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CNET reports OnePlus strayed from smartphones announcing the OnePlus DR-1 a quadcopter that’s 70mm wide. Yep. Hand-sized. While it may seem like a joke, and it was definitely tongue-in-cheek OnePlus did sell a limited number of the quads for $20 each. To all who successfully ordered one, keep in mind what the OnePlus website said, with tiny power comes tiny responsibility. Also don’t try to land it on a moving ceiling fan.
The New Zealand Herald reports that New Zealand’s getting a new mobile payment system, launched Tuesday by Semble in collaboration with NZ mobile operators and banks. Semble uses a free app alongside a Semble Read Secure SIM card, provided by the mobile operator, that houses a EMV chip. The app is available for Android users and customers with ASB or the Bank of New Zealand accounts. Future additions to the Semble service include public transit cards, loyalty cards, ticketing, and vouchers with trials starting in April.
BizTechAfrica reports Kenya’s Secretary of the Ministry of ICT announced the One-Network-Area concept will be extended to data and mobile money in Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda within the next year. The concept was introduced last year to cut roaming charges for voice and SMS by 60%. Matiangi also said Tanzania will join the initiative at some point in the future.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the launch of the government’s Cyber Security Initiative, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore headed by minister for communications and information, Yaacob Ibrahim. The CSA will focus on national cybersecurity strategies, and conduct outreach to the growing cybersecurity industry. Interpol opened a cyber crime facility in Singapore in September and security firm FireEye launched an operations center there in February.
The Age reports the National Broadband Network company updated its $42 billion rollout construction plan Wednesday. By September 2016 158,000 locations in New South Wales will have access to fiber. Construction will begin on 26,660 homes and businesses in Sydney as well. Average broadband downloads rose 33% in the year to December. NBN hopes to connect 8 million premises by 2020.
BizTechAfrica reports Kenya’s role as a technology hub continues as the number of Internet users in the country topped 26.1 million. Data and Internet subscriptions grew by 10.8% in the 2nd quarter. And mobile is even better with 82.6% mobile penetration.
It’s a different story in the US as the Verge republished a story by the Centre for Public Integrity about the struggles to get the country’s population online. Among the findings, 27% of US citizens can’t go online at home. The most common reason given is price. One of the problems is lack of infrastructure. About 55% of US households have just one provider that offers 25 Mbps service. And access costs about 3.5 times as much as France. However there is hope on the mobile front. Pew research found that 64% of US adults now own a smartphone up from 35% in 2011 and nearing Kenyan levels.
The Times of India reports Alibaba and analytics company Globals will establish a startup incubator in Bangalore focused on mobile Internet and mobile commerce. Globals founder Suhas Gopinath told the Times they hope to start by May or June. Alibaba will provide mentors, technology and other business expertise.
Engadget reports that a team from the University of Houston in the US has published an article in “Frontiers in Neuroscience” detailing a method to help amputees control robotic limbs with their minds –and without surgery. The system uses a wearable “thinking cap” that monitors brain activity externally through the scalp, like an EEG, rather than needing surgically implanted electrodes. A brain machine interface interprets the brain waves and converts them into motion. So far the system works properly 80 percent of the time.
The Indian Express reports mobile network operator, Uninor announced that it is providing free Wikipedia access for its internet subscribers for three months, starting April 1. Uninor employees will work with students and teachers with a special focus on Wikipedia in the rural areas. Uninor has increased Internet use since introducing service plans for Facebook and WhatsApp last year. In 2012, Telenor– Uninor’s parent company– has provided similar programs in Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Montenegro.
Wikileaks has a new leaked chapter from the Trans-Pacific Partnership describing a process called Investor State Dispute Settlement which allows multinational corporations to sue to overturn local laws if those laws harm present or future profits. The EFF says the provision could be used to undermine user protections built into digital regulations like copyright law.
News From You:
TNTFan submitted the Verge article that US Internet video service Sling TV will add HBO to its service for $15 a month starting this month. That includes live channels plus on demand. Dish will also be able to sell subscriptions to HBO Now, a standalone service similar to HBO Nordic which launched in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark since 2012.
doorsrio sent us the The New York Times report that Verizon Wireless customers can now completely opt out of the phone carrier’s ad-targeting program that tagged users with undeletable tracking codes known as super cookies. Before customers could only opt out of the marketing program, but now they can stop the unique tag from being inserted. To unsubscribe Verizon customers can log into the privacy section of their account, or call 866-211-0874, and yell loudly into the phone UNSUBSCRIBE.
trionix11 submitted the Wired story that US retail chain Radio Shack received court approval for its bankruptcy plan. Hedge Fund Standard General will buy the company and keep some stores open under the Radio Shack and Sprint mobile carrier names. About a third of each store will be occupied by Sprint. About 1,740 of more than 4,000 stores will survive the deal.
Discussion Story: Accessibility
Pick of the Day: Techsoup.org
I wanted to share a great service with your audience. If you work for a nonprofit, charity, or library, Techsoup.org is a fanstatic place to get name brand software, hardware and services, at greatly discounted prices. They work with companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Inuit, Autodesk and many more. They also work with companies that supply products specifically that deal with the nonprofit world.
I almost feel like the Surface 3 is a proof of concept for Microsoft. From what I’m seeing, outside of artists who want the digitizer pen functionality on a budget, it doesn’t seem to offer any kind of value proposition. Don’t get me wrong, I love the aesthetic of the Surface line, but without the keyboard doc, it feels VERY overpriced for a 2GB Windows Tablet, even with the new Atom chips powering it. Add in the cost of the keyboard, pen and 4GB of memory, and the system is more expensive than some new Core M laden ultrabooks/2-1s. Of course MS is probably saving Core M for the Surface Pro 4, so this may be the only way to differentiate. Still, it just seems designed for no one to want to buy. Am I missing something?
Rich from Lovely Cleveland
Tomorrow’s guest: Justin Robert Young