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New Google+ Head David Besbris: We’re Here for the Long Haul (Q&A)

Google+ isn’t dying anytime soon, says Google’s new head of social media David Besbris.

Of course, you’d expect the person in charge of the social network to say so, despite the fact that it’s hard to ignore the chatter about the imminent demise of Google’s social media efforts following the departure of longtime Google+ head Vic Gundotra who unexpectedly left in April.

Besbris assured us Google has every intention to continue investment in the division. The former VP of engineering for Google+ took the reins from Gundotra in April, and now oversees all of Google’s social products. The Google+ team has new offices on the east side of Google’s sprawling Mountain View, Calif., campus, and rumors that the team was dwindling are also not true.

“We’re the largest we’ve ever been,” Besbris told Re/code in an exclusive interview. “We weren’t booted to any part of campus, we chose to come over here.”

We caught up with Besbris to learn what he has in store in the months ahead.

The interview that follows has been edited for length and clarity.

Is Google+ going away anytime soon?

We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+. [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it. The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from, to be honest with you.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Google+?

People underestimate the connection Google+ has with its users around interests. I think people come to Google+ with this expectation that it’s going to be Google’s attempt to do some other product — we’re doing this to compete with somebody and it must be something like that. That’s not actually how we compete with products. We don’t approach products in that we need to go into [certain] industries because somebody else is doing something important. We go into this industry because we want to make users happy, because we see some software out there that’s scratching some itches.

This is how Google has always done stuff. There were search engines before Google, we just did it differently. There were email systems before Gmail came out, we just approached the problem differently. We had a different way we thought we could solve the core use cases [on social]. I think the social graph is pretty nuanced. The idea that everybody you [know] has the same access to you is just not a correct model for humanity. Our users love Circles. They love that Google+ has privacy built in as a feature from the very beginning. That nuanced sharing that we’ve led with, and others have added to their products which I think is wonderful, has been a big improvement to the industry.

Of all the social products you have, where does Google+ fall in terms of your priority list?

Very high. Photos, Hangouts, Google+ — I’d say these are my top three priorities. The Google+ app you see out there today is used by hundreds of millions of users, it’s actually something I use every single day with my friends and family and my interests, talking about photography and my unnatural affection for little squirrels and things like that. So I’m a passionate user of these things.

The company often talks about Photos as being one of the strengths of Google+ — what are some of the other strengths?

Video hangouts are pretty incredible. There’s no technology out there as refined for doing the multi-party video as what we have. In the consumer space, some of what we’ve seen that’s really incredible has been communities. That’s what we’ve seen take off like a rocket inside Google+.

What are some areas Google+ needs to improve upon?

We’ve always had really good mobile apps for iOS and Android, but we can never have enough energy or focus on mobile. I’m really happy with what we have but I think it opens up new avenues and new frontiers, stuff we can do with location that we’ve never been able to do before. The phone is this amazing thing, it’s a supercomputer that sits in your pocket with all these nifty sensors. I think as an industry we’ve barely tapped the surface of what this can do.

How To TroubleShoot And Fix Intermittent Channels Missing On Dreambox Satellite Decoder

How To TroubleShoot And Fix Intermittent Channels Missing On Dreambox Satellite Decoder

Occasionally, you may realize that some of the channels in your Dreambox satellite decoder keep dissappearing, which could be quite annoying especially when those are your favorite channels that you cannot miss in your daily life. There could be multiple reasons but in order to figure them out, here are some simple guide that you can follow to root cause it by yourself.

First, try to categorize all the ‘unstable’ channels if there are fall under the same transponder frequency lists. If you are not sure where to observe the transponder frequency, browse to respective unstable or missing channels, then press on ‘Info’ button and check the five digit transponder frequency (such as 11521 or others). Normally, those channels are likely to fall under similar transponder frequency list and by doing so, users can identify which specific transponder frequency that were affected. After identifying the transponder frequency of the affected channels, just go to check under Menu -> Setup -> Service Searching -> SatFind and monitor the signal quality and strength (under SNR, AGC, BER) for the respective transponder. By now, you may realize that the SNR or signal strength is up and down, which is corresponding to the missing or intermittent channels.

Sometimes, the issue can be fixed by deleting the transponder frequency and then add it back by going to Menu -> Setup -> Service Searching -> Transponder Edit following by a channels scanning. However, if this doesn’t work, then most probably you will need to fine tune the LNB and potentially dish positioning to get more accurate and stable RF signal to recover some of the missing channels. If for any reason that this is still doesn’t work (and after confirming with a good working decoder that can receive full channels using the same dish positioning), users can try to re-flash the firmware before confirming that the decoder is really defective.

Hopefully, this will able to help you identifying what was wrong with your setup before sending the defective Dreambox satellite decoder back for repair.

How To Flash Dreambox DM500s Using RS232 Serial COM Port

How To Flash Dreambox DM500s Using RS232 Serial COM Port

Previously we mentioned about the way to flash Dreambox DM500s using FlashWizard, but in case for any reason that your decoder is not detectable or hang half way not even booted into the Linux GUI, here is another simple steps that you can try recovering your system using Universal DreamUp utility with RS232 serial COM port commonly found in Dreambox decoders.

First, make sure that you have the right type of null modem serial RS232 COM cable that can be purchased in electronics shop. Just in case you can’t find any, there is a way to rework it by salvaging two normal COM cable with cross connection between pin 2 and 3 of your COM port. In other word, there are only 3 pins that are required for connectivity, namely pin 2, 3 and pin 5. While sustaining pin 5 from one end to the other, just connect pin 2 (of one end) to pin 3 (of the other end) and vice versa and you are done (Refer simple diagram below).

Once after download the Universal DreamUp utility, launch it with both PC and Dreambox decoder connected and you are ready to go. First, go to select the correct Com port on the utility screen (corresponding to the one used on your PC). Remember to not tick the ‘Use Network’ and leave all the Local IP/ Remote IP empty. If the connectivity is successful, you will notice the ‘Box attached and ready’ message on the status. To be safe, do the flash erase that will clear everything single content in the flash embedded in the system. Then, browse for the correct image file (in .IMG format) and do the new flashing by clicking on ‘Flash’ button. The speed is pretty slow, with 10kb per second uploading that will normally take approximately 10 minutes to complete the whole flashing process.

Once completed, it will calculate CRC32 on STB, erase flash as well as flashing from its memory. Hopefully all these simple steps will serve as an alternative just in case you are not able to flash your Dreambox decoders by any means.

How To Configure Dreambox To Connect Multiple Dishes Using DiSEqC Switch

How To Configure Dreambox To Connect Multiple Dishes Using DiSEqC Switch

If you are Dreambox user and would like to connect a single decoder to receive multiple satellite channels from the sky, here are a few simple steps that you can follow to do it yourself without any experienced technician involved.

First, what you need to have is a DiSEqC switch (with multiple-input and single-output), a dreambox, a few satellite dishes and necessary coaxial cablings. Assuming that you already have them hooked up correctly, proceed to the decoder menu list to get them configured or else it may not work as expected.

i. On the remote control, go to Menu -> Setup -> Service Searching -> Satellite Configuration.

ii. Under the drop down menu, select ‘non-standard user defined configuration’. Depending on your default program lists, you may have some satellites pre-programmed as listed in the Sat/Position, followed by configurable LNB, 22kHz, Voltage and etc. If it is not, just add them in accordingly.

iii. Once after you have the desired satellite lists, go to highlight its LNB section respectively followed by ‘OK’ button press will bring up the next sub-menu with the name of LNB Configuration. Verify that the LOF/L(H) and Threshold value are correct based on your LNB specification (it can be obtained from datasheet or printing on the LNB itself).

iv. If there is any change on LNB Configuration, do remember to save it before proceeding to next page otherwise the new entry may lose. Once done, go to next page by pressing Blue button on remote control.

v. Over here you will notice a few parameters that need to be configured. For Toneburst, select ‘None’; and on DiSEqC Mode, select correct version number (ex: Version 1.0) and when come to the DiSEqC Paramater, this is the tricky part and you will have to verify the correct input (of your DiSEqC) that connected to the respective satellite dishes. For instance, if you are using a 4-in-1 DiSEqC switch, you will notice that there are four input ports, namely LNB1, 2, 3 and 4 as well as an output Receiver port. So if you connecting satellite dish A using LNB1, just set the DiSEqC Paramater to AA in the LNB Configuration, or LNB2 to AB, LNB3 to BA and LNB4 to BB accordingly.

vi. By now, you should have gotten the right signal strength (assuming that your dishes have been positioned and tuned correctly) and just do a transponder scan will able to list down all the available channel lists.

Hopefully these simple steps will help you save your time figuring out the way to connect multiple dishes to a single Dreambox decoder.

How To Load C-Line And F-Line Into Dreambox decoder Using CCcam Line Manager For Card Sharing

How To Load C-Line And F-Line Into Dreambox decoder Using CCcam Line Manager For Card Sharing

Previously we mentioned about the way to load CCcam file using FTP or using CCcam.cfg Editor and if you think that is too simpler for advanced users, here is another more complicated utility that users can try. Named as CCcam lines manager, it has the same feature as CCcam but with additional ability to add F-line and create C-line in simple windows based User Interface.

Once download and run the executable file (no installation required), users will be brought to a simple interface. For the start, just key in the Dreambox IP (can be obtained from Communication Setup in Dreambox), username and password (default is ‘root’ and ‘dreambox’) followed by ‘Connection test’ press. After a successful connection is established, users can now add new c-line account just like what can be done by CCcam.cfg Editor. On top of these, CCcam lines manager can do more like such as adding F-line and create C-line for your friend. That is not all, it also allows users to configure the max hop and reshare level whenever users plan to reshare the card sharing with either EMU enabled/or disabled. Whenever there is any change required, remember to click on ‘Enable manual edit’ so that users can directly edit both the C-line and F-line on the screen. Once completed, click on ‘Save CCcam.cfg to dream’ will make the change effective.

Hopefully this will serve as a good alternative for those that would like to load both C-line and F-line easily into Dreambox decoder for card sharing.