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Archive for the ‘telecom’ tag

Advertisers Are Salivating About 5G-Fueled Marketing

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Calumet 5 6969
Calumet 5-6969

Adweek reports:

Kevin Crull, chief operating officer at Sprint, envisions a world in the coming years where his phone is able to automatically book an Uber ride from an airport based on a calendar reminder that he created about an upcoming flight. The calendar reminder feeds real-time travel stats to his device and then recommends a meal for his Uber driver to pick up on the way based on what items he has previously ordered through Uber Eats.

“I can see in the future where it brings in information from other devices and third-party services to get much more predictive and successful in how we’re targeting people,” he said.

Crull’s futuristic scenario isn’t just wishful (or hungry) thinking. It’s the product of 5G technology that constantly pings data back and forth between smartphones and connected devices, making it possible for devices to essentially predict what actions a consumer takes. At its core, the widespread rollout of 5G promises to increase connection speeds by up to 10 times while cutting latency by a factor of five, he said. Videos—and commercials—powered with 5G will stream faster and look crisper on smartphones. And with more data flowing quickly between networks and devices, the so-called Internet of Things will take a bit more shape for marketers who have long strived to ping a user’s smartphone with a relevant message as he passes a billboard or store.

(click here to continue reading With Faster Speeds and Connections, Brands Are Planning for 5G-Fueled Marketing – Adweek.)

Here’s the nub: 5 G as a technology is not necessarily better for average users, but it sure is for the industries that want to monetize your information and sell it, and you, to corporations.

Jogging After the End of Times
Jogging After the End of Times

For instance: Augmented Reality, and self-driving cars – with television screens…

By the middle of next year, Sprint plans to have 5G up and running “in many markets,” while AT&T plans to equip 12 markets including Atlanta and Dallas with mobile 5G this year. T-Mobile says that it’s on track to have 5G rolled out to 30 cities such as New York and Los Angeles in 2018, and Verizon is also enabling five markets including Sacramento, Calif., with the technology.

For advertisers, 5G opens up new video opportunities with formats like virtual reality and interactive clips that require hefty amounts of data to view today. Sprint’s Crull said he also expects for advertisers to play with dynamic creative and video lengths that are customized to users depending on how much content they typically watch on their phone.

And as Apple, Facebook and Snapchat invest in augmented reality, expect for 5G to open up more detailed AR experiences for marketers to experiment with, said Malmad.

“In a world of 5G, you aren’t going to be constrained by [bandwidth]—you can showcase whatever you like and have a rich, deep experience, so I do believe that augmented reality will benefit greatly from 5G,” he said.

Malmad said that 5G will also make it easier for marketers to target ads to connected cars, particularly once autonomous driving becomes more mainstream. For example, self-driving cars are expected to free up people’s time and attention so that they can watch TV or stream programs, meaning that automakers may build screens into seats.

No wonder telecoms are forcing municipalities to install 5G towers, whether or not communities want them, with the help of the Republican FCC chairman, Ajit Pai.

Come Rain Come Shine
Come Rain Come Shine

The NYT reported a few months ago:

The future of cellular service is coming to a neighborhood near you.

But who gets to decide when, where and how it gets delivered is still a heated fight.

The new technology, known as 5G, delivers wireless internet at far faster speeds than existing cellular connections. But it also requires different hardware to deliver the signals.

Instead of relying on large towers placed far apart, the new signals will come from smaller equipment placed an average of 500 feet apart in neighborhoods and business districts. Much of the equipment will be on streetlights or utility poles, often accompanied by containers the size of refrigerators on the ground. More than 300,000 cell stations now provide wireless connections, and 5G will bring hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — more.

The prospect of their installation has many communities and their officials, from Woodbury, N.Y., to Olympia, Wash., insisting that local governments control the placement and look of the new equipment. They say that the cell stations could clutter neighborhoods with eyesores and cost the communities a lot of potential revenue. “Residents across the country are just now beginning to understand the harms that hasty and insensitive small cell deployments can inflict on their communities,” said Jim Baller, the president of Baller Stokes & Lide, a law firm in Washington that represents municipalities on communications issues.

But telecommunications companies — hoping to cash in on what is predicted to be $250 billion in annual service revenue from 5G by 2025 — are pushing to build the system as quickly and cheaply as possible. And they have the federal government on their side.

(click here to continue reading 5G Cell Service Is Coming. Who Decides Where It Goes? – The New York Times.)

City of Lights
City of Lights

Some states have preemptively stopped municipalities from having a say in the matter, or in receiving fees for these 5G poles:

And the F.C.C., under the leadership of Ajit Pai, its Republican chairman, has strongly encouraged weakening regulations to accelerate the deployment of new 5G technology — including reducing the role of local governments.

Texas cities can’t negotiate rates. Last year, the State Legislature passed a law pushed by AT&T that allows cities to charge carriers no more than $250 per pole each year. Before the law, cities often charged $1,500 to $2,500 a year per pole, and the change will cost Texas cities as much as $1 billion over eight years, the Texas Municipal League estimated.

A group of Texas cities led by the city of McAllen, near the Mexico border, filed a lawsuit last year against the state, arguing that the new cell-site law violated the state Constitution, which prohibits the Legislature from forcing cities to grant something of value to corporations.

Talk about Big Government…

Written by Seth Anderson

May 15th, 2018 at 9:25 am

Posted in Advertising,government

Tagged with , , ,

Service Meant to Monitor Inmates’ Calls Could Track You, Too, and Probably Does

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Cell Phone Evolution
Cell Phone Evolution

Cell phones are useful for a lot of things, but owning one does have consequences, like the ability for 3rd party organizations or government entities to track your location down to 25-50 feet at any time your phone is connected to a cell tower.

The NYT reports:

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, wrote in a letter this week to the Federal Communications Commission that Securus confirmed that it did not “conduct any review of surveillance requests.” The senator said relying on customers to provide documentation was inadequate. “Wireless carriers have an obligation to take affirmative steps to verify law enforcement requests,” he wrote, adding that Securus did not follow those procedures.

The service provided by Securus reveals a potential weakness in a system that is supposed to protect the private information of millions of cellphone users. With customers’ consent, carriers sell the ability to acquire location data for marketing purposes like providing coupons when someone is near a business, or services like roadside assistance or bank fraud protection. Companies that use the data generally sign contracts pledging to get people’s approval — through a response to a text message, for example, or the push of a button on a menu — or to otherwise use the data legally.

But the contracts between the companies, including Securus, are “the legal equivalent of a pinky promise,” Mr. Wyden wrote. The F.C.C. said it was reviewing the letter.

Courts are split on whether investigators need a warrant based on probable cause to acquire location data. In some states, a warrant is required for any sort of cellphone tracking. In other states, it is needed only if an investigator wants the data in real time. And in others no warrant is needed at all.

Other experts said the law should apply for any communications on a network, not just phone calls. “If the phone companies are giving someone a direct portal into the real-time location data on all of their customers, they should be policing it,” said Laura Moy, the deputy director of the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology.

Mr. Wyden, in his letter to the F.C.C., also said that carriers had an obligation to verify whether law enforcement requests were legal. But Securus cuts the carriers out of the review process, because the carriers do not receive the legal documents.

The letter called for an F.C.C. investigation into Securus, as well as the phone companies and their protections of user data. Mr. Wyden also sent letters to the major carriers, seeking audits of their relationships with companies that buy consumer data. Representatives for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon said the companies had received the letters and were investigating.

(click here to continue reading Service Meant to Monitor Inmates’ Calls Could Track You, Too – The New York Times.)

In this particular instance, the 3rd parties selling your location data is called 3Cinteractive and LocationSmart, but there are hundreds more such companies who have built their businesses on turning your location into sellable data, most of which are relatively obscure.

Securus received the data from a mobile marketing company called 3Cinteractive, according to 2013 documents from the Florida Department of Corrections. Securus said that for confidentiality reasons it could not confirm whether that deal was still in place, but a spokesman for Mr. Wyden said the company told the senator’s office it was. In turn, 3Cinteractive got its data from LocationSmart, a firm known as a location aggregator, according to documents from those companies. LocationSmart buys access to the data from all the major American carriers, it says.

How does it work?

CBS News:

 “Envision a cell site,” says Allen (a typical tower appears in the photo above). “They’re triangular, and each side has about 120 degrees of sweep.” Every time a signal is transmitted to a nearby phone, says Allen, there is a round-trip delay to the mobile device and back. By using all three sides of the triangle to “talk” to the mobile device, the tower can triangulate which edge of the base station is closest to the device. “Typically the accuracy return varies,” says Allen. “In urban settings, it can be accurate down to several blocks; in suburban settings, several hundred meters.”

“We can locate any subscriber,” says Allen, “and companies want all those subscribers to be addressable,” or discoverable. Normally, this requires passing through some privacy gateways, says Allen. “The end user must opt in through a Web portal or SMS, or an app like Foursquare,” he says, per “universal” CTIA and MMA guidelines, and carriers’ own privacy protocol.

But with enterprise services, there’s a catch. “In a workplace scenario, the corporate entity has the right to opt-in those devices,” says Allen. “The [employee] is typically notified, but the opt-in is up to the employer.”

In other words: if your employer owns your phone, tablet or 3G-enabled computer, they’re entitled to own your location, too.

(click here to continue reading iPhones as Homing Beacons: How AT&T and Verizon Help Companies Track Employees – CBS News.)

Apple Rising
Apple Rising

Even Apple, a corporation that prides itself on not selling users data as much as their competitors, has acknowledged that users data has sometimes been sold.

9To5 Mac reports:

Over the last few days, Apple has seemingly started cracking down on applications that share location data with third-parties. In such cases, Apple has been removing the application in question and informing developers that their app violates two parts of the App Store Review Guidelines…

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip Thus far, we’ve seen several cases of Apple cracking down on these types of applications. The company informs developers via email that “upon re-evaluation,” their application is in violation of sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines, which pertain to transmitting user location data and user awareness of data collection.

Legal – 5.1.1 and Legal 5.1.2

The app transmits user location data to third parties without explicit consent from the user and for unapproved purposes.

Apple explains that developers must remove any code, frameworks, or SDKs that relate to the violation before their app can be resubmitted to the App Store

(click here to continue reading Apple cracking down on applications that send location data to third-parties | 9to5Mac.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 11th, 2018 at 8:26 am

AT&T and Verizon collude to keep you from switching cellphone carriers–allegedly

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 Zoey Getting Ready to Vote in the Nature Photo Contest

The Washington Post reports:

The Department of Justice is investigating potential efforts by AT&T and Verizon to hamstring a technology that could someday make it easier for consumers to seamlessly switch their wireless carriers, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The probe appears to focus on whether those companies — perhaps in a bid to stop their subscribers from jumping ship to rivals — colluded to undermine so-called eSIM cards, a technology that could someday allow the owners of smartphones, smartwatches or other devices to change their service provider on their own, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to speak freely about the probe, which has not been made public.

If the U.S. government ultimately determines that AT&T and Verizon harmed competitors or consumers, it could result in major fines or other penalties.

(click here to continue reading Did AT&T and Verizon collude to keep you from switching cellphone carriers? The Justice Department is investigating. – The Washington Post.)

Operative word being “if”…

In the Trump/GOP era of government, corporations are encouraged to run rampant over any rules or laws they don’t like, all that is needed is a nice campaign contribution, and issues miraculously vanish! Poof! 

Written by Seth Anderson

April 22nd, 2018 at 11:20 am

Posted in Business,crime

Tagged with , ,

AT&T ready to cancel landline phone service

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at&t light
at&t

The wiring is in the wall. Err, you know what I meant…

With traditional landline service dwindling to less than 10 percent of Illinois households in its territory, AT&T is pushing legislation in Springfield that, pending Federal Communications Commission approval, would allow it to unplug the aging voice-only network and focus on the wireless and internet-based phone offerings that have supplanted it.

…If it passes, the Illinois telecommunications modernization bill would take effect July 1, giving AT&T the right to cancel the old landline service with 60 days’ notice. Existing customers would have the opportunity to appeal the decision to state regulators.

While AT&T ultimately needs approval from the FCC to abandon a long-standing obligation to maintain its “plain old telephone service,” it has passed similar legislation in 19 of the 21 states where it is the legacy telephone carrier, with California the only other holdout.

AT&T is hoping to have all of the states on board before moving forward at the FCC, La Schiazza said.

A previous measure didn’t get to a vote in Illinois two years ago, but the current version made it through a state Senate committee in March, and La Schiazza is optimistic that with ongoing changes in consumer phone use, sentiment has shifted toward passage.

(click here to continue reading AT&T ready to hang up on traditional landline phone service in Illinois – Chicago Tribune.)

Calumet 5-6969
Calumet 5-6969

POTS lines are more reliable, and at least in my experience, have better audio quality than cellular services. I am also genuinely curious as to how AT&T plans to handle this aspect:

While more than 70 percent of 911 calls come from wireless phones, according to the FCC, they present challenges for emergency personnel to pinpoint location.

Some medical monitoring devices and home alarm systems only work on traditional landlines. AT&T said it will certify that “reliable replacement options” are available before retiring the old network.

Julie Vahling, associate state director of AARP Illinois, said seniors shouldn’t be forced to switch until alternative phone services prove as reliable as traditional landlines.

“I think AT&T’s goal is to put everybody on a wireless service,” Vahling said. “I don’t care if it is 140 years old, (traditional landline service) is the most reliable form of communication that we have right now.”

My building has 2 AT&T landlines connected to the elevator (one is a backup) for emergency calls to the fire department, plus a landline connection to our building’s fire panel. I suppose we’ll have to upgrade this equipment at some time in the future, I wonder how many downtown buildings will have to do so as well? 

Last Of A Dying Breed
Last Of A Dying Breed

Written by Seth Anderson

May 5th, 2017 at 10:51 am

Posted in Business

Tagged with ,

Interactive Voice Systems Try New Consumer Approaches

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Illinois Telephone and Telegraph Co

Earlier today…

 

It’s one thing as a consumer to go through the frustrating experience of calling for customer service and getting lost in a maze of “Press one for…” and “press two for…” and inevitably being sent to the wrong extension, misunderstood by a bot, or simply cut off and forced to repeat the process. But it’s another to encounter it as a reporter trying to get in touch with companies that make these so-called interactive voice-response systems. Each request made to speak with a living, breathing human for this story was met with a recorded instruction to leave a voicemail. In short, IVRs systems practice what they preach. “We purposely designed it to have bad customer service”

Via:
Interactive Voice Systems Try New Consumer Approaches

[automated]

Written by eggplant

August 17th, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with ,

AT&T Helped N.S.A. Spy on an Array of Internet Traffic – The New York Times

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Ex-Lax

Earlier today…

The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013.

Via:
AT&T Helped N.S.A. Spy on an Array of Internet Traffic – The New York Times
[automated]

Written by eggplant

August 15th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , ,

A horrible new PayPal policy opts you into getting robocalls and spam texts

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Take Action With Your Money
Take Action With Your Money, or we’ll call you at dinner…

How insanely misguided!

PayPal users, this is for you.

The payments company is rolling out an update to its user agreement that threatens to bombard you with “autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages” — and worse, by agreeing to the updated terms, you’re immediately opted in.

PayPal can even reach you at phone numbers that you didn’t provide. Through undisclosed means, PayPal says it has the right to contact you on numbers “we have otherwise obtained.”

A PayPal spokesperson said it’s the company’s policy to “honor customers’ requests to decline to receive auto-dialed or prerecorded calls.”

But PayPal’s new terms don’t make that very clear.

“If you do not agree to these amended terms,” the revised document says, “you may close your account within the 30 day period and you will not be bound by the amended terms.”

(click here to continue reading A horrible new PayPal policy opts you into getting robocalls – The Washington Post.)

If this does in fact become policy, and PayPal1 start robocalling, I may have to rip my phone out of the wall. If I start getting spam texts from PayPal2, I may have to join that class action lawsuit that’s being written right now3.

Here’s the offensive language:

You consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained.  We may place such calls or texts to (i) notify you regarding your account; (ii) troubleshoot problems with your account (iii) resolve a dispute; (iv) collect a debt; (v) poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires, (vii) contact you with offers and promotions; or (viii) as otherwise necessary to service your account or enforce this User Agreement, our policies, applicable law, or any other agreement we may have with you. The ways in which you provide us a telephone number include, but are not limited to, providing a telephone number at Account opening, adding a telephone number to your Account at a later time, providing it to one of our employees, or by contacting us from that phone number. If a telephone number provided to us is a mobile telephone number, you consent to receive SMS or text messages at that number. We won’t share your phone number with third parties for their purposes without your consent, but may share your phone numbers with our Affiliates or with our service providers, such as billing or collections companies, who we have contracted with to assist us in pursuing our rights or performing our obligations under this User Agreement, our policies, applicable law, or any other agreement we may have with you. You agree these service providers may also contact you using autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages, as authorized by us to carry out the purposes we have identified above, and not for their own purposes. Standard telephone minute and text charges may apply if we contact you.

(click here to continue reading PayPal .)

Footnotes:
  1. and its parent, EBay []
  2. I barely use the service []
  3. probably []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 4th, 2015 at 8:53 am

Posted in Business

Tagged with ,

Google: Rivals Are Ganging Up and Taking Our Lunch Money

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Alternative Google
Biggus Google

Poor, poor lil’ Google. They are a billion dollar company, and yet they whine like this:

Google Inc. accused rivals Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. of waging an “organized, hostile campaign” against the Internet search giant’s Android mobile phone software, using questionable patents.

“They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices,” Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wrote on a company website. “Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.”

The campaign against Android is being waged “through bogus patents,” Mr. Drummond wrote, adding that “Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on.”

(click here to continue reading Google: Rivals Are Ganging Up – WSJ.com.)

I’m too lazy to write up responses to Google’s questionable, ridiculous arguments, but luckily, smarter folk have already done so. Like John Gruber:

So if Google had acquired the rights to these patents, that would have been OK. But when others acquired them, it’s a “hostile, organized campaign”. It’s OK for Google to undermine Microsoft’s for-pay OS licensing business by giving Android away for free, but it’s not OK for Microsoft to undermine Google’s attempts to give away for free an OS that violates patents belonging to Microsoft?

Or Brad Smith of Microsoft:

Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.

Ride Smarter
Ride Smarter

Google whines some more:

A consortium that included Microsoft and Apple recently paid $4.5 billion for patents auctioned by Nortel, an amount that Google notes was “five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion.”

Take Action With Your Money
Take Action With Your Money

Daring Fireball again:

First, the “estimate” of $1 billion was partially set by Google itself.

Then when the auction actually started, it’s OK for Google to bid over $3.14 billion, but when Apple and Microsoft bid $4.5 billion, that’s “way beyond what they’re really worth”. And if these patents are “bogus”, why was Google willing to pay anything for them, let alone pi billion dollars?

No one other than Nathan Myhrvold and his cronies sees the U.S. patent system as functioning properly, but Google’s hypocrisy here is absurd. Google isn’t arguing against a handful of never-should-have-been-issued software patents. They’re not arguing against patent trolls like Myhrvold and his shell companies like Lodsys — companies that have no products of their own, no actual inventions, just patents for ideas for products. They’re effectively arguing against the idea of the patent system itself, simply because Android violates a bunch of patents held by Google’s competitors. It’s not “patents” that are attacking Android. It’s competing companies whose patents Google has violated — and whose business Android undermines — who are attacking Android.

John Paczkowski adds:

Clearly, the company is taking a new tack here, framing the issue in its own way and, presumably, putting whatever lobbying and legal muscle it has into throwing out roadblocks. To wit, these few lines, also taken from Drummond’s post:

We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means.

I bet you are. Particularly since you’re facing antitrust inquiries into your own core businesses. And in the end, that may be another purpose of this post: To show regulators that Google isn’t always the unstoppable juggernaut it is portrayed to be. Sometimes it’s the victim, or it would like to be viewed that way, especially by the FTC and the tough-talking judge presiding over its patent infringement showdown with Oracle. One last point: If the patents to which Google refers are “bogus,” why bother decrying them at all? Or, for that matter, trying to purchase them in the first place?

(click here to continue reading Google Rails Against Anti-Android Patent Purchases – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.)

CB's Broken Balloons
CB’s Broken Balloons

TechCrunch wonders why Google is so interested in patents now…

As you’ve undoubtedly seen by now, Google decided to go on the offensive today with regard to patents. No, they didn’t go after any company for violating their patents. Nor did they spend billions acquiring new ones. Instead, David Drummond, Google’s SVP and Chief Legal Officer, took to the Google Blog to lash out at Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and others for using “bogus patents” to attack their Android mobile platform.

But why now? In the past, Google has remained fairly mum on the topic. And they certainly weren’t calling out rivals by name. They’ve talked generally about the broken patent system, and even did a post explaining why they were willing to spend big money on the Nortel patents — for defensive purposes. But those approaches haven’t worked. Google is now arguably more vulnerable than they’ve ever been. And the stakes are about to go even higher.

When Google lost the Nortel bidding, they’re believed to have bid north of $4 billion before dropping out. Apple, backing Rockstar Bidco, eventually won with a bid of $4.5 billion. Now a battle for an even bigger treasure of patents looms.

(click here to continue reading Why Did Google Blog About Patents Today? Because The Nortel Loss Was Just The Beginning. | TechCrunch.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 4th, 2011 at 7:38 am

Posted in Apple,Business

Tagged with , ,

Cell Phone Cancer Probably Just Another Hype

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Cell phone-iphile

Cell phones are in the news, as the latest scientific-related worry causer. Our media thrives on such scary stories, whether or not they are factually true or not. I wouldn’t throw out your cellphone just yet…

Basically, the WHO put cell phones into the Group 2B category, meaning they are “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. Aiiiieee! Sounds scary… except that word “possibly”, it turns out, needs to be understood a little more quantitatively.

I poked around some news sites (like CNN and MSNBC), and while they aren’t over-hyping it, in my opinion they aren’t being entirely fair, either. The claims I’ve seen from people linking cell phones to brain cancer make it seem as if the connection is obvious, but the results from the WHO make it clear that’s not the case. There might be a connection, but if there is it’s not terribly clear. I’ll note the studies only appear to cover a time base of ten years; it’s not possible to know what happens after, say 15 or 20 years. Even then, other environmental factors dominate such studies, making teasing out a weak signal very difficult.

You may also wish to note what other things are categorized as Group 2B possible carcinogens, including gasoline, pickled vegetables, and (GASP!) coffee. My opinion here is that while a link between cell phones and brain cancer cannot be ruled out, without a strong correlation and a numerical statement about the odds, it seems very unlikely to me that such a connection is something to worry about. I’m far more worried about the dingus in traffic in front of me gabbing to his friend on his phone and causing an accident than I am about me getting brain cancer from my own.

(click here to continue reading Why I’m (still) not worried about my cell phone hurting my brain | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine.)

Do Not Overreach

Written by Seth Anderson

June 1st, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Posted in health

Tagged with , ,

If It Isn’t Asking Too Much

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If It Isn't Asking Too Much

Telephone booths, London, near Marble Arch. Mobile phones haven’t completely taken over Britain. You’d be hard pressed to find this many working public telephones in Chicago.

I’ve added about another 20 photos to my London Flickr set, if you’re interested.

Written by Seth Anderson

January 18th, 2011 at 10:18 am

Posted in Photography

Tagged with ,

We are Apple We Don’t Even Own Suits

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Loved this quote about wardrobe choice in the middle of a long, interesting article about the fractious relationship between Apple and AT&T1. I’ve had a contract with Verizon previously, and the restrictions Verizon placed on the phone were ridiculous.

Topic of the Day

Looking back, it’s clear that the cracks in the Apple-AT&T relationship began forming as soon as Jobs announced the iPhone in January 2007. It was the first time the public got to see the long-rumored device — and, shockingly, the first time AT&T’s board of directors saw it as well. (Apple refused to show the phone to all but a handful of top AT&T execs before the launch.) The split only deepened from there. Apple and AT&T have bickered about how the iPhone was to be displayed in AT&T’s stores: Apple insisted the phone be presented on its own display stand, away from other models. They have even fought about wardrobe: When an AT&T representative suggested to one of Jobs’ deputies that the Apple CEO wear a suit to meet with AT&T’s board of directors, he was told, “We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits.”

(click to continue reading Bad Connection: Inside the iPhone Network Meltdown | Magazine.)

Also, kudos to Steve Jobs for telling the AT&T hack to piss off. Apple isn’t a servant to AT&T, if anything, they are equals, and one could actually argue that Apple is in the dominant position.

Solipsistic note – was recently at a high level meeting, and I wore a suit, sans necktie, and was happy when the room full of execs we met were all in business casual attire, and not a suit to be found. I don’t mind having to wear a suit actually, as long as I don’t have to put on a tie.

Footnotes:
  1. SBC []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 19th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Apple,Business

Tagged with , , ,

Microsoft Kills Kin Quickly

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Speaking of product launches, the Microsoft Kin has been discontinued after a whopping two months in the marketplace. Yikes. Sales must have been freaking horrible. Microsoft spent a lot of money developing Kin, and a lot of money advertising it. Who is getting fired tomorrow? Ballmer?

Ready for a scotch

Amid anemic sales, Microsoft has decided to halt work on its Kin phone less than two months after the product hit the market. The social media-oriented phone will not make its planned European debut and Microsoft is shifting the entire Kin team to work on Windows Phone 7, the Microsoft smartphone operating system due out later this year. Andy Lees, who heads up the company’s cell phone efforts announced the move to Microsoft workers earlier on Wednesday, according to a source close to the company.

Microsoft confirmed the move in a statement to CNET.

“We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned,” the company said. “Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.” The Kin, which made its debut just two months ago at an event in San Francisco, was the result of several years of work by Microsoft and stemmed from its 2008 acquisition of Sidekick maker Danger. However, despite a few innovative features including streaming music and a Web-based companion site, the Kin phones were criticized for missing key features, such as a calendar, as well as because the monthly fees for the phone were as high as more capable smartphones, such as the iPhone and Android-based devices.

(click to continue reading Microsoft pulls the plug on Kin | Beyond Binary – CNET News.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 30th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Posted in Business

Tagged with , , ,

iPhone 4 sold like gangbusters

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Request Cannot Be Processed

Unfortunately, the goobers at AT&T were overwhelmed with the amount of pre-orders, and couldn’t handle 600,000 hits on their servers. Amazing, really, how poor AT&T’s website is, especially since this is the fourth iPhone they’ve sold. Didn’t they remember what happened for versions 1,2, and 3? I tried to pre-order my iPhone 4 upgrade about 50 times yesterday, and never got very far in the process.

This morning around 9, I tried a last time, and all went smoothly, if a little slowly. I can’t really be mad, the thing is just a fracking gadget, but still, I wasted a lot of time repeatedly entering my ten digit phone number, my billing zip code, and the last four digits of my Social Security number, only to watch the gophers at AT&T churn, and fail to process the request.

Apple Inc. said it took pre-orders for more than 600,000 of its new iPhone 4 on its first day of availability, amid strong demand that overwhelmed computer systems and resulted in “many order and approval system malfunctions.”

The company said “many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.”

AT&T Inc. said Wednesday it had stopped taking advance orders for the iPhone 4 just one day after orders started, citing inventory issues and unexpectedly high demand.

The carrier is suspending the orders “in order to fulfill the orders we’ve already received,” it said in a statement. It might resume taking pre-orders before the June 24 launch, depending on inventory, AT&T added.

The suspension comes a day after a crush of traffic paralyzed AT&T and Apple’s Web sites on the first day of pre-orders, leaving many unable to reserve the new iPhone ahead of time while some customers inadvertently ended up on others’ account pages.

(click to continue reading Apple, AT&T Cite Record iPhone Sales – WSJ.com.)

Cell phone-iphile

Written by Seth Anderson

June 16th, 2010 at 10:22 am

Posted in Apple

Tagged with ,

FCC Wants to Regulate Broadband

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Not surprising, especially after the court ruling saying the FCC was over-stepping its authority.

Computer Consultants

F.C.C. Is Expected to Make Push to Regulate Broadband – NYTimes.com: ” The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission will try to regulate broadband Internet service despite a recent court ruling that the commission had limited powers to do so.

Two F.C.C. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, will announce Thursday that the commission considers broadband service a sort of hybrid between an information service and a utility and that it has sufficient power to regulate Internet traffic under existing law.

The F.C.C. decision is likely to be seen as a victory for content companies like Amazon.com and Google, the owner of YouTube, which do not want Internet service providers to have the power to charge them for access to customers or for faster download speeds.

The phone and cable companies that provide Internet service have said they have no plans to do so, but that could change.

(click to continue reading F.C.C. Is Expected to Make Push to Regulate Broadband – NYTimes.com.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if a telecom corporation decided to step up their plans to charge Google or similar heavy consumers of bandwidth extra. Why not test it out before the FCC says they cannot do so? Plus once such a tiered setup exists, there would be some inertia against changing it.

On Thursday, Mr. Genachowski is expected to assert that the agency, under its powers to regulate phone service, is permitted to require broadband service providers to follow certain transmission guidelines, including safeguarding privacy, not discriminating against certain types of content providers, offering service to rural customers at the same rate as urban customers and providing access to people with disabilities.

His decision would appear to have the backing of some important lawmakers.

On Wednesday Representative Henry A. Waxman and Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the chairmen of the House and Senate committees that oversee the F.C.C. wrote to him saying, “it is essential for the commission to have oversight over these aspects of broadband policy” and that they were prepared to consider legislation to provide it. The F.C.C. apparently will not seek to enforce the vast authority it has over telephone utilities in which it can regulate rates.

Consumer groups hailed the F.C.C.’s intentions after word of Mr. Genachowski’s planned announcement leaked Wednesday.

Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, which promotes open Internet policies, called it “a welcome announcement” that would help protect consumers and expand broadband access and adoption in the United States.

Even after the F.C.C. lays out its authority, there are still potential speed bumps in carrying out its policy. The five-member commission must vote on the approach, which will be put out for public comment and revision before final rules are set. The process could take months and may be subject to legal challenges.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 6th, 2010 at 9:19 am

Posted in government

Tagged with , , ,

Reading Around on February 23rd through February 24th

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Leaning in the Wind - Ilford Delta

A few interesting links collected February 23rd through February 24th:

Written by swanksalot

February 24th, 2010 at 1:01 pm