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AT&T

Zero-Rating Harms Poor People, Public Interest Groups Tell FCC (vice.com) 205

An anonymous reader links to an article on Motherboard: The nation's largest internet service providers are undermining US open internet rules, threatening free speech, and disproportionately harming poor people by using a controversial industry practice called "zero-rating," a coalition of public interest groups wrote in a letter to federal regulators on Monday. Companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T use zero-rating, which refers to a variety of practices that exempt certain services from monthly data caps, to undercut "the spirit and the text" of federal rules designed to protect net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible, the groups wrote. Zero-rated plans "distort competition, thwart innovation, threaten free speech, and restrict consumer choice -- all harms the rules were meant to prevent," the groups wrote. "These harms tend to fall disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color, who tend to rely on mobile networks as their primary or exclusive means of access to the internet."
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Glare On Cellphones? 135

An anonymous reader writes: As far as I know, I am not particularly sensitive to glare; I've used CRTs in offices full of overhead fluorescent lights, and just ignored the terrible reflections, and I've worked in places where the natural sunlight cleverly funneled in by architects was bounced around by glass walls and mirrors in just the right way to irritate. Still, I never found it much of a problem. Now, though, I work in a field that has me both working outdoors a lot, and traveling by car a fair amount, too. Now that days are getting longer, especially up here in the Pacific Northwest, I know that I'll be squinting and cursing a lot at my phone. My question(s): Are there are any modern smart phones you can recommend with a truly or even passably day-light readable screen? I don't care if it's e-ink (that would be cool), transflective (long promised!) or maybe just a secondary screen with some daylight-readable technology. Barring that, how do you deal with glare on a phone, when you need to use it on a sunny day? Same answer could apply to laptop use, I suppose. Do you build a little glare shield, of the kind that camera operators use? Wear a giant hood of privacy and darkness? I know I'm not alone — I see lots of others squinting and cursing at their cell phones, cupping it with their hands at their eyes, or ducking into scant shade just to see whether the call that's coming is one they need to take, or to read a text. I've tried quite a few phones that have been praised by reviewers for their bright, crisp, daylight-friendly displays, but I think those reviewers probably lived in New York or San Francisco, and were reading in either shadow or fog, because even the brightest Samsungs, Motorolas, and LGs I've seen cannot hold a candle to the summer sun north of Seattle.
Handhelds

Ubuntu Tablet Now Available For Pre-Order 81

prisoninmate writes: During last month's MWC 2016 event, Canonical had the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet on display at their huge booth, along with the superb Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone, and the Sony Xperia Z1 and OnePlus One Ubuntu Phones. The company teased users last week with the availability for pre-order of the first ever Ubuntu tablet for March 28, and that day has arrived. Probably the most important aspect of the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet, which interested many users, was the price, and we can tell you now that it costs €289.90 for the Full HD version, and €249.90 for the HD model. It can be pre-ordered now from BQ's online store.
Democrats

NJ Legislator Proposes Fine For Walking While Phone-Distracted (philly.com) 194

schwit1 writes: A bill proposed this week by Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt (D., Camden) would impose a fine of up to $50 and possibly 15 days in jail for pedestrians caught using their cellphones without hands-free devices while walking on public sidewalks and along roadways. If the bill becomes law, 'petextrians' — people who text while walking — would face the same penalties as jaywalkers in New Jersey. From the article: Researchers say distracted walkers are more likely to ignore traffic lights or fail to look both ways before crossing the street. ... Lampitt said she wants that message to hit home in New Jersey for pedestrians and motorists who could easily be distracted while looking at mobile devices. Her bill, however, faces an uncertain future in the Legislature. It has not been posted for a vote and Lampitt acknowledged she might have a tough time getting it passed." Distracted pedestrians surely pose some risks, but they don't budge the needle compared to overbearing officialdom.
PlayStation (Games)

Sony Is Bringing PlayStation Games To iOS and Android Devices (gizmodo.com) 48

An anonymous reader points us to Bryan Lufkin's report on Gizmodo: A year ago, Nintendo announced its long-overdue plans to bring its games to smartphones. Now, Sony's doing the same thing. You'll soon be able to play original Sony games on your iOS or Android device, the company announced today. Sony is setting up a new business division called ForwardWorks, which will focus on mobile services, bringing 'full-fledged game titles' and Sony's PlayStation characters and intellectual property to handheld smart devices. And it could be happening pretty soon -- the press release says ForwardWorks kicks off operations next month.
Cellphones

Encryption Securing Mobile Money Transfers Can Be Broken 28

An anonymous reader writes: A group of researchers has proved that it is possible to break the encryption used by many mobile payment apps by simply measuring and analyzing the electromagnetic radiation emanating from smartphones. Modern cryptographic software on mobile phones, implementing the ECDSA digital signature algorithm, may inadvertently expose its secret keys through physical side channels: electromagnetic radiation and power consumption which fluctuate in a way that depends on secret information during the cryptographic computation.
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: Are You Excited About Upcoming 4-inch iPhone or 9.7-inch iPad Pro? 310

If rumors are to be believed, at its 'Let Us Loop You In' event on Monday, Apple will launch a new smartphone dubbed "iPhone SE," and a new tablet dubbed "iPad Pro." According to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, who has a reliable track record with Apple news, the iPhone SE will sport a 4-inch display and have the same processor, RAM and other innards as the iPhone 6s, which was launched last year. The new 9.7-inch iPad will reportedly have the same hardware specifications as the 12-inch iPad Pro, which was also unveiled last year. The Associated Press reports that the forthcoming event hasn't stirred "much passion." It adds, "So far, however, there have been no hints of any dramatic announcements, such as last year's highly anticipated Apple Watch debut, or major initiatives like the company's long-rumoured but yet-to-materialize streaming TV service." Are you looking forward to purchasing either of the devices?
Blackberry

Facebook and Whatsapp Discontinue Support For Blackberry (canadajournal.net) 138

Meshach writes with a link to news that as of yesterday, Facebook and WhatsApp have both discontinued support for Blackberry smartphones including BlackBerry 10 and BBOS platforms. Apparently Blackberry fought to have the support continue but in the end they were not successful. BlackBerry has had to replaced their official Facebook App with a native app that uses a simple web interface. If you're still using a Blackberry, it would be interesting to know why. (You like the interface? Business requirement? Just being contrarian?)
Businesses

Rumor: Broadcom Phasing Out Wi-Fi Chip Business (digitimes.com) 65

jones_supa writes: According to sources in Taiwan at the heart of the electronics industry, Broadcom is looking to phase out its Wi-Fi chip business in a move to streamline its workforce and product offerings following its acquisition by Avago Technologies. In general, the Wi-Fi chip business yields relatively low gross margins compared to other product lines due to fierce price competition in the market for mass-market applications (such as notebooks, tablets, TVs and smartphones). Companies such as MediaTek, Realtek Semiconductor and RDA Microelectronics have already received a pull-in of short lead-time orders from Broadcom's customers in the Wi-Fi sector. Following its merger with Avago, Broadcom is expected to allocate more RD resources to solutions in the fiber-optic and server sectors. In addition, Broadcom has almost halved the workforce stationed at its office in Taipei.
Advertising

FTC Warns Android App Developers About Use of Audio-Tracking Code 81

Reader Trailrunner7 writes: The Federal Trade Commission is warning dozens of developers about some code they've included in their apps that can surreptitiously listen to unique audio signals from TVs in the background and build detailed profiles of what consumers are watching. The technology, produced by a company called SilverPush, is used to track users across devices and the FTC warned the developers that if they don't disclose the use of the code to consumers, they could be violating the FTC Act. The commission sent the letter to 12 app developers whose apps are in the Google Play Store, and warned them that not disclosing the use of SilverPush's Unique Audio Beacon could be a problem. "For example, the code is configured to access the device's microphone to collect audio information even when the application is not in use. Moreover, your application requires permission to access the mobile device's microphone prior to install, despite no evident functionality in the application that would require such access," the letter says.
Microsoft

Microsoft Finally Rolls Out Windows 10 Mobile To Older Phones (engadget.com) 44

An anonymous reader writes: One year after Windows 10 Mobile was announced, Microsoft is finally rolling out their new OS to older mobile devices, specifically devices running Windows Phone 8.1. Here's the complete list of supported phones: Lumia 1520, 930, 640, 640XL, 730, 735, 830, 532, 535, 540, 635 1GB, 636 1GB, 638 1GB, 430, 435, BLU Win HD w510u, BLU Win HD LTE x150q, and the MCJ Madosma Q501. Depending on where you live and which carrier you have, the update will be handled differently. Microsoft has said "many older devices are not able to successfully upgrade without an impact on the customer experience." For an OS that continues to lose market share [to] iOS and Android, it makes sense for Microsoft to be so concerned about the user experience as it is crucial for the success of Windows 10 Mobile.
EU

EU Court Says Hotspot Owners Aren't Liable For 3rd-Party Piracy 49

Mickeycaskill writes: A preliminary ruling from a European Court of Justice Advocate General has said it is not reasonable for owners of public Wi-Fi hotspots to be held liable for copyright infringement committed by users on these networks. Sony took legal action against a German business owner after a third party allegedly illegally downloaded music to which the record label owned the rights to on the basis the network should have been secured. However this view has been rejected by the Advocate General who says it is impossible for all public Wi-Fi to be secured. His recommendation will now be debated by European judges.
Networking

Within 6 Years, Most Vehicles Will Allow OTA Software Updates (computerworld.com) 199

Lucas123 writes: By 2022, using a thumb drive or taking your vehicle to the location you bought it for a software update will seem as strange as it would be for a smartphone or laptop today. By 2022, there will be 203 million vehicles on the road that can receive software over-the-air (SOTA) upgrades; among those vehicles, at least 22 million will also be able to get firmware upgrades, according to a new report by ABI Research. Today, there are about 253 million cars and trucks on the road, according to IHS Automotive. The main reasons automakers are moving quickly to enable OTA upgrades: recall costs, autonomous driving and security risks based on software complexities, according to Susan Beardslee, a senior analyst at ABI Research. "It is a welcome transformation, as OTA is the only way to accomplish secure management of all of a connected car's software in a seamless, comprehensive, and fully integrated manner," Beardslee said.
Cellphones

LG Releases First Smartphone With DAB+ Chip (thestack.com) 53

An anonymous reader writes: LG have released the first smartphone with built-in DAB+ circuitry,allowing users to listen to digital radio without consuming mobile data bandwidth. The LG Stylus 2 will initially be released in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands (perhaps not coincidentally these are among the highest-rate adopters of DAB/DAB+). Patchy coverage and often-poor bitrates have hindered the take-up of DAB/+, which has been in development since the early 1980s, and it's hoped that the shift from the motoring to the smartphone space will alleviate some of the coverage problems that users experienced with the push to DAB-based car radios. No benchmarks on power consumption of the integrated DAB+ circuitry is currently available.
Communications

Chicagoan Arrested For Using Cell-phone Jammer To Make Subway Commute Tolerable (chicagotribune.com) 518

McGruber writes with this story from the Chicago Tribune: Last Fall, certified public accountant Dennis Nicholl boarded a Chicago subway train while carrying a plastic bag of Old Style beer. Nicholl popped open a beer and looked around the car, scowling as he saw another rider talking on a cellphone. He pulled out a black device from his pocket and switched it on. Commuters who had been talking on their phones went silent, checking their screens for the source of their dropped calls. On Tuesday, undercover officers arrested Nicholl. Cook County prosecutors and Chicago police allege he created his own personal 'quiet car' on the subway by using an illegal device he imported from China. He was charged with unlawful interference with a public utility, a felony. This is not the first time Nicholl has been charged with jamming cell calls. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in June 2009, according to court records. He was placed under court supervision for a year, and his equipment was confiscated and destroyed.

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