Hololens Competition, Blogger, GDPR, More: Monday Buzz, May 21, 2018


Neowin: A HoloLens competitor from Google may be in the works. “Microsoft announced the HoloLens back in 2015, and its capabilities as a completely untethered Augmented Reality device still make it stand out today. However, it looks like Microsoft’s AR unit could soon be joined by an offering from Google. According to WinFuture – citing unnamed sources – the Mountain View company is working on an AR headset internally called Google A65. Unlike the HoloLens, it is said to be ARM-based, with sources pointing to the Snapdragon 603 or 605 as likely candidates.”

Blogger Blog: It’s spring cleaning time for Blogger. “To make room for some exciting updates coming soon to Blogger, we’re simplifying the platform to enhance the blogging experience for all of our users.” Every time I see Google talking about “spring cleaning,” I worry they’re about to kill something off. Does not appear to be the case here. Yet.


TechCrunch: ‘My Data Request’ lists guides to get data about you . “GDPR is right around the corner, so it’s time to prepare your personal data requests. If you live in the European Union, tech companies have to comply with personal data requests after May 25th. And there’s a handy website that helps you do just that. My Data Request lists dozens of tech companies and tells you how you can contact them. The website also links to the privacy policy of each service and tells you what to do even if you don’t live in the EU.”

Make Tech Easier: 5 Useful Tools to Help You Spot Fake News. “In March of 2018 a group of MIT data scientists published a study which found that that humans and bots share fake news on Twitter at about the same rate, but the robots aren’t necessarily outsmarting us – we’re just playing along. The study, among other findings, showed that false news spread up to six times more quickly than real news and that it spread to more people: the top 1% of fake news reached 1,000 to 100,000 people, while real news rarely went above 1,000. If you want to keep your social media profile credible, though, there are some steps you can take to double-check your news.”


CORDIS: Exposing state crimes and human rights abuses through architecture. “In the past, evidence on war crimes and human rights violations was based on interviews conducted long after the event. But modern technology has changed this. With the widespread use of digital recording equipment, satellite communication, remote sensing technology and the internet, vast amounts of data are now available to provide novel types of evidence when crimes are perpetrated.” I had never heard of forensic architecture until I came across this article. The New York Times has an article about it from April.

TODAYonline Socially responsible funds dump or rethink Facebook over data privacy . “Several socially conscious investment firms are selling or rethinking their Facebook Inc holdings, unsatisfied by the company’s moves to strengthen personal data protection and online safety after scandals involving the improper sharing of users’ information. The retreat from the world’s largest social media network is one of the sharpest responses by investors to concerns about Facebook’s handling of user data.”

SundayGuardianLive: Kenya’s cybercrimes bill angers social media. “Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga is in London, lecturing at the Oxford and the Cambridge Unions. He met Harriet Baldwin, Minister for Africa, at the Foreign Office to explain the recent political developments in Kenya, especially the reconciliation initiative between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Meanwhile in Kenya, President Kenyatta signed into law the controversial Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill, which does what it says on the tin; it prevents and prosecutes all computer related crimes, from espionage, hacking, fraud, forgery, phishing, theft, child or wrongful distribution of pornography to the drafting/publishing and sharing of ‘fake news’. Critics including the Committee to Protect Journalists say the Bill contravenes the Constitutional provision of freedom of speech and dissemination of information and the right to access information. ”


Motherboard: I Tried to Watch a Video of a Puppy and Accidentally Sent Every Photo I’ve Ever Taken to Google. I think the main point of this article might be “Don’t drink and set app permissions,” but still. “In our brief time on this rock, even the best of us are likely to own ourselves from time to time. As some of my colleagues would be happy to tell you, I own myself more often than most, most recently because I wanted to see a video of my friend’s new puppy. I recently went to a concert, had a few beers, and woke up with a hangover and a notification that my phone had successfully uploaded 15,000 images and videos to Google Photos. Here’s what happened.” The puppy video is included at the end of the article.

New York Times: Hundreds of Apps Can Empower Stalkers to Track Their Victims. “As digital tools that gather cellphone data for tracking children, friends or lost phones have multiplied in recent years, so have the options for people who abuse the technology to track others without consent. More than 200 apps and services offer would-be stalkers a variety of capabilities, from basic location tracking to harvesting texts and even secretly recording video, according to a new academic study.”


VentureBeat: Evolutionary computation will drive the future of creative AI. “AI is arguably the biggest tech topic of 2018. From Google Duplex’s human imitations and Spotify’s song recommendations to Uber’s self-driving cars and the Pentagon’s use of GoogleAI, the technology seems to offer everything to everyone. You could say AI has become synonymous with progress via computing. However, not all AI is created equal, and for AI to fulfill its many promises, it needs to be creative.”

CUNY Thesis: Explaining Animosity Towards the Roma: A Case Study of Twitter Communication in Italy during the Refugee Crisis. “Italy is known for hostile treatment of the Roma, one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Europe. This paper seeks to understand what is causing Italians to talk negatively about the Roma on Twitter. Statistical analysis is performed utilizing the data mined from Twitter along with other variables. The study finds that Roma population, foreign population, and number of refugees all have significant effects on the total number of tweets or the average negative sentiment of tweets. The results indicate that native Italians may group minority groups all together and regard them as “others”. Although the research design has some flaws in the data mining and sentiment analysis process, the study shows promise. I suggest that social scientists utilize social media data to analyze social or cultural phenomena.” This thesis is embargoed and will not be available for download until May 30.


Interesting Engineering: This Short Story Vending Machine Brings Literature to Unexpected Places. “…for those of you who crave for reading, the Short Story Dispenser from Short Edition can save you. The story vending machine essentially allows you to spend at least some time reading. The machine doesn’t spit out books or send the stories to your smartphone or Kindle. But with the push of a button, you get a short story printed on a long strip of paper that’s similar to grocery receipts.” Good morning, Internet…

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