Punk Magazine, GeoCities GIFs, Vine, More: Friday Buzz, October 28, 2016


The full run of New York City punk magazine Dry has been digitized and put online. It ran for 14 issues, from 1979-1982. “I wouldn’t call Dry a definitive chronicle of NYC punk between 1979 and 1982 by any stretch, but these issues are still a priceless addition to the historical record and certainly worth a gander by anyone with an interest in this specific era of alternative music, particularly things that happened in New York.”

The Internet Archive, in a brilliant, silly move, has created an archive of animated GIFs from GeoCities. From the About page: “Geocities was an early web hosting service, started in 1994 and acquired by Yahoo in 1999, with which users could create their own custom websites. The platform hosted over 38 million user-built pages and was at one time the third most visited site on the web. In 2009, Yahoo announced it was closing down the service, at which point the Internet Archive attempted to archive as much of the content as possible…. Mining this collection, we extracted over 4,500,000 animated GIFs (1,600,000 unique images) and then used the filenames and directory path text to build a best-effort ‘full text’ search engine.” Search for “Under Construction”. OH THE NOSTALGIA!


Twitter’s video app Vine is – well, not shutting down, more grinding to a halt. “Since 2013, millions of people have turned to Vine to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold. Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app. Nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today. We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way.”

IBM (Watson) and Slack are teaming up. “IBM is teaming up with Slack Technologies Inc. to make it easier for companies to build custom chatbots into the startup’s workplace-messaging systems, the latest move by Big Blue to add more diverse business cases for its Watson artificial-intelligence technology. The two companies will release a developer toolkit that includes Watson technologies and can integrate easily into Slack, they said in a statement Wednesday.”

In a move that should surprise approximately zero people, Twitter is making job cuts. “As part its strategy to reach profitability in 2017, Twitter announced it will layoff 9 percent of its workforce, or about 350 employees, as part of its third-quarter earnings report Wednesday. Twitter flew higher than expected for its quarterly earnings, beating expectations on user growth and revenue. But the struggling microblogging site, which has yet to ever turn a profit, is introducing a plan to cut costs and further focus the business.” Maybe Jack Dorsey should cut his Square job and focus on Twitter…


From ProtonMail: Search Risk – How Google Almost Killed ProtonMail. “In the past two months, many of you have reached out to us to ask about the mysterious tweets we sent to Google in August. At ProtonMail, transparency is a core value, and we try to be as transparent with our community as possible. As many people have continued to point out to us, we need to be more transparent here to avoid continued confusion and speculation. Thus, we are telling the full story today to clarify what happened…. The short summary is that for nearly a year, Google was hiding ProtonMail from search results for queries such as ‘secure email’ and ‘encrypted email’. This was highly suspicious because ProtonMail has long been the world’s largest encrypted email provider.” Thoughtfully written, well documented, and very disturbing.

The Sunlight Foundation has a roundup of projects underway to help make police complaint data more transparent. “Access to civilian complaints about police behavior make it possible for the public to help hold problematic individuals accountable, leading to a better quality of policing and improvements in police-community relations. While we’re starting from a low point in public access to this information, several current projects give hope that this situation is in the process of changing.”


The FCC has approved new rules to protect consumer privacy. “The rules, passed Thursday in a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission, require Internet providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, to obtain their customers’ explicit consent before using or sharing that behavioral data with third parties, such as marketing firms. Also covered by that requirement are health data, financial information, Social Security numbers and the content of emails and other digital messages.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling out Facebook and Google to reveal their algorithms. “Merkel, who had previously blamed the social media for anti-immigrant sentiment, said: ‘The algorithms must be made public, so that one can inform oneself as an interested citizen on questions like, “what influences my behaviour on the internet and that of others?”.'”

Indonesia is hoping to reach an agreement with Google over taxation. “Senior executives from the Asia-Pacific headquarters of Google met Indonesian tax officials on Wednesday to negotiate the internet search company’s tax bill as the government plans to pursue Google for five years of back taxes.”


A new technique hopes to detect malicious Web sites as early as when the domains are registered. “Malicious websites promoting scams, distributing malware and collecting phished credentials pervade the web. As quickly as we block or blacklist them, criminals set up new domain names to support their activities. Now a research team including Princeton University computer science professor Nick Feamster and recently graduated Ph.D. student Shuang Hao has developed a technique to make it more difficult to register new domains for nefarious purposes.

Research: Twitter Can Predict The Presidential Election. “As the countdown to the presidential election continues, physicists at The City College of New York believe new analytic tools produce a more accurate method of predicting election trends with Twitter. Hernan Maske, Alexandre Bovet, and Flaviano Morone analyzed 73 million tweets collected from June 1 to September 1, 2016 to infer the opinions of Twitter users regarding the presidential candidates.” Good morning, Internet…

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