FCC website hit by attacks after ‘net neutrality’ proposal

2017.05.13 04

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said Monday that its website was hit by deliberate denial of service attacks after the telecommunications regulator was criticized by comedian John Oliver for its plan to reverse “net neutrality” rules.

The attacks came soon after Oliver on Sunday urged viewers to file electronic comments with the FCC opposing the plan unveiled by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to reverse rules implemented under President Barack Obama that boosted government regulatory powers over internet service providers.

Pai’s plan faces an initial vote on May 18.

FCC website hit by attacks after ‘net neutrality’ proposal

Amazon’s ‘Echo Show’ Gives Alexa the Touchscreen It Needed

2017.05.13 02

THE AMAZON ECHO is a stupendously powerful device. It can control your lights, play Ed Sheeran jams, keep a to-do list, check the weather, order pizza, tell guests your Wi-Fi password, and so much more. But as you embrace this chatty-computer future, you begin to see its limitations. Sure, you can book a flight with your voice, but it’s so much easier when you can see the price chart. You can set six timers, but can you remember which one just went off? Voice-only games are fun, but not as fun as a game you can see and touch.

Hype aside, voice control is not a replacement for screens, but a complement to them. As Apple’s Phil Schiller recently said, “There’s many moments where a voice assistant is really beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen. So the idea of not having a screen, I don’t think suits many situations.”

That’s what makes Amazon’s newest Echo, the $229 Echo Show, a smart move. It’s an Echo … with a screen. The Chumby lookalike exists mostly to talk and listen, but glance at the screen and you’ll notice that as it reads your calendar events, it displays them, too. When it announces that the Warriors won, it shows you the box score. It lets you interact with almost everything by touch or by voice, using whichever one you find most convenient. The speaker gets loud enough to rattle the kitchen counter, you can see the 7-inch screen from anywhere, and the far-field microphone array works just as well as the Echo. Plus, the setup couldn’t be simpler. Plug it in, connect it, done.

Amazon’s ‘Echo Show’ Gives Alexa the Touchscreen It Needed

Google is making 360-degree cameras Street View-ready

2017.05.13 01

It can be a pain to upload your own Street View photos even if you have a 360-degree camera. You may have to stop to take photos every few feet, and then there’s the question of getting the spherical shots from your camera to the internet. Google thinks it can help. It’s working with hardware partners on “Street View ready” standards that will certify 360-degree cameras based on how easily you can post shots. Street View mobile ready devices let you post directly from an app, with no PC required; auto ready cameras, meanwhile, are designed for capturing high-accuracy shots from your car. VR ready cameras collect the geometry you need for (what else?) virtual reality and connected 360-degree shots, while workflow ready cameras come with publishing tools that upload directly to Street View. In at least some cases, uploading is just a matter of recording some footage (even on the move) and loading an app.

Google is making 360-degree cameras Street View-ready

Elon Musk says Tesla will begin selling solar roof tiles

2017.05.12 06

In what could be a breakthrough in the solar-energy industry, Tesla will begin selling and installing solar roof tiles for U.S. customers this summer, CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday.

The company, best known for its electric cars, said it was set to begin accepting orders for glass roof tiles with embedded solar collectors that Musk pledged would be more durable than a typical roof, a third lighter and cheaper when electricity savings and tax credits are included. The tiles are being offered through SolarCity, the solar company that became a Tesla unit last year.

Elon Musk says Tesla will begin selling solar roof tiles

Net neutrality grabs spotlight again as FCC chief seeks to rescind the tough regulations

2017.05.12 05

Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed to head the FCC by President Trump after his inauguration, is pushing the agency to repeal the tough regulatory oversight for internet service providers that Democrats approved in 2015 over the objections of the broadband industry.

Net neutrality grabs spotlight again as FCC chief seeks to rescind the tough regulations

10 of the best things you can do with the Amazon Echo

2017.05.12 04

If you’re considering buying an Alexa device (including the new Echo Show or Echo Look) or got Amazon Echo as a gift, there’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot Alexa can do, but here are the 10 best tips and tricks to get you started.

1. Make phone calls (basically, landline calls)
2. Control your smart home
3. Get cooking ideas and tips
4. Get the news
5. Entertain your kids for hours on end
6. Learn about more features
7. Get fit (or try to)
8. Control your TV
9. Use Spotify to play music
10. Train Alexa to do practically anything else

10 of the best things you can do with the Amazon Echo

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

Microsoft to sell mixed-reality headset and controllers for $399, undercutting Oculus

2017.05.12 01

Microsoft just added a pair of motion controllers to its recently announced mixed-reality headset, and the combo price of $399 beats a similar hardware pairing from Oculus Rift by $200.

Mixed reality, also known as augmented reality, layers holographic images over the real world. Many experts say that eventually this technology will lead to the next generation of computers that will do away with physical laptops and keyboards.

At Build, Cirque du Soleil executives came on stage to demonstrate how they’ll begin using HoloLens to create virtual stages that eliminate the need for building costly real stage prototypes.

Although mixed reality have proven to be a huge hit on smartphones — take last summer’s Pokemon Go craze — one of the biggest hurdles for both virtual and augmented reality remains price, as well as content.

Microsoft to sell mixed-reality headset and controllers for $399, undercutting Oculus

Microsoft, Qualcomm Tuck Windows 10 Into ARM Devices


Microsoft on Wednesday announced the compatibility of Windows 10 and native Windows apps with ARM-based processors, including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, which currently powers a large percentage of Android devices.

One of the highlights at this year’s Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) event in Shenzhen, China, the new partnership will make it possible for Windows applications, peripherals and enterprise solutions to run on new mobile, power efficient and always-connected cellular PCs.

Through the collaboration, the companies aim to encourage hardware partners to develop Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Window 10 devices that run x86 Win32 and universal Windows apps. In addition to Microsoft’s own productivity applications, such as Microsoft Office, they could include third-party programs such as Adobe Photoshop, as well as Windows games, which are developed by numerous companies.

The applications would be the same as those meant to run on a desktop or laptop, but they would be fully compatible with cellular PCs — meaning that mobile users no longer would have to sacrifice functionality or features.

Microsoft, Qualcomm Tuck Windows 10 Into ARM Devices