UK Business Practices, WordPress, Facebook, More: Thursday Buzz, February 8, 2018


Spend Matters UK/Europe: Late Paying Firms – Database Goes Live. “Last year it became mandatory that most firms (there are exceptions) incorporated in England and Wales, with either a turnover of £36 million and above, or £18 million balance sheet, or employing 250 employees, publish payment practice reports twice a year. This ‘Duty to Report’ includes disclosing how long it takes the firm to pay suppliers’ invoices, their terms and practices…. Now, after some wait, the Government has published its web-based service from which all these reports can be searched and downloaded.”


Wow, there’s a WordPress 4.9.4 release already. It’s not a security release but you’ll want to install this ASAP – it fixes a pretty severe bug in 4.9.3. You’ll also have to update it yourself, because that’s what the bug is all about: “This maintenance release fixes a severe bug in 4.9.3, which will cause sites that support automatic background updates to fail to update automatically, and will require action from you (or your host) for it to be updated to 4.9.4.”

CNET: No, Facebook isn’t limiting you to 25 friends’ status updates. “Despite what you’ve heard on Facebook, the social network isn’t going to limit status updates in your news feed to 25 preselected friends. The real news is much scarier: People are falling for a Facebook hoax — again.”

Digital Trends: Google makes it even easier for you to plan a trip on your smartphone. “Whether you’re a weekend traveler or a gallivanting globetrotter, Google is making it even easier to make travel plans on a smartphone. For starters, the web giant says it’s enhancing the way mobile search deals with hotel bookings by introducing improved price filtering and easier-to-find amenity information.”


The Functional Art: A new data visualization tool: Flourish. “In the past I’ve praised several visualization tools, some of which are still part of my workflow — INZight or RAWGraphs— and others that I’ve been planning to incorporate into classes for a while, such as DataWrapper, Quadrigram, or Plotly. These tools contribute to the democratization of visualization, something I care about quite a bit. A new one, Flourish, has been launched today. I’d like to bring it to your attention.”

BetaNews: Get ‘Machine Learning For Dummies’ ($13 value) FREE for a limited time. “Without machine learning, fraud detection, web search results, real-time ads on web pages, credit scoring, automation, and email spam filtering wouldn’t be possible. Covering the entry-level topics needed to get you familiar with the basic concepts of machine learning, Machine Learning For Dummies will quickly help you make sense of the programming languages and tools.” Two things: the offer expires on 20 February AND you have to provide an e-mail address.


The Daily Nebraskan: UNL ‘African Digital Portal’ will give students access to African poetry, artifacts . “University of Nebraska-Lincoln students will soon be able to feel much closer to Africa through an online portal to the world of African poetry. English professor Kwame Dawes is developing an online database for African poetry and artifacts. ‘The African Digital Portal’ will launch in 2019 and will feature artifacts, newspapers and manuscripts related to African poetry, dating from the 19th century to the modern era.”

BuzzFeed: Russian Trolls Ran Wild On Tumblr And The Company Refuses To Say Anything About It. “Russian trolls posed as black activists on Tumblr and generated hundreds of thousands of interactions for content that ranged from calling Hillary Clinton a ‘monster’ to supporting Bernie Sanders and decrying racial injustice and police violence in the US, according to new findings from researcher Jonathan Albright and BuzzFeed News.”


USA Today: Your smart TV may prey for hackers and collecting more info than you realize, Consumer Reports warns. “Buyer beware. If you’ve snapped up a smart TV, with built-in Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and other Web connections, heads up on this warning—your smart TV could make you vulnerable to hackers and is probably monitoring more of your viewing than you realize.”

The Register: Boffins crack smartphone location tracking – even if you’ve turned off the GPS. “Religiously turning off location services might not save you from having your phone tracked: a paper from a group of IEEE researchers demonstrates tracking when GPS and Wi-Fi are turned off. And, as a kicker: at least some of the data used in the attack, published this week on arXiv, can be collected without permission, because smartphone makers don’t consider it sensitive.”


The Scientist: Biohacker Injects DIY Herpes Vaccine on Facebook Live. “‘I do not do intermuscular injections into any muscles but my thighs . . . so I’ll be taking off my pants,’ announced self-described citizen scientist Aaron Traywick 20 minutes into the half-hour broadcast whose denouement would be his self-injection with a purported vaccine against the herpes virus.”

Penn State: Love Actually: Computer model may decode Facebook emoticons. “While the trusty ‘like’ button is still the most popular way to signal approval for Facebook posts, a computer model may help users and businesses navigate the increasingly complicated way people are expressing how they feel on social media, according to Penn State researchers.” Good morning, Internet…

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