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.
Plugin-free protocol facilitates communications across a billion browser installs
AT&T announced that it will be the first US carrier to launch commercial support for Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) via its AT&T Enhanced WebRTC API. The WebRTC standard, which is already enabled on more than a billion browsers across multiple platforms, allows voice and video calling between browsers without the need to install any software or plugins. The AT&T Enhanced WebRTC API is now available in an open beta program, and offers several enhancements to the basic WebRTC standard.
D-Link AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi router boasts 5,330Mbps maximum connection speed
D-Link has used CES to launch a new range of strikingly-designed Wi-Fi routers, as well as more powerline networking products. The AC5300, AC3200, and AC3100 Ultra Wi-Fi Routers all tout high wireless network speeds, while the PowerLine AV2 1000 and 2000M kits claim to provide fast wired network speeds using the home's power supply.
New rules are said to contain Title II regulation plans
US Federal Communications Chairman commissioner Tom Wheeler is reportedly planning on unveiling a new set of net neutrality rules in the beginning of February. The new rules, which are said to be more aggressive than originally proposed, which should incorporate feedback from the public comment process, should come to a vote at the February 26 meeting - and may finally include Title II regulation of broadband, which would apply oversight to ISPs similar to that of utilities, such as water and power.
Take control of your computer from your iPad or iPhone
Most of us still have desktop computers, but they're not always convenient, given the average person's fast-paced life. If you have a laptop or desktop, there have probably been a few times when you've wished you could check up on your computer, only to find yourself at the store, or stuck somewhere far away from your desk. What if there was a way, however, for you to easily check your computer while you're out and about? Remoter VNC by Remoter Labs allows you to take control of your computer, from anywhere, right from the palm of your hand.
4K video streaming, multi-gigabit file transfer, and WiFi Networking
Networking hardware maker Peraso of Toronto, Canada focuses its efforts on designing integrated circuits but doesn't fabricate its own designs, instead outsourcing them to "foundries" -- as such, Peraso refers to itself as a "fabless semiconductor company." Next week at CES, however, it will be demonstrating a new USB 3.0 adaptor for the 802.11ad standard also known as "WiGig." The standard offers LAN speeds up to 10 times that of conventional Wi-Fi, and the adapter is expected to help home equipment take advantage of the increased speed as 802.11ad becomes more commonly used.
Verizon ships XLTE-ready Ellipsis Jetpack Wi-Fi hotspot
The Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspot has gone on sale in the United States. The XLTE-ready device is able to provide connectivity to Verizon's 4G LTE network for up to eight devices over Wi-Fi, with the 2.9-ounce unit also sporting a 0.9-inch OLED display to show signal strength, data usage, and remaining battery life. The Ellipsis Jetpack is priced at $150, or $1 on a two-year contract, and can be added to an existing More Everything plan for $20 per month.
Marriott and Hilton weigh in in favor, Google and Microsoft petition against
The FCC has been petitioned by Marriott and an association of hotel owners to allow the jamming of Wi-Fi hotspots, usually set up by guests, on their premises for reasons of "managing Wi-Fi networks and security." The petition is possibly in response to when Marriott International and Marriott Hotel Services was fined $600,000 by the FCC for knocking guests off their own Wi-Fi networks (provided by hot spots and tethering to cell phones), forcing them to pay for the hotel's Wi-Fi access.
Vulnerability found in Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite
Apple has released what it calls a "critical" patch for OS X, dubbed the NTP Security Update. The code is currently being pushed to users via the Mac App Store, and solves vulnerabilities within the Network Time Protocol. The update is available for Mountain Lion (10.8.x), Mavericks (10.9), and Yosemite (10.10). While no known attack exploits the now-patched vulnerabilities, the discovery appears to be serious enough to merit immediate attention.
Judge concerned for class members' rights, kills deal approved by counsel
A US district judge in San Francisco has outright rejected HP's settlement offer to settle the Autonomy acquisition class action suit in the US. Saying that "the shareholders appear to be relinquishing a whole universe of potential claims regarding HP governance and practices," Judge Charles Breyer has kicked the settlement back to the plaintiffs without suggestions for recovery. The matter is now likely to head to trial sometime in the summer of 2015.
Christmas, like winter, is coming. Be prepared!
It's not too late, but its getting close. In fact, it's so close that any helping hand might be welcome to help pick presents for the Apple-centric device lover in your life. Good news! We see every conceivable gadget all year -- use our knowledge to benefit you! This week, Electronista and MacNN have suggestions for the best gift options for the Apple fan in your life.
Spanish AEDE lobbied for law that ultimately caused closure of Google News
Last week, Google announced its intentions to shutter its Google News service in Spain, citing a law coming into effect in January that would force it to pay for snippets of content. At the end of the week, the Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association (AEDE) asked the government to intervene in the closure, saying that Google's abandonment of the country would "undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses."
Scheme providing public Wi-Fi from customer homes is security risk, increases costs, claims lawsuit
Comcast is being sued by subscribers of its Internet service for hosting a public hotspot within their home. Joycelin Harris and Toyer Grear filed with the US District Court of Northern California over the company's decision to allow home routers to open up the routers of its own customers to other users, something the suit claims was performed without authorization and is a potential risk to systems on the home network.
Google accepts sign-ups for Fiber service in Austin
Google has started to accept sign-ups for the Google Fiber "fiberhoods" in Austin. Starting with areas in the south and south-east of the city, residential customers can sign up for plans offering Gigabit Internet and TV services for $130 per month, Gigabit Internet alone for $70 per month, or a 5Mbps connection for no monthly charge but a $300 construction fee, with a business plan providing Gigabit Internet for $100 per month. Other parts of the city will be brought into the Google Fiber sign-up process in the future.
Google mostly compliant, with exception of notifying publishers of removal
This week has been a busy one for Europe's "right to be forgotten" stricture. Not only have Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing launched the mandated efforts for users, but the European Commission has also issued guidance to the search engines on how to handle requests. The guidance is similar to what Google has implemented, but there may be some issues ahead, as the document published by the commission takes issues to search engines warning site operators when a page with information is delisted, potentially stirring up old issues and bringing more attention to the deleted content.
AT&T claims it will adhere to fiber build, but freezing any new expansion plans
Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's net neutrality and Title II regulation discussion, though the announcement was seen a thinly-veiled threat against the FCC.
Wheeler believes lawsuits inevitable, regardless of result of discussion
US Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler said that there is a specific reason why the regulatory group is taking its time with the net neutrality discussion. Speaking at a meeting on Friday, the chairman said that caution was prudent, and that the agency needs to "make sure that we understand what is going on here." Referring to Verizon, AT&T, and the other major Internet providers, he added that "the big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out."
Includes twin Thunderbolt 2, five USB 3.0 connections
Other World Computing has announced a new peripheral, the Thunderbolt 2 Dock. The device expands the number of connections available on a Mac, mainly through twin Thunderbolt 2 ports; while one is meant to connect to the computer, together they can daisy-chain up to five extra Thunderbolt devices. USB devices can be connected through one of five powered USB 3.0 ports.
Second pager-related suit in two months
Apple has been ordered to pay a Texas firm, Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, $23.6 million for illegally using pager patents in its products. A federal jury in Marshall, Texas has ruled that six patents owned by MTel are still valid, and were infringed by products including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and the AirPort router line. The patents were originally issued in the mid- to late-1990s, and are either recently expired or set to expire soon.
Advertising-covered LinkNYC kiosks could replace phone booths across city
Citizens of New York City will soon gain access to a city-wide Wi-Fi network, expanding its existing installations considerably while staying free for all to use. The LinkNYC project, which plans to provide gigabit connections to all five boroughs from the end of next year, will consist of up to 10,000 kiosks designed to replace the aging public phone system.
Patch solved issues for some, not nearly all
Apple's latest patch to OS X 10.10 Yosemite, version 10.10.1, has brought along fixes for Wi-Fi and Mail issues for some users. The Apple support threads regarding the matter, however, suggest that not all users are getting relief. While the update has helped some, users are still reporting frequent disconnects and very slow speeds through Wi-Fi, even after the patch.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 17, 2014
Welcome to the first instance of Monday Deals! As the holiday shopping period begins, we are doubling up on the posts where we find deals on gadgets, peripherals, accessories, games, and other items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, to make your gift buying time easier. Just like the Friday deals, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but could be different if you are reading this later in the week, so check the deal before purchasing. We're going to keep adding to this until Friday, so check back often!
Appears unconnected to OS X, iOS updates
[Updated with status information] Some people are encountering problems with Apple's iMessage system, according to complaints on social networks such as Twitter. Affected users will find messages taking a long time to send, if they go out at all. Apple's system status page doesn't currently display any warnings.
Yosemite update fixes serious Wi-Fi issues
Apple has released simultaneous updates for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. OS X 10.10.1 for Mac copes mainly with significant bugs, such as a glitch with Wi-Fi that would cause a system to repeatedly disconnect. It also solves problems with sending Mail messages, displayed updates at the Mac App Store, Mac minis not waking from sleep, and disappearing items like Actions, sharing services, and Notification Center widgets.
Allows chats, video calls without dedicated client
Microsoft has launched a beta of Skype for Web, a clientless version of its communications platform. Users can make video calls, send instant messages, and manage contacts via a browser; at the moment though, the beta is invitation-only for a small group of people. Microsoft says it plans to expand access globally "in the coming months."
Wheeler reminds critics that FCC is independent, not bound by White House
Speaking before a series of Silicon Valley company representatives, US Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler has refuted President Obama's call for Title II regulation of cable companies and strict net neutrality. The chairman, when asked about the President's declaration, reminded attendees that the FCC doesn't answer to the President, with the statement that "I am an independent agency."