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Comcast accused of siccing lawyers on net neutrality foe
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 05:28

An activist group says it was threatened by Comcast lawyers after it pointed out the cable giant's efforts to astroturf the FCC with fake comments on net neutrality.

Fight for the Future, a self-described digital rights group opposed to the FCC's planned net neutrality overhaul , says the US cable giant's lawyers have been targeting its Comcastroturf site.

The site, which looks to catalog what it says are phony "astroturfing" comments made to the FCC on Comcast's behalf, has been hit with "cease and desist" notices from the telco's lawyers alleging intellectual property violations.

A copy of the notice argues

Radar Sensors Put to the Test
Friday, 26 May 2017 01:00

[Andreas Spiess] picked up a few inexpensive radar sensors. He decided to compare the devices and test them and–lucky for us–he collected his results in a video you can see below.

The questions he wanted to answer were:

  • Are they 3.3 V-compatible?
  • How much current do they draw?
  • How long to they show a detection?
  • How far away can they detect the motion of a typical adult?
  • What is the angle of detection?
  • Can they see through certain materials?
  • Can the devices coexist with other devices in the same area? What about WiFi networks?

Good list of questions, and if …read more

House GOP takes crack at ISP privacy bill
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 08:47

The US Representatives who just weeks ago repealed privacy rules for ISPs now want to enact a new set of restrictions.

Tennessee Republican rep Marsha Blackburn is sponsoring the bill [PDF], known cheekily as the "Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (or BROWSER) Act of 2017."

The bill would explicitly set the terms under which ISPs could collect and distribute information on their customers, and when they would need to get opt-in or opt-out permission. It would also establish US trade watchdog the FTC as the governing body for internet privacy rules.

The BROWSER Act would require

Constellations and MIMO to take fibre to a future beyond the terabit
Monday, 22 May 2017 17:31

Interview A technology that first hit the mass market in 1990s-era modems running over voice networks will soon be boosting submarine fibre speeds around the world.

So says Dr Laurent Schmalen, Department Head, Coding for Optical Networks, at Nokia Bell Labs, who chatted to Vulture South about “constellation shaping” and the future of fibre research.

Schmalen explained that two questions are on Bell Labs' mind at the moment: what's the ultimate limit of fibre, and what are the near-term speedups we can achieve?

In the near term, Dr Schmalen said, the constellation shaping technology it recently tested in conjunction with

On Point: The Yagi Antenna
Thursday, 25 May 2017 13:01

If you happened to look up during a drive down a suburban street in the US anytime during the 60s or 70s, you’ll no doubt have noticed a forest of TV antennas. When over-the-air TV was the only option, people went to great lengths to haul in signals, with antennas of sometimes massive proportions flying over rooftops.

Outdoor antennas all but disappeared over the last third of the 20th century as cable providers became dominant, cast to the curb as unsightly relics of a sad and bygone era of limited choices and poor reception. But now cheapskates cable-cutters like yours …read more

T-Mobile USA sued by parents after their baby dies amid 911 meltdown
Friday, 12 May 2017 08:59

A Texas mother is suing T‑Mobile USA, alleging technical issues with the carrier prevented her child from getting urgent medical care, which led to his death.

Bridget Alex says that the telco's problems with "ghost calls" left the babysitter of her six-month-old son unable to reach the city's emergency services in time to save the boy. The child, Brandon Alex, was later pronounced dead at hospital.

At the time, 911 call centers in Dallas had been struggling with heavy call loads due in part to "ghosting" glitches that, along with staffing and other problems, caused T‑Mobile USA and MetroPCS handsets

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