Indiana University Herbarium, Facebook, University of California, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, April 13, 2019


Indiana University: Indiana University Herbarium completes massive plant digitization project. “Indiana University has completed work to make publicly available its collection of more than 160,000 preserved plant specimens, including over 72,000 specimens representing Indiana flora.”


Engadget: Facebook delays its ‘Clear History’ tool yet again. “Last year at F8, one of Mark Zuckerberg’s major announcements was ‘Clear History,’ which was touted as a way for Facebook users to have the ability to delete their account history. It was promised to arrive last year, and then was delayed until ‘spring 2019.’ Unfortunately, however, it’s apparently been delayed even further. At an event at Facebook today to go over the company’s latest integrity efforts, VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said that the ‘Clear History’ feature has been pushed to fall of this year.”

Berkeley: Post-Elsevier breakup, new publishing agreement ‘a win for everyone’. “Six weeks after ending negotiations with academic publishing giant Elsevier, the University of California announced today that it’s entered into its first open access agreement with a major publisher — Cambridge University Press. The agreement maintains UC’s full access to all scholarly journal articles published by Cambridge University Press and also provides open access publishing in those journals to authors on all 10 UC campuses.”

BetaNews: April’s Patch Tuesday updates are causing Windows to freeze. “If you installed the latest batch of patches from Microsoft this week and found that your computer started to freeze up or fail to boot, you are not alone. The problem is affecting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, and stems from a compatibility issue with antivirus software.”

Mashable: Apple finally lets users listen to podcasts directly on the web . “Apple is giving its podcast web pages a much needed update. The Cupertino-based company is rolling out newly designed web pages for all shows available via Apple Podcasts. One of the most notable changes? Users will finally be able to listen to podcast episodes directly, right on the Apple Podcast web pages for each show.” Long overdue.


MakeUseOf: 10 IFTTT Google Assistant Recipes to Boost Productivity. “Staying productive is hard. Often, the sheer number of tools that we choose to use in the name of efficiency has a detrimental effect. That’s why services like IFTTT are so essential. They can remove the need for manual input, instead letting you automate large parts of your workflow. Today, it’s time to put Google Assistant under the microscope. How can IFTTT and Google Assistant work in tandem to make you more productive? Let’s take a look at 10 Google Assistant recipes on IFTTT.”

MakeTechEasier: How to Download Entire Websites for Offline Use. “Wi-Fi seems to be available pretty much anywhere. In addition, mobile data plans are becoming increasingly generous and speedy. However, there are occasions where you may be caught without access to the Internet. Anyone who flies knows the pain of a flight without Wi-Fi. Fortunately, if you’re stuck in a situation that bars access to the World Wide Web, there is a way to access your favorite website. All you need to do is download it. Downloading an entire website is also handy for those who want to archive a site in case it goes down.”


Los Angeles Times: Procter & Gamble puts digital ad platforms like Facebook and Google on notice. “In a speech at an industry conference Thursday, P&G’s chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, blasted the digital media industry for lack of transparency, fraud, privacy breaches and a proliferation of violent and harmful content placed next to ads. He said his company, which spends billions of dollars every year marketing products from paper towels to shampoo, would move its money to services that can guarantee effectiveness, are completely free of offensive content and are more willing to share consumer data with advertisers.” I was right there with him until that last bit.

Rantt Media: Mayor Pete’s Media-Made Moment. “If you were to ask someone who specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) what the most important aspect of driving traffic to a site is they would reply with one word – keywords. Simply put, keywords are the end-all-be-all when it comes to building an audience on the web. The more keywords you rank for, the easier it is for potential readers to discover you on search engines. The easier it is for people to discover you on search engines the likelier they are to click your link. And finally, the likelier people are to click your link, the better chances you’ll have that some of them click an ad on your site that makes you money. Right now, Pete Buttigieg is THE keyword for news publications to be ranking for.” It’s far too early for me to be thinking about which candidate I want to support in 2020 — I am still listening to them and fact gathering. And I like Mr. Buttigieg fine, if only because he has a brain in his head and appears to make the most of it. But I haven’t seen any other story make this point: when companies chase SEO, this kind of focus on a name for clicks, and when they get clicks for a name they devote even MORE focus to it — it generates this kind of attention tornado that drowns other names out, no matter what the intention of the search engine or ranking algorithm.


New York Times: The Privacy Project. “Companies and governments are gaining new powers to follow people across the internet and around the world, and even to peer into their genomes. The benefits of such advances have been apparent for years; the costs — in anonymity, even autonomy — are now becoming clearer. The boundaries of privacy are in dispute, and its future is in doubt. Citizens, politicians and business leaders are asking if societies are making the wisest tradeoffs. The Times is embarking on this months long project to explore the technology and where it’s taking us, and to convene debate about how it can best help realize human potential.”

Ars Technica: Serious flaws leave WPA3 vulnerable to hacks that steal Wi-Fi passwords. “The next-generation Wi-Fi Protected Access protocol released 15 months ago was once hailed by key architects as resistant to most types of password-theft attacks that threatened its predecessors. On Wednesday, researchers disclosed several serious design flaws in WPA3 that shattered that myth and raised troubling new questions about the future of wireless security, particularly among low-cost Internet-of-things devices.”


EurekAlert: New computer model automatically, aesthetically crops photos. “Computers can now automatically crop photos to capture the most interesting part in an aesthetically pleasing manner, thanks to researchers at Penn State.”

CNET: Congress chose to bicker instead of helping fix Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. “Lawmakers this week oversaw six hours of hearings in the House and Senate judiciary committees to discuss the spread of extremism and concerns about censorship on the internet. By the end, after testimony from victims, advocates and even policy people at Facebook, Twitter and Google, there were no major revelations. And there was no agreement about how to move forward. Bupkis.” Good morning, Internet…

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