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GadgeteerZA
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For the Love of Gadgets and Technology....
For the Love of Gadgets and Technology....

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Should I keep this Gadgeteer Page going or use my Tech Collection instead?

Now that Collections have gone live which allows anyone to just follow a focussed Collection topic I'm wondering if there is a still a need to keep this Gadgeteer Page active? Essentially I was posting on all sorts of interests under my personal G+ Profile, and then reposting just the technology and gadgets posts here on this page so that there was an option for people to just follow my tech posts without all the other noise. Now that Collections have gone live my tech and gadgets post can also be followed at http://bit.ly/danietech with the same effect.

To achieve this you follow that Collection, but do not follow my G+ Profile - then you will just see my tech news as before on thus page. The only downside is that this Page does replicate to my GadgeteerZA Twitter feed but unless you follow that Twitter profile there should be no difference.

So right now I'm thinking about closing this Page. You are welcome though to click on the poll below to vote on whether I should keep this Page going, or whether you are happy to just follow the Tech Collection that I now have. As far as the tech stuff goes, I actually also have way for interaction on the Tech Collection under my Profile.
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votes visible to Public
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60%
Follow Tech Collection
60%
40%
Keep Gadgeteer Page
40%
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ONLYOFFICE Personal - an online web-based (cloud) free alternative to Microsoft Office

ONLYOFFICE Personal (for personal use) is a free website that includes a word processor, spreadsheet program, and presentation maker. With support for these tools as well as lots of awesome features and a nice, clean interface, ONLYOFFICE Personal becomes a really nice alternative to Microsoft Office.

Just because ONLYOFFICE Personal runs entirely online in your web browser doesn't mean it lacks in major features, which is important to note. For example, the word processor lets you add charts, pictures, and tables; and the spreadsheet program gives you access to filtering capabilities and lots of functions.

ONLYOFFICE Personal lets guests view and edit files without having their own account. This means you and a friend can edit the same document at the same time and only one of you needs a user account. This is very similar to Google Drive's feature, which is also a free online MS Office alternative.

It is open source and can be obtaioned from https://github.com/ONLYOFFICE.

See https://www.lifewire.com/onlyoffice-personal-review-1357076

#msoffice
ONLYOFFICE Personal - an online web-based (cloud) free alternative to Microsoft Office

ONLYOFFICE Personal (for personal use) is a free website that includes a word processor, spreadsheet program, and presentation maker. With support for these tools as well as lots of awesome features and a nice, clean interface, ONLYOFFICE Personal becomes a really nice alternative to Microsoft Office.

Just because ONLYOFFICE Personal runs entirely online in your web browser doesn't mean it lacks in major features, which is important to note. For example, the word processor lets you add charts, pictures, and tables; and the spreadsheet program gives you access to filtering capabilities and lots of functions.

ONLYOFFICE Personal lets guests view and edit files without having their own account. This means you and a friend can edit the same document at the same time and only one of you needs a user account. This is very similar to Google Drive's feature, which is also a free online MS Office alternative.

It is open source and can be obtaioned from https://github.com/ONLYOFFICE.

See https://www.lifewire.com/onlyoffice-personal-review-1357076

#msoffice
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ifidie.org website gives you a way to write notes that will only be delivered if you die

The service is free, easy to use, and completely secure. Use this website to leave instructions for what to do with your pets and journals, to write letters to the people you care about, or for anything else you want. It's not as morbid or scary as you think; it's an easy way to be prepared just in case something totally unexpected happens.

What sort of notes can I write? This is really up to you, but here are some ideas:
* A letter to a friend - to say something personal.
* Simple instructions - whether or not to read your journal, what to do with your cat, where your documents are kept.
* Passwords - how to log into your computer, how to access your address book.
* An informal will - so your next of kin knows what to do with your stuff.

My last such service "died itself" (Deathswitch) and ceased to exist but this looks like a worthy successor. You only need these services for if you die - if you don't die you can switch to a new service, and if you have died it activates and is not needed a month or so later on. It will also confirm with trusted friends (the Safeguards) to confirm you have actually died before it releases the notes.

This type of service is really zero effort and whilst it is no official will and testament it can give direction to your friends and family in terms of your wishes, where to find things, how to get into your computer, etc.

See https://ifidie.org

#ifidie #whenidie
ifidie.org website gives you a way to write notes that will only be delivered if you die

The service is free, easy to use, and completely secure. Use this website to leave instructions for what to do with your pets and journals, to write letters to the people you care about, or for anything else you want. It's not as morbid or scary as you think; it's an easy way to be prepared just in case something totally unexpected happens.

What sort of notes can I write? This is really up to you, but here are some ideas:
* A letter to a friend - to say something personal.
* Simple instructions - whether or not to read your journal, what to do with your cat, where your documents are kept.
* Passwords - how to log into your computer, how to access your address book.
* An informal will - so your next of kin knows what to do with your stuff.

My last such service "died itself" (Deathswitch) and ceased to exist but this looks like a worthy successor. You only need these services for if you die - if you don't die you can switch to a new service, and if you have died it activates and is not needed a month or so later on. It will also confirm with trusted friends (the Safeguards) to confirm you have actually died before it releases the notes.

This type of service is really zero effort and whilst it is no official will and testament it can give direction to your friends and family in terms of your wishes, where to find things, how to get into your computer, etc.

See https://ifidie.org

#ifidie #whenidie
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MultiChoice may be forced to cut DStv prices in South Africa in 2019 (DST at R899pm vs Netflix at R169pm)

If international trends are anything to go by, MultiChoice will be faced with a difficult decision in 2019 – continue to hike DStv Premium prices and lose even more customers to Netflix, or cut prices and hope it can make a digital-only version of DStv work.

The impact of rising satellite and cable TV subscriptions – the equivalent of DStv Premium in the USA – has seen customers ditch their packages in droves overseas.

The ability to make this decision an easy one is thanks to Netflix and other streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, which offer massive catalogues of content at much lower prices than expensive cable and satellite TV.

According to data published by Variety, the number of people in the US who have cancelled pay-TV services will reach 33 million in 2018 – a 32.8% increase over 2017. The report further stated that the high price of pay-TV is a big reason why this is happening, and the average pay-TV bill in the US was $100 per month.

In South Africa, the situation is not that different.

DStv Premium with the Access Fee is R899 per month, and hundreds of thousands of subscribers have dropped the service in recent years.

Netflix has also played a part locally, following its official launch in SA at the start of 2016. Even MultiChoice has admitted that Netflix is hurting its DStv Premium subscriber numbers.

And at R169 per month for the top Netflix package, it is easy to see why.

The real fact is consumers have adjusted their viewing habits according to more modern trends and they have more options now. Even if DSTV was half the price I doubt I'd go back to a model where I must watch something at a specific time of the day.

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/broadcasting/282121-multichoice-may-be-forced-to-cut-dstv-prices-in-2019.html

#DSTV #netflix
MultiChoice may be forced to cut DStv prices in South Africa in 2019 (DST at R899pm vs Netflix at R169pm)

If international trends are anything to go by, MultiChoice will be faced with a difficult decision in 2019 – continue to hike DStv Premium prices and lose even more customers to Netflix, or cut prices and hope it can make a digital-only version of DStv work.

The impact of rising satellite and cable TV subscriptions – the equivalent of DStv Premium in the USA – has seen customers ditch their packages in droves overseas.

The ability to make this decision an easy one is thanks to Netflix and other streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, which offer massive catalogues of content at much lower prices than expensive cable and satellite TV.

According to data published by Variety, the number of people in the US who have cancelled pay-TV services will reach 33 million in 2018 – a 32.8% increase over 2017. The report further stated that the high price of pay-TV is a big reason why this is happening, and the average pay-TV bill in the US was $100 per month.

In South Africa, the situation is not that different.

DStv Premium with the Access Fee is R899 per month, and hundreds of thousands of subscribers have dropped the service in recent years.

Netflix has also played a part locally, following its official launch in SA at the start of 2016. Even MultiChoice has admitted that Netflix is hurting its DStv Premium subscriber numbers.

And at R169 per month for the top Netflix package, it is easy to see why.

The real fact is consumers have adjusted their viewing habits according to more modern trends and they have more options now. Even if DSTV was half the price I doubt I'd go back to a model where I must watch something at a specific time of the day.

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/broadcasting/282121-multichoice-may-be-forced-to-cut-dstv-prices-in-2019.html

#DSTV #netflix
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What 1.0 means for World of Tanks - After eight years, it's ready

World of Tanks launched in Russia in 2010, then in Europe and the US the next year. It’s been around the block, pitting war machines and players against each other in war-torn cities and pastoral paradises, but today it’s only just hit version 1.0. Eight years after launch. For a long-running, living game like World of Tanks, that 1.0 label doesn’t mean what it normally does.

“It means a new game,” says development director Milos Jerabek. But if it is a new game, it’s one with old guts. There’s a new graphics engine, new sound design, 29 reworked maps and one brand new one, and now small buildings and objects can be blown to smithereens thanks to the inclusion of Havok Destruction. But the mechanics, the tanks and the strategies players are used to remain the same.

Every single rock and shrub has been recreated with new textures and physics, and no map has gone unchanged. In most cases it’s purely visual, though some have also been expanded and tweaked.

Some of the almost comical excessiveness of the update must also contribute to its size. As graphics engineer Denis Ishmukhametov walked me through the new engine, he pointed out all manner of ridiculous and impressive touches that you’d hardly notice until they were highlighted. There’s a whole system for how snow acts when it’s on a tank, and how it changes and eventually melts. The same goes for mud and water.

See https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2018/03/21/what-1-0-means-for-world-of-tanks/amp/

#wot #worlfoftanks
What 1.0 means for World of Tanks - After eight years, it's ready

World of Tanks launched in Russia in 2010, then in Europe and the US the next year. It’s been around the block, pitting war machines and players against each other in war-torn cities and pastoral paradises, but today it’s only just hit version 1.0. Eight years after launch. For a long-running, living game like World of Tanks, that 1.0 label doesn’t mean what it normally does.

“It means a new game,” says development director Milos Jerabek. But if it is a new game, it’s one with old guts. There’s a new graphics engine, new sound design, 29 reworked maps and one brand new one, and now small buildings and objects can be blown to smithereens thanks to the inclusion of Havok Destruction. But the mechanics, the tanks and the strategies players are used to remain the same.

Every single rock and shrub has been recreated with new textures and physics, and no map has gone unchanged. In most cases it’s purely visual, though some have also been expanded and tweaked.

Some of the almost comical excessiveness of the update must also contribute to its size. As graphics engineer Denis Ishmukhametov walked me through the new engine, he pointed out all manner of ridiculous and impressive touches that you’d hardly notice until they were highlighted. There’s a whole system for how snow acts when it’s on a tank, and how it changes and eventually melts. The same goes for mud and water.

See https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2018/03/21/what-1-0-means-for-world-of-tanks/amp/

#wot #worlfoftanks
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Everything you wanted to know about Ham Radio - A broad overview of the most common terminology you'd encounter

The concept of Amateur Radio is communication between people from all over the world. Amateur radio, commonly referred to as HAM radio consists of enthusiasts, passionate about technical aspects of radio equipment, communication transmission and reception. The hobby begun early 1900's where the first official call signs were issued and handed out. There are almost 700,000 Amateur Radio operators in the USA and over two million in nearly every country in the world.

Ham radio operators use two-way radio stations from their homes, cars, boats and outdoors to make hundreds of friends around town and around the world. They communicate with each other using voice, computers, and Morse code. Some hams bounce their signals off the upper regions of the atmosphere, so they can talk with hams on the other side of the world. Other hams use satellites. Many use hand-held radios that fit in their pockets. Please read on to know a little more about this wonderful hobby.

Requiring an Amateur Radio license essentially requires that you learn which frequency bands are available for amateur radio and agree not to use other frequencies. It also requires that you learn radio etiquette so your operation on the amateur bands won't interfere with other amateurs.

It's a good quick read with each term only getting one to two paragraphs. It also gives a taste of the diversity of interests that ham radio operators can pursue - see http://www.hamsphere.com/5_52264_read.html

#hamradio #amateurradio
Everything you wanted to know about Ham Radio - A broad overview of the most common terminology you'd encounter

The concept of Amateur Radio is communication between people from all over the world. Amateur radio, commonly referred to as HAM radio consists of enthusiasts, passionate about technical aspects of radio equipment, communication transmission and reception. The hobby begun early 1900's where the first official call signs were issued and handed out. There are almost 700,000 Amateur Radio operators in the USA and over two million in nearly every country in the world.

Ham radio operators use two-way radio stations from their homes, cars, boats and outdoors to make hundreds of friends around town and around the world. They communicate with each other using voice, computers, and Morse code. Some hams bounce their signals off the upper regions of the atmosphere, so they can talk with hams on the other side of the world. Other hams use satellites. Many use hand-held radios that fit in their pockets. Please read on to know a little more about this wonderful hobby.

Requiring an Amateur Radio license essentially requires that you learn which frequency bands are available for amateur radio and agree not to use other frequencies. It also requires that you learn radio etiquette so your operation on the amateur bands won't interfere with other amateurs.

It's a good quick read with each term only getting one to two paragraphs. It also gives a taste of the diversity of interests that ham radio operators can pursue - see http://www.hamsphere.com/5_52264_read.html

#hamradio #amateurradio
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OnePlus 6T review: Making affordable unbeatable - Nobody builds a phone with so much bang for the buck like OnePlus

That is a pretty good summary of the OnePlus phones - they pack a lot of features in for the price versus some other high-end phones with their prices going ever higher and higher.

Be very wary though of which region's model you buy as the "normal" US/EU model has Android Play Store included (in the EU still too??) and is running OxygenOS, whilst the Chinese regional model has HydrogenOS running which excludes the Play Store and Google apps, and yes it is often cheaper.

There is a nice overview though about the OnePlus 6T at https://mashable.com/feature/oneplus-6t-review/

#oneplus #android
OnePlus 6T review: Making affordable unbeatable - Nobody builds a phone with so much bang for the buck like OnePlus

That is a pretty good summary of the OnePlus phones - they pack a lot of features in for the price versus some other high-end phones with their prices going ever higher and higher.

Be very wary though of which region's model you buy as the "normal" US/EU model has Android Play Store included (in the EU still too??) and is running OxygenOS, whilst the Chinese regional model has HydrogenOS running which excludes the Play Store and Google apps, and yes it is often cheaper.

There is a nice overview though about the OnePlus 6T at https://mashable.com/feature/oneplus-6t-review/

#oneplus #android
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Worried about having your excess photos deleted off Flickr - import them into Piwigo complete with album names, keywords, description, etc

The photo below shows the auto-import plugin at work importing 10,872 photos from my Flickr account into Piwigo where it is creating the same albums with the photos on my own hosting account. Piwigo is a free and open source photo album service you can manage yourself. It also allows sharing, comments, etc on photos. In fact, your viewers can even create their own collections and favourites from your photos, or if you allow them to, they can upload and create their own photo albums.

This is a great service to run for a family. Other members of the family can continue with the hosting into the future or move it to another hosting service if they wish. Photos that are private to the family or friends stay private with no cloud provider snooping or selling information.

I'm just getting burnt too many times by cloud providers shutting down services or downgrading their services. Piwigo really does more than I need and I feel I can invest some time in it knowing it will be there tomorrow or next year still.

You can see an example of my Piwigo photo site at https://photos.gadgeteer.co.za. More info on Piwigo itself at https://piwigo.org.

#piwigo #flickr #photos
Worried about having your excess photos deleted off Flickr - import them into Piwigo complete with album names, keywords, description, etc

The photo below shows the auto-import plugin at work importing 10,872 photos from my Flickr account into Piwigo where it is creating the same albums with the photos on my own hosting account. Piwigo is a free and open source photo album service you can manage yourself. It also allows sharing, comments, etc on photos. In fact, your viewers can even create their own collections and favourites from your photos, or if you allow them to, they can upload and create their own photo albums.

This is a great service to run for a family. Other members of the family can continue with the hosting into the future or move it to another hosting service if they wish. Photos that are private to the family or friends stay private with no cloud provider snooping or selling information.

I'm just getting burnt too many times by cloud providers shutting down services or downgrading their services. Piwigo really does more than I need and I feel I can invest some time in it knowing it will be there tomorrow or next year still.

You can see an example of my Piwigo photo site at https://photos.gadgeteer.co.za. More info on Piwigo itself at https://piwigo.org.

#piwigo #flickr #photos
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Federated Social Networks need a good categorised central directory of forums/groups and interests - not just profile and hashtag searching

After seeing my MeWe groups growing far more strongly than my Profile followings I have been looking a bit deeper into Friendica, Hubzilla and Diaspora/Pluspora for similar functionality. The potential is there but a federation has an even bigger need for a user to be able to browse forums/groups that are ranked in popularity across all federated instances. The power of federation is that a forum could physically exist at one instance but be visible everywhere and interacted with from anywhere. It should feel more or less like one big virtual network even though instances. profiles, and forums are decentralised.

They all seem to allow you to search the global directory but return a mix of profiles and no real good results. Some are really dismal and I'm sorry but these networks need to get with it if they want people to connect effectively around common interests, hobbies, etc. Maybe are have just been spoilt with Google+ as it was very powerful in terms of discovery, categories, communities, etc.

Hubzilla:
1. Basic profile search only and results are all mixed with no distinction between possible groups/forums and personal profiles (did I miss it? Yes I did, there is a switch to show only public forums!).
2. Can only sort on alphabetical, newest and no ranking by most popular or frequency of posts.
3. There is a URL to access the directory but it seems to be local to each pod/instance eg. mine is at https://hub.opensocial.africa/directory.
4. It does show a hashtag cloud of popular hashtags.

Friendica:
1. Pictured here does at least have a trending interests which is nice but thereafter no options to sort or rank them.
2. It does distinguish between People and Forums which is really nice. But no way to sort, and also no indication of follower count of post frequency for what is listed.
3. Has a URL that will access the directory - https://dir.friendica.social/directory

Diaspora/Pluspora:
1. No actual directory list option.
2. Can search on word or hashtag but only a list of matches comes back with no option to change sort order or ranking. Very basic information showed such as name and federation address but no hashtags or even bio shown.
3. Its focus is very much more on hashtag searching.

#fediverse #hubzilla #diaspora #pluspora #friendica
Federated Social Networks need a good categorised central directory of forums/groups and interests - not just profile and hashtag searching

After seeing my MeWe groups growing far more strongly than my Profile followings I have been looking a bit deeper into Friendica, Hubzilla and Diaspora/Pluspora for similar functionality. The potential is there but a federation has an even bigger need for a user to be able to browse forums/groups that are ranked in popularity across all federated instances. The power of federation is that a forum could physically exist at one instance but be visible everywhere and interacted with from anywhere. It should feel more or less like one big virtual network even though instances. profiles, and forums are decentralised.

They all seem to allow you to search the global directory but return a mix of profiles and no real good results. Some are really dismal and I'm sorry but these networks need to get with it if they want people to connect effectively around common interests, hobbies, etc. Maybe are have just been spoilt with Google+ as it was very powerful in terms of discovery, categories, communities, etc.

Hubzilla:
1. Basic profile search only and results are all mixed with no distinction between possible groups/forums and personal profiles (did I miss it? Yes I did, there is a switch to show only public forums!).
2. Can only sort on alphabetical, newest and no ranking by most popular or frequency of posts.
3. There is a URL to access the directory but it seems to be local to each pod/instance eg. mine is at https://hub.opensocial.africa/directory.
4. It does show a hashtag cloud of popular hashtags.

Friendica:
1. Pictured here does at least have a trending interests which is nice but thereafter no options to sort or rank them.
2. It does distinguish between People and Forums which is really nice. But no way to sort, and also no indication of follower count of post frequency for what is listed.
3. Has a URL that will access the directory - https://dir.friendica.social/directory

Diaspora/Pluspora:
1. No actual directory list option.
2. Can search on word or hashtag but only a list of matches comes back with no option to change sort order or ranking. Very basic information showed such as name and federation address but no hashtags or even bio shown.
3. Its focus is very much more on hashtag searching.

#fediverse #hubzilla #diaspora #pluspora #friendica
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Internet freedom continues to decline around the world, a new report says - It's "Freedom" vs "Security"

Digital authoritarianism is on the rise, according to a new report from a group that monitors internet freedoms. Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, said today that governments are seeking more control over users’ data while also using laws nominally intended to address “fake news” to suppress dissent. It marked the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world.

“Cutting off internet service is a draconian response, particularly at a time when citizens may need it the most, whether to dispel rumors, check in with loved ones, or avoid dangerous areas,” said Adrian Shahbaz, research director for technology and democracy. “While deliberately falsified content is a genuine problem, some governments are increasingly using ‘fake news’ as a pretense to consolidate their control over information and suppress dissent.”

Governments in 32 countries used paid commentators, bots, and trolls in an effort to manipulate online conversations. WhatsApp and other closed messaging apps are becoming more popular targets for manipulation, the authors write.

I suspect we're going to see more people moving to decentralised and federated social networks because centralised social networks are way easier to target for surveillance ie. one big basket with all the eggs in...

See https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/1/18050394/internet-freedom-report-2018-freedom-house-chertoff

#freedom
Internet freedom continues to decline around the world, a new report says - It's "Freedom" vs "Security"

Digital authoritarianism is on the rise, according to a new report from a group that monitors internet freedoms. Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, said today that governments are seeking more control over users’ data while also using laws nominally intended to address “fake news” to suppress dissent. It marked the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world.

“Cutting off internet service is a draconian response, particularly at a time when citizens may need it the most, whether to dispel rumors, check in with loved ones, or avoid dangerous areas,” said Adrian Shahbaz, research director for technology and democracy. “While deliberately falsified content is a genuine problem, some governments are increasingly using ‘fake news’ as a pretense to consolidate their control over information and suppress dissent.”

Governments in 32 countries used paid commentators, bots, and trolls in an effort to manipulate online conversations. WhatsApp and other closed messaging apps are becoming more popular targets for manipulation, the authors write.

I suspect we're going to see more people moving to decentralised and federated social networks because centralised social networks are way easier to target for surveillance ie. one big basket with all the eggs in...

See https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/1/18050394/internet-freedom-report-2018-freedom-house-chertoff

#freedom
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