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Foxconn in Trouble Again Over PS4
October 10, 2013
Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, one of the world's most vilified workers-rights violators, confirmed reports that it is manufacturing Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 on the backs of university interns. Chinese media broke the story, asserting that thousands of students from an engineering program at the Xi'an Institute of Technology are being forced to work at Foxconn's Yantai plant.
Multipath Router: Everybody Gets to Stream!
October 09, 2013
The Multipath Router -- a project seeking crowdfunding on Indiegogo -- could change the way we connect to the Internet. Remember when Internet service was delivered to the home and workplace through copper voice phone lines terminating in a squeaking analog modem? Speeds using that clunky old system were restricted to a lethargic 56,000 baud, or 56 kbps -- slow, in other words.
How to Avoid Excessive Phone Charges When Traveling in Europe
October 03, 2013
If you've been stung by roaming charges in the past when using a U.S. cellphone abroad and you've recently heard about new, supposedly fair roaming caps in Europe, beware: It's not what it seems. As of July 2013, European-carrier SIM card roaming rates are capped in Europe at 0.45 euros, or about $0.60, per megabyte for data and 0.24 euros, or about $0.32, for one minute of voice.
FreedomPop Could Burst Big 4 Mobile Carriers' Bubble
October 02, 2013
After announcing its VoIP mobile phone plan back in June, FreedomPop on Tuesday launched the service into beta, calling it the world's first completely free mobile service with free voice, text and data. Users get a guaranteed 500 MBs of data, 500 text messages and 200 anytime voice minutes free every month for life. FreedomPop will also offer heavier users unlimited voice and texting for $10.99 per month.
How to Boost Your Home WiFi With Multiple Repeaters and Access Points
September 26, 2013
With a 3 GB bucket of wireless data from your cellphone company often costing more than $50, it makes sense to take advantage of the often unlimited or at least generous nature of a cheap, wired home Internet connection when you can. Netflix reckons that its movie and TV streaming service, using its Best Quality setting in High Definition, uses up to 4.7 GB of data an hour.
FAA Inches Down Runway to New In-Flight Gadget Rules
September 24, 2013
The Federal Aviation Administration is getting closer to lifting some of the restrictions on the in-flight use of electronic gadgets during takeoff and landing. An advisory panel is meeting this week to complete its recommendations on the subject. By the end of the month, the panel is expected to complete a report to the FAA. The panel is reportedly considering allowing a range of activities.
The Ups and Downs of Planning a Retirement in Belize
September 23, 2013
A couple of years ago, I wrote on the beginning of my long-term plan to eventually retire in Belize. My wife and I just came back from our latest update trip. Our house plans are nearly finished, and we should start building within 12 months. There have been a lot of impressive improvements since we started on this journey but some disappointments as well.
Court Paves Way for Lawsuit Over Google's WiFi Fishing Expedition
September 11, 2013
The 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, in essence, that Google broke federal wiretap laws when its Street View cars collected data from unencrypted WiFi networks. The federal court affirmed a district court's order denying Google's motion to dismiss the claim, as its data collection did not fall within the ambit of an exemption set forth in the U.S. Code governing wiretaps.
PayPal Lights Beacon for Hands-Free Payments
September 10, 2013
PayPal on Monday announced new technology that aims to make paying for goods as simple as walking into a store. Specifically, PayPal Beacon is a contactless payment system that uses Bluetooth Low Energy to connect with customer handsets to send offers and complete transactions. The mobile wallet-like payment system lets consumers pay for purchases hands-free.
MS Win in Moto Patent Case Could Mean Big Money
September 06, 2013
A federal court in Seattle this week upheld Microsoft's claim that Motorola Mobility refused to license its standard essential patents at a fair and reasonable cost, resulting in an award to Microsoft of $14.5 million in damages. Microsoft claimed that the license fees Motorola Mobility initially demanded for its patents were exorbitant.
How to Survey a Home for Internet Interference
August 29, 2013
The WiFi network you have in your home distributes Internet bandwidth using radio signals. It's the same technology that FM radio, smartphones and television rabbit-ears use -- and it's susceptible to the same kind of problems, like interference, penetration and range. If you're having Internet bandwidth problems at home -- buffering on YouTube, say -- there are simple ways to improve performance.
Amazon Dips Its Toe Into the Brisk WiFi Waters
August 26, 2013
Amazon has run tests on WiFi technology that could give Kindle users direct Internet connectivity, according to a recent report. The technology uses spectrum controlled by satellite communications company Globalstar, which is perhaps best known as a global satellite phone service provider. It is possible that the tests were part of a series conducted jointly by Globalstar and Jarvinian.
It's a Go for Omate's Android-Powered Smartwatch
August 23, 2013
With nearly a month to spare, startup Omate burst through its Kickstarter goal of $100,000 this week and is on its way to shipping its TruSmart smartwatch in time for the holiday season. More than $250,000 have been pledged so far toward the device, which is perhaps the closest thing yet to an Android smartphone that can be worn on a wrist.
Wireless Industry Opportunities Are Changing
August 22, 2013
The wireless industry has grown and changed over time. In fact, there seems to be a major transformation every few years, and change is starting to occur once again. So what will wireless look like tomorrow, and how will it grow? Where should workers, companies and investors look for new opportunities? The second smartphone revolution started six years ago with Apple iPhone and Google Android.
How to Use a Windows PC as an Internet Hotspot
August 19, 2013
If you're like many, you're sprouting portable devices. Tablets, e-readers and phones are taking over our pockets and bags; add mobile games consoles and phoneless iPod touches for the kids, and that's a lot of Internet connections to maintain when out and about. It's a gaggle of device connections that's hard to sustain because each one needs configuring onto a hotspot.
Every Step You Take, Stores Are Watching You
July 15, 2013
Brick-and-mortar retailers are turning to a new tool to help them better monitor shoppers and maximize sales: shoppers' cell phones. Approaches include tracking shoppers as they move about the store using their phones' connection to the store's WiFi system and sensors that recognize returning customers' smartphones, according to one report.
Those Cute Little Baby Cell Towers Could Pose Big Security Problems
July 15, 2013
Two researchers at cybersecurity firm iSec Partners have cracked the security of a Verizon femtocell. Femtocells, also called "small cells," are low-power cellular base stations that wireless carriers, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, either sell or give to consumers. They connect to the service provider's network through broadband and support multiple cellphones.
Climb Mt. Fuji for the Views, Stay for the 4G
July 12, 2013
Intrepid hikers and garden-variety Internet addicts now have 4G access on top of Japan's famous Mt. Fuji. Japanese telecom NTT DoCoMo has equipped the 12,388-foot summit with high-speed LTE connectivity. The access will run now through August, the height of the tourist season on the mountain. Fuji has always been among the world's most wired mountains.
How to Set Up a Microwave Internet Link Over Distance
July 11, 2013
Around this time of year some buddies and I usually pack up a bunch of our brick-like ham radios, a few unwieldy 30-foot masts, a helium balloon antenna and some pop-up shade shelters and lug it all over to a local mountaintop near our suburban Los Angeles homes. We traipse up the baked hillside with this gear each year to perform a nonstop radio experiment that lasts over a weekend.
FAA May Soon OK Gadget Use in Flight
June 21, 2013
Anyone who has flown in the past two decades knows the drill: Electronic devices including mobile phones, tablets and handheld game systems must be turned off when the airplane doors are closed. Soon, however, those rules may change, the FAA announced this week. "The FAA recognizes consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft," the agency said.
Sprint Takes Clearwire Fight to Court
June 19, 2013
Sprint has taken legal action to prevent Dish from closing a deal with Clearwire. This is the latest development in the tug of war between the companies over the 50 percent of Clearwire's spectrum that Sprint does not already own. Sprint announced last December that it had worked out a deal to purchase the rest of Clearwire for about $2.97 per share, which would value the company at $2.2 billion.
Up, Up and Away: Google Balloons to Beam Internet Access
June 17, 2013
Regardless of how this turns out, at least they nailed the name. Google is launching about 30 superpressure balloons that will beam Internet access back to the ground. With equal parts brevity and self-deprecation, the effort has been dubbed "Project Loon." Taking flight from New Zealand, the balloons will sail around the world on a controlled path.
Comcast to Pepper Neighborhoods With WiFi Hotspots
June 11, 2013
Comcast is rolling out a neighborhood WiFi initiative designed to allow its Xfinity Internet subscribers to log in to nearby wireless hotspots outside of their home. Subscribers to the service will essentially be the hosts for two separate WiFi networks. One will be their private, secure home connection. The other signal, which Comcast would provide for free, would serve as a neighborhood signal.
Clearwire Board Gives Nod to Sweeter Sprint Bid
May 22, 2013
Clearwire's special committee and its board of directors recommended that shareholders approve Sprint's increased offer to buy the remaining half of the company. Sprint already owns about 50 percent of Clearwire. It upped its bid to purchase the remaining stake by 14 percent Tuesday, offering $3.40 per share. That offer values Clearwire at $10.7 billion.

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