Google is Investing $1 Billion in Bay Area Homes



Google announced that they are investing $1 billion in housing across the San Francisco Bay Area. They chose this location because Google is one of the Bay Area’s largest employers. Google wants to help solve the problem of a chronic shortage of affordable housing options for middle and low-income residents.

First, over the next 10 years, we’ll repurpose at least $750 million of Google’s land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing. This will enable us to support the development of at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle to low-income families.

After that, Google will establish a $250 million investment fund so they can provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market. Google will also give $50 million in grants through Google.org to nonprofits focused on the issues of homelessness and displacement.

In addition, Google will work with local municipalities to support plans that allow residential developers to build quickly and economically. And, Google will also fund community spaces that provide free access to co-working areas for nonprofits, improve transit options for the community and Google’s employees, and support programs for career development, education, and local business.

Personally, I think this is a great idea! One of the problems California has is the lack of affordable homes for middle-income and low-income individuals and families. It is nice that Google is using some of its wealth to help solve this problem.


Facebook Announced Libra Cryptocurrency and Calibra Wallet



Facebook announced Libra, its very own cryptocurrency powered by blockchain technology. It is also introducing Calibra, a digital wallet for Libra. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app. Facebook expects to launch these products in 2020.

For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women. The cost of that exclusion is high – approximately 70% of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.

I see a problem. People who don’t have bank accounts might not be able to afford a smartphone to access Calibra and the Libra cryptocurrency on. I suspect Facebook is aiming mostly at businesses and not-so-much on people who are poor.

Facebook says that Calibra will let you send Libra “to almost anyone with a smartphone, easily and instantly as you might send a message, and at low to no cost.” In time, Facebook hopes to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.

According to Facebook, Calibra will use the same verification and anti-fraud processes that banks and credit cards use. There will be automated systems that proactively monitor activity to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior. If someone gains access to your account and you lose some Libra as a result, Facebook will offer you a refund.

What about privacy? Facebook says Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without consumer consent. Personally, I wonder exactly how that consent will be given. Will users have the choice to opt-in to giving consent? Or will Calibra require that consent before people can use it?

Facebook also says Calbra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook family of products. Given Facebook’s history, it would be wise to be skeptical of that claim.


Most Children who Watch YouTube Don’t Use YouTube Kids



The YouTube Kids app was designed for children who were age 13 or younger. According to Bloomberg, most of the children who are watching YouTube don’t use YouTube Kids.

Children who do watch YouTube Kids tend to shift over to YouTube’s main site before they hit thirteen, according to multiple people at YouTube familiar with internal data. One person who works on the app said the departures typically happen around age seven. In India, YouTube’s biggest market by volume, usage of the Kids app is negligible, according to this employee. These people asked not to be identified discussing private information.

The article also noted that many parents don’t know the difference between YouTube and YouTube Kids. So, it’s entirely possible that the children of those parents are watching the main YouTube – which is definitely not designed for kids to watch.

Children who leave YouTube Kids and start watching the main YouTube don’t want to go back to YouTube Kids. The main complaint appears to be that these children see YouTube Kids as “babyish”. They aren’t wrong about that. One of the biggest YouTube Kids channels is called Cocomelon. It is a channel of nursery rhymes.

Parents need to decide for themselves how comfortable they are about allowing their children to watch the main YouTube instead of the kid version. It wouldn’t be very hard for a child to accidentally come across disturbing content simply by clicking on the videos that an algorithm suggests to them. This is not to say that everything on YouTube Kids is entirely safe for children, as it has had some not-safe-for-kids content. YouTube has worked to try and remove that content.

Parents who are concerned about what their children are watching on YouTube have a few options. The way to have the most control is for the parent to pre-screen YouTube videos and then watch those videos with their child. Doing so will take time, but will enable a parent to replace the YouTube algorithm with their own, personal, judgement about what is safe for their child to watch.


New Media Productions Studio #1376



Audio show debut from the New Media Productions Studio in Southern Michigan. The first show from the new studio or actually office of the new studio. Not a lot to show you can see the latest on Facebook on where I am in the build process. Lot’s of tasty morsels in today’s show enjoy the podcast. I am getting a bit anxious though on the container delivery as it is taking its sweet time transversing Indiana and Ohio seems to be on the slow track

Subscribe to the Newsletter.
Pickup Ohana Gear.
Join the Chat @ GeekNews.Chat (Mastodon)
Email Todd or follow him on Facebook.
Like and Follow Geek News Central Facebook Page. Download the Audio Show File

Support my Show Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgeek30
$4.99 for a New or Transferred .com cjcgeek99 @ GoDaddy.com
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1h
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1w
Become a GNC Insider: Support this podcast

Continue reading New Media Productions Studio #1376


BBC’s Alexa Flash Briefing Slated with 1* Reviews



If there’s one thing that you’d expect the BBC to get right, it would be the news.  Ask people in the street about BBC news and you’d expect words like authoritative, impartial, insightful, confident and trustworthy to litter the responses. But going by the number of one star reviews on the BBC’s Alexa flash briefing, it looks (and sounds) like the BBC’s screwed up.

Following the history of reviews, it would appear that the BBC changed the flash briefing to its new format between 19 & 20 May because since then there have been over 150 one star reviews and they have not been kind.

This used to be excellent, now ruined by dumbing it down to something even Newsround would have found inane.” (Newsround is a children’s news programme)
Please, let’s return to the grown-up reports without the pointless jingles.”
Sounds like a children’s version of the news. Silly soundbites and background sound effects.
Two annoying ‘hosts’ trying to be cool in the morning is not what I use [the] BBC for”
Utter rubbish.

For those not in the UK, the BBC’s radio stations are aimed at different demographics. Radio 1 typically features the most recent pop music, Radio 2 is more mainstream playing a catalogue going back decades, Radio 3 is classical and jazz music, Radio 4 is news and current affairs, with 5 Live carrying sport and 6 Music catering for indie and special interest music. The serious news journalism comes from Radio 4 through programmes like Today, World at One and PM.

Having had a listen myself, I can hear what the complaints are about. It’s a pair of chatty presenters (Dee & Lee) who present lightweight news and often fail to lead with one of the main news stories of the day. It’s clearly aimed at a younger audience and even talks about topics “trending on social media”. Radio 4, it is not.

What surprises me is that the BBC doesn’t have multiple flash briefings. How hard would it be to have a couple of briefings aimed at different listener demographics? That would keep everyone happy. Instead, they’ve alienated a large chunk of their listening audience.


Beware of Fake Profiles on LinkedIn



Katie Jones doesn’t exist. But, she may have contacted you on LinkedIn.

The Associated Press reported that the Katie Jones persona was part of a “vast army” of phantom profiles on LinkedIn. Experts believe that the Katie Jones image was created by a computer program. Why? According to some of the experts that the Associated Press spoke with, fake LinkedIn profiles like that one are part of an espionage operation.

CNET reported that the Katie Jones image appeared to have been created by generative adversarial networks (or GANs).

Typically, “bots”, and other types of fake profiles. steal the images they use from stock photo websites or from the accounts of real people. It is possible for someone to take those images, and run them through an image search (or a reverse image search), to find the source of the image. The TV show Catfish used that technique to determine if someone was actually who they claimed to be.

An image created by a GAN cannot be found out so easily. It is a one-of-a-kind image that, at first glance, looks like a real person. An image search, or reverse image search, won’t find a match.

There are some “tells”, however. A website called ThisPersonDoesNotExist has many photos that were produced by a GAN. All of them are closeups. All have odd backgrounds that don’t look like anything in particular. Sometimes the eyes of the person are noticeably different in size. Some have strange looking stretchmarks on their cheeks.

In one of the images, a man’s glasses appeared to have become one with his face. In others, the earrings women were wearing looked melted or were twisted into bizarre shapes. I suspect that most people won’t notice those strange alterations by looking at a small LinkedIn photo.

Another disturbing thing about the LinkedIn profiles of nonexistent people is that the profile is given an impressive sounding title at a school or business that does exist. It appears to be designed to trick people into accepting friend requests from them.

How well do you really know the people you have connected with on LinkedIn?


Drunk Flying your Drone #1375



There is a new law in Japan that fines you for drunk flying your drone with fines starting at $3000 or 300,000 Yen. The Japanese government is not fooling around and have introduced even more stiff fines for flying dangerously near people. I have wrapped up a week here in Columbus with a meeting in Clevland tomorrow morning and then back to Michigan. My travel schedule has been drawn up and it is nothing more than insane. But hey that’s what I have signed up for.

Please note the change in the GoDaddy domain offers on new pricing!

Subscribe to the Newsletter.
Pickup Ohana Gear.
Join the Chat @ GeekNews.Chat (Mastodon)
Email Todd or follow him on Facebook.
Like and Follow Geek News Central Facebook Page. Download the Audio Show File

Support my Show Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgeek30
$4.99 for a New or Transferred .com cjcgeek99 @ GoDaddy.com
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1h
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1w
Become a GNC Insider: Support this podcast

Continue reading Drunk Flying your Drone #1375