#419 June 29th, 2015 – Open Broadband in the USA

This week’s headline story: Open Broadband in the USA

born_in_the_usaThe FCC’s order on Net neutrality reclassified broadband providers as Title II “common carriers” subject to regulations in the public interest to ensure their services do not discriminate against any class of customers. The Internet service providers who oppose the FCC’s order, have threatened to starve their investments in broadband networks. They say the new policies disincentivise the market. FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, has reassured the public that the Internet service providers threats are more bark than bite. Since the FCC issued its ground-breaking Open Internet Order in March, such opponents’ predictions about eroding incentives to invest, have failed to materialize, he said. Much of the recent ramp-up in competition in the broadband market probably has nothing to do with net neutrality orders, and everything to do with Google. Google’s installation of ultra high-speed fiber networks with low cost service in 8 key US cities has kept companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon on their toes working to beat Google to the punch. It would appear that Google has succeeded in motivating the boradband market, where millions of dollars invested by the Whitehouse and its National Broadband Plan have failed.

Other Tech News

  • Computers Are Getting a Dose of Common Sense [MIT Technology Review]
    Computers may soon become a bit less frustrating to talk to. The AI experts at MetaMind, have published details of a computer system that is more accurate than other techniques at answering questions about several lines of text that tell a story. MetaMind’s approach combines two forms of memory with an advanced neural network fed large quantities of annotated text. The first is a kind of database of concepts and facts; the other is short-term, or “episodic.” When asked a question, the system, which the company calls a dynamic memory network, will search for relevant patterns in the text that it has learned from; after finding associations, it will use its episodic memory to return to the question and look for further, more abstract patterns. This enables it to answer questions that require connecting several pieces of information.

in Information Security News…

  • Nano Satellites Work with Ground Sensors to Offer New Eye on Disaster Relief and Agriculture [MIT Technology Review]
    Anthony Previte, CEO of the space company Terran Orbital, has developed a low-orbit, tiny satellite network intended to provide Internet access when all other networks fail. Inspired by the chaos of 9/11, Previte envisions his network being a lifeline for first responders at natural disasters or terrorist attacks. He is launching multiple constellations of “nano satellites” designed to provide small, battery-powered sensors with a cheap data connection that never goes down.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Microsoft Drops Office for Android Smartphones [Newsfactor]
    Microsoft has rolled out its suite of Office Apps: Word, Excel and PowerPoint, for Android phones. Samsung, LG, HTC or other Android smartphone users can now download them for free from the Google Play store. The apps were already available for Apple mobile devices, and Android tablets.
  • Uber’s latest service takes you across continents in a speed boat [Engadget]
    The do-it-yourself taxi service, Uber, is taking to the high seas! The company has launched its UberBoat service in Istanbul that shuttles people between Asia and Europe in a speed boat. The service costs roughly 50 lira (about $19) versus the 2 lira (81 cents) for a public ferry.
  • You Know You Want One: Lexus Says Its Hoverboard Really Flies [NewsFactor]
    YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zTCgMPZRuo
    Lexus made a splash on the interwebs this past week with a promo video it released for a Hoverboard, like the one features in the movie “Back to the Future.” Unfortunatly, the futuristic skateboard that seems to levitate was not invented to be sold. It is part of a marketing campaign designed to promote the innovation behind Lexus automobiles. The company does, however, claim that the hoverboard does indeed actually hover using magnet technology and superconductors cooled by liquid nitrogen to rise off the Earth. Check out the video in the show notes.

and finally,

  • Man shoots downs neighbor’s hexacopter in rural drone shotgun battle [Ars Technica]
    It was bound to happen! A hobbyist’s drone aircraft was shot out of the sky by an angry neighbor with a shotgun. The case went to court where the California judge found that the defendant “acted unreasonably in having his son shoot the drone down regardless of whether it was over his property or not.”

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