadline to ensure uninterrupted service.”

The next version of Ubuntu will be called “Zesty Zapus”. Okay, now you’re just making stuff up. “In a blog post titled ‘The mouse that jumped’, Mark Shuttleworth announced the codename of the upcoming Ubuntu 17.04. The new release will be called ‘Zesty Zapus’; for those unfamiliar with zapus, they are jumping mice found in North America.”

Facebook is testing a new “conversation topics” feature for Messenger. And it seems kind of icky. “These conversation starters appear to rely on Messenger’s connection to Facebook’s larger social network, as they reference things your friends have done lately – like where they’ve been, or events they plan to attend, for example.” Eesh.

USEFUL STUFF

In our useful-for-a-given-value-of-useful department: TheNextWeb has a writeup on ChatLike.me, a bot that scrapes your Twitter feed and learns to tweet like you. Sort of. “It looks at your tweets and puts together an alternative Twitter personality, including an endless supply of tweets that kind of sound like you. And with ‘kind of’, I mean they are absolutely hilarious.” I wanted to try it but when I went to the site I got the error message You have exceeded Twitter’s rate limit, which sounds like the usual love from Twitter’s API.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Wow. There’s going to be a drone specifically to stream stuff to WeChat. “The Ying drone will stream video directly to WeChat, the most popular messaging platform in China, which boasts over 800 million active users. The drone’s camera can capture 4K video and will stream at 720p HD quality.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

From Yahoo Finance: Your silly emojis are going to court. “The array of symbols that we increasingly rely on for our messaging and social media are already starting to play a role in court cases. As I learned at a recent meetup of the DC Legal Hackers group (yes, such a thing exists), the odds are pretty good that this post-literate language won’t just be used to illustrate a court ruling but will show up in one soon.”

The government of France probably made millions of people scream “MERDE!” when it accidentally had Wikipedia and Google blocked as terrorist sites. “France instituted the blocking of sites said to be supporting terrorism after the February 2015 attack on satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. The Ministry of the Interior compiles a list of sites to be blocked for which internet providers in the country are compelled to deny access. Orange told customers the block of Google, Wikipedia and OVH.com was due to a human error, and apologised for the service outage that lasted around an hour.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Research from Google: Racial and gender gaps in computer science learning: New Google-Gallup research. “We surveyed 16,000 nationally representative groups of students, parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents in the U.S. Our findings explore the CS learning gap between white students and their Black and Hispanic peers as well as between boys and girls and confirm just how much demographic differences matter. We’re excited to share this data to bring awareness to issues on the ground in order to help expand CS education in meaningful ways.”

The Wall Street Journal: Why Twitter Is Actually a Media Company. “…let’s define Twitter once and for all. Twitter is a media company that happens to be based in San Francisco, and it should be structured, led and valued as such. Twitter is no longer a technology-driven hypergrowth unicorn.” Think about Amazon as a buyer, I’m telling you, using Twitter to backstop Amazon and build social communities that are more open… Good afternoon, Internet…

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Categories: afternoonbuzz

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