afternoonbuzz

Gmail Searching, Facebook, In-Home WiFi, More: Monday Mid-Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 24, 2020

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

TechCrunch: Gmail’s new filters make it easier to search your email. “Gmail’s search is getting a significant update that will allow users to more easily narrow results to help them find a specific email. Before today, users could type in search filters by hand (e.g. label:work, has:attachment, from:marketing@company.com, etc.) or use the drop-down box to perform an advanced search. But these options were less obvious, cumbersome and therefore under-utilized by many Gmail users. With the upgraded version of Gmail search, new filters — which Google calls ‘search chips’ — will appear directly below the search box for simple, one-click access.”

BetaNews: Facebook will pay you for your voice recordings. “If you feel you should be able to benefit financially from sharing information with Facebook, there’s some good news: the company is willing to pay you for your voice recordings. The scheme is part of the social network’s Pronunciations program, and it sees Facebook trying to improve its speech recognition capabilities. But if you’re hoping to get rich, you might be a little disappointed.” No. No. A thousand times no.

USEFUL STUFF

Ars Technica: Ten rules for … placing your Wi-Fi access points. Ars Technica is being cute in the headline. Often ASCII text does not work with cute headlines. So the cute part has been removed. “Here at Ars, we’ve spent a lot of time covering how Wi-Fi works, which kits perform the best, and how upcoming standards will affect you. Today, we’re going to go a little more basic: we’re going to teach you how to figure out how many Wi-Fi access points (APs) you need, and where to put them.”

MakeUseOf: 6 Awesome No-Code Resources to Build Apps and Websites Without Programming. “The idea behind the no-code movement is to allow non-engineers to build a great product. These are specialized tools to develop anything you want, and you don’t need any coding knowledge or experience whatsoever. There’s a similar other low-code movement which relies on minimal coding experience. The no-code philosophy is all about empowering non-techies to enter the world of technology. You can’t escape smartphones or the internet, but you don’t have to hire developers or learn coding to get into them.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

New Statesman America: The noise of time. “The British Library Sound Archive preserves millions of audio recordings for future generations. But what does the past sound like – and can listening to it help us understand history better?”

SECURITY & LEGAL

New York Times: Your Doorbell Camera Spied on You. Now What?. “Based on the gaping security holes in this home security product, I personally wouldn’t recommend buying a Ring device. Yet millions of the cameras, which range from about $100 to $500, have been sold, and tens of thousands of customers have left glowing reviews for Ring products on Amazon…. I tested a Ring peephole camera, which involved installing the device on my door and creating an account with an email address and a password, to come up with a guide to ensuring your surveillance camera does not turn into a device that surveils you.”

Engadget: Carnegie Mellon built an ‘opt-out’ system for nearby tracking devices. “It’s getting easier to control what your smart home devices share, but what about the connected devices beyond your home? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab think they can give you more control. They’ve developed an infrastructure and matching mobile app (for Android and iOS) that not only informs you about the data nearby Internet of Things devices are collecting, but lets you opt in or out. If you’re not comfortable that a device in the hallway is tracking your presence, you can tell it to forget you.”

Krebs on Security: Hackers Were Inside Citrix for Five Months. “Networking software giant Citrix Systems says malicious hackers were inside its networks for five months between 2018 and 2019, making off with personal and financial data on company employees, contractors, interns, job candidates and their dependents. The disclosure comes almost a year after Citrix acknowledged that digital intruders had broken in by probing its employee accounts for weak passwords.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Mashable: Relying on crowdfunding to pay health bills? It’s more common than you might think.. “Researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago recently conducted a survey to learn about the prevalence of crowdfunding health campaigns. It turns out that a large swath of the American public — approximately 50 million, or 20 percent of Americans — have contributed to these sorts of campaigns. What’s more, eight million Americans have started a campaign to help pay for medical expenses for themselves or someone in their household, while 12 million had started a campaign for someone else. According to the researchers’ survey, that’s three percent and five percent, respectively.”

Phys .org: How a ‘no raw data, no science’ outlook can resolve the reproducibility crisis in science. “When we look for reliable sources of information, we turn to studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. But in some cases, researchers find it difficult to reproduce the results of certain studies, and often their findings turn out to be different from the original ones—even when the same methods and procedures are used—thereby making the study unreliable. This discrepancy is called a ‘reproducibility crisis’—or the inability of scientific findings to be replicated by other researchers.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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