Hong Kong Textbooks, Women in Jazz Media, South Africa Expertise, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, December 14, 2020

I don’t usually cover outages but this one is so large I think it merits a mention. TechCrunch: Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs and other services go down simultaneously in multiple countries. “Not much more to update yet but we’re seeing and getting word from others that multiple Google services have gone down. Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive and Google Docs are all experiencing outages, with dozens, even hundreds, of reports we’ve seen so far coming in from across Europe, the US, Canada, India, South Africa, countries in Central and South America, Australia and likely more.”


Hong Kong Free Press: Activist sets up online archive to highlight ‘political’ editing of Hong Kong school textbooks. “A pro-democracy activist and his newly-founded group Education Breakthrough have set up an online archive dedicated to highlighting what they describe as politically motivated changes to Hong Kong school textbooks aimed at showing China in a better light.”

Jazz Journal: Women in Jazz Media to support female writers. “Fiona Ross, a singer and jazz writer, has set up the Women in Jazz Media group to raise the profile of women who work in jazz media – journalists, photographers, publishers and editors – and encourage greater female participation.”

CapeTalk 567AM: Help boost women’s voices in the media with this innovative database. “In South Africa, like almost everywhere else in the world, statistics show that a woman is interviewed in the news as an expert only once for every four times that a man is. Less than 20% of sources quoted in the news are women, says NPO Quote This Woman +. In order to change that reality, Quote This Woman + was born, a group of volunteers that curated a database of women experts that journalists can access when they’re looking for somebody to quote, and to help close the gender gap.”


Ghacks: Google tests Chrome Labs feature in Chrome to promote experimental browser features. “Google is running an experiment currently in the company’s Chrome web browser to promote certain experimental features to users of the browser. Experienced users know that they may activate experiments on the chrome://flags page; problem is, there are a lot of them and it is quite difficult to keep an overview and stay up to date with recent additions or changes.”


Popular Science: Your guide to every Google app’s privacy settings. “It’s difficult to avoid Google apps, but using them doesn’t necessarily mean handing over all your data and online activity to the tech giant—you can still work within the Google ecosystem while maintaining a respectable level of privacy. Your options vary depending on the app you’re using, but Google also provides a central dashboard you can use to see the information it holds about you—and wipe it from the record.”

MakeUseOf: How to Make Pixel Art: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide. “Pixel art is a form of digital art that was born from the need to communicate imagery on the limited storage space of 8 or 16-bit computers and video game consoles. Sometimes, the process of creating pixel art is called ‘spriting,’ which comes from the word “sprite.” This is a computer graphics term used to describe a two-dimensional bitmap that is integrated into a larger scene (usually a video game). Are you interested in creating some pixel art of your own? Here’s everything you need to know to get started.”


Wall Street Journal: In India, Facebook Fears Crackdown on Hate Groups Could Backfire on Its Staff. “Adherents of Bajrang Dal, which has been deemed a militant religious organization by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, have been convicted of hate crimes and religiously motivated killings, and some Facebook communities devoted to it celebrate images of people beaten or killed for their alleged offenses against Hinduism. There were more than 5.5 million interactions this year from a handful of groups and pages devoted to Bajrang Dal, according to data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned analytics tool.”


Bleeping Computer: Hackers can use WinZip insecure server connection to drop malware. “WinZip is currently at version 25 but earlier releases check the server for updates over an unencrypted connection, a weakness that could be exploited by a malicious actor. Martin Rakhmanov of Trustwave SpiderLabs captured the traffic from a vulnerable version of the tool to show that unencrypted communication.”

Seattle Times: US looking into possible computer hacks of federal agencies. “Hackers got into computers at the U.S. Treasury Department and possibly other federal agencies, touching off a government response involving the National Security Council. Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot said Sunday that the government is aware of reports about the hacks. ‘We are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation,’ he wrote in an email.”


Slate: Facebook Kowtowed to Conservatives and Got Nothing in Return. “Facebook has spent much of the past four years kowtowing to conservatives, treating right-wing news outlets with kid gloves even as they flouted its rules and spread disinformation, while bending over backward to avoid offending the Trump administration. By almost all accounts, the company hoped that playing nice would stave off any kind of serious regulatory crackdown on its business, or at least spare it some angry presidential tweets (while, of course, keeping Republican eyeballs glued to its news feed). This strategy seems to have failed rather badly.”


Ars Technica: Stroll down memory lane with this 1996 instructional video on How To Internet. “The Internet Archive’s extensive library is a veritable treasure trove of digital content, including media from now-defunct formats like VHS, with the goal of preserving our cultural heritage. Case in point: a 1996 video, Everything You Need To Know About… Introduction to the Internet (listed as 95021 in what one assumes is a series), was recently uploaded to the archive.” 1996 is the year my first book came out. I’m old. Get off my lawn. Good morning, Internet…

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