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Nicholas DiMeo

Nicholas DiMeo

Former Segment Host

Current Host

Current UpStream Contributor

Current Product Reviewer

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With over ten years of audio engineering experience, Nick's addition to PLuGHiTz Corporation is best served when he is behind the mixing board every Sunday night to produce the audio side of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Piltch Point and PLuGHiTz Live Night Cap. While mixing live every week, his previous radio show hosting experience gives him the ability to co-host as well, giving each show a unique flare with his slightly off-center, yet still realistic take on all things tech. An integral part of the show, you can find Nick always enveloped in coming up with new (and sometimes crazy) ideas and content for the show and you can always expect the most direct opinion on the stories that he feels need to be shared with the world. During the few hours where Nick isn't sleeping or working on ways to improve the company, he spends his free time going to hockey and football games and playing the latest titles on Xbox 360. Email him for his gamertag and add him today for a fun escape from the normal monotony and annoyance that the Xbox LIVE gaming community can sometimes be!

Recent UpStream Articles

Twitter Puts Pen to Paper with New Reporting System for Abuse and Trolls

posted Sunday Mar 1, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Twitter Puts Pen to Paper with New Reporting System for Abuse and Trolls

It appears Twitter's move to better handle trolls and abuse on the site has quickly started to come to life. This week, Twitter launched a newly-streamlined reporting system that will allow users to submit those abusive tweets and trolls to the site staff. This also coincides with Twitter's promise in December to make it easier to report these problems.

What's interesting is users can now report when a Twitter user is posting private information about your or someone else, commonly referred to as doxing. Considering that many recent data breaches exponentially were worse due to the immediate spreading of the information via social media, this seems fitting. It also protects individuals from gangs of online trolls who typically band together to make a person's life miserable.

Per the announcement by Twitter's VP of User Services Tina Bhatnagar, Twitter will also triple the size of its staff that handles these reports, further solidifying CEO Dick Costolo's goal to better monitor and take action on abuse.

While we review many more reports than ever before, we've been able to significantly reduce the average response time to a fraction of what it was, and we see this number continuing to drop.

Another addition to the website includes a new verification system for users who have been temporarily banned or warned. Those users will be told they must provide a phone number and/or an email address to Twitter, which the company will use to verify the identity of the user. This move definitely helps the anonymity problem that plagues Twitter and could surely attach a more identifiable piece of information to a user's handle on the site. From what we know about this announcement, the verification process will not be for every warned or banned user, and looks to be random or based on severity for now.

read more...

Bethesda to Possibly Announce Fallout 4 at First Ever E3 Conference

posted Sunday Mar 1, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Bethesda to Possibly Announce <i>Fallout 4</i> at First Ever E3 Conference

A couple weeks ago, Bethesda announced that the team will be hosting its first ever E3 showcase and press conference this year in Hollywood, California. The company set the date for June 14th, and ever since the announcement, fans worldwide have wondered what would be announced at the event. This week, a source has come forward to say that Fallout 4 would be the title that the studio will show off at the gaming convention.

An email was sent by an unknown source to GamerCenterOnline, outlining the announcement and that Fallout 4 would indeed be unveiled at E3 2015. In the email, the source said,

It will happen. Bethesda is aiming for an impressive scale and atmosphere with Fallout 4. They're only developing it on current gen and PC.

Now, there's a couple of things we can take away from this. First, Bethesda is completely passing over last-gen consoles, which is a huge step for gamers everywhere. The focus is completely on current-gen and PC, and that means the studio's ambitions are high and they won't have to worry about old technology bottlenecks. Secondly, it also means that, given the quality titles Bethesda has put out, we'll see a level of polish to the environment that only PC mods could bring before.

While we don't know the location of where the game will take place, nor do we know the release date, the source did say we should expect to see it on or around Spring of 2016 "at the least." This makes sense as there will be a dozen AAA titles launching at the holiday season this year, and another game of this magnitude would just get lost in the fray.

Are you excited for E3 this year? Or are you just excited to see what Bethesda has to offer? Let your thoughts flow into our comments section below.

read more...

YouTube Kids App Launches Tomorrow, Curates Child-Centric Content

posted Sunday Feb 22, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

YouTube Kids App Launches Tomorrow, Curates Child-Centric Content

Beginning tomorrow, YouTube will be making a YouTube app for kids, in order to keep them away from the random clips of twerking, drug experimentation and other content not suitable for children. Dubbed YouTube kids, the app will be available for Android devices at first, with more devices coming in the near future.

The app will revolve around content produced and targeted specifically for children. Shows from DreamWorks TV, Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club, Talking Tom and Friends, and Geographic Kids will all be available for their viewing pleasure. Even further, the app will feature a control set for parents to use, to set things like viewing time limits, toggling the search option and more.

With as questionable as YouTube's "Recommended Videos" section is after you select a video, it's understandable that parents were concerned as to what might auto-play after their selection. It's even more troubling when certain videos are purposefully mistagged in order to show up in other categories. You could imagine what problems can arise from that.

ConnectSafely's co-director Larry Magid was excited for the app to make its way onto devices. ConnectSafely is a nonprofit that is partially funded by Google, with the purpose of educating people about the basics of the Internet and best safety, security and privacy matters.

This is good for kids and parents. YouTube has done a good job providing curated content that's suitable for kids and easy for kids and parents to discover. There is no substitute for engaged parenting, but it never hurts to have a little help. As with any media, parents need to be sure their kids are getting a balanced diet, so it's good that Google included a timer to help limit how long a child can use the app.

The number of children who use YouTube as a media consumption platform has blown up in the last year, so it's only appropriate that they receive an app that filters out the garbage that sometimes (almost always) takes over the Internet.

read more...

T-Mobile Not Concerned with FCC Net Neutrality Proposal

posted Sunday Feb 22, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

T-Mobile Not Concerned with FCC Net Neutrality Proposal

T-Mobile receives a lot of flack from us, and rightfully so given their track record of line-crossings and deceptions. Based on that, it's only right to point out when the company is doing something right, so here we are.

Many big telecom companies have outright lied about how net neutrality laws would impact their businesses, even claiming huge increases in costs that will be passed down to customers. Some have even said they would have to cutback on their offerings and services. Sprint has already gone on record to say that the FCC's reclassification would not hurt Sprint as a company. Now, T-Mobile is mirroring that same sentiment.

T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert said in an interview,

There is nothing in there that gives us deep concern about our ability to continue executing our strategy.

This was after T-Mobile's CEO John Legere said that reclassifying would be the wrong approach. However, his comments on Twitter were before the FCC's plan was released, and upon reading it, changed his tune and said that T-Mobile would not be hindered by the policy.

It's good to see two of the wireless carriers, albeit the smaller two, step up to add both levity and clarity to the whole net neutrality situation from a corporate perspective. The FCC's proposal should pass the Commission's vote this month, and having corporations on its side can only help the cause.

read more...

Lenovo Computers Shipped with Adware Superfish Pre-Installed

posted Sunday Feb 22, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Lenovo Computers Shipped with Adware Superfish Pre-Installed

The price of Windows laptops have come down for many reason. With the recent launch of Windows 8.1 with Bing, manufacturers no longer have to pay a royalty to Microsoft if they meet certain hardware requirements. Combine that with the ever-increasing revenue streams for manufacturers to place a bunch of garbage software and offers on new PCs, and the actual machine becomes inexpensive to users. Well, those exact pieces of software has enraged Lenovo customers and concerned security experts.

Superfish, a piece of software that comes pre-loaded on almost every Lenovo laptop from September 2014 up through January 2015 not including Thinkpads, is essentially adware that displays "relevant shopping advertisements" to consumers, even when they're on secure websites. It basically can be considered a hijacker of sorts, routing traffic through a certificate that allowed Superfish to see your traffic, and then display the ads. On Internet Explorer and Chrome, Superfish would even inject third-party ads into Google search results, without the end-user's permission to do so. As you could imagine, all of this is a potential problem and a huge security risk, especially if a firm leaks a finds and publishes a password that could let you unlock the certificate and bypass any encryption on your computer. And that's exactly what happened on the heels of Lenovo's forums filled with customer complaints. The password, by the way, was contained in the program's active memory and was no challenge to find and retrieve.

Obviously Lenovo was very concerned upon discovery of this news and took immediate action, right? Not exactly. The company first published a statement saying that they thought users would love to have this installed on their machines, and that it was "to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping." A noble idea in theory, yet clearly terribly implemented. After the company's initial response, Lenovo then posted a follow-up statement.

Superfish was previously included on some consumer notebook products shipped in a short window between September and December to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping. However, user feedback was not positive, and we responded quickly and decisively. Superfish has completely disabled server side interactions (since January) on all Lenovo products so that the product is no longer active. This disables Superfish for all products in market. Lenovo stopped preloading the software in January. We will not preload this software in the future.

Lenovo has also issued a removal tool to fully get rid of the software, as uninstalling won't completely remove it. Those unsure if the removal tool actually works can run a test created by researcher Filippo Valsorda. Lenovo is also working with Microsoft and McAfee, and products by those companies will automatically detect and remove the software in most cases.

read more...

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