GNC #1048 Privacy is Lost

First things First apologies on the last show, I talk about that at length today.. Also I think we have entered and area where Privacy is Lost. I do not think that we can find our way back from a online presence that is fraught with to many security breaches.

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Gefen’s Multiview Switcher is Shipping

Gefen logoGefen has announced that its new 4×1 DVI KVM Multiview Switcher is shipping. This new generation solution in KVM switching is ideal for controlling four computers from a dual display workstation.

An operator can observe data from up to four computers on one display. At the same time, a second display can be switched to display any image that needs closer attention. A unique cascading ability allows a system expansion of up to eight switchers accessing up to 32 computers, providing comprehensive control from a single keyboard and mouse.

Preset and customizable window configurations are readily available, including single screen, split screen, picture-in-picture, and four windows on the same display. It has two front panel USB and bi-directional audio ports (for microphone and headphones/speakers) that can be independently routed from any of the computers.

Gefen’s 4×1 DVI KVM Multiview Switcher has flexible control features that include front panel buttons, keyboard/mouse control and RS-232. High resolution video up to 1920×1200 or 1080p full HD is supported with HDCP compliance. You can put it on a shelf or mount it in a standard 19-inch rack.

3-D Printed Headphones Are Here

3-D headphonesAs more and more people are consuming audio like music and podcasts on the go, the need for headphones has increased. But many headphones are either easy to lose or they stop working after a short period of time. I know I’ve been stuck many times over the years having to face a long bus ride with a fully charged media player and a portable set of headphones that no longer work, no matter how much I manipulated the audio cord and connection jack. Now, getting that next pair of headphones might be as simple as firing up the nearest 3-D printer.

These headphones are the work of designer Maxime Loiseau and they use an innovative design in terms of an electronic device being created with 3-D printing. The process uses what’s called “roll to roll” manufacturing, making the parts very thin. In fact, these 3-D printed headphones are made from only eight pieces, where a typical set of phones could require up to 50 individual parts.

Since these headphones are made with “printed electronics,” there’s need for only one wire for each headphone. And if you’re worried that these headphones will sound weak, don’t. The speakers are made with piezoelectric cells that provide quality comparable to traditional headphones.

The headphones are powered by Bluetooth and they use a lithium-ion battery. The battery is also made as part of the 3-D printing process. These headphones were presented during New York Design Week 2015. They are likely to go thru some tweaking and modifications before hitting the production line. Check out this video to see the production process in action.

The 80’s are Back with the Commodore Branded Smartphone

Commodore LogoNot long ago, I covered the somewhat troubling story of a school system that’s using a vintage Commodore Amiga computer to run its HVAC system. And in the summer of 2015, I figured that’d be the end to any Commodore-related news for now. That’s why I was surprised to discover that there will soon be a new smartphone branded with the Commodore logo.

It’s worth noting that this new device has no direct ties to the Commodore computer company we all remember from twenty (or more) years ago. This “new” Commodore is headed by a group that managed to secure the Commodore trademark in the UK. And most importantly, along with that trademark, they’re able to use the classic Commodore logo. Hence, the world’s first-ever Commodore smartphone.

The new PET phone will run the Android operating system and it’ll feature a 5.5-inch IPS 1920×1080 pixel resolution display made of Gorilla Glass 3 along with a 1.7 GHz Mediatek 64-bit octa-core processor with ARM Mali T760 GPU, 16 GB RAM, a 3000 mAh battery and a 3-megapixel camera using a Sony sensor with a bright f/2.0 aperture, creating images up to 4096×2304 pixels, and videos up to 1080p HD.

While the phone itself is packed with modern hardware and software, it can still serve up some real feelings of nostalgia. The Commodore PET will ship with customized versions of the VICE C64 emulator and the Uae4All2-SDL Amiga emulator, allowing users to play all of those classic Commodore games right there on the phone.

The Commodore PET smartphone is expected to retail for around $300. It will be released first in Europe with other territories (including the U.S.) to come later.

Polar Team Pro Brings Advanced Coaching System to Elite Sports Teams

Polar logoPolar is an established manufacturer of monitoring products used by professional teams across a wide range of sports. Now the company is entering a whole new product category with the release of its new Polar Team Pro.

Polar Team Pro is a comprehensive system that begins with tracking devices players can wear while on the field. These devices use GPS data to send real-time information about the player’s location on the field, with near-field communications options to fill in coverage gaps. Those player-based sensors transmit data back to a base station that then syncs up with an iPad app that gives coaches a complete view of what the team is doing during a game.

Polar Team Pro would be an invaluable tool for any team that’s looking to enhance, improve, and maximize player movements on the field. The information gathered by the system will allow coaching staffs to analyze plays and see where their teams’ weak points are, and where things should be adjusted for greater future performance.

The Polar Team Pro set begins with 10 sensors, 10 straps, 1 dock, 1 washing pouch, and 1 shoulder bag. The system can be scaled up for a total of 60 sensors, as needed. Pricing starts at 5999 EUR and goes up from there. If you’re interested in using the Polar Team Pro with your own sports organization, get in touch with Polar for more information.

Logitech Focuses on Design with Rebranding

Logi logoLogitech is probably one of the best known manufacturers of computer accessories. If you’ve ever bought a mouse, keyboard, USB hub, external hard drive or a computer cable, odds are good it was a Logitech product. But I guess the folks at Logitech are feeling that the Logitech brand is growing a bit long in the tooth. They announced earlier this month that they will be rebranding the company from “Logitech” to simply “Logi.”

But don’t fret. Logitech, err… Logi, will still be there to handle all of your computer accessory needs. But the company will be aiming for a newer, more vibrant and (per the press release) “younger” approach with more of a focus on design aesthetics as opposed to just plain old mice, keyboards, and cables.

Meet the new Logitech, a company you know and trust, but now with a colorful new attitude and re-imagined logo you’ll love. And, meet Logi – our new label.

While our commitment to excellence in peripherals hasn’t changed, we’re dedicating focus on design, hiring our first-ever chief design officer, Alastair Curtis, and delivering products that create amazing experiences in the everyday places of your life. We’ve put design at the core of everything we do and everything we are, from our products to our brand identity.

On top of a colorful and bold new look, you’ll start to see and hear the name Logi. The Logi label will appear on our newest product categories, and expect some twists and a few surprises in new categories.

The company also promises that its first Logi-branded product is right around the corner. Check out the splashy new commercial they made to introduce the updated brand. DESIGN!

PayPal Clarifies Recent ToS Update

paypal logoPayPal, the ubiquitous money-handling service used by millions of people around the world, came under fire earlier this year after the company posted an update to its terms of service. That update contained language that made it sound like PayPal could (and would) be able to constantly make automated phone calls to its customers. Not surprisingly, people weren’t too happy about the idea of PayPal’s robocalls interrupting their dinner. This news even caught the attention of some lawmakers in Congress.

In a bid to try and reverse the damage caused by this public relations blunder, PayPal sent out an e-mail last week, attempting to clarify the nature of these robocalls:

Unfortunately, some of the language in this update caused confusion and concern with some of our customers about how we may contact you.

To clear up any confusion, we have modified the terms of Section 1.10 of our User Agreement. The new language is intended to make it clear that PayPal primarily uses autodialed or prerecorded calls and texts to:

  • Help detect, investigate and protect our customers from fraud
  • Provide notices to our customers regarding their accounts or account activity
  • Collect a debt owed to us

In addition, the new Section 1.10(a) and 1.10(b) makes it clear that:

  • We will not use autodialed or prerecorded calls or texts to contact our customers for marketing purposes without prior express written consent. Customers can continue to enjoy our products and services without needing to consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls or texts
  • Customers can continue to enjoy our products and services without needing to consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls or texts
  • We respect our customers’ communications preferences and recognize that their consent is required for certain autodialed and prerecorded calls and texts. Customers may revoke consent to receive these communications by contacting PayPal customer support and informing us of their preferences.

So while these terms do still indicate that PayPal may indeed robocall you, it’ll only happen if they have a specific reason due to problems with your account like potential fraud or to collect a debt. PayPal won’t be calling you to offer new services or upsell you on account upgrades.

Looks like you can relax now if you were planning on adding PayPal’s phone number to your block list.

Ingress comes to Android Wear

Ingress LogoI started playing Ingress earlier this year. I’m still pretty new to the game and I can’t say I’ve made an awful lot of progress. Ingress is an augmented reality game where players choose factions and then battle for control of portals that exist in the real world. Once a new portal becomes available, players from the two factions (either Enlightened or Resistance) can hack the portal and try to ultimately take control of it. As factions continue to claim more portals, they can then link those portals to eventually take control of larger areas.

Traditionally, Ingress could only be played using either Android or iOS apps running on smartphones or tablets. But now, Ingress is available on Android Wear devices. Now it’ll be easier than ever for players to locate portals and interact with them, as the Ingress interface will be readily available on devices like wristwatches, sparing the need to remove a pocketed phone or having to pull a tablet out of a backpack or bag.

The Android Wear version of Ingress is available for download thru the Google Play Store. So get out there and get to hacking those portals! No matter which faction you’re on, Ingress can be a lot of fun and it’s a good way to get some exercise, too.

GNC #1047 Amazon Come On!

I talk about the Amazon catastrophe and the historic Pluto fly by.. Even have some fun with some upper level math tonight. I have been burning the candle on both ends and that shone through tonight get ready to chuckle… See you on Monday.

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Reddit AMA Reveals Potential Content Policy Changes

Reddit logoSteve Huffman, Reddit’s Co-Founder and returning CEO, held an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on the website today. He discussed potential policy changes regarding what will, and will not, be allowed on Reddit. It appears that some things may change based upon the comments posted by people who attended the AMA.

Steve Huffman, who uses the name “spez” on Reddit, started the AMA with some explanation. Part of it said: “As Reddit has grown, we’ve seen additional examples of how unfettered free speech can make Reddit a less enjoyable place to visit, and can even cause people harm outside of Reddit.”

As a result, Reddit is “considering a set of additional restrictions on what people can say on Reddit – or at least say on our public pages – in the spirit of our mission”.

Content prohibited on Reddit

I’d like to point out the part that says “Anything that harasses, bullies, or abuses an individual or group of people (these behaviors intimidate others into silence)” in order to note that a clarification has been made.  A later part of the AMA says: Wording we’ve used elsewhere is this: “Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2)  fear for their safety and the safety of those around them”.

I find it very interesting that Reddit might require people to opt in to seeing NSFW communities.  Other types of content “will require a login, must be opted into, will not appear in search results or public listings, and will generate no revenue for Reddit”.  To me, it sounds like a person who was new to Reddit would be able to easily avoid the NSFW content – and avoid the stuff that “violates a common sense of decency”. People who want to see that type of content can, if they log in to the website and intentionally opt in.

That alone could help make Reddit be a more enjoyable place to visit.  Combine that with the potential change that would, essentially, hide most of the unsavory content from view – and from “search results and public listings”, and that the worst content “will generate no revenue for Reddit”.

It seems to me that hiding the worst portions of Reddit could make the website seem more enticing to people who have always considered Reddit to be a pit of the worst humanity has to offer.  Maybe more people would visit Reddit after those changes have been made?  It also sounds like these changes are being considered in the hopes to entice advertisers to want to post some ads on Reddit.  A brand might be able to do that without associating itself with some of the more horrible things that people post on there.