Facebook to Add More Staff to Monitor Facebook Live



When I first heard about Facebook Live, I thought it would be a good thing for people who like to play video games and livestream it in a way that made it easy for their Facebook friends to watch. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who have been using Facebook Live to commit acts of violence. Mark Zuckerberg says that Facebook will hire more staff to monitor Facebook live.

In a Facebook post on his verified Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg makes it clear that he is aware of the bad things that have happened on Facebook Live – and states what Facebook will do about it.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook – either live or in video posted later. It’s heartbreaking, and I’ve been reflecting on how we can do better for our community.

If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly. We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner – whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.

Over the next year, we’ll be adding 3,000 people to our community operations team around the world – on top of the 4,500 we have today – to review the millions of reports we get every week, and improve the process for doing it quickly.

These reviewers will also help us get better at removing things we don’t allow on Facebook like hate speech and child exploitation. And we’ll keep working with local community groups and law enforcement who are in the best position to help someone if they need it – either because they’re about to harm themselves, or because they are in danger from someone else.

In addition to investing in more people, we’re also building better tools to keep our community safe. We’re going to make it simpler to report problems to us, faster for our reviewers to determine which posts violate our standards and easier for them to contact law enforcement if someone needs help. As these become available they should help make our community safer.

Mark Zuckerberg goes on to point out that Facebook got a report that someone on Facebook Live was considering suicide. They were able to reach out to law enforcement, who helped prevent that person from harming himself.

I read some of the comments left on Zuckerberg’s post. Some people are very happy to see these upcoming changes take effect. Others would like Facebook Live shut down so that no one can use it to try and get attention by engaging in violence. Those comments inspired other people to insist that Facebook Live should not be shut down because they are using it to connect with family members who live far away.

In some ways, I feel like we’ve heard this before. A few of the commenters said that they have been reporting hate speech, and that Facebook doesn’t do anything about it.  Forbes points out that Facebook has long had a problem with people using the platform for illegal gun sales.  Facebook’s Community Standards specifically state that users are prohibited from selling firearms or ammunition on Facebook.


Sitpack Portable Compact Seat Review



Rather than the usual “hands-on” review, this is more of a “bottoms-on” assessment as here we have a Sitpack Portable Compact Seat. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, Mono+Mono announced the Sitpack on Kickstarter in 2014 and since then, over 35,000 Sitpacks have been shipped worldwide. Apparently it’s very popular in Japan, so let’s take a closer look.

At first glance, the Sitpack is not unlike a large drinks can and looks nothing like a chair, but it handily unfolds and telescopes out to T-shaped structure for an impromptu lean-to seat.

All folded up, the Sitpack is much the same size a 500 ml drinks can and weighs about 600 g. Made of glass-fiber reinforced polycarbonate, it’s solid in the hand and weighs in at 600 g. There’s a hinge on one end and peeling apart the other end reveals the telescopic pole, albeit slightly hidden by a large rubber foot.

The Sitpack uses a simple “extend and twist” to lock in place each segment of the leg. Fully extend a leg section and twist through about ten degrees until markers on each segment line up. Obviously it’s tricky the first few times, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.

   

Fully extended the Sitpack is 87 cm tall. The Sitpack can be shortened by one segment for a smaller person, with shorter height of 75 cm. The material suggests that there is an even shorter length of 65 cm but I couldn’t figure out how to shorten it further as there are dire warnings on the top tube of shortening any other tube. If you want to see the extending and collapsing in more detail, Sitpack have a video.

What’s it like to use? The first few goes are really about building up confidence in the Sitpack and deciding the best length. I’m about 5’7″ and I eventually decided that the shorter length worked for me best as it was more of a sitting rather than leaning posture. At full extension, I felt I was leaning against the Sitpack and I didn’t have the confidence, especially on loose or slippy surfaces.

Is the Sitpack comfortable? Well, I’m not going to pretend that the top of the Sitpack is anything other than hard plastic and even Sitpack don’t recommend using it for more than 40 minutes at a time….but it does take the weight off your feet and it kind of feels that you are resting rather than standing. There is a seat cushion accessory (€25) for additional comfort but I wasn’t able to try it out.

For me, Sitpack works best when, say, waiting for a bus or train and you want to read your ereader or tablet. TIimes when you are reasonably static and either on your own or with adult company. It wasn’t a great success on a family outing, as trying to constantly corral two children meant that you never got two minutes to Sitpack still (sorry). I’d also suggest that the Sitpack isn’t the solution for an unsteady elderly relative: you need to be able to balance on the Sitpack.

Sitpack’s customer service is superlative. I had an unfortunate accident and managed to break one of the tubes. To start with, the Sitpack fully disassembles and there’s a video here on how to do it. I contacted Sitpack as an ordinary owner and they sent me out a replacement tube free of charge which arrived from Denmark within a few days. Brilliant.

The Sitpack comes in a range of colours; Pearl White, Pitch Black, Easy Blue and Power Pink plus a couple of special editions such as St. Patrick’s Green and Camo Black (it’s a camouflage pattern). The standard price is €55 / GB£46 / US$60 with one or two versions priced either side (€46 / €65). The foot can be customised too, with the standard black rubber swapped out for six other colours. It would be fun if Sitpack offered colour mixing as a black and white Sitpack with alternating sections would be cool.

Overall I liked the Sitpack and I can see the possibilities, especially for commuters on busy train stations without enough seats. Upfront, it does seem expensive at €55 but I think it’s one of these things where “the quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”. And Sitpack’s customer service is great. On the downside, it is relatively heavy – you’re not going to be carrying the Sitpack just in case, and you do get a bit of numb bum after awhile. The sacrifices I make for Geek News Central….

Thanks to Mono+Mono for providing the Sitpack for review.

 


Optoma EH400+ Digital Projector Review



This month, I’ve been tinkering with the Optoma EH400+ digital projector (DLP). Unlike last month’s diminutive ML750ST personal projector, the EH400+ is a multipurpose projector suitable for professional presentations in meeting rooms and training centres. Let’s take a closer look, though be careful as it’s very bright…

The EH400+ is about the size of a generous tin of biscuits, measuring 30 x 23 x 9.6 cm and weighing 2.5 kg. It’s entirely luggable, but prospective purchasers should note that there’s no carry case included in the box, though it is an optional extra. While we are on the topic, there’s only the projector, power lead and IR remote control in the box. It’s a standard kettle-style power lead (IEC C13) with no power brick.

White on the top and dark grey round the sides, the Optoma projector ticks all the standard projector boxes. Lens on front, buttons on top and ports on the rear. The recessed lens on the front will form an image on a screen from as close as 1 m to as far away as 12 m and at the furthest limit, the image will be over 7 m wide. That’s fairly big. The bulb puts out 4,000 lumens which is 5 times what the ML750ST put out, so can easily project a strong image in well-lit rooms. The large lens rotates smoothly through about 180 degrees to focus the image and there’s a lever on the top to zoom the image.

The buttons on the top of the projector offer the usual functions –  turning it on, adjusting the image, accessing menus, etc. but the main area of interest is round the back with a selection of connectors, ports and sockets. There are two HDMI, two VGA, S-Video, composite video, two stereo sockets and a network port. Yes, a network port….

Turning the projector over, there are three rubber feet for setting the EH400+ on a table or other smooth surface. The foot at the front spins out to about a 1 cm to raise the projector up. For suspension from a ceiling in a permanent installation, there’s a three-point mount.

Turned on, the EH400+ is pleasingly quiet, though it does put out some light through the fan along with a fair amount of heat, as you’d expect with something this bright.

Connect up the EH400+ to a PC or laptop via HDMI and it appears as a full HD (1920 x 1080) monitor and with a suitable OS you can do the usual tricks of either reproducing the current desktop or extending the desktop to the EH400’s display. In most environments, it’s going to be showing the same display as the monitor but it’s a useful feature to have.

As with most digital projectors, the EH400+ has an on-screen display (OSD) for configuring the display and all the usual options are there for keystoning, image shifting and similar. But unlike most other projectors, there are far more options than are usually available. For example, there’s a small suite of test patterns to ensure the image is displayed perfectly. There’s even an option to adjust the colour output to compensate for the colour of the wall being used for projection.

On the downside, I didn’t find that the projector was very good at finding the input source automatically and most times I selected the input manually with the remote. Once selected, it took a few seconds to lock on but after that, the EH400+ stayed locked on.

While Powerpoint presentations are likely to be the bread’n’butter of the EH400+, it’s perfectly capable of showing films and movies too. I connected up my Sky Q and watched a few movies plus the new series of Thunderbirds in HD and 3 m across. My son loved it. The picture was good and the colours reproduced well, which is one of the headline features of EH400+ giving an accurate sRGB colourspace. The bright 4000 lumens coped well with an ordinarily lit room and while the sound from the built-in speakers would be acceptable in a meeting or training environment as it’s pretty loud, the quality isn’t going to win any hifi awards from the audiophiles.

And don’t forget, with two HDMI ports, a media streaming stick like the Roku or Amazon Fire TV can be plugged in permanently and powered from the USB port.

There’s no wifi with this Optoma projector (optional extra) but there is a network port which, at a minimum, can be used to control the EH400+. The projector can work with some audiovisual systems such as Crestron and PJ Link. I’ve no idea about these, but the web interface was actually a fairly handy way to control the projector – no faffing around pointing the remote at the projector and scrolling through options – just point and click. It’s even possible to sent email alerts from the projector if there’s a fan error or lamp life is exceeded. The web interface doesn’t cover all the features available via the built-in menus but it covers the main ones. Here’s a screen shot.

That’s about it. In summary, the EH400+ comes across as a solid DLP workhorse that will perform well in professional environments, displaying presentations and media to a high standard with good colour reproduction. Priced at just under GB£750 inc VAT, this is definitely business territory and would be a good choice when replacing a legacy projector with a more up-to-date unit and more relevant connections. The network port and web interface is handy too, especially when the battery has died in the remote control.

The EH400+ can be bought through Optoma‘s partners including Currys PC World and Just Projectors. The Currys price seems a little high…

There’s a short video below and I must apologise for there being no demonstration of the EH400+’s projection capability. I didn’t have a suitable projection space and had to use a small screen which was incredibly bright at such a short distance. Suffice to say that the quality is impressive.

Update: I previously described this as a digital LED projector. It’s not, as DLP stands for Digital Light Proceessing.

Thanks to Optoma for the loan of the review unit.


GNC #1196 NAB Takes



I bust down what I saw at NAB and details from the trip. My apologies for those watching the live stream tonight something went sideways and took the stream down. But never fear podcast is here. See you all on Thursday.

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Get SoundCloud Go+ for 3 Months for $1



SoundCloud has a limited time offer going on right now on SoundCloud Go+ which is great for people who have considered using SoundCloud but have not yet signed up. New users can get SoundCloud Go+ for 3 months for $1. This offer is not available in Quebec, Canada.

It should be noted that SoundCloud Go+, and SoundCloud Go, are two different plans.  There is also a SoundCloud Free plan.

SoundCloud Go+ includes the following features:

  • Access the world’s largest music streaming catalog, a constantly expanding mix from established and emerging artists
  • Full access to all 150M+ tracks
  • Offline listening
  • No ads
  • Millions of premium SoundCloud Go+ tracks
  • No previews

It has more features than the SoundCloud Go plan, which does not give access to the premium SoundCloud Go+ tracks, and which has previews. SoundCloud Go was released earlier this year.

By “no ads”, SoundCloud means “no interruptive audio or visual experiences.” Those who want to buy the limited time offer need to give SoundCloud their credit card (or PayPal) information, and will be billed for $1.00. The free offer lasts a total of 90 days. When the 90 day free offer is over, your subscription to SoundCloud Go+ will automatically renew every 30 days at a rate of $9.99. SoundCloud says that you can cancel at any time.

Only new users are eligible for the limited time offer on SoundCloud Go+. However, people who are currently using the SoundCloud Free plan can take advantage of an offer on SoundCloud Go. Try it free for 30 days. When the 30 days is over, SoundCloud Go costs $4.99 a month.


Wizard World / Free Comic Book Day – May 6




Early risers at partner stores in Des Moines, Iowa; Philadelphia; Sacramento, Calif.; Albuquerque N.M.; Columbus, Ohio; Orlando, Fla.; Chicago and Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, May 6, will be treated to a limited supply of exclusive Wizard World Walking Dead variants, as Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) is proud to celebrate Free Comic Book Day across the country.
Store customers seeking the highly collectible comics, which were previously only available at Wizard World conventions, can also register to win a pair of passes that day to an upcoming Wizard World Comic Con in their market. The first 500 attendees at Wizard World Comic Con in Minneapolis on May 6 will also receive an exclusive variant comic.

Says Wizard World CEO John Maatta, “Local shops are the cornerstone of the entire comics entertainment industry. Everything that has sprung from the industry in the past 50 years–the books, the characters, the fandom, the culture–all started at the comic shops. What was originally fringe is now mainstream; and yet even so, there are tons of niche groups devoted to their favorite characters, genres, and media. The stores provide a home-away-from-home for fans of all types, a meeting place in real life to discuss their passions with fellow fans and to find the latest adventures of their favorite characters.” Continues Maatta, “The comics community is very important to us, and we at Wizard World strive to promote the efforts of many sides of the entertainment industry.” To that end, inserted flyers will also promote noted comics industry nonprofits Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (http://cbldf.org/), which supports First Amendment rights, and Hero Initiative (https://www.heroinitiative.org/), which provides financial support to creators in need.

Walking Dead Wizard World Variants are available on May 6 at the following locations (upcoming Wizard World Comic Con dates in parentheses):
Des Moines (May 19-21) http://wizardworld.com/comiccon/des-moines
Capes Kafe, Mayhem Collectibles, Pop Culture Utopia, Rodman
Philadelphia (June 1-4) http://wizardworld.com/comiccon/philadelphia
Amalgam, Brave New Worlds, Fat Jack’s Comicrypt, Johnny Destructo’s, South Philly
Sacramento (June 16-18) http://wizardworld.com/guests/sacramento
A-1, Big Brother, Comic Command Center, Comics & Collectibles, Empire’s Comics Vault, Metropolis
Albuquerque (July 14-16) http://wizardworld.com/comiccon/albuquerque
Age of Comics, Lobo
Columbus (August 4-6) http://wizardworld.com/comiccon/columbus
Capital City, Comic Town, Heroes & Games, Laughing Ogre, Moore Comics, Packrat
Orlando (August 11-13) http://wizardworld.com/comiccon/orlando
A Comic Shop, Coliseum, Gods & Monsters, Mike’s, Sci Fi City
Chicago (August 24-27) http://wizardworld.com/comiccon/chicago
Challengers, Chicago Comics, Dark Tower, First Aid, Graham Crackers, Maximum Distraction, Third Coast
Nashville (September 8-10) http://wizardworld.com/comiccon/nashville
Comix City Too, Outer Limits, Rick’s Comic City, Starbase 1552

As an added bonus, fans using the code FCBD can enjoy 20% off their general admission ticket price to Wizard World in any of the above listed markets.
Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop culture: movies, television, gaming, live entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Wizard World Comic Con is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed – will roam the convention floor and participate in the famed Wizard World Costume Contest on Saturday evening.

About Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD)

Wizard World, Inc. (www.wizardworld.com) produces comic, gaming and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate the best in pop culture: movies, television, gaming, live entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, original art, collectibles, contests and more. A first-class lineup of topical programming and entertainment takes place at each event, with celebrity Q&A’s, comics-themed sessions, costume contests, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Wizard World has also launched ComicConBox™ (www.comicconbox.com), a premium subscription-based monthly box service, SocialCon™ (www.socialcon.com) and Wizard World Touring. Fans can interact with Wizard World on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media services.

The 2017 Wizard World convention schedule is available at: http://www.wizardworld.com/comiccon.


NAB 2017 Liveblog




Twitch Introduces Twitch Affiliate Program



Twitch has introduced the Twitch Affiliate Program.  It is for streamers who are not part of the Twitch Partner Program, but who are striving toward that goal. Twitch will decide which of their non-partnered creators is eligible for the Twitch Affiliate Program.

Introducing the Twitch Affiliate Program, which helps us expand that commitment to include tens of thousands of non-partnered creators. The program allows eligible streamers to start earning income on Twitch while building their audience, and provides a stepping stone to bridge the gap between emerging streamer and Twitch Partner. At launch, Affiliates will be able to start Cheering with Bits on their channel so their communities have an on-platform choice for showing support.

Twitch streamers cannot apply to be in the Twitch Affiliate Program. Twitch will invite streamers who qualify to sign up for it. Invitations are expected to roll out gradually over the next several weeks.

Qualifications include:

  • At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
  • At least 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
  • An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
  • At least 50 followers

Twitch will provide participating Affiliates a share of the revenue Twitch receives from Bits equal to 1 cent per Bit used to Cheer for them, subject to certain terms and conditions. Twitch Partners get Custom Cheermotes – Twitch Affiliates do not.

Twitch Partners payout timeframe is 45 days, and payout fees are covered by Twitch. Twitch Affiliates payout timeframe is 60 days, and the Affiliate has to cover the payout fees themselves.


GNC #1195 FCC Buzzkill



More bad news in the FCC Buzzkill operations to impact small business by allowing price controls to be removed in areas where there is no competition. I also share with you some information that distresses me in a very big way. We kick off episode 1200 preparations as well. Be sure to check back on the site next week for the Liveblog of videos and pictures from NAB.  Also big announcement on a special interview I am doing that will be an incredible episode in the return of Podcast Legends.

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Microsoft Introduces To-Do



Microsoft has introduced a new, intelligent task management app that makes it easy to plan and manage your day. It is called Microsoft To-Do, and it is now available in Preview.

To-Do comes from the team behind the Wunderlist app, and delivers a smarter, more personal and intuitive way to help people stay organized and get the most out of every day. It is powered by Office 365 integration and an intelligent algorithm.

To-Do helps you to create a list for anything – for work, home projects or just groceries. You can keep track of deadlines by adding reminders, due dates and notes, and personalize it with colorful themes. You can access your lists anywhere with the To-Do apps for iPhone, Android phone, Windows 10 devices and the web.

Every morning, To-Do gives you a clean slate called My Day. You can put in whatever tasks that you want to accomplish that day. Tap a lightbulb icon to access Intelligent Suggestions. The app will show you to-dos from the day before, what’s due, or upcoming, and other helpful suggestions based on To-Do’s algorithm. You can add the ones you want to get done to My Day.