1990s Wrestling, Galaxy Magazine, Legal Help, More: Monday Buzz, July 17, 2017


Willamette Week: In the ’90s, Two Portland Teenagers Aired Old WWF Matches. Now, They Have a Treasure Trove of Wrestling Archives. “The Squared Circle’s Greatest Matches aired on public access television in the Portland area on Saturday nights at 10 pm. True to its name, the show featured classic bouts hand-picked by the ideal curators—two teenagers with little regard for copyright law…. A prodigious jabberjaw, [Bryan] Bennett talked Mount Hood Community College into giving him access to its TV studio at age 13. While he’d managed, through his friendship with local legend ‘Playboy’ Buddy Rose, to secure an agreement with Vince McMahon to air old WWF matches, the show simply flew under other organizations’ radar.”

New-to-me, from Boing Boing: Free on the Internet Archive: 255 issues of Galaxy Magazines, 1950-1976. “The Internet Archive has nearly the entire run of Galaxy for your perusal, with classic stories by Le Guin, Cherryh, Heinlein, Bradbury, Asimov, Bester, and other pioneers. Also available is most of IF, Galaxy’s sister magazine.”


Mashable: Free robot lawyer helps low-income people tackle more than 1,000 legal issues. “Shady businesses, you’re on notice. This robot lawyer is coming after you if you play dirty. Noted legal aid chatbot DoNotPay just announced a massive expansion, which will help users tackle issues in 1,000 legal areas entirely for free. The new features, which launched on Wednesday, cover consumer and workplace rights, and will be available in all 50 states and the UK.”

eWeek: New Microsoft PowerPoint Add-in Translates in Real-Time. “Microsoft Garage, the software giant’s experimental app unit, released Presentation Translator this week, an Office add-in for the Windows version of PowerPoint that provides real-time translation services. The software is powered by Microsoft Translator and the company’s Cognitive Services slate, a collection of AI-enabled APIs.”

School Library Journal: Plotagon now free for educators. “Reminiscent of Xtranormal, Plotagon encourages writing skills as users craft professional-looking animated movies. Plotagon movies are built from series of scenes, featuring customizable characters and complete with text-based dialogue, emotions, sound effects, and actions. Dialogue can be read by either computer text-to-speech voices or by recording your own voice.”

Digital Trends: Is Amazon Working On A New Messaging App? Anytime Could Be A Game Changer. “Could it be? A new messaging app from Amazon? According to new reports, the online retail giant (which has now expanded well beyond e-commerce), is working on a messaging app called Anytime. As initially reported by AFTV News, Amazon has started surveying customers about a brand new messaging tool to determine what features are most desirable and important. And as per one respondent, the content of the survey suggested that the app is nearly ready.”


NARA: National Archives and Library of Congress Join PDF Association. “Today, the National Archives and the Library of Congress announced joining the PDF Association , which promotes adoption of international standards for portable document format technology, as partner organizations. Both federal agencies collect, and produce, numerous documents as PDFs.”


TechDirt: DHS, CBP Admit They Have No Legal Authority To Access Americans’ Social Media Accounts. “Since at least 2009, the DHS has asserted a legal right to copy/search the contents of anyone’s electronic devices at the border. Its privacy assessment said no one has much privacy, at least not near US borders. Building on years of judicial national security deference, the DHS has recently expanded its searches of electronic devices, eliminating most of its adherence to the Fourth Amendment in the process. If your devices wander into the country’s Constitution-free zones, you can expect to suffer diminished expectations of privacy.”

Bleeping Computer: “Particle” Chrome Extension Sold to New Dev Who Immediately Turns It Into Adware. “A company is going around buying abandoned Chrome extensions from their original developers and converting these add-ons into adware. This scheme came to light two days ago when the users of a popular Chrome extension began complaining about an update that requested two intrusive permissions that the extension never used, or would have never had a reason to.”


University at Buffalo: The end of sneakernet?. “For researchers and companies sharing extremely large datasets, such as genome maps or satellite imagery, it can be quicker to send documents by truck or airplane. The slowdown leads to everything from lost productivity to the inability to quickly warn people of natural disasters. The University at Buffalo has received a $584,469 National Science Foundation grant to address this problem.”

Scientific American: Students are Better Off without a Laptop in the Classroom. “New research by scientists at Michigan State University suggests that laptops do not enhance classroom learning, and in fact students would be better off leaving their laptops in the dorm during class. Although computer use during class may create the illusion of enhanced engagement with course content, it more often reflects engagement with social media, YouTube videos, instant messaging, and other nonacademic content. This self-inflicted distraction comes at a cost, as students are spending up to one-third of valuable (and costly) class time zoned out, and the longer they are online the more their grades tend to suffer.”

The Next Web: Google taught an AI to edit photos like a pro and the results are glorious. “Landscape photography is hard, no matter how beautiful an environment you’re shooting in. You need to be well-versed in composition, deal with weather conditions, know how to adjust your camera settings for the best possible shot, and then edit it to come up with a pleasing picture. Google might be close to solving the last part of that puzzle: a couple of its Machine Perception researchers have trained a deep-learning system to identify objectively fine landscape panorama photos from Google Street View, and then artistically crop and edit them like a human photographer would.” Good morning, Internet…

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