Facebook to Add Suicide Reporting

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Let’s face it, social media has become the main way we communicate with each other today. We have all seen posts from friends in good times but also in bad. When it comes to bad, it’s hard to say how bad things are, but places like Facebook can often be where troubled people reach out. Now Facebook intends to do something to help.

Over the next few weeks Facebook will be rolling out a new tool to allow users to flag posts made by someone they are concerned about.

The tool will allow users to report someone they think might be suicidal or hurt themselves in some way.  After flagging the post, you will be given information on how to deal with the person, or let a trained team at Facebook get in touch with the person. You will be given the option to send message to the person, or a mutual friend or even talk to a Facebook team member to advise you on what to do next.

CNET has a full gallery walkthrough of how to use the tool.

This Week in Watch News

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There are two major leaders in the smart watch world these days, and one hasn’t even released its product yet. Apple and Pebble both are in the news this week, getting everyone all excited about what’s to come in wearables.

Pebble launched a new Kickstarter this week to raise funds for its latest smart watch. One with color e-paper, longer battery life, and new timeline interface. They were able to raise $8 million in a few hours. Their new watch will be thinner and include a microphone for responding to messages or taking memos.

In the other corner, Apple’s Tim Cook, in an interview with the Telegraph, has dropped some more product info about what to expect from the Apple Watch.

In addition to getting all your messages and notifications, and being a pretty nice fashion accessory, the Apple Watch will be replacing your car key-fob, and have a lot of focus on health.

Cook said the watch will “tap” the wearer at intervals throughout the day to remind them to get up and go for a walk. It will also feature an incentive program to exercise. Rewards will be given as the user hits metabolic targets.

Apple’s watch event is scheduled for March 9 and the watch is expected to be available for purchase in April.

Google Flip Flops on Adult Blogger Content

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Earlier this week Google announced a policy change that would have users of its Blogger service remove any and all adult content. After some backlash, the search giant has changed its mind.

According to Techmeme, Google will only be cracking down on commercial porn content, and not the likes of sex bloggers and people making home made porn(…?) We’re not sure about that last one but regardless, Google must have realized that not ALL adult content is problematic. It seems as long as you’re not using the service to sell your porn, you should be in the clear.

“This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy. We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.”

Adult bloggers will have to continue to mark their pages as having “adult content” so they can be sorted into the appropriate listings with the appropriate warnings.

Uber’s data breached in 2014

Marco Rubio Speech On Innovation At Uber's DC Offices

More bad news for Uber, as the company said in a press release that 50,000 of their drivers may have had personal information stolen from the company’s databases in 2014.

In late 2014, we identified a one-time access of an Uber database by an unauthorized third party. A small percentage of current and former Uber driver partner names and driver’s license numbers were contained in the database. Immediately upon discovery we changed the access protocols for the database, removing the possibility of unauthorized access.  We are notifying impacted drivers, but we have not received any reports of actual misuse of information as a result of this incident.

 

So long, Leonard Nimoy

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Perhaps one of history’s most famous, and loved, aliens, Spock trained himself to let go of human emotion. But upon the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the Internet is full of “the feels.”

Countless posts have been made since it was released that Nimoy had passed, and never has anyone seen so many emotion-filled comments by fans around the world.

Nimoy had been battling end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for some time, when he died yesterday at the age of 83.

He was not only a talented actor but also a wonderful photographer, artist and writer.

Leonard Nimoy was preceded in death by other Trek-mates DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Majel Barrett and of course, Gene Roddenberry.

Amazon Fire HD 7 Review

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Back in February 2014, I reviewed the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and I was impressed with Amazon’s top-of-the range tablet. Amazon has continued to push their Fire tablet range and the fourth generation of the Fire tablets came out in September 2014. Not only did Amazon bump the spec with the refresh, they bumped the Kindle moniker too, reserving that for the ereaders. On review here, is the Fire HD 7 tablet, Amazon’s offering in the 7″ market. Let’s take a look.

HD Fire 7

In the box there’s the tablet, a travel charger and a USB charging cable. This review unit (courtesy of Amazon) came with a US charger but I imagine that chargers will be supplied according to local requirements.

From the very start the Fire HD 7 is a little bit different from the average tablet with a choice of five different colours – black, white, cobalt, magenta and citron – and obviously this is the white version. I think it would be fair to call the Fire HD 7 as chunky – it’s a little over a 1 cm thick and weighs in at 337g, which specs it very closely to the Nexus 7 2012 but it looks a bit bigger – there’s a bit of trickery going on in that Google devices have narrow chrome bands with curved backs which make them look thinner than they are. Setting the figures to one side, the HD7 feels….fun.

Fire HD 7

Giving the HD 7 a once over, there’s not much to poke at. The front has the main screen and a front-facing camera, on the top side there’s the power button, micro-USB port and the headphone port, and on the left there’s a volume rocker. Round the back, there’s the rear camera and stereo speakers. The rear camera is 2 MP and the front camera is VGA, which seems a bit under-specced for a 2014 tablet but it does record HD video. There’s also a large Amazon logo emblazoned in the middle of the back and not everyone will like the plastic back, though it’s largely a matter of personal taste. Even though the back cover does have a matte texture, it’s not that grippy, so I’d be investing in some kind of case.

Fire HD 7 back

Geek Bench 3Performance-wise, the Fire HD 7 has a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, with two 1.5 GHz cores and two 1.2 GHz cores. As a result, it scores 766 in single core and 1483 for multicore in Geek Bench 3, putting its performance close to the 2013 Nexus 7 (and much better than the 2012 one). Regardless of what the benchmarks say, the HD 7’s performance in the hand was great.

On powering up, Fire OS looks as good as ever, even on the 7″ display. The screen is 1280 x 800 pixels, giving 216 ppi, which might not be as detailed as some, but the display is good and bright with rich colours that aren’t over-saturated. The carousel style interface works well with apps and media all mixed in together. As before, there are some great touches to the interface with the soft buttons moved to the right-hand side, conveniently under the hand in landscape view but still at the bottom when held in portrait. It’s tempting to review Fire OS but given this is the fourth generation of the tablet, it’s probably unnecessary.

FIre OS Screenshot

However, it’s still all about the apps though, and it’s good to see that the range of apps available in the Amazon Store has increased in the year since I reviewed the HDX. For example, Zinio is now available (though it didn’t want to load on the HD 7) and Mailbox has been released as well, so there’s a great email client too. For the average user, it’s hard to see app availability as an issue.

More than apps, Amazon is about content and as with all Amazon devices, the Fire delivers well. Signing into the Fire HD 7 with your Amazon credentials instantly accesses all your books, music and video content. It’s easy to switch between content that’s on the device and content that’s still in the cloud – there’s a simple toggle on the top right – so managing storage is less of an issue, even on 8 MB devices. Audio playback is good and background noise is minimal, even when listening with earbuds in quiet environments. The rear speakers are one of the highlights of the Fire HD 7, giving surprisingly good sound and add to the atmosphere when watching video.

Amazon Music

For films and TV on demand, Amazon offers its Instant Video – playback of movies is as smooth as you’d expect. I reviewed much of GNC’s CES coverage on the HD 7 and it handled all the video I threw at it.

Amazon Instant Video

As with other Fire tablets, Amazon offers FreeTime, a parental controls app that lets Mum and Dad add apps and content to a child’s profile. Access to the web browser and social networking apps is restricted and the amount of play time can be controlled as well. It’s well done and increases the appeal of Amazon Fire tablets to families.

Turning to price, the base cost is GB £119 for the 8 GB wi-fi version with “Special Offers” aka adverts. Taking the memory to 16 GB ups the cost to £139. Removing the adverts costs an additional £10 in both configurations.

I’ve been using the Fire HD 7 for over a month now and I like it a great deal. It’s fun, robust, inexpensive and with the parental controls, makes a good choice for a family tablet. The screen might not have the highest resolution but if I hadn’t read the spec sheet, I wouldn’t know or care as it looks great. I enjoyed having the HD 7 around and there were plenty of times when I picked up the HD 7 in preference to my Nexus 9. If you are into the Amazon ecosystem, this would appear to be a no-brainer buy…….

….but the Fire HDX 7 is currently reduced by £50 to £149 for the 16 GB versions albeit with ads. This has a 2.2 GHz CPU and 1920 x 1200 (323 ppi) screen, so personally, I think this is the one to get. Tell you what, buy the HDX for yourself and the HD for the kids. Perfect.

Thanks to Amazon for the loan of the Fire HD 7 tablet.

GNC #1013 The FCC Brings the Hammer

The FCC has brought the big hammer and executed the nuclear option. Now it is World War III between the ISP’s, Mobile carrier and the FCC / People. Was this a perfect solution not by far. But if the ISP’s had not installed a Toll gate and become trolls this all could have been avoided.

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Robot Underpants: 02.25.15 (190) “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, “Starman” Michael Gaines, Kathy Hopkins and “Karaoke” Bob bring you this week’s latest and greatest, including: Cleveland Comic Con review, Lou Ferrigno interview, Aquaman news, Alien news, Power Rangers short film, Oscars, new Duck Tales, new Pee Wee Herman movie, and more!

Interview with Lou Ferrigno
Karen Gillan Clip
Bruce Campbell Clip
Corey Feldman Clip
Billy Boyd and Graham McTavish Clip

Cleveland Comic Con

Power/Rangers
Aquaman
E Kiss
Alien Movie News
Jeb Bush’s Frank Zappa Wedding Photos

Google Changes Adult Content Policy on Blogger

Blogger LogoGoogle is making a change regarding what kind of content is allowed to be publicly visible on Blogger. Starting March 23, 2015, people who use Blogger will no longer be able to publicly share images and videos that are sexually explicit or that show graphic nudity.

There are some exceptions to this rule. Google will still allow content that includes nudity to be publicly visible on Blogger if it “offers a substantial public benefit”. The example Google gives clarifies “in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts”. In other words, it is the “not safe for work” content that is being removed from public viewing.

To be clear, Google isn’t going to start deleting blogs that contain nude images or sexually explicit content from Blogger. Instead, those blogs will be made private after March 23, 2015. In other words, the only people who will be able to see the content on those blogs will be the blog owners, the admins of the blogs, and the people the owner of the blog has shared the blog with.

The blog owner could invite people to view their blog by adding individual email addresses of each person they want to grant access to. The Google account associated with those addresses could then view the blog by signing into an existing Google account, creating a new Google account, or choosing to view the blog as a “guest” (which would not require an account). A “guest” account expires after 30 days and requires a new invitation before that person can view the blog.

There are some who have pointed out that blogs that have been marked private will be removed from search results. Obviously, this will result in much less traffic to the Blogger blogs that become private as a result of Google’s content policy change. There is another option. Affected bloggers can export their blog’s text and images and repost it on a personal website.

Level 257 Offers Dining Inspired by PAC-MAN

Level 257 logoWere you a big fan of PAC-MAN back in the day? Do you have fond memories of going to the arcade, putting your quarter in line to save your turn, and hoping to get the high score? There’s a restaurant and entertainment center that was designed with you in mind. It’s called Level 257, and it is located in Woodfield Mall, in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Level 257 is a 42,000 square foot entertainment complex that offers casual dining, craft beers, wines, and cocktails. It has its own bowling center, and, of course, plenty of video games for guests to enjoy. It was inspired by the very popular PAC-MAN arcade game.

Their Tumblr notes that Level 257 has a 180-seat dining room, 16 boutique retro-styled bowling lanes, table tennis, and pinball machines. It also has a games lounge with original arcade games that are alongside new titles. There are custom built game tables and free-to-play board games. It’s like a grown up version of the arcade we loved when we were kids. Their Tumblr also says:

Level 257 seeks to explore PAC-MAN’s impact upon our society and pop culture, reminding us all of the importance of play in our lives, while facilitating our desire to relive those times when beating the next level was the most important thing in the world. All while indulging that which we love now – great food and drinks with our friends and family.

The “beta period” (or soft-opening) is happening now through March 2, 2015. Those who want to know more can sign up for more information through Level 257’s website. Personally, I would love to check out this place out, and would happily do so if I still lived in the Midwest.