Google Floats Balloons For Free Wi-Fi
New submitter BrokenHalo writes "Google has revealed that it has 30 balloons floating over New Zealand in a project to bring free Wi-Fi to earthquake-stricken, rural or poor areas. They're calling it Project Loon. '[W]e’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters.' Eventually, as the balloons move across the stratosphere, consumers in participating countries along the 40th parallel in the Southern Hemisphere could tap into the service. The technology will be trialled in Australia next year, possibly in Tasmania. If the latter happens to be true, then you'll probably hear the telcos' screams in New York."
Obama Is An Open Government Pioneer, Spymaster Dataholic
Love him or hate him, President Obama is no hypocrite: he’s been as fiercely innovative at encouraging citizen input to improve governance as he has been in secretly stealing Americans’ private information. Transparent budget spending, crowdsourcing government waste, unprecedented spending on polls, collecting school performance metrics, and rewarding civic app designers have co-existed with a massive expansion in Internet snooping and big-data spying. In short, Obama is a philosophically consistent dataholic — a policy that other innovative/civil liberty-ignoring political leaders, such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have proudly championed. Many were quick to label Obama a hypocrite after a string of expose’s detailing the National Security Agency’s massive phone and Internet spying apparatus, “It is the very sort of thing against which Mr. Obama once railed,” wrote The New York Times editorial board in an uncharacteristically scathing OpEd. Or, in the blogging equivalent of ...
As TV Falls Apart, Tumblr And Twitter Aim To Pick Up The Pieces
For years, it’s been said that Internet use would cut into the time U.S. consumers spend watching television. Today, those premonitions are beginning to hit the tipping point. TV ratings have dropped by 50 percent over the last decade. Goldman Sachs recently called the decline “the sharpest pace on record.” The firm found that ratings in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic – the key group targeted by advertisers – fell by 17 percent last winter compared with the winter before. ABC, NBC, and Fox were most affected, with decreased ad revenues cutting into profits. (Fox had to get distributors to pay higher subscribers fees to pull a profit). But even highest-rated CBS lost three percent of its 18-to-49 audience this season, The New York Times reported in April. Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne had released charts at the beginning of the year showing the ratings drop, claiming declines are a functional of income level. But it’s not just that. The writing has been on the ...
Yahoo buying Tumblr for $1.1 billion, vows not to screw it up
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK - Yahoo Inc will buy blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion cash, giving the Internet pioneer a much-needed social media platform to reach a younger generation of users and breathe new life into its ailing brand.
Found 4 weeks ago on channel Reuters
Amtrak Upgrades Wi-Fi
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."