The Pierrotters, Twttr, Excel LAMBDA, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, December 5, 2020

Hi. In case you didn’t see my notes on social media, my Granny’s in the hospital. (It’s not COVID but PLEASE wear a mask.) My mother’s with her today and I’m going back tonight if I need to. Posts will be as I have time to do them. Love you much.


University of Exeter: Twitter finally shuts down its abandoned prototype app twttr. “Twitter is shutting down its experimental app twttr, which the company had used publicly to prototype new features back in 2019. The app was first introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2019, then launched to testers that March. Its primary focus had been on trying out new designs for threaded conversations, including things like how to branch replies, apply labels and color-code responses, among other things. Some of those tests eventually turned into Twitter features and the twttr app was no longer being used.”

The Register: The nightmare is real: ‘Excel formulas are the world’s most widely used programming language,’ says Microsoft. “Microsoft will let users create custom functions in Excel using the number wrangler’s own formula language….Dubbed LAMBDA, the feature (currently rolling out to beta customers) will be a lifesaver for anyone charged with maintaining herds of increasingly complicated spreadsheets, who have doubtlessly been wondering how it could be that Excel was missing such a seemingly obvious ability for so many decades.”

VRFocus: 3D Object Library Google Poly Is Shutting Down. “Google informed all Poly users by email yesterday, saying that: ‘Poly will be shutting down forever on 30 June 2021.’ The ability to upload will be disabled on 30 April 2021 with users advised to download their entire library or individual assets by that final date, as they’ll likely lose all their work otherwise.”


BetaNews: Watch 20 James Bond movies for FREE on YouTube. “MGM has removed the paywall from its channel allowing access to all of the films from Dr. No to Die Another Day. That takes us up to the end of Pierce Brosnan’s tenure, and doesn’t include any of Daniel Craig’s films.”

Vogue: 28 must-see exhibitions in 2021, and how you can experience them from home. “In these uncertain times, exhibition dates are prone to shift, opening hours may alter and all gallery visits require advance bookings. With travel limited for now, most of the shows listed below will be accompanied by a rich programme of talks, events and exhibition material online.”


USA Today: What’s the top word of 2020? ‘Pandemic,’ Merriam-Webster declares. “The word took on urgent specificity in March, when the coronavirus outbreak was designated a pandemic, but it started to trend up on as early as January and again in February when the first U.S. deaths and outbreaks on cruise ships occurred.”

New York Times: Guns, Drugs and Viral Content: Welcome to Cartel TikTok. “Tiger cubs and semiautomatic weapons. Piles of cash and armored cars. Fields of poppies watered to the sound of ballads glorifying Mexican drug cartel culture. This is the world of Cartel TikTok, a genre of videos depicting drug trafficking groups and their activities that is racking up hundreds of thousands of views on the popular social media platform.”


Reuters: Google violated U.S. labor laws in clampdown on worker organizing, regulator says. “The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint on Wednesday accusing Alphabet Inc’s Google of unlawfully monitoring and questioning several workers who were then fired for protesting against company policies and trying to organize a union.”

BNN Bloomberg: Google set to win EU approval for Fitbit takeover next week. “Google is set to win conditional European Union approval for its US$2.1 billion takeover of health tracker Fitbit Inc. this month, people familiar with the discussions said.”

Fortune: As libraries fight for access to e-books, a new copyright champion emerges. “A long running battle over copyright has flared up again, and Lila Bailey is at the center of it. A personable 43-year-old with degrees in philosophy and law, Bailey is the chief lawyer for the Internet Archive, a non-profit facing a major lawsuit from big publishers over how it lends out e-books.”


Outside: How eBird Changed Birding Forever. “Over the past two decades, eBird has become the go-to online platform for scientists and hobbyists alike to upload and share bird observations. But it has also transformed the process and etiquette of birding.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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