Leaks, leaks and more leaks! #1284



Hi there everyone, this would be my last day filling in for Todd while he is heading back home from meeting with his team down in Columbus Ohio. Well last week, websites were hacked and GPS locations exposed. In the news today…customers information exposed via leaks.


Hasbro Trademarked the Scent of Play-Doh



Hasbro has announced that it has trademarked the scent of Play-Doh. The nostalgia-inducing smell of Play-Doh has become one of the few active scent trademarks in the United States. A news release was posted on the Hasbro website on May 18, 2018.

Today, Hasbro announces that the iconic Play-Doh scent, known and loved by fans around the world, is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a registered trademark of the brand. The trademarked scent, which Hasbro formally describes as a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough, makes the Play-Doh brand one of the few active and certainly most famous scent trademarks in the country.

The news release points out that the Play-Doh brand started in 1956, and that the brand and the Play-Doh scent have become increasingly recognizable among children, parents, and grandparents. The “recipe” for the Play-Doh compound has remained largely unchanged, ensuring that when a container is opened, it has the same scent that many people grew up with.

Hasbro is asking fans of Play-Doh to celebrate its newly registered scent by sharing which favorite childhood memories the smell of Play-Doh evokes for them. Hasbro would like people to use #PLAYDOHSCENT and to be part of the conversation on their Instagram and Facebook.


Real Time Location Data Strikes Again #1283



Hi everyone, Kirk here filling in for Todd while he is away down with his team in Ohio.for tonight’s and Monday’s episode of the Geek News Central Podcast. On Monday’s episode Todd talked about phone carriers selling location data and now there is a website where leaked real time location on cell phones!


Twitter Made Changes to Encourage Healthy Conversations



Twitter announced a new approach to how they will handle troll-like behavior that is intended to distort and detract from public conversation on Twitter, particularly in communal areas like conversations and search. Twitter will not remove such content from its service, but will instead put those comments under a “show more replies” link. People will not see those tweets unless they choose to click that link.

In the announcement, Twitter says that “less than 1% of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse” but that a lot of what is reported doesn’t violate Twitter’s rules. That being said, Twitter is aware that this small number of accounts have a “disproportionately large – and negative – impact on people’s experience on Twitter.”

Today, we use policies, human review processes, and machine learning to help us determine how Tweets are organized and presented in communal places like conversations and search. Now, we’re tackling issues of behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation in those areas by integrating new behavioral signals into how Tweets are presented. By using new tools to address this conduct from a behavioral perspective, we’re able to improve the health of the conversation, and everyone’s experience on Twitter, without waiting for people who use Twitter to report potential issues to us.

Some of what Twitter is going to take into account include: if an account has not confirmed their email address, if the same person signs up for multiple accounts simultaneously, accounts that repeatedly Tweet and mention accounts that don’t follow them, or behavior that might indicate a coordinated attack. Twitter is also looking at “how accounts are connected to those that violate our rules and how they interact with each other.”

Those signals will now be considered in how Twitter organizes and presents content in communal areas like conversation and search. In short, content that doesn’t technically violate Twitter’s rules, but does disrupt and distort conversation, will be put behind a “show more replies” link. People can choose whether or not they want to click that link. According to Twitter: “The result is that people contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible in conversations and search.”


Rubi Pregnancy Monitor at Wearable Technology Show



In my experience, expecting a new baby is a conflicting mix of emotions ranging from total joy to sheer terror…and I’m the dad. For mums-to-be there’s the extra worry from carrying the baby and 78% of women experience unhealthy levels of stress and anxiety during pregnancy. These concerns are not entirely unfounded as the risk of miscarriages and stillbirths is significant, and sadly there’s still considerable stigma associated with a failed pregnancy.

Many medical professionals recommend measuring kicks and punches after 28 weeks as a good indicator of a foetus’ relative health but there’s often natural variation and mum’s often got other things on her mind. Of course, this is where Rubi from Sensable Technnologies comes in. Rubi is a passive wearable pregnancy monitor that mum wears over her bump to automatically record kicking information. Eric and Nolan tell me more about Rubi at the Wearable Technology Show in London.

Typically Rubi records a running total for the last hour and keeps track of the last kick. The information is transmitted via Bluetooth to the parents’ smartphones and the complementary app shows the activity. If there is anything to be concerned about, the Rubi app will alert the mum and she can do a non-stress test to check.

Rubi itself uses strain gauges which are screen-printed onto the fabric to make the maternity band, and there’s a small microcontroller pod for collecting the kick data and transmitting it onwards. In addition to the maternity band, the team has produced an active tape which adheres directly to the skin.

Rubi is now live on Kickstarter with several early bird deals. Prices are slightly different from the interview but currently Rubi is priced at US$223 / GB£165 with delivery expected in February and March 2019. The active tape version will be delivered earlier at the end of 2018.

Please bear the delivery dates in mind when considering your own pregnancy as Rubi is best used from 28 weeks onwards.


Phone Carriers Selling Real Time Location Data #1282



Phone Carriers have been selling your real-time location data to at least a few companies for years, in a bombshell report that has everyone scratching their head how is this even possible. Only coming to light after a now-fired Sherrif used the data illegally. Turns out cell companies can sell your location data to private companies but require a warrant from the government. Simply amazed that this can be abused. Kirk will be hosting the next two shows as I head to Colombus for my teams annual lock in retreat where we plan our strategy for the year.

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Spotify Removes Artists from Playlists Under New Policy



Spotify has created a Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy that it is using to determine what music will not be promoted on the service. Billboard reported that Spotify has removed the work of two artists from Spotify playlists after the Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy took effect.

Spotify posted a blog post about the new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy.

…We love that our platform is home to so much diversity because we believe in openness, tolerance, respect, and freedom of expression, and we want to promote those values through music on our platform.

However, we do not tolerate hate content on Spotify – content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.

Billboard reported that Spotify users will no longer be able to find R. Kelly’s music on any of the Spotify’s editorial or algorithmic playlists. Users will still be able to find R. Kelly’s music on Spotify, but Spotify is no longer going to promote it in Spotify owned and operated playlists. Billboard also reported that XXXTentacion has also had his music removed from Spotify’s owned and operated playlists.

Spotify clarified why they will remove the work of an artist, who has violated the Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy from Spotify playlists, but still allow the artist’s music to be on Spotify.

In their blog post, Spotify states: “While we don’t believe in censoring content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, we want our editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values. So, in some circumstances, when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children or sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”


Money for SETI #1281



Money for SETI? The last time the US Government gave money to SETI was in 1992. There is some interesting history here that I am not aware of that I will do some research to find out on. Kirk and I also got on the same page today as there had been some disconnects with the show notes. Busy as ever here and it shows.

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Instagram will Filter Bullying Comments



Instagram announced on May 1, 2018, that they will filter bullying comments intended to harass or upset people in the Instagram community. I learned about this when my phone notified me that there was an Instagram update.

Starting today, Instagram will filter bullying comments intended to harass or upset people in the Instagram community. To be clear: we don’t tolerate bullying on Instagram. Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited bullying on our platform, and I’m proud to announce this next step in our ongoing commitment to keeping Instagram an inclusive, supportive place for all voices.

In the blog post about Instagram’s decision to filter bullying comments, Instagram points out their offensive content filter (which was announced last year.) That filter automatically hides toxic and divisive comments, particularly those aimed at at-risk groups.

The new bullying comments filter hides comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health. The bullying filter is on for the Instagram global community. Those who don’t want to use the bullying comments filter can disable it in the Comment Controls center in the Instagram app.

The bullying comments filter will also alert Instagram to repeated problems so they can take action. In addition, Instagram is expanding their policies to guard against bullying young public figures on their platform. In the blog post, Instagram states “Protecting our youngest community members is crucial to helping them feel comfortable to express who they are and what they care about.”


NVIDIA Pulled the Plug on GeForce Partner Program



NVIDIA announced that they are canceling their GeForce Partner Program. The program began on March 1, 2018, and was ended on May 4, 2018.

NVIDIA announced that they had decided to cancel the GeForce Partner Program. In their blog post, they state: “The rumors, conjecture and mistruths go far beyond its intent. Rather than battling misinformation, we have decided to cancel the program.”

With GPP, we asked our partners to brand their products in a way that would be crystal clear. The choice of GPU greatly defines a gaming platform. So, the GPU brand should be clearly transparent – no substitute GPUs hidden behind a pile of techno-jargon.

Most partners agreed. They own their brands and GPP didn’t change that. They decide how they want to convey their product promise to gamers. Still, we are pulling the plug on GPP to avoid any distraction from the super exciting work we’re doing to bring amazing advances to PC gaming.

When the GeForce Partner Program was first launched, NVIDIA described it as their latest effort to better serve gamers. In short, the GeForce Partner Program was designed “to ensure that gamers have full transparency in into the GPU platform and software they’re being sold, and can confidently select products that carry the NVIDIA GeForce promise.”

There appears to be a lot of speculation about the exact reasons why NVIDIA chose to end their GeForce Partner Program. Personally, I’m not a fan of speculation because I feel it is difficult to verify. However, if you enjoy speculation, it seems you won’t have to search too far for it. The NVIDIA blog post about the end of the GPP has gotten several comments with a variety of ideas.