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Starbucks, McDonald's lead the way when it comes to free Wi-Fi access

When it comes to free public Wi-Fi, your best bet is to head to a local Starbucks coffee shop or McDonald's fast food restaurant, according to a study from wireless specialist OpenSignal.

 

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Starbucks decided to drop AT&T in favor of Google, and that has meant 80 percent faster Wi-Fi for store visitors, according to the study. The coffee shop has speeds reaching 9.01 Mbps, with McDonald's in the No. 2 position with slightly more than 4 Mbps, while Best Buy and Lowe's trail behind.

 

For hotel visitors, nightly reservation costs tend to increase as Wi-Fi speed and connectivity also increase. It makes sense for companies to roll out Wi-Fi to visitors, which helps keep them engaged and provides a unique sales and marketing opportunity by providing in-store digital coupons to guests - and establishments such as Starbucks, McDonald's, and other similar businesses can get patrons in the door.

Google joins project to lay faster trans-Pacific cable for internet

Google is adding its support behind a project that aims to install a faster trans-Pacific cable on the ocean floor to increase internet speeds. The cable will link the west coast of the US with Japan and promises to improve global internet connectivity. The cable project is estimated to cost somewhere in the $300 million range.

 

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Google is now one of six different companies that are working together to fund the project, the other companies include China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI, and Singte. NEC is participating in the project as a system supplier.

 

The cable will run form two locations in Japan - Chikura and Shima - across the Pacific to the US where it will connect to hubs in LA, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. The cable will offer up to 60Tbps over six fiber-pair cables.

John McAfee reveals complaints website to channel online anger

McAfee security founder John McAfee has launched a surprise new website at the Defcon event in Las Vegas, which he claims will allow people to complain more easily to businesses and governments.

 

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Brownlist is being touted as a way for people to focus their anger online in a way that is actually productive, rather than simply hurling abuse at public figures or companies on social networks. McAfee claims it could serve as a conduit for grassroots direct action.

 

"We are doing this because it tapes in to the strongest of human emotions, anger, and it does it in a way that turns it positive," McAfee said. For now just a prototype was on show, but nonetheless the entrepreneur welcomed early contributions. "If you are a small person, like the average American, and some company steps on you or a government, you speak out against something and you are audited the next day, come to our site," McAfee said.

Virginia has fastest Internet in the United States, while Alaska lags

The State of Virginia has the fastest Internet service in the United States, according to Broadview research published by the Akamai State of the Internet Report. Overall, Internet speeds lagged in the Midwest and southern states compared to the west coast and northeast.

 

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Ironically, the Akamai report pegs California at the No. 20 spot, a headache for Silicon Valley companies that have continually tried to boost the speeds of Internet to local residents.

 

Top 10 states with fastest Internet:

1. Virginia (13.7 Mbps)

2. Delaware (13.1 Mbps)

3. Massachusetts (13.1 Mbps)

4. Rhode Island (12.9 Mbps)

5. Washington, DC (12.8 Mbps)

6. Washington (12.5 Mbps)

7. New Hampshire (12.3 Mbps)

8. Utah (12.1 Mbps)

9. Michigan (11.8 Mbps)

10. Connecticut (11.7 Mbps)

Continue reading 'Virginia has fastest Internet in the United States, while Alaska lags' (full post)

Post YouTube acquisition, Twitch stops the use of unauthorized music

When YouTube acquired Twitch in a deal worth a huge $1 billion, people knew the hammer would be coming down on the use of music within their videos. Well, today is the day, with the now Google-owned service now using audio monitoring tools in gamers' videos.

 

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These tools are similar to what Google uses on its YouTube videos, which looks for copyrighted music in archived videos of users' videos. The software will scan 30-minute sections of videos, and if it finds any unauthorized music within that 30-minute block, the entire 30 seconds is completely muted. It's still muted even if the music was playing for ten seconds within that 30 minute video, too.

 

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Live broadcasts remain unaffected, with this being limited to the video-on-demand content. People are not happy about it, taking to Twitter to blast Twitch and Google about this new, large change.

Thousands rally behind lawsuit that claims Facebook broke EU data law

Over 17,000 Facebook users have rallied behind and joined in on an Austrian man's lawsuit against the social network, which alleges the service breaks data protection laws.

 

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Max Schrems, 26, filed a lawsuit on 1 August and invited anyone else who so wished to join in. An app created specifically for the lawsuit helped interested users file the personal details of their Facebook account into the lawsuit, along with scans proving their identity and addresses - by Monday this week 5,000 had joined, and now the figure's approaching 20,000. The case is filed against Facebook Ireland. Schrems insists the division of the company has insisted in supporting the NSA's spying programme, as detailed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, and in doing so has broken European data protection laws. Each user's personal data is being set at 500 Euros - roughly 660 USD.

 

20 percent of any damages will be awarded to a litigation funding company backing the suit, Roland Prozessfinanz, with the rest going to the users. If the amount awarded is under five Euros, the balance will be donated to a charity. The app created for the complaints underlined that the strength of the lawsuit is in its numbers, and that if enough people join in it will present enough of a financial risk to Facebook for the company to take notice.

Google Photos rumored to become its own service

Google is rumored to be reworking its social networking service, Google+, where it will break apart some of its services such as Photos, into their standalone service. Google is looking to increase its presence in the photo sharing space to better compete against its competitors in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.

 

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If Google end up doing this, Photos could soon feature its own suite of filters and image enhancement tools, something that would require a Google+ account to use. Bloomberg reports: "the service, called Google+ Photos, would still work with the social network's users and may be rebranded as part of the move, one of the people said."

 

We can already see the beginnings of this move, with Android now featuring its own "Photos" app alongside the usual "Gallery" app. Photos is a great service, something I personally use across all of my devices, but being standalone could be much better again.

A post on 4Chan that says 'This post is art' sells for $90,900

An eBay seller has shelled some $90,900 for a post on 4Chan, nothing physical, but a post on the infamous Internet forum. The seller had the starting price at $500, but it blasted up to $90,900 pretty quickly.

 

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Within 36 hours the post reached the massive $90,900 price point, which would point toward this auction or at least the bid itself being fake, or the usual troll work we can expect from 4Chan.

Distraught startups say London's so-called Tech City has dire internet

An area the British government now officially brands "Tech City" has broadband so poor that a group of startups and small internet providers have formed a lobby to fix it.

 

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Old Street in East London has undergone a series of organic development as tech companies, such as Last.FM, set up shop in the area. Shortly after coming into power, David Cameron's Conservative government announced "Tech City" around the same location and as part of the Olympic site a little further away. Cameron's idea was to promote London as ahead of the curve in a bid to attract international investment from top tech companies - so it will be more than a little bit embarrassing that the startup scene, which arguably forged the area into what it is today, for better or for worse, think so little of its infrastructure.

 

The startups will be meeting with Labour Member of Parliament Meg Hillier to try to iron out the connection, which has been described as "not fit for purpose" and a "national embarrassment". Hillier is now proposing a "comprehensive review of broadband, plans for infrastructure and roll out, and a competitive framework for delivery".

Facebook launches app to provide free mobile internet to all of Zambia

Social networking powerhouse Facebook has launched a brand new app called Internet.org which will provide basic mobile internet for free to the African country of Zambia.

 

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Internet.org, announced today, seeks to provide internet services to areas where access is low or has been difficult to implement. Fixed line internet can be tough to install in certain locations, but mobile's a little easier - and as product director Guy Rosen explained in a blog post, 85 percent of the entire world lives near cellular coverage. But just 30 percent of the world is connected. Zambia is the very first market Facebook's launching Internet.org in, and Airtel subscribers will be the first to trial the service.

 

"Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to internet adoption for many and today we are introducing the Internet.org app to make the internet accessible to more people by providing a set of free basic services," Rosen said in the post. "With this app, people can browse a set of useful health, employment and local information services without data charges. By providing free basic services via the app, we hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise."

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