Web Censorship, Technical Documentation, Windows 10, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, March 14, 2019


Sunlight Foundation: Three attacks on public information highlighted in Gov404, our new Web censorship tracker. “Today the Web Integrity Project (WIP) released Gov404: The Web Integrity Project’s Censorship Tracker. Gov404 is a new tool tracking removals of online resources and reductions in access to content on federal websites, uncovered through our work and the work of others. We hope Gov404 will be a useful resource for researchers and journalists exploring how the federal Web is being altered, sometimes in response to policy shifts, and sometimes not. We’ve highlighted some of the most important trends we’ve found in our Gov404 release post.”


Google Blog: Introducing Season of Docs. “Google Open Source is delighted to announce Season of Docs, a new program which fosters the open source contributions of technical writers. Season of Docs brings technical writers and open source projects together for a few months to work on open source documentation. 2019 is the first time we’re running this exciting new program.”

BetaNews: Windows 10 will automatically uninstall problematic updates. “Updates to Windows are supposed to fix problems and improve security, but sometimes they do the opposite. Many Windows 10 users will have experienced startup problems after installing an update to the operating system, and this is something that Microsoft is looking to address.”

Neowin: Microsoft updates Seeing AI, now lets users explore by touch, and more . “For starters, users are now able to ‘explore’ photos by simply tapping on an image on their touch screen. The description of the objects included in the image will be read out loud, while the spatial relationship between various such entities will be described as well. Photos taken on the Scene channel, stored in the photo browser, or shared on social media can also now be explored through a menu that will be accessible through other apps.”


Mozilla Blog: Introducing Firefox Send, Providing Free File Transfers while Keeping your Personal Information Private. “Send is a free encrypted file transfer service that allows users to safely and simply share files from any browser. Additionally, Send will also be available as an Android app in beta later this week. Now that it’s a keeper, we’ve made it even better, offering higher upload limits and greater control over the files you share.”

MakeUseOf: How to Use Filters on Snapchat Quickly and Easily. “Snapchat filters have grown increasingly popular since their introduction in 2015. But if you’re new to Snapchat, you may be confused about how to use filters on Snapchat. However, once you start, filters can prove addictive. So, how do you use filters on Snapchat? And what’s the difference between filters, geofilters, and lenses? In this article, We explain everything you need to know about using Snapchat filters.”


Forbes: Hey Siri! Could Virtual Assistants Be The Missing Link In Internet Accessibility?. “How many people start their day by saying ‘Alexa, what’s the weather outside today?’ and end it by saying, ‘Hey Siri! Set an alarm for 6:30 in the morning.’? It is predicted that by 2020, almost half of all internet searches will be done by voice. While Voice User Interface (VUI) is simply more convenient for the majority of its users, it could be absolutely game-changing for the millions of illiterate people across Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.”

New Yorker: The Challenge of Preserving the Historical Record of #MeToo. “Around the height of the #MeToo revelations, in the fall of 2017, I interviewed an archivist at a prominent research library for a piece about social-media preservation. It quickly became apparent that he knew less about the subject than I did; he saved Facebook posts by painstakingly copying and pasting them into Word, comment by comment, and manually pressing print. The longer we spoke, the more visibly annoyed he grew by my questions, to which he offered no answers.”

The Verge: The World Wide Web Turns 30: Our Favorite Memories From A To Z. “Over the past 30 years, major portions of the web have come and gone. They’ve made us laugh and cringe, let us waste time and find friends, and reshaped the world in the process. For its anniversary, we’re looking back at some of our favorite websites, from A to Z, as well as some key people and technologies. Of course, there was far too much good stuff to include, so we had to note some additional favorites along the way.”


Techdirt: Much Of The Broadband Growth Ajit Pai Credits To Killing Net Neutrality Was Actually Due To A Clerical Error. “So a few weeks ago we noted how the Ajit Pai FCC has been trying to pretend that some modest recent broadband growth is directly thanks to its unpopular policies — like killing net neutrality. Except a closer look at the report shows the data they used was only accurate up to the tail end of 2017, when net neutrality wasn’t even formally repealed until June of 2018 (read: the growth couldn’t have been due to killing net neutrality yet, because it hadn’t technically happened yet).”

NBC News: Facial recognition’s ‘dirty little secret’: Millions of online photos scraped without consent. “As the algorithms get more advanced — meaning they are better able to identify women and people of color, a task they have historically struggled with — legal experts and civil rights advocates are sounding the alarm on researchers’ use of photos of ordinary people. These people’s faces are being used without their consent, in order to power technology that could eventually be used to surveil them. That’s a particular concern for minorities who could be profiled and targeted, the experts and advocates say.”


Futurism: You’re Hired! This Site Generates Random Neural Network Résumés. “A new website can write your résumé for you in just ten seconds — as long as you don’t mind sending employers a document of totally-made-up information and just a touch of gibberish.” This is very funny but I’m worried some of those “generated” Gmail addresses might be real. Good morning, Internet…

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