Category Archives: Information

Bluesky Says No ‘Heads of State’ On Its Twitter-Like Platform

Bluesky, the buzzy social media platform that’s emerging as a Twitter competitor, said on Friday that it will not allow ‘heads of state’ on the service yet, as the fledgling company seeks to control its growth during its beta testing phase, Fortune reported.

In a post on Bluesky’s official account Friday afternoon, the company said that its “current policy is that we cannot accommodate heads of state to join us in our beta yet.” The app, which launched in beta testing mode at the end of February, is still in the process of developing or fine-tuning key features, including content moderation.

The invite-only social media app has grown to roughly 60,000 users, and currently has a waiting list of 1.2 million people. Among some of the big names already on the app are U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN anchor Jake Tapper. In the post on Friday, Bluesky said that “we appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm in sending invitations” but ask that people give the team a heads up before inviting prominent figures.

The decision to exclude national presidents and other leaders, even temporarily, is an interesting move in a social media landscape that thrives on the presence of well-known figures who act as magnets that draw more users to a platform, Fortune reported.

Bluesky was initially a project kicked off by Jack Dorsey when he was CEO of Twitter in 2019. Jack chose Jay Graber to lead Bluesky, and Twitter paid Bluesky services income to build an open social protocol for public conversation that it could someday become a client on. Bluesky has been an independent company since its formation in 2021.

In late 2022, Twitter chose to sever its service agreement with Bluesky, and Bluesky agreed. The Bluesky PBLLC has continued to pursue its original founding mission to “develop and drive large-scale adoption of technologies for open and decentralized public conversation.”

Bluesky is building a protocol that can make social networks work more like email, blogs, or phone numbers – the open systems that power the rest of our online lives. The protocol we built, the AT Protocol, is close to completion, and the Bluesky app is a microblogging client built on it to showcase the protocol’s features. The Bluesky app also introduces people to how a social web on the AT Protocol will work.

The goal of the AT Protocol is to allow modern social media to work more like the early days of the web, where anyone could put up a blog or use RSS to subscribe to several blogs. We believe this will unlock a new era of experimentation and innovation in social media. Researchers and communities will have the ability to jump in and help solve the problems social networks currently face, and developers will be able to experiment with many new forms of interaction.

Part of Bluesky’s post asks the question “What is your plan for moderation?”

Our approach to moderation is three-fold: automated filtering, manual admin actions, and community labeling. It stacks new approaches to moderation on top of what centralized social sites already do, and exposes the internals of the system for anyone to observe.

The open and composable labeling system for moderation we’re creating will allow anyone to define and apply labels to content or accounts, and lets anyone choose to subscribe to these label sets. Labels can be automatically generated or manually generated, and can be applied by any service or person in the network.

In my opinion, it makes sense for Bluesky to limit its growth of incoming users while it is still in beta. I think it is smart for Bluesky to hold off on allowing ‘heads of state’ to join in right now.

Boost Your Listening Experience: The Value4Value (V4V) Model for Podcast Support

Hey there, podcast lovers! Are you ready to level up your listening experience? We have some fantastic news for you. The Value4Value (V4V) model is here to revolutionize how you support your favorite V4V-enabled show. It’s time to actively participate, show appreciation for the value of the content you are receiving, and even have your voice heard on the podcast. With the V4V model, you can boost a show, including this one, and send an accompanying message that may be read on the air! Let’s dive into how it works and how you can make a difference in podcasting.

Each podcast will have there own ways listeners can support a show. I want to talk about how you can support this site’s show which will give you the groundwork to support other V4V-enabled podcasts on the podcast apps listed below.

Supporting Geek News Central Podcast:

If you’re a fan of Geek News Central, you can support the show using these methods through our insider page linked below:

  1. PayPal
  2. Physical Check
  3. Crypto V4V Donations using “Satoshis” through Podcasting 2.0 applications that are “Value” enabled at

While sending a PayPal donation or check is greatly appreciated, sometimes we may forget to do so, but it’s a viable part of the Value4Value if you are crypto-adverse. The V4V model in supported apps allows you to support this show and others instantly from within the V4V apps listed below.

The Best Apps for V4V Support:

Here’s a list of top-supported apps for the V4V model:

  • Podverse
  • CurioCaster
  • Fountain
  • Castamatic

I recommend using the Fountain app for its ease of use and availability on both Google Play and the App Store, along with the ease of funding your wallet.

How to Use the Fountain Podcasts App:

Let’s walk you through using the Fountain Podcasts App to send and receive Bitcoin Sats. Fountain is a fantastic app for listeners who want to support their favorite podcasts using the V4V model. It’s available on both iOS and Android and makes it easy even for those who don’t own any Bitcoin yet to start supporting. As you listen to your favorite shows, you can earn sats and then choose to send them to the podcasters.

  1. Download the Fountain app from Google Play or the App Store.
  2. Go to the “Podcasts” tab and search for the podcast you want to support. You can search using the show name, episode, or the podcast’s RSS feed.
  3. To support a show, hit the sats button. Select the episode and then the “BOOST” button at the bottom of your screen to boost an episode.
  4. Add the number of sats you’d like to give and share a message. This interaction is called a boostgram or boost.

Boosts allow you to send an instant donation and a message to the podcaster; this interaction with the podcasters is a way to engage with the show. I have seen 100,000 satoshi boosts come in, which equates to about a 25-dollar donation with a note, and 1000 satoshi boosts come in with an equally important engaging comment. At 1000 sats equaling about 25 cents, it’s not about the money. It’s about the engagement with the podcaster, and you, as a listener, can send a tiny donation with almost no processing fees.

V4V Model:

The V4V model is an incredible way for listeners to actively support their favorite podcasts while enjoying a more interactive and engaging listening experience. You can boost episodes, send messages, and create a stronger connection with podcasters and the podcast community using Podcasting 2.0 apps, so start supporting your favorite shows and spreading your love for podcasts!

The Value4Value Revolution in Podcasting

In today’s digital age, creators constantly seek ways to monetize their content. With the rise of podcasts as a popular medium, many podcasters seek alternatives to the traditional advertisement-based revenue model. Enter Value4Value (V4V), a revolutionary approach to monetization that is changing the game for creators. Blubrry Podcasting has enabled V4V for all podcasters using their services, whether it be WordPress & PowerPress or the Podcaster Dashboard at Geek News Central, which originates at this site, is also a fully enabled V4V Podcast.

 What is Value4Value?

Value4Value is a monetization model, content format, and way of life emphasizing freedom, openness, connection, free speech, sound money, and censorship resistance. V4V moves away from the analytic-heavy advertisement model and instead focuses on providing value to the audience, asking them to give back what they deem the content is worth.

The V4V Model

The V4V model is based on three main principles:

  1. Voluntary: Transactions are not enforced; users can choose how much value they want to give back.
  2. Unlimited: There is no cap on the value that can be given or received.
  3. Direct: The value flows directly between the creator and the audience, with no middlemen.

How to Implement Value4Value for Your Podcast

Step 1: Embrace the V4V Mindset

To successfully implement V4V, you must first adopt a mindset of abundance and fairness. Recognize that information is not scarce and should be monetized differently. Embrace the idea that value and information should flow freely between creators and their audience.

Step 2: Set Your Content Free

Make your podcast content accessible to all without artificial barriers or restrictions. This will allow users to freely access, share, and consume your content, increasing its reach and potential value.

Step 3: Diversify Your Donation Methods

Offer your audience multiple ways to contribute, including traditional donation methods like PayPal and checks and newer technologies like Bitcoin and the Lightning Network. This allows users to choose the best method, making it easier for them to support your show.

Step 4: The Ask

Ask your audience to contribute what they believe your content is worth, emphasizing that their contributions can truly support your work as a creator. This is not a simple “buy me a coffee” model but rather a genuine exchange of value based on the quality and impact of your content. This can be done through a simple call-to-action in your podcast or other communication channels. Remember, the number one reason people don’t give is that they weren’t asked.

Step 5: Integrate Micropayments

Bitcoin and its Lightning Network* allow for frictionless automation of micropayments, making it easy for your audience to send value directly to you. Please set up a Bitcoin wallet and Lightning Wallet with Alby to receive payments and integrate them into your podcast at Blubrry in the Value Settings in PowerPress and on the Blubrry Dashboard. Receive Boostgrams** A “Boostagram” is a short text message attached to a voluntary value-for-value payment integrated into modern Podcasting 2.0 apps. The payment and the message are direct, peer-to-peer, and enabled by Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.

Step 6: Engage Your Audience

Include your listeners in the feedback and content-creation process. This adds value to your podcast and helps foster a sense of community and connection, encouraging users to contribute value in return.

Step 7: Promote Your V4V Model

Use social media platforms, such as Twitter (#V4V) and Mastodon (, to connect with other creators and audiences who are interested in the Value4Value model. Share your experiences, learn from others, and help grow the V4V community.


The Value4Value model offers podcasters a unique and innovative way to monetize their content. By embracing the V4V mindset, setting content free, offering diverse donation methods, asking for contributions, integrating micropayments, engaging with the audience, and promoting the model, podcasters can break away from the traditional advertising model and create a more sustainable, valuable, and community-driven experience.

Value4Value is not just a “buy me a coffee” alternative; it’s a transformative approach that encourages audiences to consider the actual value of the content and make meaningful contributions that genuinely support the creator. By offering multiple donation methods, including traditional options like PayPal and checks, you give your audience the flexibility to contribute in the best way for them.

Join the V4V podcast revolution and start monetizing your podcast to benefit you and your audience. Embrace the future of podcast monetization with Value4Value today. Fully supported by Blubrry Podcasting and a small number of other podcast hosts.

Footnote: What is The Lightning Network?

The Lightning Network is a layer on the Bitcoin blockchain that addresses the issues of scalability and transaction throughput. The network leverages the concept of payment channels to allow users to transact with each other almost instantly and at low costs. By creating payment channels between parties, the Lightning Network forms nodes capable of routing transactions, enabling many small transactions to be aggregated into one before being recorded on the main blockchain. This significantly speeds up transactions and reduces congestion on the Bitcoin network.

On the other hand, a satoshi is the smallest unit of Bitcoin, named after its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. One satoshi equals 0.00000001 BTC, allowing for precise and small transactions. The Lightning Network supports fast micropayments and low transaction fees, efficiently enabling satoshis transactions. Due to the low processing fee, this ability to handle micropayments is essential for V4V.

Credit to for providing base ideas for this post!

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

The Frustration of Parental Controls on PlayStation 5

Parents….if you are thinking about buying a PS5 and setting it up with a child account for your under-18, then I’ve some advice for you. Don’t. It’s a total nightmare that I bitterly regret because of the endless disappointment, wasted time and Sony’s poor information. If you want a child-friendly gaming console, buy a Nintendo Switch.

Last Christmas, Santa Claus brought my son a PlayStation 5 – he’s a lucky boy. As a good parent, I set up the PS5 in my name and added him as a family member. What a mistake! Sony makes parental controls an exercise in frustration. The main problem is that when you come up against a problem, you simply don’t know whether you are doing something wrong or whether it’s a parental control that you can (or can’t) tweak.

The basic parental controls on the PS5 are pretty straightforward. If my son wants to play a game within his age rating, he can go ahead and play the game straightaway. If the age rating is above his age, he can ask for approval to play. That request comes to me and I can accept or reject it.  Most of the time that works but it’s not frictionless – there’s too much mucking about with logging in or using the PlayStation app with 2FA.

On top of that, some game manufacturers seem to put on their own age limit, and prevent anyone from playing under their age guidance and there’s no option to request parental permission. But you don’t know that when you buy the game and it’s not made clear even in-game when you come up against the problem. Is it a setting that I have to tweak or is it a hard limit? Sony’s instructions suggest that he should be able ask for permission but Crew 2 doesn’t offer an option, even though he’s in their suggested age window. I currently have a call logged with Ubisoft for this one.

The biggest issue over the past while has been with in-game voice chat in Fortnite – every time you tried to enable the feature it gave an error, but there was no indication whether this was a technical fault or conflict with PS5 parental controls. It turns out it was a technical issue that Epic has finally fixed.

But here’s another example with Fortnite. On the Nintendo Switch, if my son wants to buy V-bucks in Fortnite, all I need to do is use my credit or debit card details to get the V-bucks. Once that’s done, the V-bucks are in his account and he can spend them as he likes. Compare this with the PS5, where we see this super helpful message on the V-bucks purchasing page.

The way around it for the PlayStation 5 is for me to buy V-bucks in Fortnite, then purchase the in-game items he wants and gift them to him but it’s a total waste of my time. You have to go through the same process if he gets a V-bucks card as a gift. Surely a V-bucks gift card is the ideal way to control a child’s spending?

Next in the bad books was Spotify. We have a family subscription and there are profiles for everyone. The PS5 had a new native app, replacing the PS4 version. I downloaded the app, logged in as myself and played my tunes – everything was working. When my son tried to start the app, an error appeared saying that Spotify couldn’t start while he was logged in. And that’s it. No explanation as to what parental control was preventing the app from running, no opportunity for him to request access. It’s a complete joke. Eventually, it was fixed without explanation.

And Sony is almost impossible to get hold of for any queries. The Playstation Support pages are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, although there’s an online assistant that will connect you with community experts. TBH, they’re not much use. Any time I’ve used them, it’s “I think you can’t do that” or “Have you checked the online help?”

There is nothing worse that the disappointment of your child when he rushes home with a new game only to find it doesn’t work and Dad has to spend hours on-line trying to sort it out. Santa won’t be buying a PS6.

SEC Charges Crypto Platform Bittrex For Operating Unregistered Exchange

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) posted a press release “SEC Charges Crypto Asset Trading Platform Bittrex and its Former CEO for Operating an Unregistered Exchange, Broker, and Clearing Agency” From the press release:

“The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged crypto asset trading platform Bittrex, Inc., and its co-founder and former CEO William Shihara for operating an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency. The SEC also charged Bittrex, Inc.’s foreign affiliate, Bittrex Global GmbH, for failing to register as a national securities exchange in connection with its operation of a single shared order book along with Bittrex.

Since at least 2014, Bittrex has held itself out as a platform that facilitated buying and selling of crypto assets that the SEC’s complaint alleges were offered and sold as securities. From 2017 through 2022, Bittrex earned at least $1.3 billion in revenues from, among other things, transaction fees from investors, including U.S. investors, while servicing them as a broker, exchange, and clearing agency without registering any of these activities with the Commission.

The complaint further alleges that Bittrex and Shihara, who was the company’s CEO from 2014 to 2019, coordinated with issuers who sought to have their crypto asset made available for trading on Bittrex’s platform to first delete from public channels certain “problematic statements” that Shihara believed would lead a regulator, such as the SEC, to investigate the crypto asset as the offering of a security.

For example, in an effort to avoid to avoid regulatory scrutiny, before Bittrex would make an asset available on its platform, Bittrex and Shihara instructed issuer-applicants to delete statements related to “price prediction[s]” “expectation of profit”, and other “investment terms.”…

…The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleges that Bittrex and Bittrex Global should have registered as an exchange because they brought together, using a shared order book, the orders for securities of multiple buyers and sellers using established, non-discretionary methods under which such orders interacted, and the buyers and sellers entering such orders agreed to the terms of a trade.

The complaint further alleges that Bittrex should have registered as a clearing agency because it acted as an intermediary in making payment and deliveries upon matching sell and buy orders and maintained custody of customer assets. Finally, the complaint alleges that Bittrex should have registered as a broker because it regularly engaged in the business of effecting transactions for the accounts of others in crypto assets that were offered and sold as securities…”

The Wall Street Journal reported the Bittrex Inc. once ranked as the country’s biggest platform for trading digital assets. Its rocky history at home is coming to an end with a regulatory threat and a decision to leave the U.S. for good.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement staff told Bittrex in March it would recommend that the agency sue the company over alleged violations of investor-protection laws, according to David Maria, the company’s general counsel.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Seattle-based Bittrex was already prepared to wind down its U.S. operations when it got the notice, Mr. Maria said, citing the difficulty of working with U.S. regulators that have taken enforcement action against over 100 crypto defendants in six years. The SEC declined to comment.

It seems to me that companies that buy and sell cryptocurrency should take some time to learn what the rules are in the United States about what they are allowed to do, and what they should not do. Those that don’t bother to register as an exchange seem to be facing trouble from the SEC.

SEC Reopens Comment Period To Amend Exchange Act Rule

The Securities and Exchange Commission posted a press release titled: “SEC Reopens Comment Period for Proposed Amendments to Exchange Act Rule 3b-16 and Provides Supplemental Information” on April 14, 2023. From the press release:

“The Securities and Exchange Commission today reopened the comment period and provided supplemental information on proposed amendments to the definition of “exchange” under Exchange Act Rule 3b-16. The Commission initially proposed the amendments in January 2022 and reopened the comment period in May of 2022. The reopened period closed on June 13, 2022.

The reopening release reiterated the applicability of existing rules to platforms that trade crypto asset securities, including so-called “De-Fi” systems, and provides supplemental information and economic analysis for systems that would be included the new, proposed exchange definition. The reopening release also requested information and public comment on crypto asset securities trading on such systems and certain aspects of the proposed amendments applicable to all securities.

“I believe this supplemental release will help address comments on the proposal from various market participants, particularly those in the crypto markets,” as SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “Make no mistake: many crypto trading platforms already come under the current definition of an exchange and thus have an existing duty to comply with the securities laws. Investors in the crypto markets must receive the same time-tested protections that the securities laws provide in all other markets. I welcome additional public comment on all aspects of the proposal in light of the information in this supplemental release.”

The public comment period will remain open for 30 days after publication of the reopening release in the Federal Register.”

Reuters reported that the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission met on Friday to open public comment again on its proposal to expand the definition of an “exchange,” clarifying that its existing rules on exchanges also apply to decentralized cryptocurrency platforms.

According to Reuters, the SEC voted 3-2 to take additional comments from the public after crypto firms criticized the plan as vague and aimed at roping in decentralized finance platforms, known as DeFi platforms, that would otherwise not be subject to the regulator’s oversight.

DeFi platforms allow users to lend, borrow, and safe in digital assets, bypassing the traditional gatekeepers of finance such as banks and exchanges, Reuters reported.

The officials estimated that about a dozen crypto firms would fall under the expanded definition, but declined to provide any more specifics about which firms.

Reuters also reported that Friday’s public vote to reopen the comment period for 30 days was unusual. Typically, the commission would decide behind-the-scenes if extending a public comment period is necessary.

The meeting underscored the ideological divide among the commissioners, with both Republican commissioners dissenting.

Based on all of this, it seems to me that the people most likely to comment about this are going to be those who run crypto currency DeFi platforms. It might also attract commenters who use those platforms.

Discord Cooperates In Probe Of Classified Material Breach

Instant messaging platform Discord said on Wednesday that it was cooperating with U.S. law enforcement’s investigation into a leak of secret U.S. documents that has grabbed attention around the world, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, the statement comes as questions continue to swirl over who leaked the documents, whether they are genuine and whether the intelligence assessments are reliable. The documents, which carry markings suggesting that they are highly classified, have led to a string of stories about the war in Ukraine, protests in Israel, and how the U.S. surveils friend and foe alike.

The source of the documents is not publicly known, but reporting by the open-source investigative site Bellingcat has traced their earliest appearance to Discord, a communications platform popular with gamers.

Discord’s statement suggested it was already in touch with investigators:

“In regard to the apparent breach of classified material, we are cooperating with law enforcement,” the statement said. “As this remains an active investigation, we cannot provide further comment at this time.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government is treating the apparent disclosure of classified material surrounding the war in Ukraine as an insider’s leak, people familiar with the matter say, and is working to identify and apprehend a key suspect in a massive intelligence breach that exposed the challenges of safeguarding sensitive U.S. information and tested ties with some of America’s closest allies.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the bulk of the more than 60 documents, if genuine, appear to originate from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Operations Center and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. Such documents are typically briefed to senior-level decision makers at the Pentagon in an environment protected from electronic surveillance and secured against leaks.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is using clues in the images that have circulated online in recent weeks to aid its criminal investigation, law-enforcement officials said. The Defense Department has extensive procedures around the handling of classified documents in both digital form and on paper, according to interviews with former intelligence community and Pentagon officials.

The leaked documents appear to have been printed and folded twice. In some images, there are items clearly visible in the background, including a hunting magazine, a knife, and a tube of Gorilla-brand glue. All could be clues as to how and by whom the documents came to be initially posted with a small group of individuals on Discord, a social-media outlet popularized by videogame enthusiasts where users chat about games, investing, and other topics in the mostly private, invitation-only, groups called servers.

In my opinion, it appears that someone copied classified documents. The clues mentioned by The Wall Street Journal could potentially lead to the person who not only took the classified documents, but also printed them out and published them online.