January 2016 archive

First Look: Facebook Launches Live Video For All To Take On Twitter’s Periscope

Hey Twitter... your Periscope is in for some serious trouble! On January 28, 2016, Facebook started expanding their "Live Video" to all iOS users in the USA - and it's definitely a strong offering! Naturally, I had to take Facebook Live Video out for a spin:

Experimenting with Facebook Live Video...

Posted by Dan York on Thursday, January 28, 2016

It was extremely easy to use. All I had to do was go into the iOS Facebook app, press the button to start writing a status update, and then tap on the new "Facebook Live Video" icon:

Facebook live video start

After that you get a screen where you can see somewhat of a view of what you are going to show in the camera - and the ability to switch between the front and back cameras:

Facebook live video go live

Hit the "Continue" button, enter in a quick text description... and then hit "Go Live" to begin. That's it!

During the time of the live video, you can move the camera around, switch between front and back cameras, zoom in, adjust white balance... and everything else you'd expect to be able to do.

You also get comments coming in from people that you see on the bottom half of your screen. As you saw if you watched the video above, I could then respond to those comments during the live video stream.

When it's all done and you hit the stop recording button, you then get some stats and nicely have the option to save the video to your camera roll:

Facebook live video done

All in all it was a very simple and easy to use experience.

UPDATE - 1 Feb 2016: It seems that Facebook Live video streams ARE LIMITED TO 30 MINUTES for regular users. I just hit that limit while doing a live stream. Given that the Facebook Best Practices document mentions public figures streaming for over an hour, I'm guessing that "verified" accounts and Pages must have a higher time limit. (I wrote another blog post with screen shots.)

Initial Thoughts About Using Facebook Live Video

Here were some of my initial thoughts about using Facebook Live Video:

1. VIDEOS ARE SQUARE - Facebook nicely gets away from the portrait/vertical vs landscape/horizontal debate by simply making the live video stream square. It doesn't matter which way you hold the camera... or indeed if you switch the position of the camera. It just works.

2. COMMENTS DURING THE LIVE STREAM APPEAR AS COMMENTS TO THE VIDEO IN FACEBOOK - The comments people post during your live stream are nicely captured as comments to the video inside of Facebook. They are all right there for you to see - and for anyone else to see later. I like this!

3. COMMENTS DO NOT APPEAR DURING A REPLAY - My friend Tobias pointed out a down side with the comments... you don't see them in the video (as you do in Periscope) during the replay of the video. This means that comments that are made at a precise moment in the video no longer have the connection with the video. If someone is reacting to what you say by commenting "I totally agree", then I see it during the live stream and can react to that comment during the live stream. However, afterward there is now a comment to the video that says "I totally agree" ... that has lost all connection to its context.

4. LIVE VIDEOS APPEAR RIGHT IN YOUR FEED - When a live video stream is over, the video appears right in your regular Facebook feed... you don't have to do anything special, nor does anyone have to do anything special to find them. (In contrast to, say, YouTube where a live stream does go to your YouTube channel... but it's listed separately from your regular Uploads.)

5. YOU CAN SAVE THE VIDEO TO YOUR iPHONE CAMERA ROLL - When the live stream is over, you also have the option to save the video to your iPhone/iPad camera roll, so you can have a local copy that you can use in other ways.

6. FACEBOOK NOTIFIES PEOPLE YOU ARE LIVE - Similar to Periscope and Meerkat on Facebook, the people following you on Facebook get a notification in their NewsFeed that you are live. However, fans/followers can also subscribe separately to your live videos and get specific notifications whenever you go live.

Facebook live notifications

7. YOU CAN EMBED THE VIDEOS OUTSIDE OF FACEBOOK - If you use a web content management system (CMS) that supports OEmbed, such as WordPress, you can simply copy the URL of your Facebook video and paste it into your editor window... and WordPress will automagically embed the video for you. If you use a system that doesn't support OEmbed (such as TypePad, where this blog is still hosted), you can still get the embed code - you just have to work harder. When you display the video in Facebook in a web browser in the "theater" (lightbox) mode, you go to "Options" at the bottom of the window and choose "Embed Video". In some of the other views of the video there is an "Embed Video" link down below the video on the right side. Either way you wind up with the embed code you can post into your web site editor. One note: the live video needs to have a privacy setting of "Public" in order for the Embed Video link to appear.

8. YOU NEED TO REALIZE THE iPHONE HAS TWO MICROPHONES - If you listen to my first live video above, you can notice the drop in the audio level when I switch from the front-facing camera to the rear-facing camera. I honestly didn't realize the iPhone 5s had two different microphones. It makes total sense, but I just didn't realize it. The result was the difference in audio levels, something I'm now aware of and can compensate for.

9. LIVE VIDEOS ARE TREATED JUST LIKE ANY OTHER POSTS FOR PRIVACY SETTINGS - Just to build off of #4 above, a live video is just another post, so you can do things such as change the privacy from "Friends" to "Public" or vice versa.

10. LIVE VIDEOS ARE AVAILABLE TO FACEBOOK PAGES - If you have a Facebook Page, you can also stream live video. You have to have a "verified" Pages, but if you do, you can use Facebook Live.

After my initial test, I tried it out a bit more with zooming, adjusting white balance, etc., and was again quite impressed.

Are Periscope and Meerkat in Trouble?

In a word... YES.

First Meerkat and then Periscope made it drop-dead easy to stream live video and alert all your followers... but they're based on Twitter. As I noted recently, Facebook has an insanely huge number of users ... and so this brings that live video capability directly inside Facebook's shiny walled garden.

Keep in mind, of course, that this IS the end goal for Facebook - to keep you nice and happy sharing live video inside their pretty walled garden.

Just as Twitter wants you to use Periscope to stay inside their walls... and Google would like you to stream live video with YouTube to stay inside Google's walls. (As would Livestream.com and other sites offering live streaming.)

The game is to keep the eyeballs for the ads... and to keep growing the massive directories of ACTIVE users.

Regardless of motivation, Facebook Live Video is a strong new contender in the live streaming space. Right now it's only available on iOS in the United States but their announcement says it will be offered in more countries soon adn will coming to Android phones soon, too.

Note, too, that Facebook provides some tips/best practices for using Facebook Live that give some further insight into the product's capabilities.

I don't know that I'll be using Facebook Live Video all that often during my regular work weeks, but when I'm at events, conferences, etc., I could see this being a great way to add live streaming into the flow of content that I'm creating.

What do you think? Will you use Facebook Live? Or will you stick with Periscope, Meerkat, YouTube or some other streaming service?

P.S. Here is another example shot with the rear-facing camera on the iPhone 5s and experimenting with zooming and white balance:

Listening to the Apple Hill String Quartet at Brewbakers In Keene, NH

Posted by Dan York on Thursday, January 28, 2016

Audio Recording: My SIPNOC 2014 Talk – "Is It Time For TLS For SIP?"

Is it time to use Transport Layer Security (TLS... essentially what we used to call "SSL") to add a layer of trust and security to Voice-over-IP (VoIP) that uses the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)?

Way back in June 2014, I gave a talk on this topic at the SIP Network Operators Conference (SIPNOC) in Herndon, Virginia. I recorded the audio of the session... but then lost track of the recording. I recently found it and, since much of it is (sadly) still relevant, I decided to release the recording as one of my The Dan York Report audio podcast episodes:

The slides that go with the presentation are available on SlideShare:

You'll see in the slide deck that I also provide some tutorials around DANE and DNSSEC along the way.

Coincidentally, I learned on Facebook over the weekend that my friend Olle Johansson was speaking on this exact topic at the FOSDEM 2016 conference in Brussels this weekend. His slides about SIP & TLS are also available on SlideShare, and he has more recent information - and also the conclusion that we need to use "SIP Outbound" for any of this to work:

Olle's last slide about what we need to do hits on the key points - and I agree with his conclusions.

Let's look at how we can get more TLS used within SIP to bring about a more secure and trusted VoIP infrastructure!

TDYR 285 – SIPNOC 2014 – TLS and VoIP

Way back in June 2014 I spoke at the SIP Network Operators Conference (SIPNOC) on the topic of "Is It Time For TLS for SIP?" I lost track of the audio recording but recently found it and thought I would share it.

SIPNOC 2014 – Is It Time For TLS for SIP?

Is it time for TLS for SIP-based Voice over IP(VoIP)? At SIPNOC 2014 on June 10, 2014, I spoke about how to secure VOIP communications using TLS and what are both the challenges and benefits.

SIPNOC 2014 – Is It Time For TLS for SIP?

Is it time for TLS for SIP-based Voice over IP(VoIP)? At SIPNOC 2014 on June 10, 2014, I spoke about how to secure VOIP communications using TLS and what are both the challenges and benefits.

Facebook’s Staggering 2015 Q4 Results – Amazing (and Concerning) Numbers!

Facebook quarterly results 2015Q4This week Facebook released amazing quarterly results for Q4 of 2015 that truly show what a HUGE hub of activity Facebook has become. Mark Zuckerberg posted this "Comunity Update" photo with these staggering numbers for monthly active users (MAU):
  • 1.59 Billion monthly Facebook users
  • 900 Million monthly WhatsApp users
  • 800 Million monthly Facebook Messenger users
  • 400 Million monthly Instagram users


Consider that there are 7 billion people on the entire planet... 7.3 billion if we go with US gov't data... that's about 1/5th OF THE WORLD (21%) USING FACEBOOK each month!

And nearly 1 billion people using WhatsApp.

Amazing numbers!

Admittedly, I'm more than a bit concerned about all of this communication being centralized within one corporation. This gives a HUGE amount of power to one corporate entity to be the gatekeeper of content and communication. Already with the NewsFeed algorithms Facebook is controlling what we see and share. As these numbers grow, they continue to gain more and more control.

As I wrote about last year, Facebook's control of multiple "user directories" severely limits the ability for new entrants to enter the messaging and communication scene.

It's definitely concerning... but it's also amazing.

Congrats to all the people at Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram for hitting these incredible numbers! It will be curious to see what next quarter brings!

P.S. Those who want deeper details can dive into Facebook's 2015 Q4 Earning Report. LOTS more data...

Remembering Challenger… 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Challenger Lifts Off

There are moments in life where you can remember exactly where you were... moments that live with you forever.

Today was the anniversary of one of those.

I was a freshman at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, and remember being in the "lounge" of Sackett House, one of the "mini-dorms" at UNH, where there was the only TV. (Things were different then.) I remember being there with another resident, a woman named Alison, I believe, who dreamed of being an astronaut and was in the Air Force ROTC program to start down that path.

My memory is hazy after 3 decades about the exact details... but I seem to recall that it was just she and I in the lounge area watching the launch. Her dreaming of being an astronaut, and me dreaming of flying into space and space stations and moon bases and more. I was then and still am a dreamer about all things related to space.

Living in New Hampshire we were of course caught up in the massive attention focused on Christa McAuliffe, the first "teacher in space". The media attention was focused on our state - and particularly Concord, NH, where she taught.

But even with all that massive media attention, we probably were the only ones watching in our small dorm... at that point in time Space Shuttle missions had come to be pretty routine... and "boring" to most people. Wikipedia's list of Shuttle missions shows that there were 9 launches in 1985 and in fact the Space Shuttle Columbia had just launched on January 12, 1986, and landed on January 18.

But the Challenger launch 10 days later was anything but routine.

I remember sitting there watching the launch... and then I just remember the fireball that none of us can ever forget.

Booster Plume and Expanding Ball of Gas

I remember the hope... the hope against hope... that maybe, just maybe... someone had survived.

And then the despair when it was clear that nothing could have survived.

I remember Alison in tears... I assume I was probably in tears, too.

I remember that we, as a nation, joined in a collective moment of shock... and then mourning.

The histories tell me that the explosion occurred 73 seconds after launch. Watching one of those original news reports today it seems such a long time.

Later, of course, would be the endless hours of replays... the hearings and investigations... the learning all about O-rings and cold temperatures... and so much more.

Two-and-a-half years later, the Space Shuttle flights would finally resume with great safety improvements - as well as a heightened awareness in the public. Spaceflight was no longer "routine".

But at that moment on that January day in 1986, we who dreamt of space flight watched our dreams be shattered... and the emotional effect lingers to this day.

30 years... 3 decades... seems like such a long time.

But that day... that moment... that image... will live with me forever.

I remember... and I give thanks for the crew of the Challenger... and all of those who have given their lives in pursuit of dreams.

May we all together carry those dreams forward...

Remembering the Challenger Crew

Day of Rememberence

An audio version of this post is also available:

Image credits: NASA Johnson Space Center on Flickr (and here) CC BY NC 2.0, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr CC BY 2.0, and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center on Flickr CC BY NC 2.0

TDYR 284 – Remembering Challenger… 30 Years Later

Today is one of the days where I can always remember where I was at one point in time... on the day of the Challenger explosion... In this episode I reflect back on that fateful day... Read more: http://www.danyork.com/2016/01/remembering-challenger-30-years-later.html

Testing embedding of Facebook Live Videos

Just a test to see if a Facebook video embeds inside of WordPress:
UPDATE: It works!

Updated DNSSEC Deployment Maps Available on Deploy360

DNSSEC deployment map

Today I’ve updated the page showing DNSSEC Deployment Maps over on the Deploy360 site.  The maps are generated each Monday and sent to a mailing list (to which you can subscribe) and the latest versions are always available in the mailing list archives.  However, from time to time I update the page to show the latest maps so that people can easily find them.

By the way, the latest ccTLD to sign with DNSSEC was Azerbaijan’s .AZ domain!