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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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Update in Monticello, MN – HBC is leaving | Blandin on Broadband

Here’s the latest news in Monticello from a media advisory from Hiawatha Broadband…

 

"Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC) has provided the City of Monticello, Minnesota, notification of its intent to end its management of the FiberNet Monticello (FNM) telecommunications system. The decision was conveyed Friday, May 25, in a letter to Mayor Clint Herbst from Gary Evans, HBC President and CEO."

 

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Time Warner Cable settles retrans spat with Texas NBC affiliate - FierceCable

More than five months after Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) dropped NBC affiliate KRIS-TV and three other stations in Corpus Christi, Texas, the MSO signed a retransmission-consent agreement with broadcaster Cordillera Communications that allowed it to restore the channels on Friday.

 

The deal ends one of the longest disputes between a local cable operator and a TV station. The dispute, which resulted in cable subscribers in Corpus Christi missing NBC's coverage of Super Bowl 46, has been used by cable lobbyists as an example of why the FCC and Congress should reform retransmission-consent rules.

 

Time Warner Cable officials had complained that Cordillera was demanding an exorbitant increase in fees to carry KRIS-TV, Telemundo affiliate KAJA-TV, independent station KDF-TV and The CW South Texas. The MSO and Cordillera didn't disclose terms of their agreement.

 

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NCTechNews -- MCNC Gets Full Steam Award

MCNC was recognized with a Full Steam Award by WRAL Tech Wirerecently for being a company achieving success today where other companies have previously tried and failed. Playing off the train theme, every award winner received an engineer’s hat. MCNC received an award entitled, Riding The Third Rail. In 2010, MCNC received $104 million in federal taxpayer dollars to bring broadband Internet access to businesses and schools in North Carolina. The money came from Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grants which were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or “stimulus” funds. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the long-term effects of the stimulus will result in a long-term 0.2 percent reduction in the GDP, an increase in budget deficits by about $825 billion through 2019, and “no long-term effects on unemployment.”

 

“In accepting the award I thought of 75 hard-working people at MCNC who made this happen,” said MCNC President and CEO Joe Freddoso, who also was nominated individually in the Engineer Category and the Yardmaster Category. “We are very proud of the entrepreneurial spirit that defines MCNC. And, we are proud to be building an infrastructure that will scale to help North Carolina meet its broadband needs of the future.”

 

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EC Nixes Pure Net Neutrality | Light Reading EU

EC Nixes Pure Net Neutrality | Light Reading EU | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Neelie Kroes (or Steely Neelie, as we prefer to call her), the European Commission's vice president for the Digital Agenda, looks like she's made her mind up on the issue of "net neutrality," with marketing transparency and free-flowing competition the most suitable solution.

 

Crucially, under Kroes's proposals, service providers will not be forced to offer unrestricted services. One could argue, then, that net neutrality in its pure form is set to be sidelined in Europe.

 

Kroes issued a statement late Tuesday that sets out her position -- you can read it here.

 

Basically, she is proposing that service providers must make it absolutely clear what consumers are buying -- realistic average downstream and upstream speeds, precise data caps (rather than vague "fair usage" limits), whether any applications are blocked or throttled -- and make it very easy for consumers to change providers. In that way, "consumers [can] vote with their feet," writes Kroes.

 

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Pew: One Third of Broadband Users Subscribe to Premium Service | Telecompetitor

Pew: One Third of Broadband Users Subscribe to Premium Service | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Broadband access has been spreading to more and more homes and businesses across the U.S. in recent years, enabling “always on” connectivity that’s been helping spur higher rates of Internet use. Results from the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s latest survey (completed April 3, 2012) show that 2/3 of American households have broadband connections.

 

The latest figures highlight the extent of the increase in broadband access in recent years. Just 4% of American households had broadband access back in 2001, and only about half of U.S. adults were online.

 

Breaking out the latest data, Pew found that 65% of white and 46% of African-Americans were using broadband connections at home. Though the gap is 11%, the number of African-Americans adopting broadband at home rose significantly between 2009-2010, according to Pew’s research.

 

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European Commission Pledges to Stiffen ISP Net Neutrality Rules - ISPreview UK

The European Commission (EC) has responded to BEREC’s final report into Net Neutrality (the principal of treating all internet traffic as equal), which criticised fixed line broadband ISPs and Mobile Broadband operators over a lack of transparency, by proposing to stiffen industry guidelines through “strong and targeted action” and deliver more “effective consumer choice“.

 

The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC), which is composed of the heads from 27 national regulators (e.g. Ofcom), has discovered that there were enough problems to warrant action. Unfortunately those hoping for radical change will be displeased as the new proposals looks set to reinforce Europe’s existing and somewhat hand-offs policy towards regulatory intervention.

 

According to BEREC, at least 20% (rising to almost 50% for EU Mobile Broadband customers) of internet consumers have contracts that allow their ISP to restrict services like VoIP (e.g. Skype) or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. But the study also found that 85% of all fixed ISPs and 76% of all mobile broadband providers delivered at least one unrestricted offer, which suggests that there is still choice; albeit not as much in some countries as in others.

 

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FCC probes how carriers handle subscribers' private data - FierceWireless

The FCC is seeking public comment on how wireless carriers handle their customers' private data and what notice the carriers give subscribers about how their data is stored, used and can be protected.

 

The last time the FCC looked at the matter in any kind of in-depth way was in 2007, and the commission said in a public notice that it wants to update the record given the pace of change in mobile devices and location data since then. The notice, issued May 25, calls for comments within 30 days of the notice being published in the Federal Register, with reply comments due 45 days after it is published.

 

After a privacy furor exploded last year around technology from Carrier IQ, wireless carriers including Verizon Wireless , AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA explained in detail their privacy policies and what they do with customer data. However, the Tier 1 carriers responded to inquiries from legislators in Congress and did not give the information directly to the FCC.

 

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Apple CEO: When Others Violate Our Patents, They're Copying Our Hard Work; When We Violate Patents, The System Is Broken | Techdirt

Apple CEO: When Others Violate Our Patents, They're Copying Our Hard Work; When We Violate Patents, The System Is Broken | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Apple has certainly been quite the aggressor over the last few years when it comes to patents, so it's interesting to hear that, at the latest All Things D Conference, CEO Tim Cook appears to have a bit of a double standard. You see, when others infringe upon Apple's patents, he insists that they're somehow copying all of Apple's hard work, and that's unfair. Cook uses a ridiculous plagiarism analogy:

 

"He compared patent infringement to signing one's name on a painting that someone else put energy into finishing. Cook stressed the importance of companies building their own stuff so that Apple would not be "the developer for the rest of the world."

 

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Mobile Operators Conjure Up New Billing Ideas: “Charge for Video Separately” | Stop the Cape!

Mobile Operators Conjure Up New Billing Ideas: “Charge for Video Separately” | Stop the Cape! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Dispensing with “all-you-can-eat” data plans was the first step towards monetizing mobile broadband. Now some mobile operators are considering how to implement stage two: charging different pricing for different online applications to boost profits.

 

At the TM Forum Management World conference in Dublin, Ireland, mobile operators discussed managing and monetizing data usage, charging customers different rates for using various online services and applications. Total Telecom covered the conference and found mobile operators conjuring up new pricing schemes to maximize revenue opportunities.

 

Vikram Chadha, senior marketing director at United Arab Emirates-based Du, offered that mobile operators should bill for video traffic separately from standard data.

 

″Video is another beast,″ Chadha told the audience of executives. ″Operators need to look at video data in a totally different manner. It’s important to treat video as a different data element.″

 

Monetizing video streaming can “get high value out of that customer,” Chadha said.

 

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Facebook Headquarters Plans Expansion | HuffPost Tech

Facebook Headquarters Plans Expansion | HuffPost Tech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A Silicon Valley city where Facebook has opened its new headquarters voted Tuesday to support an environmental impact report and development agreement for a project that will allow the social media giant to employ thousands more people at the campus.

 

Under the deal, Facebook could base about 6,600 workers at the sprawling headquarters in Menlo Park, up from the current limit of 3,600 employees that was placed on the campus' previous occupant, Sun Microsystems. Facebook moved its headquarters to the campus from Palo Alto last year and now has about 2,200 employees at the site.

 

In exchange, Facebook will pay the city an average of $850,000 a year over 10 years to cover the impact of the additional workers on city infrastructure. Facebook also will make a one-time payment of more than $1 million for capital improvements, establish a $500,000 community improvement fund and set up high school internship and job training programs.

 

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Apple digs in on e-book lawsuit, says Jobs' quotes will 'speak for themselves' | paidContent

Apple digs in on e-book lawsuit, says Jobs' quotes will 'speak for themselves' | paidContent | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a new pushback over its role in an ongoing e-book controversy, Apple said that Steve Jobs’ widely reported quotes on Amazon and book publishers “will speak for themselves.” The company also denied once again that it conspired to fix prices.

 

Apple set out the claims in a legal filing this week that responds to a sprawling class action suit. The suit seeks millions on behalf of consumers who allegedly overpaid for e-books after Apple and publishers changed to agency pricing.

 

The new filing is part of a complicated legal two-step in which Apple and two publishers are fighting both Justice Department antitrust claims and a parallel suit in which class action lawyers and state governments seek money.

 

Apple’s latest arguments comes after a colorful filing last week in which it said the Justice Department’s case was “fundamentally flawed” and mischaracterized Steve Jobs’ description of an “akido move” on Amazon:

 

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Randall’s Revenge: AT&T CEO Fills GOP Coffers After Democrats Diss T-Mobile Buyout | Stop the Cap!

Randall’s Revenge: AT&T CEO Fills GOP Coffers After Democrats Diss T-Mobile Buyout | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Six weeks after AT&T’s colossal $39 billion dollar merger with T-Mobile USA fell apart, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson opened his checkbook and donated $30,800 (the maximum allowed under federal law) to the Republican National Committee.

 

That contribution dwarfs Stephenson’s largest previous donation over the past twenty years: $5,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

 

Bloomberg reports that Stephenson took a credibility and pay hit from the merger debacle, forcing AT&T to turn over $4 billion in deal penalties to its rival, T-Mobile, including precious wireless spectrum. The deal’s collapse personally cost Stephenson more than $2 million in bonus pay.

 

Although AT&T is not commenting, Wall Street analysts are, and they suspect Stephenson is sending the Obama Administration a clear message that he is upset with the decision to challenge the merger. The rest of AT&T appears to be following suit, with nearly two-thirds of political contributions, mostly from company executives, going to the Republican party which has traditionally maintained a much more friendly relationship with the communications giant.

 

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Recipe for Broadband Expansion in Benton County | Blandin on Broadband

The St Cloud Times ran an article over the weekend that highlighted efforts of the local Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) program. It reads like a recipe for successful change in the area.

 

They focus on training and introducing non-adopters to broadband through classes and easy public access to computers…

 

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FCC Seeks Comment On Small Cable EAS Waiver - 2012-05-29 | Multichannel News

The Federal Communications Commission has asked for comment on whether to grant smaller cable operators an expedited waiver process for carve-outs from the burdens of compliance with its requirements for conversion of emergency alerts, including that it will need Internet connectivity. The commission concluded that lack of that connectivity would provide a presumption of waiver-worthiness.

 

The FCC is assuming that in the future, most alerts will be delivered via a broadband Internet connection.

 

The American Cable Association back in April told the commission that the waiver process itself was a burden, and sought a streamlined process for systems with 500 or fewer subs.

 

The FCC has given interested parties 15 days from publication of the request for comment in the Federal Register, which is usually a week to two weeks after the release date, in this case May 25. Replies are due 10 days later.

 

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Microsoft at Work on Meshing Its Products With Skype | NYTimes Technology

Microsoft at Work on Meshing Its Products With Skype | NYTimes Technology | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

By some measures, Tony Bates has accomplished a lot at Skype since Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for the Internet calling service.

 

The statistics tell the story. In seven months, the number of people using the service each month has jumped 26 percent to nearly a quarter of a billion, affirming Skype’s status as one of the crown jewels of consumer Internet services.

 

But the deal, the biggest acquisition in Microsoft’s history, will ultimately be judged by whether Microsoft can weave the product deeply into its vast product portfolio, providing a superior Skype experience on products as various as Windows PCs and Xboxes. In that regard, Mr. Bates, who was previously the chief executive of Skype and became president after the deal, and his Microsoft colleagues have not yet delivered.

 

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Net Video To Keep Eating More Bandwidth: Cisco Study - 2012-05-30 | Multichannel News

Internet video consumption will more than quadruple from 2011 to 2016, as billions of users worldwide -- with more devices, on increasingly faster connections -- will drive overall network traffic usage to unprecedented peaks, according to Cisco Systems' latest annual network forecast.

 

By 2016, the amount of annual global Internet-protocol traffic will be 1.3 Zettabytes (equivalent to 1.3 trillion Gigabytes), according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast for 2011-2016. By comparison, the total amount of IP traffic estimated from 1984 at the dawn of the Internet through the end of 2012 was 1.2 Zettabytes.

 

"Even we have to take a step back and be astonished at the volume of traffic," Cisco VNI senior analyst Arielle Sumits said.

 

By 2016, Cisco expects there to be 3.4 billion Internet users -- about 45% of the world's projected population, according to United Nations estimates. The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase nearly fourfold, from 9 Megabits per second in 2011 to 34 Mbps in 2016.

 

And video is the biggest chunk out of the overall rapidly expanding pie.

 

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Here's what our web addiction looks like in 2016 | GigaOM Broadband News

Here's what our web addiction looks like in 2016 | GigaOM Broadband News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We’re on pace to generate 1.3 zettabytes of data in 2016, about four times more than we create today, according to the latest data out from Cisco. To put that in perspective, Cisco helpfully tells us that’s more than 38 million DVDs streamed in an hour. Or, you can think of it as a 1 followed by 21 zeros.

 

The telecom gear maker offered up its fifth annual assessment of future broadband growth on fixed, managed and wireless networks around the world Wednesday. And to no one’s surprise, as individuals, households and countries we’re just going to keep boosting our broadband use.

 

Around the world last year people generated 30.7 exabytes of data per month from a total of 10.3 billion connections. That’s a lot until you compare it to Cisco’s projections of the world generating roughly 110 exabytes per month from 18.9 billion connections. That’s a ton of growth, so what do the stats really tell us?

 

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Netflix agrees to delete data on ex-customers | paidContent

Netflix agrees to delete data on ex-customers | paidContent | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Turns out that nobody has to know about that copy of Bad Girls of Red Light District 6: The Extended Cut you rented from Netflix just over a year ago.

 

U.S. District Court papers filed Friday revealed greater detail as to how Netflix settled a class-action privacy lawsuit filed against it last year, accusing it of violating the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). In short, Netflix agreed not to hold onto data showing which movies its former customers rented for as long as it has in the past.

 

In February, Netflix announced that it had settled the case for $9 million in restitution and attorney’s fees, but didn’t talk about any changes to its policies. But as a plaintiff’s motion filed Friday seeking preliminary approval of this settlement shows, Netflix agreed to strip out information about the titles its former customers rent from their basic identification profiles no more than one year after they leave the service.

 

The VPPA was signed into law in 1988 by then-President Ronald Reagan after a Washington, D.C. newspaper outed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s Blockbuster rental history during his Congressional approval hearings.

 

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Meet ‘Flame,’ The Massive Spy Malware Infiltrating Iranian Computers | Threat Level--Wired.com

Meet ‘Flame,’ The Massive Spy Malware Infiltrating Iranian Computers | Threat Level--Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A massive, highly sophisticated piece of malware has been newly found infecting systems in Iran and elsewhere and is believed to be part of a well-coordinated, ongoing, state-run cyberespionage operation.

 

The malware, discovered by Russia-based antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, is an espionage toolkit that has been infecting targeted systems in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, the Israeli Occupied Territories and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa for at least two years.

 

Dubbed “Flame” by Kaspersky, the malicious code dwarfs Stuxnet in size — the groundbreaking infrastructure-sabotaging malware that is believed to have wreaked havoc on Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 and 2010. Although Flame has both a different purpose and composition than Stuxnet, and appears to have been written by different programmers, its complexity, the geographic scope of its infections and its behavior indicate strongly that a nation-state is behind Flame, rather than common cyber-criminals — marking it as yet another tool in the growing arsenal of cyberweaponry.

 

The researchers say that Flame may be part of a parallel project created by contractors who were hired by the same nation-state team that was behind Stuxnet and its sister malware, DuQu.

 

“Stuxnet and Duqu belonged to a single chain of attacks, which raised cyberwar-related concerns worldwide,” said Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, in a statement. “The Flame malware looks to be another phase in this war, and it’s important to understand that such cyber weapons can easily be used against any country.”

 

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Comcast Exec Among FCC's Open Internet Monitors - 2012-05-29 | Multichannel News

The Federal Communications Commission has named the members of its Open Internet Advisory Committee, which is charged with monitoring the effects of the agency's Open Internet order, and it includes an executive from top cable operator Comcast.

 

Among the 21 members of the committee, which will hold its first meeting this summer, is Kevin McElearney, senior vice president of network engineering for Comcast.

 

It was the nation's largest distributor's challenge of the FCC's BitTorrent decision sanctioning Comcast's disruption of peer-to-peer file transfer that helped spur the order after a court threw out the FCC's ruling.

 

The committee is charged with monitoring the effects of that order, which went into effect last fall. The order expanded and codified the Internet Openness principles under which the FCC had ruled against Comcast in BitTorrent.

 

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Tech Lawsuits Endanger Innovation | NYTimes Economy

Tech Lawsuits Endanger Innovation | NYTimes Economy | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Hip-hop may have little to do with high tech. But its experience carries a stark warning for the future of technology. High-tech behemoths in a range of businesses like mobile computing and search and social networking have been suing one another to protect their intellectual property from what they see as the blatant copying and cloning by their rivals. Regardless of the legitimacy of their claims, the aggressive litigation could have a devastating effect on society as a whole, short-circuiting innovation.

 

The battle raging over smartphone technology is the latest case in point. Since 2010, Apple and Microsoft have led a frenzy of patent and copyright litigation against the makers of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system, hoping courts around the world will force their rivals to pay license fees, remove features from their devices or even leave the market altogether.

 

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EU: Key Europarl Committees Vote On ACTA May 31 – Contact MEPs Now! - Falkvinge on Infopolicy

EU: Key Europarl Committees Vote On ACTA May 31 – Contact MEPs Now! - Falkvinge on Infopolicy | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

May 31, three key committees in the European Parliament will vote on ACTA. As of this writing, that is tomorrow – by the time you read this, it is less than 24 hours away.

 

The committees voting on ACTA tomorrow are ITRE (the committee for Industry and some more), LIBE (the committee for Civil Liberties) and JURI (the committee for Legal Affairs). These are three heavyweight committees that will give their input to the INTA committee (International Trade), which gives the final recommendation to the European Parliament as a whole for a vote later this summer. (Schedule here.)

 

It is time to make our voices heard – and it really does work.

 

La Quadrature du Net has a summary of what all the different recommendations and amendments mean, but it takes some time to get into.

 

Instead, I suggest that all of us send three mails, one to each committee. I have drafted the following format (adapt and rewrite to match your writing style as you like):

 

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Intel to offer ‘free’ Wi-Fi in its ultrabooks, tablets | GigaOM Moblie Tech

Intel to offer ‘free’ Wi-Fi in its ultrabooks, tablets | GigaOM Moblie Tech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Intel is adding a feature to its Ultrabooks and tablets that will make them stand out from its competitors’ netbooks and slates: Automatic access to a global Wi-Fi network. The silicon vendor has inked a deal with DeviceScapeto use its connection manager technology to link to millions of open global hotspots.

 

Intel doesn’t make Ultrabooks are tablets itself, but it does provide the silicon and reference designs for other manufacturers to make them, including the Wi-Fi radio chips that allow them to connect to the Internet. By adding DeviceScape’s software to Intel’s standard Smart Connect manager, Intel’s partners can ship their lightweight laptops and tablets with a public wireless connection already active.

 

According to DeviceScape, the connection is completely automatic. When the device comes into range of any access point on its virtual network, it immediately links to it, even when the computer is in sleep mode. So an Ultrabook owner can enter a coffee shop with a free and open hotspot, order coffee, and after sitting down and pulling the tablet from his bag, discover his e-mail and social networking apps have already synched and updated.

 

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CEO Says SOPA & CISPA Are Needed Because A Disgruntled Customer Once Set Up A Parody Site To Mock Him | Tchdirt

CEO Says SOPA & CISPA Are Needed Because A Disgruntled Customer Once Set Up A Parody Site To Mock Him | Tchdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Washington Post is running a rather bizarre op-ed piece from a guy who runs an "internet marketing"/SEO business in which he argues that we need SOPA and CISPA because someone once set up a parody pagemocking his business -- something that this guy, Kenneth Wisnefski claims is "an attack":

 

"But after enduring two online attacks to my companies' reputation and databases, I've come to the conclusion that the protection businesses would get from the legislation is worth sacrificing privacy"

 

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Purported Google tablet benchmark points to Tegra 3, 7-inch screen | CNET News

Purported Google tablet benchmark points to Tegra 3, 7-inch screen | CNET News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Another day, another hint that Google will be launching an Asus co-branded tablet.

 

This time around, a benchmark for a "Google Asus Nexus 7" tablet has surfaced on Rightware's Web site. Rightware, which is perhaps best known for its mobile Kanzi user interface, lists the slate as an Android-based device featuring a 7-inch display with a 1,280 x 768 resolution.

 

According to Rightware's data, power shouldn't be much of an issue for Google's tablet. The benchmark indicates that the device is running the 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor and comes with Nvidia's ULP GeForce GPU.

 

Google and Asus have stayed tight-lipped on any possible plans of launching a tablet. However, rumors have surfaced several times over the last few months, suggesting the device is launching soon. More importantly for those looking to find some reliability in today's rumor, a host of reports have suggested the device would launch with a 7-inch screen and come with a quad-core chip.

 

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