Peer Reviewers, Chrome OS Hardware, Facebook, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, March 27, 2018


EurekAlert: PLOS announces new website for peer reviewers . “The Reviewer Center is designed to support reviewers working on manuscripts submitted to PLOS journals, with information and resources freely available to anyone–those interested in learning more about how peer review works, those looking for instructional resources, and those reviewing for other journals and publishers. All content is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, meaning it is free and open for anyone to access, regardless of whether they review for PLOS.”


BetaNews: Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is a student-friendly Chrome OS tablet. “Acer today revealed what it describes as the “first tablet running Chrome OS designed for education” — the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 (or D651N). Featuring a 9.7-inch QXGA LED-backlit display with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 (264 PPI), the Chromebook Tab 10 is equipped with a Wacom EMR stylus to allow for easy writing and drawing. Although not available at launch, there is planned support for Google Expeditions AR, and Acer is hoping that the tablet will find its way into the hands of students of all ages.”

TechCrunch: Google begins to roll out mobile-first indexing. “Google announced this morning its ‘mobile -first’ indexing of the web is now starting to roll out, after a year and a half of testing and experimentation. Back in 2016, Google first detailed its plan to change the way its search index operates, explaining how its algorithms would eventually be shifted to use the mobile version of a website’s content to index its pages, as well as to understand its structured data and to show snippets from the site in the Google search results.”

Neowin: Facebook rolls out News Feed local content algorithm globally. “Earlier this year, Neowin reported on the fact that Facebook was going to update its News Feed algorithm to prioritise local news content. At the time, only users in the U.S. received the update, but as of today, the change is rolling out to users around the world. You should see the changes no matter which country you’re from, or which languages you speak.”


Lifehacker: How to Get Your Photos and Data Out of Snapchat. “It’s not quite #deleteFacebook, but there’s also a growing movement to wipe Snapchat from smartphones. The company’s poorly received redesign, combined with an offensive ad that recently appeared in the app, have pushed more people to abandon Snapchat entirely—including your favorite celebrities. But before you deactivate your account, you’ll want to first salvage as much data as you can from Snapchat.”


The Verge: China bans video spoofs and parodies. “China’s media regulator has cracked down on online video spoofs and parodies, according to state-run media outlet Xinhua. Video sites now must ban any videos that ‘distort, mock, or defame classical literary and art works,’ the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television stated in a directive yesterday.”

Face2Face Africa: Egyptian government launches new social media platform to rival Facebook. “As Facebook continues to struggle to cope with an unfolding data privacy signal, a new platform similar to it has been launched in Egypt. The site, named ‘Egypt Face’ came into force in less than two weeks after the country’s communications minister announced that Egypt would launch its own social media site to rival global tech giants such as Facebook, local media Egypt Independent reports.” Expect to see a lot more of this.


Ars Technica: Google starts blocking “uncertified” Android devices from logging in. “Google is apparently stepping up its efforts to crack down on illicit distribution of Google’s Android apps. According to XDA Developers, Google logins on unlicensed devices will now fail at setup, and a warning message will pop up stating ‘Device is not certified by Google.’ This warning screen has appeared on and off in the past during a test phase, but XDA (and user reports) indicate it is now headed for a wider rollout.”

The Register: Political ad campaign biz AggregateIQ exposes tools, DB logins online. “AggregateIQ – a Canadian political advertising firm that played a role in the 2016 US election and the UK’s ‘Vote Leave’ Brexit campaign – left its applications and database credentials publicly accessible, security firm Upguard said on Monday. There’s no evidence that the exposed code or data was taken. Nor is there evidence it wasn’t. It was simply left accessible to the public for an unspecified period of time.”


Aeon: Does my algorithm have a mental-health problem?. “The most popular algorithms currently being put into the workforce are deep learning algorithms. These algorithms mirror the architecture of human brains by building complex representations of information. They learn to understand environments by experiencing them, identify what seems to matter, and figure out what predicts what. Being like our brains, these algorithms are increasingly at risk of mental-health problems.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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