The Washington Post reports on a development that may push Internet access on commercial aircraft from a pleasant luxury (but missing on most U.S. domestic flights) to commonplace. Writes the Post: "The Federal Communications Commission on Friday approved an application process for airlines to obtain broadband Internet licenses aboard their planes. Previously, airlines were granted permission on an ad hoc basis. Airlines need the FCC’s permission to tap into satellite airwaves while in flight that enable passengers to access the Internet. They also need permission from the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees the safety of inflight Internet systems." I hope that on-board Internet not only becomes the default, but that free advertising-backed access does, too; especially for short flights, the "24-hour pass" paid access I've seen on United and Delta is tempting, but too pricey.
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alexander_686 writes "Bloomberg is running a series of articles from Susan Crawford about the stagnation of internet access in the U.S., and why consumers in America pay more for slower service. Quoting: 'The two kinds of Internet-access carriers, wired and wireless, have found they can operate without competing with each other. The cable industry and AT&T-Verizon have divided up the world much as Comcast and Time Warner did; only instead of, "You take Philadelphia, I'll take Minneapolis," it's, "You take wired, I'll take wireless." At the end of 2011, the two industries even agreed to market each other’s services.' I am a free market type of guy. I do recognize the abuse that can come from natural monopolies that utilities tend to have, but I have never considered this type of collusion before. To fix the situation, Crawford recommends that the U.S. 'move to a utility model, based on the assumption that all Americans require fiber-optic Internet access at reasonable prices.'"
New submitter titanium93 writes "For months, dozens of people could not use their keyless entry systems to unlock or start their cars when parked in the vicinity of the eight-story Regents bank building in Hollywood, FL. Once the cars were towed to the dealership for repair, the problem went away. The problem resolved itself when police found equipment on the bank's roof that was broadcasting a bootleg radio station. A detective and an FCC agent found the equipment hidden underneath an air conditioning chiller. The man who set up the station has not been found, but he faces felony charges and fines of at least $10,000 if he is caught. The radio station was broadcasting Caribbean music around the clock on 104.7 FM."
An anonymous reader writes "A new trojan for Android has been discovered that can help carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. The malware is also capable of receiving commands from criminals as well as sending text messages for spamming purposes. The threat, detected as "Android.DDoS.1.origin" by Russian security firm Doctor Web, likely spreads via social engineering tricks. The malware disguises itself as a legitimate app from Google, according to the firm."
An anonymous reader writes "The wireless patent wars don't pause at Christmas time, keeping numerous IP lawyers (and a certain litigation watcher) busy even at this time of year. No one seriously expected Samsung to turn the other cheek when Ericsson sued it and requested a U.S. import ban against a host of Galaxy devices. The Korean electronics giant, which is increasingly competing with Ericsson in the telecoms infrastructure market, just filed an ITC complaint of its own. The title of the complaint is Certain Wireless Communication Equipment and Articles Therein. That description would apply to dozens, no: hundreds, of patent lawsuits in the world. The complaint has not been published yet, but it would be out of character for Samsung not to assert some of its patents on wireless industry standards (and maybe some others, too)." (Also at the BBC.)
The Wall Street Journal says that Google is not quite content to be just a name printed on certain Android phones, and has set some of the cellphone engineers from Google-owned Motorola Mobility to work on a high-end project known internally as the 'X phone.' The rumored phone, says the article, "is due out sometime next year," and is meant as a technology flagship for Android phones, incorporating more innovative features than typical phones, such as advanced gesture recognition. Some of those features, like a flexible screen, have reportedly already been dropped from the design, though. If the X Phone materializes, a tablet is expected to follow.
An anonymous reader writes "After the rubber-banding, 'Steve Jobs' heuristics and pinch-to-zoom patents, another Apple patent in use against Samsung comes under pressure. An anonymous filer, most likely Samsung, has filed a reexamination request against Apple's RE41,922 patent on a 'method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display.' It's not among the patents a California jury evaluated this summer, but one of four patents an ITC judge preliminarily found Samsung to infringe. The reexamination request features five new pieces of prior art (three U.S. patents from the early 1990s and two Japanese patents), all of which dealt with translucent images. The patent office will decide next year whether to grant or deny the request for reexamination. Expect more such petitions targeting Apple patents."
An anonymous reader writes "Everyone has seen Raspberry Pi Computer, the credit card sized mini PC circuit board that costs only $35. Now there is a new Mobile Raspberry Pi called Pi-to-Go, with a mini LCD, 10-hour battery, and 64GB SSD, all packed together in a 3D printed case. See if you are up to the task to build your own."
coondoggie writes "What if your wireless communications just absolutely, positively have to be heard above the din of other users or in the face of massive interference? That is the question at the heart of a new $150,000 challenge that will be thrown down in January by the scientists at DARPA as the agency detailed its Spectrum Challenge — a competition that aims to find developers who can create software-defined radio protocols that best use communication channels in the presence of other users and interfering signals."
sfcrazy writes "KDE developers have succeeded in running the touch-optimized Plasma Active Linux Distribution on Nexus 7. Earlier Ubuntu developers managed to create a installer for Nexus 7, but those builds also showed that Unity, in its current form, is not ready for touch-based devices. KDE has an edge here as they have optimized versions for netbooks, desktops and touch-based devices so a user doesn't have to make any compromises as one has to do with other DEs or shells which are focusing more in touch-based devices only." Here are detailed instructions on how to install it.
Today Nokia announced an agreement with Research In Motion to resolve all patent legislation between the two. The companies have been fighting over patents for almost a decade, most recently over devices with wireless LAN capabilities. The terms of today's agreement were not disclosed but it involved a one-time payment from RIM as well as ongoing payments. This agreement comes shortly after RIM's announcement that it pulled in $9 million in profit last quarter, down 97% from the $265 million they earned in the same quarter the year before. The company has pinned its hopes on BlackBerry 10, scheduled to launch next month: "So this is RIM at the end of 2012: losing subscribers and revenue, facing significant opponents, but with more cash on hand and at least one long-running lawsuit settled. If nothing else, it means the way is clear for RIM to launch its Hail Mary pass: BlackBerry 10."
coondoggie writes "Boeing calls it Project SPUDS — or rather, Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution — that is, using sacks of potatoes perched on aircraft seats to test the effectiveness of wireless signals in an airliner cabin. Boeing said it was researching an advanced way to test wireless signals in airplanes and needed a way to effectively simulate 200-300 people sitting in seats throughout the aircraft."
SternisheFan writes "PCMag's Angela Moscaritolo writes: 'Samsung is expected to account for 29 percent of worldwide cell phone shipments, up from 21 percent in 2011, when it nabbed the No. 2 spot in the market. Meanwhile, Nokia's share this year will drop from 30 percent to 24 percent this year. Nokia had held the top spot in the mobile phone market since 1998.'" Not just highest sales of smartphones, but of all cell phones.
An anonymous reader writes with this IDG News report: "Samsung dropped all claims pending in European courts in which it asserted patents that are essential for mobile communication devices to prevent the sales of Apple products in Europe. The injunction requests against Apple, which aimed to get courts to impose sales bans on infringing products, were withdrawn in the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. Samsung only withdrew the injunctions requests — other litigation against Apple in Europe continues, Anne ter Braak, a spokeswoman for Samsung in the Netherlands, said in an email on Tuesday. While Samsung said it withdrew its claims in the interest of protecting consumer choice, it could have to do with a European antitrust investigation."