Visa, Mastercard allegedly pressured by Senator Leahy to cut off Mega
File storage locker Mega has experienced a major setback. Effective immediately, and at the alleged exhortation of the US government, Paypal has ceased processing payments for the service, despite PayPal's reported confirmation that Mega is a legitimate business. PayPal has since said that the company's "unique encryption model" securing its files presents an insurmountable difficulty to confirm legal compliance.
Comments come in as expected, with threats of lawsuit and more work needed
As expected, the Federal Communication Commission's votes today have not gone unnoticed by the telecommunications and Internet industry. There are no surprises in the commentary generated by the vote, with posturing and veiled threats being delivered by those impacted negatively by the vote.
Fight likely to continue in House, Senate over depth of FCC power
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the net neutrality rules, including Title II regulation of Internet Service Providers as proposed by FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, with minor modifications. The vote wasn't unanimous, nor was it expected to be, and predictably split across party lines. The two Democratic members and the Chair voted to approve the contentious policy, and the two Republican members voted against it.
Two- and four-bay models intended for home, small business use
Storage company WD, today expanded its suite of network attached storage (NAS) solutions with four new products that address the increasing demands for content storage, management, protection and streaming among prosumers, creative professionals and small businesses. Released today are the My Cloud Expert two-bay My Cloud EX2100, and four-bay EX4100. In the My Cloud Business lineup are the two-bay My Cloud DL2100, and four-drive DL-4100.
The MacNN Podcast for February 22, 2015
The MacNN Podcast hits its third broadcast and like the previous pair, touches on the hot button issues in the tech world! Join this week's hosts, MacNN Editor Charles Martin, alongside staff writer Michelle Elbert, reviewer William Gallagher, Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele, and contributor Sanjiv Sathiah as they discuss the events that got our attention, needed further discussion, or just plain tickled our fancy.
New utility scratches a Wi-Fi itch for techies
Wi-Fi Priority is a small app that does one particular thing: it lets you decide which Wi-Fi networks your iOS device will join. That doesn't sound like a big deal but in certain circumstances it is, and if you hit those regularly -- and you're maybe a little more techie minded than the average -- this is a good app for you.
Apple's contract becoming major issue in 2015 LA election cycle
Signaling a complete end to the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) plan of a computing device per student which began with a large and poorly-managed iPad program, Superintendent Ramon Cortines has declared that the district no longer has the funding to continue the effort. Confusingly saying that "education shouldn't become the gimmick of the year" when asked about the program, the school leader said that the district would attempt to provide computers when required for instruction and testing.
MacNN and Electronista deals for February 19, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where we find the best online deals on hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Aside from a recap of still-active deals, the new deals added today include a portable wireless speaker from Klipsch, a wireless laser printer from Brother, and a Vizio 48-inch HDTV.
Amped Wireless shipping TAP-R2 router shortly, preorders commencing now
High-power, long-range wireless solutions provider Amped Wireless is shipping the next model in its TAP Series of Touch Screen Wi-Fi devices, the 802.11ac TAP-R2. Equipped with a total of six high-power amplifiers and two high-gain antennas (external and internal), the TAP-R2 delivers up to 800mW of Wi-Fi output power, with setup entirely on the device's touchscreen. The new router will be available on February 23, and will cost $160.
Launch of AT&T GigaPower in Google Fiber home tainted by privacy issues
AT&T has expanded its U-verse with GigaPower gigabit Internet service to Kansas City, the initial launch city of Google Fiber. While AT&T is trying hard to compete against Google's own service in the city, including offering a voice service that Google lacks, potential customers may feel wary about signing up, as the company is offering some plans at a lower price in exchange for an erosion of privacy.
MacNN and Electronista deals for February 13, 2015
Welcome to the Friday edition of Daily Deals, the post where we point out reductions and promotions on gadgets, software, and other tech for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. This time, we are recapping all the still-active deals from the rest of the week, and adding new deals including a cheap way to get into home automation, the Lenovo Y50 notebook, and a $200 promo code for a 7.2 channel 4K-ready receiver.
Senate DHS chief's committee calling for FCC reasoning, communications
Following a similar move by the House, the Senate has launched its own investigation on the US Federal Communications Commission's upcoming call for Title II legislation of ISPs. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) is giving the FCC two weeks to provide documents related to, and reasoning for, the call for "what new factors" after President Obama's remarks induced the FCC to apply Title II reclassification.
MacNN and Electronista deals for February 9, 2015
Welcome to today's Daily Deals, where we find the best discounts and offers available online for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today, the slate has been wiped clean of older deals, with the new additions including an effectively-free RAM and McAfee bundle, a $130 Ultimate Ears Bluetooth speaker, a nice price break on SSD storage, and $96 off the list price of some Steel Series gaming headphones -- with plenty more where those came from!
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sees red, charges
The House Committee on Oversight and Government reform has written to US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler, and has demanded that the regulatory agency produce any and all communiation between the FCC and the White House. The Republicans on the committee claim to see "an improper influence" from President Obama at the core of the FCC commissioner's recent mandate of Title II regulation of ISPs, and are demanding the documentation to back up their claims, and potentially torpedo the effort.
Proposal to be submitted for FCC discussion before end of the week
Officially launching what will become a highly-contentious fight in Washington DC, US Federal Communications Commission commissioner Tom Wheeler has officially stated that he is submitting "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC," which calls for the banning of paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. The move by the chairman was expected, with AT&T and Verizon both threatening lawsuits to block the regulation.
Larger 52 port model supports power over ethernet, fiber backbone
Networking peripheral maker D-Link today announced it has expanded its Web Smart line of cost-effective Gigabit Ethernet smart switches with two new models, the 52-port DGS-1210-52MP and the 10-port DGS-1210-10. Both models offer all the same features found in other DGS-1210 series switches, including energy savings, advanced security features, and extensive Layer 2 switching options.
Multiple Eero units creates mesh network, configurable by app
A San Francisco startup is attempting to fix in-home Wi-Fi issues and remove the need for Wi-Fi extenders, using a collection of wireless access points for a cohesive wireless home network. Eero consists of a small access point which can work on its own as a router, though when it is near other similar devices, it can create a mesh network to cover a wider area with the same Wi-Fi network.
MacNN and Electronista deals for February 2, 2015
Welcome to the first of a new series of Daily Deals. Expanding from our existing Friday Deals post, we will now find new offers online for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, every day. Today's deals include Netgear switches, an Audio-Technica bundle, a Monoprice discount code, and an Apple Design Award-winning puzzle game.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 30 2015
[Updated with more deals on Saturday] It's the end of the working week, and that means it is just two days until a major sporting event involving football. It's also the time we publish Friday Deals, the post where we collect together deals and offers from around the Internet for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Just as always, deals may change or end in the future, but are correct at the time of posting, so check beforehand, and come back over the weekend as more deals will be posted later.
Suit seemingly compares Cablevision's public Wi-Fi with private routers
Cablevision Systems Corporation has filed a lawsuit in federal court for the Eastern District of New York against Verizon Communications, seeking an end to what it calls "its false, misleading and deceptive advertising claims about Wi-Fi service" related to Verizon's new 802.11ac Wi-Fi router, which has yet to see wide rollout. Cablevision's premise is that few customers would actually be in a position to achieve speeds faster than Cablevision's offerings, and it would cost them much more.
A nice idea that falls short due to reliance on infrared, precise positioning
The iRemocon is an Internet-connected device, intended to allow the user to control multiple home electronics from an app on their smartphone. This is intended to simplify wireless control of one's "appliances" either at home or while out and about. Unfortunately, the device relies heavily on infrared signals, which offer some severe limitations regarding placement and reliability.
Microsoft's acquisition of Accompli pays off with excellent new email app
There must be people who use Outlook for pleasure, but you'll probably find all their names on a staff directory at Microsoft. Yet this might actually change now: the brand-new Outlook for iOS, released today, is strong, capable, quick, and has a good-looking design to boot.
Vote of FCC commissioners to change broadband definition passes 3-2
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has changed its definition of broadband, after commissioners voted 3-2 in favor. The previous definition of 4Mbps download, 1Mbps upload minimum speeds have been increased to 25Mbps down, 3 Mbps up, a move which pushes higher the proportion of households in the United States declared to be incapable of receiving broadband Internet access.
Updated interface, Copy Items enhancements, fixes, improvements
On Wednesday, Apple updated its Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) server/administrator software to version 3.8, the first major upgrade in well over a year. The new version primarily spruces up the app for OS X Yosemite compatibility, including an updated interface. The program was last upgraded in October of 2013, largely for the same reason, but for Mavericks (though two minor updates were issued later). In addition to an interface overhaul to match Yosemite's design language, a number of enhancements and fixes are included.
Preceding RM-11737 resolved with public notice against blocking
A petition by Marriott, Hilton, and an association of hotel owners asking for permission to block guests from creating their own Wi-Fi hotspots has been resolved today in a public notice by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Specifically, the blocking of personal Wi-Fi hotspots is prohibited, and will be "aggressively" investigated and acted against, according to the agency.
Gigabit Internet service construction to commence in new cities in coming months
Just as expected, Google has revealed the next locations it will be launching Google Fiber, following its existing installations in Kansas City, Provo, and Austin. Confirming earlier reports, the high-speed Internet service will be rolling out in Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte in North Carolina.
Update should also fix Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mail security problems
[Updated with claims about Thunderstrike fix] Apple has seeded a new beta of OS X 10.10.2 to its workers -- build 14C109 -- that includes release notes explaining the update's major changes. The most significant may be the addition of iCloud Drive browsing within Time Machine, which should let people track related changes and find items that were previously stored in the cloud. Apple has also made a number of fixes though, most notably solving a Spotlight vulnerability that automatically loaded remote content in Mail messages.
Google presence in the area already, company reportedly seeking workers
According to "industry sources," Google's next fiber construction is slated for both the Research Triangle in Raleigh-Durham and the Charlotte area in North Carolina. Google has sent out invititations to press in the area for Wednesday and Thursday for an unspecified event, which has been pegged as the official announcement of the project. The high-speed fiber-optic network is in Kansas City now, and is expanding into Provo, Utah, and somewhat problematically, into Austin, Texas.
US designed and made backup appliance features two hot-swap trays
US-based backup and disaster recovery hardware company Highly Reliable Systems has announced the immediate availability for their two-bay NetSwap Mini+E backup NAS server appliance, which includes replication, two removable drive trays, and hardware-based encryption. The High-Rely NetSwap Mini+E backup NAS series comes equipped with a powerful 3.4GHz Intel Core i3-4130 processor, capable of block-level AES-256 data encryption.
Chen sees threat to net neutrality from app developers more than carriers
Blackberry CEO John Chen appears to be turning to the US government for help in broadening the app ecosystem for the struggling Canadian handset, as well as railing against a US-centric view of net neutrality and possible Title II regulation at the same time. In a blog post taken in part from a letter the CEO wrote to members of Congress, Chen defines not only what he sees as an ideal path for net neutrality, but also complaining about a "two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem" where content providers like Apple and Netflix are free to not develop for all wireless platforms.
Affordable, two-bay setup offers a wealth of features without overwhelming users
For every computer user, there comes a point of critical mass in data storage. When it hits, external hard drives, USB sticks and DVD burning may no longer be feasible for the constant back-and-forth of data transfers that are a part of a daily routine. When it comes to that, what are users left to do? The next jump is to network-attached storage (NAS). But what options are there for computer users that don't know much about setup, but don't want to be stuck with a non-upgradeable solution? Don't worry, because Thecus has an easy-to-use, frustration-free option with the N2310. Find out how it stacks up in our review.
At today's Microsoft Windows 10 event, Windows Phone Program chief Joe Belifiore officially revealed the refresh of Microsoft-supplied browsers, with the previously rumored Spartan browser effort. The new browser, named after the company's hero of the Halo series, includes web page annotation and sharing, full PDF integration into the browser, and a baked-in implementation of Microsoft's Cortana "Personal Digital Assistant" technology.
Requests spectrum above 24GHz range to be allocated for networking purposes
Google has asked for the Federal Communications Commission FCC to open up spectrum for Internet services from balloons and drones. The search giant sent a letter to the Commission, suggesting that a new spectrum band above the 24GHz range could be "useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles.
Rollout of $800,000 LA subway connectivity project to take two years
Users of the Los Angeles subway will be able to access the Internet while in transit in the future, as the city catches up with other cities with similar systems. A project by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transport Authority will bring Wi-Fi and cellular service to the underground rail system over the next two years, with the entire project expected to cost around $800,000 once completed.
Unit can be used as a limited Windows PC, surveillance
Qnap on Monday released a new business-class "turbo vNAS" (network-attached storage) today with the TVS-x71 series. There are four-, six-, and eight-bay model towers with up to 16GB of RAM on-board, allowing direct access to stored data for monitoring live surveillance feeds or playing back digital media, among other applications.
$500 million fund with 1:1 matching will push program over $1 billion; reflects FCC mandate
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration on Friday announced plans to create the New NY Broadband Program as part of the 2015 State of Opportunity Agenda. The program would offer 1:1 matching to incentivize the expansion of high speed broadband into under- or un-served areas. The state will pony up half the money, with broadband providers tasked with matching the funding on at least a 1:1 basis.
Smartphone or nearby mobile device replaces extra passwords and dongles
According to digital security provider SAASpass, a requirement to possess a separate physical device as part of accessing digital data -- for example a fingerprint reader or separate dongle -- helps prevent nearly all hacking attacks on computers. To that end, SAASpass has recently unveiled its "Computer Connector" apps to provide on-the-fly two-factor authentication, rather than passwords, using smartphones or mobile devices.
Multiple USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot, SATA dock in one dock
HighPoint Technologies continues to expand its USB 3.0 product portfolio, and has unveiled the RocketStor 5411D USB 3.0 Drive Dock and Hub. The palm-sized docking station combines multiple USB 3.0 ports, a card-reader, SATA drive dock, and universal charging station into a single device.
Hotel chain states they will 'continue to look to the FCC' for guidance
Back in October, Marriott International settled with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the tune of $600,000 for a complaint dating back to March that involved the blocking personal Wi-Fi hotspots at a Marriott resort in Nashville. It later, along with other hotels, petitioned the FCC to allow it the right to kick off hotspots. Today, the hotel chain released a statement that seems to indicate it will be backing down from the policy.
Negotiations fruitless for two years, telecom firm says
In response to an Apple lawsuit over LTE patents, Ericsson has filed one of its own, according to Reuters. The Swedish firm notes that a license agreement between the companies has expired for some time, and that two years of negotiations have yielded no results. It's asking the court to determine whether a tendered license offer is fair.
Insists patents are non-essential and not infringed
Apple has filed a lawsuit against Sweden's Ericsson, claiming that the latter is asking for excessive royalties for certain LTE patents, Reuters reports. The iPhone maker says that it hasn't infringed on any of the patents, and hence doesn't owe royalties for them - but the company says, nevertheless, that the patents aren't essential to cellular standards. Further, Apple claims that any royalties should be based on the value of the chip that includes the technology, rather than as a percentage of a device's total cost. If the court should find that the Ericsson patents are, in fact, standards-essential and have been infringed, Apple asks that the court assign a reasonable FRAND royalty rate.
Could give Apple more pull on Bluetooth standards
The Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) has announced several appointments within its board of directors, including the promotion of Apple's Joakim Linde to secretary. Linde has been with the SIG for some time, but his new role may give him -- and Apple -- more influence over the direction of the Bluetooth standard. At Apple, he serves as a senior wireless architect.
Direct app controls unrestricted
People wanting to control HomeKit-enabled devices remotely through Apple's Siri must have an Apple TV at home to serve as a hub, according to Verge sources, including two launch partners and a person said to be "close to HomeKit's development." Siri controls will always work while an iPhone or iPad is on the same network as a HomeKit device, but until now it wasn't fully clear how remote operation might work. The Apple TV must also be a third-generation model running at least v7.0 firmware or newer. Notably, remote operation without Siri -- using the vendor app for a HomeKit product directly - cuts out the Apple TV requirement.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 9, 2015
[Updated Saturday with more deals!] As CES winds to a close, the week of non-stop tech news may put you in the mood to acquire some more hardware. Let today's Friday Deals post help you with that. As usual, we trawl through the retailers to find great offers on hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Note that prices are correct at the time of writing but can change over time, so check it is still valid before purchasing. Remember to check back over the weekend, as more deals will be added to this post over the next few days.
Unprotected home, enterprise routers said to be part of Lizard Squad botnet
The attacks against gaming services including the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live over the last month may have been carried out in part by home routers. A report claims Lizard Squad, the hacking group claiming responsibility for the attacks, has access to a large collection of hacked routers, which it is using to bolster its distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Make transferring files from Mac to iPhone as easy as you thought it was
Editor's note: welcome to the first installment of Pointers, a new weekly column that offers tips and tricks for getting more out of your Mac or iOS device -- or, in this case, both. Check back each Thursday for a new useful technique designed to demystify, declutter or de-stress you -- and hopefully add some delight as well.
When you know what's happening, AirDrop is as convenient and simple as Apple made you think it would be. You can transfer anything from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac (or vice versa), without emailing or messaging, without any concern for how many items you can send, without any concern about the size of those files. The first time you try flinging a document from iOS to OS X, though, it is Cotton-Eyed Joe: where did you come from, where did you go? We'll fix that with this handy tip.
2TB encrypted local backup over local network
The IDrive online backup service company today revealed a local network backup peripheral. Presented at the Consumer Electronics Show, the IDrive Wi-Fi local backup drive allows users to backup and restore up to 2TB of their data between devices over a local connection, with data protected by encryption.
Tech requires AT&T Mobile Share plan
AT&T has announced the Modio, a case that adds LTE support to otherwise Wi-Fi-only iPad models. Initially, the only version will be available for the iPad mini (all generations), but an edition for the iPad Air and Air 2 is promised down the road. AT&T has yet to set prices or launch dates for either option, however.
Water Sensor will track household utilities use
Belkin has announced several new sensors for its WeMo home automation line, including the Door and Window Sensor, the Keychain Sensor, and the Alarm Sensor, the last of which triggers if an existing security system goes off. Another addition is a new Room Motion Sensor, which can track heat signatures up to 30 feet away within a 90-degree arc. The unit should ignore pets, and (through the WeMo app) not only let people set alerts or links with other devices, but check the last detected movement in a given room.
EA8500 builds in MU-MIMO, 1.4GHz dual-core CPU
Belkin-owned Linksys has announced several new networking products at CES. Leading these is the EA8500, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi router capable of some of the company's highest speeds, in part since it uses MU-MIMO to improve performance for simultaneous device connections, and a 1.4GHz dual-core processor. In terms of connections the device has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, a separate WAN Ethernet jack, and ports for eSATA, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 devices. It should ship this spring for $280.