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University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 6/3/22: Pudding fit for a queen

How to steal a Russian tank

Information technology is playing a major role in the Russia-Ukraine war, and not just on the military front. The Daily Mail found a Ukrainian government website that offers resistance tips for citizens living behind enemy lines. Advice ranges from how to harass Russian soldiers (“be as grumpy and irritable as possible”) to step-by-step instructions in Ukrainian on how to steal a Russian tank. No suggestions on how to afford the fuel, though, and the T-72 gets just 3 miles a gallon.

Stay or go?

The video game Dot’s Home literally hits home, as it explores issues of race, housing inequality, predatory lending and gentrification, according to Created by and for people of color, Dot’s Home was designed to encourage players to think about how their choices can impact their neighborhoods, even when those choices are unfairly limited. In the game, Dot navigates her grandmother’s decision whether to stay in or sell her Detroit home and what that means for her, her family and her community.

A pudding fit for a queen 

With pomp, pageantry and puddings, the UK celebrates Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne with a Platinum Jubilee weekend, June 2-5. Queen-themed creations abound, including an official Jubilee Pudding (a Mary Berry-blessed lemon and amaretti trifle). The British Library is doing its part, urging bakers to upload their own Jubilee pudding pictures to Wikimedia Commons, saying “The next time someone in Australia searches for a trifle, it could be yours they find!” Incentive indeed.

Explore no more 

Bad news for the die-hard Internet Explorer users out there: As of June 15, Microsoft will no longer support the desktop app of its iconic browser, Internet Explorer. (MS explains why). However, an IE mode will live on inside MS Edge and this PC World article will show you how to access it – if you really, really must.

DIY disaster 

While “right to repair” legislation wends its way through Congress, companies like Apple have begun offering self-repair programs for some of their products. New York Times consumer tech writer Brian X. Chen recounts his disastrous experience trying to replace a battery in his iPhone 12 with Apple’s “help.”

Chrome acquires a little polish 

Google has a new feature: now you can copy and paste files to folders in Google Drive using keyboard shortcuts CTRL C and CTRL V (or Command C and V on Macs) – though this only works in their Chrome browser, per Tomsguide. Outside of Chrome, you’ll still need to drag or use “Move to.” And for Chromebook users who need paper docs, The Verge shares three ways to connect your Chromebook laptop to a printer.

Things looking up for drone delivery 

The ability to deliver packages by drone is still up in the air at Amazon, but companies like Walmart and Alphabet are already dropping packages from above in test markets in Arkansas and Texas. An Ars Technica story includes a link to a pretty slick video of drones in action, making us think our dream of having home delivery of Rocky Road ice cream isn’t just pie in the sky.

Not so ducky 

Search engine DuckDuckGo’s chief point of differentiation has always been its claim to superior privacy. But ReviewGeek reveals that DuckDuckGo’s privacy claims are somewhat compromised by its “search syndication agreement” with Microsoft, meaning DDG’s mobile app doesn’t block MS trackers on third-party websites like Facebook’s Workplace. Bottom line: there’s no such thing as completely private search when your data is worth dollars.

Let the listener beware 

On the topic of privacy, or lack thereof, the Montreal AI Ethics Institute shares a nice explanation in layman’s terms, written by college students, on how the music-streaming app Spotify collects and uses its listeners’ data. As one writer notes, “Although this technology can be seen as interesting and harmless, it is important to understand how this algorithm works and affects your personal privacy.” So true.

Come back, all is forgiven 

Like many libraries around the country, the New York City public library system ended overdue book fines last October in an effort to get both books and people back into its 200 libraries. It worked: according to the New York Times, library attendance is up between 9-15%, depending on the borough. Around 88,000 books and other items flooded back into the system, mostly anonymously through the mail and book drops.

Food, glorious food 

We treasure our cookbooks, but who actually cooks from them anymore? The internet can instantly bring up hundreds of user-tested recipes for everything from avocado toast to zucchini brownies, plus video tutorials on pretty much any culinary skill. Endgadget has a nicely curated list of their favorite online cooking resources compiled by the editorial staff–and all but one are free.