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Why and how following a Google+ Collection gives you only posts that you want to see

I see there is still a lot of confusion around following a Profile vs a Collection vs a Community on Google+. The key advantage to following just a Collection, is that you only see posts in your steam that relate to that topic that the Collection deals with eg. just cat photos, just tech news, just green technology, just yellow flowers, etc. A Collection is a place where just the owner posts on a particular topic. You cannot post there, but you can usually comment, reshare and respond on any posts.

Whereas following someone's Profile will show every single public post in your stream that the persons posts. This has little focus but you may interested in everything they post, or it could be a family member or friend where you want to see everything.

A Community is a shared area where the owner, as well as members of that Community, can make posts. It could be a public or private Community, depending on what the owner has set for it. Communities can have additional admins managing them, as well as filtered areas of interest. You can also switch notifications on/off (where you get alerted via an e-mail) or opt to have their posts show up, or not, in your stream.

But back to Collections.... the point is if someone posts a lot about various topics and not all of those topics interest you, but you do have a real interest in one or two topics that they post about, then go to their Profile on Google+ and check whether Collections show up.

You can follow the two screen shots below to see how you would unfollow their main Profile, and then just click on a Collection or two which interests you. Believe me this makes your Google+ experience far more relevant, pleasant and focussed.  You do NOT have to unfollow the main Profile, unless you only want to follow a Collection without seeing any public Profile posts.  If you unfollow a Collection or two, those specific Collections will no longer appear in your stream.

So there are two main scenarios now for Collection filtering:
1. Follow just a Collection - Public Profile is unfollowed, Collection to follow is followed (or more than one).
2. Follow all posts except a specific Collection - Public Profile is followed, only specific Collection is unfollowed (maybe it is a topic that you really don't want to see, or more than one could be selected to be unfollowed).

The advantage of option 2 above is that you will still see all general Public posts, and by default would see posts for any new Collections that the person creates. But for some people who are highly focussed, option 1 could still be their best bet where they only ever see the posts made in that Collection or two that they have selected. It certainly does give a lot of granular control to followers.

You can also get a good idea of the really interesting Collections that can be found on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/collections/featured. Remember that Google+' s real niche lies around interests and hobbies. This is where excels. Although it can do plain social media too, many people may opt to use Facebook for family and friendship based socialising, and Twitter for breaking news. An example is that I post the same posts across Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Tumblr and whilst I get 100 +1's and say 50 comments on a post on Google+ I rarely get more than one or two Likes on Facebook or one or two reshares. 

I hope this short explanation will give you a more enjoyable and cleaner experience on Google+

#tutorial   #guide   #collections  
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My new Yaesu FT-991A HF/VHF/UHF All Mode Transceiver arrived today

I've really struggled to get the bits and pieces together but finally today I got the UHF connectors for the coax and the radio itself arrived too. Took a good hour plus to get the connectors all soldered on and connect the wires to the 30Amp DC power supply and finally I got to switch it on. It all powered up OK but I was initially not receiving anything with the balun connected between the radio and the HF antenna (a G5RV Junior antenna for my roof). So I removed the balun and it seems to be receiving fine now (I can't transmit until I get my license in May 2019 so it's not too serious right now and I can spend time diagnosing the antenna - may be a bad solder joint).

For now it's going to be listening and getting used to tuning the radio. I need to mount the antenna in the roof this coming weekend, and still get a VHF/UHF antenna. The aim is to next year start DX'ing far afield. The radio will output 100W on HF but I can see why so much time gets spent discussing and diagnosing antennas... the radio itself is the easy part but the antenna type, position, height, tuning, etc is the real science.

See photos at https://photos.gadgeteer.co.za/index.php?/category/219

#hamradio #yaesu #yaesuft991a #amateurradio
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Nextcloud introduces social features, joins the fediverse using ActivityPub which will link to Mastodon, Peertube, Diaspora abnd many other social networks

Nextcloud (hosted at your company or privately by yourself) helps you stay in control over your data and communication. Social networks are the tool people use to stay up to date with what others are doing, be it in a private or business setting. But most social networks are centralized platforms under control of a single entity. Nextcloud Social provides a decentralized, federated solution that lets users remain in control while sharing status updates with and subscribing to feeds of others across Nextcloud servers.

For business users, this provides the first steps towards internal enterprise social networking, tightly connected with the productivity capabilities teams already use. It empowers employees to collaborate and share tips and ideas about how to improve the workplace.

For private users, by using the popular ActivityPub standard, Nextcloud users can subscribe to and share status updates with users in the so-called ‘fediverse’, an interconnected and decentralized network of independently operated servers! This allows federation of Nextcloud servers with the popular decentralized Mastodon network, where tens of millions of users already ‘tooth’ with one another, potentially growing the fediverse by an order of magnitude. According to wikipedia, Peertube and soon Diaspora are part of this same network, as are almost a dozen more communities. As every one of the hundreds of thousands of Nextcloud servers turns into a potential hub in the fediverse, this has very exciting possibilities for Nextcloud users to communicate with others!

This is a really important step to expanding the decentralised social networking fediverse! I see many smaller 'hubs' being hosted with local rules and conversations but enabled to connect to many others. You can choose where your 'home' is and interconnect with your friends anywhere else.

I'll certainly be trying this out on my Nextcloud hosting.

See https://nextcloud.com/blog/nextcloud-introduces-social-features-joins-the-fediverse/

#nextcloud #fediverse #mastodon #diaspora #peertube
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Google+ now to shut down in April instead of August 2019 - Talk about rubbing salt in the wound!

So most Google+ users have not yet found a suitable alternative judging by constant information exchanges I'm seeing (and I gained another 15,000 followers on G+ in the last two months). This is probably just going to upset users even more now and I've also seen quite a few now rather disillusioned about testing any new Google products out where it means building up data and having to abandon it (not the same say for switching Android keyboards where there may not be so much investment). Most users already left Facebook and have been quite vocal about not moving to Facebook. Seems MeWe and Pluspora have both grown tremendously from the G+ announcement already.

In the light of additional API issues that Google has had, and it throwing the towel in on consumer G+ versus sticking it out like Facebook does, it won't bode well in future for any new social network Google wants to establish. As it is I did not move my photos from Flickr to Google Photos and decided to go for my own hosted service that I fully control.

So there you have it - we have a bit over 4 months of Google+ left... My evenings are probably going to be a lot quieter as I don't have nearly as much interaction across MeWe, my anonymous Facebook Page, Diaspora, Minds, Friendica, Huubzilla, Mastodon, and my own blog all rolled together. Yes G+ has produced the most interesting and challenging interactions every single day with numerous followers.

Well, the sunset is now in sight... much sooner than we expected... One has to wonder how long enterprise Google+ will continue?

See Google's announcement at https://www.blog.google/technology/safety-security/expediting-changes-google-plus/

#google+ #socialnetworks
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How to screenshot YouTube videos [Firefox]

Screenshot tools are absurdly common both for the desktop and for browsers. In fact, you can even find tools that let you take screenshots of your desktop and entire websites from the terminal/command prompt. If you have a very specific screenshot need i.e., you need to screenshot YouTube videos, and you need an easy way to do it that other tools don’t give you, you can try the YouTube Screenshot Button add-on for Firefox.

The problem with normal screenshot tools is that YouTube videos often show overlays like the play button. This extension takes a clean screenshot without any overlays or controls visible.

See https://www.addictivetips.com/web/screenshot-youtube-videos/

#youtube #screenshot
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Downdetector - Website and Android App to show if your favourite web services are down such as banking, telecoms, gaming, weather, etc sites

Downdetector monitors over 4,400 services in 32 countries including telecommunication outages (internet, phone and TV service), online banking problems, websites that go down and apps that aren’t working.

Their outage detection is based on a real-time analysis of user reports from multiple sources, including social media such as Twitter, the Downdetector website and reports filed through the app.

Functionalities:
- Track outages with services in your country (32 countries supported)
- Remove in-app advertising (premium feature)
- Receive an alert when your favorite service has an outage (premium feature)
- Select your favorite services and have them displayed at the top of the list
- File an outage report when a service is down for you
- Check problem reports from other users of the app and the Downdetector website.
- Read and write comments using your Facebook account
- View outage maps to check for local outages with telecommunications providers
- View tweets about service problems from other users
- Services and ordered alphabetically or based on the number of complaints over the past hour.
- View support contact information for each service, such as phone number, web contact form or e-mail address (if available).
- Available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Japanese, Russian, Polish.

Well worth having this app downloaded and ready for the next time you think your bank or telecoms company is offline. It may help prevent you from rebooting your whole house thinking the problem is by you.

Android app at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.serinus42.downdetector&hl=en or website at https://www.downdetector.com

#outages #downtime #telkomza
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Lenovo Smart Display UK review: The premium smart home hub - its not cheap at £199 but you can physically block its camera

The Lenovo Smart Display is among the first in a new class of device that wants to sit at the heart of your digital home, tying together a wealth of functionality through the Google Assistant. Like the Google Home Hub, it's a natural evolution of early Assistant-enabled gadgets like the original Google Home. But unlike Google's cheaper, own-branded offering, you get an expanded feature set, a larger display, and a superior audio experience. It's part tablet, part smart TV, part digital photo frame, part video-calling box.

Like most of Google's own hardware, you'll get the most out of this device the more of Google's features you use in everyday life. Assistant "routines" for certain times of day let you quickly get up to speed with the news and appointments in the morning, or dim the lights and unwind with your favorite music in the evening. In between, it can tap into your favorite shots in Google Photos, essentially turning it into a super-advanced digital photo frame. And, of course, Google Assistant is always listening for your commands -- until you flip the switch to tell it not to.

The display itself is a 10-inch 1920x1080 LCD touchscreen with ample brightness, appealing colors and good viewing angles. It's not going to replace your TV for extended movie marathons, but it's good enough for the occasional BBC iPlayer binge or YouTube session. Perhaps the smartest feature of the Smart Display is its camera -- specifically the tiny switch letting you physically block the lens when you're not using it.

See https://www.androidcentral.com/lenovo-smart-display-uk-review

#googleassistant #lenovo
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Kickstarter: Zanco S-Pen does more than just write - Probably the Geekiest pen I've seen - From $49

While smartphones continue to get larger in size as well as more complicated in their functionality, here is the Zanco S-Pen that might help streamline the busy executive’s life. This is an all-in-one pen phone and presentation tool that is jam-packed with features, making it suitable for both work and travel. Your presentations will never be the same again with the built-in laser pointer, letting you showcase the points that you would like to get across to your audience in clarity. Need to jot down that important piece of information but do not have a piece of paper? Fret not, there is always the built-in voice recorder that gets the job done, and even then you can always fall back on the front- and rear-facing 5MP cameras to snap a quick photo.

Since it connects to your smartphone over Bluetooth, it can also be used to monitor and decline calls in order to prevent any disruptions in important meetings. The S-Pen will also double up as a universally compatible stylus pen for easy and accurate writing, where it can alternatively be used as a drawing tool for graphic design. It can take a non-SIM as well and even make calls without your phone!

I gave in after 60 seconds and ordered one seeing the cheapest tier at $49 still had orders left. The Kickstarter project (yes there is a risk) has passed its funding goal by over 200% percent already.

When they say "all-in-one" this device certainly exceeds the expectations I had. All it lacks is a kitchen scale maybe...

See https://coolestgadgets.com/20181205/zanco-s-pen-does-more-than-just-write/

#zanco #pen #kickstarter
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No it's not April 1st: Microsoft is working on a Chromium-based browser to replace Edge

Microsoft Edge was released as part of Windows 10 way back in 2015 and was the spiritual successor to the ever-infamous Internet Explorer. Without the likes of ActiveX or Browser Helper Objects, it aimed to be a much more lightweight internet browsing solution. It certainly was universally more liked than Internet Explorer, with Microsoft Edge even making its way to Android and iOS. Now, according to a report from WindowsCentral, it’s possible that Microsoft may be dropping support for Edge entirely, replacing it with a Chromium-based browser instead.

It is unknown if the company’s branding will change, or if they will keep the name “Edge” or not. There’s only one thing that’s for certain, according to the report, and that is that Edge as we know it is dead. It will utilize the Blink rendering engine which powers Google Chrome. The new browser id codenamed “Anaheim,” and it is also unknown if it will share the same UI or not.

To be honest, Google has not pushed the UI forward much on Chromium and this is why Vivaldi and some others have found a real niche in making Chromium much better. So it is possible that Microsoft could carve their own space with Chromium and possibly capitalise on the compatibility of extensions too. It's no big shocker really as Microsoft is no longer really in the market of selling OSs and browsers - their big focus is to get you to rather subscribe to annual cloud-based services (no matter what computer or OS you use) as this guarantees a good annual income which can be increased with less and less chance of you exiting as the years go by. I've not yet seen any cloud company touting the risks or disadvantages of cloud services but we have seen them sweetening the cloud pricing whilst increasing desktop software versions by 20+ percent. There is a race to the cloud is on, and us consumers are rthe chickens being herded along ;-)

See https://www.xda-developers.com/microsoft-chromium-based-browser-replace-edge/

#microsoft #edge #chromium
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NVIDIA System uses "AI" to Convert Real Life Into A Virtual World

The network operates on high-level descriptions of a scene, for example: segmentation maps or edge maps, that describe where objects are and their general characteristics, such as whether a particular part of the image contains a car or a building, or where the edges of an object are. The network then fills in the details based on what it learned from real life videos. The demo allows attendees to navigate a virtual urban environment that is being rendered by this neural network. The network was trained on videos of real-life urban environments. The conditional generative neural network learned to approximate the visual dynamics of the world such as lighting, and materials. Since the output is synthetically generated, a scene can be easily edited to remove, modify, or add objects.

This has interesting possibilities for creating realistic simulations of the real world on demand for not just driving simulation but also many other scenarios. A sense of familiarity allows users to feel as if they are in the simulation and not just operating in the 3rd person.

There is a short video at https://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2018/12/nvidia-real-world-virtual-world.html

#nvidia #virtualworld #simulation
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