Bug-finding and reporting emphasized, event runs through Sunday
Developers and AppleSeed testers working with the latest beta of the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite are receiving email invitations from Apple to join in on a focused "test fest" that concentrates on one particular feature -- AirDrop, which allows wireless transfers of files between Macs and iOS devices. This is the first time in recent memory that Apple has opened up a "test fest" to users outside Apple for this level of focused feature examination.
D-Link now shipping Wi-Fi Smart Plug
Network accessories company D-Link has announced that its new Wi-Fi Smart Plug is now shipping. Originally introduced in the spring, the device allows users to turn devices on and off from anywhere using the free Mydlink Home app, available for iOS as well as Android. A range of devices are compatible, allowing users to create power on/off schedules that are suitable for frequent travellers.
Five companies owed total of $18.6 million for meritless patent claim
Northern District of California Court Judge Claudia Wilken has ruled that non-practicing entity Linex Technologies must pay Apple, Aruba, Meru, Ruckus, and HP millions in attorney fees after pursuing a patent case that it knew was destined for failure. Apple and HP are seeking $3.6 million each, with the other three companies seeking $3.8 million -- the ruling puts the patent troll on the hook for $18.6 million, an amount it may not have.
Update downloads peaked at 3Tbps
The deployment of iOS 8 on Wednesday was Apple's first large-scale test of its new content delivery network, or CDN, says research firm DeepField. At its high point, iOS 8 downloads reportedly consumed 3Tbps, comparable to about 25 HD movies being downloaded simultaneously by as many users. DeepField notes that at least in North America, the launch was almost entirely dependent on Apple CDN servers.
Gogo 2Ku satellite Internet could provide Virgin passengers with shared 70Mbps connection
In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo is expanding to Europe, with Virgin Atlantic set to become the first airline operating in the region to offer the service to passengers. The airline will reportedly retrofit its entire fleet to work with the Internet service as part of the deal, and while the two sides are still discussing the finer points of the agreement, the principal terms have already been settled.
Promo video used as evidence
The Apple Watch's S1 processor appears to be paired with a Broadcom BCM4334 Wi-Fi module, says research firm Chipworks. The claim is based on an analysis of Apple's promotional video, during which viewers can briefly see the circuitboard the watch uses. Contacts near the top of the board are believed to match a BCM4334 flip-bonded directly.
Encrypted chat used BitTorrent backbone to provide secure communications
Peer-to-peer protocol pioneer BitTorrent has released an alpha version of its chat client. BitTorrent has revealed Bleep -- what used to be called BitTorrent Chat -- for Android and OS X. Bleep offers fully-encrypted, end-to-end communications between users only stored locally on devices, and not retained by servers any step of the way.
Epson brings Mopria Android printing to seven printer models
Epson America today announced its first Mopria-certified printers for home and business -- the Epson Expression Photo XP-860, Epson Expression Premium XP-820, XP-620, XP-520, and Epson WorkForce WF-2660, WF-2650 and WF-2630. The new printers will, after a firmware update, support the Mopria Alliance's Print Service, and the Printing Framework in Android 4.4 and later, in addition to other connectivity technologies like AirPrint.
Virtual private networking used in FaceTime infringed VirnetX patents
Last week, the US Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, DC threw out a jury award of $368.2 million to patent holder VirnetX. While the court agreed that some patents were infringed by Apple, the appeals court ruled that incorrect jury instructions were doled out by the judge, which tainted the jury when it determined the damage award.
Tech initially reserved for Apple Pay
Third-party app developers won't be able to access the APIs for Apple's NFC chips this year, a company spokesperson says. That effectively limits the NFC support in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to Apple Pay, as well as a few other authorized uses, at least for the next few months. That may be a security measure on Apple's part, since opening up the APIs too early could make it easier for hackers to crack the payment technology.
Exec proposes bonuses for users, websites assisting with 'congestion'
BitTorrent's Chief Executive Officer Eric Klinker has made his response to the US Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality proposal, using the "fast lane" provisions, known. Klinker believes that a model similar to that of the electric distribution in the US can be used, where users and websites get lower rates for use in times of lower demand rather than the potential conflict of interest, and double-payment, that ISPs would get for having sponsored faster access under FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal.
Initiative to make as many users as possible able to use Wi-Fi calling
At today's latest "Uncarrier" event, wireless provider T-Mobile has unveiled a series of programs to kick-start Wi-Fi calling across its network. The carrier has revealed that every smartphone it sells going forward will be capable of Wi-Fi calling. Additionally, it is launching an initiative to provide a 802.11ac Wi-Fi router for free to Simple Choice plan users who own a smartphone capable of Wi-Fi calling. Finally, T-Mobile is short-cycling its Jump program, and allowing users not eligible for a yearly upgrade to buy a new Wi-Fi calling-capable device.
Minority leader concerned with both FCC behavior, ISP policies
House Minority Leader (D-CA) Nancy Pelosi has called for broadband to be reclassified as a public utility under Title II legislation. Instead of railing against the Internet Service Providers themselves, Pelosi wants the reclassification, as she is concerned that upcoming Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rulings will result in discrimination against consumers and innovators relying on an unfettered Internet to survive.
$40 plan doubles data from 500MB to 1GB
T-Mobile-owned MetroPCS has announced several important changes, the most important being the loosening of its 4G data caps. Customers on the carrier's $40-per-month plan are getting their cap raised from 500MB to 1GB. The $50 plan is getting a similar boost, from 2.5GB to 3GB.
New device features failover, wake-on-lan, driverless installation
Sonnet Technologies today announced the Twin 10G Thunderbolt 2 to Dual-Port Copper 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) Adapter, a near-plug-and-play solution for adding 10GbE network connectivity to any computer with Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt ports. Featuring 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 technology, the Twin 10G enables users to connect to high-speed infrastructure and storage systems using the 10GbE standard -- offering up to 10 times the performance of Gigabit Ethernet.
Letter to FCC alleges that government owned networks hold undue power
Given the opportunity to petition against the expansion of municipal broadband expansion in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina, AT&T has taken the opportunity to remind the government of its role in the state of Internet connectivity in the US. In its filing with the US Federal Communcations Commission, the telecom giant lays out its case against why local broadband, or "Government-Owned Networks" (GON), shouldn't be allowed.
Update eliminates requirement for physical network connection, Sonos Bridge
Sonos has started to implement a change to the wireless networking used by its speaker system, eliminating the need for a physical connection. The previously-announced update will now allow for speakers to connect to an existing Wi-Fi network, instead of the wireless mesh network created between the speakers.
High-speed TransferJet adapters pass data between nearby devices at up to 375Mbps
Toshiba will be attempting to make TransferJet more prominent in the US and Europe, by releasing adapters for the high-speed wireless data transmission technology. The manufacturer is planning to use the Sony-created technology to provide quick transfers of data between devices located physically close to each other, with the dongles shipping to Europe later this year.
Suit likely to span years, covers most all of Cox's in-home networking
After what AT&T calls "years of protracted negotiations," it has filed suit against Cox Communications, alleging that the cable company has violated seven patents covering general networking, digital video recorders (DVR), and packet loss mitigation. In a change from "normal" patent suits, AT&T is not seeking sales embargoes, but instead looks for a "compulsory ongoing royalty" for products that use the patents in question.
Time Warner Cable blames issue during scheduled maintenance for Internet failure
Time Warner Cable's nationwide outage of its Internet and phone service earlier today was caused by a problem during routine maintenance, the company claims. The multi-hour fault, which affected a large proportion of its 15 million subscribers including 11.4 million Internet customers, has been rectified for the majority of affected subscribers.
New device would receive video streamed from Windows Phone, PCs
Microsoft appears to be in the process of developing a Google Chromecast-like device. Filings with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show the software giant to be at least considering a HDMI dongle with Wi-Fi and a USB port, using Miracast to send content from a Windows device in a manner similar to Apple's Airplay. The device would fill an unserved market, with AirPlay only on iOS and OS X devices, and Google Cast on Android, iOS, and web apps.
Extra capacity added to LTE in tests by using 5GHz unlicensed spectrum
Carriers could use Wi-Fi spectrum to extend capacity for its LTE service in the future, if new research is adopted. Researchers from Japanese carrier NTT Docomo and Huawei have managed to use the 5GHz unlicensed spectrum, typically used for Wi-Fi, to operate an LTE network, with the extra bandwidth having the potential to enhance existing LTE cellular networks.
Affected services included Photos, Keychain, Find My iPhone
Many Apple online services -- and "some" percentage of users -- were caught in a brief but severe outage on Thursday, according to the company's official system status page. This included every iCloud service, such as Photos, device backups, Keychain, Mail, Documents in the Cloud, and web apps. Also impacted were Back to My Mac, Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, and iMovie Theater.
Tech may appear in iOS 8, new iPhone models
Apple has posted two job listings asking for people with experience in voice-over-LTE technology, better known as VoLTE. The first asks for a "cellular systems protocol engineer," while the second asks for a "wireless communication software engineer" familiar with "SIP, RTP, and VoIP related protocols." Although it's dependent on carrier support, VoLTE can allow for much better call quality than regular or even 3G voice channels.
PSBCG90 Smart Bicycling Computer launched by Pyle Audio
Pyle Audio has announced the availability of its new tracking computer device for cyclists, the PSBCG90 Smart Bicycling Computer. Offering cyclists the ability to track their performance, map locations and plan new, chartered routes, the device can connect to one's computer for the purpose of saving training data records. The computer device features software that includes Google Maps, as well as GPS navigation assistance.
Gigabit Internet will become available in Cupertino
AT&T has become the first major telecommunications provider to declare it will offer a gigabit Internet service in Silicon Valley in the future. The high-speed service will roll out in Cupertino, Apple's base of operations, though the company has not yet revealed when it will roll out the network in the area, when it will be available to customers, nor how much it will ultimately cost.
AppleScript, multi-platform hooks make spamming easier
Over 30 percent of all mobile spam messages are now being sent through Apple's iMessage system, claims Tom Landesman, a security researcher at Cloudmark. Many of the messages are pushing fake luxury products, such as sunglasses and handbags. Landesman explains that spammers are -- or were -- taking advantage of several aspects of Apple's ecosystem. However, Apple has responded to the charge, and said that some countermeasures have been implemented.
Deal marks fourth major deal with Internet service providers
Netflix has signed a new peering deal, this time with Time Warner Cable. The deal now gives the video streamer interconnection deals with Internet service providers that cover about 68 percent of all the broadband customers in the US. Notably, the 32 percent it doesn't have deals with are smaller providers - largely carriers that have pro-net neutrality views, and haven't been found to limit or slow down Netflix traffic for users.
Would only be half of standard's maximum
Continuing a series of rumors, Chinese repair firm GeekBar is claiming that the iPhone 6 will also use a Qualcomm MDM9625 modem, which supports LTE-A, but only up to 150Mbps. That would be an improvement over the 100Mbps limit in the iPhone 5s, but only half the full potential of LTE-A, which is 300Mbps. Carriers across the world are only just beginning to deploy LTE-A-compatible networks, so Apple may not be worried about maximizing speeds within the expected life-cycle of the iPhone 6.
Facility presumably meant to support iCloud in South America
Construction of a new Apple datacenter is underway on Curaçao, reports say. Curaçao is an island off the coast of Venezuela, but a constituent country of the Netherlands. The center is said to be nearly complete already; the original company behind the project went bankrupt however, forcing the Unique Infrastructure Group to take over.
BGP tables hitting 512K limit, could mean more outages as capped machines surface
Since yesterday, the Internet has hit some bouts of turbulence as a widespread issue slowly works its way across infrastructure. The issues aren't tied to any sort of fiber issues or due to the exhaustion of iPv4 address, but rather the exhaustion of memory inside of some hardware such as routers and switches. Starting on Tuesday, border gateway protocol (BGP) tables, the tables responsible for keeping track of a map of the Internet, started to hit their limit in older hardware, making chunks of the Internet inaccessible in the process.
Repeated outages in space of a month
"Some" iCloud Mail users have been unable to receive messages since about noon Eastern time, according to Apple's system status page. Apple hasn't identified the percentage of users affected, a cause, or when issues might be resolved. The system tracker doesn't usually provide the latter two pieces of information.
Malware strikes un-updated Synology NAS units
Synology product users affected by the SynoLocker attack may have lost their files to the cryptoware. Representatives from Synology have informed Electronista that at this time, they are unable to provide assistance recovering data that has been forcibly encrypted by the malware.
SynoLocker demanding 0.6 bitcoin to release encrypted data
[Updated with additional info] Network attached storage device manufacturer Synology is reporting that a new form of malware is spreading to some of its customers. Dubbed the SynoLocker cryptoware, the malware encrypts data on the network peripheral, and the perpetrators are demanding 0.6 bitcoin ($350) to get the key to retrieve the files.
Company claims all the other wireless carriers do so, so it should as well
Verizon is the first mobile provider that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has queried about Internet speed slowdown for certain customers on an "unlimited" data plan. In a response filed with the FCC yesterday, the wireless company explained its rationale for reneging on its "unlimited" promise, and noted that a user needs to consume 4.7GB of mobile data per month to be put in the class of users that it would throttle, for what it claims is a need to protect the experience of the rest of its customers on the network.
Strategy would've detoured around iPhone's lack of 3G
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs once wanted to make shared Wi-Fi commonplace in homes and small businesses, says Re/Code's Walt Mossberg. The impetus is said to have been the first-generation iPhone, which lacked 3G. Although people could get around slow 2G speeds by connecting to Wi-Fi, most hotspots were and are password-protected, and Jobs wanted people to be able to leap seamlessly from network to network, much in the same way people transition between celltowers without noticing.
New measures attempt to make Comcast Internet Essentials cheaper for low-income families
Comcast is attempting to make it easier for low-income families to have Internet access, by lowering the cost even further. The telecommunications giant will be providing its Internet Essentials tier free for up to six months to new eligible users, while qualifying families unable to take part due to existing debts to the company will be able to benefit from an amnesty program.
Adds AppleScript, TCP-over-HTTPS support
Rayner Software has released Netshade 6, an update of its proxy/VPN client for the Mac. The main addition is actually KeyShade, a tool for storing passwords, notes, and bank and credit card info. Data is encrypted using AES-256, and synced across devices. Rayner says that a standalone version of KeyShade will be "coming soon" to Mac and iOS, but that for now it's tied to NetShade.
Should speed up OS X/iOS-related downloads
Apple's proprietary content delivery network is now operational in the US and Europe, says Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn. Its status was determined by conducting traceroutes for OS X downloads, which show that files are being shuttled directly from Apple to ISPs. The network is estimated to be capable of delivering multiple terabits per second.
Parliant releases voice announcement software for Mac users
Parliant has announced the release of its new voice messaging product for Mac users, Echoes. Functioning on a local network, users can contact other Macs running Echoes and send a voice message instantly, without the need for "dialing" like Skype or FaceTime. To send a voice announcement, one selects "Announce" from the Echoes icon found in the menu bar. Users can announce to both individuals or groups, and quickly reply to the sender of the last received announcement. Keyboard shortcuts for sending and replying can be set, and the last announcement made can be re-sent without re-recording. Priced at $10, Echoes is available through the App Store.
Beginning of greater tablet support
Free voice, texting, and data service provider FreedomPop is extending its plans to tablets, starting with the Apple iPad mini and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, according to an announcement. In the case of Minis, subscribers will be given mic-equipped Apple headphones and a special app, allowing them to make calls through FreedomPop's VoIP platform. Each person will have a unique phone number, and associated features such as voicemail and the ability to port that number to a different device or carrier.
FTC net neutrality letter addresses concerns about Internet 'hyper-giants'
In a letter filed with the US Federal Communications Commission regarding the pending net neutrality proposal, pro-cable company advocacy group The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) believes that if the "fast lane" net neutrality proposal stands as is, then "hyper-giants" like Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Facebook, and Google could charge the cable companies to allow customers to access services, essentially holding Internet Service Providers hostage. The cable companies allege to have no defense against such tactics, and claim to lack a "practical ability" or the incentive to throttle said large Internet companies.
'Network optimization' should only hurt 5 percent of LTE userbase
Starting October 1, Verizon will begin throttling some of its "unlimited" LTE users, according to an official announcement. The carrier promises that only five percent of that group -- those using 4.7GB or more per month -- will be affected, and "only in places and at times when the network is experiencing high demand." Unlimited 3G access has been throttled in a similar manner for some time.
MacNN and Electronista staff deals for July 18, 2014
Yes, its that time again! Time for another episode of "Friday Deals!" Every Friday, we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!
Three prepares to offer subscribers free Wi-Fi in London Underground
British carrier Three is following the lead of other carriers in the country, by offering free Wi-Fi on the London Underground. The Next Web reports the carrier will be working with Virgin Media, the company that set up the original Wi-Fi network for the 2012 Olympic Games, to provide customers free access to the Wi-Fi network in 137 stations without buying a Wi-Fi pass. Three hopes to open up the network to its customers by the end of this month.
NT4600 chipset in partners' hands for testing, evaluation; 2015 ship date
Chip manufacturer Nitero, in conjunction with the Samsung Foundry, has announced the first Wi-Gig chipset for mobile. The NT4600 is the an 802.11ad chipset, based on 28nm HKMG LPP technology. Nitero is currently demonstrating the NT4600 to select partners and customers, and will start production shipments in 2015.
Bill aims to remove FCC regulatory power, seeks to protect 'state rights'
A bill sponsored by US Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has been passed, which aims to strip the Federal Communications Commission's ability to interfere with laws passed to limit municipal broadband networks. Passing 228-195, generally along party lines, the bill, if signed into law, would reinforce strictures that make it difficult in 20 states to offer municipal broadband services in opposition to services provided by for-profit giants like Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable.
New deadline gives public 72 more hours to comment on proposed changes
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended the first deadline for public comment on the controversial "fast lane" net neutrality proposal. The extension, following a major crash of the nearly two-decade old comment system, extends through midnight on June 18. A second "reply comment" period will start after this period ends, however.
New NAS can push 30FPS 1080p video to five devices simultaneously
Synology America has unveiled the DS415play, the four-bay follow-up to 2014's popular two-bay DS214play. As the second Synology NAS to support hardware video transcoding, the DS415play delivers full 1080p HD video to nearly any media-streaming device, with multiple streamers able to connect simultaneously.
Big names team to build on existing 802.15.4 wireless networking protocol
Samsung Electronics, Nest Labs, and Freescale Semiconductor have teamed to form the Thread Group. The seven company-strong group has been formed to generate and develop Thread, another IP-based wireless networking protocol for home automation and control of the burgeoning "Internet of Things" market.