Apr 18, 2016

Ridiculous: Microsoft is suing the USA for TELLING people that they get spied upon

Yep... what a hypocrisy.
You know Microsoft fights for your rights here in the US.
And that this is very important, and you almost lost your privacy rights already, shows this case: Microsoft is not suing the US for the right to PROTECT you, but only for the right to TELL you when you get spied upon. The US government even want to take this right from you.

Microsoft is doing the right thing here, but it's not even remotely enough. For people outside the US, they fall under their jurisdiction. And there is no way that a foreign country might tap into your data. That is nothing more than an attack on that specific country. Ireland in this case. So the case should be to stop US authorities from spying on servers outside the US instead of fighting to tell them: "Well your data got illegally attacked by the USA whose authorities don't give a crap about your rights".

Seriously? Maybe the world should stop using US services then and even block access from or to such states that don't respect sovereignty of the rest of the world. Just a thought...

Jan 15, 2016

Pebble seems to know a lot about you

Interesting. Not only what Pebble achieved in the last year, which is impressive against the mighty competition, but also what Pebble knows about you.

They published a picture with some remarkable information about the usage. E.g. what were the most used Emojis, or how many notifications were received.

I was not aware that Pebble can get those information. Not that this is a big deal if these data are anonymously saved. But that is the question. Can Pebble directly see which user received how many notifications are received or how many steps a user walked? Or even the content of the notification?
I assumed that the notification process is independent and would not be recorded at all from the pebble servers.

I totally trust Pebble, but this should be better known.

Jan 14, 2016

How to use Google Drive for managing a project

Ryo Cook has attached the following document:

Description
Snapshot of the item below:
It's not a secret anymore. Google Drive can be the perfect place for managing small and medium-sized projects[a]. Some even use it for really large groups of people. And for a reason. All tools are here right within Google Drive.
For larger projects it's a good idea to use a collaboration to-do list, which is very easy to make due to templates.
20160114-102859.png
All files, including photos, drawings, documents, sheets and presentation can be held in one place, given different collaboration options to every single file.
For e.g. you only want the project manager to maintain and edit the to-do list, but everybody in the team should be able to see it. That's possible while e.g. the sheet or a document can be editable for everybody. You also can give specific persons the right to comment. So permissions like view, comment or edit can be adjusted for every single file and every single user.
20160114-095947.png
The directory itself can be published to a group or individual persons. Ideas can be put in a separate note-file e.g.
Comments and remarks can be made right into every document at the specific spot where it belongs. Again, as a project manager you're totally in control in which file a specific user can write comments.
This can push creativity big time.
For this project I made up different files:
20160114-103251.png
To-Do list for give the co-workers a rough idea what has to be done.
Project Managing to outline it visually, or for presentation purposes (Google Presentation)
Notes where important general info is collected
Location Reference to see which local areas the project affects if necessary
Description for giving the main outline of the project or, in this case, the main article (this!)
Customer Survey is a great feature (Google Forms) to get a glimpse even during the project, what the target audience might want.
Several image files that can be used in documents or for general purposes such as showing places and things
In addition to many project you'll need a Spreadsheet document which is really awesome on Google Drive. It heavily depends on your project though. It can be used, in combination with "Google Form" to easily capture data, or edited directly. In this case the spreadsheet contains the data from the survey, which is publically available.
Remember, depending on your project you can more files, archives, photos, spreadsheets, drawings etc. Documents made within Drive doesn't even count towards your space left.
After the work is done, you can download the complete directory for archiving.
I hope this can give you a bit of inspiration and try using Google Drive for things, we wouldn't normally think about. It is such a versatile tool. Depending on how the survey turns out, I'll show you how to use Google Drive for blogging another time.
Have fun and a successful work.
[a]Title: How to use Google Drive for managing a project
Google Docs: Create and edit documents online.Logo for Google Docs

Jan 8, 2016

Macaca nigra may have lost, public wins

Because the whining of the owner of the equipment continues.
While PETA lost the case to claim the copyright to the cute monkey (because he took the selfie on its own), the copyright remains now in the public domain and not in the owner of the camera. That was decided before this case.
I think this is better for everyone. And, well, you can't make money with the work of others, dear photographer.

By Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female. See article. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

While the camera owner seems to think differently, it most countries around the world, the photographer is the owner. In that case, the monkey. But because non-human animals (strange term) can not hold a copyright in most regions, the copyright falls to the general public.
Public 1 : 0 content money streams.

And I think the photo is hilarious :)

Jan 4, 2016

WISO report about Google is ridiculous

I just saw the WISO "documentation" on +ZDF and was shocked about the level of hate and ignorance.

40 minutes of Google-bashing where someone whines about not being on the first page of the Google search. Investments in the +Humboldt-Institut for a science project are called bad and science no longer independent. Well, isn't that how science projects are funded?
A few minutes later, even the positive words about the virtual museum of the "Deutsches Museum" Manfred Heckl, are wiped away by a dismissive speculation of a philosopher about how long Google may be around. And all the millions of old books that was scanned disappearing.
So is it bad to digitize those books from a most advanced tech company, or should a small European company do the job, that might vanish in 2 years because EU funding is cancelled?

A German newspaper keeps on bashing and works together with Google. So to say. No word about German publishers did lobbying for the greatest hindering of free speech in 2014/2015: The Leistungsschutzrecht. Where publishers wants money from Google because they bring them readers. Yes, don't search for logic here.

Pure hate, when the sheer ability to push the human race forward, is being presented as a bad thing, as mentioned several times in that flick. It looks like if you are the best, you will die like the rest in Europe. Unbelievable. How can it be a bad thing if Google does things for humanity that others can't?

Because it's not a European company? Because it's not wanted in anti-tech land Germany to push the limits to new boundaries? Or just because the old media is panicking because they slowly get replaced by thew new media where people actually really can move something?

Proudly WISO reports that all Europeans now have a right to be forgotten. To me this sounds very bad. You can not learn by forgetting. And as if Google had that data. People have the data, but Google are not allowed to find this data for you. Insanity. Europe kills the messenger.
This "documentation" is biased and, while not lying, it twist around everything until it looks very bad and evil.
"Google is dangerous" you'll hear at the end, and "It can not be that a single Company have this de facto monopoly" accompanied by a tune from "The Matrix" in the background. In a way that even the positive words from 2 people that thinks Google has simply the best search results and one entrepreneur that made millions using Google, sound bad and depressing.

This thing doesn't help Europe or Germany. It only helps old media and the ZDF by serving the anti-tech hysteria in Europe, mainly produced by the media and irresponsible politicians that obviously don't understand that Europe will be send back to stone age in a digital world, if they try to stop science, progression and technological evolution.

Dec 21, 2015

Short Review: Samson GTrack Microphone for Netcasts



So it happens that I got my finger on a new microphone for recording netcasts (some call them podcasts).
The Samson GTrack Microphone is a studio quality super-cardoid microphone, that was build for singing and recording of other sounds.
It has a built-in mixer for intrument or line-in input, and a headphone jack 3,5mm for monitoring with zero latency. Very useful.

The package features all cables required for connecting instruments, line-in sources and the long enough USB-Cable, as well as a heavy (!) desktop stand and all you need to begin with. There is also "Cakewalk", a recording software, included, which I didn't touch here.

I run this with Kubuntu Linux 15.10. It's simply plug and play. After you connect the microphone, it appears in your software, in my case Audacity, as a sound input, as well as sound output (yup, remember, there's a headphone jack). Selecting the audio source gives you a 48000 Hz / 16 Bit input, which is better than CD-Quality. The frequency response is 20-16.000 Hz.
Wait a second, you'll say, that's worse than my cheap headset micro. Nope. The frequency response advertised is somewhat a theoretically range. It does not reflect how sensible your mic is at what frequency. Companies that don't want to ruin their name only state the reasonable frequency range, in which recording make sense.


So the technical side is great. How about real-life quality?
It isn't going to revolutionize the music business. But the mic is, and that is all I tested it for, absolutely great for recording netcasts. With the optional spide shock mount and a p-popfilter, you're good to go for professional netcasting. The voice, because of the good and quite balanced frequency response, sound natural with the deeps covered and the heights strong. The forced front facing record, makes it easier to phase out disturbing noises from behind the mic, giving your voice more presence.

If you're not used to such a super-cardoid microphone, you will be amazed how much better your voice sounds. The downturn though is, you need to get on the mic. I mean you should go near it. 6-10 cm is the best (from the mic, not the popfilter).
It works great under GNU+Linux with Audacity and you can record at full quality.


The price will be an argument for some. Yes, you can use this mic for casual recording, too. Not only for professional work. That's because the price ranges at around $120. A p-popfilter is a bargain in most shops and the optional spider shock mount comes in with about $30. It depends on your place if you need one.

So the Samson might not be the very best, nor the cheapest, but it's a great mic that makes it perfect for netcasting or other voice records. The integrated sound mixer is a nice way to have a small, portable sound interface on every computer you plug this is without any setup on the software side.
Let the recording begin.