Arab Art, Facebook Stories, US Supreme Court, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, July 31, 2017


In development: a new private museum for Arab art in Beirut (and consequently, an online database for the holdings of same. In fact, the database will be available before the museum.) “With works spanning 150 years, the collection is mostly devoted to painting but also includes photography, sculpture, ceramics, video and conceptual art…. Ahead of the 2020 opening, the foundation is looking for other ways to share its art with the public. A collection database is expected to go online by the end of the year and [Basel] Dalloul hopes to stage pop-up exhibitions in some of downtown Beirut’s vacant buildings next year.”


TechCrunch: Facebook Stories unlocks public sharing. “Facebook could jumpstart its Snapchat clone by letting social media stars and public figures post Stories publicly. When Facebook Stories launched globally in March, you could only share to all their friends or a subset of them. Now if you allow public followers, you can post your Story publicly so anyone can watch.”

SCOTUSBlog: Supreme Court unveils new website. “The court’s Public Information Office boasts that the site update includes ‘a more consistent menu structure, a more interactive calendar, faster access through Quick Links, improved page load times, and reduced page scrolling.’ For example, instead of indicating only that the court will hear oral argument on a given day, the updated calendar provides case names for each argument day, with links to the docket entries and the questions at issue in each case.”


Hongkiat: Send Large Files (As Big as 2GB) Online for Free with WeTransfer . “In today’s media-centric world, a large amount of content is created every day. And when content is created, it also needs to be transfered or sent to other people. Though there are a lot of tools available that allow you to send large files online, however only a few provide you complete and free service.” Obviously I would not use this for anything sensitive. But when you have a rough cut of a commercial, for example, and GMail is cutting you off at 25MB attachment sizes…

Digital Trends: Pinterest Becoming An Online Spam Board? Here’s How To Block Someone On Pinterest. “Spam killing your online mood board? While Pinterest profiles are all public, users can choose to block pinners to prevent messages, likes, and comments on their own Pins. The feature has been available since 2012, and gives users a way to block spammers and negative commenters alike; it also allows you to keep other users from interacting with your pins for whatever reason. If you’re unclear on how to use the feature, however, we’ve put together a guide on how to block someone on Pinterest, along with a more comprehensive guide on how to use Pinterest.” I thought this was interesting on its own because I didn’t know things had gotten to the point where you need to block people on Pinterest. But pair it with this article about Pinterest and Google’s organic results and it gets even more interesting.


Wired: Google And Facebook Still Reign Over Digital Advertising. “What’s clear this week is that Facebook and Google will continue to play an outsized role in shaping the online world. Facebook drives revenue at a faster pace than other tech company, and it’s doing that through its ad offerings—even as its rate of growth slows and the platform gets saturated with ads. Meanwhile, for Google, cost-per-click—the amount advertisers pay Google each time someone clicks on one of its ads—saw a bigger decline this quarter than analysts had predicted, because mobile ads cost less and Google’s mobile search traffic is up. But the pair remain the clear duopoly in online advertising, and will be for the foreseeable future.”

News World India: Be Careful! Govt To Scan Your Social Media Profiles To Check Expensive Spending. “From next month itself, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will start collecting virtual information from social media sites to match the spending patterns of citizens along with the income declarations made. Without raiding homes or offices, officials will be able to spot those people who pay too little taxes yet live extravagantly.”


TorrentFreak: Russia Bans ‘Uncensored’ VPNs, Proxies and TOR. “A new bill, just signed into law by President Putin, requires proxies, VPNs, TOR and other anonymizing services to prohibit access to blocked domains. If these services fail to comply, they will be blocked themselves. Search engines also face sanctions for linking to banned sites.”

Economic Times (India): European Union battles Google News over ‘Snippet Tax’ proposal . “A major battle is brewing in Brussels over an EU reform plan that would force internet aggregators such as Google News to pay newspapers for displaying snippets of their articles online. Google is furious at the reform idea, but powerful publishers, including Axel Springer in Germany or Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp in the UK, affirm that a tax is the only hope to save a news industry starving for revenue.” How many times are they going to bring this idea back from the dead?


BBC News: It is easy to expose users’ secret web habits, say researchers. “Two German researchers say they have exposed the porn-browsing habits of a judge, a cyber-crime investigation and the drug preferences of a politician. The pair obtained huge amounts of information about the browsing habits of three million German citizens from companies that gather ‘clickstreams’…. The data is supposed to be anonymised, but analysis showed it could easily be tied to individuals.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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