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America’s History of Industrial Espionage | James Surowiecki | The New Yorker

America’s History of Industrial Espionage | James Surowiecki | The New Yorker | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the United States was charging members of the Chinese military with economic espionage. Stealing trade secrets from American companies, he said, enabled China to “illegally sabotage” foreign competitors and propel its own companies to “success in the international marketplace.” The United States should know. That’s pretty much how we got our start as a manufacturing power, too.


“The United States emerged as the world’s industrial leader by illicitly appropriating mechanical and scientific innovations from Europe,” the historian Doron Ben-Atar observes in his book “Trade Secrets.” Throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, American industrial spies roamed the British Isles, seeking not just new machines but skilled workers who could run and maintain those machines. One of these artisans was Samuel Slater, often called “the father of the American industrial revolution.” He emigrated here in 1789, posing as a farmhand and bringing with him an intimate knowledge of the Arkwright spinning frames that had transformed textile production in England, and he set up the first water-powered textile mill in the U.S. Two decades later, the American businessman Francis Cabot Lowell talked his way into a number of British mills, and memorized the plans to the Cartwright power loom. When he returned home, he built his own version of the loom, and became the most successful industrialist of his time.


The American government often encouraged such piracy. Alexander Hamilton, in his 1791 “Report on Manufactures,” called on the country to reward those who brought us “improvements and secrets of extraordinary value” from elsewhere. State governments financed the importation of smuggled machines. And although federal patents were supposed to be granted only to people who came up with original inventions, Ben-Atar shows that, in practice, Americans were receiving patents for technology pirated from abroad.


Piracy was a big deal even in those days. Great Britain had strict laws against the export of machines, and banned skilled workers from emigrating. Artisans who flouted the ban could lose their property and be convicted of treason. The efforts of Thomas Digges, America’s most effective industrial spy, got him repeatedly jailed by the Brits—and praised by George Washington for his “activity and zeal.” Not that the British didn’t have a long history of piracy themselves. In 1719, in Derby, Thomas Lombe set up what’s sometimes called the first factory in the United Kingdom, after his half brother made illicit diagrams of an Italian silk mill. (Lombe was later knighted.) And in the nineteenth century Britain’s East India Company, in one of the most successful acts of industrial espionage ever, sent a botanist to China, where he stole both the technique for processing tea leaves (which is surprisingly complex) and a vast collection of tea plants. That allowed the British to grow tea in India, breaking China’s stranglehold on the market.


These days, of course, things have changed. The United States is the world’s biggest advocate for enforcing stringent intellectual-property rules, which it insists are necessary for economic growth. Yet, as our own history suggests, the economic impact of technology piracy isn’t straightforward.


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Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct | Sarah Reedy | Light Reading

Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct | Sarah Reedy | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Facebook may be an over-the-top app, but it's warming up to a number of services only a wireless network can offer. The social networking giant is now planning services that rely on both LTE Multicast and LTE Direct.

Facebook 's VP of Engineering Jay Parikh expressed his interest in LTE Multicast last week at Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s developer conference, and he also said that LTE Direct would be the impetus for new user experiences and -- most definitely -- advertising opportunities for the mobile version of Facebook. (See LTE Multicast Gets Liked By Facebook and Photos: Qualcomm Takes Over San Francisco.)

LTE Direct is a device-to-device technology that relies on operators' licensed spectrum for localized services within 500 meters of a user. Qualcomm says using LTE makes these services privacy sensitive, battery efficient, autonomous and interoperable compared to those that use GPS or WiFi. The chipmaker is leading the way to standardize the technology in release 12 along with other 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) members.

Facebook's interest in LTE Direct lies in knowing exactly where its users are and being able to target them with tailored experiences and promotions. "LTE Direct would let us expose or create user experiences around serendipitous experiences with friends nearby," Parikh said at the event, suggesting users could find out about events or impromptu meetups. Facebook and Qualcomm are working together closely to figure out what the use cases are and build and test them.


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AT&T, Verizon's fiber offerings center on reinvigorating their SMB customer bases | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com

AT&T, Verizon's fiber offerings center on reinvigorating their SMB customer bases | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T and Verizon are both well known as having large-scale networks that can serve the largest multinational corporation customers, but their recent moves to enhance their fiber offerings for businesses show they want to keep a tighter rein on the small to medium business (SMB) market where their brands are still household names.

Leveraging its ongoing fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) program it began as part of its broader multi-billion dollar Project VIP initiative, AT&T's new Business Fiber service is being offered to customers that reside in buildings where it has already built out fiber.

Given the diversity of the customers that reside in each building location, the telco will offer a mix of asymmetric and symmetrical speeds initially ranging from 25 Mbps up to 300 Mbps. Later this year, it plans to offer a symmetrical 1 Gbps service.

Tom Hughes, vice president of Small Business Project Management at AT&T, told FierceTelecom that it is seeing a range of customers demanding higher and higher speeds from both large customers and even those that just simply have higher bandwidth needs.

"Some of the small businesses that are looking for a broadband service similar to what they have today, we believe the 25 Mbps service would be very appealing to them," Hughes said. "We'll have some larger customers, or customers that have larger bandwidth needs, that are going to want the 100 Mbps or 300 Mbps service because they are going to have a greater need for the speed and the connectivity."

Hughes added that the FTTB progress will also help it support its managed Ethernet applications. Being the dominant U.S.-based Ethernet player, having a greater on-net density will give it an immediate advantage over the competitors that may reside in these buildings but don't have fiber built into them.

But this is not just about providing a faster Internet pipe. AT&T could use the ongoing FTTB program as a platform for its user-cloud and Net Bond VPN service strategy. Having a fiber connection allows it to support the demands of cloud-based storage and other applications like videoconferencing.

On a slightly different turn, Verizon is extending its symmetrical FiOS upgrade program to the SMB space. Like the consumer drive, the SpeedMatch campaign for SMBs will automatically migrate customers to the higher speed tiers.

Unlike AT&T, Verizon's speed tiers top out at 500 Mbps, but given the capabilities of the GPON equipment Verizon is deploying, it could potentially offer a 1 Gbps tier if demand for such a service emerges in the areas where it currently offers FiOS to SMBs.


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Study: Cities with super fast Internet speeds are more productive | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Study: Cities with super fast Internet speeds are more productive | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's become an article of faith among politicians, investors and entrepreneurs that the Internet — and access to it — is an economic engine. It helps connect Americans to education and government services. It serves as a platform for new ideas and companies that wind up changing the world. And it reduces costs for consumers and businesses everywhere.

With that in mind, a new study finds that access to next-generation Internet speeds may be connected to better economic growth. According to a report by the Boston-based Analysis Group, cities that offer broadband at 1 gigabit per second — roughly 100 times the national average of 10 megabits per second — report higher per-capita GDP compared to cities that lack those Internet speeds. Of course, all the normal caveats apply: It's hard to draw a causal inference from the study, and it's possible there's something else about the 14 gigabit cities that made them better off to begin with. Still, the paper's methodology seems relatively straightforward.

Drawing from federal statistics, the Analysis Group identified 14 metropolitan areas, such as Chattanooga, Tenn., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Salem, Ore., where over half of the population had access to gigabit speeds in 2011 and 2012. Then the researchers compared those areas against 41 neighboring cities where gigabit Internet wasn't widely available.

Cities with gigabit connections reported 1.1 percent higher per-capita GDP than their slower counterparts, the study found. That might not sound like much, but consider that per-capita GDP in the entire United States has been growing at a pace of one to two percent a year since the recession, according to the World Bank.


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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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Remarks of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler at NATOA Annual Conference | FCC.gov

Thank you, Tony Perez, for that introduction. I join in congratulating the winners of NATOA’s Community Broadband Awards.

It’s great to be at the NATOA meeting here in Minnesota. Perhaps that explains why as I look out across this assemblage, all the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the policy proposals above
average.

A native Minnesotan, in fact, provides us with the intellectual foundation for our discussion today. It was the son of Hibbing, Minnesota, Bob Dylan who wrote, “You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changing.”

That is the challenge we all face. There is no doubt that high-speed broadband – wired and wireless – is a-changing everything. Those who embrace these changes will help write the future. Those who don’t
will…well…sink like a stone.

NATOA and the FCC are swimming to the common goal of making sure that communities across America – large and small – have access to robust broadband networks that deliver the benefits of broadband connectivity to all citizens.

But you may have noticed that not everyone is swimming alongside that effort. There are those who seek to block the competitive forces that can produce faster, cheaper, better broadband; those who make it

difficult to build out the infrastructure necessary for the broadband future; and those with which both you and we have to contend that would use changes in technology as an excuse to sidestep the responsibilities network operators have always had to their users.

Today, I would like to visit about our responsibility to overcome this resistance and ensure that our nation has the networks necessary for the jobs, economic growth, and quality of life that will determine our
nation’s place in the 21st century. Yes, that is a dramatic statement; yes, it is that important; and, yes, I know it is easier to say than to do.

You, in your positions in your communities, and my colleagues and I, in our positions at the FCC, have responsibilities, not just to the consumers and networks of today, but also to the consumers and networks of tomorrow.


Here is the reality confronting us:


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A.G. Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police | Craig Timberg | WashPost.com

A.G. Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police | Craig Timberg | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual predators, putting children at increased risk.

“It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said at a conference on child sexual abuse, according to a text of his prepared remarks. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.”

In his comments, Holder became the highest government official to publicly chastise technology companies for developing systems that make it difficult for law enforcement officials to collect potential evidence, even when they have search warrants. Though he didn’t mention Apple and Google by name, his remarks followed their announcements this month of new smartphone encryption policies that have sparked a sharp government response, including from FBI Director James B. Comey last week.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials have complained loudly that the companies are undermining efforts to fight crime, including terrorism. Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 8, is so thoroughly encrypted that the company says it cannot unlock iPhones or iPads that use it. Google’s Android operating system plans to begin using encryption automatically, for all users unless they specifically opt out, in a version to be released in October. (It will take months or years for that feature to reach most Android users.)


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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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