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CWA: Justice Department Decision on Verizon-Big Cable Deal Destroys Competition, Jobs

CWA: Justice Department Decision on Verizon-Big Cable Deal Destroys Competition, Jobs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Justice Department’s decision today to approve the Verizon Wireless-Big Cable deal is exactly the wrong one for workers, consumers and communities. The result is a massive Verizon Wireless/cable/content monopoly, job cuts, higher prices, and fewer choices.

 

The weak conditions on cross-marketing that DOJ has set in place will do little to continue competition. Instead, this deal will result in Verizon abandoning further investment in FiOS, its high speed network. For communities like Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, cities across upstate New York and most of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Virginia, there will be no high-speed Internet competition -- none.

 

The cable monopoly with high-speed linked to content bundles that drive average prices higher is not the answer. No other 21st Century nation has chosen this path. Finally, how will the DOJ or FCC police marketing restrictions within a market area?

 

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Will Windows 10 address the operating system's biggest weakness? | Andy Patrizio | NetworkWorld.com

Will Windows 10 address the operating system's biggest weakness? | Andy Patrizio | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So the wraps are off, and no one got the name change right. Windows 10 comes with a whole lot of promises, not the least of which is that the company is listening to users and wants their feedback. So something tells me this OS will not be met with the derision of Windows 8.

At the grand unveiling, numerous features were discussed, from the interesting (multiple desktops) to the silly (ctrl-v pasting in the DOS prompt). One of the promises made was that Windows 10 would eliminate the need for reinstalls when a new OS version came out.

Microsoft is promising continuous, ever-evolving upgrades to the operating system so people won't have to erase the hard drive and start over, like all current users of Windows 7 and 8 are going to have to do when 10 comes out next year.

This might not sit well with IT, because they don't like disruption. Microsoft may push out significant updates the way it does bug fixes on Patch Tuesday, but IT might not want them immediately or they will have to test the updates. And then there's the fact that Microsoft released some bug fixes, so the company is putting its own neck on the line.

The real question on my mind is whether Windows 10 will finally address a problem that has plagued pretty much every Windows OS since at least 95: the decay of the system over time. As you add and remove apps, as Windows writes more and more temporary and junk files, over time, a system just slows down.


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To combat fragmentation, ARM built a new type of OS for the Internet of Things | Stacey Higginbotham | GigaOM Tech News

To combat fragmentation, ARM built a new type of OS for the Internet of Things | Stacey Higginbotham | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

ARM may be a chip design firm, but like its rival Intel, it also spends a lot of time and money on building software. And to help cement its growing prominence in the world of battery-powered connected devices, ARM has designed a new operating system by adding more capabilities to its mBed software development platform.

Called mbed OS, the new operating system is designed to run on the lower-level M-class of microcontrollers that generally ran one of many customized real-time operating systems, or RTOSes. These RTOSes were originally developed for the embedded world and were proprietary and not very flexible. But they were lightweight and could operate on tiny microcontrollers. As more developers flock to the internet of things, though, having a bunch of customized RTOSes represents a brake on innovation — which is why ARM decided to build mbed OS for inside devices like the Misfit Shine pictured above.

The OS consists of a device-side OS that runs on ARM’s M-class designs and a server side piece of software called mbed Device Server that will run in virtualized environments and other types of chips. The OS design means that constrained and relatively “dumb” devices can communicate back to smarter ones running higher power OSes.


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Mexico: Telmex fined USD3.7m for monopolistic practices | TeleGeography.com

Mexican telecoms regulator the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) has fined America Movil (AM)-owned Telmex for monopolistic practices in the long-distance call termination market.


As such, the watchdog imposed a fine of MXN49.32 million (USD3.66 million) on the incumbent, bringing to an end an investigation that was initiated by Mexico’s Comision Federal de Competencia (CFC) in May 2011.

Ifetel’s final decision upheld a complaint from rival operator Axtel, which had accused Telmex of failing to respond to interconnection requests; denying it information regarding the location of its central offices; and playing recorded messages to Axtel users warning them of the possibility that their service could be suspended. The financial penalty represents the maximum fine allowed by law.

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Firefox OS-based Matchstick takes aim at Google’s Chromecast | Chris Wood | GizMag.com

Firefox OS-based Matchstick takes aim at Google’s Chromecast | Chris Wood | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Matchstick is a new streaming dongle aiming to compete directly with Google’s low-cost Chromecast product. The new stick plugs into your TV or HD monitor’s HDMI port and lets you stream or mirror content to it, just like Google’s device. Things are a little different behind the scenes, however, with the Matchstick running Mozilla's Firefox OS.

You may well get a little déjà vu with the Matchstick. The device is very similar in both form and function to Google’s low-cost Chromecast streaming dongle. The big difference here is that the Matchstick runs Mozilla’s open source platform. You can throw content up on the big screen from Android or iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as both Chrome and Firefox browsers. If you’re using a laptop, you can mirror any window in the compatible browsers on the Matchstick.

As far as the team behind the new hardware is concerned, the success of the project hinges upon developer support. With Firefox OS being a completely open platform, anyone can make an application for the streaming device and get it out to users without first having it approved for release.


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US: T-Mobile US takes on the Triad; another 700MHz deal on the cards | TeleGeography.com

T-Mobile US’ ongoing quest to snap up pockets of 700MHz A block spectrum across the country is continuing at pace, Fierce Wireless reports, with the carrier disclosing that it wants to acquire four licences from investment firm Triad 700.


Citing a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing, the website notes that T-Mobile hopes to acquire licences in Reno (Nevada), Anchorage (Alaska), Erie (Pennsylvania) and Salisbury (Maryland).

According to its website, Triad 700 was formed to participate in FCC Auction 73, which commenced in January 2008 and concluded two months later; the company acquired 36 licences for a total of USD17 million.


Concessions acquired included a ‘very deep spectrum position in Alaska’ (34MHz covering the entire state), plus clusters covering parts of California, Nevada, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

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FireChat – the messaging app that’s powering the Hong Kong protests | Archie Bland | The Guardian

FireChat – the messaging app that’s powering the Hong Kong protests | Archie Bland | The Guardian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old student in Hong Kong, had a problem. You will have experienced a version of it yourself: you are at a football match or a gig and you need to find a friend. But the crowd means that the network is overloaded, and you can’t get a signal on your phone. The thing that means you need to call someone is the very thing that means you can’t.

For Wong, the problem was more serious: he wasn’t at a football match, but playing a leading role in the organisation of the pro-democracy protests that have shaken his city over the past week. And he wasn’t just worried the network would be overloaded – he was worried the authorities would block it on purpose.

Every major display of social unrest these days seems to come with a game-changing technological accompaniment. The London riots were narrated on BlackBerry Messenger. Twitter played an essential role in the Arab spring. Turkish protesters who found the internet blocked turned to censor-proof Virtual Private Networks. But none of those innovations was much use without a connection. For Wong and his allies in Hong Kong, the answer was an app that allows people to send messages from phone to phone without mobile reception, or the internet: FireChat.


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Shellshock flaw could pose risks to payments industry | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Shellshock flaw could pose risks to payments industry | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The “Shellshock” flaw has the potential to pose a risk to the payments industry, but doesn’t appear to have caused any problems yet, an official with a consortium run by major credit card companies warned on Tuesday.

The PCI Security Standards Council develops technical standards for protecting payment card data, a closely watched area following a spate of data breaches at retailers including Home Depot and Target.

“It has the potential to be a risk,” said Troy Leach, the organization’s CTO, of the flaw in the GNU Bourne Again Shell (Bash), a command-line shell processor in Unix and Linux.

“The dependancy on Bash is pretty extreme. It’s something we have to be diligent about,” he said.

Leach said the council hasn’t issued an advisory about Shellshock but is monitoring developments.

The PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) recommend that retailers patch their systems quickly when software updates are released. But retailers and merchants have often been slow to do so, exposing their systems to attackers seeking card data.


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Comcast to Follow the 1 Million Who Have Fled Bankrupt Detroit | Todd Shields | MSN Money

Comcast to Follow the 1 Million Who Have Fled Bankrupt Detroit | Todd Shields | MSN Money | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Detroit lost more than 1 million residents and three-quarters of its retail businesses on its way to bankruptcy.

Now Comcast Corp. wants to go, too.

The largest U.S. cable-television company says it will shed 2.5 million customers in Detroit and other Midwestern and Southern communities as part of a plan to buy No. 2 Time Warner Cable Inc. Relinquishing the markets will help keep Comcast’s market share below 30 percent of U.S. pay-TV homes -- a level that regulators once set as a limit and Comcast has volunteered to honor.

“It’s not helpful when a company like that leaves,” said James Fouts, mayor of Warren, which borders Detroit and likewise will see the end of Comcast service.

As it drops Detroit, Comcast would gain the nation’s top two markets, New York and Los Angeles. The $45.2 billion acquisition would enlarge Comcast by 7 million video customers. The castaways in Detroit, Minneapolis and elsewhere would belong to a new company, GreatLand Connections Inc., to be created in what the companies call a tax-efficient spinoff. The new company’s debt would exceed industry averages -- something that has raised concerns about service in those communities.

“We don’t have the answers we need,” said Ron Styka, an elected trustee with responsibility for cable-service oversight in Meridian Township, Michigan, a town served by Comcast about 80 miles west of Detroit.

Municipal officials say they have questions about service, including whether subscribers can keep Comcast e-mail addresses or if the cable-channel lineups may change.

GreatLand will start with $7.8 billion in debt, according to a securities filing. That debt is equal to five times Ebitda, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Comcast said. The debt ratio for Comcast is 1.99 times Ebitda and for New York-based Time Warner Cable it’s 3.07 times Ebitda, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


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D.C. Weighs In On FCC Ejection of Sports Blackout Rules | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

D.C. Weighs In On FCC Ejection of Sports Blackout Rules | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC's unanimous elimination of the Sports blackout Rules Tuesday (Sept. 30) drew immediate response from Washington players, including the commissioner voting to get rid of them.

Amidst the blitz of football metaphors, the commissioners made serious points about the need to get rid of the rules and stop backstopping the NFL's private contractual decisions.

"There is no better example of an FCC rule that has outlived its usefulness than our sports blackout rule," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "The FCC will not be complitic in preventing sports fans from watching their favorite teams on television...I hope this leads to the elimination of sports blackouts altogether."

"Make no mistake about it. With this decision, the FCC is officially out of the sports blackout business. No longer will we be on the side of those willing to keep fans in the dark," said Commissioner Ajit Pai. "We are eliminating our blackout rule, but the professional sports leagues like the NFL can still choose to maintain their own blackout policies. But if the NFL in particular chooses that path, it will do so without the FCC’s endorsement and will have to enforce its policy without our help," he said.


"The goal of these rules was never to protect the profitability of sports leagues, but to ensure that America’s favorite pastime was widely available to television viewers," said Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. "Keeping the rules no longer make sense." Clyburn teed up the rule elimination last fall as chairwoman.


"This agency should not support policies that prevent fans from watching their hometown teams on television," said commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. "To be clear, even as we remove our rules, we cannot guarantee an end to sports blackouts."

 

That is because blackouts can still be enforced by privately-negotiated contracts.  But I would hope that leagues that rely on this rule—namely the NFL—find a solution to avoid blackouts. If not, I think they will risk alienating existing fans and turning off would-be fans at a time when they cannot afford to do so."


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Connecticut Communities Want Better Internet Access - Community Broadband Bits Episode 118 | community broadband networks

Connecticut Communities Want Better Internet Access - Community Broadband Bits Episode 118 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While in Springfield, Massachusetts for the Broadband Communities Municipal Broadband and Economic Development event, I met several of the people that have been working on an initiative that aims to bring better Internet access to many in Connecticut. Two of them, Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz and Broadband Policy Coordinator Bill Vallee join me this week for episode 118 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.

Three cities have already issued an RFQ to begin the process of evaluating what options are available to them in improving Internet access for their residents and businesses. New Haven, Stamford, and West Hartford kicked the initiative off but others may soon join.

We also discuss how Connecticut has greatly simplified the process of pole attachments to encourage investment from any interested provider.


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Services such as Apple Pay may make smaller banks more vulnerable to attacks | Tim Greene | NetworkWorld.com

Services such as Apple Pay may make smaller banks more vulnerable to attacks | Tim Greene | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Many banks with less than $50 billion in assets have a problem that payment systems like Apple Pay will make even more attractive to exploit, a team of security researchers says.

By altering electronic-transfer files before they are uploaded to the national transaction clearinghouse, criminals can redirect funds to accounts they control and make off with millions of dollars at a clip, according to researchers at TrustCC, a consultancy specializing in financial institution IT security.

They presented their findings at (ISC)² Security Congress 2014.

The problem is that many banks and credit unions place these sensitive files on their corporate LANs before uploading them to the Automated Clearing House (ACH), a commercial network that processes a variety of financial transactions. That leaves them vulnerable to hackers who have successfully infiltrated the LAN.

While the attack isn’t common yet, it could become moreso as consumers shift from traditional magnetic-strip credit cards to more secure chip-and-pin credit cards and alternative payment systems such as Apple Pay. These more secure method will mean more work for professional hackers, say TrustCC researchers Andy Robbins and Brandon Henry.

When that happens, criminals may seek to steal directly from banks because they will present easier targets with larger potential payoffs per compromise, they say. “Then banks are a pretty juicy target,” he says.


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Why I like the FCC Rural Broadband Experiments | Frank Ohrtman | WMX Systems

Why I like the FCC Rural Broadband Experiments | Frank Ohrtman | WMX Systems | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After digesting the Rural Broadband Experiments Process Guide, I checked in with FCC last week regarding when they might start taking bids. I was informed that the bidding window MAY open as early as next TUES 30 SEP with bidding deadline sometime beyond 14 OCT (actual deadline TBD).

The process appears to be very straight forward with an online upload of a csv spreadsheet (Form 5610) which very simply asks the bidder what census block they want to bid on, the sub program under which they will make the application and what they will bid per census block for the 10-year life of the program.

Why I like this:


1. Process appears to be very democratic: no K Street law firm required
2. Sets a relatively high bar for performance, even the "Minimum Performance" program 10 Mbps down, 1 mbps up is well beyond what many rural residents get in ACTUAL (not advertised) speeds
3. Largely technology agnostic: just offer broadband (10 down, 1 up minimum) and voice
4. Discussion invited: For rural broadband, is this the biggest thing the FCC has done since Telecom Act of 1996?

For a high overview see:
http://www.wmxsystems.com/FCC-Rural-Broadband-Experiments

See also:
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/rural-broadband-experiments


FCC Rural Broadband Experiments Overview wmxsystems.com

UPDATE: FCC Bidding Submission Delayed Beyond 14 OCTOBER 2014 Download a Rural Broadband Experiments Bid Form Worksheet Download an FCC Descriptive Data Form Disclaimer: This is intended to help the user gather their data in preparation for the experiment.

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Japan Satellite Service Announces 4K Operations | Bob Kovacs | TVTechnology.com

Japan Satellite Service Announces 4K Operations | Bob Kovacs | TVTechnology.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
Sky Perfect JSAT Corp. will simultaneously open two new channels, the world’s first dedicated 4K channels, on the company’s premium Japan-based service on March 1, 2015, according to the company’s president and CEO, Shinji Takada. The two dedicated 4K Sky PerfecTV! channels will broadcast J-League matches (every J-League match is broadcast on Sky PerfecTV!), other sports, movies, live concerts and a variety of additional premium programming.

Watching the two 4K channels will require properly outfitted tuners that Sky PerfecTV! currently has on sale. In addition, subscription fees for these channels, channel names, channel numbers and other factors are still being considered, and will be announced in the future.

As a member of the Next Generation Television & Broadcasting Promotion Forum since the forum's establishment, Sky Perfect JSAT has has been active in pushing for advanced technology and programming. The company's 4K satellite broadcasts will be based on the technology that is now being tested as part of 4K services in Japan.
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Retrans wars may break the pay-TV model, boost OTT as small operators go Internet-only | Samantha Bookman | Fierce Online Video

Retrans wars may break the pay-TV model, boost OTT as small operators go Internet-only | Samantha Bookman | Fierce Online Video | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Faced with rising costs for television content, some smaller cable and broadband operators are either dropping blocks of TV channels or dumping their pay-TV service altogether, offering only Internet and phone service to their subscribers, The Wall Street Journal reports. It's a falloff that could result in as much as $2.4 billion in lost revenue for cable networks--and an opportunity for the OTT segment.

Ringgold Telephone Co., in North Georgia's mountain country, and BTC Broadband, in Bixby, Okla., are among a small but rising number of operators serving smaller populations that have decided to focus just on Internet service, typically bundled with phone services, the article said.

The move is reflective of the ongoing price battles between pay-TV providers and distributors like Viacom. In the most recent salvo, Tier 2 cable operator Suddenlink, which serves nearly 1.4 million customers in seven mid-South states and elsewhere, dropped 19 major Viacom channels including Comedy Central, BET, MTV and others. And in a coup de grace, Suddenlink told Viacom that it "had created bandwidth issues that it is unable to remedy." Meaning, rather than pony up to meet a 50 percent spike in retrans fees, the operator told Viacom that it has no plans to take its channels back.


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Haiti’s transition to digital TV could cost up to USD30m | TeleGeography.com

Jean-Marie Guillaume, the director general of Haiti’s telecoms watchdog the Conseil National des Telecommunications (Conatel), has announced that the transition process from analogue broadcasting to digital terrestrial television (DTT) could cost up to USD30 million, domestic news source Haiti Libre reports.


The executive disclosed that the government would ‘engage in this funding’, although he did not provide further details on the amount of money the state plans to invest in the project.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, although Haiti is not subject to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU’s) June 2015 international deadline for the analogue switch-off, Mr Guillaume revealed in September 2012 that the country is gearing up for the transition.


As Haiti is currently the only country in the region with a fully utilised 700MHz frequency band, Guillaume said: ‘We cannot completely convert our technology to 4G [Long Term Evolution], until we allow for the diffusion and the use of digital broadcasting.’

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Brazil: 700MHz spectrum auction underwhelms; two lots go unsold | TeleGeography.com

The auction of 700MHz Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable spectrum in Brazil concluded yesterday, watchdog Anatel has announced, generating a total of BRL5.85 billion (USD2.39 billion) – well below the regulator’s BRL7.71 billion target.


The country’s three largest mobile operators by subscribers – Vivo, TIM Brasil and Claro – all picked up nationwide spectrum blocks, generally paying slightly over the asking price, while one regional player – Algar Telecom – boosted its spectrum holdings in its existing service area. Oi, Brazil’s fourth-largest mobile operator, did not participate in the auction.

America Movil (AM)-backed Claro paid BRL1.947 billion for ‘Lot 1’, representing a 1% increase on the reserve price, while TIM Brasil bid the same for ‘Lot 2’ (0.99%). Vivo, meanwhile, met the reserve price of BRL1.928 billion attached to ‘Lot 3’, while Algar paid BRL29.57 million (0.02%) for spectrum covering 87 municipalities in the states of Goias, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul and Sao Paulo (‘Lot 5’).

However, ‘Lot 6’, covering the municipalities of Londrina and Tamarana in the state of Parana, where Sercomtel operates, did not attract any bidders. Neither did ‘Lot 4’, which offered national coverage with the exception of the areas covered by Lot 5 and Lot 6.


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Mexico: SCT to conduct series of ‘open access’ 700MHz trials | TeleGeography.com

Mexico’s Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) is set to conduct a series of 700MHz tests in the coming months, as it seeks to gather technical information ahead of its decision regarding the country’s planned USD10 billion ‘open access’ wireless network.


An official tender for the project has not yet been issued but El Financiero has reported that the bidding process could take place as early as November.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, despite the lack of a formal tender, the watchdog received its first bid to build the state-owned open-access mobile network earlier this month, from an as-yet-unidentified consortium; telecom equipment providers Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson helped the mystery consortium craft the proposal.

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Protesters Are Using FireChat's Mesh Networks To Organize in Hong Kong | Kate Knibbs | Gizmodo.com

Protesters Are Using FireChat's Mesh Networks To Organize in Hong Kong | Kate Knibbs | Gizmodo.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Protesters in Hong Kong have started communicating via FireChat, an app that lets people send messages without cell reception.


Tens of thousands of protestors are gathering in Hong Kong's financial district to protest changes to election policy that would let a mainland Chinese committee vet the city's political candidates, and many use their phones to organize. There's a live feed of the protest you can watch on YouTube.


College students spearheaded the initial meetup, and this protest is appropriately tech-savvy. In addition to mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Hong Kong's activists are using iOS and Android app FireChat.

Activist Joshua Wong advised his fellow student protestors to download the app, which helped spread the word.

FireChat's parent company Open Garden reports 100,000 new users from Hong Kong within 22 hours, and 33,000 users on the app at once. While that's nothing for big networks like Twitter, FireChat is still a small, new, underused app. This surge in use highlights its value as a tool for political organizers.

FireChat helps people create what are known as "mesh networks." These connections go between devices, using a phone's hardware to link people in a daisy chain. Right now, FireChat can connect devices up to 200 feet apart. The geographic limit means the app is really only useful in crowds... but that's exactly what the Occupy Central protests have drawn. Since the crowd is so dense, many people are able to create a large mesh network to spread updates.


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The US is ready to redefine “television” to include the internet | Brendan Sasso | Quartz

The US is ready to redefine “television” to include the internet | Brendan Sasso | Quartz | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The US Federal Communications Commission is considering whether to treat certain online video services like cable and satellite TV providers.

The move would help the online services get cheaper access to major network programming and could allow them to become stronger competitors to the dominant pay-TV providers like Comcast.

“This is a very big deal,” said Richard Greenfield, an industry analyst for BTIG. “It could pose very significant challenges to the traditional [cable TV] bundle.”

The FCC’s Media Bureau is working on the proposal, which could be shared more broadly within the commission as early as this week, according to an FCC official.

Kim Hart, an FCC spokesman, declined to comment.

The proposal would only apply to online services that offer pre-scheduled programming. So the rules wouldn’t cover Netflix, which allows subscribers to watch videos whenever they want.

But it could revive the controversial online video service Aereo, which allowed subscribers to watch broadcast TV channels on their computers and Internet connected-TVs. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that Aereo was stealing the broadcasters’ copyrighted content.

In response, Aereo asked to be reclassified as a cable provider. The move wouldn’t give it free access to broadcast programming, but it would force the broadcasters to negotiate following certain rules and would likely mean cheaper access to their channels.

“Aereo is back,” Greenfield said.


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Imagine How The FBI And NSA Would Flip Out If Tor Browsing Was Built Into Firefox Or Chrome? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Imagine How The FBI And NSA Would Flip Out If Tor Browsing Was Built Into Firefox Or Chrome? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

All last week, we saw law enforcement types freaking out about the news that Apple and Google were making phone encryption a default. While a good step in the right direction, this was really kind of a minor thing, only protecting a small bit of information -- and yet law enforcement folks went nuts.

So just imagine how crazy they'll go if Tor were embedded directly into Firefox as the default "private browsing mode," as was recently hinted at by Tor exec director Andrew Lewman. Even though private browsing mode still isn't even used that much, adding Tor automatically to it would be quite handy for those who wish to have greater control over their privacy, but haven't gone through the trouble of setting up Tor themselves. Lewman didn't name the browser that has been thinking about this, but did say it had 10 to 20% of the market, which suggests Firefox is the most likely partner. Though, frankly, it would be nice to see this as a feature on all browsers.


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Why Big Data Missed the Early Warning Signs of Ebola | Kalev Leetaru | ForeignPolicy.com

Why Big Data Missed the Early Warning Signs of Ebola | Kalev Leetaru | ForeignPolicy.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With the Centers for Disease Control now forecasting up to 1.4 million new infections from the current Ebola outbreak, what could "big data" do to help us identify the earliest warnings of future outbreaks and track the movements of the current outbreak in realtime? It turns out that monitoring the spread of Ebola can teach us a lot about what we missed -- and how data mining, translation, and the non-Western world can help to provide better early warning tools.

Earlier this month, Harvard's HealthMap service made world headlines for monitoring early mentions of the current Ebola outbreak on March 14, 2014, "nine days before the World Health Organization formally announced the epidemic," and issuing its first alert on March 19. Much of the coverage of HealthMap's success has emphasized that its early warning came from using massive computing power to sift out early indicators from millions of social media posts and other informal media.

As one blog put it: "So how did a computer algorithm pick up on the start of the outbreak before the WHO? As it turns out, some of the first health care workers to see Ebola in Guinea regularly blog about their work. As they began to write about treating patients with Ebola-like symptoms, a few people on social media mentioned the blog posts. And it didn't take long for HealthMap to detect these mentions."

The U.S. government's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), which helps fund HealthMap, has used this success story as evidence that the approaches used in its Open Source Indicators program can indeed "beat the news" and provide the earliest warnings of impending disease outbreaks and conflict.

It's an inspirational story that is a common refrain in the big data world -- sophisticated computer algorithms sift through millions of data points and divine hidden patterns indicating a previously unrecognized outbreak that was then used to alert unsuspecting health authorities and government officials. The problem is that this story isn't quite true:


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Comcast Cloud DVR Adds Out-Of-Home Capability | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Comcast Cloud DVR Adds Out-Of-Home Capability | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast said it has enabled out-of-home access to its Cloud DVR service, a significant enhancement to a product for its X1 video platform that had previously limited viewing of recordings to in the customer’s home since the operator first introduced the Cloud DVR in Boston roughly seven months ago.

Comcast implemented the out-of-home Cloud DVR feature as it introduced the service in the Bay Area, the eighth market to get it.

 

Comcast has also launched its Cloud DVR and an in-home live TV streaming service that allows users to watch the MSO’s full linear TV lineup and its VOD service on Web browsers as well as iOS- and Android-powered tablets and smartphones in Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Houston; Philadelphia; and Washington D.C.

 

The new cloud-based offerings for X1 also lets customers “check out” DVR recordings by sideloading them to those devices for later playback. Comcast’s Cloud DVR is currently provides customers with 500 Gigabytes of storage and the ability to record four shows while watching another. Cablevision Systems, meanwhile, is already demonstrating how a network-based DVR can offer an almost limited number of tuners -- a software upgrade implemented in April pushed the number of shows a Cablevision customer could record at one time to 15.


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FCC Pitches $38B Reasons For Incentive Auction | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Pitches $38B Reasons For Incentive Auction | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to FCC officials speaking on background, a high-end estimate of revenues from the incentive auction could mean as much as $38 billion to compensate broadcasters for giving up spectrum for that auction.

That will be among the takeaways in an information packet the FCC is publishing Wednesday, Oct. 1 and sending to broadcasters as it prepares for the incentive auction, scheduled for mid-2015.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced the effort at a press conference Tuesday. Wheeler has been arguing the auction is a unique, virtually risk-free, opportunity for broadcasters to capitalize on their spectrum, but said with the packets, broadcasters don't have to take his word for it.


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Windows 10 revealed: Microsoft's next OS fuses Windows 7 and 8 | Mark Hachman | NetworkWorld.com

Windows 10 revealed: Microsoft's next OS fuses Windows 7 and 8 | Mark Hachman | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At a press event on Tuesday, Microsoft launched the next version of Windows: Not Windows One, not Windows 9, but Windows 10, which combines the reborn Start menu with Windows 8’s colorful live tiles and adjusts its behavior depending on how you’re using your device.

Windows 10 will officially launch in the middle of next year, but you’ll have a chance to try it out before that via a new Windows Insider program, launching Wednesday. The platform’s most vocal fans will have a chance to download the technical preview before it launches next year.


Microsoft executives unveiled the new OS at a small press event in San Francisco, where the company tried to position the Windows 10 OS as a “natural step forward” for both Windows and Windows Phone, which will also be renamed Windows 10.


Windows 10 will be designed for the enterprise, Terry Myerson executive vice president of Microsoft’s OS group, said. It will have a “familiar” interface, whether it be for Windows 7 or Windows 8. “They will find all the tools they’re used to finding, with all the apps and tools they’re used to today,” he said.


Windows 10 will be compatible with all the familiar management systems, including mobile device management. MDM tools will manage not just mobile devices, but PCs, phones, tablets, and even embedded devices inpart of the Internet of Things, Myerson said. Enterprise customers will be able to manage their own app stores, so that ther employees get the right apps for them. As Windows 8 did, data security will be a priority, he said.


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Microsoft christens the next version of Windows as Windows 10 | Mary Jo Foley | ZDNet.com

Microsoft christens the next version of Windows as Windows 10 | Mary Jo Foley | ZDNet.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While many of the features expected in the next major version of Microsoft's Windows client operating system have leaked over the past few months, the official name of that operating system had not.

But on September 30, during a preview event for that operating system, Microsoft officials took the wraps off the new name, which is Windows 10.

During the Microsoft planning and early development process, Windows 10 was codenamed "Threshold." That codename, like a number of recent Microsoft ones, came from Microsoft's Halo franchise.

Because the most recent version of Microsoft's Windows client was named Windows 8, many assumed the next release would be Windows 9. Many inside and outside the company used "Threshold" and "Windows 9" interchangeably when discussing the coming Windows release. There have been rumors that Microsoft might opt to christen Threshold as "Windows X," "Windows 365," just plain "Windows" or "Windows One."


But Microsoft went instead with Windows 10 because they wanted to signify that the coming Windows release would be the last "major" Windows update. Going forward, Microsoft is planning to make regular, smaller updates to the Windows 10 codebase, rather than pushing out new major updates years apart. Windows 10 will have a common codebase across multiple screen sizes, with the UI tailored to work on those devices.


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