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Tech Giants Try to Protect Net Neutrality – And You Can Too

Tech Giants Try to Protect Net Neutrality – And You Can Too

net neutrality

The FCC wants to make changes to the net neutrality rules so that you can’t access anything and everything.  Which is essentially what the internet is, right?  So why is the FCC wanting to make these changes?  The simple answer – it appears to be driven by money.  I will get to that in a moment, though.  But first, I’ll explain a little bit about net neutrality.  What is it?  Well, by definition: “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”  And in simple terms it means access to all content without any kind of stipulation.

Right now, we have net neutrality.  But if the FCC has it’s way, we won’t.  Essentially what they are proposing is for consumers to have to pay for certain content.  For example, if you want to access a certain YouTube video or channel, or maybe just even access to YouTube itself, you will have to pay more.  Who does this benefit exactly?  Well.. you could make the argument that it benefits everyone but the consumer.  Mostly, however, it’s going to benefit the ISP.  Because you now have to pay them for certain content.  Think of it like cable TV, if you want HBO you have to pay extra for it.

net neutrality

Further to this idea, actual companies can pay the FCC to block other companies.  Let’s say you’ve started a company, and YouTube is your rival.  … Read the rest

Huh? Microsoft Plans to Use White Space Technology to Deliver Internet

Huh? Microsoft Plans to Use White Space Technology to Deliver Internet

microsoft rural broadband

Microsoft is planning on using TV frequencies in order to provide people in the rural parts of the country with internet.  But, how, you ask?  I’m not really sure that I get it, but I’ll do my best to explain.  They are going to take the white space and send broadband technology through said white space, using unused TV channels.  Again, you are asking how this works?  Let’s back up for a moment.  Back in the day, TV was broadcast through the air, and those channels actually still exist. In between those channels, however, is what is known as white space. While this might sound confusing to you, it seems that Microsoft has figured out a way to use this technology.  Which is incredible!

According to Gizmodo, “Enterprising scientists have figured out how to turn that white space into a sort of super wi-fi and broadcast internet service to a many miles-wide radius. What’s extra special is that, unlike wi-fi or cellular service, the stronger TV signal can penetrate buildings and other obstacles. This makes it ideal for rural areas, where conventional broadband service is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive.”  Not only is Microsoft able to do this, it even might be “better” than wifi or cellular data in some cases.  The whole “can you hear me now?” concept might be one of the past.

microsoft pilot

Microsoft plans on rolling this out in 12 states including New York and Virginia.  So now you know how the technology works, but you’re probably wondering how it works for consumers.  … Read the rest

Waze Update for iOS Finally Includes Voice Recording Options

Waze Update for iOS Finally Includes Voice Recording Options

waze voice recorder

If you’re a Waze user, and you have an iPhone, you will be happy to hear about their latest update.  Waze now allows iOS users to record their voice as part of the commands within the app.  This was previously only available to Android users.  Which likely has iOS users rejoicing.  When I first read about this feature, I was honestly confused.  I actually thought that Waze was promoting the use of your cell phone while driving.  But that’s not the case.  This feature allows you to pre-record your voice giving specific instructions, which then you hear when you are driving.  Pre-recording is what I would like to emphasize.

I typically find these kinds of app updates to be a bit much.  I think that the focus should be on improving the app, and not necessarily adding features to make it more interesting.  But I will admit when I am wrong, and this is one case.  How it works is this – you can pre-record something into Waze.  For example, if there is a speed trap reported ahead, you can record a customized message.  Why I like this is because I would include something funny.  Also note, that I have a really bad memory so by the time this would actually happen, it’s likely that I would have forgotten it.  For example, instead of saying “a speed trap has been reported ahead”, I might say something like “slow down and watch out for the 5-0”.  … Read the rest

Ticketmaster Says “Good-Bye” to Paper Tickets and “Hello” to New Tech

Ticketmaster Says “Good-Bye” to Paper Tickets and “Hello” to New Tech

yankees tickets

I recently attended a baseball game, and I was extremely surprised about two things:

  1. How long the lines were to get into the game.  We arrived very close to the first pitch, and the line ups were still down the street, and;
  2. That I was issued a paper ticket.  It’s 2017, right?

Further to that second point, the ticket specifically said that you must present the paper ticket.  I was thinking that I could put it on my phone and show that to them at the gate, but no.  I’m a bit paranoid and assumed I was going to lose the tickets also.  It was a full size piece of paper!  I had to fold it into four (or more), which means you can’t save it as a keepsake.  Unless you reprint the originals.  But I’m skirting around the topic of this article.  Which is – paper tickets may be a thing of the past.  Which might actually solve the two problems I listed above.

Ticketmaster has launched a new service called Presence.  The aim of the system is to help reduce ticket fraud.  But the off-shoot benefits include those I’ve listed above.  What exactly does Presence do? It’s essentially a way for the venue to verify that you are the owner of the ticket.  If I sell my tickets to today’s baseball game to someone else, with this system, the tickets are transferred to their smartphone.  It is based on the fact that each smartphone is unique.  … Read the rest

Changing the System? By 2019 All Volvo’s will be Electric or a Hybrid

Changing the System? By 2019 All Volvo’s will be Electric or a Hybrid

volvo electric car

Technology has changed the way we operate our daily lives.  Literally everything we do revolves around technology in some way or another.  Or at least it does in my life.  We talk about flying cars, and we also talk about driver-less cars – both as the next frontier.  But what we don’t talk about as much is the cars themselves.  Meaning – how will the cars of the future function?  For many of you, your trip to work this morning involved some kind of transportation.  And my guess is that the vehicle you drove or road in was powered by gasoline.  My question for you is, will the cars of the future rely on gasoline?

Let me take a step back for a moment.  Electric cars have been around for awhile now.  Cities try to promote their use by providing charging stations at publicly run facilities.  But, in my opinion, it’s not having the same kind of impact that it could have.  These are small incentives that aren’t going to make a difference in the grand scheme of things.  In order to get more people to buy more electric cars, there have to be more cars available.  More options.  Better cars also.  For people like me, who are big time commuters, relying on electricity alone isn’t going to be enough.

Volvo has announced that by 2019 all of their cars will either be 100% electric, or a hybrid model.  This is big news.  … Read the rest

Another Ransomware Attack – Should You Be Worried?

Another Ransomware Attack – Should You Be Worried?

ransomware

It’s happening again.  Another ransomware attack, but this time it seems to be localized to Europe.  More specifically Russia and the Ukraine.  Yes, some are being affected in the United States, but it is definitely affecting airports in Europe.  The attack known as Petya is bigger than WannaCry.  Similar to that attack, these guys are demanding $300 worth of Bitcoin in order to hand over your files.  So it definitely has the same markings of WannaCry.  But what is most troubling is that it’s affecting airports, electricity grids, banks, and even the military.

The Director of the Boryspyl Airport in Ukraine released a statement claiming that this is highly irregular.  He is also urging people to remain calm and that they can find out more information about their departures within the terminals.  How scary is that though?  I’m not talking about whether or not you’ll be able to catch your flight on time.  I’m talking about what else this could mean?  What else is happening within the airport, or within their systems?  I’m not going to use this as an opportunity to come up with scare tactics, but come on.  You can’t help but make that leap.

It’s also scary that it’s targeting the military and electricity grids.  Sure, attacking your bank account isn’t great, but these are matters of national security.  What kinds of information are they able to get from the military?  And if they are successful in getting information from the military, who might they be able to give that to?… Read the rest

Underwater Drone Will Help You Explore the Deep Sea

Underwater Drone Will Help You Explore the Deep Sea

blueye pioneer

I have always been super fascinated by the ocean.  I mean all aspects of it.  From boating, to enjoying it on a beach, to even watching underwater documentaries.  Any time there’s a new “planet earth” type documentary released, I immediately gobble it up. Well, when my schedule permits.  I am pretty busy these days.  Where am I going with this all too personal information?  I am also always fascinated by how these documentaries are created.  They must spend so much money just in the filming.  And sometimes it has to be very precise.  I recently watched a documentary where they discovered a new species that had never been seen before.  What are the chances of that? My point is, that you need the right equipment and lighting etc.

Which brings me to this – you can now buy an underwater drone for $3,000.  More specifically it bridges the gap between a professional grade remote operated vehicle (ROV) and remote control toys.  The professional ROV’s can cost anywhere between $5,000 – $10,000.  The $3,000 version is known as the Blueye Pioneer, and can dive up to 150 meters.  Which is much farther than a human SCUBA diver.  It comes with an HD camera designed to work in low light situations.  And it provides low-latency video streaming.

While I don’t think I would ever use one for my own underwater exploration, I’m extremely drawn to this concept. Why?  Because you can use your smartphone or a video game controller to control the device!… Read the rest