afternoonbuzz

Microsoft Teams, Twitter, Art History, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, August 8, 2018

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Neowin: Microsoft Teams announces a slew of back to school improvements. “The back-to-school season is rapidly approaching, and Microsoft is gearing up its education tools for the upcoming school year. The company today announced a ton of improvements that have already arrived or are coming soon to Microsoft Teams for Education.”

BetaNews: Twitter is not banning Alex Jones; Jack Dorsey explains why. “Alex Jones and Infowars are being banned, suspended and removed from the internet left, right and center. But while YouTube, Facebook, Apple and others have come down hard on the right-wing conspiracy theorist for peddling hate speech, Twitter is standing by him.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: The 10 Best Sites to Learn About Art History . “Art history is a vast topic. From the pottery of ancient Greece to the contemporary pop art of the 1960s, there are millions of artists across hundreds of styles that you can sink your teeth into. Even if you’re generally not ‘into art,’ you’ll still be able to find something that resonates with your soul. Here are some of the best sites to learn about art history.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Route Fifty: Census Bureau Takes Hits from Lawsuits, GAO Review and Cancelled Contract. “Just 21 months before the next decennial count, the Census Bureau—under acting leadership—faces challenges in the courts, from auditors and from a mishandled printing contract for key forms.”

Recode: Has Snapchat already stopped growing?. “It was less than two years ago that Snap was out pitching itself as the next Facebook to bankers ahead of its highly anticipated initial public offering. Now it looks like Snapchat, the company’s flagship app, may already be done growing.”

Global Times: Google vs Baidu: Chinese analysts split on who will be the search winner. “Google’s possible launch of a new search engine for the Chinese mainland will encounter fierce competition from its Chinese counterpart Baidu Inc, analysts said on Tuesday. The comment came after Baidu CEO Robin Li Yanhong said on Tuesday that he is confident in his company’s ability to compete with its US counterpart Google, even as the latest news about the possible launch of a new search engine in the Chinese mainland by the giant US search engine generated buzz among Chinese netizens, with a poll showing nearly 90 percent of them prefer to use Google if its search service returns.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

The Register: Cracking the passwords of some WPA2 Wi-Fi networks just got easier . “The folks behind the password-cracking tool Hashcat claim they’ve found a new way to crack some wireless network passwords in far less time than previously needed. Jens Steube, creator of the open-source software, said the new technique, discovered by accident, would potentially allow someone to get all the information they need to brute force decrypt a Wi-Fi password, by snooping on a single data packet going over the air.”

TechCrunch: Duo Security researchers’ Twitter ‘bot or not’ study unearths crypto botnet. “A team of researchers at Duo Security has unearthed a sophisticated botnet operating on Twitter — and being used to spread a cryptocurrency scam. The botnet was discovered during the course of a wider research project to create and publish a methodology for identifying Twitter account automation — to help support further research into bots and how they operate.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Simon Willison: Analyzing US Election Russian Facebook Ads . “Two interesting data sources have emerged in the past few weeks concerning the Russian impact on the 2016 US elections. FiveThirtyEight published nearly 3 million tweets from accounts associated with the Russian ‘Internet Research Agency’—see my article and searchable tweet archive here. Separately, the House Intelligence Committee Minority released 3,517 Facebook ads that were reported to have been bought by the Russian Internet Research Agency as a set of redacted PDF files.” Mr. Willison created some tools for exploring the data, as well as creating ancillary utilities.

KUT: A New Database Could Help Prevent Asthma Attacks Among Austin Children. “Researchers and data experts at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin say a new database will help doctors treat children with asthma, while helping parents better understand how to reduce the frequency of attacks. With funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, a team at the Dell Medical School at UT Austin is trying to help patients and doctors track and mitigate environmental conditions that trigger asthma attacks.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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