Dr. Bill.TV #438 – Audio – “The Fight Da Man Edition!”

Dr. Bill discusses recent issues with VLC, and how it led the GSotW: POT Player! Also VLC is back! Then, is your phone spying? A demo of Popcorn Time, Yahoo! kills its chat app, a box produces water! Microsoft buys GitHub! Adblock Plus blocks tracking.

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The POT Player

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Adblock Plus Will Now Block Social Media Tracking

Adblock PlusYep, I use Adblock Plus. I like this new announcement!

Adblock Plus now blocks social media tracking for Chrome & Firefox

TheNextWeb – By: Rachel Maser – “Adblock today announced it was joining the fight against social media tracking by allowing users to block what has become so ubiquitous on almost every site out there.

Specifically, the tracking which Adblock Plus now aims to thwart is that which originates from social media buttons. You might recognize them — there are some on this very article. Through these buttons, sites can track and build a so-called ‘shadow profiles’ on you even if you don’t click on them, even if you aren’t logged into any of the sites in question.

This tracking has been a sticking point for sites like Facebook. Among the many other questions posed to CEO Mark Zuckerberg at his Congressional interrogation earlier this year was about these profiles of non-users — the existence of which might violate a 2011 consent decree handed down to the company by the FTC.

To use the feature, Adblock Plus users subscribe to a button blocking list, either in Chrome or Firefox. The company is also considering whitelist options for certain social sites.

A company spokesperson listed Apple as inspiration — or at least an example — for the new security. Specifically, they mention the anti-fingerprinting measures announced at this year’s WWDC. Mac and iPhone users who update to Mojave or iOS 12 will have all social media tracking blocked by default, though they can enable it for certain websites if they choose. Adblock will patch the gap for those who don’t use (or currently have) the requisite Apple software.

The company behind Adblock, Eyeo, won a successful lawsuit in April against German publishers attempting to stop its adblocking services. The judgment handed down by the German Supreme Court deemed it the right of the consumer to block any ads they didn’t wish to see.”

Microsoft is Buying GitHub

GitHubHell continues to freeze over! Not only is Microsoft buying GitHub, the Linux Foundation actually approves of the move! A Slashdot poster says:

“The Linux Foundation has endorsed Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub. In a blog post, Jim Zemlin, the executive director at the Linux Foundation, said: ‘This is pretty good news for the world of Open Source and we should celebrate Microsoft’s smart move.’

The Verge reports:
10 years ago, Zemlin was calling for Microsoft to stop secretly attacking Linux by selling patents that targeted the operating system, and he also poked fun at Microsoft multiple times over the years. ‘I will own responsibility for some of that as I spent a good part of my career at the Linux Foundation poking fun at Microsoft (which, at times, prior management made way too easy),’ explains Zemlin. ‘But times have changed and it’s time to recognize that we have all grown up — the industry, the open source community, even me.’

Nat Friedman, the future CEO of GitHub (once the deal closes), took to Reddit to answer questions on the company’s plans. ‘We are not buying GitHub to turn it into Microsoft; we are buying GitHub because we believe in the importance of developers, and in GitHub’s unique role in the developer community,’ explains Friedman. ‘Our goal is to help GitHub be better at being GitHub, and if anything, to help Microsoft be a little more like GitHub.'”

Yahoo! Kills its Chat App

Yahoo! announced that as of July 17 of this year, its chat app will be dead! The desktop version was killed off in 2016, so this comes as no big surprise. It was first launched in 1998, so it has had a long run. Back then it was called “Pager” (remember pagers?) No? I thought not.

Yahoo says, “We’re constantly experimenting with new services and apps, one of which is an invite-only group messaging app called Yahoo Squirrel (currently in beta).”

Popcorn Time for Cord Cutters!

Popcorn TimeThis one rocks! Check out Popcorn Time! Imagine tapping into all the best torrents, of all the best content. That is Popcorn Time.

VPN Built-in!

Great movies
Popcorn Time is constantly searching all over the web for the best torrents from the most important sites.

No restrictions
Watch any movie or TV Show as many times as you want. All you need to get started with Popcorn Time is a proper internet connection.

Awesome catalog
If the movie is out there, Popcorn Time will find the best version possible and start streaming it right away.

The best quality
Watch your movie or TV show instantly on Popcorn Time in HD and with subtitles. And then keep watching.

And, check out all the platforms it runs on! Android, Mac, Windows, iOS, Linux32, and Linux64

And, it has multi-language support!

Geek Software of the Week: POT Player!

POT PlayerPOT Player Web Site Link

As the previous blog entry indicates, this week’s Geek Software of the Week was arrived at by a sad necessity, rather than by a search for new software, as is usually the case. I really love the VLC media player. It has been very good to me over the years. However, in its current state in the latest version, it starts so slowly that it’s rendered unusable.

Therefore, I began to search for a new media player. The emphasis being one that was small, light, and fast! I tried one that was Open Source, and was very nice, however, it is no longer under development. To me, that made it a dead end. It also meant that I would be unwilling to recommend it as a Geek Software the Week.

Then, I found the player that I am recommending for you right now to replace the VLC media player. It is called the POT Player. I know, it is an unusual name! It is under development by an Open Source team in South Korea. I’m sure that they have a good reason for calling it the POT Player! I don’t know offhand what that reason is!

The POT Player has a modern feel and some pretty good options for use. It also has a playlist function built into it, and I find it very capable to use. It has an equalizer built into it that is very functional and handy. It also has a lot of 3-D functionality for video and a complete control panel to tweak it for 3-D. It also includes what it calls a 360° menu system. This is used to control 360° video playback for a surround video type of experience.

Not that I use any of these high-end functions in my daily use of the POT Player. I just like the fact that once I set the file association for the various file types, I can then simply click on the file and it will playback quickly and smoothly! My needs are pretty simple.

So, until VideoLAN fixes the VLC media player, I will be using the POT Player in its place. And, so far so good! By the way, this is for Windows only, unlike the VLC Player.

Issues With VLC Media Player

VLC Media PlayerOkay, it’s time to tell you a sad story. As you know, I’m a big fan of the VLC media player. I have been using it for years. And, I have installed it on every computer that I have built, refurbished, or worked on for probably the last 10 years. It has been a Geek Software of the Week several times, and through several versions. However, in a recent upgrade, which added the additional capability of using your Google Chromecast with VLC, it was rendered extremely hard to use because it started so slowly.

By this I mean, you could click on the VLC media player icon and it would take as much as five minutes before the player would start. I researched online and found that others were having this problem as well. I’m sure that the good folks that write VLC are working on it pretty feverishly right now!

However, I regret that I could no longer recommended it as a player for the time being. I’m not going to uninstall it right now, in the hopes that the folks at VideoLAN will be able to fix it in the near future. In the meantime, I’m looking at other players that I can use day-to-day to play media. In fact, I have one for this week’s Geek Software of the Week.

I’ll talk about it in the next blog entry.

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