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National Day of Civic Hacking at the White House | The White House

National Day of Civic Hacking at the White House | The White House | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On the first weekend in June, civic activists, technology experts, and entrepreneurs around the country will gather together for the National Day of Civic Hacking. By combining their expertise with new technologies and publicly released data, participants hope to build tools that help others in their own neighborhoods and across the United States.

 

It's a great cause and we're excited to take part. On June 1, we'll welcome developers and tech experts to the White House for our second hackathon. 

 

The last time we did this, it was a huge success. We hosted 21 participants who built apps and visualizations based on the new API for We the People -- the White House petition system. The White House development team drew on feedback from the hackthaon to improve the API and is adding code from its projects to a software development kit (SDK). 

 

For the National Day of Civic Hacking, participants will focus on producing full, production ready apps and visualization tools that will be featured on the We the People website and made available under an open source license.

 

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Popular Belkin Wi-Fi routers plagued by unpatched security flaws | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Popular Belkin Wi-Fi routers plagued by unpatched security flaws | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If your Wi-Fi network is using the popular Belkin N600 DB router, be warned: it may have several vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to take it over.

Remote unauthenticated attackers could exploit the vulnerabilities to spoof DNS (Domain Name System) responses and direct users to rogue websites or trick users' browsers to change the device configuration, the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC) at Carnegie Mellon University said Monday in an advisory.


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The real reason everyone hates making phone calls today | Fredric Paul | NetworkWorld.com

The real reason everyone hates making phone calls today | Fredric Paul | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's a truism that people—especially young people—spend a lot less time talking on the phone now than they once did. I don't have good numbers to cite, but the personal and anecdotal evidence seems pretty compelling.


Where once I made and received dozens of calls a day, those have now been reduced to just a few. I roll over so many minutes on my mobile plan it feels like I could talk nonstop for the rest of the year and not run out. But I probably won't.

And it's not just me. This is true with most people I know, in both my personal and professional lives.

But why?


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DISH DE Debacle Part 2: So What Did The FCC Actually Do? | Harold Feld | Tales of the Sausage Factory | Wetmachine.com

In Part 1, I gave a rather lengthy explanation of the factual background why DISH now owes the FCC another $3.3 billion dollars more than the $10 billion it already owed for licenses won in the big FCC spectrum auction at the end of last year (the AWS-3 auction).


Here, I give my analysis of the Order denying SNR and Northstar applications for designated entity (DE) credits. Some thoughts on broader implications, what may or may not happen next, and my personal opinion on whether the FCC was right or wrong, I save for Part 3.

More below . . .


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Bombshell Report Finds Walmart Is Hiding Billions Of Dollars To Avoid Paying US Taxes

Bombshell Report Finds Walmart Is Hiding Billions Of Dollars To Avoid Paying US Taxes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new report from Americans For Tax Fairness uncovered Walmart’s vast network of international subsidiaries that Walmart is using to hide $76 billion in order to avoid paying taxes in the United States.

Here are some of the key findings from the report:


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FCC faces monumental test | David McCabe | The Hill

FCC faces monumental test | David McCabe | The Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Officials at the Federal Communications Commission are facing a historic challenge.

The agency is being asked to do something that has never before been tried: a two-step auction of American airwaves that is intended to shift resources from broadcasters to wireless companies.

If all goes according to plan, the sale could be a cash cow that earns billions of dollars for the federal treasury while helping wireless carriers meet a growing demand for data from smartphones and other devices.

Success, however, is far from guaranteed. In order for the sale to get off the ground, the FCC has to convince companies in both industries that it is in their best interest to participate.

“The problem is that you have to make opposing pitches to the broadcasters and the wireless carriers,” said Harold Feld, senior vice president at the advocacy group Public Knowledge. “So it’s kind of a difficult balancing act.”


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Comcast and the Smart Home | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

Comcast and the Smart Home | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast has very quietly gotten into the smart home and the Internet of Things business. They reported recently that they now have 500,000 customers for what they are calling Xfinity Home. With their 22 million total customers this is just over a 2% penetration rate, but any business line with half a million customers has to be taken seriously.

Comcast started Xfinity Home five years ago as a security business competing against the likes of ADT. But since then the business has taken on energy management and home automation.


Announcements this month show that Comcast is making a play to be a major home automation integrator. They are now supporting the home automation devices of 9 major manufacturers: August (smart locks), Automatic (automobile), Cuff (fitness tracking), Lutron (smart lighting), Leeo (alarms), Nest (thermostat), Rachio (sprinkler system), Skybell (doorbell), Whistle (pet tracking). It’s an impressive suite of products and is all integrated through the Comcast portal.


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Software Apps Are Changing How We Watch TV | NCTA.com

Software Apps Are Changing How We Watch TV | NCTA.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If competition is the stamp of a healthy marketplace, than premium television competition is more than healthy – it’s downright fierce. Cable, satellite, telco and web streaming services are all fighting for subscribers.


We have options for watching TV via linear programming, on demand and DVR viewing, TV Everywhere services and software apps for all of our devices. We can choose robust channel bundles, lighter bundles, channels a la carte and even individual programs.


And thanks to the flexibility of IP based services, these devices and services will be able to quickly change to offer yet-unimagined viewing opportunities.


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Local officials question FCC's broadband subsidy proposal | Grant Gross | PCWorld.com

Local officials question FCC's broadband subsidy proposal | Grant Gross | PCWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Elected officials in several cities and states aren't completely on board with a U.S. Federal Communications Commission proposal to allow low-income people to purchase broadband service through a program subsidizing voice service.

State and local officials from New York, Maryland, Texas and Oregon are among those objecting to parts of the FCC's proposal to allow recipients of the agency's controversial Lifeline program to use a monthly subsidy for broadband instead of mobile or fixed telephone services.

While many of the politicians voiced support for the FCC's goal of subsidizing broadband for poor people, some questioned whether the agency's current plan would force some families to choose between voice and broadband service.


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CenturyLink to bring broadband to 4,300 rural households in Utah | Utah Business

CenturyLink, Inc. announced Friday that it will bring high-speed Internet services to more than 4,300 rural households and businesses in Utah by accepting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Connect America Fund (CAF) statewide offer in Utah.

CenturyLink is accepting 33 CAF phase II statewide offers from the FCC to bring Internet service with speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload to approximately 1.2 million locations in FCC-designated, high-cost census blocks. The company is accepting a total of approximately $500 million a year for six years.

High-speed Internet access brings many benefits to rural communities, including economic development and better access to education and healthcare services such as distance learning and telemedicine.


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Netflix just ditched a big contract. It’s time to rethink your streaming services. | Hayley Tsukayma | WashPost.com

Netflix just ditched a big contract. It’s time to rethink your streaming services. | Hayley Tsukayma | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix on Sunday announced that it would not be renewing a contract with Epix, a cable and satellite network that distributes major blockbuster movies. Instead, the streaming giant said, it's going to focus more on investing in its own content. Not to be outdone, Hulu announced that it had swooped in and picked up the Epix contract that Netflix let lapse.

That may sound like a bunch of corporate nonsense talk that doesn't affect you -- why do you care how Netflix or Hulu spends its money? But you should take notice if you're a Netflix customer. This decision offers you a good opportunity to reevaluate how you're spending your dollars. It's easy to let your subscriptions linger on forever, but as these services evolve you may be spending cash on something you don't really want. Finding the best option, more or less, comes down to how you like to watch streaming video.


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Bought a brand-new phone? It could still have malware | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld

Bought a brand-new phone? It could still have malware | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new phone is supposed to be a clean slate. But alarmingly, that's not always the case.

Security company G Data has identified more than 20 mobile phones that have malware installed despite being marketed as new, according to a research report. And it doesn't appear the infection is occurring during manufacturing.


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Global Cities Teams Challenges Next Round: Nov. 12-13, 2015 | BroadbandBreakfast.com

Global Cities Teams Challenges Next Round: Nov. 12-13, 2015 | BroadbandBreakfast.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Municipal leaders and innovators will gather at the NIST Campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland on November 12-13 for an important event related to the next round of Global City Team Challenge (GCTC). An agenda for the November event and a summary of exciting changes that NIST and US Ignite have planned for the next round of the GCTC will be circulated soon.

In the meantime, if your plans include participating in Smart Cities Week (September 15-17), we hope you will consider joining NIST and US Ignite for a program titled “Accelerating Smart City Deployments: Challenges, Competitions and Collaborations from Smart Cities Around the Globe and Across the Region.” The program will take place on September 17 from 1:00pm to 5:30pm and will feature a preview of the next round of GCTC and a panel discussion on “What is Working,” featuring leaders from around the world and across the DC region.


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eSTEAMers Talking Tech: OpenCape and the CC Tech Council | Cape Cod Community Media Center | YouTube.com

Paula Hersey, host of eSTEAMers “Tech Talk” interviews Dan Gallagher of OpenCape and Bert Jackson of the Cape Cod Technology Council about the development of the OpenCape high-speed telecom infrastructure that serves the Cape and Islands and Southeastern Massachusetts and the role that the Tech Council played in its creation and the development of the Cape's technology sector.


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The wires behind wireless | Rick Wietfeldt | NetworkWorld.com

The wires behind wireless | Rick Wietfeldt | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Everybody loves wireless: It's the main impetus driving technology innovation and social and business communications today, and it will continue to drive innovation for years to come.


Yet an under-appreciated reality is that wireless is very dependent on wired connections. In fact, wireless is only as good as the wires that support it.


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Techdirt Podcast Episode 40: Is Silicon Valley Only Building Tech For The Rich? | Leigh Beadon | Techdirt

Techdirt Podcast Episode 40: Is Silicon Valley Only Building Tech For The Rich? | Leigh Beadon | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Technological innovation is solving all sorts of problems, from major issues to minor inconveniences — but one criticism that often comes up is that Silicon Valley has a "by rich young white men, for rich young white men" culture, with most of its efforts focused on solving problems for a small, affluent minority.


This week, Catherine Bracy returns as we try to understand this common complaint, how valid it is, and what can be done about it.


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Animated map reveals the 550,000 miles of cable hidden under the ocean that power the internet | Biz Insider UK

Animated map reveals the 550,000 miles of cable hidden under the ocean that power the internet | Biz Insider UK | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every time you visit a web page or send an email, data is being sent and received through an intricate cable system that stretches around the globe.


Since the 1850s, we've been laying cables across oceans to become better connected.


Today, there are hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber optic cables constantly transmitting data between nations.


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Tech companies are the ‘worst offenders’ when it comes to tax loopholes, advocate says | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

Tech companies are the ‘worst offenders’ when it comes to tax loopholes, advocate says | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new advocacy group led by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is trying to grab an unlikely recruit to support its charge to reform corporate taxes and get multinational businesses such as Apple, Google and Amazon to pay out more money: you.

The group, Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT), has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds and awareness among the general public about how big firms -- particularly tech firms -- use old tax laws to their advantage.

Erika Siu, a consultant for ICRICT, said that tech companies are not the only firms that ICRICT and other critics take issue with. But many, such as Apple, Amazon and Google, she said, are the "worst offenders" because they benefit from the current system by using complicated — but legal — tax strategies.

"I don’t think it’s because they’re by nature evil enterprises," Siu said of the tech giants. "The nature of their business takes advantage of an outdated tax system."


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Alabama Nixes Proposed Tax on Video Streaming, Digital Rentals | Erik Gruenwedel | Home Media Magazine

Alabama Nixes Proposed Tax on Video Streaming, Digital Rentals | Erik Gruenwedel | Home Media Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Taxes in politically conservative Alabama are as popular as a Crimson Tide college football loss. Thus, it wasn’t surprising when the Alabama Department of Revenue last month retracted a regulatory amendment that would have effectively imposed a 4% rental tax on streaming services such as Netflix.

The department in June sought to extend taxes on rental digital transmissions, including transactional video-on-demand movies, TV shows, subscription streaming and audio, effective Oct. 1.

The proposed tax (ADOR Rule No. 810-6-5-.09 Leasing and Rental of Tangible Personal Property) came as consumer migration toward digital entertainment supplants packaged media transactions, resulting in lower per-unit rental taxes. The city of Chicago earlier this year succeeded in extending a 9% amusement tax on SVOD — a move now being considered by municipalities and state government nationwide.


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NC: City to connect departments with fiber optic links | Wesley Young | Winston-Salem Journal

Even as AT&T installs a GigaPower network in Winston-Salem, the city itself is getting ready to link departments together with its own stand-alone fiber optic network.

Last week, the Winston-Salem City Council approved spending $826,522 to buy networking equipment that will allow the city to tap into its fiber optic connections when they are completed later this year.

The city approved entering into a contract with NWN Corporation to provide the switches, routers and other equipment needed to link city computers to fiber optic cables being installed by the N.C. Department of Transportation.

“The city will save a significant amount of money with this fiber,” said Dennis Newman, the chief officer of the city’s information systems department. “We hope to have the network operational by the end of the calendar year.”

The chance for the city to create its own fiber optic network came in 2011 when the N.C. Department of Transportation began embarking on plans to update traffic signal connections all over town with fiber optic cable.


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CWA says 10 Mbps broadband requirement should apply to Lifeline program | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

CWA says 10 Mbps broadband requirement should apply to Lifeline program | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union has joined the rallying cry for the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the Lifeline affordable phone service program by adopting the 10/1 Mbps broadband speed standard that the regulator has already set as the minimum speed providers should deliver to consumers.

By setting the minimum speed and service requirements for carriers at 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, CWA said that the regulator will make its requirements consistent with other universal service programs.


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Steve Ballmer Shrugs Off $60 Million TV Offer For Clippers Games, Considers Streaming Instead | Tim Geigner | Techdirt

Steve Ballmer Shrugs Off $60 Million TV Offer For Clippers Games, Considers Streaming Instead | Tim Geigner | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It was really only a matter of time. As cord-cutting continues as a trend and the cable TV market as we know it today struggles to stay relevant by grasping at major pro and college sports broadcast deals, the injection of a tech-industry giant into the sports ownership arena meant that the chance of streaming for sports could only increase.


Truthfully, When Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, he wasn't the first tech celebrity to own an NBA team. Mark Cuban, after all, has owned the Dallas Mavericks for some time now. But Ballmer has been quite progressive in a traditionally conservative league in pushing the Clippers forward into modernity. Given the state of the team's business practices when he made his purchase, there was always going to be a lot of heavy lifting to do. Still, it seems that Ballmer isn't going to let that keep him from considering some very big ideas.

And one of those ideas appears to be transitioning the broadcast of games away from the television model to a streaming model. The New York Post reports that Ballmer has turned down a $60 million per year contract offer from Fox and is mulling over plans for an over-the-top streaming network instead.


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Kentucky Wired broadband internet project announced in Hazard | WYMT.com

Kentucky Wired broadband internet project announced in Hazard | WYMT.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Reliable high speed internet is coming to Eastern Kentucky and folks are excited about it. It has the potential to create jobs, improve access to health care, and enhance education for our students.

Hundreds of people packed the First Federal Center to celebrate the launch of the Kentucky Wired I-Way broadband network. Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers spearheaded the project as part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region Initiative.


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Access points with 802.11ac are taking over enterprise WLANs | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com

Access points with 802.11ac are taking over enterprise WLANs | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Step by step, the 802.11ac standard is taking over wireless networks in the enterprise, offering faster connections for users with the right devices.

Two years after 802.11ac products started shipping, the standard was supported by almost half of access points sold for attachment to a central controller during the second quarter, according to IDC. That's a noticeably faster adoption rate than the move to 802.11n, IDC said.


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UT: Startup Festival and Startup Culture Taking Root in Modern Provo, Home to BYU and Google Fiber | BroadbandBreakfast.com

UT: Startup Festival and Startup Culture Taking Root in Modern Provo, Home to BYU and Google Fiber | BroadbandBreakfast.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What do you get when you cross a thriving technology and startup community with what Gallup called “the best place to live in America“?


That’s the zeitgeist here in Utah County. It’ll be celebrated with a new technology, business and cultural event here, dubbed Startfest, beginning on Monday, Aug. 31.


And because of the still-coalescing cultural power of information and communications technologies, Utah as a whole is sending a message to the world: Citizens of a particular city or region are no longer necessarily forced to choose between quality of life and economic opportunity.


Utahns, whether natives or migrants, have always taken pride in their state. That’s always been exceptionally true at the heart of Utah Valley, occasionally referred to as “Happy Valley.”

Yet in decades past, the happiness tended not to apply to career opportunities.

“When I attended Brigham Young University in 1985, we knew we’d have to leave the state to get a good job,” said Provo Mayor John Curtis. “That was our world and our paradigm.”

Today things are completely different, said Curtis. Those attending BYU enjoy a rather different economic and cultural vitality.


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Sling TV Pinpoints Streaming Issue | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Sling TV Pinpoints Streaming Issue | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sling TV said it has located and fixed the source of technical issue that impacted the OTT TV service last Sunday (August 23) during the AMC premiere of Fear the Walking Dead.

“Earlier this week, we traced down the source of the matter: one of our mobile apps was making high-load calls on a key database,” Sling TV announced Friday (August 28) in this blog post. “This is typically not much of a concern given the huge processing capacity built into our system; however, a caching error compounded the issue and added previously unseen processing cycles that interrupted the service for some.”


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