Facebook Live from your Laptop – How To

Social media is playing key role in connecting with people. Day by Day World is narrowing down with more connectivity. Video, Audio, Images and Text messages can be sent to large group of people in seconds. Information sharing is much more convenient with different social media tools. Social media tools and network bandwidth together open options for more and more facilities. Now it is possible to organize a live event on Facebook. You can stream live video to Facebook servers which publish your content to your Facebook page.

How to do Facebook Live

First look at the requirements for live streaming to Facebook servers.

  1. Facebook account
  2. Good quality network connection
  3. Video source – Laptop inbuilt camera or use external camera or video capture
  4. Video encoding and streaming application

Lets discuss above points to understand the process better.

  • You can stream video to your Facebook page. So you must have an account on Facebook.
  • Good quality network connection is essential for video streaming. In case of video streaming , video content is uploaded to Facebook server so demand for upload speed matters a lot. How much upload speed you need? This depends upon the quality of video you want to upload. Quality of video depends upon video encoding parameters.If you compress more, quality will be lower. So understand the encoding parameters for maintaining good quality for your captured video. Generally 2 Mbps stream is good for general purpose but professional broadcast require more bandwidth which depends upon video resolution and compression parameters.
  • You can get video from single camera or multi-camera setup. Your laptop can capture video from inbuilt camera or you can use external USB camera also. In case of multi camera setup, collect the final output of multi camera setup ( produced output) and capture the video through some capture device. Multiple video capture devices are available in market. Blackmagic Intensity shuttle can be a good choice to capture external video.Its drives are supported by most of the applications.
  • Finally you need some application to encode video and encapsulate for streaming. In my last article about Video streaming applications, I discussed some of widely used application. My choice here is Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS) as this is completely free for usage.

Facebook Live – In few Steps

  • Connect your Laptop with internet.For safe side, test your network speed also so that video stream goes smoothly to Facebook server.You video data upload limits should be less than the average upload speed of network otherwise frames will be dropped and freezing will be observed in live video.
  • Open video streaming application. I am giving example here with Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS). Add video source to your OBS. Click on + button in Sources, then select Video Capture device->Create New. A pop up window will emerge which will show capture devices.From the drop down window, select your video capture device.Your video will be visible in preview window. You can then cut it for final output.
  • Now you need to configure video stream.Click on Settings button on right side. The settings window has option for Stream settings.Following settings need to be done.
    • Stream Type – Streaming Services
    • Service – Facebook Live
    • Server – Default
    • Stream Key – You will get this stream key from Facebook configuration page.After necessary configuration on Facebook page, collect the stream key and paste that here.

OBS Facebook live stream settings

  • Now login to your Facebook account and go to Facebook page where you want to do Live video streaming.
    • In Top menu option, Click on Publishing Tools
    • Publishing tools page will open. In left side menu, click on Videos
    • In this Videos section,click on +Live button to create a Facebook Live
    • A popup window will emerge showing the stream url. Stream Url consist of two parts. First part is Facebook server url and other is stream key. You copy this URL and stream key because this will be required for configuration in your streaming application.
    • Facebook live stream
  • Now go back to OBS and paste this stream key into OBS stream settings. Click apply and then OK.
  • Your system is now ready for Live video stream to Facebook. You can now click on Start Streaming in OBS. Without live stream signal, Facebook page shows Offline status which changes to Live after server receives live stream.

Facebook Live configuration is just for getting the unique streaming URL. Some other settings on Facebook page is like Title, description of live event which you can apply as per your requirement. The video streaming applications requires Facebook streaming URL ( complete URL or just stream key) which you may apply as per your application.

I hope, you would have got a broader idea of Facebook Live Event.

Low cost solutions for Broadband Bonding

For beginners, I will just like clear confusion between link bonding or link aggregation and load balancing. Both the methods use more than one connection and join them together. Load balancing devices distributes the data load between the multiples link with certain priority criteria. It helps to achieve redundancy in case of certain link failure. If one link fails, other links share the load. The load balancing device maintain connections between user and internet link for each session. The communication for each session goes through same data link. For example, you want to download some file, so the user session for this download will be connected through same particular link till end of the session. If other user also start file download and load balancing device allots him link-2 , then he will continue with same link till his session remains alive. The load balancing devices have several configuration parameters which allows to maintain priority among different links, manage link failure situations etc.

In case of Broadband bonding, true bandwidth bonding is achieved. Ideally you get the sum of each link.  The Broadband bonding device creates a virtual link by combining all the links. In this method, software algorithm collects incoming data and divides them between different links. The received data packets are repacketized after inserting this repacketization information. The reverse process of this repacketization is required at the other end of system to collects original data packets. Link bonding is much more complicated than just load balancing.

There are multiple hardware and software solutions available for Broadband bonding but most of them are costly. Different proprietary software for Link aggregation are developed by companies with their patent algorithm but most of them are quite costly.

After going through details of different products and solutions, I will like to mention two software cum hardware based solutions. First is Speedify and other is Zifilink ( Earlier name Watchy).

broadband bonding

Speedify

Speedify is purely a software solution from the user point of view. Speedify is available free for usage upto 1 GB/month of Data transfer. Paid versions provide unlimited data transfer limit. You can download speedify application and install on your PC or laptop. It detects all available network connection including Wi-Fi, Ethernet and tethered devices. You can use only one connection through one adapter, means you can only use one Wi-Fi out of all Wi-Fi detected from a particular Wi-Fi network adapter.

The software application bonds all different network connections and sends data to Speedify servers which perform the reverse process of bonding. The solution depends upon the performance of speedify servers. Servers may limit the data transfer which ultimately affects the purpose of bonding. You are advised to test performance of speedify in your area with free data limit. If you achieve good result then you can buy paid limits otherwise drop the idea of Speedify. Performance tested for Speedify was below our expectation in India.

Zifilink

Zifilink is a hardware cum software solution. It’s hardware unit comes in two model i.e 3x or 8x. Difference is only number of bonding ports. 8x has limit of connecting 8 USB dongle while 3x has limit of only 3 connection bonding.

Broadband bonding process is performed at this hardware bonding router while reverse process is performed at cloud server. At present Zifilink has probably hired cloud servers from amazon. Zifilink is good low cost solution for Broadband bonding.

Zifilink hardware supports only USB dongle but no Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. It has Ethernet port for device monitoring but not for link bonding. There is another issue that it has limited support for dongle drivers. So You need to use dongles which are supported by Zifilink router. Overall Broadband bonding performance of Zifilink is very Good.

WebP : Next Generation Image Format for Web

WebP called as weppy is a latest image format developed by Google for efficient image compression so that images can be sent or used on webpages easily. WebP’s image compression uses intra frame coding of data for maximizing lossy / lossless compression. Compression algorithm uses predictive techniques by using three pixel blocks from top and one pixel block from left for predicting each image block.

It is used by most of the Google services and applications. Major image applications support WebP format directly or through plugin. Photoshop plugin for WebP is also available at telegraphics.com. Primary objective of achieving higher compression is to reduce size of image so that transportation of image files is fast and convenient. Images consume large part of web data so this compression can reduce large amount of image data and improve web speed.

At present. WebP is supported by Google Chrome, Opera, Yandex, Android, Maxthon, UC browser and Net surf browser. Mozilla is also implementing WebP support in near future.

WebP is highly efficient image compression method. It is observed that it even reduces jpeg, png, gif files by more than 30% size with reasonable good quality. For example look at the image below.

jpeg compressed image
Jpeg Image – Size 600 x 450 pixels, Resolution – 72 dpi, Image size – 187 Kb
webp_image
WebP image , encoding quality : 75%, Image size : 53 kb

Users can test WebP image format themselves by compressing some image with image editing application or online tool.

Online tool for image conversion to WebP – The online tool from convert.com provide facility to convert different image formats. It support conversion of WebP format as well. [ online-convert.com ]

Desktop application

Infraview – Infraview has support for WebP image format. Users can download Infraview from http://www.irfanview.com/ . Infraview plugins for different files need to be downloaded separately. Users can download all the plugins in bundled form from Infraview site.

Photoshop – Photoshop has plugin for WebP image support. It can be downloaded from telegraphics.com. Download plugin and uncompress the zip folder. There is one file WebPFormat64.8bi inside downloaded folder .Copy this file and paste it into the plugin folder of Photoshop. ( program files->Adobe->Adobe Photoshop->plug-ins ).

How to place header ads in Responsive Websites

Placing ads in header had been a common practice in past but it is now avoided due to responsive nature of websites. Generally 728 x 90 pixel ad was common in header and it was placed besides the site logo/title. But in the current trends, if same website is loaded in tablet or smartphone, then part of the ad is cropped which is not a correct practice for ad publisher.

The main parameter of concern for header ads placement  is the width of website in browser and placement of header ad in available space. In recent development, Google has introduced responsive ads which change size according to screen width. So utilizing the Google new responsive ad, website header can have interesting ad placement. There are few choices for ads in header.

Large leaderboard (970 x 90)

Leaderboard (728 x 90)

Banner (468 x 60)

Mobile Banner (320 x 50)

Half Banner (234 x 60)

Let’s see the possible options for header ads placement and corresponding media queries for responsive ad. Readers may go through the previous article on responsive ads and their media queries. In brief, code for responsive ads has two part. First part has CSS style code for different media queries so as to adjust size of ad according to different browser width and second part has ad script code. Here we are mainly concerned with the adjustment of header ads in website with CSS media queries.

header ads in findurlaptop

Header ads occupying full width of website

This is most simple case. For largest width, a 1069 x 90 or 728 x 90 ad can be placed and then ad size can be changed to 468 for screen width around 500 pixels. A smaller ad for mobile browser can be next smaller stage. So look at the Adsense code for such placement.

Header ads occupying partial width of website

This was a common practice earlier for static layout. Let’s take two elements placed side by side.

horizontal ad in website header

 

 

Assume the width of Logo/Site title section as 300 pixels. Now plan for the media queries for different browser width.

  • It seems difficult to adjust Large leaderboard (970 x 90) into advertisement section because the total width of header will cross 1270 pixels (970 + 300).
  • In such case largest size to adjust is Leaderboard (728 x 90). The minimum width required for 728 x 90 will be 1028 pixels (300 + 728) and certain margins according to website will be added into this width. So place the Leaderboard (728 x 90) for browser width of more than 1100 pixels.
  • Below 1100 pixels, Banner (468 x 60) can be placed. This banner ad require minimum width of 768 pixels (468 + 300). After taking certain margin, this ad can be switched to next stage at 800 pixels.

Now at this point, we either have to reduce the size of ad or change the ad location in header.

  • At this juncture, either a smaller ad like mobile banner can be inserted for smaller screen but that mobile banner will again require to be changed at minimum 620 pixels ( 300 + 320) so there will be number of changes for smaller screen.
  • On the other hand, below 800 pixels the ad (Banner – 468 x 60) can be taken above or below the logo/title and maintained same ad till 500 pixels and then it can be reduced to mobile banner.

 

Like this way, the responsive ad can be planned for header ads without affecting the ad serving policies. The media queries play important role for change of ad according to browser width.

Header ads in Responsive Websites

Similarly the CSS properties of div element or box which contains the ad code is also important. Generally header ads are served on right side so the CSS property which floats the box on right side should be removed at the point where ad has to be placed above or below logo/title.

Customization of CSS for responsive ad and ad box can be done as per specific requirements of site. Generally responsive nature of site is planned up to mobile browsers ( width 300 to 500 pixels) so it is clear that header ads placed along with logo/title can’t be for full range of width so this this makes essential the switching of ad to lower or upper position at certain point.

IRCTC Official – Windows 8 app for booking Train Tickets

windows 8 app irctc official

IRCTC has launched “IRCTC Official” windows 8 app for ticket booking, PNR enquiry and other related facilities. This app is named as IRCTC Official and it is available for download from Window 8 store. Size of this app is just 5.69 MB and it is available in travel category of Windows app store.

generate tpin from irctc websiteThis app requires user name and TPIN for login. One has to register for IRCTC account for user name and then apply for 4 digit TPIN code from IRCTC website. TPIN code is shown on website as well as sent to registered mobile number. User can revisit IRCTC page and see TPIN code or change TPIN code.

After the login on IRCTC official, the front screen displays different tiles for similar options as available in IRCTC website like plan your trip, check PNR status, cancellation, booking history, quick book, passenger info, preferences and recent history. Overall, the app interface is very user friendly and attractive.

  • When trains between destinations is searched, screen shows all the available trains between the destinations.

plan your trip irctc official

  • When any train is selected out of available trains between destinations, it shows availability details and fare information.

train availability irctc official

  • Plan your trip also shows menu option at bottom tray for checking the train path map or train path.

train path map irctc official

 IRCTC Official has all the necessary options of ticket booking. Graphic interface is clean and guides better than the IRCTC website. Screen for passenger details is simple and clean, similarly payment page options are clearly visible.

One better side of this app is train path map and train path. Train path map shows the route map of selected train on the geographical map with originating station and destinations marked while train path shows similar information with timing and distance details in text format.

Directory of direct links to delete Web Account

Today internet users have to create various online accounts on websites to access services like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The job of deleting online account on any website is mostly difficult as compared to account creation, and in some cases it is literally impossible. Most of the companies use dark pattern techniques and make it difficult for the users to cancel their account. The reason behind is that, the web companies don’t want their users to terminate the account. Account deletion process on some website is quite simple and in some case it is hard or confusing.

Recently a new website is launched with the name justdelete.me which makes the process of account cancellation simple. It is the directory of links for account deletion on the listed web services. The justdelete.me can save the user’s time by providing the direct cancellation links of various websites.

justdelete.me homepage

The justdelete.me directly land users to the link and information (if any available) about the account deleting process. The justdelete.me also shows the degree of difficulties on account cancellation process for a particular web services by different color tabs like-

difficulty level at justdelete.me

Some of the websites like Google and Facebook are in the “easy” category of account deletion. On the other hand Adobe gets a “hard” tag because it requires contacting the customer care for account closer. Evernote comes in the “impossible” tag as it only allows the user for the temporary deactivation of an account.

The justdelete.me started their services with just 16 web services in its directory and presently it covers about 130 web services.

Google Chrome extension of justdelete.me is also available. While visiting a website which is listed on justdelete.me, Google Chrome extension provides a small dot of colors (like green, yellow, red and black) on its omnibar according to level of hardness for account deletion process. When user clicks on this dot then it directly lands to account cancellation page of that website.

How to use AdSense Responsive ad Units in Websites

Google AdSense has introduced two new ads publication methods. First was Asynchronous ad code for standard ad units and second is Responsive ad units for responsive website. Currently both the asynchronous codes and Responsive ad units are in beta mode but they are available for use. They will be standard feature of AdSense soon after routine testing.

Create Responsive ad unit in Adsense

Asynchronous ad codes has advantage that they does not affect the website loading adversely. It is more useful during slow connection where content loading is a priority.

Responsive ad units are latest feature in AdSense which evolved due to emergence of Responsive web layouts. Responsive codes generates device specific layout of a website so website layout changes according to display screen size. It is becoming primary needs because of large number of display sizes from desktop to smartphone. Therefore website layout has to adopt as per the device screen resolution. This could happen due to latest media queries in css3. CSS style codes are part of essential website layout design and media queries has helped to change CSS style according to screen width so different media queries helps in generating different layouts.

As the layout of website changes, AdSense ads can also change according to size of screen. On the same thought, google has introduced responsive ads.

How to use AdSense Responsive ad units

Create responsive ad unit code – This is same as creating standard ads in AdSense. In the ad size box, select the Responsive ad Unit (BETA). User need not to define ad size during code generation. The ad sizes are defined in the CSS style code which is also placed along with ad script in website. Look at the following Responsive ad code.

Adsense Responsive ad unit code

This has two parts. The upper part is CSS style that defines the ad size for different display sizes (Width). The lower part is the script which fetch the ad code from AdSense servers.

CSS style for Responsive ad Unit – A CSS style class is generated for each responsive ad Unit. In the first line, this style class defines a default size of ad unit and then defines the media queries for this class. These media queries defines how ad should change according to display width. Look at the above example. (Responsive-ad1)

The Default size of Responsive ad unit is 320 pixels x 50 pixels. The first media query states that when the minimum screen size is 500 pixels then ad unit size will be 468 x 60 pixels. In the next media query, it defines ad unit for display size of minimum width of 800 pixels where 728 x 90 pixels ad is served.

  • Up to 800 pixels width – 728 X 90 ad will be served.
  • Display width Between 500 to 800 pixels – 468 x 60 pixels ad will be served.
  • Display width less than 500 pixels – 320 x 50 px ad will be served.

There are few important things about CSS class of Responsive ad Units.

  • All the width and height of ad unit in CSS style code is similar to standard ad size of AdSense. Ad size variation from standard ad units is not possible in current facilities. 728 x 90 , 468 x 60 , 320 x 50 sizes are standard AdSense ad sizes.
  • The old browsers which do not support latest CSS3 media queries will show default ad unit so user must take care that default ad unit should not be a larger unit otherwise it will cross borders.
  • CSS styles can be modified as per the requirement of website. It is officially allowed. The above example has shown two media queries but user can create different media queries for change in ad size as their website changes shape in different display resolutions.
  • Setting the size of the ad code via CSS in external style sheets is not officially supported. So place the style code along with script. Unofficially it works but it is always better to follow AdSense direction.

Asynchronous ad script for Responsive ad Units – The responsive ad units are loaded with asynchronous connection so they do not affect loading of other parts. Here ads served are same as those standard ads but ad unit is changed to other standard ad unit for different display size.

When the user changes the orientation of screen, the website changes the layout as per new orientation. This happens because website layout is handled by browser which understands the properties and adjust the information according to layout code. But responsive ad unit which is once loaded for a particular orientation do not change further for subsequent change. Responsive ad units are loaded on preliminary information of browser width but does not communication further for subsequent change. There is still space for improvement where Google AdSense is already working. Hope same will be offered soon and publishers will get better facilities.

Simple Method to Send Web page by Email

Internet users are familiar with simple text emails. Web page can also be sent easily through the email using some available tools. User must understand difference between sending web page link and complete web page. Web page link is just a hyperlink available in email content but complete content of web page can be embedded into email with some tools.

Is there any difference in sending web page by email

As pointed out, sent web page has all the content of the page into email body. The content also has similar web page looks, means this incorporates the design of the webpage also. It has header image, logo, sidebar, footer. Everything which original webpage has.

What are the difficulties to send web page by email

Whenever any web page is opened, it is rendered prior to publishing through the web browser. It has different HTML tags, CSS style tags, JavaScript etc. so the web browser understands all these codes and presents the information in proper format as per design. Therefore web page has information located inside different code for systematic presentation.

All the major email services like yahoo, Gmail etc. provide email editing in rich text format except outlook.com which provide HTML emails also. So look at the problems.

  • HTML tags are not accepted directly by majority of email editors
  • Web pages has CSS style code for styling webpage content which is included in web page through external CSS style sheet. Email presentation is quite simple, it is not like web page render which include code, external style sheets, JavaScript etc.
  • Some email editors allows HTML tags in email. In-spite of this facility, CSS styles for each of the html tag is available in external style sheets which is not accepted by email editors. So this can be solved by using inline CSS style for each of HTML tag. But it is very difficult for ordinary user to convert each external CSS style into inline style.
  • Third difficulty is removal of JavaScript. Most email reader strip JavaScript code from the content. This is taken as security measure so there is no way out to bypass this at this point.  

How to send web page by email

Two applications are used to send web page by email. First is Evernote Web Clipper and other is Evernote.

Evernote Web Clipper – This is available as plugin for chrome, Firefox, Safari, internet explorer and Opera. Other browsers can use it through bookmarklet tool. This plugin clips complete web page or article or part of web page and save that into Evernote.

Evernote Web clipper example

Evernote – This is simple note taking application. It is available for all the major OS like windows, android and mac. This application syncs all the information between different devices.

The webpage saved by the Evernote Web Clipper reaches to Evernote user account. Web page clipping automatically saves into user account. User can access that Web page clipping into Evernote and share that Web page clipping Note by email. Evernote has notes sharing facility which allows sharing notes to email, Facebook, tweeter and LinkedIn.

Evernote uses the user email account for sending the email.

Evernote send web page by email

Monitor and Control your Internet Traffic with NetBalancer

When you run your internet connection for standalone machine or share it with other systems (Tablet, Notebook, smartphone), it requires monitoring and control for network traffic. There are several reasons to monitor your traffic which further justify the control of network traffic. In a standalone system, internet connection is shared between several applications and their different services. It’s not just the web browser which is downloading and uploading data, several other applications use internet connection. These background connections has different implications on total data download, upload and speed of primary internet connection.

Similarly an internet connection shared between computers need to be monitored and controlled for better utilization of bandwidth. One PC may consume higher bandwidth and leave minimum resource for other so such situation should not happen therefore network traffic control must be implemented for sharing internet connection either between computers or applications.

Control Internet Traffic with NetBalancer

NetBalancer from SeriousBit is one of the best application for network traffic monitoring and control. The latest version 6.6.9 is available for download free. The free version has limited control but the available controls are sufficient for individuals to use. Office or business users may buy license for higher controls options. NetBalancer is available in 9 different languages including English.

The main windows of NetBalancer shows all the services using the internet connection. The details like name of the service, PID, download rate, upload rate, priority, download limit, upload limit, downloaded, uploaded etc are shown. The downloaded and uploaded data can be seen for 60 second, 60 minutes, 24 hour, 30 day or custom range by changing setting from Traffic Chart->view->

This NetBalancer application can monitor all the network adaptors of the system .It can be configured from Edit-> Network Adaptors. The speed of services can be set as low, medium and high. The speed low, medium and high can be set from Edit->Level Severity.

Each service or application can be configured from the main window. Right click on any service shows following options:

Download priority – It can set as Low, Normal, High, Limit, Block, Ignore

Upload priority – It can be set as Low, Normal, High, Limit, Block, Ignore

Edit Priority – This setting rules above the download and upload priority. User can set download and upload limit for the service with custom settings.

Create Rule – The rules can be created for each service. Each rule has options to filter the service or services, based on certain conditions like process name, filter ID, Process ID, Protocol, URL, SSID etc and apply data control on the filtered items. The rule can be active for certain time frame or can be active indefinitely. So this way, some particular service can be downgraded or upgraded for utilizing internet connection. Even some protocol based filter can also limit data flow.

Reset Traffic – This will reset all the data monitored for the service.

So this way NetBalancer allows control over all the services consuming your internet connection independently. Sources of internet connection can also be controlled through Network adaptor control. Free users can create 3 set of rules for internet control but paid users can create unlimited rules.

YouTube Video Embed in Outlook Email

YouTube Video Embed in Outlook Email

Most of the email service providers do not support for video embed inside the email due to certain technical reasons. Some people use indirect methods to embed video like inserting a video link behind the image of video and a play button is superimposed on preview image so as give impression of video player. When this image is click, video is played from the link behind the image.

But outlook.com has extended support for watching the YouTube video inside the email. Whenever any email is received in outlook.com which has YouTube link or hyperlink or html video embed code then outlook.com interface shows the preview of video at the top of email in active view panel. When this video preview display is clicked then an active view window opens on the top of email interface which fetch and runs the YouTube video directly. The default size of pop-up window is 640 x 520 pixels which is fixed in location and size but this popup window has controls like play, pause, volume, mute, full screen, stop etc. therefore the video can be played directly without going to YouTube site.

active view window in outlook for youtube

When email is composed in outlook.com, the preview is seen while editing. If this mail goes to outlook.com, the YouTube video preview facility is available but same is not available in Gmail and yahoo mail. So Gmail and yahoo mail just shows the link or hyperlink or video embed code but they do not preview/play YouTube video directly inside the email. The hyperlink or link or video embed code function as a link and YouTube video is opened in new window.

When email is generated in other mail services like Gmail or yahoo but sent to outlook.com and it comes with YouTube video link then preview/play of video is available in active view.Outlook.com users can use this video embed facility and share videos inside the email. Video embed inside email is very promising requirement due to its diverse use. In near future, other leading email service providers will also join in this and extend similar facility.