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.
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."
Carrier will redirect in-flight Internet efforts into international business
AT&T is giving up on its plan to launch an in-flight Wi-Fi service. Abandoning plans first announced in April, which would have put the carrier against Gogo and other similar in-flight Internet providers, AT&T did not specify why it was giving up on the service, but advised it would be concentrating more on its international business instead.
FCC should create net neutrality-protecting rules, insists Obama
President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify Internet services under Title II of the Telecommunications act. Wading into the net neutrality debate again, Obama has issued a statement asking for the FCC to "answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality."
Verizon general counsel wants 18-year-old pro-ISP law to dictate policy
The ISP that started the entire net neutrality debate with a court win, Verizon, is threatening legal action should the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implement Title II oversight of the telecommunications industry. Following claims that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering a hybrid approach to net neutrality and ISP regulation, Verizon is threatening counter-suits, claiming that doing so "fairly guarantees litigation" by multiple ISPs.
WWE Network reaches UK with free month, altered subscriptions
World Wrestling Entertainment is expanding the reach of its streaming service to the United Kingdom later today, after already rolling to 170 other countries. Starting from 8PM GMT, Digital Spy writes that WWE Network will be available in the country on a variety of devices for free until the end of November, before a subscription fee of £6.25 ($10) per month is introduced. WWE is also altering its subscription requirements in December, removing the six-month minimum commitment period for the lower monthly fee, and instead charging a $9.99 rolling monthly fee.
Update: WWE has advised on Twitter that the service has been "delayed until further notice." No reason has been provided.
Fixes vary from preference deletion all the way through OS X reinstall
Complaints from Yosemite upgraders about Wi-Fi connectivity are beginning to stack up. Reports are circulating about strange Wi-Fi issues, with issues seemingly related to corrupted preference files or bad configurations left over from previous installs. Fixes abound for the issues, with seemingly no commonality to the problems beyond just being related to wireless networking.
Deal would apply Title II to content providers, less regulation to consumers
Reports are circulating that US Federal Communications Commission chief Tom Wheeler is evaluating a hybrid approach to Internet regulation and net neutrality proposals. One of the four proposals would apply Title II regulation to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but would also allow them to sell "fast lane" access, breaking up applicable fees and regulations into wholesale and retail transactions.
Razer adds Chroma lighting system to Naga gaming mouse
Razer has made an update to its Naga gaming mouse, by giving it the Chroma lighting system the company introduced in August. The Naga Epic Chroma, fitted with an 8,200 DPI 4G laser sensor with wired and wireless modes, a grid of 12 customizable buttons on the thumb grip, and a total of 19 buttons overall, can change its lighting scheme to any of 16.8 million color options, or alternately let it cycle through most of the color spectrum. Shipping in early November in the United States and Europe, Razer is pricing the Naga Epic Chroma at $130.
Protests, widespread criticism forces Internet tax reversal in Hungary
A proposed tax on Internet data transfers in Hungary has been quashed, following a vast amount of criticism and protests in the country. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has backed down from the plans, which would require companies to pay 150 forints ($0.60) per gigabyte of Internet traffic, in order to help close the national budget deficit.
'Limited time promotion' sees Verizon, Netflix coexisting
Surprisingly given the public animosity between the two companies, Verizon has begun offering a year of video streaming service Netflix to some of its new customers. Customers who sign up for FiOS Internet and television bundles in the immediate vicinity of New York City are being offered the deal. Packages including a year of Netflix start at $80 a month and include a free year of Netflix.
DoD, other secure networks unaffected, claims White House official
Late Tuesday, the White House information technology department detected what it calls "unusual activity" on an unclassified network used by employees. While administration officials claim that there were no indications that classified networks had been penetrated, Electronista has learned that the entire IT suite for the Executive Office of the President (EOP), classified and not, is being swept and examined for malware suspected to be from a foreign source.
NeoFinder releases update, supports iCloud Drive, OS X Yosemite
NeoFinder (formerly named CDFinder) has announced its release of a new version of its file organizing software. NeoFinder allows users to keep track of one's digital files, photos, songs, movies, fonts on hard disks, USB drives, DVD-ROMs, CD-ROMs and other media formats. Generating thumbnails and reading metadata during the cataloging process, NeoFinder assists in creating powerful searches, smart folders, albums and more.
Mostly grandfathered plans hit by throttling, speeds cut to dial-up
The US Federal Trade Commission has launched a suit against AT&T for its admitted throttling of unlimited wireless data users. The FTC claims that AT&T has implemented the up to 90 percent slower data speeds on over 3.5 million customers a total of more than 25 million times since implementation on October 1, 2011.
Would bring tech beyond world of Apple Pay
Apple is hunting for new partnerships that will let it diversify the use of the NFC chip in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a new report claims. At the moment the chip is meant exclusively for retail Apple Pay transactions, particularly since the related API hasn't been opened to third-party developers. Apple is allegedly negotiating with companies like HID Global and Cubic regarding purposes such as building security and public transit ticketing.
Twitpic still shuttering, service in 'read only' mode for now
With time ticking down before the permanent shutdown of Twitpic, the company has announced that it has agreed to an acquisition offer by Twitter itself. The arrangement keeps the domain and photo archive accumulated by the service intact, and this keeps "the photos and links alive for the time being" according to a blog post announcing the deal. The service is not completely rescued, however, as the service is still shutting down ultimately, and in "read-only mode" for now.
Sprint, T-Mobile leave devices open
The new Apple SIM in the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 is being locked to AT&T if data subscribers choose that carrier, according to complaints. The problem is confirmed by a new Apple support document, which says that when buyers "choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to [that] network only."
Hardware appeared to be sourced from Alibaba, software straight OpenWRT
Following allegations casting doubt on the project, the TOR-based Anonabox Kickstarter project has been terminated. Since the launch of the security-minded Anonabox, and nearly instant completion of funding goals, commenters and other figures questioned the source of the hardware, the actual security of the device, and criticized the lack of a promised and complete open-sourcing of the code.
Features also available to iPad, iPod owners
Although OS X Yosemite is out and most Continuity and Handoff features should already work, two important ones -- Instant Hotspot and SMS Relay -- won't function until iOS 8.1 is released on Monday, notes AppleInsider. The former automatically tethers a Mac, iPad, or iPod touch to an iPhone, while the latter lets people receive SMS/MMS messages from an iPhone on the above devices. Instant Hotspot requires the paired devices to be on the same Apple ID and the iPhone to have tethering enabled by a carrier.
Claims decision contradicts statutes, Supreme Court precedent
Patent holding firm VirnetX has filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, requesting a rehearing of a September decision tossing a $368.2 million verdict against Apple, and asking it to reinstate a District Court's damages award in full. In a press release, VirnetX says the decision was "contrary to the patent statute and Supreme Court precedent." It also asserts that it should receive damage payments on the basis that the District Court properly construed the claim term "secure communication link."
E8350 dual-band, EA9200 tri-band routers available October 19 starting at $280
Linksys announced two new routers today, both of which are aimed at households with multiple Internet users or have a high-demand on bandwidth. The company is releasing the AC3200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi router (EA9200) and the AC2400 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi router (E8350), devices that have been specifically designed to handle "maximum performance and range" in home networks.
New SIM tech lets users switch between carriers
The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, both announced today, will also come with a new SIM card dubbed the Apple SIM. Previously, people ordering a cellular iPad had to choose their carrier in advance. The Apple SIM will let buyers pick a single iPad and quickly switch between AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile plans in the US, and even EE in the UK. Verizon is not participating, and the service will require activating through a store.
Reddit users suggest Anonabox created from existing routers sold in China
A Kickstarter campaign for a privacy-focused Wi-Fi router has drawn the ire of some Internet users, with the suggestion that all may not be as it seems. Reddit users are complaining about the Anonabox Tor router's claimed "open hardware," with components apparently being sourced from Chinese resellers rather than being designed specifically for the project.
Fiberhood sign-up system will be reused for deciding Austin construction priority
Residents of Austin won't have much longer to wait before they can start using Google Fiber. The search company revealed in a recent planning meeting at the Texas capitol that it would start to launch its delayed fiber network in the region from December, though not all areas will gain access to the high-speed Internet connection at first.
Kickstarter campaign for Anonabox vastly exceeds target in first day
Welcome to another edition of Crowdfunding Critic, an article series where the staff of MacNN and Electronista will highlight a new crowdfunded project from sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, with this edition focusing on the popular Anonabox. As always, we are not endorsing a project or warning of any potential funding risks associated with crowdfunded projects, so it is advisable to do your own research before investing.
New device creates audio-only network for Sonos streamers
As expected, speaker company Sonos has released the Sonos Boost, a device which aims to provide "enterprise-grade wireless capabilities" to the company's speaker offerings, doubling the Sonos Bridge's effective range. The device connects to an existing Wi-Fi network, and makes a separate network for the wireless Sonos speakers. This removes the traffic from the main network, minimizing streaming problems that may cause audio dropout as a result of network congestion.
High-speed 60GHz Wi-Fi promises 4.6Gbps maximum transmission speed
Samsung may be releasing devices with 60GHz Wi-Fi technology as soon as next year, the manufacturer has revealed. The technology, which uses a completely separate section of spectrum than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands in current Wi-Fi standards, allows for data to be transmitted at 4.6Gb/s, or 575MB/s, five times the current 866Mb/s or 108MB/s capable with existing wireless networking technologies.
Trial success could lead to white space usage in conservation efforts
The latest experiment in using 'white spaces' in the United Kingdom is underway, with London Zoo being the unexpected location for testing. Communications regulator Ofcom has detailed a trial by Google and ZSL London Zoo of technologies using white spaces, by streaming live video from several animal exhibits on YouTube.
List of affected Belkin devices, cause of incident both unknown
Some of accessory manufacturer Belkin's router customers are experiencing connectivity issues, predominantly with older models. For reasons unknown, possibly due to a silent, automatic firmware update, some Belkin networking products are refusing connection to the Internet, but maintaining local area network connectivity. Some models can be restored by pointing Domain Name Services to Google's or other providers' services.
Wi-Fi scanning and graphing tool for OS X receives update
Koingo Software has announced the release of AirRadar 3, a Wi-Fi scanning and graphing tool for OS X. AirRadar lets users set up a scan frequency to search for available wireless signals, and have new open or closed networks have their name spoken, play alerts, or display notifications. Featuring enhancements that cater to Yosemite, the latest version has been overhauled and includes improved graphing, the ability to join Enterprise networks, 802.11ac support, and more. Users can access more personalization options, and can tag found networks as Favorites or filter them out. Upgrades are free for buyers who have ordered AirRadar 2.x within the past six months, with upgrade outside of this policy priced at $7 and $10 for entirely new users.
Apple developing fix
The current versions of iOS 8 is creating problems for people who pair their iPhones with Bluetooth devices, particularly car audio systems, according to complaints. In the case of cars, devices with the firmware may refuse to pair, fail to play audio, or disconnect when a phonecall comes in. The problem can't be solved with iOS 8.0.2, and is affecting many automotive brands, including BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, and others.
Bug-finding and reporting emphasized, event runs through Sunday
Developers and AppleSeed testers working with the latest beta of the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite are receiving email invitations from Apple to join in on a focused "test fest" that concentrates on one particular feature -- AirDrop, which allows wireless transfers of files between Macs and iOS devices. This is the first time in recent memory that Apple has opened up a "test fest" to users outside Apple for this level of focused feature examination.
D-Link now shipping Wi-Fi Smart Plug
Network accessories company D-Link has announced that its new Wi-Fi Smart Plug is now shipping. Originally introduced in the spring, the device allows users to turn devices on and off from anywhere using the free Mydlink Home app, available for iOS as well as Android. A range of devices are compatible, allowing users to create power on/off schedules that are suitable for frequent travellers.
Five companies owed total of $18.6 million for meritless patent claim
Northern District of California Court Judge Claudia Wilken has ruled that non-practicing entity Linex Technologies must pay Apple, Aruba, Meru, Ruckus, and HP millions in attorney fees after pursuing a patent case that it knew was destined for failure. Apple and HP are seeking $3.6 million each, with the other three companies seeking $3.8 million -- the ruling puts the patent troll on the hook for $18.6 million, an amount it may not have.
Update downloads peaked at 3Tbps
The deployment of iOS 8 on Wednesday was Apple's first large-scale test of its new content delivery network, or CDN, says research firm DeepField. At its high point, iOS 8 downloads reportedly consumed 3Tbps, comparable to about 25 HD movies being downloaded simultaneously by as many users. DeepField notes that at least in North America, the launch was almost entirely dependent on Apple CDN servers.
Gogo 2Ku satellite Internet could provide Virgin passengers with shared 70Mbps connection
In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo is expanding to Europe, with Virgin Atlantic set to become the first airline operating in the region to offer the service to passengers. The airline will reportedly retrofit its entire fleet to work with the Internet service as part of the deal, and while the two sides are still discussing the finer points of the agreement, the principal terms have already been settled.
Promo video used as evidence
The Apple Watch's S1 processor appears to be paired with a Broadcom BCM4334 Wi-Fi module, says research firm Chipworks. The claim is based on an analysis of Apple's promotional video, during which viewers can briefly see the circuitboard the watch uses. Contacts near the top of the board are believed to match a BCM4334 flip-bonded directly.
Encrypted chat used BitTorrent backbone to provide secure communications
Peer-to-peer protocol pioneer BitTorrent has released an alpha version of its chat client. BitTorrent has revealed Bleep -- what used to be called BitTorrent Chat -- for Android and OS X. Bleep offers fully-encrypted, end-to-end communications between users only stored locally on devices, and not retained by servers any step of the way.
Epson brings Mopria Android printing to seven printer models
Epson America today announced its first Mopria-certified printers for home and business -- the Epson Expression Photo XP-860, Epson Expression Premium XP-820, XP-620, XP-520, and Epson WorkForce WF-2660, WF-2650 and WF-2630. The new printers will, after a firmware update, support the Mopria Alliance's Print Service, and the Printing Framework in Android 4.4 and later, in addition to other connectivity technologies like AirPrint.
Virtual private networking used in FaceTime infringed VirnetX patents
Last week, the US Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, DC threw out a jury award of $368.2 million to patent holder VirnetX. While the court agreed that some patents were infringed by Apple, the appeals court ruled that incorrect jury instructions were doled out by the judge, which tainted the jury when it determined the damage award.
Tech initially reserved for Apple Pay
Third-party app developers won't be able to access the APIs for Apple's NFC chips this year, a company spokesperson says. That effectively limits the NFC support in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to Apple Pay, as well as a few other authorized uses, at least for the next few months. That may be a security measure on Apple's part, since opening up the APIs too early could make it easier for hackers to crack the payment technology.