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Google Fiber Wins Installation Battle In Nashville

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

google-fiber-logo-150x150Google Fiber won a victory in Nashville as the city’s Metro Council approved an ordinance called “One Touch Make Ready,” that would speed up the company’s fiber-optic cable installations.

The ordinance, passed by a voice vote, gives Google Fiber and other ISPs quicker access to utility poles for deploying fast broadband with fiber-optic cable.

Without the measure, each ISP has had to send out a separate crew to a utility pole to move its own line to make room for a new one. The ordinance would permit a single company to make the wire adjustments on a pole instead of waiting for existing providers — competitors like Comcast or AT&T– to make the changes, which could take months.

Mayor Megan Barry is expected to sign the measure into law, but is also expecting a legal challenge. AT&T is reportedly the most likely to file a lawsuit, and Barry said protracted litigation could delay implementation of the law and, therefore, fiber access for citizens, according to The Tennessean.

AT&T could not be reached for comment. Meanwhile, Google Fiber posted an upbeat update to a previous blog. “It’s a great day for Nashville,” the blog said of the council’s vote. “This will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly.”

Google Fiber said it launched in Nashville in April,  although progress on the rollout has been sidetracked by the work on the ordinance.

Deploying fiber-optic cable on utility poles and underground is a costly and time-consuming process even when competition from other providers doesn’t pose disruptions. In August, a Wall Street Journal report said Google Fiber was hoping to rely on wireless technology instead of fiber in about 12 major cities to reduce its costs. Google Fiber officials did not comment to Computerworld on that report.

Samsung Delays Re-start Of Galaxy Note 7 Sales

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-recall-150x150Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has announced that it will be delaying the start of new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone sales in South Korea by three days to Oct. 1, a move it says is needed for speedy completion of the ongoing recall in the country.

Samsung announced on Sept. 2 a recall of at least 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in 10 markets, including South Korea, due to a faulty battery causing the phones to catch fire, offering refunds or replacement devices using safe batteries.

The firm hopes to complete the recall quickly and restart sales in the fourth quarter to salvage earnings, but the latest hitch in South Korea underscore continuing challenges in those efforts.

Though product exchanges in South Korea began on Monday, only about 200,000 affected customers have turned in their devices – which Samsung says represents half of affected customers and a recall pace that is much slower than other markets such as Singapore and the United States.

“The recall rate will likely fall sharply should new sales have resumed on Sept. 28,” the company said. Affected customers would no longer be able to exchange their devices through domestic carriers starting on Oct. 1, making the process more difficult.

Samsung hopes to restart new sales in affected markets once it makes enough progress with the recalls, having announced plans to restart sales in Australia and Singapore in October, but the nearly month-long recall process has provided additional stumbles and embarrassment for the firm.

Continued reports of Note 7 fires and damages after the recall announcement, along with warnings or outright bans from aviation authorities on the use or charging of the Note 7 on aircraft, forced Samsung to ask affected customers to immediately turn off their phones to prevent further damage.

Samsung issued an apology for the confusion caused by the delay and said it would do its best to resolve the current Note 7 situation quickly.

Digital Map Company HERE Partners With Automakers To Share Traffic Data

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

here-maps-150x150German digital map maker HERE plans to roll out a new set of traffic services this week that allows drivers to see for themselves what live road conditions are like miles ahead using data from competing automakers, an industry first.

The Berlin-based company, owned by Germany’s three premium automakers, will provide four services in which drivers share detailed video views of traffic jams or accidents, potential road hazards like fog or slippery streets, traffic signs including temporary speed limits and on-street parking.

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen will all contribute data to the service, making their first big collaboration since they bought HERE for 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion) late last year from mobile equipment maker Nokia of Finland.

Other automakers are expected to join the project later and contribute data from their vehicles, HERE said.

The new live traffic services are set to hit the road in the first half of 2017, HERE said on Monday before the opening of this week’s Paris Motor Show.

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles from the three German automakers are set to begin feeding visual data into the HERE system supplying these services, with millions of vehicles expected to contribute live traffic feeds by the end of 2018, HERE said.

“You have competing brands which are putting their data together to create very unique services which were not possible before,” Bruno Bourguet, HERE’s global head of sales, said in an interview.

Data collected from vehicles participating in the network, drawn from brakes, windshield wipers, headlights, location systems, cameras and other sensors, are translated into alerts on driver dashboards using the HERE services.

Collecting sophisticated data from millions of cars on the road promises to give HERE a substantial lead over technology rivals such as Google , Apple, Tesla and TomTom , which have access to data from far fewer vehicles to collect so-called crowd-sourced data, analysts say.

“Crowd-sourced data is crucial for live traffic/maps and the size of the user base will be key to differentiation,” UBS said in a recent report.

As other automakers contribute data for these services, an increasingly comprehensive view of road conditions around the world will be built to aid human drivers and, eventually, computer systems for autonomous cars, for which real-time road data is a pre-condition for replacing human drivers.

Can Tatooine Like Planets Rise From Ashes?

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Worlds with two close suns, like the fictional planet Tatooine in “Star Wars,” may be just as common as their single-star cousins — and sometimes, like a mythological phoenix, such planets might be born from the ashes of one star’s death. 

A new study reveals that the most massive worlds occur nearly as often around tight pairs of stars as they do around singles. While most planets that orbit one star came into being along with their sun, some of the worlds orbiting two tightly paired objects may have come from one of the stars’ debris.

“Because of the challenges they present, binary stars have been for a long time neglected,” Mariangela Bonavita, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, told Space.com. Bonavita examined a number of stellar surveys, including The Search for Planets Orbiting Two Stars (SPOTS), to which Bonavita contributed, to hunt for worlds around pairs of stars.  

“That’s changing now, thanks to direct imaging, and also thanks to [NASA’s] Kepler spacecraft,” she said.

Binary star systems, which contain two suns rather than a single star, are abundant throughout the galaxy. According to Bonavita, more than half of the stars in our sun’s neighborhood have at least one companion. When the two stars are far apart, a planet’s path travels around only one of the stars. But if the stars are close enough to each other, worlds can travel around both stars in circumbinary orbits. In all but the most tightly packed systems, however, finding planets around the pair can be a challenge. 

That’s because most detections are made indirectly, through either the radial velocity method, which tracks the gravitational wobble a planet causes in its star, or the transit method, where light from the star dips in brightness as a planet eclipses its sun. Most radial-velocity planetary surveys omit known binary stars completely, while the need for longer observations makes identifying binary-orbiting planets a challenge in transit surveys. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be spotted, however — Kepler’s long observations helped researchers identify more than a half-dozen circumbinary stars.

Planets with multiple suns can only exist in a handful of stable orbits that can endure through the life of the stars. If their stars are too far apart, the planets are more likely to orbit just one of them, or risk being ejected completely from the system. However, as long as the suns are within 92 billion miles (150 billion kilometers), or about 1,000 times the Earth-sun distance, planets can safely dance around both in what Bonavita calls “moderately wide orbits.”

Those wider orbits can be captured by a third method of planetary detection known as direct imaging. Unlike transit and radial-velocity methods, in the direct-imaging approach, a photograph is taken of a planet that is orbiting its sun (or suns). Since this method relies on a coronagraph to block the starlight, the direct-imaging method favors planets that are in wider orbits that won’t be covered up.

“Imaging searches are more sensitive to planets in the outer regions, and very tight binaries can be treated as singles when it comes to coronagraphic observations,” Bonavita said.

“Therefore, circumbinary planets are indeed ideal targets for those surveys.”

When direct imaging is used, larger planets are easier to spot than their smaller cousins. Calculating their mass precisely can be a bit more challenging, however. Many of the objects that are seen with this method fall between the realm of massive planets and brown dwarfs, which are even larger. Because the extremely massive brown dwarfs are too small to kick-start hydrogen fusion in their cores like their stellar cousins, they are often called “failed stars.” 

Bonavita examined the number of substellar companions — the collection of objects that could be either brown dwarfs or giant planets — that were found in multistar orbits in 23 existing surveys, including SPOTS. She found that they occurred nearly as often around two stars as they did around one.

“There is no strong difference, in terms of frequency of substellar companions in wide orbits, between close binaries and single stars,” Bonavita said.

While most direct-imaging surveys focus on single stars, SPOTS deliberately searches for potential pairs that could host planets. The survey is halfway through observing 67 pairs over a span of four to five years.

The research was recently published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Phoenix Tatooines

Most planets form from the disk of dust and gas left behind after the birth of their star or stars. After jostling one another for the most stable orbit, these first-generation planets can potentially survive until the end of the lifetime of one of their suns. One example is Kepler-16b, the first confirmed circumbinary world.

But when one sun dies, the system changes drastically. The dying star can either explode in a supernova or shed its exterior material, occasionally leaving behind a small dim core known as a white dwarf, a city-sized object more massive than the sun. The dense companion can pull material from the other star in the pair. 

Most planets aren’t expected to survive the violent end of their stars’ evolution. But there have been reports of several planets orbiting double stars where the white dwarf is sucking material from its companion.  

“Such planets, if real, are either the remnants of the original planetary system that survived the violent evolution of the stars or [bodies that] formed after the interaction,” Bonavita said, cautioning that the reported worlds remained unconfirmed.

Like the mythological phoenixes, secondary worlds would rise from the ashes — in this case, the dust and gas — left behind by the death of the star.

According to past studies, if binary planets commonly survived the death of one parent star, they would be plentiful around debris-sharing stars, Bonavita said. Since such planets aren’t frequently observed, that suggests that it is more likely for them to have formed from the ashes after one of the stars blew out to form a white dwarf.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that terrestrial worlds like the fictional Tatooine may be common. Like the phoenix of old, it would be rare for habitable worlds to emerge around these stars.

“A second-generation, Earth-sized planet would be harder to form, because of the lack of heavy elements,” Bonavita said, referring to worlds created after one of their stars had died. 

If a rocky “phoenix” world did manage to form from the ashes of a star, it would experience extreme radiation from the bodies it orbited, making habitability tricky.

“It would definitely be harder for a second generation planet to be habitable, because any atmosphere would be stripped away during the common envelope phase,” she said.

Courtesy-Space

Yahoo Hacking Takes Top Spot As Biggest Breach

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

yahoo-hacking-150x150When Yahoo confirmed that data from at least 500 million user accounts had been hacked, it wasn’t just admitting to a huge failing in data security — it was admitting to the biggest hack the world has ever seen.

Until  last Thursday, the previous largest known hack was the 2008 breach that hit almost 360 million MySpace accounts, according to a ranking by the “Have I been pwned” website. Like the Yahoo breach, the hack was only publicly disclosed this year after data was offered on a hacker forum.

And only three breaches had ranked above the 100 million level:

LinkedIn reported a loss of 167 million email addresses and passwords. They were originally stolen in 2012 but not publicly disclosed until 2016, again after the data was offered on an underground “dark market” site.

A 2013 hack of Adobe saw 153 million account details lost. They included user names, email addresses, and encrypted passwords, but the encryption was poorly implemented and reversed on some accounts.

And there’s been a reported but unverified hack of dating website Badoo. Data including email addresses, names, and passwords for about 112 million members was found online.

The LinkedIn and MySpace data sets, along with 200 million Yahoo records, were put up for sale by the same hacker, peace_of_mind.

Major hacks can turn out to be a headache for users, even if the data is old and the account in question is no longer used. That’s because many people use the same password or a similar password across services, so a successful hack of Yahoo could expose an email address and password that would work on other sites.

Privacy Groups Urge Probe Of WhatsApp Data Sharing Practices

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

whatsapp-logo-150x150The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should prohibit mobile messaging service WhatsApp from sharing user data with parent company Facebook in violation of earlier privacy promises, several privacy groups said.

The FTC should step in to stop WhatsApp from violating “commitments the company previously made to subscribers,” the 17 groups said in a letter sent to the agency Thursday. WhatsApp has long billed itself as a secure and private messaging service.

WhatsApp’s recently released plan to share user data with Facebook as a way to target advertising could amount to an “unfair and deceptive” trade practice, said the groups, including the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, and Demand Progress.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact this proposed change in data practices will have on the privacy and security of WhatsApp users in the U.S. and across the world,” the letter added. When Facebook acquired the messaging service in 2014, both companies “made numerous promises” that WhatsApp’s privacy policies wouldn’t change, the letter added.

WhatsApp complies with “applicable” laws, a spokeswoman said in response to the letter. “As always, we consider our obligations when designing updates like this,” she added by email.

WhatsApp has collected personal information from more than 1 billion users, “with the promise that this information would not be used or disclosed for marketing purposes,” the letter to the FTC said. “WhatsApp’s reversal on this promise is a material, retroactive change that will apply to previously collected data.”

The proposed changes in WhatsApp’s privacy policy have raised concerns outside the U.S. as well. On Friday, India’s Delhi High Court ordered the company to delete user data for people who opt out of the changes before Sunday, according to news reports. The court also told WhatsApp to avoid sharing data collected before then with Facebook, even for users who do not opt out of the new policy.

 

Is Twitter About To Go On The Auction Block?

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

twitter-buy-button-150x150Twitter Inc has initiated discussions with several technology companies to explore putting itself up for sale, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday, signaling the start of what is likely to be a slow-rolling auction of the high-profile but profit-challenged social media company.

A sale of Twitter has been the subject of on-again, off-again rumors for many months as the company grapples with stagnant user growth, soft advertising sales and losses running at hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The company’s business struggles have come even as the 10-year-old service has evolved into a potent global source of news, entertainment and social commentary.

CNBC, citing anonymous sources, reported on Friday that Twitter is in talks with companies including Google and may receive a formal bid soon. A source told Reuters that Salesforce.com is also in pursuit.

Twitter and Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company did not respond to a request for comment. Salesforce declined to comment.

Verizon, another company mentioned in media reports on Friday as a possible suitor, said it did not comment on M&A rumors but that it had not submitted a bid for the company.

Twitter shares jumped more than 19 percent to $22.22 per share on Friday, marking the largest one-day rise since their first day of trading in 2013. The company now has a market value of around $16 billion.

Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi said Alphabet would be the best acquirer for Twitter since it has not yet been able to crack social media on its own despite several efforts.

“From a strategic standpoint, we think it would be more beneficial for Alphabet as opposed to Salesforce,” Mogharabi said. Former Google executive Omid Kordestani is executive chairman of Twitter.

Morningstar estimates Twitter could be bought for $22 per share. Twitter is working with investment banks Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co in considering possible transactions, sources familiar with the situation said.

Is The IOT Really Taking Off?

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

While every IT company in the entire universe appears to be hyping the internet of things (IoT) as the next big thing, there’s very little substance to the claims.

That’s according to Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO of semiconductor analyst firm Future Horizons.

Speaking at a conference in London, Penn said: “The IoT is overhyped but some common sense is entering. The IoT is not one space. Everybody has their own spin on it.”

He said that the next phase of the IoT is “mercifully not wearables” and watches are not the right form factor. “Even Apple failed to break the [condundrum of] the 40 year old digital watch.”

Penn thinks, however, that there is some merit to the IoT concept.

“Connectivity is the key and data analysis is getting some traction,” he said. He added that technology has to be straightforward and simple. Where the IoT may come into his own, he suggested were electronic cars.

“There are more components in a smartphone than an electronic car,” he said.

Courtesy-Fud

Notebook Sells Spike In August

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Figures just in for August show that there has been a spike in the sales of notebooks.

Beancounters at Digitimes research have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that the top-5 notebook vendors and top-3 notebook ODMs saw their shipments rise 27 percent  and 31 percent a month in August.

While it could mean that the notebook recession is over, the beancounters think that the spike is due to inventory preparation for the year-end holidays in Europe and North America, Windows 10’s annual upgrade, and mass shipments of Intel’s Kaby Lake processors.

The winner on the notebook front is HP which released some new products in August that successfully widened the vendor’s shipment gap by nearly 700,000 units. The number two was Lenovo. HP stayed firmly as the largest notebook vendor in the month. Dell turned its focus to the consumer sector in August, but its shipments only grew a single-digit percentage on month.

Digitimes Research said that Asustek Computer and Acer both saw boosts of 10 percent  on-month growths in August.

With HP’s significant shipment growth in August, the top three ODMs, which are all suppliers of HP, together achieved higher on-month growth than the top five vendors combined, while ODM’s combined on-year shipment growth turned positive for the first time in the past 16 months.

Quanta benefited from HP’s orders the most in the month, growing nearly 40 per cent from July.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Appears To Be Going With Polaris

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Apple is going to be putting AMD’s Polaris under the bonnet of its much needed iMac refresh.

According to Headlines & Global News in October the fruity tax-dodger is going to announce that its iMac is going to be refreshed after four years and will be finally dragged kicking and screaming into 2016.

AMD will be supplying the Radeon 400 Series Polaris graphics processing units which apparently will be in a powerful enough flavour to run Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology.

LG will supply 5K resolution monitors. Thus, this information further hinted that iMac 2016 will most likely be suited for gaming, if they can find anyone who writes for the comedy iOS software.

There is still an unknown as to what the CPU would be. All the original rumors had suggested that Apple had signed up for Kaby Lake. This made sense when Intel was likely to beat AMD Zen to market.

Since then, Intel has had a few delays on Kaby Lake and if Apple is going to use it, the iMac will have to be delayed until next year. This time table does not sit well with an October announcement. AMD is not likely to have Zen ready for it either, so this means that if Apple wants to launch in October then it will have to use the far more pedestrian and less interesting Intel Skylake.

Courtesy-Fud

4K TV Sales Growing Fast

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Despite having limited content, 4K Ultra HD televisions are expected to double sales to 15 million units in the US in 2016.

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association said that the next-generation TVs are now being adopted at a faster rate than predecessor high-definition TVs. Sales of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players are also selling at a fast rate.

Shapiro said that 62 percent of consumers plan to buy a consumer electronics viewing device in the next year while a third will buy a smartphone, and 29 percent plan to buy a TV.

“Consumers are showing a strong preference for 4K,” which has four times as many on-screen pixels as HDTVs. It’s faster and more robust than HDTV.”

By 2017, 4K UHD TV sales will hit 20 million a year in the U.S. That number will grow to 23 million in 2018, and 26 million by 2019. The 2016 growth rate is 105 percent above the units sold for 2015, he said.

More than 700,000 4K Blu-ray players have been sold so far in 2016, Shapiro said. Blu-ray is now 10 years old as a technology, launched in support of HDTV content. Now all of the major studios are releasing content on the 4K UHD format. Netflix is also streaming movies in 4K formats online. More than 500,000 4K Blu-ray discs have been sold so far, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

Shapiro said that 4 out of 10 TVs that ship this year will be 4K UltraHD, so sales of HDTVs remain strong as well. Almost every TV set over 50 inches diagonal is a 4K set, Shapiro said.

Prices are dropping too. The average 4K TV price in 2015 was $1,048, and that is dropping to $861 in 2016. Shapiro said that the new ATSC 3.0 television standard is being finalized for 4K transmission over Internet Protocol and on mobile devices, and he expects to see TVs that use the standard at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

Astronomers Find Binary Alien Worlds

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-nh-color-pluto-charonAstronomers may have found the first binary planets ever observed beyond our solar system.

The two objects straddle the dividing line between gas giants and odd “failed stars” known as brown dwarfs in terms of mass, researchers said. The newfound bodies are also similar to each other in size and age.

“They’re probably brother and sister,” Daniella Gagliuffi told Space.com. Gagliuffi, a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, found the objects amid a cloud of stars about 65 light-years from Earth. 

“It’s a little incestuous,” said Gagliuffi, who presented her research at the American Astronomical Society’s summer meeting in San Diego in June.

The pair lie within a dense cluster of stars that would normally be expected to strip objects away from one another. However, observations suggest that the two objects are so close that interactions with other stars would instead push them closer together, Gagliuffi said.

Planets or failed stars?

Galaxies are filled with stars, but they also include faint drifting objects with characteristics that make their status debatable. Such objects can be classified either as planets or as failed stars, given a blurry dividing line between the two.

That’s the case for the two objects Gagliuffi identified in a search for failed stars known as brown dwarfs. Gagliuffi sought brown dwarfs that could help her probe the lower boundary of what makes a star.

Unlike stars, brown dwarfs fail to fuse “normal” hydrogen in their interior. But these odd objects are apparently capable of fusing deuterium,

The newfound pair weigh in at roughly 15 and 14 times the mass of Jupiter. But the error bars associated with those estimates are wide enough that they may actually be in the planetary range.

“Their mass is straddling the deuterium-burning limit,” Gagliuffi said.

So, the twins could be a pair of planets dancing around a central point of mass (in which case they would be the history-making exoplanet binary), but they could also be a pair of brown dwarfs, or a brown dwarf hosting a massive gas giant planet.

To complicate the matter, both brown dwarfs and young gas giants produce light so weak that it is difficult to study their composition or differentiate them from one another.

And massive young planets produce heat from within, slowly cooling over their lifetimes. Gagliuffi’s studies show the pair are between 200 million and 300 million years old — young enough to confuse the issue.

Pairs of brown dwarfs are abundant throughout the Milky Way galaxy, but young binaries are not so common, Gagliuffi said. If the siblings turn out to be failed stars, they could provide intriguing insights into their family’s formation history.

Binary worlds also are thought to be rare. Our solar system is considered by some to host one pair of planets. The dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon Charon orbit a point of mass outside the boundaries of each, making Pluto-Charon a binary system. No other binary planets are known outside of the sun’s orbit.

The newfound twin worlds drift through what Gagliuffi calls “a whole zoo of different stars,” only about 926 million miles (1.49 trillion kilometers) apart. While that sounds like an enormous distance — it is 10 times the distance between the Earth and the sun, after all— it’s actually extremely close for worlds from two different systems. She and her colleagues think it’s unlikely that the pair are just drifting close to one another by chance.

Given that they’re so close, it’s extremely likely that they’re bound,” Gagliuffi said.

It’s possible that the pair is connected to a third, more distant star that they orbit together. No such star has been identified, but many binary systems are actually triples, and Gagliuffi will look for a parent star as she continues this work.

Of course, the pair may also be drifting alone without adult supervision.

Courtesy-Space

AT&T Announces Low-cost, High-speed Wireless Internet Service AirGig

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

att-logo-5-150x150AT&T unveiled a low-cost, high-speed wireless internet technology that relies on plastic antennas stationed along medium-voltage power lines.

The signals will not travel through the conductive materials inside the power lines, as with more expensive technologies that were tried and mostly failed a decade ago, AT&T executives said on a conference call.

Instead, the plastic antennas will be attached to the power lines and serve as a mesh network to distribute signals to homes and businesses. To test the technology, AT&T is looking for a location somewhere in the next year with a favorable regulatory environment, since the carrier would need to partner with an existing electric utility.

The project, called AirGig, relies on more than 100 patents, according to an AT&T statement. There is no direct electrical connection to the power lines, although network components could receive their needed power through inductive physical principals just by their proximity to the lines, AT&T Chief Technology Officer Andre Fuetsch explained.

AT&T said the testing will decide what frequency AirGig will use for commercial deployment, which could occur sometime around 2020, after the carrier rolls out 5G wireless. The frequency AT&T uses will affect the range of the signal and the speed, as well as whether it is over a licensed or unlicensed band.

By using power lines, AirGig avoids the expense of digging trenches to lay fiber optic cable. A utility company would be able to use the technology to help spot problems on its power lines from something like a downed tree.

“It’s a transformative technology that delivers low-cost and multigigabit speeds using power lines,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer for AT&T. “There’s no need for enhancements for new towers, and it’s over existing infrastructure.”

Aside from saying it is low-cost, AT&T didn’t offer details. A location for the field testing will be offered soon, officials said.

AirGig has already been tested in outdoor locations on campus settings. “We’ve had it up and running 4k video and cameras on campuses for quite some time,” Donovan said.

He said the trial could be in an area where existing broadband is expensive, even in the U.S.

Apple Announces Goes All In On Renewable Energy

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

apple-renewable-energy-150x150Apple announced that it has committed to powering all of its data centers and corporate offices off of renewable energy, joining a group of other corporations committed to the same clean energy goal.

Apple said it has joined RE100, a global initiative by influential businesses committed to using 100% renewable electricity. To date, RE100 has amassed membership from 77 corporations.

Other RE100 members include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, VMware, Rackspace and Wells Fargo.

Apple’s announcement is mostly symbolic at this point. The company is already powering its operations in the U.S., China and 21 other countries with 100% renewable energy, and, in 2015, powered 93% of its operations around the world with renewable energy.

Apple has invested in renewable energy for several years. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said Monday that the company completed construction on its latest renewable energy project — a 50-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Arizona, Apple worked with local utility Salt River Project on the solar array, which will provide renewable power to Apple’s global command data center in Mesa, Arizona. The solar farm provides power equal to the energy use of more than 12,000 Arizona homes.

Last year, Apple announced it would invest $850 million in a solar power plant through a partnership with First Solar, one of the nation’s largest photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers and a provider of utility-scale PV plants. Through a 25-year purchasing agreement, Apple will get 130MW (megawatts, or million watts) from the new California Flats Solar Project.

The First Solar deal rocketed Apple past Walmart as the largest corporate user of solar power.

 

New Orders For Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Resume In U.S.

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-150x150U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Communications Inc has resumed taking orders for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, after having stopped sales of the device earlier due to fire-prone batteries.

Samsung has recalled about 1 million Note 7 smartphones in the United States, offering to replace or refund the flagship phones. Their susceptibility to catching fire – with more than 100 cases reported across the globe – has damaged the image of the South Korean company.

Globally, the world’s top smartphone maker has recalled at least 2.5 million handsets, in a major setback for the company that is looking to claw back market share from rivals, including Apple Inc  that recently released its latest iPhones.

Samsung halted new sales ahead of the recall as it prepared replacement Note 7 devices with safe batteries.

The new Note 7 phones have been approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for all purchases and exchanges, Verizon said on its website, adding it has the Samsung device available for sale starting Wednesday.

The largest U.S. wireless carrier warned that initial quantities could be limited.

Samsung said in a statement on Tuesday that it had shipped more than 500,000 new Note 7s to U.S. carriers and retailers and that affected users will be able to exchange their recalled phones starting by Wednesday at the latest. The statement did not specify when new sales would start.

Rival carrier Sprint Corp’s website also showed the Note 7 available for order, providing a list of stores where customers can pick up a new handset by appointment.

Samsung did not immediately comment on the U.S. sales plans.

The firm previously said it will resume new sales in South Korea starting Sept. 28 and that sales in Australia and Singapore would resume sometime in October.

 

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