#350 February 24, 2014 – Are ISP’s Throttling Some Content?

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This week’s headline story: Are ISP’s Throttling Some Content?

netflix-comcastThe latest ISP speed reports show that Netflix is experiencing slower speeds through some providers, including Verizon and Comcast. Some in the industry suspect that, now that network neutrality rules have been abolished, providers may be throttling services such as Netflix in order to leverage higher fees. ISPs blame the delays on unavoidable congestion at various points in the network.  It’s impossible to tell which is true since there is no requirement for ISP’s to report specific network issues. Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler is urging the FCC to try again to craft new rules to enforce network neutrality. Rules that can stand up in court. Meanwhile, Netflix and Comcast have signed an agreement that will provide a direct connection for Netflix to Comcast’s network, and will improve streaming video quality for Comcast customers. The amount Comcast is charging Netflix is unknown, however Comcast benefits by quieting complaints from its customers during a touchy negotiation to merge with Time Warner.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • Secure Mobile Payments from Visa and MasterCard [NewsFactor]Visa and MasterCard have announced that they are on board with a new Android feature, known as Host Card Emulation. The secure technology saves shoppers the bother of pulling out a credit card, by replacing the card with an Android-based smartphone to pay for items by tapping a pad with the phone at check out.
  • Tech shift: More women in computer science classes [SFGate]Some colleges computer science departments are changing their curriculum to attract more women… and it appears to be working! An intro programming course at UC Berkley, titled “Beauty and Joy of Computing” has more women enrolled than men!

and in Information Security news this week..

  • Microsoft Releases ‘Fix It’ for Zero-Day Vulnerability [NewsFactor]Microsoft has issued a fix for the so-called watering hole attack. Microsoft confirmed reports last week of an active campaign attack affecting Internet Explorer 9 and 10 users. The vulnerability allows hackers to set up websites designed to install malware on windows machines. Since this is a fix rather than a patch, security experts fear that most people won’t install it, leaving themselves open to attack.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Here Comes Google’s 3D-Sensing Tango Smartphone [NewsFactor]Google is developing a new smartphone technology it calls Tango. A Tango phone is optimized to detect the three-dimensional space around it. It utilizes custom hardware and software that takes a quarter of a million measurements of 3D space every second. It uses a specialized depth sensor, motion tracking camera, and vision processing system that complement the standard gyroscope. Some have compared the prototype to a portable version of Microsoft’s popular Kinect controller, which can read hand gestures in space. Google is releasing 200 prototype development kits to developers to see what kind of apps the new technology inspires.
  • Broadcom Wants Your Smart Watch To Have GPS [NewsFactor]Soon you may be able to get directions from your watch! Chip manufacturer Broadcom just rolled out a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) system-on-chip (SoC) that’s designed for low-power, mass-market wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smart watches.
  • Microsoft, on a Rebranding Streak, Renames Office Web Apps [NewsFactor]Microsoft has decided to rebrand its online apps and add some new features. Office Web Apps is now Microsoft Office Online and the new online address is Office.com. Microsoft has also added hundreds of templates to Word, PowerPoint and Excel, such as for budgets, resumes, and calendars. There’s also an app switcher for moving between files, e-mail or storage, and collaboration features.
  • Is WhatsApp Really Worth $19B to Facebook? [NewsFactor]Facebook has purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion. WhatsApp is a fast-growing cross-platform mobile messaging service used by more than 450 million people, seventy percent of which are active on the service on any given day.

and finally…

  • Analyst: Google Fiber Could Put Carriers Out of Business [NewsFactor]Google’s ultra-high speed Internet service, Google Fiber, is on the fast track. The company is moving to satisfy consumers’ need for speed in 34 more cities. Google Fiber has moved from concept to reality in the last few years as dozens of communities are working to build out their networks. Fiber offers speeds reportedly 100 times faster than what most of us use today.

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