the Blog

FCC takes a look at cell phone use in prisons

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/14/10 12:12 PM

Last month, President Obama signed a law that bans cell phone use by prisoners. But, phones apparently keep finding their way in facilities - hidden in packages. One facility has phones in footballs thrown into the prison exercise yard. A corrections department captain in South Carolina was shot in his home several months ago - it was an action ordered by an inmate from a cell phone. He and others would like to see Congress allow the use of technologies that would prevent cell use in prisons - jamming signals or other tech.

Comments | Filed Under: law  phones  

Angry Birds will let you cheat…for a price

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/14/10 12:12 PM

Angry Birds is probably the most popular mobile phone game of the last year (read comedian Paul F. Tompkins’ take on it). In the game you launch a variety of birds at a variety of buildings in order to destroy these green pigs and reclaim your eggs. Or something. It’s strange but it’s a lot of fun, in part because it’s so challenging. But now players can get an extra advantage in the game by purchasing a new character, the ultra-powerful Mighty Eagle, for an additional fee. We’ve seen this in games before: the game is cheap or free (Angry Birds costs $3) but upgrades cost extra. They hook you, then they reel you in.

Here’s the video that previews Mighty Eagle:

Comments | Filed Under: mobile  games  angry birds  Web Culture  business  

White space spectrum to be made available by FCC

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/13/10 05:31 PM

It’s a complicated issue to explain but in short: when the switch to digital television happened, there were parts of the spectrum that were no longer in use. The FCC plans to make them available. What it means for you: bigger stronger wi-fi networks.

Comments | Filed Under: law  government  science  sad time at the station  

YouTube goes live. Few watch.

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/13/10 05:18 PM

I guess I would tune in to a live YouTube stream of sports. Aaaaaand I can’t think of anything else. A concert? Not if I could see it later. Regardless, YouTube paired up with some content partners to offer live telecasts today. According to Tech Crunch, it wasn’t exactly a hit. Fewer than 500 people tuned in for Tony Hawk.

Comments | Filed Under: Web Culture  Entertainment  Social media  

Burglars take advantage of Facebook status information

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/13/10 12:11 PM

Three industrious burglars in Nashua, New Hampshire have reportedly made off with up to $200,000 in stolen cash and merchandise. They did it the new-fashioned way: checking Facebook for people who said they were out of town on vacation and then going and getting stuff. They were caught. Perhaps it’s not a good idea to set your status on Facebook to be able to be seen by everyone and then say you’re out of town. But perhaps this is a form of Darwinism too.


Comments | Filed Under: Social media  facebook  law  privacy  Web Culture  

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today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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