"Oops, sorry, I didn't mean to send that text to you!" I'm sure we've all experienced that moment of frustration when we mistyped a number or accidentally replied to the wrong person. I know it's happened to me more than once. Well, we can thank Neil Papworth for that frustration.
On December 3, 1992, Papworth issued the first text message from a computer and sent it to a mobile phone. The message? "Merry Christmas" Unfortunately for the recipient, texting had not been enabled on mobile phones quite yet, so he was unable to respond to the season's greeting.
Texting first entered commercial service in 1993 and gained more traction in 1994. In 1995 our frustrations were made even worse with the invention of predicitve text systems, such as T9. Cross-network compatibility was fully completed in 1999, seven years after the initial message had been issued.
Today we wish texting a happy birthday and hope that it lives a long and full life. I know texting is a staple of what I use my phone for, and I'm sure it's pretty high on most people's lists.
US telco, T-Mobile, have just announced that they are expanding their 1900MHz HSPA+ areas by ten new markets, which is part of the company's vision to move to the frequency completely. Currently, T-Mobile offer 1900MHz in Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Washington D.C.
The latest locations to receive improved coverage and speeds will be:
- Phoenix, AZ: including Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Paradise Valley, Surprise and Ahwatukee
- Mesa, AZ: including Chandler and Gilbert
- Tucson, AZ: including South Tucson, Marana, and Vail
- Silicon Valley: including Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Santa Clara, San Jose
- Oakland, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Stockton, CA
- Modesto, CA
- Miami, FL: including Coral Gables and Miami Beach
- Fort Lauderdale, FL: including Hollywood
Users in these areas might have already seen 1900MHz HSPA+ coverage before, but T-Mobile now feels that they have enough towers supporting the service, to launch it "officially". T-Mobile are also looking to expand the same 1900MHz HSPA+ in Boston, Chicago, LA, Minneapolis, the New York metro area, Philadelphia, San Diego and Seattle. This should roll out over the coming months.
There's a team of scientists in Bangor, Wales, who are working with current fiber optic technology hoping to boost its speeds. The team believe they've found a breakthrough that could see broadband speeds excel by a magnitude of 2,000 times what is on offer today.
Fiber optic technology currently takes digital data, 1s and 0s, and converts them to light pulses. They then have the ability to travel very, very fast, but as data is continuously flowing through the cables and required to be sent over vast distances, signal degradation becomes a huge problem. At the moment there are a few ways of working around this, adding more fiber optic strands to the cable, implementing signal strength boosters and installing extra encoding and decoding lasers at each end.
Those three options are all very expensive and require massive investments in order to do so. The Bangor, Wales-based researchers want to keep the potential costs down by manipulating current technology. The one being worked on now is used by wireless networks and those in the digital broadcasting field. This technology is called Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex, or OOFDM.
Fans of the Windows Live Messenger will be sad to hear that the service will be retired in Q1 2013. Existing users of Messenger will be shepherded towards Skype, which will give the communications platform a large boost in user base. Skype has roughly 280 million monthly active users, so an additional 100 million will be a large increase.
Windows Live Messenger is on the down swing of product life. Last year, it was reported that Messenger had over 300 million monthly active users, not Microsoft is planning 100 million to be shifted, which is a massive drop from its peak. This shift will boost Skype's user base by roughly 36 percent, that is if everyone agrees to switch.
Some will likely be disappointed in the fact they are being forced to switch to Skype. However, there are some good, non-trivial reasons to use Skype over Messenger. Quite frankly, the service is quite a bit better. Check out the list that Microsoft compiled to encourage users to switch:
- Broader device support for all platforms, including iPad and Android tablets
- IM, video, and calling landlines and mobiles all in one place
- Sharing screens
- Video calling on mobile phones
- Video calling with Facebook friends
- Group video calling
The Verge has reported that Google Voice, that wonderful--trust me, it is--service by Google which allows you to text through the internet, as well as make and receive calls from a single number, is having issues with its texting capabilities. Users on the Google Voice forums have reported that sending a text results in it being sent from a random number.
Not only is every single text sent from a random number, responses sent to those texts never arrive back at the sender. One of the forum comments made the point that now would be the perfect time to do some pranking. This is unfortunate for this to be happening, as it makes texting through Google Voice basically impossible.
The problem occurs both in the Google Voice app, as well as on the website. The good news is that phone calls do not seem to be affected by this bug, so if that's all you use Google Voice for, you can carry on using it as if all was normal. We'll keep you updated as to the cause of this bug, if and when Google comments.
Well, Kim Dotcom is quite the great guy, isn't he? NZ Herald is reporting that the MegaUpload founder is proposing free broadband to the entire population of New Zealand, where he is looking to resurrect the Pacific Fibre cable connecting New Zealand with the US.
Dotcom revealed the plans just 24 hours ago, which would cost $400 million to complete, but doubling New Zealand's bandwidth. It would set up his new Me.ga company, create countless jobs and a data center on offer to the rest of the world. Dotcom would provide New Zealand ISPs such as Telecom and Vodafone with free access for individual customers, and charge a fee for business and central government.
NZ residents would be charged a fee by ISPs, but it would be very, very low - down to around 1/5 of current broadband plans, and roughly three-to-five times faster, but best of all - no data limits. The $400 million would be partially funded by Me.ga, with the rest of the funds coming from investors.
Wireless giants T-Mobile and AT&T have come together, at least temporarily, for the benefit of customers affected by Hurricane Sandy. The storm which hit the northern east coast earlier this week has knocked out power and caused untold amounts of damage. People have been stuck at home by streets being flooded, with nothing to do as they have no internet, power, or cell service.
This is where the partnership comes in. AT&T and T-Mobile have agreed to share networks temporarily so that users will be able to get more cell coverage in the affected areas. Since many of the cell towers of both networks have been affected by the storm, this is definitely a good move by the companies to create good will.
It's also just a really compassionate thing to do. It's great that the two companies use similar technology as it allows them to basically flip a switch at the main office to allow this roaming. Users will not have to do anything to make this happen and should be able to just reap the benefits of the expanded network.
I've only begun to be impressed with 4G here in Australia, but we all know that the technology industry doesn't sleep with news that 5G research is now underway thanks to the UK government and industry partners.
They've teamed up to create the 5G Innovation Centre, which is set to be established at the University of Surrey in the coming months, and will be funded in a joint effort between the UK government and a bunch of companies from the wireless tech industry.
The UK government has pledged $18.6 million or so, while another $38.5 million will come from partners found in Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica, Fujitsu, Rohde-Schwarz, and AIRCOM International. The goal of this 5G network research will be to make the UK the center of 5G network deployment, which could be even ten years or more away.
There's no details of what 5G would bring, but if 4G networks can reach 100Mbps, we should expect this to be at least 500Mbit (!). I'd expect full 1080p or even 4K streaming over this network, and by then we're going to need it. Excitement level - level 10 engaged.
Users who live in rural parts of the United States will soon be able to get on the internet quite a bit quicker. DISH, one of the large US satellite TV providers, has launched a new internet service under the dishNET brand. Incredibly, the new service provides internet speeds of about double the average residential connection.
"Many unserved and underserved markets are years away from a telco or cable broadband build out, but dishNET is available today," said Brian McIntyre, vice president of Broadband at DISH. "These services will have powerful, positive impacts for kids, educators, businesses, farmers and families -- no matter how far out of town they may choose to live."
As of October 1, users will be able to obtain a 5Mbps down/1Mbps up data connection for $39.99 a month with two year contract. That price does not include equipment fees. Unfortunately, there is a 10GB data cap on that line. Stepping up to $49.99/month yields a 10/1Mbps connection with a 20GB data cap.
To get the pricing shown above, you'll need the previously mentioned two-year contract. You'll also need to bundle the service with Dish's "America's top 120" package, or any more expensive TV package. Installation is free for any customer, new or existing, as long as the service is bundled with TV. Otherwise, you'll be looking at a $99 charge.
In the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, Time Warner Cable are investing another $25 million into their fiber network to business customers in New York City. This investment will see networks constructed in Brooklyn, as well as the Financial and Flatiron districts.
Time Warner Cable says that customers should expect to see speeds reach 1 gigabit per second. The high speeds are for business users who require it, uploading and downloading significantly large files can be time consuming, and in business, time is money. Fiber networks already established by the company in other sections of New York City have been enjoying the benefits of the fiber networks for a while now.
New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is pushing this initiative, as part of a much bigger project that will include cooperation from Verizon, Cablevision Sytems, and AT&T, with the end goal of improving broadband services to underserved parts of the city. No pricing has been unveiled from Time Warner just yet, but comparing it to Google's 1Gbps down/up service in parts of Missouri and Kansas, it should hover around the $70 per month mark.
Telstra's 4G network sports some incredible speeds, but it's currently limited to in and around the capital cities of Australia. Of course, they aren't just sitting on their hands, with the telco announcing a huge expansion plan that will take place over the next 10 months which will see Telstra's 4G network cover 66% of the population of Australia by mid-2013. Telstra have provided a state-by-state breakdown:
- Brisbane: Coverage will stretch from Brisbane Airport in the East to Indooroopilly in the West and from Coopers Plains in the South to Chermside in the North.
- Gold Coast: New coverage to span from Surfers Paradise in the East to Greystanes in the West and from Tugun in the South to Hope Island in the North.
- Sydney: Telstra will double the existing Sydney coverage, spanning from Manly in the East to Greystanes in the West, and from Kogarah in the South to Hornsby in the North.
- Canberra: Coverage will span from Queanbeyan in the East to Duffy in the West and from Farrer in the South to Moncreif in the North
- Melbourne: Telstra is doubling the 4G coverage in Melbourne, with coverage to span from Ringwood in the East to Werribee in the West and from Bentleigh in the South to Epping in the North.
The work of a Stanford ant biologist, and a computer scientist have found that harvester ants on the hunt for food, use a similar method to that of the protocols used to control traffic on the Internet.
Deborah Gordon, a biology professor at Stanford, have been studying ants for more than 20 years. When Gordon discovered how the harvester ant colonies were sending out more ants to get food, she called in Balaji Prabhakar, who is a professor of computer science at Stanford, who is an expert on how files are transferred on a computer network.
At first, he didn't know why Gordon had called him, as ants had nothing to do with his field, but the next day, he realised:
The next day it occurred to me, 'Oh wait, this is almost the same as how [Internet] protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for transferring a file! The algorithm the ants were using to discover how much food there is available is essentially the same as that used in the Transmission Control Protocol.
In an emergency, everyone seems to pull out a cellphone to try and contact both emergency personnel and family members. This causes problems for emergency crews who are trying to communicate. This is why researchers in Germany have suggested using personal wireless routers as a backup network.
The idea is that emergency crews could flip a switch that would open up a network, similar to guest networks present on some routers, that could be used for voice and data services. The whole premise of this idea hinges on having near 100 percent coverage, which wouldn't be a problem in most medium-to-large cities.
"With a communication range of 30 meters, a mesh network could be easily constructed in urban areas like our hometown," said the research team. An "emergency switch would enable an open guest mode that on the one hand protects people's privacy, and on the other hand makes the existing communications resources available to first responders," says the paper.
However, potential security risks may prevent this from ever being instituted, though it will likely be investigated further. If a hacker were to gain access to the "emergency switch," they theoretically could have a network of access points from which to do other nefarious activity. And it's likely there would be no trace.
Our latest poll had 7,300 people who answered, What download speed internet access do you use?
Firstly, I want to say that I am sorry for the 146 or so of you that are still on 56k modems. I don't quite know how you survive, but you deserve some sort of medal.
The poll was a popular one with a lot of votes being entered and the results were quite close. The most popular internet connection amongst TweakTown readers is one with a 10 Megabit/s download speed. In a close second was 20 Megabit and third went to 5 Megabit with 11% of the votes.
We made a bit of a fluff with the poll and didn't create any options between 100 Megabit and 1 Gigabit, we're sorry about that.
At first, you might think this is a bit of a ridiculous idea, but when there's a market for something, someone will pounce on it. Well, the Bluetooth Bulb is here, and we should really call it a next-generation light bulb, because it is.
The Bluetooth Bulb sports, as its name suggests, Bluetooth connectivity. It will let you pair your phone with one or more of the lights in your house, and control them through an app that you download onto your phone. You can switch the Bluetooth Bulb's off, on, change brightness, set a time, and a special RGB bulb even lets you change the color ambiance, cool, right?!
You'd think for a device like this, it would be a buy-and-throw-away once it dies, but don't worry, every single part is reportedly replaceable. At the moment, Bluetooth Bulb is simply a patented prototype right now, so you might want to unfortunately put your credit card away for now.
Logitech and Skype have jointly announced the new Logitech TV Cam HD. The new device features an HD camera that sits on top of your TV and outputs the video via an HDMI cable. This device should make it easier for families to share everyday moments from the room that a large amount of time is spent in.
"Amazing connections happen when the video calling experience moves to the TV in the living room: the most popular and comfortable place in the house," said Joerg Tewes, vice president of Logitech's digital home business group. "Because of the size of the TV screen and the quality of the video, the new Logitech TV Cam HD with Skype brings a whole new social element to the living room, helping you feel like your family and friends are right there with you. It's a transformative experience."
All that is required to make calls is the device and an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. Users operate the device using the included remote to sign in and make video calls to other Skype users on any Skype-supported device. Users can also call mobile or landlines using their Skype credit straight from the device.
Back in December of 2010, India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani announced through a 36-page handwritten memo to executives that he planned to build one of the world's most advanced telecommunications networks.
The Wall Street Journal has reviewed his memo, which describes a 4G wireless service with "99.999%" network availability, "integration with an app store, ours or others" in order to help smartphone users order fast food, or buy a movie ticket, sourcing of mobile divisions from China and Taiwan, content deliver to "3 screens", cellphones, laptops and TV, and two 300,000-square-foot data centers.
Well, then. Just two years later, Ambani, chaiman of the energy conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd., looks to be putting these plans into action in the hopes of throwing India into the forefront of wireless broadband technology, all while bringing millions of Indians online for the first time ever.
A storm is coming in the form of a battle between Thunderbolt and USB 3. With non-Mac computers just starting to get access to Thunderbolt's 10Gbps transfer speeds, USB 3 has taken the upper hand in power delivery with a newly approved specification for both USB 2 and USB 3 that allows up to 100W of power draw.
At 100W, USB 2 and USB 3 can deliver 10 times more power than what Thunderbolt can. Furthermore, 100W is enough to satisfy most devices' requirements for charging, including several laptops. This means that almost any peripheral should be able to be charged via USB. It's almost time to say "bye" to proprietary connectors.
"USB Power Delivery enables a path to greatly reduce electronic waste by eliminating proprietary, platform-specific chargers," said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. "We envision a significant move toward universal charging based on this specification, most notably for charging notebook PCs using standardized USB power bricks or when connected to USB hubs and desktop displays that integrate USB Power Delivery capabilities."
TP-LINK has announced a new pocket-sized wireless router that is affordable and useful. Measuring up at just 2.5" square and a depth of less than 3/4", the micro-sized router really can be taken with you while on the go, whether that be traveling or just running across town. The device is smaller than a credit card.
The device is said to provide 150Mbps wireless access speed and can be powered by a USB or external power supply. It is said to be powerful enough to deliver that speed inside an average-sized room. While you won't be winning any performance awards, it's perfect to get a smartphone, tablet, or other device onto a single, wired internet connection.
The TP-Link Nano can be used to create an instant Wi-Fi hotspot by plugging in an Ethernet cable from your existing network or modem. It also functions as a Wireless Router, Range Extender or Wireless Bridge. The stylish cube design is small enough to fit into your pocket and plugs right into an electrical outlet without the hassle of using a power cord.
Thunderbolt may not be everywhere yet, but we are still waiting on mechanically-driven hard disk drives to die their mainstream death, for speed reason anyway, but it looks like Thunderbolt has a future filled with speed.
Intel isn't slowing down their rampage of Thunderbolt, with the company already planning more than one new controller, including a Falcon Ridge part that is said to double the current throughput from 10Gbps per channel, to 20Gbps per channel.
Current-generation controllers, codenamed "Cactus Ridge", arrived earlier this year starting with Apple's latest Mac products. Cactus Ridge-based parts combined DisplayPort and either two or four PCI Express lanes (depending on the chip used) over a single cable, with 10Gbps of bidirectional bandwidth per channel.
Falcon Ridge is a fourth-generation controller and is set to be unleashed in 2014, offering 20Gbps per channel. At the moment, it's not clear whether Intel will be able to hit those speeds while using the current copper cables, or if they'll need to bake in some more expensive optical variety.
Western Digital, a manufacturer known for their hard drives and not networking gear, has entered a new market today with the release of a new line of home networking gear called My Net. The new family of products contains a Gigabit switch, three dual-band Wi-Fi routers, and one dual-band router with 1TB or 2TB of network attached storage.
First off, the new N900 Central is a router that features built-in network attached storage. Speeds of up to 900Mbps are possible thanks to the dual-band connectivity. It features the typical 4+1 Ethernet connections for wired networking and comes with a USB for printers or additional storage. The basic N900 is almost the same except it trades the storage for an extra USB and 3 more LAN ports.
The N750 and N600 both feature 5 GigE ports but that is where the similarities end. The N750 can manage 750Mbps and features 2 USB ports. Meanwhile, the N600 can only reach a combined speed of 600Mbps and only features one USB port. The My Net Switch doesn't have any storage, router, or wireless functions, but instead provides 8 GigE ports.
The My Net Switch runs $70 and the N600, N750 and N900 routers are going to set you back $80, $120 and $180, respectively. The N900 Central with 1TB of storage goes for around $300 and the 2TB version is $350.