Social Media Companies to Tackle Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content



Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter have responded to the Christchurch Call to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online by committing to remove that content from their social media sites. As far as I can tell, this is the first time those three companies have decided to work together on removing that type of content.

In March of this year, a terrorist attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, was livestreamed. The Christchurch Call was created by New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and French President, Emmanuel Macron. Ars Technica reported that Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom have signed on.

The Christchurch Call is a commitment by Governments and tech companies to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. It rests on the conviction that a free, open and secure internet offers extraordinary benefits to society. Respect for freedom of expression is fundamental. However, no one has the right to create and share terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have all committed to the Christchurch Call. Each company posted nearly identical details about how they will enact policies to combat the spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Each company will be: “identifying appropriate checks on livestreaming, aimed at reducing the risks of disseminating terrorist and violent extremist content online. These may include enhanced vetting measures (such as streamer ratings or scores, account activity, or validation processes) and moderation of certain livestreaming events where appropriate. Checks on livestreaming necessarily will be tailored to the context of specific livestreaming services, including the type of audience, the nature or character of the livestreaming service, and the likelihood of exploitation.”

The companies will also improve technology to detect and remove terrorist and violent extremist content. They will combat hate and bigotry by providing greater support for relevant research – with an emphasis on the impact of online hate on offline discrimination and violence – and supporting capacity and capability of NGOs working to challenge hate and promote pluralism and respect online.

Personally, I think this is a step in the right direction. It is abundantly clear that hateful content online influences some people to take that hate offline and to act in ways that cause harm to other people. Something must be done to prevent that.


Wife’s Search Appears In My Adverts



Anyone who has spent any time on the internet will have seen this. You do a search for a product or service, look at a few options, and for the next few days, you’ll see whatever you found advertised back to you in web pages. It’s annoying because either I’ve already bought the product or else I’ve dismissed it as unsuitable.

Here’s an example. The picture on the left is a holiday house in Iceland. The picture on right is the house advertised back to me later via a Dilbert email.

It all looks fairly normal, except that I didn’t do the search for the house. My wife did. The picture on the left is from my wife’s Samsung S2 tablet. The picture on the right is from my Huawei Mediapad.

I was very surprised to see this house. I only knew about it because my wife had shown me the pictures for Iceland as a holiday destination. Somehow the advertisers have managed to digitally link me and my wife. I have no idea how this was done as we have our own accounts on all our devices.

It’s really cunning. Advertise to partners for things that the other has already been searching on. Sow that seed in a husband’s mind – “Oooh, that looks like something Jenny would like! I’ll order that now.” Kerching…

Be aware of this. If you get advertised for something that you don’t recognise and would probably be of interest to your partner, you’re being fished.

And if it’s something that you don’t recognise, you’d quite like and your birthday’s coming up, just act surprised when you unwrap it.

Anyone else seen this? Very insidious.


OnePlus Shows Off OnePlus 7 Series



With the usual level of hoopla, OnePlus showed off the new OnePlus 7 Series of phones at three launch events in Bangalore, London and New York. Consisting of the 7, 7 Pro and 7 Pro 5G, it’s the first time the company has simultaneously launched multiple models – the closest OnePlus came to this in the past was with the 2 and the X models way back in 2015. Right at the end, Bullets Wireless 2 were announced too.

I watched the London event to see CEO, Pete Lau, take to the stage, review OnePlus’ journey and introduce the new models with a string of guests, including Akis Evangelidis (VP OnePlus France) and Kate Parkyn (Head of Growth OnePlus Europe).

The 7 Pro took centre stage and the phone sports a whopping 6.67-inch curved glass display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, making this the biggest phone that OnePlus has made, even with the absence of bezels. The screen is branded Fluid AMOLED, with 516 pixels per inch (QHD+) and supports HDR10 & HDR10+ for fantastic visual dynamic range. Beyond that, the screen is capable of an astonishing 90 Hz refresh rate. Fast and smooth for sure. OnePlus 7 Pro has earned DisplayMate’s highest A+ rating, making it one of the top smartphone displays on the market

Screen unlock is still there and will typically unlock the phone in 0.21 seconds: that’s 28% faster than 6T and OnePlus claims it’s the fastest of any smartphone on the market.

There are three cameras on the back of the phone, which form a triple camera system. There’s a state-of-the-art 48 megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor with OIS, an 8 megapixel 78 mm telephoto lens at f/2.4 and 1μm pixel size and stabilised by OIS, and a 16 megapixel 117° ultra-wide angle lens at f/2.2. Together these produce great photos in daylight and lowlight, as demonstrated by the photos on show by Krystle Wright, an Adventure Photographer with National Geographic. For other proof, DxOMark scored the 7 Pro at 111 which is the second highest score ever recorded.

There’s no notch on 7 Pro’s screen and the seflie camera pops up. It’s covered in sapphire glass and the mechanism has been tested over 300,000 times, so it should be good for a few years (but try to avoid getting any sand in there.) If you drop the camera, the phone will detect the free-fall and automatically retract the camera. That’s neat.

Inside the 7 Pro, it’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and with up to 12 GB of RAM, it’s 45% faster and consumes 20% less power. It uses UFS 3.0 storage making it one of the first phones to use the memory type. The extra RAM can be used for RAM Boost, which is a caching technology to speed up loading times.

The new phone will come in three colours – Mirror Gray, Almond and Nebula Blue – and the last two look very good.

The presentation diverted into 5G and how wonderful it’s going to be, with gushing presentations from Qualcomm and EE. I always have a sense of déjà vu at these points as I seem to remember the same presentations for 3G and 4G. Ok, it’s going to be faster than before. Move on.

The 7 Pro will go on sale from 21st May, priced from GB£649 for 6 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM. Top of the range is £799 for 12 GB RAM, 256 GB ROM. Pricing and availability for the 5G version is TBA.

The poor OnePlus 7 (not Pro, not 5G) didn’t even get a mention until over an hour in. It’s the direct successor to the 6T and most obviously, it retains the notch for the front-facing camera. In fact, the form factor hasn’t really changed so it’s a smaller 6.41″ display, with a comparatively low 402 pixels-per-inch resolution(!) However, it has the same CPU (Snapdragon 855), UFS 3.0 and main camera sensor (IMX586) as the 7 Pro, so it’s nothing to be sniffed at all. Dolby Atmos stereo speakers are present too along with the larger in-screen fingerprint reader.

Pricewise, the 7 comes in at £499 for 6 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM and will be on sale in June. Do I upgrade from my 3T….?

OnePlus pop-ups start from 16th May and will run in 21 cities across Europe and more details can be found here. The UK pop-up is taking place in the stunning roof garden of John Lewis and Partners’ flagship store on Oxford Street in London, on the 17th May.

There’s loads of extra information over at the OnePlus website.


Amazon Pays you to Quit Your Job to Drive for Them! #1367



Amazon wants its employees to quit, give them a three months severance package and $10k in cash to start a business that would have the prior employee drive for them. Quite incredible if you think about it. But I look at the math on it and wonder if someone can actually make a full-time living working for Amazon as an independent delivery person. Considering the cost of benefits for a sole business owner I really doubt it.

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13 Minutes to the Moon



It’s been 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed in the Sea of Tranquillity and there are many commemorative events coming up to the anniversary on 21st July.

As expected, NASA is celebrating and there’s a whole raft of information and historical footage on a special Apollo 50th section of its website. I particularly like the mission audio that’s presented day-by-day. Listen to day 5 from about 6 mins in for the last few seconds of the descent and as the lunar module lands you hear the immortal words, “Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.

On the watch side, Omega’s Speedmaster Professional is forever associated with space exploration, visiting the moon six times – it’s not called the Moonwatch for nothing. To mark the event, there’s the Apollo 11 Anniversary edition in gold and red. Kind of pricey, mind you.

At the cheaper end of the market, i.e. free, the BBC World Service is joining in on the celebrations with 13 Minutes to the Moon, a series of radio programmes and podcasts based on interviews and recordings from the people who were there including Michael Collins, Jim Lovell and, Poppy Northcutt who was the first woman to work as an engineer in an operational support role in NASA’s Mission Control.

The first episode is available on 13 May but there are a few teasers in the podcast feed already. Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer has done the theme music. This is going to be epic.

Additional material.


FCC Denies China Mobile from Operating in the US #1366



The FCC has rightfully denied China Mobile USA from operating in the United States in what I feel is absolutely the right decision. We are down to two more live shows in the studio. Still fighting a massive head cold here folks so I hope I am on the other side of this thing as it has been a long two weeks dealing with it. Some admin discussions tonight as well.

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How To Use Ikea Tradfri Bulbs with Philips Hue



When it comes to smart lighting, Philips Hue is the market leader (UK) with a range of bulbs, luminaires and accessories, plus a good app and comprehensive integration to other smart systems. On the other hand, Ikea’s Tradfri is more basic but with the important benefit of being cheap and widely available in Ikea’s stores.

Inevitably, the question crops up… can Tradfri bulbs be used with Philips Hue? The short answer is yes as the Tradfri bulbs use the Zigbee system to communicate, just like Hue. The slightly longer answer is that while it’s possible, there are a number of steps in the process to get the Tradfri bulb transferred reliably onto the the Hue system. This article runs through those steps and the included video will show them too.

As a side note, the cost benefit of Ikea bulbs over Philips isn’t what it used to be, as the price of Hue bulbs, especially white, has significantly dropped in the past year or two, especially with regular 3-for-2 deals. Where the Tradfri bulbs really score though is on brightness. The brightest Hue bulb is around 800 lumens (lm) whereas Tradfri does 1000 lm, which is a noticeable difference. I now have three 1000 lm Tradfri bulbs in my home setup for spaces that would otherwise be too dim using Hue lights.

Let’s cut to the chase….here are my steps to painless use of Tradfri bulbs with Hue.

Part 1 – Tradfri Setup

  1. Buy (or borrow) a Tradfri gateway, dimmer (or other steering device, as Ikea calls them) and bulb(s). Ok, you might not need the gateway and dimmer but my experience suggests it makes life a whole lot easier (you can try going to Part 3 directly). Yes, it puts the price up so maybe this is a chance to ask around and see if you can nip round to a friend’s house to do the first part.
  2. Connect up the gateway with power and a network cable. Wait for all three lights.
  3. Download the Ikea Tradfri app to your phone. Run the app and pair with the gateway – all you have to do is scan a QR code on the back of the gateway.
  4. Continue to the use the app to walk you through the linking process for the dimmer. Pair the dimmer with the gateway by holding down the link button until the lights on the gateway flash. Read the instructions for other steering devices. The app will confirm correct linking.
  5. Plug the bulb into a handy lamp or light fitting and turn it on. The bulb should be lit. Make sure the lamp can be turned on and off easily – you’ll need it later.
  6. Again using the Tradfri app, go through the process of pairing the dimmer with the bulb. Hold the dimmer close to the bulb and press the link button. Watch the app to confirm linking.
  7. The bulb should now be shown in the app and can be controlled with the dimmer. Try it out to make sure.

Part 2 – Update and Disconnect

  1. The next step is to ensure that the bulb’s firmware is up-to-date. Use the Tradfri app to check  and update as necessary. This step is important in case the bulb is an old model with incompatible firmware. Updating to the latest version will remove the incompatibility.
  2. Next, use the app to disconnect the bulb from the gateway. Yes, I know it’s only just been added but trust me. Follow the instructions and use the dimmer. Don’t turn the light off yet.

Part 3 – Connect to Hue

  1. In the next part, you will need to be able to hold the Tradfri bulb very close to the Hue hub. Sort that out first.
  2. I recommend an app called Hue Essentials. It works with both Hue and Tradfri systems, but it’s only available for Android. The reason to recommend Essentials is that it supports a feature called Touchlink. It does have in-app purchases but you don’t need to pay for any of them. There must be similar Hue apps for iOS – look for ones that support Touchlink.
  3. Use Hue Essentials to find and select the Hue hub. Ignore the Tradfri one. You can even turn it off.
  4. Navigate to the part of the app to add or search for new bulbs. It should be like the screen shot on the right.
  5. To reset the Tradfri bulb, you need to switch it off and on six times. A steady quick pace does the job.
  6. Now position the bulb right next to the Hue hub.
  7. In Hue Essentials, press the “Touchlink” button in the bottom right. I find you often have to press it twice to work properly.
  8. If successful, the Tradfri bulb will start to pulse. At this point, press the “Search for Lights” button at the top. With luck, Hue Essentials will find the bulb and add it into the Hue system. Sweet!
  9. That’s it. Now the Ikea bulb is in the system, it can be used as any other Hue bulb. Mine was allocated to “Garden” and then set to come on when motion was detected at the back of the house. I’ve had no problems in several weeks of use.

If you’d like to see these steps in action, then check out the video below which goes through all the steps. It’s about 20 minutes overall. Get a drink.

Any problems or issues, leave a comment below and I’ll see if I can help.