The ever-reliable John Paczkowski is reporting that Apple will announce a wearable at the previously reported event on September 9. That wearable is almost surely that "iWatch" thing everyone has been talking about, though an announcement wasn't expected until later this year. But why wait when you have billion of dollars to make by disrupting a burgeoning industry (again)? [Re/Code]
Cities, like living things, evolve slowly over time. Buildings and structures get added and renovated and removed, and in this process, bits and pieces that get left behind. Vestiges. Just as humans have tailbones and whales have pelvic bones, cities have doors that open into a limb-breaking drop, segments of fences that anyone can walk around, and pipes that carry nothing at all.
Comcast has been trying to make this argument for a while, even demanding a correction from GigaOm when it referred to these plans as data caps. However, now it's made this argument in a regulatory filing with the New York Public Service Commission in support of its merger with Time Warner Cable. In a section responding to the concerns that some have raised about the merger, Comcast attacks the worries about data caps head on:
First, Comcast does not have “data caps” today. Comcast announced almost two years ago that it was suspending enforcement of its prior 250 GB excessive usage cap and that it would instead be trialing different pricing and packaging options to evaluate options for subscribers – options that reflect evolving Internet usage and that are based on the desire to provide flexible consumption plans, including a plan that enables customers who want to use more data the option to pay more to do so as well as a plan for those who use less data the option to save some money. As has been well publicized for some time now – including through Comcast’s own website – these trials are ongoing and currently cover a small minority of customers. Some of these trials include a data usage plan that allows customers who use very little Internet each month to receive a discount on their service fee, and variations on a plan that provide customers with the ability to buy additional increments of usage if they exceed a base amount (starting at 300 GB) that is included with their service. As it turns out, only a very small percentage of Comcast customers in the trials go over 300 GB in any given month, so few customers see increased costs because of the data plans and Comcast has seen no evidence that the data plans discourage usage, which has generally continued to increase in and outside of the trial markets.In other words... Comcast is, in fact, testing a data cap. They just don't want you to call it that. Because it's flexible.
Jon Brodkin, over at Ars Technica, notes that the FCC's own working group on data caps -- which included a Comcast VP -- defines data caps in a way that makes it clear that Comcast's plans are, in fact, data caps.
A cap is rarely, if ever, a hard and fast ceiling on a customer's ability to access the network. A cap is usually better understood as a threshold after which the user is subject to a different set of conditions for access, such as movement to a higher priced tier, different product or different speeds. As discussed below, another way of thinking of this is as the boundary between different ‘tiers' of service.Though, there is a footnote (perhaps added at the behest of the Comcast VP) that Comcast "does not have any caps in place but is trialing two UBP [usage-based pricing] plans."
Either way, the point is pretty clear. To basically everyone who doesn't work for a giant broadband provider, Comcast is testing data caps. Time Warner Cable has tested them in the past. And, furthermore, as we wrote about back in May, in candid moments Comcast will admit that it wants to roll those data caps out to everyone within a few years. Having Time Warner Cable under its belt would certainly help on that front...
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In a little over a decade, ATM skimmers have gone from urban myth to a wildly complex, ever-evolving suite of technologies that has the potential to be the worst nightmare of anyone with a bank account. Here's a look at how quickly skimmers have evolved—and why they're increasingly impossible to spot.
Logitech Harmony remotes have always been among the best for wrangling massive home theater systems, but this particular version actually turns your smartphone into the remote. You'll also get a basic universal remote with physical buttons for when your phone isn't handy. [Logitech Harmony Smart Control, $91]
A relative latecomer to The Hackaday Prize, [AltMarcxs] has nevertheless come up with a very interesting tool for fabrication, the likes of which no one has ever seen before. It’s a rotating laser soldering paste applicator, meant to be an add-on to a CNC machine. What does it do? RIght now it looks extremely cool while being an immense time sink for [AltMarcxs], but the potential is there for being much more than that, ranging from a pick and place machine that also dispenses solder paste, to the closest thing you’ll ever get to a carbon fiber printer.
[AltMarcxs]‘s build consists of two 3W laser diodes focused just beyond the tip of the syringe. The syringe dispenses solder paste, and rotating the diodes around, [Alt] is able to put a melted solder blob anywhere on a piece of perfboard. He put up a reasonably well focused video demonstrating this.
With a few homebrew pick and place machines making the semifinalist cut for The Hackaday Prize, it’s easy to see the utility of something like this: Putting a board in a machine, pressing a button, and waiting a bit for a completely populated and soldered board is a dream of the electronic hobbyist rivaled only by a cheap and easy way to make PCBs at home. [AltMarxcs]‘s machine could be one step on the way to this, but there are a few other ideas he’d like to explore first.
The build also has wire feeders that allow a bit of copper wire to be soldered to the newly formed metal blob. There are plans to replace this with a composite fiber, replace the paste in the syringe with a UV resin, cut the fiber and cure the resin with the laser, and build something much better than other carbon fiber 3D printers we’ve seen before.
The project featured in this post is a semifinalist in The Hackaday Prize.
Filed under: The Hackaday Prize