Snapchat, Arcade Games, Tech Industry News, More: Wednesday Buzz, September 26, 2018


AdWeek: Snapchat Is Partnering With Amazon to Test a Visual Search Tool . “Snapchat is rolling out a new tool to let users identify objects in real life and then buy them on Amazon. The companies are announcing a partnership for a ‘visual search’ feature, which will let users point Snapchat’s camera app at items to find them within the ecommerce giant’s inventory.”

Internet Archive: Over 1,100 New Arcade Machines Added to the Internet Arcade. “The Internet Arcade, our collection of working arcade machines that run in the browser, has gotten a new upgrade in its 4th year. Advancements by both the MAME emulator team and the Emscripten conversion process allowed our team to go through many more potential arcade machines and add them to the site.”

New York Times: News Site to Investigate Big Tech, Helped by Craigslist Founder. “The Markup, dedicated to investigating technology and its effect on society, will be led by two former ProPublica journalists. Craig Newmark gave $20 million to help fund the operation.” I am not a big fan of Craig Newmark, but I think this is a worthy project.


Gizmodo: Get More Out of Your Chromebook by Running Linux Apps. “Chrome OS, itself based on the Linux kernel, can now run Linux apps—the circle is complete. If you’ve got the latest version of Chrome OS, and a fairly new Chromebook, you can now install some of the best applications Linux has to offer. Here’s how to go about it, and why you might do it in the first place.”

Knight Center: Learning materials for popular online course on programming language R are now available. “An online course on the complex programming language R recently ended with more than 3,300 registered students from 131 countries and all instructional materials for the course are now available. The materials are available to the general public and will act as an ongoing resource for those who are interested in learning more about R.”

Make Tech Easier: How to Bulk-Delete Messages from Facebook Messenger. “How far back does your Facebook message history go? If you’re a millennial, maybe elementary school – not exactly the pinnacle of your intellectual life. Regardless of age, though, scrolling through your Messenger history can be cringeworthy. However, Facebook doesn’t really make deleting conversations a primary part of its messaging feature – they just naturally slide to the bottom as the chats fall into disuse, and the actual deletion function they’ve actually built in is painfully slow. Luckily, there are some browser extensions that can help you clean out your inbox a little faster.”


Bloomberg: Inside a Failed Silicon Valley Attempt to Reinvent Politics. “The comedian Samantha Bee kicked off the new season of her TBS show, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, last week by introducing a smartphone trivia app designed to spark voter registration. Bee copped to being a tech novice, and laid out her insecurities about her first product launch in a media preview. ‘We don’t have a clue if it’s going to succeed or fail,’ she admitted from the stage. Sure enough, Bee’s app — This is Not a Game: The Game — crashed almost immediately, and was broken for days. It’s back online, and so declaring it a failure for Bee is premature. But it sure didn’t reflect well on Win The Future, the group that developed the game for her.”

Chicago Tribune: We tried out the new, Instagram-friendly wndr museum, now open in the West Loop. “At the new, pop-up wndr museum, capital letters are optional. So are vowels. But you had darned well better bring your camera. The museum is the newest Chicago iteration of a burgeoning nationwide genre, the ephemeral destination designed primarily to provide compelling backdrops for photographs that people will post on social media, proving to their jealous and/or supportive friends that they’ve been to that new place with the compelling photographic backdrops — and looked amazing doing so.”

Africa Newsroom: In Ethiopia, mobile internet cut in the capital amid clashes and protests. “The Committee to Protect Journalists today urged Ethiopian authorities to ensure internet is available, including during times of unrest when access to information provided by journalists is crucial. Mobile internet was unavailable in the capital Addis Abba, from September 17 to the morning of September 19 amid protests and clashes, according to media reports and Berhan Taye, who leads Access Now’s #KeepItOn campaign against internet shutdowns, which CPJ is part of.”


CNET: Facebook content moderators are suffering from PTSD, lawsuit claims . “A new lawsuit alleges Facebook fails to protect moderators who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after viewing violent and disturbing content people attempt to post on the social network.”


The Next Web: Artificial intelligence hates the poor and disenfranchised. “The biggest actual threat faced by humans, when it comes to AI, has nothing to do with robots. It’s biased algorithms. And, like almost everything bad, it disproportionately affects the poor and marginalized.”

Science Blog: Researchers Develop Algorithm To Automatically Generate Multiple-Choice Exam Responses. “Teachers, rejoice. A team of Penn State researchers has developed a way to make multiple-choice exam questions easier for instructors to create, yet more intellectually challenging for test-takers. Utilizing machine-learning ranking models, the researchers have proposed a method that automatically generates ‘distractors,’ which are the alternative options used to distract students from the correct answer in a multiple-choice question.” Good morning, Internet…

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