Antarctica Maps, Chrome OS, Firefox Quantum, More: Saturday Buzz, December 30, 2017


Nature: Rescued radar maps reveal Antarctica’s past. “Glaciologists will soon have a treasure trove of data for exploring how Antarctica’s underbelly has changed over nearly half a century. An international team of researchers has scanned and digitized 2 million records from pioneering aeroplane radar expeditions that criss-crossed the frozen continent in the 1960s and 1970s.”


Ubergizmo: Chrome OS Will Soon Let Android Apps Run In The Background. “Recently Google has started to allow Android apps to be run on Chrome OS which means that Chromebook users now have access to more apps than before. However the only downside is that Android apps couldn’t run in the background, meaning that they are paused when the app isn’t in focus. This can be a bit troublesome for some users who might require multiple apps to run at once, but the good news is that this is expected to change.”


Lifehacker: How to Use Firefox’s Killer New Screenshot Tool. “If you’re not taking screenshots of your computer screen much, remembering which key combos to hit might be more confusing than convenient. If you hate keyboard shortcuts, Mozilla’s new Firefox Quantum browser makes it incredibly easy to capture what’s on your screen thanks to its built in Firefox Screenshots service. It syncs wherever you use the new browser, and is smart enough to help you figure out what you’re actually trying to capture.” The “take a screenshot of an entire Web page including what’s not visible on the screen” sounds great to me. I know there are extensions which can do that but I don’t like using browser addons unless I absolutely have to.

Quartz: The best Twitter threads of 2017: from MeToo to “Star Wars” and restaurant design. “If done well, Twitter threads make for irresistible reading. The long strings of connected Tweets on one topic—whether political analysis, an explanation of the origins of the word ‘dotard,’ or live-tweeting a surreal experience—are an invitation to shake off Twitter’s rapid-fire rhythm and focus. Journalist Virginia Heffner, writing a tribute to the thread form in Politico, described it as ‘a call to something that Twitter culture, in its far-off playful days, used to condemn implicitly: earnest commitment to a train of thought.'”

How-to Geek: How to Add Custom User Tags to Reddit. “You can block abusive or annoying Reddit users, but that’s cumbersome and can lead to missed conversations. You can report them to the moderators—the town sheriffs of Reddit’s divided community system—but that’s no guarantee they’ll actually be dealt with, since moderators can be (and often are) completely useless. If you’d like to keep all the posts on Reddit visible while still making it clear which users you should ignore (or, possibly, pay more attention to), a third-party browser extension has you covered.”


American Banker: This lender is using AI to make loans through social media. “As U.S. banks wrestle with the decision of whether to use artificial intelligence to help calculate credit scores and make loan decisions, a potential role model is MyBucks, a company that’s been doing this for more than a year —and has even begun offering 15-minute, AI-based loans through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.”

Digicult: Reshaping The Experience Of Art: Digitization And 3D Archives. “The destruction of world heritage sites and artworks in Mosul, Iraq, in February 2015, sparked a global movement to digitize and preserve important works and monuments. Institutions and individuals were called upon to create, refine and disseminate digital scans of the lost works of art…. This process is transforming where we experience Art, as every scanned object is now accessible regardless of location, wealth or ownership. Previously bound to cultural institutions, the digital archive is now easily obtainable to viewers and can be manipulated, collected, and modified free of decorum. In a way it transposes the museum into the computer, peels off all our preconceived behaviors toward the object while granting us new powers on the works by allowing us to interact with the files.”

Business Insider: Google is making it harder for travelers to find the best prices, the Wall Street Journal charges. “Google is using its dominance of the search market to limit competition in the online travel business — for its benefit and that of some major hotel chains it’s teamed up with, the Wall Street Journal charges in a new editorial. The online search giant, together with the hotel chains, is limiting the ability of online travel agencies (OTAs) to use keywords to advertise hotel rooms, according to the editorial. Meanwhile, Google’s own travel service, which features listings from OTAs, takes a big cut out of the commissions they earn, the Journal reported.”


CNET: Forever 21: Yes, hackers breached our payment system. “A breach at Forever 21 left customer payment card information exposed to hackers, the retailer confirmed Thursday. The company didn’t specify how many customers had information stolen, but said various point of sales terminals were affected between April 3 and November 18, 2017. Hackers collected credit card numbers, expiration dates, verification codes and sometimes cardholder names.” Over six months.

Engadget: LastPass fixes fingerprint security flaw in its Authenticator app. “Password manager LastPass has an extra layer of protection for its Authenticator app, in the form of a fingerprint and/or PIN that ostensibly keeps people out of your passwords if they find your phone unlocked. Last week, a developer posted that he’d been able to bypass this security feature on the Android version of the app. As of right now, though, LastPass users can download an update to the app that fixes the issue and adds a one-time code when the fingerprint/PIN feature is first enabled.”

Happy birthday to that young whippersnapper, Krebs On Security. “This past year KrebsOnSecurity published nearly 160 stories, generating more than 11,000 reader comments. The pace of publications here slowed down in 2017, but then again I have been trying to focus on quality over quantity, and many of these stories took weeks or months to report and write.” My favorite security blog, possibly…


United Nations: ‘No clear evidence’ social media leads to more violent behavior, UN-backed study reports. “Violent extremists use the Internet to attract younger audiences, to disseminate content and to foster direct dialogue with young people, a United Nations agency-backed study found, but more research is needed to find out if social media has an effective role in radicalization.” Good morning, Internet….

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