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Archive for October, 2013

New HTML5 Standards for YouTube: Is Google Being Evil

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 7:41 AM on October 28, 2013

If you watch HD videos on YouTube videos you may have noticed lately that there is a difference depending on what browser you are watching them on. The difference is not your imagination. Google who owns YouTube is now using HTML5 with MPEG-Dash which uses the Media Source Extension API.  This allows an adaptive stream meaning that videos can be automatically switch to lower or higher bit rate depending on bandwidth. This should help to prevent buffering especially during live videos. At first glance this appears to be good news and in the long run it maybe, but at the present time it there is a problem.

Currently only a few browsers support HTML5 with MPEG-Dash they are Chrome, IE–11 for Windows 8 and Opera. If you prefer to use Safari or Firefox than the highest bit rate you can watch a HTML5 video on YouTube is  720p. This is also true for the YouTube App on iOS and other third-party apps that play YouTube videos. It also blocks third-party apps and extensions that download YouTube videos and break the YouTube terms of use.

 

Some people especially on Google Plus are wondering if this is Google being evil, because it forces both Safari and Firefox users to choose between their favorite browsers and watching YouTube videos full HD when available. I believe that what Google is trying to do is to move everyone to the same standard which is set by the World Wide Web Consortium(W3C). If they continue to support the older version of HTML5 than there is no incentive to move forward. Whether that is being evil or not may depend on your point of view. One of the main objections to the way the HTML5 has been drafted is the inclusion of DRM and Encrypted Media Extension. The Electronic Frontier Foundation sent a formal written objection back in May 2013. This issue does not affect Flash videos.  Have you run into this issue and how have you solved it.

LG G Flex Curved Screen Smartphone

Posted by Andrew at 4:20 AM on October 28, 2013

LG LogoLG have announced the widely anticipated G Flex smartphone, the first to have a significantly curved screen. Obviously there have been smartphones with curved screens before, such as the Nexus S and the original Palm Pre, but the LG Flex is the first to make the curved screen into a major feature. Intended to follow the features of the face, physical improvements are accompanied by changes to the user interface to take advantage of the curved screen.

The new 6″ screen is based on the world’s largest Plastic OLED (POLED) display and as might be guessed from the name, the display and curved OLED panel are built on plastic substrates instead of glass. Further by combining all three sub-pixels (RGB) into a singled pixel, the display is brighter and clearer too.

Although the curved screen is the most obvious development, developing a curved battery was also a necessity. A sister company, LG Chem, developed the curved battery technology specifically for the G Flex and it has a capacity of 3,500 mAh, which should see the G Flex through the day.  For comparison, 2,500 mAH is fairly standard on smartphones. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the battery isn’t removeable.

LG G Flex Back

The G Flex is similar to the G2, with the volume buttons on the back, and several of its software enhancements such as KnockOn are included. New to the G Flex is dual windows, giving the ability to run two apps side-by-side. With such a large screen, that’s going to be a handy feature.

Some thought has been given to the impace of the curved screen, particular with regard to day-to-day use. First, considering the G Flex is going to be placed face-up on a desk, there’s going to be sweet-spot where the phone naturally rests because of the curved back. To avoid general wear, the rear has been give an elastic self-healing coating to mitigate any nicks and scratches. Second, as the phone can be placed face-down with out fear of scratching the screen, the rear LED is given more roles, such as flashing for repeated unanswered calls. The LED also acts as a countdown for the camera in timer mode.

LG G Flex Front

Other features are much as you’d expect for a high-end smartphone (taken from press release for the Korean version).

  • CPU: 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 (MSM 8974)
  • GPU: Adreno 330, 450MHz
  • Display: 6-inch HD (1280 x 720), Curved P-OLED (Real RGB)
  • Memory: 2GB LP DDR3 RAM / 32GB eMMc
  • Camera: Rear 13.0MP / Front 2.1MP
  • Battery: 3,500mAh (embedded)
  • Operating System: Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
  • Size: 160.5 x 81.6 x 7.9 – 8.7mm
  • Weight: 177g
  • Network: LTE-A / LTE / HSPA+ / GSM
  • Connectivity: BT 4.0 / USB 3.0 compatible / WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) / NFC

The LG Flex will be available in Korea in November with roll-out to other countries shortly afterwards.

It’s not often I’m excited about a smartphone – let’s be honest, they’re mostly evolutions – but this could be significant. Will all smartphones be curved in a few years or will the nature of pockets dictate that flat stays the norm?

New Media Show #26 with Francesco Baschieri of Spreaker

Posted by geeknews at 8:05 PM on October 27, 2013

In this episode we talk with Francesco Baschieri a co-founder of Spreaker. We talk about their service and their recent deal with iHeartRadio. For those of your with questions on how the deal works with iHeartRadio you will want to listen close and implement carefully.

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Podcast Awards Slate Announcement

Posted by geeknews at 7:37 PM on October 27, 2013

I present the slate of podcasters that where nominated for the 9th Annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards. I also present my State of the Podcast Union that I do each year.. Lots of gems in this. Congratulations to all the podcasters who where nominated. See all the nominees at PodcastAwards.com

Buffer Got Hacked – Kept Users Informed About it

Posted by JenThorpe at 12:06 AM on October 27, 2013

Buffer logoYou may have noticed some of your Facebook Friends, or the people you follow on Twitter, posting things about weight loss recently. Those particular posts and Tweets had a suspicious link attached to them. What happened? Buffer got hacked (and has since fixed the problem).

Buffer is an app that helps users to share things on social media. You can sign in through your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account (or via email). According to the Buffer website: “Buffer shares your content at the best possible times throughout the day so that your followers and fans see your updates more often.”

Buffer doesn’t have anything to do with weight loss. Even so, somebody hacked Buffer and used it to spam up Facebook and Twitter with links to some type of weight loss thing. I guess the idea of having those tweets shared “at the best possible times throughout the day” was too tempting to resist.

The really interesting thing in this story is how quickly Buffer took action. Joel Gascoigne, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Buffer posted a blog titled: Buffer has been hacked – here is what’s going on. He made it clear that Buffer was aware of the problem and working on it. It clarifies that Buffer passwords were not affected, and that no billing or payment information was affected or exposed.

The team at Buffer spent the day posting continual updates on their Facebook and Twitter page to keep everyone informed. The blog post explained the best steps affected users should take. As things progressed, the blog was updated with more details, including how to login to Buffer again through Twitter and Facebook (after the problem had been corrected).

The post by Joel Gascoigne says that there will be an in-depth post about what the spammers got access to and what Buffer did to fix it. Part of the philosophy at Buffer is to “Default to Transparency”. I do not use Buffer, but am very impressed with how well Buffer kept its users in the know about what was happening. Good job, Buffer!

Google Testing Banner Ads? Goodbye 2005 Decree…

Posted by J Powers at 9:34 AM on October 25, 2013

Back in 2005 Google created an enhanced strategic partnership with AOL, which caused some rumblings. Google’s blog (a post by Marissa Meyer, who was VP of Search Products & User Experience at the time) cleared up some misconceptions – including not putting banner ads on their search site. However, times are changing and Google has to look at all possibilities for continued growth. That includes banner ads.

The AOL partnership mostly brought on concern that AOL search results would get priority and bias competitors. Google posted it’s reply to most of those, including:

There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.

Ever is a big word. While Google is probably still not going to place “crazy, flashy, graphical doodads”, there might be some other product placement on Google search results.

Google's testing simple banner ads

Google’s testing simple banner ads

Google confirmed they were testing images on top of search results. This is to make up for falling ad prices and slower desktop search results. While images on top of a page might not be called “banner ads” per se, it kinda feels like a banner ad.

Of course, Google runs tests all the time. Therefore it goes to see how people would react to an image at the top of the screen.

It’s also an ad that shows up if you are looking for air travel or information on Southwest. So if you are looking for it anyway, would an ad at the top be invasive?

Ads have been on Google for a while – in text formats to the right. It’s part of Google’s “Multi-year evolution” – adding text ads and videos to the site.

It’s all about a lack of mobile ad solution to search, since people are switching to their phones and those dedicated apps. After all, how many of us did a search for Facebook or Twitter and clicked on the link in the search results to get to the website?

GNC-2013-10-24 #901 The March Begins

Posted by geeknews at 1:06 AM on October 25, 2013

The march to 1000 begins with this show. As we make the march to 1000 we will be looking at ways to optimize the show you can help us take it to the next level. Please note prize winners we have our coordinator email setup at insider@geeknewscentral.com Also want to thank those of you that have contributed to the crowd-funding campaign. Check it out.

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TGP- #128 SmartPhone Safety/Data Mining

Posted by Gadget at 7:59 PM on October 24, 2013

Welcome to The Gadget Professor Show #128 hosted by Don Baine, produced by Mike Baine.

We’ve Got Technology Covered! The Gadget Professor Show – a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network!

Interesting show tonight. We cover 4 points that will help protect your smartphone from being compromised and how to be more aware of how companies get your Web Data. The Gadget Professor has a Rant!

Plus our weekly free apps and software recommendations.

Sit back and relax while you watch The Gadget Professor.

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Art Undressed (or Cross-Dressed?)

Posted by Andrew at 2:50 PM on October 24, 2013

Reith Lectures 2013For many geeks, art is a bit of a mystery. What is art, what makes good art and why is it so expensive? And as for contemporary art, does anything go? Is a urinal art?

This year’s BBC Reith Lectures are presented by Grayson Perry, a “cross-dressing potter from Essex” who is about as far from the Establishment as you can get. Winner of 2003′s Turner Prize, he’s funny, frank and demystifies the world of art in four very entertaining programmes. I say four: only two have actually aired but based on the track record so far, I don’t think the remaining episodes will disappoint. An edited extract from the first episode is available at the Financial Times, but it’s much better to hear Grayson present the lecture.

Available as podcasts via RSS, iTunes and direct download.

As Alan Bennett said, the thing about art is that you don’t have to like it all.

Is the new Nexus 10 imminent?

Posted by Alan at 12:11 PM on October 24, 2013

nexus-10It has been since mid-summer when Google released a Nexus device, rolling out the second-generation Nexus 7, with a fantastic HD screen. Since then, rumors have abounded of what is to come, with Nexus phones and tablets.

The wait may just be over — the Android KitKat Twitter account has dropped hints that seemed to lead viewers to believe the 18th or 28th were viable options. The 18th has clearly passed and the 28th now looms large on the horizon, but there are a couple of signs that may just point to another date entirely.

First and foremost, Google is holding an event this evening in New York City — it’s billed as a “Play” event and journalists have been asked to not write about it. Second, the current Nexus 10 has today gone to an “out of stock” listing on the Play store. Couple that with various leaks which began appearing today, portending to show press renders of the tablet, and throw in last week’s “accidental” posting of the Nexus 5 on the Play store.

Both devices are obviously very close to release. Will they be unveiled under some sort of NDA tonight? Is too much being made of the hints and the show tonight? We will soon find out, as both devices are surely just around the corner.