30 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for June 14, 2012
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Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 14:58:20 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Merging Cellphones and Dashboards Message-ID: <email@example.com> Merging Cellphones and Dashboards By ROY FURCHGOTT June 8, 2012 SEEKING to please those customers clamoring for more features in their cars, General Motors will soon make a novel offer: give them less. No, G.M.'s strategy is not to shortchange buyers, but simply to let them avoid buying what they already own. Today, calling home is rarely done on a phone built into the dashboard, and recorded music is less often stored on CDs jammed into the glove box; increasingly, the smartphone in the driver's pocket serves both needs. So G.M.'s newest approach is a fundamental shift in philosophy from the practice of embedding such technology in the bowels of the car. Instead, it will offer an inexpensive link that lets drivers control their phone - and more important, its apps - using the dashboard touch screen. Although phones have routinely connected to the dash for calls, this system is far more versatile. Buyers of two Chevrolet models will be able to get music and directions through subscription or phone service plans they already have. Essentially, G.M. is proposing to replace the cellphone's windshield cradle with software. There are many benefits to this alternative approach, starting with its lower price. When the Chevrolet Spark goes on sale next month, the upper-level 1LT and 2LT models, which start under $15,000, will come with the infotainment system MyLink and a 7-inch touch screen as standard equipment. (The larger Chevy Sonic will offer MyLink late this summer.) A cellphone-style infotainment system can bring other advantages: the interface is typically more familiar to users, especially young ones, and its maps are fresher than those of onboard DVDs. But there can be shortcomings. An app like Google Maps downloads data to a phone while it is in use, and most phone plans limit the amount of data you can use. At the least, it means people would need more expensive data plans. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/automobiles/merging-cellphones-and-dashboards.html
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 17:03:26 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: In Haverhill case, texting while driving deserves stiff sentence Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> EDITORIAL In Haverhill case, texting while driving deserves stiff sentence The Boston Globe JUNE 12, 2012 Sometimes an action is so dangerous, yet so accepted, that people need a powerful deterrent. When it comes to texting while driving, that deterrent now has a face: 18-year-old Aaron Deveau of Haverhill. Last week, a Haverhill District Court jury convicted Deveau of motor vehicle homicide in the death of Daniel Bowley Jr., who died in 2011 after Deveau's car collided with his head-on. Deveau, the jury found, had been texting behind the wheel just before the crash. Judge Stephen Abany sentenced Deveau to a year in prison and a 15-year suspension of his driver's license. Reactions have ranged from dismay that Deveau won't serve the maximum prison term of 4 years to shock, largely from teenagers, that an act so commonplace could produce a sentence so stiff - including going carless for a decade and a half. In fact, Abany's sentence is both just and wise. Deveau had no prior record, suggesting the need for some leniency. But his actions were undeniably dangerous, and the fact that they were commonplace doesn't change the fact that he should have known better. Cellphone use while driving is a problem of epidemic proportions; a new state survey found that 42 percent of Massachusetts high school students - and 61 percent of seniors - admit to texting behind the wheel. Deveau's sentence sends a message to drivers of any age that this casual action is, in fact, an act of supreme endangerment. http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2012/06/12/haverhill-case-texting-while-driving-deserves-stiff-sentence/qBubh70CrJLTNL9EAwUi6O/story.html?s_campaign=8315 -or- http://goo.gl/wwZe5
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 14:56:52 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: F.T.C. Levies First Fine Over Internet Data Message-ID: <email@example.com> F.T.C. Levies First Fine Over Internet Data By EDWARD WYATT June 12, 2012 WASHINGTON - The Federal Trade Commission assessed an $800,000 fine on Tuesday against Spokeo, a data collector that the commission said violated federal law by compiling and selling people's personal information for use by potential employers in screening job applicants. The action is the F.T.C.'s first case addressing the sale of Internet and social media data for use in employment screening. Spokeo, of Pasadena, Calif., agreed to settle the civil charges without admitting that they are true. The trade commission alleged that Spokeo violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by marketing its consumer profiles without making sure that they would be used for legal purposes, failing to insure their accuracy and neglecting to tell consumers of its own responsibilities under federal law. The F.T.C. also charged that Spokeo created fake endorsements of its service and posted those comments on news and technology Web sites and blogs. In fact, the commission said, the comments were made up by Spokeo's own employees. The trade commission normally does not have the ability to assess fines, but in this instance it was allowed to do so under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In a statement posted on its corporate blog, Spokeo said it has made changes to its business practices and Web site to ensure that it does not violate the consumer protections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/technology/ftc-levies-first-fine-over-internet-data.html
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 12:56:02 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Mystery of Big Data's Parallel Universe Brings Fear, and a Thrill Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> (The Wall Street Journal's "What They Know" page has a gaggle of articles about privacy, or more accurately, the lack of it, in cellular users' online worlds. - Moderator) The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/public/page/what-they-know-digital-privacy.html
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 12:25:32 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Verizon's shared data plans won't save solo users much money Message-ID: <email@example.com> Verizon's shared data plans won't save solo users much money But they should save families with multiple devices some dough. by Casey Johnston Ars Technica June 12 2012 Verizon's shared data plans will finally be available to customers starting June 28. Well, not exactly shared data plans-plans that share everything, including data, unlimited texts, and unlimited voice minutes. Currently, there's no way to get shared data without an otherwise fully unlimited plan. Verizon and AT&T have been promising shared data on family plans for some time, saying it was a logical evolution of the way phone plans have been offered. Verizon's new plan charges an "account access" rate based on the size of the shared data bucket, and then a separate fee per device that uses the plan. The least expensive access fee is $10 per tablet, going up to $40 per smartphone. Plans start at $50 to share 1GB, up to $100 for 10GB. ... http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/06/verizons-shared-data-plans-wont-save-solo-users-much-money/
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 12:45:15 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: How Africa is embracing "the cloud" on its own terms Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> How Africa is embracing "the cloud" on its own terms Mix mobile phones and power outages, and cloud-based services prove crucial. by Sean Gallagher Ars Technica June 12 2012 You're probably one of the lucky people. You live within the coverage zone of a 3G or 4G cellular network, you have access to Internet at home and work over a connection measured in tens of megabits per second, and when you turn on your laptop (or your tablet, or your smartphone) you can see three, four, or twenty nearby WiFi networks. Cloud computing was invented for people like you-but it might turn out to be of even more benefit to the billions of people who don't own a computer-those dark places on Facebook's map of connections-and whose lives could be changed dramatically by a couple of mobile apps. Take Africa, for instance, where an emerging information technology industry is betting its future on serving customers and businesses through mobile cloud applications. At the same time, governments and non-governmental organizations are betting that cloud-based technology can help transform their economies and societies, spurring improvements in education, public health, and the environment. It sounds great, but making the cloud work in Africa remains a non-trivial problem. Just ask anyone who has run a data center there-they will tell you how expensive and frustrating it can be to work on a continent where it's often cheaper to connect back to an overseas data center from a co-location facility than to connect with a customer a few miles away; where most people don't even have landline, let alone wired Internet; and where the electrical grid could suddenly stop working for hours or even days at a time. Those very challenges make Africa an increasingly attractive proving ground for cloud computing, though, especially for mobile applications. Out of the one billion people in Africa, only an estimated 140 million use the Internet, but over 600 million use mobile phones, according to data from the World Bank. At the East Africa Outsourcing Summit in Nairobi on June 6, Kenya ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo said, "The world is beginning to pay attention to the idea that even in Africa, if you can solve African problems, you can create an IT product that is attractive to the rest of the world." As the tagline of Shimba Technologies, a Nairobi-based mobile application developer, says, "If it works in Africa, it will work anywhere." While the problems Africa faces in terms of making cloud computing work are uniquely African, the solutions developed there could help to provide more universal access to Internet and cloud services elsewhere-including underserved areas here in the US. ... http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/06/why-africa-embraces-cloud-computing/
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