University of Michigan School of Information
Fun Size for 4/8/22: Nine useful hidden Gmail features
Bread mittens, sandwich-sized potato crisps, and a Twitter edit key are just a few of the April Fool’s Day pranks called out by Spanish sports news site AS. Yet none are likely to have the long-lasting effect of the Wikipedia prank behind the Pringles mascot's first name. Mashable spills the beans.
The world in your window
If your travel dreams are still on hold, you can enjoy a little virtual sight-seeing via EarthCam.com. This network of live webcams around the world lets you view who’s crossing London’s Abbey Road, basking on Rio’s Copacabana beach or posing in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Most timely: several Ukraine cams, including Kyiv and Lviv.
Touch typing on a flat screen
It’s hard to work up any decent typing speed on a touch-screen, so researchers at Texas A&M have been working on ways to make a laptop screen feel more like the buttons on a keyboard. As the video in this Gizmodo story demonstrates, a finger sliding over the tablet surface changes the friction and fools the brain into thinking it feels a physical button. Keyboards could one day join VCRs and 8-tracks in the recycle bin.
Preserving Ukrainian culture
Wars destroy more than buildings and lives; they can also destroy cultural heritage. As some Ukrainian museum websites have lost their servers, an army of archivists, librarians and programmers have formed a group called Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO). They are racing to record Ukrainian cultural websites before they go offline, employing tools like the Internet Wayback Machine. Stanford’s Quinn Dombrowski talks with Marketplace about their project – which is still seeking volunteers.
Space Jam meets Planet of the Apes
Combine cryptocurrency, the gaming industry, collectibles, social avatars, algorithmic gameplay, play-to-earn and what have you got? Apparently, the Rumble Kong League, an NFT project with 10,000 unique avatars called Kongs that can play defense, dribble and shoot. SLAM has the story; in case you’re interested, you can check out the gallery of Kongs for sale. Prices start at $4K.
Baseball gets Smithsonian stamp of approval
A major website complements the upcoming baseball exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. “Baseball: America’s Home Run” opens April 9 and features hundreds of stamps celebrating the national pastime, as well as artifacts from the Baseball Hall of Fame and private collections. The game’s origins, iconic ballparks and all-star players are among the bases covered, on site and online.
Malvertisers, don’t read this
Smart tech users know to check the address bar for phony-looking urls and the HTTPS scheme. Yet an enterprising security researcher has found a new way to phish for passwords using a “browser in the browser” (BitB) that looks completely legit. The bad news: A lot of security defenders don’t know this trick. The somewhat better news: This ArsTechnica article offers a few tips for self-protection, including the use of two-factor identification.
Best tech gadgets for pet owners
The Verge asked its staffers to share their favorite pet tech gadgets, and they jumped at the chance – to show off photos of their cats and dogs. A fuzzy cat bed, a pet hair remover and a toy on a wand may not seem terribly techie, but the $500 litter box and a FitBit-style doggie locator definitely do. And those pets are soooo cute.
Gmail’s hidden features
The ever-useful MakeUseOf site has nine little-known features of Gmail that could save you time or spare you aggravation. Our favorites include the attachment checker and the ability to stretch the Undo Send option to 30 seconds long. The confidential mode makes it impossible for the recipient to copy, print or forward the email - and can even make it disappear, a la Mission Impossible.
Making cool more affordable
Bloomberg tech journalist and Apple insider Mark Gurman (BSI ’16) reports that Apple is working on a subscription service for iPhones and other hardware, allowing more people to afford their pricey products. It would differ from an installment plan, where the cost of the device is spread over 12 or 24 payments. Instead, the monthly fee would depend on the device the user chooses, making having the latest and greatest within easier reach.