Monday, December 21, 2015

Consumers moving away from high-speed Internet to wireless smartphone use, which tends to be more "transient"


Fewer Americans have land-based Internet at home than they did in 2013, according to a CNN Money story by Hope King.
 
The reason is that cable or FIOS broadband is relatively expensive, and many consumers feel they get all the Internet the need on smartphones and tablets.  However, wireless Internet tends to have data limits, and tablets are not as effectively for business work or for publishing or higher-end media work or journalism.  
 
The trend comports with Google claims that websites need to pay more attention to mobile-friendliness than in the past.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Comcast to customers: No, "It's NOT Free"


Ariel Stuhlberg has an article on Vox, “Comcast CEO to customers: It’s not me, it’s you”.  That has to do with consumer complaints about hefty cable and Internet bills for some plans.  That is, there’s no way that “It’s Free” can work forever.

One problem is that simpler online streaming services cost less, and offer a lot of content.
Another is that in some markets, Comcast doesn’t have all channels that may preview less common or more niche-specific festival films, a problem I have run into.

Recently Comcast ungraded most home routers and modems with a self-install package.  It worked, although as usual, I had some problems in that the device did not behave exactly as described in the directions;  the whole procedure took about 90 minutes, including activation, that had several steps.  By the way, Kaspersky is still telling me that the router is not secure, but Apple is telling me that it meets the WPA2 standard, so I don’t know what the truth is yet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Small businesses hit by phone slamming


Kimberly Suiters of WJLA Channel 7 (ABC-affiliate) in Washington DC discussed the practice of landline phone “slamming” which can be very disruptive to businesses, link here    Business find their line suddenly moved to another (long distance) provider without authorization, and then , due to a catch-22, they can’t get an answer from the original provider.  There is a link to an FCC page on the problem.  I think I've heard the word "cramming" too for this.

The issue became more common in the 90s as people began to switch providers for “deals” before cell service became so popular.

It’s not “cramming for an exam”.

Monday, December 07, 2015

FCC's Net Neutrality rules now before the DC Circuit, with a lot at stake


The federal circuit in Washington DC has recently heard a case where telecomm companies appealed new rules from the Federal Communications Commission.  The federal circuit is often where issues of patent, trademark, and administrative regulation of technology goes.

Brian Fung has a story in the Washington Post Friday.

There is a still a concern that if the FCC “loses” (and doesn’t successfully appeal to the Supreme Court), technology companies could have a much bigger handle in controlling what users see, with fast lane rates, and possibly with reasonable access to amateur material.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Home WiFi can be affected by Christmas lights, toys


Tech gurus are telling homeowners to watch the placement of Christmas lights and toys, as some of them can affect wifi signals within a home.  They also advise placing a router in a central portion of a home.  That means that cables (conventional or fiber-optic) need to properly located in a home when installed.  CNN money has a story here.

I’m planning to move my model train downstairs (to get it working properly, and enlarge the amount of physical area available) in early 2016.  I hope that won’t affect the new Xfinity router, which is combined with the Arris modem as one unit.