Aug 27, 2009 | 3
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously today to scrutinize various aspects of the wireless industry with several new inquiries aimed at consumer protection, the Associated Press reports. One examination will look at so-called "truth-in-billing" rules that require phone companies to clearly identify and describe charges on consumer bills, while another will examine whether there is enough competition in the market.
These inquiries would join several others under way, including probes to determine if consumers are hurt by exclusive contracts between service providers and phone makers (e.g. AT&T and Apple, for its iPhone), long-term contracts between subscribers and service providers, and fees charged to subscribers who leave a contract early, according to Bloomberg.
Apr 21, 2009
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG)—comprised of companies including IBM and Nokia that sell technology that uses or relies on Bluetooth short-range radio frequency (RF) for sending and receiving wireless info—today in Tokyo put its stamp of approval on a new, more versatile version of the wireless standard that will give Bluetooth-enabled mobile gadgets the oomph needed to for the first time be able to transfer digital picture, video and other large files between cell phones, laptops and other devices.
The new Bluetooth Version 3.0 + High Speed standard and specification will show makers of cell phones, computers and other wireless electronics how to design these devices so that they can send and receive data using either the Bluetooth or 802.11 protocols using an 802.11 protocol adaptation layer. (Many laptops use Wi-Fi radios that use the 802.11 protocol because it can send large amounts of data over long distances, unlike Bluetooth.)
Mar 11, 2009 | 1
We've heard a lot about the potentially negative health effects of cell phones — that using them may or may not raise the risk of brain tumors, cause head pain and increase our chances of getting run over — and now it turns out that their ubiquity is causing problems for government scientists whose mission is to track the nation's wellbeing.
You'd never guess, but the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the statistical clearinghouse for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the most widely cited source of wireless usage in the U.S. Why? CDC traditionally conducts its national health surveys by randomly dialing landline telephone numbers. But six years ago it realized that was becoming a problem, because people were dropping their landline service in droves. How big a problem? In an effort to find out, the agency began measuring how many U.S. homes use only cell phones.
Dec 18, 2008 | 1
Although the Federal Aviation Administration (mercifully) still won't let passengers yap on their mobile phones while in flight, there's nothing to keep airlines from letting their customers connect wirelessly to the Web. And that's exactly what Delta and several other major carriers have begun to do.
Delta Air Lines this week began offering Gogo Inflight Internet service from Aircell, LLC, an Itasca, Ill., wireless technology company, on five MD-88 aircraft flying Delta Shuttle routes between New York's LaGuardia Airport and Boston's Logan and Washington's Reagan National airports, plus one Boeing 757 flying domestic routes. Delta says that the service will be offered on five more flights by the end of the month and that it will be available on as many as 300 planes by the end of 2009. Northwest Airlines (a Delta subsidiary) will begin offering Gogo late next year, according to the Delta Web site.
Dec 16, 2008 | 2
As the feds increase the amount of its business conducted online (ostensibly to save on the costs of paper and even help the environment), government information becomes more of a target for hackers. This is evident in Brazil, where the government's push to issue logging permits via the Web backfired, allowing logging companies to secure bogus work permits and illegally clear areas of the Amazon.
"Logging companies intent on plundering [the Amazon rainforest] for timber have been using hackers to break into the Brazilian government's sophisticated tracking system and fiddle the records," Greenpeace U.K. reported last week on its blog.
Dec 2, 2008 | 16
Free, broadband Internet service could become available across the country if the government okays a proposal to open up unused public airwaves to bidders.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote Dec. 18 on whether to auction off the so-called AWS-3 spectrum, an unused chunk of airwaves. The winner would have to agree to use at least 25 percent of the spectrum to build a free, national broadband network (one free of porn, too, for anyone except for "adults" who click online agreements claiming to be 18 or older), but could charge a fee for faster service on the remainder. The network would reach 95 percent of the U.S. population, especially those in rural areas where broadband is less accessible, according to FCC spokesperson Rob Kenny.
Nov 21, 2008 | 7
Verizon Wireless today apologized to President-elect Barack Obama after discovering that employees had snooped into his cell phone records in the latest example of a VIP’s private information being accessed by nosy staffers.
An Obama aide said that employees didn't listen to voicemails or read emails, but it's unclear exactly what records were accessed and when – or how many employees were involved. Verizon didn't return phone and email requests for comment but said in a statement that the snoops would be disciplined.
Sep 4, 2008
With the National Football League's season set to kick off tonight, stories about gridiron injuries are grabbing the headlines. Will quarterback Tom Brady start for the New England Patriots in their opening game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, after missing the entire preseason with an injured right foot? How will the Baltimore Ravens do now that their starting quarterback is out for the season with a shoulder injury and being replaced by a rookie? Should an NFL team have given former Pro Bowl quarterback Duante Culpepper, who announced his retirement today, a chance to play, or did his devastating knee injury in 2005 pose too much of a risk?
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