African-American Business, Canada Murals, Sunlight Foundation, More: Wednesday Buzz, December 21, 2016


The Black Lives Matter movement has teamed up with J. Walter Thompson to create a national directory of African-American owned businesses. It’s in beta at the moment with over 300 businesses listed – terribly low, as a directory of African-American restaurants just in Chicago had over 125 listings when I mentioned it in August. Hopefully the list will expand.

A new site is devoted to murals and muralists in Canada. “The site includes a continually growing mural map of Canada, a directory of member artists and educational resources. The project was funded by an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant made in late 2015.”


It is great to hear that the Sunlight Foundation will keep on keeping on. “Today, we announce that Sunlight will continue its role as a nonpartisan advocate for open government under the leadership of Executive Director John Wonderlich. John has been a strong steward of the organization’s principles and mission during this period of transition, and over the last decade. Alex Howard will be the new Deputy Director, helping to lead Sunlight into the next stage of its evolution.”

This pretty much sums up 2016: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is “surreal”. “Surreal—an adjective meaning ‘marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream; unbelievable’ — beat out words like revenant, feckless and bigly.”

Twitter is keeping Vine alive — sorta. “The Vine app will be renamed to ‘Vine Camera’ and only shoot 6-second looping videos, Twitter said in a Friday blog post. The social feed component of Vine will die and Twitter will create ‘a way to make it easy for your Vine followers to follow you on Twitter.'”


PC World: How to record audio with OneNote to supercharge your note-taking. “We’re big fans of OneNote around here, but there’s one killer feature that often gets overlooked in coverage of the note-taking program: recorded audio. The ability to record audio (or video, hardware permitting) sounds pedestrian. Your PC, smartphone, or tablet could easily do that with any number of apps. But recording audio with OneNote on Windows has a special advantage.”


A consortium of research libraries in Germany is boycotting Elsevier journals. “Germany’s DEAL project, which includes over 60 major research institutions, has announced that all of its members are canceling their subscriptions to all of Elsevier’s academic and scientific journals, effective January 1, 2017.”

BuzzFeed: The True Story Behind The Biggest Fake News Hit Of The Election “WTOE 5 News is no longer online, and its owner has never been identified. It has largely been overlooked as a player in the world of fake news, a flash in the ersatz pan. But a BuzzFeed News investigation has found that the site is part of one of the world’s most unique and ambitious fake news operations — a network of at least 43 websites that together have published more than 750 fake news articles.”

Geez! From Ubergizmo: Twitter Used As A Weapon To Give ‘Vanity Fair’ Editor A Seizure. “Harassment on social media is real. We’ve seen how trolls and bullies use social media to attack other users, such as insulting them, posting their personal details, creating embarrassing memes, and so on. However in what could be the first of its kind, it seems that a Twitter troll has managed to physically harm another user through Twitter.”

Google’s Pixel phones seem to have an audio issue, but it looks like a software patch will fix it (in other words, it’s not hardware.) “Google’s flagship Pixel and Pixel XL devices appear to be suffering from static distortion issues with its speakers. Reports of this issue initially popped up in late October. Mark Buckman noticed the issue on his Pixel XL and contacted Google. He claims that Google immediately issued him a replacement, and not once, but three times.”


If worrying about security for your computer wasn’t enough, you now have to worry about your router. “Proofpoint has identified a new version of DNSChanger EK, a strain of malware that changes your DNS settings so that the ads on the websites you browse are replaced with other ads that benefit the attackers — and which can also be used for more nefarious ends, because controlling your DNS means controlling things like where your computer gets software updates.”

CNET: Orlando shooting victims’ families sue Twitter, Google, Facebook. “Families of the Orlando shooting victims have filed a lawsuit against Twitter, Google and Facebook for failing to limit the reach of the Islamic State group. Filed Monday in the Eastern District of Michigan, the families accuse the tech companies of supplying Islamic State-supporting individuals with the means to ‘spread extremist propaganda, raise funds, and attract new recruits.’ ” Good morning, Internet….

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