Versailles, Alexa, Google Assistant, More: Late Night Insomnia Special ResearchBuzz, October 1, 2019


Engadget: Google used photogrammetry to create a detailed VR tour of Versailles. “If you don’t own a Vive or Rift headset (it’s only available on those two platforms for now), Google has also unveiled an online exhibition featuring over 390 assets, including objects, artifacts and paintings. You can go on a private tour of six of the Palace’s most famous rooms, with accompanying audio from historical experts.”


CNET: Amazon bolsters Alexa privacy after user trust takes a hit. “The choice to deviate from Big Tech’s playbook underscores how serious a problem privacy issues have become for voice assistants, particularly Amazon’s Alexa. The list of woes includes news that human reviewers listened to users’ private conversations, a common practice to train digital assistants but one many customers didn’t know about. Amazon’s child-friendly Echo Dot Kids Edition smart speaker has also worried parents over how it uses and stores kids’ data.”


Lifehacker: Organise Your Life With These Google Assistant Hacks. “What’s the point of all these digital assistants, anyway? To make life simpler, of course. The Google Assistant, in particular, can not only help answer life’s burning questions and control smart devices, but it can also act as your very own personal reminder bot.”

Search Engine Journal: 3 Places for SEO Beginners to Focus Their Time . “I’ve been in digital marketing for more than 20 years, so SEO is second nature to me now. But I’ve also put the time into learning SEO and staying up to date. What I’m saying is this: even I had to start somewhere with SEO, and if I can do it, anyone can. Here are three areas of SEO that I suggest you pay attention to as you hone your skills in the craft over time. This list isn’t exhaustive.” A rare argument for the importance of SEO that doesn’t leave me wanting to throw things.


Bangkok Post: Film archive fire caused only ‘limited damage’. “A fire at the Thai Film Archive temporary office in Nakhon Pathom province on Sunday night caused only limited damage to historical footage, and there are copies of all the films, the organisation announced on Monday.”

Texas State Library and Archives Commission Director’s Blog: Why Archives Matter. “Every year this time, the Man Booker Award announces its list of nominees for this prestigious award for the best work of fiction in English from any country. This year’s Booker long list contains two novels that use archives not only as an essential plot device and metaphor, but also as a point of reference in the title.”


CNET: Facebook will have to give UK police access to encrypted messages, report says. “Facebook and its messaging tool WhatsApp will have to give UK police access to users’ encrypted messages under an upcoming treaty with the US, says a Saturday report by Bloomberg, which cites a confidential source. The treaty, which covers other US-based social media platforms as well, would require the sharing in regard to investigations of serious crimes, such as terrorism and pedophilia, Bloomberg said.”

Lexology: Time travel in the Federal Court of Australia – WayBack Machine print-outs admissible* as evidence. “On this basis, there would now seem to be some prospect of getting print-outs of web pages obtained via the WayBack Machine into evidence where: (a) the web pages belong to or are otherwise controlled by a party to the proceedings; and (b) discovery has been sought from that other party and not yielded the content of the web pages.”


Route Fifty: The Problem With the State-Level Investigation of Google. “The revolution in high tech is confronting liberal democracies with some of the most difficult public policy challenges since the Industrial Revolution, and the dawn of artificial intelligence promises far more to come. Antitrust enforcement will remain an important tool—particularly for protection against certain horizontal restraints on trade, such as price-fixing cartels. But in the current global free-for-all of antitrust enforcement against American’s tech giants, how much good can state officials in the U.S. reasonably do? The answer is, for the public, not much, but for themselves, quite a lot.”

Architect Magazine: Architecture Researchers Help Document First Amphitheater Discovered in Europe in 150 Years. “Going forward, the team will turn over the large point cloud data sets of this information to Volterra officials as the municipality undertakes a multiyear, multimillon dollar effort to excavate the structure. The digital maps may help archaeologists relocate roads and drainage to access the amphitheater and to ensure that shifting the existing sediment does not damage ancient walls. With excavation underway, the team plans to return in the fall to continue the digital archiving of the structure.” Good whatever the heck time it is, Internet… what, 1am? Who knows. Beats staring at the ceiling.

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