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11 Feb 2012 15:04


Politics, Tech: The official 3G dead-zone map, courtesy of the FCC

The Official 3G Deadzone Map, Courtesy of the FCC

  • FCC announces creation of mobility fund: In a press release Friday morning, the FCC reaffirmed its commitment to increasing broadband and mobile coverage in rural areas. The agency announced the creation of a new Mobility Fund, a new addition to the Connect America Fund, created to “accelerate our nation’s ongoing efforts to close gaps in mobile wireless service.” Included in the press release was a reminder that the agency will soon host a $300 million reverse auction, with the winner receiving $300 million to provide rural broadband coverage. They also revealed an interactive map of the nation’s worst coverage areas, created with online map-making tool MapBoxsource

31 Dec 2011 11:11


Offbeat: Awesome: Random dude inherits Hollywood star’s old cell phone number

  • A few weeks old, but too good not to post: What happens when you get a new cell phone previously owned by a well-connected Hollywood actor? That’s what happened to a middle-aged dude named Bob Gray (center), who moved to California and got a new cell phone with his girlfriend Liza Foster (right). It was obvious that someone famous owned the number before him — because he kept getting invited to parties, including Paris Hilton’s birthday party. In a fitting end to this Happy Madison-like tale, Adam Sandler himself called the number and told Gray he inherited the cell phone number of Nick Swardson, a regular in Sandler’s movies who most recently starred in “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.” (Too bad it wasn’t like Sean Penn, but not bad either way.) Gray plans to write a screenplay about this, because … um, wouldn’t you? source

12 Oct 2011 20:34


Tech: iPhone owners minorly annoyed; BlackBerry owners pissed off

  • bad iPhone and iPad owners had some issues installing iOS version 5, released today, on their new devices, probably due to mass-install glut. (We had an issue with the install briefly — we threw it on our non-jailbroken iPad — but we got it to work on the second try.)
  • worse However, compared to the issues that BlackBerry owners have had over the past couple of days, that was cake. RIM says that the rolling blackouts were caused by a “core switch failure,” whatever that means. Oh no, what are all the policy wonks going to do!? source

16 Aug 2011 20:10


Tech, World: A growing market: Kenyans buying $80 Android phones left and right

  • This isn’t the fastest Android phone you can buy. Nor does it have the largest screen — in fact, at 2.8 inches, it’s downright tiny. And battery life is reportedly so short that it can cause problems for those without nearby electrical sources. But the Huawei IDEOS has a major advantage for Kenyan consumers — it costs just $80 without a contract. The result? In a country where 4 in 10 people live on less than $2 per day, they’ve sold in the hundreds of thousands. The moral of the story? There is a huge market in the developing world for phones like these — region-specific apps, too. Other companies, including Apple, are rumored to be trying for this market. But can they hit an $80 price point with their phones? That’s the real question. source

05 Jul 2011 20:32


Tech, World: Data roaming price caps in Europe don’t go far enough

  • 2.23 the average cost, per megabyte, of roaming data charges throughout Europe — $3.22 a meg!
  • 0.90 the price cap currently being proposed, also per meg, for data usage — starting in July 2012
  • 0.50 the price cap suggested after by 2014 … which is way lower only in context source
  • » To put this in perspective: If you hop on your iPhone and reload this page roughly 80 times, that’s about a megabyte. If you hop on Pandora and listen to half of a two-minute Ramones song, that’s about a megabyte. When AT&T implemented its capped data plan a year ago, many people were upset about the 2 gig data cap for $25 dollars. Doing the math, that plan is roughly 82 megabytes per dollar. If the half-Euro-per-megabyte roaming price cuts in Europe take hold, those 82 megabytes would cost around $59 U.S. dollars, considering current exchange rates. Now multiply that by 25. Exactly our point.

31 May 2011 13:55


Tech: Yeah, that’s scary: WHO calls cell phones “carcinogenic hazard”

  • The World Health Organization has a new study out that says cell phones are possibly carcinogenic to humans — they’re in the same class as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. They based their findings on a number of peer-reviewed studies on cell-phone safety. Long-term effects from cell phone radiation remain unknown, but research suggests that cell phone radiation is non-ionizing — similar to a very low-powered microwave. “What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain,” notes Dr. Keith Black, who leads the neurology department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He notes that beyond brain cancer, this could also cause memory problems because we hold cell phones close to the memory temporal lobes. Looks like it’s time to break out the earbuds. (photo via ElvertBarnes‘ Flickr page) source

20 May 2011 16:28


Offbeat: Today in things you should be more careful about

  • Here’s an idea: Don’t pocket dial 911 when you’re in the middle of a drug deal. That’s what a man in Gainesville, Georgia did. He was working the late shift at a Waffle House and made a drug deal on the clock — which ended up being overheard by the 911 operator. An officer was dispatched, found the phone in the guy’s pocket, and realized he pocket dialed 911. Know what else the officer found in the guy’s pocket? Prescription pills. Yeah, he got charged with drug possession. source

08 Mar 2011 10:50


Biz: Could mobile also-rans T-Mobile and Sprint merge? It’s a possibility

  • who T-Mobile, the U.S. mobile carrier owned by Deutsche Telekom, is a fourth-place also-ran in the cell phone market, one that Apple doesn’t even think about.
  • what There are rumors that Deutsche Telekom will sell T-Mobile to Sprint, the third-largest mobile company, in exchange for a stake in the combined company.
  • why While the deal isn’t set in stone and could fall through, a combined company would make it easier for the two companies to build more infrastructure. source

11 Jan 2011 10:49


Tech: Google Goggles: Tough Sudoku puzzles now thing of the past

  • When IBM defeated chess, they needed a supercomputer. According to this promotional clip for Google Goggles, all Google needs to topple Sudoku is a cell phone. Train rides are about to get a heckuva lot more boring, guys. source

05 Jan 2011 10:36


Tech: MetroPCS decides to ensure nobody switches to their service

  • december The FCC approves new net-neutrality rules that give more power to mobile providers while mostly blocking content limitations for landline users. Basically nobody liked the plan.
  • january Just a few days into the new year, MetroPCS is ready to try out the new policy with a tiered data system that limits users’ access to non-YouTube video and audio content on the lowest tier. source