Month: March 2015

Firefox Browser’s Super Simple Video and Voice Calling

Firefox Browser’s Super Simple Video and Voice Calling

Video phone calling has been around, at least in concept, if not in practice, for decades.

In 1964, U.S. telephone giant, AT&T, premiered its “Picturephone.” But neither that first device or its later iterations caught on.

(Mike Mozart Flickr Photo)
(Mike Mozart Flickr Photo)

Fast-forward to the present, and thanks to services like Skype, Apple’s FaceTime for both Mac computers and Apple mobile devices, and Google Hangouts, if you have a computer, smartphone, or tablet, you can carry on face-to-face conversations over the Internet with anyone else who has a similar device and Internet access.

But those visual conversations were not always so easy to kick off. FaceTime only works on Apple devices. Skype and Google Hangouts require an account with username and password.

Now Mozilla has added “Hello,” a very easy to use video calling feature, to its Firefox Web browser (Version 34 or later).

Here’s how it works.

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FAA Says “No!” to YouTube Drone Videos

FAA Says “No!” to YouTube Drone Videos

I am both a travel writer who incorporates video into stories posted on Tales Told From The Road and someone who produces “shorts” for airing on public access TV stations.

So when I first learned that one could shoot aerial footage with a GoPro camera mounted on a relatively cheap-to-own unmanned drone, I immediately became enthralled by the idea of producing my own “Over (pick a place name, any place name)” videos.

Phantom Drone
(Bjorn Flickr Photo)

However, as I pointed out in “ ‘Droning’ Over National Parks,” government regulations thwart my ability to record such video over one of my favorite types of destinations, U.S. national parks.

Last fall, I pointed out that despite the First Amendment’s provision on freedom of speech and the press, in the U.S. there is not an unfettered right to take still photos (let alone video shot from on or above the ground) even on public property. If the photographs or video will be used for a “commercial” purpose, you may well need to obtain (and pay for) a permit from the agency that has jurisdiction over the property.

The Federal Aviation Administration has recognized that allowing such “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” to fly willy-nilly across America is probably not a good idea, spelling out what is okay and what is not for different types of “UAS” operations.

In this story last month, The New York Times discussed the FAA’s proposed rules on restricting the commercial use of drones.

But what evidence will the FAA rely on to determine whether you are using your drone to record video for a “commercial” purpose?

As it turns out, posting a video shot from a drone on YouTube may be all that the agency needs.

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