Edward Snowden, Online Shopping, North Carolina, More: Tuesday Buzz, December 13, 2016

Jack Dorsey of Twitter will be interviewing Edward Snowden today at 12:05pm live on Periscope. More details are here. “According to a Twitter spokesperson the interview will feature questions submitted by the social networks users, and asked by the head honcho himself.”


Researchers at Northeastern have developed a new Chrome extension to help shoppers find price discrimination. “The researchers devel­oped an exten­sion, which offi­cially launched Monday, designed for desktop users searching in Google Chrome, the most-​​used internet browser. Here’s how it works: Down­load the exten­sion and visit one of three sites it sup­ports: Amazon, Google Flights, and Price­line Hotels. Once you do a search, it will then quickly send back and seam­lessly merge into your screen the results showing whether you are receiving a dif­ferent price, higher or lower, than the price the servers are getting.”


North Carolina’s online encyclopedia, NCPedia, has gotten an update. “After several months of planning, design, programming and testing, NCpedia now has a brand new and updated user interface as of this morning. Same great content — no change there — but with an entirely new look and feel and user experience.”

The William Blake Archive at UNC has gotten an update. “The archive integrates, for the first time, all of Blake’s visual and literary work. It comprises almost 7,000 high-resolution digital images of Blake’s illuminated books, paintings, drawings, manuscripts, and engravings drawn from over 45 of the world’s great research libraries and museums.”

Twitter is phasing out ads that requested personal information. “Twitter introduced the lead generation ad format in May 2013 as a way for marketers to get people to sign up for email newsletters, schedule test drives, request a price estimate, solicit coupons or otherwise establish a direct relationship with a business outside of the social platform. Brands like Priceline, New Relic and Full Sail were among the first advertisers to use the format that automatically sent a person’s name, Twitter handle and email address to the brand once that person clicked a button to agree to provide that information.”


Selfishly admitting I’m putting this here so I’ll remember it when I find one of those creepy cymbal-playing monkeys: Raspberry Pi: How to Create a Twitter Hashtag Monitoring Toy! “In this project we are going to create a Toy that reacts to a Hashtag on twitter. The toy monitors twitter, when it sees a certain hashtag used it turns on. I decided to use a monkey toy for this project, however any toy that has its own switch could be used! You could even use my code to turn on other electrical items, lights for example. The possibilities are endless.” Hmm… I do have this old Furby… he got banished from my office after he decided to have a farting fit while I was on a conference call…


Northwestern: Generation Z Turns to Secret Online Accounts in ‘Frustration’ With Social Media. “Finstagram, short for ‘fake Instagram,’ has begun to dominate the social media currents of young smartphone users who value online privacy in a place meant just for friends…. Acting as the opposing counterpart of Rinstagram (or, you guessed it, ‘real Instagram’), Finstagram is a digital realm composed of private accounts within the Instagram app created to free users from the pressures of staged perfection on social media. Instead of strictly adhering to their ‘brand,’ or Internet identity, Finstagram offers users a respite from the modern necessity of social media performance.”

Ya know, I thought with its 10-second clip limit and the way it was being positioned by Snap that the Snapchat Spectacles wouldn’t get much interest for medical and industrial applications (which are still exploring uses for Google Glass.) Boy, was I wrong. “For Dr. Shafi Ahmed, hernia repair surgery is a routine operation. But on Dec. 9 at the London Independent Hospital, something was different. This time, as the British surgeon made an incision in his patient’s abdomen, he was wearing Snapchat’s Spectacles – a pair of sunglasses fitted with a camera that records 10-second clips for later uploading to Snapchat.”

The Guardian: 2016: the year Facebook became the bad guy. “As the year unfurled, Facebook had to deal with a string of controversies and blunders, not limited to: being accused of imperialism in India, censorship of historical photos, and livestreaming footage of human rights violations. Not to mention misreported advertising metrics and the increasingly desperate cloning of rival Snapchat’s core features. Things came to a head in November, when the social network was accused of influencing the US presidential election through politically polarized filter bubbles and a failure to tackle the spread of misinformation. The icing on the already unpalatable cake was Pope Francis last week declaring that fake news is a sin.”

From Gizmodo, with a rousing “no thanks,” from me: How Instagram Convinces Us to Eat Terrible-Tasting Food. “Dragon’s Breath is, in fact, kind of disgusting. When fresh, it tastes kind of like fruit loops, but most of the time Dragon’s Breath is served stale, its taste more reminiscent of cardboard. The appeal comes instead from its aesthetics. Walk by its corner of the mall on any given day and you’ll find it surrounded by throngs of smartphone photographers. It is the food that launched a thousand Instagrams.”

Washington Post: Add social-media expectations to the list of things you tell a new babysitter. “When my regular babysitter went on vacation, she suggested I hire her younger, 15-year-old sister, who had previously worked for me as a mother’s helper. The morning after our new sitter watched our 7-year-old daughter, I heard how it went. ‘We had fun, Mom,’ our little girl said. ‘And right before I went to sleep, I talked to a nice, brown-haired boy.'” This article is a wee bit too anxious for my taste, but it’s an excellent overview of generational differences with regard to social media.


Modern Diplomacy: A Call To Develop Alternative Social Media and Search Engine Platform Competitors (That Aren’t Evil). “It appears that the major search engine and social media platforms have either succumbed to (or are in the process of succumbing) to the awesome monetary and political power of the Deep State Plutocrat/Oligarch Elite, in that they are either on their own, or under the pressure of others, engaging in a massive, wholesale, frontal attack on freedom of speech, censorship of views/opinions that they don’t like, terminating accounts of those that the Deep State deem to be antithetical to their interests, and overall, undermining democracy, freedom of speech and expression, competition, and undercutting legitimate debate and discourse.” Good morning, Internet…

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