Elizabethtown College, Jazz Interviews, Google Spaces, More: Sunday Buzz, February 26, 2017


Elizabethtown College has digitized and put its student newspaper online. “Elizabethtown College’s High Library and Hess Archives recently digitized its archived school newspapers. These publications that date back to 1904 and continue through 2009, were uploaded to the Internet Archive and are accessible to the public.”

Hamilton College: Jazz Archive Adds Artist Interviews on YouTube. “On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the world’s first jazz recording*, the Hamilton College Jazz Archive has begun to add its more than 300 videotaped interviews with jazz greats onto its YouTube channel.”


Well that wasn’t long: Google is shutting down Google Spaces. “Back in May last year, Google announced a new app/service called Spaces. The idea of Space is that it provided users with a platform in which they can share things with each other, although unlike other platforms, Spaces was designed for small group sharing as opposed to larger collaborations.”

Amazon Alexa, now with 10,000 skills. “A YEAR AND a half ago, Amazon opened up its Alexa voice assistant to developers. With the Alexa Skills Kit, Alexa and its hardware hosts—the Echo, Dot, Tap, and now dozens more from third parties—became more than just speakers and digital weathermen. It became a platform, capable of supporting a full ecosystem of skills, which are essentially apps that you talk to instead of touch. Today, there are 10,000 skills available on Alexa. It’s an exponential increase since last summer, a rise that presents a host of new opportunities—and new challenges.”

TechCrunch: is committing $11.5 million to racial justice. “There is generally a lack of data in the criminal justice system. At the national level, for example, there is very little data about police behavior and criminal sentencing. That’s why is re-upping its commitment to racial justice through its $11.5 million in new grant money to ten racial justice organizations. This comes after awarded $3 million to organizations working to advance racial justice last year.”


Make Tech Easier: How to Back Up Your WhatsApp Data to Dropbox. “Depending on how you set things up, WhatsApp can either back up your data daily, weekly, monthly, never or when you tap ‘Backup.’ When you do back up your chats, they are backed up to Google Drive, but what if you don’t trust Google Drive? Here’s a quick hack to easily back up your WhatsApp content to your Dropbox account.”

It’s about that time again… from NerdWallet: 9 Ways to Get Free Tax Help From a Human Being. “Tax help can cost a lot of money. Pros charge $150 an hour on average to do a federal and state return, according to the National Society of Accountants. Help with planning, back taxes or audits can cost even more. But there are a few ways to get human tax help for free.”


PR Newswire: “Ride Archive” Offers VR Simulations of Lost Theme Park Rides and Attractions (PRESS RELEASE). “‘Anyone who’s been to a theme park has a favorite ride. But what about all the rides that went away before their time and still linger in the childhood memories of grown-ups today?’ So begins a viral video pitch at that’s received nearly 620,000 views on Facebook. According to concept designer Jay Kristopher Huddy, the Ride Archive represents ‘the future of preserving the past’ by providing VR simulations of decommissioned rides and attractions from your favorite theme parks.” There are some intellectual property issues to be addressed, so I’m not sure this will ever come to fruition – but what a great idea!

A livestream of a pregnant giraffe was pulled from YouTube — for nudity. GIRAFFE NUDITY. “[Jordan] Patch claims that the livestream of its pregnant giraffe April, received 20 to 30 million views in just twelve hours. But with this masses came problems. While the zoo sees the video as education, Patch says that some ‘extremists and animal right activists’ reported the livestream as containing sexually explicit or nude content, which triggered YouTube to pull the video.”


ZDNet: Cybercriminals start cashing in on vulnerable WordPress websites. “It is estimated that up to 1.5 million websites may remain unpatched. However, the situation appears to have worsened. According to researchers from SiteLock, the latest trend in vulnerable WordPress website defacement is the launch of rogue pharmacies. These websites, rather common already online, promise to provide “authentic” erectile dysfunction medication.”

PC Magazine: Google’s Collision Shakes Up Computer Cryptography. “after years of trying, Google found a way to crack the SHA-1 cryptographic hash function, a security building block that enables digital signatures and HTTPS encryption. Cracking SHA-1 requires creating a cryptographic hash collision, which is essentially when a single hash, or ‘digest’ applies to two different files.”

Recode: Alphabet’s Waymo is suing Otto and Uber for allegedly stealing the design of a key self-driving system. “Waymo, formerly Google’s self-driving car unit, is suing Otto — the self-driving trucking company co-founded by former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski and quickly acquired by Uber — for allegedly stealing the company’s proprietary design for its laser-based radar system.” Good morning, Internet…

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