Stories for Jul. 15, 2014
In Brief

Photo by Mr. Vi/Thinkstock

Photo by Mr. Vi/Thinkstock

Kosta Grammatis, who believes broadband is a fundamental human right that should be available to everyone, has a new startup and business model. The startup, Oluvus, buys bandwidth from an undisclosed telco and then offers free mobile phone service to the U.S. The hope is that people will shell out for extra services and fund broadband services for other parts of the world. The model reminds me of Toms Shoes, where each purchased pair of shoes pays for a pair for a needy child. Whether or not Grammatis succeeds, the Wired article detailing his efforts and failures is worth a read.

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Stories for Jul. 14, 2014
In Brief

Star Trek LCARS Android Wear

That didn’t take too long: Star Trek fans with Android Wear smartwatches can already download and install a free watchface based on the fictional LCARS computer interface of the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Daniele Bonaldo created and uploaded the “Starwatch” app to Google Play on Monday night, announcing the custom design on his Google+ page. The watch face displays the time, date and — just for kicks — the Unix Epoch, which is the total number of seconds (not counting leap seconds, of course!) since 0:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time on January 1, 1970.

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In Brief

Now for sale at Amazon, Radioshack and Staples, 3D printers are getting less and less difficult to find. Home Depot became the latest retailer to offer 3D printers today when it began selling MakerBots online and in 12 stores nationwide. The store is selling three printer models, plus MakerBot’s 3D scanner and filament. The 12 stores are located in California, Illinois and New York. “Imagine a world where you can 3D print replacement parts and use 3D printing as an integral part of design and building work,” MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis said in a release.

In Brief

San Francisco-based IoT startup Aether Things is delaying the shipping date of its Cone connected loudspeaker. The Cone, which is supposed to learn from your listening habits and automatically mix music based on past preferences, was scheduled to ship by July 15. On Monday, the company informed prospective buyers via email that it won’t meet that deadline: “We’ve come across some delays in finalizing Cone, which means we are unfortunately postponing the ship date. We’re very sorry to have to extend the wait,” the email reads, without providing an estimate for a new shipping date.

In Brief

The German parliamentary committee investigating NSA activities in the country may use non-connected, mechanical typewriters to protect its work, committee chairman Patrick Sensburg suggested on Monday. Sensburg also said he was advising members to check their smartphones, after the uncovering of spies working for the U.S. The committee is looking into the revelations of Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers. In response, committee member Martina Renner of The Left party tweeted: “Before I use a typewriter [and] burn notes after reading, I’d rather abolish the secret services.” Russian spies also reacted to Snowden by investing in typewriters — largely due to their utility in tracking leaks.

British blogger Brown Moses, also known as Eliot Higgins, has become a leading source of fact-checked information about military activity in Syria and elsewhere, despite having no journalistic training. And now he wants to bring those skills to others through a site called Bellingcat. Read more »

In Brief

Samsung has suspended business with a supplier called Dongguan Shinyang Electronics, after China Labor Watch (CLW) exposed the apparent use of child labor in Shinyang’s factory (along with other labor violations including a lack of necessary safety equipment) four days ago. On Monday, Samsung said it had regularly audited the factory and found no cases of child labor, but an investigation following the CLW report showed “evidences of illegal hiring practices.” If the investigation concludes child labor was used, Samsung said it will scrap its contract with Shinyang. Chinese authorities are also examining the allegations, the manufacturer added.

Stories for Jul. 13, 2014

marketing

All the big guys – Adobe, IBM, Salesforce, Oracle – have a suite of marketing tech platform tools they call marketing clouds. Social media marketing is the obvious focus, but what else is required for these platforms? Read more »

linuxlogo

Got a Linux box at home or at work? Now you can access it remotely through the Chrome browser or from a Chrome OS device. On this week’s podcast, we discuss the new beta support for Linux in the Chrome Remote Desktop app. Read more »

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