afternoonbuzz

Linux Mint, Twitter, Facebook, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, October 31, 2018

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

BetaNews: Linux Mint 19.1 ‘Tessa’ coming this Christmas. “Not all Christmas gifts need to be physical — sometimes a Linux distribution can be equally rewarding! Case in point, today, we learn Linux Mint 19.1 — which is named ‘Tessa’ — will be released around Christmastime. In addition, the Mint developers have launched an official Patreon account as a new way to get funding from users. More importantly, there are some significant upcoming improvements to the Cinnamon desktop environment.”

BuzzFeed News: Twitter Just Launched A Midterms Page And It’s Already Surfacing Trolls And False, Hyperpartisan News. “In the first major election cycle since the 2016 presidential campaign, which was marred by foreign actors and disinformation campaigns on social platforms, companies like Facebook and Twitter are under more pressure than ever to clean up their networks and surface more truthful, newsworthy content. And while many tweets featured on Twitter’s new midterms page come from the verified accounts of political candidates and journalists, there are also quite a few from known conspiracy theorists; users promoting disinformation about candidates; and accounts with few followers, no profile photos, and low tweet counts — all signs of bot or spam accounts.”

CNET: Facebook sees stagnating sales and user growth. “Facebook’s string of scandals are taking a toll on the tech firm’s business. Facebook’s business first showed signs of cracking in July, when the company reported second-quarter sales that missed Wall Street estimates, gave a weak revenue forecast for future quarters and said the number of users in Europe had declined. The news sent Facebook’s stock free-falling nearly 25 percent in after-hours trading.”

Make Tech Easier: Google Recaptcha Gets an Update with No Verification Tasks. “There isn’t anyone who visits websites regularly on the Internet who hasn’t encountered a Google Recaptcha one too many times. It can be annoying when you just want to get to a website and are stopped by the pop-up asking you to check a box, type in a word, or solve a puzzle to prove you’re human. The good news is that Google has updated the system to Recaptcha v3, a system that requires no participation on the part of the visitor to the website.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: Take Full Advantage of Google Docs With These 11 Add-Ons. “Simplicity has always remained one of the key factors behind Google Docs’ popularity. Today, it is a genuine alternative to Microsoft Word. However, there are times when you want your word processor to go that extra mile. That’s where external add-ons come in. Like these eleven extensions that supercharge your Google Docs experience.”

Lisa Charlotte Rost: One Chart, Nine Tools – Revisited. “2.5 years ago I wrote an article recreating the same bubble chart with 24 different charting tools: twelve charting apps and twelve libraries/frameworks. Afterward, I wrote an article for SOURCE explaining what I had learned during this experiment. During the last 2.5 years, the tool landscape changed. It’s time to look at it again!” Ms. Rost notes that she does work at one of the reviewed tools now, but has strived to be neutral in her judgement.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Oxford Dictionaries: Folksonomies: how to do things with words on social media. “Folksonomy, a portmanteau word for ‘folk taxonomy’, is a term for collaborative tagging: the production of user-created ‘tags’ on social media that help readers to find and sort content. In other words, hashtags: #ThrowbackThursday, #DogLife, #MeToo. Because ordinary people create folksonomy tags, folksonomies include categories devised by small communities, subcultures, or even individuals, not merely those by accepted taxonomic systems like the Dewey Decimal System.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

ZDNet: The police are now using artificial intelligence to spot fake robbery claims. “Law enforcement agencies across Spain have adopted an artificial intelligence (AI) system capable of uncovering fake crime and theft claims. Researchers from Cardiff University and the Charles III University of Madrid developed the AI system, dubbed VeriPol, which uses automatic text analysis and machine learning to identify false statements.”

Nieman Lab: A massive Facebook group — made up almost entirely of women — is helping to solve a case gripping Australia. “Most Americans have never heard of Keli Lane or of her baby, Tegan, who disappeared in 1996 when she was only two days old. But the case of Lane — and her murder conviction in 2011, though no body or hard evidence was ever found — has gripped Australia for years. It’s now the subject of a three-part Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary — and a Facebook group that, in around two weeks, has grown to 29,000 members focused on one goal: finding out what actually happened to Tegan. Lane, who is in prison with a chance of parole in 2023, insists that she handed over the baby to her biological father in the hospital’s lobby after her birth, and believes that she’s still alive.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

New York Times: Your Kid’s Apps Are Crammed With Ads. “Many developers market apps for children as being educational. So Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician who wrote the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for children and media, wanted to check that out. ‘One of my big concerns about why apps might not be educational was because of the presence of distracting features such as banner ads that sit along the top of the screen and which contain stimuli that are irrelevant to the learning objective,’ Dr. Radesky said. ‘And we were expecting to see those.’ She was not expecting all the rest.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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