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News tagged: hardware

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by Karl Bode 04:32PM Monday Sep 22 2014
A new study by Media Science paid for by A&E networks insists that most customers actually are ok with having the ability to fast-forward. Not too surprisingly, the study found that when advertisement fast-forwarding is disabled, users were more likely to recall the contents of the advertisement. More surprisingly, the study (a copy of which I've yet to actually find released to the public) insists that users actually don't mind having their ability to fast-forward through ads removed.

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TV viewers were monitored for their biometric (electrodermal) response during viewing sessions, while cameras monitored participant faces for facial muscle movement. Surveys were also applied before and after the viewing sessions.

Viewer recall of ads jumped 50% when fast-forwarding was disabled. However, the study found there was "no reduction to either program enjoyment, entertainment or engagement" when users couldn't bypass ads.

“Until now, there has been a lot of uncertainty about the potential tradeoffs associated with fast forward disabling," A&E VP Julya Fridman insists.
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by Karl Bode 09:07AM Monday Sep 22 2014
Torrent Freak has an interesting piece on the 21 "raid proof" virtual machines (VMs) currently running The Pirate Bay website. Two years ago the website switched all operations to the cloud, scattering their operations across a number of cloud storage providers located all around the world.
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by Karl Bode 02:36PM Thursday Sep 18 2014
Apple this week announced that the company will no longer unlock the company's phones and tablets at law enforcement and intelligence community demand. The announcement was made this week alongside the unveiling of a new privacy policy and the company's new iOS 8 operating system.
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by Karl Bode 10:32AM Wednesday Sep 17 2014
Cisco, Intel, IBM and more than a dozen other ISP industry hardware vendors have sent a letter (pdf) to the FCC and Department of Commerce urging them to avoid reclassifying ISPs under Title II, insisting that doing so would stifle innovation and investment in the broadband sector.

Title II classification -- with forbearance applied to keep the FCC in check -- is something consumer advocates argue is the only sensible way forward if consumers are to be protected, particularly on the net neutrality front.
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by Karl Bode 02:13PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
T-Mobile has sued telecom carrier Huawei, claiming the Chinese gear manufacturer stole T-Mobile trade secrets. Specifically, T-Mobile is claiming that Huawei has stolen software, specifications and other secrets for a cellphone-testing robot nicknamed "Tappy." In a lawsuit filed at the beginning of the month, T-Mobile alleges that Huawei employees "illicitly photographed the device," tried to smuggle components out of T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington lab, and when caught and subsequently banned from the facility -- tried to sneak back in. Huawei is "using T-Mobile’s stolen robot technology to test non-T-Mobile handsets and improve return rates for handsets developed and sold to other carriers," claims the lawsuit.


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by Karl Bode 08:25AM Wednesday Sep 10 2014
Comcast this week announced that they're introducing a new wireless gateway for residential subscribers the company claims is the "industry's fastest." According to the Comcast announcement, the new DPC3941T Xfinity Wireless Gateway integrates 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 3x3 MIMO design with 3 spatial streams that can provide up to 1.3 Gbps of raw throughput (700 Mbps actual, Comcast claims), 80 MHz wide Wi-Fi channel support, and 256-QAM modulation.

There's a discussion thread in our forums, and users have found a guide and some additional detail in the FCC database.

There's no word on what you'll pay for the honor of using this new device, but users can also e-mail Comcast at AC_WirelessGateway@cable.comcast.com for more detail. Comcast says the device will be available "later this fall to customers in select markets and over time across our footprint."


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by Karl Bode 09:09AM Tuesday Sep 09 2014
Global Capacity has announced that they've acquired Megapath's Network Services business unit for an undisclosed sum. According to the company announcement, (pdf) the deal will "create a $300 million company focused on making it simpler, more cost-effective and more efficient for customers to buy network connectivity in today’s increasingly complex $318 billion global data connectivity market." MegaPath will in turn become Global Capacity's largest wholesale customer after the deal closes sometime next year. Roughly 300 Megapath network operations employees are expected to join Global Capacity, though the elimination of some redundant positions is likely.


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by Karl Bode 09:02AM Thursday Sep 04 2014
Popular Science serves up an interesting read about the discovery of fake "towers" that are being used to surreptitiously intercept cell phone traffic. ESD America offers a product they call the GSMK Cryptophone 500, which is essentially a Galaxy S III running modified hardware and a modified, more-secure version of Android -- which the company states purges 468 vulnerabilities from the traditional Android build.
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by Karl Bode 09:12AM Tuesday Sep 02 2014
SoftBank will take advantage of their new Sprint ownership stake by selling robots at Sprint stores sometime next year, notes Bloomberg. SoftBank's "Pepper" robot, available in Japan for 198,000 yen ($1,900), is about four feet tall, dances, makes jokes, and "estimates human emotions based on expressions" according to the report.

"We will sell Pepper in the United States within a year after gathering information in Japan," insists SoftBank robotics CEO Fumihide Tomizawa. "I won’t be surprised if Pepper sales will be half to business and half to consumers." There's no word yet on pricing for Pepper here in the States, though you can learn more about the robot here (the video of the June unveiling is worth a look).


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by Karl Bode 08:33AM Tuesday Sep 02 2014
Verizon's ActionTec routers have never been what you'd call cutting edge, the company taking an extraordinarily long time to even offer 802.11N Wi-Fi functionality (and when they finally did, only offering 2.4Ghz).

Now Dave Zatz has noticed that Verizon FiOS customers will finally be getting newer gear, some FiOS Quantum customers getting the new Greenwave G1100. The G1100 offers everything up to 802.11ac, and looks to have integrated Zigbee home automation support.

Users in our forums suggest Verizon's purging old router inventory by providing their older ActionTec routers free with upgrades to 50 Mbps speeds or higher.


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by Karl Bode 11:00AM Friday Aug 29 2014
A TiVo support note first spotted by Dave Zatz is the first to highlight Comcast's looming migration away from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4. According to the note, Comcast is transitioning its systems in Augusta, Georgia, from MPEG-2 format to MPEG-4, meaning "that cable channels in this region will not be viewable on older equipment that is incompatible with the new format." I contacted Comcast who confirmed that they were migrating HD channels from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 in Augusta (SD channels will remain on MPEG-2), which the company notes will provide a "much more efficient use of bandwidth." The company could not offer any information on upgrade timelines for other markets.


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by Karl Bode 08:33AM Friday Aug 29 2014
We've come quite a way from the era of clunky 300 baud modems: Intel this week announced they've built the world's smallest modem. The company's XMM 6255, with an area of just 300 sq mm, is a standalone 3G radio intended to be embedded into all manner of connected devices around the home.

"It's not just about the size of it," Intel insists. "What Intel is really doing is going after a significant stake in the Internet of Things market, where connectivity is most important."

According to the Intel announcement, the penny-sized modem utilizes the Intel SMARTi UE2p dual-band single transceiver delivering 7.2 Mbps downstream and 5.76 Mbps upstream speeds.


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by Karl Bode 12:23PM Thursday Aug 28 2014
After months of speculation bordering on the nauseating, we appear to have a somewhat hard date for the release of the new iPhone(s) and Apple's long-awaited iWatch: September 9. ReCode had already discovered that the two different-sized iPhones would be revealed on that date, and now states the iWatch will be unveiled as well at the same media event. The iWatch is expected to have significant integration with Apple’s HealthKit health and fitness platform, as well as with Apple's home device integration platform HomeKit.


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by Karl Bode 06:41PM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
California this week became the first state in the country to pass a law requiring that cell phones include so-called "kill switch" functionality to deter theft, enabled by default (the full law is here, pdf). Minnesota passed a similar law earlier this year, but in that version of the law, the functionality is turned off by default.
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by Karl Bode 04:26PM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
TiVO this week expanded their device portfolio with a $50 unit that the company hopes appeals to cord cutters. The new TiVO Roamio OTA DVR features four tuners, a 500 GB hard drive and the ability to record and manage over the air broadcasts. TiVO's obviously not the first to this idea; a company by the name of Simple.TV has been offering a similar product for years, though their current device comes in at nearly $200. "TiVo is devoted to making the best possible cable TV user experience available through our operator partners and in retail, but we recognize some viewers opt not to receive the benefits a subscription with a cable provider offers," states the company.


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by Karl Bode 09:57AM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
While the company lead the speed race a few years ago, a certain complacency has fallen over Cablevision in recent years. The company has stopped competing as fiercely on price against Verizon FiOS (which has stopped competing on price in turn), with executives recently stating they weren't going to get caught up in "speed contests."

However, users in our forums notice that Cablevision is up to something with their speed tiers, even if it's nowhere as interesting as Verizon's recently decision to make all FiOS tiers symmetrical.
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by Karl Bode 01:05PM Monday Aug 18 2014
While Comcast certainly has its faults, the cable giant has led the way when it comes to IPv6 deployment while many larger ISPs have napped. Comcast recently announced they've officially completed their residential IPv6 deployments, and around 30% of their customers are now actively running IPv6.
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by Karl Bode 12:32PM Thursday Aug 14 2014
For years our users have complained of phantom Comcast charges -- especially Comcast's tendency to charge customers modem rental fees even when they own the modem. Another classic Comcast blunder is the tendency to charge users for unreturned equipment fees -- even when all of the equipment has very clearly been returned.
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by Karl Bode 02:53PM Wednesday Aug 13 2014
If you've been having problems accessing DSLReports.com and a flood of other websites this week, you're not alone. The problem, as it turns out, was experienced by tier-one and last mile ISPs alike across much of North America.
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by spamster 06:01PM Thursday Aug 07 2014
When I first came across FreedomPop advertising their free services, I naturally figured that it was too good to be true. After all, how can a cell phone company be successful if they don't charge for their services? At the time, I didn't bother to look into it any further until I came across an ad for their reconditioned Wi-Fi router from Newegg for only $15, which included 500MB/month of usage for free.
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