The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story on how inexpensive laptops and free Internet access are helping the homeless keep connected to the world via the Internet:
Aspiring computer programmer Paul Weston, 29, says his Macintosh PowerBook has been a “lifeboat” since he was laid off from his job as a hotel clerk in December and moved to a shelter. Sitting in a Whole Foods store with free wireless access, Mr. Weston searches for work and writes a computer program he hopes to sell eventually. He has emailed city officials to press for better shelter conditions.
The Dominion Post (via TMC.net) has a great read on how broadband access can change lives. Quoted in the article is IIA Co-Chairman Larry Irving, along with Brian Mefford, CEO of Connected Nation and IIA Broadband Ambassador.
Sony has announced a new version of its handheld gaming device the PSP. Called PSP Go, one of the things that makes the upgrade in hardware notable is the fact that it’s the first gaming device to ditch the traditional game discs and instead focus entirely on downloadable games.
Broadband has already made playing games online a popular idea. Now it’s poised to shake up the entire video game industry.
From the vantage point of 2008, the 94 percent of U.S. schools with Internet access use almost exclusively broadband connections, but residentially-based broadband in rural areas continues to lag the availability in metropolitan regions.
Robert LaRose et. al., “Closing the Rural Broadband Gap,” Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, Michigan State University. November 30, 2008.
STATEMENT FROM INTERNET INNOVATION ALLIANCE ON OBAMA’S 60-DAY CYBERSECURITY REPORT
WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 29, 2009 – The Internet Innovation Alliance, a broad-based coalition supporting progress with a National Broadband Strategy, today released the following statement in support of President Obama’s 60-day cybersecurity report:
“We commend President Obama for recognizing cybersecurity as an essential foundation for broadband Internet to realize its full economic, cultural and social potential. A safe, secure Internet with the public’s trust is critical to enabling the innovations that can improve our lives and to spurring broadband adoption among citizens.
“More than 75 percent of Americans feel that the Internet is too dangerous and believe naïve users can easily be taken advantage of, according to a survey of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by TRUSTe. Making consumers comfortable with capabilities that require safe and secure connections such as online banking and medical record storage-and-retrieval, as well as popular services like photo sharing and online gaming, is key to achieving universal availability and adoption of high speed Internet.
“Serious cyber-crime threats against consumers like phishing, hacking and identity theft persist, while national security challenges to government systems and critical infrastructure threaten our country every day. Overcoming these challenges to encourage widespread broadband Internet adoption requires a concerted effort with the government and private sector working closely together. The cybersecurity report and proposed action plan represent an essential first step toward a most critical goal.”
When it comes to Internet search, Google remains unstoppable. But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from re-entering the fray. Their new engine is called Bing, and as Read Write Web has a preview:
For the most part, Bing’s interface resembles that of today’s Live Search, with a large ‘cover image’ on the front page that surrounds the search box. The major difference in the user interface is the addition of guided searches in the left sidebar, though Microsoft says that the real changes are under the hood. The company argues that it can bring a new approach to Internet search by providing a richer, easier, and more organized search experience. This, for example, means that Bing will integrate data from consumer reviews when a search brings up a restaurant.
According to Microsoft, a chink in Google’s armor is the fact close to 30% of searches are abandoned. Whether that, and Bing’s other features, will be enough to cut into Google’s massive search share remains to be seen.
The document urges reform of the Universal Service Fund, but is very brief about how. It looks for ways to encourage interagency cooperation, recommending that the FCC create a “comprehensive website that will provide a centralized access portal for information concerning all federal programs addressing broadband.” But beyond that, the report calls for the continuation of the National Economic Council’s interagency working group, and not a lot more. Much of the essay is an encyclopedia of extant consultative agreements between states, localities, Indian tribes, and Federal agencies.
Once upon a time, AOL seemed poised to dominate the Internet. It was easy, it was quick, it offered a filter of safety from the wilds of the open Internet. So popular was the service that in the year 2000 Time Warner forked over a staggering $147 billion to buy the service.
The Internet Innovation Alliance presents its Biannual Symposium:
Developing a National Broadband Strategy: Deployment, Adoption and the Stimulus
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
8:45 a.m. - 2 p.m. The Newseum, 8th Floor
Breakfast and lunch will be served
The Symposium will:
• Examine the steps necessary to bring broadband access to unserved and rural communities
• Address issues of broadband demand and how content can be a driver of broadband adoption
• Discuss the future of broadband Internet, deployment of stimulus funds and impacts on minority and underserved communities
West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III
Sylvia Aguilera, Director, Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership Becky Collins, Small Business Owner Howie Hodges, SVP of Government Affairs, One Economy Corporation John Horrigan, Associate Director, Research, Pew Internet and American Life Project Craig Settles, Industry Analyst, President of Successful.com Scott Wallsten, Senior Policy Fellow, Vice President for Research & Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute
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