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Scott Ertz

Scott Ertz

Former Segment Host

Current Host

Current UpStream Contributor

Current Product Reviewer

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Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

Recent UpStream Articles

Select Windows 10 PCs Get 4K Netflix

posted Sunday Nov 27, 2016 by Scott Ertz

Select Windows 10 PCs Get 4K Netflix

In July of this year, we tested 1080p Netflix streaming in-browser, confirming that only Microsoft browsers were capable of doing it. Both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer were capable of streaming from the service in 1080p, while Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera all were limited to 720p. As it turns out, that is not the only limitation that those browsers will face.

Starting this week, Windows 10 PCs will get the ability to stream full UHD, or 4K, video. There are some limitations, however. First, you must be using Microsoft Edge - none of the other browsers, including Internet Explorer, will be able to support UHD streaming. Second, you must have an uber-modern computer. In fact, you must be using an Intel Kaby Lake processor, known to the world as 7th Generation Core CPUs, which have only recently been made available. You will also need a UHD-compatible screen.

Obviously, just like when HD came to market, most content is not currently UHD-compatible. For content that is still in HD, that content will continue to stream normally (as mentioned earlier). However, for newer content, like Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Fuller House, Intel and Edge are ready to bring you the ultra high-resolution picture quality now.

Check out Microsoft's list of compatible devices in the store.

read more...

Reddit CEO Admits to Editing Unflattering Posts, Community Freaks

posted Sunday Nov 27, 2016 by Scott Ertz

Reddit CEO Admits to Editing Unflattering Posts, Community Freaks

If you are anything like me, Reddit is a bit of a mystery to you. The online community is known for both their open exchange of ideas and their complete hatred of those who disagree with them, and no one on the site seems to see the irony in that. One thing that you can be sure of, though, is that everyone will band together when the upper management makes any moves, positive or negative. You can also be sure that management's response to their actions will be glib and dismissive.

This week proved to be no different, with CEO Steve Huffman making a bad move and dismissing his own actions. Here's what happened: In the pro-Trump community, /r/The_Donald, comments were made that mentioned Huffman's community handle, /u/spez, and these comments were not flattering. As someone who has run several online communities, sometimes comments can be negative, but all you can do is either wear them as a badge of honor, as does Avram Piltch, or you can fold into a heap and cry in the corner. Huffman chose the latter.

Rather than accepting the negative comments gracefully, or addressing any concerns that the community might have with him, his performance or him personally, the CEO of the online community decided to deflect the criticism to others. In fact, he manually edited the posts in the subreddit, changing his own handle to those of the moderators of the /r/The_Donald instead. When called out for the actions, he addressed the accusations saying,

Hey Everyone,

Yep. I messed with the "f**k u/spez" comments, replacing "spez" with r/the_donald mods for about an hour. It's been a long week here trying to unwind the r/pizzagate stuff. As much as we try to maintain a good relationship with you all, it does get old getting called a pedophile constantly. As the CEO, I shouldn't play such games, and it's all fixed now. Our community team is pretty pissed at me, so I most assuredly won't do this again. F**k u/spez.

He had a hard week, and it made him sad, so he made it look like people were mad at a group that had nothing to do with anything instead of him. While members of the community were discussing the possibility that administrators were editing user posts without any notification or marking, the CEO of the company was editing user posts without any warning or marking. At least it validated some of the concerns of the now-banned /r/pizzagate community, so glass half full, right?

It is going to take some time for the admins to get any form of credibility back after this, if it is possible at all. The good news for members of the community is that there are alternatives, so if you decide to jump ship, finding a new home should be fairly easy. It seems like the new platform of choice is Voat, a similar platform that is having trouble staying afloat with all of the new user load.

read more...

Xbox One Streaming Coming Soon to Oculus Rift

posted Sunday Nov 27, 2016 by Scott Ertz

Xbox One Streaming Coming Soon to Oculus Rift

One of the most exciting additions to Windows 10 was the ability to stream games and content from an Xbox One to your PC. When this feature was announced, most of the industry had hoped that this would be a sign of things to come, and Microsoft has not disappointed. Expanding on their partnership with Facebook's Oculus VR division, in December, Microsoft will bring this feature to the Oculus Rift.

Just like on Windows 10 PCs and compatible mobiles, the game streaming is made possible care of a connector app. The new app, Xbox One Streaming to Oculus Rift, will be available in the Oculus Store starting December 12th. Using the same technology, the console's output is routed over your home network to the Oculus hardware instead of your traditional television. From there, it is projected onto a virtual screen within the Oculus environment.

This will be yet another great reason why Oculus has been including an Xbox Wireless Controller with their headsets. Using the play-and-charge cable, an Xbox Wireless Adapter or one of the preconfigured PCs, you can play your Xbox One games on the Rift with a native Xbox controller, in most cases wirelessly.

While it might initially seem counter-intuitive for Microsoft to be working with Oculus to make Xbox One streaming available, while the company is working with their own partners to build Windows-powered VR hardware, you would be mistaken. What they have done is ensured that, almost no matter what VR hardware you decide to purchase, the best accessory you can have to play games is an Xbox One.

read more...

Symantec to Add LifeLock to Security Offerings

posted Sunday Nov 27, 2016 by Scott Ertz

Symantec to Add LifeLock to Security Offerings

In a deal valued at $2.3 billion, Symantec has agreed to purchase personal identity protection service LifeLock, Inc. The service rose to fame when, in 2007, they began traveling the country with a large vehicle on which was printed the social security number of co-founder, Todd Davis. The stunt was done to demonstrate Davis's confidence in his company's service, which promises to protect people from identity theft, even if all of the information is made public. As a result of the campaign, Davis was the victim of 13 cases of identity theft.

In 2010, the company was fined $12 million by the US Federal Trade Commission for false advertising. The chiefest among their complaints was the 100% protection promised by the television ad featuring the SSN truck. In fact, then FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz had one of the greatest quotes in all of federal law history, stating,

The protection they provided left such a large hole... that you could drive that truck through it.

Since settling that case, the company was cited to be in contempt of thee agreement in 2015. A new $100 million fine was assessed, with much of the money being earmarked for a class action settlement against the company.

If this seems like a strange company for Symantec to acquire, you're right - in the midst of such a lack of consumer confidence, why would Symantec possibly be interested in purchasing them? It is likely that Symantec wants to add the technology and assurance behind LifeLock, without actually maintaining the brand. A new name will almost certainly be on the horizon for the service under its new owners, potentially even under their already well-known and respected Norton brand. Without the drag of the LifeLock name, and a boost from the Norton name, it is possible that Symantec could revive this once promising consumer protection service.

read more...

AT&T's Mixed Reality with Video Streaming

posted Saturday Nov 12, 2016 by Scott Ertz

AT&T's Mixed Reality with Video Streaming

There is nothing in the mobile world that uses data faster that streaming video. If you are on a limited data plan, streaming video over cellular can eat up your data allotment with just a single episode of a television show. The wireless carriers have tried to come up with solutions to this problem and this week AT&T is working with both of the popular choices.

Limited

If you are using an AT&T phone, no matter what your data plan, you will soon be enrolled in AT&T's new program: Stream Saver. Following the moves of Sprint and T-Mobile, AT&T will begin limiting the quality of video streamed on its network. Rather than receiving video at 1080 or above, all video will default to 480 instead.

The company is implementing this restriction in an attempt to save you from their other restriction: limited data. By limiting the video quality, you will be able to stream move video without exceeding you data allotment. Unfortunately, the restriction also applies to users who have an unlimited data plan, though technically speaking, unlimited plans can be throttled after 22GB of usage.

Luckily, Stream Saver is completely configurable. Users are capable of disabling the feature at will. If you are more interested in video quality than saving data, simply turn the feature off in your myATT account. Unlike with T-Mobile, disabling this feature does not cost anything additional.

Unlimited

All video streaming services are affected by Stream Saver, except possibly one: DirecTV. If you are a subscriber of both AT&T's mobile and television service, you can stream the DirecTV video unrestricted. Video from their own provider will not affect your data cap at all, making Stream Saver a needless feature. This feature, named Sponsored Data, seems very similar to T-Mobile's Binge On feature, where partners' content does not count against a customer's usage.

The FCC does not seem to see these features as related, simply because DirecTV is owned by AT&T. In fact, Jon Wilkins from the FCC wrote a letter to Bob Quinn, AT&T's external and legislative affairs head, complaining about the new feature. In the letter, Wilkins claims that the new feature might violate some rules. In response, Quinn said,

With our Data Free TV offer, DirecTV picks up the tab for our Mobility customers' data use when they're streaming content. For example, consumers can watch DirecTV content - such as NBC, Fox News, CBS, CNN, ESPN - all on their AT&T mobile devices without incurring any data changes. While we welcome additional questions, we hope the FCC will consider the enormous value consumers find in obtaining free data or free streaming where someone else is footing the bill for their data.

This move by the FCC is a little surprising, for a couple of reasons. First, the "Net Neutrality" rules that were implemented do not fully apply to wireless, only wireline. As evidence of this is Binge On - essentially the same service. Second is the FCC's relative ineffectiveness. Most of the upper management of the FCC are on the chopping block with the new administration taking over in January, so any move they make today is likely to be reconsidered in a mere 2 months. It seems like a hollow gesture to make this move now.

Likely, this move has to do with shining a spotlight on AT&T at a time when they are looking to add Time Warner to their previous DirecTV purchase. The FCC has been against AT&T purchases in the past, including their failed T-Mobile purchase.

read more...

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