Facebook discovers telepresence?

Facebook is testing a feature that would allow the camera to automatically scan for people in its range and lock onto them, one of the people said. For example, the camera could zoom onto a painting that a child brought home from school to show to a parent away on a business trip. Facebook has also been developing a 360 degree camera for the device, but people familiar with the matter say it’s unlikely to be ready in time for the initial launch.

Source: Facebook Is Working on a Video Chat Device – Bloomberg

This is nothing new in the telepresence space. Cisco and Polycom have similar technologies available. The technology is impressive and useful in conference rooms to tell who is speaking.

Bringing this technology into the home was an obvious step. If (and I say if because anything speculative doesn’t exist yet) this device exists with the facial tracking software will be useful for chatting at home.

Facebook is behind it so people are going to scream about that. And they’re not wrong. Google and Facebook are advertising companies. They thrive on personal information so they can sell that information to companies who want to sell us stuff. (And doing a poor job from the looks of ads I’m being served.)

There is a big world of data yet to be exploited and Facebook will do their best to exploit it.

Add custom episodes in Pocket Casts

Adding custom episodes

I recently had a strange issue with a certain podcast not loading on my phone. For some reason, the phone can’t load the domain even though it works from my computer on the same network. And the phone fails to load the page on cellular and wifi. So I set out to see if I could manually load the episodes into Pocket Casts.

I’ve used this for a couple of shows and single audio files and it works great. The instructions are for Android.

  1. Locate the custom_episodes folder. By default it’s located here: /storage/emulated/0/Android/data/au.com.shiftyjelly.pocketcasts/files/PocketCasts
  2. Move your episode files into the folder
  3. Open Pocket Casts and refresh by tapping on the Pocket Casts icon in the side menu.
  4. You now find a Custom Episodes podcast in your Podcasts tile screen, tap it to view the list of custom episodes.

Note: Only the following file types are supported: mp3, m4a, aac, mov, m4v, mp4, 3g2 and 3gp.
Note: Pocket Casts will only pick up files in the custom_episodes folder, not any sub-folders.

Pinboard bought Delicious

Maciej AKA Pinboard has been talking about buying del.icio.us for a long time. Today, Pinboard bought Delicious. I’m curious what he has in store for it.

As for the ultimate fate of the site, I’ll have more to say about that soon. Delicious has over a billion bookmarks and is a fascinating piece of web history. Even Yahoo, for whom mismanagement is usually effortless, had to work hard to keep Delicious down. I bought it in part so it wouldn’t disappear from the web.

Even if he bought it only to save the history of the web, it’s worth the purchase.

Do not attempt to compete with Pinboard.

Dispatch from the Trenches #14

First, a story that turned me into a puddle of tears this morning. I love stories of people going above and beyond to serve others. It’s something I try to embody in my work and I love seeing others not only take notice, but share their stories.

To the usher at the Cardinals game who spent two innings finding my son a bottle of milk

What you didn’t know is that beneath my son’s Yadi t-shirt there’s a central line and a feeding tube. You didn’t know that the unusual form and function of his little body mean that he dehydrates easily, but also that drinking too much water could ultimately land us in the hospital, and for whatever reason, against most logic, right now milk is the thing he tolerates best.


NBC’s coverage of the Olympics is religious, not athletic (at least in prime time). No, seriously:

As has been discussed in endless numbers of places, NBC doesn’t do this for its prime time Olympics coverage. It doesn’t emphasize the sport, or even the athletes’ struggles to excel in their sport. Rather, it emphasizes the athletes’ individual struggles with themselves. The point isn’t how to be good at sport X. The point is to overcome the disadvantages of injury or poverty or gender or race or whatever. The competition is moral, not physical.

This makes a lot of sense and I see it the longer I watch the Primetime Olympics coverage especially. I also can’t tell you how many times I heard the entire story, complete with security video of Ryan Lochte and the other three swimmers last night. Every time the official NBC program changed, we were given the entire story. Again.

The Olympics are treated closer to the Real Athletes of America more than Olympians competing in their chosen sports for medals. The sports are secondary to the drama.


✉ Fwd: the heart is a lonely Pokéhunter

This is absolutely worth the read. It’s about dogs, love, loss and Pokémon Go. It was a beautiful story. I saw a lot of myself in the author. I recently worked from home for a week and, if I wasn’t married, would not have left the house. I am a hermit at heart and I’ve also fallen in love with Pokémon Go and had wonderful experiences playing it.

And you thought your job was hard

President Obama will soon be Former-President Obama and he’s looking for a new job. Running a country is a lot like running a company, but with less hostility.

Obama told Bloomberg:

“Now, I’m always careful about drawing too many easy parallels there, because sometimes there are CEOs who come in and start explaining to me how I should be running the presidency. And I sometimes have to stop them and say, ‘All right. One, I appreciate your advice. But imagine a situation in which half your board and management were actively trying to get rid of you and prevent you from accomplishing anything. And you had 2 million employees, and you couldn’t fire a large portion of them. And your competitors weren’t simply promoting their own products, but were continually saying how your products were the worst that were ever invented and will cause a civilizational crisis. If you pull that all together, then you’ve got about half of what I’m dealing with on a daily basis.'”