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The Telecom Digest for October 17, 2013
Volume 32 : Issue 216 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
N.S.A. Director Firmly Defends Surveillance Efforts (Monty Solomon)
T-Mobile Hands Consumers a Pleasant Shocker (Monty Solomon)
As Microsoft Updates Mobile Software, a Cautionary Tale (Monty Solomon)
Bolstering a Phone's Defenses Against Breaches (Monty Solomon)
TV-over-Internet service Aereo to come to Android (Monty Solomon)
An App That Saved 10,000 Lives (Monty Solomon)
From the Start, Signs of Trouble at Health Portal (Monty Solomon)
Canada to propose forcing a la carte programming (Neal McLain)
On a New Jersey Islet, Twilight of the Landline (Joseph Singer)
Aereo can't be compared to Cablevision DVR, broadcasters tell Supreme Court (Neal McLain)

====== 32 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

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Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2013 23:11:47 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: N.S.A. Director Firmly Defends Surveillance Efforts Message-ID: <p06240815ce8111479e91@[]> N.S.A. Director Firmly Defends Surveillance Efforts By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKER October 12, 2013 FORT MEADE, Md. - The director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, said in an interview that to prevent terrorist attacks he saw no effective alternative to the N.S.A.'s bulk collection of telephone and other electronic metadata from Americans. But he acknowledged that his agency now faced an entirely new reality, and the possibility of Congressional restrictions, after revelations about its operations at home and abroad. While offering a detailed defense of his agency's work, General Alexander said the broader lesson of the controversy over disclosures of secret N.S.A. surveillance missions was that he and other top officials have to be more open in explaining the agency's role, especially as it expands its mission into cyberoffense and cyberdefense. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/us/nsa-director-gives-firm-and-broad-defense-of-surveillance-efforts.html
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2013 23:14:17 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: T-Mobile Hands Consumers a Pleasant Shocker Message-ID: <p06240817ce8111d9c0cf@[]> T-Mobile Hands Consumers a Pleasant Shocker David Pogue OCTOBER 10, 2013 Back in March, T-Mobile burned every possible bridge it had with the other cellphone carriers. As I wrote then, it eliminated the two-year contract; you can now quit T-Mobile whenever you like. It also became the first carrier to eliminate the infuriating 15-second recording of voicemail instructions every time you try to leave a message - a waste of your time and your callers' airtime. And T-Mobile also ended the Great Cellphone Subsidy Con. That's where you buy a $600 phone (like the iPhone) for $200, with the understanding that you'll pay the cellphone company the rest over your two-year contract - yet after you've repaid it, your monthly bill doesn't drop! T-Mobile was basically prancing around, demonstrating that Emperors Verizon, Sprint and AT&T have no clothes. I was pleasantly surprised - shocked, really - since those con games have been baked into the American cellphone carriers' business plans for years. And we, the American sheep, just assumed that we had to accept them. Apparently, lots of other people were pleasantly surprised, too. The company says that in the second quarter of 2013, it signed up 685,000 new customers - more than Verizon, AT&T and Sprint combined. Well, on Wednesday, T-Mobile did it again. It announced an even bigger shocker: Starting next month, it will eliminate the sky-high, nosebleed, ridiculous, usurious international roaming charges that have terrified and enraged overseas travelers for years. ... http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/t-mobile-hands-consumers-a-pleasant-shocker/
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2013 10:07:20 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: As Microsoft Updates Mobile Software, a Cautionary Tale Message-ID: <p0624082dce81aad39b8a@[]> As Microsoft Updates Mobile Software, a Cautionary Tale By NICK WINGFIELD OCTOBER 14, 2013 REDMOND, Wash. - If Microsoft has learned anything while competing against Google in the Internet search business, it's that Google clings to a dominant position like a squatter does a house. The lesson is a relevant one for Microsoft's mobile phone business. Microsoft is discovering that gains in market share for its phones are incremental, slowly acquired and ultimately dwarfed by Google's position. Just as in search, Microsoft steadily rolls out nice improvements to its mobile products, the latest batch of which are being announced Monday. At least in the past, though, these refinements have not created a swell of people who find them compelling enough to choose Microsoft over Google's Android system. The update Microsoft is announcing Monday to its mobile operating system - its third to Windows Phone 8 - isn't a drastic set of changes. There is support for quad core processors that can give more oomph to applications, support for higher resolutions on big-screen mobile phones and a new driving mode that limits notifications people receive when they're behind the wheel. The updates, Microsoft said, are one example of how the company is constantly chipping away at the reasons people have for buying iPhones and Google's Android phones instead of Windows Phones. Microsoft has long been trying to fill holes in the app library for Windows Phone. The company is also buying Nokia's handset business to strengthen its mobile products. ... http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/14/as-microsoft-updates-mobile-software-a-cautionary-tale/
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2013 23:12:35 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Bolstering a Phone's Defenses Against Breaches Message-ID: <p06240816ce81118aae37@[]> Bolstering a Phone's Defenses Against Breaches By NICOLE PERLROTH October 13, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO - From Lookout's headquarters here, the view extends west from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate, but its employees - mostly 20-something engineers in T-shirts and jeans - seem too preoccupied with the world's nastiest new threats to take it in. Lookout's employees are busy tracking the cybercriminals and aggressive advertisers that target the 45 million people around the globe who have downloaded the company's free mobile security app. That is Step 1 to a more lucrative goal: protecting the data of big, corporate customers that are allowing employees to use their own mobile devices on corporate networks. The so-called bring your own device, or B.Y.O.D., trend can lead to trouble. Last year, for example, Jackson North Medical Center in North Miami Beach, Fla., banned personal smartphones after a volunteer used his phone's camera to take about 1,100 photos of patient records, including their Social Security numbers, and sold them. Such episodes are not that unusual. Almost half of companies that allow personally owned devices to connect to the corporate network have experienced a data breach, either because of unwitting mistakes by employees or - as was the case at the Florida hospital - intentional wrongdoing, according to a 2012 survey of 400 technology professionals by researchers at Decisive Analytics. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/14/technology/bolstering-a-phones-defenses-against-breaches.html
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2013 09:08:18 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: TV-over-Internet service Aereo to come to Android Message-ID: <p06240823ce819d045ef8@[]> TV-over-Internet service Aereo to come to Android Associated Press October 10, 2013 NEW YORK - Aereo, a service that delivers broadcast television stations over the Internet, will come to Android devices on Oct. 22. The service started on iPhones and other Apple devices along with the Roku streaming box before expanding to personal computers. The company says that the Android offering took longer because of the many versions of Android available. Device makers are able to customize the version made by Google. Aereo says its Android app will run on phones and tablets with Android 4.2 or higher. It will be in a beta test mode at first. On iPhones and iPads, Aereo is accessible through the device's Web browser. Aereo opted to develop a stand-alone app for Android to give subscribers a consistent experience on a wide range of devices. ... http://online.wsj.com/article/AP93931afe813e474d8f695d7caf83fad0.html
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2013 10:11:16 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: An App That Saved 10,000 Lives Message-ID: <p0624082ece81abc3d3b3@[]> An App That Saved 10,000 Lives By AMY O'LEARY OCTOBER 5, 2013 While most start-ups feverishly track figures like the total number of users, Ron Gutman, the founder and chief executive of the health information start-up, HealthTap, is more interested in a different data point. This week, the start-up heard from its 10,000th user who said the site saved her life. "My local doctor brushed me off and told me it was anxiety without doing any tests at all," wrote one woman who turned to HealthTap after seeing her doctor. After spending two hours on HealthTap, she was told by a doctor who contributes to the site that her condition sounded like a blocked artery. She soon saw a cardiology specialist who later inserted a coronary stent. Since its founding in 2012, the site has logged nearly a billion questions and answers, from simple queries about headaches or the flu, to more complicated ones, like whether mechlorethamine is a cancer medication. Questions are then routed to a physician who is both an expert in that particular field of medicine, and who is determined by an algorithm to be likely to respond fast, Mr. Gutman said. None of that would be possible without the participation of nearly 50,000 doctors who contribute their advice free. (Every page on the site has a disclaimer saying that the site "does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.") ... http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/how-to-save-10000-lives-with-an-app-flatter-doctors/
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2013 23:16:39 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: From the Start, Signs of Trouble at Health Portal Message-ID: <p06240819ce811268e255@[]> >From the Start, Signs of Trouble at Health Portal By ROBERT PEAR, SHARON LaFRANIERE and IAN AUSTEN. October 12, 2013 WASHINGTON - In March, Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the Obama administration's new online insurance marketplace, told industry executives that he was deeply worried about the Web site's debut. "Let's just make sure it's not a third-world experience," he told them. Two weeks after the rollout, few would say his hopes were realized. For the past 12 days, a system costing more than $400 million and billed as a one-stop click-and-go hub for citizens seeking health insurance has thwarted the efforts of millions to simply log in. The growing national outcry has deeply embarrassed the White House, which has refused to say how many people have enrolled through the federal exchange. Even some supporters of the Affordable Care Act worry that the flaws in the system, if not quickly fixed, could threaten the fiscal health of the insurance initiative, which depends on throngs of customers to spread the risk and keep prices low. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/us/politics/from-the-start-signs-of-trouble-at-health-portal.html
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 18:55:52 -0700 (PDT) From: Neal McLain <nmclain.remove-this@and-this-too.annsgarden.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Canada to propose forcing a la carte programming Message-ID: <2fcf3c9f-f793-4be5-9c2e-389da8420226@googlegroups.com> Government will unveil 'consumer-first' agenda during speech from the throne By Jim Barthold, FierceCable October 14, 2013 | U.S. cable operators are closely watching for a possible | trickle-down effect if the Canadian federal government goes | ahead with plans to force cable and satellite TV providers to | offer a la carte programming. | | That mandate is on tap this week as part of a "consumer-first" | agenda being pushed by Canada's Conservative Party. | | "We don't think people should be forced to buy bundled | television channels when they're not interested in watching | those channels and those shows," Industry Minister James Moore | said in an interview with The Canadian Press reported in the | Edmonton Journal. "We should have a pick-and-pay model when it | comes to television channels." | | Canadian pay TV providers like Shaw Communications, Bell | Canada, Rogers Communications, and Videotron mirror U.S. | operators by offering bundles of popular and less-watched | channel packages. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/kgtou49 It will be fascinating to find out how much ESPN will have to charge as a retail product. Neal McLain
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 15:25:19 -0700 (PDT) From: Joseph Singer <joeofseattle@yahoo.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: On a New Jersey Islet, Twilight of the Landline Message-ID: <1381875919.13326.YahooMailNeo@web121403.mail.ne1.yahoo.com> MANTOLOKING, N.J. -- Hurricane Sandy devastated this barrier island community of multimillion-dollar homes, but in Peter Flihan's view, Verizon Communications has delivered a second blow: the telecommuni- cations giant did not rebuild the landlines destroyed in the storm, and traditional telephone service here has now gone the way of the telegraph. "Verizon decides then and there to step on us", said Mr. Flihan, 75, a retired toy designer and marketer. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/technology/on-a-new-jersey-islet-twilight-of-the-landline.html -or- http://goo.gl/wFlhTK Note: Seems to me I remember a similar article about service on Fire Island, New York, but my guess is that Fire Island has money where Mantoloking perhaps does not.
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 19:44:30 -0700 (PDT) From: Neal McLain <nmclain.remove-this@and-this-too.annsgarden.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Aereo can't be compared to Cablevision DVR, broadcasters tell Supreme Court Message-ID: <c9c5692a-e078-4327-98cc-43a26fc83432@googlegroups.com> By Steve Donohue, FierceCable, October 11, 2013 | In an attempt to force Aereo to shutter its local TV platform, Fox, | NBC, ABC and CBS filed a petition at the U.S. Supreme Court Friday | in which they argue copyright laws that have allowed Cablevision to | launch its network DVR don't protect Aereo's platform. | The petition could be a game changer for Aereo, which has a made a | business of selling access to local broadcast signals that it | captures with arrays of dime-sized antennas, and converts to | HTML5. Aereo stores programming on a network-based DVR, and | transmits the content to customers who pay it $8 monthly to watch TV | on mobile devices and Web browsers. | Broadcasters argue in the petition that Aereo designed its system to | exploit what they described as a loophole in copyright law which has | allowed Cablevision to launch its network DVR. In 2008, the Supreme | Court declined to review an appellate court ruling which found the | MSO's network-based DVR didn't violate copyright law. | This elaborate [Aereo] system of thousands of miniature antennas and | digital copies is not easier, more efficient, or more | technologically advanced than other retransmission systems. Rather, | it is a 'Rube Goldberg-like contrivance' designed for a single | reason: to take advantage of [the] perceived loophole in the law," | the broadcasters state in the petition. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/n565c4d The plaintiffs' petition is here: http://tinyurl.com/mpp7lxw I note with interest that plaintiffs cite "Fortnightly Corp. v. United Artists Television, Inc." in their petition (page 5). Fortnightly is one of the fundamental cases in the history of the cable TV industry. I've discussed it before in this space, most recently here: http://tinyurl.com/mbsxo8b Neal McLain
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