Tech

Anti-Vaxxers of Instagram

The problem has only escalated during COVID-19 as the coronavirus pandemic has given rise to a new surge of viral disinformation and conspiracy theories, many of which are widely promoted by the anti-vaccination movement. At the same time, many of Facebook’s moderators have been unable to work and review reports of potentially rule-breaking content.

https://www.engadget.com/instagram-anti-vaxxers-coronavirus-conspiracy-theories-173021562.html

I’ll never understand anti-vaxxers. Ever.

COVID-19 Sensor for iPhone

A prototype device has been created, measuring an inch wide, one that connects to a host device over Bluetooth and drawing power from a smartphone’s charging port. After opening a companion app, the sensor requires a particle of saliva to be deposited for a reading. 

DNA strands in the virus bind onto proteins on the sensor, in turn creating electrical resistance and triggered a positive result in the app. Once a test is completed, the sample can be destroyed using an electrical current, leaving it ready to be reused in another test.

https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/05/18/covid-19-sensor-could-bring-daily-testing-to-iphones

Thing is, this test relies on saliva. I happen to work for a company that did a ton of work on the viability of testing for COVID-19 using saliva. The results were not promising.

In the Diagnostic Cohort, we find that saliva collection has reduced sensitivity (~30% less) relative than NPS. And in our convalescent cohort of patients greater than 8 days and less than 21 days from first symptom, we find that saliva has ~ 50% sensitivity relative to NPS. Our results suggest that rigorous studies in the intended populations should be performed before large-scale screening using saliva as the test matrix is initiated.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.11.20092338v2

The team at Helix did some hard work and I wish the conclusion was different. If the sophisticated instruments and rigorous methods they used for testing showed that saliva isn’t as viable a medium for testing as NPS swabs, I’m hard-pressed to see how a $50 gadget with a tiny saliva sample can provide an reliable result. Maybe I’m missing something.

Faux Meat: It’s What’s for Dinner

Grocery store sales of products like Beyond Meat and Tofurky were up 264 percent during a nine-week period ending on May 2nd, according to Nielsen (via The Wall Street Journal). Overall, retail sales plunged 16.4 percent from March to April. The popularity of faux meat exploded starting in March, with sales of fresh meat alternatives surging 206 percent the first week of March and rising 279 percent the week ending on March 14th, according to Nielsen.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/15/21259997/plant-based-meat-coronavirus-impossible-beyond

Makes sense. I had an Impossible Whopper recently. It was edible.

Giphy alternatives and how to delete Giphy iMessage app – 9to5Mac

Facebook just announced that it purchased Giphy and all across the Internet, users quickly committed to ditching the service. If you’re concerned about the service being owned by Facebook, follow along for the best Giphy alternatives for iPhone and how to delete the iMessage Giphy app.
— Read on 9to5mac.com/2020/05/15/saying-goodbye-to-giphy-after-facebooks-acquisition-here-are-the-best-alternatives-for-iphone/

Oh good.

Slack and Giphy

As always, Slack is committed to protecting user and company data. Giphy doesn’t receive any information about users or even companies using the Giphy for Slack integration, and only sees Slack usage of the Giphy API in aggregate.
— Read on daringfireball.net/linked/2020/05/15/slack-giphy

John Gruber’s post about the Giphy acquisition inspired a response from Slack. This is good; Slack is where I use Giphy the most.

More Adobe Vulns

Adobe patches Acrobat Reader security flaw that could allow root access on Mac https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/05/14/adobe-patches-acrobat-reader-security-flaw-that-could-allow-root-access-on-mac

This friggin app keeps popping up in my weekly patch meetings.