Wondering why Facebook is telling you you’ve been friends with someone for 46 years? It’s a bug. “December 31, 1969 is a common bug in tech as it refers the Unix epoch date. The standard Unix date is midnight at January 1st, 1970, so depending on your time zone when the bug hits, computers may often interpret your current date as December 31 of ’69.”
An employee of Russian search engine Yandex apparently stole the engine’s source code and tried to sell it for cheap. “The Kommersant investigation revealed that [Dmitry] Korobov downloaded a piece of software codenamed Arcadia from Yandex’s servers, which contained the source code and algorithms of the company’s search engine. Later on, he tried to sell it to an electronics retailer called NIX, where a friend of his allegedly worked. Korobov also trawled the darknet in search of potential buyers. Korobov put a surprisingly low price on the code and algorithms, asking for just $25,000 and 250,000 Russian rubles, or about £19,000 in total.”
Twitter has finally updated its Mac App. “Ahead of its own deadline of the end of 2015, Twitter has updated its OS X app. The Mac version of the social network has languished for years while mobile apps and the site have received multiple updates. The new and improved version of the app brings features like inline GIF and video support, group DMs, a dark theme, tweet quotes and an updated design.”
The Authors Guild has filed to take Google to the US Supreme Court. “The Authors Guild has officially asked the Supreme Court to hear its case against Google — a long-running dispute over whether copyright law allows for Google to scan and post excerpts from books for its Google Books service. The group filed a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court Thursday.”
Jason Scott (swoon) is kicking us off into 2016 by uploading a ton of pulp magazines to the Internet Archive. There are movie star magazines here, detective/mystery magazines, men’s magazines, humor, etc. Over 2900 items. Zow. Zow zow zow zow zow.
One of the former developers on Yahoo Kids has launched a new children’s search engine called Thinga. “[BJ] Heiney described Thinga as ‘a walled garden.’ Like any search engine, kids can type in the terms that they’re interested in, but all the Thinga results come from the company’s content library, without ads, either hand-selected by Heiney’s team or pulled from whitelisted, kid-friendly sites. (It’s not a complete walled garden though — the internal results are followed by search results from DuckDuckGo.)” This is the way to build a kid’s search engine, though there isn’t much here yet; a search for cow, giraffe, and strawberry shortcake all revealed zero results. On the other hand, trying to shake some kid-unfriendly content out of the DuckDuckGo followup search with terms like bootie and Kardashian didn’t get any results either.
ProPublica has set up a search engine for HIPAA violations. “Investigative reports with lists and tables can be daunting to wade through, so ProPublica built a simple app: a kind of search engine that allows people to check on their health care providers. Named HIPAA Helper, the tool features a search bar that accepts not only names of health care providers (such as big offenders Kaiser, Quest, and Walgreens), but keywords describing the types of offenses, such as ‘ex-boyfriend’ or ‘organ donor.’”
Azerbaijan is creating a database of the country’s children. Hope the security’s good. “[Elgun Safarov] said the database will hold all information on children in Azerbaijan. ‘The database will feature information on 38 categories, including education, place of residence, and child support.’”
Facebook is apparently testing interest-specific feeds on its mobile service. “The social network has been experimenting with category-specific versions of its news feed that take posts that would normally appear in the all-in-one feed and organize them into their own interest-specific feeds. It began the test in October, as reported by Social Times, and now appears to be extending it to mobile.”
The Tor Project has is launching its own bug bounty program – but – it’s invitation only? “The Tor Project is understandably starting its bug program off gradually, opting for a model in which it hand-picks the bug finders it wants to start looking first. But with all the interested parties out there who are keen to learn about a zero-day Tor bug before their surveillance targets do, and who are quite willing to pay for that early access, let’s hope the Tor people shift out of that slow start soon.” Interesting Tor use stats in this article.
The city of New York has launched a new online database giving details about crime in the city. “The database comes with an interactive map and allows searches by location, date, category of crime and 16 other variables. A searchable spreadsheet can also be sorted by precinct, enforcement sector and whether it’s a felony.”