Theater Playbills, Safe Browsing, RSS, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, September 12, 2017


British Library: Introducing… Playbills In the Spotlight. “Playbills were sheets of paper handed out or posted up (as in the picture of a Portsmouth theatre, below) to advertise entertainments at theatres, fairs, pleasure gardens and other such venues. The British Library has a fantastic collection of playbills dating back to the 1730s. Looking through them is a lovely way to get a glimpse at how Britons entertained themselves over the past 300 years…. We’re launching a project called In the Spotlight soon to make these late 18th – late 19th century digitised playbills more findable online, and to give people a chance to see past entertainments as represented in this collection. In this new crowdsourcing project, members of the public can help transcribe titles, names and locations to make the playbills easier to find.”


TechCrunch: Google says its Safe Browsing tool now protects over 3 billion devices. “Google today announced that its Safe Browsing service, which keeps Chrome, Safari and Firefox users on the desktop and on mobile from visiting potentially dangerous sites, now protects more than 3 billion devices. That’s up from 1 billion in 2013 and 2 billion the company starting citing in May 2016.”


Gizmodo: Why RSS Still Beats Facebook and Twitter for Tracking News. “You’d be forgiven for thinking RSS died off with the passing of Google Reader, but our old friend Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary) still has a role to play on the web of 2017. It’s faster, more efficient, and you won’t have to worry as much about accidentally leaking your news reading habit to all your Facebook friends. Whether you’ve never heard of it before or you’ve abandoned it for pastures new, here’s why you should be using RSS for your news instead of social media.” Please imagine I just typed YES one million times. Thank you.

Lifehacker: Snapmail Allows You to Send Self-Destructing Gmail Messages. “There are a lot of options out there to send secure and self-destructing messages to others. But what if you really just want to send them a message using Gmail? Snapmail is a Chrome extension that allows you to send messages just like you might otherwise to recipients that will destruct in 60 seconds.”


New York Times: Dry Cleaning the City’s Oldest Maps. “The tables in the basement of the Municipal Archives are covered with household staples: cotton swabs, tweezers, food strainers, measuring cups, ashtrays and other materials. None are items that one would expect to find in a professional art conservation laboratory. But they are tools used by a group of government workers who wash and care for some of the oldest existing maps and architectural drawings of New York City. They call themselves ‘dry cleaners.'”


Yahoo Finance: A new website lets you automatically sue Equifax with a click. “The entrepreneur behind DoNotPay, a free online chatbot that has successfully fought around 375,000 parking tickets in New York, Seattle, and the U.K., is launching a new service on Tuesday that will allow people to sue Equifax for $15,000 in mere minutes.”

The Register: Google to kill Symantec certs in Chrome 66, due in early 2018 . “Google has detailed its plan to deprecate Symantec-issued certificates in Chrome. The decision to end-of-life its trust for Symantec certificates was the outcome of a long tussle over dodgy certificates, which came to a head when certs for and various permutations of escaped into the wild.”

TorrentFreak: WordPress Reports Surge in ‘Piracy’ Takedown Notices, Rejects 78%. “WordPress has published new data revealing that the number of piracy takedown notices it receives has doubled in a year. Interestingly, this increase is not caused by legitimate complaints. Of all the DMCA requests copyright holders sent, a massive 78% were rejected due to mistakes or abuse.”


Politico: Tagging fake news on Facebook doesn’t work, study says. “Facebook touts its partnership with outside fact-checkers as a key prong in its fight against fake news, but a major new Yale University study finds that fact-checking and then tagging inaccurate news stories on social media doesn’t work. The study, reported for the first time by POLITICO, found that tagging false news stories as ‘disputed by third party fact-checkers’ has only a small impact on whether readers perceive their headlines as true.”

Quartz: The unexpected joy of keeping secrets from social media. “This summer, I began to engage in a secret ritual. In the wee, dark hours of morning, I would rise from my bed and drive to Malibu, a short 20 minutes before rush hour. There, I would park on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway, pull on a wetsuit, shoulder a surfboard down to the water, and paddle out as the sun rose. Surfers call this dawn patrol.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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