Texas Floods, Medium, TikTok, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, August 13, 2021


Texas Water Newsroom: provides information on emergency preparation for and recovery from flood events . “The redesign or refresh of our website is focused on making it easier to use, easier to understand the information. All Texans don’t have the ability to access information in the same way. And so we want to make it as broadly accessible to everybody in Texas as easily as possible…. We provide real-time estimates of what might be happening for a particular storm. And so you can look that up on a map view to see, okay, you know, storm front’s coming—what are the chances of the extensive flooding in a specific area? We also provide mapping information that shows, just in general, what the risks are.”


TechCrunch: Medium revamps its Partner Program, launching new eligibility requirements and referral bonuses . “Amid a year of editorial pivots and employee exits, Medium announced today that it will make significant changes to its Medium Partner Program, which allows writers on the platform to monetize their content.”

KnowTechie: TikTok will now stop sending your kids distracting notifications after 9pm. “TikTok is one of the most popular apps in the world, and recently the company has made an effort to make it a safer place for teens and kids. Now, that is expanding even more. Announced this week, the social giant is releasing a handful of features that are intended to keep kids safer on the platform, as well as a new feature that should help minimize their pop-up notifications at night.”


Lifehacker: Check These Settings Before You Lose Your iPhone so You Can Find It Later. “It sucks when you end up losing your iPhone. Maybe you forgot it at the cafe, or it was stolen from the train station. Fortunately, it can be easy to track your iPhone (as long as it’s juiced up, and active). And if you already have a passcode enabled, the Find My iPhone feature is enabled automatically. Here’s how to find your lost or stolen iPhone.”


PetaPixel: Glass is a Subscription-Based Photo Sharing App for Photographers. “In the light of Instagram’s recent statement that it is no longer a photo-sharing app, a new photography-focused, subscription-based community app has launched to support the art of photography through a distraction-free experience. Fresh out of its private beta, Glass is live in the App Store, but is currently only available to iOS users.”

CNN: Social media and messaging apps appear to be shutdown in Zambia on election day, Facebook says. “Social media and messaging apps, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter, appeared to be shutdown in Zambia on Thursday as the country voted in presidential and parliamentary elections, according to a Facebook spokesperson.”


Motherboard: Google Bans Location Data Firm Funded by Former Saudi Intelligence Head. “Google has banned SafeGraph, a location data firm whose investors include a former head of Saudi intelligence, Motherboard has learned. The ban means that any apps working with SafeGraph had to remove the offending location gathering code from their apps. SafeGraph markets its data to government entities and a wide range of industries, but it also sells the data on the open market to essentially anyone.”

BBC: Google search led to arrest of cleared campaigner. “Police suspected Robert Hutchinson had breached the Computer Misuse Act by downloading board meeting minutes and other documents he found online. Mr Hutchinson says the Leathermarket Community Benefit Society (CBS) documents were publicly accessible. After an investigation, police found no offences had been committed.”


Tech Xplore: Teaching AI to see depth in photographs and paintings . “Researchers in SFU’s Computational Photography Lab hope to give computers a visual advantage that we humans take for granted—the ability to see depth in photographs. While humans naturally can determine how close or far objects are from a single point of view, like a photograph or a painting, it’s a challenge for computers—but one they may soon overcome.”

EFF: It’s Time for Google to Resist Geofence Warrants and to Stand Up for Its Affected Users. “Authorities send Google geofence warrants precisely because Google’s devices, operating system, apps, and other products allow it to collect data from millions of users and to catalog these users’ locations, movements, associations, and other private details of their lives. Although Google has sometimes pushed back in court on the breadth of some of these warrants, it has largely acquiesced to law enforcement demands—and the number of geofence warrants law enforcement sends to the company has dramatically increased in recent years. This stands in contrast to documented instances of other companies resisting law enforcement requests for user data on Fourth Amendment grounds.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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