An update on SpaceX’s Falcon 9, IPv6’s 20th birthday, and a whole lotta Wifi brings the Geeks into the new year.
Several days after its historic Dec. 21 landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster moved into the shelter of the company’s new hangar near Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A.
SpaceX’s purpose in landing rocket stages is to reuse them, but this one — the first to deliver a payload to orbit and return to Earth intact under its own power — is likely destined for display in SpaceX facilities or perhaps a museum.
Today, workers began installing the first LinkNYC access points in New York. First announced in November 2014, the hubs are designed as an update to the standard phone booth, using upgraded infrastructure to provide gigabit Wi-Fi access points. This particular installation was spotted outside a small Starbucks at 15th St and 3rd Avenue, near Manhattan’s Union Square. 500 other hubs are set to be installed throughout the city by mid-July. LinkNYC anticipates one or two weeks of testing before New Yorkers will be able to use the hubs to get online.
We originally covered the story of New York City kicking off a “Payphone Hotspot Experiment” on this episode of GeekSpeak.
Back in November, T-Mobile announced a new service for its mobile customers called Binge On, in which video streams from certain websites don’t count against customers’ data caps.1 The service is theoretically open to all video providers without charge, so long as T-Mobile can recognize and then “optimize” the provider’s video streams to a bitrate equivalent to 480p. At first glance, this doesn’t sound too harmful—customers can watch more video without worrying about their caps, most will consider 480p to be adequate quality (especially on a small phone screen), and the harms of treating individual video providers differently are diminished when T-Mobile offers the program to any provider for free.
However, as Marvin Ammori wrote in Slate, there is another “feature” of Binge On that has many customers complaining. Ammori pointed out that T-Mobile is applying its “optimization” to all video, not just the video of providers who have asked T-Mobile to be zero-rated.
AT&T’s long affair with the two-year contract continues to wind down, Engadget has learned. According to an internal document sent to employees this morning, new and existing customers will only be able to get new phones by paying the full price upfront or in installments over time. The move is set to take effect on January 8th, so you’d better act fast if you (for some reason) really want to lock yourself down for a few more years.
In Spring Hill, Tenn., people often lurk outside the library on their laptops — before it opens and after it closes.
Librarian Jennifer Urban says it’s not that they’re just mooching the free Wi-Fi. The cost may be one aspect, but this town of about 30,000 people is also growing fast, she says, so fast that Internet providers can’t keep up with home construction.
So the city decided to start offering something new: mobile Wi-Fi hot spots, for lease. Chicago does it, Seattle does it, New York City does it — and now, so does Spring Hill.
HaLow devices will operate on the unlicensed 900 megahertz band, which is said to offer almost twice the range of standard 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi connections, according to the Alliance. The group is a coalition of companies that works to establish Wi-Fi standards.
HaLow should also be better at penetrating through walls and other interfering materials, and moreover require less power from supporting devices, important not just for the home automation market but other categories like cars and wearables.
LTE (Long-Term Evolution, commonly marketed as 4G LTE) is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.
Episode 1, Season 16