Ubuntu Open-Sources Part of Ubuntu One

Ubuntu has open-sourced part of its cloud storage service. “Canonical gave up on operating its Ubuntu One cloud storage service more than a year ago, but this week it released the system’s file-syncing code under an open source AGPLv3 license. Though Canonical is primarily known for its open source Ubuntu operating system, it also has some closed source products and services, including Ubuntu One.”

MIT Technology Review on the New Google / Alphabet Thing

MIT Technology Review takes a look at the new Google / Alphabet thing. “Those twin desires—to do new things regardless of how weird and unrelated they seem to Google’s core search and advertising business, and yet still find a way to manage them to fruition—explain Page’s surprise announcement Monday that he was creating a holding company called Alphabet. It will separate Google’s lucrative ad-related businesses, including Android mobile software and the video site YouTube, from the company’s wide-ranging efforts on self-driving cars, human longevity, Internet access balloons, the Nest connected-home devices, and more, each of which will probably become discrete subsidiaries.”

Twitter and the NFL Team Up

Twitter and the NFL have teamed up. “The NFL and Twitter have signed a multi-year agreement to provide ‘uniquely packaged NFL video and other types of content to fans daily, year-round,’ according to a press release. ‘NFL and Twitter will offer brands the opportunity to present official NFL content created specifically for the Twitter platform, on PCs, tablets, and mobile devices.’ In other words: lots of brands awkwardly bolting trendy phrases to NFL photos and video.”

Paid Wikipedia Editing

From The Atlantic: The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia—for Pay. “In 2006, Jimmy Wales, Wikimedia’s most public-facing board member, reportedly said that undisclosed paid editing—trying to alter the content of Wikipedia without revealing a financial conflict of interest—is ‘antithetical’ to the site’s aims. The practice continued at a low hum over the rest of the decade, but a few years ago Wikimedia started hearing from its volunteer editorial corps that weeding out undisclosed paid edits was distracting from more substantive work. ‘They were spending a tremendous amount of their time patrolling articles, particularly articles about celebrities or individuals or companies for PR-type editing,’ says Katherine Maher, a spokesperson for Wikimedia. The issue took on a sense of urgency in the fall of 2013, when a firm called Wiki-PR was banned from the site for using hundreds of dummy accounts to fabricate widespread support for pages that flattered […]

Facebook Making Some Kind of Breaking News App?

Apparently Facebook is working on this breaking news/Twitter-type thing. “Facebook is working on a stand-alone mobile news application that seems to be part of its Facebook for Business initiative. This product, which sounds similar to Twitter, seems to be different from Facebook for Work, an initiative that was announced late last year.” Actually it sounds similar to any mobile news app I can think of. And if it’s going to contain the kind of news that Facebook seems to consider oh-so-important, I’m keeping it far away from my phone. (The David Beckham thing with his daughter and the pacifier was about the limit.)

Google Play to Get An Affiliate Program?

Is Google Play going to get an affiliate program? How very 2002. “If a new report is to be believed Google is working on an affiliate program for Google Play that’s not unlike the one that Apple has for its online content store, the affiliate program is said to be in early stages of development at this point in time and the possibility exists that it might either be shelved completely or changed significantly between now and the time it goes public.”

Mixing Google Fi and Google Voice is a Bit of a Mess

Apparently trying to mix Google Fi and Google Voice is a bit of a mess. “The problem is that Fi is essentially sharing infrastructure with the soon-to-be-unceremoniously-destroyed-in-a-spring-cleaning product known as Google Voice. Google has been slowly but surely deprecating Voice by moving most of its features into Hangouts (and, at the same time, slowly but surely extricating Hangouts from Google Plus). It’s not a history that inspires confidence. (Google Voice might itself need a short explainer: it was designed to give you one phone number that could work on multiple phones and transcribe voicemail for all of them.)”

Is Twitter Going to Shuffle Its Board?

Is Twitter going to shuffle its board? “The board may expand or be shuffled to include directors from different backgrounds, such as minorities and those with experience in adjacent industries, including advertising and e-commerce, the people said. Any changes may also address the fact that the current board includes three former CEOs — Jack Dorsey, Ev Williams and Costolo — an issue that would make it difficult for any new CEO to run the company.”

Microsoft Increases Payment on Bug Bounties

Microsoft has increased payouts on its bug bounty program. “Let’s say an exploit has been discovered in the wild, and Microsoft has mitigated (or patched) that exploit. If you can get around that mitigation, you have a submission for the company’s Mitigation Bypass program, which could net you up to $100,000. Ideas for defending against further hacking efforts are eligible for the Bounty for Defense program, which has its own $100,000 maximum payout. Submissions that offer both a mitigation bypass and a defensive idea would receive both bounties. These bounties are only good for attacks on the latest version of Windows, so those of you interested in submitting your brilliant ideas need to cover Windows 10.”