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The conflict in Syria has led to internet blackouts, but this article reveals the more pernicious censorship that’s ongoing. Most content gets through, but a focus on blocking instant messaging and scouring social networks for certain key words means that citizens are censored in their day-to-day web surfing.

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Appearing on CNBC Monday morning, Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam said his company has been discussing some type of peering agreement with Netflix for over a year, and he believes some type of agreement could be reached. This isn’t surprising given that Verizon users have also been complaining about their video streaming service and that Comcast and Netflix just announced their own interconnection agreement. While ISPs will tout this as a win for the industry, there are plenty of competitive issues that should give people who care about the internet pause.

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pebble interface crop

I snapped this picture of an iControl employee wearing a Pebble and showing off Time Warner Cable’s connected home app on the watch this week. My first thought was that the interface is too cramped to make this a great option, but then I realized for someone (like me) who never has a smartphone, it might actually be handy. I also think using the watch to send crucial notifications (your garage door is open or someone just opened your gun safe) with a gentle buzz would be useful.

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Manoj Saxena, the former head of IBM’s Watson business unit has joined The Entrepreneur’s Fund, a Silicon Valley venture firm that makes early stage investments. There Saxena will lead investments in cognitive computing apps, especially those built on the Watson data analytics platform. We’ve covered the launch of cognition as a service and machine learning in multiple stories, and can’t wait to see those investments. Saxena will also act as advisor to IBM’s own Watson fund and co-invest with it.

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The AllSeen Alliance, which is attempting to build an open platform for connected devices to discover and communicate to one another without lengthy one-off programming, has added 10 new members. They are AT&T Digital Life, Affinegy, GOWEX, iControl Networks, Kii, Muzzley, Patavina Technologies, 2lemetry, Tuxera and Vestel Group. While I’d still like to see Samsung, Nest/Google or another large consumer brand here, the addition of AT&T and iControl signal that homes using service provider automation will adopt the AllJoyn protocol. That’s a large market as iControl provides the base for Comcast and Time Warner Cable’s home automation products. And in the platform game, the more end consumers you have using the standard, the better.

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Intel has launched its latest top-of-the-line chips for servers. These are the bruisers that make up the silicon in high performance computing and super fast financial transactions. The Xeon E7v2 class of chips features up to 15 cores, a massive amount of in-memory data capacity to make processing large amounts of data on chip possible, and performance that’s twice the average of the previous generation of chips. These processors hold a few surprises, as the Register details in its in-depth exploration of the silicon and the business case.

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IBM and AT&T are teaming up to share and analyze smart city and utility data so municipalities can react to traffic incidences, energy demand and other potential problems in real time. Through the partnership AT&T will handle the sensor communications and tracking happening over the cellular network and IBM will bring its analytics platforms into play. The two companies are going to build out apps for cities, so right now there’s not a lot to see here except for the possibilities.

In Brief

The fiber is barely in the ground and already Google is thinking about next generation gigabit networks, with the advertising company researching ways to get to 10Gbps on its Google Fiber networks. Its CFO Patrick Pichette spoke at an investor conference this week and noted the efforts while telling people to stay tuned about future network expansions. google’s need for speed isn’t exclusive to it. Verizon has been testing 10 Gbps using XG PON technology since 2010.

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Cisco reported financial results Wednesday and while the company saw a drop in both revenue and profits, the company is investing in the internet of things. Cisco said it has allocated $100 million to invest in early stage companies to help it move the connected world forward. The company has already said it expects the internet of everything to drive growth in its services revenue from 20 percent of total sales to 30 percent, and has announced, but not delivered an entirely new architecture for a world of connected devices speaking to the cloud.

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According to venture legend John Doerr, Google is designing its own silicon for its data centers. But he stopped short of confirming rumors that the search giant was designing ARM-based chips as was reported in December. Doerr, speaking at a chip conference, also said that Facebook would be next. He’s right. Computing is the primary cost for Google, Amazon Web Services and Facebook and designing their own silicon could lower that cost. And thanks to more modular designs and advances in the ARM architecture, the cost of designing custom chips has fallen into a range where the benefits outweigh design costs.

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Netflix updated its list of ISP rankings Monday, and the online video provider shows that Comcast and Verizon are continuing to fall in its custom rankings. That’s possibly because of peering practices put in place by those ISP’s, but the data corroborates independent data provided by testing platform Measurement Lab, which I reported on last week. Disturbingly, Netflix says the speeds delivered for Brazil, Colombia and Chile are higher than the speeds experienced by end users in the United States, which has seen its average speeds trend downward since October.

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Building a gigabit network is unfortunately not a fast proposition. It takes time and money to dig trenches or string fiber. But in an op-ed over at Ars Technica, the CEO of Wicked Broadband in Lawrence, Kansas suggests that if Google really wanted to drive broadband competition and gigabit networks it would teach cities how Google thinks about the problem and costs of building fiber. Then, municipalities could take on the act of building out the infrastructure and help roll out gigabit fiber faster. I’ve made a similar suggestion myself.

In Brief

Mozilla and the National Science Foundation have created a $300,000 Gigabit Community Fund, to help support people in Kansas City, Kan. and Chattanooga Tenn. create apps that will showcase novel uses for gigabit networks. The open source software developed under the program will take advantage of the advanced networks in both cities, and hopefully offer up some great use cases for people who ask, why does anyone need a gig. Last summer Mozilla provided some funding for 22 ideas that competed as part of a U.S. Ignite event to showcase gigabit apps. Check ‘em out.

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