Plants for Birds, Running Shoes, Firefox, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, February 27, 2017


Not terribly new but new-to-me; the Audubon Society has launched a database of native plants for birds. “Birds and plants that are native to an area have evolved together and often have these mutually beneficial connections. Non-native plant species do not have these connections to native birds and can create ‘food deserts’ for our birds. This is a problem in the United States, where many common landscaping plants are not native to the country. In the fall of 2016 Audubon launched our Plants for Birds programme, which encourages and empowers people in the US to support birds by planting native species whenever possible.” The splash page for this resource shows a form for providing e-mail and a search box for zip code; you apparently do not need to provide your e-mail address to search. I was impressed with the number of resources I got for my search! Please note this is for the United States only.

New-to-me: an online database of running shoes. “A former competitive cross-country runner turned statistics instructor, [Jens Jakob] Andersen parlayed his love of running and shoes into a side gig by opening up his own run specialty shop. However, he soon became disillusioned by the sales process…. It was the combination of these experiences that led Andersen to develop RunRepeat, an online database of running shoes with a neutral, transparent and holistic approach. The database compiles 960 running shoes, 165,624 user reviews and 5193 expert reviews to assign each shoe a ‘Runscore’ between 0 and 100.” NO ADVERTISING!


Ubergizmo: Firefox Testing Ability To Snooze Browser Tabs . “Come across an interesting article that you want to read but don’t have the time? There are a few different ways that you can go about handling this, one of which is bookmarking the website for later. However in the latest addition to the Firefox Test Pilot Program, Mozilla is introducing a feature called ‘SnoozeTabs’.”

Google is working on a desktop client for Allo. “While its texting software for Android has a new name, the AI-powered Allo is coming to a new platform soon. VP Nick Fox teased a desktop web client for the service in a tweet, while saying that it’s ‘still in early development.’ ”


TechRadar: The best free anti-ransomware tools 2017 . “Many of the big names in PC security provides tools that will release your PC from ransomware, and don’t charge for the privilege. There are also dedicated tools to prevent programs that behaves like known ransomware from running on your PC at all. This is our pick of the best free tools to unlock an infected PC, release encrypted files, or prevent a ransomware infection in the first place.” Some of the software listed is available directly from TechRadar, which I don’t like; if I’m going to download software like this I want to get it straight from the source. If you go to the software page on TechRadar, though, you’ll see a link to the developer’s site on the right.

If you have a manageable number of tweets (in other words, if you are not me) this tool for deleting old tweets could come in handy.. “For $0.99, a new iOS app called Keep or Delete by German developer Tobias Block allows you to delete your old tweets in a Tinder-like UI. It’s simple: The app loads your tweets, and you then swipe right to keep, or left to delete. It’s like dating your own bad thoughts that you somehow once decided would be a halfway decent idea to make public.”


Oh, man. From NPR: An Attempt To Save South Carolina’s Historical Documents Is Destroying Them. “When you think of an old map or manuscript, you might picture something yellowed, tattered or even torn because of how long it has been around. But millions of historic documents, from presidential papers to personal slave journals, are facing an issue apart from age: a preservation method that has backfired.”


Bleeping Computer: Database Ransom Attacks Have Now Hit MySQL Servers. “After the ransacking of MongoDB, ElasticSearch, Hadoop, CouchDB, and Cassandra servers, attackers are now hijacking hundreds of MySQL databases, deleting their content, and leaving a ransom note behind asking for a 0.2 Bitcoin ($235) payment. According to breach detection firm GuardiCore, the attacks are happening via brute-force attacks on Internet-exposed MySQL servers, and there’s plenty of those laying around since MySQL is one of today’s most popular database systems.”

Jamaica Observer: Belize gov’t to clamp down on misuse of social media. “The Belize government is moving to clamp down on the misuse of social media and is establishing a taskforce to look at the issue of cyber laws, Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke has said.”


University of Rochester: Twitter researchers offer clues for why Trump won. “Jiebo Luo and Yu Wang did not set out to predict who would win the 2016 U.S. presidential election. However, their exhaustive, 14-month study of each candidate’s Twitter followers–enabled by machine learning and other data science tools–offers tantalizing clues as to why the race turned out the way it did.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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