FCC to kill Net Neutrality: Help Me Fight This

Chairman Pai’s public comments on ending Net Neutrality https://www.c-span.org/video/?427558-…

The fight for internet privacy and freedom is getting ugly. This administration has already taken its first steps in dismantling the open internet. Now we’ve received comments from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on what the next steps are for killing the remaining communications regulations. It was a long and difficult fight getting protections in place, but we can’t stop putting pressure on elected officials to keep those protections in place.

The EFF’s reply to Chairman Pai’s comments https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/04…

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Continue reading “FCC to kill Net Neutrality: Help Me Fight This”

Chattanooga Increases Fiber Internet Speeds to 10Gbps

In covering the state of broadband internet access in the United States, we’ve been seeing pockets of incredible speed increases. Usually built on projects like Google Fiber, or communities coming together to fund their own fiber roll out paid for by taxes and grants.

Chattanooga Tennessee was the first city in the United States to offer up true gigabit fiber internet to consumers and businesses. Today they become the third city in America to offer a 10 Gigabit per second data speed, following  Springfield Vermont and Salisbury North Carolina. None of these offerings are supplied by traditional cable or fiber providers like Comcast or Verizon. Continue reading “Chattanooga Increases Fiber Internet Speeds to 10Gbps”

Snapchat Lawyers Contact Rudy Huyn to Remove 6Discover from Windows Phone App Store

6discover snapchat icon windows phoneWe only just posted our review of 6Discover this afternoon, and it would seem Snapchat’s lawyers were already drafting a letter to Developer Rudy Huyn asking him to remove the app from the Windows Phone app store.

The 6Discover devloper tweeted to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel early today.

Snapchat recently started aggressively policing 3rd party apps over privacy concerns, that some apps could intercept images which were meant to be disposable. This has been supremely frustrating for Windows Phone users however as Snapchat still has not developed a native client for Microsoft’s OS.

6Discover was meant to interact with one specific aspect of the Snapchat service, media and news distribution, and while Rudy Huyn is correct that his app likely does not interact with any sensitive or private user information, but he might be underestimating the nature of the licensing agreements that Snaphat had other companies sign in order to participate.

I wouldn’t expect 6Discover to remain available for long.

Thanks for the tip YB!

Tesla Returns to New Jersey After Year-Long Ban

Almost exactly one year ago, Governor Christie’s administration, working with the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, put forth a proposal which prevented direct auto sales to consumers. Instead of addressing this issue in a public forum or through New Jersey’s legislature, the proposal was approved behind closed doors with almost no opportunity for public discourse.

Now, one year later, Governor Christie is rolling back that proposal, signing a bill which would allow Tesla to resume retail operations in the Garden State. This new law will allow manufacturers of zero emissions vehicles to construct up to four direct sale dealerships, so long as they also operate one dedicated service location, which Tesla already runs in Paramus.

The law goes into effect immediately and benefits not only Tesla, but any company working on EV’s and zero emission vehicles. Conceivably, Nissan could open up a quartet of showrooms specifically built around the Leaf to also sell directly to consumers in New Jersey.

This is a significant PR victory for Tesla, as the company continues to fight similar direct sales bans around the country.

You can read the details of New Jersey State Assembly Bill A3216 here.

Drivers Can Read Maps on Phones in CA, but You Should Still Be Cautious…

using maps on a phone while drivingThe courts are starting to catch up with technology, but I would still use a BOATLOAD of caution when using your phone while operating a motor vehicle in California.

Steven Spriggs was pulled over and issued a $165 ticket in January of 2012. He was using his iPhone to look up a map, but the officer wrote out the ticket saying he violated Vehicle Code 23123 which pertains to talking on a phone without a hands free kit. Specifically 23123 (a):

(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.

Of course most of what happens on our phones isn’t necessarily tied to talking anymore. The 5th District Court of Appeals sided with Spriggs, stating that this part of the vehicle code could have been worded clearer, and that it did not pertain to looking at maps.

We’ve won one small victory for common sense, however there are still plenty of reasons to exercise caution while utilizing your phone for navigation and communication while operating a motor vehicle. Continue reading “Drivers Can Read Maps on Phones in CA, but You Should Still Be Cautious…”

When Technology Evolves Faster than our Laws – Google Glass and Driving

google glass sunglassesCecilia Abadie has been in the news a lot this week. She was pulled over for speeding in California, and she was issued an additional citation for operating a motor vehicle with a video screen visible to the driver. That screen was the eye piece on her Explorer Edition Google Glass.

Following the letter of the law, this citation is valid, though Google Glass is a product which could help reduce driver distraction.

And now we stand at a legal crossroad. Laws can be handled with some flexibility, and many situations like this can be chalked up to “officer discretion”, but it’s not an institution known for rapid evolution. Changes to cultural perspectives in legal matters sometimes require generational time frames.

When positioned against the visceral pace of technological improvement,  it can often feel as if new laws are obsolete before they’re even implemented. Previous generations enjoyed more staged evolution to the tools they used. A person might go most of their adult life without radical changes to how work got done. Now we can expect a near fluid progression, sometimes software and hardware updates delivering near daily minor alterations to how our technology functions.

And now Glass is caught in the crossfire.  Continue reading “When Technology Evolves Faster than our Laws – Google Glass and Driving”