A Google Street View Car Captured the 2017 Solar Eclipse »

Sarah Lewin, writing at Space.com:

The most-viewed eclipse in history had an unexpected witness: A Google Street View car drove right through the path of totality, offering a surprising celestial treat for visitors scoping out the event in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

The intrepid car captured the darkened sky, streetlamps flickering on and even skywatching pedestrians on the vehicle’s travels through the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse in August. Michael Kentrianakis, an eclipse chaser and member of the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Eclipse Task Force, told Space.com about the eye-catching view this past weekend at the 2018 Northeast Astronomy Forum (an annual gathering of thousands of skywatchers in Suffern, New York) after seeing reports of the view circulating online.

You can see the eclipse in action here, if you move back and forth along the street:

Ungeniused #52: Area 51 »

This week on Ungeniused:

Area 51 is a highly classified U.S. Air Force Base that has been home to numerous avionic projects over the years, and is often at the center of some of the world’s more outlandish conspiracy theories.

Aliens. It’s always aliens.

My thanks to our sponsor this week:

  • Simple Contacts: Contact lens prescriptions from home: Use offer code UNGENIUSED for $30 off your contact lenses

SmugMug Buying Flickr »

Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY:

Flickr has been snapped up by Silicon Valley photo-sharing and storage company SmugMug, USA TODAY has learned.

SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill told USA TODAY he’s committed to breathing new life into the faded social networking pioneer, which hosted photos and lively interactions long before it became trendy.

SmugMug, an independent, family-run company, will maintain Flickr as a standalone community of amateur and professional photographers and give the long neglected service the focus and resources it deserves, MacAskill said in an exclusive interview.

Once upon a time, Flickr was a vibrant community, and one that I really loved being a part of. I still have an account — after removing most of my archives in protest when Yahoo bought the site — and am hopeful SmugMug can keep it going, but I think the glory days are still in the past.

The Woman Who Gave the Macintosh a Smile »

Alexandra Lange has a wonderful profile of Susan Kare in The New Yorker:

Every fifteen minutes or so, as I wrote this story, I moved my cursor northward to click on the disk in the Microsoft Word toolbar that indicates “Save.” This is a superstitious move, as my computer automatically saves my work every ten minutes. But I learned to use a computer in the era before AutoSave, in the dark ages when remembering to save to a disk often stood between you and term-paper disaster. The persistence of that disk icon into the age of flash drives and cloud storage is a sign of its power. A disk means “Save.” Susan Kare designed a version of that disk, as part of the suite of icons that made the Macintosh revolutionary—a computer that you could communicate with in pictures.

Very few designers have impacted the world the way Susan Kare has, and I don’t just say that because I have a dogcow tattoo on the inside of my right ankle.

Google Chat »

Nice exclusive by Dieter Bohn at The Verge, about Google’s reboot of its mobile messaging strategy:

Instead of bringing a better app to the table, it’s trying to change the rules of the texting game, on a global scale. Google has been quietly corralling every major cellphone carrier on the planet into adopting technology to replace SMS. It’s going to be called “Chat,” and it’s based on a standard called the “Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services.” SMS is the default that everybody has to fall back to, and so Google’s goal is to make that default texting experience on an Android phone as good as other modern messaging apps.

As part of that effort, Google says it’s “pausing” work on its most recent entry into the messaging space, Allo. It’s the sort of “pause” that involves transferring almost the entire team off the project and putting all its resources into another app, Android Messages.

Using RCS means Chat won’t be end-to-end encrypted, and like SMS, could be handed over to governments by phone carriers. No thanks.

Marsha Blackburn: ISPs Should Charge for Fast Lanes »

Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica, writing about a representative from my home state of Tennessee:

Congressional Republicans want to impose “net neutrality” rules that allow Internet service providers to charge online services and websites for priority access to consumers. Making the case for paid prioritization Tuesday, US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said that paying for priority access would be similar to enrolling in TSA Precheck.

“In real life, all sorts of interactions are prioritized every day,” Blackburn said in her opening statement at a subcommittee hearing on paid prioritization.

First, this is the exact opposite of what “net neutrality” means.

Secondly … I forgot what I was going to write and now my desk is covered in my own hair that I’ve pulled out.

Let’s see what she said:

Many of you sitting in this room right now paid a line-sitter to get priority access to this hearing. In fact, it is commonplace for the government itself to offer priority access to services. If you have ever used Priority Mail, you know this to be the case. And what about TSA Precheck? It just might have saved you time as you traveled here today. If you define paid prioritization as simply the act of paying to get your own content in front of the consumer faster, prioritized ads or sponsored content are the basis of many business models online, as many of our members pointed out at the Facebook hearing last week.

Blackburn is currently the chair of the House Communications and Technology subcommittee, so she has some authority when it comes to Internet legislation. However, she’s running for Bob Corker’s Senate seat here in TN, so that could change.

Personally, I can’t wait to vote for her opponent.