? Episode 271
 all tech radio show
  • We expected Google to launch its upcoming e-book store before the end of the year, and the company announced Monday that the new Google eBookstore is now open for business in the US. Google is touting the "open" nature of its e-books by making them accessible to the widest array of popular e-reader devices, including the iPad, Nook, and Sony Reader. Google's new eBookstore works a little differently than other stores-at least when it comes to reading via computer. All purchased titles are kept in Google's cloud-based storage and accessed via a browser. When reading via an iOS or Android-based device, a dedicated app can download and cache titles for reading offline. And for devices compatible with Adobe's DRM-protected e-book formats-including Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble Nook-PDF or EPUB files can be downloaded and transferred to your device using Adobe Editions software. Those hoping Google meant "DRM-free" when it said "open" will be disappointed, though, as may users of Amazon's popular Kindle e-reader. "Currently, Google eBooks are not compatible with Amazon Kindle devices, though we are open to supporting them in the future," the company noted in a support document.
  • Two years ago, Facebook came forward with some staggering figures about the photo sharing taking place on its sites, which amounted to between 2-3 Terabytes of photos being updated daily with a peak of 300,000 images per second. Facebook would serve about 15 billion photos, and the storage dedicated just to photography amounted to more than a petabyte. Since that time, Facebook has gone from approximately 35 million users to more than 500 million, and more than 3 billion photos are now being added to Facebook every month. Facebook's new profile design adds photographs that the user has been recently tagged in to the main page, and information about location, age, job, relationship status, and more have been moved to a space immediately beneath the user's display name, turning it all into something of a caption for the pictures. "Likes" and interests are now represented by a row of images, and friends can now be categorized into user-defined lists (e.g. "co-workers," "school friends," etc.)
  • Google Inc. said it is launching a new smartphone, developed with Samsung Electronics Co., along with a new version of the Android software for mobile devices. The Nexus S phone will be sold in mid-December through retailers such as Best Buy Co. Inc., said Andy Rubin, a Google vice president of engineering who leads the Android team. The Nexus S will be sold for $199 with a two-year T-Mobile USA contract in the U.S. It will also be sold for $529 without a service contract. It will have front and rear facing cameras and includes the ability to buy things from smart phone enabled vending machines,
  • Consumer Reports, the influential product review publication, says AT&T Inc. is again the country's worst-rated mobile service provider, a blow to the carrier's effort to rehabilitate its network and reputation. The conclusion, based on a survey of 58,000 readers, shows subscribers continue to hold AT&T's service in low regard even after the carrier boosted its wireless spending by $2 billion this year in an effort to correct what it has acknowledged were weaknesses in its network. The results bode poorly for AT&T as it faces possible competition for Apple Inc.'s iPhone, a phone it carries exclusively now and relies on for much of its subscriber growth. In fact, Consumer Reports found "iPhone owners were, by far, the least satisfied with their carrier."
  • For the second time in a week, Comcast customers found themselves unable to connect to the Internet. This time, it was Comcast subscribers in the Midwest who had to endure a Sunday evening without being able to use their internet service. Portions of four states were affected: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota. The outage began around 8:30 PM on Sunday and lasted until around midnight. Comcast apologized for the problem through a customer service Twitter account. Just a week before, on the eve of Cyber Monday, Comcast subscribers in areas in and around Washington, D.C. and Boston found they were unable connect to the Internet for several hours throughout the evening.
  • A proposed net neutrality regulation at the Federal Communications Commission would allow broadband service providers to prioritize their own content over that of competitors. The draft proposal also would allow broadband network operators to charge consumers based on how much data they use, according to one source at the FCC who has seen the draft of rules.What that means is that a company such as Comcast could make its soon-to-be acquired library of NBC content cheaper to watch and delivered at better quality than streaming videos from competitors like Netflix, the source and experts said. Add the permission of usage based pricing, which the source said Comcast insisted on in meetings with the FCC chairman's staff, and you could see a scenario where users would be less inclined to subscribe to Netflix because they would meet their usage caps and end up spending more money for competing services.
  • With global networks carrying complex time-sensitive data, the speed of light is actually becoming a significant source of latency, researchers have found. While today's fiber optics-based networks can shuttle data around the world at the speed of light -- momentarily slowed only by routing and switching -- the vast geographic distances data has to travel can be a factor of delay, especially when the information itself is generated so quickly by computers and is useful only within a very short time period. At least one industry, finance, is starting to chafe at this limit. "For high frequency trading, light propagation delays are in many cases are the single largest limiting factor to taking advantage of arbitrage opportunities quickly," said study co-author Alexander Wissner-Gross, who a research affiliate of the MIT Media Laboratory and the founder of the Enernetics research consultancy.
  • The Mac is no iPhone. That's the message Apple is giving developers in telling them it won't offer trial versions of software in the Mac App Store set to launch in January. While such software is common in the App Store for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, it will be a no-no in the Mac store. Demo software and beta releases are also not welcome. Rather than use the Mac store for a testing ground, Apple suggests on its developer website that software makers use their own turf. "Your website is the best place to provide demos, trial versions or betas of your software for customers to explore," the company says. "The apps you submit to be reviewed for the Mac App Store should be fully functional, retail versions of your apps."
  • Verizon on Sunday launched its long-awaited 4G LTE (News - Alert) service in nearly 40 major metropolitan cities and 60 airports. While the move has the majority of consumers excited about the possibility of a much faster mobile broadband experience, Verizon's. On Thursday, AT&T chief technical officer John Donovan suggested in a company blog that telecom providers, like Verizon, that jump into LTE without first investing heavily in their current 3G networks are setting up their customers to experience "jarring speed degradation" when they are forced to leave the next-generation network, which only currently covers around one-third of the nation. Verizon Wireless (News - Alert) spokesperson Howard Waterman fired back at AT&T on Friday, telling News Factor Networks that the communications giant will not leave its 3G network behind. "We continue to invest in and enhance our 3G network to stay ahead of the fast-growing demand by our Droid smartphone customers," Waterman told the news source in an e-mail.
  • Samsung confirmed that it sold 1 million GalaxyTab Android tablets since it went on sale two months ago outside of the United States. U.S. carriers began selling the tablet in mid-November. A Samsung spokesman told FierceWireless that the company has surpassed its original tablet sales goal for the year with four weeks to spare. The 7-inch tablet, which runs Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 2.2 platform, is now on sale in more than 30 countries. All four Tier 1 U.S. carriers and U.S. Cellular are selling the tablet at various prices points. In addition, Cellular South is expected to launch the tablet. Samsung also plans to release more tablets in various sizes next year.

Email from listeners

  • Jerry from Portland asks "How big of a flash drive do I need in a tablet? I have a few thousand songs in my collection, play some, but not too many, games, and I have email."
  • Broadcast Sunday, December 12th, 2010
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