Log in Wall Of Awesome

Nicholas DiMeo

Nicholas DiMeo

Former Segment Host

Current Host

Current UpStream Contributor

Current Product Reviewer

Email Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Google last.fm YouTube

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

YouTube Tries to Lock Up Top Creators, Offers Incentives for Exclusive Content Amidst Heavy Competition

posted Sunday Dec 14, 2014 by Nicholas DiMeo

YouTube Tries to Lock Up Top Creators, Offers Incentives for Exclusive Content Amidst Heavy Competition

YouTube has been having some stiff competition lately. Between up-and-comers like Vessel and Hitbox, Amazon picking up Twitch for just under $1 billion and Vimeo locking in some content deals, YouTube has merely been able to ride out the storm. That's been the case for a while, with many YouTube stars leaving the site for greener pastures, in both viewers and money. Now, the video-streaming site is fighting back with Google's really big wallet.

In a move that should've happened a few months ago, Google is targeting its biggest and most popular content creators, in hopes that with enough cash, the talent will stay on the platform. Specifics of the deals differ from person to person, but in General, YouTube has been asking each channel to post exclusively to YouTube for a period of time before putting the video on other sites. Some top channels have even been offered cash incentives to create additional content for YouTube only.

Oddly enough, YouTube seems to be most concerned with Vessel, a video start-up that hasn't launched yet but is backed by former Hulu CEO Jasaon Kilar. Vessel has been one of the more active companies gunning for the giant's top tier talent. Vessel currently has $75 million in venture capital and should be finalizing its program lineup before the year it out.

One YouTuber who has requested to remain anonymous has said that, "I would like to remain on YouTube. But some of the competing offers are incredibly attractive."

CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojciki, recently spoke at a Recode event and openly admitted to incentives being offered to popular channels but declined to provide details. All of the conversation, however, was surrounded by the idea that YouTube would launch a paid subscription. With Vimeo already offering that and Vessel getting ready to launch, a YouTube spokesperson added to that point by saying that the company has been supporting its content creators from the beginning, and it has ""been increasing that support through a broad range of activities including marketing and content funding."

It's hard to say what will happen at this point, but with as much competition that's been circling the YouTube ship for a while, this was bound to happen sooner or later. If enough offers are thrown around and enough talent leaves, YouTube may lose its top spot as the go-to place for video in the very near future.

read more...

FTC Finalizes Settlement with Google to Refund $19 Million in Unauthorized In-App Charges

posted Sunday Dec 14, 2014 by Nicholas DiMeo

FTC Finalizes Settlement with Google to Refund $19 Million in Unauthorized In-App Charges

Much like the lawsuit earlier this year with Apple having to refund purchases made by children, Google is now under fire for the same thing. The FTC has finally settled with Google over the identical matter, and Google will be contacting customers starting next week in order to discuss potential refunds of in-app purchases.

The FTC proposal in September has assigned Google to hand out at least $19 million in refunds to customers who, essentially, were allowing their children to make purchases on their devices without securing their credit card information. It should also be noted that many apps did not require a PIN or password prior to making an in-app purchase. Because of this, the FTC has decided that, like Apple, Google will be responsible for the total cost of any purchases made without parental authorization.

As per the settlement, Google does not have a cap on the final amount it will have to pay out, but it will have to be at least $19 million. If somehow Google refunds less than that, the balance will have to be sent to the FTC instead. The ruling also placed a limit on the age of the claim, with in-app purchases having to be made in 2011 or later. Customers will have a one-year windows to request a refund from the time Google sends them information on how to proceed.

It is also interesting to note that there were a total of 16 public comments made on the proposed settlement between the FTC and Google. They are definitely worth reading in order to provide some perspective on the case as a whole. In one of the cases, a parent set up a restricted access account for her child, yet she was still able to make purchases within a game without authorization.

In the end, it looks like Google will escape for about $12 million less than Apple did, at least at the minimum. Does this ruling affect you? Will you be making a claim to Google for some unauthorized charges? Let us know in the comments below.

read more...

More News on Verizon's 3G Network Retirement Plans

posted Sunday Dec 14, 2014 by Nicholas DiMeo

More News on Verizon's 3G Network Retirement Plans

Last week, a New York native noticed a sudden drop in 3G service on his Verizon phone and, upon further researched, discovered that Verizon was testing out retiring its 3G network. While no official timeline was announced, the tests opened up a bunch of speculation. This week, Verizon has announced it has selected 10 test markets where the company will be retiring the 3G network in favor of LTE.

The tests have already begun in Manhattan and Cleveland. When pressed, VP of network operations Mike Haberman would not give out the exact cities, but did mention that the rollout to LTE will happen on PCS bands once used for Verizon's EV-DO services. Unlike in the not-so-public testing accidentally found by a resident in NYC, the exec admitted that this type of testing will be expanding to other locations as well.

Virtually all our devices now are 4G LTE. We do sell a lot of phones and people tend to upgrade their phones fairly often. If you see Apple's complete lineup, it's all 4G.

Along with these tests we'll see Verizon also testing carrier aggregation, which is the ability to combine the eventual three LTE networks' transmissions. Devices will need to be created to support the technology, but Haberman said we should expect to see those in the next year. AT&T has already implemented carrier aggregation in major cities.

Haberman also said that Verizon will be supporting EV-DO up to December 31st, 2019 at the earliest. That would probably be due to the sheer amount of flip-phones that are seen at family gatherings, as we mentioned last week on the show. That simple observation plays into the fact that lots of people still use 3G, however 80 percent of Verizon's data is running on LTE.

So while this isn't a ground-breaking announcement, it is definitely interesting to follow this story as it develops. Moving forward with wireless technology at such a rapid pace is a bold and aggressive move, but one that could really push the envelope, so long as users are able to upgrade and make the transition easily.

read more...

Razer Launches the Nabu Smartband For Just $100

posted Sunday Dec 7, 2014 by Nicholas DiMeo

Razer Launches the Nabu Smartband For Just $100

Gaming company Razer set out last year to create a new social smartband called the Nabu, and after a year of testing that included a debut of the product at the 2014 International CES, the band finally went on sale this week in North America. Impressively, the device sold out within 72 hours of it becoming available to consumers.

For just $100, the Nabu features two screens for notifications, one at 32x32 pixels on the outside of the wrist and the other at 128x32 on the inside of the wrist. The Nabu also contains tracking technology you'd find in more expensive devices, such as an accelerometer, altimeter and a form of NFC, allowing users to link up and connect with each other via tapping bands. Dubbed "Pulse," a user could shake hands with another user and their contact information could be swapped with the feature enabled.

There's a couple of really cool additions that make this smartband stand out. For one, developers are currently working on a notification system that would let users know when they're friends are playing their favorite games. And with the dev kit only running $50, there is a load of potential that opens up for unique connectivity between devices. There is currently another app being created that will allow certain PC games to actually react to the movement of the Nabu, in conjunction with the Kinect 2.0.

What I like even more is the fact that there is support from the developers on Windows Phone compatibility. While Razer claims that the Nabu Utility app is currently available from the Windows Store, the link in the FAQ does not lead us to a valid page. However, the forums contain a link to sideload the app and the dev kit comes with an FTP to a ton of resources. Some features currently do not work on Windows Phone, but there are break-out groups of regular users, working to make the functions come to life for those with a WinPho.

It is interesting to see a gaming company get involved in a band that contains both fitness and social features with so much competition currently out there. Luckily, the band has not been said to cause third degree burns, so they already have a step up on the pack. If people get behind the device and can create some unique experiences, the product could end up being really successful, especially at the $100 pricepoint.

read more...

Lizard Squad Takes Down Xbox Live Twice

posted Sunday Dec 7, 2014 by Nicholas DiMeo

Lizard Squad Takes Down Xbox Live Twice

If you were trying to connect to your Xbox 360 or Xbox.com last week but were unsuccessful, it wasn't because of your Internet connection. Instead, Lizard Squad, the same group behind the PlayStation Network outage last month and for calling in a fake bomb threat on an International flight, has taken claim for the attacks on Xbox's networks.

A Microsoft spokesperson has commented on the matter, only saying that service was interrupted.

On December 5, 2014, some of our customers experienced an Xbox service interruption. We worked quickly to resolve and address the issue and services are being restored to normal.

It should be pointed out that Xbox networks were also down on Tuesday the 2nd. The group's Twitter account, upon Xbox Live having connection problems, simply wrote, "Xbox Live #offline." Shortly after, however, Lizard Squad said that.

Unlike Santa, we don't like giving all of our Christmas presents out on one day. This entire month will be entertaining. #LizardSquad

Lizard Squad has even said that Christmas Day should be an "entertaining" time as well, then went on to take down a Steam server seemingly just for fun. Of course, all of this has sparked outrage within the gaming community, with users creating petitions on the White House website to stop the "infamous" Lizard Squad.

I think the real kicker is how all of this came to be. Based on the Twitter account, the group asked what the next target should be, and a follower responded with, "Xbox." I think this further proves that we should never rely on random Twitter users for ideas for anything.

read more...

Mobile


Get Mobile App

Subscribe


PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events

VIDEO

iTunes Zune RSS

SOCIAL

Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Ello

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

AUDIO

iTunes Zune RSS

VIDEO

iTunes Zune RSS

SOCIAL

Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Ello

Piltch Point

VIDEO

Zune RSS

SOCIAL

Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Ello

The 3000 Brigade Podcast

AUDIO

iTunes Zune RSS

SOCIAL

Facebook Twitter YouTube

PLuGHiTz Live Night Cap

VIDEO

Zune RSS

SOCIAL

Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Ello