Parenting with Disabilities, WordPess, Vespa, More: Thursday Buzz, September 28, 2017


Brandeis University: Lurie Institute launches the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities. “In recent decades, people with disabilities have become increasingly integrated into mainstream employment, education, housing and public life in the United States. Among them, a growing number are choosing to become parents, and they encounter a lack of support and increased discrimination when they do so….In response to this critical information gap, Lurie Institute Interim Director Monika Mitra and a team of researchers launched a web-based resource hub called the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities.”


WordPress: Upload Once, Blog Anywhere: Photos from Google. “Google Photos is one of the most popular ways of storing and sharing photos online. is one of the most popular ways to blog. Wouldn’t it be great if they played well together — if you could use photos you’ve uploaded to Google on your site? We thought so, too: starting today, you can browse, search, and copy photos from your Google account right from your blog posts and pages. Introducing: photos from Google!” Gee, that sounds pretty spiffy. Too bad I couldn’t get it to work. I got an error complaining that my full media library could not be retrieved. My full media library with a whopping SEVEN photos. Also I had to switch to the “improved editor,” which I find horrible. I was looking forward to this but I guess I’ll keep uploading my images the old-fashioned way.

Vespa Blog: Open Sourcing Vespa, Yahoo’s Big Data Processing and Serving Engine. “Ever since we open sourced Hadoop in 2006, Yahoo – and now, Oath – has been committed to opening up its big data infrastructure to the larger developer community. Today, we are taking another major step in this direction by making Vespa, Yahoo’s big data processing and serving engine, available as open source on GitHub.”


Techradar: The best free alternatives to CCleaner 2017. “CCleaner has long been one of the web’s most popular PC cleanup tools, but after it was acquired by Avast and suffered a serious malware attack, many people have begun seeking alternatives. Running out of hard drive space is less of an issue these days thanks to the plummeting price of storage, but there are still many reasons to use a tool like CCleaner to purge unwanted files.”

Lifehacker: Need to Name a Lot of Something? Use This Site. “Life’s more fun with nicknames. That’s why we name our wireless networks ‘Julia Louis-Wifus’ or ‘9-inch tops come to Apt. 3B.’ But say you need to name a whole set of things, like software versions, conference rooms, or just placeholders in an example. At that point you can’t just make up random names one by one. You need a system.” At one point I had a set of networked computers all named after Match Game panelists. Don’t @ me.


US House of Representatives: SST Committee Probes Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Energy Market via Facebook, Twitter and Google Advertisements . “U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) yesterday sent letters to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc. requesting documents and information related to Russian entities purchasing anti-fracking and anti-fossil fuel advertisements on the platforms. The letters are part of the committee’s ongoing oversight of efforts to manipulate the U.S. energy market.”

BuzzFeed: As Facebook Reveals Dark Posts, Twitter Keeps Them Hidden. “Facebook pledged last week to reveal all ads being shown to its users, even those not appearing on advertiser profiles, after it was revealed that the company ran Russian-linked ads meant to influence the election. Twitter, however, will not commit to the same, and appears to have no plans to expose its so-called dark posts to public scrutiny.”

The Guardian: Facebook’s underclass: as staffers enjoy lavish perks, contractors barely get by. “The $500bn company has been conscientious about ensuring that its subcontracted workers are relatively well paid. In May 2015, amid a nationwide movement to raise the minimum wage, the company established a $15 an hour minimum for its contractors, as well as benefits like paid sick leave, vacation and a $4,000 new-child benefit. But those wages only go so far in a region with out-of-control housing costs.”


Bloomberg: Google Rolls Out Shopping Tweaks in Bid to Dodge EU Fines. “Google is rolling out changes to how it shows shopping search results across Europe in a bid to avoid further fines from a seven-year antitrust probe. Slapped with a record-breaking 2.4 billion-euro ($2.8 billion) penalty in June, Google was also ordered by the European Commission to stop its illegal conduct and offer equal treatment to rival price-comparison sites by a Sept. 28 deadline. It risks daily fines of up to 5 percent of its global daily revenue if it fails to comply.”

RESEARCH & OPINION Computer scientists address gap in messaging privacy. “Researchers have developed a solution to a longstanding problem in the field of end-to-end encryption, a technique that ensures that only sender and recipient can read a message.
With current end-to-end encryption, if an attacker compromises a recipient’s device, they can then put themselves in a position to intercept, read and alter all future communications without sender or recipient ever knowing.”

ScotPublicHealth: Quantifying the reach and punch of a single BMJ article on social media. “The BMJ cover story on 9 September 2017 explored a Twitter ban at a medical conference in the United States. The article included responses to the Twitter ban from two of the most prominent physician tweeters from the US (Prof Michael Gibson and Dr Kevin Campbell), a couple of comments from me, and social network analysis (SNA) that I had performed looking at the tweets that emerged from the conference. The analysis showed that the ban itself was a much bigger topic of conversation on Twitter than any clinical or scientific learning from the conference. In this blog I explore the reach and impact of the BMJ article on social media in the days after publication.”


Jsomers: DocWriter: the typewriter that sends its keystrokes in real time to a Google Doc. “For years I’ve wanted a writing machine that would combine the best parts of a typewriter and a word processor. After months of tinkering, my friend Ben Gross and I just finished building one. We call it the DocWriter. It’s a typewriter that sends its keystrokes in real time to a Google Doc.” I think I’m in love. Good morning, Internet…

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