Verizon outbids AT&T for nationwide “5G” spectrum

2017.05.12 03

Verizon has outbid AT&T to buy spectrum-holding company Straight Path Communications for $3.1 billion after “an unusually intense bidding war” between the top two wireless carriers in the US, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

4G LTE is still the dominant cellular technology in the US, making extensive use of low-band frequencies below 1GHz. The low-band spectrum is highly desirable because of its usefulness in covering long distances and penetrating obstacles such as building walls. But there’s only so much low-band spectrum to go around, and carriers and regulators are turning to higher-frequency bands for new 5G networks that are supposed to dramatically increase data speeds.

Verizon outbids AT&T for nationwide “5G” spectrum

Tech Giants Team to Battle Terrorism Online

2016-12-28-07

Facebook has teamed up with Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to fight the proliferation of terrorist content on the Web. The tech giants will create a shared industry database of hashes for violent terrorist imagery, terrorist recruitment videos, or images they have removed from their services.

They may use these shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on their platforms. Hashes to be shared will apply to content that’s most likely to violate all the companies’ content policies.

“Each one of the companies that is part of this agreement has its own specific definitions, practices and processes in place for governments to make requests to them for user data and to remove content,” YouTube explained in policy notes provided to TechNewsWorld by company rep Stephanie Shih. “Any such requests for information will be routed through each company to handle as they normally do per its individual policies and procedures.”

No personally identifiable information will be shared. There will be no automated takedowns of terrorism-related content. Each company will retain its own process for dealing with appeals against its removal of content.

The four will apply their own transparency and review practices when responding to any government requests.

Tech Giants Team to Battle Terrorism Online

Traversing the Social Media Minefield

2016-12-28-05

Mainly because of the amount of money they bring in, many people expect celebrities and other prominent figures to have thicker skins than the average Jane or Joe. However — as evidenced by the numbers of celebrities who’ve forsaken social media, or who have handed the keys to their accounts to their PR teams — fame and fortune are not effective defenses against an all-out assault by faceless trolls.

Saturday Night Live cast member Leslie Jones temporarily unplugged her Twitter account after being bombarded by racist and sexist attacks. Girls star Lena Dunham quit Twitter after being body shamed and verbally abused. Filmmaker Joss Whedon fled Twitter last year, after being targeted with verbal abuse for his portrayal of Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Count the likes of Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Jennifer Lawrence among the celebs who simply don’t care to join social network, as least not using their given names. And Sia doesn’t even want the public to get a good look at her face.

Some of the prominent celebs to speak about social media’s potential for inflicting harm include Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and Keira Knight, who has said that sharing with the public opens you up to “a lot of criticism and a lot of people telling you they hate you.”

Traversing the Social Media Minefield

Google Drive Search Just Got a Lot Smarter

2016-09-21-12

Google Drive is making finding your documents a lot easier and faster by unleashing the full power of the Google search engine. You can now search the way you talk, get spelling corrected, and more.

Drive’s update, starting to roll out today, includes Google Search’s Natural Language Processing, which lets you search with natural phrasing. For example, you can type things like “find my budget spreadsheet from last December” instead of trying to remember what you named it. You can also narrow down results with phrases like “show me presentations from [person],” so you can quickly find everything they’ve shared with you. Drive also has an autocorrect feature now that suggests search terms that you may have misspelled. Other features of the update include a way to split documents into multiple columns in Docs, and Drive will now save an original copy of any file you convert and edit in Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

Google Drive Search Just Got a Lot Smarter

Dark Sky, the Up-to-the-Minute Weather App, Now Works In Your Browser

2016-09-21-11

Web: Dark Sky is one of the coolest weather apps, providing minute-by-minute weather tracking. Up until now, it’s only been available on iOS or Android phones, but now everyone can finally use it on the web.

The website lets you explore the weather around you in a bit more detail than you can find on your phone. You can look ahead at your forecast to see tons of details about the weather in the near future like temperature, humidity, wind, pressure, and more. The company has also added some interesting interactive weather maps to the web version, so you can explore the temperature, precipitation radar, and even the ozone across the world.

Dark Sky, the Up-to-the-Minute Weather App, Now Works In Your Browser

A Screenshot Tour of Allo, Google’s New Smart Messaging App

2016-09-21-10

Google just launched Allo, a new smart messaging app that comes with stickers, emoji, and a powerful assistant who can answer all your questions. Let’s take a look at its biggest features, and see if it’s worth moving all your conversations over to it.

A Screenshot Tour of Allo, Google’s New Smart Messaging App

Attack-for-Hire Teens Collared in Israel

2016-09-21-07

At the request of the FBI, Israeli authorities last week arrested Itay Huri and Yarden Bidani, both 18 years old, for operating vDOS, a DDoS-for-hire service that raked in more than half a million dollars in two years.

DDoS attacks flood websites with garbage data in order to disrupt their operation and deny users access.

The pair were questioned and released after posting bond of about US$10,000 each, according to TheMarker, an Israeli news site. In addition, the duo’s passports were seized, they were placed under house arrest for 10 days, and they were barred from using the Internet or any telecommunications equipment for 30 days.

The arrests occurred at around the same time that Krebs on Security published a report on vDOS.

vDOS revenues for the past two years exceeded $600,000, and the service launched more than 150,000 DDoS attacks on behalf of its customers, Krebs reported.

Attack-for-Hire Teens Collared in Israel

Steam Blows Off Aggrieved Indie Dev

2016-09-21-05Independent video game developer Digital Homicide Studios on Monday posted a response to its ban from Valve Corporation’s digital distribution platform Steam.

Valve banned the development studio this weekend, after Digital Homicide reportedly initiated legal action against 100 users who had posted negative reviews of its games.

Digital Homicide resorted to lawsuits after Steam failed to resolve abuse issues that had arisen concerning those users of the Steam community, according to the Digital Homicide post. The game developer further accused Valve of ignoring threats posted on Steam’s forums.

Valve has delisted all of Digital Homicide’s games from Steam — including Paranormal Psychosis, Gnarltoof’s Revenge and Krog Wars.

Valve claimed Digital Homicide had been hostile to Steam customers, noting that the lawsuit against Steam users demands approximately $18 million in damages.

The digital distribution platform apparently is sticking with its customers, even if not directly defending their alleged actions.

In its lawsuit, Digital Homicide claims that the defendants’ actions resulted in lost business, among other negative consequences.

User reviews have become a staple of e-commerce in recent years, and that typically means accepting the good with the bad. The question in this case appears to be whether the defendants’ actions constituted cyberbullying or other illegal forms of online harassment.

Steam Blows Off Aggrieved Indie Dev

11 best apps for timid first-time investors

2016-09-09-09

Start investing in the palm of your hand with these beginner-friendly smartphone apps.

Investing in the stock market for the first time might feel overwhelming, but with modern technology it’s easy to get involved and start making returns on your investments quickly. Ideally, you look for an app with lots of investing research and data available, as well as low costs and a good user interface.

Apps were evaluated in four categories and given a rating from one to five in each category. These categories included user-friendliness, cost, investing strategy and effectiveness, and interface and design.

Click ahead to check out 11 free investing apps that can help you transition from an inexperienced first-time investor to someone who knows where to put his money.

11 best apps for timid first-time investors

Here’s the list:

  1. SigFig
  2. Motif
  3. Bloomberg
  4. CNBC
  5. Acorns
  6. Yahoo Finance
  7. Benzinga
  8. Betterment
  9. TD Ameritrade
  10. Robinhood
  11. Wealthfront

Google Maps’ App Adds Alternatives to Booking an Uber Ride

A driver displays Uber and Lyft ride sharing signs on his car windscreen in Santa Monica

Google on Thursday said that it was adding ride-hailing services Lyft and Gett in the U.S. to its mapping service. A button for ordering a Lyft ride will now appear inside the Google Maps app along with a similar one for ordering a Gett ride in New York City, the only U.S. city where Gett operates.

The move gives users more options in Google Maps beyond Uber, which was already available through Google Maps in addition to other transportation options like public transit, walking, and driving. Gett was previously available for U.K. users.

Google Maps’ App Adds Alternatives to Booking an Uber Ride