Medium, Amazon Price Tracking, Musical Chords, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, October 23, 2019


TechCrunch: Medium says it will compensate writers based on reading time, not claps. “Medium is announcing significant changes to its Partner Program, where subscribers pay for access to exclusive content, and the revenue gets split with writers. The biggest change is that writers will now be compensated based ‘primarily’ on reading time, rather than claps.”


Amit Agarwal, of course: How to Use Google Sheets as an Amazon Price Tracker. “The prices of products listed on various Amazon shopping websites may vary every day and a simple Google Spreadsheet can help you monitor these price fluctuations via email. Just add the Amazon items in a spreadsheet and you’ll automatically get email alerts when their prices change on Amazon. You’ll thus never miss the deal again.”

The Verge: Fender’s new app is a giant chord library that integrates with Apple Music. “Fender Songs is a new iOS app from the veteran guitar manufacturer which lets you learn the chords to millions of songs on guitar, piano, or the ukulele. The app is available to download now for iPhone with a rotating selection of chords available for free, and you can get access to its full library with a subscription costing $4.99 a month or $41.99 a year.”


Daily Iowan: UI fossil collection receives 18,000 donated pieces. “UI Earth and Environmental Sciences Collections Manager Tiffany Adrain is in charge of handling the fossil donation. She helped move the 250 boxes of bones this summer with the help of four intrigued students…. [Robert] Wolf documented all of his fossils on index cards and organized them into 22 boxes and two binders. This information will be cross-referenced by professionals and faculty members from the UI and other institutions after it is added to an online database, Adrain said.”

Boston Magazine: How to Sell Drugs and Influence Everyone on Instagram. “Who knew that Instagram was one of the world’s largest open-air drug markets? The true tale of a bodybuilder from Boston’s ’burbs turned social media influencer who built an illicit empire—one outrageous post at a time.” A very long but fascinating read.


ZDNet: Open database leaked 179GB in customer, US government, and military records. “An open database exposing records containing the sensitive data of hotel customers as well as US military personnel and officials has been disclosed by researchers. On Monday, vpnMentor’s cybersecurity team, led by Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, said the database belonged to Autoclerk, a service owned by Best Western Hotels and Resorts group.”

New York Times: China Sharpens Hacking to Hound Its Minorities, Far and Wide. “China’s state-sponsored hackers have drastically changed how they operate over the last three years, substituting selectivity for what had been a scattershot approach to their targets and showing a new determination by Beijing to push its surveillance state beyond its borders.”

Bleeping Computer: Hackers Breach Avast Antivirus Network Through Insecure VPN Profile. “Hackers accessed the internal network of Czech cybersecurity company Avast, likely aiming for a supply chain attack targeting CCleaner. Detected on September 25, intrusion attempts started since May 14. Following an investigation, the antivirus maker determined that the attacker was able to gain access using compromised credentials via a temporary VPN account.”


UNC Libraries: Library to Debut Open Access Pilot with SAGE Publishing. “The University Libraries and SAGE Publishing will enter into a pilot agreement enabling researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to publish open access articles in SAGE journals at no cost to the researcher. Under the agreement, part of the subscription fees that the Library will pay for SAGE content beginning in 2020 will cover the costs of open access publishing for a number of UNC-Chapel Hill authors in SAGE publications. This comes at no additional cost to the Library and will preserve access to all content that the Library currently licenses from SAGE.”

Undark: To Tackle Drug Use, Researchers and People With Addiction Alike Turn to Online Forums. “As the opioid epidemic worsens, claiming about 130 lives a day in 2018 in the United States alone, a cadre of researchers is looking for solutions to addiction and overdoses in the sprawl of drug forums. The researchers say that drug forums on the dark net — a catch-all for internet hubs that are often encrypted or unavailable through regular search engines — along with more mainstream counterparts like Bluelight and drug-related threads on the website Reddit, might be a medical or research tool in their own right.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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