Vivaldi Browser, Google’s Link Shortener, AI Apps, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 1, 2019

ResearchBuzz does not “do” April Fools Day. There should be nothing in here that’s fake/wrong/etc. If there is, please let me know that I got snookered and I’ll take it down. It’s not because I don’t have a sense of humor, but because deliberately promoting false information these days feels like a really bad idea.


CNET: Vivaldi mobile browser due in 2019 — but no ad blocking. “Jon Von Tetzchner doesn’t need to crush Google Chrome. If he can get a few million people to use his Vivaldi browser, that should suffice. The chief executive of browser maker Vivaldi Technologies — and previously leader and co-founder of Opera, too — leads an effort to build a browser with an ultimately configurable interface so people can set it up just how they like it.”

Ubergizmo: Google’s Link Shortener Bites The Dust. “Google launched its official link shortener some ten years ago in December of 2009. The link shortener was supposed to be used with the Google Toolbar and Feedburner. The need for link shortening services has declined over the past few years so it’s no surprise that the company has decided to sunset the service.” I’m getting a little worried about Feedburner…


Gizmodo UK: 5 Awesome AI Experiences You Can Test Out in Your Browser Right Now. “Artificial intelligence is already everywhere, and its influence is growing. It can be hard to get your head around exactly what AI does and how it can be deployed though, which is why we present to you these five fun online experiments—all you need is a web browser and a few minutes to see some of the party tricks AI is already capable of.”


Rolling Stone: I Spent a Week on TikTok and All I Got Was a New Phone Addiction. “TikTok is the first buzzy app to make me feel really, truly old, which sucks for more reasons than the growing realizations that come with aging: TikTok is simply unavoidable now. If you’re on Twitter, you probably see the app’s Vine-like videos retweeted on your timeline at least once a day. On Instagram, your friends have most likely posted some of their favorites TikToks to their stories. The app is currently serving as a sort of meme incubator, producing videos and in-jokes that become internet lingua franca in a matter of days, can turn songs into overnight hits, and make celebrities out of pre-teens (as long as you’re not, like me, too old to know what’s going on and to whom all pre-teens look the same).”

Fort Worth Texas: How cities (like Fort Worth) can use Google Street View to measure change. “A new effort to track street-level changes in cities is using a widely available tool to gather information: Google Street View. Taking the time to view online maps and click on specific areas or blocks to trigger 360-degree views — and then compare those views to snapshots taken in previous years — can teach a lot about year-over-year changes to a street, without requiring the user to actually visit in person. This effort was showcased at a SXSW 2019 session in Austin featuring the coauthor of a major study on the subject, as well as Fort Worth City Councilmember Ann Zadeh, who represents District 9. She is putting these ideas into action at the local level.”

DigitalNC: Digital Collections OCR: What it is, and what it isn’t.. “At the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, we scan and store digital heritage materials as images. When we notice that an image contains printed text–documents, posters, ledgers, scrapbooks, and more–we also run it through OCR software. Without OCR, text shown in images is ‘locked’ inside them; with OCR we can leverage the power of full text search to help people discover relevant images a little better than before.”


TechCrunch: 20 years for swatter who got a man killed . “Tyler Barriss, a prolific and seemingly unremorseful repeat swatter and bomb hoaxer whose fakery got a man killed in 2017, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. This hopefully closes the book on a long and disturbing career of random and mercenary harassment and threats.”

Krebs on Security: A Month After 2 Million Customer Cards Sold Online, Buca di Beppo Parent Admits Breach. “On Feb. 21, 2019, KrebsOnSecurity contacted Italian restaurant chain Buca di Beppo after discovering strong evidence that two million credit and debit card numbers belonging to the company’s customers were being sold in the cybercrime underground. Today, Buca’s parent firm announced it had remediated a 10-month breach of its payment systems at dozens of restaurants, including some locations of its other brands such as Earl of Sandwich and Planet Hollywood.”


Techdirt: What If Google And Facebook Admitted That All This Ad Targeting Really Doesn’t Work That Well?. “Advertisers have been completely sucked into the belief that if you want to get results for your ads, you simply have to throw money at those two giants, and they’ll mix some magic pixie dust with all the data they’ve collected, and voila: perfectly targeted advertising. Everyone get so focused on magic words like ‘big data’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘machine learning’ that they rarely ask the larger question: does any of it actually matter?”

CNRS News: Big Data Boosts Alzheimer’s Research . “A cutting-edge web platform, fed by brain-scan data from thousands of persons of all ages and states of health, now pinpoints the changes in brain structure that mark the onset of Alzheimer’s in humans under 40, long before any signs of its characteristic memory disorders.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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