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User Info Safe After LoopPay Attack, Says Samsung
October 9, 2015
Samsung has assured users that their information is safe following a computer intrusion of a key company linked to its mobile payment system. The intrusion may have occurred as early as March. Samsung purchased LoopPay for $250 million in February. Its technology allows mobile phones to perform payment card transactions with older POS terminals that recognize only cards with magnetic strips.
Facebook, Eutelsat to Use Satellites to Spread Net Across Sub-Saharan Africa
October 5, 2015
Facebook and Eutelsat have entered a partnership to leverage satellite technology to provide Internet access to remote parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative, which includes a multiyear agreement with Spacecom, will utilize the entire broadband payload on the future AMOS-6 satellite as the backbone of a dedicated system that will include satellite capacity, gateways and terminals.
Microsoft and Google End Hostilities, Partner Up
October 2, 2015
There's strong, scientifically verifiable evidence indicating Microsoft's move to join the rest of the tech world in open source and collaboration was propelled by a compelling force: the Nadella effect. Since taking the company's helm, CEO Satya Nadella's message has been one of collaboration, and meeting consumers on their terms. For example, Microsoft pushed Office 365 to all major platforms.
Google to Expand India's Internet Access With Free WiFi at Train Stations
September 29, 2015
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced a plan to provide high-speed public WiFi in 400 train stations across India. The announcement coincided with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the company's California headquarters. Modi is expected to promote his Digital India initiative during his U.S. visit. One objective of the plan is to bring high-speed Internet to rural areas of India.
Sprint Bets Its Spectrum Will Suffice
September 29, 2015
Instead of bidding for the low-band spectrum that will be on offer, Sprint -- which is running neck-and-neck with T-Mobile, the self-styled "Un-Carrier" -- will focus on improving its network. It could be the last low-band auction the industry sees for decades, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said this summer. Up for grabs at the next auction are 600-MHz bands.
The Rich Get Internet-Richer While the Poor Get None
September 24, 2015
Efforts to increase Internet access worldwide are falling short of targeted goals, according to a United Nations Broadband Commission report released earlier this week. More than half the world's population is still offline, according to the report, and growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing. The digital divide has become a chasm.
WiFi, Move Over - Here Comes LiFi
September 16, 2015
Disney researchers last week demonstrated Linux Light Bulbs -- a protocol for a communications system that transmits data using visible light communication, or VLC, technology. Linux Light Bulbs can communicate with each other and with other VLC devices -- such as toys, wearables and clothing -- over the Internet Protocol, functioning as a LiFi network in much the same way that WiFi works.
Verizon Floors the 5G Accelerator
September 9, 2015
Verizon is accelerating its efforts to boost wireless connections to 50 times faster than current offerings. The company has begun putting the components in place to enable it to begin field testing a new, speedier wireless technology, known as "5G," next year. "5G is no longer a dream of the distant future," said Roger Gurnani, chief information and technology architect for Verizon.
Sprint Goes Fishing for DirecTV Subscribers
September 1, 2015
Sprint last week announced it was celebrating the AT&T/DirecTV merger by extending a truly valuable offer to DirecTV customers. "The Sprint network is winning awards across the country for reliability and speed, and our customers have never been more satisfied," crowed Sprint spokesperson Kristin Wallace. "We are simply giving DirecTV customers a compelling reason to experience Sprint."
T-Mobile's Legere Channels Robin Hood Again
August 31, 2015
CEO John Legere has publicly declared war on data hogs who threaten to ruin T-Mobile for regular consumers. "This week I am taking aim at a select group of individuals who have actually been stealing data from T-Mobile," he wrote. "If their activities are left unchecked, their actions could eventually have a negative effect on the experience of honest T-Mobile customers. Not on my watch."
Say Hello to Google's Kinder, Gentler Router
August 19, 2015
Google has unveiled OnHub -- a router that is not only good looking but also fast, secure and easy-to-use. It developed the router in partnership with TP-Link. "Many of us keep our router on the floor and out of sight, where it doesn't work as well," said Google Group Product Manager Trond Wuellner. "We replaced unruly cords and blinking lights with internal antennas and subtle, useful lighting."
FCC Fine Hints at End to Exorbitant Convention Center WiFi Fees
August 19, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Smart City Holdings had agreed to pay a $750,000 fine to settle allegations that it blocked personal mobile hotspots in several convention centers, forcing exhibitors and attendees to use its services instead, at $80 a day. Blocking FCC-approved WiFi connections is "patently unlawful," remarked Travis LeBlanc, chief of the commission's enforcement bureau.
Windows 10 FUD Fades Fast
August 14, 2015
Complaints about Windows 10 keep rolling in, but so far none appears to have stuck. The latest brouhaha is over certain privacy settings. Windows 10 gives users many options to disable certain data-gathering and reporting features, but it appears that some communications to Microsoft servers still slip through. So far, there doesn't seem to be anything shifty or harmful about those interactions.
BQ's Ubuntu Bows on World Stage
August 13, 2015
BQ last week opened an Ubuntu global store accessible to anyone who wants to buy an Aquaris Ubuntu Edition handset. BQ recently launched the BQ Aquaris E4.5 and E5 HD Ubuntu Edition smartphones in Europe. Both BQ and Canonical, which provides commercial support for Ubuntu Linux, have acknowledged network frequency and mobile operator compatibility issues in some countries, including the U.S.
Mozilla Plugs Dangerous Firefox Zero-Day Hole
August 10, 2015
Mozilla on Friday released security updates to fix a zero-day flaw in the Firefox browser. An exploit that searches for sensitive files and uploads them to a server -- possibly somewhere in Ukraine -- has surfaced in an ad on a Russian news site, Mozilla reported last week. The exploit impacts Windows and Linux users. Mac users could be hit by a modified version.
Report: Apple Is Kicking the MVNO Tires
August 5, 2015
Apple is in discussions to become a mobile virtual network operator in both Europe and the United States, where it's already running a trial of its service, according to a media report. The MVNO idea may not advance beyond the test phase -- and if it does, it likely won't happen for some time -- at least five years. However, Apple on Tuesday issued a denial that it has held MVNO discussions.
Routers Becoming Juicy Targets for Hackers
June 18, 2015
Most consumers pay as much attention to routers as they do to doorknobs. That's not the case with Net marauders. They're finding the devices ripe targets for mischief. "We've seen a big increase in malware designed for home routers," said Incapsula researcher Ofer Gayer. "Every week, we see a new vulnerability in a vendor's routers," he said. "They're low-hanging fruit if you're a hacker."
San Jose to Dabble With Smart City Tech
June 16, 2015
The city of San Jose, California, recently decided to undertake an Internet of Things pilot project. Under a deal finalized last month, anyCOMM, will deploy WiFi sensors on 166 streetlights, to collect data on traffic, sense movement on the streets, turn off streetlights when sidewalks and roads are empty, detect ground shifts and send earthquake warnings, and act as WiFi hotspots.
And the Dish Ran Away With T-Mobile?
June 4, 2015
T-Mobile, which has tried unsuccessfully several times to get acquired, is now in talks with Dish, according to press reports. The purchase price and possible cash-stock mix that could pay for the deal remain to be thrashed out. The two companies reportedly are planning a merger with Dish CEO Charlie Ergen to chair the new company and T-Mobile head John Legere (shown here) to be its CEO.
Oculus VR Promises a Rift for All in 2016
May 6, 2015
An exact date hasn't been set, but Facebook's Oculus VR has announced that the highly anticipated consumer version of its Rift headset will launch in the first quarter of 2016. Preordering will begin later this year. More details will emerge about the consumer version of the Rift in the coming weeks, the company said, including information about unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences.
T-Mobile Offers Free 2-Week Vacation From Verizon
May 5, 2015
T-Mobile on Tuesday launched "Never Settle for Verizon," an aggressive response to Verizon's "Never Settle" ad campaign that gives Verizon customers an opportunity to test T-Mobile's network for themselves. T-Mobile promises to pick up any fees incurred by customers who participate in the free trial, whether they ultimately decide to switch to T-Mobile or not.
Steer Clear of iOS 8's Infinite Loop
May 1, 2015
A flaw in iOS 8 allows hackers essentially to crash apps that perform SSL communications whenever they like. Skycure reported the bug at the RSA security conference held last week, advising owners of iOS devices to upgrade to iOS 8.3. Apple this week confirmed that iOS 8.3 addresses the vulnerability. An attack would involve specially crafting an SSL certificate to regenerate a bug.
Google's Low-Fee Fi: Ho-Hum
April 23, 2015
Google carrier partners Sprint and T-Mobile with more than 1 million free, open WiFi hotspots Google has verified as fast and reliable. Users' devices will move automatically to the fastest connection -- 4G LTE being the standard in the United States, accessing 3G or 2G if only those speeds are available. The program will work in more than 120 countries.
What Mobile World Congress Delivered Besides Same-Old Smartphones
March 10, 2015
The latest handsets and tablets received their share of headlines at this year's MWC, but their mindshare shrank considerably. Sony unveiled its Xperia Z4 tablet, possibly its last hurrah in the mobile space. Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone stole the spotlight. However, with more than 2,000 tech organizations promoting their wares and services, MWC 2015 offered a fresh set of promises.
Google's MVNO Approach May Show Up Carriers
March 2, 2015
Google on Monday confirmed that it plans to launch a mobile virtual network operation, or MVNO, later this year. Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who heads up operations for Android and Chrome, commented on the undertaking in a Q&A following his keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Google in essence will provide the same service as a wireless carrier.
Mobile World Congress 2015, or Why Your Smartphone Is Crap
March 2, 2015
Don't you just love big industry events like Mobile World Congress? I mean, you've had whole weeks to enjoy the new phone you got last quarter, and now you'll hear about a bunch of incredibly wonderful stuff that will make that new phone look like your grandmother's favorite car -- you know, the one she fell in love with in the 1960s. Unfortunately, I'm not going to make things better.
Report: Connected Vehicles Vulnerable to Hack Attacks
February 9, 2015
Motorists in the United States are increasingly at risk of cyberattacks and violations of privacy, as more and more technology is added to their cars. A report released on Sunday by the office of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) listed a number of key findings that are based on responses from 16 auto makers to a letter sent to them by Markey's office.
'Smart Spaces' Project Seeks to Light Up Networks
February 5, 2015
Dartmouth University researchers are shining a new light on using "smart spaces" in ambient room lighting to transmit both data and human gestures. This technology enables so-called smart spaces to separate shadows from light in real time. Thus, the light spectrum is able to carry high-speed data wirelessly without interruption between smart devices.
FCC Issues Tough Warning Against WiFi Blocking
January 29, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday issued a warning that intentional blockage of personal WiFi hotspots was illegal and would be subject to enforcement. The FCC has noticed a "disturbing trend" among hotels and other commercial establishments of blocking consumers' personal WiFi hotspots on their premises, it said. The agency last year conducted an investigation of Marriott International for WiFi blocking.
Tech-Savvy Cubans Build Their Own Private Internet
January 28, 2015
Because Cuba's government makes it difficult for all but a handful of Cubans to access the Internet, people in Havana and other parts of the country reportedly have linked thousands of PCs to create an informal network known as "StreetNet," or "SNet" for short. The network was built with commercially available equipment. The PCs are connected by WiFi and Ethernet cables strung over rooftops.
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Will fitness bands fade away?
Yes -- smartwatches will take over their functionality.
Yes -- they're like diets -- people tire of them.
No -- it's smartwatches that will fade away.
No -- people are getting more health-conscious.
Not sure -- but I'd like to try one.
Not sure -- not interested.