These U.S. regulations stall innovation.
Christopher S. Yoo writes:The decade-long debate over network neutrality reached a moment of truth earlier this month when a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., heard oral arguments in the judicial challenge to the open Internet rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February. Admittedly, the questions that judges ask often provide little guidance as to what they will eventually decide. But both proponents and opponents of network neutrality agree that the FCC had a tough day.
The court focused attention on three aspects of the FCC’s order. First, the judges questioned the agency’s authority to regulate the handling of traffic within fixed-line networks, such as cable modem or DSL systems. Second, they challenged the propriety of the rules mandating network neutrality within wireless networks. Third, they scrutinized the rules governing interconnection, which is how networks exchange traffic with each other.
The judges seemed to challenge the agency hard on the second and third issues, the ones regarding mobile networks and interconnection. Their primary concern focused on certain last-minute changes to the order. Specifically, the judges questioned whether the public was given proper notice of those changes and whether the changes were properly integrated into the overall regulatory scheme. The FCC fared the best on the first issue, but even then it faced tough questions about why the scheme differed so much from the way the rules were initially proposed. Read the rest of this entry »
Jun Hongo reports:
…Japan’s internal affairs ministry on Tuesday released the results of its first survey regarding use of information tools by preschoolers, which showed that about one in 10 children had come in contact with devices such as smartphones before celebrating their first birthday.
“The percentage of 1-year-olds who had used an Internet device was 17%, and the number nearly doubled for 2-year-olds, at 31%. “
The study surveyed 1,350 guardians who have preschool children and 400 with children in elementary schools. It asked them whether their child has used communication devices such as smartphones, computers and tablet PCs.
“Of those aged between zero to three using devices, about two-thirds were using a smartphone and more than one-third used a tablet computer.”
The percentage of 1-year-olds who had used an Internet device was 17%, and the number nearly doubled for 2-year-olds, at 31%. The numbers included both cases in which the adult offered the device to the child and when the child chose on its own to use one. Read the rest of this entry »
3,776 meter high WiFi: Now you can check your email and post a selfie on Instagram from top of Mount Fuji, for free
Alexander Martin writes: Free Wi-Fi has reached a peak in Japan, the nation’s highest peak in fact.
Overseas tourists conquering the summit of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain at 3,776 meters, can now use mobile devices to share their experience via social networking websites or, if so inclined, check their work emails.
Mobile carriers NTT Docomo Inc. and KDDI Corp. have both set up free Wi-Fi hotspots for foreign visitors at the highest spot in Japan. The services, launched last week, will be available until September when the climbing season ends.
Brian Barrett writes: It’s easy to take Wi-Fi for granted (as long as you have the password). But what if it did more than facilitate your Pinterest habit? What if instead of just connecting your devices to the Internet, it charged them as well, no wires required?
That’s the promise of new research from a team at the University of Washington, which has developed what it’s calling a “power over Wi-Fi” system that can recharge batteries through the air, from up to 28 feet away.
“If we wanted to just blast as much power as we possibly can, that would kill your Wi-Fi, because you’d have power on the channel all the time. We optimized the router so that we can deliver what seems like, to the sensor, constant power without impacting your Wi-Fi too much.”
— Bryce Kellogg, a researcher on the project.
The system comprises just two components; an access point (a router), and custom-built sensors. “The goal of the sensors is to harvest RF (radio frequency) power and convert it into DC power,” explains Vamsi Talla, a researcher on the project. “The second piece, the access point, there we actually developed a custom solution on it, just a software modification that would enable the access point to act both as a good power delivery source and, simultaneously, also as a good Wi-Fi router.” In other words, it achieves power over Wi-Fi in a way that both works with pre-existing hardware, and doesn’t interfere with your Internet connection one bit.
“Instead of having continuous power on one of your Wi-Fi channels, we split it among your three non-overlapping Wi-Fi channels. That allows us to deliver about the same amount of power without impacting any one channel very much.”
Those are two important distinctions. As Popular Science notes, Energous already sells a device that transmits power through the air through RF signals. It requires entirely new, dedicated hardware, though, and loses the Wi-Fi aspect. The UW research, meanwhile, can coexist with traditional Wi-Fi routers, pushing both data and energy simultaneously. Or, more accurately, efficiently harnessing the energy that your router already puts out. Read the rest of this entry »
Nina Culver reports:A Cheney man is accused of entering his ex-girlfriend’s Liberty Lake home last month, burning several items and secretly installing a wireless camera to spy on her in her bedroom.
“It was streaming live…It was very well hidden.”
— Liberty Lake police Chief Brian Asmus
The ex-girlfriend called Liberty Lake police on March 27 to report coming home to find several items that Jeremy F. Alvis, 41, had given her while they were dating burned in the backyard fire pit. Other items he had purchased for her were piled on her bed with his photo placed above them, according to court records.
“The woman called police again March 31 to report finding a camera hidden in a light fixture above her bed. She said she was suspicious that Alvis was spying on her and asked a friend with computer skills to check her home.”
Alvis is facing charges of residential burglary, malicious mischief and voyeurism in connection with the incident. He was released on his own recognizance after a brief court appearance Wednesday. His attorney, Mark Hodgson, said in court that the allegations were “salacious” and his client has no criminal history. State records indicate that Alvis is the owner of Vertical Works LLC, a landscaping company, and applied for a marijuana producer license with the state Liquor Control Board. That application still is pending.
“The friend found evidence that a device was hooked up to her home computer’s Wi-Fi.”
The ex-girlfriend told police that Alvis had a key to her home and when she asked for it back after they broke up he claimed to have lost it. A neighbor told police that he saw Alvis leave the home March 27 carrying a mattress pad that was missing from the bed, according to court documents. Read the rest of this entry »
The Doll records children’s speech with an embedded microphone and sends it over the web
An advocacy group protested on Wednesday a so-called “eavesdropping” Barbie, which records children’s speech and sends that data over the Web.
The Doll records children’s speech with an embedded microphone and sends it over the web, which leaves kids vulnerable to stealth advertising tactics, the group said.
Chief executive Oren Jacob of ToyTalk, the San Francisco-based startup that created the technology in the doll, told the Journal that the captured audio files is “never used for anything to do with marketing or publicity or any of that stuff. Not at all.” Instead, the technology is used to improve speech recognition, Jacob said.
Children press a button to chat with Hello Barbie, which “listens” to their speech and sends the audio recording over a WiFi connection to ToyTalk’s cloud-based servers, where that speech is recognized and processed. The Barbie can then make a response….(read more)
Megan Logan writes: Security is boring—particularly when it works properly.
The new Sesame 2 key fob is a dead-simple security solution for your Mac that’s exactly the right kind of boring. It automatically locks your computer when you walk away from it. Also, not as boring, it allows for some customizable actions including two-factor authentication.
The small device fastens to your keychain or slips into your change pocket and pairs to your Mac over Bluetooth. It can determine your physical distance from your machine, and when you wander too far away from your Mac, it can force the screen to lock, requiring a login to access the desktop again.
When you return, it can either unlock your computer automatically or, if you have the optional Two-Factor Authentication mode enabled, require both the system password and the Sesame 2 to unlock the computer.
Atama originally put out its first Sesame Bluetooth key last year. This new version, the Sesame 2, is now available on the London-based company’s website for $39, or at Apple Stores and Amazon in the U.K. for £39.
The distance that triggers a screen lock is somewhat customizable—users can choose between “Near” and “Far” locking distances. While there’s some fluctuation in actual distance because of varying real-world conditions, the “Near” option typically locks your Mac once you step 20-25 feet away from it. Read the rest of this entry »
For MIT Technology Review, Rachel Metz writes: “Do you want us to charge your phone?” George Holmes asks. Normally, that would be an odd question. But Holmes is the vice president of sales and marketing for Energous, a company that is developing technology called WattUp that will allow you to charge smartphones, tablets, and other small gadgets from across a room without wires.
Energous hopes other companies will license this technology and build it into all kinds of products and places, so you can easily power your iPad while sitting on the couch browsing Instagram, or top off your phone while buying a coffee or playing Candy Crush in an airport. It will face competition, however, from a startup calledWitricity that uses a different method, and already has the backing of some major electronics companies.
For now, WattUp’s technology is still in the demo stage, which means it’s not very good-looking. But it works, and during a visit to my San Francisco office, Holmes wants to show it off. Read the rest of this entry »
Olivia Rosenman reports: The machine boiling the water for that cup of Russian Caravan tea might just be a Trojan horse, according to Russian authorities who claim that kettles imported from China are bugged, using unsecured wifi networks to send data to Chinese servers.
According to the report, which was translated by UK based tech publication The Register, local authorities last week examined kettles and irons and found chips in 20 to 30 appliances imported from China.
Earlier this week reports emerged that Russia has gifted treat bags stuffed with spyware to the world’s leaders at the September Group of 20 summit. Phone chargers and USB thumb drives were revealed to be “suitable for undercover detection of computer data and mobile phones”, according to an investigation ordered by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and reported in Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Horowitz writes: If an Android device (phone or tablet) has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network, then Google probably knows the Wi-Fi password. Considering how many Android devices there are, it is likely that Google can access most Wi-Fi passwords worldwide.
Recently IDC reported that 187 million Android phones were shipped in the second quarter of this year. That multiplies out to 748 million phones in 2013, a figure that does not include Android tablets.
Many (probably most) of these Android phones and tablets are phoning home to Google, backing up Wi-Fi passwords along with other assorted settings. And, although they have never said so directly, it is obvious that Google can read the passwords.
Sounds like a James Bond movie. Read the rest of this entry »
I plan to remember this year’s vacation season with just two words: Never again.
Never again, that is, will I take all my technology along. The Internet has ruined summer vacations.
When I first visited my in-laws’ cabin in Ontario’s north woods 35 years ago, there was no such thing as broadband Internet. The nearest telephone was a one-mile canoe paddle down the lake, and we were beyond the reach of television. Our media diet consisted of a battery-powered radio. I know I risk sounding like an aging crank, but it was paradise.
Now everyone can shoot like a trained marksman. For a price.
A Texas-based applied technology firm has launched new smartgun technology that gives novice shooters the chance to participate in “extreme distance hunting.”
TrackingPoint’s new precision guided firearm technology, XactSystem, allows the shooter to lock onto a target before allowing the gun to fire upon the intended target, much like a fighter jet’s “lock-and-launch” technology.
And the firearm can consistently hit a target from over 1,000 yards away, the maker says.
“Think of it like a smart rifle. You have a smart car; you got a smartphone; well, now we have a smart rifle,” CEO Jason Schauble told CNNMoney.
The rifles fitted with the XactSystem technology can accurately shoot from over 1,000 yards, and TrackingPoint claims the company record is shooting a South African wildebeest at 1,103 yards.
The system and bolt-action rifles run from $22,500 to $27,500.
The rifles are WiFi equipped to allow the shooter to record their shot and immediately send it to a tablet or smartphone to view and upload to social media sites.
Schauble told CNN Money this is the first technology of its kind, even within the military, and that his company is planning on selling 500 TrackingPoint rifles this year, mainly to clients who want to hunt big game from long ranges.
With the technology, the shooter “tags” a target using a red button on the trigger guard. After the tag is set, the shooter aims the gun and holds down the trigger. Once the tag and the crosshairs of the scope line up, the gun fires.
“There are a number of people who say the gun shoots itself,” Schauble said. “It doesn’t. The shooter is always in the loop.”
The network tracking scope’s technology takes environmental factors, such as temperature, wind speeds, and gravity, into account to ensure a clean shot.
Some in the security sector, however, have reservations about the long-range rifle.
“There are a handful of snipers who can hit a target at 1,000 yards. But now, anybody can do it,” Rommel Dionisio, a gun industry analyst for Wedbush Securities told CNN Money. “You can put some tremendous capability in the hands of just about anybody, even an untrained shooter.”
via The Daily Caller