Bing, Siri, Self-Improvement, More: Wednesday Evening ResearchBuzz, February 12, 2020


The Register: It’s a Bing thing: Microsoft drops plans to shove unloved search engine down throats of unsuspecting enterprises. “Microsoft has U-turned on plans to automatically switch browser search defaults to Bing when users install Office 365 Pro Plus. In January, Microsoft let slip its plans to install a browser extension for Chrome that makes Bing the default search engine when users installed or updated Office Pro Plus, a key part of enterprise subscriptions to Office 365.”

TechCrunch: Siri will now answer your election questions. SIRI, WHEN WILL THIS ENDLESS NIGHTMARE BE OVER? “Apple’s built-in voice assistant won’t help you figure out who to vote for, but it will be able to update you on different races around the U.S. during election season as well as deliver live results as votes are counted. The new feature, announced today, is part of Apple News’ 2020 election coverage, which also includes a series of curated news, resources, and data from a variety of sources, with the goal of serving users on both sides of the political spectrum.”


MakeUseOf: The Best YouTube Channels for Self-Improvement and Motivation. “In the quest for self-improvement, you’ll often find yourself in need of inspiration. Self-help books used to be everybody’s go-to resource, but these days, you can get the best motivation from YouTube channels instead. Some of them explain psychological concepts while others pump you up with motivational speeches. Whatever you need for your personal development journey, you can get it from the best self-help YouTube channels below.”


Search Engine Land: Warner Bros. renamed the Harley Quinn movie for better SEO. “The name change is a reminder of the important role search can play in brand marketing strategies — even those of big studio releases. The quick name change came in an attempt to recover from what was a disappointing opening weekend. As we know, though, search doesn’t always move quickly and once something gets published, it can be very difficult to edit it.”

WRAL: Beauty in grief: Durham woman creates 100 days of art from her mother’s funeral flowers. “When Janet Willis’ mom passed away from small cell lung cancer in her 70s, Willis said she felt like she lost more than a mother; she lost a piece of herself. The loss launched her on a 100 day journey, creating art with the dried flower petals saved from her mother’s funeral and sharing her grief experience with her followers.” If the grief wasn’t so overt, you could call her illustrations whimsical. Instead they’re almost unbearably tender. Reminds me a little of Leo Lionni. She’s created an Instagram to share her work.


FBI: FBI Releases the Internet Crime Complaint Center 2019 Internet Crime Report. “The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2019 Internet Crime Report includes information from 467,361 complaints of suspected Internet crime, with reported losses in excess of $3.5 billion. The top three crime types reported by victims in 2019 were phishing/vishing/smishing/pharming, non-payment/non-delivery, and extortion.”

CNET: FTC orders Apple, Google, other tech giants to hand over acquisition info. “The US Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that it sent special orders to five tech giants — Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — requiring them to turn over detailed information about past acquisitions. The FTC said it’ll review the information to ‘examine trends in acquisitions,’ including how firms report transactions and whether companies are making potentially anticompetitive moves.”

TechNadu: Estée Lauder Exposed 440 Million Records in an Unprotected Database. “Specialized researcher and ‘unprotected database’ hunter Jeremiah Fowler, has discovered a pretty massive data leak totaling 440336852 records. The discovery of the database was made on January 30, 2019, and the evidence of the owner being Estée Lauder was all over the place. The records contained highly-sensitive corporate information, network data, user details, etc., all in plaintext form and without any password set up to protect them.”


The Verge: Sundance VR and AR got extremely weird in 2020. “Sundance and other virtual or augmented reality-heavy art events might eventually have to grapple with this issue. Projects are getting longer (10 to 30 minutes, versus five to 10 minutes a few years ago), and many can only handle one or two people at a time. For context, the film festival had over 120,000 attendees. Even if only a fraction visit New Frontier, that means a lot of planning or long waits. It’s part of a bigger VR and AR scaling problem — headsets are niche, relatively rare devices that enthusiasts are still figuring out how to build a medium around.”

New Haven Register: Bills more likely to pass at end of session, data show. “Just 21% of the acts introduced in January 2019 and 18% of the acts introduced in February became law. In contrast, lawmakers enacted 72% of the legislation introduced in June, showing the chances of successfully passing a bill rises dramatically as the session nears its conclusion, The Boston Globe reported.” I just thought it was interesting was all. Good evening, Internet…

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