Pebble, IFTTT, Wikipedia, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, December 12, 2016

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

You might have heard that wearables maker Fitbit has purchased one of the “smart watch” pioneers, Pebble. And the Pebble platform is shutting down. Now apparently some intrepid soul is working on an archive of Pebble firmware. The link is to a Reddit post on
/Pebble.

IFTTT now supports Telegram. From the announcement: “Telegram’s only been around since 2013, but the messaging app has made quite an impact. In those three short years it’s reached 100M monthly active users and it shows no signs of slowing down. We’re excited to announce that, as part of that momentum, we’ve partnered with them to add Telegram to IFTTT.”

USEFUL STUFF

Did you know you could download Wikipedia for offline reading? “There are any number of possible reasons where you might want your own personal copy of Wikipedia on your computer. Maybe you want to let your kids do research without letting them on the Internet. Maybe you just like the challenge and want to say you did it. Whatever the reason, you can do it—and best of all, there’s an app that makes it easy and takes the work out of the process.” Apparently the text-only version is about 50GB, which is smaller than I would have expected.

GameRant: How to Stream Gameplay to Facebook Live. “As it stands right now, Facebook Live streaming is very basic, and is likely not meant for gameplay streaming, but it is still possible to do so. And without fail, every time Game Rant goes live with a stream there are plenty of people who are interested in discovering how to do it themselves. Unlike streaming to Twitch or YouTube, streaming to Facebook is not as simple as hitting a button on your PS4 or Xbox One…at least not yet.”

One of those “for a given value of useful”. From Gizmodo: Microsoft Bot Makes Your Worst Pop Culture Nightmares Come True. “Crossovers are a mainstay of pop culture, but they rarely address the deepest questions posed by their fictional universes. ‘What if Guy Fieri was Han Solo?’ you might ask. ‘What if the Joker had a beard?’ Thanks to a criminally deranged Skype bot named Murphy, you needn’t wonder any longer.” I dunno, I thought the Ben Affleck Wolverine was pretty good…

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Twitch is livestreaming an esports event from the White House today. “Twitch announced that they will be hosting a gaming event live from the White House on December 12th. The ‘White House Competitive Gaming Event’ is meant to raise awareness about health insurance. The event will last from from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST.”

Backchannel: Police Reform Can Start On Twitter. “From July 2015 through August 2016, I interviewed dozens of NYPD leaders and employees, many anonymously, in an attempt to fully document the department’s adoption of Twitter and other online platforms. (The full case study was published by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.) This adoption was a transformative move for the department and an attempt to balance crime prevention and community outreach — an effort, as [NYPD Commissioner Bill] Bratton said, to shift the police mindset from ‘warrior’ to guardian.”

New York Times: Google Effect Rubs Off on Schools in One Rural Oklahoma Town. “As increasing focus is being paid to the wealth and jobs created by tech companies outside Silicon Valley, Google’s arrival in small-town Pryor serves as a complex example of what happens when a modern internet company builds one of its data centers in a community. While they do bring in some work, these mostly automated facilities will never provide the thousands of good-paying blue-collar jobs that come with a new auto plant. What they do bring, however, is some stability to local tax revenues, and — at least in the case of Google — a cash-rich megacompany looking to make nice with the locals.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

From EFF: The 12 Days of 2FA: How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication For Your Online Accounts. “… this holiday season, EFF’s 12 Days of 2FA is here to help you navigate the world of two-factor authentication. In a series of 12 posts, we’ll show you how to enable 2FA on a range of online platforms and services. Enabling 2FA is not the only or even the top security precaution users should take. It is, however, an accessible way to add another layer of security to online accounts without having to do a lot of technical, extra work.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Daily Dot: The Facebook patent that could stop fake news. “After the criticism that followed the presidential election, Facebook has publicly stated that it is looking for solutions that tackle fake news. It looks like the social media platform had filed a patent for exactly this type of technology in 2015. Patent 0350675 describes a technological ‘systems and methods to identify objectionable content.’ Primarily, it’s aimed at detecting and eliminating porn, trolling, and hate speech—although the same kind of tool could be utilized to take down fake news stories. The patent document, published on Thursday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, uses flow diagrams and early design concepts to describe how the technology might work.” Good morning, Internet…

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