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Infer .NET, Bing Political Ads, Inktober, More: Saturday Buzz, October 6, 2018

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The Register: Microsoft open-sources Infer.NET AI code just in time for the weekend . “The sharing of Microsoft’s toys continued today with the open-sourcing of its model-based machine-learning framework, Infer.NET. A team at Microsoft’s research centre in Cambridge, UK, kicked off development of the framework in 2004, and it was released for academic use in 2008. In Microsoft’s brave new world of AI, the technology has found itself evolving into a machine-learning engine and creeping into Office and Azure as well as gaming applications on Xbox.”

Search Engine Land: Bing votes ‘no’ on political candidate and ballot measure ads. “Bing’s decision to block U.S. political candidate and ballot measure ads impacts any U.S. candidate or political organization as they will not be able to run advertising campaigns on the country’s second most popular search engine. ‘The regulatory environment for political candidate and ballot measure advertising is likely to continue to evolve rapidly in the coming months, making it complex to adhere with precision,’ wrote Microsoft’s VP of global partner service for advertising sales, Kya Sainsbury-Carter, on the Bing Search blog.”

Flickr Blog: NOW OPEN – Flickr Inktober 2018. “Are you participating in the Inktober 31 days, 31 drawings challenge? We have a group for you! The Flickr Inktober group is now open to challenge submissions. As in previous years, we are encouraging illustrators and sketch artists from all over the world to share one ink drawing a day during the entire month of October.”

USEFUL STUFF

Copyblogger: The Copyblogger Guide to the Best WordPress Tools: Hosting, Themes, Plugins, SEO, Security, and More. “Copyblogger launched on WordPress. Copyblogger principal Brian Gardner started the entire WordPress premium market back in 2007, and Copyblogger founder Brian Clark popularized the first premium design framework in 2008. With this foundational expertise, Copyblogger knows WordPress as well as anyone. We know which hosts, themes, and plugins you should trust to power your website — and which ones you shouldn’t.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

ABC News: Dollhouse design is thriving thanks to social media. “[Reagan] Baker is part of a growing community of dollhouse hobbyists — mostly young women — who build, rehab and decorate miniature houses. Some work on dollhouses for their children and some, like Baker, just as a creative outlet. Many turn to Instagram — for instance #dollhousereno or #moderndollhouse — to share their progress and find inspiration. They are catered to by online shops specializing in accessories like miniature wall art , vintage furniture and tiny faux plants.”

Washington Post: That Facebook group you joined years ago? It might now be supporting Brett Kavanaugh.. “To the naked eye, thousands of users on Facebook are backing Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. But some of the groups that seem to advocate for his Senate confirmation — and others that defend Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in the 1980s — amassed their followers months or years before Washington’s most politically charged controversy unfolded, according to Facebook’s records, offering yet another sign that public outcry on social media isn’t exactly what it appears to be.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Xinhua: Email passwords of prominent Norwegians leaked online: report. “About 1.4 billion passwords, some of which belong to prominent Norwegians, were leaked in searchable database by an international group of online activists, newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday.”

Engadget: California bans default passwords on any internet-connected device. “In less than two years, anything that can connect to the internet will come with a unique password — that is, if it’s produced or sold in California. The ‘Information Privacy: Connected Devices’ bill that comes into effect on January 1, 2020, effectively bans pre-installed and hard-coded default passwords. It only took the authorities about two weeks to approve the proposal made by the state senate.”

Krebs on Security: Voice Phishing Scams Are Getting More Clever. “Most of us have been trained to be wary of clicking on links and attachments that arrive in emails unexpected, but it’s easy to forget scam artists are constantly dreaming up innovations that put a new shine on old-fashioned telephone-based phishing scams. Think you’re too smart to fall for one? Think again: Even technology experts are getting taken in by some of the more recent schemes (or very nearly).”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Motherboard: Scientist Published Papers Based on ‘Rick and Morty’ to Expose Predatory Academic Journals. “Scientists have discovered a way to use magnets to fight back against intergalactic parasites. The trick is that it only works in the Zyrgion simulation. In a paper published in several scientific journals, Newer Tools to Fight Inter-Galactic Parasites and Their Transmissibility in Zyrgion Simulation, leading scientist Beth Smith laid out research describing a new method to fight the terrible parasites that live by implanting false memories in their hosts. That is, of course, bullshit.”

ZDNet: Shut Facebook and Twitter down for 6 weeks before elections. “We’re living in times where draconian solutions are popular. So I have one. How about shutting down Facebook and Twitter for 6 weeks before elections? Some countries, such as New Zealand, have all sorts of rules about election day itself. Some countries limit the length of election campaigns to as little as six weeks. In India, there can be no public meetings or election processions 48 hours before an election.”

Communications of the ACM: Building the Universal Archive of Source Code. “Software source code is a precious, unique form of knowledge. It can be readily translated into a form executable by a machine, and yet it is human readable: Harold Abelson wrote ‘Programs must be written for humans to read,’1 and source code is the preferred form for modification of software artifacts by developers.3 Quite differently from other forms of knowledge, we have grown accustomed to use version-control systems that trace source code development, and provide precious insight into its evolution. As Len Shustek puts it, ‘Source code provides a view into the mind of the designer.’4 And yet, we have not been taking good care of this precious form of knowledge.” Good morning, Internet…

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