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Disney+ faces glitches on launch day

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(Reuters) – Consumers complained about glitches in Walt Disney Co’s streaming service on Twitter, just hours after its highly anticipated launch.

An error message for Disney’s streaming service is seen on a TV in New York, U.S. November 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ken Li

While trying to access the service, users were greeted by an image of “Mickey Mouse” on a blue screen, with a message asking them to exit the app and try again.

Disney did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. It was not immediately known how many users were affected by the outage.

“Not too surprised but @disneyplus looks like it’s already falling over. On FireTV Stick can’t load main page (Unable to connect to Disney+) and couldn’t play The Mandalorian (some account issue),” user @pmhesse tweeted.

“Hopefully it’s worked out by tomorrow’s treadmill time.”

“The Mandalorian,” next adventure in the “Star Wars” movie and TV franchise, is an eight-episode live-action series which stars “Game of Thrones” actor Pedro Pascal as a helmeted bounty hunter.

Users who were able to access the service, however, gave rave reviews.

“Today is the perfect day to just stay home all day on my couch in my PJ’s binging all of my favorite Disney movies on #DisneyPlus,” tweeted @JulieDwoskin.

Disney’s streaming service will offer a slate of new and classic TV shows and movies and feature programming from the Marvel superhero universe, the “Star Wars” galaxy, “Toy Story” creator Pixar Animation and the National Geographic.

The service is a direct challenge to market leader Netflix Inc as well as Apple Inc’s newly launched Apple TV+.

Shares of Disney were up nearly 1 percent before the bell.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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5G technology debated at ESG event with Gibtelecom

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The Environmental Safety Group and Gibtelecom held an event to discuss 5G – the next generation of mobile broadband.

The well attending two-hour meeting combined presentations followed by a question and answer session.

Katy Docker reports.

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The Best PopSockets of 2020

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Real TBRN winner

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

In terms of affordability, versatility, and convenience, the PopSockets PopGrip: Swappable Grip is easily our favorite.

PopSockets PopMount: Multi-Surface

Credit: PopSockets

The PopSockets PopMount: Multi-Surface works on a variety of surfaces, but we especially love it for the car.

How We Tested

The Tester

I’m Shayna Murphy, a senior staff writer here at Reviewed. I’m also a lifelong klutz and I’ve dropped my phone more times than I can count, resulting in countless jokes and some pretty hefty repair bills over the years. Because I also have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist—and that’s my dominant hand—I’m sensitive and perhaps more susceptible to aches and pains when I hold my phone and scroll for extended periods of time than most. I used my first PopSocket about a year ago and immediately noticed a difference in how easy it felt to use and hold onto my phone. To get a sense of how others felt about them (and since I was already sold on them going into these tests), I also recruited a team of in-office testers, none of whom had used PopSockets before.

The Tests

To find the best PopSockets, I tracked down the most popular models on the market and asked our team of in-office testers to start with the most straightforward test of them all: they stuck them onto their phones and simply started using them.

While some testers quickly decided that PopSockets weren’t for them—among those who didn’t like PopSockets, the common complaint was that they just didn’t care for the feel of them between their fingers—the majority of testers enjoyed them and we collectively looked at how easy these models were to install, remove, and reuse, as well as how much extra weight and bulk they added to phones overall. Additionally, we looked at how resilient they were with continuous daily use.

For models with removable tops, we looked at how easy it was to take off existing ones and add new tops. Because I had experience with PopSockets PopGrips before, I spent the bulk of my testing period examining models that I hadn’t used before, specifically the PopWallet+, PopThirst, and Slide units.

During our testing period, which lasted for approximately three weeks, we looked at two different types of mounts—both of which were exclusively designed to work with PopSockets—and a recently released charger, to determine just how compatible these products actually were with the phone grips themselves.

Lastly, since we were curious about how much weight a single PopSocket could support, our lab tested two different PopSocket PopGrips—one brand new, the other gently used—by hanging bags of sand from each and sticking the adhesive side to the underside of a table, in order to determine how much weight each could hold before falling off.

What Are PopSockets?

what is popsockets

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

PopSockets make it easier to watch videos from your phone.

Made with a circular plastic base, accordion-style stem, and decorative disc top, these expandable grips look just like a knob and stick to the back of your phone the same way a sticker would and “pop” out, so they function as a stand, too.

Since their release in 2014, they’ve risen to near cult-like status, which is no surprise, given that these grips aren’t just super-cute accessories—they also help make everyday things like scrolling, texting, watching videos, and taking selfies from a phone or tablet more comfortable than before.

How Much Weight Can PopSockets Really Hold?

popsockets hanging

Credit: Jonathan Chan / Reviewed

To test how much weight PopSockets can hold, we tested them attached to bags of sand.

In the lab, our testers put bags of sand on two different PopSocket PopGrips, one of which had never been used before and one that had been previously used. We fixed the adhesive side to a wooden table that was coated with plastic. In our findings, the brand new PopSocket was able to hold three pounds of sand overnight. Conversely, the used PopSocket—which our lab determined had 10% less adhesive on it than the brand new one—was only able to hold two pounds of sand for 45 minutes before falling to the ground.

Are PopSockets Actually Reusable?

reusable popsockets

Credit: Jonathan Chan / Reviewed

PopSockets are completely reusable—you just have to know what to do.

Although our lab was unable to determine the exact type of adhesive used with PopSockets—some speculated that it may be similar to a modified acrylic adhesive that historically works best with plastic and doesn’t fare so well with silicone, where it may cause discoloration—we were able to confirm one very important detail about PopSockets: they’re completely reusable.

To test reusability, our lab peeled a freshly applied PopSocket off, then moved it into a different location. They noticed that you can do this up to 4 times before there seems to be any overall degradation in the grip itself. Even then, our lab speculated that it was more likely due to the plastic base bending out of place than the adhesive itself losing any stickiness.

However, some PopSockets seem to contain less adhesive. Of the four PopSockets we tested in the lab, some had about 10% less adhesive, which impacted their overall performance. We couldn’t determine whether this was connected to the price, model, or design, but it was notable, especially during our weight tests.

When it came to reusing PopSockets, we found that you can “revitalize them” by dipping the base into warm water, then using a microfiber cloth to clean off dirt and any other lingering debris. For PopSockets that were extremely dried out—I volunteered one of my own old PopSockets, which had been sitting on my desk for several months—this method didn’t completely restore them good as new, this could make them fine for reuse again, at least until you’re ready to buy a new one.


Other PopSockets We Tested

PopSocket Gif

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

baby yoda

Credit: Shayna Murphy / Reviewed

We’re obsessed with Baby Yoda—and this PopSocket just makes it even better.

PopGrip Lips

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

With its cute design and handy size, PopGrip Lips took us pleasantly by surprise.

popcharger

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

We wanted to love the PopSockets PopPower, but we just couldn’t get behind it.

popwallet

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

The PopWallet+ seems like a great idea, but we found it to be less spectacular than other options out there.

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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London to deploy live facial recognition to find wanted faces in a crowd

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Security cameras sit on a pole near the Houses of Parliament in the Westminster district of London, UK, on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Metropolitan Police will be adding new "live facial recognition" systems to their sensor collection, aimed at spotting wanted persons walking through targeted areas.
Enlarge / Security cameras sit on a pole near the Houses of Parliament in the Westminster district of London, UK, on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Metropolitan Police will be adding new “live facial recognition” systems to their sensor collection, aimed at spotting wanted persons walking through targeted areas.

Officials at the Metropolitan Police Service of London announced last Friday that the force will soon begin to use “Live Facial Recognition” (LFR) technology deployed around London to identify people of interest as they appear in surveillance video and alert officers to their location. The system, based on NEC’s NeoFace Watch system, will be used to check live footage for faces on a police “watch list,” a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said. The real-time facial-recognition system will target suspects in violent crimes, child exploitation cases, and missing children and vulnerable adults, among others.

The video system, the spokesperson noted in a written statement, “simply gives police officers a prompt suggesting ‘that person over there may be the person you’re looking for'” and that the decision to act on that information will always be made by officers in the field. Initially, the system will be deployed at locations “where intelligence suggests we are most likely to locate serious offenders,” the spokesperson said. “Each deployment will have a bespoke ‘watch list’ made up of images of wanted individuals, predominantly those wanted for serious and violent offenses.”

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said, “As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London. Independent research has shown that the public support us in this regard. Prior to deployment we will be engaging with our partners and communities at a local level.” That engagement will include officers handing out leaflets explaining the program at locations where the technology is deployed.

Putting a face to a name

Live facial-recognition systems have become part of many private organizations’ internal security operations. In Las Vegas, a number of casinos have used facial-recognition systems for decades—not only to spot potential criminals but to also catch “undesirables” such as card counters and others who have been banned from the gaming floors. (I got a first-hand look at some of those early systems back in 2004 while reporting on the gaming industry’s use of facial recognition, license plate readers, and other surveillance technologies.)

Most of the earlier systems operated at relatively low rates and depended a great deal on humans in the loop to confirm results. Over the past few years, however, machine-learning-based facial-recognition systems have made live facial recognition more powerful and much more scalable.

Facial-recognition technology similar to the NEC system has already been widely deployed across China, with about 200 million cameras by the government’s own estimate. And the Metropolitan Police is no stranger to the technology—in 2015, while now-Prime Minister Boris Johnson was mayor of London, the police service asked for access to Transport for London’s automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) camera system to perform real-time facial recognition of motorists entering London.

And while these systems have depended on government databases, private companies’ own databases of images have begun to be tapped as well. Amazon’s Rekognition system and other facial-recognition services that can process real-time streaming video have been used by US police forces as well as for commercial applications. And as the New York Times’ Kashmir Hill reported earlier this month, some US law enforcement organizations are using a service from a company called Clearview (a startup backed by Peter Thiel and co-founded by a former mayoral aide to Rudolph Giuliani) to perform facial-recognition searches against images scraped from social media and other sources.

These systems are not foolproof. They depend heavily on the quality of source data and other aspects of the video being scanned. But Ephgrave said that the Metropolitan Police is confident about the system it’s deploying—and that it’s balancing its deployment with privacy concerns.

“We are using a tried-and-tested technology and have taken a considered and transparent approach in order to arrive at this point,” said Ephgrave. For now, the system will not be tied to existing CCTV systems or other police imagery systems. The initial deployment is to be limited to cameras capturing people passing through targeted, relatively small areas.

Areas under the surveillance of the system will be marked with signs. Ephgrave said that the deployment required “that we have the right safeguards and transparency in place to ensure that we protect people’s privacy and human rights.”



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