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

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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.

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DJI Introduces RoboMaster S1 Advanced Educational Robot



DJI, the global leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, takes a step into educational technology by launching the RoboMaster S1, the company’s first ground-based robot. The S1 was built to introduce users to the fun and possibilities of robotic technology, with powerful brushless motors, a chassis that can move in all directions, a high-precision gimbal, and interactive modes for programming, play, and competition.

S1 users can have fun while assembling designated and custom hardware, learning to maneuver the rover, programming with Python or Scratch and competing with friends in multiple modes.

The S1, short for “Step 1”, is a highly advanced rover designed to give new users an easy introduction to AI, engineering, and robotics. With simple controls, a dedicated RoboMaster app, easily navigable menus, and a wealth of tutorials, the S1 is approachable to newcomers while offering advanced features to users already experienced in AI, engineering, and robotics.

The S1 is equipped with 31 sensors to help map the world around it, including six on its intelligent body armor, which are used to detect hits. Atop the durable S1 frame is a first-person view (FPV) camera that sends a stabilized live feed from the S1 to the RoboMaster app.

It also features a specialized gimbal with an infrared and nontoxic gel bead Blaster, which automatically limits launching rate and angle to ensure safety. The S1 is modular with DJI parts and also includes six Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control ports so advanced users can take advantage of third-party hardware.

Using the FPV camera and machine vision technology, the S1 can identify different objects automatically, recognize and respond to sounds, and receive signals from other S1 units. The powerful central processing unit and industrial-grade CAN-bus cable enable it to process large amounts of data, maintaining a stable transmission signal even while performing multiple tasks.

Along with its brushless motor, the S1 has four Mecanum wheels, most commonly found on competitive robots, each with 12 rollers that allow omnidirectional movement and precision control while operating.

Starting June 12, the RoboMaster S1 will be available for purchase for the retail price of $499. A “PlayMore Kit”, which includes the dedicated gamepad, additional gel beads, one battery, and a gel bead container, will be available for purchase at a later date.


Google Stops Syncing Between Photos and Drive



How stupid is this? Google has announced that from July, photographs will no longer sync between Google Drive and Google Photos citing “the connection between these services is confusing”. What?

Sorry, but how is this confusing? Images are synchronised between Google Drive and Google Photos. If you do something in one, it’s also done in the other. How hard is that to understand? Seems straightforward to me.

And let’s not forget that you have to turn the syncing feature on. It’s not as if Google forces you to sync. Surely if someone finds “the connection between these services is confusing” they could turn it off? Drive goes out of its way to make sure that you understand the impact of, say, deleting a file.

I like this feature because it makes working with photographs as files so much easier, and apps only have to be compatible with Drive to work effectively. They don’t need to know about Photos explicitly. As long as you can navigate to the Googe Photos folder in Drive, there are all your photographs carefully arranged by year and month.

Perhaps they’re telling the truth but I’m a suspicious old dog and I think this is more about Google trying to stop people getting their photographs out of the service by making it as inconvenient as possible. And what really annoys me is that I pay extra for additional Google storage.

Maybe Google should remember that Microsoft’s Office 365 Personal is GB£5.99 per month, comes with 1 TB OneDrive storage and Office apps for PC and mobile. That’s much better value than £2.49 per month for 200 GB and copycat apps.

Ciao Google.


MJR Digital Cinemas has upgraded, but what’s wrong with this picture?



Despite the ever-increasing tab at the box office, we all, or most of us, enjoy seeing an occasional movie on the big screen. There are just some flicks that lend themselves to the immersive experience. 

The good news is theaters around the country have been upgrading recently – improved seating and digital systems along with a wider selection of (overpriced) goodies to choose from and dine on during your show. Some now even have bars. 

One theater chain in Michigan, MJR, has been among those to upgrade, however they apparently failed to consult any sort of IT professional, or at least one who knows anything about security. Take a look at the image below and see if any problems seem apparent. 

At least they made the job easy for hackers. In fact, there’s no real job at all, it’s just handed over to them.