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Geek News Central
  Updated Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:43:10 +0000
Description Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks
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Facebook Introduced Live Location in Messenger - Geek News Central
Category Facebook, Facebook Messenger
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Facebook has introduced a new way to share your location in Messenger. The new Live Location feature makes it simple and seamless for you to choose to share where you are in the real world with your friends and family. This is rolling out globally and is available on both iOS and Android. In a blog … Continue reading Facebook Introduced Live Location in Messenger

Facebook Introduced Live Location in Messenger

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Facebook has introduced a new way to share your location in Messenger. The new Live Location feature makes it simple and seamless for you to choose to share where you are in the real world with your friends and family. This is rolling out globally and is available on both iOS and Android.

In a blog post, Facebook said:

We’ve been testing this for a little while, and people tell us that Live Location is helpful when trying to coordinate with friends, telling people how close you are when you’re on your way to an appointment, or even sharing where you are with your roommate when you’re on your way home at night. You can share your Live Location with a group of friends in Messenger or just with one person – it’s up to you!

The most important thing to know is that Messenger is not going to suddenly start sharing your Live Location with your friends. You have to actively click a few things when you want to share your Live Location with a friend (or friends).

Once you share your Live Location, the person or people you share it with will be able to see where you are on a map for the next 60 minutes. Users have the option to stop sharing their location at any time – by tapping a button called “Stop Sharing”.

This new feature also enables people to share a static point on a map (instead of sharing their Live Location). It is useful for when a group of people want to meet at a specific place. I can see people making use if this feature at crowded conferences or cafeterias.

The Live Location feature is still rolling out. You can check to see if it is available where you are by visiting the Facebook Help Center.  The last sentence on that post might say “Live Location isn’t available in your area yet.”

Facebook Introduced Live Location in Messenger

GNC #1188 Artificial Intelligence - Geek News Central
Category Podcast
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Artificial Intelligence has the opportunity to make us extinct if we are not careful. I look at how Elon Musk is in one hand scared of the technology and on the other investing and starting a company, who’s sole focus will to make all of us Hybrids so we can keep up with sentient artificial … Continue reading GNC #1188 Artificial Intelligence

GNC #1188 Artificial Intelligence

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Artificial Intelligence has the opportunity to make us extinct if we are not careful. I look at how Elon Musk is in one hand scared of the technology and on the other investing and starting a company, who’s sole focus will to make all of us Hybrids so we can keep up with sentient artificial intelligence. Plus all the tech news of the day. It’s a packed show so listen now.

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GNC #1188 Artificial Intelligence

Runways of the Future May Be Circular - Geek News Central
Category Aviation, airplane, airport, the Endless Runway
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Since the earliest days of powered aviation, runways have had a simple, consistent design: A long, straight path, usually made of concrete or asphalt (or sometimes nothing more than a dirt strip or open field). It seems logical enough, as aircraft need a certain amount of clearance to land or takeoff. Thousands of airports have … Continue reading Runways of the Future May Be Circular

Runways of the Future May Be Circular

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Circular RunwaySince the earliest days of powered aviation, runways have had a simple, consistent design: A long, straight path, usually made of concrete or asphalt (or sometimes nothing more than a dirt strip or open field). It seems logical enough, as aircraft need a certain amount of clearance to land or takeoff. Thousands of airports have been built around this runway concept. It seems like an unshakable foundation of modern aviation.

But one group is challenging the notion of the current standard runway. Their so-called Endless Runway project actually proposes circular runways, that would surround an airport terminal:

The fundamental principle of The Endless Runway is that the aircraft take-off and land on a large circular structure. This will allow for the unique characteristic that the runway can be used in any wind direction, thus making the runway independent of the direction of the wind and therefore also the airport capacity independent of the wind direction.

That somewhat technical explanation breaks down to this: If runways are laid out in a circular fashion, air traffic controllers could adjust the entry and exit points of aircraft depending on where ground conditions are most favorable within the circle. Modern runway designs are static and mostly immovable. If there are heavy crosswinds that could cause trouble for takeoffs and landings, pilots and controllers either have to make the best of a bad situation or potentially call for the runway to be closed. But the circular runway design means aircraft can be directed to use the safest part of the circle, no matter what the conditions may be on any other part of the circle.

This approach could make airports safer and more efficient. For more information on circular runways, check out this video recently produced by the BBC.

Runways of the Future May Be Circular

All of Your New Twitter Friends are Probably Bots - Geek News Central
Category Social Media, Bots, Twitter
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Social media is becoming less useful by the day. Nowhere is this more evident than on Twitter. The so-called microblogging service may still serve as an of-the-moment cultural barometer. But what good is that barometer if the gauge it’s built on is fundamentally broken? Twitter’s ability to give us nearly realtime data on trending topics … Continue reading All of Your New Twitter Friends are Probably Bots

All of Your New Twitter Friends are Probably Bots

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Twitter logoSocial media is becoming less useful by the day. Nowhere is this more evident than on Twitter. The so-called microblogging service may still serve as an of-the-moment cultural barometer. But what good is that barometer if the gauge it’s built on is fundamentally broken? Twitter’s ability to give us nearly realtime data on trending topics is only really worthwhile if that data is reliable.

And how reliable can that data be if an estimated 48 million Twitter accounts are actually bots? According to a new study, somewhere between 9 and 15 percent of all tweets come from fake accounts. This is just the latest indicator that Twitter itself, and perhaps social media in general, is being ruined by bot masters who serve up all kinds of fake activity to those who’ll pay for it.

Twitter’s own estimate of bots on its platform came in lower than what the study found. According to a recent filing, Twitter stated its bot count is around 8.5 percent. While Twitter’s methodology for bot calculation may be different than the methods used by the researchers who came up with the study, it’s still in Twitter’s interest to have an overall lower bot score.

This study doesn’t do much to improve Twitter’s already shaky reputation as of late. Hopefully, there’s something the social network can do to round up and eject these fake accounts. I guess the real question is, does Twitter even care?

All of Your New Twitter Friends are Probably Bots

Google Announces Changes to Hangouts, Gmail, and Google+ - Geek News Central
Category google
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Google announced some changes they are making to Hangouts, Gmail, and Google+. They talked about these upcoming changes at Google Cloud Next. One of the changes involves fully transitioning Google Talk to Hangouts. Google Talk was launched in 2005 as a simple chat experience between Gmail users. In 2013, Google replaced Google Talk with Hangouts – … Continue reading Google Announces Changes to Hangouts, Gmail, and Google+

Google Announces Changes to Hangouts, Gmail, and Google+

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Google announced some changes they are making to Hangouts, Gmail, and Google+. They talked about these upcoming changes at Google Cloud Next.

One of the changes involves fully transitioning Google Talk to Hangouts. Google Talk was launched in 2005 as a simple chat experience between Gmail users. In 2013, Google replaced Google Talk with Hangouts – and continued to give users the option of using Google Talk. (You might recognize Google Talk as “Gchat” – which appears to be an unofficial name.)

Google feels that Hangouts offer advanced improvements over Google Talk (especially after the introduction of Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat). This meant it was now time to say goodbye to Google Talk.

Users within Gmail will get a prompt in the next few weeks inviting them to switch to Hangouts. After June 26, 2017, users will automatically be transitioned to Hangouts. Google suggests that those who really like the way Google Talk looks should use the Dense Roster setting in Hangouts (which Google says provides a similar experience).

Third-party XMPP clients will continue to work with Hangouts for one-on-one chat. However, Google says that XXMP federation with third-party service providers will no longer be supported starting June 26, 2017.

Some people are still using the legacy Google Talk Android app (that was replaced in the Play store in 2013). The legacy app will stop functioning. Google encourages Android users that are affected by this change to install Hangouts now.

Google is retiring the Google+ functionality in Gmail. More specifically, Google is retiring two legacy Google+ features in Gmail: the ability to email Google+ profiles and the use of Google+ Circles. This change is expected to take place “no earlier than April 24, 2017″.

 

Google Announces Changes to Hangouts, Gmail, and Google+

Blizzard Announced StarCraft: Remastered - Geek News Central
Category Gaming, Blizzard Entertainment, StarCraft: Remastered
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Blizzard announced something that should evoke plenty of nostalgia for those of us who remember playing StarCraft against our friends at LAN parties back in the day – StarCraft: Remastered.  It is an upgrade of the original StarCraft game and its award winning expansion, StarCraft: Brood War. This could inspire those who stopped playing StarCraft … Continue reading Blizzard Announced StarCraft: Remastered

Blizzard Announced StarCraft: Remastered

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Blizzard announced something that should evoke plenty of nostalgia for those of us who remember playing StarCraft against our friends at LAN parties back in the day – StarCraft: Remastered.  It is an upgrade of the original StarCraft game and its award winning expansion, StarCraft: Brood War. This could inspire those who stopped playing StarCraft to get back into the game.

We’ve remastered our units, buildings, and environments, improved game audio, and broadened our supported resolutions. Illustrated interludes bring the struggles and victories of heroes like Artanix, Fenix, Tassadar, Raynor, and Kerrigan to life like never before. Most importantly, the strategy gameplay that StarCraft perfected years ago remains unchanged.

In StarCraft: Remastered, players will be able to zoom out for a Battlecruiser’s view of the battlefield. They will also be able to zoom in to see fine details – such as “the veins on a Mutalisk’s wings.” The original StarCraft soundtrack and dialogue has been re-recorded and rejuvinated. There are race-themed comic book interludes that tell the original story with a fresh coat of paint.

Players can choose from Terrans, Protoss, or Zerg. Players need to finish the campaign portion of the game first, and then can battle against their friends or team up with other players online.

In the StarCraft Forums, there is a post in which Community Manger Traysent provides some clarification to players about what version of StarCraft will be free. “The original game will be free. The HD version will be an upgrade you can buy.” Kotaku reported that StarCraft: Remastered will be due out later this summer.

Blizzard Announced StarCraft: Remastered

Pokémon GO Water Festival is in Progress - Geek News Central
Category Gaming, Pokémon GO
Published:
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Niantic announced that the Global Water Festival is happening now in Pokémon GO. It began on March 22, 2017, and will end on March 29, 2017. In celebration of the Global Water Festival, Niantic is allowing players to get a free Magikarp Hat for their avatar. During the Global Water Festival players will be more likely to … Continue reading Pokémon GO Water Festival is in Progress

Pokémon GO Water Festival is in Progress

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Niantic announced that the Global Water Festival is happening now in Pokémon GO. It began on March 22, 2017, and will end on March 29, 2017. In celebration of the Global Water Festival, Niantic is allowing players to get a free Magikarp Hat for their avatar.

During the Global Water Festival players will be more likely to encounter Magikarp, Squirtle, Totodile, and their Evolutions all around the world. Players that explore areas where Water-type Pokémon more commonly appear will have a greater chance to encounter several of the Water-type Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region. Niantic coyly suggests that players might possibly run into Lapras.

Some players might not be too exited about encountering lots of Magikarps. They don’t do much of anything at all except flop around, and it takes a lot of candy to evolve them. To make the game more exciting, Niantic has added Shiny Magikarp into the wild. They are extremely rare. If you happen to catch one, Niantic would like you to share a screenshot of it on social media and use #PokemonGo.

Pokémon GO Water Festival is in Progress

GNC #1187 Apple Hacked? - Geek News Central
Category Podcast
Published:
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Was Apple Hacked? That is the question a lot of people are asking especially when fingers are being pointed at third parties. The question I would like to ask is what third parties have access to my AppleID? I thought Apple controlled the entire food chain. How does a third party get access to my … Continue reading GNC #1187 Apple Hacked?

GNC #1187 Apple Hacked?

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Was Apple Hacked? That is the question a lot of people are asking especially when fingers are being pointed at third parties. The question I would like to ask is what third parties have access to my AppleID? I thought Apple controlled the entire food chain. How does a third party get access to my AppleID that can be used to be logged in and wiping my phone or worse. Questions need to be answered by Apple on exactly what they know. This show is pretty packed hope you have fun with me. I spend some time today talking about Investors and small businesses. Have a soap box moment.

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GNC #1187 Apple Hacked?

Audeara Headphones Adapt To You - Geek News Central
Category headphones, kickstarter
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It doesn’t look like this project needs the publicity given they’ve blown through their AU$100,000 target on Kickstarter but the Audeara headphones have a fairly unique selling point: they give you a hearing test and then adjust sounds levels across the frequency range to compensate for your personal physiology and hearing loss. That’s clever. Designed … Continue reading Audeara Headphones Adapt To You

Audeara Headphones Adapt To You

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It doesn’t look like this project needs the publicity given they’ve blown through their AU$100,000 target on Kickstarter but the Audeara headphones have a fairly unique selling point: they give you a hearing test and then adjust sounds levels across the frequency range to compensate for your personal physiology and hearing loss. That’s clever.

Designed by a team of doctors and engineers, the A-01 headphones carry out a simple hearing test the first time they are used via a mobile app. The results are recorded in the headphones themselves and is used to modify the sound signal before it is played in the ear, and each ear can be different too. Once the headphones are programmed, there’s no need for the app and the profile is used whatever the sound source.

Everyone has some degree of hearing loss. Obviously it tends to be worse in older people, but some suffer damage through their occupation or attending too many loud music concerts! The Auderea headphones can compensate for any loss, making the sound better, not simply louder, and they also incorporate active noise-cancellation for noisy environments. As everyone is different, everyone hears differently and every profile is different, but the A-01 headphones gets the sound as close as possible to the original.

For those concerned about hearing loss, the test results are stored in the app as an audiogram. By retesting hearing on a regular basis and looking for changes between the results, early indications of hearing impairment can be spotted and a medical assessment arranged.

It certainly sounds interesting and there are more details over on Kickstarter along with some early bird offers if you get in quick. Deliveries are expected in July 2017 but as with all things Kickstarter, exercise caution. Current offers are around AU$299 which is about U$230 or GB£185.

Audeara Headphones Adapt To You

Optoma ML750ST LED Projector Review - Geek News Central
Category Information, pico projector, review, Optoma, projector
Published:
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Here on my desk I have an Optoma ML750ST LED projector. It’s a small short throw personal projector just 113 x 123 x 57 mm which makes it about the same size of a stack of CDs. Despite the diminutive form factor, the ML750 still comes with a good complement of ports and a couple of … Continue reading Optoma ML750ST LED Projector Review

Optoma ML750ST LED Projector Review

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Here on my desk I have an Optoma ML750ST LED projector. It’s a small short throw personal projector just 113 x 123 x 57 mm which makes it about the same size of a stack of CDs. Despite the diminutive form factor, the ML750 still comes with a good complement of ports and a couple of tricks. Let’s take a look.

White on the top and dark grey round the sides, the most noticeable feature of the Optoma projector is the disproportionately large lens on the front. It’s needed for the short-throw, which projects a large image from a short distance from the screen. Minimum distance is only 43 cm with a max around 3.5 m. At full distance, the image is around 5 m wide.

There’s a set of buttons on the top of the projector for turning it on, adjusting the image and selecting media (more on this later) but the main area of interest is round the back with a selection of connectors, ports and sockets, including HDMI and Universal I/O for VGA. The projector can read directly from media too and there are microSD and USB ports for data. A 3.5 mm stereo jack, power socket, IR receiver and Kensington lock round out the rear. Power is supplied via an external power supply, which keeps the size and weight down. There’s small remote control too.

On the bottom are three rubber feet and a camera screw mount. The foot at the front spins out to about a 1 cm to raise the projection up, and obviously the screw mount can be used with a tripod or ceiling mount. The large lens rotates smoothly through about 45 degrees to focus the image.

Connect up the ML750 to a PC or laptop and it appears as a WXGA (1280×800) monitor, and with a suitable OS you can do the usual tricks of either reproducing the current desktop or extending the desktop to the ML750’s display. The projector will lock onto the video signal and it sometimes took a second or two to pick up the VGA or HDMI. One of the benefits of an HDMI connector is that a media streaming stick like the Roku or Amazon Fire TV can be plugged straight in.

The ML750 does have a few other tricks up its sleeve (or USB port as the case may be). First of all, the projector has a built-in media player and Ms Office document viewer that will show films, play music and display Word, Excel, Powerpoint and PDF files directly from either a microsSD card or USB memory stick. Most documents that I tried worked fine, but some Powerpoint animations didn’t quite work as expected – to be fair, this is noted on Optoma’s website. The on-screen controls have big friendly icons in a subtle purplish hue.

If entertainment is more your bag, movies played well. Just for kicks, I connected up my new Sky Q and watched a couple of movies – it was all good fun with some big screen films. In a slightly darkened room, the picture was wasn’t bad – colours were good. The ML750ST puts out 800 lumens, according to the spec, whereas a powerful projector is 3000 lumens, so it’s not going to produce a bright image in a well-lit room.  Bring the lights down and it’s fine. Sound from the built-in speaker was rubbish (what do you expect?) so take a feed from the source through a hifi or plug in some external speakers.

Next on the list of clever things is the USB WiFi dongle which plugs into the back of the ML750. Once connected to the “HDCastPro_XXXX” wireless network, you can use the complementary HDCast Pro app on your smartphone or tablet to play presentations and display media. You can zoom in and out of photos and documents, and the refresh is pretty snappy, though not quite instantaneous. It’s a handy feature and definitely much more relevant these days with the increasing use of tablets. The only downside is that while connected to the projector via WiFi, the tablet isn’t connected to the Internet…but Optoma’s thought of this, and with a little extra configuration the projector can be directly connected to the local WiFi network. The HDCast Pro app still works in the same way but now the smartphone or tablet is connected to the main wireless network and there’s normal connectivity.

Finally, Optoma have this really nifty software suite for projection mapping which helps create two dimensional visual displays, almost works of art. It’s quite clever but takes a good amount of work to do well. My efforts were a bit feeble so I’ll point you in the direction of Optoma’s website for now. I’m going to keep tinkering and once I have something half-decent I’ll bring it back to GNC.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed by the ML750ST. I’m used to projectors about the size of the phone book and the ML750ST was able to do everything they can do and more. The ML750ST isn’t exactly an impulse buy as it’s priced at GB£529 and the USB WiFi dongle is an extra GB£30, but as business purchase, it makes a great deal of sense, especially with HDCast application for tablets and smartphones. I wouldn’t recommend it for a permanent installation in, say, a training room because a brighter projector would be more suitable, but for ad hoc presentations and portability, the ML750ST is a good choice.

The projector can be bought direct from Optoma and thanks to Optoma for the loan of the review unit.

Optoma ML750ST LED Projector Review

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