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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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UTOPIA, For Better And Worse, Profiled | community broadband networks

UTOPIA, For Better And Worse, Profiled | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Since 2008, we have followed and reported on the peaks and valleys that is UTOPIA. Recently, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a series on the regional network. The coverage includes a sampling of the bitter and sweet of the complex relationship between the pioneering network, the state, and the customers it serves.

 

As many of our readers know, UTOPIA is mired in debt and endless political controversy as Comcast and CenturyLink fund "think tanks" to attack it.  Tony Semerad from the Tribune talked to our own Chris Mitchell:

 

"When you build a network like this, it takes a minimum of several years of spending a lot of money before you start to get it back from your customers,’’ said Christopher Mitchell

 

As Christopher goes on to note, a large debt from the beginning to create an open access network is not a favorable situation. Additionally, past management made choices that still negatively impact the network. Constricting legislation at the state level prevents the network from expanding to a more profitable retail market, weakening it even further. Also from the article:

 

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Court says Amazon use of “Appstore” isn't false advertising | GigaOM Apple News

Court says Amazon use of “Appstore” isn't false advertising | GigaOM Apple News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Though the larger case is still pending, Amazon scored a small victory on Wednesday when a U.S. district court dismissed Apple’s claim that the use of “Appstore” was “false advertising.” Bloomberg first reported the ruling. Though Apple was the first to market its mobile app marketplace as the iOS App Store in 2008, the court didn’t think anyone would be confused as to whether they were getting iOS apps or Android apps from Amazon’s online App Store.

 

From the ruling:

 

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How Waze Cleverly Uses Drivers To Make Better Maps Than Apple's | Forbes

How Waze Cleverly Uses Drivers To Make Better Maps Than Apple's | Forbes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Another post from TechCrunch reports there is no deal in play for Apple to buy Waze, citing multiple sources close to the situation. Waze also refused to comment to Forbeson rumors of deal talks.

 

It’s very possible that Apple and Waze have held discussions, not least because Apple Maps uses data from Waze itself. Someone may well have floated the idea of an integration too. But concrete negotiations on an acquisition are another thing. Bear in mind that rumors like this are common for tech startups, particularly when certain parties stand to benefit from hype that leads to a higher valuation.

 

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Internet-connected light switch joins Belkin’s WeMo line | Gizmag.com

Internet-connected light switch joins Belkin’s WeMo line | Gizmag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Belkin has expanded its line of WeMo branded home automation products with a switch that allows household lighting to be controlled remotely over the internet. The new WeMo Light Switch was announced at CES 2013 where Belkin also revealed that existing WeMo devices such as the WeMo Baby will be getting Android compatibility after previously only being compatible with iOS devices.

 

The WeMo Light Switch is the latest in a steady stream of wireless home lighting devices that have crossed our desks in the past year. Most of these take the form of smart light bulbs with wireless connectivity, such as the Lumen, LIFX and Philips hue bulbs, all of which also boast color changing capabilities.

 

Belkin’s offering offers slightly more basic features while requiring a more complicated installation. Once it is connected to a home’s electrical wiring, it allows a light to be turned on or off via a smartphone, tablet or computer, and for lighting to be put on a customized schedule or triggered by other WeMo devices, such as the movement-detecting WeMo Motion.

 

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MA: Mille Lacs County – BBC Community | Blandin on Broadband

MA: Mille Lacs County – BBC Community | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In December, the Blandin Broadband Community team met with the nine new Blandin Broadband Communities. I was able to attend some of the meetings and wanted to introduce folks to the new communities when I could.

 

Before the holidays we met with Roxy Traxler at Mille Lacs County. She will be working with a steering committee on a plan to help expand broadband in their area. Mille Lacs has been working on a community-wide economic development plan, which is scheduled to be completed in June. Sounds like the plan has been a huge, participatory endeavor and that the work they’ve done and relationships formed in the process will be a huge asset for the BBC work.

 

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Sprint Confirms New Prepaid Plans - Pay As You Go Option Comes January 25 | DSLReports.com

Sprint has confirmed previously leaked plans that the company will be offering new pay-as-you-go prepaid service on January 25. Those leaks stated that Sprint would be offering all you can eat (talk, text and data) for smartphones for $70 per month, or $50 per month for feature phones -- albeit with a limited selection of phones.

 

Sprint has now confirmed those leaks, noting that contrary to early reports at least one of the phones will support LTE. Sprint also says that unlike some of their owned prepaid brands, Sprint will not throttle these prepaid users.

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Congressman Demands Investigation of Google FTC Probe Leaks | Mashable

Congressman Demands Investigation of Google FTC Probe Leaks | Mashable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, demanded an investigation of the Federal Trade Commission's role in sharing private information about the Commission's Google probe before the results of which were publicly announced, according to a letter obtained by Mashable.

 

Issa made the request in a Jan. 3 letter to FTC Investigator General Scott Wilson. Ongoing FTC investigations are legally private. However, information about the Google investigation was reported in several media outlets, among them Reuters, Politico and Bloomberg, well before the FTC made those details public Thursday.

 

The sources for those early reports were kept confidential. The FTC is legally prohibited from sharing investigation details with the media or public before a probe is complete. Mashable has reached out to the FTC and to Google for comment, and will update this post with any response.

 

"Throughout the process, nonpublic information about developments in the investigation has been inappropriately shared with the media," reads Issa's letter to Wilson.

 

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DISH Explorer Second-Screen App Enhances TV Viewing Experience on iPad | Business Wire

DISH Explorer Second-Screen App Enhances TV Viewing Experience on iPad | Business Wire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today, DISH introduced the DISH Explorer™ app for iPad, an intuitive second-screen app for the Hopper™ Whole-Home HD DVR platform that combines program-discovery tools, social media engagement and remote-control capabilities.

 

“Customers are already using tablets while watching TV but, until Explorer, it had been two separate experiences,” said Vivek Khemka, vice president of Product Management at DISH. “What we’ve done is develop an integrated, seamless experience between the tablet and the television; only the Hopper creates an entirely new viewing dynamic.”

 

Available tomorrow, DISH Explorer expands the functionality of the Hopper by allowing customers to:

 

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Bad news for Amazon could be good news for "other" cloud providers | GigaOM Cloud News

Bad news for Amazon could be good news for "other" cloud providers | GigaOM Cloud News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If other cloud providers — the Rackspaces, Hewlett-Packard’s, Joyents, Softlayers, Terremarks and GoGrids of the world — don’t take advantage of Amazon Web Services data center snafus over the past year, they should have their heads examined. What competitor would not tactfully point out to corporate prospects that AWS US-East has been ground zero for at least three major sets of outages over the past 12 months?

 

For all the talk of Amazon’s dominance in public cloud, we’re still very early on in this game. Outside of web startups and SaaS companies, many businesses have barely dipped their toe in the cloud to date. That means there is big opportunity for those vendors that can provide an enterprise-class cloud. At the very least, Amazon’s miscues has definitely prompted them to think of using multiple clouds and/or evaluate private vs. public cloud where they feel they have more control. So the other cloud players have to play up their strengths either as a replacement or an adjunct to AWS.

 

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Legislation Would Regulate Tracking of Cellphone Users | NYTimes.com

Legislation Would Regulate Tracking of Cellphone Users | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There are three things that matter in consumer data collection: location, location, location.

 

E-ZPasses clock the routes we drive. Metro passes register the subway stations we enter. A.T.M.’s record where and when we get cash. Not to mention the credit and debit card transactions that map our trajectories in comprehensive detail — the stores, restaurants and gas stations we frequent; the hotels and health clubs we patronize.

 

Each of these represents a kind of knowing trade, a conscious consumer submission to surveillance for the sake of convenience.

 

But now legislators, regulators, advocacy groups and marketers are squaring off over newer technology: smartphones and mobile apps that can continuously record and share people’s precise movements. At issue is whether consumers are unwittingly acquiescing to pervasive tracking just for the sake of having mobile amenities like calendar, game or weather apps.

 

For Senator Al Franken, the Minnesota Democrat, the potential hazard is that by compiling location patterns over time, companies could create an intimate portrait of a person’s familial and professional associations, political and religious beliefs, even health status. To give consumers some say in the surveillance, Mr. Franken has been working on a locational privacy protection bill that would require entities like app developers to obtain explicit one-time consent from users before recording the locations of their mobile devices. It would prohibit stalking apps — programs that allow one person to track another person’s whereabouts surreptitiously.

 

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Corruption Responsible for 80% of Your Cell Phone Bill | Republic Report

Corruption Responsible for 80% of Your Cell Phone Bill | Republic Report | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last year, a new company called Lightsquared promised an innovative business model that would dramatically lower cell phone costs and improve the quality of service, threatening the incumbent phone operators like AT&T and Verizon.  Lightsquared used a new technology involving satellites and spectrum, and was a textbook example of how markets can benefit the public through competition. 

 

The phone industry swung into motion, not by offering better products and services, but by going to Washington to ensure that its new competitor could be killed by its political friends.  And sure enough, through three Congressmen that AT&T and Verizon had funded (Fred Upton (R-MI), Greg Walden (R-OR), and Cliff Stearns (R-FL)), Congress began demanding an investigation into this new company.  Pretty soon, the Federal Communications Commission got into the game, revoking a critical waiver that had allowed it to proceed with its business plan.

 

And so Americans continue to have a small number of expensive, poor quality cell phone providers.  And how much does this cost you?  Take your phone bill, and cut it by 80%.  That’s how much you should be paying.  You see, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, people in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland pay on average less than $130 a year for cell phone service. 

 

Americans pay $635.85 a year.  That $500 a year difference, from most consumers with a cell phone, goes straight to AT&T and Verizon (and to a much lesser extent Sprint and T-Mobile).  It’s the cost of corruption. 

 

It’s also, from the perspective of these companies, the return on their campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures.  Every penny they spend in DC and in state capitols ensures that you pay high bills, to them.

 

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The Top 15 Cities Stories Of 2012 | Co.EXIST

The Top 15 Cities Stories Of 2012 | Co.EXIST | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It used to be, you lived in a city until you had kids, at which point you moved to the suburbs. That still happens often enough, but things are changing: Between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, 27 of the 51 largest metro areas in the U.S. grew faster than their suburban counterparts (metro areas do include places outside central cities). It’s far too early to announce the death of the suburb, but the trends towards city living are hard to ignore. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas.

 

This year, we’ve seen some growing trends heat up: the rise of the smart city (however you want to define "smart"), an increasing number of "urban interventions" (elements of urban play inserted into the landscape), and debate over how we can ensure cities of the future will remain livable.

 

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy--the mega-storm that took the entire Eastern Seaboard by surprise--we’ve also seen the dialogue about resilient cities grow. How can we protect populous cities from the effects of sea level rise? Will cities eventually have to abandon the most vulnerable areas and move residents inland? We’ll find out soon enough.

 

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How The Supreme Court Helped Stomp Out The Public Domain | Techdirt

How The Supreme Court Helped Stomp Out The Public Domain | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We already wrote about how the Center for the Study of the Public Domain recently published their list of things that should have entered the public domain in the US this year, but didn't.

 

But that's not the only reason to lament. 2012 was particularly painful for the public domain for a separate reason, as the Center noted in a lament about the shrinking public domain, with a harsh, but completely justified, condemnation of the ridiculous Supreme Court decision in the Golan case, which tragically was decided the very same day as the SOPA/PIPA protests.

 

Just as the public was telling DC the importance of not strengthening copyright law, the Supreme Court announced that there was no problem at all with Congress taking works out of the public domain and putting them back under copyright by force.

 

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Hyping one threat to hide another | The Hindu

Hyping one threat to hide another | The Hindu | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A lot of global attention right now is focussed on the World Conference on International Telecommunications of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which will get under way in Dubai next week. This meeting is taking up a review of International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). When the ITRs were last reviewed in 1988, the Internet was not commonplace and, therefore, did not find mention. In 2012, it is difficult to think of global communication without the Internet. The key question today is whether the remit of the ITU should extend to the Internet or not, and if indeed it should, to what parts and aspects of the Internet, and in what manner.

 

One summary view, quite popular in many quarters, is that with the Internet taking over global communication systems, there is no role for the ITU anymore. Unlike traditional telecommunication — largely, telephony — global Internet traffic is mediated entirely through commercial arrangements among private players with almost no involvement of a regulator. Free market proponents, having greatly dominated the discourse so far, hold that the free market has fully triumphed, and delivered, in relation to the Internet. This model should not be disturbed. There is, therefore, no need for any kind of regulation of the Internet.

 

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Why the iPad is great for content creation | techradar

Why the iPad is great for content creation | techradar | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The 'iPad isn't for content creation' card has started rearing its ugly head again, this time prompted in part by the appearance of more Google Android tablets like the more Google Android tablets.

 

The Nexus 7 (I've got one so you don't have to) is very much not a content creation device: Google's announcement focused on how it integrated with its Play store for content like books, games, films and TV shows, with ne'er a mention of actually doing anything creative.

 

The iPad, on the other hand, is much more capable of creativity than the Nexus 7, largely because of its big screen. This isn't simply about the size of the keyboard - focusing on the keyboard as the only route to creativity is as silly as insisting you can't paint with your fingers.

 

Instead, the larger screen (yes, aside from the iPad mini) enables developers to create richer apps that give you more creative options available at any one time. It's all about what the large screen opens up to developers, not just users.

 

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ShareKey smartphone app replaces your house keys | Gizmag.com

ShareKey smartphone app replaces your house keys | Gizmag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mobile phones have already swallowed up the average Joe's diary, compact camera, watch and Walkman. They're working on replacing the wallet as well – so the next logical step is to go hunting for the last remaining pocket-dwelling device they can gobble up in their mad fury of convergence – your keyring. Smart and secure door access apps and hardware have already sprung up using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi – now there's ShareKey, which uses NFC (near field communication) and aims to be the most secure of all systems.

 

The three-pocket-tap equipment check (wallet, keys, phone) you make before walking out the door could get 33 percent quicker in the near future. Bulky, heavy, sharp and cumbersome, keyrings are far from the ideal shape you'd choose if you were designing something to be carried in your pocket.

 

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USB 3.0 getting a speed boost to 10 Gbps | Gizmag.com

USB 3.0 getting a speed boost to 10 Gbps | Gizmag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has used CES 2013 to announce an enhancement to the USB 3.0 (aka SuperSpeed USB) standard that will see the throughput performance of USB 3.0 double from 5 Gbps to 10 Gbps. The speed boost will come courtesy of enhanced USB connectors and cables that are fully backward compatible with existing USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.

 

The 10 Gbps data throughput speed puts USB 3 on more of an equal footing with Thunderbolt, which also offers 10 Gbps transfer speeds. The announcement comes as more Thunderbolt-equipped devices are appearing on the market, and there will likely be a wait for USB 3.0 devices equipped to take advantage of the speed boost.

 

However, with major industry players such as HP, Intel, Microsoft, ST-Ericsson and Texas instruments part of the USB Promoter Group, we shouldn’t have to wait too long before 10 Gbps-capable USB 3.0 devices see the light of day.

 

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Republican staffer fired for copyright memo talks to Ars | Ars Technica

Republican staffer fired for copyright memo talks to Ars | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When the Republican Study Committee, an influential group of Republicans within the House of Representatives, released and then retracted a controversial memo on copyright reform in November, its author declined to talk to us on the record. A month later, when news of his firing over the memo broke, Derek Khanna stuck to his "no comment" line. At the time, he was still officially on the RSC's payroll until the end of the 112th Congress.

 

But when the 113th Congress began at noon on Thursday, Khanna became a free agent. We reached Khanna by phone on Thursday afternoon to discuss the memo, his departure from the RSC, and the prospects for copyright reform in the coming years.

 

Khanna's memo advocated several common-sense reforms to the copyright system, including reducing the term of copyright protection and reining in "statutory damages" that can be as high as $150,000 per infringement.

 

RSC executive director Paul Teller said he spiked the memo because it had been published "without adequate review." But Khanna says his memo went through exactly the same review process as other RSC publications. "There was nothing particularly unusual about this memo," he told us.

 

For a typical RSC memo, "a staffer will write it up, and then we'll go through the process to revise it accordingly and receive the final sign-off." When an RSC staffer is preparing a memo, he is "not allowed to do peer review or show it outside the organization." But Khanna told us that his memo had "input from several of our staff members, when typically it only requires the approval of one staff member."

 

Khanna said he hoped his memo would start a conversation about copyright reform and perhaps draw the attention of the tech community. But the "level of backlash it received from the content industry" took him by surprise.

 

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UK: Government urged to end superfast broadband subsidies | Telegraph

UK: Government urged to end superfast broadband subsidies | Telegraph | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A report by Policy Exchange, a leading conservative think tank, said that the case for using taxpayers’ money to upgrade networks was “very weak”.

 

Instead, it said, once current commitments are met in 2015, policies should focus on connecting the more than 10 million Britons who have never used the internet, and on ensuring small businesses can trade online.

 

The Government is has said that 90 per cent of the country will have access to superfast broadband, defined as offering download speeds of 24Mbits per second or above, by 2015. It has also committed to a universal minimum of 2Mbits per second.

 

On the BBC Today programme on Monday, Chris Yiu, Policy Exchange’s director of digital government, said the £530m subsidy pot committed to the policies could be better spent. Most of the cash is earmarked for projects to bring superfast services to sparsely populated areas where BT has judged demand would not justify an investment in upgrading its network.

 

“You'd spend it on making sure that everybody in the country has access to a decent level of broadband,” said Mr Yiu.

 

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Crest urges FCC to block Sprint, Clearwire deal | TeleGeography

Crest Financial, a minority investor in US wireless broadband specialist Clearwire, has indicated that it will ask the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to halt both Sprint Nextel’s proposed USD2.2 billion acquisition of Clearwire, as well as Softbank Corp’s USD20.1 billion deal to acquire 70% of Sprint.

 

According to Fierce Wireless, Crest – which owns around 8.3% of WiMAX-turned-Long Term Evolution (LTE) operator Clearwire – plans to file a formal complaint with the FCC before the 28 January comment deadline on the two deals.

 

Speaking during a conference call, David Schumacher, Crest’s general counsel, said: ‘Crest is optimistic that the FCC will take a close look at the transaction. By artificially pushing down the price of Clearwire spectrum, Sprint and Clearwire threaten to devalue future government auctions of spectrum’.

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Europe Isn't Going To Be Peer Pressured By U.S. Decision On Google | Huff Post Tech

Europe Isn't Going To Be Peer Pressured By U.S. Decision On Google | Huff Post Tech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A decision by U.S. regulators to end a probe into whether Google Inc hurt rivals by manipulating internet searches will not affect the European Union's examination of the company.

 

"We have taken note of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) decision, but we don't see that it has any direct implications for our investigation, for our discussions with Google, which are ongoing," said Michael Jennings, a spokesman for the European Commission, the EU executive.

 

U.S. regulators on Thursday ended their investigation into the giant internet company, which runs the world's most popular search engine.

 

Other internet companies, such as Microsoft Corp, had complained about Google tweaking its search results to give prominence to its own products. But the FTC said there was not enough evidence to pursue a big search-bias case.

 

The European Commission has for the past two years been investigating complaints against Google, including claims that it unfairly favored its own services in its search results.

 

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Digital Hub | Chicago Mayor's Office

Digital Hub | Chicago Mayor's Office | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Welcome to Chicago Digital, the City of Chicago’s hub for all things tech, data and social. This is the destination to learn about our technology initiatives, to find innovative web and mobile applications built from the Chicago Data Portal, to find all City social media accounts in one place, and so much more.

 

So, why a new website? Yes, we realize that you’re probably reading this on one of 35 browser tabs currently open on your screen, but this is actually an effort to simplify things. We see innovation across City agencies and departments, and all around Chicago. Chicago Digital is a place where we’re trying to put all that in one place. We want to be sure you’re as informed and connected as possible.

 

And we’ve been hard at work doing just that. Since Mayor Emanuel’s taken office, the Chicago Data Portal has been viewed 2.5 million times, we launched a Plow Tracker as part of a Winter Portal, we’ve partnered with forward-thinking organizations like the MacArthur Foundation, the Smart Chicago Collaborative and Code for America to launch new platforms, senior staffers are often spotted at 1871, and Chicago received an A+ from the Sunshine Review for the City’s transparency and accessibility of data.

 

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Sale of Current TV may be a win-win | Opinion | Wash Post

Sale of Current TV may be a win-win | Opinion | Wash Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The announcement that al-Jazeera is buying Al Gore’s Current TV networkcan be expected to run into what pundits call “a serious image problem.” Allowing the Qatar-based, Arab-owned network to be seen in 40 million U.S. households may be more than our fragile citizenry can bear.

 

With its alleged positions against U.S. foreign policies and wars, al-Jazeera is just too “left” to be allowed access to our fearful public.

 

Has anyone noticed that much of the world is “left” of the United States?

 

Because of my occasional appearances on al-Jazeera news shows, and having written opinion pieces for its Web site, I can be accused of knowing on which side my pita is being buttered. Fair enough. And my experiences with al-Jazeera will only confirm the obvious. In its selection of stories and editorial slants, it is to the left of mainstream American media.

 

So what?

 

Al-Jazeera is also an outlet of professional journalists, generally well-informed and seeking to at least appear balanced. No one has ever suggested to me what to say or write. The network may present Arab voices, but its coverage includes more of the world than this parochial image allows. From oppressed native tribes in Peru to Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa, al-Jazeera reports undercovered news. Its reporters may be pro-Palestinian, but the network provides a rare platform in a region where Israeli officials and dissenters can both appear.

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Shifting Suburbs, Examines Creative Use And Adaptation Of Infrastructure To Support Compact Development In America’s Suburbs | Urban Land Institute

Successful strategies for creatively using and adapting infrastructure to support more dense development in America’s suburbs are highlighted in Shifting Suburbs: Reinventing Infrastructure for Compact Development, a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

 

The report focuses on the growing trend for suburbs to be redesigned and redeveloped to be more people-oriented than car-dependent, offering more options for walking, cycling or using public transit to get from one place to another. With the U.S. population anticipated to grow by 95 million people over the next 30 years, and with the vast majority of this growth expected to occur in the suburbs of metropolitan areas, the challenge of providing the appropriate infrastructure to encourage compact growth has never been more important, notes Shifting Suburbs. Specifically, suburban arterials and first ring suburbs would benefit from the development of new approaches to solving infrastructure and land use challenges, it says.

 

The steady movement toward more compact suburban growth is being driven in part by Generation Y, a key demographic group (numbering 80 million) entering the housing and jobs market. These young professionals tend to favor the convenience and choices provided by urban-style environments, but often live outside of city centers for employment or financial reasons. Fitting their lifestyle preferences into a suburban setting has, in many markets, triggered a movement to rethink traditional infrastructure design, the report says.

 

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Worldwide telehealth market to grow 55% in 2013 | FierceMobileHealthcare

Worldwide telehealth market to grow 55% in 2013 | FierceMobileHealthcare | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Fueled by healthcare reform aimed at reducing in-patient costs and post-acute care strategies designed to reduce readmissions, the worldwide telehealth (remote patient monitoring) market will grow by 55 percent in 2013 in terms of device and service revenues, according to a recent report from InMedica, the medical technology research division of U.K.-based market research consultancy IMS Research.

 

InMedica's 2013 forecast is significantly higher than the telehealth growth rates seen in recent years. From 2010 to 2011, the firm's research found that telehealth usage worldwide increased by 22.2 percent. However, telehealth device revenues only grew by 5 percent over that same time span; they grew 18 percent from 2011 to 2012. InMedica attributed the slow revenue growth over the last year to "poor economic conditions leading to restrictions in healthcare funding particularly in Europe, and ambiguity on the impact of healthcare reform and readmission penalties on telehealth in the U.S."

 

As leverage to push healthcare providers to implement effective post-acute care plans such as telehealth, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in October 2012 began penalizing U.S. hospitals for readmissions. Shane Walker, co-author of the InMedica report, believes that telehealth is a tool that can significantly improve clinical outcomes while also achieving the long-term goals of CMS to move toward greater continuity of care while reducing costs through the avoidance of unnecessary duplication of services.


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