Why we openly hate our cords

Why we secretly love our cords. Tamara Warren:

There’s a certain security in the cord. It’s the idea of connection, perhaps even dating back to our days in the womb. ... A battery, no matter how sophisticated, is fleeting. When we have our cords with us, we are in constant pursuit of power, even when we are fully charged, as a form of security. We often discover our misfortune — the loss of power — when it’s too late. The opposite of being fully charged is dead. Cords, and our attachment to them, have taken on a metaphor weighted in existentialism. There is anxiety in being too far removed. We are in a relationship with our cords.

Allow me to retort!

The cord is a chain. It's the imposition of place, perhaps even dating back to our days in the mire. ... A cord, no matter how comforting, is invariable. When we wander, we are in pursuit of freedom; we often discover our misfortune — the tether — too late. The opposite of mobility is stasis.

Honestly, I hate cords so much! The first trillionaire will be put there by batteries. Read the rest

Watch wireless dominoes topple without touching each other

Eser Dominoes are an interesting proof of concept that won a juried award at the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival.

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Turns out it's super-easy to commandeer wireless towers

With just a few keystrokes, you could be the proud owner of a few dozen wireless towers, thanks to a flaw in the FCC's Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) database. Aura Holdings of Wisconsin, Inc. is now being investigated for changing registrations for 40 towers without authorization. Read the rest

Control devices wirelessly up to 2 kilometers away with this DIY project

My friend, John Edgar Park, has a video about low-bandwidth, long-range packet radio signals, which he uses to make a remote effects trigger box. Really cool! Read the rest

The FCC helped create the Stingray problem, now it needs to fix it

An outstanding post on the EFF's Deeplinks blog by my colleague Ernesto Falcon explains the negligent chain of events that led us into the Stingray disaster, where whole cities are being blanketed in continuous location surveillance, without warrants, public consultation, or due process, thanks to the prevalence of "IMSI catchers" ("Stingrays," "Dirtboxes," "cell-site simulators," etc) that spy indiscriminately on anyone carrying a cellular phone -- something the FCC had a duty to prevent. Read the rest

Scientists wirelessly transmit high-speed data through, um, pork loin

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used ultrasound to transmit high-speed data through pork loin and beef liver. Why? They're developing a system for controlling wireless medical implants and also stream high-definition video from inside the body.

"You can imagine a device that is swallowed for the purposes of imaging the digestive tract but with the capability for the HD video to be continuously streamed live to an external screen and the orientation of the device controlled wirelessly and externally by the physician," says engineering professor Andrew Singer.

Singer and his colleagues posted their results on arXiv in a paper titled "Mbps Experimental Acoustic Through-Tissue Communications: MEAT-COMMS."

“To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has ever sent such high data rates through animal tissue,” Singer said. “These data rates are sufficient to allow real-time streaming of high definition video, enough to watch Netflix, for example, and to operate and control small devices within the body.”

That's a whole new spin on dinner and a movie.

(Engineering at Illinois)

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$17 radio amp lets thieves steal Priuses

If your car has a proximity-based ignition fob that lets you start the engine without inserting a key, thieves on the street in front of your house can use an amp to detect its signal from your house and relay it to the car, getting away clean. Read the rest

San Francisco's Monkeybrains ISP offering gigabit home wireless connections

It's $35/month for the service, from San Francisco's coolest indie ISP (founded by Rudy Rucker's son, Rudy Jr, it was the inspiration for Pigspleen, the fictional ISP in my novel Little Brother) and if you opt to pay a little extra, they'll install a free link in a low/medium income neighborhood, too. Read the rest

U.S. FTC sues AT&T over mobile data throttling

An AT&T logo is seen atop a store in Beverly Hills, California August 31, 2011. [REUTERS/Danny Moloshok]

The U.S. government today filed a lawsuit against AT&T, accusing the nation's second-largest wireless carrier of selling users unlimited data plans, then slowing down Internet speeds after they hit a certain data use threshold. Read the rest

Former FCC Chairman: Let's Test an Emergency Ad Hoc Network in Boston

Jonathan Zittrain writes, "Ad hoc mesh networking has been developed to enable free and censorship-resistant communications in places like Egypt and Syria. (The New America Foundation's Commotion project is an example of that kind of network.) Less explored has been this kind of networking for public safety purposes, such during attacks or natural disasters. In this article, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and I explain why it'd be a good idea to develop these kinds of networks, and sketch out how they might work."

Former FCC Chairman: Let’s Test an Emergency Ad Hoc Network in Boston Read the rest

Dying old satellites jeopardize future storm coverage

In the NYT, a story about "endangered satellites" that orbit the earth and provide essential data for tracking storms like Hurricane Sandy. But because of "years of mismanagement, lack of financing and delays in launching replacements," they could begin falling apart—with no functional plan in sight to maintain those resources. Read the rest

New skyway spans nation with words, pictures: AT&T's wireless data plan, ca. 1951

"The demands of defense are heavy and urgent." A Bell Telephone ad from 1951, lovingly scanned and posted to the Vintage Advertising Pool on Flickr by James Vaughan, whose collection of vintage ads is astonishingly awesome. Read the rest

JetBlue planning free in-flight Wi-Fi rollout in early 2013

The Verge reports that US-based airline JetBlue will "roll out high-speed wireless networking in the first quarter of 2013," and that the service will be free for passengers. Instead of GoGo, "which Jetblue derides as slow and unsatisfactory," the airline will use supplier ViaSat. Read the rest

Byzantium, a bootable Linux with "Ad-hoc wireless mesh networking for the zombie apocalypse"

The Doctor [412/724/301/703] [ZS] sez, "Project Byzantium is a working group of the HacDC hackerspace, and is a live distribution of Linux for easily and rapidly deploying ad-hoc wireless mesh networks for the purpose of emergency communications. They presented last weekend in New York City at HOPE Number Nine and announced their second major release (v0.2a) on stage. They also gave away 500 copies on CD-ROM at the conference. They held workshops all weekend on how to use and test Byzantium Linux, and now they've released the .iso image of this release to the Internet. (Thanks, The Doctor [412/724/301/703]!) Read the rest

Virgin Mobile offers no-contract iPhone plan for US customers

Virgin Mobile USA, which operates as a sort of sub-brand of Sprint in the United States, today announced plans to begin selling the iPhone on June 29 with pre-paid, no-contract voice and data service starting at $30 per month.

The no-strings-attached connectivity comes at a higher hardware price: iPhone 4S at 16GB is $649, and the iPhone 4 at 8GB is $549. Plans include "Unlimited" texting and data (well, unlimited up to 2.5GB).

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4G iPhone sleeve offers 1GB of free data per month

[Video Link] The FreedomSleeve is an iPhone sleeve that connects a 3G iPhone to a "free" 4G network. It can be used as a wifi hotspot, and has a built-in battery to extend the iPhone's internal battery an additional 6 hours. It cost $99 and you get "up to 1GB of free data every month." According to GigaOM, each additional megabyte will cost a penny. Service is expected to start this summer. I hope the service is international. Freedom Pop iPhone Sleeve Read the rest

Report: iPad 4G to be offered by Verizon, AT&T

The Wall Street Journal was first to report that Verizon Wireless and AT&T will offer the next edition of Apple's iPad to run on their newest 4G wireless networks. Read the rest

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