With the kind of cagey phrasing found in many such electronics approval applications, Google describes a device that some are taking to be the successor to its discontinued Nexus Q thus: "The device functions as a media player." From the article: "Some of the specs of the device includes a 2.4GHz WiFi b/g/n connectivity. The FCC report does not contain test photos so we do not know what the device looks like. It is likely that the H840 will support Google Play Music All Access and will have similar functionality as a Sonos media player that can be connected to external speakers."
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New submitter SessionExpired writes "Five 9th graders from Denmark have shown that garden cress won't germinate when placed near a router (Google Translation of Danish original). Article text is in Danish, but the pictures illustrate their results. The exact mechanism is still unknown (Danish original), but experts have shown interest in reproducing the experiment."
New submitter WillgasM writes "A bit of good news for American travelers, according to the New York Times: 'After years of criticism of the wireless service on its trains, Amtrak announced on Thursday that it had upgraded its cellular-based Wi-Fi using broadband technologies that will improve the speed and reliability of the Internet in its passenger cars.' So far the service has been rolled out on the high-speed Acela lines and a few routes in California, but they hope to have the rest of their trains upgraded by the end of Summer. We're still an order of magnitude away from high-speed rails in other countries, but it's nice to know someone's trying."
GovTechGuy writes "With next year's reverse auction of TV spectrum not expected to sate the wireless industry's growing demand for mobile broadband, lawmakers are turning up the heat on the Obama administration to auction the 1755-1780 MHz band, which is considered especially desirable for mobile phone use. However, the Pentagon and other federal agencies are already using those airwaves for everything from flying drones and surveillance to satellites and air combat training. They say it would take ten years and $18 billion just to vacate the band so it can be sold."
Lucas123 writes "Researchers are developing machine-to-machine (M2M) communication technology that allows cars to exchange data with each other, enabling vehicles to know what the cars all around them are doing, and perhaps, where they're going. Intel is working with National Taiwan University on M2M connectivity, an idea came from caravanning — an available, but-not-yet-deployed technology that uses direct line of site infrared (IR) and a range finder in order to automatically adjust the speed of cars so they can travel at a measured distance from each other. In other words, they're electronically tethered to one another. Now, imagine a group of cars traveling down the road together as an ad hoc network, each one aware of the location, any sudden actions or even the travel route of other vehicles as uploaded to the cloud from a GPS device. 'We're even imagining in the future cars would be able to ask other cars, "Hey, can I cut into your lane?" Then the other car would let you in,' said Jennifer Healey, a research scientist with Intel."
New submitter tomservo84 writes "It seems some people in the House of Reps have their heads screwed on straight. A bill would 'make it permanently legal for consumers to unlock their mobile devices, and consumers would not be required to obtain permission from their carrier before switching to a new carrier.' 'This bill reflects the way we use this technology in our everyday lives,' Rep. Lofgren said. 'Americans should not be subject to fines and criminal liability for merely unlocking devices and media they legally purchased. If consumers are not violating copyright or some other law, there's little reason to hold back the benefits of unlocking so people can continue using their devices.' Now, what chance does this have of actually passing?"
mask.of.sanity writes "A researcher has found that Apple user locations can be potentially determined by tapping into Apple Maps and he has created a Python tool to make the process easier. iSniff GPS accesses Apple's database of wireless access points, which is collected by iPhones and iPads that have GPS and Wi-Fi location services enabled. Apple uses this crowd-sourced data to run its location services; however, the location database is not meant to be public. You can download the tool via Giuthub."
An anonymous reader writes with a bit from the Asbury Park Press: "'Devastated and wiped out by superstorm Sandy, Verizon has no plans to rebuild its copper-line telephone network in Mantoloking. Instead, Verizon says Mantoloking is the first town in New Jersey, and one of the few areas in the country, to have a new service called Verizon Voice Link. Essentially, it connects your home's wired and cordless telephones to the Verizon Wireless network.' So no copper or fiber to a fairly densely populated area. Comcast will now be the only voice/data option with copper to the area."
itwbennett writes "According to a study (PDF) by the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, restricting the ability of Verizon Wireless and AT&T to bid in upcoming spectrum auctions would drive down the bidding during the auction, and could cost the U.S. treasury as much as $12 billion. Even a partial restriction of bids by Verizon and AT&T could have a significant impact on auction revenues, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a co-author of the Georgetown study. Matt Wood, policy director at digital rights group Free Press, fired back, saying 'No one is talking about completely barring AT&T and Verizon from the incentive auction. Sensible people are talking about making sure that more than two companies have a chance at obtaining spectrum. The fact that these duopolists hired economists to parrot the companies' own talking points isn't really that newsworthy.'"
gnujoshua writes "You may recall that last Fall, the LulzBot AO-100 3D printer was awarded the use of the Free Software Foundation's Respects Your Freedom certification mark. Today, the FSF announced certification of the ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB, Wireless N USB Adapter, which uses the Atheros ARAR9271 chip. The FSF's RYF certification requirements are focused on the software (not the hardware designs) of a product, which in this case was primarily the device firmware and ath9k-htc module in the Linux-libre kernel. (Disclosure: I work for the FSF.) There's also a cool story that is within this story... which is that the firmware for the Atheros AR9271 chipset was released as a result of a small device seller (ThinkPenguin) striking a deal with a large electronic device manufacturer (Qualcomm Atheros) to build a WLAN USB adapter that shipped with 100% free software firmware. This deal was possible largely because two motivated Qualcomm Atheros employees, Adrian Chadd and Luis Rodriguez, made the internal-push to get the firmware released as free software."
coondoggie writes "Even the often far-reaching researchers at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) seems to think this one is a stretch: Develop what's known as mobile ad-hoc wireless technology that lets 1000-5000 nodes connect simultaneously and securely in the field. For the past 20 years, researchers have unsuccessfully used Internet-based concepts in attempts to significantly scale mobile ad hoc networks, DARPA said. A constraint with current examples is they can only scale to around 50 nodes before network services become ineffective."
symbolset writes "The Wall Street Journal and others are reporting that longtime telecomm lobbyist Tom Wheeler will be nominated to head the Federal Communications Commission. According to the LA Times: 'Wheeler is a former president of the National Cable Television Assn. and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Assn. Despite his close ties to industries he will soon regulate, some media watchdogs are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. "As someone who has known Tom for years, I believe that he will be an independent, proactive chairman," said Gigi B. Sohn, president and chief executive of Public Knowledge, adding that she has "no doubt that Tom will have an open door and an open mind, and that ultimately his decisions will be based on what he genuinely believes is best for the public interest, not any particular industry."'"
jfruh writes "One of the hooks Microsoft has used to get developers to build apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 has been pubCenter, an ad network that's easy to add to apps and provides revenue back to publishers. But many developers found that on April 1 that revenue abruptly dropped by an order of magnitude, with most potential ad impressions going unsold; one developer reported only 160,000 ads served to 60 million requests, a fill rate of less than 0.3%. Since many of the ads before April 1 had been for Bing, this may be a sign that Microsoft is no longer willing to subsidize its developers — and that advertisers aren't that interested in buying ads in Windows 8 apps."
hypnosec writes with word that the OpenWRT team a few days ago released the final version of the project's newest iteration, version 12.09 (codenamed "Attitude Adjustment"). "The final version doesn't support Linux 2.4, because of which the distribution wouldn't run on old router models, for example the Linksys WRT54G models, which have 16MB of RAM and CPUs clocked at 200MHz. The distribution is now based on Linux 3.3 and there is good news for the Raspberry Pi fans as the distribution now supports the credit card-sized computer, along with Ramips routers."
zacharye writes "Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday ordered UNcarrier T-Mobile to correct 'deceptive advertising that promised consumers no annual contracts while carrying hidden charges for early termination of phone plans.' T-Mobile, which recently did away with standard cell phone service contracts and typical smartphone subsidies, is accused of misleading consumers by advertising no-contract wireless plans despite requiring that customers sign an agreement that makes them responsible for the full cost of their handsets should they cancel service prematurely ..."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft is putting in real Wi-Fi hardware hotspots inside some copies of the latest issue of Forbes magazine. The unique Office 365 promotion was revealed in a post on the Slickdeals.net message board. The WiFi router, when activated, offers 15 days of free WiFi service via T-Mobile's network on up to five devices at once." Which is more impressive: Wi-Fi hotspot in 2013, or E-ink display in 2008?
whoever57 writes "Prime Minister David Cameron is proposing that porn should not be available through WiFi hotspots in public areas. Exactly how this will be implemented has not been identified, even to the extent of whether the ISP or the hotspot operator should implement the blocking. From the article: ' The Prime Minister said: “We are promoting good, clean, WiFi in local cafes and elsewhere to make sure that people have confidence in public WiFi systems so that they are not going to see things they shouldn’t.” His intervention comes after a long-running campaign from children’s charities to ensure a blanket ban on unacceptable sites on public WiFi networks.'"
antdude writes "BoingBoing reports on why it's 'so hard to make a phone call in emergency situations.' Quoting: '[The thing about] the radios is that they have different sizes of cells. You've got regular cells and then smaller sub-cells. You also have larger overlay macro-cells that are really big. They try to handle you within the small cell you're closest to. But it's a trade off between capacity — they'd like to have lots of small cells for that — and coverage — they don't want to put 100k small cells everywhere. So you might have a cell that covers a mile ara and then smaller cells within that that handle most of the traffic. ... In the end, it does come down to trade-offs. That's true of any network. You're interested in coverage first and then capacity. If you wanted to guarantee that a network never had an outage your capital investment would have to go up orders of magnitude beyond anything that is rational. So each network is trying to invest their budget in ways that make network appear to perform better. The cost of providing temporary extra capacity for the Boston Marathon, that's something that's in the budget and they plan for that event. But when you get something unexpected like a terrorist event, or an earthquake, or damage from a hurricane or tornado, then you have trade offs between capital and how robust your network is. Every time you have an event people say, "Oh, they didn't invest enough." But you look at New York City after Hurricane Sandy and Southern Manhattan was under 6 feet of water — all the buried infrastructure was lost.'"
chicksdaddy writes "The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday calling on the federal government to take action to stem an epidemic of unpatched and insecure Android mobile devices – declaring the sea of unpatched and vulnerable phones and tablets 'defective and unreasonably dangerous.' The civil liberties group's complaint for injunctive relief with the FTC (PDF), notes that 'major wireless carriers have sold millions of Android smartphones to consumers' but that 'the vast majority of these devices rarely receive software security updates.' The ACLU says carriers leave their customers vulnerable to malware and spear phishing attacks that can be used to record or transmit information on the device to' third parties. 'A significant number of consumers are using smartphones running a version of the Android operating system with known, exploitable security vulnerabilities for which fixes have been published by Google, but have not been distributed to consumers' smartphones by the wireless carriers and their handset manufacturer partners,' the ACLU said. Android devices now account for close to 70 percent of new mobile devices sold. The porous security of many of those devices has become a topic of concern. The latest data from Google highlights the challenge facing the company, with just over 25% of Android users running versions 4.1 or 4.2 – the latest versions of the OS, dubbed 'Jelly Bean,' more than six months after its release. In contrast, 40% of Android users are still running the 'Gingerbread' release – versions 2.3.3 through 2.3.7, a two year-old version of the operating system that has known security vulnerabilities."
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Motherboard about the immediate aftermath of yesterday's bomb attack in Boston, which attempts to explain the (unsurprisingly) poor accessibility of the cellular network after the blasts: "Gut instinct suggests that the network must've been overloaded with people trying to find loved ones. At first, the Associated Press said it was a concerted effort to prevent any remote detonators from being used, citing a law enforcement official. After some disputed that report, the AP reversed its report, citing officials from Verizon and Sprint who said they'd never had a request to shut down the network, and who blamed slowdowns on heavy load. (Motherboard's Derek Mead was able to send text messages to both his sister and her boyfriend, who were very near the finish line, shortly after the bombing, which suggests that networks were never totally shut down. Still, shutting down cell phone networks to prevent remote detonation wouldn't be without precedent: It is a common tactic in Pakistan, where bombings happen with regularity.)"