Friday, February 07, 2020

Lithium battery inside my travel hotspot overheats after emergency use during a power outage, doesn't fit in case; never happened to me before

Today, after a power outage in my condo complex, I went to breakfast and took my laptop and MiFi hotspot and used it.

Later today, after I returned, the Cox Internet wasn’t working for a while and I needed the MiFi (it returned in about an hour). I noticed that the battery compartment to the MiFi would not close.
I wound up taking it to two Verizon stores.  One of them wasn’t a corporate store and had some trouble with it.  It turns out the lithium battery had overheated enough that the coverplate over it no longer fit exactly. 

This has never happened before.  But had it happened the day before a flight I could not have taken it through TSA security. 

At the second store (corporate) I got it replaced, but it sounds like this could have been a fire hazard (especially in checked baggage).

Sunday, January 12, 2020

New York State will probably pass network neutrality, following California

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has promised legislation in New York state requiring telecom providers to practice network neutrality within New York State, and furthermore would apparently prevent zero-rating services, link

This follows a lead of California.
A federal appeals court had refused to follow a Mozilla suit and require the FCC restore net neutrality but did not stop states from implementing their own.
But then look at this video from 2017 from Fox where Cuomo may be undercutting his own case. 

Monday, January 06, 2020

Preliminary maps of planned 5G coverage in major cities released

The Verge released some preliminary maps of Verizon’s planned 5G coverage in midtown Manhattan and on the Chicago lakefront.
5G cannot penetrate buildings as well as 4G, but it can provide service to many people in a crowd simultaneously, like at LGBT pride marches.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

My own telecom provider blocks my electric utility's payment center

Today, I encountered a bizarre problem related to Net Neutrality.

In mid November I had overlooked an email of my Dominion Power bill.  On Saturday night Nov. 30 I caught it and got an access denied when I tried to pay online.

I called the collection agency for Dom Power to pay the bill immediately, which was a problem itself.

Today I called Dominion Power about the problem. It turned out that I could log in if I switched Internet over to my Verizon hotspot.

It seemed that Cox was blocking the payment center for Dominion Power.

This may be a mistake in Cox’s own security procedures.  But it does show that telecom companies do have some autonomy now in who can connect to them for what purpose.  I was told they had not heard of this problem before and that they knew that Comcast works, but they were not sure about Cox.

It would sound logical that perhaps other payment processors on some websites might not work with some telecom’s, like maybe some independent sellers.  This would at least be a change from Obama-era net neutrality practice.

One logical possibility, as I have suggested before, would be for some telecoms to enforce https everywhere.
I don’t know whether telecoms could be persuaded by SJW’s (as were some domain registrars and was Cloudflare also) not to allow certain sites (like supposed white nationalist) to connect to them.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Appeals court upholds FCC "repeal" of net neutrality but allows states to pass their own law; odd metaphors used in writing opinion (expanded commentary)

Nilay Patel has a long piece in the Verge, Oct. 4, 2019, that I missed, about the narrow ruling in the DC Circuit, where the Federal Circuit (at Judiciary Square, near Union Station in Washington DC) narrowly upheld the FCC’s “repealing” of Obama’s formal network neutrality rules, and invited Congress to fix the problem.  It also said that states should be free to implement their own net neutrality laws.  One of the judges quoted from Shakespeare’s Macbeth to make a metaphor about keeping over-regulation at bay. (I’m reminded that there is a quote from “Othello” about actors that seems to honor David Hogg.)

The court brought up bizarre ideas like that washing machines can’t make phone calls. maintains it filed the first lawsuit against the repeal and still asks for donations.

The text of the opinion is here.  Judge Williams quotes Macbeth on p. 18. 

FreePress asks for donations and still presents this issue a major priority. Now generally the wild speculations about throttling and blocking have not occurred and that observation points out that you need to look at Internet freedom problems in combination, not just one at a time (my own short film outline on this matter).
Still, ironically, social justice warriors could goad telecoms to block certain sites (as happened after Charlottesville). But the same SJW’s express concern over voices of organized marginalized groups.
(A shorter version of this story from EFF had appeared Oct. 7, 2019 here.) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

5G could affect weather forecasting of hurricanes? A note about non-profit tribalism

Jason Solowski and Kevin Lemanowicz report, on Boston 25 News, that some scientists at NOAA and NASA are warning that some 5G frequencies are too close to frequencies used in measuring water vapor in hurricanes or developing storms, link

A similar story appeared today on Smart News.

Other scientists have disputed these claims.

It is possible that long term forecasts more than a three days out would be compromised.

As I recall, forecasting Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas was difficult this fall.

I wanted to note that I have been critical of some activist groups focusing on just one issue at a time when that issue didn’t turn out to be as important as others, for example FFTF and net neutrality in 2017 and 2018.  Now that group is working on surveillance and facial recognition abuse.
What seems to be happening is that some non-profits want to develop a series of issues that their followers will help them with out of “tribal” cohesion and faithfulness to the organization. 
The way speech develops, whether it comes from individuals or from organized groups, is becoming more critical as an issue itself.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

In Maryland, protesters question rules allowing 5G towers near homes

Montgomery County, MD wants to consider allowing allowing 5G transmission towers within 30-60 feet of homes, WJLA reported recently (with video). Protesters showed up questioning the untested health risks. 

Probably most newer homes (especially townhomes) don’t have front yards in that range and wouldn’t be affected. 
But the home my trust used to own had a 60-foot front yard (in Arlington, VA), large enough for whiffleball games in my childhood.  It sounds entirely reasonable that you could propose putting up a 5G cell tower.

NIH will do a study on the issue soon.  NIH points out that we have not had children born in generations of intense microwave exposures so there could be.
Previous reports have suggested that 5G does not pose a danger to adults as far as we know.